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back to business

Today was a pretty good day, especially considering I only got 6 hours of sleep last night.  I am starting to really feel it now, though, so I’m gonna keep this short and sweet.

Today was my first day back on my challenge full swing.  You can check out the challenge, as well as my update for today on my “20 day challenge” page.

Lunch today was easy, as I had made up a huge amount of soup yesterday.  I am probably going to get really sick of soup by the end of the week.  I really enjoyed it today, though!

I added all of the following into a giant pot and let it heat through until the veggies started getting soft.

chopped squash
onion
diced tomatoes
brussel sprouts
corn
zucchini
black beans
chick peas
vegetable broth
chili powder
garlic powder
ground red pepper

After it cooked for awhile, I added about 1/3 of the mixture to my food processor and puree’d it for about 2 minutes.  I also added a bit of water to the mixture.  I then dumped it back into the pot, and continue letting it all cook for about 30 minutes.

It was fantastic!  I really love this soup, and it’s a good thing because it made A LOT!

Next up is tonight’s dinner.  When I got home from work I opted out of going to the gym and instead decided to give Jillian’s Micheal’s 30 day shred video a go.  I hadn’t done it in forever, and let me tell you, it was brutal!  I had almost forgotten how tough her 20 minute workouts can be.  If you haven’t ever tried her videos, you should definitely check them out.  They’re a great workout if you want serious intensity, but don’t have a lot of time.  I digress.

By the time I finished working out and took a shower, I was famished and I really couldn’t feel my arms or legs. haha.  So, I decided on something super quick and easy.  Enter black bean burgers.

Black bean burger on an ezekiel bun with a bit of leftover homemade guac, hummus, alfalfa sprouts, pickles and tomato.  With a side of steamed brussel sprouts – my fave!  This meal was awesome!! Especially considering it took all of about 6 minutes to make.  Win win!

Well, that’s all for today.  I’m off to bed to try to make up for last night.  Making up sleep never really works for me unfortunately, but I can always try!

Hope your week is off to a great start!

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a “re-epiphany”

First things first, people.  As I mentioned yesterday, I made Averie’s Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Bars.  They are TO DIE FOR.  So good!  They are gooey and soft, and for me the bitterness of the carob is the perfect compliment to the sweetness of the dried cranberries.  All of the flavors mix together in just the right way.  Her recipe is pretty flexible, so lemme tell you what I put in them.

- one ripe banana
- 1.5 cup oats
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup carob chips
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/2 cup natural pb

- 1 scoop of the only protein powder (soy) I had on hand
- 3 tbsp sliced almonds
- 2 tbsp milled flaxseed – Walmart didn’t have whole flaxseeds.  I think whole would do much better.
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- 1.5 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract

I mixed it up just like Averie suggested.  If you notice, I omitted the coconut, which may have made my bars more gooey – not that that’s a bad thing!  I certainly have not skipped a beat in slicing off a piece each night;)  Definitely try these out if you’re looking for a healthy, vegan sweet treat!

Today I had an epiphany.  Funny thing is, this isn’t the first time I’ve had this epiphany.  I’ve realized, though, that sometimes in my life I have to learn things over and over.  Bad habits tend to come back randomly, and I have to relearn my new, good habits.  Here’s the story:

Usually when I come home from work, I run in the house, change clothes as fast as possible and race to the gym.  I like to get my workout in and get back home before Jon’s been home from work for too long.  Today, as I was driving home I was realizing that my body…and mind, for that matter…were just not feeling a workout.  Now, for me there is a difference between just not wanting to get on the treadmill or weights and me really needing a rest day.  I could feel it in my bones muscles, and I knew that I needed to take a day off.  Plus, I was completely mentally drained.  This week has just been extra busy and strenuous, and I haven’t given myself a chance to recoup.  So, I was going back and forth in my mind between two things: burn calories and get a good cardio workout in OR give myself a mental and physical break.

I started feeling guilty at the thought of not going to the gym.  I was telling myself that I needed to go to the gym no matter what because I needed to burn those calories.  Then Jon called.  He was headed home early from work and would be home any second.  Talk about making a hard situation harder for me.  Now I wanted to stay home to be with him, really wanted to rest, but the guilt was warring inside my head.  I haven’t done this to myself in a long time.  I honestly thought I was past the point of feeling guilty over working out and focusing way more on calorie burning than mental, emotional and relational (when I’m feeling guilty it affects my entire attitude, even toward Jon) health.

So, to make an already long story a little shorter, Jon coaxed me into staying home and resting, but not without a lot of whining and “bad mood” from me.  Because of him, I went to lie down for a bit.  I started thinking about the whole situation with a little more clarity.

Our physical health is not more important than our mental or emotional health.  Sometimes I make the mistake of putting more emphasis on my physical health because it’s outwardly evident.  If I gain five pounds, other people will notice and my jeans won’t fit quite as well, however, if I completely exhaust myself, other people don’t have to know.  It’s a lot easier to ignore.  So, I decided I’m making a commitment to start focusing equally on each area of my life.  I’m always striving to find that balance, and while I did have a setback today, I also took several steps toward becoming more balanced.

Do you ever have trouble finding balance between everything that is important in your life?  Do you often feel that you don’t have time to take care of every part of your life?  How do you try to maintain balance?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Well, it’s about time for me to skidaddle (sp?:) to bed.  Jon is trying to coerce me into staying up late with him, but I’m not sure how long I’m going to make it!  See you tomorrow for a review of the homemade vegan black bean burgers we made tonight.  Good night!

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chili and chias

Hey hey everyone!  How are ya?  I’m just sitting here helping watching the husband put together our new bed!  Yea! Despite the shock and sadness of the events in Haiti, it’s been a pretty good day.  I just feel very heavy hearted over what those people are going through.  Other than that, work has been a little more stressful than I’d like it to be the last few days, but I certainly can’t complain.

After work today, I went to the gym and did some serious cardio.  I’ve been lifting weights a lot more over the last couple of weeks, and I while I’m really enjoying it, I’ve been missing my cardio.  So, I did a thirty minute interval workout which included speeding walking at 10% incline for 10 minutes, running at 6.0 and then upping it off and on to 6.5 to get my heart rate up a little higher.  Honestly, it was kind of painful, though.  I drank a ton of water on my long commute home, and I’m pretty sure that had something to do with it.

After I got home, I was just so worn out.  Jon insisted on cooking dinner (for the second night in a row) for me, while I took a nice, long bath.  I hated for him to do it again, but I couldn’t resist agreeing.  So, I dictated to him the din idea for vegan “chili” I’d been cooking (no pun intended) up on my drive home, and he delivered!

Sorry for the crappy photo.  Jon usually brings home his camera from work, but he didn’t today, so I just snapped this with my iPhone.

This is choppped bell peppers, onions, zucchini, carrots, petite diced tomatoes, corn (with no added salt of sugar), chickpeas, black beans and spinach tossed in at the very end.  I also added about a cup and a half of water, a splash of almond milk, some cumin and some chili powder once I took over.  The almond milk just makes it a bit creamier, I think.  This was a very tasty meal.  I really enjoyed it with a pita and some crack roasted garlic hummus on the side.  It warmed me up and filled me full of veggies – can’t beat that!  I did also sneak in one tiny bit of a chocolate brownie Cliff bar right after dinner.  One little piece totally cured my sweet craving.  I often find that if I’m really craving a sweet treat, one bite or two will do it…if I’m in the right frame of mind:)  I’m getting better at that everyday.

Well, I’m urgently needed for bed assembly, so I gotta jet.  I’m not sure how much longer it’s going to take to put it together, so maybe some pictures to come tomorrow?  I’m also going to stop by Angela’s and Averie’s blogs to enter the chia seed giveaway!  Hope you all have a great night – happy Friday (almost)!

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