Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Teacup / Coffee Cup

Not much to post today - I'm at a coffee shop gettin' caught up on the internets. :)  

It snowed in Denver last night, and everything is covered in a beautiful white blanket.  I was worried that my new apartment would be terribly cold since it's such an old house, but it's cozy and warm and wonderful!  

Now I'm enjoying a cup of joe & bloggin'.  One of my favorite boards to post to on Pinterest is Coffee Tea Cups & Mugs.  It's kind of silly, but I just love pictures of these things!  I seriously have a mug-purchasing problem too.  I don't know why mugs are such a comforting thing to me, but they just are! 

Today I have a day off from work (yay!), so my mom and I are going to hang out & spend some time together.  I'm lookin' forward to it!
Hope you all have a super duper Tuesday! 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

My new apartment!

I know this is kinda belated (well, I've only been living there for about 6 days now - so I guess it's not THAT belated - ha!), but here is my new apartment!

This is the view when you first walk in the "front door" (it's in an early 1900's house that was divided into apartments).  Eventually I'm going to get those drapes on the couch up soon!  One of these days...

Pivot to the right, and that's the little closet there, and my little make-up station!

Turn all the way around, and there's the kitchen / bathroom / desk area & all that fun stuff!  It's small and cozy, but I've tried to brighten it up in my own way with lots & lots of colors. :)  That's just how I roll!

My itty-bitty bathroom just off the kitchen.  It actually does contain a "bath", which would be the perfect size for me if I were about 3-feet tall.  Haha!  But that's OK - I don't need much!

And my abnormally large kitchen for a studio apartment!  I really do need a decent-sized kitchen.  It's hard having no kitchen space and loving to cook.  So this worked out great!

I absolutely LOVE all of the light I get in here too.  I have a big window in the kitchen, and two more big ones in the living / bedroom.  It's just gorgeous.  Makes me feel sunshiney and happy inside!

I did have to give away some things (knick-knacks, clothes, etc.) because there just wasn't enough room for everything.  But I was OK with that - it's just stuff.  And it was kind of cleansing in a way!  Starting clean, right?

Also, my lovely friend Nikki stopped into my work yesterday and dropped of this beautiful bouquet of flowers for me.  Aren't they just gorgeous?  They really are helping my new little place feel like home.

I think I can be very happy here!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Things are getting much better

Hey Friends,

Sorry for the vague / sad posts lately, and for the lack of posting at all!  The big news is, John and I have decided to end our 2 1/2 year relationship.  The last couple of weeks I've been in a bit of turmoil - finding a new apartment, figuring out how to pack & move with a full-time job, while also dealing with the emotional stuff.

But luckily, John and I will still be friends.  And I actually mean that this time.  I've never had much luck with staying friends with ex's in the past (emotionally it's just hard), but I know that John and I came into each other's lives for a reason, and I can't imagine my life without him in it.

Honestly, I know this was the right move for us.  He's going to take his path and find the right girl for him, and I'm going to take mine and find the right boy for me.  Perfectly imperfect pairs, as I see it. :)

So over the past couple of weeks I've been focusing on me - working hard, finding a new place, finding a way to pack with a full time job, and moving in and getting set up!  It's been quite a whirlwind!  I still don't have internet at home either, so posting will be hard for the next couple of weeks.  I'll do what I can though!

I can't wait to post pictures of the new place.  It's so freakin' cute, and perfect for me.
Thank you to everyone who was there for me during this difficult / crazy time.  You know who you are.  I knew I could count on you, and I love you with every inch of my heart.

Here's to a new chapter in my life!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sometimes, things are hard

Sometimes the right choice isn't the easiest choice.
Sometimes a bottle of wine is the only thing to make you feel better (for at least a short amount of time).
Sometimes you just need some time to yourself.
Time away.
Time to listen to your heart (no matter what it says).
Time to grow and understand.
Time to figure out what the fuck is going on.

Sigh.  Things are tough right now.

I know they will get better.  But right now it sucks.

Luckily I have good friends that can console me with some good company, and some good food.

And wine.  Lots of wine.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Coconut Chia Tapioca Pudding Dessert

I'm feeling SO much better now that I've cut the sugar out of my life (at least for the past 7 days, anyway), but every now & then I crave a little sweetness.  Like today.  :) 

I know that there are a TON of great health benefits to chia seeds (good fats, cleansing, etc.), so I decided to try out my own little dessert with them! 

When chia seeds are soaked in water, juice, or milk, they form a squishy membrane around them.  Alien-like?  Yes.  Kinda awesome?  YES.  

Coconut Chia Tapioca Pudding Dessert
Vegan, Gluten-Free
Serves 1-2 people

1 cup soy or almond milk (unsweetened)
2 tbsp chia seeds (preferably organic)
2 tbsp unsweetened coconut shreds
splash of flavoring (vanilla extract is great - I used maple extract)
pinch of Truvia (or other natural no-sugar sweetener), optional
In a container, add all the ingredients, cover with a lid, and shake well to combine.  Let refrigerate for about 7 hours (or overnight).

And that's it!  
I really enjoyed this dessert.  It tasted sweet even though there's no sugar in it, and I just loved the consistency.  I'm just loving trying out all of these new & healthy recipes!  

Vegan White Bean, Kale & Sweet Potato Soup

Today I made a seriously delicious soup!  I wanted to make something healthy, hearty, and warm (for the cold weather) to last me through the week for meals.  I also wanted to use some in-season ingredients too!  I found this awesome recipe through Pinterest, and decided to make it my own! 

This soup takes a little bit of time to make, however the beans can be made ahead of time to cut down on that or you can even used canned.  But since I'm trying to reduce my waste, I got mine uncooked from the bulk section of Natural Grocers. :) 

Vegan White Bean, Kale & Sweet Potato Soup
(Serves about 5)
Vegan, Gluten-Free

1 cup uncooked white beans (I used Great Northern Beans)
1 medium sweet potato, peeled & diced
1/2 one sweet yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 red potato, peeled & diced
3 leaves of kale, spines removed, torn into pieces
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp sage
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
2-3 cups vegetable broth
Salt & pepper (to taste)
Olive oil
Splash of white wine, or sweet rice cooking liquid
Soak the white beans overnight - or if you want to cook the soup same-day, boil the beans in water for 4-5 minutes, then cover & let rest for 2-4 hours.  Drain water off the beans, and add 4 cups of fresh water.  Bring to a boil for 15 minutes (covered), then reduce to a simmer for 1 hour.  Continue to let them cook throughout the next steps (after the hour is up).

In a large pot, add some olive oil.  Cook the onions and garlic for 4-5 minutes until tender.  Splash with white wine or sweet cooking liquid to deglaze the pot.  Add the kale and stir well until welted (about 2-3 minutes).  Add the potatoes and stir well.  Add the vegetable broth, and let simmer for 20 minutes.

Dump out about 1/2 of the water from the beans, then add the beans and their remaining water to the soup pot.  Stir well, and let simmer (covered) for about 10-15 more minutes, until the potatoes are tender.

Mash some of the potatoes on the side of the pot, or use a hand blender to mix it up just a little bit (I wanted to keep some chunks in mine, but give it more body).

Add seasonings and nutritional yeast and stir well.  Serve hot!

This soup was CRAZY delicious - I ate my whole bowl in 5 minutes (about 1/18th of the time it took to make.  Haha!).  Its savory with a little sweetness from the sweet potatoes, and tasted like a great comfort food that just happened to also be super healthy!

Seriously, this was super yummy.  You must try it!  I will for sure be making it again. 

You can also use butternut squash instead of sweet potatoes or yams (as per the original recipe).  

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Plan of attack for a healthier me!

As you know, one of my new year's resolutions for 2013 is to be a better healthier version of me.  That means body, mind, and soul!  

So here's my plan of attack: 

1.) We're starting off the year with a sugar cleanse.  I know that I have been eating WAYYY too much refined sugar since I started working at the bakery, and in turn so has John (poor guy - I basically wave the cupcakes under his nose when I bring them home).  So to get our bodies readjusted, we're going without for a little while.  Here is what we're going to be cutting out:

- sucrose (refined sugar).  All cupcakes, sodas, sweets.  You know, the OBVIOUS bad stuff. ;)  This also means no honey, agave nectar, or syrups.
- glucose (sugar from carbohydrates).  Yep, that means no breads, crackers, pastas, etc. Brown rice pastas, brown rice, and quinoa are fine!
- fructose (sugar from fruit).  I know it sounds crazy, but we're trying to starve our bodies of sugar right now!  

Once we're clear of the sugar, we'll start introducing the good sugars (fruits & whole grains) back into our diets again.  What's great about this cleanse is that fruit will taste so much sweeter when we have it again - it'll be a dessert all by itself! :) 

I'm going to stock up on healthy groceries, and try out some new recipes.  I absolutely love finding new & amazing recipes to try that are delicious AND nutritious.  I live for this stuff! 

Maybe something like Grilled Polenta & Balsamic Vegetables?  YUM! 

2.)  I'm going to yoga this upcoming Sunday!  No excuses!  Kendra, do you hear me?  :)  (Kendra and I have been trying to get our acts together to go to a free yoga class near her house for a while now!  We've been a few times, but we really want to go more regularly).

The free class is SO AWESOME, and for the last few weeks I've totally wussed out.  I definitely want to make it a habit of going every Sunday - I always feel so amazing afterward, so it should be easy!  This one is good for my body and soul too.

3.)  Get out of bed early, and get my body moving and improving daily.  I know this will take some time to get in the habit of doing every day again, but it's important to me.  I plan to start slowly (aim for 2-3 days a week), then work up from there.  I tend to set the bar a little too high early on and failing quickly, so I'm trying a different tactic.  It's my basic plan to do anything active - whether it's a workout video, a long walk, a jog, or a few sets with weights!

So those are my 3 basic steps for now.  I know the hardest one will be #1 for now, but that's only a starting off point - a springboard to shoot me towards better health.  The first few days are always the hardest, but I know I can do it!  

How are you going to attack your goals in the new year?