Sunday, September 23, 2012

Spicy Chili Soup

Now that Fall is here - I must share one of my favorite Crock-Pot recipe! I learned this recipe last fall and since then have made it at least a dozen times! It provides plenty of leftovers for the Caveman and I and is a big hit with some of our friends! Each time I make it, I love it a little bit more!

1 1/4 lbs. Lean Ground Beef, Turkey, or Shredded Chicken
1 Onion, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, chopped
1 Bell Pepper, seeded and chopped
8 oz. Sliced Mushrooms
1 (14oz) can Crushed Tomatoes
1 (48oz.) can reduced sodium tomato or vegetable Cocktail Juice
1 (14oz) can Beans rinsed and drained.
1 Tbs.Ground Cumin
1/8 tsp. cayenne, or to taste
1/4 cup each fresh Cilantro and Parsley, chopped

This is an easy recipe! First things first, cook your choice of meat. I love using ground turkey seasoned with cayenne pepper. I'm a fan of spicy soup to warm me up in the cold weather!

While the meat is cooking, combine the remaining ingredients in your crockpot. Start with the vegetable juice and the can of crushed tomatos. Then add the beacns and the chopped vegetables. Make sure to stir everything together. Once stirred together, add the spices and chopped parsley and cilantro. Stir everything once again.

By now the meat will be done cooking and properly seasoned. Make sure to drain the meat from any juices. once drained, toss into the crockpot with the rest of the ingredients and stir well! Turn the crockpot on High heat and let cook for 2 hours 30 minutes.

The smell of the soup cooking will fill your whole house and it will be glorious! Pair with some bread of your choosing, like Naan, and you have yourself a hearty meal for the whole family! This typically makes enough soup for 6-8 people, depending on the size of the bowl.

I would love to head what you think of this meal and any variations you use to improve it!

Peace and Good JuJu,

Friday, September 21, 2012

The week of meetings

Want to know the one thing that kills my diet plans? Meetings! Meetings at work that are always last minute, stressful, all over the place, and have to be conveniently scheduled during my snack time or my lunch time. REALLY?!

I set up a plan for my meals for all last week. I was motivated to bring my lunch and make dinner every nights. So what happened? random meeting at lunch, impromptu "gathering" at lunch, dinner for josh's birthday, missed lunch, forgotten snacks, and an overall mess of my eating habits for the week! I bought all the ingredients to make turkey wraps for lunch and here it is Friday and I haven't made a single one! ARGH!!!

How do I manage this? How does anyone manage this? I don't have the budget to be eating out or eating on the fly when I'm at work, but I have a hell of a time scheduling my meals and being able to get them in during the work day.

I would love to hear any ideas on how to get through a workday without ruining an eating plan! In the mean time, I'm slowly working on increasing my water intake. Its going well. Still not where I need to be in general but working hard!

Before I head off for the night - I thought I would take just a quick second to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my hubby! I love you Caveman and am so glad you enjoyed the birthday surprise today!

Peace and Good JuJu,

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Goals: Failed!

So, if you read my last post, you know I've been just a little busy the last 2 months. This week made me see how that has affected other areas of my life. Like my kitchen! HOLY MOLY - there is almost no food in my house! And my last weigh in? Not so pretty! And my goals I set for myself at the end of June? Totally blown, not a single one was kept. Yup - this is me saying I screwed up - AGAIN! You can shake your head at me, trust me, I know how pathetic it sounds. But if losing weight and keeping it off was an easy task, there wouldn't be a billion books and articles and exercise and diet plans created every year to help "battle the bulge"!

Back in May, I listed my health goals. and after reading them, I still want to accomplish all of the goals on that list. To recap - here they are again:
  1. I want to weigh 150lbs - this will require me losing 100+ lbs.
  2. I want to be able to Jog (not run) for a minimum of 30 minutes without getting winded.
  3. I want to fit into a dress I still own from my first year of college.
  4. I want to be able to try on wedding dresses without worrying if they will carry my size.
  5. I want to have children and not be overweight when I do.
  6. I want to expand my food knowledge so that I make healthier food choices.
  7. I want to work towards a whole month with no fast food.
  8. I want to step on the scale at my doctor's office and for the nurse to tell me my weight falls into the NORMAL category.
  9. I want to train for a half marathon.
  10. I want to share my experiences with other women, and men, to help them gain the courage to get healthy as well!

I've looked over these goals and really tried to break them down in my head. I've tried to plan on when I could accomplish these goals and how I plan to accomplish them. To make it easier on myself, and to prevent myself from getting discouraged when I don't accomplish ALL OF THEM, I've decided I need to make smaller, more attainable goals. I always feel like I'm setting realistic goals, but then I look at them and feel overwhelmed. Lose 100+ lbs? Yeah - because that's just so easy! (Yes, that was sarcasm!)

To reach any of the goals, I need to have an organized home! I find that when I don't have an organized home that I am scattered, stressed, and less likely to do something productive. Lucky for me I'm spending the weekend working on organizing the apartment! That includes unpacking enough items to clear room in the living room and spare room, reorganizing the kitchen, stocking up the apartment with nutritious food, and putting my workout stuff in an easily accessible location (not in a bag in a box, hidden in the closet)!

So what are my smaller goals? Here are just a couple and how I plan to reach them!

  1. Lose 20lbs. by Christmas. - This will take some time. I'm learning to rely less on the NUMBER and more on the feel of clothes and my fitness level. However I know the number is still important in the grand scheme of things.
  2. Increase Water Intake. - I know I need to be drinking 64oz of water a day, minimum. I have a water glass at work that I can refill and I need to start drinking more water at home. I would like to increase to 100oz of water a day. I feel this will help flush some of the "yuck" out of my system and make my body feel better during the day. 
  3. Cut back on fast food. - Never fails, whenever I try to give up fast food completely I wind up gorging for days! I can't escape getting a meal at lunch on occasion, but I can control what I eat for dinner. My goal for the month of October is to not have any fast food for Dinner and ensure I make the time to have a home cooked meal each night.
  4. 4 days a week exercise! - I do a lot of walking during my work day. To and from the bus station is 10 minutes minimum and then there is 8 minutes each way to walk to and from the bus at work. I've started to NOT count that in my exercise and instead will strive to do ADDITIONAL exercises 4 days a week. I really love the programs and enjoy how they are usually between 12 and 20 minutes to complete. They are high intensity interval training exercises, and every time I have done them in the past, they have KILLED me! They work every muscle and get my heart rate going! So, since the recommendation is 3x's a week at 30 minutes, I'm going for 4 days a week at 12-20 minutes!
If I work hard at these smaller goals, I know the bigger ones will fall into place. I still want to lose 100+ lbs, I still want to fit into my dress from college, I still want to train for a half marathon - but I will be doing it all on a much smaller scale. Slow and steady wins the race, right? And now that I already OWN a wedding dress, I would like to get to a point where I can alter it to fit my NEW size!

Over the next couple weeks, I'll touch on each of the 4 smaller goals and check in with my progress. After a couple months, I'll reevaluate how I want to continue and go from there! Until then, hope you stick around to watch the journey! So many adventures, so little time!

Peace and Good JuJu,

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Guess Who's Back?

Welcome back Blogging friends! Or should I be welcoming back MYSELF?! Boy has it been a wild 2 months. Can't believe so many things have happened and I haven't had a chance to blog about them and share with you all! First, lets recap the last 2 months: Got accepted to a new apartment, packed, moved, cleaned, started unpacking, decided to get married in 28 days, started planning wedding, left for 2 week (hellish) business trip in Sacramento, came home, got married, still unpacking!

Yup, that about sums up the last 2 months! A whirlwind of crazy and fun and so many emotions! I know I posted a quick blurb with some pics from the wedding, but other than that I haven't posted since we started the move! Here's a little run down on where I've been!

Let's start with the move! Oh the glorious move! So much packing, so much cleaning, so much stuff!! Where does it all come from?! And how does it all fit in one place but never the next? Packing was an adventure and moving took far longer than expected! We ran into every bump in the road that you can imagine! And after we got everything OUT, we still had to clean the old place! Even though we started moving on June 11th, we didn't get fully out of the old place and cleaned until the very last day of the month! We tried scheduling a walkthrough of the old place, and the complex wasn't willing to work with our schedules. Needless to say, they did the walkthrough on their own and are trying to vastly over charge us for "damages". I'm still working with them, over a month later, to get things resolved but am optimistic for a positive resolution soon.

The new apartment, is fun! Its bigger, 2 bathrooms, and has covered patio that has full paneling all around. It makes it easier to just put the dogs on the back patio and let them enjoy the sun and be outside. Its not a yard, but that is the goal for next summer! Hopefully things go our way next year! In the mean time, I'm still unpacking and trying to find homes for everything. Even though the place is larger, I feel like the amount of room there is to place thing is smaller. We don’t have drawers in the kitchen, except a couple small ones for utensils and dish rags, which means I don't have a home for my Tupperware right now. Its sort of all over the counters! I do love the layout of my kitchen though! It has a center bar area with the dishwasher and sink and small counter. I just envision how useful it will be when we have our annual Christmas Eve party! Or even better, the Halloween party we are having this year! FUN!

So in addition to the big move that didn't get finished until the last day of July, I spent the first two full weeks of August in Sacramento with a co-worker and my boss. Well, boss was only there the 1st week. We are doing some new work lately that required us to be onsite at a clients location and remeasure the whole building! THE WHOLE BUILDING!!! That included 8 standard floors, a basement, 2 penthouse/roof levels, and a whole new site plan that included renumbering their parking spaces and redrawing their parking boundary fence. It was a government building, where the immigration offices are located, and in many of the areas we went to we had to be escorted with people following us around as we did our measuring with laser devices. It was 10 hour days on site to get all the measurements we needed. And even then, we found we missed spots after we got back. It was rough, it made me want to cry, but all in all, it was a wild adventure! Some of the roughest days were when I had to go back to the hotel and work on stuff for my client back in Seattle, because I didn't have anyone who could do the work in my absence! It added 4-5 hours to my days sometimes. It was exhausting! As a bonus though, I did get a slight tan because of the heat and lounging by the pool and I got to drive over to Reno to visit my Grammy and my aunt. It was definitely good to see them. Especially since I decided a week before leaving to have my wedding a week after I got back, and my aunt wasn't going to make it. It was nice to see her and mini-celebrate with her!

So, wedding! A wedding that was planned for August 17th of 2013 wound up happening on August 25th of 2012! A Lot of factors went into making this decision. I started planting the seed in June with the Pre-Hubby that we should just get married in August. Small, simple, intimate, immediate family only. I was tired of the stress that was coming along with trying to plan a party for under 100 people without spending a fortune that we didn't have. Additionally, his Grandpa was having heart issues and had to have a triple bypass surgery. He tried acting tough, but you could see how worried he was that something was going to happen and Grandpa wouldn't make it. Regardless, he kept telling me to relax and keep planning what I wanted and we would find a way.

Midway through our move, we got a call that Grandpa had a heart attack and was back in the hospital. His Grandpa is as important to him as my Grampy was to me. And when we saw his grandpa a week after the heart attack, he just looked defeated. While we were, and still are, praying that Grandpa would be just fine, I could sense that Pre-Hubby wanted to make sure that his Grandpa got to see him get married. And heck, if he came through everything fine and lived long enough to see grandchildren, it would just be a bonus! Again, I mentioned we should just get married in August. We didn't have to have a big party, we were both worried about his Grandpa's health, and for my family that was out of town, we could get them over really quickly.

So, on Friday July 28th, on the 6:30am walk to the bus station so we could go to work, Pre-Hubby turned to me and asked "so, you think you could find a wedding dress in a month?" and the ball started rolling! Before I got to work at 7:30 we had picked a date, made a tentative plan, called my mom, called some of his family, and started the process of planning a wedding! I won't bore you with all the details (I'll save that for the Wedding Wednesday posts) but things got planned quick, family stepped in and helped wherever they could, and we wound up having the most amazing wedding, on the beach, at sunset, that I ever could have asked for. My dream sure came true! I had my family, my closest friends, and married the love of my life who is no longer Pre-Hubby, just Hubby (I call him Caveman)!

And now, I'm back at work. No honeymoon, that will wait until next year. While it didn't cost us an arm and a leg to get married, it did deplete all our extra savings. So, we have to save up to take a nice vacation to Florida next year! As you can imagine, the chaos of the last 2 months has not fared well with my Fitness goals. And I slipped WAY off the wagon. But knowing that all the stress that I would have endured for a year of planning is done and over, and I can just live my life every day with just normal day struggles, I'm at a better place to get back on board and "trim the fat"!

Fitness Friday will start back up tomorrow, where I will re-evaluate my goals. Getting married changed my outlook a lot on my fitness goals! Not sure why, but I feel like something just clicked in my brain! More on that tomorrow!

Savory Sunday will be back this week with a yummy new dish! I've been eating out FAR TOO often in recent weeks. With my kitchen almost in order after the move, its time to get my culinary skills to work by making up a delicious new treat!

And Wedding Wednesday! I wanted to share the wedding planning as it was happening, but we kept the whole thing a secret from everyone except immediately family. I'll spend a few weeks (maybe longer depending on how detailed I get) going through the different planning steps and how we wound up NOT going broke for our dream wedding!

Lots of rambling, lots of grammar errors, but lots of adventures! If you stuck around during the Hiatus - THANK YOU!! If you are just joining - WELCOME! I can't wait to get back into a normal blogging rhythm and sharing my many adventures with you all!

Peace and Good JuJu,