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getting back on track

Amidst the busyness of the last few days, there have been some really sweet highlights.

Yesterday I received a mysterious box in the mail.  I always get so excited when an unexpected package comes, but usually I open it to find junk mail of some sort.  But not this time.  I opened the box, peered inside and saw this:

and this

My mom, step-dad and sister bought me this cute little scarf and mailed it to me as a surprise.  How sweet is that?  It totally brightened my entire day and made me feel so loved and happy. I have the best family:)

Another highlight came today when I finished a project that I’ve been working on.  My friend, JJ, facebooked me about a week ago and asked me if I could make a couple of tag blankets for some friends of hers who are having a baby shower this week.  I made a tag blanket for JJ’s baby right before he was born, and she says he takes it everywhere with him, so she thought it would be a great gift for her friends!

I of course happily obliged, but unfortunately my sewing machine was not quite as willing.  Yesterday took all the patience I could muster as my machine jammed over and over and over.  Finally, after about 4 hours of working, I finished them up!

tag blanket numero one

and numero two

If you’re wondering what a tag blanket is, allow me to explain.  It’s a small, soft blanket for babies that has loops of ribbon coming off of it – it’s great for cuddling, pulling, chewing and just all around good fun:)

Anyway, regardless of my frustration with the sewing machine, you really can’t beat an afternoon of sewing while jamming out to Christmas music and sipping a hot latte on a frigid winter day.  Can I get an amen?

Another thing you can’t beat?

baked apples with cinnamon and a splash of agave

and spinach lavash wraps with hummus, chia seeds and veggies.  with a side of ceramic birds:)

So, I mentioned yesterday that I would be back to talk about getting back in a healthy groove after veering from it for awhile.  The last couple of weeks or so I have just gotten a little lazy with eating clean.  Between the stresses and busyness of the everyday and the extra craziness of the holidays, I’ve been eating a few too many chips and cookies, and not nearly enough veggies.

I definitely have my ups and downs when it comes to living healthy.  I go through phases where it seems I just get on a roll of eating too much junk and not making it to the gym.  And once I start slacking, it can be sooo hard to get back on track.

But no one can be perfect all the time, and the important thing for me is to focus on the fact that I do always get back on track. Instead of beating myself up and regretting what I’ve done, I am so much more successful overall when I just dust off my behind and jump right back in the game.  Dwelling on what I’ve done in the past only serves to drag me farther down, killing any remnants of mojo I have left and leaving me feeling discouraged and sad.

Over the last couple of days, I’ve really stepped it up and gotten back on track with food and exercise.  Tonight I was thinking through a few things I’ve done to help, so I thought I’d share them with you!

  • I re-read a book that has been motivating to me in the past.  This renews my energy and refreshes my perspective of why it’s important to me to make healthy choices.  This time around it was Tosca Reno’s Eat Clean book.  Absolutely love this book – if you haven’t read it, put it on your Christmas list stat!
  • I took a few minutes to write out some goals/reasons why I want to do what it takes to feel great and be healthy. These change from time to time, so it’s really important to me to keep them fresh and current in my mind.
  • I got a partner! Turns out I’m not the only who has been slacking since the holidays started.  Talking to someone else and sharing ideas, struggles and goals together really pumps me up to make some changes.  Plus, I get instant accountability for my choices!
  • I wrote down a mantra and memorized it! Every time I start to fall back into bad habits, whether by skipping the gym multiple days in a row or by eating another handful of chips rather than some raw vegetables, I immediately repeat my mantra in my head.  It focuses me instantly!
  • I perused blogs and jotted down some new fun meal ideas that I can get excited about! Sometimes I just get in a rut and become tired of the same foods I always eat.  There’s no better place than blogs to get new inspiration for workouts and meals.
  • I pretended I felt better even before I did.  Sometimes it really does work to “fake it till you make it.”  Even though I felt sluggish and kind of weighed down, I began to act and think like I felt healthy and alive.  This got me through for a couple of days until I really did start to feel better!

These are just a few of the things I did – nothing groundbreaking, but yet these never fail to help me get back on course when I seem to have strayed far away.

I’d love to hear any ideas you have for getting back on track after being in a rut.  What do you do when this happens to you?!

Hope you’ve all had a great Wednesday!  Onward!

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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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sweet pumpkin chia pudding

Good evening!

This morning I made it to the gym for another day of cardio and strength.  I’m happy to report that since I committed to doing more weight lifting, I have been sticking to the new schedule pretty well!  It’s funny how when I get back in the routine of weights, I can’t figure out why I ever got out of it.

Before I headed out this morning, I popped a few of my new favorite pre-workout snack.

Dried apricots are a great snack for workouts – at least for me.  They don’t weigh me down, I can eat them quickly, and they are relatively high in carbs and low in calories.  I usually eat anywhere from 3-6 right before a medium intensity workout.  Of course if I was going for a longer or more intense workout, I might want to eat something more substantial.  I’ve also been using them to curb my sweet cravings after meals – just a couple of them do the trick!

Monday is my busiest day of the week, and today it turned out to be extraordinarily busy because I got a new tutoring student!  She’s another sweet Korean girl, wife to one of my current students and as cute as pie.  International students make me smile big time:)

You know what else makes me smile big time?  Comments from you! I just want to say thanks so much to all of you who read my ramblings.  While I write this blog because I feel passionate about food and healthy living, and I love writing about and taking pictures of it, it wouldn’t be near the same if you didn’t talk back to me.  You guys rock. Seriously:)

Speaking of readers and comments, I got a comment the other day from reader Sarah who asked if I’ve ever made chia pudding.  “Why no, no I haven’t” I replied.  And then I asked myself – why have I not made chia pudding??

I love chia seeds so much that I named my blog after them and yet I haven’t made one of the coolest and most chia like recipes out there.  Something is wrong with this picture.  In fact, I think chias have taken a bit too long of a hiatus from CSM.  It’s time to bring ‘em back!

And what better way to bring them back than paired with my other favorite obsession as of late.

Pumpkin of course!

Sweet Pumpkin Chia Pudding

Here’s what you’ll need:

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup canned pumpkin (I used 1/4 cup this morning, but will up it to 1/3 next time)
  • 3-4 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup soy milk (any kind of nut milk would work)
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Directions

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients until well mixed.
  • Place bowl in the refrigerator and allow to set for 20+ minutes.  I threw mine together and then let it set while I was at the gym – probably a total of about an hour or a little more.  You could even let them set overnight and have a ready made breakfast.
  • Enjoy!

Super easy, super quick and tasty!  If you appreciate the gel-like texture of moist chia seeds and you like pumpkin – then you will love this pudding! I know there are many variations of chia pudding all over the place, and you can sub in and out ingredients to make whatever variation you want! I have yet to see pumpkin although I’m sure it’s out there somewhere.

I am still loving my fall table arrangement, and as excited as I am to switch it to Christmas, I’m kind of sad to say goodbye.  Not too sad though!  Nothing keeps me from being over the top happy for the Christmas season! Now if only it wasn’t still 80 degrees outside, I’d really be getting into the holiday spirit:) The fact that Walmart has already put up a giant Christmas tree in the front entrance is helping a little bit.

Hope the beginning to your week has been lovely!

Are you saying bring it on to the Christmas season?  Or are you clinging to the last days of fall?

Also, do you eat something before your workout?  If so, what works for you?

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work it. own it.

Wow.

That’s all I have to say about this evening.  I have spent so much time attempting to get my computer/photo problem under control, and tonight was no different.  I’ve definitely made a lot of progress at getting my photos transferred from iPhoto to Flickr, but I still have a long way to go!  Come on little Macbook – you can do it!

As predicted, Jon and I headed to the gym this morning for our 3 mile run, and it was the best run I’ve had in awhile.  To be perfectly honest, it was the first run in awhile during which I didn’t walk.  Even though I’m a big proponent of walk breaks, I have to say it felt fabulous to kick it into gear this morning!  I owned that run:)

In fact, I feel so good today that I think I’ve gained a renewed motivation to kick butt on my runs from now on…even when they get really uncomfortable…and even outside.  Once you taste the feeling of success, you don’t want to let it slip away!

Anyway, once I got home and showered I was having a serious craving for some greek yogurt.  I have no idea where it came from, but it came upon me suddenly and with such force that I actually drove all the way to Walmart and bought some just for breakfast.  Absolutely nothing else would do.  I also decided that I couldn’t live without these beautiful raspberries while I was there, so I brought them home with me too.

greek yogurt over a toasted Van’s flax waffle with raspberries and sprinkle of chia seeds

This meal was so pretty and fun that I had to break out our nice flatware.  It actually might be only the second time I’ve ever used this flatware.  whoa.

Lunch and dinner were easy – Pita Pit and leftovers.  That’s the way it’s gotta be sometimes, ya know?

Tonight was the last yoga class I’ll go to and not be the instructor!  Kind of a crazy feeling.  I am loving teaching PiYo so far, and I’m super stoked to start yoga as well.  It’s such a fun challenge to come up with new classes each week, and I am so excited to build on each one and see everyone improve throughout the rest of the year.

Yoga is just cool that way:)

Well, guys, I gotta cut this short and get to bed.  Dealing with technology all day has completely zapped me of all energy.  Hopefully tomorrow will be a less frustrating day as far as that goes!

Yay for Thursday!

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giveaway time! spreading the chia love <3

Jon and I woke up bright and early this morning and headed out for a three mile run.  It actually wasn’t too terribly humid and hot, and therefore was almost enjoyable.  I said almost ;)

Soon after we got back, I was starving for breakfast and was wasting time on twitter while trying to decide what to have when Evan tweeted an idea for the Vega Shake and Go Smoothie mix from the HLS swag bag.  It sounded too good to pass up, so I went for it!

It may not look too appetizing, but don’t knock it ’till you try it.

First, I mashed a whole banana until it was fairly smooth. I then mixed in two heaping spoonfuls of Vega powder, 1/3 cup of raw oats and a splash of almond milk.  It turned out like a thick chocolate pudding!  My only complaint is that it was a tiny bit grainy from the powder.  Next time I think I’ll go a little easier on the powder, but otherwise it was awesome!  And full of protein!

The Vega mix is completely plant based and is corn, dairy, gluten, soy, wheat and yeast free. Per serving it has:

  • Two servings of veggies
  • 2500 mg Omega-3-6-9
  • 11 g complete protein
  • Only 100 calories
  • 1 billion probiotics cultures

Pretty cool, right? I have yet to find a protein powder that I like, but I’m a fan of this.

This morning I had my first meeting with a new student that I’m going to be tutoring!  She’s from Korea, and I’ll be tutoring her 3 days a week now.  I’m pretty excited about it – something inside me just lights up when I work with international students. :)

After my meeting I had lunch with my friend Grace at Panera.  I ordered a version of my favorite – Mediterranean Veggie sandwich, Garden Vegetable soup and a whole grain baguette.

And an Adora disc for dessert.  Not sure what I’m gonna do when these run out – I’ve gotten kind of attached:)

Okay, now onto the good stuff.  Sorry to leave you hangin’.

How about some chia seeds from ChiaSeedsDirect.com to make it up to you?

I don’t like to bombard you guys with giveaways, but I honestly just cannot pass up an opportunity to spread the chia love:)

The lovely folks at ChiaSeedsDirect have been gracious enough to offer a free 2lb. bag of chia seeds to one fabulous ChiaSeedMe reader.

There are five different ways you can enter (1 entry for each one you do):

  • leave a comment on this post telling me the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done OR something adventurous you want to do in the future
  • add ChiaSeedMe to your blogroll and tell me you did or if it already is tell me that
  • follow me on twitter (@chiaseedme) and tweet about the giveaway using the following:    @chiaseedme enter to win free chia seeds!!  http://chiaseedme.com/?p=2235
  • decide on one random act of kindness you will do sometime this week and tell me what it is (and you have to do it – honors system!)
  • mention the giveaway in a blog post and link to it in the comments

Please make sure and tell me which of the five you did in the comments.

The giveaway will run until Sunday, August 29th at midnight.

If you’ve never used chia seeds before and need some ideas – click here for tons of ways that I love to use them.  Also, make sure and check out my post on why chia seeds are so awesome.

If you haven’t checked out ChiaSeedsDirect yet, you should!  They are an awesome company that offers the highest quality chia seeds at very low prices with free shipping on all U.S. orders.  You can’t beat that!  Also, if you are interested, feel free to download a free 16-page booklet on chia seeds, chia seed uses and chia seed recipes by using the following link: http://www.chiaseedsdirect.com/frreonchsehe.html.

**giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian residents only.  Sorry!

See you all later!

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