6.10.10

1 year ago, I married my best friend.

Today is not only our first wedding anniversary, but also marks 5 excellent years spent together.

Happy Anniversary, Greg! There are no words to describe how much I love you.

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Stress Baking

We have had a pretty productive day. The laundry is done,  and winter coats have been washed and prepared for long term storage (YES!). I have finished birthday shopping for the upcoming birthdays this week. We went for a long walk, bought an airline approved carrier and harness for Sid, made a vet appointment, listed more of our possessions on Amazon and Craigslist, and shopped for plane tickets. I even found a few jobs to apply for!

I think this is a decent list of accomplishments, but anxiety is still getting the best of me. Today, stress led me to do something that I try to avoid at all costs: stress baking. Before I knew what was happening, I had a beautiful batch of vegan chocolate chip cookies in my kitchen.

Aren’t they adorable? I was concerned about how ridiculously oily the dough was, but they turned out to be quite nice. Luckily, it was a very small batch (I used the recipe from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar), and chocolate chip cookies are Greg’s favorite. Not too much harm done.

Well, I’m off to find a non-food way to cope with my anxiety. A book and a mug of tea sounds just right.

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Workout + Very Veggie Breakfasts

Recently, a friend asked me to share more about my workouts on the blog.  I am not a personal trainer, but I am MY personal trainer. I’m happy to share what what works for me, but I will not claim that I know what I’m doing (it’s all trial and error), and I offer no advice.

This morning I did an outdoor walk/jog, since it looks like we’re going to have rain for the rest of the week. Here’s what I did:

I started by walking for the duration of two songs. This is my warmup, and allows me to get down to the lake (where there are no stop lights) before I start running.

After my warmup, I alternated running for the duration of two songs (this time, that was about 8-10 minutes), and walking for the duration of one song (3-4 minutes). I repeated this until I had completed 4 running segments (about 35 minutes). The whole workout took 50 minutes.

I like this kind of workout, because as long as your playlist is on shuffle and you change your playlist now and then, it’s never the same. It also allows plenty of rest time for my bum knee.

Sweaty and janky. Mission accomplished.

I’m trying to get my veggies at every meal. Initially, adding vegetables to breakfast was kind of awkward, but I’m becoming a pro.

Brown rice toast with peanut butter + cinnamon, cherries, raspberries, and cucumber. I think cucumbers and raspberries are in love.

Things like this monstrosity, which contains almost 2 cups of raw spinach. If you add enough blackberries, it’s not even green. All I could taste was berry and banana goodness.

Today I had a more savory veggie breakfast. Chickpeas, zucchini, red bell pepper, spinach, and marinara. SO delicious, but I missed the fruit.

Do you eat vegetables for breakfast? What’s your favorite way to incorporate more veggies into your meals?

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Full of Surprises

Surprise #1: Yesterday, we found out that we were being offered university housing in San Diego! We applied for housing months ago, but the waiting list was so long that we really were not counting on it.

The apartment we’ve been offered is a lovely two bedroom on campus, for about the same price (maybe even a little less) of a two bedroom in Milwaukee. This is a HUGE relief, since the tiny 1 bedroom apartments we were looking at were more than twice what we’re paying here, and we were actually kind of worried about having to take out loans to pay for living expenses until I found a good job.

This is a wonderful surprise. Our financial worries have been lifted, and we get a much bigger apartment!

Surprise #2: The lease begins July 1. That is 26 days from now, and an entire month earlier than we had planned. This is kind of a stressful surprise, but we’re very excited, and I know we’ll manage.

If you want some books, let us know.

I reminded Greg how happy he should be that I insisted we being our moving preparations well in advance, even though he insisted that it was much too early. 🙂

Have a great Saturday! I’m off to do some spice peddling.

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Refreshing Guacamole Chickpea Salad

I started today off with my new pre-workout usual.

A super thick smoothie, served in a bowl, eaten with a spoon. This one consisted of a frozen banana, 1/2 cup of Trader Joe’s Very Cherry frozen berries (sadly, my bag should have been called Very Blackberry), 2 tablespoons of flax meal, and 1 cup of almond milk.

I went to the gym for a 100% killer arm workout and walked to Sendik’s for some discount fruit (5 bananas + 4 pears for $1.68!). When I got home, I needed to give my shaky and exhausted arm muscles some protein, so I made this divine chickpea salad.

Refreshing Guacamole Chickpea Salad

  • 2 cups chickpeas
  • 2 medium tomatoes, seeds removed, chopped
  • 1/4 c. chopped onion
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro (about 1 c. loosely packed), chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
Combine chickpeas, onion, tomato, and avocado in a medium bowl. Stir in lime, chopped cilantro, salt, and pepper. Makes 2 large servings. 
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Resolutions Revisited

Can you believe that 2011 is half over? I really can’t.

I think now would be a good time to review my resolutions. While I do think that I’ve stayed focused on the overall themes of my resolutions, I don’t really even remember the more specific goals that I made for myself at the beginning of the year.

Let’s see how I’m doing.

My resolutions:

Exercise every day.

  • Mix it up. Running is not the only thing out there.
  • Continue with strength training 2-3 times per week.
  • Schedule at least 2 “long” runs per week.
  • Big goal: run 3 miles in 27 minutes or under.
I’m doing pretty awesome with my exercise goals. I’m exercising 5-7 days per week, alternating between gym and outdoor exercise, spinning, running, walking, elliptical-ing, and strength training 2 times per week. I have also started to keep a workout log, which allows me to see how much I’ve accomplished and what I can improve on in the future. 

Due to my bum knee, I am no longer trying to become a faster runner. Every time I try to improve my speed, my knee gets extremely pissed off. I’ve decided that this is not the right way to push myself at this time.

Experiment in the kitchen.

  • Try a new recipe at least once a week.
  • Find delicious ways to prepare vegetables that I wouldn’t normally choose.
  • Learn new skills (pie crusts, bread with yeast, etc.).
  • Use new ingredients.
I completely forgot about this resolution! Definitely want to focus on this one in the second half of the year. 

 

Eat good food.

  • Planning ahead = better food choices. So plan ahead.
  • Check ingredients on all labels. No corn syrup or hydrogenated oils.
  • Listen to my body. Eat the foods that I know make me feel happy and energized.
  • Drink at least 100 ounces of water every day.
  • Big goal: eliminate artificial sweeteners. That means you, diet coke. I’m not sure I’m capable of kicking this, but I’m going to give it a try.
I have made some great food improvements so far this year! Food planning has been going pretty well, and I’ve been planning our evening meals a week at a time for a few months now. My meal planning system is far from perfect, but I think it’s getting better (Greg may have a different opinion on this). I’ve also been packing all of my lunches for work and keeping a food journal.

Checking food labels was not such a big deal, and I’ve stopped buying products that have any unnecessary ingredients. If the list of ingredients is so long that I get bored reading it, I really don’t think I want to eat it. 

Listening to my body has probably brought the greatest changes in my way of eating so far this year. In March, I transitioned to a plant based diet of whole, unprocessed foods (about 98% of the time). I love this way of eating, and my body feels stronger and healthier than it ever has. 

I STOPPED DRINKING DIET SODA! I has been almost 7 weeks now. Honestly, I am really proud of myself. It’s a small thing to conquer, but it’s still something I didn’t really think I’d do. 

Read.

  • Aim for 1 book per week.
  • Learn a thing or two about history and geography (the two largest gaps in my education).
This goal makes me LOL. A book a week? Maybe if it’s a graphic novel or under 100 pages… I really have some work to do on this one. I have done some reading, but not nearly that much. New goal: 15 (additional) books by the end of the year.  Still a little on the ambitious side (for me), but we’ll see.

 

Write.

  • Continue to update and improve this blog.
I’ve been on the slacking side a little, but still going. 

 

Relax.

  • Stop being so hard on myself. Believe that I’m alright as is.
  • Develop an evening routine conducive to restful sleep.
  • Meditate for 5 minutes per day. Increase if possible.
  • Yoga.
The only part of this goal that I’ve actually worked on is improving my evening routine, and that’s still not very consistent. I could count the number of times I’ve done yoga this year on two hands. I have meditated exactly zero times this year. Oh well, no progress means LOTS of room for improvement in the second part of this year!
I’m writing these goals down in my notebook that I use every day so that I don’t forget about them again. Actually, I’ve accomplished a lot more than I thought I had.
How are your resolutions going?
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Banana Shake

My parents had a restaurant in St. Mary’s Hospital when I was a very small child. I hardly remember it, but I do remember occasionally calling my dad and asking him to bring home a banana shake. Bliss in a big styrofoam cup, I tell you.

While my love of banana shakes has remained with me throughout my life, drinking them every day is not really conducive to the healthy, active, productive life that I am interested in leading. However, many stress-induced banana shake cravings have led me to whip up an incredibly simple and very healthy alternative to the traditional version.

Healthy Vegan Banana Shake

  • 1 large frozen banana (peel and cut into thirds before freezing)
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • cinnamon to taste
Combine the frozen banana and almond milk in a blender (my immersion blender worked really well!), and blend until smooth. You can use more or less almond milk to achieve your desired consistency. Sprinkle with cinnamon, and devour. This shake is delicious on its own, but it’s also delicious served over a bowl of fruit as part of a cool summer breakfast.

 

 

 

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