I'm writing this post trying to ward off the feeling that a perpetual rain cloud is hovering over my head. Yesterday, I was experiencing the highest of highs as I laid a big welcome-home kiss on my husband outside international customs while we tried our best not to recreate a sappy scene from any number of epic chick flicks. We failed. It was glorious and I won't lie and say that I didn't feel like we were on our honeymoon again after being apart for longer than any two people who are head over heels for each other should be. Then this morning I kissed him again, but this time to say goodbye as he flew off (in a plane. he left his cape at home.) for a week of training. And what do I say to that as I wipe away the proverbial crocodile tear? Let's go shopping!! Hey, it's the first of the month and we need groceries. Just so happens that a Target trip is overdue. They sell groceries, right? : ) Need I say more? So those are my plans for the day. That and to pick up my little monster who is being doggysat by some amazing friends. Thanks, Josh and Sarah!
As I push away my rain cloud, let me tell you about Quinoa (pronounced ke-nwa). This superfood is amazingly good for you and is quick and easy to prepare. Read about some of its incredible health benefits here at MindBodyGreen. My husband and I have been eating Quinoa for years now, but only about a year ago did I discover that it came in pasta form. What?!!! Seriously.
Here is a little dish I put together a few nights ago that I will definitely be adding to my menu more often: Quinoa Past with Spinach and Shrimp. You are getting double fiber in this recipe with the quinoa and spinach together. Bonus! Then double up the protein with the quinoa and shrimp. Bonus again!
This recipe is for one serving so multiply accordingly.
What you'll need:
2 oz quinoa rotelle pasta
1/2 tsp lemon juice
3 oz precooked shrimp
1 handful of raw spinach
seasoned salt to taste (just a little)
Cook pasta according to instruction.
While waiting for pasta to cook, boil shrimp in saucepan with 1 cup of water until the shrimp are somewhat clear. Don't overcook or they will be tough. Drain, pull of tails, and sprinkle with seasoning salt.
Add spinach to shrimp and cook until wilted. Set aside.
Drain pasta and toss with lemon juice.
Add spinach and shrimp to pasta and there you have it!!
It's been one of those weeks. Sounds foreboding, I know, but stick with me. There is a silver lining, I promise. On Tuesday, one of our dear students lost her grandfather to leukemia. It was sudden. Very sudden. He was really like a father to her. My heart hurts for her and her family, and I marvel at the fact that as I spent about two hours at their home today, our conversation was punctuated with tears AND laughter. Sweet stories were told and happy memories recounted. While telling me of her joyful forty-one year marriage, my student's grandmother passed on to me some simple yet sage advice. She said, "Cherish every moment you have with your husband. Never take him for granted." And she didn't! That's for sure. Just hearing some of her stories made me triple think about my own relationship with my husband. I went there to be a blessing and ended up being the one blessed. Humbling.
Now allow me to usher you into one of the most private rooms in my house: my closet. For some reason, putting all my clothing on display for the entire world to see leaves me unsettled. I just tell myself it's for the greater good. That seems to always make things worth while even though I'm not exactly sure which greater good we would be talking about here. I don't consider myself an extremely organized person. I do, however, love to organize. I mean REALLY love it. It is ultra therapeutic to see an unorganized jumble of "stuff" in front of me and have the green light to start "placing things here," and "stacking things there," and throwing things away! Ask anyone who knows me well. I love to purge. We have now been living in our home for four years. In the course of these four years, I believe I have rearranged the orientation of the clothing in my closet about five times. I really had to see which way worked best. And I'm still figuring it out. This closet is NOT complete.
To the left is my hub's side of the closet. This center shelving unit gave me a whole lot of problems. Clothes stored here used to just feel like toppling towers of fabric. I decided to use a wire rack to get some of his sweaters under control. His long sleeved T's are rolled up to conserve space. I saved some of his shoe boxes to store his shoes in. I'm planning on investing in some clear ones in the future.
This lovely space has held just about everything over these past years. Not sure if I'm settling for this arrangement, but it has seemed to work well so far. I've housed my bulky sweaters and tall boots here.
Right up there with my love for organizing is my love for the Dollar Tree. I snatched up these "shoe" boxes and put every single pair of shoes, with the exception of some of my sandals and flats, in their own little comfy home. They are clear which allows me to quickly find what I'm looking for. And I imagine that this will also keep my closet from smelling like stinky shoes : ) I always feel good about sealing up my sneakers in one of these bad boys after a long workout.
These hanging organizers were actually being used in another room to hold linens. I found that they were put to much better use here. The narrow hanging shelf is used for some of my flats and sandals and the wider shelf for scarfs and sweaters/tops.
I should be asleep. Those luxuries that usually turn me into a serious narcoleptic - fluffy pillows, warm blankets, a whirling ceiling fan, and a snoring puppy - just don't seem to be cutting it for me tonight. Popping up my computer screen seemed the least logical thing to do, so that's what I did.
I was just thinking, because as you know, when you WANT to go to sleep, that's when your greatest and most organized, inventive, and productive thoughts begin to surface, that I should put an herb garden behind my kitchen sink. For tonight, this sounds epic. We have a corner sink with a triangular shaped space behind it that may just be the most awkward spot in my whole house. Last year's back porch herb garden was a success until the major summer heat did some damage. Bringing the garden indoors sounds like a great solution. I pretty much just planned the entire design out in my mind over the last ten minutes. Come morning, I may be wondering what in the world I was thinking, but for tonight my sleep-deprived brain says, "Awesome!"
So plans to follow. I'll keep you updated. I am WILLING spring to get here with all of my might. You know that smell in the air when the sun's warmth has touched everything around you and the breeze picks it up and drops it off right at your front door step? Yes. You're ready, too, huh!
I had a craving for chicken strips the other night and since I try to stay away from white flour as much as possible, out came the coconut flour. Eureka!! This chicken is the perfect combination of sweet and savory. I added dill because I'm in love with dill. It's probably my favorite seasoning. But you can add pretty much anything you want to the bread crumbs.
Here's what you'll need:
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 egg, beaten
2 cups plain bread crumbs
2 teaspoons dry dill (or more if you want)
1 cup coconut flour
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with olive oil.
Cut chicken into 1 inch thick strips making sure the pieces are uniform.
Mix the bread crumbs together with the dill in a shallow bowl.
Place beaten egg in another bowl and coconut flour in another.
Dip chicken pieces into flour, then egg mixture, and lastly the bread crumb mixture.
Place chicken on baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes and turn. Bake for another 7 minutes or until crispy on the outside.
Confession: I'm a drug store junkie. I hate spending more money on a product than absolutely necessary. That being said, I don't want to substitute quality for cost. Here are a few of my all-time favorite morning routine products that I've found to be extremely reliable as well as easy on the wallet. From time to time I step out and try a new product but usually end up returning to these.
Corny name, amazing product. I've tried pumice stones, the egg foot scraper, sandpaper foot files, those metal file thingies that make me peel off just one too many layers of skin, and pretty much everything else out there. These are the best. And they disintegrate as you use them so they don't get moldy and grotty.
So when it comes to shampoo and conditioner, I don't quite have a favorite. I do a switch up about every six months. I find that my hair quickly gets used to the product I use and making a change seems to do good things for it. A friend of mine just recently started selling Herbalife and introduced me to their hair products. I was very impressed with their shampoo and conditioner and definitely plan on using it again.
Bath and Body Works is a guilty pleasure. Their semi-annual sales make me a little nuts in the head. I come home with a whole lot of yumminess. White Citrus is my new favorite. It's fresh and light and perfect.
One of the greatest challenges with eating clean is knowing WHAT to eat. Eating clean definitely makes it more difficult to "grab a quick bite." There is a lot of planning and preparation involved. Many of you are probably familiar with Clean Eating Magazine, but did you know that they give access to meal plans and grocery lists for each season FOR FREE? I sure didn't! I wish I had stumbled across this website long ago. It would have saved me hours of floundering and head scratching wondering what I was going to make for a week of meals. Below is the link that will take you to the "meal plans" page. Each meal plan is separated into seasons. They even have in-between seasons! I'm really loving the meals and snacks that they suggest. They are simple and VERY TASTY. Any tool that I can find to make my eating healthy an easier task is something that I appreciate. Happy eating!