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Well, where to start?

School has been going great, I really love it. It offers the right amount of balance between spiritual growth, core material and science. I’ve really been enjoying my body/mind/spirit class. It’s taught me how our bodies really do know what’s best for us and often tell us. But when we fight it and go against our initial feeling, wishes or deepest desires, our body lashes back with a symptom. This symptom can be that of an innocent one but a symptom nonetheless. The longer we go without listening to ourselves, the worse the symptom gets. If you think about it, it all makes sense. How does someone get cancer, heart disease, diabetes, tumors, cysts, etc? They don’t contract these things from other people, they are all self-inflicted due to poor eating habits, stress, inner conflict, depression, etc. I’m really into this stuff we’re learning.

My poor pup has been roughing it out all on her own and I have to congratulate her on being a good girl so far (fingers crossed). Work has been not so great. As I enter back into the world of serving, I have quickly remembered how miserable it was the first time. Nothing has changed. I hate the fact that I rest my paycheck in the hands of someone else. I have to deliberately kiss their ass for my money, and they know it, so most of them take advantage of it. I never look forward to going in for my shift and I dwell on the fact that I have to go to work days before even going in. I have only had 2 shifts on my own and made $65 for both nights combined. For the number of hours I have put in and the end result of money I have made, I might as well be working an hourly job. This is where I am torn. I want so desperately to leave this place of work and find something else, but understand this is only temporary and will ultimately bring in more money, once season hits, than an hourly job. So what do I do? Do I go against my instinct and possibly suffer or go with it? I have already started looking for a new job but realized immediately how hard it is going to be to find something.

I will meditate on this dilemma and see what comes to me.

As for eats around here, simplicity is the norm. I pack my lunches with a soup of some kind, raw almonds, clementines, bananas and herbal tea. I have recently joined Weight Watchers to help me grasp the concept of portion control. I admit I was embarrassed to go to my first meeting because I was very skeptical. I thought I knew what to do and I thought I was eating right but the scale wasn’t moving. After being on weight watchers for a week, I realize that I did know what to eat but I was eating too much of it. Going through my points and measuring things out has left me in shock at what a serving size actually is. I would think to myself, “That’s it? That can’t be a serving.” I would reread the box and recalculate the points and thought to myself, “this will never fill me up.” Well, I was wrong. Although the food doesn’t leave me feeling stuffed, I find that I am satisfied and like this new way of living. I’ve also learned to compromise. Compromise eating light and healthy all day to have that cup of pasta for dinner. So far, I have lost only a few pounds from what reflects on my scale but I need to weigh in at the next meeting to know for sure. I give myself the unfair advantage of weighing with no cloths on and first thing in the morning when the meetings weight you fully clothed and at the end of the day.

I had to “freeze” my yoga account until school is over. I did not realize just how time consuming it would all be and I would rather enjoy my yoga time rather than forcing it in when I have a second. Plus, when I am freed up and want to go to yoga I have to go to one of the times scheduled compared to walking into a gym and my workout begins right then. So, this was yet another sacrifice to the end result of something better. I know I will have my yoga studio in my life again but for now I may just buy a yoga DVD and start a home practice.

There you have it. A condensed update on my life and how things are going. I am still planning on blogging and feel like it would be beneficial to me but I must apologize in advance for the lack of pictures. It is easier for me to sit down and write as of this moment than it is for me to make something, take a picture and then insert recipe. It’s not that my pictures are departing forever but they will not be in every post as they have been.

Oh, and just in case you’re interested, my initial weigh in was 165 lbs. I will update this every time I attend a meeting and weigh in. Thanks for sticking around and reading! :)

Routine is key

Between orientation for school, studying for this awful menu test and my first day of school, I have been pretty busy. In the midst of all that has been going on the last couple of days, I did manage to make it to a 90 minute hot yoga class. It was horrible! This was the first time I have gone to a 90 minute yoga class in over a year and to top it off I was dehydrated before even going in. I knew I needed to drink more water but I didn’t realize how badly it would affect me during the practice. I sat in child’s pose for about 5 different asanas and even stepped out of the room at one point to cool down and recollect myself. I made it through the class but felt immediately light-headed and queasy. The ride home was almost as if I was intoxicated and I felt unsafe driving, but luckily we live only 2 miles from the yoga studio. When I got home, I filled up my water bottle and jumped in the shower. The dizziness got worse. I relaxed on the couch the rest of the night, unable to focus on anything else and ended up in bed with a headache and still dizzy. Thank goodness I woke up today with no headache and the dizziness subsided. Today was the first day of school and I know that I am where I am supposed to be. I am so vibrant, happy and open in their learning environment. My peers are great and like-minded individuals with so much to offer. I can’t wait for this school year to unfold :).

One thing that I am now trying to establish in my life is a routine. Once I get a feel for how this school thing and job thing are going to affect me, I can implement yoga comfortably in my life rather than forcing it in when I have a minute to catch my breath. I have a busy week ahead of me and am somewhat excited for the new changes that are unfolding in my life. I know this change will affect me mentally and physically so if I am a bit sporadic with my posts, I apologize. I will give it my best to provide new recipe posts and to keep things interesting but for today I’m going to take it easy. I still have some major food studying to do and some cleaning to get done. I hope everyone is enjoying their week! :)

Stop… smoothie time!

I am happy to share with you all that I am now a proud mama to a new blender!

Oster 14-speed 450 wyatt blender

It’s nothing fancy but it will do the job for the time being. I had a kitchen aid in my hands but realized that the $95 price tag was not in our budget at the moment. As I put it back on the shelf I cried a little inside. Another reason why we went with a less expensive model is because this is a new experiment for us. We’re planning on making our own smoothies a few days out of the week but I’m skeptical on whether or not we are going to keep that commitment. It’s not that I don’t want to make fresh, healthy, smoothies for myself but I am realistic with my mentality when it comes to adding something new into my life. I have to go through a trial period to see if it’s something that will stick or sink. While we were out grocery shopping yesterday, we picked up all of the necessities to give this trial period one hell of a run.

I present to you, my first fruit smoothie made from scratch (I know, sad isn’t it).

My fruit consisted of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, 1/2 kiwi and 1/2 banana.

 I added 1/2 cup of low-fat yogurt, a scoop of vanilla soy protein and a modest amount of ice.

 After a few minutes of smoothie blending, I ended up with this.

So yummy!

My smoothie batch made about 2 cups of pure deliciousness. I enjoyed my smoothie for lunch and still feel satisfied two hours later. I have a good feeling about this smoothie thing ;). I have some major studying to do for this menu test and I want to get it in before my Patriots game… GO PATS!

Have you had any smoothie love lately?

Scatterbrained

LOVE Radiohead. I always think of this song when I hear the word scatterbrained but that very word describes my state of mind lately. I have so many things going on at once that I don’t know what to focus on and when. The good thing I can say about the chaos going on is that it’s all for a common good that’s arising in my life. I had orientation today at the restaurant and by the looks of it I should be hired on, assuming I pass my menu test on Wednesday. I purchased the required books for school and had the chance to check out the little store they have there…so neat! Even neater (don’t care if I just totally made that word up) is that I get 20% off of everything they sell since I am an attending student and you all know how much I love my deals :). We went on a major grocery trip (I’ll have pictures on that tomorrow) and took Ruca to Petco for some new doggie treats to keep her occupied while I’m away on those long days. She’s so freaking spoiled, I hate to see myself when I have a child. Tomorrow we’re finishing up our grocery shopping (we go to a few different places to get everything we need) and purchasing a blender to start making fresh smoothies. I tried talking Jon into getting a Vita-Mix… no way that purchase is going down anytime soon but mark my words, I will have a relationship with one soon!

Yoga and cardio have been on my agenda quite a bit this new year. I had a lovely 75 minute hot yoga class at 7:30 this morning but when I walked into the studio a little after 7 a.m. I felt that surely I had made a mistake by waking up so unnecessarily early. Once class started, all I could concentrate on was my form and my breath which is all a girl needs to do to relax sometimes, right? It worked like a charm and I am now convinced to start working out early in the mornings. Plus, early workouts would compliment my soon-to-be hectic lifestyle. What made my day even better was when I came out of the studio and greeted by the yoga instructor with, “Hey, you have really great form!” … Wait, what? Me? I strive to be the best that I can be and as hard as it is to not compare myself to the effortlessly limber creatures behind me,  my form takes priority. It was soo nice to have that recognized and complemented that when I left the studio I was on cloud nine for the rest of the day. Go ahead, laugh. :D

Oh yeah, and I have some major food-topia pictures of Heather’s chocolate coconut butter I made the other day.

Unsweetened shredded coconut (8 oz) and semi-sweet chocolate (100 g)

Just like the almond butter, it will begin to clump

But keep up with your scrapping and your patience will get you this.

The most delicious, decadent and rich butter you’ll ever have! I couldn’t stop sneaking little bites as I was trying to take a picture of the finished product. I put mine in the fridge to harden a bit and it tasted like an almond joy candy bar… no joke. I love this stuff and cannot believe I have never been introduced to it before.

Thank you Heather and chocolate coconut butter as you both have brought immense [almond] joy into my life! :)

You all are going to be very happy that you were patient because during the final hour of my kitchen-a-thon I was at work making something magical. I used, yet another, HEAB recipe (Heather, I promise I’m not stalking you) and made my very own nut butter! I was so excited to try this one as I have been wanting to for quite some time now. After getting my very first food processor a few months ago, this was the only recipe I wanted to try BUUUT I had to promise my husband I would eat up the 4 jars of nut butter we already had (like that was going to be a problem) in our fridge. Three long months and 4 empty nut butter jars later, I finally had my chance to recreate Heather’s homemade nut butter recipe. I could not believe how incredibly simple this was. All you literally do is dump your choice of nuts into the food processor and press ‘on’.

I used 16 oz of roasted unsalted almonds.

After a few minutes, your nuts will start looking a bit like this

clumping = progress

And then what will seem like an eternity and endless scraps later, you will get your desired product.

I added just a few pinches of sea salt to taste.

If you are planning on trying this recipe at home, I promise it will work but it takes some patience and occasional scrapping of the sides of your food processor. I had to pull up Heather’s recipe to make sure I wasn’t doing it wrong as it seemed like the butter consistency I longed for was not appearing. My food processor even shut off 3/4 of the way through the process. I just unplugged it and let it cool for 20 minutes or so and then fired her back up. I’m almost positive it did this because I used too many almonds at once. Next time I would use half of the amount and make two batches. You don’t need a terribly expensive food processor to do this either. I have an Oster 10 cup food processor from Wal-mart. My mother-in-law purchased mine on sale for my birthday and paid $75.00 for it. I have never heard of the brand before but it works like a charm. After my almond butter was done I poured it into a mason jar, capped it and set in the fridge.

My 16 0z bag of almonds made me a little over a cup and a half of nut butter.

This overly simple recipe is going to take over my life…seriously. I can make any kind of nut butter and any flavor. Next almond butter batch I make I want to add vanilla and cinnamon, mmmmm. Truly, the possibilities are endless. Heather, you are a genius! As I was cleaning the kitchen after making this, I noticed I had an ample amount of unsweetened shredded coconut and semi-sweet chocolate Bakers baking chips sitting in my pantry… yes! Chocolate coconut butter, her I come. :)

If you could create a nut butter, what would it be?

I know it’s late

Most people would be in bed by now but I feel wide awake and for reasons unknown. Today was pretty eventful, or at least more eventful than usual. I filled out an application at a restaurant nearby and was asked to come in for orientation this Saturday! I have worked for the same company before but for a different branch of restaurant. If I can pass their menu test then I think I might land the job. Serving isn’t the most glamorous job in the world but let me tell you, it does wonders for people trying to get through school. It provides the flexibility one needs to attend school and gives you the opportunity to make a pretty penny in doing so. After I left the restaurant I met up with Jon for a quick elliptical session at the gym. I did 35 minutes of cardio, a few ab workouts and then some much-needed stretching. I also spent a good 2-3 hours in the kitchen. That’s right, 2-3 HOURS! The first hour was spent prepping and pan searing a pot roast I was attempting for the first time in my life. I know, right? This has got to be the easiest thing to ever make and of course I was over thinking it. I called one of my friends to ask if I was doing it right and she put everything into perspective for me when she told me, “It would be really hard to butcher a pot roast.”

 So, I chopped half of an onion, 3 organic carrots, 5 cloves garlic and 3 medium-sized potatoes . After I seared the roast on all sides, I pierced the meat multiple times with a knife and shoved garlic cloves in the slits. I put all ingredients into the slow cooker and poured one cup warm water mixed with spices over everything. Since I got a later start than I would have liked, I started off by cooking the roast on high for about 2 hours and then switched to low and cooked for an additional 6 hours. When we got home from the gym I almost forgot all about the already made dinner awaiting our palates. Jon boiled up some egg noodles (which ended up being a great idea) and we chowed down.

This was so delicious and reminded me a lot of a chunky stew by adding the egg noodles.

It was like we made our very own Campbell’s Chunky Soup, but a million times better of course! I will definitely be experimenting with this new-found genius recipe, especially now that we were given a Hamilton Beach slow cooker by Jon’s mother. Aside from making killer pot roasts, I am determined to make a successful batch of boiled peanuts. I am from the south and I love me some boiled peanuts! Plus, they would be perfect for game day too. Note to self, buy raw green peanuts this weekend.

Now back to my kitchen-a-thon. Hour 1-2 was spent making my lunch

There I go again, mediterranean-ifying everything! Cooked quinoa, broccoli, 1/2 avocado, 1/4 onion mixed with oil and vinegar. Paired with hummus and feta. THIS. WAS. TO. DIE. FOR.!

AND it was also used to make a kitchen disaster.

My failed attempt at making homemade potato chips, haha

I couldn’t help but laugh at the site of this. I don’t know if it was the wax paper I used to line the pan, the preparation process I guessed at, the temperature of the oven, the oil I used or a little bit of everything but I am determined to make my own potato chips darn it! I will must figure this one out. With the words that Nixon knew all too well… “You can’t win em’ all!” Even though I was set back a half an hour (and 2 potatoes), I did have a very successful last hour in the kitchen. What was this success? Well, I leave you again with the words from every sappy love movie made, “Good things come to those who wait.” ;)

Oatie love

With school around the corner, I’m trying my best to plan out how I will pack my lunches. I am a huge snacker and I need something that is non-perishable, easy and inexpensive to make, filling and most importantly, tastes amazing. What will this wonder snack food be you ask? Well thanks to Heather, I think I’ve found it. Allow me to introduce to you… oaties!

These bite sized morsels of goodness are the perfect healthified snack on the go. I used Heather’s Maple Nut Oatie recipe as a guide to make my own version.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup toasted rolled oats. (can toast in the toaster oven set at 350° for a few minutes but watch them as they burn easily)
  • 1/2 cup nut butter (I used TJ’s sunflower seed butter)
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar (I used half agave and half honey. Can also use maple syrup)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used unsalted roasted pecans)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate/carob chips (I used grain sweetened dark chocolate chips and two leftover squares from my Lindt 70% cocoa bar)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  •  Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 325°.
  • Combine all ingredients and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  • Scoop cookie dough by TBSP onto parchment lined or greased cookie sheet. (I tried both and the greased cookie sheet works the best, by far.)
  • Bake 10-12 minutes.
  • Let cool for a minute or so, and then pick them up and form into balls before placing on the cooling rack. (Be careful as they will be pretty hot!)
  • All that’s left to do is enjoy!

    Agave Honey Nut Oaties? Has a ring to it, no?

    I’ve already had three of these little guys as they are so delicious! I packed up a few to take with me and share at yoga today. I’ll have to start making double batches weekly to pack with my lunches and some to love on at home too ;)

    On a different note, I have some exciting information to share with you all. Not about me personally but still exciting. Have any of you heard of an author/entrepreneur by the name of Jordan Rubin? If not, you must check out his amazing story and dedication to raw living by downloading a free copy of his new book, The Raw Truth. That’s right, I indeed said FREE! All you have to do is click on the link and start downloading. You also have the option of taking home your very own free copy of the book by visiting a health food store near you. You can find a free copy near you on the same website. Jordan Rubin suffered from Chron’s disease but regained his health through a raw lifestyle. Since then, not only has he written numerous books, but he is the founder of Garden of Life. Garden of Life is a one stop shop for all of your necessities to succeed in a raw lifestyle. Everything from raw supplements to probiotics, everyone can benefit from this lifestyle.

    Now it’s off to yoga then job searching. Have a productive day sweeties!

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