Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Bitten by the FLU Bug

What a hell of a week I have had, my friends! I had been feeling run down, but before Christmas I had a lot of last minute shopping to do for the kids as well as preparing my home for hosting Christmas Eve. AND I still had to work. I ignored my scratchy throat and raspy voice and tried to drink more fluids.

By the time Christmas Eve came, I was an emotional, exhausted mess but I pulled it off and everyone had a great time. My kids had the BEST Christmas ever, they had so much fun with their cousins and loved their presents. At the end of the night I wanted to curl up and pass out. I did.

The flu came and hit me hard and I regret the days that have passed that I was unable to run, especially since I was off of work. But I guess sometimes all we can do is listen to our bodies. This forced rest was probably exactly what I needed, since I usually hardly ever have time to even sit down. I watched a couple movies and took care of ME. What is left is a horrible cough and still some congestion, and I am hoping for a quick recovery so that I can get back to my fitness plan. I hope you all have been enjoying the holidays.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Benefits of a CSA

What is a CSA you ask? CSA stands for "community supported agriculture". Through a CSA, you can buy produce directly from the farmer by buying a share in the farm, or what is similar to a subscription. In return you can receive a weekly or bi-weekly box of fresh produce.

The last week of my local Farmer's Market was Saturday. The thought of buying fruits or veggies that aren't local, or organic, or that haven't been ripened naturally from my neighborhood supermarket doesn't appeal to me. Sure I have Whole Wallet, I mean, Whole Foods within walking distance to my office but shopping there doesn't help support local growers or my pocketbook for that matter. I am thinking a CSA is the way to go.

There are so many other benefits to participating in a CSA besides knowing where your food is grown, and who is growing it. Depending on the CSA and the "plan" you go with, you may not get to pick exactly what you are getting in your box. This may get you to try new things. You may also get to visit the farm and see how the produce is actually grown. Some farms offer other products besides vegetables. You may find eggs, bread and meat available through some CSA's as well.

I am in the process of researching which one would work best for my family, and reading reviews. Part of what is important to me is if it is picked up or delivered, where the most convenient pick up spots are and convenient pick up times. One of my friends has referred me to Timptations. Their offerings are 90-95% organic. It is only $18/week for a small box of produce (6 items: 2 fruits, 2 hearty vegetables, 1 leafy green, 1 "exotic") I do enjoy the experience of going to the Farmer's Market weekly with my family, and may head back when the season starts up again in May...unless I am so happy with my CSA that I don't want to quit! I will let you know how it goes!

Have you ever heard of a CSA? Have you ever tried one? 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Christmas Crunch is ON!

So remind me again why I decided not to take any time off this week? Ok, breathe. It's going to be ok.

In the fitness department I've been doing pretty good. Did Ripped in 30 all week before work, did a treadmill run on Friday before we went to a party and Saturday did a trail run that killed me but it was so worth it!
I am sore in places I apparently need to be sore from this trail!
We went out to a nice dinner on Saturday night, at Odeum, which is in my opinion the best restaurant in our town. I almost didn't take a rest day yesterday, but we had no plans as a family and literally just hung out ALL DAY. Relaxing breakfast, pajamas til noon and just enjoyed being home.  I feel like I'm never there due to work/commuting, etc., so to actually just be home and take in our decorations and have the fire going made me feel like I was on vacation at a lodge.  I did some cooking for the kids dinners for the week since I am often arriving home when they are eating and hoped to do some baking but didn't get that far. However, I baked Christmas cookies with Monkey tonight and he was very, very stoked.

I should be getting a lot of mileage out of this Disney trip.
So I'm hosting Christmas Eve this year and feel pretty ready in that department. However, we have not yet taken our boys to see Santa. Bad Mom. My parents are taking the kids Thursday night to spend the night at their house, so that I have all day Friday to prep for Christmas Eve. I have yet to wrap one gift! When I pick them up Friday I am going to take them through Fantasy of Lights at Vasona Park, which is a cool drive-through exhibit of lights set to music you listen to on the radio. This will be ideal since a) they can be in pj's and don't have to get out of the car and b) my hubs will be working so I won't have to worry about wrangling my two wild ones on my own.
Could the line for Santa rival the line for Pirates of the Caribbean?
The bad part of me waiting until now to worry about seeing Santa is that I'm sure there is a massive line since its so close to Christmas. I don't know why we just didn't take them when we were at Disneyland, because Santa was there. Surely I procrastinated because I had plenty of time then! But hey, they met Mickey Mouse. That's gotta count for something. I don't talk to my kids very much about Santa, not purposely but because I just don't think about it. I know one day they are going to find out the truth, but I should let them enjoy the wonder and excitement of Christmas as much as possible until then. Note to self: talk a lot about Santa this week.

I woke up with a sore throat Monday morning and was feeling a little too drained to get out of bed and work out. Then, this morning, my iPhone died and did not wake me up early so I missed my work out AGAIN. I will definitely fit something in later today, which shouldn't be too hard since I'm working from home today. Even if its just getting out with the kids. Have a great Tuesday y'all! Peace out.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Eat. Sleep. Move. Enjoy.

Eat. Sleep. Move. Enjoy. This could be the name of my blog. My life revolves around trying to find balance. How do I do it during the holidays? It does get a little tougher. There are more demands on my time - socially, and just stuff to do. Such as...decorating, shopping, wrapping and PREPARING - probably my least favorite thing to do. I really am a fly by the seat of my pants kind of girl! I have recently been chosen as a Fitfluential Ambassador, a group of people who love fitness and share their healthy and positive message with others.  As part of my affiliation with this group, I will share with you how I manage to keep harmony in my life this time of year.

Dessert table. Cannot resist.

Can't resist this either!

I know when the holidays hit, there are more fun things around to eat. Pretty things. Hearthy things. Tasty morsels that don't come around every day. I want to indulge...and I do. Deprivation always backfires. I just try to indulge in moderation. Yes, I will have dessert at the party. No, I will not try to make half my plate vegetables. I won't really try to curb my portions, but I won't over load my plate and I will listen to my body when it tells me I'm full. When I'm not at the party, when I am having a typical day of going to the office and heading home, I will try to balance it out. I will make more "green smoothies" in the mornings before work or even have one for dinner. I will try not to partake in sweets in my spare time when I'm just hanging out at home. Well, that is unless Auntie Cindy's famous cookie platter has made it to our house, which she makes and delivers every year without fail.

I need one of these. And ear plugs.
I'm not going to lie, sleeping is one of my favorite things to do. As the mother of 2 littles, the amount of times I get to "sleep in" per week is -0-. My youngest, who is 3 never seems to sleep past 7. Well, on a positive note, if he's wired that way he won't have issues with getting up early like I have my entire life! With the exception of nights we have plans, I hit the sheets pretty early. I strive for 8 hours of sleep, but will settle for 7 if I have to. I'm no good to anyone when I'm tired. I'm cranky, I eat like crap, and I'm generally unproductive. Which somehow always ends up happening to me if I stay up/out too late, have too many cocktails, and feel like hell the next day. Just forget it, the day is shot. I have somehow failed to learn that lesson over my last 40 or so years, and I hope to be better about that this year.


My morning workout buddy.
During the holidays, even though I'm busier, I try to make a conscious effort not to blow off work outs. I also try to mix it up a bit, to "surprise" my muscles and keep them guessing. So far this month I've been diligent about setting my alarm for 5 a.m. to work out. Ok, so I snooze until 5:30 a.m., but at least I get up to do it. This is the time I am least likely to flake because of other commitments, getting home late or my children foiling my plans. I started doing more cross training this month, trying to focus more on strength by doing Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 before work. This is also due to the fact that I am going to be in my sister's wedding in August and want to balance out any setbacks the holiday eating and drinking might throw my way.  I have also added a dimension to my running by doing some hill work on my weekend run. Sweet.

Our tree.
This is a crazy time of year. Deadlines, rushing, not enough hours in the day. But we have to remember to stop and enjoy ourselves. This year we put our Christmas tree right in our family room where we can appreciate it every night, rather than the living room in front of the window for the enjoyment of everyone else.  I have blown off cleaning a few times so that I could spend time with my kids, and actually do something with them rather than just be in the same room with them while we all do our own thing. I light candles in the house even when there are no guests, and play Christmas music which surprisingly mellows the kids out. They don't even ask for the TV. Chip and I find time to socialize with friends, and enjoy each other's company for what is typically the final time for the year. I try not to put too much pressure on myself when hosting Christmas Eve, because I know my family is all there to help and what makes it a great night is that we are together. I have even stopped worrying about my upstairs being in perfect order after years going by where none of my guests ever even went up there! The highlight for me is watching my children's faces light up when opening their gifts, and nothing else really seems to matter except for the fact we have each other. --Today is a gift, that is why we call it the present. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

No-Fail Dessert and Drink Pairings for the Holidays

Thanks to Duncan Hines for sponsoring my writing. There's no limit to the baking possibilities, so grab your favorite Duncan Hines mix and Comstock or Wilderness fruit fillings and Bake On!

During the holidays I looooove to partake in all the goodies of the season. In December we usually attend a few parties where appetizers, cocktails and desserts are plentiful. This past weekend, we had our annual get together with my girlfriends and their spouses. Let's just say, I wasn't dieting or curbing anything for this meal! The morning of the party I went on a brutal vertical trail run, and frankly my legs are still sore. We had 2 huge pots of crab, shrimp and scallop cioppino, loaves of fresh bread, with appetizers beforehand and dessert afterward and cocktails/wine throughout. We rotate houses every year, and since it was at my girlfriends house (only 5 minutes away, whew!) my task was to bring dessert. Since I know it can be hard to please everyone, I decided to bring 2 desserts!
How does Mile High Chocolate Cake sound? For chocolate lovers, it did not disappoint! It consisted of Devil's food cake, caramel filling, chocolate mouse and cream cheese chocolate. Absolutely divine. The icing on the outside was a smooth and rich chocolate buttercream. One of my friends had brought a few bottles of her awesome dessert wine, which was a late harvest zinfandel from Paso Robles. On any other night, the dessert wine would have been a sufficient treat but it was a special occasion. It was amazing with the chocolate cake. One of my friend's husband may disagree, as he was on the hunt for a big glass of milk after taking a bite of the cake!

  The second dessert was a fantastically fluffy and creamy tiramisu. I rarely ever have it, but if I do, I always hope it tastes like this. Imagine sponge cake soaked with a rum coffee syrup....I know, it sounds amazing already, right? Then fill it with layers of both coffee and vanilla mascarpone cream, and cover with creamy white chocolate mousse and sweet cocoa powder dusting the top...and you have...heaven. Honestly the best drink to be paired with this type of dessert after dinner is coffee, with a little Kahlua in it for good measure. However, if wine is your poison, a Port or even a Muscat or Sauterne, which are sweet whites will pair with it quite nicely.

What desserts will you be serving for the holidays this year? Or any that you traditionally look forward to? 

Remember to check out Duncan Hines' website to find some great recipes for your holiday get-together! I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Burn Fat Friday! How I Plan to Alter My Work Outs To Get Fit For My Sister's Wedding

"My Sister Is Getting Married Fitness Plan"

First - the pity party. In the last couple months, I have been dealt some rough fitness blows. My Running Buddy had to stop running due to foot problems...which has been devastating. First, I totally miss the quality time and the awesome conversations we would have that would make the miles fly by. My body is definitely showing signs of reduced activity. We were regularly doing 4-5 miles at least twice a week and sometimes up to 3 or 4 times a week. That regular activity made me feel great, and motivated to do other things like yoga or Jillian Michaels DVD's on my off days. Going out and running in the dark and the cold before work alone doesn't sound as doable any more, or safe for that matter. I've tried the treadmill but get bored after 2 or 3 miles. I drag my family out on the trail so that they can ride bikes/walk or whatever while I run on the weekend, but its just not the same since our pace is different.

Since Monkey started kindergarten and needs to be at school at 7:45, this has totally cut into my morning work out time. I have never been a morning person in my entire life, but somehow I managed, with the help of my Running Buddy, to start getting up and running at 6 or 6:30. Now with school, this time is not early enough to work out and start getting him ready. The thought of waking up even earlier than that sounds positively dreadful.
I feel like Buddha!

Time to suck it up: I looked in the mirror the other day and I don't like what I see. It's totally fixable, I'm not completely negative. I just know I need to make some changes. What works for me is a consistent routine. Now that I am working out almost completely on my own, its up to me to set that routine and stick to it.

The inspiration: An old co-worker of mine happened to send me a message a few weeks ago to ask when we are going running. Yeah! I was ecstatic. She is a scrappy, under 5'0, kick-ass mother of four boys who does boot camp a few times a week before she has to get her kids up and ready for school. In the dark. And the cold. The very things that I complained were preventing me from working out. When our kids were on Thanksgiving break for a week, she and I met 3 times to run in the morning before I went to work. Mind you, she came to meet me after she had been at boot camp. Seriously, what was I complaining about again?

The plan: So, scrappy mama and I have decided to run a 5 mile loop on Saturdays. Now that our kids are back in school, she isn't able to do boot camp and run with me afterwards due to time. This will be something I can look forward to and will kick my butt into gear. We are going tomorrow, I can't wait!

I am also going to walk for 20 minutes at 1pm Monday through Thursdays when I am at work. I did this today, and managed to do over 1.25 miles. I just need to explore and find a good route. It was fun, and nice to get fresh air and out of the office for a time period longer than it takes me to walk to Panera or Whole Foods to get my lunch.

Which brings me to my next item - less Panera Bread. Great stuff, don't get me wrong. But I think I become less "fascinated" with food when I stick to the same boring things all the time. This mentality has worked for me in the past. When I go to a place with a menu, there are too many choices and too much potential to make bad choices on a whim. I know there will be plenty of days I won't have time to make myself something in the morning and will end up there, or getting a massive burrito or sandwich at Whole Foods.

I will continue to fit in a 3 mile run every other Friday between dropping Monkey off at school and volunteering in his class.

I will start walking with my ex-running buddy on the alternate Fridays.
I want to try this!
I will set my alarm for 5:30 so that I can fit in a Jillian DVD before I have to wake Monkey for school Monday through Thursday. Either Ripped in 30, or Yoga Meltdown. I also like Body by Bethenny and need to check out her newest DVD as well.

I will put all of these items into my calendar and set up alerts so that I am less likely to flake.

Today I am linking up with some great bloggers for the Fitness Friday Blog Hop. Come by and check us out!

Fitness Friday Blog Hop

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Adventures in Purple Cauliflower

Isn't this beautiful? I saw this purple cauliflower at the Farmer's Market and had to buy it. I couldn't resist the deep, gorgeous color. According to the Livestrong website, cauliflower has all the nutritional benefits of regular cauliflower but is also packed with antioxidants. Who knew this pretty flowery vegetable is a healthy source of vitamin C, phosphorus, potassium and folate to add to your diet? I usually only eat white cauliflower in crudite platters at parties, dipped in some variation of ranch dressing. I wanted to really taste this vegetable, not dressing, since it was my first time. I prepared it very simply, and must say, really enjoyed it. It's so nice to have variety at the dinner table!

Super easy: Cut cauliflower into florets. Drizzle with olive oil, season with sea salt and pepper. Roast about 20 minutes at 425*. Great to let this cook (even in a countertop-style oven) while you are working on the rest of your dinner.


Have you ever eaten or even seen purple cauliflower before? This was my first time, I had to try it!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Family Time Is The Best Time...Especially at Disneyland!

Me with the kids and my parents
This year we decided to go to Disneyland after Thanksgiving. We heard the crowds are really light at this time of year, and after our crazy experience last year, we really wanted to do it right. Last year we went the day after Christmas for 2 days...and both days the park hit maximum capacity and they had to stop letting people in! Our kids still had fun and they didn't know the difference but Chip and I had to put on a show and smile through gritted teeth. This year, however, they had the BEST time. We went Wednesday through Friday, and the first two days we never waited more than 15 minutes for a ride (if that). Friday was a little busier, but by then we had been on everything we wanted to go on many times so we used that day to skip some of the more popular attractions and go on some things I had never been on ever!
I love this sign!

We still got 6 rides in on this before it broke down
Monkey loves Pirates of the Carribean, and we rode our hearts out our first day. Good thing too, since it was closed on and off the rest of our trip due to some technical difficulties. Boo! Buddha definitely got more out of this trip being three than last year. By now he has seen many of the Disney and Pixar movies, and of course watches the Disney Jr. shows on TV. They got to meet so many characters, and I could not believe how unafraid Buddha was. He seriously believes they are real and was trying to carry on conversations with them! Monkey used to be afraid of them when he was younger but was really into meeting them this year too.

Christmas Mickey...

Buddha at Mickey's House!
Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates at California Adventure
The weather was sunny and it was warm during the day. We spent a lot of time in Fantasy Land, but of course hit the entire park and I got to share Monkey's first time on Space Mountain with him. Of course, just seeing the whole park decorated for the holidays was awesome! Especially the Haunted Mansion. There was also an amazing fireworks show. Call me crazy, but we are total Disneyheads and could do this every year.

Never ridden the pirate raft to the island before!

The castle at night. Aaah.
Monkey and I going for a cruise on Autopia
Well, and we probably will go back next year. We found out they are opening a Cars Land at California Adventure this coming summer. My boys are Cars and Cars 2 fanatics. And we enjoy this stuff just as much as they do.
The future site of Cars Land. Can. Not. Wait.

Tree at Disney by day...

By night.
We enjoyed a great meal at Wine Country Trattoria. Let's face it, corndogs and other amusement park fare gets old, so its nice to have this lovely place on site at California Adventure. Of course, there are also some really great places nearby at Downtown Disney. There are no limits when it comes to food and shopping!

We always stay at a nearby hotel that has suites. I can't tell you how much nicer it is to have the extra room so the boys can sleep on a pull-out bed in the main room and Chip and I can sleep in the other. Our room had a refrigerator and microwave and a wet bar. The sink came in really handy for Buddha's sippy cups and the refrigerator for drinks for all of us. Our Hilton Suite hotel also had a shuttle to and from the park every day that ran every half hour. The best part? The free breakfast buffet for 2. We loaded up every morning before we hit the park, and took some snacks like apples, bananas, etc. to go so that we had snacks for later. There are pros and cons to staying on and off property, and at my kids ages this works best for us for now. We look forward to our next trip!

I was not compensated by Disneyland or The Hilton for this post. All opinions and views shared are my own.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I'm Thankful for These 9 Things in My Life

 Giving Thanks

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. My family is pretty casual, so we don't usually hold hands around the table and one-by-one express what we are thankful for. The members of my family typically hold their cards close to their chest. It doesn't mean we don't have feelings, we just don't share them as openly as some other folks might.  I do feel I have MANY things to be thankful for this year. Here they are for all the world to see:

1. My kids! Everyday, I hug and hold my babies tight. In the morning and between the time I get home from work and the time they go to bed, which sadly is only about a 3 hour time span, they are kissed, and told "I love you several times". I am incredibly grateful for them, and know they mean it when they repeatedly tell me, "I love you too, Mom."

2. My husband works his butt off. He deals with some pretty crazy stuff, risking his own personal safety almost daily for his family. He can be moody, and isn't the best communicator. But he is one solid dude. He's thoughtful, responsible and has his heart in the right place.

3. I have a roof over my head. I complain all the time how our house is as underwater as the Lost City of Atlantis but you know, nobody is making us stay here. There are people who have lost their homes and are living in their cars or shelters, and don't have any other options or anyone they can count on to help them out for a while. I know if anything happened, I have family who would support us in the short term. We'd never be out on the street.

4. I can put food on our table. I can buy my family fresh fruits and vegetables. I can choose to buy organic. My kids never go hungry. My heart breaks when I think of those who have to tell their hungry family they have nothing to eat, or that they must "find" food.

5. I am surrounded by wonderful friends. Some are lifelong, some are new. Most are IRL (in real life) some are social media friends that I share common interests with such as blogging or running. I KNOW that if I have something going on in my life, I have people to turn to or talk to. It horrifies me when I hear of suicides, and friends and acquaintances have no idea that anything was wrong. It's of no fault of the friends. What bothers me about it is that the person who killed themselves at some point felt they had no one to turn to, no one to listen, no one to trust. They were so desperate that the best option they had was death. Even as a sullen teenager suffering what I thought at the time were devastating problems, I vowed NEVER to EVER kill myself, that there would always be a better way, another option, a way of starting over. I love my friends.

6. I have a job. Sure, my commute SUCKS. But would I like to drive 50+ miles each day for this job, or sit at home and have no money and nowhere to go? I work for great people who treat me incredibly well. I work in a pretty cool industry in the heart of where it's all happening. Nationwide, the unemployment rate is much higher than it is in my area. Sure, our cost of living is through the roof, but at least there are jobs.

7. My PARENTS. Of course, without them I wouldn't be here. But they've done a lot for me over the years. They supported my education, stressed the importance of work ethic and responsibility in me from a young age. They adore my kids. My mom worked for 30 years, full time, and finally retired. Only to be roped in to watching my kids for me for the last 5 years so I could work, with only one break for nearly year when I was unemployed. I know its hard on her, its a tough job being with these two crazy boys 3x per week.I also know this can't go on for much longer. She's not getting any younger and I know she'd much rather be enjoying her leisure time in another way. We are very fortunate to have had her help for this long.

8. My "Uncle" who has survived a terrible form of cancer. He went from a healthy, strong, vivacious retiree who loves to vacation in Hawaii and Mexico to having surgery and being in a coma, and has taken over a year to regain his strength. He is back, mostly as good as new and is now going to undergo some type of experimental surgery and further treatment to keep him around longer. He and his wife have never been anything less than generous, giving and loving to our family and our prayers will be with them in the coming months.

9. Lastly, I am grateful for new beginnings. I found out tonight my sister is ENGAGED! I am so excited for them to start their lives together, and I hope it means nieces and nephews for me and cousins for my boys!  (Not to rush them, of course).

Tomorrow we are going to my parents. BIG thanks to them for hosting.  I am looking forward to spending time with those I love, including my cool Grandpa, and enjoying a delicious meal. I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Red Kale Pomegranate Smoothie

It's a rainy Sunday at our house. My kitchen is a total disaster and I am procrastinating. I just made this fabulous smoothie, with the tart flavor of pomegranate balanced with the sweetness of a ripe banana.

I do realize my pictures suck. Working on it.

I came back from squeezing in a 3.5 mile run before it started raining again, and wanted to have something healthy. Let me preface this by saying we took the kids to the drive-in to see Puss n' Boots last night and my dinner consisted of massive amounts of homemade popcorn seasoned with salt and olive oil accompanied by many M&M's and a large plastic cup of red wine. Yeah.

So back to my healthy smoothie. I bought this pomegranate at the Farmer's Market and I wasn't sure what to do with it. I always do that. I buy them because they are in season and they look so good, and then I end up just snacking on them plain. Not that there is anything wrong with that...but I was hoping to be more creative since I have time on my hands. I'm procrastinating from cleaning my kitchen (and folding laundry too), remember?

You will need:
1/2 pomegranate, seeded
1/2 cup crushed ice
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup almond milk
1 small banana flavored yogurt
1/2 ripe banana
3 red kale leaves, chopped in small pieces and tough bottom stems discarded
a blender - slotted spoon - strainer

Well this turned out to be a little time consuming but I am happy with the finished product. Start by putting on an apron, dark shirt, or other shirt that you don't mind getting stained. Cut the pomegranate in half, and gently peeled off the larger hunks from the seeds. Then, I got a bowl of water and submerged the pomegranate and continued to "detail" the removal of the outer peeling. I learned this from an episode of Martha Stewart years ago. The yummy pom seeds will sink, and the yucky white stuff that you are removing will rise to the top. It's not a perfect system, but it does make it a bit easier because the water keeps the white stuff from sticking to your hands.

Then I took a slotted spoon and removed all the white stuff from the top. Gosh, I am sorry I keep staying "white stuff' but I don't know what the technical term is. I poured out the water and I was left with this:

Beautiful right? So I added the ice, almond milk and water to my blender. Next I added the pom seeds, the kale leaves and banana. Whirrrrr.....

I will share with you my trial and error. I am used to adding water to my kale smoothies because it is usually required to blend up the kale leaves easily and prevent the "chunk" factor. I think the pom seeds contained enough water that extra H20 may not have been necessary. When I poured the smoothie it was more like a juice. Which would have been fine, but I like a little more substance. Plus, I knew I needed a protein source anyway. Back to the blender with the yogurt I had in the fridge:

I also realized that the edible seed portion attached to the fruit - which is an excellent source of fiber, by the way - did not grind up in the Bullet. Great if you want fiber, and annoying if you are trying to drink something and keep getting little bits in your mouth. After blending in the yogurt, I poured the smoothie through a strainer and into a glass. Much better!

This was so yummy! Definitely worth it if you have a little extra time on your hands. You can also buy the pom seeds without having to do the work, but they are pricey. I'm sure pomegranate juice would also be a good short cut, with less fiber. 

Pomegranate is an excellent source of vitamin C and B5 as well as antioxidants. Kale is an excellent source of Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B and betacarotene. (source: Wikipedia).


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bring On The Holidays!

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 Aaah, the days of summer have officially passed.  The cold weather has arrived and is here to stay...which means, no more coming down to breakfast in short sleeve pj's to eat fruit and read my email with the sun streaming through the window. No, when the weather turns, it means the holidays are nearly upon us and my mindset totally changes. There are so many things that I look forward to when Thanksgiving and Christmas are on the horizon. After the Halloween decorations are packed away, I start getting really....nesty. Nesty to me means, wanting to be home all the time. Wanting to be warm. Wanting to eat delicious, heavier foods in the company of my family and loved ones. How do I settle in at this time of year?

First of all, I have to admit I am a sucker for the RED CUP. What red cup might you ask? The red cup which may contain an eggnog latte, or a white chocolate peppermint mocha depending on my mood. You know the one...

That's right. Starbucks has totally made me a sucker.
I am not one of those people that is cold all the time. But around this time of year, I find myself starting my day and ending my evening with a nice fire. We have a gas fireplace, which doesn't have the nice smell or give off quite the heat of a wood-burning fire. It sure does have a lot of the charm, and less of the mess. I just want to sink into my couch and never get up. Wouldn't you??

During the winter, I get super excited about cooking for the holidays. Fortunately my family helps out a lot. We don't always have the same thing every year, but there are things I surely look forward to consuming on either Thanksgiving or Christmas. My favorites are: Honeybaked Ham, Mom's mashed potatoes, Mom's yams, my green bean casserole (no creamed soups are harmed during the making of this casserole) and my Grandpa's tamales. The years we have tamales are fun. Because they are so much work, we all get together to help. And, we enjoy them like we won't have them again any time soon, because, well...we won't. 

They look so harmless, but so bloody time-consuming
Beyond special holiday meals, I just get really into cooking and domesticity in general. Out comes the crock pot this time of year! I love making hearty stews, soups and do a lot of baking. We deck out our house in lights outside, and the inside of our home is a winter wonderland.

Probably the thing I love the MOST about the holidays is the extra time off I get to spend with my family, especially with my boys. They are growing up so incredibly fast, and nothing makes me happier than enjoying lazy, cozy days with them. 

They look so innocent but they are a handful!
My kids have 4 full days off in November, and a slew of minimum days. December has about 2 weeks off from school...and in between all that this year we are doing a 3 day trip to Disneyland. Have you ever been to Disneyland around Christmas time? My family just loves all the decorations, and they have the best parade. We realize we are fortunate to live in the same state and its more convenient for us to go than for others. It's still a big trip for us but with kids our age, its so worth seeing their eyes light up. 

The Castle At Night

What holiday comforts do you enjoy most? Do you get really into it and go all out with decorations and cooking or are you ho hum about it and content to enjoy those things in other people's homes where you don't have to unpack, put up, and take down decorations?

Comfort is the perfect gift for everyone on your holiday gift list, so be sure to take advantage of Tempur-Pedic's Buy 2, get 1 free pillow offer! I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

If Someone Offers Help, Say Yes!

My husband has always been incredibly supportive of my interest in fitness. While he's not always on board with my adventures in healthy cooking (he draws the line at meatless meals) he will never criticize me for wanting to run or work out. Even though it seems he's never home, when he is he will watch the kids if I want to work out. I'll admit, if he is actually home in the evening I typically will forgo working out so we can have family time. But if he's home in the morning and I know he's had a decent amount of sleep, I will leave the kids behind and get my sweat on. At the very least, he never complains.

Dreadmill. Better than Nada.
I made a sacrifice this week. Driving my son to school and walking to class with him is my favorite part of the day. However, my husband's schedule had him home at a reasonable hour the last few nights. Usually I let him sleep in and try to get my kids ready in the morning as quietly as possible so as not to disturb him. But this week I think I am feeling the after-effects of the Halloween candy and just felt I needed to step things up a notch. He offered to drive Monkey to school the last two mornings and I jumped at the chance to use the treadmill that is not quite a lovely decorative feature in our bedroom. Earlier in the week, Monkey stayed home sick from school so I took advantage of the time I would normally spend driving him and went for an icy-cold outdoor run.  That means, my friends, I exercised 3 times this week before work. And I plan to fit in a work out tomorrow morning too! I feel happy about it and its just what I needed...but realistically I know this won't happen every week.

On Tomorrow's Agenda
My husband has offered several times, even during weeks where he wasn't home early, to drive Monkey to school once a week so that I can go for a run. I usually feel guilty and just let him sleep. It doesn't help that Monkey always tells me he'd rather that I take him to school. But I'm starting to think I should take him up on the offer. Maybe on a Tuesday or Wednesday, since I typically work out Friday through Sunday. He wouldn't be offering if he really didn't want to do it.

Do you ever have a hard time accepting help? I remember being like this after my babies were born too. I have a natural tendency to try to "do it all."