Ode to Oats… Continued….

Today, I prepared the same oat combo that I made yesterday.  I did not take a picture as it’s not really “picture-worthy”.  After hearing me wax poetic about the oat combo all afternoon yesterday and all day today, one of coworkers asked to see them.  She said they looked gross.  Then she asked to smell them…. She was sold… She said they smelled awesome.
And they are awesome.
They are officially my new favorite food.
I could give up chocolate, but would not want to give up this delight for the mouth. 

Wait, what?  This is better than chocolate, she says????

Okay well… I can’t guarantee that to be the case for everyone… but for me… It’s the Paul Pierce (Get it???  The Truth!!)

Here’s the recipe all over again…

Oats in a Jar AKA Oats to Go:
1/4 cup GF rolled oats
1/2 cup Silk Coconut milk
1/2 ripe banana
1 tbsp crunchy sunbutter (which you should totally try if you like nut butters and haven’t tried this one yet!)
1 tbsp coconut

Put it all in a jar, close the jar… Let the oats absorb the liquid for a few hours… Then you have deliciousness!!

Today was an all around good day!  I got up and ran with my new “Tubes”.  They rocked.  I didn’t even have to add my SuperFeet inserts.  Minimal calf pain!!  Hubs even did some pilates with me! 

Today they announced at work a lateral move I am making.  I’m very excited about this and the new opportunities it will bring.  It also moves me away from a process I had been leading or co-leading for over a year now.  It’s bittersweet… but totally time!!   I don’t do well with the extreme volume of stress it was “providing”.  I’m excited to be able to focus on the work-life balance thing, just in time for the summer.

Then when I came home a most wonderful thing happened!!!  Amazon deliveries occurred.  I received a new water bottle, a tiger tail, some hemp powder and body glide.  I tried them all and they rock!!! 

I’m off to make Hubs some dinner… Baked sweet potato, green peas and some spring veggies, and maybe another one of those Al Fresco Sweet Apple Chicken Sausages!!!  I’m feeling like a light clean dinner tonight, can you tell????

What’s your favorite way to make oats?

Oh oh oh…and…. DAILY CUTENESS!

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A Word (or Several) on Oats….

Oats….  Oats… I love Oats… Absolutely, Positively, Wild about Oats….
But not all oats are wild about me!!!
I had been wondering about the true likelihood of being glutenated by oats that were not certified GF.  This past summer I had the opportunity to try this out.  My MIL being so kind, has been trying to learn more on the whole GF thing.  It warms my heart, and makes me happy to be considered.  It also makes it harder for me to turn things down.  So back to this past summer… during a visit to the homeland, we stayed with Hubs’ folks for a bit.  The MIL made a berry crumble…  She was trying so hard!  She used rolled oats and GF flour for the top.  Just regular rolled oats.  They didn’t say contains wheat or anything that would be a newbie’s red flag.  I did what I should have been smart enough not to… I ate it anyway.  Not once, but 2-3 times.  And I got sick.  Now, I only eat certified GF oats.  Lesson Learned!!!
Today was my day to go home and have lunch duty with Theron.  This worked out excellent because last night I was so starving by dinner time that I don’t know that I tasted any of the cornbread or bbq tofu!!!  Tonight it’s sneaker shopping right after work, and I didn’t want to let myself become so very ravenous.  Eating that quickly is not satisfying, nor is it smart & healthy.  I decided to bring in a jar of oats to eat at the end of the workday to tide me over.  So that is exactly what I did!  I combined ¼ cup GF Oats, ½ cup Silk Coconut Milk, ½ a VERY ripe banana, 1 tbsp sweetened flaked coconut, and lastly 1 tbsp crunchy sunbutter!  After I threw together my oats… me and GoldenBoy Jr. (Get it, he’s golden in color!?!?!) took a short loop with a hill at the end for our lunchtime leg-stretcher.  It was abso-freakin-lute-ly G.O.R.G.E.O.U.S.!!! 

I will fully confess I did not want to go back to work.  At all.  I wish I could have called in with Spring Fever!!!
Once back at work, I watched the time tick closer and closer to quitting time… finally at 10 after three; I could wait no more… I swear I waited as long as I could… Then dove, mouth first into my oat treat.  And it is serious mysterious how something so simple could be such a rockstar treat!
Sneaker Shopping was the goal this evening!  And boy did we score!!!!!!!  We each got two pairs.  I got two pairs of the KSwiss Tubes.  They are insanely comfy!!! 
Dinner was a quick affair…
Lundberg Brown Rice Couscous.  GF of course!!  This was the first time we tried this and it was decent.
Al Fresco Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage.  This was the highlight of the meal!
Kroger Cauliflower & Broccoli, which we sprinkled with chopped olives, crumbled feta and balsamic vinegar
Sliced Tomatoes with crumbled feta
Quick, easy, yummy!

Now there’s just time to take a short walk with T before retiring for the eve.
Daily Cuteness!!!
Smores says TV off… It’s walking time!

Sunday. Sunday. Sunday… Monday. Monday. Monday…

What a disappointment the first weigh-in for Paula’s Excellent Challenge was!!
As of Friday I was under half a pound from the 2 lbs a week goal.  By Sunday morning, I was back to my starting weight from the previous Sunday.  What gives?!?!
Back to the grind this week.  I got a decent workout in on Sunday am, and got the house almost all clean!!  This morning I brought up the rug vacuum and vacuumed the throw rugs.  And I will finish the vacuuming of the office and kitchen tonight. 
I rearranged my bureaus yesterday as well!!  I moved out the winter clothes (prematurely I do admit, since its 32 degrees and snowing today), and brought in the summer clothes.  This process is so much easier as each season goes by and I weed out more clothes for the Goodwill (Three bags full this weekend!!!).  Hubs was a superstar yesterday as well!!!  I had asked him to paint the “tall places” on the ceiling of the stairwell going down to the basement.  Not only did he do the tall places, he painted all the rest!!!!  It looks super.  The only stuff left to paint is around the side door and the baseboards.  (We had new doors installed in the fall, so there’s some bare wood and dings to clean up).  We also have a little touch up on the wall near the door where the install resulted in having a big chunk of plaster fall off (Imagine my “pleasure” at that surprise).
A big part of what I need to feel mentally and emotionally healthy is to have an organized house.  These are steps towards that!  In fact, of my two weekly goals I have set beyond the 2 pounds, one of them keys into that.
We have stacks of stuff all over the house.  It’s piled and looks organized.  But its clutter and it means we can’t find stuff like we should be able to.  I have insurance cards on one of the buffets in the dining room.  Hubs has a big pile of who-knows-what on his side of the table.  I have a few more piles in different areas, and so doesn’t he.  You know what it looks like to me?  Laziness and disorganization.  Well this week, that’s gonna change!!   We have set a goal to either toss out, or file the piles!!!  We’re going to put things away where they belong, or create a new home for them.  Wish us luck!  I’m so excited. J 
The 2 week menu had us having grilled salmon with a pineapple salsa for dinner.  However, the weather had us digging soup.  Enter Kroger’s Gluten Free Flyer!  A couple weeks ago, Kroger sent out a gluten free informative and coupon filled flyer.  A girl from work brought hers in for me. J  We were both pursuing it, and Hubs mentioned a recipe in it.  It was a Lentil Stew.  Lentils… sweet potatoes… stew… what’s not to love????  And that my friends, is how we ended up having a kick-butt stew last night for dinner.  I also threw two cornbreads together… Why two you ask?  Well the first one didn’t smell like I wanted.  I had googled the recipe.  I won’t share it because the other one, which I will share, knocked our socks off!!!  We had honey-smart balance on the cornbread.  It was the perfect cold weather dinner.  I wish I hadn’t broken the camera, because the cornbread was so pretty and we ate the stew out of our new soup bowls!! 
The serving size of the soup was much smaller than the volume of that pasta we had yesterday.  The difference in satisfaction in the REAL food tonight, versus the “fake” (the cooking crème was a processed food) food was astounding.  I mean, both Hubs and I noticed.
In case you want to re-create our delicious and highly satisfying meal:
Lentil Stew (Based on Kroger’s, with my little tweaks):
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 tsp garlic, minced
4 cups GF chix broth
2 cups water
1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz can)
2 medium sweet potatoes, diced
2 cups dried lentils, rinsed and picked through (make sure they are GF, some yellow lentils are not)
2 tsp poultry seasoning
S&P to taste
Add oil to a large soup pot.  Sauté onion for 3-5 minutes until beginning to become translucent.  Add garlic.  Sauté another 1-2 minutes.
Add lentils, stir around about 30-45 seconds.  Add tomatoes and sweet potatoes.  Cover with water and broth.  Cover and simmer about an hour, or until lentils and sweet potatoes reach desired texture.
Add seasonings; simmer an additional 10-15 minutes.  Add water if necessary to result in desired consistency.
Nutrition Info:
1 Cup (For me, the recipe yielded 9 1-cup servings)
Calories: 132
Carbs: 27 g
Fat: 3 g
Protein: 10 g
Fiber: 11 g
Sugar:  6 g
GF Cornbread: 
¾ cup corn meal
1 ¼ cup GF Bisquick
¼ cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 cup milk (I used coconut, no surprise right!?!)
1 egg beaten
¼ cup oil
Preheat oven to 400F.  Spray 8-9 inch round pan.
Combine dry ingredients.  Combine wet ingredients.  Pour wet into dry and stir until well incorporated.
Pour batter into greased pan.
Bake 20-25 minutes, until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.
Nutrition Info:
1 wedge, if bread is sliced into 8 wedges
Calories: 207
Carbs: 27 g
Fat: 9 g
Protein: 3 g
Fiber: 1 g
Sugar:  3 g
We even forced ourselves to take poor, under-exercised Theron for his evening trot last night!! 
I call that a successful Sunday!!!  (However, I will admit blatant non-success with calling my mom and my sister.  Sorry ladies!!  The cleaning fiend came out and just can not be denied!)
This week’s goals:
The Excellent Challenge – 2 lb weight loss.
Destination Organization – No more piles!!
Sleep Schedule – This one is back on the list.  We did not succeed with this one.  More discussion and research brought us to the point where we recognize it has to be the same time to bed and the same time waking up every day, even the weekends.  We’re going to shoot for a more realistic timeline as well.  Bedtime is 9:30 pm, and wake up is 5:40 am.  This tracks well to what we actually have time to achieve in the evenings.
Monday!!
We got up and had a short workout this morning.  On the upside, I did get a workout in, and got to work on time.  Today was pretty uneventful.  The kind of day where one day felt like 10.  Once we got home, we made dinner. 
Sliced organic tomato.
Corn on the cob.
Baked Tofu, on rice, with BBQ sauce.
Cornbread.
While it was DELICIOUS, it was too much food.  That’s the third dinner I have eaten too much.  Booo, Hisss!!!
I finished the vacuuming while the tofu baked away.  Hubs was in charge of that part of the project anyway!
We took a quick trot, and Hubs went off to b-ball. 
I’ve got dish duty, and then I’m going to do what I always used to do during b-ball nights… Yoga and a bath!!!!
Here’s to hoping for a NICE RESTFUL NIGHT!!  I want to wake up rested!

Broken Camera Syndrome

I married the GoldenBoy.  Somehow, things always work out so wonderful for him… Except… The fact he married a hurried, somewhat clumsy, stress-o-matic girl. 

IToday, i did something typical of me…  When I was cooking dinner, I was rushing.  I didn’t shut the camera off since I intended to snap a couple more pics.  I put it up on the cookbook shelf… right above Hubs mug of tea…. and the auto adjust keep moving the lens in and out, and then moved the camera off the bookshelf… into the below mug of tea.

I drowned the camera, and also cracked the screen.  I may add that the camera is only about 3 months old.  I may also add that we’re going with my MIL for a once in a lifetime trip to Italy in a month.

And I broke the new camera.

And that my friends, is why you will not have pictures of our dinner, or our gorgeous fire.  That’s why there’s no daily cuteness. 

That being said…

Today was a great Saturday!

I slept in a half hour more than I wanted to.  Hubs and I are still not successful with the sleep thing.  In fact, I’m so tired right now, that it’s all I can do not to beg him to make me a cappuccino.
I did get up though and got right to exercising.  Hubs brought the civic in for an oil change.  While he did that, I worked out, so I could be done and cleaned up for a massage scheduled midday. I went on the bike.  I stretched my Achilles.  I did some PT.  And then I did something amazing…

A-M-A-Z-I-N-G

I went on the treadmill.  And i walked for a few minutes…. then I ran.  Yes, I ran on the treadmill.  I had to follow that up with a cool down walk.

My Achilles allowed me to use it.  Hip Hip Hooray!!! 

I sure am hoping it is a sign that I’m on the mended path.  It might seem like a measly 13 minutes to you.  But to me… It showed I’m on the mend, without reinjury!!

Of course I stretched the crud out of my Achilles again after that!!  And the additional good news it that i seems fine still.

I found a recipe for blueberry pancakes, I had to hop in this shower so I wouldn’t be late for my appointment.  Hubs made them and we ate them.  They were decent, and not too bad on the calories.  We’re still hunting for our perfect recipe.  If you have a good one…. SHARE! 🙂

After breakfast I made my way to the day spa.  Thank goodness it’s just up the road.  My 11am cancelled; she was sick.  Totally understandable.  I did however have a 12pm… (I still can’t figure out why in the world they scheduled me 11-12, and again at 12…  No time to change linens that way!)  My 12pm appt was a 30 minute massage.  Originally I thought my 11am appt was an hour and a half… Miscommunication.  Anyway.  A 30 minute massage is truly nothing more than a tease.  You can’t truly work the whole body.  It’s hard to have the time for intake, clothing removal, massage, clothing put back on, etc.  However, the client was a super sweetheart. 

After the massage I had a great chance to catch up with the owner.  Lot’s of great opportunities coming up in the future.  🙂  I can’t tell you how much easier it is to work on creating a practice when you have someone to do your scheduling, laundry, etc.  It’s a great fit.  They are very holistically minded, which fits my perspective well.  If you’re in the Roanoke area, click on the Breathe page and it’ll give you info for scheduling with me!! (Shameless Plug!!!)

We ran errands this afternoon.  At Kroger, a most wonderful thing happened.  There was a TON of markdowns in the GF section.  The dept manager told us that he got an accidental TRIPLE order.  Bad luck for them, good luck for us!!! 
We stocked up on GF crackers, GF pasta, GF pretzels, GF pancake mix, and sunbutter.

SCORE!

Dinner was a creative attempt at using some Philadelphia Creme.  There was a creamy pasta recipe on the back of the container.  We used Al Fresco Chicken Sausage (I think it was “savory garlic”, but I KNOW it was labelled GF!), a red pepper, a frozen Italian Veggie mix and some spinach… Threw some pasta on top and then added the Creme.

Here’s what I say about the creme…  It wasn’t “real”.  It didn’t taste like “real” food.  It didn’t satisfy like “real” food.  I was insanely disappointed.  I hate to say it but I will not be using the other container in the fridge.

It hurt my stomach.  Being the delicate flower that I am…  I have an extreeeemely sensitive system.  That’s why it’s so important to me to eat clean, to eat healthy, to get good sleep, keep my stress levels down and exercise regularly.  Those things out of balance, and my digestive system punishes me.  I’m being punished for the Philadelphia Creme.  😦 

It’s time for me to take my stomach meds, and head to bed to hopefully wake up and have my poor stomach not fighting me.

Happy 2nd Weigh In Tomorrow!!!

Remember to check it out!!!Paula’s Excellent Challenge

Daily Cuteness:
When Hubs went to get me an oil change and to have a little oil leak checked out.  Being the stand up chap he is… he also got my car inspected!!!!  He’s a super star!

The song of the river ends not at her banks but in the hearts of those who have loved her. ~ Buffalo Joe

I’m ready for yakin season.  Starting a couple weeks ago I started to get an ache in my soul to be on the water, close to the water, swimming in the water.  The water calms me, calms my heart, and my mind.  I am so VERY joyful when we are kayaking.  The weather had gotten so nice that I had begun to do some serious kayak pre-planning…  Well, when you start making plans, sometimes Mother Nature likes to remind you she’s in charge.   This weekend we are expecting sleet and snow… Not exactly optimal kayak weather.  Oh well, I guess that means it’s time to stop day dreaming. 🙂
We still have a sick puppy on our paws.  Theron’s tummy was upset yesterday, and seemed better.  This morning Hubs was awoke by a whiny-gurgly sound coming from Theron.  That’s his noise for when he’s got to go out.  Poor little man. 
You would think with Hubs getting up, dressed, going outside to let the Dogbert out, bringing the Dogbert back inside, that I would have woken up and started my day since it was around 5:00 am.  No dice.  I didn’t get up until several snooze bars.  We can’t seem to master the going to bed on time thing.  I was only a couple minutes past bedtime, but Mr. MarchMadness stayed up late; and corny as it is, I struggle to fall asleep without him right there with me.
This morning when I finally woke, it struggled to get going.  I was so tired I felt sick.  Overheating, nauseous, physically unrested.  It sucked.  Flat out sucked.  I made myself bike, at a slacker pace, but bike I did.  And then I gave up after 22 minutes.  Hubs, being the morning hero he was today, made me coffee during that time.  The coffee was sipped while I did my knee PT.  And revitalized me.  I had more energy to get an ab workout in, and then to get back on the bike for a strong pace for about 15 more minutes.
PT you say?  Yes. PT.  As in Physical Therapy.  I have had knee problems due to a genetic disorder since I was a wee MinG.  I have little bone spurs coming off my growth plate, combined with some very very stretchy tendons and ligaments.  This caused me to have very painful knees.  The awesome thing about the knee joint is that if you work at it and keep at it, you can sometimes strengthen the muscles around them enough to compensate for those loose tendons/ligaments, and it can help alleviate a lot of pain.  So keep at it I do.  I do them about 3x a week.  Knee problems run on both sides of my family, so I’m trying to be proactive now, so I don’t need new ones later.
While we were working out to Qubo (We don’t have cable.). I got the biggest craving for broasted potatoes.  Mr. Gluten Free MinG was only too happy to accommodate.  What a great breakfast!!!  Broasted Potatoes and Omelet!!!  Hubs has been taking point with our migration to organic produce.  Our most recent foray into said world is potatoes.  You can see a discernible color difference if you cut in half an organic sweet potato and a non-organic one.  There is a taste difference, not slight but HUGE.  The organic one seems to burst flavor into your mouth.  This also translates to regular potatoes.  THEY EVEN SMELL LIKE THEY CAME FROM YOUR GARDEN GROWING UP.  It’s insane…  Insane it took us so long to start this process.  If you haven’t switched to organic potatoes, do it today.  Throw all your old ones into your compost bin, and start fresh.  The moment you bite into that organic potato, you will throw your hands up in joy and say Yessssssssssss GFMG is right!!  And your mouth (and body) will be so very thankful.
On my way in a most wonderful thing happened…  I got to be on the phone with my very best friend.  It may have only been for a quick 15 minutes, but it was wonderful.  She and I were in girl scouts together from 1st grade on, and really became close when we were in 6th/7th grade.  Despite all the things life has thrown at us, we’re still each other’s best friend.  It’s really outstanding to have someone that knows your strengths and weaknesses and loves you for them.   I work days and The BFF works nights… This makes catching up difficult.  I think we determined it’s been a few months since we spoke.  Yes, months.  Pathetic!!!   I’m hoping that since we both have the time I commute free a few times a week, we can get on some sort of regular schedule.  Regardless, this made my morning and I’ve been grinning ever since. 
Today was a great day at work.  Seriously.  There’s some changes in my work/responsibilities coming down the pipe.  That combined with finally having my 2010 year end review today really made for a good day.  We also got an Edible Arrangement sent to us from a line partner group.  This marked the first time I’ve tried one of them, and they are goooooooooooooood!!  I’ve got a pineapple thing goin on lately, and the Edible Arrangement played into that nicely.
Friday Night, as you know by now, is Pizza Night!!!!  I love love love love the Namaste Foods, Gluten Free Pizza Crust Mix, 16-Ounce Bags (Pack of 6) .  I mean, it’s better than most “regular” crusts…  and tonight’s toppings were TO.DIE.FOR!  It was the best pizza I have ever eaten.  Better than late night, drunken Big Daddy’s Pizza.  Yes.  It’s true. 
Steps Taken to Achieve True Pizza Greatness:
Pre-baked the Namaste Mix.
Marinated 2 portabellas in Ken’s Lite Balsamic Vinaigrette.
Grilled said portabellas.
Topped pizza with:
-Spinach
-Red Onion
-Mozzarella
-Tomato
-Feta
-Grilled/Marinated portabella
-Parmesan Cheese
Throw the pizza back in the oven to finish cooking, adding the parm at the last couple of minutes.
Freakin rockin!!!  Hubs was the man tonight… He did all the work to make the pizza… He even gets picture-taking credit!!!  I did my part with dishes and clean up.
While the handsome one was making our dinner, I ran the Shark (Euro-Pro UV610SH Shark Cordless Sweeper ), and then the Swiffer Wet Jet Starter Kit.  It’s not perfect clean, I still need to use my normal vac to do all the edges of the rooms, and to suck up the stinkbug population that is multiplying at a rapid rate.  But it’s a good quick presentable clean.  Stop on over…  🙂
After our B.P.E. (Best Pizza Ever), we trotted Sick-Puppy.  Sick-puppy seems on the up and up… we shall see how he handles the overnight. 
I’m so excited for the weekend.
Tomorrow I will get up early, and get a solid work out in.  I *think* by Sunday I will be able to start running again!!!  We’re planning on having oatmeal blueberry pancakes this weekend.  I can not tell you how excited I am.  If anyone has a really great oatmeal pancake recipe… please share it: mingrange at live dot com.  Once I get a solid recipe, and can gluten free it, I’ll share!!!
Last year I had donated 4 one hour integrative massages to 2 different charities.  One redeemed last week.  I had another one set to redeem this week.  I was super excited because the one for tomorrow added on a half hour!  Great idea!  Stretches the dollar and to be very very honest, you will get most massage therapists best work in that 1.5 hour time range.  It’s long enough to be able to focus on multiple areas that need release, but not so long that the massage therapist gets totally drained.  Unfortunately, my massage tomorrow cancelled because she’s sick.  Smart on her part again, but a bummer-drag for me. 
I have a long, and probably overly ambitious to do list for this weekend.  That means I should probably eat a little yogurt and blueberries, and climb those stairs to sleepyville!
Daily Cuteness:

It’s hard to see, but if you look real hard you can see the male cardinal of our cardinal couple out at the bird feeders.
If you need some daily inspiration, head over to Paula’s Blog.  She’s updating an inspirational quote daily.  She’s on a healthy-fast-track, and it’s almost impossible not to want to follow in her path!  Today’s quote is just too good not to share! 🙂 
“You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.”

Mahatma Gandhi

P.S. Shout out to Lara!!  Thanks for following sweetpea!

Tofu Thursday!

Last night I had a massage to give.  I never know until midday on Wednesdays if I have one scheduled or not, I like to keep the availability there as long as possible for last minute scheduling opportunities.  It went swimmingly!  I find such peace and calm when I massage.  I feel like I’m right where I’m supposed to be, and all is aligned how it should be.  What a joy to find something like that as an occupation, even if it is part time.   Even better, the client rebooked!!!  Without me asking!  That’s the best kind of feedback!  I don’t count clients as potential regulars until the third appt… so she’s working on being my 2nd regular. 
When I got home my handsome man (non-furry variety) was working away at our dinner.  Which was pretty rockin!!  Lettuce, tomato, spinach, crumbled feta, and the best part…. Balsamic Marinated Grilled Portabellas.  Oh man were those to die for!!!
After dinner I wanted to take Theron for a walk.  It looked like the threat of more rain was just a threat, nothing more, so out the door we went.  It was so nice.  I love the rain, so the rain wouldn’t have stopped me.  Last night there was this really excellent warm wind blowing.  It’s the kind of wind that makes your cheeks rosy without chilling you.  It made me happy to be alive.  The walk was so nice, I didn’t’ want it to end!
I had a little project that I needed to attend to.  I’m hoping it works out and I’ll be able to share it at some point.  But it was important and had to take priority over the blogtastic adventures of Gluten Free Min G!
We slept in this morning… It was so awesome.  There was a storm outside and I swear, the thunder was so loud, it sounded RIGHT OVER HEAD.  I love to lay in bed and listen to storms.  (See, I love rain.)
That did mean, however, that the morning workout was skipped!!!  I still have had a good day though!  I’m hoping I’m on a roll.  It helped that Jon made us an omelet last night so we could have it this morning for breakfast!!

Tonight Hubs has a survey to take, so I’m making dinner.  This meal has been my intention for several days…
Mexican rubbed Tofu
Kroger Fiesta Mix Veggies
Brown Rice
Ortega Taco Sauce
Feta

The feta is a little last minute addition.  I broiled the tofu again.  This is SERIOUSLY the easiest way to make tofu.  I’m going to have to do a step by step guide.  Tofu used to scare me!!  I t seemed so hard and was such a flop when I tried it.  This makes it super easy and usable.
Hubs’ usually plays b-ball on Thursday nights.  But it was cancelled tonight.  Shortly we’ll go on a walk.  It’s cold, and he’s not a fan of the cold so keep your fingers crossed that we can keep him out there the whole half hour!!!  I had planned to fit a workout in as well this evening, but now it’s v. unlikely. ;( 
Daily Cuteness:  Theron trying to keep me from heading back to work when I came to see him on my lunch break. 🙂

Smores. All-Powerful-Protector of the Boot Tray!

This morning, I was able to get up almost with the alarm… okay, more like the 2nd snooze… But we were out of bed before 5:30!!  That meant we had enough time to actually get our workout in this morning, to leisurely get ready for work, and have breakfast together!!!  This morning’s added bonus… I got to work on time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
Getting up and being rested made such a difference with my ability to work out and stay focused on my health today.  I can’t tell you how important that is to me feeling capable of success.    I read on Paula’s Blog about people being stressed about The Excellent Challenge.  Truthfully, I am apprehensive, not quite stressed, but apprehensive.  I don’t want to have anything other than wildly successful.  I don’t want to let myself or anyone else down.  But realistically, I know that even if I lose 5 lbs the whole time, instead of the 14… well that’s 5 lbs closer to where I want to be.  I have to make myself stick to any movement in the right direction, is still bringing me closer to my goal.  I struggle with not having instant results.  I have worked very very hard on that in my other aspects of my life.  One of the hardest things for me to say to someone is anything along of the lines of “I can’t help you right now because I don’t know the answer, I’ll have to ask and get back to you”, and then actually have to wait for a resource to have time for me to go over the situation with them.  I think that comes from me not wanting to let anyone down, ever.  Usually it’s other people I would be letting down.  The pressure with the challenge is that I would be letting myself down.
In preparation for the smooth morning I anticipated us having today.  I prepared a batch of pancake mix last night.  It’s a recipe I use often, and this time I used some gluten free whole grain oat flour.  I added everything except the blueberries.  I was so looking forward to having delicious pancakes for breakfast.  Unfortunately, I meant to add the eggs last, and completely forgot.  The pancakes were an epic failure this morning… and poor Hubs… I didn’t recall the omission until he had a set of failed pancakes.  Pamela’s Bread toasted with pb and flax meal it was!!!
Yesterday, you may have read about the quinoa salad I was making for our “mains” for lunch.  I was honestly a little worried that it would look super yummy but just fall flat.  Instead, it exceeded ALL of my most hopeful expectations…   I adore it and so doesn’t Hubs.  In case you want to make it yourself, I am including the recipe and nutrition info below.
Southwestern Quinoa Salad
3 cups of water
1 cup of quinoa
½ tsp sea salt
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tsp cumin
½ tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp ground chipotle chili powder (I actually used ancho)
2 T red wine vinegar
3 T canola or olive oil
4 cloves of minced garlic
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup fresh or frozen corn
½ red onion, diced
¼ cup cilantro
Directions
1. Two Options:  Rice Cooker or Stove Top
  • For Rice Cooker: Combine quinoa & water, set to cook… Walk away and enjoy letting your rice cooker do all the work. 😉
  • For the Stove Top:  In a large pot  bring water to a boil. Add quinoa and salt and boil for 10 minutes.
    • Remove from heat and rinse quinoa and place in a fine metal sieve or fine colander. Bring a fresh pot of   water to boil.  Place quinoa in the sieve over it. Cover with a kitchen towel and lid. Steam for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.
2. Meanwhile make the dressing by combining lime juice, cumin, chili powder, chipotle/ancho chili powder, vinegar, oil and garlic. (You can do this in a small bowl or in a blender… heck you can even use a protein shaker, which is totally what I did. 🙂 )
3. In a separate bowl, combine black beans, corn, onion and cilantro.
4. After quinoa cools, combine with black bean mixture.
5. Toss with dressing and serve at room temperature or chilled.
Nutrition Breakdown: 
16 1/2 cup servings.
Per Serving:
Calories: 156
Fat: 5
Carb: 24
Fiber: 5
Protein: 5
Spring in Virginia is one of the reasons I think people fall in love with this area.  This year I feel like my eyes and nose are assaulted by the beauty of the trees, bushes and flowers proclaiming themselves to the world. 
Every morning, on my commute, I pass these three gorgeous weeping willows.  They are in a neighborhood that appears to be off of Hershberger, but I’m not sure.  They are huge, and splendidly outfitted in light pink blossoms.  They make my morning!   Hubs has a dinky commute… He doesn’t go by those three trees.  Since they make me so joyful, I wanted to share the joy with my love!!  This evening right after work, he jumped in the Civic.   It’s been gorgeous today, but supposed to be rainy tomorrow, and I was worried that the trees would lose some of their flowers.  We tried to find the trees up close to take a picture to share, but no dice.  We ended up in a really sketchy section of the city I’ve never been in before.  We gave it a good try, then gave up!  Sorry!!!!  When we got home, and he agreed with me that the trees were an excellent sight…
I had been thinking about having a salad for dinner all afternoon, but thought Hubs, the Saver he is would balk.  Instead, he suggested when we got home from the tree adventure that we walk down to the sports bar at the bottom of the hill and get salads for dinner.  This place has some severely good Greek salads.  Last time we went they drowned the salad in dressing, so Hubs reminded me to get mine on the side.  We each got a half salad, and a bowl of chili.  (I’ve been here a lot so I knew these food choices to be “safe” AKA GF)  It was the perfect portion and so delish.  We took the long way home and then picked up Sir Theron and took him for his evening trot.
It’s late and my dogs are barkin!!  (The foot type, not Theron:) )
Here’s the daily cuteness….
I am Smores.  All-Powerful-Protector of the Boot Tray!