Throwback Thursday: Pantry Raid

No, you read that wrong – p a n t R y raid.

I’m great about planning out my meals for when I’m at the office, but for some reason everyday when I get home I turn into a snack monster just like our buddy Homer here.

omnomnom

Dan  does it too.

While I don’t think boredom is what leads us to impulsive snacking, I do think the stress of a long day of work contributes to the problem. There’s something comfortable about the crunch of a tortilla chip combined with homemade guacamole the same way there’s serious satisfaction found in a bowl of ice cream to finish off the evening.

Both of those scenes are all too common in our household and starting today I have two solutions to keep the mindless chomping at bay.

Immediate Fix #1 

Drink water when I feel the need to snack. If I still need to snack, drink more water. Simple.

Immediate Fix #2

Limit snacking to fruits and veggies only. Look at this beautiful bowl of raspberries that took only 5 minutes to pick from my backyard. There’s no excuse why I can’t step out the back door and pick some berries and let the pretzels sit safely in their bag in the pantry.

What about you? Share some of the ways you avoid snacking before dinner, snacking in the middle of the day or just keeping cravings out of sight, out of mind?

Short and sweet action plan: Water, fruits, veggies.

Want to see something else short and sweet?

Today’s Throwback Thursday is brought to you by a little girl who has always loved to browse the fridge, pantry or snack drawer and has resolved to make a change.

heart JE

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Today in History – 4.24.2000

Hello everyone!

There’s so many things we could chat about, like the weather, the new clothes I’ve bought lately {on sale!}, my job, what motivates me, my man, etc.

It almost crept past me but something reminded me of a decision I made 13 years ago that has significantly improved my life and my health.

Today, April 24th, marks 13 years since I’ve drank soda.

I could harp and harp on why soda is bad for you, here and here for example – but instead I’ll talk about what pushed me to the decision and the many reasons I’ve stuck to it over the past 13 years.

I was in Seventh grade, 12 years old and incredibly focused on softball and the things that I could do to improve my game. As a team, we were working on the ‘mental game’ to strengthen our minds and work out our discipline, so we were encouraged to choose something to give up for a week. Instantly I knew what I wanted to give up, but would have to enlist some help from teammates and my very own family.

See, my brother had given up soda a year prior and had always boasted about it – and being the competitive little sister I decided to lead follow my own path. I also was not such a light consumer of the sugary beverage. We would go to fast food restaurants for convenience after practices + games and I would consistently order the biggest Dr. Pepper or Root Beer I could get my hands on. No fault of anyone’s, just the health concerns of high soda consumption weren’t public knowledge as they are today – so it was more about the bubbly bite I’d experience from an ice cold soda rather than the taste of it.

I recall the ‘last supper’ like it was yesterday. My dad and I left the practice in Beaverton and headed to the East side, but not before a pit stop at McDonald’s to order a #2 (Two cheeseburgers) No Cheese, Ketchup Only with a Dr. Pepper to drink. I remember slowly sipping out of the straw, calculating what I was putting into my body and ultimately feeling sick as a result. The cup sat overnight on my nightstand, half full and eventually poured down the kitchen sink.

Realizing that I didn’t want to finish my last one, I knew I had an easy road ahead to look forward to both with this commitment and many others that followed.

Weeks passed, months passed. I noticed myself feeling better, my teenage pores were clearing up kind of and I was full of healthy hydration {water} like I’d never been before. Soon it was six months later and there was no way I was going back – I’d come too far to ever put a drop to my lips again.

Since giving up soda I have:

  • Saved a lot of $$
  • Avoided a lot of extra and worthless calories
  • Encouraged others to quit/limit their bad habits
  • Found the will to give up French Fries (going on 12 years)
  • Nodded my head to every health conscious reason to give up soda
  • Much less fast food dining
  • …Saved a lot of $$

I don’t nag or judge those who drink soda now, but I sure am happy that I don’t crave the stuff.

I know that I’m a happier person because of this commitment and the endless personal strength I gained in experiencing success will serve me well for a lifetime.

Like I said, happy:

Just try it for a week, see how much better you feel!

heart JE

Sweet Potato + Quinoa Stir Fry

Today I’m sharing a new favorite recipe with you – by request of some facebook followers!

Sunday was a marathon of food prep and I was so thankful to have Dan by my side chopping, stirring, opening, grilling and sampling storing the foods we were making. This was a new one on our list and was born out of some inspiration from the internet over the past month: Brooke / Pinterest. It was also put together due to the fact that we had some vegetables that needed to be used or thrown out and I was having a productive weekend with more energy in store to prep.  

Feast your eyes on the mix that had me wishing for more and waiting in anticipation for today’s identical lunch.

Sweet Potato + Quinoa Stir Fry

3 cups quinoa {cooked}

2 cans black beans {drained}

5 sweet potatoes {peeled + chopped}

2 jalapenos

1/2 white onion

2 tbsp olive oil

pepper to sprinkle

Preparation:

  • Cook 1 cup of dry quinoa (1 cup seeds + 2 cups water) = 3 cups cooked
  • Peel/chop sweet potatoes into bite sized pieces
  • Dice onion + jalapenos into small pieces for flavor in every bite
  • Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees
  • Place your chopped sweet potatoes into a baking pan with 2 tbsp olive oil drizzle, bake for 15 minutes
  • After 15 minutes – Stir your potatoes and bake for 10 more minutes
  • Open 2 cans of black beans, drain
  • In a large bowl, mix all ingredients {jalapenos + onion + beans + quinoa + finished sweet potatoes} and sprinkle with pepper
  • Sample it, add protein to it, put it in a large container and have this for days!

Co-workers were sniffing and oogling over what I was bringing back from the microwave – you’d have thought these were Laughing Planet leftovers!

What’s your favorite way to use sweet potatoes?

heart JE

April’s Eight Great Goals

If you were anywhere near Portland this weekend you already know how great I’m going to say my Easter weekend was. So that’s a story I’ll save for a different day – Tomorrow if you’re lucky

Today our focus here is on April and looking forward to what it may bring.

First of all, it definitely will bring a lot of smoothies.

The trick? Toss any fresh fruits or veggies into a blender, add protein, sample, pour and watch that smile on your face grow! Some pinspiration for other smoothie drinkers here.

More pressure will be on us at work, coming upon the end of the fiscal year in 60 days and needed to be on my A game non-stop. This hustle at work will make the days go by faster and clearly will make the weekends more valuable. I plan on spending a lot of time doing what I enjoy and making certain that Dan and I are having fun together when he’s not out teeing it up on the weekends and whenever the sun decides to poke out from behind the clouds.

Eight Great Goals

1. Always have fresh flowers in the house and at my desk. There’s beautiful daffodils in my backyard that I’ve been clipping and looking at in my home – so I want to make sure that I am always changing it up, keeping it fresh, and getting signs of spring everyday of the month.

2. Keep a food diary where I write down every last crumb that I consume – I’ve heard that can help to keep you more aware of what you’re putting into your body and ultimately help you to make better choices in dire moments of snacking and hunger.

3. It is a little sad that we have anxiety about setting this goal and it might sound like too many for you – but Dan and I like stopping for latte’s in the morning on the way to work… really like. This month we are only going to have seven latte’s each and hopefully can save a little money in the process.

4. Landscaping fun at our house to get everything beautiful and groomed for the summer. There’s old plants to uproot, weeding to be done, raking of leaves that have fallen and plenty to keep us busy.

5. After dinner in the evening if the weather is dry Dan and I are going to put our walking shoes on and go count puppies in the neighborhood rather than watch re-runs or the 5th inning from our reclining chairs.

6. For the 6th goal, I’d like to run at least six times in the morning before work. Pack my outfit and lay out my clothes the night before, get up early, drive to work, run, shower, and be well prepared for my day. This should be easy to do next week especially as Dan won’t be carpooling with me due to his 9 day vacation – so that’s why the goal goes above and beyond what I can accomplish in one week alone. I also need to go to six NTC sessions this month – it’s been a few weeks since I’ve attended.

7. Dan’s birthday is coming up this month and I’d like to make his 28 on the 28th a special one. He will be representing his golf league on that day thanks to his victory last year so I’ll have to find ways to work around it. However, I don’t think he can imagine a better way to spend his day on the course hitting the links!

8. Oops – Dan chiming in here… “Your last goal should be to hit a golf ball 50 yards (in the air)”. Looks like we’re going to the driving range!

April is normally one of my favorite days of the year to get my prank on, so we will see what I get into with my family, my co-workers and of course – Dan! I expect to see several “fake” engagements on my facebook feed so just know that I’m ready for you!

Thanks for hanging around another month – look forward to hearing about the sunny weekend tomorrow!

heart JE

New Favorite: Spaghetti Squash

I’ve seen all the craze about spaghetti squash on my instagram feed and the foodie/fitness blogs I follow so I decided that I’d give it a try myself. Not only would I see what it was like for myself, I wanted to put it through the ultimate taste test – Dan!

When I bought these two I was a little bit skeptical of being able to extract noodle-like strands that would rival spaghetti out of this dense yellow gourds. I watched a few YouTube videos and got after the following steps to see what it was like for myself.

And what do you know – the finished product is delicious! At less than 50 calories per cup, this is the perfect vegetable to satisfy a noodle/carb craving and can be guiltlessly topped with sauces, meat, other veggies and even cheeses says Dan!

Here’s two ways that we’ve enjoyed it so far in the home:

Spaghetti squash with marinara sauce and grilled chicken.

Or how I enjoyed it at work yesterday – with lentils, grilled chicken and my ultimate favorite – sriracha!

Have you ever tried spaghetti squash? How do you/would you eat yours?

heart JE

Recipe Share

I’m one of those people who hates trying new recipes because I can’t stand going back and forth between instructions, ingredients, steps, measurements, photos (DSLR + iPhone) and managing my pandora playlist. #firstworldproblems.

This weekend I tried to challenge myself by making a special trip to the grocery store for ingredients to make a few recipe’s I’ve been eyeing lately.

#1 Kale & White Bean Soup <-recipe

Saturday’s weather was beautiful in Portland and probably the last thing on my mind during the day was making soup that night. Once the sun fell over the residential horizon I felt the wind chill kick in and was reminded that we won’t truly put our trust in that summer air until July. Get used to it PDX!

Marisa at Uproot From Oregon always has great recipes to share and this one is full credit to her:

#2 Protein Shamrock Shake <–recipe

Something that Saturday afternoon did bring to mind was the Shamrock Shake from McDonald’s for a limited time only. It’s definitely been a guilty pleasure of Dan and I’s and we’ve shown a lot of self restraint to avoid that drive-thru this March. When I saw Taralynn share a protein-shake version of the same creation I knew I would have to try it and especially have Dan be the master taste tester.

In the end I think I used too many mint leaves, but was happy with myself rather than caving for the McDonald’s version. Plus nobody ever complained about whipped cream topping and sprinkles!

#3 Tempeh + Lentil Salad

This one is a home creation and I always get rave reviews from people who see, smell and want to taste what I’m bringing back to my desk around noon.

Pack the lettuce separately from the other three ingredients so that you don’t heat the lettuce. Pop the tempeh, lentils and sriracha into the microwave for 45-60 seconds until you can hear it steaming, then dump it onto the bed of lettuce. Ta-dah! There’s a tasty and clean meal in front of you waiting to be devoured.

Sometimes I even add an avocado and pepper – live life on the wild side, my friends.

Go on, what recipes do you have to share with me?

heart JE

Saving Daylight

Who else around here is happy to have another hour of sunlight in the evenings?

I feel like the extra afternoon light will be exactly what I need to remind myself to get out in the world and enjoy it. In the winter darkness it’s easy to get stuck in a rut when the only natural light you see is out the windows while you’re tied to a desk all day figuratively speaking. Sure, when it’s dark outside I can justify spending more time catching up on our DVR and catching up on my favorite internet reads – but that’s not how I want to remember spending my twenties!

More daylight will mean more living, more inspiration, more color, more imagination and more time to take a step outside and breathe in the fresh air. It will also mean better photos, BBQ’s and some beautiful sunsets to soak in.

Losing an hour this weekend didn’t phase us and I felt more productive and balanced than ever.

  • I finished running by 8am each morning
  • I enjoyed quality family time as my brother packed up and returned home
  • I finally met Olive and caught up with Tanna – both are happy and healthy!
  • I visited Barista for a cup of coffee downtown Sunday morning
  • Food prep for the weekend is done!
  • We tried and loved some borrowed recipes (stay tuned!)

And Dan? He had a great Saturday playing frosty golf early in the morning, he loved watching Tiger Woods win the WGC Cadillac Championship on Sunday and he thanked me repeatedly for the time I spent in the kitchen making our meals for the weekend and for the week. He also impressed me domestically by mopping the floor and getting the dishes washed and put away before I even noticed.

He’s a keeper.

heart JE