january week 1 – check-in

7 Jan

it has officially been one week of no television for me. i have to say that this week was made a lot easier by having the company of my sister-in-law and my niece for the majority of the week. we got some good workouts in and got to spend some quality time together.

tomorrow afternoon i will be photographing some maternity shots for some very close friends of mine, clay and denise – i will post pictures up once they are done.

monday i go back to work and i think this might actually be where the challenge gets a bit tougher for me. after a long day of work, i often like to come home and unwind my brain by watching t.v. so, it will be challenge trying to figure out what to do when i don’t want to do anything.

this week i was able to figure out a way to take photos of my food for this blog and i wanted to share a couple “behind-the-scenes” photos with you because i just think the set-up is hilarious:

this is my husband, jared, helping hold up our sunlight to get some light on the loaded bowl (recipe below). we pulled our black blind all the way down to cover an upside down superstore bin that creates an infinity screen. so funny. we live in a small space (ie: we live in community in a house that currently home to: jared and i, our friends wes and rachel who co-own the house with us and their son, judah, our friend josh, and our transient guests, my brother in law daren, his wife kerri and their daughter, eilir, as well as our friend who is visiting from egypt! full house!!!) – this was a creative way to capture my food while not having to find room for more equipment!

the loaded bowl – serves 12


3 c. quinoa, rinsed and drained

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved (or diced fresh vine or roma tomatoes)

1 c fresh chopped cilantro

2 avocados, pitted peeled and diced

fresh lemon juice (to prevent avocado from getting brown)


juice of 4 limes and zest from 1 of them

for the dressing

1/4 c evoo (extra-virgin olive oil)

1/4 c white vinegar

2-3 cloves minced garlic


1. Prepare quinoa according to package directions. Cover and set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, add beans tomatoes, and cilantro. Toss to combine.
3. Dice avocado, drizzle with lemon juice, and set aside in fridge.
4. Add all dressing ingredients to a food processor or mini chopper. Pulse until garlic is blended and dressing appears creamy. Set aside in fridge.

5. Fluff quinoa with a fork and add bean mixture. Season with salt and pepper and add lime juice and zest. Toss to combine. Serve in bowls, topped with avocado and drizzled with dressing, dividing evenly.

keeps well in the fridge for 3-4 days. note: i added chicken to make this dish a complete meal.

(this recipe is from my favorite magazine – clean eating magazine )

those of you who are journeying with me – how was your first week? have you solidified your january goal? have you found your first week to be difficult? easy?

12 Responses to “january week 1 – check-in”

  1. Jared 01'07'12 at 4'06'PM #

    Great summary of your goal, your obstacles, and your creative ways of getting around them!

    Jareds January : going to gym at least twice a week all month.

    Thoughts behind this goal: I have been completing this goal for the past little while except for a 3 week Christmas hiatus. So this will get me back on track as we launch 2012.

  2. Kerri 01'07'12 at 4'18'PM #

    Way to go Mel! So glad Eilir and I got to hang out with you and help fight the tv monster! Love you!

    My first 30 day challenge is to read the bible every day. I used to be very diligent about this but have really neglected the habit over the last 5 years. I find it quite difficult to be consistent with it and even tried to start doing this again at the beginning of December and then kept forgetting. So, here I am posting my goal to see if being accountable to someone other than my.self will help.

  3. denise 01'07'12 at 9'33'PM #

    I’m doing pretty good with having my (at least) 15 minutes per day with God… sometimes it’s very late at night though, which is NOT good, so I’m working on finding a better time for it.

    Love the photos of the photos of the food :) Good thing you have such a great helper!

  4. Carly 01'09'12 at 9'10'PM #

    I had two shoots this weekend… so I doubled at being super! I like the way your food pic looks with the light, nice moodiness to it!

    • brasstacksoncanvass 01'09'12 at 9'58'PM #

      Good work Carls! But I always think you’re doubly super.
      Thanks! Ya, the pictures work for now without taking up ANY space in our suite. Yay for thinking outside of the “light” box ;)

  5. Sheila 01'12'12 at 10'18'AM #

    I love the recipes! and your creativity in living in a small space and still accomplishing your goals.

    My goal was to exercise each day this month. I blew it on the weekend in White Rock, but decided that I need to get back on the exercise wagon and back at it. So this week, mom and I have been going to the local rink and walking. While Mom walks around, I join her for a bit then run stairs and join her again. It is quite hilarious, as our conversation gets interrupted as I dart down the stairs and back again to continue what we talked about. It is working for both of us so far. One lesson I’m working on is the whole if I blow it I can start again without abusing myself psychologically excessively.

    BTW, after reading your blog last week, I was talking to a donor at work about New Year’s goals (as opposed to resolutions;-) and your idea of breaking it down into one month manageable portions. He seemed quite interested in that. So you see, your circle of influence is rippling out!!!

    Sorry you are sick! Hope that resolves quickly. Did you give yourself permission to watch a little TV while flaked out on the couch or did you opt for reading or something else? That is a huge challenge!!!

    • brasstacksoncanvass 01'19'12 at 5'39'PM #

      Thanks for sharing about your struggle! I definitely found it difficult (well….boring) to not watch t.v. while I was sick. Jared was a great encourager in the process though. I did watch movies, however. Which, I guess, is a round-about loop hole….but what ELSE are you going to do when you can move? I wasn’t in any shape to even hold a book up let alone read it. I am actually really proud of myself and am slightly shocked as to how much easier this challenge has gotten over the last couple weeeks!!!

  6. Kimberley 01'13'12 at 11'01'PM #

    Can you substitute rice for the quoinia? I really enjoy reading your blog Mel. It’s interesting and always a good read, and a good way to keep track of what you and Jared are up to, since I haven’t been to church since I broke my foot in the summer.

    • brasstacksoncanvass 01'19'12 at 5'37'PM #

      You can definitely sub in rice, but i think the quinoa will hold up a bit better in the fridge. Also, quinoa is packed with protein and is a superfood of epic proportions. You can buy 4lb bags at costco for $10.

  7. Jenny 01'17'12 at 5'26'AM #

    Yum! The recipe looks delicious – it is fun to see how you did the photography. I can hardly wait until avocados come in season and Sean and I will try this!

    • brasstacksoncanvass 01'19'12 at 5'36'PM #

      yes – cheap avocados would make this a much better dish ;)……..until then, $2 avo’s will have to do!!! Love and miss you guys!!

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