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hap-bee halloween!

Olive says “I hope you had a ‘Hap-bee’ Halloween weekend!!”

Is there some kind of competition for cutest dog costume contest?

Some may think it’s silly to dress up animals for Halloween, but I think it’s just so darn cute.  And besides, with no human children to speak of we must spend our time doing something!

We did have some Halloween fun with humans this weekend as well.  Saturday night we headed over to our friends’ house for a party with our Sunday School class.  We had sort of potluck with lots of delicious food, roasted marshmallows and a pumpkin carving contest!  I was the proud wife of the best carved pumpkin winner. Here’s the husband’s masterpiece:

Not bad for a graphic designer, eh?  :)

Anyway, I signed up to bring a pasta salad to the party.  The main dish was slated to be ribs, and when we arrived our sweet hostess proudly announced that they had grilled 15 pounds of ribs - “so eat up!!”  haha. Lovely:)

I don’t mean to be cynical at all – this is one of the sweetest couples you’d ever meet, but I have to admit that I cringed a bit at the announcement.  Anyway, I usually sign up to bring some kind of side dish or salad when we got to parties, so that I’ll for sure have something substantial to eat that is vegetarian. And for this particular occasion I decided to go with a classic favorite.

Summery Fall Couscous Salad

Even though it’s technically more of a summery dish, I knew it would be a hit.  Plus the recipe makes a huge amount, perfect for parties and potlucks.  Seriously ya’ll, if you get a chance, please make this salad.  Once people get past the “foreigness” of couscous there is no holding them back.  Sometimes I even make it just to have at the house – and the husband eats it like candy:)  If you’re making it just for your family though, you may want to half the recipe.

The stars of this salad:

My sweet friend, Grace, also brought a tasty salad that was meat free, so I enjoyed some of that, a few chips and some bread!

And a s’more of course.

Anyway, it was a great time.  You really can’t beat good food and great friends, ya know?

After the party Saturday night, we stopped by Redbox to rent a movie – The Greatest.  Have you seen it?  If you don’t mind movies that make you bawl for an hour straight, then you should definitely rent it!

Jon loves to rent really sad movies with me and then fall asleep and make me watch them by myself.

Case in point:  When we were in Tokyo a couple of years ago, we got in bed to watch P.S. I Love You.  Um, yeah.  Talk about a tear jerker.  Within 5 minutes the husband was fast asleep, and I was left to be sucked into this horribly sad movie all by myself.  I got revenge, however, when he woke up to me sobbing uncontrollably at 1am, begging him to tell me why he made me watch it all alone.  And that is no exaggeration, my friends.  I was an complete mess.  If you’ve seen it, you know what I mean.

Anyway, so last night was pretty much a replay, but not quite as intense.

Needless to say I woke up after only about 5 hours of sleep, puffy eyed and tired.  I’m sure everyone at church wondered just what kind of party we had Saturday night, haha.  o’well!

Naturally, it is now almost midnight, and I still have some tasks to finish up.  I’m working on something for tomorrow’s post that I’m pretty excited about.  Heather is having a special post this week where she’s linking other bloggers who took on a recipe that is a challenge and is out of their comfort zone.  I love challenges like this!  Stay tuned…

See you guys tomorrow:)  Let’s start strong for another week!

What was the craziest or funniest costume you saw this weekend? While it wasn’t super crazy, on Saturday afternoon at about 4 o’clock I happened to glance out our front window, and there was a Peter Pan and Tinker Bell walking down our street.  I know it was the day before Halloween and all, but there was just something funny about it:) lol.

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dear husband

thank you for…

surprising me with a cupcake today at lunch

humoring me when I always ask you to take pictures of me with my food.  oh, and also for not getting embarrassed when I take pictures of myself with food.

goofing off in the backyard with me during your lunch hour.

and loving me despite all my insecurities and annoying habits.

i have no earthly idea what i would do without you.

love,

candice

Hope you all get to spend time with the person you love the most this weekend.  Happy Halloween:)

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a bit heavy for a morning run

“People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone.”

- Audrey Hepburn

This morning I hit the treadmill just as the Ellen show was coming on.  How convenient…great entertainment for an entire 45 minutes.  My goal was 4 miles, no matter how I got there.  And with a little bit of walking and a lot of jogging, I made it.

Today Ellen featured Michelle Obama on the show, and they talked about a plethora of topics.  But one thing in particular that interested me was what Michelle had to say about the culture of bullying in our country (you can see the video here).

I think it is safe to say that bullying has gotten worse in many ways in America.  Not only are our children experiencing more bullying in schools than ever before, but also in other areas, such as politics.  How many times a day do we see a commercial where one politician is slandering his/her opponent? How many times a day do we hear our President bashed in some way?  For as long as I can remember it has bothered me that people rally behind someone running for office, and then the second that person gets voted in, suddenly they’re being attacked in one way or another.  It seems that many people (not all) have a lack of awareness or sensitivity when it comes to the way they treat other people.

Michelle’s main point was that if we as adults are treating our peers this way, what can we expect from our children?  What kind of example are we really setting for them?  She made a call to action for all of us to start being kinder to one another, recognizing that we don’t all have to agree, but we can still respect each other.  We can respect the fact that we’re all different, and we all have different values and ideals. And just because someone sees things differently than we do, doesn’t mean they’re a bad person or that they have bad intentions.

Honestly, I really appreciated the way she handled this topic, and I agree so much with what she had to say.  I did not vote for Obama in the election, but I think it is so important to still respect him as a person and as our president.  Even if I don’t necessarily agree with his stance on certain issues.

Anyway, this just really got me thinking this morning about how we really can make a difference for ourselves, for those we know, and for future generations if we let go of the judgment and animosity toward people who are different than we are and love each other simply because we’re all human.  We obviously have a long way to go as a culture and as a country, but I really believe that every little thing we can do makes a difference.  Amen?!

Heavy stuff for a morning run.

And then I came home and ate oatmeal:)

Thick n Creamy Pumpkin Oats

Ingredients

  • 1/2 banana, mashed and melted in the microwave
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 water
  • 1/3 almond/soy milk
  • 1/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • a dash of cinnamon
  • dried cranberries

Directions

  • Mash half a banana in a bowl and heat in microwave for 45 seconds – 1 minute
  • Mix together oats, water, soy milk, pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice and microwave for 2 minutes, stirring after one minute
  • Add banana to oat mixture and mix well.
  • Sprinkle with dried cranberries and enjoy!

You could also use maple syrup or molasses to sweeten instead of mashed banana, and it would be really delish I think.  And you could add chopped walnuts for some extra crunch – the possibilities are endless!

And lunch was so simple it’s not even funny.

This times two! Ezekiel bread with a layer of Trader Joe’s flax almond butter and a thin spread of TJ’s pumpkin butter.  I figured out that if I think of the pumpkin butter as more of a jam than a butter I actually really like it.  Score!

Today was a busy day, and although it started off pretty swell, the afternoon was not so dandy:(  It was just one of those days where you just want to crawl into bed and have a good cry. And I may or may not have done so…and then driven straight to Starbucks for a little comfort (aka decaf soy pumpkin spice latte with no whipped cream and half the syrup).  If you follow me on twitter, you may have sensed some tension in my tweets.  But tomorrow is a new day!

And for one of my favorite phrases: onward and upward!

Love you guys!

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway if you haven’t already!

Do you love pumpkin?  What’s your favorite way to use it?!  And decorating counts:)


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a big bowl of mustard

Hi!

I love Wednesday evenings.  Don’t you just love Wednesday evenings?  It’s the first time of the whole week that we’re on the downhill slide to the weekend.

Wednesday night’s also my yoga night.  The 5:30 class that I teach caps off an entire afternoon of tutoring, and honestly tonight I was just so tired all I wanted to do was collapse on the sofa.  But alas, as with most other times I feel that way, yoga is precisely what I need.

This morning I made it to the gym and did a 20 minute run at 6.0 pace and then hit the weights.  I’ve decided I’m going to knock out a short cardio session + weights on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.  Tuesday and Thursday will be just cardio days.  So far I’m liking the schedule…granted today is only Wednesday.

While I’m liking the schedule, I’m not too sure how my muscles feel about it.  So far they won’t stop complaining.  But I know it will get better.  That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it :)

Anyway, this morning was so busy with random tasks that I didn’t have time to eat breakfast.

Didn’t have time to eat breakfast!

This is not normal (for me).  Or acceptable.

And now it’s 10 pm.  I’ve had dinner.  I’ve had froyo.  I’m still wanting to snack on something.

Rest assured, I’m not hungry.  But you know how they (who is “they” anyway?) say that people who don’t eat breakfast, eat more throughout the day?  I’ve never really given that theory a test run, but after today I totally believe it!  I have no doubt that my urge to keep snacking all night long is correlated to my lack of breakfast this morning.  Especially considering I worked out.

Anyway. Onto more important things. I figure I’ve teased you long enough about this out-of-this-world creamy squash soup, eh?

ooooooh, ahhhhhh.

Looks delicious?!

Or looks like mustard in bowl?

I’ll let you decide.

Outrageously Creamy Squash Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sized kabocha squash (Okay, okay, any squash will probably work)
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup vegan sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp all spice
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Directions

  • Cut squash up into wedges and lay on a baking sheet.  Roast at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until a fork pierces it easily.
  • Once squash is tender, allow to cool (or burn yourself if you’re impatient like me) before peeling or cutting skins off.
  • Put squash in a blender or food processor.  Add the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth.
  • Pour into a saucepan or a microwaveable safe bowl and heat through before serving.

I would also highly suggest holding out a few pieces of roasted squash to snack on while the soup is whirring.  Do it! Do it! Do it!

Hope you guys have had a fantastic start to the week.  Onward to Friday!

P.S. Don’t forget to enter my giveaway. I’ll love you forever!

P.S.S. I’ve updated some of my tabs at the top, and I’d love for you to check ‘em out when you get a chance!

P.S.S.S Are you supposed to add more p’s or more s’s in these kinds of situations?

Do you have a workout routine/schedule that you stick to?  Or do you just wing it?

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the secret to workout motivation + a giveaway!

Hey guys!

Remember a couple of months ago when I made this?

How about this?

If you remember, I told you that I’d be hosting a giveaway to give one CSM reader their very own spiralizer.

Well the time has come!

CSN stores has offered to give away a $45 giftcard to one of you guys.  If you’re not familiar with CSN, they have hundreds of online stores in which they carry everything from wardrobes to cookware to chic light fixtures.  You could seriously browse for hours! Not that I would know.

So, while I’d love for you to show the spiralizer some love (’cause I know it would love you right back), I also think it’s great to let you guys choose whatever you want!

So here’s the scoop:

  • For one entry leave a comment on this post telling me if you had to pick one food to eat every meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
  • For one entry put ChiaSeedMe on your blogroll
  • For one entry mention the giveaway in a blog post and link back to this post
  • For one entry follow me on twitter (@chiaseedme)

You can enter as many ways as you want – just make sure to let me know which ones you did (or already do) in the comments!  Good luck!

The contest will close next Monday at midnight (central time).

**Unfortunately, this giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.  Sorry, international friends:(

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -

This morning I put in a quick interval workout just like yesterday’s.  My legs felt like lead!  I wanted to stop so badly after about 15 minutes, but I just kept telling myself “you are strong, confident, and you have the ability to have a kick-butt workout!”

I’m not gonna lie though – it felt so good to stop and walk:)  I’m reminded this week of the key to truly motivate myself as far as workouts.  Wanna know the secret?

Workout!

That’s right.  Workout.

Getting to the gym, feeling those endorphins flow, and beginning to feel and see improvements in your health will give you the motivation and drive to keep going each day.  It will work, I promise.

So, I had big plans to tell you guys about the creamiest squash soup you’ll ever taste, but that will have to be postponed now.  Tonight’s dinner was just too good to keep to myself.

Tofu Broccoli Cashew Asian Stir-fry
adapted from Eat Drink and Be Vegan

Ingredients

For tofu:
1 pkg extra firm tofu, cut into rectangles
2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
3 tbsp red wine vinegar

For sauce:
1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup water
3 tbsp agave nectar (pure maple syrup would also work I think)
2 tbsp fresh orange juice
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
.5 tbsp molasses
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp arrowroot powder

For Stir-fry:
1-2 tbsp olive oil
2 heads of broccoli, chopped
2 pinches of sea salt
2 tbsp water
2 red, orange or yellow bell peppers
.5 cup raw cashews

Is this not the most awesome pepper you’ve ever seen?  My step-dad picked it from his garden and gave it to me (after my sister and I fought over it, that is:).  Thanks, Clark! I didn’t want to say good-bye to it, but alas, I needed a second red bell pepper.

Directions

  • Place tofu rectangles in a shallow dish.  Pour soy sauce and vinegar over the top and make sure each piece is covered.  Allow tofu to marinate for 10-15 minutes
  • In a medium sized bowl, whisk sauce ingredients until arrowroot powder is dissolved
  • In a large skillet or wok,  heat about 1 tbsp of olive oil.  Add tofu and saute until all sides are browned (I like mine crispy on the outside!)
  • Remove tofu from pan and set it aside
  • Add a little bit more oil, 2 tbsp water and broccoli to wok/skillet.  Place a lid over it and allow to cook for about 5 minutes
  • Add bell pepper and continue to saute for another several minutes
  • Add tofu, sauce and cashews and toss to coat
  • Continue to cook on medium heat until sauce has thickened

Serve over brown rice, quinoa, bulgur or any other grain!

This was by far the best stir-fry meal I’ve ever made – it tasted like it came straight from an Asian restaurant.  I think the key ingredient is the arrowroot powder. It makes the sauce thick and syrupy, mmmm.

Wel,, that’s it for tonight!  I’ve got to go look over my yoga class for tomorrow night. I didn’t teach last week because we were in DC, so I’m feeling a little rusty.  A few down dogs and sun salutations, and I’ll be back in business methinks.

And by the way, you may notice some changes around these parts over the next few days.  The husband is working out some kinks and getting a little crazy at times, but I’m trying to keep him reigned in.  You give him an inch…

Also, I added a couple of new pages at the top today and revamped some of my old ones!  If you have a second, check out my new “about” page as well as my “moves” page, which also has some info about PiYo.  Let me know what ya think!

Oh, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway!!  If you’re not in the market for anything for yourself, you could win someone a Christmas present!

What is your key motivator for working out?  Do you have any tricks for staying consistent when the going gets tough? Please share!

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