The Big Move

I remember the Saturday morning in January when my husband called to “drop a bomb on me” and give me the news we were moving to California. The inner beach girl in me was more than thrilled. I pictured us getting a little condo on the beach where I could walk right outside and do a morning jog with the waves crashing against the shore. I imagined how much fun Sunny (our fur child) would have playing in the sand and I couldn’t wait to have the beach life back. Only to google our new “home” and find out that we were about two hours away from any kind of beach. At that moment, my sweet husband called to see “how I was doing with the news” and ended up with a hysterical woman on the other end. Needless to say, I went on the roller coaster of emotions that Saturday.

As we started to tell friends and family of our big news I began to accept our fate. I started to feel comfortable with the changes that would take place. We decided to make a little road trip out of it and pit stopped in the Grand Canyon. After two days in the car, our golden doodle of a dog was more than ready for a walk to stretch her four legs.

Grand

Side note, one thing you will notice about me is that I cook almost every thing we eat. We are food brats who love home cooked healthy foods. Don’t get me wrong we love pizza and Buffalo Wild Wings is one of our favorite restaurants. But we mostly eat in 5-6 times for dinner.

I could tell that Joe and I were very much worn out from eating fast food for every meal. We were both very tired and sluggish so after the Grand Canyon we were just read to be in our new home. Once we arrived to the desert we found out that we would be staying in an extending living house. We were thankful to have a place to spread out a little bit and have somewhat of a normal life but the kitchen wasn’t up to par with what we are used too, I told you … we are food brats. We bounced around from one temporary housing unit to another until FINALLY after 3 weeks we were able to get into our house. Everything was set. We would be shown the house and given the keys at 8:30 and the movers would come with all our stuff at 9:30. The night before we could hardly sleep.

Now we are in our new house and grateful doesn’t even describe how we feel. We are slowly making the house our own and getting the stuff we need to really be unpacked and moved in. The one thing we don’t have YET is cable and internet. We are catching up on reading, we are getting things put away and hung on walls. But do you have any idea how vital internet is? I just tried to call and make a few appointments today. I can’t do so because I have to go to a website and look up local providers. Then call them and make appointments. I have a to-do list and I can’t do much on it without internet. I keep telling myself “this is all first world problems” and without a doubt it is, but I can’t get things done. To write this blog post, I typed it up using Word and ran up the road to Starbucks to post it. I can scratch things off my list after I purchase a $4 cup of liquid energy with soy – hold the whipped cream, please.

Sticking with the positive, I am making some of our favorite dishes this week for dinner. Probably the easiest we are eating is Fresh Spring Rolls. This is so much fun because there is no measuring or set way of creating them. You choose the vegetables, sauce and meat that you want, find the rice paper, and create your masterpiece. Our rolls normally consist of:

Beef cut for stir fry
Avocado
Green Bell Pepper
Carrots
Jalapeno
Cabbage or Lettuce
Sirachia Sauce
And the Peanut Sauce recipe is right here

Slice all your vegetables and group them together on a plate (I separate them with different bowls). Cook your meat on the stove just until it’s completely done. This takes just a few minutes. Get a very shallow bowl (we use a pie dish) and fill it about half with the hottest water you can easily work with. Place everything on a table. Take one piece of rice paper and submerge the entire piece in the water, pull it out and place it on your plate (like you would a tortilla to make a burrito). Pile in all the food you want, careful not to overstuff it and roll the rice paper just like you would a taco. Enjoy. Very simple and fast dinner. Not to mention completely fresh and filling!

The Runner in Me

A few weeks ago, Joe and I completed our first race since moving to California. Running it with some of our newest friends was great plus it was the Color Me Rad 5K. Who wouldn’t have fun at a race that throws colored chalk on you? Although the wind was kicking that day, the before and after photos were the best part.

First (of many) races in California
First (of many) races in California

I have always loved to run.

In elementary school, we had a small track team and every year I wanted to be a part of it. Once I was old enough, I would ask my teacher if there were spots open. In middle school, I ran on the cross country team and loved it. However I also played flute and I was given a choice, band or cross country. I chose band (they went on all the cool trips!) but still loved to run. Somewhere in college I stopped (no idea why) and completely focused on school.

Once I moved back home after college, I found myself in a very low place. I had gained some weight, wasn’t happy and was going through a very hard time in my life. Trying to figure out what was wrong with me, I went to the doctor. The medicine they gave me was “go buy a pair good of running shoes.” Personally, I hate taking medicine so this was the best news. However I had to start all over again, which for a runner this is a huge struggle mentally.

After looking into a few running programs for beginners I decided to start with Couch to 5K. Now they have an app that will actually log your time for you, which is so helpful. Once I was able to run 3 miles comfortably I had officially drank the “runner’s” juice. I started looking up how to cut down on my time, what the “good” runners ate daily, signing up for races and winning medals. I decided to challenge myself more and signed up for a half marathon and have never looked back. Anytime I am starting over again, I always follow Hal Higdon’s Novice 1 training schedule.

Running

However, running is much more than a form of excise for me. Running has always been my “Me” time. While I am putting in some miles I am able to clear my head, think decisions through, figure out what my next adventure will be and my time to talk with God. I feel a lot of times when I am running and ideas pop into my head it is really God trying to tell me something. Most of the time those thoughts really stick and I marinate on them during my entire run. My husband must think I am crazy because every time I come home I say something along the lines of “so what do you think of this?”

Pavement

My point behind this whole rambling of a post is this; everyone needs a release like this of some kind. You need a time to be completely by yourself. Every one needs time to mediate. You can either sit in a quiet room with your eyes closed breathing, go for a bike ride, run or walk but YOU need that time to just be with your thoughts. It takes 3 weeks, 21 days, to make something a habit (or routine). Don’t expect a mind blowing experience right away. It takes time so be patient with the process.

A House to a Home

Some of you may know that I am currently in the middle of moving. My husband and I do not have a home and we only have a few of our belongs. Even though we are literally the definition of homeless, we are not living on the streets nor are we starving for food. This is the first time I have ever experienced the feeling of being ‘in-between homes’ and I truly know the difference between a house and a home. A house is a structure that closes and protects the people or animals that reside inside. The people (or animals) have no personal connection with the decor inside or property within the four walls and once they are gone another being will take their place. A home is a structure that you feel completely comfortable in and care free inside. The pictures on the walls are yours and you know the stories they hold. You made the decision for every piece of furniture inside, where it is placed and what it is used for. Right now, I do not have a home but I have a house. While this transition has been hard for me I am doing my best to make the most of it. I started this blog. I run every morning. I’ve picked up my camera again. I remain positive when people ask “how is everything?” and I cook as many familiar meals as I can given my limited kitchen resources. Every day I try to make this house as much of a home for Joe and I as possible.

Through this experience I have learned how much I value and miss all of our “stuff.” Seems so strange to think. Unless you have personally experienced this, there is no way to truly understand how it feels. Most of all, I’ve learned that a down and sad attitude will not get me a home any sooner so I have to stay positive and do the things that will make Joe and myself happy.

One thing you all should know about Joe is that he loves home cooked meals and his favorite meal is Chili. Nothing makes him happier than a warm bowl of spicy chili. In effort to make our temporary housing situation more of a home, I made chili! The great thing about chili is as long as you have the foundation (like a house) you can make it your own (like a home). Your basics are the meat, beans, chili powder and water that’s your house for chili. How I make it a home is by adding extra ingredients. Not to mention, this is probably the easiest meal I ever make!

A Clean Bowl of Chili

1.5 pounds of ground turkey
1 onion
1 green and red bell pepper
1 jalapeno
4 slices of bacon
2 roma tomatoesChili
15 oz can of low sodium black beans (you can add more beans if you would like)
1-2 cups of water
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Optional toppings:
Avocado
Cheddar cheese
Greek Yogurt

Spray the inside of your pot with cooking spray unless you use a different meat other than turkey. Heat the pot to medium heat and add your ground turkey (or meat of choice). Let that cook until all the outsides are no longer pink. Dice up your onion and add to the meat, stir to combine. Dice green and red bell pepper and add them in as well and stir. Next dice your jalapeño, add and stir. You decide how much heat you want. Cut up your bacon and add in as well and stir. Finish your dicing with the tomato and toss those in as well. Next add your can of black beans (do not drain) and 1-2 cups of water. Depending on how soup or thick you want your chili will determine how much water you add. Next add all your spices and mix everything up one last time. Put the cover on your pot and let everything cook for about 10-15 minutes. Serve up and top with any topping you would like. Enjoy!

What is Clean Eating?

My husband and I have always been pretty active people. Since the two of us met three years ago we have gone on many runs, long walks, hikes and played a number of sports together. We learned very quickly that we both love staying healthy and we are both VERY competitive. Once we got engaged I wanted to start cooking most of our meals in order to save money for our wedding. Picking up this new hobby had me head over heels in love with creating tasty dishes for my new husband and I. After hearing a lot about clean eating, I started to research all about this new craze. One thing I found out quick, this is not a fade diet, it truly is a lifestyle.

eat right

Clean eating is only eating foods that are completely whole. Filling your body with whole foods instead of processed foods. It’s about knowing exactly what you are putting in your body. Knowing that you are consuming food in its most natural state or as close to it as possible. When you eat an apple, you know that you are eating an apple. Have you ever checked the label on the flavored almonds makes? They are not clean. However you can make flavored almonds yourself and they will be! If you don’t know what an ingredient is, or you can’t pronounce a word, then the product it is not clean. I love indulging in pizza just as much as the next person but at the end of the day, food is fuel for your body. We have to treat our body right in order to accomplish our goals. Doesn’t matter if your goal is become healthier or to read more, if you don’t treat your body right it won’t be able to get through the day. What you eat truly does have an effect on how you feel and think. Here is a chart to help the transition into clean eating a little easier for you. It’s not about going with out certain ingredients, it’s about finding a healthier alternative.

alter

As you start your search for clean eating recipes, you will find that there are ton of very tasty dishes out there. Here is one my favorites. Best thing about this recipe, you can have it for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Hash

Ingredients:
Coconut Oil
2 Sweet Potatoes
1 Onion
1.5 pounds of Turkey Sausage
3 cups of Spinach (or 3 handfuls)
Red Pepper Flakes to taste

Start by heating a large nonstick skillet or wok with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Once your oil is heated add your peeled and diced sweet potatoes. While potatoes are cooking, heat another nonstick skillet and add sausage and diced onion. Break up the sausage while it cooks. Once sausage is no longer pink in color, add sausage and onion combo to your sweet potatoes. Next add your spinach. Make sure to stir in each handful at time to ensure everything is good and cooked. Add red pepper flakes and let everything mingle together for a few minutes. Serve and enjoy!