Juice Bar!

Ok, I’m very behind on sharing my first juice bar experience, but that’s alright. Last week, I had a bit of an episode with Karen and had to rush her to the vet on Tuesday afternoon for an emergency enema. Well, maybe it wasn’t an emergency, but it definitely needed to be done within a few days. I already feel like I’m losing a lot of you…Anyway, I dropped her off and headed to the Monongalia County courthouse downtown. I had some car registration stuff I needed to take care of and it was the only afternoon I knew I’d be in Morgantown.

I got everything taken care of and then decided to treat myself. If you haven’t dealt with courthouse stuff before, let me tell you it’s a pain. You can’t just go to one office to get something done. You’ve got to take this form to that woman and that form this woman. Oh and did I mention CASH ONLY when paying your registration? Don’t worry…if you don’t have cash, you can just take your sorry butt down to the DMV and wait for a million hours to pay it there. Luckily, I hit the ATM beforehand and had mucho cashola. (Not really.)

Back to the treat. So, I finished up and headed over to the new juice bar, Real Juice Bar & Cafe. The place was very charming and around six or seven customers currently seated at tables. Some were eating the avocado mash bagel and others were having smoothies and juice. I opted for a juice, since I was new to the experience. I got the Sweet Green, which had kale, apple, pineapple and lemon. It was delicious! I thought the kale would be really strong, but the apple and pineapple really mellowed it out.

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It wasn’t a lot of “bang for your buck,” but then again, I don’t think you’d want much more than that. I was full for a few hours after having this yummy drunk. I will definitely go back and try their other juices, but I’m most excited to try the bagel. It just sounds amazing. Check out their Facebook page from the link above and stop by for something new to try!

In sugar-free news, I’ve fallen hard. I’ve eaten sugar at least four times this week and can already tell what havoc it’s imposing on my body. My skin has broken out, my appetite is through the roof (mindless eating!) and I just don’t feel as good. It’s really amazing what a difference lower to no sugar can do to the body. Anyway, I hope to get back on track today and through the weekend. One thing I know will help is my new meal planning initiative. I created a meal planning template and have a binder ready for creation. My hope is that this will get me on a more consistent schedule with my trips to the store.

Ok, I’ll leave you with some pictures of my besties.

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Total cuties.

Getting Organized: How I Discovered My Cat’s Stash

Today I decided to go through Karen and Grace’s toy basket. It was beginning to overflow and to be honest, I was kind of curious what was in it. Now you may be thinking, “Well, what’s so interesting about a cat’s toy basket?” I’ll tell you.

My little girl Grace has been known, on occasion, to swipe numerous objects around my house. Things go missing and we always assume it’s her. Our assumption was right.

Toy Basket
As you can see from the picture above, our little miss sticky fingers has outdone herself.

Apparently she went to see Friday the 13th in theaters a few years ago and it looks like some kind of rave at another date.

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I found the whole thing pretty amusing. Anyway, this little cleaning adventure, while it was long overdue, was made in part by the inspiration of A Bowl Full of Lemons. I found this blog on Pinterest one day and immediately got sucked in. The whole site has amazing tips on how to keep your home clean, organized and looking great. One tip was to spend no more than a minute or so going through each room in your house and putting away things that are out of place every day. This has always been something I’ve struggled with, but after reading that tip, I realized it was something I should have no problem managing. Check out the site for some great tips!

Ok, that’s it for me. I’m getting ready to head off to yoga! Have a good one.

Workout Challenge for Tonight: Try to complete as many pushups as possible. Record your number and then repeat tomorrow night. See if you can add at least 5 pushups on to your original number by Wednesday!

Hot Yoga!

Well, I went to my first yoga class this evening. Actually, let me correct myself. I went to my first hot yoga class this evening and actually really liked it! The idea of sweating in a room full of strangers always gave me the creeps before, but this was actually very fun. The studio fit about 25 of us pretty tightly, but everyone seemed to have room to grow branches during tree pose. The temperature read 91 degrees (Fahrenheit), but mid way through, I stopped even noticing it. The one thing I will definitely invest in is a towel mat. My hands and feet were slipping everywhere! All in all, I highly recommend it, but don’t go to a class where the temperature is higher. That’s just silly.

After yoga, I came home and heated up some of my leftover homemade Creamy Tomato Basil Bisque. I put extra pepper flakes in this batch, so I was on fire for the second time in the day. I chugged a Gatorade and hit the couch for some much needed cat time.

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Ok, now it’s time to get ready for American Horror Story: The Coven!

Power Yoga Morgantown

Well I finally enrolled in my first yoga class here in Morgantown. There are several studios around town, but I decided to try Power Yoga Morgantown first. Originally, I had contacted Suncrest Yoga, which I’m still not ruling out as a possibility, but decided to start slow with PYM’s $60 5-class pass package. I’ve been practicing for years, but I’ve never actually attended a real class, outside of WVU’s Rec Center, so I’m pretty excited. I’m off to get a new mat later today, since my cats use my current one as a scratching post.

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I signed up for classes, not realizing they had a 2 weeks for $25 deal, but I’m hoping maybe they’ll let me use that deal, in addition to what I’ve already paid for.

Now on to food. When I was in college, my roommate Micah would make this delicious dessert called “Grape Salad” for us on a semi-regular occasion. To say it was delicious doesn’t do it justice. It was heavenly. OMG. Anyway, I decided that it was time to try making it myself.

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So here’s the recipe.

  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 pounds red grapes
  • 2 pounds seedless green grapes
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons chopped pecans
  1. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and vanilla until blended. Add grapes and toss to coat.
  2. Transfer to a serving bowl. Cover and refrigerate until serving. Sprinkle with brown sugar and pecans just before serving. Yield: 21-24 servings.

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So good! I highly recommend trying this out.

Ok, that’s all I’ve got for you. I’ll now leave you with pictures of what my cats have up to since the shut down. Spoiler alert: it’s riveting.

Sleeping Girls

Curried Chicken Salad

Last night was veggie pickup, which meant at least 30 minutes in the kitchen getting everything cleaned and ready for the week. Last night’s vegetables included celery, two striped squash things, two bell/wax pepper hybrid things, a bundle of leeks, a giant clove of garlic, and bagged salad mix. Thankfully, this stuff was pretty easy to clean up, unlike the dirty, excuse me, Earth-covered, potatoes. I make this distinction, because when I worked the NASA tent at the Boy Scout Jamboree in southern West Virginia this summer, someone I secretly dubbed “Cargo Shorts Guy” politely reprimanded me for complaining about being covered in dust and dirt. “But it’s part of the Earth! That’s a beautiful thing! Don’t complain about Earth’s gift!” Uh yeah, whenever I have clods of “Earth’s gift” up my nose, you’d better be prepared for my constant complaining. Stuff it, granola man.

Anyway, after I got the vegetables put away, I started preparing dinner. I knew I wanted something low maintenance, since I knew I’d be making PBFinger’s eggplant medallions tonight, so I went with a simple curried chicken salad. I pulled the recipe from Food Network, but ended up putting too much mayonnaise in. I decided it wasn’t my fault and pointed the finger of blame at Ina Garten. (I also blame her for turning my mother into a lemon-juice-drizzling machine.) The recipe was simplified thanks to my lack of ingredients, so it took even less time than anticipated. I topped it on a bed of greens and sliced up some red pepper for the side. Delicious. I decided I needed something else, so I chopped up one of the bell/wax pepper things and sautéed it with some fresh garlic. Growing up, we would always eat sautéed wax peppers on buttered Italian bread, so I decided to follow suit. All in all, a great dinner.

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Following dinner I engaged in some much needed cuddle time with Karen. She’s a cat that  will pin you to the couch if you let her on your lap, so after about 30 minutes, I had to wiggle out from underneath of her.

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I hopped on to the floor to do a relatively quick yoga routine. I’ve really been digging this 30-Day Yoga series on Youtube lately, so I picked out a “continual flow” routine and got started. The girl who does these videos is very likeable and doesn’t come across as an arrogant yogi. I also really love her living room! After I did this, I did a few ab-strengthening moves, yesterday’s challenge and hit the couch. I must have gotten a great workout, because for the first time in my life, I slept through my alarm. I had pillow marks ALL over my face when I woke up! 

Ok, I’m off for the day. Before we part, let me leave you with another challenge to tack on to last night’s. Tonight, complete 15 lunges on each leg and 20 squats.

Curried Chicken Salad

3 whole (6 split) chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on (I used canned chicken)
Olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups good mayonnaise (recommended: Hellman’s)
1/3 cup dry white wine (I used white wine vinegar)
1/4 cup chutney (Omitted this!)
3 tablespoons curry powder
1 cup medium-diced celery (2 large stalks)
1/4 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts (2 scallions)
1/4 cup raisins
1 cup whole roasted, salted cashews

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan and rub the skin with olive oil. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove the meat from the bones, discard the skin, and dice the chicken into large bite-size pieces.

3. For the dressing, combine the mayonnaise, wine, chutney, curry powder, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process until smooth.

4. Combine the chicken with enough dressing to moisten well. Add the celery, scallions, and raisins, and mix well. Refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend. Add the cashews and serve at room temperature.
Credit: Ina Garten, Food Network

Back on Track

Whew, it feels good to be back in the blogosphere. The last few months have been a blur of weddings, bridal showers, work events and a 5K to boot! Sure I had fun at each, but I’m so glad to have some much needed down time for the next few months. Too bad my psychotic cat Grace refuses to let me get caught up on sleep.

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Moving on to the newest excitement in life: my Round Right Farm CSA membership! Back in the fall, I signed up with Round Right Farm’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), but got put on a waiting list. Sometime in February, I received notification that a spot had opened up. I quickly sent in my deposit and patiently waited until my first arrival last week.

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In this batch, I received one bundle of radishes, asparagus, swiss chard, one head of lettuce and a bagged salad mix. I had never tried swiss chard before, but after I sauteed it with some onion and added quinoa, I was sold! I roasted the asparagus and stuffed myself silly.

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Fast forward to tonight’s pickup…

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Look how beautiful this swiss chard is! Anyway, this batch contained one bunch of swiss chard, radishes, green onion, two heads of lettuce and a bag of spinach. I pretty much had a repeat of the quinoa dish, but this time I sauteed the spinach and added shaved Parmesan. Yum yum.

Before I sign off, let me talk a little bit about CSAs. I had never heard of this sort of program until one of my coworkers started bringing in tons of fresh vegetables for lunch. I had inquired about where he purchased the bulk of his produce and learned that he was part of this Round Right Farm CSA program. The concept sounded really cool to me. Who doesn’t love to support local farmers by eating tons of fresh veggies? Anyway, if you want to find a similar program in your area, check out Local Harvest. It will tell  you everything you need to know about joining a CSA program.

Ok, I’m off to the gym. Have a great evening!

My Healthy Tip of the Day: Step out of your comfort zone and try a new vegetable or fruit. You might be surprised what new recipes you can whip up!

The Tree is Up!

Well, I finally got my tree up! It’s now officially Christmas in my house! Now, I’m excited, but nobody was as excited as Grace.

Even Karen started to show some Christmas spirit.


Of course, just as we started getting Karen in a holly-jolly mood, Grace had to go and drop a bomb. A photo bomb, that is. (Sorry, that sounded better in my head.)She was just so excited to be in the tree!

Anyway, darling cats aside, I am sad to report that I didn’t lose any more weight this past week. Now, I totally blame it on my lack of exercise, so I hit the gym this evening for a quick 25 minutes of cardio. Tomorrow I hope to do my 30-Day Challenge routine and plan to grab some more healthy staples at the store. My go-to foods are:

  • zucchini/squash
  • sweet potatoes
  • apples or bananas
  • peanut or any other nut butter
  •  Larabars or Luna bars
  • frozen spinach
  • VitaTops
  • Greek yogurt
  • popcorn kernels for air popping

As long as I have any of these items on hand, I’m good to go. Do you have any go-to snacks to help get you through the holidays?

Oh and before I forget, here is a yummy cookie recipe I found on Cooking Light. I’m thinking of trying these out this year.

Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chunk Cookies

  • 1 cup flaked sweetened coconut
  • 4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup) $
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate (70% cacao), chopped
  • Cooking spray

Preparation

  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. 2. Arrange coconut in a single layer in a small baking pan. Bake at 350° for 7 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring once. Set aside to cool.
  3. 3. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk until blended. Place sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Beat in vanilla and egg. Add flour mixture, beating at low speed just until combined. Stir in toasted coconut and chocolate.
  4. 4. Drop by level tablespoons 2 inches apart onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until bottoms of cookies just begin to brown. Remove from pan, and cool completely on wire racks.

Jackie Mills, MS, RD, Cooking Light
APRIL 2010

Don’t those sound amazing?! If you have any suggestions or favorite cookie recipes you’d like to share, please send them my way.

My Healthy Tip of the Day brought to you by the USDA’s Choose my PlateCanned vegetables are a great addition to any meal, so keep on hand canned tomatoes, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, mushrooms,and beets. Select those labeled as “reduced sodium,” “low sodium,” or “no salt added.”

 

TTT: Why I Want My Cats to be the Next Internet Sensation

I’ll be the first to admit that if I thought I could get my youngest cat Grace to let me photograph and video her more, I’d happily exploit her oddities so she could become the next cat internet sensation. For instance, her basketball skills, if captured, could definitely put her up there in the running. Plus, her wacky fear of hot cocoa and OCD tendencies make her the perfect candidate for internet cutedom. Until she reaches the top, here are a few of my favorite internet cat personalities.

Lil Bub!

Have you ever see a more precious baby? Here’s her story via her Facebook page. (Follow her!)

BUB has many unique characteristics that make her a very special one of a kind critter. Please understand that she was NOT bred to be this way. BUB was the runt of an otherwise healthy litter from a stray outdoor mother, and was born with several genetic mutations that make her special. She is just one of nature’s happy accidents. Her foster family had a hard time finding her a home, but she now l

ives happily with a dude that feeds her only the best food and treats her like a queen.

BUB is a “perma-kitten”, which means she will stay kitten sized and maintain kitten-like features her entire life. She is also a dwarf, which means her limbs are disproportionately small relative to the rest of her body. She has very short, stubby legs and a weird, long, serpent-like body. Her lower jaw is very short compared to her upper jaw, and her teeth never grew in (yes, that’s right, she’s toothless!), which is why her tongue is usually hanging out. Don’t worry, BUB has a very healthy appetite and eats dry and wet food with no problems. Additionally, BUB is a polydactyl cat, meaning she has extra toes, and in her case, one extra toe on all of her four paws. Her front paws each have two opposable thumbs. And then of course there are her big, bulging, wonder-filled green eyes. Some think she can see into the future with those things.

BUB squonks, squeaks, gurgles, snorts, hiccups, purrs and sometimes even growls. She also occasionally meows, but even those sound kinda funny. 

Despite her weird looks and numerous “deformities”, BUB is a healthy, happy cat. She may not be able to jump on and off stuff, but she manages by climbing using her 22 claws. She also can’t quite run or walk very well… but she is a fantastic waddler. Even though she has no teeth, she has a fierce appetite, and can take down half of a bowl of dry food without any problems (the other half winds up scattered on the floor). Just like other cats, she poops and pees in the litter box, likes to chase bugs and is always cleaning her luxurious coat and sometimes even her dude’s beard.

Colonel Meow
What a face! This cat is guaranteed to make me laugh on a crummy day. Here is his Facebook bio.
I was abandoned on the side of the road and rescued by the Himalayan and Persian Society. I went to the doctor and was cleared for adoption through Petco where I met my Master, Anne Marie Avey. She cuddles me and feeds me and even sings to me which makes me happy. So happy I fall asleep.
Colonel Meow loves scotch and calls his Facebook followers “minions”. His sidekick Boots, a golden retriever, acts as his body guard. Hilarious!
Maru
Maru was the first internet cat sensation I discovered, via YouTube. She lives with her owner in Japan. Maru is an adorable Scottish Fold who loves squeezing into boxes and other tiny spaces.
If you’re a cat fan, I highly recommend you check out these fabulous personalities. They’re so much fun to keep up with!
My Healthy Tip of the Day: Make your phone background a picture of your favorite place to run or exercise. This way you’ll be reminded of why you keep pushing pavement (or trail) every time you check your phone. Here’s mine.
How could I not want to run on this every day?!

NBA Grace

Before I abandon Cat Hair for the weekend, I thought I’d leave you with this video I shot about a week ago one morning before work. My old apartment complex gave me a mini basketball stress reliever as a parting gift when I moved, so I let my cats have it when they moved in. Naturally, Grace the athlete took to the sport like a pro. Check it.

Ok, so it’s no Keyboard Cat, but she’s still pretty entertaining.

My Healthy Tip of the Day: Just like humans, pets need exercise too! Keep plenty of toys around the house and engage your pet in play as often as possible. (So what if it’s not a Healthy “Human” Tip?!)