Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Around the Blog World...Lenten Style!

I think Lent is a perfect time to show our "Temples of the Holy Spirit" a little TLC, don't you?! Armed with this belief, I resolve to use this time to increase my health, which also includes dropping a few pounds of "Honeymoon weight."

Isn't it crazy how the moment we know we need to cut back on anything we suddenly need it or crave it or cannot live without it?! Surprise! This is how my relationship with food always is. Without fail. ALWAYS. So this Lenten time of fasting and abstinence is no exception. 

Because of this Lenten penance, it OBVIOUSLY was the perfect time to bake Banana Nut Bread. No other time would be so perfect. <insert eye rolling here> And it just so happened that I had found a recipe (which I would share, but I cannot find it anywhere online..hmmm) that met all my healthy-ingredient criteria...needless to say the recipe was amazing. So amazing, that I never bothered to take pictures as I was too busy shoveling it into my mouth. Epic fail yet again! But I think you will sympathize and understand once I tell you that smothered all over the top of this mouthwatering, freshly baked banana nut bread was homemade Maple Cinnamon Almond Butter. *Swoon!* I can hear all of your "Ahhhhs!" of understanding right now. The moral of the story: Don't bake made-from-scratch Banana Nut Bread or make Maple Cinnamon Almond Butter if you want to lose a few pounds. It takes too much will power not to eat the entire batch in one sitting. ;)

Now that it is Lent, I have had a little trouble figuring out what to make on Fridays....fish would normally seem like the logical, appetizing choice, but, well....let's just say we had an incident with some cod over at my place and I can't touch raw fish without immediately feeling squeamish. However, based on previous food "incidents," I'm guessing a few more weeks and the memory of the cod will have disappeared and I will be back to craving and making fish for dinner. In the meantime, I thought I would share a few meatless, fish-alternative recipes from around the blog world. I can't guarantee they are delicious as I haven't tried them, but they definitely look tasty. Bon appetit!

1.  Crockpot Chickpea, Butternut Squash, and Red Lentil Stew from Eat, Live, Run

2.  Quinoa Salad with Roasted Beets, Chickpeas, and Orange from the Gluten-free Goddess

3.  Tomato and Canellini Bean Soup from The Balanced Platter

4.  Husband's Healing Stew from Oh She Glows! (one of my favorite foodie blogs!)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Slacking and Vacations

I can't believe I have ignored my blog for so long! I was on such a role- making amazing recipes, trying out new workouts, and writing about it all. The last few weeks have been helter skelter for me and I'm afraid a lot of my motivation wore off during that time. *tear* However, I have learned the best solution to no motivation is....*DRUMROLL* a VACATION! :D So this weekend- which just happens to be President's Day Weekend and, therefore, a 3-day weekend for me- I am taking two days of leave. I'm beyond excited at  the idea of being able to enjoy life again and forget all about work. I'm starting to wonder if all this work hatred is a sign that I need to move in a different direction? Probably. Unfortunately, it takes energy and motivation to move in a different direction- two things I sorely lack at the moment. Perhaps that will all change soon...

Yesterday, the hubby, sister, friend, and I had a little dinner party before the Magic game (both of which were really fun). It was my first dinner for anyone other than my husband since the wedding and I was a little nervous because I decided to try out a new recipe on our guests- Slow Cooker White Chili. I've never had white chili before so I wasn't sure what to expect. Luckily for me, Whole Foods never lets me down and the recipe I found was amazing. You can check it out for yourself here.  

I didn't follow the recipe exactly because, well, I continued my slacker ways and didn't have all the ingredients. So we had a little less corn and 1 green bell pepper instead of two. The biggest change was that I didn't stir the the sour cream into the chili (I'm severely lactose intolerant- if not allergic- to dairy in any form) but rather set out sour cream and Whole Foods' Three Pepper Salsa so everyone could garnish their bowl of chili to their own tastes.

The best part of the meal was that all I had to do was throw all the ingredients in my Crock-Pot. So easy, so delicious, definitely a must try! You won't be disappointed.

Our friend brought over a loaf of authentic Tuscan bread to go with the chili. So good. She said she found the bread at a little, Italian market nearby. Which really translates to torturing me because now I'm dying to go check it out and it might be a few weeks before I get a chance to. Grrr! ;)

Does anyone else have any fantastic, clean eating slow-cooker recipes they've tried? I'd love to hear about them!


<3 K.E.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Running Away

I hope you all enjoyed the Super Bowl last night! It was quite the game, wasn't it?! And WOO HOO for those Giants! :D

We managed to keep it clean at our house- buffalo chicken wings from Whole Foods (sooo delicious and only $10 for a bucket!) and giant salads. I made my salad extra amazing by adding sliced avocado, sunflower seeds, broccoli sprouts, and sweet peppers. It was so divine that I made another one for lunch today.

Prior to the game, I managed to get in a little run....4.43 miles! My longest run in at least six months. The last few months of wedding planning had my entire life off-kilter. There just weren't enough hours in the day and exercise fell to the wayside. I would run once a week or so just to keep the weight off, but I just couldn't get a schedule going. It has taken a lot of time and effort since the wedding to schedule in time to run, but it has been so worth it. It felt so good to just let go last night and run for miles. Running is a great stress reducer for me. Being alone with my body and my thoughts always helps to put the chaos of the day/week in perspective. My job is high-stress and it is easy to lose sight of the big picture so running is truly a god-send for me...at least when I make the time to do it! I love realizing that no matter how important others think their issues, concerns, or drama are, they usually aren't and they don't deserve my energy, frustration, or concern.

Now that I've officially started running again, I remember how much I love it. Granted, it takes a lot of physical exertion and there are days where I hate it, but those days are rare and slowly start to disappear the more I run.

Last year I ran a 10k and loved every minute of it. I've decided I want to run another one this year and start planning for a half marathon at some point within the next two years-I just want to make sure my body is ready for it. I haven't chosen which 10k I'll run yet, but it will be sometime this spring if all goes well. I'll keep you posted!

In the meantime, check out the blog, NHERSHOES, today for a delicious and summery smoothie recipe created by me! Bon appetit!

<3 K.E.

Friday, February 03, 2012

My new workout buddy...

I can't believe it has been an entire week since I last wrote a post for this blog. I guess I've been kind of busy or something. :) In all honesty, this was one of those weeks. You know, the ones where you feel like you have a million things to do which overwhelms you so you just sit on your bum and do nothing? Yeah, that kind. So after four days of skipping my workouts, I finally got off my bum and ran a 5k last night. I guess that was the inspiration I needed to get going- just in time for the weekend!

Last week was an amazing week of being on the ball with my workouts and making healthy meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner EVERY DAY. Maybe I was an overachiever, but come Monday morning I was completely worn out and exhausted- hence the four days lacking in productivity. Hopefully, I can find a balance between all or nothing that I am able to repeat on a continuous basis. I think a little more planning on the weekend will make all the difference. I'll let you know...

Part of why last week's workouts were so amazing is due to my new workout buddy- the Nike Training Club App. I've already shared this with a few of you, but just to recap, here are the details again. It is a free App that you can download to your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad.

It is divided into different types of workouts- Get Lean, Get Toned, Get Strong, & Get Focused.
You can choose Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced within each of these four types of workouts. The Beginner workouts are INTENSE. So unless you are a workout guru who is doing HIIT, do yourself a favor and at least try a beginner workout before you jump into a more challenging one and decide I'm insane for recommending this App!

Here is an example of what the screen looks like as you complete a workout:
The App counts down for you and each workout is performed for a designated length of time. If you aren't sure how to do a specific exercise, you can review photos of it prior to beginning your workout or watch a video of the exercise being performed during the workout by tapping the play button on the screen above.

NTC tracks your progress and rewards you for completing workouts. The rewards are anywhere from celebrity bonus workouts to smoothie recipes. Seeing how many minutes you've worked out and how far you have progressed is a great motivator. Nike's tag line for this App is: "Your personal trainer, anytime, anywhere." And that is so true.

Try it out for a few weeks and see if you love it as much as I do. Within a week of using the "Get Toned" workouts I saw muscle definition in my arms and they were seriously firm. It was amazing! I can't wait to do another workout tonight. It will kick my butt and I will love every minute of it!

<3 K.E.