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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

I Got Snacks

I have to give props to the mom's out there. You always have snacks. Kids love snacks. Why is it then that when we get older we phase them out? In High School there's no snack time, when in fact, it would probably help everyone concentrate a little better throughout the day - more on that later. I forgot about snacks too for quite a while. Well, I didn't forget about them, I just told myself wait till lunch or dinner. That never worked in the long run because my body was so hungry by the time I got to lunch or dinner that I ate waaaaaaay too much. So, in my never-ending quest to be a bit more healthy, I've come to re-embrace the idea of snacking this past year.

My body seems to do best when I eat a lot of smaller meals throughout the day. For me that means breakfast, lunch and dinner with two snacks in between. This doesn't happen every day, but that's what I shoot for. I thought for today's post I would share a few of my favorites. Just like my January post, Eating Clean with a Dirty Mind, none of this is rocket science and I'm sure you've heard it all before, but maybe today is the day that these suggestions will help a bit.

Like I said, small meals work best for me because they keep my blood sugar stabilized throughout the day. As a result, I have more energy, accomplish more during the work day and just feel better overall. I try and keep a variety of snacks with me at all times so I'm armed and ready for emergencies. Ensuring there are both salty and sweet options is also key for me because what I'm craving can vary. are some of my favorites.

Greek Yogurt

I love Greek yogurt because it's thick and creamy. It's also extremely versatile if you buy the plain kind. For a yogurt snack I might add berries, granola or perhaps a little raw honey. If I'm in a salty mood, I'll throw in a little curry powder and some cashews. Yum!

Energy Bars

I have a love/hate relationship with these things. In theory they're great, but nine times out of ten they're filled with a ton of sugar. You might get an energy boost but then you'll crash. I have found a couple that I absolutely love that fall into the less traditional category. Epic Bars are literally meat, just meat. They're awesome.  My favorite is the Chicken Sriracha above, but they also have bison and beef varieties.  Rx Bar is also great. I eat these a lot pre or post workout. Think of them as healthier versions of jerky.

Almond Butter

If Justin's ever goes out of business, I'm in a world of hurt. I literally eat this stuff every day. I eat it on celery, apples, toast, in yogurt - you name it. The honey flavor is my go-to. I've even been known to have a spoon full late night in the case of a dire emergency. Almonds are easier for your body to digest than regular peanuts and this brand also has very little added sugar.


So good. So good. I tend to reach for hummus when I'm craving something savory and spicy. I'll load it up with jalapenos and any hot sauce/red pepper concoction I can find. Ensuring that there's tons of flavor in whatever you're eating helps satisfy your cravings.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Atlantic Time

I should start out by saying I am absolutely SHOCKED we pulled this off. My best friend of 20+ years and I managed to get away to the beach for a weekend girls getaway. Why am I shocked? Well, we had trouble remembering the last time we were able to. We're getting old, so that might be why, but the real answer was that it was seven years ago for my thirtieth birthday. As we've gotten older - kids, dogs, boyfriends, husbands, careers and a partridge in a pear tree have made it so much harder to squeeze in anything else other than dinner. We both figured something would derail our plans, but the fates smiled and we were able to hang out, gossip, drink too many martinis and soak up some sun. Hope we don't have to wait another seven years to do it again.

Friday, June 24, 2016

It's Friday, Love

Today's It's Friday, Love is brought to you by one photo because that's all I got this week. Oh well, at least it's a photo that makes me happy. I love sunflowers in my kitchen. When I was travelling for work on a weekly basis flowers in my kitchen meant I was home for a few days. It felt like such a luxury. A marker that I was home. I have worried these past couple weeks that I would miss it - travelling. For almost six years I was gone one to two nights a week. Then there were the longer four day trips and the week long conferences. The second thing people would say to me, you're always travelling. I was. It's been nice not having to pack my suitcase. It's been nice not having to drop Miss A off at my mom's. I haven't missed it yet. I miss the people I would see. I miss the places I would explore. But I've been busy here at home as well. Good busy. I'm always hopping from meeting to meeting and working on new issues that have captured my attention. It's been great and I feel so happy about where I've landed. Happy Friday everyone, see ya Monday....

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Mexican Pulled Pork Tacos

Despite the fact that this recipe looks complicated - i.e. there's a whole heck of a lot going on - it's actually really easy. How can anything that's cooked in a crockpot for 10 hours taste bad, right? First, get the best cut of meat you can afford. I went to Belmont Butchery near Carytown because they always have great stuff and they help me figure out how much I need for my guest list. I love leftovers, but I hate wasting food. Letting the meat rest with the dry rub and then searing that flavor in before letting it take a long nap on low heat is also really important, so don't skip those steps. While this delicious main course was cooking I roasted some corn and made a simple corn, tomato and avocado salad to go with it. Flan rounded out the evening for desert and I might replicate that for a future post so stay tuned? You can find the recipe for the pork here. Add whatever toppings your heart desires. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Four Candles

A huge Happy 4th Birthday to Austen Hill! Holy Crap. I honestly didn't even think about it, which if I look back seems to be the case most years. Facebook reminded me of it when it showed me my "memories" from today. I saw the first Happy Birthday post I did from back in 2013. Re-reading that post was hard. I remember where I was sitting when I wrote it. I remember what had happened the night before. I remember how upset I was. I remember how hot it was outside even under the umbrella. It was a Sunday afternoon and I was in my backyard. I was crying.

By the time I posted it on the blog's actual birthday date a week later I felt better, but it doesn't matter. The point is that I was that upset and I shouldn't have been. I deserved better. But I guess I'm the one who ultimately makes that decision. I wrote about how the past year I had made the decision to stop living a safe life and take more chances. I wrote about how that past year, and all that had happened before, had taught me that I didn't want to waste my life anymore being afraid.

That year I did take chances. I didn't play it safe. It wasn't easy. Getting through these past few years hasn't been easy. The sad thing is I'm doing it again. I'm sitting here doing the same damn thing I've done for three years. Why? Because it's safe. It's not safe as in it's good for me, it's safe because I know it. At least it's something.

When you've been at sea for more days than you care to count and there is still no land in sight you do whatever you have to do to make it through. You pray for a mirage. You might even drink sand. I know I just switched metaphors but go with me on this, I'm emoting.

I thought about calling this post "Land", but that's a mirage too. There isn't any end to the journey. I can't keep staring out at the horizon. There's a great life to be had right here on this sound vessel. Ok, enough with the metaphors and boat references. I get it. I guess I should thank Facebook. It was good to re-read what I wrote. It was good to remember that doing something that is getting me nowhere, and even sometimes makes me feel the way I did that day in the backyard, is me playing it safe all over again.

Don't worry, it's not all self-reflecting sappiness on this most celebratory of occasions. I also went back through this year and picked out some of my favorite pictures. I hope you enjoy them. Can't wait to meet you right back here in a year with a few more....