Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Leftover Turkey "Pot Pie"



Many years ago, before I learned how to cook well, my mother, being the funny woman she is, gave me a cookbook.

The Absolute Beginner's Cookbook 2 OR Which Way Do I Fold Egg Whites?

Yes, funny mother, very funny.


One recipe that I have used many times over the years is the Leftover Chicken or Turkey Pot Pie with Biscuits.


You can see that 1) I didn't know what "stock" was when I first got this and 2) I have used this recipe enough that the pages are all stained. This is the sign of a good and well used recipe!

I am going to give you the original recipe and then give you some advice based on my own many years experience with this recipe. One thing I will say: it is a GREAT way to use up any of that leftover turkey you might still have hanging around!

Leftover Chicken or Turkey Pot Pie with Biscuits
From The Absolute Beginner's Cookbook 2
By Jackie Eddy and Eleanor Clark

2 cups chicken stock (broth), canned or homemade
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/2 cup green beans (can be frozen)
1/2 cup diced celery
1 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup peas (can be frozen)
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups cubed leftover chicken or turkey
biscuits (recipe to follow)

1. Put the chicken stock into a large pot. Add the parsley and all the vegetables except the peas.
2. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to simmer and cook, covered, until vegetables are tender.
3. Add the peas. Remove from heat.
4. Shake flour and water in a small jar with a tight-fitting lid. Stir into pot and return pot to heat.
5.Turn heat to high and stir until mixture thickens. (This will only take 2 or 3 minutes).
6. Add salt, pepper and chicken or turkey.
7. Empty into an 8 x 8 baking dish and top with biscuits (recipe follows).
8. Bake in a preheated 450F degree oven for 10-12 minutes. Reduce heat to 350F degrees and continue to bake until the biscuits are done, another 8-10 minutes.

Biscuits

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
2/3 cup milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup shredded cheddar (or other) cheese

1. Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl. (If you don't have a sifter, shake through a sieve).
2. Combine the milk and oil and stir into the flour mixture with a fork until the dough forms a ball.
3. Knead 5-10 times
4. Roll or pat into a rectangle about a 1/4" thick, and sprinkle with cheese.
5. Roll up rectangle from the long side and slice into 9 pieces, roughly 1/2" thick.
6. Place on top of chicken mixture and bake (see step 7). The chicken mixture should be hot when the biscuits are placed on top (this is important).

Serves 4.







Some things I have learned over the years:

This amount of broth and vegetables called for in the original recipe do not make enough "pot pie". If you follow the recipe exactly you end up with a small pan of veggies topped with lots of biscuit. I have found that at least doubling the broth and veggies helps to bulk up this recipe. I make the same amount of biscuit dough. If you DO double the recipe you will need at least a 13 x 9 pan and it will be quite full. It doesn't really take any extra time to cook as the veggie mixture will still be hot and mostly cooked when it goes into the pan. You may need a little extra flour or corn starch to thicken the sauce.

I took some of  the extra this time and filled four ramekins with the veggie mix and topped them with a single biscuit each. I am going to freeze them for leftovers! (Leftovers out of leftovers...love it!) 

Also, in addition to this recipe being a great way to use up that leftover turkey, it is also a great way to use up those freezer burned peas and whatever other "needs to get used up TODAY" veggies you have hanging around in your crisper drawer. This time I added a bunch of mushrooms, and because I had fresh thyme and not fresh parsley, I used that instead. BE creative! Use what you have on hand. Don't like celery? Fine...add something else. Want some garlicky flavor? Cool, add some garlic or garlic powder. Use this recipe as a base and suggestion, but utilize what you have available.

This meal is flavorful, hearty and total comfort food. You could serve a salad alongside for even more veggie goodness.

Leftover Chicken or Turkey Pot Pie with Biscuits is a holiday leftover staple in our house. I have been making it for years and we look forward to this "leftover" meal as much as the main turkey dinner.

If you try it out, let me know what you think!






Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Faux Tree

I like to stick with one holiday at a time. I know lots of people love Christmas music sooooo much that they start playing it as soon as the weather starts to cool off.

I am not one of these people. Christmas music is for Christmas time...which begins either Thanksgiving night or the Friday after and not one single moment before!

Now that Thanksgiving is over it is time to move on to full Christmas celebration mode!

The Christmas music is playing...Mannheim Steamroller, Trans Siberian Orchestra, Kenny G, Amy Grant, Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and family, The Maldonado Family, Ray Coniff, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, and of course, The Southpark Christmas album.

What? Southpark is a tradition!

I hauled out all the decorations and have spent the last few days putting up all the holiday trim. Chris helped with the outdoor lights and decorating the tree. It's starting to look and feel festive around here!


I also dug out my holiday coffee mugs.





The only things we need now are egg nog and cookies!

Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Happy Monday Friends!

I disappeared from the Internet last week because it was more important to me to spend time WITH my family fully, being present, than splitting my time between my family and the web.

I had a really great week! Aside from the fact that I came down with a cold on Sunday, which kinda dragged me down physically. I didn't exercise last week. I did everything in my power to get over my cold as quickly as possible, which meant tons of tea, water, cold-eze, neti pot, decongestants, Vick's vapo rub, Advil, water, tea, neti pot, and rest as much as possible.

Our celebration kicked off Tuesday evening with the arrival of my paternal grandparents who live in Southern California. They were passing through on their way to the BIG family Thanksgiving celebration in Corvallis. I heard there was over 60 in attendance this year!

But the bigger surprise? My brother showed up completely unexpectedly!! Chris was just getting ready to head to the airport to pick up my mom and maternal grandmother when the doorbell rang. He opened the door and there was my brother! YAY for an awesome surprise! It really made my day and week to have my brother here with us.


Paternal Grandparents, Ron and Nelma, and my brother!
Chris headed off to pick up mom and gram. My two grandma's haven't seen each other since probably 1997 (when I got married). My mom and my grandma Nelma (her ex-mother-in-law) have remained close over the years, even though they don't talk or see each other as often as they used to. It was very special for mom and grandma Nelma to get to visit this trip.

My mom (on the right) and her former mother in law.
We all went to dinner and had a nice visit. Thanks Grandpa Ron for dinner! Grandpa Ron and Grandma Nelma headed off and we all went home and went to bed. Wednesday was shaping up to be a busy food-prep day!

Wednesday morning I made a quiche for breakfast. We all visited and had coffee and orange juice. Chris had to go to work. KC, my brother, or Ken as he is called as an adult, had some Southern Oregon exploring he wanted to do, so he took off to do that. The ladies and I spent the rest of the day running a couple of errands and baking! We made two pies, a gravenstein apple and a blackberry. Mom and grandma made dough for cinnamon rolls. I had school in the afternoon, so they also got started on dinner while I was gone.

It was really great to spend time in the kitchen together and to have so many helping hands for all the food prep.

Thanksgiving morning arrived and we had cinnamon rolls for breakfast! Delicious! Unfortunately, mom wasn't feeling well and spent a good portion of the day resting in her room. :( She did come out after dinner and have some pie, though!

We took some pictures, watched some football, ate some snacks, cooked the meal and by early evening it was time to eat!

My brother and me.

Grandma Marge and me.

Grandma Marge and KC

My sweety and me.

Prime rib, homemade cranberry sauce, dressing, mashed potatoes, turkey, deviled eggs, gravy and home made green bean casserole. Oh yes. Everything was delicious!
We, of course, had more food than any five people needed, but it was so yummy!

Ah....what a great Thanksgiving!

Thanks to all of my family that came to visit, shared in the cooking and clean up, the laughter and the fun times!

And, Happy Birthday to my mom and my brother, who both celebrated birthday's this week, too!

I hope each and every one of you had a blessed Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Lessons in Forgiveness

"True forgiveness is when you can say: thank you for that experience."
~Oprah Winfrey



The above quote caught my attention this week.

There are areas of our lives, usually long ago in our pasts, but not always, that are wounds in our souls.

We experienced something at the hands of others that caused us hurt.
 That injured us, physically, mentally or emotionally.

And very often it is only with life experience, and the benefit of hindsight that we are able to look back on the hurt and find some measure of benefit.

My childhood had experiences of great harm.

It has taken me many years to work through the pain and emotional scars left behind.

Recently, though, I realized that the experience, horrible and painful at the time and for many years after, has given me some greater insight into certain areas of life.

I'm not saying I couldn't have gained that insight in a less painful or emotionally devastating way, but the experience itself provided me with a benefit that I can now see and verbalize.

I still have no wish to be in contact with the perpetrator of my experience, but I can look at the experience in a different light.

I can see with different eyes.

The forgiveness, the letting go of the anger and hate and resentment, is not for the perpetrator of these acts.

It is for ME.

It is to release the toxic energy from my soul that has lived there for far too long.

It is to brush away the dirt from my heart.

It is to push back the curtain that has been covering my inner light, darkened and obscured by old wounds and hurts.

Forgiveness is not for the other...it is for me, and you.

Do you have a hurt in your life, one that has festered and swelled, blocking out your light and spirit?

Are you able to look for the benefit of the experience?

Did it teach you something about yourself? Your resilience? Your strength? Your power?

Can you find some insight?

I encourage you, peel back the cover on that dark place in your heart, and see if you can look at the hurt with different eyes.

See if you can find a way to say "Thank you for that experience".

See if there is a way to say: that experience helped me to grow as a person.

See if there is room there to forgive.

Not for the other...but for yourself...so you can heal and move forward.

You deserve to forgive and heal and move forward.

You are valuable and worthwhile.

Clear the darkness from your soul.


(source)


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Squash Tomatillo Bisque with Shrimp


What was for dinner tonight, you ask? A delicious, slightly spicy squash bisque. I have been working on this recipe for a while. I have made it a few times but it always "needed" something. I have found what it needed.

This soup is filling and flavorful. It has chunks of shrimp throughout, and if you garnish with a bit of sour cream, it spreads throughout the soup, cutting the heat a bit and adding another creamy dimension. It has a nice smoky flavor and a bit of heat from the chipotle pepper. You could always decrease the amount of chipotle if you are not a fan of spicy.

You could easily increase the amount to serve a larger, say Thanksgiving, crowd by using a large butternut squash, or two, and increasing the amount of chicken broth, peppers and tomatillos.

Chris, who is not a fan of "just soup" for dinner ate one bowl and loved it! He thought he was going to need something more, but the soup filled him up and was delicious.

Now that is what I call dinner success.


Squash Tomatillo Bisque with Shrimp

serves 4

1 small butternut squash, peeled, cubed and roasted
2-3 anaheim peppers, roasted, peeled and seeded
1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded if desired
1 cup onion, diced
2 cups fresh tomatillos, halved or quartered depending on size
4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable, or water)
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
5 cloves garlic, minced, divided
1 lb shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 teaspoon chipotle pepper seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper
juice of one lemon, divided
sour cream, corn chips, chives or ? for garnish

Heat oven to 375.
Place anaheim peppers on a cookie sheet and roast in oven until skins are blackened.
Meanwhile poke two holes in the butternut squash with a knife. Microwave for 5 minutes. Carefully remove and slice in half, lengthwise. Scoop out and discard seeds. Cut off bottom end so you have a flat surface. Peel the skin off with a knife or vegetable peeler. Cube squash in about 1 inch cubes. Place in large baking dish. Drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with chipotle powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
Remove anaheim peppers from oven and place butternut squash into oven. Cook squash for about 35 minutes, or until mostly soft.
Skin and seed the peppers. Dice.
Slice jalapenos, remove seeds if desired.
When squash is nearly done, place 2 tablespoons of oil into a large stockpot. Heat over medium high. Add 4 garlic cloves and onion. Saute until soft, about 5 minutes.
Add tomatillos and both kinds of peppers. Continue cooking until the tomatillos are releasing their juices and softening.
Remove squash from oven and add to tomatillo mixture. Add chicken broth. Bring mixture to a simmer, reduce heat if necessary. Simmer soup for 15-20 minutes to allow flavors to combine and finish cooking squash, if necessary.
Meanwhile, peel and devein shrimp. Bring remaining oil to temperature in a separate skillet. Add remaining garlic clove and juice of half the lemon. Add the shrimp and cook until pink throughout.
Remove shrimp from pan. Dice shrimp into bite size pieces.
Puree squash mixe with an immersion blender, or by processing in food processor or blender in batches, until smooth. (I like to leave a few chunks).
Put pureed mixture back in stockpot. Add remaining lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Bring back to temperature if needed.
Place one quarter of the diced shrimp into bottom of serving bowl. Add bisque.
Garnish with sour cream, blue corn chips, chives, or whatever you like!




Non Perishable Food Item

You all know that I have a passion for food.

What you may not know is that I also have a passion for feeding those who do not have access to food.

Recently I was asked to give a speech about a charity that was close to my heart in order to compete for a donation of $100.

I chose to speak about the Oregon Food Bank, a charity that helps feed the food insecure and hungry throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington.

I worked hard, I spoke eloquently and energetically. I painted a picture with words about hunger. I shared statistics about who is hungry and what that means. Nearly a quarter of the population in Oregon is classified as "food insecure" or "hungry" according to a USDA report from 2009. Oregon is one of the top 5 hungriest states in the country, also according to the USDA report. I practiced my speech thoroughly and I delivered it flawlessly.

I did not win the donation.

I came in second.

I was very disappointed.

The charity that won was very deserving, and the donation will be well-utilized. The speaker was personally involved in the charity from the time she was in grade school. She spoke eloquently and energetically. She had an edge: her personal story.

I was still disappointed. I had hoped, very much, to win that donation for the Oregon Food Bank.

According to the OFB a $100 donation will feed a family of four 75 meals.

I know that I cannot feed my family of TWO 75 meals for $100.

Today I am going to ask each of you to think about hunger, what it really means to not know where your next meal is coming from. How that feeling would impact your ability to work, think, concentrate and learn. Think about not having breakfast, or lunch or dinner and not really being sure if tomorrow will be any different. Think about having to try and "fill up" on water from the drinking fountain to alleviate some of that empty feeling in the pit of your stomach.

Just think about it.

Especially as we head into the holiday season, which for many of us is filled with the worry of overeating, and excesses of food, think about those who do not have that experience.

According to Feeding America, a non-profit organization that helps to feed the hungry throughout America, nearly 49 MILLION Americans don't know where their next meal will come from.

For a short time Feeding America will match donations made to help feed the hungry in America. Feeding America partners with food banks throughout the United States. On their website you can find your local food bank to make a donation locally, or make a donation to Feeding America directly. You can also see statistics about hunger in your own state.

I know that money is tight for many of us, me included. I know that for some of you, feeding your own family, or yourselves, may be barely within your budget. I also know that many of us spend frivolously on movie and music downloads, and other non-neccesities, like pumpkin spice lattes.

I am asking each of you: please consider making a donation, even just $5 (one latte, one week's worth of red-box movies, or a couple of downloaded songs) to YOUR local foodbank, or Feeding America. If 20 people donate just $5 we will have raised $100 to help feed the hungry. As I said before, that $100 can feed a family of four 75 meals, basically a months worth of food.

If you do choose to donate, please let me know in the comments or on Facebook. It would make my heart sing to know that I helped in some tiny way to help alleviate the hunger in America.

Never Give Up



"Between you and every goal that you wish to achieve, there is a series of obstacles, and the bigger the goal, the bigger the obstacles. Your decision to be, have and do something out of the ordinary entails facing difficulties and challenges that are out of the ordinary as well. Sometimes your greatest asset is simply your ability to stay with it longer than anyone else."
~Brian Tracy


There have been several reminders in my life lately to Never Give Up.

If you read here regularly, you know that one of my goals and aspirations is to weigh less and be more fit and healthy. You may also know that one of my frustrations with this aspiration is that the steps I need to take to achieve this goal are neverending.

I will never reach a point where I can say: DONE! Goal achieved.

Why?

Because health, body weight, fitness, those things are not achieved and then finished. It is not the same as having a goal to write a book, or to learn the tango. If you have a goal to write a book, once the book is written the goal is accomplished.

Being healthy, weighing less, those goals are more indefinite. Sure, I can lose 10 pounds and say I have achieved that goal, but I then have to maintain that goal. I cannot give up on that goal. I cannot then walk away.

Even now, weighing both less and more than I have in the past, I can say that I have achieved this goal in some ways, but I have not fulfilled it. It is an ongoing process. One that I must put attention toward fulfilling every day.

I can never give up on my goal of being healthy and fit. I must chose to stay focused, to take the actions and steps necessary to continue me on the path toward fulfilling the goal.

For if I ever were to give up, ALL of my efforts would be lost. ALL of my intentions would fall to the wayside. ALL of my learning would be forgotten.

I have worked much too hard to get here to let it all go. I do not like the path that I must go down if I ever were to give up. It is dark, cold and sad down that path. The light is missing. There is no energy. There is only sadness and guilt.

I do not want darkness, sadness, and guilt in my life. That is part of my journey, to alleviate darkness, sadness and guilt from my life, to inspire my own light to shine and light the path to my most lived life!

The stepping stones that light my path say to never give up!

Never give up. Never stop trying. Never stop working. Never quit. Failure only occurs at the point after which you quit. Everything before that point is progress and effort to achieve.

You can do it! Keep placing one foot in front of the other! Use your light to show you the way!


(source)



Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Message From Abraham Lincoln

"Always bear in mind that your resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing."
~Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

(source)


This was the message provided  by my tea today.

The quote then begs the question: what is your resolution to succeed? How strong is it? Do you want to succeed more than anything else? Or is it more of a passing wish?

My resolution to succeed is strong, but as we have noted, it waxes and wanes.

However, I believe if it wasn't strong I would have given up long ago! I would have stopped taking steps to achieve my goals. I would have let the times when my resolution waned extend indefinitely.

BUT I HAVEN'T!

Each day, each time that I make the choices I know help me toward my goal, I am strengthening my resolution. I am solidifying that want in my head.

Today I started my week the way I intend to finish. I started my week with action to support my resolution to be healthy, fit and well.

Today, a Sunday morning, I got up and made sure to take action toward my goal. I did 30 minutes of exercise pretty much before I did anything else. Day one, step one.

My resolve grows with each success!

How strong is your resolution to succeed?







Saturday, November 12, 2011

Lamb Stuffed Peppers

Back in the beginning of October (seems so long ago...) I made a stuffed pepper recipe for dinner. It was really yummy. I posted a picture of it, but no recipe. I am going to share the recipe with you now. YAY!



We had some beautiful (GORGEOUS!) peppers from our garden this year, as opposed to last year when we didn't really get much of anything from our bell peppers. I loved putting them on sandwiches, making my Portobello Mushroom and Red Pepper Quinoa Salad, and eating them on salads.

Chris asked for stuffed peppers, though, so I went in search of a yummy stuffed pepper recipe.

I went to one of my favorite sites for recipes and did a search for stuffed peppers. I found a yummy looking recipe that called for lamb, feta and seasonings. Oh YUM, hello.

This recipe can be found HERE. It is from Cooking Light.

The recipe calls for mint, but I didn't have any and the store was out, so I skipped it. I'm not a huge fan of mint anyway, so it was no big loss to me.

This was a really delicious dinner, and it made quite a bit of stuffed peppers.

The peppers were soft and slightly browned, the lamb, seasonings and feta mix was creamy and salty and savory. The peppers added a bit of sweet to the overall experience. You could use brown rice (which I did), quinoa, red rice or another similar type grain if you don't want to use couscous. I don't think I had any couscous on had. Also, I made the brown rice and just added it to the cooked meat mixture, rather than adding it in. Feel free to experiment, because that is what recipes and cooking are all about!

A lovely and flavorful dinner! Try it, and let me know what you think.
 






Do you like lamb? What is your favorite way to eat peppers?

Acorn Squash

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I had made a new recipe for acorn squash.

Typically, when we have acorn squash, I poke a hole in it with a knife, stick it in the microwave for a few minutes, cut it in half, discard the seeds and bake it in the oven, skin side down, with just a bit of water in the pan, until it is soft. Then I flip it over, add some butter and brown sugar, and stick it back in the oven until the butter and brown sugar are all melty.

A number of years ago, I found a recipe for a cranberry and apple stuffed acorn squash. Chris was not enthused about trying it. He basically said that the only way to cook acorn squash was with butter and brown sugar. So, I never made it.

The last time I was doing my cleanse, in the spring, we had acorn squash. Instead of having butter and brown sugar (no no's) on my half, I added a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a tiny drizzle of honey. It was really good. Even better the next morning for breakfast! (I don't even really *like* acorn squash!) Chris was still sticking with his butter and brown sugar.

Then I came across this recipe:



This is from the summer Special Interest issue of Better Homes and Gardens called garden fresh recipes.

Even Chris thought this looked delicious and that we should make it. And so we did!

It really was delicious. A great mix of flavors, with that fall comfort feeling included. The savory instead of sweet was a really nice change. We both ate it all up and are looking forward to making it again!

Acorn Squash with Sausage and Corn Bread Stuffing

By Better Homes & Gardens Special Interest 2011

(I made the full recipe for the stuffing, but only had one acorn squash-so two halves. I stuffed them, and then I took the rest of the stuffing and put it in little ramekins and baked it until the top was just browning. They made GREAT leftovers for lunch and dinner the next night!!)

Prep:50 minutes Bake: 1 Hour
Oven: 400F/350F Makes: 8 Servings


1 8.5-ounce package corn muffin mix
4 small acorn squash (12 to 16 ounces each), halved lengthwise and seeds removed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
8 ounces bulk pork sausage
1 cup coarsely chopped onion (1 large)
1 cup sliced celery (2 stalks)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon snipped fresh sage or thyme
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400F. Prepare and bake muffin mix according to package directions for an 8x8x2-inch baking pan. Cool corn bread in pan. Cut into 3/4-inch cubes; set aside. Reduce oven temperature to 350F.

Meanwhile, lightly grease a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Sprinkle cavities of the squash with salt and pepper. Arrange squash halves, cut side down, in prepared pan.

Bake squash halves, uncovered, for 30 to 40 minutes or until tender. Remove pan from oven. Using a wide metal spatula, carefully turn squash halves over.

Meanwhile, in an extra-large skillet cook sausage, onion, celery and garlic until sausage is browned and vegetables are tender. Drain off fat. Stir in sage (or thyme). Add corn bread cubes; toss gently to combine. Drizzle with broth and melted butter; toss gently to moisten. Spoon stuffing into squash cavities, mounding the stuffing.

Bake, uncovered, about 30 minutes or until top of stuffing is golden brown and mixture is heated through.

Per serving 304 cal., 14 g total fat (3 g sat. fat), 44 mg chol., 578 mg sodium, 38 g carb., 3 g fiber, 9 g pro.





How do you eat your acorn squash? Are you a butter and brown sugar traditionalist, or are you an acorn expirementer? What's your favorite topping/stuffing? Let me know in the comments!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Success

(source)
SUCCESS!! I DID IT!

It took me a couple weeks (three, or four?) to get back into the groove and to achieve my goal.

My goal was to get back to regular exercise, which I had slacked off on in mid-August, and had fallen completely by the wayside as I got back to school the end of September. I needed an achievable, small goal to help me get started.

I decided on this:

20 minutes of exercise at least 5 days of the week.

Small time committment, but consistent. The first week I think I managed three days. The next week I did four. The next week I don't think I did any. But THIS week! This week I achieved my goal!

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I successfully completed at least 20 minutes of exercise (a mix of cardio/weights and  yoga)!

Now, I know that 20 minutes of exercise is good, but not great. I know that 20 minutes of exercise isn't going to help me achieve my other goals.

However.

THIS goal was about creating consistency. Showing myself that it can be done, even in the midst of my current time crunched schedule. This goal was about just doing it, for 20 minutes. This goal wasn't about the bigger goals, it was just about taking those small, baby steps to start me on the path to those bigger goals. To create some momentum and energy.

Not all goals need to be grandiose and magnificent!

Some goals are simply there to help you taste some of that success! To get a feel for what those bigger goals might feel like when you achieve THEM.

My goal for this next week is the same. 20 minutes of exercise at least 5 days of the week. I hope to get 30 or 40 minutes in there at least a couple times, but I want to commit to at least 20.

Thanksgiving week will be a challenge due to houseguests, but maybe I can get them to go for walks or something.

Do you have a small goal you can set to give yourself a taste of success? Maybe it is related to food. Maybe it is related to better sleep, or a different morning routine. Maybe it is flossing your teeth three times this week, or saying a gratitude at least 3 times this week. I don't know. It could be anything.

But find a goal for the week. Something small. Something achievable. Something that can give you an amazing feeling of success and power!!

Share your goal with me in the comments and I'll help encourage you to stick with it!!

The Friday Five #3


Happy Friday!

Happy Veteran's Day!

Happy 11-11-11!

Happy Wedding Day to my friends Charlie and Juli!

Happy Day Off for Christopher!

Seems like a pretty good Friday, no?

The Friday Five

1. What I Am Reading:



You KNOW I LOVE this musical, right? I've seen it TWICE. I would have seen it three times, but one time we were planning on seeing it in Seattle didn't work out. :(  But I have never read the book! I am reading it now. I am still in the early chapters, but so far it is pretty darn interesting! SO different from the musical. SO different from The Wizard of Oz. Dark. I am liking it so far!


2. What I Am Listening To:

I really love having satellite radio on my DirecTV. I have it play on a station called Soft Hits. It plays all kinds of music from many different generations. A really great and non-repetitive mix of good songs.

3. What I Am Watching:

Okay....I broke down. I DVR'd Once Upon a Time and GRIMM.



I have to tell you...I have fallen in LOVE with Once Upon a Time. The story, the writing, the acting, the imagery, the costumes...all of it! I LOVE IT! I do not have time to watch a show...but I think I may have to make time for this. It sucked me in from the first episode.

GRIMM on the other hand...well I like it. But, it has parts where it gets a little hokey. And dumb. And why does everyone drive a Volkswagen? Not everyone in Portland drives a Volkswagen. Anyway, I like the big bad wolf character actor. He is funny. He could steal the show. I don't love it, yet, and might not ever. But I will keep watching, as time permits, for a few more episodes. At least until episode 6 because my cousin Kendra trained the rats that they use in that episode! COOL.


4. What I Am Eating:

Cleansing, healthy foods! Typical fare: Oatmeal, salad, grain with legumes, fish, green vegs, fresh fruits, tea. Monday is the last day of my cleanse. Feeling good!

5. What I Am Pinning Thinking:

Gah!! Thanksgiving, which I am hosting for my mom and gma, is less than two weeks away. My house is a disaster. I haven't shopped or prepped. My cat had to go to the vet. I have lots of homework. Gah! It will be awesome, though. It always is, and it will be fun to have guests for Thanksgiving. Our first Thanksgiving in Medford my 3 best girlfriends came down and celebrated with us. It was lots of fun. Last year, our second in Medford, we were all alone, my mom was in the hospital, and it just wasn't a really festive Thanksgiving. This year will be much better.

That's The Friday Five! What are your five??

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Homework

Hey all!

I just gone done writing a first draft of a short paper for one of my classes. I sent it off to my instructor for her early review and feedback. I also need to take a quiz and read a chapter for this class. I have a final paper due in the class in four weeks.

For another class I need to go and interview a woman for a speech I need to give in a few weeks.
In the meantime I need to watch a speech and critique it.

For another class I have several papers to write over the next four weeks. I have at least one paper due every week, and sometimes two, in that class. Plus keeping up with the reading.

In my last class, I need to read three chapters and watch 5 videos, and take two tests. Then I'll be done with that class. That is totally online and at my own pace as long as it's done my the end of the term.

So, you can see how my blogging time might be pushed to the side a tiny bit, right?

I will be writing ALOT! That is good, though, as I like to write (obvi!).

source


I may start to look like that after a while. HA!



"The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary."
  ~Attributed to both Vidal Sassoon and Donald Kendall


So, back to work I go! Have a great Wednesday.

Oh, and fyi...only 15 day until THANKSGIVING!!!!!



Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Gratitude

Happy November!

It is the month for thanksgiving and reflection. If you follow me on facebook you know that I have been posting status updates over the last month or so of "daily" (in quotes because I don't manage to get them every single day, but I try!) gratitudes.

Sometimes they are little silly things, other times they are gratitudes for people, or sunshine, and sometimes they are gratitudes for the many things many of us take for granted in our lives each day, like running hot water and indoor plumbing!

I would like to invite and encourage anyone reading to participate, particularly this month, in a daily gratitude or affirmation. Being grateful or thankful, for even little tiny things can really change our perspective.

For example, earlier this week I woke to a gray, cloudy, cold, wet, dreary day. I am hugely not a fan of this type of weather, which is why I moved away from rain-central. As I caught my thoughts starting to head in the direction of complaints I instead was able to stop myself and think grateful thoughts instead. I have heat in my house. I have warm clothes. I have a coat. I have a car to get me where I need to go. Many people do not have these things, so instead of complaining about the weather, I turned the complaint into a gratitude for the things which I DO have.

It is hard to be complaining when focusing on gratitude.

source

Let us rise up and be thankful for if we didn't learn a lot, today at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die: so let us all be thankful! ~ Buddha


What are YOU grateful for in your life today?


Feel free to check out my "Inspire the Light" facebook page to follow my daily gratitude posts, or feel free to leave your own daily gratitude in the comments.

Today I am grateful for the ability to buy healthy food, from local farmers, to feed not only my body, but to nourish my relationships with my community. 

Happy November!

Okay, so I'm a tish late on this one...but still! Happy November!

The last week was somewhat of a blur, hence the no posts since the 30th!

Here is a brief recap of my weekish:

Halloween I had school, totally forgot to wear my orange and black or my Halloween jewelry. Was bummed. Had a grand total of 7 trick or treaters (3 groups).

November 1st! I started my semi-annual 14 day cleanse. I was feeling like my eating had gotten much messier than I wanted it to be, especially with the wine tour and all the Halloween candy. Cold Turkey (haha) I stopped drinking coffee, alcohol, eating candy, sugar, bread, meats and pretty much anything that isn't a vegetable, whole grain or legume, or fish. If you are interested in the cleanse I do, you can check out posts about them HERE,  HERE, or HERE. There are a few other posts right around those same times as well, so you can check those out.

I am on day 8 and doing great! My food has been very clean. I have exercised 3 times this week so far. I am drinking lots of tea and water. My clothes are fitting better and I have that "emptier" feeling in my belly. I, also, have been less hungry, which is NICE. One bad side effect, since I didn't do any pre-detoxing (like skipping coffee or wine or candy for three or four days before I started the cleanse, which I normally do) I have had some raging detox headaches. I have had to succumb to the advil a couple of times due to the pain. I am hoping the worst of that is over!

We are in week 7 of school. Crazy, I know. Gearing up for finals, term papers and then winter break in just a few short weeks!

This past weekend was all about hanging out at home and cooking! And football, of course. I watched the Packers/Chargers game and it was AWESOME! That game is why I watch football! Intense and spectacular.

I did a ton of food prep for the week throughout the weekend, including:

Red rice, amaranth grain, roast a whole chicken, bake pumpkin cranberry muffins, make lentil soup and Chris and I made these little apple "pies". OMG...they smell SO good. They aren't on my cleanse diet, so I don't get to try one until next week, but he claims they are delish!

Remember my canned apples? Well, Chris is a genius and decided that we should make little apple "empanadas". Basically we took some premade pie crust (cuz I'm lazy) and cut it out in about a 4 inch rounds. Then we took a spoonful of the apple mush and put it in the circle and folded the pastry over so we had a little half-round. We brushed a little butter on top and sprinkled some cinnamon and sugar on them. Baked them for about 14 minutes at 375. They SMELLED YUM. We put most of them in the freezer. We still have lots more mush, so we will likely be making more. I would show you one of the many pictures we took, except, well, the memory card wasn't actually in the camera when we took them. Oopsie!

I managed to read Destined, the latest in the House of Night series. I liked it! Of course, it isn't over yet!

Chris also started another batch of mead this weekend. He made a beer a couple weeks ago. I didn't take pictures of that either. I am a bad blogger.

So that is a brief recap of what I've been up to!



Plus I got my toes done in a cool orangey-red-gold sparkle for fall! It is awesome.

What did you do this weekend? Do you prep food for the week in advance?






Saturday, November 5, 2011

Almost a month?

Hello my friends!

I can not believe it has been nearly a month since I last posted on this blog. I will tell you that figuing out my schedule with school, and both blogs, and life, and cooking healthy has been a bit more challenging that I at first anticipated.

I have not, and am not, giving up my quest to live life each day! To grab ahold and pursue my deepest wants and desires.

I have been stumbling a bit the past few weeks, though, that is true!

Here is what I'm DOING about it!

I have gotten back into the habit of doing much more food prep work on the weekends, and making lunches the night before I have early morning classes. I am doing simple things like getting the coffee ready the night before. These LITTLE steps are immensely helpful to me. Otherwise, I end up with no time and no food and subject to whatever I can find on campus, or Chris is subject to whatever crappy drive through he can find. This is NOT acceptable to me, and so I am consciously making the effort on weekends and evenings when I have more time to do SOMETHING VALUABLE with it!

Gee...what a concept!

Also, I am working on getting back to daily exercise. This, also, has been such a challenge! Here is my conundrum of exercise. I really don't like it. I never have.

Yes, I LOVE to feel strong and energetic and healthy! But I very strongly dislike what I have to do to get there....and I dislike strongly that I have to do it FOREVER. These thoughts are so self-defeating for me. I have a very difficult time (and have had a very difficult time my entire life) overcoming these self-imposed objections.

Plus, I KNOW the health benefits of exercise. I KNOW I feel better after. I just have a very difficult time motivating myself to do it. Even with all the big reasons.

A few weeks ago I challenged myself to do 20 minutes of exercise 5 daays of the week. I did I think two or three. The following week I kept the same challenge, and I think I did four days. This past week I did nothing. Why? I do not know.

This next week, I have a goal to do at least 20 minutes of exercise 5 days of the week. I feel like if I can get a routine going doing this for 20-30 minutes, for two or three weeks continuously, then I will be able to increase both the intensity and duration.

In the meantime, in an effort to clean up what had become some very messy food habits (too much sugar, too much wine, too much...) I started a 14 day cleanse on November 1st. I usually lose weight, but so far I haven't. I am not sure if that is because I am not exercising and normally I do, or if it is because the food has been a little different than I normally do.

This next week the plan is to have my lemon water, then my cleanse fiber shake, then a green juice, then some oatmeal (green juice will not hold me till lunch). Lunches will be greens with chopped veggies, and some beans and rice thrown in for some filler (topped with lemon juice). I also have made a big batch of lentil soup which I hope to use throughout the week. Dinners will be vegs, salads, grains, beans and maybe fish.

Part of me insprining myself, and my own light, is learning how to survive the changes that occur in life. I am a very routine oriented person. When my routine gets thrown off by not being in school, and then being in school, or whatever the change is, it takes me several weeks to adjust. I don't flow easily from one routine to another.

This is a personal challenge for me. To work on adjusting to the time change, my school schedule (which will change every 11 weeks!!) and to not allow these changes to derail my own plans!

I have goals:

I want to get out of the weight decade I'm in and get into the lower decade by the end of the year.
I want to enjoy the holidays, but not OVERly enjoy the holidays.
I have a half marathon (that I have done zero training for) in June. I need to start planning for that.

I need to find my own motivation, inspiration and light and blast it out to the world!

And sometimes we just need to remember this:

(source)
Yup! Time to get off my ass...and get to work! The life I want won't magically happen without some work people!

Have a great weekend! Don't forget to set your clocks back, enjoy your extra sleep, and then...get off your ass! :-)