Over the past couple of days, I’ve been feeling a little blah – really tired, and not motivated to workout at all. I think it’s just because I’ve been go-go-going all the time for the past couple of months, and I need a break, but it still sort of gives you an uneasy feeling when you’re not yourself.
Then, the other night, I came across this picture on Instagram:
I don’t remember this quote from the movie, so I could be taking it totally out of context, but still, I believe it. When you’re faced with something, you can either dwell on it, worry about it, and stress over it (like I usually do), or you can choose to look at it from a positive perspective, tackle it head on, and overcome it.
Sure, me feeling a little less-than-energized certainly isn’t the biggest problem going on in the world right now, but it’s still applicable. I could lay in my bed and cry about how lazy I feel, or I can just embrace it, take some time off, rest, relax, and recover. And that’s what I’m going to do!
Attitude change #1: I did make it to the gym yesterday morning, but my neck was killing me, and I really just wasn’t feeling it (again), so I did some heavy 5×5 shoulder presses and a WOD with 5 rounds of 9 cleans, 6 push presses, and 3 overhead squats at 55lbs and called it a day. Normally, I would’ve beat myself up over the fact that it wasn’t as “intense’” as I would’ve liked, but instead, I gave myself a lot of credit for just getting out of bed and moving around a bit.
Attitude change #2: For breakfast, (after going back and forth with the whole should I?/shouldn’t I? debate a million times) I decided to stop at Dunkin Donuts and get a chocolate chip bagel. Normally, I would abstain because of the inevitable stomach ache, and then the whole feeling-bad-because-I-knew-that-would-happen thing… But you know what? I wanted a bagel. So I got a bagel. And I enjoyed every bite of it.
Attitude change #3: Instead of sitting at my desk during lunch, wishing I was at home/in bed/at the beach/anywhere-but-here, I took my food and my book outside to the picnic table. I brought chicken (with crushed red pepper), and brussels sprouts and broccoli (with sundried-tomato and basil spices and olive oil) that I roasted in the oven, plus carrots, figs, and a dark chocolate square, and it was delicious.
I read a bit, and then my friend joined me while we ate – and it’s seriously amazing what a few minutes to yourself, some delicious, nutritious food, a little bit of sunshine, and good company can do for you!
My afternoon snack was a sliced Fuji apple with a handful of fruit and nut candy crunchies… delicious.
Attitude change #4: I had plans to workout with my friend after work, but when the day ended, all I wanted to do was go home and veg. That initially made me feel like a huge slacker, but instead of feeling bad about it, I decided to enjoy it. Free time doesn’t always come about that easily, so why not take advantage of an evening with nothing to do and just… do nothing?
For dinner, I heated up another serving of meatloaf + mashed cauliflower, this time adding green beans to the mix. To cook them, all I did was put them in a bowl with a little water and microwave them for a few minutes… easy peasy!
The rest of the night was spent on the couch… thoroughly relaxing. I caught up on a couple TV shows, read a little of my book, and got to bed early.
This morning, my alarm went off at the usual time… and I promptly turned it off and went back to bed for two more hours. I woke up the second time feeling like a million bucks – and not guilty at all.
There’s almost nothing you can’t overcome with the right outlook, so if you’re facing challenges right now – whether they’re big or small – I’d encourage you to change your attitude about it too. You will be surprised what just a small shift in perspective can do for you!
Have a great day!
Boy, have I got another great recipe for you today!
A few weeks ago, my coworker brought in this cashew crunch he bought at the store, and I loved it. It was made with nuts… seeds… and lots of sugar. But it did give me an idea to try and make my own, and I’m happy to say that the first attempt was a success!
My wonderful dad saw my post about kitchen gadgets and decided to give me his food processor, which is pretty much exactly like the one I was thinking about buying. (Thanks, Dad!) I put it to the test for this recipe, and it worked like a charm.
I think I’ve demonstrated pretty well by now that I’m not good at measuring out recipes, so I apologize, but I really don’t think you could mess this one up. Basically, I just threw a bunch of stuff together, hoped for the best, and luckily, the results were great.
For the base ingredients, you could really use any of your favorite nuts, fruits, or other trail mix ingredients, but I used a handful each of:
- Raw cashews
- Raw almonds
- Dried apricots
I put each into the food processor (one at a time – I’m still new at this) to chop them up, and then threw all of it back in together once more to get it good and mixed. I used the pulse function so that it was chopped, but not pulverized; you still want to be able to distinguish between the different pieces.
Once everything was all chopped and mixed, I transferred it to a bowl and added a few tablespoons of honey. (I really just squirted it straight into the bowl, but “a few tablespoons” sounds more professional, doesn’t it?) Using a rubber spatula, I mixed it all together until it formed sort of a sticky, sweet mass of goodness.
Then, with the oven preheated to 325*F, I sprayed a cookie sheet with cooking spray and spread out the mixture. I didn’t press it down or pack it together, but kind of just let it gently fall into place and then spread it out with my hands a bit. If you wanted more of a granola bar type deal, you could probably form it into a bar shape, pressed more tightly together, but I was going more for a broken up, chunky kind of thing.
I baked the mixture for about 10-15 minutes, until it was just starting to brown on the top and edges. (You don’t want to burn it, but if you undercook it, it will just be a melty, sticky mess.)
I let it cool on the cookie sheet for a while, before scooping it off with a spatula into the tupperware container I’m storing it in. It wasn’t quite as crunchy as the cashew crunch (all the sugar helps give it that crunch), but it was certainly sweet, chewy, and delicious – with a slight crunch from the nuts.
And besides that, it’s made with only real, natural, wholesome ingredients… and you can’t really go wrong with that! Of course, I never seem to make the same recipe twice (mostly, again, because I don’t actually measure things) but my head’s already spinning with ideas for other variations. A dark chocolate variety, perhaps?
What would you put into your version?
I’ve had an avocado in my fridge for quite some time now, and I’ve been waiting
patiently for it to ripen so that I could make a very special recipe out of it. I think you probably all know by now about my obsession for chocolate, but I’ve been really trying to get it in check in my pursuit of eating better. That said, I knew I’d have to replace my nightly dark chocolate chip extravaganza with something so that I didn’t end up dying a slow and painful death from chocolate withdrawals, and that’s where I was hoping this recipe would help!
A while back, I’d seen the recipe floating around Pinterest and on Julie’s blog, and it looked totally delicious. Then, when I saw it in my new Practical Paleo cookbook, I knew I finally had to try it. I was a little nervous about the ingredients but hey, if I can learn to love spaghetti made out of squash and spinach smoothies, why not chocolate mousse made with avocado? Just because it sounds weird doesn’t mean it tastes weird!
Last night, I finally pulled the trigger and attempted the recipe. My first problem, which I knew would be a problem going in, was that I don’t own a food processor. I decided to go ahead with it anyway though, using my GNC blender instead. I dug out the flesh of the avocado and into the blender it went – with my fingers crossed.
Along with the avocado went about 4 teaspoons of unsweetened cocoa powder, a couple teaspoons of honey, and a splash of water to get it all going. While this is all that’s included in Julie’s recipe, the Practical Paleo also calls for a ripe banana, and I would’ve included it if I’d had one. I think it would add a lot for the texture and sweetness, and I’m looking forward to trying it next time.
After a lot of blending, I ended up with a glorious chocolate masterpiece. It may not look like much, but let me tell you: it was delicious. I’m not a fan of avocados in general, but if you had asked me what this was made out of and I didn’t know, I never would have guessed. I swear.
Aside from the lack of banana, the only other drawback was that the texture wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for. I wanted it to be super creamy and smooth, and it was left a little chunky, as the blender didn’t quite do as good of a job as a food processor would have. That said, who wants to lend me their food processor so I can try it again? I promise there with be some chocolate avocado mousse in it for you.
I dipped some strawberries and fresh pineapple in it last night, and it was the perfect dessert-like snack. I’m already brainstorming all the other things you could do with this delicious concoction: dip graham crackers in it, top it with almonds, eat it straight out of the bowl with whipped cream and Oreos… Okay, maybe that last one is more of a dream, but it would make a really delicious chocolate cream pie filling.
I’ll be sure to report on a revised ingredients list and a food processor update next time I make it… because there will definitely be a next time!
Have you ever tried this recipe? What do you put in it?
Do you own a food processor and would you recommend buying one?
What weird ingredient combos do you love?
Last weekend, in an attempt to use up the million apples she had on hand from apple picking, my mom asked me to come up with a new recipe using the fruit. (I also think she just wanted to keep me busy, so thanks Mom.) She said she didn’t really want an apple crisp, but more of an apple cake, so I did a little bit of Googling, and then pretty much just went for it. I didn’t have much of an appetite for it last weekend, but my mom and her boyfriend seemed to really love it.
I started with a boxed vanilla cake mix, prepared according to the box’s directions, except for substituting an equal amount of applesauce for the oil. Subbing out the applesauce for oil not only gives it a hint of extra sweetness (perfect for an apple cake) but also makes the cake a bit healthier.
To the batter, I also added a heaping tablespoon (or two, I forget) of cinnamon and one of nutmeg.
Next came the apple peeling. This was probably the least fun part of the whole recipe, but hey, that’s what it takes!
I used four large apples, peeled and sliced very thin.
After I sprayed the Bundt pan, I layered the batter and apples three times, spreading a thin layer of apples in between each layer of batter.
On the top, I put a few more apples and a sprinkling of brown sugar to give it a little something extra.
Popped it in the oven according to the box’s directions (plus a little longer to account for the apples) and voila! We had a delicious apple cake.
After the cake was done, she asked me to make some applesauce too. I peeled about 8 large apples, chopped them up, and boiled them (loosely based on this method).
Once they were soft, I drained most of the remaining water, mashed them with a potato masher (does that thing have a real name?) and added a good bit of cinnamon. I told her I could add sugar if she wanted, since it would definitely be a little more tart than store-bought applesauce, but she seemed to like it as it was.
She texted me the other day saying she was eating it for a snack at work – how perfect. Simple, easy to make, healthy, delicious…
Just call me the apple lady, folks.
I woke up to another gloomy, dreary day in the neighborhood… no fun!
I wasn’t even that hungry when I woke up for some reason (okay, the reason probably was that when Billy decided to go for a piece of leftover graduation cake after dinner last night, I did too…) but I knew I needed to eat something before my workout. I decided to have a strawberry banana protein muffin and more fruit salad.
I just defrosted the muffin in the microwave for one minute on the speed defrost setting and it was perfect! It tasted like it was right out of the oven.
After breakfast, I found myself stalling and pushing off my workout for hours. I just really didn’t feel like getting on the treadmill, and the dark gloomy apartment wasn’t exactly a motivating factor. When I realized I had an errand to run on campus, I decided to just go for it and take my run outside. It was sprinkling quite a bit, but it felt good at the same time. A little rain won’t stop me!
I ran a little over a mile each way to campus and back, and got my errand and part of my workout done in one shot, all while also taking in some fresh air. It doesn’t get too much better than that!
When I got home, I browsed the blog a little bit to look for a core workout to do. It’s so nice being able to look back on past workouts and bring old ones back to life again! I just love having them all in one place. I picked this one and did a variation of it, which had my midsection burning.
Circuit One (3x):
- Reverse crunches
- Back extensions on Swiss ball
- Side bends with Swiss ball
- Swiss ball crunches
- Hip crossovers with Swiss ball
Circuit Two (3x):
- Sit ups
- Prone cobra
- Russian twists
- Reverse crunches with Swiss ball
- Side planks
Circuit Three (3x):
- Mountain climbers
- Overhead side bends with Swiss ball
By the time that was all over, I was hungry again for lunch. I’ve had a little bit of a craving for chips and salsa ever since I organized the cabinets a couple days ago and saw a bag of tortilla chips hiding, so I really wanted those, but I also wanted to finish up the rest of the chicken wings in the fridge.
It didn’t end up being the healthiest or most satisfying lunch, but you win some, you lose some, I guess. I basically just picked at the chicken wings. (They are definitely something that, for me, taste so good if I haven’t had them in a long time, but I only like them once in a while.) I did have some baby carrots on the side though, so at least there’s that!
After a quick shower, I ran to the grocery store to pick up some flyers of the party platters they make. Billy’s mom is planning an end-of-the-year BBQ for the seniors on Billy’s team, and I’m trying to help her out by acting as her local liaison.
Since the store is about ten minutes away, I tried to think of anything we needed instead of wasting the trip there. Toothbrushes were the only thing I could think of, but I‘m glad I did… Billy and I both are in need of new ones, and they were on sale Buy One, Get Two Free with my store card today!
Six for the price of two… score!!
It’s the little things in life, people.
Now I’m off to pack up some stuff to take with me to my parents’ houses this weekend. I figure the move will go a lot smoother if I do it little by little!
Do you enjoy being outside despite the weather?
Are you a bargain shopper?
It is like my dream to be on that TV show “Extreme Couponing”… maybe one day!