I’M ALIVE!

19 Jan

well…i fell off the planet for a couple weeks.

i got the flu last week, then flew to vancouver for a wedding and have been sans energy all week. i went to bed at 9:30 last night. it was glorious.

i have been doing so good not watching t.v…i am happy to report that i didn’t even watch ANY t.v. when i was sick! instead, i watched how to lose a guy in 10 days 3 times, back to back, because i couldn’t move without feeling like i was going to toss my cookies.

a friend from work asked me this week if i was going to continue on with this habit after my challenge is done. i have to say that the past 3 weeks have made it very clear that i am fully capable of finding other things to do with my time. mindless t.v watching will not be on my list of priorities. however, i really do miss the occasional turning off of my brain to keep up with the kardashians.

bare with me as i totally switch gears now: mayday mayday!!! i am ADDICTED to making tazo chai tea lattes every morning (thanks to my sister in law!). can i just tell you – DUDE – it is so good, and takes way less time than brewing a cup of coffee in the morning! i love it. i am actually really hoping that i can fall asleep tonight because i also came home from work tonight and have two cups of it (one hot, one cold, both equally delicious in their own right). yummers. i was able to score 3 packs of 3 (thats 9, just in case you were wondering) from costco this week for $18! you just don’t pass deals like that up.

a couple weekends ago i had the pleasure of photographing my very good friend denise and her husband clay, who are expecting their first baby in february. denise really didn’t want  typical maternity photos. they brought along two balloons, one pink and one blue, because they don’t know what they are having. below are a few photos from the shoot.

 

 

today i realized i have to really start thinking about what my february challenge will be. those of you who are joining me in these challenges, how did your january ones go? have you thought about february? any suggestions?

 

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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

ingredients

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)

s+p

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

s+p

directions
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?

smothering the monster

4 Jan

i think i have a pretty good hold on the t.v. monster. i have been keeping very busy the last few days. but, interestingly, have not been sleeping well at night [probably due to the mega sleep-in i had the other day which i am still totally embarrassed about]. i have been reading like crazy, especially before bed – which, for normal humans, puts them to sleep, right? hmmmm….

actually, i am quite proud of myself. i haven’t been able to pick up a book since i graduated from university last year and i am nearly 1/3 of the way through a book i started a few days ago (i’m reading eat pray love – i’m a little behind on the bandwagon).

i read instead of watching t.v! that’s like, what superheroes do! [stay tuned for when i update you about how i have taken over the world! saving kittens left, right, and centre! just kidding, reading does not equate to saving the world, but i would save a kitten from a burning house with my hands tied behind my back  – just so you know. 

anyways….

yesterday my mom and i went out for lunch, which is toujours formidable!

today i spent lots of time in my kitchen. firstly because this is where i did my first workout (ya, i worked out TWICE today. i repeat – TWICE. its a christmas miracle a few weeks too late!) with my yoga mat, my interval timer and…..steel cut oats on the stove? NOT a good idea – way too hot!!!! i was a steamy sweaty mess! for my second workout, i went to yoga with my neighbor. i also kept busy in the kitchen by making some small energy balls that are just the right size to have as a snack (recipe below!).

also, while i was baking, i had a television crew in my living room. yes, you read that right. is that not so utterly, hilariously, ironic? (check out the photo below and click here to know more about why my husband was being interviewed – another late christmas miracle).

energy balls (makes 24)

1/3 c. honey

3/4 c. almond butter

1 tsp. pure vanilla

pinch of sea salt

1 c. old fashioned rolled oats

1 c. unsweetened shredded coconut

1/4 c. raw cacao nibs

1/4 c. walnuts, chopped

4 tbsp. ground flax

2 tbsp. ground cacao nibs

in a medium bowl, mix almond butter, honey and salt until smooth (heat if needed – i had to heat my honey because it was pretty hard). add the rest of the ingredients (except the last 2) and mix mix mix. place bowl in fridge for 1/2 an hour. meanwhile, ground flax and cacao nibs. when it is time, take the mixture from the fridge and form into balls about 3/4 of the size of a golf ball. roll in flax and cacao nibs. freeze for delicious and healthy snacks! i believe my huband’s words were “oh, oh wow. those are good!”

stay tuned for my next post where i will be giving you the recipe to this delicious lunch/dinner/anytime treat:

like a wave of anxiousness…

2 Jan

i didn’t set my alarm last night thinking that i would wake up naturally around 9 or 10. i am a little embarrassed about it, but i REALLY slept in. i won’t even tell you what time i woke up. is it horrible that the first thought that crossed my mind was “oh fewf! less time i need to try to fill today!”?

[as a side note, i work as a success coach and work out of two schools and so i have had the last week off and have this week off from work. my husband, however, doesn’t. he had today off but for the rest of the week, i will be home – alone – with no t.v.]

i have realized that watching t.v. allows me to pass the time without having to think too much. honestly, the television is my friend – and we are really, really good friends. actually – i think it would be more accurate to say that the television is my babysitter. unfortunately, my dear friend and companion has just died. i think i’m mourning.

i was feeling anxiety ridden today as i walked around the house trying to figure out what to do. should i read? should i bake? should i work out? should i…..

then i was kindly reminded by my husband that we needed groceries. ok – something to do. grocery shopping – check. a couple more hours of time filler.

i was also reminded that we had a dinner date with some artsy friends. an evening of company [ with real life people! ], delicious food, good conversation and working on our art projects.

the rest of this week will be quite the exercise in trying to figure out how to be content with spending some good quality time with me.

i also want to thank everyone for your support and kind words to my last blog! there are a few handfuls of people who will be journeying along with me and i can honestly say that it makes me feel so awesome that i’m not the only person who is going to struggle, grow, and learn to appreciate life in the coming year! feel free to post your progress/struggles/milestones in the comments!

12 of ’12

1 Jan

for the past 4 1/2 years i have been so busy trying to keep up with my husband that i think i’ve been lost somewhere in the shuffle. i am tired, unmotivated, lazy….i would much rather spend 12 hours straight sitting in front of the t.v. than actually doing things, making things or, to be blunt, enjoying life. what it all comes down to, i have found, is that I am lacking balance. i am in DIRE need of finding balance in my life.

in 2012, i am endeavoring upon a year long journey to try and make the most of my life. at this point, most people try to make one major goal that they want to stick with for the whole year, but lets face it, WE NEVER STICK TO THESE GOALS! so why would i set myself up for failure? if anything, i really need to set myself up for success. so, how DO i do that?

in the past few months i have been inspired to take a look at goal setting in a new way. i am an avid ted talks fan (www.ted.com) and i stumbled upon this talk by Matt Cutts. in essence, he argues that you can do anything for 30 days.

my other inspiration for goal setting could be rather long-winded, so instead of boring you to death, here are the cliffs notes: the intentional community i was a part of for 4 years ended. a lot of conversation was had around “what went wrong” and it was decided that it would be beneficial to have a start and end date in mind when gathering large groups of people together on a regular basis. the insight i took from that experience was that a start and end date sets a very specific boundary around whatever you are doing. i need boundaries.

and so – “12 in ’12” was born. the premise: me, 2012, and twelve one-month-long challenges to help me grow, learn, and dig a bit deeper to find joy and meaning in my life.

there are two prerequisites in place to help me choose each months challenge: first, i have to make it achievable.  goals don’t have to be earth shattering to be worthwhile (keep it simple, right? if it’s too lofty, you won’t do it. period). secondly, i have to set specific parameters.

so here we are, january 1st, 2012, and i have been trying to wrap my brain around the challenge i have chosen for myself for this month.

JANUARY 1-31 2012:

ACHIEVABLE CHALLENGE: i will not watch t.v mindlessly

SPECIFICS: i can still watch movies with my husband/friends, i can watch t.v IF and ONLY IF i am doing something productive at the same time.

in order to help me in this month-long challenge, i have made myself a reminder: on my t.v. i made a sign that says “find something else to do” – and that will really be the challenge this month. what else can i do to unwind, relax, shut my brain off, re-energize, be productive…….?

each months goal must be a priority. the goals i am trying to achieve in these challenges have to trump other things that would usually make me steer off track.

seems easy enough, right?

well, it would be easier if you joined me (i am all about community!). if you want to challenge yourself in 2012 (or even just for a month here and there), LET ME KNOW! together, we can make 2012 a year of change for ourselves where we are stretched to grow in unimaginable ways!

here are some photos from this morning with my family out skating! what a great time we had!

sean and jenny robinson

4 Jul

i had the honor of photographing my brother-in-law and sister-in-law’s wedding on june 25th. they were such a blast to photograph. an easy-going pair full of love for each other. enjoy. click on the image to see it bigger.

butter chicken

25 Mar

i want to share this DELICIOUS butter chicken recipe that will please your palate in less than half an hour (it is so so easy)! my husband and i gave this a 4.5/5 (which is one of the highest ratings we’ve given a dish). the only thing we will change next time: swapping half a cup of the water for coconut milk. the following recipe includes the swap.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons safflower oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon chopped ginger
  • 1 1/2  cup chopped red onion
  • 1 1/2  tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp chili pepper flakes
  • 1 heaping tablespoon garam masala (available at superstore in the ethnic aisle)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar (or sucanant)
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup water (or 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup coconut milk)

Directions

  1. add oil to a skillet on medium high heat. once warm (about 30 seconds) add the ginger and onion and cook until onion is soft and fragrant.
  2. turn the heat down to low. add the tomato paste, spices and salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes. add the chicken and stir well to coat it and cook for 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. finally, add the brown sugar, yogurt and water (or water/coconut milk), turn heat up to high and cook for 7 to 10 more minutes, until chicken breast is cooked through. keep a close eye during these ten minutes as the liquid can disappear quickly leaving you with little sauce!
  4. serve on warm pita, naan, or warm brown rice! enjoy!

i hope you try this dish! it is so so good!

(adapted from the spice goddess no-butter chicken recipe found here. butter chicken photo is also from this page.)