Over A Bowl of Oats

It was over a bowl of crunchy cashew banana oats, that I officially began my New Years Resolution.

 

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Each new year, I like to plan out what my important goals will be.  Sometimes I fall flat on my face and realize that I did nothing to achieve my resolutions.  Other years I’m overwhelmed by all that was accomplished. 

This year, I decided that I wanted to make my goals entirely achievable.  Which explains why “travel to Paris” isn’t on the list.  Maybe next year.  😉

What was on the list, was the goal of reading one book a month for the entire year of 2011.  Today, I finished January’s book: Brooklyn.

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At first I didn’t much like the book.  It was—what’s the word?—simple.  Almost too simple.  But then I realized that it was simple because Elise was simple.  She was a young girl who knew nothing outside of her hometown in Ireland.  She thought nothing would ever change.  That her sister Rose and her mother would always be right there.  That life would continue on, just as is. 

And then things change.  The book becomes more complex.  Elise travels to America to find work, and the book has an undertone of fear.  Fear of the unknown.  And then, when she meets a young Italian man in America, the book become becomes light.  Frivolous, even.  Exciting. 

The book keeps changing, as each part of the book holds a new tone.  It’s rare to find a book that can change a character—change the entire tone—while still holding true to the personality of the original character.  The book is raw.  Simple.  Complex.  Sad but real.  Honest. 

I loved it!

 

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I think the key for pulling through with New Years Resolutions and goals for me, is to break them down month by month.  It holds me accountable, and I absolutely love the fresh start that each new month (each new DAY, for that matter) brings. 😀

Crunchy Cashew Banana Oats

I’ve been eating this standard breakfast for the past week or so.  I love the sweetness of cashew butter and bananas, and I love the crunch that granola brings to the table.  It’s a wonderful, winning combination.

You could make this stovetop, of course, but preparing the mix the night before and microwaving it the following morning produces very similar results.  Letting the oats sit in the liquid for a nights course softens them right up; you will have a deliciously creamy bowl of oatmeal in 3-5 minutes flat.  Enjoy this warm treat on even the busiest of mornings. :D 

  • 1/2 c. oatmeal
  • 1 c. milk + 1/4 c. water
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. crushed flax seed
  • cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 2 Tbsp. Natures Path Pumpkin Flax Granola
  • 2 Tbsp. cashew butter
  1. In a large, microwaveable bowl, place oatmeal, milk, water, banana, flax seed and spices in a bowl.  Stir, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  2. The next morning, uncover the bowl and microwave for 3-5 minutes, stirring halfway through.  Top with granola and cashew butter and enjoy with your favorite book.

Question: Do you make daily/monthly/yearly goals for yourself?  How do you make them achievable? 

sixteen weeks

A Running Injury Flash Back

February, 2010: Plantar Fasciitis

March, 2010: Runner’s Knee

Last year, I had plans to achieve my dreams of running a Half Marathon.  My body apparently thought differently.

But just as I’ll never let a crumbly piece of cake ruin my day, I also refuse to let a few injuries set me back from my ultimate goal.  I will run a Half Marathon.  And I will stay healthy and injury free in the process.

Today, I finally decided to take the plunge, as I filled up my calendar with key dates and weekly long runs.  This all feels so delightfully official. :mrgreen:

One devoted and supportive running partner.  Sixteen weeks of training.  And one determined attitude.

It all begins on January 29th!!

In an attempt to do all that I can to avoid any lingering, pesky injuries, I’m also adding a regular yoga/strength training routine to each week.  A wise runner once told me that running only works certain muscles.  This can create a muscle imbalance, so it’s crucial to keep the arms, abs and legs strong for pumping up those hills while keeping a proper form, even as the body grows tired.  

Know what else is important?

Sleep.  Never understimate the power of a regular sleeping schedule. 😉

Question: Have you ever set a major goal for yourself?  What were some challenges you faced and what made you successful in the end?

it’s the sauce

New month.  New beginnings.  New goals. 

Goal #1: Create a strength training workout routine (at least 2 times a week) and learn to enjoy it.

Goal #2: No tv for the entire month of July.

I’ve got to be honest with you guys.  Goal #2 is going to be tough for me.  And it’s not that I watch a lot of tv, but it’s always on after 9 o’clock as a brainless source of entertainment.  What would life be without that, I wonder.  And now I’ll find out.  The hardest part will be nixing my regular Tuesday night fix of Jillian Michaels.  Ah well.  Maybe I’ll go out for a run instead. 😉

Any new goals for the month of July?

Breakfast

Hot apples ‘n’ oats just felt right this morning. 

I love this combination of flavors.  It feels very “autumn” which fit with this morning’s chilly 58 degrees.  YES!  58 degrees.  July seems to already be full of surprises.

  • 1/4 c. oatbran
  • 1/4 c. wheatbran
  • 1 c. milk + 3/4 c. water
  • cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 1 pink lady apple, diced small
  • toppings: 2 T. Galaxy Granola Maple Pecan Quinoa and a dollop of Justin’s Honey Peanut Butter

Morning Snack: A HUGE Grapefruit and a Handful of Almonds

And so my strength training goal has begun.  I spent 15 solid minutes of working out my arms, but I think I need a more structured plan.  And more ideas!  So if you have any strength training tips and tricks that you’d like to share, I would definitely love to hear them. 😀  The workout didn’t leave me begging for more (the goal is to learn to enjoy strength training too, after all ) but it did leave my arms sore and happy.

  • 3 sets of 20 one arm dumbbell rows
  • 3 sets of 15 bicep curls
  • planks…lots and lots of planks + side planks (for some strange reason, I love these )
  • 3 sets of 5 push-ups against the stairs
  • 3 sets of 10 chair dips

Lunch

Hummus sandwiches used to be my staple, go-to meal during college.  I love how convenient they are to make (as easy as pb&j!) and I love all the different hummus varieties out there.  Today I chose a garlic lover’s hummus which completely lived up to its name. 

I also scooped on some spicy black bean & corn salsa, along with two large tomato slices and some lettuce.  Hummus and salsa.  It’s a winning combination.

On the side, I added in some raw produce for c-r-u-n-c-h! 

Garlic.  Hummus.  Veggies.  Yum.

+ a square of 90% dark Lindt chocolate with a smear of Teddy chunky, salted peanut butter

Afternoon Snack: 6-oz. plain yogurt, 2 T. crushed flax, 1/2 banana, scoop of Pb&Company Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Dreams

Dinner

Here’s a confession: I’ve never been a pasta fan.  I’ve tried and I’ve tried, but to no avail.  And I consider this to be a downright shame.  After all, how can I consider myself a foodie, when I have such a deep dislike for something as innocent as a noodle?  What ever would happen if I visited Rome and left without ordering a giant plate of pasta?  *gasp* It’s basically a sin, and I know that full well.

But I can’t help it.  Pasta seems so boring to me.  Tasteless.  Stringy.  Nothing special.  It’s the sauce that people remember.  It’s the sauce that makes people bring their hands to their lips with a loud “smack”—mwuahh!—as they indulge with a deep sigh of pleasure.  It’s the sauce that makes an Italian restaurant famous.

It’s the sauce! 

And maybe the meatballs.

My mom is an expert at both, and she keeps her recipe tucked away like an ancient treasure.  It’s thick, it’s chunky and it’s top secret. 

As an aside, I’m sure some poor Italian would be crying right now if they saw that I used this sauce to top my sauteed zucchini and vidalia onion, along with some steamed baby lima beans.  What can I say?  It’s the sauce!  And the meatballs. 

Side Salad

+ two slices of homemade bread for dipping

Question: When it comes to spaghetti, is it all about the sauce, the pasta itself, or both?