Monday, April 30, 2012

The Week's Begun

I love Mondays, don't you? I never really thought I did until I realized how much I look forward to the start of a new week! New goals, new challenges, and new ways to grow.

I was listening to Zig Ziglar and Brian Tracy over the weekend and was reminded of several good things! One of which is, successful people don't try to re-create everything themselves- they learn from the experts. Another really important point that stood out to me is what a game changer an attitude of gratitude can be!

{Click the picture to read some exercise excuse busters}

For my workout today: I ran 2 miles, than 30 min of interval training/weight lifting, ran 2 more miles, and by that time I was really ready for a deep stretching session. It felt good to get to the other side, but I enjoyed the process!

How about you, what are you learning? Do you have fitness goals for this week? If so, what are they?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Chocolate Mousse Recipe + Random Post

It's recipe time! This is one of my very favorites and I think you'll love it too :) This chocolate mousse recipe isn't your typical, but it is a great option if you're looking for a way to get some healthy fats in and enjoy a satisfying dessert. If you don't tell anyone, I bet they won't be able to guess it's made with avocados!!!

{4 organic apples for just $1.12}

And, I just have to share with you this fabulous deal my sister Kristen found on organic apples this week! 4 organic apples for just $1.12!!! The secret? Shop off the "ripe shelf". The produce it just as good, the only thing is you have to eat it quickly as it's already ripe. It's worth it for us though, as we go through this stuff fast and we get a good deal in the process! Just thought I'd throw that out there. Anything to save a few dollars :-)

My sisters and I had a vocal recording session yesterday which was tons of fun! We were able to knock out two songs that we've wanted to do for a while pretty quickly which was nice. You never know how things are going to go when you're recording. You might get it right on the first try or it could take you ten! You never know :) I'll be sure to give you a sample though once I get the finished tracks back :0)

{Kitchen tables are great for lots of things!}

{This is me, getting ready to sing}

{Delicious "set" food}

This was scrumptious morning bread, sweetened with honey, that Mary and I  yesterday afternoon as a gift for our horse farrier.

And, a shot of my delicious chocolate banana smoothie I enjoyed for breakfast. Here's a quick rundown of the recipe: 8oz water, 3/4 banana, 1 scoop chocolate protein powder, and a few leaves of kale and ice to thicken. Yummy!

I read this motivational quote this afternoon and thought it was great: "A man too busy to busy to take care of his body is like a mechanic too busy to care for his tools." Thought this was a great analogy and wanted to share it with you!

So now onto the long await chocolate mousse recipe....

{Chocolate mousse ingredients}

I went off this recipe as my base, and did a little experimenting :) Here's my recipe:

2 avacados
1/4 - 1/2 cup raw cacao
1/4 -1/2 cup blue agave (depending how sweet you want it)
1/2 cup or more dates
1/2 cup Irish moss
1-2 tablespoons Smuckers PB

That's it! Just mix it all up in your food processor and you have a quick and easy, delicious dessert. 

Here's the finished product topped with a sprig of fresh chocolate mint. So delicious!

{Inside photo}

{Outside photo. The difference in lighting is fun :) }

After taking this picture of the mousse outside, I came back in and dipped freshly picked strawberries in it. Oh my, talk about something succulent!!! 


Thus far this week, I've run over 10 miles with today logging 3.5 miles. And just for fun, I'd thought I'd mention that today I hit the 150 mile mark since the New Year. Obviously, I'm a beginner runner but I'll take what I can get :) I'm interested to see what that total number looks like at the end of December.

Anyways, the week is going well, hope it is for you too! Please comment and share :-)

Oh and PS: I going to a play downtown tonight! So excited, I love anything artsy...

Monday, April 23, 2012

Swinging Into the Week :)

{Green smoothies help you think better!}

I made my little bro a green smoothie this morning! I'm really trying to get him hooked on these things and cultivate his taste for healthy dishes, and in this case-- drinks! He's a sweet, intelligent child and will try most anything with a little coaxing. He wanted carrot juice this morning, but we didn't have quite enough to go around so I gave him a few ounces of my strawberry/green smoothie. 

{Garden fresh lettuce with a juicy tomato on sprouted whole wheat bread = deliciousness!}

Mom & dad embarked on a road trip this morning so I made this lunch-on-the-go for them to take as a nutritious option. I used sprouted multi-grain bread as we're desperately trying to eat down our freezer before all the local fresh fruits and vegetables are in full swing.

I worked out this morning too which was slightly painful. I was able to go 10 days with barely any refined sugar (maybe one bite, if any, which can be quite the feat in today's sugar-laden society) until last night. The reason I did this was for workout performance reasons and really just to try and be a good steward of my body. Well... last night I had more than a little leftover cake from Josh's birthday and this morning I paid for it. My muscles just plain ached after exertion and I know it was the effects of unnatural sugar taking place and improper fueling. It's a good reminder for me that food truly is fuel! And the discomfort experienced was enough to make me not want anymore desserts for a while! Hey, take any motivation you can to get that stuff away from you. Sugar depletes our bodies of B vitamins, the energy vitamin, so this is one of the reasons we can experience tiredness or fatigue after a sugary dessert.

Anyways, I ran a total of 4 miles today, plus spent twenty minutes doing some resistance/cardio training and stretching. It was a great workout and left me feeling so good :)

{As you can see, I still have quite a few more weeds to pull. I let it get really bad!}

I also spent time in my little garden today. It's great to be outdoors! I believe I am finally convinced that it's impossible to grow a garden without having to pull weeds. As much as I hate weeding, it is necessary. They somehow always choose to grow right next to my lovely little plants, threatening to choke them. Ahh! I try growing a garden nearly every year and it simply doesn't work to let it go :-) One thing does though-- pull the weeds while they're small. ha! 

The rest of the day included work, work and some more work. It's only mid-afternoon but it always feels good to check things off the list! Hope you are having a wonderful Monday! Next recipe, healthy chocolate mousse :)

Anyone else growing a garden or have tips on how to make healthy foods appetizing to small kidz?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

An Early Morning Run

Good evening, dear blog readers! I hope you are having a fabulous ending to this fabulous day!!! My day started earlier than usual, but it was a nice shake up to the ole routine.

My dad and I had a business meeting in Apex, NC this morning which is about a 1 1/2 hour drive from our house. So I crawled out of my comfy bed at 4:50 am (!) to squeeze in my run for the day before we had to leave to beat the rush-hour traffic. It was worth the lack of sleep because it lighted me up and really got my blood pumping, plus I knew I wouldn't want to do it once I got home after a long day's work...

I ran a total of 4.67 miles and then called it quits, headed for the shower, made myself a quick green smoothie and was ready to walk out the door after hair and make-up!

Here's my attempt to be quiet with the blender in the wee hours of the morning. he! I made my smoothie in the dining room in hopes not to wake anyone with it's roaring engine :P It's really not that loud, but when the house is completely quiet and people are sleeping... well, let's just say it's best not to mess with people trying to get some shut-eye :)))

The day went well and I learned a lot! How was your day? Did you learn anything? That's life- full of ways to improve :)

Sleep well and pleasant dreams...

Monday, April 16, 2012

Accentuate the Positive (Eliminate the Negative)

It's Monday again and I hope every one's hard at work! I love it when I'm so excited about life that I go to bed thinking about the next day's adventures and have those "tickles" in my stomach when I wake-up because I'm so thrilled about attacking my to-do list. I'm learning happiness really has nothing to do with what my life holds as much as my perspective and eternal values. Do you find this to be true as well?

Over the weekend, I savored two green smoothies with kale. I'm getting to where I crave these things and feel deprived when I don't have them! ha! Never would have envisioned myself this way, but so grateful to be here. 

This was a stir-fry we enjoyed over the weekend! It included broccoli, peas, organic tamari soy sauce and our own grass-fed beef, doesn't get better than this folks! There are many health benefits to grass-fed beef and I highly recommend it if you're going to eat beef. It can be a bit of an adjustment with the cooking though as grass-fed meat is considerably less fatty than grain-fed meat but nothing you can't learn to adjust to. 

So I ran 3 miles this morning and also did a 20 min FIRM express sculpt DVD. My goal for this week is to run a total of 15 miles. That's about what I did last week and I'd like to do that again: 3 down, 12 more to go! We'll see if I can make it :) What are your workout goals for the week, please post?!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Banana-Honey Granola Bars

Good morning, y'all! It's a beautiful Saturday here in east North Carolina! The sun is shining and we couldn't ask for a better day :)

I went running this morning, twice actually. Always like to put it towards the front of the list on a Saturday to be sure it gets done, especially when I have a long run scheduled.  Both runs were 30 min long and I covered a total of 6 miles with a stretching break in the middle. I wasn't going for distance so much as trying to increase my endurance. Now if I can just put those two training sessions together that would be great! I'm hoping to run my very 1st 10K soon!

{This was my salad from last night's supper}

Okay, so onto the fun part! Granola bars!!! I love anything with carbs. Ooh, now my body doesn't always appreciate the results of those desires, but we're working on that :P

{A shot of the ingredients}

I searched and searched to find a recipe that didn't call for flour or white sugar, all too no avail! Ahh! I just wanted a wholesome granola bar recipe... Thankfully, I stumbled across one and I love it!

So here's the recipe I found with a few modifications:

Real Food Runner Granola Bars
1 medium, very ripe banana
2 cups raw oats
1/2 cup Smucker's peanut butter
1/2 cup raw honey
2 tablespoons flaxseed powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice blend
dried cranberries (I sprinkled close to a cup, whatever works for you)

Mix it all up and press into pan. Cut into squares. Enjoy for your post-workout snack or a grab-and-go!

And... the finished product!

You can even wrap them up as gifts for friends or send with the kids for a healthy snack!

What kitchen creations have you made recently? Anyone else training for a race? I'd love to hear!!! It always excites me to hear from my readers :) 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Reasons Why?

I've been doing a lot of thinking recently about why. Why make healthy choices and how to make right choices. Sometimes it can be too overwhelming to think about end results and all the little steps involved when you're just starting out. That's why I find it helps me to think about the next right decision. Yes, have a goal, a direction, but don't think (or try to do) step #10 before you've done step #1. Basic, I know.

I'm the kind of person who loves to bounce around, drink in the sunshine, trying to start a million projects at once and only finishing about 1% of them...  working with single minded focus on a task until it's done can be quite the operation for me!

I find it fascinating that we were created with an innate desire to do and accomplish. Life was created with purpose, to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. That's why we should desire to do something of value with our lives. How? Well, our Creator was gracious and gave us the Bible as lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. We can know nothing of truth apart from this great Book. Anything and everything of truth is simply borrowed from the Author of truth, it wasn't created by us as humans. Thank God!

In a nutshell, here are some basic principles that can help us accomplish those seemly un-accomplishable (is that a word? LOL) goals (copied from zenhabits):
  1. Start very small
  2. Do only one change at a time 
  3. Be present and enjoy activity (don't think about results)
  4. Be grateful for every step you take
To read the rest of this inspiring article, click here! Hope you are having a fabulous day and remember, moments matter!!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Natural Beauty

I went camping!!! Yeah, it was so fun! The weather was perfect and it was a delightful time with my wonderful family. A great opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and strengthen relationships. 

{Sitting on the bank, enjoying the view this morning}

The reason for this adventure was a birthday celebration for someone very near and dear to my heart. My little brother, Joey, turned 7 last month, but due to a major medical issue our family was experiencing we were unable to get everything together for a party. But, we finally did and last night was a blast!

{Monday's lunch. Since I knew we would be cooking out that evening I decided to go with veggies for lunch!}

We played games, talked, laughed, went bike riding, ate good food, sang songs, danced, enjoyed the gorgeous weather and finally rounded off the evening with the Andy Griffith Show :)

{Bonnie, our Australian Shepherd sporting a ball cap. She's a little sweetheart.}

I got home from from the camping expedition about noon so shortly thereafter I went running. Was able to get in 2 miles today. Great for an easy day!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Happy Monday!

Hello, folks! How was your Easter weekend? Mine was fabulous and I hope your's was too :-) Filled with yummy food and refreshing fellowship with family and friends! 

Here's a taste of what we ate...

I spent 1/2 the day in the kitchen Saturday cooking away! Before that though, I managed to get in a 4.25 mile run, a weight lifting session, and some good core work. This left me tired, but invigorated at the same time, if that makes sense :)

I didn't eat lunch until almost 2 o'clock as time just flew with all the food preparations that needed to be done. I was starving by the time I actually ate! Afterwards, I took an hours break and then back in the kitchen for another 2 1/2 hours. So fun! I just love the art of cooking and really want to get better at it. My Momma serves as huge inspiration. Boy, can she cook up a meal!

Originally, my goal with these chocolate delights was to make brownies, but we ran out of eggs (after I had boiled 36 eggs for a deviled egg recipe...) so I just turned them into truffles and frozen them. I dusted them with a bit of peppermint flavored cocoa powdered to compliment the chocolate. 

Saturday was movie night with friends! We watched a documentary on the Titanic in light of the upcoming 100th anniversary which is April 12. It's really sobering to think of how many lives were lost, but how then how many lives were saved because men gave up seats in the life boats so that women and children could be rescued. This makes me think carefully about the real men in my life, specifically my dad and brothers. I know if it came down to it they would give their life in defense my mine and any other lady- how then should we treat men of noble character? It's cause for thought. 

Sunday morning we woke-up bright and early to get ready for church. We had these delicious freshly made whole wheat waffles with local strawberries. They were so good! Ah, just looking at this picture makes me want another one!!!

And, here's my grandma Mimi fixing us up a feast! It was so good. I didn't manage to get a picture of my plate... but I did get the dessert table!

Mimi did all of this, we didn't help a bit. I felt terrible not sharing some of the load- 14 people is a lot to cook for! But she insisted that she had it covered, and as you can see from her picture she loves being in the kitchen :) 

I think that about wraps up the weekend minus a few details... It was busy but those are the best. After getting home last night, I went for a walk on the farm. The weather was perfect and it was a great time to re-group before Monday morning came full-force. I woke up this morning and ran 3 miles. I'm thinking about doing some weighting lifting later on but not sure it there will be time today, I know I can at least get in some push-ups though. You can do those anywhere!

How was your Easter weekend? Was the food good? 

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Surprise Package Company

Surprises, surprises! It makes life exciting, don't you think? When I hosted the giveaway last week I was very excited, but this morning called for some ecstatic excitement!

A pretty little brown package arrived on my doorstep, and guess what was in it?! A collection of delightful Amazing Grass products! I am floored. This company is so generous and I know I'm going to enjoy these products with my family to the utmost!

It reminds me of when my sisters and I were little girls and would play "The Surprise Package Company" where we would do nice little things for people and leave a note signed with our mysterious name. It was so fun!

So here's what was in the box...

All different flavors of delicious green superfood energy bars!

The adorable Amazing Grass burlap bag. This will definitely come in handy! A great way to promote greens without saying a thing :) Speaking of which, it's on sale right now!

A lovely assortment of their Amazing Meal packets. Can't wait to try these!

They even sent stuff for the kidz and a nice little shaker to mix up all the drinks.

- - - - - - - - -

My little sister, Mary, and I made coconut cookies together this morning for a party tonight. We also spent time chasing a bird. That's right, and it wasn't for fun either. When you have a list a mile long the last thing want to do is spend 30 minute chasing a bird out of your house. He finally flew out (poor thing, he was terrified and all we were trying to do was help him) and I looked at my sister and asked, "Why are you laughing?" She answered, it's either that or cry! She's the bomb. We do that often, laugh that is, and most of the time it's at the most inconvenient times (during a serious conversation or such, but that's another story...) or like today, just when you need it. 

Here's the recipe to these coconut cranberry cookies:

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sucanat
2 eggs
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups oats
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup cranberries

Cream butter, sugar and eggs. Add flour and salt. Mix together and then add baking soda. Stir in oat, chocolate chips and vanilla. Drop by tablespoons on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 7-15 minutes or until edges barely begin to brown. Do not over bake. Cool on wire rack.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

After a few months sabbatical from riding because of the cold the beautiful spring weather was calling me out to come and enjoy it. This was also my first ride since we got our new mare, see here. As you know riding with a mare is completely different than riding with just geldings. Ah, um... It was interesting to say the least!

Shibar, my Egyptian Arabian, did really well until I gave him the rein to run. Just when I thought we were going to break into a dead run across the pasture, you know the kind of run with nothing in front of you and the wind whipping your hair out straight that gives you the thrill of your life-- That's when it happened! I have never had my horse crow hop on me before but today was the day. When a horse starts bucking your instinct is to pull back on the reins but really the best thing is to loosen up and pull them into a tight one-rein stop. But, it turned out alright... Thankful I didn't get thrown and was able to quickly re-establish who's boss and even though he was being very bad I think he was really just showing off in front of the little mare :)

And as a fitness update, well, I am just so sore from yesterday's workout. It's that good kind of sore feeling though which is great :) I'm planning to run 4 miles tomorrow...  I hope you're enjoying the day!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Special Day

Today is a special day. My grandfather is 81! I'm so grateful for this man. He's taught me so much and been so involved in my life that I will never forget the impact he's made. My siblings and I are the 3rd generation of a family business he started. It's a privilege to be able to go to work, each and everyday, with him. 

{I snapped this picture of my sister with Pappy before leaving the office this afternoon}

Sometimes I look back at the pictures of our family life and think I live in a fairy tale. God's blessings are abundant and overwhelming. 

{My grandmother sent these birthday flowers to my Pappy today. Isn't that just so sweet?}

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

I worked out this morning which felt so good after yesterday's break. I started with Insanity and stretching and then ran 1.5 miles in 13 minutes-- a record for me! Finally, I rounded off the workout with push-ups, bicep curls and overhead presses. 

{This was lunch-- lettuce leaves, broiler onions and tomato slices with my own blend of spices (garlic powder, salad dressing and mustard) with sliced bell pepper and a grape cluster on the side}

{The fresh fruits and vegetables made it so refreshing}

So, what did you have for lunch? Hope you're having a wonderful afternoon! 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Strawberry Ice Cream

It's that time of year again. Local strawberries are in!!! I look forward to this every year, all year long.

So my little 7yrs old brother and I hopped in the car this afternoon to go pick some luscious looking berries together in the spacious country air. Don't you just love being out in nature? We then came home and turned those beautiful berries into strawberry ice cream! It was supposed to be a dairy-free, low glycemic version... don't ask what happen :-P Sufficed to say, we're still looking for that perfect recipe, if you happen to have one I'd love to know about it!

 {A wonderful treat for a warm, spring day!}

Here's a taste of what we had for supper last night. It was super delish! I have the best sisters. They encourage me to eat healthy even when I don't feel like it. We made this veggie stir-fry with onions, fresh garlic, Bragg liquids aminios, broccoli, cauliflower and fresh tomato. My youngest brother loved it so much he even asked for seconds! I know, suprising for kids to ask for more healthy food, but they desire what we cultivate. It's a learning process...

This was my sandwich from today's lunch. A veggie medley warmed for a few seconds under the broiler with pineapple wedges.

These angel eggs are part of what I made for our family supper. After a hard day's work it's nice to all gather together for a home cooked meal. The secret to this southern delicacy is a dash of nutmeg. My Aunt Rhonda taught me that. I love cooking with her!

It's my off day, workout wise. So happy! See you tomorrow with more updates :)