Day 27 – Pulling It Together

Well, I have seen the effects of depriving myself of a few hours of sleep. Clearly, my body does not like it. I felt like I was getting ahead of the game by staying up late Sunday night, and it just made me crash by late Monday afternoon. I felt like I was behind on my week right off the bat! I’m working a six day stretch, and I need to be prepared with my meals!

Last night, I made myself get into bed at a decent hour to get a really good night’s rest. I woke up feeling better, still a bit overwhelmed, though. I wanted to make a smoothie to get some hydrating greens in me right off the bat. I went for my “Taffy Apple Smoothie”.

I made the mix for the buckwheat chickpea nuggets, but realized I wouldn’t have time to completely finish making them. I packed it into the fridge and got ready for work.

Today at work was slow, we’re at the “hump” of our event, and I don’t want to lose momentum. (We get a bonus for making our goal, so I don’t want to miss out)! I got a big return and was at a $0 day…ugh…things slowly but surely turned around.

I had my delicious coconut curry leftovers at lunch with some carrots. I also packed two amaranth poppers with some of my leftover berry compote to dip them in!

The rest of the day went by fine, and I was looking forward to making it to my second yoga class of the week since I had fallen behind. On Wednesdays, I have to sneak out ten minutes early to ensure I will get there on time…that didn’t happen. Someone came to the counter a little after 6:30 (I need to leave the store by 6:50), and I couldn’t deny her help just because I wanted to leave early. I was frustrated in the back of my mind, because I couldn’t go yesterday because of staying late at work. I finished with her right at 7:00, and then flew like a bat out of hell to my locker, ran out for the bus, saw that it wasn’t coming for six minutes, and rerouted to the train to head south and transfer to a different line north. It was a gamble, but the only way I could still make it. Phew!!! I got there with only moments to spare. Threw down a mat, and then quickly got changed. My teacher was so sweet, he started the class with the door open to wait for me to come in. He saw what I went through to get there as quickly as possible. I enjoyed a great class, and Kegan was waiting for me when I got out! I couldn’t accomplish these things without his support. I am so grateful.

Kegan also put together a pot of wild rice for us to have something to eat with some frozen portobello burgers we had for an emergency meal. I quickly steamed up some collards (I chopped them practicing my new knife skills from the YU video):

http://www.yumuniverse.com/2013/02/26/how-tosday-knife-skills-part-1-of-2/

Super helpful! And sharp knives definitely make a world of difference!!!

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I felt energized from my class, so as we had been heating up the burgers, I threw a pot of millet on the stove to make a double batch of the creamy millet kale salad.

http://www.yumuniverse.com/2010/07/07/creamy-millet-and-kale-salad/

This has been by far one of my favorite meals from the YU site! I want to make this for my omni friends and family, as I know this will make them converts! Now I’ve got lunch ready for tomorrow! Phew! I’m happy to feel back on track!

Day 26 Trying To Find Balance

Today I woke up excited to eat the rest of my pancakes! Yum! Kegan said, “Those look picture worthy!”

I thought it was cute that he said that, so here’s a pic:

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I sprinkled some popped amaranth on them, because I had a cup or so left from when I made the amaranth hemp protein poppers. I realized that I couldn’t eat all that I had made for myself, so I threw the leftovers in a container with a few amaranth poppers to have for emergency snacks at work. I made the rest of the quinoa cakes and packed those with some fresh spinach, carrots, some avocado, and a lime. I also brought some of my fresh made kale chips!

I got to work and the snow had started. They were talking about a lot of snow and unsafe conditions, so the store was a ghost town. I kept busy with projects and prepared for an event that we were scheduled to have in the cosmetic department that evening. I kept worrying that people were going to cancel, and it made me anxious. Also, I came in at ten, expecting to leave at six, but they scheduled an appointment for me at 6:30…ugh. I technically could’ve had someone else do it; but we had no business all day, and I felt guilty about doing that. So, I worked open until close. I know it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but when I stand all day, I’m really exhausted. The silver lining was a surprise call from Kegan telling me that he was waiting outside for me! What a treat!

I felt pretty ravenous when I got in the car, and I had my trusty apple to bite into! Yum! I needed something to tide me over until we could get dinner on the table. I also ate that last pancake and two poppers. That calmed me down. The quickest thing I could think to make was a coconut red curry soup from my Heidi Swanson cookbook:

http://sparrowsandspatulas.blogspot.com/2011/07/summer-squash-soup-with-thai-red-curry.html?m=1

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I threw in a big handful of spinach and some cubed nigari tofu. Delicious. I ate some chocolate and fell into a comatose state. I felt disappointed because I ate so much food in the last two hours. I was going to make the chickpea nuggets, but I just turned off the oven and crashed on the couch. My feet were killing me, and I was wiped out.

Everyday is a learning day, and I’m realizing that I need to find balance. I’m so passionate about food, but I need to simplify. I also have noticed that when I get a good night’s sleep, I wake up early and get a lot done in the morning. I’m going to try to hit the hay early tonight so that I can feel ready for a productive day tomorrow, and have some meals ready. I’ve let my injera dough sit a few extra days, I think that should be okay. I like it sour…

Day 25 – Pancakes: A Lesson In Humility

Confession…last night I ate the rest of that chocolate bar and felt tired and wired at the same time! This is what transpired…

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I had started researching my recipes for the week, and the excitement came over me. So, I ground up some oats for oat flour in the vitamix; made almond butter in my cuisinart (I used my previously soaked and dehydrated almonds and added some pink Himalayan sea salt and coconut oil) started fermenting teff for injera; and soaked buckwheat, cashews, and sunflower seeds for various other recipes. These were a few of my must tries from Yumuniverse for this week:

http://www.yumuniverse.com/2012/06/25/oat-almond-crunch-gluten-free-pancake/

http://www.yumuniverse.com/2013/02/18/buckwheat-chickpea-nuggets/

http://www.yumuniverse.com/2013/02/18/buckwheat-chickpea-nuggets/

So, I had a head start! I went to bed, excited to make the pancakes and some sort of berry compote. I woke up early enough to make breakfast for Kegan before he headed out the door on his bike for work! (He thought he’d squeeze in a day on the bike while the weather was cooperating). I had my ingredients ready and got busy! The batter tasted yummy! I decided to use one of my larger pans that wasn’t a nonstick, and this is what happened…ugh!

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I didn’t want Kegan to eat yucky pancakes so I switched to my trusty nonstick skillet. Much better!

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I love berry sauces with my pancakes, so I took some frozen mixed berries and puréed them, and then heated them on the stove with lemon juice. I turned off the heat, and stirred in some chia seeds to help it thicken up a bit. Pretty! What a treat for breakfast!

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I cooked up the rest to have tomorrow morning, and cleaned up the mess I had made.

I was excited to ride my bike today for errands, because the weather seemed somewhat mild. I met with my friend Erica for lunch at Native Foods with her cute little girl (the one I babysat on Saturday)! What a treat to see them again so soon!

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Erica surprised me by treating to lunch for babysitting, which was so not necessary! We had a buffet of sorts; native nachos, sweet potato fries, soul bowl, and the OC chopper salad. I didn’t even get to the salad, and we had a bunch of leftovers! I had promised to pick Kegan up something for lunch, since he was jealous I was going to Native Foods. But I had so many leftovers, I just brought him those! I was feeling vibrant and enjoying the fresh air, and I felt it silly to stop home and get my car to pick up groceries only a mile away from my apartment; so I continued on my fun bike trek, and at least hoped it would help me stay on budget to only buy what I could carry in my backpack and side basket!

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Phew! I made it. It felt good to ride a few miles about town today! I sat down when I got home and checked some e-mails…then…I. HIT. A. WALL. I had only gotten six or so hours of sleep, and maybe the same the night before, and it caught up to me at that moment. (I am adamant about 8-9 hours of sleep; I know it’s not something that I prioritized for most of my life, and now I appreciate the increased energy from it). I quickly put the frozen/refrigerated items away and left the other items to be dealt with later. I sat on the couch under my heated blanket and read a bit. I passed out, and awoke in a crabby/groggy state. I sat there for a while too tired to read, but didn’t want to sleep anymore either. Yoga was definitely not going to happen today. Kegan came home from work at that point, amused by the fact that I had left my biking mask on while laying on the couch. He said I looked like an astronaut. (It felt cozy)!

Fortunately, I had my untouched salad from lunch and Kegan had other leftovers to heat up for dinner. No prep needed. I enjoyed the huge colorful salad.

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But then something took over after dinner and I had a sweet tooth that couldn’t be satisfied. I ate a huge hunk of the black bean brownies from last week. I dug up a chocolate bar from the pantry. I ate a few nougats. I kept trying to think myself out of eating all that, but I couldn’t fight it. I think the lack of sleep definitely contributed. I made myself hop in the shower just to get out of the kitchen, and was able to stop. I threw on my pj’s, but wanted to make some healthy snacks for the work week, so I threw both of these into the dehydrator:

http://www.yumuniverse.com/2011/10/13/almond-crunch-kale-chips-and-glamping-yumuniverse-style/

http://www.yumuniverse.com/2009/12/31/amaranth-hemp-protein-poppers/

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Now, for that all important SLEEP!

Day 24 – A Sunny Day Off

I really am *savoring* my days off. I have been trying to recharge my batteries as best as I can to help me power through my work week. It’s been an important lesson for me, because I used to feel overwhelmed and guilty about needing to accomplish lots on my days off. Now, I realize that a long walk with my husband, or “FaceTime” with my family IS an important accomplishment.

After easing into our morning, Kegan and I decided to walk to Chicago Diner for an awesome vegan brunch. We love our neighborhood walks, they are so special to us. I opted for the quinoa bean chili which is on the gluten-free menu, but said yes to adding mac and cheese; I’m not sure if the noodles were gluten-free. I ordered a side of arame slaw for some veggie crunch. Everything was delicious!

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It was a treat to have my dish with “sour cream” and “cheese”, because I’ve been trying to stay away from pseudo meats and dairy products on this challenge. I find myself desiring them less and craving more whole, or close to whole foods. That’s been a positive benefit of this challenge, among many others.

After lunch, we walked around the neighborhood; and, despite the chilly weather, we enjoyed the feeling of sun on our bodies (through layers of clothing, of course)! I stubbornly wore my Five Fingers shoes, even though it was wet and slushy on parts of the sidewalk. Inspired by reading Born To Run by Christopher McDougall, I’ve been learning more on the topic of modern day cushioned shoes being the cause of many foot problems. I had bought a pair of the aqua sock-lookalikes a few years ago, because I’m always a sucker for new styles of shoes. Standing for most of my work day, I’m always searching for comfort for my feet. I wear the shoes every so often, but feel self-conscious about how goofy looking they are (additional to the fact that they look like finger gloves, my pair is bright blue and yellow). Today, I decided to let my “freak-flag fly” and sport them around my hipster neighborhood. I’ll let you know how achy my feet and legs may feel tomorrow. (They activate dormant muscles that aren’t really used when wearing a more structured shoe).

We did a little window shopping, and with all of our walking, we felt we’d earned a treat. My friend Kelly told me that a local chocolate shop that serves drinking chocolates had recently added a dairy-free almond milk-based hot chocolate! The inside of the shop was so adorable, and they were kind enough to split our chocolate into two large mugs since we were sharing! I thought that was very *sweet* of them! It was decadent!

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I was feeling pretty tired, so we headed home. We stopped at a food mart to restock on my growing addiction to Frank’s Hot Sauce. Is that bad?!?! I really do put that sh*t on everything (as the famous ad states). I suppose my addictions could be worse. I made an impulse buy at the checkout on some raw chocolate (speaking of addictions). I am such a sucker…

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Home we went after that, and I felt a lovely Sunday nap brewing. As I was dozing off, my sister attempted to FaceTime me from her I-pad for the first time, but we were having some technical difficulties. After about ten minutes, we had it. She was visiting my nephews and my mom, and it was so cool to be able to stick my tongue out at my nephew! That little rascal…

At this point, it had been a few hours since brunch, and I was a tad hungry. We had been given some cookies from Chicago Diner, so we decided to nibble on one. Since I didn’t really eat lunch, it didn’t sit so great in my stomach, especially after the hot chocolate…I ate the leftovers from brunch to put something more substantial in my tummy, and then it was time to head out to yoga. I had a great class. I’m really glad I renewed my commitment to yoga for the year. Just like this blog, it’s making me more aware of myself, and allowing me to learn about ME!

I came home and my body wanted greens. One of my favorite things about this challenge has been my increased use of greens. I try to make them the focus of my meals. The YU recipes make it seem less like a chore, and more like a regular habit to squeeze them into my meals. For dinner, I heated up a veggie burger from yesterday’s batch of sweet potato quinoa kale cakes. I had a bunch of collards, so I made a quick simple preparation of them steamed with garlic granules and smoked sea salt. I served them aside my veggie cake with a bit of avocado, some lime, and ahem, some Frank’s Hot Sauce. I ate a few bites of raw chocolate, and I’m happy to just lay on the couch and watch the rest of the Oscars! Tomorrow will be shopping day!

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Day 23 – Feeling So Efficient!

This morning, I woke up determined to make the quinoa kale sweet potato cakes before work:

http://www.yumuniverse.com/2010/12/17/black-quinoa-sweet-potato-kale-cakes/

I had thrown my sweet potato in the oven while I was in the kitchen making dinner last night, and I also chopped my kale while I was waiting for the water to boil. I’ve taught myself not to waste anytime in the kitchen. If I’m waiting for something, I’ll wash dishes of prep an ingredient for my next recipe. It’s become an indispensable part of my cooking. Since I had made the breakfast quinoa with amaranth, I thought I could use that to make the cakes. I threw all the ingredients into my food processor and…viola! Green paste! I made some patties and fried them up. While I was doing that, I enjoyed a bowl of my quinoa with maple syrup, cinnamon, coconut oil, apples, and pecans.

I was excited to be picked up for work this morning, it’s a real treat on Saturdays to get driven to work and picked up! I’ve been carpooling with my girlfriend, and it’s been lovely! Work started off great, busy and great sales! I made use of downtime by organizing my drawers and throwing away empty boxes that held the products that we sold. I made sure to drink lots of energizing water, and before I knew it, it was time for lunch! I was excited to eat my quinoa cakes!

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They did not disappoint! So delicious with a squeeze of lime and some avocado! I packed some carrots, and ate the last of my store bought kale chips. I enjoyed some green tea, and stopped there, even though I had packed other snacks for emergencies. I wanted to keep my energy level up for a busy afternoon…

I made it through the day, and now it’s my weekend! Well, not quite yet! I’m babysitting tonight for my friends’ baby! We’re catching up on Sesame street at this moment! My friend’s omni husband made me a delicious plant based meal! I sampled it, and after I put Frankie down, I’ll heat it up! It’s brown rice with a coconut milk garbanzo stew. It’s got spinach and sundried tomatoes with lemon! What a treat! I’m looking forward to unwinding tomorrow and enjoying a special day off with my husband! We’ll see what kitchen sink recipes come about from the last of my ingredients in the fridge before grocery shopping on Monday! I definitely want to make the amaranth poppers, and maybe some kale chips!

Day 22 – What a DAY!

Well, I’m sorry to say this, but during a 30 day challenge, a woman is bound to experience her “cycle”…sorry to the two guys reading this. I don’t want to offend anybody by mentioning this, but at the same time feel compelled to mention how much this cycle affects thoughts, moods, appetites. Today started my cycle, and it hit at a chaotic day for me at work.

I started my morning by cooking up some comforting grains. I made YU’s “Cinnamon Toast Amaranth Cereal” for some comforting breakfast goodness:

http://www.yumuniverse.com/2010/11/08/cinnamon-toast-amaranth-quinoa-protein-power-cereal/

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I’m glad I had a good hearty breakfast, because I got a morning workout after chasing my bus this morning…which I should note, I missed. Yep…and I pretty much almost started crying…ran down the block to attempt a different route, and fortunately, succeeded. Whew. One hurdle out of the way; I was about to face many more at work.

So, as I mentioned, I started my cycle (sorry to keep putting it that way). I arrived at work, feeling a little sweaty and rushed, but I cleaned myself up, and prepared for a busy day. It was SO busy. All of my clients came in to see me…which is great, but I quickly became overwhelmed with the anxiety of not being able to help them at once! I didn’t get a chance to go to lunch until 3:00, and I was so wound up at that point. I had the last of my mustard greens and black eyed peas.

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It kind of looks like a swamp bowl, but it was so delicious. I ate the rest of my cocoa almond kale crunchers and I had some flour less black bean brownie. I kind of wanted to keep eating, because I was so far past hungry at that point. But, I had eaten a lot already and felt pretty full, and didn’t want to be in a complete coma when I had a few hours left to work after that.

The rest of the day left me feeling achy and exhausted…but it was a successful day at work, so it felt worth it. I drank a ton of water, and that really seemed to balance me.

Kegan picked me up at work, and I quickly whipped up the portobello dairy free macaroni:

http://www.yumuniverse.com/2012/06/21/dairy-free-gluten-freepepper-portobello-mushroom-macaroni/

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It was great over my peppery arugula which was starting to look a little sad in the fridge.

After that, Kegan and I enjoyed a beautiful evening walk to a close by restaurant for my friend’s birthday! It was lovely! I didn’t know about the menu options, so that’s why we opted to eat at home. I had two beers and some tostones (fried plantains), and was happy to squeeze in another walk back home. I LOVE walking, and it was pretty and peaceful with the fresh snow on the ground. Kegan and I spotted this randomness, so I had to snap a shot…

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One more day until my weekend! I’ve got to rest up for another crazy day in retail!

Evening – Day 21

This morning started out with a great smoothie. I feel like I have been slacking on my greens, so I thought a smoothie would be the perfect way to squeeze them in.

Today was the first official day of our store event. (Yesterday, I had to ring up all of the preorders). There was a lot of pressure, and I felt bad because two people were sent in to help out at my counter and we had no customers! I’m not sure if everyone was anticipating the big storm that’s supposed to come out tonight. Actually, it seemed like other counters were busy, just not mine. It made me anxious, and I was comparing myself to others and feeling like a loser. Never a good thing. It was more emotionally exhausting than physically exhausting. I felt really moody today. I was really happy when lunchtime came. I had my yummy black eyed peas and mustard greens with wild rice. Hit the spot! I snacked on some cocoa almond kale crunchers. I’ll definitely be making those again.

The rest of the day went fine. Business never really picked up, but we did some little by little. I snacked because I was planning on going to my yoga class. I kept going back and forth about it, and ultimately decided I was going to take tonight off. Tomorrow I’m working a longer day, and meeting up with a friend for her birthday, so I don’t want to feel burnt out. I came home, ate a big bowl of the cauliflower chowder, and nibbled on some various sweets. I caught up on some Portlandia with Kegan and took a long shower.

In reflection, I think I put too much pressure on myself today. I was stressed about work, and it was fine. I stressed about not doing yoga, and it’s fine. I think it’s the winter doldrums getting to me…

No pics today, but I pretty much had repeats of stuff from earlier in the week! Looking forward to making the portobello mac & cheese and maybe the quinoa and sweet potato kale cakes next!

Day 20 – Busy Day At Work

This morning, I woke up to another chilly Chicago day. Those oatcakes have been the perfect morning comfort food slathered with coconut oil and honey. I warmed a cup of herbal tea, chopped up a Granny Smith apple, and enjoyed a lovely breakfast! For lunch, I packed the last of the peppered lentils with kale and buttercup squash.

Today, I knew I was going to be walking into a hectic environment at work, so I tried to enjoy some calming thoughts over breakfast and during my commute to work in the swirl of public transportation chaos. I’m getting better at it! It’s definitely a great skill to work on, a meditation of sorts.

When I arrived at work, I did feel a little scattered and overwhelmed, though. It was the first day of a big event that we’re having at the store. It’s sort of our spring make-up kick off. It’s like a gift-with-purchase event on crack, and it lasts for close to two weeks! It’s a marathon of sorts, and can be very grueling. I’ve obviously gotten better at handling it, but there’s always that worry, “Will we make our ever-growing sales goals?”

In the day and age of the Internet (and thus shopping) at one’s fingertips, it often worries us that our jobs are eventually becoming obsolete. Obviously, the skill of make-up artistry can go in many directions, and the Internet can not replace artistry nor the joy of human interaction…but…well, who knows. I’m happy to have had success with what I do for a living, especially through the dips in the economy. And I feel like things are on the upswing, so I shall embrace that for now.

I quickly got a system together for completing the orders that my clients had placed, and remained focused. All in all, it was kind of exhausting, but not overwhelming. I could’ve easily decided not to go to yoga, because I had a busy day at work, but I went and I enjoyed it a lot.

(On a side note, I shared some cocoa almond crunchers with my omnivore friend who has a similar appreciation for kale, and she LOVED them! She wants to pay me to make them for her! I refused, and instead told her I’ll bring more tomorrow 🙂 )

I came home to a hearty bowl of cauliflower chowder with half a baked potato. I dropped a scoop of chipotle hummus in it to make it creamy and spicy, and a bit of avocado. Perfect end to my day. I showered, brushed my teeth, and quickly jumped into bed before the chocolate could tempt me! Sometimes I have to play these little tricks on myself to avoid late night sweets takeovers when I am too vulnerable to back down. Now, I’m glued to the bed and it would not be worth it to even MOVE at this point! Good night!

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Evening – Day 19 A Chilly Day In Chicago

This morning I was looking forward to sleeping in, because I had the day off…but I woke up at 7:30, my body was anxious to start the day! (Now mind you, I realize this IS probably “sleeping in” for most of the normal population, but I work in retail). I have noticed this pattern of waking up feeling completely rested at least 30 minutes before my alarm goes off. It’s been an awesome feeling, and I definitely attribute it to my cleaner eating!

Kegan mentioned that it was pretty cold outside, but I was thinking about running. I opted out when I saw that it was 16 degrees with a bad wind chill. Plus, I knew Kegan needed the car today for work, and I’d be forced to rely on my bike to run my errands. I didn’t want to overdo it with the exercise. Making efficient use of my time before my yoga class, I threw the black eyed peas that I had presoaked on the stove to cook while I enjoyed my breakfast of a grapefruit and oatcakes. I had a recipe in mind of using the mustard greens and black eyed peas to make a southern stew of sorts from one of my Bryant Terry cookbooks.

I left for my yoga class and was running late, so I didn’t put my gloves on as I rode my bike since it’s only a mile or so away. BAD idea. It WAS really cold. My poor fingers. I made it to my class just in time. It was an awesome class, challenging, but fun to see how my strength and endurance has been building. When it was time to leave, I was dreading getting back on my bike. It felt like I was pedaling through sand as the wind blew me backwards. It was great to come home to the leftovers from last night’s peppered lentils with buttercup squash and kale. I had baked up a few potatoes earlier along with the peas, so I threw half of a potato in to stretch out the stew. What a comforting meal after that chilly ride home! For dessert, I had some tea, a few bites of the delicious fig dark chocolate that Kegan’s mom sent us for Valentine’s day, and a cocoa almond kale cruncher! Those are so good, by the way! Filling, and satisfy a sweet tooth!

I got cracking on my recipes. I wanted to get a few meals prepared, because this will be a busy week at work. We have a big event in our store, and I’ll be super tired after work. I made my black eyed peas with mustard greens, a pot of wild rice to serve them over, and the cauliflower chowder from YU!

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Before I knew it, it was time to leave for my haircut. Again, not THAT far, but far enough that I couldn’t walk, and no direct line of public transportation that didn’t involve a transfer. So, I got EXTRA bundled up and dragged my bike out. Oh, it was torture. The wind seemed to have gotten worse when I was riding home.

I had to quickly shower and get ready for a special dinner out by the make up company that I work for! I actually chose the location, because I had heard there were options for all types of diets. One of my bosses is vegan friendly, so we were able to order and share lots of small plates! I love nibbles of lots of different flavors! It was great. Here are some highlights…

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Among other things, we enjoyed a salad with ribbons of green papaya, chayote, zucchini, and jicama; shiitake edamame dumplings, and pear sorbet for dessert!

It was a special evening. It feels great to go out for dinner when you eat plant-based and not feel stuffed! I ate so many delicious veggies and fruits!

Must rest up for a big day at work tomorrow!

Day 18 – A Lovely Day Off

Today was the beginning of my “weekend”, and I wanted to squeeze in a lot, while striking a balance of not doing TOO much.

This morning started with a continuation of yesterday’s food items! I decided to finish “baking” my oatcakes in the dehydrator; it made perfect sense since I was already using it to dehydrate my cocoa almond kale crunchers. It makes me happy to use my gadgets! (Especially since my dehydrator has definitely gone through phases of dormancy). I’m happy to say that YU has definitely inspired me to use it more, and it doesn’t feel like such a chore! Both items turned out beautifully!

I left the apartment for my run and decided to crank it up just a tad, and run a bit longer with shorter breaks. It felt great! It was a pretty morning in Chicago, before it clouded up in the afternoon and started misting…I love the feeling of accomplishment when I start my day out that way!

I came home to a well deserved breakfast of oatcakes with some coconut butter and raw honey a la Heather! Kegan had also requested I whip up some hemp milk for him to have with his cereal, so I poured myself a glass. I threw in an orange for good measure…

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I dropped Kegan off at work and ran to the grocery store. I picked up some delicious new finds this week! The co-op had some beautiful mustard greens, arugula, and these beautiful little nuggets of caramel delight, “barhi dates”. I did a little research on them, and they are described as tasting like butterscotch candy, and being the sweetest, softest dates. Apparently, they have a short harvest window, so I think I’m going to try to stock up on more next week if they’re still around. They’re so cute and yummy!

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I love these little treasures at my co-op, trying a different type of apple (like the “piñata” that I bought last week) and learning the subtle difference in flavors that these gems hold!

Speaking of gems, I had to quickly put away my groceries, and heat up last night’s leftovers, so that I could head down to my brother’s house to see my nephews! I can’t believe how much time I’ve let pass since I’ve seen them. At the ages of one and almost five, they are changing so quickly! I was also able to squeeze in some time with my mom, brother, and sister-in-law, so it was a lovely afternoon!

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It’s hard to get a still photo of these energetic little fellas! I have to throw this one in, too. It was so cute! Lou was LOVING his clementines so much, he devoured two in mere moments!!! Good boy! 🙂

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I packed some YU treats for my mom to sample, and they were a hit! My brother enjoyed a bite of the flour less black bean brownies, and was intrigued to know the ingredients!

I scooted out before it got too late, because I wanted to squeeze in one of my favorite yoga classes, and then pick up Kegan from work. Oh boy, my legs are going to feel something tomorrow. (I’m sure the run this morning added to that feeling). Our teacher had us do this seemingly simple exercise at the beginning of class that had my quad muscles shaking the entire rest of the class! I picked up Kegan from work, and he dropped me off at home so he could squeeze in some exercise at the gym before dinner. I was feeling hungry, but didn’t want to ruin my appetite. So, I chugged a bunch of water, and enjoyed a pink lady apple. I love how delicious fresh fruit tastes when you’re feeling hungry. It did the trick.

I made the peppered lentil recipe from YU with some modifications:

http://www.yumuniverse.com/2011/11/15/peppered-lentils-with-kale-butternut-squash/

I had no red pepper, and I was using up the other half of my buttercup squash soup, and I had to use up that millet which was on the brink of needing to be tossed. I rinsed the cooked millet well, and it tasted fine, so I served everything on top of that with some red pepper stuffed green olives for a briny effect. The lemon juice tied everything together beautifully.

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I ate a a few “butterscotch” dates and a small portion of the black bean brownies, while Kegan and I sat on speaker phone with his mom, (my second mom). I’m so lucky to have two great moms. After that, I cleaned up the kitchen. Then, I drew a bath with some Epsom salts and let my muscles soak. Aaahhh. It was a perfect day!