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ice cream and oats – a perfect combination

Happy Friday, friends!

This week has flown by so fast…and leaves us with only two weeks until we move.  Two!!  And I’m probably about one one-hundreth of the way through packing.  I’m in trouble.

So, I realize I’ve been writing some heavy posts lately, and while I usually like to keep things light on a Friday, I’m going to shamelessly bombard you with more deep thoughts.  Because that’s how I roll these days, folks.

I think all this uprooting and moving business has gotten me all worked up over what I’m doing with my life.  I’ve caught myself trying to plan so many years into the future I might as well have my grand-children’s names picked out (exaggeration).  I feel like I have all these ideas, aspirations and concerns that in turn leave me with endless confusing decisions; every outcome affects other decisions and those outcomes affect more…and so on.  You see what I mean?

So the other day as I was pondering what my next steps should be, I had an epiphany.  Are you ready for this?

I do not have to plan out my future or know exactly where I want to be in x number of years.

I do not have to know how my next job will affect my future children or how it will look on my resume in 20 years.

I do not.  I do not.  I do not.


While I know it’s good/responsible to plan for the future as much as is reasonable, I also know that there are things that will happen in my future that are unplanned or that I have no control over. If you had told me when I was a freshman in college that four years later I’d be living in Thailand, I would have called you crazy and laughed in your face.  And I certainly did not plan that the husband and I would be moving out of Stillwater right now.  As I’ve said many times before, God’s plans for me don’t necessarily match up with the plans I have for myself.  And when it comes down to it, that’s what makes life so fun and interesting.  Embracing the unknown and being willing to change directions at the drop of a hat if that’s where my heart is leading me.

We must focus on making the best decision we can in the present moment…with the information we have.  And then make the most of it.  Each turn we take in life is a stepping stone to the next place.  And I truly believe that as long as we’re willing to take risks and step out into the unknown, we will achieve our goals…they may not pan out exactly how we imagined them, but they’ll be even better because they’re real.  And because we made difficult choices each day based on our own intuition, desires and guidance found through prayer.  What can be better than that?

So, here’s to not putting pressure on ourselves to have everything figured out.  Here’s to embracing the unknown and living in the present moment!

Thoughts?  I’d love to hear your input on this topic.

Aside from spending waaay too much time thinking (if you’re like me it’s very difficult to shut down your mind - hello savasana), I’ve also been dying over this amazing breakfast the last two mornings.

I think the idea of overnight oats mixed with banana soft serve was originally Angela’s, but I could be wrong.

First, mix together 1/3 cup of raw oats and 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with just under a cup of water.  Set it aside in the fridge for overnight (preferably) or at least a half hour.

After it has set, place one frozen banana (cut into half at least, if not slices) in your food processor or blender and blend until it achieves a creamy, soft serve like consistency.  You may have to stop it a couple times and scrape down the sides.  After it is about half way done blending, add one tablespoon of natural peanut butter and blend until smooth.

Now pour your creamy, cold peanut butter banana soft serve over the (still cold) oats, admire it for several seconds and then mix it all up!

The absolute best part of this breakfast, in my humble opinion, is how the textures work together.  The creamy cold oats weave together with the frozen banana “ice cream” so with each bite you get a combination of smooth oats with a little bit of icy cold peanut buttery goodness.

Now, let’s just say (hypothetically of course) that when you reached into the fridge to pull out your oats, an entire container of salsa fell out and busted on the floor, throwing bits of tomato all over the floors and walls.  Well, in that case you might just need a little added craziness in the form of chocolaty indulgence.  Go ahead and add crumbles from the leftover chocolate brownies that are wrapped in foil on the counter.  There, that’s even better.

Now be prepared because your husband or your roommate might look at you like you’ve lost your mind, mixing cold oatmeal with blended frozen bananas…but it will all be worth it.  In fact, my sweet husband commented that he “couldn’t think of any worse combination.”  Now honey, that simply can’t be true.  Let’s not be crazy.

This morning I taught an earlyish PiYo class and then tutored Hye kyoung.  I’ll be spending the rest of the day trying to make our house appear as though humans live her and not animals…and desperately trying to avoid laying down for a nap.  I was up late last night busy having epiphany’s about planning out my future…and my eyes are paying the consequences.  So tired.  All the more reason to celebrate the fact that it’s Friday!

Any big plans for the weekend ya’ll?  Will you be celebrating Valentine’s Day or just laying low?
The husband has some plan up his sleeve for Sunday…but he won’t tell me what it is.

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thankful

Only one day left until Thanksgiving – I can hardly believe it! I am so looking forward to spending time with family over the next few days.  We’ll be leaving tomorrow afternoon, heading to my hometown for all kinds of fun.  I’m so thankful that I have a home and family to spend time with.  In fact, I have two!

Something I’m really feeling so thankful for this year is that I have my grandparents to go home to.  My grandma and grandpa will cook Thanksgiving dinner at their house on Thursday, just like they have every single year since before I can remember.  And I feel so blessed to be able to spend time with them.

This morning when I got up, I really was not feeling a workout at all.  I just felt like I had zero energy…but I decided that if I just made myself go, I’d get more energized once I got there.  Works every time.

Until today.

I felt completely drained the entire time, and it was all I could do to keep myself going from machine to machine.  I ended up putting in about 40 minutes on the treadmill – a combination of walking, speed walking, jogging, running and pretty much everything in between.  It wasn’t super intense, but I was moving!!

Unlike most days, I ate some breakfast before I went because I was starving from the second I woke up.  I knew that oatmeal was in the cards, and in the end I decided to keep it simple.  I love putting tons of different toppings on my oats, but sometimes it’s nice to just get back to the basics.

I cooked 1/2 cup of oatmeal in 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk for about 2 minutes.  Actually, I cooked it for 1 minute and 50 seconds, and then the oatmeal overflowed out of the bowl and all over my microwave.  oops!  I seriously hate it when that happens!

Anyway, after getting everything cleaned up, I just stirred in about 1 tbsp of pumpkin butter and then put a little dollop on top.  It was so simple tasting…and delicious!

I spent the rest of today doing laundry and working on preparing the photos I took for a family last weekend.  Here is a little glimpse of two of the cutest little baby boys ever:)

Tomorrow is going to be a busy one, trying to get ready to go!  I think I know what I’m taking as far as food, but I still need to work out a few more details before I share.  Other than that I just have to pack, tutor and get some Outbox work done.  And then we’ll be off!  yay!

What are your plans for the holiday?  What special dishes are you making?

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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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want some cookies?

And the celebration of fall continues…

Breakfast this morning.

Overnight oats prepared with 1/3 cup soy vanilla yogurt, 1/3 cup almond milk, 1/3 cup oats, 1/3 canned pumpkin, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice, 1/2 tsp molasses, and a sprinkle of unsweetened dried cranberries. I also made a trip to Panera with the husband before work – a bagel for him and a half decaf black coffee for me.

Today has been ultra busy because I’ve been preparing for a trip!  We are leaving tomorrow night with some friends to roadtrip somewhere across the U.S.  I’ll leave you with a hint as to where it might be.

I’ll choose one comment out of all of you who guess correctly by tomorrow night at 8pm, and I’ll mail you a batch of my very favorite homemade vegan cookies.

Let’s face it – I’m really just looking for an excuse to bake cookies for one of my fabulous readers.  I love you guys:)

G’night!

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let’s celebrate

All was quiet on CSM last night.  I just needed a little bit of time to unwind and disconnect from everything. Jon and I took Olive and went on a walk, which we haven’t done in awhile bc we’ve been so busy.  I’ve missed our walks so much!

Yesterday afternoon I took a trip to a new Farmer’s Market on our university’s campus.  It was fairly small, but each farmer had a good array of fruits and veggies.  I was hoping to pick up some swiss chard, and while they didn’t come through for me on that, I did score all of this

cucumbers, zucchini, bell peppers, tomatoes, canteloupe, squash

I love all the different shapes of produce you find at the Farmer’s Market.  When food is grown naturally, you don’t get the perfect, uniform look that you see in the grocery stores.   It reminds me of how fresh and natural these veggies are.  Beautiful!

It also reminds me of us as humans.  We are all so different in shape and size…and that is something to celebrate!  It’s our individuality and uniqueness that makes us beautiful. I know I need a frequent reminder of that!  All too often I find myself envying someone else – their job, their body, their personality – but I try to redirect my thoughts to focus on what I love about myself

squash the size of my arm!

This morning I got up and enjoyed a bowl of plain soy yogurt, fresh berries and raw oatmeal before heading off to PiYo class!

A little while after getting back home I snacked on a whole wheat tortilla and some salsa.  I usually try to base snacks around fruits/veggies, but when a serious craving strikes…I have no choice but to listen!

I’ll be spending the rest of the day working on Outbox tasks and practicing PiYo.  Things are moving along with preparing to teach.  Slowly, but surely.

Tonight Jon and I are going to make a run to the city, so I can look for a dress to wear to the Healthy Living Summit cocktail party!  Hopefully I’ll be able to find something on sale!  Wish me luck:)

What is one thing you can celebrate about yourself? It can be something about your body, personality…whatever!  And you can’t avoid commenting on this post because you don’t want to answer the question;)  We all have wonderful amazing characteristics, and it’s good for us to remind ourselves of those things.

I’ll get the ball rolling:  I love that I have a high sense of compassion for people.  My heart breaks so deeply when I see other people hurting.

Ready…GO!!

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