Immobile

Folks, I have never considered myself a very active person. I’m more of a “if I am running, you better be as well, because something is wrong”.

I rejoined Planet Fitness and have been good about going 3-4 days/week, only eating out when absolutely necessary (Starbucks doesn’t count) and making sure I am walking Pippa more often.

This doesn’t mean I gave up all sugar or did some wild and crazy diet. It just means I have made some lifestyle changes.

When I tipped the scale at 215 about 6 weeks ago I almost lost my mind. I can’t remember the last time I was over 200 pounds. I am assuming the stress and massive travel I have been doing (and eating out) caused a majority of my weight gain.

I finally hit under 200 pounds again this week! I was making progress! Until I hit a brick wall!

A week ago today I fell, it isn’t an exciting story, so I’ll spare those details. Instead I’ll show you what it looked like after 8 hours.

Shockingly it wasn’t broken, but f**k it hurt. The emergency room looked at it and said mmmhmmm, it’s a hematoma and gave me a big ass boot to wear. I was less than thrilled.

Made it through last weekend, but now I am restless and even though my boot is gone, I still have a brace. No running, long walks, stairs and especially no driving because of torn tendons and ligaments under the swelling. That has also meant no gym for me.

I have been trying to eat right, but being immobile has equaled no major activity.

Tomorrow I am forcing myself to at least work on abs and arms at the gym, just so I do not lose the progress I have been making.

I need to drink more water and rally back. I’m just hoping that this week didn’t put my progress too far back.

Help me keep going. Motivate me. Kick my ass in gear. Help keep me accountable. I will do the same for you.

Inching Along

I have been getting Facebook messages asking if I was going to blog again and how I was doing, in which case I thought maybe a post with pictures showing what’s been going on since August 14, 2017.

I took a quick trip to Chicago, came home and spent a short bit of time with these two lovelies after work one night. Then it was off to home with my daughter to get ready to send her off to college

After an extensive shopping spree and two car loads, we got her all settled in and I headed towards home.

I had spent most of my summer alone, as my girl was living life in Tennessee. While she was gone I realized I needed to start making some life choices.

After a “last meal” at my favorite place, Condado Taco, I started delving into the lovely world of meal prep. I was edging on a 4-5 day work trip and needed to make sure I wasn’t tempted to go out to eat.

On August 25, 2017, I hit my highest weight in years of 215 lbs. I was devastated and knew it was time to make changes. Meal prep, joining Planet Fitness and investing in an iWatch were all on the list of things to do.

Enjoyed a night out with some girlfriends and started back on the journey of deciding that I was worth it. That someone, somewhere would find me lovable, attractive and worthy of spending time with.

The following week was HELL at work, getting a grant submitted. I got home from that week and wanted nothing more than to sleep for days!

Spent Labor Day weekend visiting family, enjoying good ice cream from a local spot and baking some treats!

Loving on these four creatures as much as possible.

Had a few dates, been to the gym and have continued to cook, clean and declutter my home.

I have an outside cat (or three) who visit my porch frequently that I am feeding and I am set for a couple weeks of busy work and family/friend activities.

Things have really been uneventful, I’ve been up and I’ve been down. I’ve been pretty and I’ve been in pajamas.

Entering into sports season and that makes me happy, especially since that means post-season baseball, football, college football and hockey. I think basketball starts soon, but I’ll leave that to my mom.

Maybe this post will be my catalyst back into blogging and reviewing. Who knows, as I say that often.

Sending peace & love to you!

Baked Falafel 

If I can l, I watch Joy Bauer on The Today Show in the morning. A couple of weeks ago on the show she showed viewers how to make baked falafel.  I was super excited when she posted about the baked falafel online so I could replicate the recipe. 

My daughter is a vegetarian, so making items that taste good, include protein and veggies are especially important.

If you have a food processor and some time on your hands to make a healthy dinner, this is a great option. I totally forgot that I needed dried chickpeas and just used a can of chickpeas I had that I was going to make hummus with. 

These were easy, I made the chickpea balls in the morning and then was able to bake them when I got home from work.

My daughter gobbled them up and we had two nights of dinner. I chose not to make taziki, instead I picked some up from Trader Joe’s – which was amazing!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1½ cups dried chickpeas (or buy a can)
  • ¼ yellow onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup minced fresh parsley
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 5 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs

PREPARATION:

  • Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Let soak overnight (12 to 14 hours), then drain. I skipped this and just bought canned ones!
  • Preheat oven to 400˚.
  • Place the chickpeas in a food processor and pulse so they’re blended but not pureed. 
  • Add the onion, parsley, garlic, salt, lemon juice and cumin, and pulse a few times so that everything is well combined but not pureed.
  • Finally, add in the baking powder and panko breadcrumbs, and pulse a few final times again to form a dough-like consistency.
  • Form chickpea batter into small balls (about the size of a melon ball scoop and smaller than a golf ball) and place on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper or one that has been liberally sprayed with nonstick oil, so the balls don’t stick. Mist the top with olive oil spray and bake for about 15 minute. 
  • Flip, mist the top again with olive oil spray and bake for another 15 minutes, until browned and crispy.

Serve 3 falafel balls in a whole grain pita stuffed with chopped tomatoes, onions, cucumbers and tahini or Tzaziki.

Vegan Banana Muffins

As many of you know I have been traveling and that has forced me to eat out.  A lot.

Sadly, eating out doesn’t always = healthy.

Take for example the other day when I was “in the mood” for ice cream, so I stopped and got some and no, I don’t regret it.

While I have been home these last few days, I have taken advantage of getting up early and cooking or baking something before working so that I eat better and so does my daughter when I am not home.

I adapted this recipe from Forks Over Knives (I used sweetened applesauce & chia seeds vs flax) to make some vegan banana muffins.

They are pretty tasty, but I have to say that I am likely going to invest in silicone liners, these paper ones are so old school!

We have been eating them with homemade yogurt and vanilla pudding (not together) and fruit.

Next time I will probably add some blueberry or strawberry purée to give it a little sweetness and maybe flax seed will change the texture a bit.

Ingredients:

4 very ripe bananas
2 cups oats, ground into flour

½ cup unsweetened apple juice

½ cup unsweetened applesauce

2 tablespoons ground flax seeds

1 teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ tablespoon alcohol-free vanilla extract

½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar

½ tablespoon aluminum-free baking powder

½ teaspoon sodium-free baking soda

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350º F.
  • Line a muffin pan with 12 cupcake liners.
  • Grind oats into a flour.
  • Place in a large bowl and add all the other dry ingredients.
  • Puree bananas in a food processor fitted with the “S” blade until smooth.
  • Add the apple juice, applesauce, extract and apple cider vinegar and process again until combined.
  • Pour over dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  • Do not over mix.

Pour into muffin liners filling about 2⁄3 full.

Bake for 20-22 minutes until tops are golden brown and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Seafood Miso Soup

As you know I have been using my Instant Pot a lot the last few weeks making different things. 

I love kitchen gadgets and this has to be one of the best ones that I have found (next to my VitaMix) for everyday use in the kitchen.

My daughter loves Miso and I do as well, but I don’t always have time to run to Trader Joe’s to pick up some. 

Lately I have been ordering from Door to Door Organics each week and this recipe was my starter inspiration for this dish.

I had to convert this from stovetop to Instant Pot, but after consulting my handbook, I knew I had a plan!

I added

  • Mushrooms
  • Kale
  • Trader Joe’s Seafood Blend

To the existing recipe in order to make it a little heartier and give it some texture. 

Started with dissolving the Miso paste in the Instant Pot on sauté

Then I added veggies, seafood and tofu. Locked the lid and cooked on the soup setting for 5 minutes.


Once this was done,  I added my Soba Noodles and cooked for an additional 3 minutes. 

Vióla, you have my version of Miso Soup!

What have you made in your Instant Pot lately?

January Essential Oils

img_4865

Each month I order from Young Living and pick up a few of my “essential” Essential Oils. This month I ordered Lemon, Thieves, Lavender and Tea Tree oils. These are four of my go-to essential oils or what I like to call Everyday Oils.

Up first, Lavender – Lavender is universally regarded as one of the most powerful and versatile essential oils, and the uses for this plant are almost endless. Lavender essential oil is one of the main Young Living products because it offers a host of benefits and a sweet, floral aroma.

Uses of Lavender
  • Add 8–12 drops to water and spray under beds and in closets for a fresh, pleasing aroma.
  • Apply 2–4 drops to skin to moisturize and enhance skin radiance.
  • Diffuse at night for a calming aroma during sleep.

Next up, Lemon – this is my favorite oil for everyday uses and some very different ways to use this oil.  Lemon’s many applications make it one of the most useful essential oils to have on hand. The fresh, zesty aroma is refreshing and up-lifiting.

Uses of Lemon
  • Use Lemon essential oil as a dietary supplement in your daily routine.
  • Substitute Lemon oil for lemon juice or lemon seasoning to flavor seafood, vegetables, beverages, and desserts.
  • Keep Lemon in a purse, backpack, or car so that it is always in reach when you need it.

The oil that keeps the germs away is Thieves. Many don’t know a lot about Thieves or its’ rich history.  Thieves owes its pleasant, spicy aroma and flavor to a balanced blend of Cinnamon Bark, Clove, Eucalyptus Radiata, Rosemary, and Lemon essential oils. This is a one of a kind blend that can be be a lifesaver to keeping up your immunity.

Uses of Thieves
  • Add to food or beverages or take internally to enjoy the benefits of the powerful natural compounds d-limonene, eugenol, and eucalyptol.
  • Dilute 1 drop of Thieves in 4 drops of carrier oil and add to a capsule.
  • Take once per day to maintain a healthy respiratory system.

Last up is Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca Alternifolia).  This essential oil can be found in a wide variety of skin care and spa products. It possesses powerful properties that are amazing on the skin. Tea Tree oil can moisturize and beautify the appearance of the skin and I personally put it on everyday.

Uses of Tea Tree Oil
  • Moisturize the skin by rubbing 1–3 drops of Tea Tree oil into the palms of your hands and gently massaging over areas of concern.
  • Add Tea Tree oil to your favorite massage oil to elevate your massage experience.
  • Diffuse Tea Tree oil to create an aromatic, healthy and spa-like environment.

If you haven’t used essential oils before, feel free to ask questions, I didn’t know much about them when I first started and I spent a lot of time asking questions to get to the point where I am now.

I still ask a lot of questions and there are days that I have more questions than answers. As the world leader in essential oils, Young Living offers hundreds of essential oils and oil-infused products, each containing the optimal levels of specific, naturally occurring constituents to maximize their benefits. Whether you use the oils for aromatherapy, personal care, or household solutions, every aspect of daily life can benefit from the incorporation of essential oils!

Check out my quick video on the oils that I received in the mail this week:

S’ip by S’Well

This my friends is the water bottle of all water bottles.  The S’Well Water Bottle has to be the best thing that I have ever spent more than $10 in my entire adult life.

Do you want to know why it is so awesome?

Let’s start with water.  I am not a fan of ice cold water. I have become accustomed to putting water in a glass, letting it sit out for a bit and then drinking it because then it is room temperature and I can more or less chug it.  This is likely because I am not one to “remember” to drink H2O all the time and when I need it, I usually need it.

I put cold tap water into my S’Well Water Bottle around 8:00 am – I remembered to drink out of my water bottle around 10:00 am and I was expecting lukewarm water, the way that I usually drink it.

Nope.

It was still cold.  I mean it was tap water cold, but it was still COLD.

That is example #1.

Now for example #2.

Hot tea.  I am a lover of tea, hot or cold. When I travel I like to make tea in the morning and drink it throughout the entire day, since I don’t add anything to it and like it hot and cold – this can be black tea or green tea, it really doesn’t matter much.

I had to travel this past week and I wasn’t a fan of the hotels coffee, so I would make black tea each morning, put it into my S’Well bottle and head to the office.  The first day I was expecting my tea to be drinkable by the time I got to the office, but I left it in my car, forgot about it and when I returned to my car a few hours later I opened it up and expected to chug it, like any reasonable person would, but to my amazement (proof by my burnt mouth) it was just as HOT as it was when I poured it at 8:30 am.

This was life changing. I can now pour myself a drink and know that it will be the same temperature for hours later.

S’Well says a drink will remain cold for 24 hours or hot for 12 hours and I can say for certain that this is true. On top of the bottle being stylish, fitting into my cup holder in my car and super easy to clean, I am pretty much in love with this water bottle.

I am thinking about getting the larger bottle next, so I can keep one hot and one cold.

If you get one, or already have one, let me know what you think!