Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

February Funk, I think NOT!

Well HELLO there peeps.  Long time no talk (well, write in this case). 

First, let me apologize about being “off my game” for the past month.  I was in a pretty bad car accident New Year’s Eve morning.  I was actually on my way to a Mind Body Barre class, one for which I was pretty excited about.  Anyway, the road conditions sucked (it was ALL ice…thank you MA for not salting!) and after coming around a bend, there was really nowhere for my car to go other than straight into the one sitting in the middle of the road.  Nice, right?! There were 8 cars in my pile up and 16 in the one on the other side of the highway.  All in all, my car was totaled and I suffered a small concussion.  I say small because the only other concussion I suffered from was pretty bad, so this one was nothing compared to how I felt two years ago. 

So, after the accident, it’s taken me a bit to get myself together again (as you can see).  Over the past few weeks, let’s just say I’ve been in kind of a “funk.”  I’ve had zero energy to do ANYTHING!  I’ve been pretty good at getting myself to workout, although I haven’t been pushing myself.  BUT that was January and now we are in a new month and I am determined to get out of this “funk,” because let’s be honest, funks are just not any fun!    

And how do you plan on doing that you ask???  Well, let me share my thoughts with you.

After stalking reading a recent post by Heather, For the Love of Kale, I was intrigued by her “Fab in February” idea.  In this post, Heather commented on the fact that we typically focus our love for other people during the month of February and challenged her readers to honor themselves during this month.  You should really check out her blog, she’s pretty fantastic! 

Anyway, keeping with Heather’s idea I plan on honoring myself this month.  I will strive to push myself to the max, in everything I do, whether it is working, blogging, working out, socializing; you name it I plan on putting myself 100% into it.

Here are a few things I plan to accomplish this month:

-         Working:  I have a manuscript due the 15th of this month.  I am pretty pumped because I am first author and the journal is first rate in my field.  The goal is to put everything I have mentally into this piece so that it gets accepted during the first round.  Fingers crossed – well, fingers typing!

-         Friends / Family:  I am no doubt a WORKAHOLIC.  I have a career goal and in order to get there I’ve had to make a few sacrifices along the way.  However, over the past few months I’ve realized that I can work hard and have fun.  I made a pink promise (see how serious this is?!) to my friends to partake in more social activities this month, and I plan on keeping that promise.   

-         Blogging:  I’ve definitely fallen off the blogging radar – wait, was I even on the radar?  Yeah, probably not.  But anyway, my plan is to complete the 10 days of blogging homework by Katy.  You should check out her blog too, she is also fantastic!

-         Working Out:  The goal this month is to really push myself.  In December I started to learn a lot about myself, my body and my limits.  I plan to use February to step out of my comfort zone and really push myself both physically and mentally.  We all know that most of our workouts are based on what mental state we are in, so I plan on paying extra attention to my mentality during all of my workouts.

Well that’s all for now folks.  It certainly looks like I’ve got my work cut out for me this month.  Stay tuned and I will keep you updated on my progress.

- Rachael -

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Productive Afternoon

Good Evening, Friends!

Wow two posts in one day, aren't you lucky!  Well, not really, this is going to be a short one - I have dinner and Ryan Reynolds waiting for me.  Okay, you got me dinner and the Green Lantern movie.  Let a girl dream a little :)

Today I met up with one of my friends from grad school, who is actually back in school getting her Ph.D. She moved to NYC back in August and even though I visit home (NJ) often I still haven't gotten the chance to meet up with her.  Anyway, she was heading back to the city today, but was still able to fit in a quick lunch with me at Panera.  Let me just take a minute and say that I am in love with Panera's "You Pick Two."  I always get the same thing (Classic Salad and Black Bean Soup), but everything is just so yummy! 

After lunch I came home, made myself a Tone It Up Peppermint Latte and got to work on my paper outline.  Apparently the latte was just what I  needed.  I was able to crank that baby out in a little over an hour.  Woohoo! 

Then it was to the GYM, where I was looking forward to running again.  I haven't ran since my fall on Christmas Eve.  I was so ready... I got on that treadmill, did my 5 minute warm up and then started to run at a pretty steady pace of 6.0.  Although after about 10 minutes I suddenly felt drained.  I didn't give up though, I went about 5 more minutes and then changed to walking on a 10.0 incline at 4.3.  I am not quite sure what my body was trying to tell me (other than, "Rachael, slow down"), but at least I was able to get a good solid 45 minutes out of it.  I am hoping tomorrows run will be a bit more productive than today's, because let me tell you walking on the treadmill ... BORING!

Tonight's dinner was inspired by a recipe I found on Chelsey's website "Clean Eating Chelsey." 

I tweaked the recipe a bit and promise to share it with you tomorrow.  I would write up my version now, however, it is currently staring me in the face saying " me" and I must comply with its request! And I also have Ryan waiting in the other room :).   

How do you deal with your body saying slow you comply or push just a little harder?

- Rachael -

Frosty Thursday Morning

Good Morning, Friends!

I don't know about you, but it is a frosty Thursday morning here in Massachusetts!  The weather channel may say it is 17 degrees out there, but let me tell you it certainly doesn’t feel like it...brrrr! 

So, a lot of people have started to write their reflections of 2011 and post their resolutions for 2012.  You should read some, they are truly inspiring.  Many have me thinking about what I would like to accomplish next year, while others call on me to remember all I have accomplished this year.  I will write about both my 2011 accomplishments and 2012 aspirations in another post don’t worry.  But right now all my brain can handle is the topic of Juvenile Probation Officers and Decision Making, fun I know!  It feels as though I step into a whole other world when I read/write/talk about nutrition, blogging, and fitness.  While this world is life for many, and is definitely part of my everyday routine (eating and exercise), I am not as well versed as I would like to be.  Hmm do you see the start of my goals/aspirations for 2012!?

Anyway, today is an at home writing work day for me, which means YUMMY meals all day long!  (and of course some writing thrown in here and there, just kidding!)

Breakfast – Chia Pudding with Rolled Oats

I’ve been eyeing this recipe for quite some time now on Brittany’s Blog, Eating Bird Food (it’s great, you know you want to check it out, but after you have finished reading this ;).  I have tried a couple of her other recipes, which have all been amazing, so (as you could imagine) I was very excited to try another. 

Chia Pudding with Rolled Oats
  • 1/4 cup whole chia seeds
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla brown rice protein powder (Brittany uses Sun Warrior)
  • 1 T rolled oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 to 4 drops of liquid stevia, or other natural sweetener
  • 1/2 sliced banana
  • 1/8 cup blackberries
In a bowl, mix together all ingredients expect the banana and blackberries. You’ll need to stir quite a bit because the protein powder clumps and resists dissolving into the milk. Once everything is well combined, let the mixture sit on the counter or in the fridge for 8-10 minutes. Sir in the banana, top with blackberries and enjoy!
**In Brittany’s original recipe she uses blueberries.  After yesterday’s fiasco at the grocery store, I wasn’t able to get blueberries so I substituted with some blackberries, which were equally as delicious. 

Looks tasty, right?!  Just want I need before a long morning of writing. 

Check in with you all later!

Have you tried Chia seeds yet?  If so, what are some of your favorite recipes?

- Rachael -

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Weekend Wrap-up

Happy Tuesday, Friends!
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with your friends and family.  I know I did, which is why I haven’t written these past couple of days.  Sorry, don’t be mad! 
Here are a few highlights of the past few days, in no particular order…
Peanut Butter and Peter Pan
On Friday, my mom and I ventured into NYC.  Typically we would stay away from the city during the holiday season (too many tourists), but we had tickets to a play.  My parents live 30 minutes from the city so growing up we used to visit at least once a week for plays, dinner, visiting my dad at work, etc.  I was supposed to partake in today’s festivities with my brother; however, he was feeling under the weather so my mom was nice enough to step in.  First stop… lunch at Peanut Butter & Co.  I don’t know about you, but Peanut Butter & Co, is definitely my favorite peanut butter.  Their flavors are downright sinful and I am not ashamed to say that I could eat it straight from the jar by the heaping spoonfuls.  I use their peanut butter in all of my recipes.  So, once I found out they had a sandwich shop in NYC, I was all about adding that into the schedule.  As soon as I saw the blue and white stripped awning I knew I was in trouble!  I walked in, took a menu, sat down and smiled …
My mom and I were so overwhelmed by all of the peanut butter sandwich choices, they all sounded delicious. 
After about 10 minutes of staring at the menu, we finally picked our sandwiches.  I went for the classic Elvis, a grilled peanut butter sandwich stuffed with honey and bananas.  I even opted for the Black Vegan Bread - so delicious!

And my mom choose the Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Sandwich, a cinnamon raisin peanut butter and vanilla cream cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread, stuffed with crisp apple slices.

Let’s just say it took longer to pick our sandwiches than it did for us to eat them ;).  YUM!!! 
After our tummies were happy and full we made our way to Madison Square Garden to see…Peter Pan!  The play was spectacular and Kathy Rigby was as wonderful as she was in the original.  It was a treat to see her live and in person.  I definitely recommend this play to anyone young or old – my mom and I sang along with every song J.  It was a perfect mother/daughter day – Peanut Butter and Peter Pan. 

Encounter with Ladder and Attic
It is a known fact to anyone who has had the misfortune of walking with me, that I will undoubtedly trip over or bump into SOMETHING.  With that being said, Christmas Eve started out like every other year.  There was stocking stuffer shopping, Christmas mass and the traditional Christmas Eve dinner, Chinese food!  After dinner, we changed into our PJ’s, poured some wine, started a fire and then started wrapping presents.  About half way through my mom realized we didn’t have anything to put our stocking stuffers in; apparently my dad couldn’t find the stockings…hmmm.  This was clearly not acceptable to us.  So, I took it upon myself to climb up the “fake” attic stairs (my dad hasn’t installed the real ones yet since finishing the remodeling of the bathroom) and push myself through the hole in the ceiling to find the Christmas stockings.  Well, that was the plan…  I got up the stairs, got my arms through the ceiling hole, went to put my foot on the ladder for stability and BOOM I was DOWN for the count.  Yes, I fell from the ceiling and the only thing to stop me was the top of the ladder, which I very nicely dangled from until my mom helped me down.   I am sure I was a sight to see.  I am now rocking a black eye and numerous bruises on my legs and arms.  The one part of me that is not bruised or sore is my stomach.  My mom thinks it’s from all of my wonderful Tone It Up ab exercisesJ.  

Christmas Morning
Let’s see here are a few of my favorites…

I see a lot of Peanut Butter Jar Oatmeal breakfasts in my futureJ. 
Woohoo, more Mind Body Barre classes with Heather!

Wii Fit Zumba, Lia Sophia Jewelry and Stop & Shop gift cards.  I definitely made out, huh!?!

Well, that is it for now.  I have to go stretch for my 30 for 60 workout since I can’t do much of anything else.  Hopefully tomorrow I can show my face at the gym and not cringe when thinking about running, leg lifts, or arm curls.  I miss my routineL.
Have a great night!

What is your favorite holiday tradition?

- Rachael -
Santa was particularly good to me this year.  I got everything on my list, and MORE! 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Peanut Butter Jar Oatmeal

Good Morning, Friends!
I hope you are all having a fabulous morning!  I know I amJ.  Currently, I am sitting in my parents living room (finally home!), in my PJ’s, drinking coffee and singing along to Christmas tunes.  I haven’t done this since being on winter break from college – oh my, weren’t those the days!  While all is well in “Rachael Land” this morning, there is one thing I am pretty bummed about … and that is the fact that my brother did not pick up my granola at the grocery store last night.  I was all ready to have the oatmeal-berry-granola breakfast I had been craving yesterday, but couldn’t make because of my flat tire.  Yes, that means my tummy has been craving this breakfast for two whole days now and I have yet to deliver it.  Although, I am sure know it is content with the breakfast I am currently having J.
Every time I visit my parents house I always bring “emergency” food supplies, which include, but never limited to: (1) Flax seeds, (2) Zico Mango Coconut Water (their grocery store NEVER has Mango, huge mistake on their part), (3) Cliff, Lara and Think Thin bars, (4) Whey Protein Power, and (5) whatever leftovers I have in my cabinet and fridge.  This trip it included vegan chocolate chips, as well as an almost empty container of my new favorite peanut butter – Peanut Butter and Co. Crunch Time (yum!). 
So, despite that fact that my wonderful brother forgot to pick up my granola at the store, I had all of the ingredients to make another breakfast favorite.  Can you guess what I made?
That’s right … Peanut Butter Jar Oatmeal. 

(Oatmeal recipe adapted from Hungry Girl 300 Under 300 Cookbook)
  • ½ cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze
  • 1 cup water
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 no-calorie sweetener packet (I used Stevia)
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 medium banana, sliced
  • 10 Vegan Carob Chips
  • 1 almost empty jar of Peanut Butter and Co. Crunch Time
In a nonstick pot combine oats, salt and sweetener packet.  Add Almond Breeze, 1 cup water, and vanilla.  Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer.  Cook for about 12 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently (or your oatmeal will stick to the bottom), until thick and creamy. 

Once your oatmeal is finally ready, immediately spoon ½ into your empty peanut butter jar along with some sliced banana and five carob chips.  Repeat with remaining oatmeal, banana and carob chips.

The peanut butter melts, combining with the oats and carob chips so you get peanut butter goodness with every bite. 

I finished mine even before writing five sentences of this post and now I want another!  I definitely scraped everything out of this jar today...

Besides being pretty darn delicious, the best part about this recipe is that you can substitute the peanut butter with any nut butters (i.e., sunflower, almond, cashew, nut, etc.).  I better get working on the almond jar I have in my fridge!
Okay, off to run a few errands before lunch with my mom at my favorite vegan/vegetarian restaurant – CafĂ© Metro.  I promise to share my delicious lunch with you all later. 

Have a wonderful morning/afternoon my friends!

What is your favorite way to finish the last 1-2 tablespoons of peanut butter in the jar?

- Rachael -


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Birthday Week: Celebrating with Emer D

Happy Thirsty Thursday Everyone!

What is birthday week you may ask?  Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like…celebrating your birthday for a WEEK!  Mine started last Saturday and will finish up this Sunday.  Although, there will be a bit more celebrating when I head home to NJ next week.  One can never over celebrate a birthday.  I mean I have to get it all in while I can; Christmas is coming in exactly 10 days! 
So, since Saturday I have treated myself to a Starbucks Americano (everyday),

bought myself new running shoes,

went on a bit of a JCREW shopping spree (at the outlet and everything was an additional 30-50% off, this spree was definitely a no brainer), and slimmed down/toned up with TIU’s 7 Day Slim Down.  Now some might ask why I choose to take part in the 7 Day Slim Down during my celebratory birthday week, a time when you are supposed to indulge.  Well, the rational for doing so is pretty simple actually…I want to look DAMN good when I go out Friday and Saturday this weekend!  See, I knew you would understand ;). 
However, tonight, by far, has been the best celebration.  Tonight I babysat Emer D (that’s what I call her).  I’ve been babysitting (or as we now call it now, having date nights) with Emer D since she was five months old…she just turned four a few months ago.  We have a pretty special relationship, and I absolutely love watching her.  Seeing as though my birthday is Saturday, Emer D wanted to pick out a present, all by herself, for me this year.  So she did.  She was SO excited for me to open them and couldn’t wait to try them out – the box was open even before I finished reading my card.  Seriously, how cute is she!?

(Disco ball and she is standing on my new comfy fleece blanket)

Then she wanted to sing me happy birthday, but realized she didn’t have a cake…so we improvised.  She toasted some bread and spread on some Cookie Butter (I will get to that later) and even put on candles.  After she sang happy birthday, she ripped the bread in half so I could share with her. 

We then continued to color by light of my new disco ball until bed time.  And if that wasn’t special enough, she also read to me tonight.  For her birthday she asked for reading lessons (yep, you read correctly, reading lessons) and was so excited to show me what she has been learning.  She read the entire book perfectly, by the way.
So all in all, tonight was, again by far, the best birthday celebration.  Emer D made me feel so special, from picking out my presents, helping me open them, singing happy birthday, making my “cake” to reading me a bedtime story.  I love how innocent and sassy she is, all at the same time.
She wanted to take the picture.

I have a couple more posts coming your way which include a recipe for Fruit Pizza, a fun holiday homemade gift and a few other things…so stay tuned! 

What is your favorite way to celebrate your birthday?

- Rachael -