Exercise and Being Healthy

With as crazy as these past few months have been, I’ve still been trying to live a healthier lifestyle and work out more. I try to do something every day, whether it be taking a walk, cleaning the house and doing laundry, or walking a few miles on the treadmills at work. It’s rough! I don’t always get something done, but…I try to make up for it with keeping a healthier diet.

So far, in the past few months, I’ve lost 10 pounds so far. I’m still a LONG way away from my goal weight (another 40 pounds), but slow and steady wins the race, right? I’m trying to schedule my knee surgery, which will keep me out of commission for exercise, at least for a bit…but hopefully I’ll be able to keep up healthy food habits and it will allow me to continue losing weight. I know it isn’t all about the number on a scale, but the motivation of seeing that number go down sure does help. Plus, right now, I’m pretty restricted on cardio options, so I’m really relying more on diet than anything…not a lot of “tightening” going on over here, that’s for sure. Sigh…oh well, hopefully that will change after the knee surgery.

Otherwise…last week was the 4th month anniversary of going vegetarian! I am so glad I made the decision to stick with it, I definitely feel much healthier and happier. I definitely don’t begrudge anyone for eating meat, but for me, it was definitely the right decision. Plus, J’s been eating a lot more vegetarian meals (even though I offer to cook him meat at home) and he’s feeling much better too! All around, a win.

That’s about all for now on the health aspect. Any new veggie recipes I should try?

Much love,
K.

Monday’s Veggie Recipe!

This week, cats and kittens, I’m gonna do you a solid. You get two for one. That’s right…one post, two recipes, and two chances to cook something amazing!

First…the background. It’s football season, folks, and you know what that means?? That means football parties, fantasy football, and best of all…FOOD! This past weekend, we held a Fantasy Football draft party at ours for one of J’s leagues…and of course I used that as a prime opportunity to make enough food to feed the continent of Africa. All of them. And what better for a football party than chili? Who cares that it’s freaking 90+ degrees F. out there…it’s football, baby! And in my house, football = chili.

The first recipe comes from Two Peas in their Pod.  Their Vegetarian Chili adds a little something extra, in the way of my favorite vegetarian staple in life:  QUINOA!  I love me some quinoa…talk about a complete source of awesomeness (and by “awesomeness,” I mean protein).  The recipe is chock full of delicious vegetables, and if you have farm fresh veg, it’s even better! 

The recipe is simple.  Go to fridge and grab EVERYTHING!  Seriously…if you have it, you can probably use it.  Boil some quinoa and set it aside.  Saute some onions in some olive oil for a few minutes.  After that…chop up every single thing of veg you can find.  Throw it in a pot with the onion.  Saute it for a few minutes.  Throw in the diced tomatoes and the beans, and some garlic.  Some people put in chocolate and beer.  The recipe doesn’t call for it…but hey!  It’s football, and in my house football = chili = beer.  Don’t be afraid, embrace the brew.

At this point, shove a lit on that pot and spend the next 30 minutes making yourself a mojito, because you’re done kids.  Simmer away and serve that stuff hot.  You and your family/guests/trickster dog who your food will thank me.

 

Recipe Two is another crowd pleaser, this time from Skinny Taste!  I adore Gina’s recipes…I haven’t found a bad one yet…she really is a lifesaver if you’re trying to be healthy, lose some weight, maintain your weight, or doing weight watchers (all her recipes have points calculated for you).  Gina takes the traditional stuffed mushroom and makes it delicious, but still (mostly) nutritious!   Her original recipe includes bacon as an ingredient, but she makes a suggestion to substitute Feta cheese if you want it veggie.  And let me tell you, feta is awesome. 

And, to make it even better, the recipe is super easy and takes hardly any time.  Take a skillet, saute some garlic, and add some fresh spinach to wilt.  Meanwhile, take the stems out of some mushrooms, chop the stems, and saute those too.  Mix the spinach, garlic, sauted mushroom stems, breadcrumbs, and feta (awesome!) in a bowl, and stuff the crap out of those mushrooms!  Stuff ’til you can’t stuff no more!  And after you’re done with that…bake them for a bit.  While they’re baking…grab your mojito you already made while waiting on the chili, and proceed to eat the leftover “stuffing” because those recipes always make too much stuffing for the number of mushrooms to fill.  It’s inevitable, and you shouldn’t let it go to waste.  Plus, it’s skinny.  So eat it.  EAT IT!

Now…at this point, you have chili, mojitos (if you’re me), and stuffed mushrooms.  There is clearly only one option left at this point.  Sit on the couch, put your feet up, and tuck in! 

Hope you enjoy!

Much love,
K.

spinach-and-bacon-stuffed-mushrooms    quinoa-chili1

Work…

I haven’t really posted much about my work lately.  Which, in all honesty, is odd because it’s where I spend the majority of my time.  But, even though it’s where I spend a lot of my time, it’s also where I get a lot of satisfaction!

So…my job.  For my new readers, J and I moved back to the States after a 3.5 year assignment in the Netherlands for work.  While there, I was working as an account manager for all European customers in our business.  It was a challenging job, and not as fulfilling as I would have liked.  I worked remotely (my boss and team were located in England), and while I liked having that autonomy, I really missed having camaraderie with my team.  So, when we moved back to the US, I was still working in my old job as an account manager, but really hopeful to find something different that would challenge me, but also allow me to work closely with my team.

When we moved home, I was incredibly fortunate to find a few jobs that would work well with where I wanted to go in my career, and give me the challenge I was looking for.  I applied to three different positions, two of which were straight Program Management positions, and the third was a hybrid between Account Management and Program Management.  I was offered all three positions, so I had the opportunity to choose what would be the best fit for me.

I ended up choosing one of the Program Management positions in our off-highway sector (primarily for equipment that runs off-road, hence “off-highway”).  I chose this position because a) it was a fantastic opportunity, and b) the person who would be my boss was fantastic. 

Now I’m a few months into the job, and I still love it!  Every day is a new challenge, but I am learning so much and my boss is fantastic.  My team is hard-working and fun, and we all manage to get stuff done while having a good time (which is key).  I really couldn’t have asked for a better job, if I’m honest.  I work long hours (J does as well), but it’s so interesting and exciting that I really don’t mind it.  Granted, everything is definitely not rainbows and butterflies, but I like it, so that’s what matters.  So, currently I am program managing three different programs for our smaller engines (I work at a diesel engine company, though in the  side, which is a big filter we put on the engine to keep the air clean), and I’m lucky in that the main members of each group are consistent throughout the programs.  J also works in off-highway as well, so we don’t work on any of the same projects.  I spend a lot of time working forecasts, financial summaries (costs and prices) and managing schedules.  Microsoft Project has become my new best friend.  I’m also learning more about finance than I ever wanted to know, but it’s so worth it.

So…that’s my job.  I basically manage a great big schedule and a lot of different people/interests.  It’s hectic, but fun, and I couldn’t be happier and more satisfied in my work capacity!

Any questions, let me know!

Much love,
K.

herding-cats

An Update on the Twins

The kittens are doing so well!!  We’ve had them 2 weeks today, and they are completely out of their shells and running around like miniature banshees!  Hana is super talkative…she chirps about all the time, and Lieve is pretty high energy, but quiet.  Who are we kidding, they’re BOTH high energy, but I’m seriously loving every second.  This kitten stage is the best stage (in my opinion), because it’s like you discover the world all over again through their eyes. 

Yesterday was a big day for them…vet visit.  They needed to go in for their second round of boosters for kitten immunizations, plus a slew of other things.  They both were immunized, and the vet ran blood work for feline FIV and feline leukemia…both negative!!  Then, the vet checked the normal things…weight, temperature, eyes, ears, heart and lungs, tummy…the usual.  They got another round of dewormer, just in case, and then we were off!  Only one more visit, next month, for their follow-up shots, and then they’ll run the bloodwork for the spay procedure.  After that…they’ll get spayed, and hopefully be finished up with the vet for a year!

We got home after the vet yesterday and they both just sacked out on the bed…totally exhausted.  Poor little things..such a big day for them.  This morning…back to normal!  They are seriously so adorable, it’s hard not to love them up.  Lily is also doing SO much better with them.  There is still some hissing, and she’s still not sure about them, but she’s out and about when they’re out of our room now.  Before, she’d just book it straight into the spare bedroom and hide under the bed.  They’re definitely not BFF, but it’s also only been two weeks, so I have hopes that eventually they’ll learn to live together peacefully.  I’m not really expecting best friends, but I’ll take cordial.  LOL.  Hell…my goal is just no more hissing!

Otherwise, things are going really well.  The kittens are great with just about everything. We’ve clipped their nails once so far (no problems), and they’ve both been on antibiotics for the past 10 days due to an infection, so they’ve been taking the liquid like champs!  Overall, they’re just so laid back and like, “whatever mom, whatever you want.”   Lily is still being her old self with us…so no worries there!  Honestly, it’s going the best I could have hopped for, and I’m feeling better each day that we really made the right decision to get them!

I’ll leave you with a little compilation of my three babies! 

picstitch

There you have it…my babies!!
K.

 

Monday’s Veggie Recipe!

Today is another Monday, chock full of deliciousness for all you wonderful readers!  I’ll admit, last week cooking was a very LOW priority in our household.  My father-in-law had surgery to remove cancer, and my husband was back and forth between the hospital and home (the hospital was about an hour and a half away)…so there was a lot of eating out going on.  But, on Saturday, I was fortunate to have a friend in town (from Norway!), so I was able to cook for us and have a proper dinner!  She was open to just about anything, and I had a refrigerator full of fresh veg, so I went to town…Pizza was on the menu!

Roasted Vegetable Pizza

This pizza is easy.  Ridiculously easy.  In fact, I almost feel bad calling this a recipe, because it’s really more of a guideline…and not a “recipe” at all.   Here’s what you do:

Grab any and all fresh veg that you like from your fridge, your grocery, your farmer’s market, your garden.  Really, I don’t care where you get it from, just get some.  Cut it all up…medium sized chunks work best…just make sure they’re all the same size.  Then…whip out your EVOO…pour some on the veg, and season with salt and pepper.  Use the tools you got, and toss that stuff around with your hands.  Seriously…don’t be shy, dig right in.  For my pizza, I used onions, orange bell pepper, zucchini, yellow cherry tomatoes, and garlic.  Lots and lots of glorious, stinky, garlic.  It reaked…it was divine.  Take that oily, garlicky, delicious concoction and stuff it in the oven, at 400 degrees F., for about 25-30 minutes and ROAST IT ALL!!!!  Actually, I’d leave off the garlic until mid-way through…then add it.  Burnt garlic is disgusting.

Then…grab your crust.  If you’re a lazy ass like I am, you grab the can of Pillsbury pizza dough and roll that sucker out on a cookie sheet.  If you’re all gourmet like my good friend, Tupp, then you make it from scratch.  All depends on what you’re feelin’.  Personally, I used the spare time I would have needed to make the pizza dough to drink beer, but hey…everyone has priorities. 

Take your crust…roll it out on whatever you use to bake pizzas.  Cookie sheets, pizza stones, doesn’t matter.  Just roll it out.  Roll it!  Come on…roll it some more!!!  There you go.  Now, make sure the instructions say whether to bake it a little bit first…mine did.  So, I baked for 5 minutes, and then topped it with some awesome pizza sauce.  Again…if you’re a lazy ass (Lazy: Population 1) like I am, you buy the jarred kind by Classico (roasted tomato, yum) and spread that on.  If you’re Tupp…you hand roast each tomato lovingly over an open flame on a perfectly stoked wood burning fire.  Again…I drank beer. 

Now…once your veg is all perfectly roasted (and seriously, it doesn’t need you, it does it all on its own), you divvy up the booty on your tasty crust.  I also added other vegetables here that didn’t get roasted…primarily mushrooms.  Love me some fungi. 

And now…the best part.  THE CHEESE!!!  Personally, while I like mozzarella and parmesan on pizzas, what I really like is goat cheese.  It’s tangy and creamy and just flat-out awesome.  So…I bid my mozzarella adieu this go round, and topped it with bits of creamy, tangy, goaty goat cheese.  HOLY CRAP.  It just melts in your mouth.    Once done…stuff back into the oven and melt that baby until it’s bubbly.  Everything else is pretty much cooked already, so you’re pretty much just cooking the mushrooms, finishing the crust, and heating/melting everything else.

Get it out.  Slice it.  BIG slices.  And dine on pure awesomeness! 

Hope you liked it!
K.

vegetable-pizza-ck-l

Monday’s Veggie Recipe!

I’ll be honest, I’ve been slacking recently.  For the past few weeks, I’ve barely cooked (let alone gone to the grocery).  Take-out has been our survival method, and starting yesterday, I vowed to change that.  While I’m fortunate to find plenty of semi-healthy, vegetarian meals outside of the home, you can’t really control for portions and ingredients like you can when you make it yourself.  So, that’s where the inspiration for this weekly post came from.  I figured…if I force myself to blog about it, I’ll have to actually cook at least ONE meal the week prior to blog about.  Now, hopefully I do better than that, but at least it’s something.

Today’s recipe is from SkinnyTaste.  I love her stuff!  She does a great job in making favorites healthier with better portion control.  Whenever I’m at a loss for what to cook, I go to her blog and check it out, because there’s always something I can eat and love!  This recipe was for her Creamy Corn Soup with Queso Fresco and Cilantro.  Doesn’t it just sound like a fiesta for your tummy?!

The soup itself is pretty easy.  Shuck some corn and then cut off the kernels, and then peel and cut up a potato. 

corn

Meanwhile, heat up some extra-virgin olive oil in a dutch oven and saute some scallions and garlic for a minute or so. 

scallions

Toss in the corn, the potato, some milk, some vegetable stock, a freshly cut cilantro, and let that baby come to a boil! 

cilantro     pre-blender

Reduce, cover and simmer the crap out of it for about 30 minutes.  Once that’s finished up…you add in some greek yoghurt (I think the recipe calls for sour cream, but I always use greek yoghurt in place of sour cream.  More protein, fewer calories, and it tastes the same!).  Pour the soup into a blender/food processor (I had to do this in a few batches) and process it until it’s nice and smooth.  Top with some more fresh cilantro and queso fresco, and DIG IN!

soup
(Photo courtesy of Skinnytaste.com)

Personally, I loved it!  I added a bit more salt, but also the saltiness from the queso fresco helped a bit to flavor the soup.   It makes quite a bit, so if you’re like me, you bag up the leftovers for lunch the next day, and it’s even better!  You all should go home now and make this soup!

Enjoy!
K.

A Fresh Look at Blogging

Normally, I’m a “fly by the seat of your pants” blogger.  I post when I want, what I want, and don’t really give it much more thought beyond that.  I don’t really plan.  I’m not so much a “planner” by nature on most things.  Of course, there are exceptions (as there are in all things), such as education (I had my full college courses planned from Sophomore year on)…but in most, everyday things, I don’t bother.  I like the adventure…I’m a rebel like that.

However, I’ve found myself struggling with not having a focus for my blog.  I definitely think there’s something to be said for blogging as I’ve been doing…whenever something strikes your fancy, you write about it.  But lately, not much has really struck anything, let alone anything fancy.  And while I’d like to blog more often, I’m at a loss for what to talk about!  And I’m NEVER at a loss for something to say.  So, I’m going to try to add some more structure to my blog. 

On Mondays, I’d like to do a recipe review of a vegetarian recipe that I tried the week before.  Sort of a Meatless Mondays, if you will…but since I pretty much hate alliteration, I’ll have to call it something else.  Other than that, though…again…dead end.

This is where you all come in!  What sort of reoccurring posts would you like to see from me on a weekly basis??  Leave a comment and let me know, and if I can, I’ll incorporate them into the blog.  I doubt I’ll ever be a “7 days a week” blogger…I’m honestly nowhere near that interesting.  But, if I can get 3-4 solid posts a week, I call it a win.  Let me know what you think!

K.