Friday, January 2, 2009

2009

I am really going to try and write more this year. It is one of my "goals" in 2009. I have kept journals since I was 11 years old. They started as the lock and key diaries and over the years grew into beautiful journals with silk and flowers and paper that felt so soft and satiny...so nice to write on. I would usually fill a journal a year. I would always know I could go to the end of a journal to find out what I was doing in December. Well I don't have such a journal for the last couple of years which is devastating because the last two years have been the best two years of my life! I met my Sean, my husband and I don't have much of that documented. I will start now.

It is amazing how I can look back over the years and read an entry in a journal and it would bring me back right to that moment...the smell in the air, the mood I was feeling when I wrote that entry, what was going on around me. Sometimes it was wonderful and other times it would send chills up my spine to know that is the life I chose to live. I am so thankful that we have a Father that forgives and heals and loves unconditionally.

This blogging journal is new to me. I have always been more of a pen and paper kind of girl and I would say that I absolutely still am. I will start a new journal this year right here on the little gray box I hold in my lap and the pretty satiny one that I will use my own handwriting in.

I have images of our children when they are grown looking through my beautiful journals and looking at my handwriting and reading about my life. I would give anything to have journals from my mom, to see how she wrote, to hear her fears and joys. I can't imagine a better gift. Proof of life.

This Christmas and New Year's was one of my favorite. My heart felt so big and filled with joy I thought it was gonna bust. I am so blessed and I want to document it so when I think I am having such a bad day or time in life and I can read back and know how blessed I really am.

I am documenting right now that I really love my life!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Pilates

I have been teaching at Harmony Pilates and Gyrotonic Studio for two weeks now and it has been amazing to say the least. The site is new, so check back when we add bio's and fun stuff. One of the best things about being back in the studio is introducing my own body to this method again, I mean really diving back in. People think because I teach pilates that I work out all week long and am in great shape. Don't confuse "thin" with "in shape." I tell my clients this all the time. My body was starting to be unhealthy. My spine and my muscles were becoming weak and my mind was becoming sticky.

The worst part was getting started, having to stay after work and get on the equiptment and actually work out knowing I was not as strong as I used to be or that I was in worse shape than I was last year this time. That can be a real damper on jumping back into a routine for yourself. I did stay the first couple days. I looked at the clock every 4 min wondering "was this enough time? Can I go home now?" Those first few days were rough, but crutial. It's the first few days or couple weeks or months that make it hard to jump into a routine or to start the change of lifestyle for yourself. It is even hard for me a pilates instructor.

I can't tell you how amazing I feel now after only a couple of weeks. My spine feels like it is working for me and not against me. My mind feels like it is ahead of me and not lagging behind and I feel strong and attractive again after only a few sessions. Oh my this method rocks!!

So if any of you are stuck trying to get moving...just do it and if you are really stuck, let me help. I would love to help and get you moving and keep you motivated. Be encouraged. Our bodies were made to move and be strong and healthy for a really long time. I promise you will feel like a million bucks once you start. I would love to hear how some of you stay motivated. Tell me your tips and tricks for workouts and how you stay healthy and moving.

I will keep you posted on the progress of my new movement, but for now I have to go and get the haircut. (previous post)

A new relationship

Today I will be starting a new relationship (maybe) with a new hair designer. I had a friend of mine who has cut, highlighted and designed my hair for years and she is no longer around. You know that fear that sets in when you now have to find a new "designer." A designer that will put you at ease and make you feel like a million bucks from a simple hair cut and highlight, what a gift they provide for us women...if it's right. They just know what you need and want and you just sit in the chair with faith and trust that they will take care of you. Don't think I am crazy. Most women know exactly what I am talking about.

Today I will find out if it is right. Oh so scary. It has been so long now that I have been out of a salon that I look like I am growing my hair for a role in a play, a play that requires people to have super long straggly hair that is two or three different colors...a classy play.

I will let you know if a new relationship starts today.

Do you have this same anxiety with finding a new hair stylist? Please say yes even if the answer is no, I don't want to be the only one who has this sickness.

Well, I am off to meet Kelly.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Still here!

I have not abandoned my blog...well almost, but I am back. We have been moving into our new apartment in Shadyside and let me just say how our quality of life has changed for the better. Yes our rent is a little more for a smaller space and our taxes are a bit (or more) higher but Sean and I are loving our new space and our new neighborhood or as Sean likes to say "our hood." We walk everywhere and just loving being around people. We are smack in the middle of the main shopping/eating drag on Walnut so there are always people our walking, eating and shopping. I love it to say the least!

We encountered some stress during this move and I will admit that there are still some boxes that need unloaded and some things that are not in their permanent spot, but at least they are no longer on our living room floor. We had many, many trips to Ikea to purchase new furniture that would fit in our new space and many nights building and organizing. For those of you that have experience with Ikea furniture...you know how fun it is building drawer sets. My wonderful husband built our dresser and it looks great! I will try and post some pics when we are done. I also got ill, really, really ill for about 2 weeks in the middle of all the moving. Just not fair, but I am feeling better now.

It has been such a blessing for us to be here. Our dear friends the Melders just moved in the next neighborhood and it takes us 10 min to walk there, it is great! We had a July 4th picnic here yesterday and it was great!

I start back at Harmony Studio this week and I will admit I am a bit nervous to go back to teaching pilates with these brilliant teachers, but I am excited too! It is an honor to work with them and it will be good to get back into that world. It has been a while since I have taught full time and it is time I get back to it. I am sure I will catch the pilates bug again and be writing about all sorts of fun stuff to keep us all healthy and in shape. I am guilty of not keeping up with my own workouts so this will force me back into it.

I hope everyone had a lovely 4th of July!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Fruit Bowl




I have meeting tonight for work and I am taking a fruit bowl. Since we are in the process of moving I bought a watermelon and grapes and used what I had in the house to complete my bowl. Here is the fresh fruit I used.

Pineapple at the bottom of the bowl. Try this cool tool to slice fresh pineapple. I have the plastic version which cost about $10. This stainless steel one looks nice though. You will never be intimidated to buy fresh pineapple again. It is so easy.

Mango chunks ( I buy the organic frozen mangoes and put them in frozen to keep the bowl cool and then it cuts down on prepping your fruit to put it in the bowl.

Watermelon (seedless)

Green grapes

Strawberries

Frozen raspberries to keep it cool.

The frozen fruit mixed with the fresh fruit will keep the salad cool and it won't have such a heavy juice content, so the fruit will not get all mushy. You want to make it ahead of time so the frozen fruit thaws enough to eat when ready. If you are going to sit the bowl outside you don't want to make it too far ahead of time. The hot sun will do the trick to help thaw.

I didn't mix the salad together because I liked the layered look and I did not want the delicate raspberries and soft watermelon to get bullied in the bowl. It will mix once we scoop it out.

Yummy!! I hope I make it all the way to the meeting with the fruit bowl.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Naked Fruit:Buying Orgainic Produce


I am enjoying a Sunday morning with my husband and I happened to stumble along an article about buying organic produce and thought I would share with you. It is not the best article or information on the subject, but it is worth reading. I am happy to share some better books and resources if this is something you are interested in. As most of you know I have been eating organic for about 13 years now. Yes, since I was a teenager. People ask me why we eat organic and how we afford it. It seems like a no brainer to me. My health and the health of my husband is way more important to me than our bank account. I had to learn how to "afford" it and how to make it work, but let me give you hope that it is doable. The article was only about produce, but as you read along I also want you to think about your meat and grains being organic as well.

A good rule to follow when you are starting to eat and buy organic produce is to ask yourself..."do my fruits and veggies wear clothing?" Let me explain. Peaches, strawberries, apples, pears, peppers, carrots, lettuce are all "naked." I mean they don't have a coat to protect them from the tons of pesticides that are poured on them when they are growing. So when you are trying to make this work for your household start small and don't get overwhelmed. These would be fruits and veggies you would for sure want to buy organic. I buy a lot of my fruit in the frozen food section and thaw them in the fridge and they are yummy. My favorite is blueberries. Frozen fruits and veggies have about the same nutritional value as fresh fruit and can be cheaper and they are yummy in smoothies! It is good to buy frozen when a certain fruit you may want is not in season. Generally fruit is frozen in the height of their season so they are the sweetest and yummiest.

There are some others that are a bit more protected because they do wear some clothing. Pineapple, mangoes, watermelon, onions, avocados have a bit of a coat to them so they are a bit safer from the heavy residue of pesticides. This does not mean they don't have any pesticide residue, but just that their flesh is protected a bit more.

Here are some of the things people say to me about buying organic.

" The amount of residue on the fruit and veggie is so small there is no way that it could cause a health concern."

This frustrates me the most. Would you feed you family or yourself a little side of rat poison or chemical pesticide with every meal. I mean not enough to kill you or cause a disease after that one dose, but just a little everyday? What is the big deal, it won't kill you or cause an immediate problem? Ahhhh!!! I just don't get it. A little bit of something put into the body every day will eventually cause a big problem. It's just not worth it.

"I would rather have the pesticide than have a worm hole in my food, gross."


I don't know any real statistics on this, but I am pretty sure I have not heard of a case that worm poo killed a person or caused cancer. That is all I can say about that.

I would love for some of you to check your area and see if there are local organic farmers around. Do some research and see why you would want to start eating organic. Do you care about the earth and where your food comes from and supporting the local farmers that are trying to keep our soil the way God intended it to be? Do you want your children to be free of all those chemicals? Do you want to protect you own body and prevent illness and cancers in your body? What we put in our bodies is so important for our health, our health now and our long term health. Before you eat, ask yourself where you think this item came from or how it was produced. I am pretty sure if you become conscience about this you will change your eating habits quickly.

Be careful not to become overwhelmed by all of this, it can be fun and it will be a life saver for you and your family and not to mention organic food taste way better than chemical laden food.

I will receive our first basket of organic produce from Kretschmann Farm on June 4. This will be the first year we get our produce from a farmer. I will let you know how it goes. Do your research. I am happy to help in anyway I can.

P.S. Thanks for the image pwinn .

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Recipes

Some of you know that I went on an elimination diet about a month ago so I could test to see if I had a food allergy. I will say it has been great, don't get me wrong when you know you can't have the creamy alfredo sauce or the chocolate brownie you want it even more. I am not even a big brownie person, but it's a mental battle. I made it through and felt great doing it. I would recommend a 21 day cleanse if you will to anyone. It was such a great discipline and such a great break for my digestive tract. Yes you eat the whole 21 days for those of you who think I have not eaten for 21 days. I just had things I had to take out of my diet to make it work.

Anyway, I had some great recipes to use during this time and I wanted to post them for anyone who has allergies or just wants to try to make a healthy version of some traditional snacks. I used all organic ingredients.

Applesauce Bread

1 c. teff flour
1c. oat or rice flour ( I used brown rice flour, organic of course)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 c. unsweetened applesauce
1 Tbsp. safflower or sesame oil ( I used safflower oil)
1/2 c. brown rice syrup or fruit juice concentrate ( I used apple juice concentrate) Just go to your freezer section and buy the frozen apple juice in a can and let it thaw in your fridge and use that.
Egg Replacer equal to one egg ( to make egg replacer you will use 1/3 c. filtered water and 1 Tbsp. whole or ground flaxseed, I used ground. Just put them in a bowl and let them gel together for about 5 min, this becomes your binder. This recipe is equal to one egg.)
3-4 Tbsp. Apple butter (unsweetened)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Combine the wet ingredients in a small bowl and mix into the dry ingredients. Pour into an oiled 9 inch square pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 min. Enjoy!

Banana Bread

1/4 c. walnuts, ground finely in food processor
1 3/4 c. brown rice flour
1/2 c. arrowroot
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
1 1/2 c. ripe mashed bananas
1/4 c. safflower oil
6 Tbsp. apple juice concentrate
Egg Replacer ( equal to two eggs, egg replacer recipe above)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Juice of 1/4 fresh lemon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix finely ground walnuts with flour, arrowroot,baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Stir in the chopped walnuts. In a separate bowl, mix together the banana, oil,
apple juice, egg replacer, lemon and vanilla. Add to the flour mixture and stir until just moistened. Do not over mix. Pour into a greased 9"x5" loaf pan and bake for 55-60 min or until cake tester inserted in middle comes out clean.

I left my bread in the dish and let it cool and just cut a piece as we wanted. Sean even loved this recipe and we will continue to make it even know I am not still on the diet. It is so good for you and it was yummy!

I also made lentil soup which I am about to make a second batch because it was so good and cheap to make even with all organic ingredients.

Lentil Soup

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large carrots, sliced or chopped ( I used 4 carrots and did not use celery, I just wasn't in the mood for celery)
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 1/2 c. red and/or green lentils, well rinsed (I used both)
2 quarts water or broth ( I used 1 qt. organic vegetable broth and 1 qt. water)
Pinch of thyme or any herbs of your choice
Salt to taste

Combine first 6 ingredients and bring to a boil. Add seasonings. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, until lentils are soft. Green lentils need about 45 min to 1 hour, while red lentils only need 20-35 min. I used both and simmered the soup for about an hour and it was great. If you want a creamier soup you can puree half of cooked soup in a blender. I did not blend my soup.

Tonight I baked oatmeal banana cookies. They have a texture of muffin, but they were yummy.

Oatmeal Banana Cookies

2c. oat flour (you can find it at a health food store or use rolled oats and blend them in a good blender to a very fine powder) I used 3/4 cup oat flour and 1/4c. rolled oats not blended.
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
4 overripe bananas
1/4 c. sunflower seeds (I used chopped walnuts and just a bit of sunflower seeds, I wasn't crazy about the sunflower seeds so I will only use walnuts from now on or maybe almonds next time.)
1/4c. dates ( I used medjool dates and chopped them)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper lightly oiled. Combine oat flour, cinnamon, baking soda, walnuts or sunflower seeds in a bowl.

Blend bananas in a blender until they are very smooth and put in a bowl and add dates.

Combine all ingredients and mix in a bowl until blended together. Spoon out a tsp. batter onto baking sheet. Bake for about 12 min.

I found this recipe here.


Well, let me know how it goes and if you have any cool recipes to share or let me know if you tweaked them at all so I can try too!