day 31 – an end

Good evening.

I am back; although I am sad to report I am unsure if I finished this challenged to the best of my ability. After my day 28 – getting back into drinking green tea with my breakfast – I ventured to a girls night down the street. I ate pizza, chip dip, chit-chatted – had a great night! Then, I met day 29. Oh, day 29….

I had plans of coming home after work on Thursday, throwing in some laundry, taking Ace for a walk, & trying out a new stuff mushroom recipe. As I was loading our sheets into the washer, I had to run to the bathroom. It was either the flu or food poisoning. I saw my lunch & breakfast, again.

I camped out on the couch with my favorite blanket, hoping it was just a fluke. {Let it be known, my sister used to get the flu every year and I NEVER got it. Nor, have I ever thrown up when I’ve been sick.} This was an entire new experience for me. Sure, I have found myself on the floor of a bathroom after having too much to drink in college, but it has been years since I have been in that situation. I was laying on the couch, with a glass of water, waiting for Tony to come home and magically make me feel better.

And…. as Tony walked through the door, I found myself running to the bathroom – AGAIN. Sadly, this happen another four times, including the glass of water I tried to drink. I found myself whimpering on the bathroom floor at about 9 o’clock. {I am sure by now you have labeled me a diva, like the rest of my family}. But I just wanted it to stop.

Tony talked me into at least going up to lay in bed. I was easily persuaded because I felt like I could have collapsed with exhaustion at any second. I was able to curl up in bed, with my favorite blanket, and take a cat nap for a couple hours before I had to visit the bathroom – again.

Now, I know an entire new meaning to getting the flu. I would never wish it on my worst enemy.

Needless to say, I have been down for the count the past couple days. I didn’t go into work yesterday, instead I tried to pump as many fluids into my body as humanly possible. Today, I was moving slowly, but cleaned my bathrooms and disinfected every surface I touched the past week.

I’m bummed out because I wanted to end my challenge feeling strong & accomplished. Now, I’m not sure if I can. I had a plan to end my month with a bang {hopefully more on this SOON}, but I guess all I can do is learn from the past couple days.

I have learned how to take care of my body – fluids, fluids, fluids & I have learned, AGAIN, to stop planning, to be flexible, & to go with the flow. I thought I had mastered these things over the past couple years, but clearly, I still have much to learn.

Off to bed.. early, again… sweet dreams, peanuts.

xo

day 27 – an orange julius

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Day 27 brought me back to my childhood.

At night, my dad and I used to share a similar bedtime snack. It was always right before I went to bed, I would grab two oranges & a tupperware container. We would sit on the couch together, peel our oranges, – hence the tupperware container for the peels – and chat about our day. Sometimes, if we were feeling good, an orange would turn into an orange julius. My dad’s specialty was a couple scoops of ice cream and a swish of orange juice, no frills, simple. It tasted heavenly; maybe it was the ice cream before bed, or the time alone with my dad, I’m not sure which one was better :)

Thinking of this memory gets me teary eyed. My dad and I literally did this for years; years & years. It is a routine, even at almost 30, I miss. (I know how lucky I am that my parents live across town; a five minute drive, & I see them often).

Tonight after dinner, I was craving an orange julius. I haven’t had one in years. I scaled our fridge for the proper ingredients; we had an orange, a banana, vanilla protein shake, and ice; it was almost humorous. We didn’t have ice cream or one of my staples – almond milk. The need to be creative was pounding in my brain – MUST. HAVE. ORANGE. JULIUS.

I mixed together the minimal ingredients I had; it was a refreshing little bedtime snack after dinner, something new that will rotate through our dessert menu.


Vanilla (Healthy!) Orange JuliusProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Ingredients:

  • 1 orange
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 3 scoops vanilla protein
  • 1 1/2 cup ice
  • 1 cup water

Steps:

Blend together ingredients (I used my amazing Vitamix) & ….

ENJOY!

day(s) – 22, 23, 24, 25, & 26

Hello! Sorry for the radio silence on the blog front. I’ve been busyyyyyy..

The end of the week marks the end of my first blogging challenge. The past five days have mixed up my routines, my cooking; my life. At times I have found it hard to stay motivated, but I have found a way to fight through it.  I have learned I have the most fun in the kitchen; however, I loved a challenging kettlebell class which left me feeling sore for days on end. I am keeping my fingers crossed that every step of 2015 keeps me looking forward to the adventure of the following day. Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetI took an entire afternoon after work to catch up on a guilty pleasure of mine. I love to read, most of the time novels with twists and turns – like Little Big Lies – but once and a while I can’t help myself. I need to know what’s going on in the world, & by world I mean the celebrity life :) I promise I keep tabs on real world news and current events, but who doesn’t indulge in a little gossip every now and then?

IMG_5149

A Christmas gift from my wonderful parents came for my kitchen – a new set of stools. Tony and I sat down together, unwrapped my linen topped stools, & started building. We pumped Coldplay’s hits, (another concert we would LOVE to attend), and kept Ace’s nose out of the way. It was a relaxing night that pulled out some vibrant colors in my kitchen!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetKettlebell, oh kettlebell, how you hurt me so…..

Over the weekend, my future sister-in-law and myself attended a kettlebell class at a local fitness center. We rolled out of bed, pulled up our hair in a top knot, and waited in line to ensure a spot at 8AM, (don’t worry, we got there early enough to do over 100 lunges)! I don’t remember the last time my muscles ached as they did when I left, & man it felt good. Btw – they’re STILL sore today; my students were making fun of the way I was walking down the hallway :)

On Sunday, Tony and I mixed in a day of naps, pizza, and House of Cards. These days have seemed few and far between on the weekends; so I let it happen. A day of rest!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Tonight’s new recipe was another hit – baked, quinoa, buffalo, chicken bites, with greek yogurt, blue cheese dipping sauce & parmesan zucchini chips..

Yum, yum, was it tasty! {recipe on the way}

cheers!

day 21 – lime & cilantro

Second day for a new recipe – this IS something new for me.

The night after a big meal I usually try to make something out of left overs, but since last night’s dinner was SO good, the left overs had already escaped my fridge – (TONY!).

Tonight, I went back to a usual meal in our house; tacos. Who doesn’t love tacos? I had extra avocados from our cabin weekend – hello guacamole – browned hamburger, but wanted to add a little something, something… Cue cilantro, lime, quinoa.

Over the past two years my love for quinoa has grown. For starters, I never knew how to pronounce it & I never thought it looked appetizing. Before my cancer diagnosis, I was told by two different doctors that I was gluten intolerant. This temporary fix for my problems led me into eating cleaner. Being the known pasta lover that I am, multiple friends told me to try quinoa.

I have learned to get creative, especially my first couple times making quinoa; overflow and burnt quinoa on the stove, pots, forks, everywhere… & tonight’s side topped the charts.


Cilantro, Lime QuinoaDSC_0003

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried quinoa
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 of a lime zest
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Steps:

  1. Prepare quinoa according to directions on package, fluff, & cool
  2. Mix together chopped cilantro, juice, zest, & oil, pour over cooked quinoa, and mix
  3. Enjoy!

DSC_0014

Come tomorrow, I will be reflecting on a new work out routine.

For now, off to watch, {for the second time} season two of House of Cards – third season will be here in February!

xo

day 20 – turkey burgers

I love you, day 20.

Tonight I tried out turkey burgers. They were amazing. I jazzed them up a bit, added a side of sweet potato fries, and Tony and I licked our plates clean.

I have heard the rave about using turkey instead of cooking with beef but never wanted to venture out of my norm. Tonight I found a recipe on pinterest & I added my own flavor. It was so scrumptious, my mouth continues to water even though my belly is full. This was a favorite of ours and will continue to cycle through the weekly menu!


Spinach, Feta Turkey Burgers w/ Dill Sauce:

Dill Sauce Ingredients:

  • 7 oz. plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 medium lemon
  • 1/4 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp dried dill

Turkey Burger Ingredients:

  • 1.25 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 oz fresh spinach
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 med cucumber
  • Sandwhich Thins (trying to stay healthy, people)

Steps:

1. Mix sauce ingredients and refrigerate until serving

2. Chop onion & spinach and mix with turkey, feta, garlic, oregano, & egg, and stir everything evenly

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset3. Shape the mixture into even patties (size to your desire)

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

4. Cook burgers on a counter top grill, non-stick skillet, or over open flame for roughly 10-12 minutes on each side, or until burger is thoroughly cooked

5. Serve burger on bun of your choice, spread dill sauce, slices of cucumber & onion.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

6. ENJOY!

PS – Siracha dipping sauce for sweet potato fries … coming soon :)

day 19 – big little lies

Alright, I’m trying my hand at a book review post; my something new for today. It’s not going to be very detailed, (because obviously I want you to read the book!), but it will give you a brief look into the amazing book, Big Little Lies, by Liane Moriarty.

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 9.28.51 PMThe setting is in suburban Australia. The first chapter opens with an elderly woman coming across a scene at a trivia night.. gone wrong. I was a bit confused, because I thought this woman was a character in the novel, but she was not. The following chapter continues to elaborate on the fact that there was a murder at Trivia night among parents of children at a local private school.

Chapters in the novel switch back and fourth between the previous months leading up to trivia night and witness statements from various characters in the book. It took me a while to catch on to the pattern and differentiate between specific characters and what main events were actually taking place.

Liane Moriarty always has a handful of main characters, which she intertwines beautifully. Her minor and major plot lines criss-cross and overlap in a way that keeps her read on their toes. In this particular novel, there are three major characters: 1) a new, single mother, 2) a veteran, divorced and remarried mother, and 3) another new mother to the area who’s husband is physically violent. All of these mothers have two things in common; they each have a child in the new kindergarten class and neither of these characters are present in the witness testimonies, leaving the reader to think one of them has been killed.

There are twists and turns, violence and love, and secrets and mystery. The characters are very relatable, (one of my major needs as a reader!), and the book unfolds magically into the most dramatic ending. I thought My Husbands Secret was going to be my favorite book by this author; I think I am wrong. I think I enjoyed Big Little Lies more. I haven’t started a new book because I can’t stop thinking about the ending of this one.

It will not disappoint. Happy Reading!

xo

days 14, 15, 16,17, & 18

January has sliced and diced it’s way through my life quickly. I have been unable to grasp my to-do lists tight enough; they fly away from my finger tips too fast. I am keeping up with my challenge – as if you were worried – and I’m here to report a quick note about some of the fantastic things I have discovered.

Days 14 & 15 brought similar experiences – both had to do with cooking :) One of my favorite dinners, even as a little girl, has always been beef stroganoff with mushrooms. Growing up, my mom used to let us pick our favorite meal for our birthday dinners; beef stroganoff was always a crowd favorite of mine. I love pasta {who doesn’t?!} and the comfort of cream of mushroom soup. It’s warm, filling, and oh-so-tasty.

Since I’ve been on my healthy train, {minimal processed foods}, I decided to try something new with my favorite recipe: Instead of pasta, I made it with quinoa.

I made WAY too much quinoa, but it was just as tasty & WAY healthier. I did miss the familiarimage3 taste of noodles, but I actually really enjoyed the flavor of quinoa. {Recipe will be posted by January’s end}

Days 16, 17, & 18 I spent at a cabin in the woods with my best college girlfriends. We brought along our men and traveled through the night, {three hours}, to weekend bliss. I absolutely love it when we’re all together. Our friendships have changed throughout the past 8 years, but we’ve always made time for one another. We don’t live close, {one of my girlfriends traveled almost six hours this weekend to join us}, but we are good at making our friendships feel important.

Anyway, back to my something new.

Usually when we all get together, our gatherings surround food and cocktails. We veg on dips, play games, and catch up. Tony and I got in late Friday night and had to play catch up. I allowed myself three drinks. I had made it a goal to REALLY minimize alcohol consumption in my life. Unless it is a celebratory occasion, I didn’t want to drink. As mentioned in previous posts, {a cup of reality, please}, alcohol and chemo do not mix.

For my something new was to hold strong to this goal. Although I did drink three drinks, I didn’t allow anybody to make me feel like I needed to keep drinking as the weekend progressed. My friends are amazing. They completely understand my situation.

But..

It’s hard to let old habits die. My BEST memories in college involved these girlfriends & doing something silly; most of the time under the influence of alcohol.

But when the time came to fill my drink, and the offers started rolling in the second night, I stuck to water, & guess what? Nobody batted an eyelash at my choice & the weekend was just as much fun.

I am proud of myself. It may seem like something simple and unimportant, but it is a stepping stone to the better me of 2015.

Be back tomorrow with my first book review! I finished Little Big Lies by Liane Moriarty & it did not disappoint. It may even be better than My Husband’s Secret.

peace out.