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bring on the carbs

Happy 2nd day of fall! I can’t believe I forgot to tell everyone Happy 1st day of fall yesterday because I am so darn excited.  Last night I heard our weatherman say “a fall cool front will be moving in this week,” and I about jumped out of my skin.  It sounds like I’m being really dramatic, but I really am that excited.  I am in love with fall:)

Jon and I literally drug ourselves out of bed (it was one of those kind of mornings) and went for a four mile run this morning.  I was feeling really strong until we hit our first hill, and then everything went downhill fast, literally and figuratively.  I think I was dehydrated – it wasn’t even that hot out and there was a nice breeze, but my neck and face felt like they were on fire and my body felt like lead.  Very pleasant indeed.  We took a couple of short walk brakes and came in just under 42 minutes.  I was feelin’ pretty blah, but still so happy that we finished.  Our half marathon training is finally looking up a little bit at least, considering we’ve actually stayed committed to our training this week.

Today has been a very “work from home” kind of day, meaning I didn’t leave the house all morning.  When the husband called around 11 to say he had to work through lunch I knew I had to get out of the house.   Obviously I had no choice but to drive straight to the little bakery we ate at yesterday.

Instead of ordering the same sandwich, though, I just bought an entire loaf of that same bread, haha.  I wasn’t kidding when I said how good it was.  By the time I was driving across town to get it, I was already starving and developing a serious headache.  So, naturally as soon as I got back in the car, I inhaled two pieces.  It was so good.  Let me say that again – it was so good!!!

Then I came home and recreated that beautiful sandwich, just with different veggies and hummus instead of pesto.

arugula, sprouts, pickles, hummus

with a red pear on the side

I have been wanting to try arugula for months now, but I never can find it!  After I picked up my bread, I dropped by the grocery store to get some bananas and happened upon some organic arugula.  score!  Is it strange to be so excited over a leafy green?

Anyway, I’ve been so excited about my sandwich that I breezed right by breakfast.

I was out of spinach and bananas this mornings, so I had to fore-go my green monster.  I opted instead for shredded wheat n bran, a sprinkle of Kashi Go Lean Crunch, frozen blueberries and soy milk.  It was a nice change:)  I was actually craving cereal last night before I went to bed, so this really kind of hit the spot this morning.

Anyway, I must run.  I do just want to say a quick thank you to all my sweet readers for reading my blog- you all are one of the main reasons I keep writing everyday.

And that’s a wrap:)  I hope you all have a lovely day – enjoy the cooler weather if you’ve got it and enjoy the last days of summer if not!

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the two best things

Today I had the two best things ever for lunch.

A sandwich on the most perfect bread I’ve ever tasted in my entire life. Plus pesto and veggies.

And my favorite person in the entire world.  how cute is he?

Afterward I spent my entire afternoon talking grammar with my tutoring students and then wrapped it all up by teaching my yoga class tonight.  Life sure is hard sometimes, but today really couldn’t have been any better:)

How was your day?  What was your favorite part?

P.S. Last chance if you’d be up for voting for my entry in Project Food Blog.  Voting ends tomorrow!!  Go here check out my entry and vote:)

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fireworks in September

Last night I met up with my friend Grace to go watch our city’s fireworks show.  It was an absolutely beautiful night, almost cool enough for a jacket, and we had a fantastic time.

Surprisingly the fireworks show was one of the best shows I think I’ve seen in a while.  They timed it with half time of the high school football game, so it was somewhat short, but what it lacked in length it totally made up in awesomeness:)

Jon left early this morning to go back to work, so I spent most of the day getting the house cleaned up and working on my yoga class.  Only four more days until I teach my first official yoga class…I’m a little nervous, but so excited!

Right when I got up this morning, I drank a small green monster to tide me over until I decided what to do for the morning.  I sort of wanted to go for a run, but yoga was really calling my name, so I opted out of the run.

A little while later I was starving, but not quite ready for lunch, so I had a little snack.

homemade hummus and Kashi TLC crackers

A couple of hours and a sparkling clean bathroom later I decided to cook up some lunch!  This is one of my favorite go-to meals when Jon isn’t home.  It’s healthy, easy and he doesn’t like sweet potatoes…so it works out perfectly:)

I mixed 2 tsp of olive oil with a few shakes of garlic powder, ground red pepper and oregano.  After slicing the sweet potato and snapping the asparagus, I tossed everything in a gallon ziplock bag together, shaking it until I couldn’t shake anymore.  I then dumped the sweet potatoes out on a cookie sheet and placed them in the oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

Ready, set, speed clean the bathroom!

When the buzzer went off, I flipped the potato rounds and added the asparagus to the cookie sheet before throwing it all back in the oven for another 15 minutes.

Last time I made this I cooked the asparagus too long – but this time they were just perfect!  They still had a little bit of crunch to them, but were still just the right amount of soft:)

I promised myself that if I got everything cleaned and worked on yoga, that I’d sit back, relax and do something purely for fun later tonight.  I think I’m gonna grab some dinner and maybe read a book or magazine for awhile until Jon gets home.

Yay for a three day weekend!  Hope yours is going swell:)

Love and chia seeds:) Candice

Edited to add: haha!  When I went back to re-read this post, I realized I never explained why our city was shooting off fireworks in September..lol.  It rained cats and dogs on the 4th of July this year, so they had to cancel the show. It was rescheduled for last night.

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how to make an epic salad

Thanks for all the sweet and encouraging comments on yesterday’s posts.  Every single comment on this blog truly means so much to me!

Today has been pretty uneventful really…I’ve spent the morning working away on the blog and Outbox stuff, breaking just long enough for breakfast and lunch.   I do, however, have a new “eats” page at the top to show for it – so go check it out if you get the chance!

Jon and I did go out for a run this morning, which unfortunately turned into a half run half walk.  We intended to crank out 3 quick miles, but the return of the heat and humidity plus Jon running late for work got the best of us.  I think we may start hitting up the treadmill for our short runs until this heat lets up a little bit.  I am not a big fan of the treadmill, but I’m even less of a fan of sweltering heat.

Breakfast this morning was one of my all-time favorites

Cinnamon raisin Ezekiel muffin with 1 tbsp of natural peanut butter and half a sliced banana

And lunch was one of my favorites from last year.  When I was a teacher, I would make my lunch before I went to bed every night.  A version of this salad was one of quickest, easiest, healthiest and most popular meals I ever took!  Popular because several of my coworkers would always ooh and ahh over it’s color and beauty.  Now that I am at home for many lunches, I don’t make it as much, seeing as how I don’t have to worry about being on-the-go…but today it was resurrected!

So, in honor of our last few weeks of summer, here is a quick little tutorial on how to create an awesome salad.  Salads don’t have to be just lettuce. I’ll be the first one to say “I don’t like salads” if we’re talkin’ lettuce and a few tomatoes thrown on top. I know some people really dig that, but for me – they’ve got to be loaded with different flavors, textures and colors to be enjoyable and to keep me going throughout the afternoon.  So, here we go.

Pick your base

  • spinach
  • spring mix
  • romaine
  • kale

*Next, chop your greens and put them in a large bowl. This salad could get big, so leave plenty of room:)  I always chop mine up because I want every bite of salad to have a bit of everything.  Plus, I try to avoid shoving giant lettuce leaves in my mouth in front of my lunch buddies (which granted, now mainly include Olive).

Choose and chop your veggies. I like my salads to be bulky.  Lettuce really ends up being a smallish part of the overall masterpiece.  But you definitely want to create volume by tossing in lots of different veggies.  I usually use anywhere between 3 and 5 of the options below.

  • squash
  • zucchini
  • mushrooms
  • artichoke hearts (a must in my opinion!)
  • onions
  • celery
  • carrots
  • bell pepper
  • broccoli
  • snow peas
  • sprouts
  • corn
  • cold peas
  • asparagus
  • beets, shredded
  • green onions
  • tomatoes

Choose your protein. Every good salad has to have protein.  I’m going to stick to vegetarian suggestions.  For beans, I usually add in about 1/3 – 1/2 of a cup.  Sometimes I’ll go with 2 different types of beans and add 1/4 cup of each.

  • beans (kidney, black, chick peas, navy etc)
  • chopped egg
  • nuts (sliced almonds, walnuts etc)
  • tempeh
  • tofu

Choose your healthy fat.

  • avocado
  • nuts/seeds
  • olive oil

Choose your dressing.  Now we all know that a bad dressing can ruin the most healthy and delicious salad.  The great thing is that with all the flavorful elements you’re adding to this salad, you don’t need much of a dressing!  Here are a few of my personal favorites – just to add a bit of moisture.

  • balsamic vinegar, straight up.  I poor on about 1-2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar and call it a day.  It adds the perfect amount of flavor, in my opinion.
  • olive oil
  • lime or lemon juice
  • salsa
  • hummus

And now for what I consider to be the best and final add ins. These are things that really add a huge punch of flavor or texture.

  • dried fruit without added sugar (cranberries are my favorite)
  • chia seeds
  • fresh fruit (apples, mandarin oranges, strawberries, blueberries, pears, grapes)
  • seasonings – sometimes just a sprinkle of ground red pepper or oregano can add the perfect touch

Now that all of your ingredients are in a huge bowl, it’s time to mix it up!

This is one of the most important steps because if you just add everything onto a plate, layer by layer, then you won’t get a little bit of every ingredient in most bites.  And we definitely cannot deal with that.  So mix it up really, really well!

Lastly, dump it all out either onto a plate or in a to-go container. Now off you go with a super healthy, filling and tasty lunch that will make you the envy of everyone you know! ha.


Note: obviously some of these suggested ingredients can serve for more than one category.  For instance, olive oil could serve as your healthy fat and your dressing.  Or chia seeds could serve as a fun, crunchy add on or as a source of healthy fat or protein.  You get the picture.

If you’re someone who is always in a hurry when making lunch like I was was, I suggest using some time on the weekend to pre-chop your veggies that need it (rocket science, right?).  Then reserve a small space on one shelf of your fridge for “salad fixins.”  That way, when you get ready to create your salad, everything is ready to go – you can just snatch it out of the fridge, toss in a little of this and a little of that, throw a lid on it and go!

Along with creating this salad for lunch today, I also made a new and improved batch of hummus.

Spicy Garlic Hummus

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp vinegar
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp water
  • 1/4 tsp ground red pepper

Directions

  • toss everything into a food processor minus 1 tsp minced garlic and process until smooth
  • transfer hummus to a small bowl and add remaining tsp of garlic to the very center
  • garnish with a sprinkle of ground red pepper

Well, I’m off to have a (hopefully) productive afternoon!  See you all later;)

What is your favorite salad topping?

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gonna be a long night

Breathe Candice.  Breathe.

It’s 10:30 pm on Wednesday night.  I’ll be leaving tomorrow at about 6pm for HLS.  Allow me to show you my to do list.

1.  edit a 20 page dissertation for a client
2. write 3 brochures for Outbox
3. make a casserole for Jon to eat this weekend
4. buy snacks!
5. start AND finish my photography homework
6. write a letter to my old principal
8. announce the Operation Beautiful book winner!
7. pack

Right.  So, I’m gonna keep this short!

I spent most of today shopping for last minute things for HLS.  At about 1pm I was starving, so I broke for Subway.

veggie delight w/ lettuce, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, pickles, banana peppers, olive oil, s&p, oregano

This is my favorite at Subway.  And one of the best things about it is that it cost under $4!  Granted I kinda wanted another one as soon as I finished it.  Next time I’ll have to remember and get a 12 inch if I’m starving (“starving” being used very loosely of course).

After several more hours of running errands, I was famished again! What’s a girl to do?

Froyo of course!  This particular shop didn’t have non-dairy, so I settled for the original tart topped with blueberries, strawberries, peaches and cocoa almonds.  I loved the addition of the peaches!  I practically inhaled this.

I also snacked on a few blue corn tortilla chips later on.

I finally got back home from the city around 4:45 and was able to sneak in a quick 20 minute power nap before heading to yoga.  I usually am no good at short power naps, but this one kind of did the trick!  Actually, I could really use another one about right now…

After yoga Jon and I were both spent, so we did whatever any self respecting hungry couple would do – heated up leftover enchiladas.  Somebody’s gotta eat ‘em, and I’m about to head out of town!  I wouldn’t want the husband to have to eat them all by himself:)

Okay, hate to cut this short, but I gotta get crackin’!

Hope you all sleep well, and I’ll see ya in the morning!

*today’s photos courtesy of the iPhone. wahoo!

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