Sunday, February 27, 2011

Operation Motivation

Hope everyone had a lovely weekend!

I’m not sure where ours went, but it was a good one.  Erik spent most of Saturday doing homework, and I tried to be productive by doing a little work myself.  We’ve also been working on the Originally Organic Vending website that will be “official” pretty soon!

Operation Motivation

Now onto business … as I mentioned in my last post, I decided that I need to incorporate more of a solid routine into my day as I adjust to working at home.  And here’s the stipulations I’ve come up with so far:AAs I haven’t exactly been great at cooking lately (aka I’ve been eating more prepackaged foods than normal, such as cereals, and frozen Amy’s food), my first item of Operation Motivation is to:

- Cook at least one new recipe a week (a recipe that would be considered a “main dish”)

But I must say … I do love this Kashi cereal!AAAnd the rest:

Make at least one new baked good a week.

Workout at least 4 times a week.

- Get ready every morning!  Not gonna lie, thus far in my work at home career, I’ve sort of just gotten up, put on some sweat pants, eaten breakfast, and got to work.  So basically, this stipulation will include doing my make-up and hair so that I would be “presentable” as if I were going somewhere.

- Complete set of “main” chores every day.  Erik and I wrote up a list this weekend of things in our house we want to have cleaned/picked up every day so we stay on top of things.

I’ll be sharing more of each of these as I complete them, such as the recipes I choose, and workouts I do. 
I’m excited to get with it! Smile

Just for Fun

The other day while we were eating dinner, I looked up and saw this:
I still don’t know how to happened, but somehow Erik had a string of cheese hanging from his mouth to his glasses.  I was cracking up, and I felt the need to share it with the world, haha.

Remember my Spin! pizza post?

We ate at Spin! Neapolitan Pizza for the first time about a month ago, and I mentioned in my post we didn’t love the pizzas we got.  (Aka, Erik is sort of a NY pizza snob and he has a hard time adjusting to non NY pizza, lol).

Well shortly after my post, I was contacted by someone from the restaurant, and they offered us a coupon for free pizza to try them out again. I thought that was really nice of them, and I’m not about to turn down some free pizza coupons! We’re excited to give them another try!
So if anyone has any fun recipes that I cannot live without, please share! Smile

How was your weekend??


Friday, February 25, 2011


Happy Friday!Smile

Who knew yesterday would end up looking like this??
Before yesterday, I naively thought that maybe, just maybe the snowy weather was all over.  After all, just last week I had my window cracked all day long and it felt wonderful! No such luck … but such is life in the Midwest.

Needless to say, as the wind was swirling about snow all day yesterday, I stayed tucked away inside working away with warm tea and comfort food.
My comfort food lunch reminded me of when I was little.  It’s been a really long time since I’ve had a pot pie!AIt sounded cozy, and warm for an easy lunch, so I picked it up at Whole Foods the other day. 

Amy’s frozen food never seems to disappoint me! And even though it’s still a frozen meal, it’s nice to know it’s organic and that there’s no additives, preservatives or GMOs.  They definitely make the best frozen meals I’ve ever had.AAAPerfect for the last snow day (hopefully!) of the year.AAAAAnd for dinner … thankfully, Erik had leftover pizza dough and whipped up another pizza while I was finishing up my work.
CCIn the News

Last but not least, here’s a few health/food related articles I read this morning (thanks to my Facebook friends that posted them, ha) that I found interesting.  One is about the effects that Monsato’s Roundup ready crops causing harm to animals, and the other’s about McDonald’s healthy(?) newest edition of oatmeal.  Just to give you a taste … here’s my favorite line from the article:

“A more accurate description than “100% natural whole-grain oats,” “plump raisins,” “sweet cranberries” and “crisp fresh apples” would be “oats, sugar, sweetened dried fruit, cream and 11 weird ingredients you would never keep in your kitchen.”

I guess it’s really no surprise! Anyway … here they are:

Monsanto’s Roundup Ready Crops Contain Organism Causing Animal Miscarriages, Scientist Says

How to Make Oatmeal … Wrong.

Enjoy!  And have a great weekend, everyone Open-mouthed smile


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

It’s worth it.

So I thought working at home would enable me to blog more, cook more, and have all this time to clean my house, and work out but thus far, I haven’t experienced that, ha.

Some days I find it hard to focus being at home, so I end up working later than planned to get all my work done, other days since I’ve been at my computer all day, I just want to get away from the computer!  Since I’m now paid by how much work I do, verses per hour, I’ve actually been working a lot harder than previously as well.

But don’t get me wrong … it’s worth it!

That being said, I’ve decided I need to kick myself in gear another notch and get better focused with more of a planned schedule/routine, thus having less distraction time, and more productive time.  While I’m not sure yet what that looks like in my schedule, it is coming!

BreakfastAThe above photo is what my breakfast has looked like lately.  I haven’t had oats in awhile because frankly, I’ve just been bored with them. 

Then one day, I decided to add some Chobani Greek yogurt to my bowl, and I’m back to loving oatmeal. It added the creaminess that had been lacking!  Plus, I always feel better when I eat a hearty breakfast of oats.  The mix:

- Old-fashioned oats (and enough water to cook them – I microwave my oats for 2 1/2 minutes and then add the rest of the ingredients)
- Small spoonful of dark chocolate peanut butter
- Dash of cinnamon
- Dash of milk
- Two small spoonfuls raw cane sugar
- Scoop of chia seeds
- Two big spoonfuls of Greek yogurt

Clearly, I’m pretty precise with my measurements.

Pizza TimeAErik’s been perfecting his pizza recipe lately, and I’m the lucky one who gets to taste test it!  Mmm.A1 AAAA
He’s convinced he needs a pizza oven for the correct crust consistency, but let me tell you, the toppings are spot on!
AAHopefully I’ll be coming up with a successful and productive routine soonWinking smile.

I’m thinking going to bed earlier would be a good start, and I’m already past that for tonight, ha.  See you later!


Friday, February 11, 2011

Coughing the week away

Happy Weekend!! Smile

Amidst house cleaning and other such chores last weekend, Erik and I spent a couple hours at the med clinic on Saturday only to discover Erik had bronchitis and sinusitis.  Therefore, I spent a good portion of the week trying to be a good wife take care of him. 

On Wednesday morning, I noticed myself coughing a tad here and there.  By Wednesday night, I was coughing a lot more.  Needless to say, my voice has now lowered a couple octaves, it randomly cuts out when speaking due to an urge to cough, and I sit here with a Kleenex box by my side.  I’ve been taking some of Erik’s medicine and believe I’m on the mend.  But I plan on taking it easy this weekend none the less! 

I actually blogged last weekend, but in light of the motivational tips I ended up posting instead (aka I forgot they were “due” on Monday until Sunday night when I scrambled to get them answered) I never actually hit “publish”.  So without further ado … here it is:
Amongst the Super Bowl weekend festivities of Erik getting sick, I decided I needed some sort of bread/cake in my life and went for a quick batch of peanut butter bread.  My recipe was inspired by Hangry Pants’ vegan peanut butter bread recipe.  AI was out of some of the ingredients thus here is how I altered her recipe:

- Used cow’s milk instead of almond (and also inadvertently took away the “vegan” part of the title)
- Used raw cane sugar and agave nectar to sweeten instead of brown sugar and sugar
- Only having creamy peanut butter on hand, added some chia seeds and granola to give it a little crunch

My changes made the outside very crispy, but the inside is still nice and moist. 

It works out all right, because Erik likes things crispy, and I like them more bread/cake-like.  I told Erik he could eat the outside, and I’d eat the inside, ha.  AAMy Super Bowl dinner was a meal for champions, ha.  It consisted of sweet potato fries, copious amounts of ketchup, and roasted veggies.

I may or may not have eaten this exact meal two nights in a row. 

Veggies consisted simply of Brussel sprouts (one of my all-time favorite vegetables), and bell peppers.  Guess who stuck their fork right in front of my camera right as I was taking this picture?? ANot a hard one to figure out.  Take two:AAI chopped the veggies, stuck them on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet along with the frozen sweet potatoes, added a little olive oil and pepper, then baked them for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

Pre oven:AAAAnd post oven:BTwo of my favorite foods!

I used the Alexia All Natural sweet potato fries that I talked about last week.  As previously stated, I got a coupon to sample them via  the Foodbuzz Tastemaker’s Program.AAAAThanks to Foodbuzz and Alexia All Natural for giving me an opportunity to try them.  I can see myself buying them again once in awhile, but they were also a tad greasy and smelled fried (even though they were baked) and I would eat too many of them! 

And now, I have an appointment with a blanket, a pillow, and some hot tea!

Have a great weekend! Open-mouthed smile


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Motivation tips for 2011 weight loss, exercise and diet resolutions

Hello, everyone! Smile

I recently received an e-mail from someone at about 10 frequently asked motivation questions that they recently gathered and posed to a panel of their 25 nutritionists and psychologists. Their answers can be found here.  As a part of a follow-up post  I was asked to answer these 10 questions as well as provide counterpoint to any of their experts’ answers.

This sounded like a fun and exciting opportunity to me, so without further ado, here are my answers/comments to these 10 motivation questions!

1) We all make New Year's resolutions, and often these resolutions involve weight loss or fitness goals. But many of us quickly lose traction and don't achieve our goals. What are the psychological and emotional reasons behind these failures?

I think a lot of failures occur due to lack of preparation.  Many times new year’s resolutions are just a quick decision in our minds simply because of the time of year, or others around us in the media or at the office speaking of resolutions for the new year.  In order to be successful in such goals, it’s important to plan ahead, research, and prepare for these changes nutritionally, physically, and emotionally speaking.  This might include researching what foods to avoid, what foods to consume, and allotting a specific time of day for exercise.

2) What is the biggest mistake people make when making a resolution? Are you setting yourself up for failure when you make a New Year's resolution to lose weight or get fit?

The biggest mistake people make when making a resolution is often-times setting unrealistic goals. When changing something in your lifestyle or diet, changes occur one thing at a time.  If you make realistic goals, and have a plan to achieve it, you won’t be setting yourself up for failure.

3) How do you set reasonable, healthy expectations when you resolve to lose weight or shape up at this time of year or any other time of year?

Take weight loss one week at a time.  Make small, achievable goals for each week that you can feel good about accomplishing.  These can be simple things like, I’m going to work out three to four days a week, I’m going to eat a serving of fruit and/or vegetables at every meal, or I’m going to drink water instead of soda. Each little thing will add up, and one at a time these changes will easily become a part of your life.

4 ) What kind of support should you seek to help you achieve your goals?

Fitness blogs and weight loss forums can be a supportive tool to those looking for a push, or just some helpful knowledge and motivation.  Others may choose to watch specific workout videos, hire a personal trainer, or join an online workout program to get started.

5) What are three things you can do to improve your chances of success before you make a healthy lifestyle change?

One: look into the future, and decide why it is you want to achieve this resolution.  Whether it’s to improve your health to enjoy your family longer, to boost your self confidence, or to tone up, keep this specific reason in mind and let it keep you motivated.

Two: make a plan, and track your progress.  Plan specific workout times, and healthy meals so that there is a time you will without a doubt work out, and you have meal ideas ready to make.

Three: remove temptation.  Whether it’s the candy dish at your desk at work, or the Oreos in your cupboard at home, if it’s not there you won’t be able to mindlessly reach for it when tempted.

6) Why is it so hard to keep the weight off after a diet, and what can you do to maintain weight loss?

More so than just a quick fix, success truly is found in a lifestyle change not an on and off diet.  Most of the time it’s hard to keep weight off after a diet because most diets are very unrealistic long term.  In order to maintain weight loss and stay on track, it’s important to find a way of living, eating, and exercising that you can realistically see yourself doing the rest of your life. 

7) Can you rearrange your life in any way to make it easier to avoid diet temptations?

Definitely! The one thing that worked for me when changing my lifestyle was to simply keep temptations out of my house.  Chances are, if you keep junk food in the house, it’ll be very easy to consume it since it’s right there in front of you.  On the other hand, if you have to jump in the car and drive to the store to get it, you’re a lot more likely to avoid it.

Along with that, let your close family members who you will be eating and shopping with you know what you’re doing, what your goals are, and ask them to keep you accountable.  That way when temptation comes knocking,  it won’t be as easy to eat something you said you were going to avoid.

8) What advice do you have for people who just don’t like to exercise or who avoid it for other reasons?

Being one who once hated exercise, and always avoided it myself, my answer would be to JUST DO IT.  Perhaps that’s cliché, but there comes a moment where you just have to decide you’re just going to do it.  Period. No matter what.  You don’t have to run marathons or hike for two hours at a time.  You don’t even have to exercise at the gym.  Find something you enjoy doing. Start by walking around the block with your kids, or popping a workout DVD into your TV, and progress from there.  And when your predetermined workout time arrives, don’t let excuses stop you, just do it.  You’ll never be disappointed that you did!

9) When you’re making a resolution to improve your health, who should you recruit to be on your wellness team?

It’s always a huge help to have friends and family on board.  Try to find a health conscious friend to workout with.  You’ll be able to motivate, and push each other.

10) It’s easy to make excuses when you’re juggling work and family responsibilities. How can you make time for your resolutions in a hectic schedule?

It might take a few sacrifices, but there’s always a way to fit in exercise.  Schedule in your workout as you would any other appointment, get up 30 minutes earlier than usual, walk on your lunch break, or involve your family by playing a game outside instead of watching TV.  Making small sacrifices now can add the gift of health and vibrancy  to your life later on!

End notes:  I found myself definitely agreeing with most of the nutritional experts’ responses, and while there are a lot of different avenues taken, I think most of them are all after the same goal of overall health and happiness.

Having previously interviewed Tosca Reno on Lesley Lifting Life, I found I have gotten a lot of my own health and fitness ideas from her, and found her answers to these questions to be the ones that rang most true in my own life.  Thanks for reading!


Do you make New Year’s resolutions?  If so, what keeps you motivated?

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