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where have you been?

Hey!  How is the end of your weekend treating ya?  I love Sundays, but I’m not too crazy about Sunday nights because I start feeling not too excited about the week ahead.  Do you ever feel bummed out on Sunday nights at the thought of starting the work week?  Or do you feel excited about the coming days?

Honestly, I don’t have a whole lot of exciting things for you tonight…sorry!  We have just had kind of a lax day.  I did snap a quick shadowy shot of breakfast

This bowl included 1/3 cup oats, 3/4 cup almond milk, 1 tbsp almond butter, a couple of spoonfuls of soy yogurt and homemade granola.  I’ll never tire of this combination – the toppings are where it’s at!  This granola is a homemade recipe that I created.  I’m on a misison to create the best clean granola I’ve ever had, and while this one wasn’t quite it, it was pretty close.  It was definitely tasty enough to sprinkle on for breakfast!  As soon as I hit it, I’ll let you guys know, but until then…onward and upward!!

The rest of the day was spent napping, grading essays, going to visit some friends, working on some projects and watching Amazing Race.  Tonight they were in Singapore, which was so fun because Jon and I were just there about a year ago.  We saw some of the same places we had been – fun!  Here are some pics from our time there

They ate ice cream sandwiches exactly like this on the show tonight

China town

The contestants took an overnight train from Malaysia just like we did, and I swear we saw this same sign on TV when they got off the train.  It was definitely the same station.  Ah, memories:)

Have you been on any international vacations?  What has been your favorite place to visit?  Jon and I are planning an international vacation for this summer, and we are trying to decide where we want to go.  We’ve been to Israel, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore and Japan.  Any suggestions on great destinations?  I’d love to hear about your favorite trip!!

Apologies for the lack of food pics tonight.  Hope you all have a great start to the week tomorrow!!

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off to the market…

Sorry I’ve been MIA all day!  I’ve just had a lot going on…trying to make decisions and work on some things.  Hopefully I’ll be able to share more about them sometime soon. In the meantime, let’s get to the good stuff – food!

Unfortunately, I came out seriously lacking in the veggie department today.  I did start off well, though!  Jon and I slept in, then got up and went for a 3.5 mile run.  Upon arriving back home, Jon made me an awesome green smoothie.  That’s not all, though:)  Check this out:

Green Smoothie: 1 cup almond milk, 1 scoop Amazing Grass, 1 tbsp almond butter, 2 big handfuls of spinach, 1/2 frozen banana and ice

+

2 shots of espresso

=

Cafe Green Smoothie…yahoo!

Jon and I are lucky to have the best barista in the world as one of our good friends.  Ginger owns one of the local coffee shops in town, The Daily Grind.  Jon worked there for about 5 years, thoughout the course of college, and we still love to stop by and visit and get our coffee fix whenever we can.  Ginger was a bit skeptical when I showed up with my smoothie, requesting that she add espresso to it, but she gave it a whirl too and loved it!  It as pretty tasty, if I say so myself:)

After leaving the coffe shop, we decided to hit up the little Farmer’s Market in our town.  I LOVE the Farmer’s Market, but unfortunately I don’t get to go too often.  We had a great time!  Here’s our loot:

Locally made peanut butter dog treats!

Pepperjack goat cheese – I’ve been wanting to try goat cheese for a long time.  As you guys know, I aim to eat 90% vegan.  I feel better when I don’t eat meat or dairy, plus I have a serious problem with the way dairy is produced in our country.  However, I know that Goat’s milk is easier to digest as well as lower in fat than cow’s milk.  If I’m going to eat cheese, I definitely want it to be produced locally.  So, I got really excited when I found this, and I was so excited to try it.

On a Ryvita cracker.  It was quite tasty.  I probably won’t be buying any kind of cheese on a regular basis, but if I ever eat any it would defnitely be goat cheese.  Huge fan!

Fresh salsa made by this friendly man:

Not a great pic, but I love photographing people!  Especially real people in their everday lives:)

Fresh eggs for Jon

Lunch wasn’t quite as fresh unfortunately.  I finished off leftover cheeseless pizza from the other night.  It was pretty tasty, but I was a bit disappointed with the lack of veggies, and I honestly didn’t feel to great afterwards.  o’well.  I’ll get ‘em next time;)

Midafternoon snack was this fruit strip.  These are all natural with no added sugar, and you can pick them up at your local Walmart.  They’re a nice sweet treat to have on hand.

Do you go to a local Farmer’s Market?  Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian or whatever, how do you feel about buying non local food products?  Do you feel strongly about trying to buy local?

We spent the rest of the day working on projects and cleaning the house.  I can’t believe that Saturday is already over…it has seriously flown by.  I’m off to bed, so I can get up for early service in the morning!  We haven’t been to church in several weeks because we’ve been out of town etc., so I’m really looking forward to it.  G’night ya’ll:)

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spring!

Hey guys!  How has your Thursday been?  Mine has been just fine, but quite tiring.  I haven’t been getting as much sleep as I need to lately, and it’s really starting to wear on me.  With a 5am wake up call each morning, it’s hard to do everything I need/want to do post 5 pm and still get a decent amount of sleep.  I’ve been locking in about 6ish hours, which could be worse, but it also could be a lot better.  I’ve got to do something about my schedule b/c it is just not working.  How many hours of sleep do you aim for?  Do you feel that a lack of sleep affects you in all areas throughout your day? I definitely do.

I tell you what, I had the best lunch today!  Last night, Jon had to go to Tulsa for a freelance meeting.  He is going to be creating the branding (logo etc.) for the Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa this year, and he had to meet with the director of the race (I’m so proud and excited!).  Anyway, he called me on his way home at about 9:30 and said that he was stopping in Whole Foods to get me some Amazing Grass and a few other odds and ends.  Do I have an amazing husband or what?!  He ended bringing home 2 Kombuchas, Amazing Grass, and 2 different salads from the bar for me to take for lunches.

This first one is called Couscous Primavera, and I’ll be taking it for lunch tomorrow.  Yay!

Ingredients include:  Israeli couscous, carrots, onion, bell pepper, scallion, zucchini, evoo, lemon juice, dill, parsley, lemon zest and salt/pepper.  I definitely plan to try and recreate this one on my own.  It was delish (I couldn’t help but try a bite when he got home last night)!

The second on is Orange Quinoa with Mint and Almond:  quinoa, bell pepper, green onions, almond slivers, mint, orange, lime juice, sherry vinegar, honey (not vegan, I know!), sea salt, and pepper.  I took this one for lunch today.  It was tasty as well, but overall I think I like the couscous better.

Sorry all I have for you is boring store bought meals tonight, but sometimes you just gotta go with it.  I love getting special dishes from WF…especially because it’s a rarity!

After I got home from work today, Jon and I took Olive on a walk.  I’ve been having a really difficult time getting the energy/motivation to work out after work.  I am a huge morning workout person, so I’ve been feeling very frustrated with my schedule.  When I’m already getting only 5-6 hours of sleep, it’s hard to bring myself to get up earlier to work out.  I just really don’t like working out in the afternoons, though!

Our walk was great, though.  I love spending time outside together and just enjoying the weather.  I didn’t work up much of a sweat, but it was better than sitting on the couch!  Here are some pretty pics of springtime in Oklahoma:)

Are you a morning or afternoon workout person?  If afternoon, how do you get the energy to do it after working all day?  Also, how do you balance getting your workout in with cooking dinner, eating, cleaning up, blogging, keeping up with household stuff, spending time with significant other etc?  Please share your tips and tricks!

See you guys tomorrow.  TGIF!

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emotional eating…or no?

There is a lot going on this week at CSM “headquarters.”  I am entering my most busy time at work.  There is a lot of testing coming up that I need to make sure my kids are prepared for, and a lot of it is essay testing which means I’ll probably have a red pen in hand for much of the next month and a half.

Anyhow, while avoiding lesson planning tonight, I stumbled onto this article in which Courtney Pool talks about emotional eating being tied to what is being eaten.

She states “Fueling our bodies with processed food and animal products only makes for harder work in healing emotional eating. Our bodies as well as our brains get physically addicted to processed sugar, flour, salt and grains, cooked, low quality oils, chemical food additives and colorings, and even naturally occurring substances such as casein in dairy products. We then have to deal with not only our emotional addiction to food, but also our physical addiction.

She goes on to say “When we get to a place where the foods we reach for emotionally are rarely or never processed ones, then we can clearly arrive at the truth of our emotional attachment to food. Perhaps now you still eat emotionally, but you reach for raw, organic nuts or dates, or maybe raw vegan desserts. Emotionally, enough of most any food will satisfy what we’re using it for, so even a great deal of blueberries or a pile of seaweed can do the trick. However, we can often conclude that we are not likely reaching for a pile of blueberries or even a bag of nuts because we are physically addicted. Now that the physical addiction is gone, we can face the issue appropriately, and begin to explore why we eat when we are not hungry.”

With all of the stress that is going on at my job lately, I’ve been having an even harder time with emotional eating.   I often find that as my stress/anxiety  levels begin to rise, my automatic response is to reach for food.  But, not just any food…food that is not clean.  Food that is laden with sugar/salt or is high in carbs.

A little experiment that I conducted recently showed that if the only food available to me during these times is healthy, clean food such as fruit or vegetables, then I literally won’t eat it.  It apparently doesn’t ease the anxiety in my mind and therefore has no appeal whatsoever.  I will, instead, find myself continuing on with the tasks at hand and dealing with the anxiety in the rawest way possible.  Meaning – I sort through the emotions (why am I feeling this way?), combat lies with truth and make a gameplan to deal with whatever is stressing me out.  However, if unhealthy foods are in the least bit accessible, I have a hard time thinking rationally enough to avoid them.

So, I found the above article quite interesting in that I agree with the point that part of the catalyst for emotional eating has to do with a physical addiction.  Yet, I am having trouble reconciling with the idea that we can turn to emotionally eating on healthy/clean foods as a stepping stone to defeating those emotional eating demons for good. That just doesn’t work for me.

Also, I am still exploring the following question: if clean foods don’t suffice in easing my anxiety, what is the root of my problem?  Is it an purely addiction to certain elements (casein, sugar, oil etc) of unclean foods and I just happen to reach for them when I’m feeling overwhelmed/stressed?  Can my  “episodes” even be classified as emotional eating?

When you find yourself reaching for food because of a mental/emotional issue, does clean food do the trick?  Or do you feel you have to go for sugary foods, etc.  What do you think of this idea that forcing ourselves to eat clean food when eating for emotional reasons is a huge step in beating emotional eating altogether?  Also, how might we get to a place where we reach for healthy food when feeling the need to “feed” our emotions?  Do you feel this is possible?

And, finally, because no post is complete without a picture and by request from a couple of CSM readers, here is more beautiful, albeit random, Thailand scenery.

This little bungalow served as Jon and I’s sleeping quarters for a week.

Close up:)

View out the tiny little window.

Our little “guest” that we came home to one night.

G’Night!

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couscous salad and today’s eats

Hey hey everyone!  How’s it going?  As promised yesterday, I have a newbie and an oldie recipe for you!

First up is Couscous Salad

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cup couscous, uncooked
  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1.5- 15 oz. cans black beans, rinsed
  • 1.5 can low sodium corn
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 – 1 chopped avocado
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • handful of cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tsp chili powder

Directions

  • Bring vegetable broth to a boil.  Add couscous. Remove from heat and cover.
  • Chop bell pepper, onion and scallions and set aside
  • Whisk together oil, red wine vinegar, lime juice, and cumin in a large bowl
  • After couscous has sat for 5-10 minutes, fluff well with a fork and transfer sauce in bowl
  • Add black beans, corn, bell pepper, chopped onion, scallions, cilantro, chili powder, salt and pepper and mix well
  • Add chopped avocado just before serving

recipe adapted from here

This salad is great chilled, but can also be served hot.  I made this recipe for my family Easter gathering, and I brought home a couple servings worth of leftovers.  So, if you’re making it for one, you may want to half this recipe.  I love having leftovers on hand, though.  I took a bowl of this for lunch today, and it was filling as a meal too!

You guys have got to try this – I absolutely loved it and so did my fam!

Next up is my version of Averie’s Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Bars

This was actually my second time to make these, but I altered a couple of things from the last batch, and I think they turned out even better!

Ingredients

one ripe banana, mashed
1.5 cup oats
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup natural pb
1 scoop of Jay Robb Brown Rice Protein Powder (or protein powder of your choice)
3 tbsp sliced almonds
2 tbsp whole flaxseed
2 tbsp chia seeds
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions
Mash banana in a large bowl
Combine the rest of the ingredients a few at a time and mix well
Place saran wrap in 8×8 pan (Averie’s idea:)
Press mixture into pan with hands
Cut bars right away – I cut mine into 16 squares
Freeze bars

I think these bars are best served right out of the freezer, but you can eat them any way you like!  As you can tell these are quite calorie dense, but they are so sweet and delicious that one small square is satisfying!  After freezing mine, I took them out of the dish and wrapped them individually.  Instant portion control!  I was so happy because these were a total hit with my family.  Usually they aren’t too keen on my concoctions, but I think they really loved these.  Score!

My eats today were pretty basic.  For some reason I wasn’t that hungry today.  I sipped on my green smoothie throughout the morning, whereas I usually finish it on my drive to work.  I even took the last bit of it to lunch with me.  As mentioned earlier I also had leftover couscous salad for lunch.

I also packed all of this!


Kiwi, carrots and almonds…with a side of plastic;)

Whole soy yogurt and sliced almonds/dried cranberries (my favorite!)

Pretty kiwi:)

So, I actually didn’t end up eating the kiwi or the carrots because I just didn’t need it.  It’s sitting in my fridge at work, waiting to be eaten tomorrow!  I don’t think I’ll be able to resist it tomorrow – I love kiwi!

Dinner tonight was Whichwich.  We just didn’t feel like cooking – we both had a lot to do tonight and wanted to just chill out and skip kitchen duty. So, Whichwich it was!

Tomato and avocado on whole wheat with lettuce, pickles, pepperoncini, mushrooms, bell pepper and onion – my fave!

Well, it’s getting pretty late and I still want to go out for a walk with Jon and Olive.  Our walks are always the highlight of my day!  I think we may have some storms coming in though, so off I go!  See you guys tomorrow!

Btw, I do have some potential developments in the works regarding this post.  I’ll update as soon as I can!  Please keep your fingers crossed for me:)

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