Thursday, June 3, 2010

Appreciating the Simple Things, Managing Stress, My Memorial Day, and My New Favorite Show

Hello friends!  It's been a while, and I have missed you!  I took my first CPA exam last wednesday and just started up on the next exam today, so things have been a little stressful lately.  Not to mention... I injured my knee on Saturday and have been on crutches since then (but now down to one crutch ...woohoo!!).  So with the stress of the CPA and then having this knee injury, I have come to learn a few things.  Not that I didn't already know these things, but I have just been reminded of them.  Hence the saying that you learn the most during times of struggle.  So here are some things I have learned over the past week...

1.  We take our legs for granted.  They allow us to do so many things, so why not use them to their full potential and be active!!  Say thank you to your legs by using them!  You have no idea how much you miss not being able to push yourself and hold that squat for ten more seconds, until you have the inability to do so.  There are so many ways you can stay active (and healthy!).  Take your dog for a long walk, try to walk around the office or outside at least every hour while at work ("take a lap"), go hiking, biking, swimming, running, jumping, you name it!  Or you can always just do push-ups in the morning with your dog on your back in your pajamas...  

You are alive and healthy, and you have the ability to be active (unlike many people who don't).  So say thank you to your body and have some fun with it!

2.  They key to managing stress (at least for me) is exercising, eating right, and YOGA.  I did yoga 3 hours before I took my first CPA exam, and it helped so much.  Yoga is an absolutely amazing work out, and it is so good for your body.  Don't think it's a hippie thing.  It is so good for you in many ways.  Video: Yoga and Weight Loss.  Don't be intimidated by yoga if you are a beginner, start with an at-home video.  Yoga 101 info for beginners.  There are so many out there to choose from, just get used to the poses and the names, and that will build up your confidence to actually go to a yoga class.  If you want someone to go with you, then just let me know, and I would be happy to join! It's a totally different experience in a class, but if you like to do it in the comfort of your own home, that's good too (as long as your are doing it!).  I like to do the P90X yoga at home, it's 1.5 hours, but it is an awesome work out, and I always feel so amazing and rejuvenated afterwards.  I used to go to Bikram Yoga, which is a form of heat yoga in a room over 100 degrees.  Apparently, Demi Moore and Ashton Kuther are into Bikram Yoga right now.  My favorite place right now is Indigo Yoga in Fort Worth.  It's another heat yoga class in about a 90-95 degree room.  I haven't been to Indigo in a while, and I miss it tons!  And MEN... yoga is NOT just for women, and it is not just about stretching.  You can go to yoga even if you are the most inflexible man.  5 Reasons Why Men Should Practice Yoga.  I have seen guys that look like lean body builders doing yoga.  It's an amazing compliment to weigh training.

Overall, eating lots of whole grains, legumes, fruits, and veggies, breaking a sweat at least 5 days a week, and doing yoga plays a big role in managing my stress.  But I can't leave out two other important things:  spending quality time with my husband, Sam, and relaxing watching our favorite TV shows AND snuggling with my dog, Major (instant stress reliever!).    

3.  Allow yourself time to relax.  Even if you have piles of work building up, you will be way more productive if you give your body and brain the opportunity to relax and catch up.  And that is exactly what I did during my Memorial Day Weekend.  Sam and I went out to my parents house, relaxed by the pool for two days, and made some incredible meals on the grill.  Oh, and we watched a really good movie, "Did You Hear About the Morgans?"  So funny!


Sunday Night Dinner
topped with a tomato and sautéed spinach, Ezekiel Burger Buns
Grilled Corn
Chocolate and Peanut Butter Fruit Fondue

Sam made a garlic infused olive oil and rubbed that on the corn.  He kept the husks on the corn and rubbed the garlic olive oil on the inside, closed the husks, grilled the corn on indirect heat (basically steamed the corn inside its husks).  Then he put the corn on the grill right before we served it so it got that yummy grill flavor.  He also sautéed the spinach in this garlic olive oil and rubbed the oil on the inside of the burger buns before toasting them on the grill.

For Chocolate and Peanut Butter Fondue, we melted non-dairy chocolate chips and peanut butter in a fondue pot.  These non-dairy chocolate chips taste just like your regular semi-sweet chocolate chips.  Then we sliced up strawberries, bananas, and apples to dip into the fondue.  We also chopped up some hazelnuts, and rolled the chocolate dipped fruit in the hazelnuts...yumm!  This is a great thing to do with kids or if you have people over for dinner because it is an activity for everyone.

Memorial Day Breakfast
Homemade Granola
with Berries and Almond Milk

Sam and I have this granola every morning.  We make a big batch every Sunday and it lasts the entire week.  It is such a good (and good for you) granola!  The recipe is from Robyn Openshaw, the founder of, and her book "12 Steps to Whole Foods."  She has a video of her making the granola.  She makes a huge batch because she has 4 kids, but we cut her recipe in half. 

Mix all of the following in a pan that you will put in the oven:
4 cups organic rolled oats (not instant)
1/2 cup untoasted wheat germ (or raw if you can find that)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
1/8 cup sesame seeds
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 cup mixed nuts 
(I do a combination of chopped walnuts, sliced almonds, and sunflower seeds)

Stir the following in a small pot over low to medium heat (until melted):
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 Tbsp - 1 Tbsp vanilla extract (I like the full tablespoon)

Once that has melted, pour it over your granola mixture and stir really well.  Then cook in the oven (250 degrees) for an hour, stirring every 20 minutes.  It can last up to two weeks in an air tight container.  Enjoy!!

Memorial Day Lunch
Grilled Veggie Tacos
grilled portobello mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, jalepeno peppers, corn tortillas, 
homemade guacamole, salsa

Memorial Day Munchies
Pop Chips and Hummus 
Pop chips are my new favorite thing!!

4.  I have said that sometimes I wish I majored in something else like nutrition or health and fitness, but I truly believe there is a reason why I am on this path.  Jillian Michaels' new show, "Losing it with Jillian Michaels," premiered on Tuesday night on NBC at 8/7c.  Jillian Michaels is one of the trainers on The Biggest Loser.  This show is amazing, and is almost exactly what I would love to do one day.  Maybe not as much screaming, but you never know, it seems to work.  Going into families pantries and kitchens, going with families to the grocery store, and showing them how to exercise.  How fun!  It is an awesome show, so check it out or TiVo it if it looks like something that interests you, or if you are simply looking for that last push to motivate you, then this is definitely it!

Hope everyone had a good holiday, and I hope I don't ever have to go a week without a post again!

With Love, Health, and Happiness,


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