Like Coming Home…

This past weekend, I was back in the suburbs and back on my mat at my favorite yoga studio.  It’s crazy because I really love living in the city and the BOY and I are extremely happy, but I miss my yoga studio a ton.  I have been going to the same yoga studio for 5+ years with varying frequencies and had the amazing opportunity to live in the studio this past summer during teacher training (when I really did live back in my childhood home).

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On Saturday, I returned to the burbs to begin teaching the 5 part anatomy series for the new class of yoga teachers.  Afterwards, I had the most amazing facial and spent the night with my mom and our friend drinking wine, talking women’s marches, and appreciating the comforts of home.

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On Sunday, I was back on my mat for a 10am hot yoga class.  As I reclined onto my back in the hot and packed studio, I felt an overwhelming sense of comfort. It’s like coming back home…and yes, I had spent the night in my parents house where I also lived for 2 months this summer, and my mom made me eggs and tea for breakfast because she rocks, but the sounds and smells of the studio where I found myself on my mat lying next to my mom and our friend (two powerful women) filled my heart with joy.  The class was tough and sweaty and I loved every minute!!!

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Despite loving everything about city life, I haven’t found a yoga class that invigorates me like this one.  I even went so far to tell the owner on Sunday that when she’s ready to expand to the city I’d love to run her studio : )

After class, I toweled off and prepared to teach the 11:30 class. I have not gotten as much teaching experience as I’d like and was feeling super nervous. I felt like I talked too fast and didn’t link my class purpose but found my groove about half way through.  The feedback I got after class stunned me as students (that I didn’t know…not my mom and her friends) stated how much they enjoyed my class and complemented me on being a natural teacher.

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Wow!  Grateful doesn’t even begin to describe how wonderful that felt! After class I had a short time to change and transition back to teaching anatomy.  It wrapped up a fantastic weekend. When I drove back to the city, I found my husband hanging at my brother’s house, so I joined them and my sister in law for some bubbles and dinner.

I decided to skip the grocery store and wing it this week.  Although our meals have been a little less than healthy (and I don’t have any new recipes to share), I have made it to yoga both yesterday and today so I am feeling pretty incredible.  Everyone needs a weekend home every now and again…right?!

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Ps I didn’t take a ton of pics this weekend so please excuse all the recycled pics!  Luckily after years of yoga I had many sweaty ones to choose from : )

 

What feels ‘like coming home’ to you?

Jalapeno Mac and Cheese {and Life Updates}

You have to know that I made this recipe super simple and totally skimped on the cheese (I went generic), and it still turned out extremely flavorful and fulfilling!

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I feel like that is definitely saying something!!!

Last week, I got back to the cookbooks and back into the kitchen and it was glorious!

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Let me tell you that life has been packed full and fun, but the BOY and I have also enjoyed our down time sitting in front of the fire.  Friday night, we watched an episode of Sherlock without doing anything else…no computers, no wine or popcorn, just lights off snuggled up with Cooper enjoying the quirky show’s start of the season.

Speaking of starts, how are you adjusting to the start of the new year???

We had the most incredible New Years Eve weekend in Wisconsin with a couple of couples, two dogs, and a baby.  We cooked meals, played games, went for walks, and rang in 2017 with tons of enthusiasm and joy. 

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I can’t say that I could ask for a better way to start the year.  I have a bunch of goals/plans/ideas for 2017 but I feel like I am still wrapping my head around the quick finish to 2016 and all of the changes that came our way.

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For the most part, we are settled.  We love our new place (that we are renting) and our neighborhood.  Like I said, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a wine bar, yoga studio, and coffee shop directly across the street. I am working two newish jobs and both are going well along with treating some private clients and teaching private yoga sessions.  All in all, work is time consuming and fulfilling.

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Since the weather got COLD COLD COLD, I have been taking the workouts indoors.  The BOY and I were doing some personal training at the end of last year, but taking a (hopefully quick) break from it right now.  I am exploring and growing on my yoga mat and meeting friends at the barre for a totally different workout.  With an evolving schedule, finding time for workouts and self care has been tough, but I think I found my stride.

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I am teaching a bunch of kids yoga and working HARD to find some consistent adult classes in the city.  We are meeting new friends and reconnecting with old friends.  For the most part, Cooper is settling in to his new home. I think he misses the stairs (we’ve caught him trying to sneak out our door for the stairs a few times), but loves finding new places to hide (ie his new Amazon box) and continues to try to eat everything.

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The BOY won the commute lottery and living this close to work has been great for him. He also loves that any kind of food he wants can be delivered to our front door by Eat24, Amazon, or anyone else delivering Thai, Mediterranean, or Chicago style pizza.  A day doesn’t go by where he hasn’t found a new restaurant in the neighborhood that we HAVE to try.

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Which brings us back to the food.  In attempt to be fiscally and waist line responsible, we have been cooking in a bunch this month and eating out less.  In an attempt to make this process less painful, I decided to make a feast last week.  This Mac N Cheese recipe seemed like the perfect hearty food for a cold Friday night and for protein, we whipped up a batch of Clean Meatballs.

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This mac n cheese recipe was easy and low fuss but the flavor was fantastic!  And I promise it wasn’t too spicy!  The meatballs were random but pretty amazing!  Even the BOY was talking about how much he liked them. 

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Friday night, I ate mine with a side of Mac N Cheese, but Saturday leftovers were all about the spaghetti squash.

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This week, we made Clean Sloppy Joe’s and Crockpot BBQ Pulled Pork!  Our meal plan is looking even better with a bottle of Cooper’s Hawk wine : )

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What are your 2017 goals???  Any life updates???

Spicy Mac and Cheese

From The Whole Foods Market Cookbook

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk (I used 1%)
  • 1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups canned diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Swiss or Jarlsberg cheese
  • 1 lb penne pasta, cooked and drained
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup dried bread crumbs (I used crusty bread in the food processor)
  • Vegetable oil or Cooking spray

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan and add onion, garlic, cumin, and coriander.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often, or until onion is soft.  Mix in the flour, and cook mixture over moderate heat for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Using a wire whisk, slowly incorporate the milk into the onion mixture until the flour and milk are blended.  Bring this to a boil, lower the heat to simmer and stir in the jalapeno pepper, cayenne pepper, salt, and tomatoes with their juice.  Simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the mozzarella, cheddar, and Swiss cheese, blending until well mixed.  Combine the sauce and cooked pasta in a large mixing bowl.  Place the sauced pasta in a 9 inch greased baking dish.  In a small bowl, mix the parmesan cheese with the bread crumbs.  Sprinkle the cheese and bread crumb topping over the pasta. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the topping is golden brown.

 

Turkey Meatballs
The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook by Tosca Reno

Ingredients

1 1/2 lbs. lean ground turkey or chicken
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup breadcrumbs
2 T. fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 T. fresh basil, finely chopped
2 T. fresh oregano, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, passed through a garlic press
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, place egg and breadcrumbs or oat bran.  Add spices and mix well.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.  Using an ice cream scoop make meatballs and place on prepared cookie sheet.  Place in hot oven and bake for 20 minutes or until golden.

It’s Not Selfish…

Tonight, I went running out of work with barely a goodbye to my coworkers and friends telling my boss I was in need of some ‘Self Care’ in hopes of getting home in time for a 7pm yoga class.  My work schedule has been fairly inconsistent which has made planning in workouts and classes more difficult.  On top of that, the Cubs have me partying like it’s 1999 (the college not the high school portion, mom and dad!).

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So I ran out of work, sped home, changed quickly and felt grateful that the yoga studio was right across the street.  When I walked in, the yoga teacher said to me…I was just thinking about you (we are collaborating on a course) and was just looking at your resume today.  It was like she knew I was coming.  I said how happy I was to be there and found a place for my mat.

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We got started with breath work and stretching and it was clear from the start what a cohesive class we formed. When it came time to set an intention, the teacher suggested that we set one for Self-Care…I mean seriously universe, could your message be more clear???  I set my intention, worked through my practice and VERY happily left the studio 80 minutes later.  And then entered the doorway straight across which happens to belong to this absolutely spectacular wine bar called Ampersand.

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I picked up a kale salad to go (because it is the most amazing thing ever) and paired it with some leftovers and red wine for dinner.  Life has been pretty non-stop lately in only the BEST way!  On top of my regular work and yoga teaching schedules, the Chicago Cubs madness has taken over our lives a bit.  I come from a mixed household when it comes to baseball and am your stereotypical fair weather fan, but this excitement 108 years in the making is hard to escape when you’re living just a few miles away…not that we would want to.

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Last Saturday, the BOY and I met friends for a local brew tour followed by lunch with all our new best friends.  We ended up enjoying some fun local beer and walking all over the neighborhood.

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We had just enough time when we got home to shower and change into our blue and red for the (sad) Saturday night World Series game.  By Sunday night, a bit of the chaos had calmed down and I decided to accompany my mom and our friends for a walk around Wrigley.  It was unlike anything I have ever seen and really incredible.  The energy of the city was electric!

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It even had me staying up way past my bed time for a baseball game.  Rare!!!  By Monday everyone was exhausted, but we kept trucking on making it out for Tuesday nights game and staying up until the wee hours to watch the Cubs win the World Series on Wednesday night.  The win was followed by cheering, singing, and horn honking, even in our quiet neighborhood.  Which of course had Cooper running for cover.  It’s not at all surprising that I was craving a yoga class tonight.  I am working hard to find balance in this new city with a much more active social life and so many fun opportunities.

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And with that in mind, I decided to skip the free continuing ed class I was supposed to go to tomorrow in favor of some sleep and exercise…and perhaps a bath!

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I just keep reminding myself…it’s not selfish, it’s SELF CARE!  And much needed!

 

How do you fit in ‘self care’? 

OMG! Worst Blogger Ever Award!

Friends…old and new! How are you???  Where has the time gone???

I swear it was like yesterday that I was blogging up a storm and then I took a quick break to move in with my P’s, start a new job, get my yoga certificate, enjoy summer, then move again (this time to Chicago), start another new job, unpack…and…Yeah…I’m still not unpacked…and yeah, I seem to still be on a break.  But anyways, the point is it is mid September and I haven’t blogged in a month.  Which earns me the Worst Blogger Ever Award!

So just a quick update…the BOY, Cooper, and I moved into the city Labor Day Weekend and we haven’t slowed down since.

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With help, we have been unpacking a million boxes (with many more to go)…

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I started another new job, cut off all of my hair again, and haven’t cooked a thing.

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Which might be why you haven’t heard from me.  I am working two part time jobs, learning the ropes, teaching a ton of yoga classes (last week, I taught 4 kids classes), exploring the city by bike, drinking wine, buying new furniture, and eating all of the Thai food my tummy can handle,

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Check me out…I’m a bike commuter!

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I bought a bubbie cart so I can walk to the HUGE Mariano’s down the block.

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Which is what I did this afternoon.  Have I mentioned that I live across the street from a yoga studio?!  It is right in between a coffee shop and wine bar and it makes me happy every time I look out the window.

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So this morning, I went to the most amazing yoga class, then came home to organize our bathroom.  Cooper had an afternoon vet appointment, which was very traumatic for both of us.  He wouldn’t go into his crate so we were super late.  When we got home, he ran and hid under the bed, so I took my bubbie cart to the grocery store.

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I’m sure you guys missed me but I am guessing that you missed Cooper more so I threw in a few of his pics.  After a busy week, I was happy to make dinner and decided on this Island Pork Tenderloin.  I came back from the grocery store and got started on dessert first.  As I was pulling out all of the ingredients, I realized that I didn’t have sugar.  Luckily, the BOY passes the store on his walk home from the train so he swung by and picked up sugar.

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Just some Friday night baking essentials.  My dessert came together easily except I couldn’t find sprinkles anywhere in our house. I tried all of my many kitchen cabinets and drawers (my new kitchen also makes me happy!) but there were no sprinkles.  I gave up and subbed in white chocolate chips for the sprinkles and threw some in the middle and on top.

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Apparently I am also the worst baker ever…ha ha!  Although I thought I had everything timed out, it appears our oven is not so strong so everything took WAY TOO LONG!  That being said, the bars still turned out phenomenal and were devoured by the BOY and I after dinner. 

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I just couldn’t decide if I like the crunchy sugary ends or the ooey gooey middle better!

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I kept the recipe as written below but know that this is a very forgiving dessert so you can probably whip it together with whatever you have in your pantry!  Even if you haven’t even unpacked all your pantry boxes : )

I have no idea what my blogging future holds but hoping to check in with ya’ll more often!

What’d I miss with you guys???

 

Cake Batter Sugar Cookie Bars

From Today’s Creative Life

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of white chocolate chips
  • 6 tablespoons softened butter
  • ¾ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • Dash of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1¼ cup of gluten free flour or regular flour
  • ¼ cup of Nonpareil or sprinkles to mix in
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of Nonpareil or sprinkles for the top of the batter before baking

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grease an 8" x 8" baking pan and set aside.
  3. Carefully melt white chocolate chips at 50% power in microwave, stirring often to make sure they don’t burn. Once they are just about melted, stir in softened butter and remaining ingredients (except sprinkles) which you will want to fold in gently at the very end. Spread dough into pan and cover the top of the dough with the remaining sprinkles.
  4. Bake for about 22 minutes or until the bars begin to turn golden around the edges of the pan.
  5. The bars will be a bit gooey when you remove them from the oven, they will continue to set as they cool for 30 minutes to an hour.
  6. Enjoy!!!

Lately I’ve Been XXX…

Terrible about blogging (as if you haven’t noticed)!!!

Making birthday plans

Drinking a ton of espresso

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Watching non stop Olympics

Living out of my car

And on my yoga mat!

Reuniting with my running shoes

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Scheduling my yearly doctor and dentist appointments

Eating chocolate

Doing Zumba and Bolly.X with my yoga squad

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Drinking wine with my mom

Eating sushi with my brother and SIL

Hanging with my ex coworkers

Keeping my cat out of my dad’s chair (unsuccessfully)

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Catching up with friends

Getting my Teacher Training Certificate (and teaching my first individual class today)

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Battling a summer cold

Getting excited about football season

Planning for our move to Chicago in 2 weeks

Celebrating 10 years of dating with my hubbie!

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And getting photo bombed by my dad…

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What have you been up to lately???

What Olympic events are you loving???

Yoga Teacher Training

Many of you have asked about teacher training and I have been meaning to share my journey with you!  It has been incredible. I have made new friends, challenged myself, learned a lot about myself, and worked hard to find balance. This week break from yoga gives me the perfect opportunity to update you on training thus far.  Teacher training has been intense and amazing!  I am already feeling sad that it will soon be over, but working hard on living in the present and taking everything I learned with me.

 

What we’re reading…

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Light on Life by BKS Iyengar

The Yamas&Niyamas

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How Yoga Works by Geshe Michael Roach

The Essential Yoga Sutras by Geshe Michael

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Bhagavad Gita by Stephan Mitchell

Health, Healing, and Beyond by TKV Desikachar

 

What we’re learning…

History

Meditation

Mythology

Energetics

Sanskrit

Cueing poses

More kids games and ideas

What it means to be a yoga teacher

Adjustments

Balance

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And much, much more!

 

What I’ve been teaching…

Anatomy

Pinnacle Pose – Eagle

Solar Plexus Chakra Class

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Chest Opener Class

Meditation

A few chapters in the Gita

 

How my yoga has changed…

I am way more active and attentive in my poses

My alignment and flexibility are better

The simple poses are harder and the harder poses are becoming more simple

I use more props

I move more slowly

I go more frequently and crave it when I miss a class

I yoga EVERYWHERE

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I am super excited to continue to learn and grow and start teaching some classes.

Any other YTT questions that I can answer for you???

If you are thinking about doing it, my advise…GO FOR IT!!

Slowing Down {Not By Choice}

Life has been busy, hence my lack of recent blog posts.  I have been committing to my yoga practice, trying to enjoy some outside bike rides and fires, working hard on a few different projects, and enjoying time with my new roommates.

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I have been drinking wine, teaching kids yoga, attending donut club, playing on the 606, reading like crazy, drinking a ton of espresso, and this past weekend we did a family trip up to Green Lake, Wisconsin.

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What I haven’t been doing much off…cooking, baking, and blogging.  I’ve been lucky enough to have some help in the kitchen and of course my BBQ master.  Plus, with new roommates, there are more of us to help out with all of the meal planning.  Last weekend was so super busy, I never even made it to the grocery store!  So that being said, it was very clear when about 2 weeks ago I was playing tennis with my dad, went to shag down a run away ball, and fell in a hole, rolling my left ankle to the sounds of cracking and popping that perhaps the universe was encouraging me to slow down.

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I iced and taped my ankle and focused on rest throughout the weekend.  I took a night off from yoga teacher training and an easy bike ride throughout town (see picture above).  At a time when my yoga practice was escalating and getting more intense, I too a step back.  It wasn’t easy but I listened to my body.  Luckily, the 5k I was supposed to run the next weekend got cancelled and by this weekend, I was feeling 85% better with only mild amounts of pain with lateral movements and Warrior II.  Last Friday, I even went out for a pain free run and Saturday morning did a fun yoga session on the dock with my mom in Wisconsin.

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However, Saturday took a sad turn when my right big toe got sliced by a sliding doggie gate.  It didn’t look good for my nail but didn’t look bad enough for a trip to the rural Wisconsin ER.  We bandaged up my toe and the weekend proceeded on with boat rides, food, crazy doggies, sunsets, and wine!

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It was a wonderful weekend get away and we all appreciated the sunshine and stories.

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Yesterday, I decided to have my toe checked out by the podiatrist.  All the funny walking had my left ankle acting up again and I wasn’t sure what to do with the wound.  The good news…no signs of infection.  The bad news…my big toe nail was coming off.  Somehow I made it through 2 marathons with all 10 toe nails and here after a casual weekend in Wisconsin, I was losing my first one.

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I was instructed to rest and so rest I did.  I spent last night off my feet, but didn’t sleep so well last night.  I took today off of work, figuring my right toe and now sore left ankle weren’t ready for the ball pit at work.  After a mid morning nap and a bandage change, my toe was feeling much better.  So much so that I got a bit antsy.  Since yoga, running, and biking were on the ‘No’ list, I took advantage of a yoga glo meditation.  And then whipped up 2 new raw recipes for snacks for the week.

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Which means after a quiet few months, I actually have some recipes to share.  The first one, I modified a bit using a little almond milk instead of extra honey to help the dough come together.  Both recipes below are as written without my modifications.

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These protein bites are super delicious and won’t last long in your house!  I was so successful that I decided to try one more with dates and peanut butter since we had both in the house.

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For this recipe, I added a little extra chia and because I didn’t have peanuts, I used a mix of nuts from a trail mix.

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I had to try a tiny bite before putting the bars into the fridge…

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And they are also super delish!  After all of the activity, I was ready to retreat back to my chair with a little more rest and some ice.

Because clearly, someone, somewhere is telling me to rest and slow down.  My plan for the week is to let pain be my guide and build up my activity level slowly as able each day.  I know that I will be back in my gym shoes and on my mat soon enough.  And within the next year, I’ll even have a brand new toe nail!

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Until then, I’ll be hanging with my new nurse!

How do you know when you need to slow down?

Have you ever lost a toe nail?

 

No Bake Cinnamon Vanilla Protein Bites

From Cotter Crunch

Ingredients

  • 1 heaping TBSP ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup (around 65-75grams) Vanilla Protein Powder
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup honey ·
  • ½ cup almond meal or peanut flour (you can also just finely grind raw almonds) ·
  • ¼ cup nut butter (creamy no stir works best)
  • ¾ cup of gluten free quick oats or gluten free cereal of choice
  • Vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Grind up your oats or cereal in a food processor and transfer into a mixing bowl. This is optional. You can keep them whole as well and adjust the addition of honey.
  2. Add your almond meal, protein powder, cinnamon, and nut butter. Stir ingredients all together.  Add in your honey and vanilla then mix again well with hands.
  3. Roll into 1-1.5 inch balls and place on cookie tray or plastic ware with parchment paper underneath.
  4. Dust with additional cinnamon and vanilla protein if desired.
  5. Keep in fridge or freezer for up to 6 weeks (if they last that long).

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chia Bars

From My Sequined Life

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pitted, whole dates
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup peanuts
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp chia seeds (or 2x as much)

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients to food processor and process until the ingredients break down and become a mostly cohesive mixture. You will still have little pieces of peanuts remaining, and the consistency of the mixture should hold together when you press it together.
  2. Line a rimmed dish with parchment paper and press mixture into it, leaving your desired thickness.
  3. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes before slicing. Store bars in the refrigerator.