Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Hey friends Smile

I’m in a bit of a hurry, but I wanted to share another recipe with you!

Yesterday was spent out of the house doing errands and a bit of unanticipated babysitting. Aka: I did not have time to study all day. So I’ve got to hop to it today!

Last week I made this chocolate chip banana bread so that we would have something sweet for dessert after dinner…

Except we ate it for breakfast, snack, and maybe even dinner once?

It’s so good! And it’s especially good because my appetite has been out of this world lately. And all I want to do is eat. And eat. And eat. I’m only on my fourth week of marathon training, but boy-oh-boy my hunger has increased to insane levels!!

When I do snack, I try to grab something healthy.

Like this bread Winking smile With peanut butter smeared on top, it is the perfect pre (or post!)-run snack!

And the boyfriend loved it. And has requested it two times since we ran out.

So without further procrastination, I give you:

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread (recipe from Veganomicon)

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Ingredients:

  • 2 large very ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. molasses (or maple syrup)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup chocolate chips (optional!)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Spray 9×5 inch pan with cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas really, really well. Add applesauce, sugar, oil, molasses and whisk briskly to mix together. Sift in the flour, baking soda, spices and salt. Using a wooden spoon mix the wet ingredients in with the dry. Transfer to pan and bake for 45-50 minutes.

The top should be lightly browned. Let cool for 10 minutes.

And that’s it! Open-mouthed smile

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Funny story– While making this, my mind was so scattered that I forgot to put in the applesauce, so I had to scoop everything out of the pan, back into a bowl to mix it in!

Then I put it back into the pan, stuck it into the oven and set the timer for 45 minutes later. After the timer went off, I go to open the oven- expecting to see a lovely, delicious-smelling loaf staring back at me-only to see a flat, some-what browned dough pitifully sitting there.

I forgot to turn on the oven! The whole time it had just been sitting there. Then I did a round 2 and got it right Winking smile What a day that was though!

Have you ever done something like that? Any funny cooking stories to tell? Open-mouthed smile

Okay, this was a short post but I’ve got to get busy! My notes aren’t going to study themselves Winking smile I also have a 5 mile run that I’m supposed to do later, perhaps I’ll make it interval training?? Since it is currently Lightning outside.

Off I go! See ya on Friday (when I have my very first IKEA trip!)! Must not spend entire savings in store. Must not spend entire savings in store. Must not spend entire savings in store.

 

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DIY: Homemade Syrup

Hi friends Smile

Thank you for all of the comments regarding the registration for my first marathon! I’m still very excited Open-mouthed smile 

You know, I’m the kind of girl that plans her weekends a week in advance. I think of how I want to get my exercise in, what I will be cooking, where the boyfriend and I will go for date night…things of that sort.

But-this morning I slept in until 10 a.m. (who am I?!! I’m usually up by 8 o’clock everyday!) and wanted nothing more than to stay in my pajamas all day. Maybe read a little of my new book, watch a movie, or just…do nothing.

It’s rainy and cold out Storm cloud – 48 degree temps! Which I can’t believe, because just the other day I had the windows open and was wearing shorts and flip flops! I am now snuggled in under two layers of clothing with fuzzy slippers daintily hanging off of my feet Winking smile 

Yesterday was a busy day and went just as I had planned. Jason had to work until 4 p.m., so I took that time to do my 10 mile run. On the tread mill. It was rainy out Sad smile It went by quickly though! I owe that to HGTV being on the screen in front of me! (Yay House Hunters!)

Jason and I had our date night at an Indian restaurant in Charlotte. Situl Indian Cuisine is delicious! The place was too dark for any pictures, but trust me – it’s great! After the meal, we drove back home to watch Due Date (dumb movie) and I promptly fell asleep on the couch.

——————————————————————–

There is a certain meal that I’ve been looking forward to all week:

Peanut Butter Pancakes with Homemade Strawberry Syrup

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The homemade strawberry syrup was not part of the original plan. I was going to use plain ol’ maple syrup that you can find in a grocery store, but that’s boring! As I went to look for some in the fridge, I thought to myself: Why do you always use maple syrup! It’s nothing but corn syrup anyway, and I’m sure you could just make your own.

Okay!

This was a no-brainer. So easy to make. And when paired with the vegan peanut butter pancakes? Amazing! Without further ado, here is the recipe:

Strawberry Syrup

*You can replace the strawberries with any other fruit! Have peach syrup, or blueberry syrup! The possibilities are endless!*

  • 1 qt. strawberries, quartered
  • 1/4 cup pure cane sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. water
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

Add all ingredients in sauce pan over medium heat. Stir around pan to coat strawberries well, bring to a simmer. Lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour contents of pan, including the liquid, into a blender. Blend together until there are no more strawberry chunks (about 30 seconds). Leave in blender while you make the pancakes.

Peanut Butter Pancakes (vegan) Makes 10-12 pancakes

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/4 cup soy milk
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chunky peanut butter

Directions:

Add flour, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add remaining ingredients in another small bowl. Place griddle over medium heat to warm.

Mix wet and dry ingredients together, stirring just until combined. Spray heated pan with cooking spray, scoop batter using a 1/4 cup dry measuring cup. Pancakes are ready to flip once they bubble along the outside edges.

Serve with the strawberry syrup on top!

It was yum Smile Jason loved it. The strawberries cooking on the stove will make your house smell amazing, by the way!

I’m pretty sure I will be making our syrups from now on! It contains real fruit and you know exactly what the ingredients are! You can’t beat that Open-mouthed smile

Well my friends, I have a new book staring at me in the face! The Help still hasn’t been returned to the library (I’m next on the waiting list!) but my friend let me borrow The Hunger Games Smile 

I’m excited to crack it open! School Hope you are having warmer weather than we are! Happy Sunday Smile

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No Turning Back

I did it!

I’m officially registered for my first marathon!

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The race is November 5th in Savannah, GA. I will be running the Rock-N-Roll Marathon Smile Sounds fun!

They are going to have different bands playing throughout the race while we run!

I’ve been putting off registration for a long time. I’m not sure why! I would go to the website, look over the details, click the ‘Register’ button but then back out! My heart starts beating fast and I get all panicky, but after a little pushing from THCV follower, Julie, I finally signed up Open-mouthed smile

 

Now that it’s official, I’m super nervous/excited/scared/happy/EVERYTHING!!

My training plan began two months ago, but then was on pause for a little while because of traveling and injury…but this week it’s back on. Today is a 5-miler and this weekend is a 10!

As I train, I’m realizing that I like longer runs much more than I do shorter ones. Short runs feel rushed and hurried. I can’t relax into the run, but anything over 5 is good Smile

I’m not sure if I’ll run a complete 26 miles before the marathon. I don’t really feel the need to, but my training plan has me doing it.

 

For those of you that have run a marathon, did you do a 26 mile run before the race? Were you as nervous as I am after signing up for your first one?!!! Winking smile

I think for both of my half-marathons, I completed up to 11 mile runs before the race. Come race day, the extra 2 miles didn’t bother me a bit. I’m wondering if it’s the same for a marathon? Like, if I just did a 22 mile run, would the extra 4 bother me on race day?

I’m thinking too much! Must stop!

Any advice or words of wisdom you can give would be awesome!

Oh- I’ve also applied to a local university for their Exercise Science program. Fingers crossed that I get an acceptance letter soon!!!! Open-mouthed smile

T.T.T-Target Those Triceps

Hey there!

Today is going to be quite busy, so I thought I’d go ahead and get blogging out of the way Smile Plus- I know you are dying to try this new move I’m going to show you, hehe Winking smile

But first, let me tell you about my week (so far)!

Monday I treated myself to an evening hot yoga class in Charlotte. I was reluctant to go but knew that I needed to with all of the working out I have been doing. I haven’t done a long yoga session in about 3 weeks (Surprised smile) and I can feel it all over my body. Before the class, I was tense and wound-up like a rubber band. I needed to be stretched and loosened.

It turned out to be one of the best yoga classes I’ve ever been to! There were so many people there, and I was able to get a space right next to the heater Smile There were a lot of standing splits, cheetahs, and turbo dogs. Have you ever experienced a turbo dog? It hurts!!!!! I could tell that I was being challenged because I was getting angry in my mind, hehe. Whenever I find a move challenging or really hard to do, I start getting angry and thinking things like “How long is she going to make us hold this pose? This is stupid! Aughhh, just a few more seconds Stacey, don’t fall out of the pose!” Open-mouthed smile

Anywho, the class also inspired me to show you guys one of my favorite yoga-inspired triceps workouts! But that’s later Winking smile

First- yesterday was a glorious day.

My best friend, Ashley, and I met in downtown Belmont for a little walking and chatting

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Belmont is maybe 2 miles from Cramerton. Jason and I have thought about buying a house here, but we will probably end up in Cramerton. Though, I could always hop on my bike (or run!) to Belmont if need be! That would definitely be fun to do when they have the “Movie in the Park” thing going on in the summer Open-mouthed smile

After a bit of walking, we decided to stop and eat lunch at The String Bean.

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This was my 3rd time eating here, and the last two times left me unimpressed. I was hoping this time would be different!

I ordered the eggplant sandwich with a side of sweet potato fries. The sandwich came on rosemary focaccia with pesto (vegan), tomatoes and greens.

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It was “meh”. Thinking smile The fries were only lukewarm and didn’t have any seasoning on them, and the sandwich was warm in the middle but not on the outside (? What’s up with that?!) And it was also pretty bland. For what they charge, they seem to really skimp on quality (is my opinion). Ashley didn’t really care for her steak wrap either. Boo. Not sure I’ll be going there again!

But I did have this little cutie there to distract me from my dissatisfaction Winking smile 

Meet baby Ryan:

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He likes to watch me with this intense expression every time we see each other.

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When he isn’t staring into my eyes, he’s chewing on things! Those teethers (that’s what I call them) are coming in!

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There was drool galore. Smile

After eating, we did more walking and window shopping…

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Wedding cakes! I’ve decided that when I get married, I will be making my own cake Birthday cake And it will be vegan, except no one will know…muhahahahahahaha Devil 

Sorry bout that Winking smile. Moving on!

A little ways down the street, we stumbled upon a dessert bar/coffee house and went in to see what they had. I conversed with the woman at the counter about their soy options, and what I could get. After a few minutes I finally decided on a peanut butter mocha freeze made with soy milk.

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Mmmmmmm. I took a few sips and exclaimed aloud: “Tastes like a Reese Cup!” It was yum Smile But, I think there may have been milk ingredients in the powder that was used Sad smile I had the worst stomachache for the rest of the day. [That is usually the case when I accidentally have animal product these days! My tummy can’t handle it anymore!]

And that was my day!

I managed to drag myself to the gym later that afternoon for a short 3 mile run, which made my stomachache disappear for a while!

Then I came home to do this video Smile Please enjoy!

*I had to this quickly because the camera battery was about to run out. The move is done a little faster than how I do them in real life. I usually hold the up dog for 2 seconds, then slowly lower down to chatarunga and hold that for 3*  My form is a little off as well, but you get the idea!

This move came from Baron Baptiste’s Long & Lean yoga series. It’s great! Do two reps of 10 and you’ll be feeling it!

Triceps Workout

 

Time to scrub some toilets (woo hoo)!

 

Stacey’s Corner

or “What I’m Loving Now” Smile

This weekend I did a run in my new (cute!) tank from Sports Authority! And it’s safe to say that this is the best workout shirt I’ve ever had. A company called “Alo” made it and I’m definitely going to try to find more gear from them!

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It’s made mostly out of bamboo and the material is so light and airy. It kept me dry the entire run – which was on an 83 degree day, might I add! (I have no affiliation with them whatsoever, I just happen to really like the tank top and want to sing it’s praises Open-mouthed smile Laaaaaaaa-laaaaa!)

At the moment, I am also loving this:

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It wasn’t next up on my list ( The Help was) but it was the only book on my list that was available at the library! Living in a small town sometimes has it’s cons. I wish my local library would order more copies of one book, and not just two. I’m on the waiting list for like, 10 items!

Anyway, I’ve never seen the movie but I plan on watching it once I’m finished with the book Smile Also- side note: If you are an avid reader then I would love to recommend you to a website called Goodreads.com! You can make a list of books you’ve read/want to read/ currently reading and it will suggest other books to you as well Open-mouthed smile It’s pretty awesome! You can also have buddies on there, so find me at ALRader or by my email: raderana@yahoo.com.

Moving on- my lovely mother gave me some $ to buy some new clothes. Wouldn’t-cha know that I went and spent most of it on things like this:

 

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(So good. So creamy. So…decadent. It won’t last long, I can promise you that. Winking smile)

And this…

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And these

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Ok. So I didn’t spend my entire wad of cash on food just most of it ! I was able to find a cute purse and a much-needed sports bra in between all of this foodie madness Smile Don’t be too disappointed, mom!

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I can see her shaking her head in shame right now. But that’s okay Smile What do you expect when you give a foodie some spending money?!

This just in: My cat seems to think my new purse is his new bed. He’s been laying on it for almost an hour and I don’t have the heart to push him off Cat face 

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He is always fur-ing up my new stuff. Good thing we keep lint rollers in every corner of the house! Hehe Winking smile

Speaking of animals – I am also loving how Trixie chaperones the cat when he goes outside Open-mouthed smile They are so cute together!

We don’t usually let the cat out, but on a nice day we will leave our front door open to get a breeze going in the house, and every time the cat ventures outside, Trixie goes with him and follows him around. It warms my Red heart .

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I also love how my wonderful boyfriend has been treating me to H&M Deli every weekend!

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He always orders the same thing: a triple meaty, mc-meaty sandwich with three layers of bread and some ooey gooey sauce that runs down his hands. It does look pretty delicious though! And I always get the House Wrap with a bunch of crunchy veggies, hummus, avocado and s’more stuff I can’t remember Smile

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Now listen closely, because this is very important.

If you have never made a vegan meal in your life, and never intend to – please, please, please make this dish below. It doesn’t have to be vegan! You can add shredded baked chicken to it or whatever you like, but it’s awesome and I would feel like a terrible person if I didn’t share the recipe! Plate

Vegan Pot Pie (adapted from Veganomicon)

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Ingredients:

For the stew…

  • 3 small red potatoes, diced
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 leeks, washed well, thinly sliced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 cup carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • several pinches black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas
  • 1 (15 oz.) can navy beans

For the cornbread topping…

FYI: the original recipe calls for drop biscuits, but I like cornbread more. If you would like to do the biscuits and have a homemade recipe for them, simply prepare them and add the dough in drops around the casserole. Bake for the same amount of time (15 minutes).

  • 1 cup soy or rice milk
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar or lime juice
  • 3 tsp. canola oil
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Directions-

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place potatoes in small pot to boil. Cover, bring to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes. While those are cooking, prepare (chop) the rest of your vegetables and start on your crust.

To prepare the crust, mix together the soy milk and vinegar in a measuring cup. Stir together and set aside to let the milk curdle. Place the oil in a large mixing bowl, beat in the milk and the rest of the ingredients until just moistened. Do not over-mix. Set aside, and go back to the veggies.

In a bowl, mix the cornstarch and vegetable broth until it’s dissolved. Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the leeks, onions and carrots in the oil for about 10 minutes (until the leeks are soft).Add the garlic, thyme, pepper, and salt. Stir. Add in the potatoes, peas and beans. Pour in the vegetable broth mixture, raise the heat on the stove just a little to get the mixture simmering.

Once it does, lower the heat back down and let simmer for about 7 minutes (no longer) and stir occasionally. Turn the burner off and grab a casserole dish for the transfer.

Spray the casserole dish with cooking spray, transfer the veggie mixture into the pan. Using a spoon, scrap a little bit of the cornbread dough out at a time, place it over the veggie mixture. Using the back of the spoon, spread it as much as you can.

Do this until most of the vegetables are covered. [It’s okay if you didn’t get all of them covered, it will spread more as it bakes!].

Place in the oven and cook for 15 minutes.

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Drool over the smells that come into your house. And when you take it out, be sure to offer a little prayer to the food Gods above Smile

And as you eat, be very, very thankful that there is food like this in the world. Rainbow

Today is an “off” day for me. I went to boot camp and now I am about to shower and study my personal training stuff- which is another thing I am loving at the moment Winking smile 

I have another recipe coming up this week!

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It’s yum. Chocolatey. Healthy. It’s what’s for breakfast snack, lunch and dessert.

Also- be sure to check out my last post and my Facebook page! I’m trying to get at least 25 followers so I can advertise Smile 

See ya later taters!

Let’s make this a two-way convo! What are you loving right now? Winking smile

PS. I also have a new exercise move that is killer for triceps! It’s yoga-inspired and coming later this week! Maybe in video form?? We’ll see!

Rituals

Ritual: any practice or pattern of behavior regularly performed in a set manner.

This blog post was solely going to be about food journaling and how it changed my life (and health!) for the better…but as I got to thinking, I realized that it was many small rituals that helped me change my lifestyle to a healthier one, so why not mention all of them? Winking smile

The word “ritual” seems to have a religious connotation, but that’s not what I’m talking about here. So no, we will not be sacrificing any animals or boyfriends up to God today. Smile (Well maybe the boyfriends if they don’t behave)

When I first started my health journey back in………2007? 2008? – I can’t remember! But it was a long time ago! – The first thing I did, before blogging even, was to start a food journal.

An actual written one.

At the time, I weighed close to 140 pounds and was ready to shed the extra weight and start eating better. I should also mention that I had a very twisted self-image and was depressed most of the time.

It was around this time when I started school to become a Dietetic Technician. My textbooks taught me more about food and health. I learned how to read food labels and portion out my serving sizes.

And I incorporated all of that knowledge into my food journal. I read every label I picked up, I also counted calories like there was no tomorrow! It may seem a bit extreme  to some, but I had a weight-loss goal and I have to say that calorie counting works.

I read so many labels, that after a couple of months, I had them all memorized and didn’t need to look at them anymore. For foods that were eaten out, I simply used the calorieking.com website! It’s a great tool! You can find almost any food from any restaurant or grocery store on there! It’s great! Open-mouthed smile

Anywayfood journaling became a ritual. It was something I did 3 (usually more!) times a day, without thinking twice about it. Not only did I write down my food, I also wrote down my feelings about the food: how I felt when I ate, how I was feeling in general that day, what else was going on in my life…things of that sort.

About once a week, I would look back through my pages and read them again. Doing so helped me realize that I’m a stress eater and I also eat out of boredom. It also helped me realize that I was way too strict/hard on myself if I had an extra dessert or a second helping of dinner.

It also made me shockingly aware of how much I hated my body and myself:

Page 8: “…feeling bloated and fat. Blegh”

Page 12: “..my arms are so fat and jiggly. Hope this strength training is working!”

Page 13: “..HATE MY BODY. Bloated and fat. UGhhhhhhh”

Page 16: “…I really wanna lose 15 pounds. Gut is sticking out and is so disgusting. Never going to eat another carb again.”

Sad smile I can’t believe I ever talked about myself in that way! It makes me really sad to think that I had such a negative/unappreciative view of myself.

I kept up the ritual of journaling for two years. I also started a blog in that time, but I kept a paper journal on the side to carry with me. The more I wrote, the more I could see that my view of myself was changing.

And of course I backtracked a little. And my strictness about not having dessert became obsessive (much to the point where I would sniff chocolate, but not eat it!)…but there came a time that I felt confident enough in my ability to live a healthy lifestyle, when I finally stopped food journaling.

When I finished, I had 3 notebooks full of food, feelings and thoughts.

I have to say that food journaling was my first healthy ritual.

Even if I talked terribly about myself and didn’t allow my mouth one bite of chocolate – it was who I was at the time. And writing helped me get through it. As did the blog world. As did my wonderful boyfriend. Smile

So today, I continue to start healthy rituals. They always come about unknowingly at first, and then I start to do them everyday, or every few days…and boom! You have a healthy ritual that is born!

Running became one of my rituals a long time ago…

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…and just this past year, cooking has taken over as one of my favorite rituals Smile

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I also tend to hop into to crows pose at least once a day! I’m not sure where this ritual came from, I just started doing it every day and now it’s like I have to have my crows-pose time! Smile I guess it makes me feel in control for a few minutes? Whatever it is, me likey!

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Right now, I am trying to incorporate a new ritual into my daily life. And that would be: meditation.

I’m sure you’ve read about the trouble I have with turning off my brain before bedtime. Or how I’m always thinking of something to do, or some way to stay busy… Well, I figure if I can get the hang of it, that meditation may help that. Smile

So I started on Monday night with 3 minutes of sitting cross-legged, eyes closed and a small smile on my face. For some reason, that night, it came to me extremely easily. I felt calm, happy and rejuvenated afterwards…but not so much for the next two nights!

It will take some doing, but I’m getting there! Winking smile

I think the point of this post is to encourage others to start their own healthy rituals, no matter how small they may be.

Maybe have a fruit with breakfast every morning, or make time for a 15 minute walk every evening.

No matter what the ritual is, it can only lead to better things. I promise you.

But you have to be willing to want and make the change, because living a healthy lifestyle is not a short-term thing, it’s a life-changing event with you in charge.

If you are starting the journey, there are two things I can tell you:

  1. You will make mistakes and probably back-track. But that’s okay Smile
  2. It is so worth it.

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Next week I have two new recipes coming attcha! Including the vegan pot pie from above. It’s hands-down – the best vegan dish I’ve ever made. It would be a sin not to share it with you Smile

Bye for now!

PS. It’s 82 degrees today! Trixie and I will be outside for most of the day, in shorts and flip flops too! Island with a palm tree Well, I will be at least Winking smile

The Exercise Gods

are totally against me this week.

So, as you guys know, my running has been hindered by The Frog for the past few days. Yesterday was the first day that my legs felt completely normal and ready to get back out there and run.

I throw on my best running gear, download a few new songs to my IPOD Mobile phone, and walk into the gym with a little extra pep in my step (it was raining out, or else I would’ve ran outside!).

Wouldn’t you know that two minutes after I walk through the doors, the power goes out. Are you kidding me?!

 

After waiting around 5 minutes to see if they are going to come back on, it’s clear that they are not. At least, not any time soon. People started leaving, but the gym wasn’t shutting down, so I figure I could use the weight machines and get my cardio in a different way.

Our gym has huge windows all over the place, so there was enough light to workout by. And (to make it even more annoying) the other cardio machines worked – just the treadmills and lights were out. Just my luck, eh? Winking smile

So I made do with what I had:

  • 30 decline push-ups
  • 30 reverse chest flies
  • 3×15 jumping squats
  • 3 wall squats (hold for 1 minute)
  • walking planks (as many as I could do in 1 minute, 3 sets)
  • 30 back extensions
  • 15 assisted pull-ups (I can now lift 76 pounds of my own body weight, with no help!!)
  • 100 bicycle crunches
  • 15 minutes on stairs
  • 30 bicep curls

It was a decent workout, but I still miss my running! One of these days (like tomorrow) I’ll get to it!

Moving on —

Last night I had a terrible time falling asleep. I think I’ve gotten maybe 6 hours total of sleep in the past two days. I was still awake when Jason came to bed around 2 a.m.

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My alarm went off at 5:20 for boot camp, so I rolled out of bed and went to do some exercise in the early morning hours. Clock

Thank goodness we didn’t do frogs today!!! We did incorporate jump rope into our routine today and that was fun! I miss jumping rope (I sold mine a while back)! It’s such a great exercise, and can even burn more fat and calories than running Smile

 

My body felt extremely tired after boot camp. Something in the back of my head was telling me to go home, crawl back in bed and get some sleep.

But I ignored it.

Instead-I made myself busy fixing Jason and I some breakfast and once that was consumed, I started cleaning house. I never know when to stop. To prove that to you a little more:

I wanted to go see my me-maw today and I figured that since it’s in Charlotte, why don’t I go ahead and attend a hot yoga class while I’m down there too? My muscles could really use the stretching and the detoxifying sweat will feel really nice.

So onward I went!

My me-maw and I talked for a long while, and then it was time for me to get to class. [Pic is from two years ago!]

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That little voice in the back of my head popped up again: “Stacey, you are doing too much. You are wearing me out, go get some sleep, read a book, lay on the couch…RELAX. Don’t make me act a fool!”

Me: “Hush up, brain! You know you want some yoga!”

Well, guess what? It didn’t want yoga. It wanted sleep.

I got to the studio 30 minutes too early, so I crawled in the back seat of my car to “rest” until the class started. I fell right asleep. In fact, I woke up only because someone in the car next to me accidentally set off their car alarm.

I also missed the first 15 minutes of class. Boo.

That’s how my body won that fight. Winking smile  If I ever needed a sign, that sure was it! I woke up feeling terrible. My muscles ached, my brain was in that gooey state-of-conscious and it felt like every single that I did took such a terrible effort.

Instead of driving home right away, I decided to stick with my lunch plans and head to Earth Fare for big ol’ make-it-yourself salad Open-mouthed smile

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It costs me $10 (!) but it sure was good! It had – and let’s see if I can remember it all – mixed greens, chickpeas, red peppers, cabbage, tomatoes, cucumber, herbed sweet potato chunks, Asian noodles, mandarin oranges, artichokes and a stuffed grape leaf on the side Open-mouthed smile YUMMO. I ate everything but the grape leaf! Actually, I ate what was inside the grape leaf – lemon and dill risotto! <—must try to recreate this at home! It was out-of-this-world amazing!

The real star of the show was my vegan vanilla cupcake that I picked up for dessert Winking smile

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Don’t let the picture fool you, it was huge. Massive. And I ate every bite Open-mouthed smile Though, it was way too sweet for my taste, and I kind of felt sick halfway through. I still finished it because I’m not known for leaving even the tiniest crumb of a dessert left behind Smile

There was an Honest Tea that was had with my fabulous lunch:

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Now I’m home and exhausted. Ready to crawl in bed, pull the sheets over my head and succumb to my sleepiness. Sleepy smile <—that’s me yawning.

I really need to learn that I don’t have to be busy all the time. I’m the type that feels guilty (why? I have no idea!) if I’m just sitting here, not doing anything. It’s not my fault though, I inherited this from my mom. Winking smile 

Before I go, let me just say how in love with Larabars I have become!

So far this week, I’ve had these two:

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These are yummy, but I think my favorite is still the “Coconut Cream Pie” bar Smile 

Also, I have a great post about Rituals coming up on Friday (it was supposed to be written today, but like I said – my brain is in a gooey state)!

Now let’s see if I can finish Eat, Pray, Love tonight! Please, dear Lord let me finish it. The more I read, the more I scream at her in my head. I’m ready for a new book! School I’m thinking maybe The Help or the Harry Potter series is next!

Fun, fun!

Bye for now lovies Red heart

PS. I’ve stared meditating. More on THAT Friday!

Do ‘The Frog’

Hey friends Smile

How has the weekend treated you? We are having lovely Sun weather here in N.C.! Yesterday is was 70 and today it will be 72! Hooray!

Our weekend has been a mixture of relaxation and trip-planning. Jason is flying out to Maryland today for a week on business, so we’ve been trying to spend some time together before he leaves!

Friday started with a homemade [delicious] meal and a bit of Weeds watching Winking smile

Pineapple – Quinoa- Cashew Stir-Fry

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This was so easy  to make! The sweetness of the pineapple mixed with the saltiness of the cashews was out of this world Open-mouthed smile After 3 bites, Jason declared it one of his favorite vegan meals! So, I guess it’s a winner? Winking smile

Saturday was supposed to be a long run day, but there was no way that was happening.

My legs are so sore from boot camp, and they have been that way since Wednesday!

We have incorporated a “new move” into our routine, and it is called “The Frog”.

Shall I demonstrate?

Okay!

First- you start in a low-squat position with your hands in front of you touching the ground:

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Then- you jump with all your might as far as you can, propelling your body forward:

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And land in a squat again.

Our instructor had us doing these (nonstop!) for the length of a baseball field- across and back! Holy crap, it hurts like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. We did them Friday too (before my legs even had time to recover) and now I can hardly sit down without wincing in pain, haha Smile

I hate that I’ve missed two of my runs, but the marathon isn’t until November! I’ve got plenty of time to make those 15 miles up Winking smile

Anyway-back to my weekend!

Saturday we took our pup to the park and then we had to make a trip to TJ Maxx for luggage-purchasing! We have a brand-new, updated TJ Maxx and it’s so pretty inside! They had a ton of cute things that I wanted to buy, but one has to be a bit frugal when saving for college Winking smile

I did, however, treat myself to an iced coffee at Books-A-Million while we were out and about Coffee cup

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Jason ordered a Mocha Frappuccino with lots of whipped cream and syrup on the top, I might’ve drooled over his drink for a little longer than usual Winking smile

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After our coffee break, we went to Kohl’s so that I could try to find a bookstand for my cookbooks! It gets so frustrating trying to prop them up while I’m cooking! Luckily, I found one on clearance for $6 Open-mouthed smile And I finally got to use the gift card that was given to me at Christmas time, haha.

We decided to head back home and get some energy out before heading out for a pizza dinner Pizza

Running was out-of-the-question at this point, and so was walking (I just hurt all over, I tell ya!) so we decided to take advantage of this “athlete-down! athlete-down!” moment and shoot a little b-ball Open-mouthed smile

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That was the only shot I actually made Smile 

Jason is much better at basketball than I am, I’m more of a football person Winking smile

An hour later, our tummies started to growl, so it was time to head to Johnny B’s and eat some pizza! Yum, yum!

We ordered the “Garden Pizza” and they kindly put vegan cheese (that I had brought in) on half of it for me Smile It was just what I needed.

That pretty much sums up our weekend so far! Today, (if Jason ever wakes up!), we are headed to the gym [–strength training only! I want my legs to heal, darn it!-] and lunch before I have to drive him to the airport. And then it’s studying personal training stuff for me tonight Smile 

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By the way, I am almost done with Eat,Pray,Love and I have to say that I’m kind of getting annoyed with the writer. I know it’s about her “journey” and what-not but there are times when I feel she’s just being a big baby and I find myself wanting to scream “Stop being so whiny, and just get over it already! Geez!” I mean, the whole time she was in India, she pretty much wallowed in her own self-pity. You’re traveling to foreign countries! You could be worse off, I promise you.<—is what I say in my head Open-mouthed smile

Speaking of traveling:

I would like you guys to tell me about the city you live in. Do you like it?

Jason and I were talking about where we would like to live one day, the topic began because I mentioned how much I dislike the city we live in, and how it has nothing to offer us, no culture, and the highest un-employment rate in the whole state.

I would like to move out of this city one day. Jason doesn’t feel as strongly.

My hopes for another city would be that I could bike or walk to places if I needed to; that it would have more culture (museums, art festivals, movies-in-the-park, etc…) and better promise. Oh and maybe a few more original places to eat, and not just fast food or franchise restaurants! Smile

We’ve talked about Greenville, SC or Cary, NC. We both would like to stay in the south (Virginia being the cut off line!) but we aren’t really sure what cities are out there that are great.

So, if you would like to-please tell me about your city and why you love/hate it Winking smile

Bye for now! [Jason still isn’t up. It’s time to go play a little game that I like to call “Jumping-on-the-bed-alarm-clock]

FOOD.

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I’ve been crying over my food again.

Out of nowhere, I’ll get all teary-eyed and overcome with happiness and an unexplained sense of joy.

I’m serious.

This may be a problem… Whenever Jason and I sit down to eat a home-cooked meal, I think to myself “I hope I don’t start crying over this one!”

Case in point:

The other night I made a Mole Skillet Pie with Greens out of Veganomicon.

When I first started the recipe, I thought it would be a quick one. Just throw some stuff together and bake it.

Nope. First you have to make the “mole sauce” in a sauce pan and then blend it in a blender. This alone took about 45 minutes, but I was very happy to see that the recipe involved peanut butter AND dark chocolate!!! Open-mouthed smile

(Jason was happy about that too Winking smile )

So the more I cooked, the more my frustration about about how long it was taking, how many dishes were piling up, how hot it was to stand over the stove, just kind of melted away.

I had been cooking and preparing for a little over an hour now and the darn thing wasn’t even ready to go into the oven, but all of a sudden – I didn’t care.

Somewhere between washing the kale and sautéing the corn, I had been overcome with a feeling of gratitude and contentment.

I don’t think I can explain it but I will try Smile

Ever since going vegan, our meals have been mostly cooked at home. We used to eat out a couple times a week, but now we only eat out maybe once a week (if that). I’ve cooked almost half of the recipes in Veganomicon, and have tested a few recipes from other vegan cookbooks as well.

Cooking (and eating) vegan has opened my taste buds to a whole new world of flavor. You can actually taste the food. I mean the food itself , not chemicals and artificial flavoring that come with most foods. Going vegan has made me aware of where my food is coming from, and thankful that it has ended up in my hands.

This may seem a little extreme or weird, but if it does then so be it. Every time I sit down to eat a meal that I have just spent an hour (or more, if you are making Mole Skillet Pie Winking smile ) or so cooking, I feel extreme gratitude and humbleness. And – let it be known that I did not do this before being vegan – I actually pause before taking the first bite.

I take a minute to look at my food, at how delicious it looks, I tell myself and Mother Earth  “thank you” and then I eat.

After that first bite, my eyes close and the feelings come.

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I eat much slower than I used to, Jason is usually on his second plate by the time I am done with my first Smile

Food is something I don’t take for granted anymore.

On my way home from grocery shopping today, I was trying to think of a way that I could do something nice for Jason (he’s had a rough week at work)  and my first thought was: Cook for him. Make him a dish that he loves.

And then I realized: I do that already!! Then it hit me like a ton of bricks: If I love you, I will cook for you. Cooking is the way I show my upmost love and kindness to another person. To me, food is the perfect gift. Why? Well, because not only are giving food, you are passing along nourishment to another person. You are sharing all of your time and effort that went into that meal, with another person.

And what’s better than that? Smile (Nothing!)

Since cooking vegan, I’ve learned how to make a cornbread crust for almost any dish that one can think of putting together. I also have a home-made sauce rolodex in my head now, and can make about any sauce you can think of, vegan. I’ve also learned that the best desserts are, in fact, dairy-free and so much better and more light and fluffy than regular desserts. Also- that kale is not just a garnish anymore! We’ve been putting it in every thing lately! Soups, casseroles, stir fry…you name it Open-mouthed smile

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On an off-note: My mom thinks I’m becoming a hippie. Just the thought makes me want to crack up Rolling on the floor laughing

If by “hippie” she means more aware (read: thankful) of my surroundings, then she is probably right. I’ve become much more aware of humanity and mother Earth. We belong to it, not the other way around. And while I’m here, I plan to do my part to take care of her, to bring happiness to others with food (and hopefully one day, fitness!) and a kind heart. Red heart

And who knows, maybe I’ll get that back in return? Winking smile

PS. I also hope to obtain super powers that will allow me to save every animal that needs to be rescued Cat face Is that shooting too far? Winking smile

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Thoughts on “Eat,Pray, Love”

Hey guys Smile 

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(The cat says “hey” too)

This weekend has been so busy! It seems like every time Jason and I want to have a relaxing ‘do-whatever-comes-to-mind’ weekend, it gets busy by a lot of small chores that turn into big ones!

Case in point: The leak under the kitchen sink should’ve only taken a few minutes to fix. Tighten a bolt here, tighten a bolt there. But no, it resulted in us driving to Lowe’s for a completely new faucet since the other one was unable to be repaired.

And while at Lowe’s, we decided to buy a new ceiling fan that has a light fixture in it for our living room. And then we decided to go to Wal-Mart for random things we needed around the house…do you see where this is going?

At least we have a working faucet and ceiling fan? Open-mouthed smile 

We did make time for a nice lunch at our favorite deli, H&M in Cramerton!

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This picture was taken right before a stranger came up to me and complimented me on my hair Smile It’s so nice when someone does that Smile

I had the same thing I had last time: House Wrap with chips and a un-sweet tea!

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Ohmygah. So good. Probably the highlight of my weekend Winking smile

Oh, but I can’t forget my nine mile run on the treadmill yesterday. That’s the farthest I’ve ever ran on a treadmill at one time. The skies were rainy all weekend, so there really wasn’t any other choice!

It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, and I didn’t really get that bored either (I guess Pretty Woman playing on the TV in front of me kind of helped too Winking smile ) I’m also very proud to announce that my running speed has increased from a 10 minute mile to a 9:30-9:20 minute mile!!!! Speed intervals work. Fo’ shizzle.

 

Changing subjects-

Last week I also got my hands on this:

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This book is pretty good so far. I’m only on the second “chapter” (or “book”).

I have to say that I am kind of relieved to hear someone else’s point of view about having children past the age of 30.

I agree with her when she says that society puts pressure on women to have children, and that the clock starts ticking at 30.

I don’t know about you guys, but all of my friends are already married and have children. They are my age. And I kind of feel like the odd-ball out because I don’t want children right now. I have no problem having children in my mid-30’s. Age doesn’t really seem like a big deal to me.

*I know that there are risks with having children at an older age*. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I don’t feel the need to have kids because “my clock is ticking” or “time is running out”. I’ll have them when I’m ready, and if that’s at 35, then that is a-ok with me Winking smile

It was just a relief -to me- when she decided to get out of her marriage. I don’t think one should have to live up to society’s expectations. Who says every woman has to be a mother, or their lives are “incomplete” or “unfulfilled”?

To me, life is what you make it. You are in charge of your destiny.

Sorry! That’s my two cents Open-mouthed smile 

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

I saw the movie last week, before I started reading the book, and I think the book is so much better than the movie!

Changing subjects again-

This morning I made an amazing hummus recipe that I must share with you guys!

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Spicy Hummus (adapted from “Food for Fitness” by Chris Charmichael)

  • 1 (14 oz.) can garbanzo beans (don’t drain! you need 3 Tbsp. of the juice)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1.5 Tbsp. tahini
  • 3/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 3 Tbsp. reserved bean liquid

Add all ingredients in a food processor (or blender, in my case!) and process until smooth, scraping the sides when needed. When creamy, put in bowl and grab some chips for dipping!

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Nomnomnom! Hope you enjoy! It’s a staple in our house now, and Jason loves it. We are also saving $ by making it at home! Smile Yay!

So, I have my “Food Journaling: The Best Weight Loss Tool” post all ready to post in the morning. It’s a heart felt post, I promise you. I feel very strongly about the benefits that food journaling can have on someone that is trying to lose weight.

Also – A Boot Camp Update

We have been incorporating tougher moves into our morning workout, including: burpees, wall squats, speed training and very long plank holds (I’m talking 1:30 seconds plank holds! Ouch!). It’s become a harder class and I’m glad for that.

The other day we were out there at 6 a.m. in the pouring rain doing push ups. I’m sneezy now, but I’ll get over it if I chug on some orange juice and remember to take my vitamin!. Winking smile

That’s all for now, lovies. I’ve got to go study my personal training books! See you tomorrow!