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nothing sweeter

Happy Friday!

This morning what started out as a bad attitude ended up as an amazing run.  Lately, the husband and I have been trying to do our short runs together before he goes to work in the morning, which works out great because he doesn’t have to do his at lunch, and I can get my workday started extra early.  But this morning, as soon as I opened my eyes I knew it was later than it should be.  We overslept by a good 45 minutes and had to rush just to get ready in time.  I really didn’t feel like driving down to the park to do my run, and I debated between that and just running on the street.  I don’t like to run on the streets by myself out here because there are a lot of loose dogs…but I also really don’t love doing laps where one time around equals less than 1 mile.  But alas I decided to get my butt down to the park and get it done.


I played a little trick by telling myself that I could walk as much as I wanted, but I had to get in the four miles.  Worked like a charm. I ended up not walking at all and finished in record time (for this race training anyway).


I actually started off a bit slow and the first mile was a bit uncomfortable – about 10:30 pace – but I steadily increased my pace throughout and then kicked it into high gear, running the last mile at 8:30.

The whole time I just kept chanting to myself “it’s okay to be uncomfortable!”  One thing I’ve learned about running is that there is a difference between pain and discomfort.  If I’m experiencing pain, I stop.  Because nothing is worth sacrificing my body.  But if I’m just feeling uncomfortable, I take that as a sign to push harder and get through it.  Pushing through discomfort always garners the best results.  Running (at least training for longer distances) isn’t necessarily supposed to easy.  If it was easy, then everyone would do it, right?  If it was easy, then crossing the finish line wouldn’t feel like someone just handed over all you’ve ever wanted wrapped up with a little bow on top.  Hard is worth it.  Uncomfortable is worth it.

I am so excited about this weekend because my BIL and SIL who live in Tulsa are out of town, and they offered to let us (me+husband+Olive) stay at their house.  We miss our furry baby so much it hurts, and nothing could make this weekend better than getting to spend the whole thing with her (and each other). I’m thinking there will be lots of exploring Tulsa, Lost marathons (we’re re-watching all the seasons), naps, photo taking and a long run on Sunday (followed by another nap:).

This past week hasn’t been an easy one.  I’ve been pretty stressed about all the job stuff (read: I don’t have one), and I’ve really been struggling with wishing away time.  I just want to get to June so we can move into our house and feel like we’ve officially transitioned to our new life; this in-between stage doesn’t suit me very well.  I know there is goodness and joy to be found in every stage of life we experience, and I’m trying to step back and focus on all the blessings in my life.  I think the more I try to seek out happiness despite my circumstances, the harder it is to find.  Happiness has to be felt inside, and it stems from contentment and finding joy in the little things – breathing in fresh air, the intense flavor of dark chocolate on the tongue, having the ability to see all the bright colors emerging with the new season. The more I remind myself of how wonderful it is to be able to see, feel, smell and experience every moment of life, the more it becomes ingrained as a natural part of my day.  Moving from the negative to the positive.

And speaking of the positive – this family that I told you about a few months ago is finally getting their sweet little girl this weekend.  I can’t imagine many things that could be sweeter.

Takes a deep breath, wonders at the air rushing out of her lungs and steeps in the peace found in this moment of being alive.

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greens are back!

Hello!

This morning I started the day off with a trip to the gym for a run.  I ended up knocking out 3.6 miles before doing some stretching and push-ups, and then heading home.  For the last couple of months my workouts have been pretty irregular, so I’ve been trying to get back into some sort of routine.  Which is comical because the word routine really doesn’t have a place in my life right now.

Something else I’ve come back to after a 5 day hiatus is green smoothies!

I had to start taking some medication last week, and it completely robbed me of my appetite!  There were certain things I could tolerate to eat, but one food group in particular was OUT.  And that would be vegetables.  A tragedy.

But now they’re back in full swing praise the Lord.

As predicted, this past weekend was so sweet despite the busyness.  On Friday night we met with our house superintendent and our builder to finalize the house plans.  We went through every single area of the house – inside and out – deciding on everything from doorway arches to outlets.  It was a really fun meeting, and we’re hoping to be able to get our foundation poured in the next week.  Fingers crossed!

We had been warned that our superintendent was….a little rough around the edges.  One of those “shoot it to you straight” kind of guys.  And he was.  But I really liked him.  His best line of the night said when the husband asked him what is normal as far as matching exterior colors: “Don’t even ask me about normal.  Nothing about this house is normal, so let’s not even go there.”

The husband and I tend to like sort of a unique style…and I don’t think Doug is used to working with our type.  It’ll be good for him though. hah.

After out meeting we celebrated by eating out some mexican food and then went shopping for some birthday shoes for the husband.  His big 2-8 is coming up this weekend, on moving day nonetheless. Poor husband.

Saturday morning we enjoyed the beautiful weather by going for a drive…taking the long way to our favorite bagel shop.

And after filling up with an everything bagel + Tofutti cream cheese, we set out on a walk to campus.  I really needed the fresh air, sunshine and endorphins, and it felt so good to just get out of the house after all the cold weather as of late. Olive had a banner day, obviously.

less than thrilled to have his picture taken

Later in the morning my mother-in-law came into  town to help us pack, and thank the heavens she did.  She cracked down on us and our procrastination, and we all three packed for about 10 hours total between Saturday and Sunday.  We were so productive and got so much done, but it really made me realize how much we have left to do!  I’m so glad she came because otherwise I’d be in a bad place at this point.

update: I decided for the time being I am growing my hair out, but the resulting poofiness is about to send me running to the salon

Sunday we stayed home from church in lieu of maximizing time packing with MIL, but the husband and I did rise early and go for a 4 mile run. Aside from the 30 mile an hour gusts of wind, the run wasn’t half bad.  You know how you just have on days and off days?  Well, this was an on day for me.  No amount of wind could have kept me from rocking that run.  I love days like that!  By about hour four of packing, my legs were really feeling it, though.

This week will be a bit sparse as far as good food because I currently am finishing packing up my entire kitchen.  Last night I made vegan enchiladas for dinner, and I made enough to have leftovers one night this week. Other than that we’ll probably be eating veggie wraps, Amy’s, or cereal for the rest of our meals.  It’s only for a week though!  I just keep reminding myself of that.

In other news, I still need to share a couple of tasty raw (ish) meals I made last week before the aversion to veggies took over.  I initially found both of these in Crazy Sexy Diet, and they’re so good they’re even husband approved!  Typically I don’t have a hard time keeping it raw until lunch, but when dinner comes this girl needs some cooked (read: hot!) food.  This is an example of a meal I had for dinner a couple of times.

I filled a plate up with a massaged kale avocado salad.

With it I had a smaller portion of quinoa with slightly stir-fried veggies.

For the salad, I tore up a whole bunch of kale into bite sized pieces.  Then I added about 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp lemon juice and 1 small avocado, and I got my hands in there and massaged away.  The dressing turned into a creamy coating over all the leaves that softened the kale, both texture and flavor wise.  The husband commented that it tasted quite similar to a ceasar salad, and I would have to agree!

Next, I very lightly sauteed various veggies (zucchini, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, onions etc) in a wok and then sprayed them with Braggs several times.  Just before it was done, I added the chick peas and stir friend until they were heated through.  Meanwhile, I had a pot of quinoa cooking on the stove, and when it was all done I poured the veggies over the quinoa, plated it, and that was it!

This meal was so easy and delicious!  I had the salad again the next day for lunch, and still had leftovers after that.  So if you’re eating alone, you may want to half the recipe.

I’m getting in some extra tutoring hours with my students this week as they all have some really important events coming up.  Works out for me too because I’ve got some important events coming up that need some money!  Otherwise, the husband and I are just trying to keep our heads above water with work and packing.  It’s a crazy time for sure!

Hope you all had a lovely weekend!

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chia seeds are like weight training

Hello!

Thanks so much for the sweet comments on my Thailand post from yesterday.  Reminiscing about our time there is near to my heart, so I’m super thankful that you guys enjoy hearing about it. I’m sure there will be more to come:)

Today was rainy and dreary here in Oklahoma, which lent a kind of peacefulness and relaxation to the day.  And laziness I suppose:)

I pretty much rocked it out at the gym though, getting in 4.5 miles on the treadmill and lifting arms, chest, back, legs and abs.  I have to admit, I am so thankful that I can spend more time at the gym these days.  Last year it was a major feat to even make it in the front door, and I’m well aware that this is probably a very small window in my life in which I can spend almost as much time there as I want (within reason of course) – I’m really trying to take advantage of it!

As soon as I walked back in the door of my house, I headed straight to my blender.  Minutes later I was guzzling this:

Chocolate milk!

Actually, it was better than chocolate milk.  I blended one and a quarter cups of unsweetened almond milk, 2 tablespoons of Vega Shake and Go Smoothie powder and some ice.  I have become a huge fan of Vega in my green smoothies, but this was the first time I’d had it just in milk.  I’m telling you, this will become a regular occurrence for post-workout fuel.  It has many of the benefits of Amazing Grass, but also boasts 11 grams of complete protein per serving.  Perfect to repair muscles after an intense workout.  As much as I love my Amazing Grass, I think if my wallet forces me to choose, I’d have to go with Vega at this point.  It truly is the only protein powder I’ve ever actually liked.

Anyway, by the time I got back from the gym, showered and dressed, and caught up on some email, the husband was pulling up outside ready for lunch!

I swiftly got to work making hummus, and it was the most troublesome batch of hummus I’ve ever created.  First, my food processor broke.  As soon as I turned it on it started making this really weird noise like a dying engine and then I started to smell something burning.  Oh-kay!

Time to bring in the reinforcements.

Enter…the Magic Bullet.  My biggest problem with the Magic Bullet is that it is too small.  And the lid gets stuck and won’t come off if you leave it processing for too long.  Which of course happened today.  So, I ended up with a big mess and a bad attitude.

But at least I also came out with a veggie pita.

This pita was super basic, layered with a generous helping of homemade hummus, broccoli slaw, pickles and chia seeds.  mmm.

This was kind of a light lunch, so it wasn’t but a few hours later and I was ready for a snack.

soy yogurt, chias, raw oats and unsalted almonds

More chias!  I told you they’d be back in the picture around here.  Chia seeds are kind of like weight training for me.

I don’t realize how much I miss them until I bring them back!  And once I start, I just can’t stop.

I spent a large portion of the afternoon researching vitamins.  I’ve never been a big vitamin person, aside from B12, because I believe that you can get all the nutrients you need out of a healthy diet.  But I know that sometimes I slack on getting in the right amounts of certain foods, so I’m going to start incorporating some vitamins into my day.  For the most part, it can’t hurt…and it just might help in certain areas!  I especially did a lot of research about vitamins and acne.  Yes, I’m still have problems with my skin. Honestly, it is as bad as ever, and I’ve kind of come to a breaking point.

Anyway, I need to do a little more research, but once I settle into which ones I’m taking, I’ll do an update.

Onto dinner.  I’ve known pretty much all week that I was going to make tofu for dinner tonight, but I hadn’t yet decided how I was going to make it.  I set up the tofu to press around 5, then started looking around for a good marinade or sauce.

And I found this.

Indonesian Tofu with Peanut Butter
original recipe found here


Ingredients

  • 1 block of extra firm tofu, pressed and sliced
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp tamari
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp onion powder

Directions

  • Heat large skillet over medium heat
  • place tofu slices in skillet and press down with spatula until brown.  Flip and repeat on other side.
  • Once tofu is cooked through (browned on both sides and chewy on the inside) pour peanut sauce over tofu and continue to cook for several more minutes.
  • Serve over rice or noodles

I served this tofu over a bed of soba (buckwheat) noodles with a side of broccoli.  While it wasn’t the absolute best tofu I’ve ever tasted, it was pretty dang good and I would definitely make it again.  The husband actually raved and raved about it, so if I don’t make it again, he probably will! We did both go back for seconds, too, if that tells you anything:)

After dinner, the husband had the brilliant idea of making chocolate muffins together.  I don’t know where he gets these crazy schemes, but who am I to complain?  We scrounged around for a recipe and came up with one that sounded decent, but required a quick run to the store.  An hour later we were back home, mixing up some chocolatey goodness.

I used to say this to my students all the time last year…but if you haven’t listened to a word I’ve said so far, hear this:  I will be popping in tomorrow to give you the recipe I used for these muffins.  As soon as I do, you will want to drop everything and head for the kitchen.  They really are that good.  Here’s a little sneak peek for you.

He just couldn’t wait one more second:)

I’ll see you guys tomorrow!  Happy (almost) Friday!

Question: Do you take vitamins regularly?  If so, which ones and why do you take them?

*I was given the Vega powder in my HLS swag bag, but have not been compensated in any way for this review.

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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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a special day

Hello!

Today has been a very special day.

This morning when I rolled out of bed, I decided that today would be one of the best days of the year. And it was!  It was!

For starters I booked it to the gym and made a leap towards getting out of my workout rut.  After sadly taking a step back from marathon training, I’ve had a hard time getting back into a groove.  This morning I stopped making excuses and got my be-hind in gear!  Right after popping 3 dried apricots for some energy.

I kicked things off with a 25 minute interval run on the treadmill.  IMO intervals make the time go by so much faster.  Well, that and a killer playlist.  Anyway.  Instead of focusing so much on getting through a 25 minute run, I was able to break it down and focus on getting through each interval. Here it is:

walking warmup
-  2 min. at 6.0
-  1 min. at 6.5
-  1 min. at 7.0
-  1 min. at 7.5
-  2 min. at 6.0
-  1 min. at 6.5
-  1 min. at 7.0
-  1 min. at 7.5
-  1 min. at 6.0
-  1 min. at 6.5
-  1 min. at 7.0
-  1 min. at 6.0
-  1 min. at 6.5
-  1 min. at 7.0
-  1 min. at 6.0
-  1 min. at 6.5
-  1 min. at 7.0
-  1 min. at 7.5
-  walk for 5 min.

Felt so great when it was over.  Exhilarating:)

Next up: the weights.

I’ve been avoiding the iron for months.  But not today.  I started with free weights, working my arms; then moved to machines to work my legs.  And I finished it all off with some serious plank action on the mat.  Serious plank action, I tell ya.  Hardest part of the entire workout.

Once I got home, I refueled with a green smoothie.

1 scoop Vega powder, 1 cup almond milk, 2 handfuls spinach, 1/2 banana, chia seeds and ice

Lunch was leftover vegan spinach enchiladas from last night.  Just as good the second time around.

And then it was off to tutoring!  As you guys know, I adore the students I tutor.  Okay, okay.  Nada sometimes drives me a little batty, but other than that they always bring a smile to my face.   Not only that, but I almost always come away a wiser person.  Here’s what I learned today:

from Hey-Kyoung: Korean people keep two refrigerators.  One for regular food.  And one for kimchi.  An entire fridge for kimchi!  Are you, my fellow nut butter lovers, thinking what I’m thinking? muahahaha.

from Nada: the cookie monster (you know the one – from Sesame Street) no longer eats a lot of cookies apparently.  Have you all heard about this?  Somehow it was decided that he was partially to blame for childhood obesity, so now he eats veggies and says that “cookies are a sometimes food.”  What?!

They never cease to entertain.  My students that is, not Sesame Street.

By the time I got done tutoring it was past 5:30, and I was famished!  I had snacked on a Larabar between meetings, but it was quickly wearing away.  I decided to keep dinner simple and quick.

I chopped up a kabocha squash into thin wedges and then brushed them with coconut oil before putting them in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes.

Next, I drained and rinsed some canned chickpeas, spread them on a cookie sheet and shook cumin, garlic powder and seasoned salt all over them before sticking them in the oven as well for about 15 minutes.

I also cut up one flax protein pita into triangles and baked it for about 10 minutes.

Our oven was full of love tonight! ha.

Everything was going great until I opened our fridge and was attacked by a soy yogurt.

Time to clean out the fridge, folks.

Anyway, dinner came together nicely.  A bit random, but it worked.

spread with a little bit of Earth Balance

I had so much leftover squash tonight that I couldn’t help but come up with a tasty way to use it…well, besides the obvious of slathering it with EB and eating it straight up, but you already knew that.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the creamiest vegan squash soup you’ve ever laid eyes on.

Now that’s special.

G’night!

Did you watch Sesame Street when you were a kid?  What was your favorite childhood TV show?  Mister Rogers? CareBears? My favorite was My Little Pony.  Every day after we took my sister to school, I would run straight to the TV and ask “is it 43 or 34?”  I never could remember which channel, but I had to have my pony fix:)

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