Friday, March 29, 2013

We're Gettin' Healthier!

Ahhh, to feel healthy again! I think my sickness is finally behind me! Thank God! I've never had anything like that before and I'm so thankful it only lasted three days- three days too long still- but at least it's over. I'm still not back to my regular appetite and eating light and easily digestible foods, but we're getting there! And just in time for the nice spring-like weather we've all been anxiously awaiting here in the Midwest. :)

Healthiest State Initiative logo

I'm not the only one that's gettin' healthy around here. I get email updates and newsletters from the Healthiest State Initiative Iowa has been involved in during the last couple years. The 2012 rankings of the Well-Being Index were just released recently and Iowa's movin' on up! We moved from 16th in 2011 to being ranked 9th for 2012. And we've moved up 10 rankings since 2010 when Iowa was in the 19th spot. I'm so excited and happy about this news! It means that our state population is really starting to take to heart their health and well-being.

Visit the Healthiest State Initiative website to learn more about what is going on in the state of Iowa and how you can join in!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tummy Troubles and a Fun Weekend

It's been a rough couple of days of laying in bed and staying close to the bathroom (if ya know what I mean) for me. I somehow picked up a nasty stomach bug that's been doing a number on my intestinal system. I'm glad we had a fun weekend, though, because the start of this week sure hasn't been fun.
 
Friday afternoon Kaydin and I went to the Science Center of Iowa. Sue, the T-Rex, is in town from Chicago. We actually saw this full T-Rex when we went to Chicago for the weekend back in September of 2011, but it wouldn't hurt to see it again, and the IMAX film Dolphins was playing so it was a no-brainer that Kaydin would be ecstatic to see it.
 
Dolphins
nk
 


Saturday, after laying around and relaxing most of the day, we decided to go out and do something fun as a family. First we hit up Wok in Motion, a local stir fry and sushi bar. Tim and Kaydin went with chicken dishes and I choose a couple sushi rolls.

 


After we ate we headed out to Waukee to do some bowling. Kaydin had never been before so we were excited to teach her, even though both Tim and I have no talent for the game (as evidenced in the scores below).


Kaydin loved it! And it was so fun to watch have such a great time with it.


She rocked it! She did use the bumpers, but I really tried and she beat me both times! Took the game and beat both Tim and I the second one!
 
It was fun to get out of the house on a Saturday night and was definitely needed now that I have been pretty much house bound feeling like crud these last couple days. Here's to sleeping it off and getting back to work tomorrow morning! Fingers crossed!

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Streets of NOLA

Last week I spent some time in New Orleans. I was there for work and got a little time to do some walking around and taking in the sights. I had been here before in 2005 right before Katrina hit. A few of my girlfriends and I made the trip and created memories none of us will ever forget. Seeing specific things (Bourbon Street balconies, the Jester drink, Spanish Plaza, Riverwalk, Lucky Dog vendors) all brought back some very vivid and crazy memories.

Here's a few of the sights I took in on this trip...


 








 




Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Italian Garbanzo Bean Salad

I have a recipe for you that will help clean out your pantry and your fridge! I love it when that happens! I have such a big food supply in our kitchen that I always get giddy when I  make a recipe that uses what we have on hand and can help dwindle down the over packed cupboards. 

Friends, if there's ever a huge natural disaster or emergency situation (frantically knocking on wood over here!) you know where to head first. I can feed y'all for at least a week!

A few weeks ago, I took a look into the cupboards in search of a side for our meal that evening. Staring back at me were cans of organic garbanzo and black beans and also organic, GMO-free corn. Those cans had been in there awhile so I decided it was time to put 'em to use!


 I decided to make a corn and bean salad using those pantry ingredients and also a few from the fridge. We had half a red pepper and half a red onion that needed to be used up or tossed soon. Perfect! Italian dressing to give the salad a little flavor and optional fresh parsley were all that was left to round out this recipe!


Chop your fresh veggies and herbs, toss all in a large bowl and you're set! A quick, healthy salad side dish in just a few minutes!


Italian Garbanzo Bean Salad

Ingredients:
1 can organic garbanzo beans, drained
1 can organic black beans, drained
1 can organic sweet corn, drained
1/2 red onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red pepper, chopped
3-4 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1/3 cup Italian dressing

Directions:
Chop onion, garlic, pepper, and parsley.
Drain cans.
Add all ingredients to a large bowl and mix well.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Pie Baking Class at Wooden Spoons Workshop

Today Tim and I had a fun date day planned!

Last fall I bought a Groupon to Wooden Spoons Workshops and Cooking Classes for the fruit pie class. Tim looovvves pie, especially apple pie, and I planned on giving the certificate to him for Christmas. Well, Christmas came and went and I totally forgot to put that cert in his card.

Fast forward to the end of February and I still hadn't thought of a fun way to present it to him. Instead, it popped into my head when we were driving in the car one day. "Oh, hey! I bought us a pie baking class. It's on March 17th. In Ankeny." Tim- "Oh, ok." Hahaha! No big surprise announcement but at least I'd finally remembered to mention it.

We headed up to Ankeny this afternoon to have lunch before the class. We had our hearts set on Number 7 Brewing Company (and also had a Groupon we needed to use) but they are closed Sundays :( Big sad face! Instead we went just down the block to Leaning Tower of Pizza, an Ankeny staple according to Tim. The pizza was great, service was good, and we were ready to go in perfect timing to travel just down the street again for the 1:00pm class.

Walking into Deb's establishment I had major kitchen envy! Endless supplies, multiple fridges and freezers, commercial size sinks! I loved her set-up!

We started out with her showing us how to make the crust in a food processor. I don't make too much pie from scratch in my house, but I can now because making pie crust in the processor is a cinch! Super easy and almost fool proof.

After the demonstration, she distributed dough that was pre-made and frozen for ease to roll out. I hate recipes where there is a need for a rolling pin. I just am no good at it and it's always a mess. Surprisingly, it went really well!

We rolled out our top and bottom crust and then took a pie and ice cream break. Deb had a rhubarb/blackberry and rhubarb/small amount of raspberry pie al baked up for us. It was so.good! My favorite part of pie is the crust and it was amazing!



Next came mixing up the fruit.  We had the choice to make either strawberry/rhubarb or rhubarb/blackberry. Tim and I went with the strawberry blend. Deb also offered organic sugar as an option. And on that note her fruit was also organic. She has a great view of real food. I won't speak for her but we have the same view of the food industry! :)

We had a quick conversation about swapping coconut oil for the Crisco in the crust. I asked her what she thought of that idea and she let me know that she was planning on trying that variation soon. It should have the same effect and be sooooo much healthier. I plan to try that soon when I make my own pie crust at home.



 We spooned all the filling in and sealed it up with the top.  Deb wrapped them up for us and sent us home with the recipes and baking instructions and many, many useful tips!



I can't recommend Deb's class enough. I learned a lot and it was something different for Tim and I to do together for the day.  Deb is really knowledgeable in the baking arena and was really helpful in answering all our questions. And her view on food, the food industry, and the negative effect humans has made on it makes me like her even more. Keep spread the word, Deb!


We brought our pie home and placed it in the freezer for a couple hours like instructed. We just pulled it from the oven and are anxiously waiting for it to cool a little bit before digging in! :)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Happiness Project {Book Review}

I recently read and finished the book, The Happiness Project. It really was a good read and gave many good ideas of how to slow down, be in the now, and enjoy life. The author, Gretchen Rubin, made a plan and monthly resolutions for one year to achieve a higher level of happiness in her current life. She came up with many tasks and projects to expand her world and bring more happiness to herself.
 (Source)

It really is up to us to create a happy life. Life is all about attitude and how you choose to spend your time.

As I read, many statements stood out to me, ones that really hit home or made me think.

  • To eke out the most happiness from an experience we must anticipate it, savor it as it unfolds, express happiness, and recall a happy memory.

  • You can choose what you do; you can't choose what you like to do.

  • One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make others happy; one of the best ways to make others happy is to be happy yourself.

  • Do good, feel good; feel good, do good.

  • Act the way you want to feel.

  • Always remember, there is an I in happiness.

  • The days are long but the years are short.

  • If you don't believe you're happy, you're not. Publilius Syrus observed, "No man is happy who does not think himself so."

  • Gratitude is important to happiness. Studies show that consistently grateful people are happier and more satisfied with their life; they even are more physically healthy and exercise more. Gratitude even brings freedom from envy because when you are grateful for what you have you are not consumed with wanting something different or something more. That, in turn, makes it easier to live within yours means and be generous to others.
I highly recommend this book to anyone, but especially to someone who feels in a rut and needs a wake-up call or different prospective on how to think about and treat their current situation.

Friday, March 8, 2013

And I'm off...

I made it through the week! Yay! Super busy at both work and home and I'm just drained. So glad its Friday night! I'm all packed up ready to jump on a plane in the AM.

Now I'm just patiently waiting for Tim to shower (while Kaydin blasts her new recorder) and be ready to watch Twilight Breaking Dawn, part 2. Tim actually bought it the other day. Months ago he watched one of the movies and admitted that it wasn't too bad. Now I have him watching another one! I figured he wouldn't hate them and I've been encouraging him to watch them for awhile now.

A perfect way to end the week, snuggling watching  movie. Then I'm hitting the bed cuz that 4:15am wakeup call will come early! Ugh :(

Quick side note: Tim bought Kaydin a new recorder and a book of Disney music today! He even bought himself one so he can play along with her. He played the saxophone back in high school and he's gonna teach Kaydin to play her first instrument! They started tonight and she's already got her first three notes down! I'm excited for her to learn a new skill but my patience may run thin while she's just blasting on the thing ;)


Talk to y'all later from The Big Easy!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Too much going on...

Ohhhhh, where to start?!? It's been a busy time around here lately! I've been neglecting this little blog, though. I have lots to say just haven't had the time to get it out there yet!

Let's start!

  • Work has been super busy lately! I've been working to complete projects and get meetings in this past week and the one starting tomorrow. Lots always going on in our office! And I'm in a time crunch because I'll be traveling for work next week. Going to New Orleans for a conference and I'm leaving Saturday early morning. Gonna be busy, busy, this week!

  • Also, trying to get stuff at home taken care of and scheduled. This weekend has been full of laundry washing and bathroom essential gathering.

  • We went to Kids Fest this weekend. Tim is on the Children and Families of Iowa board of trustees and we go every year. It's always a fun event to take part in and a great cause to donate to.
  • After Kids Fest we searched for a place to eat downtown. We tried both Centro and Americana with both being over and hour wait. Who knew downtown was so busy at 5:30 on Saturday evenings. I didn't think it would've have been that early. Now we know! We instead trekked to a favorite, Gusto Pizza on Ingersol Ave.

  • March 1 marked the first day in my participation in Meatless March! (and my Dad's birthday!) I'm really not too much of a meat eater anyway so this won't be too hard. Meat is always the hardest piece of the meal for me to decide and nail down for our meals. It's kind of a relief actually. I will be indulging in the local cuisine when in NOLA next week though! Follow along and join in on the Meatless March Facebook page being hosted by Emily and Brooke.
meatless march rules
  • Alex and I have been working to secure our airfare for Blend this May. I hate purchasing airfare, such a gambling game. I'm getting more and more excited for May to get here though!!

  • I'm still participating in the Fit Mixer boot camp. I haven't lost poundage but I do feel stronger in a few areas! There's only a week or two left and I'm glad I joined in the challenge.

  • My damaged and weak back has sidelined me from a few of the exercises for the bootcamp. I have had back pain for over two years straight now. I've thrown in out three times in those past two years and I can't even walk or move much at all for a few days. Now it's just constant pain. I decided I just couldn't keep on and visited the doctor. She has since referred me to a physical therapist. She is great! So glad I've been working with her. She concluded that my back, pelvis, hip area muscles are severely imbalanced between the left and right side. She also thought the disks cold be irritated. We have been doing some exercises and she's been helping me with things to be more aware of. It's really helping and I'm seeing this light at the end of the tunnel. The hard thing though is posture. I love to sit Indian or butterfly style at my desk and she says that's a no-no for helping heal me. Sitting up straight with good posture really is a lot of work and tiring when you do it wrong everyday of your life!

  • So we unexpectedly got 10 inches of snow this past week. UGH! :(  I'm over the snow and cold. Anxious for the green grass and springtime. But who isn't in these parts at this time of year?!? :)

  • Today we had a meeting about Kaydin's softball league she joined this spring. We are both even more excited for the season to start now! I played softball growing up and I'm so excited to watch her play, too. We'll see if she likes it. Soccer wasn't her thing, so we'll see how softball goes. She may just be a dance and gymnastics girl.

  • The Color Run is coming back to Des Moines! July 13 is the race date. Who's joining me this year? Registration is $35 until March 15 then it jumps to $40. Get registered soon! Let me know who's interested and we'll create a team name!
ok...too much text in this post but I think I got you all caught up!! Have a great week!