Crock Pot Challenge

Yesterday PBFingers Julie announced the start of her self-imposed “Crock Pot Challenge”. She’s of course inviting her readers to join in and being one of those readers, I’ve decided to join her! Since I’ve already made three successful “new” slow cooker recipes, I’m going to add those to the count. Anyway, before I get ahead of myself, here are the details.

Try 10 new crockpot recipes by the end of February.

That’s it! Pretty simple! Active discussion is welcomed, so she’s recommending you if you’re on Twitter or Instagram and want to communicate with other participants or share recipes, you can use the hash tag #crockpotchallenge. Try to tag @PBFingers, @CatHairCoffee or @BaileeMorris, of course.

Anyway, my recent Crock Pot recipes include:

Lentils and Wild Rice

Lasagna (recipe to come)

Squash, Chickpea and Lentil Stew

So far my favorite has been the stew. I made it a few nights ago for one of my closest friends, Abigail. We paired this African dish with some garlic naan bread and went to town. I didn’t snap any photos, but I have leftovers in my refrigerator. It’s one of those recipes that just looks like mush, but tastes like heaven. I highly recommend adding some curry powder to the mix. We poured some on after we had dumped our servings in a bowl and agreed it added something wonderful to the mix.

The lasagna recipe was good, but I didn’t add enough spices to my vegetarian half. Alex’s spicy sausage half was very good flavorful, but my spinach and mushroom mixture needed a little something-something.

As for the Lentils and Wild Rice, well it was amazing. I’ll be eating on that stuff for the next week or so!

IMG_1724_thumb.jpg

 

My Healthy Tip of the Day: Join me, along with PBFingers, in the Crock Pot Challenge! If you plan on blogging about your experience, link your entries in the comments section of Cat Hair in my Coffee or send them my way at cathaircoffee@gmail.com. I’d love to feature some of your recipes!

My First Smoothie Bowl

So far, I’ve used my new blender to make four different smoothie recipes and have loved every single one! Today I went with a PBFingers classic: the Peanut Butter Cup Smoothie.  I actually made mine into a smoothie bowl by adding more milk and a little more ice. Yum! I wasn’t keen on the idea of using a banana in this recipe, but I found it surprisingly delicious. The banana flavor wasn’t overpowering and it really helped thicken the whole thing up. I dumped the whole thing in my favorite Christmas soup bowl.

photo (60)

My teeth were chattering by the end. Coffee quickly fixed this. Anyway, the thing I love about smoothies is that they make me feel full but not weighed down. I know they’re going to be perfect for summer weather!

In other news, I’ve finally started getting into a solid gym routine. Yesterday, I made it in after work and squeaked out a 20 minute workout before meeting my friend for dinner. Here’s a sample routine I’ve been trying out. (Yes, I’m on the ‘create a graphic for my workout’ bandwagon and loving it.)

2013 Kick Off Workout

 

Give it a try and see how if feels!

My Healthy Tip of the Day: If you are having trouble finding your workout groove, start out slow. Try making it a rule to do some form of exercise at least twice a week and then go up from there. After you get your days down, you can start figuring out what works best for you. I like to work out Monday-Thursday and then at least once on the weekend. I find that allowing myself two to three days off really keeps me from getting burnt out.

March Goal Met

This weekend has been pretty busy, so I’ll keep this short and sweet.

I met my March running goal of 228 miles and actually exceeded it by .7 miles. (Accidentally exceeding goals is the best!) I completed this goal today by doing another long run of 4.5 miles. I’m constantly surprised by how easy it is to run a long distance if I don’t try to speed through it. Now if I’m doing something like 3 or 3.5, I’m going to try to run a little faster, but for long runs, it’s more about just getting the distance logged. Anyway, I finished my run and headed to Books a Million with Alex to pick up two of the first books in a few series that were recommended by numerous bloggers.

The first book I snagged was Divergent, which was something I had tried to get at the local library in Fairmont. Due to popularity, all copies were completely checked out! I saw that Julie at PBFingers had recommended this book several months (maybe even more than a year) ago.

The second was another PBFingers recommendation called Wither.

Apparently both of these books are based on dystopian societies, much like The Hunger Games series. Speaking of which, I am currently finishing the third and final book in the series and have to say it is much better than book two. I found book two to be a little slow until the end, but admitted it was tough to follow the first, more action packed book. The third surprised me with how involved it gets with the three lead characters, Katniss, Gale and Peeta. I’m wrapping this book up and hope to start Divergent ASAP.

Has anyone read either of these two books?

Well I’m off to finish my book and get ready for my work-packed four day week.

My Healthy Tip of the Day: Have you ever had to deal with a difficult person? Well I certainly have! Here’s what I do:

  • Accept that this person has some unhappiness in their life that they don’t know how to deal with. This more than likely isn’t directed at you.
  • Don’t get frustrated, but rather take the upper hand and stay calm.
  • When you realize you aren’t getting anywhere with this person, simply agree to disagree.
  • Finally, let go. When the situation is over, do not dwell. 

Control

The last few weeks have been beyond crazy, so I would like to formally apologize for my absence. To say that I’ve been busy would be an understatement, so I’ll quickly summarize:

I got myself into a bit of a bind and wound up having to move out a few months earlier than I had planned. With little time, I had to spend most of my free time searching for apartments and finally found one. I move in at the end of April and can’t WAIT to start my new morning workout routine. (Yes, my complex has a 24 hour gym!) The whole thing has been super stressful, but in the end it was all worth it. I don’t know how long I’ll stay at the new place (being in your 20s=little to no stability), but I’m hoping I really like it there.

After I finally settled down from everything, I realized how poorly I handled the stress of the situation. I was nervous all the time, fell off the workout wagon and probably drove Alex crazy with my irrational concerns. At one point when I was at the peak of my craziness, I found myself becoming overwhelmingly convinced that Alex had been in a horrific car accident and that the ambulance in my rear mirror was coming to haul his body away. I’M INSANE. Thankfully, a quote via a post made by Julie at PBFingers came just in time.

“Control what you can control.”

Julie pulled this quote from the Andre Agassi book titled Open and graciously shared it with the blogosphere. When I saw it, I knew just what I had to do. I typed it up in fancy font and printed it to display in my cube at work. I knew it would act as a reminder to simply chill. When I start to spazz about the future, “control what I can control”. Overeating every weekend? I can control that. Getting my workouts in? I can control that. Making sure an asteroid doesn’t destroy Earth? I’m out. The point I’m trying to make is that we really can’t stress about stuff that we have no control of, because there’s no point. Stressing does nothing.

I hope this quote can help some of you like it helped me. Thanks Julie!

My Healthy Tip of the Day brought to you by The Food Network: Orange and yellow-hued veggies like winter squash, carrots and sweet potatoes and leafy greens contain carotenoids, a pigment our body converts to vitamin A. Eating lots of these vegetables will help maintain healthy skin and hair, protect against prostate cancer, promote healthy vision and even provide protection from sunburn.
Food Network

Blogs I Love

I’ve been pretty busy lately, so I’ve only really had time to read other blogs, rather than keep up with my own. That being said (God, I hate it when I say that), I’d like to take this time to share with you some of the amazing blogs I follow daily. The women behind these blogs are the ultimate health advocates and I for one would be lost without them. So here they are, in no particular order:

PBFingers – ‘Peanut Butter Fingers began in September 2009 as a way to share recipes, exercise tips and random musings with my friends and family and has since grown into a blog that I update three times daily to document my life, fueled by (mostly) healthy food and fitness.

I love creating healthy meals and experimenting with new foods and flavors. I try to live a healthy, balanced life but also enjoy my favorite indulgences (like a peanut butter finger or two… or five ;) ). This blog is constantly updated with my “healthified” versions of indulgent meals, sweaty workouts and quick and simple recipes.

Along with a focus on living an active and healthy life, my blog follows my daily adventures with my husband Ryan and our insane dog, Sadie.’

Peace, Love & Oats – This blog is written by the fabulous Katie, who lives a gluten-free life. Not only does she work her butt off to keep up with her love of running, but she’s also a law student. Wow! ‘I’ve started getting into trying out new recipes and sharing them with my friends. I thought starting this blog would be a great opportunity to share both the recipes I’ve been trying out, as well as the workouts and exercises that I do with my friends, and anyone else who finds my story interesting!’

Live & Love to Eat – ‘My blog will mostly focus on food instead of my personal life.  I might mention personal events or friends/family, but that really isn’t what this blog is here for.  I want to share my knowledge, ideas, and experiences that involve food, exercise, and living well. I am a registered dietitian but by no means am I the food police.  I love to indulge in chocolate, frozen yogurt, and other forms of “junk” food on a regular basis.Everything in moderation!’

Chocolate Covered Katie – ‘This isn’t just any dessert blog: it’s the healthy-dessert blog! The recipes featured here are healthier versions of your favorite naughty treats: Cookie Dough Milkshakes, Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge, Brownie Batter Pancakes…

What will you find on this website?

Naughty treats that have been given a healthy spanking! My aim isn’t for people to say, “This is good… for ahealthy dessert.” I want them to say, “This is good. Period.”

For the actual recipes, see: CC Diet Recipes.

This site is for anyone who wants to be healthy but refuses to give up eating delicious desserts in the name of health. Happiness and health go hand-in-hand, and how can you be happy if you’re not eating what you truly desire? My favorite food is chocolate, and I eat it at least once a day. I’ve never been happier. Or healthier.’

 

Any Lucky Penny – This blog really makes me want to travel! ‘Most of my posts will be about baking/ food, interior design ideas, traveling, photography, and songs of the day. Well I hope you all enjoy my blog! I am excited to have my first blog and I hope you all enjoy it!’ Adriana, the author, has a serious eye for interior decorating and usually gives me some good ideas for my future home! 

How Sweet It Is – ‘I’m Jessica and this is where I share my stuff. You will find a balance of healthy recipes, comfort food and indulgent desserts. I am madly, passionately, inexplicably in love with food. Bacon makes me beam. Chocolate makes me shout from the rooftops with joy. Vegetables and I are the best of frenemies. My perfect world would include none of them.

I have an unnatural obsession with James Taylor’s music. Contrary to popular belief, the name of this blog has nothing to do with the plethora of butter and sugar we’ve got going on – but because the song “How Sweet It Is” is constantly streaming in my mind. Sometimes it’s loud.’

Spoonful of Sugar Free – Alex is a sugar-free blogger who actually has an allergic reaction if she ingests this delicious, sweet substance. She loves to blog about living a sugar-free life, as well as sharing recipes that are good for you and delicious!

I find new blogs to read every day and find myself learning something new from each and every one of them. So thanks ladies for inspiring me to keep going. Keep it up!

My Healthy Tip of the Day: Eat breakfast. I can’t stress this enough!

It’s Official

Today I finished reading all of PB Fingers blog entries. Although I’m so happy I’m caught up, I really feel like I just finished a great book that doesn’t have a sequel. (Think, the end of the Harry Potter series.) However, the best part of following a blog is that it doesn’t actually end; I just have to start reading it in real time!

Another official moment in the day was when I decided to pop in Love Actually to better get in the Christmas spirit. Well, partly that and because I need to get my Rick fix from Walking Dead.

Dead Love Actually

God I’m pathetic.

Anyway, before I got home from my day at work, I had to stop by Advantage Health and Wellness for my usual Wednesday appointment with Brad, my physical therapist. I got adjusted, a very deep massage and had to do some serious strength exercises. Here is my usual routine.

  • 2 sets of planks for 30 seconds
  • 2 sets of side planks for 30 seconds
  • 10 hip lifts for 10 seconds each
  • 25 calf raises with 10lb weights (1 set toes out, toes in and toes straight forward)
  • 4 sets of ~6 sneaky lunges (small space to do these)
  • 10 leg raises with toes pointed down (1 set each leg)
  • 10 swinging hip things (called “hip 2” at the office)
  • 30-60 second split squats (2 each leg)
  • JUST ADDED: squats on the bosu ball
  • (chair position) intense pose of sun salutation (HORRIBLE)

After all of this, my back does feel stronger, but man are my legs sore! Now if I could only get back to my usual running routine…

I’m off to finish Love Actually, but let me leave you with this: I don’t think Love Actually is in any way realistic and I couldn’t imagine living in a world where Hugh Grant was Prime Minister, but once a year, I like to pop this movie and pretend that two people acting as body doubles on the set of a sex movie could actually meet and fall madly in love.

My Healthy Tip of the Day: Try meringue cookies this Christmas season and save yourself some major calories!