Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Must love Kale.

I've mentioned this before - but for me - being organized at home - is like being organized in my core. That may sound a bit odd - but if I have consistency and organization - I just feel better. I function better. Now, that being said, I have so much to do to get full organization around here - so that sort of means I am a bit unorganized on the inside. BUT, I am so much more focused on keeping things in order on a daily basis - that it just really benefits me day to day, week to week, etc.

For example - remember the episode of Hoarders when I showed you our before and after of our bedroom? Check it out HERE. Well, that was done about 9 months ago, and I am so happy to report that our bedroom is still as clean and organized as it was when we finished our wee transformation. We make our bed every morning. We open the blinds and curtains. We put our shoes away. We put our clothes away. That may sound a bit strange - but going to bed and waking up in tranquility, is just so good and healthy for me. Coming home from a long day - and knowing where my cozy clothes are (yoga pants and a hoody) are and seeing everything look fresh and clean, is a huge sigh of relief and peace.

So, taking baby steps, I tackled another organizational task this weekend. Small people. SMALL. We are not seeing any huge victories with this one - but oh did it feel good. I am embarrassed to show you the 'before' pictures, but I figure we're friends and there is no judgment. The TV show 'Hoarders' could have stopped by with this clean-out as well, but they weren't invited.

So, this is my 'spice' cupboard. I referred to it on many occasions. Like when I would be asked 'Where is your vanilla?' I would reply 'Oh, it's in the spice cupboard'. And, 'Where is your poultry seasoning?' - I would quickly answer 'In the spice cupboard, of course'. And then I noticed that I started answering 'In the spice cupboard' to questions like 'Where is that cigar I got from Maxine?' or 'Where is the cat's medication?'. As you can tell, the spice cupboard had sort of been turned into - the get it off the counter cupboard.



See! That baby had a lot of 'stuff' in it.

I pulled out so much stuff. Stuff that I didn't know that I had.

Then I recycled containers, composted (we have a new food composting program now and I was fully onboard with it this weekend) and cleaned it all out.

I got a metal shelf so that I had more space and didn't have to pile things on top of one another. It's not fancy - but it does the trick.

Then I got tiny mason jars and filled them with spices. They are the perfect size and will keep things nice and fresh.


And then I started putting things back in.

And voila! It's clean, organized and I can see what I have at a quick glance.

We are on day 3 and so far so good. The cinnamon that goes into our morning shakes is taken out and put back in the exact spot every time. I just love it.

Alright - time for some food talk.

I think that you may have noticed that we are sort of hooked on Kale around here. The stuff is so full of nutrients. It's hearty. And so easy to add to any dish. So instead of pasta (which I love so much but try to avoid it at all costs) I whipped up some meatballs and kale caesar salad.

I used extra lean ground beef for the meatballs.
And spaghetti sauce - from a jar. I used the Safeway Organics brand - and it is my 'go to' when I am not in the mood for making sauce from scratch.

For the kale - I add a tbsp of lemon olive oil and two cloves of grated garlic. I chopped a large bunch of kale into short strips and sauteed with a pinch of kosher salt over medium heat for about 8 minutes, or until it was  slightly softened.

In a bowl, I added 1/2 cup of non-fat greek yogurt, a heaping tbsp of dijon mustard and a tsp of honey and some freshly ground black pepper. Whisked it together and poured over the warm kale.

And topped it all with parmesan cheese.

It's hearty, flavourful and best of all good for you.



Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Strawberry and Balsamic Vinegar Icy

I am embarrassed really. It has been almost 4 months since I have posted anything on my blog. Maybe embarrassed isn't the right word. I am feeling badly that I sort of 'gave up' on this wee part of me that I have enjoyed so much for so long. I am not sure what happened really. I use the excuse - life, and sadly, it's sort of what happened. Busy with Christmas, then a new year, a new workout regime, a new schedule with my husband after 14 years. There has been a lot of changes within the last 4 months. All good. All worth it. All a part of life.

I don't want to say 'I'M BACK BABY', because what if I'm not? And then BABY will be like 'uh, you said you were back, and then you bugger off again'. It's just like me, isn't it? So, I think, like with the new changes that have been successful over the past couple of months - I will just take tiny steps - try to commit to a few posts a week and not declare a post a day and after 5 days of no posts, I won't feel like a failure, curl up in a ball, and just rock.

I won't get into everything that I have been doing over the past 3.5 months, because trust me it is huge and  you guys will be on the edge of your seats with anticipation of how life is so grand. Just kidding. Although, life has been good. After 14 years of my husband being at the studio 5 nights a week and 1 weekend day - he is only there 2 nights a week and for a couple hours on a Saturday. It's been a huge change. Actually cooking and sitting down to have dinner together, more than once a week is pretty great. There are so many bonuses - I am feeling pretty blessed to have some good quality time with him.

For Christmas this year, my mom gave us a Vitamix. Now - if you're not familiar with the Vitamix, you have to check it out. We started with the NutriBullet - remember THIS ? The Vitamix, pretty much puts the NB to shame. This thing is the wizard of all blenders. It is brilliant. We love it. I love it. My husband REALLY loves it. He is hooked on making us the most amazing, healthiest breakfast drinks every morning. Doesn't the Army say something like 'We do more before 8 AM than you do all day'? Well, our saying could be 'We eat more vegetables before 6 AM than you eat all day'. Seriously, it's crazy. Our fridge is always stocked with kale, swiss chard, broccoli, carrots, berries - and then the other stuff like pumpkin seeds, chia, hemp, sesame seeds, almonds, goji berries - all raw - full of nutrients and goodness.

Now, while Chris is making our daily 'shakes' as we like to call them, I am trying new things out, like this.

Looks like a strawberry milkshake, doesn't it? It sort of is.

But, before I share this recipe - I want to share a bit about my friend Tanya. She also has a Vitamix - and tells me about the great treats that she makes with it.  It's sort of because of her that I really wanted to get one. That, and because when we were in Costco in Maui, there was a guy doing a Vitamix demo, and he made the most amazing lemon ice treat - and I almost bought one right then and there. And then remembered that it wouldn't fit in my luggage.

Ok, so Tanya is a great friend that I have got to know her over the last year. We have become running partners. We run every Saturday morning together - rain, snow or shine - we're there. We take turns picking a route, and we have increased our runs in duration and distance for the past couple of months. For the past month or so we have headed to a Starbucks - recover from our run - replenish our body with much needed liquids - and just sit (I wince when I sit b/c my legs are always so sore) and talk and talk.

I LOVE our new Saturday ritual - I look forward to it all week.  She has become an amazing friend - and pushes me probably without knowing that she is - and makes me want to work hard. At the end of our run we always feel great - and I feel really lucky to have found someone with similar fitness goals - and has become a great friend.

When I was thinking about what to whip up for a sweet treat this weekend - I thought of strawberries and balsamic vinegar. And balsamic vinegar reminds me of Tanya b/c she loves it. It may sound like a bit of a weird combination - an icy treat with strawberries and vinegar, but trust me, it isn't! Just wait to you see what else is in this. You'll freak. In a good way.

Strawberry Balsamic Icy

2 cups of ice
8 strawberries  - washed and tops removed
1 1/2 cups of light ricotta (say what???)
1 tbsp of creme de balsamic

If you have a Vitamix - so easy - put everything in and blend on low for 30 seconds and then on high for another 30 seconds. And that's it.

If you have another type of blender - blend until all of the ingredients are smooth and creamy.

Top with a drizzle of balsamic, and enjoy!

Seriously, so good.

Alright friends. I am just cooking dinner. We are having mini turkey meatloaves (also inspired by Tanya) with a sweet potato hash that has celery, onion, peppers, zucchini and corn. I have been eating the sweet potatoes, raw, the entire time. I love them.

Thanks for stopping by. I will try not to be a stranger.