Heat’n Up

Wow!  A roaring fire and the oven going for an hour sure gets my little house warm!  I’ve been busy all morning making treats to gift. 

First up:  Dark Chocolate Coconut Fudge Truffles

Then I brewed a pot of java and stayed with that theme for some Mocha Truffles!

These are my all time fav!  I’m not that good at writing down exact ingredients when I experiment so they come out a little different every time; always delish though 😉 

And for a new concoction, how ’bout Gingersnap Truffles?!

These have great flavor but I’ve decided I really don’t like dealing with pecans even though they taste so good.  They’re just really greasy and made it tough to make these hold together. 

After all that I made a Chocolate Cobbler with Dark Chocolate Kahlua sauce to take to a Christmas party tonight. 

This is just step #1 of the dessert.  The end result doesn’t look very pretty- let’s hope it tastes good!  I hate making anything for other people that I can’t taste first, just in case.  Well, I know the sauce will be a hit 🙂  Now for some major kitchen clean-up! 

I’m really happy to say that I’ve got all my Christmas shopping done!  Now I just have to contain my excitement and wait till the 25th to watch them be opened (that’s my favorite part).  I really love giving gifts, I wish I had a bigger budget and could give people gifts all the time!  I also think that spending time with the people you love can be a far more meaningful gift than any object-  it’s still fun though ;-).

Do you exchange gifts?  If so, do you enjoy or dred holiday shopping? 

“When asked what gift he wanted for his birthday, the yogi replied: “I wish no gifts, only presence.” ~Author Unknown

Cough, Sniffle, Cough

I was right… I was coming down with something and felt pretty terrible yesterday but I’m already feeling quite a bit better.  Lots of rest, fresh pineapple and hot tea 🙂

With nothing but rest on the agenda yesterday I finally finished Unbearable Lightness by Portia de Rossi. 

Overall the book was pretty good.  There were parts that brought some serious tears to my eyes.  I couldn’t believe how much she really hated herself and her appearance at times.  I don’t think anyone is immune to issues with body image from time to time  but to constantly be critiquing yourself would be so exhausting.  The book got me examining my own self perceptions and although I consider myself a fairly confident person I started to realize how often what I see isn’t what’s really there.  A blemish on my chin looks huge and disgusting to me while I’d be willing to be most people don’t even notice it.  Some days my thighs look like giant tree trunks even though I’m wearing a size 2.  It’s all sooooo stupid! 

I’m sure by now everyone has heard of Operation Beautiful, but if not you should check out the website and maybe do a little note writing of your own even if it’s just for you to see.  The goal with Operation Beautiful is to change the way we see ourselves and stop negative self-talk.  We’re all going to have a bad day here and there but it’s so important to be able to like what you see and like who you are.  “WE ARE ALL BEAUTIFUL. You are enough… just the way you are!”  

The Kitchen (aka my favorite room)

It feels like I’ve been spending a lot of time in my kitchen lately- baking, cooking then cleaning up my messes.  Good thing it’s my favorite room in the house 😉  Really, it is.  Not just because I love to cook but also because out of all the rooms in my tiny house it’s the biggest and the brightest.  When the husband and I were house hunting we saw a picture of this one online and one look at the kitchen picture made me want to gag!  It looked like an explosion of brightly colored tiles.  Well, I am so thankful that our realtor took us here to see it in person.  It was love at first sight- so cheery and spacious!  Anyways, I had my fair share of kitchen time today making two batches of granola and a big pot of soup.

I made two versions of my Pumpkin Spice Granola.  One I kept pretty simple with pumpkin puree, spices like cardamom, nutmeg and cinnamon and some chopped cashews but the other one I got a little creative.  In with the pumpkin I added some fresh made almond pecan butter and spiced it up with some ginger.

 For dinner I decided to try a recipe for Chickpea Chicken Soup I recently saw on another blog.  I’m a big fan of smokey flavors and this soup has smoked paprika and a little bacon- yum!

I of course also had to add a few generous dashed of Chipotle Smoked Tabasco too 😉  This turned out really good.  Lots of veggies which I love!  I only used about 15 oz of chickpeas and 32 oz of chicken broth but I bet it would be equally as good if I followed the recipe.  I think next time I’ll try a vegetarian version with half black beans, half chickpeas instead of chicken and sub veggie broth.  Now that I think of it some grilled corn would taste amazing in here too!

I really didn’t need one more thing to clean but I was having a major craving for some fresh juice (and sparkly nails) tonight.

Into the juicer went pineapple, grapes, celery, carrots and a big chunk of ginger.  This hit the spot!  My throat has been a little scratchy and sore today (better not be getting sick!) but this really soothed it and tasted so good!

It seems like everyone I know is getting sick lately and I really don’t want to catch anything!  Maybe my vitamin loaded juice will help fend off any illness 😉 

What steps do you take to stay healthy during cold and flu season?  If you do come down with something, what’s your go-to remedy?

My husband likes to joke that I say yoga cures anything so I’ll leave you with a pose that could help keep colds and flu away.

Yoga Pose of the Day:  Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

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Chest openers like this pose can active the thymus gland which is the primary organ of the immune system.  It’s also a great heart, chest and shoulder opener.

“My own prescription for health is less paperwork and more running barefoot through the grass.”  ~Terri Guillemets

Warm Up

With my December goals in mind I decided to stop being such a baby and take my run outside.  That bright blue sky and sunshine can be deceiving though… it was only 12°F out there!  I guess that’s a great way to trick yourself into running faster (faster= warmer)!  As soon as I walked through the door I was stripping off all those layers to put on some dry, warm clothes and started a pot of tea to warm me up. 

If you’re intimidated by running in low temps check out Teri’s post over at A Foodie Stays Fit for some good winter running tips 🙂

Then it was time to feed my rumbling tummy with some clean eats.

Just what I needed!  Something warm, filling and so delicious:  Cinnamon Sweet Potato Oatcakes! 

Makes 1 serving

1/3 cup oats

1 egg + 1 egg white

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp vanilla

2 Tbsp mashed, cooked sweet potato

Dash of cinnamon and tiny dash of sea salt

Mix it all up.  Let it sit for about 5 minutes then cook in hot skillet over medium heat, flip and cook through.  Top as desired.

Today I added a sprinkle of chia seeds to the batter, cooked them in coconut oil, then topped ’em with a few slices of banana, coconut butter, cinnamon and a yummy pumpkin mixture (pumpkin puree, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, stevia and vanilla). 

Who knew eating clean could taste sooooo good?!

Day 1

Off to a great start for my “December to Remember”!  I started this morning with a quiet yoga practice and a big glass of fresh veggie juice 🙂

This book is full of really great juice and smoothie recipes although I never seem to follow any of them exactly.  Especially with juicing; I usually just toss in whatever I have in my fridge and it always tastes great. 

Bottoms up!

Why stop at just two goals this morning?  How about a baking experiment?!

Chai-Spiced Muffins

1 1/4    cups whole wheat flour

3/4       cup date sugar or natural cane sugar *I use closer to 1/2

1            tsp baking powder

1/2       tsp baking soda

1/2       tsp salt

1/4       tsp nutmeg

1            tsp cinnamon

1/4       tsp cardamom

1            egg or 2 egg whites

1/2       cup applesauce

1/4        cup brewed chai tea, made w/ 2 teabags and cooled to room temp

1/4       cup olive oil

1            tsp vanilla

3/4      cup raisins (this sounds odd, but soak them in the chai tea as it cools before adding)

1.  Preheat oven to 375°F.  Use paper cups or oil 12 muffin cups.

2.  Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cardamom in a large bowl.

3.  Whisk egg, applesauce, tea, oil and vanilla in small bowl.  Add mixture to dry ingredients stirring until just combined.  Fold in raisins.

4.  Divide batter among muffin cups.  Bake at 375°F for 18-20 minutes or untill toothpick comes out clean.

I’ve made this recipe a lot but not since I found out about my food allergies so I had to do some modifying today.  I used half rice flour and half coconut flour (first time ever using it).

And since I’m allergic to apples I used the pulp from my carrots I juiced this morning instead of applesauce.  I also used coconut oil in place of olive oil because it’s so healthy and tastes really good and tossed in a few craisins with the raisins.

While these were baking my whole house was filled with the smell of spices and coconut!  They turned out so good- really moist and full of flavor!

Alright, better get to work and later a super intense workout 😉

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”- C.S. Lewis

A December to Remember

I was thinking about my last post on goals and thought “why not take it a step further?”.  I know I said that keeping goals simple and few makes them more attainable but I also can’t get that quote out of my head about the importance of having a plan along with your goals.  With that in mind I’d like to make this a “December to Remember” by setting and keeping goals that will help me be my best self! 

Here’s the plan:

  1. Set a few goals that I really want to achieve this month
  2. Write down why these are important to me
  3. Come up with a game plan for achieving each of them

Who’s with me? 🙂

Here it goes…

  1. Eat clean.  Why?  Because clean eating gives me lots of energy, boosts my immune system and keeps my skin healthy.   The Plan:  Keep the fridge stocked with loads of fresh produce, make fresh juice and green smoothies a few times a week, eliminate processed foods as much as possible and limit sugar.
  2. Up the intensity on runs and workouts.  Why?  To make my heart healthy and happy, to build endurance and  feel strong.  The Plan:  Do intervals on the treadmill or outside 4 times/ week, add an extra 10 minutes of yoga to my daily practice, do two strength training classes per week.
  3. Start a Gratitude Journal.  Why?  Because I have so much to be thankful for day-to-day and I feel it’s important to be aware of what those things are.  The Plan:  Jot down something I have to be thankful for everyday.  It can be a simple sentence I scribble in my planner or a full page in a journal.
  4. More baking experiments.  Why?  Because I LOVE to bake and feed people and I love a challenge.  The Plan: Try one new recipe a week.  (I have a feeling this will be the most fun!)
  5. Spend more quality time with my husband.  Why?  This should be obvious!  Because I’m totally in love and don’t want to take the time we spend together for granted.  The Plan:  Cut out distractions and be more present when we’re together.  He’s so much more important than getting the dishes done, folding laundry or the phone ringing, not to mention a lot more fun!

I know that tomorrow is already the third of December but I’m gonna call it day one so we can all get a fresh start 🙂  Well, since tomorrow is only an hour and a half away I think I’ll do extra 10 minutes of yoga incorporating lots of time in this pose…

Paschimottanasa_248

Yoga Pose of the Day:  Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Fold)  This pose is great for stretching out tight hamstrings, improves digestion and forward bends also help us look inward at ourselves. 

Who would like to make this a “December to Remember”?  Feel free to share your goals and how you plan to make ’em happen! 

New Month, New Goals

I’m such a list person!  I’ve got “to-do” lists, grocery lists, project lists, recipes to try lists…  It’s sooo not environmentally friendly to have little paper lists posted all over the place, but I’m also a visual person and need to see it in order to remember it (I know; that probably just means I’m getting old).   My latest list was a few goals for the  month:

  • Keep up on the Unstuff My Turkey challenge (more veggies, less junk)
  • Up the intensity on runs and workouts
  • Start a gratitude journal- simply taking time to be thankful everyday, not just the 4th Thursday in Nov
  • More baking experiments 😉
  • More quality time with my wonderful husband

I’m sure there are plenty of other areas that could use a little improvement but we’ll try to keep it simple for now.  I was just reading an article about women, health goals and why we’re often not as successful as men at meeting them.  The reasoning was that women tend to try to overhaul everything at once.  For example:  start a running program, strength train 3 times/week, add more yoga, eat more veggies, limit meals out, quit drinking coffee, add more green tea, floss everyday, start daily meditation, limit wine/ alcohol, try new fitness classes…  Sound familiar to you?  Sounds awfully exhausting to me!  Men on the other hand tend to limit goals, tackling one at a time like, drink less beer.  I know my list has more than one item but I can see how trying to do too much would be overwhelming making you feel like you’re failing if you’re not able to do it all.  I tend to try to do too much at once so this list is actually quite short for me!  I’ll give this small steps approach a try and let ya know how it goes 🙂

This morning I wanted to warm up with a hot bowl of oats!  I added a little Chia Goodness Cranberry Ginger cereal, cinnamon and a banana.  Um, um good!

I’ve posted about this stuff before because it’s so tasty and good for ya.  The ingredients are: chia seed, buckwheat, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, currants, cranberries, org. cane sugar, ginger and sea salt- so simple.  There’s also lots of iron, manganese, protein, fiber and a dose of healthy fats to help it stay with you longer. 

And to keep up with the first thing on my goals list… 

a healthy snack for later 😉

Are you a list person?  What about goals? 

Is there anything you’re working on right now?

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”- Larry Elder