Thursday, May 14, 2015

Greek Salad Cravings

Before two years ago, I was never a big fan of Greek salad.  I had tried it several times at restaurants, but something always seemed off.  Either there was too much dressing, the feta or dressing was too salty, or something else was off.  Nothing ever impressed me to be like, "Oh my God, I have to have that again!"  But then two years ago, I went to South Africa and let me tell you, they know how to do Greek salad right!  And it was everywhere I went, I swear I had it twice a day!

When this time of year rolls around, I actually start to crave the deliciousness of that Greek salad, but am still very nervous to order it at restaurants.  I had to learn to recreate this goodness at home, and I quite believe I have now.  I made it on Monday night to go with the salmon and I was so happy with the results.  I had to take some creative license though, as we were out of feta, but had gorgonzola cheese  It was still pure awesomeness!

Salad fixings:
Chopped romaine lettuce
Halved cherry tomatoes
Diced red onion (I only had about a 1/4 onion and I was making a lot of salad)
A leftover scallion already chopped up (to make up for the missing red onion)
1 cucumber cut into quarters lengthwise and then sliced into pieces
Two handfuls of pitted black kalamata olives chopped (this was a big salad!)

Feta cheese (on the side to put on at the table) - or in our case we used the gorgonzola we had

Salad dressing:
3 cloves garlic put through a garlic press
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar (I used balsamic)
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 cup olive oil

I mixed the salad dressing up first and let it sit while I chopped and constructed the rest of the salad.  At the table, we served the salad on our plates, added the cheese per the person's taste or omit if they don't like it and drizzled the dressing over the top.  This salad dressing reminded me so much of what I had in South Africa, I was so happy!!!!



I prefer not putting salad dressing on the salad in the bowl as my husband really hates any kind of vinaigrette salad dressing.  He's more of a ranch or honey mustard kind of guy.  It also makes leftovers easy to put away, as salad with dressing on it, doesn't keep as leftovers very well.  When you make a salad this big, it leaves a lot of leftovers, but that encourages people to have salad if they get hungry. There's no excuse as it's already made.  It also makes me packing a salad for lunch that much easier.  I love anything that promotes easy, healthy eating!


Relaxed Menu Plan This Week

This week, we've had a pretty relaxed menu plan, in that I didn't really plan too much.  Below are the dinners we've had so far this week and considering Phoebe wasn't feeling well Tuesday and Tom came down with a stomach bug Wednesday, I'm glad I didn't have grand plans for dinners this week!  Here's what we've had for dinner so far this week.  I have no idea what we're going to do tonight and tomorrow.  I still need to see how Phoebe and Tom are feeling.  Hopefully no one else comes down with it.

Sunday - Mother's Day - DH made me dinner
Grilled marinated flank steak, wedge salad with chipotle ranch dressing, grilled green onions, marinated cherry tomatoes, red onions and olives in a vinaigrette dressing



Monday
Sweet teriyaki salmon, roasted asparagus, black forbidden rice, greek salad



Tuesday
Leftover tomato sauce and sausage over rigatoni

Wednesday -  Phoebe was supposed to have field hockey practice but it was canceled.
Sandwich night - if it ain't broke don't fix it!

I've also been spending more time in the garden in the evenings, as it was a mess of weeds that needed to be cleaned out before I could start planting.  Last night I finished the weeding and I'll begin planting tonight.  Then I need to get the herbs on the deck cleaned up and plant a few new ones.  I should have some good pics of everything in the next few days.  Down in the garden, the strawberries are taking over and I don't mind.  I'm going to stop them from spreading beyond where they are right now, by cutting back any future runners.  I hear that will make the plants that are left produce more fruit.  If so, we may be in for some good strawberries this year! And my cilantro in the garden grew back beautifully.  On the deck, it looks like the thyme and oregano are coming back and we planted some pumpkin seeds in two containers on the deck and they are doing great.  I'll be transferring them to the garden below sometime in the next few weeks.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Strength Training Feels Good



During the month of April, I really focused on becoming consistent about cardio.  This month with the Core/Legs Challenge my up-line coach is hosting on Facebook, I'm focused on becoming consistent about doing some strength training with the cardio in the morning.

I'm really loving the way strength training is making me feel.  For those that don't remember, my word of the year is "Strong."  Feeling stronger in my body makes me feel more confident, happy and energetic!  It reminds me that the journey of exercise is not just to look good, but more to feel good and to feel strong.  For anyone that is on your journey of wellness, keep that in mind.  It's not about being skinny and looking good in a bikini (although that is nice), but about how strong do you feel in your body and in your mind.

Don't get me wrong, I still need cardio.  I find that it helps keep me less high strung and gets my stress out.  But strength training is making me feel so much more comfortable with my body.  After years of infertility and not being able to have my body do the things I wanted it to do, it's nice to be working on making my body stronger and the way it feels when I move later in the day after a good workout.  I'm also really liking seeing how my times are improving for how long I can hold a plank and a wall squat, which is one of the things we're doing every day.  It's like an experiment with strengthening the body.

Let's get strong this year!  Do you do any strength training in your workouts?  Do remember that body resistance exercises are strength training.  You don't always have to pick up weights.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Sleep, Not as Sore and Getting Things Done!

I got some much needed sleep last night.  It was 6 1/2 hours of amazing, uninterrupted sleep.  The uninterrupted part is the amazing, as usually one of the boys are up at least once in the middle of the night and want me for something.  I'm also not as sore as yesterday as last night's exercises my coach went a little bit lighter on us.  I am fitting into my work trousers I can only wear when I'm on the much thinner side; although my shirt is not tucked in, so I'm still not 100% there.  I also woke up at 5AM for the 3rd day in the row to get my cardio in since I don't have the time to do it with the other exercises at night.  I'm so proud of me!!!  I'm not a first-thing-in-the-morning workout type person and I'm becoming one.  Go me!

I really can't wait to have my roots touched up tonight!  Usually at this point, I don't want to be bothered by my hair, which one can tell as it's in a bun right now. God the lighting is awful at work!  I also borrowed earrings from Phoebe that I found she had that perfectly matched my shirt.



Today at work, I have so much to get done.  My plan is to work 30-45 minute increments on something hard and time consuming and then take a break for 10-15 minutes.  Maybe I'll be lucky and on those breaks I'll get to catch up on blog reading.  I have work stuff to do, but then I also have summer camp forms to fill out for the boys and I really want to work on my list of contacts for Beachbody opportunities (could be a program that would be good for them or coaching) and start sending them some messages.   It doesn't hurt to ask and I really do love the company and their products.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Tired and Sore

My plan tonight is to go to bed early!  I joined a Facebook group started by my up-line Beachbody coach for a 2-week Core and Legs Challenge.  Every day we are doing 3 core and 3 leg exercises she gives us and then we post how we are doing and cheer the other team mates on.  I've been doing this at night after the boys go to bed, but that was when I did my cardio, which has been helping me lose the final bit of weight.  Tuesday this week, I started waking up at 5AM to get my cardio in, which is great, as I've been wanting to do it in the morning and now I have a reason to.  But I am so tired!!!!  However, the scale was great today and I believe tomorrow will be even better.  I am on track to lose this final bit of weight by the end of the month if I keep this routine up.  I just need some sleep tonight as I've now been waking up early two days in a row.

I am liking the nice soreness I have going on though.  My abs are getting quite strong.  Today, I sneezed at my desk and as those around me are saying "Bless you,"  I'm saying "Ouch!"  Out loud.  Couldn't help it.  The end of these two weeks, I'm sure I'll be in a much better place strength-wise.  But until then sneezes make me react like this....



I'm also totally kicking butt at the office, meeting lots of new people, asking lots of questions and getting better at the role I signed up for last August.  I thought I was doing great since then, but now I've kicked it into overdrive!!!

And the weather here has been so beautiful, we went from cold and all the trees being bare to 80 degree weather and everything so green in what seems like a one week time period.  It almost feels like we went directly from winter to spring, LOL.




Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Menu Plan - Week of 5/4/2015

Still keeping to our weekly menu planning!  Last night's salmon dinner was pure goodness.

Monday
Honey-teriyaki salmon, steamed greens and black forbidden rice with toasted sesame seeds, soy sauce and toasted sesame oil.  If you think your kids won't eat healthy food, just try it.  My kids emptied their plates of this yumminess!



Tuesday - Cinco de Mayo and Taco Tuesday
Ground beef, soft and crunchy tortillas, homemade guacamole, green and red salsas, cheese, sour cream and romaine lettuce.  Our kids favorite!

Wednesday - sandwich night - third week in a row, but it's working for us!  We're tired by this time of the week and our daughter has field hockey practice 6 - 7:30PM

Thursday
Sausage, tomato sauce and rigatoni.  Roasted broccoli on the side

Friday
Pizza night and Caesar salad

Saturday
Steak and salad, gorgonzola cheese.  Mmmmm!

Anyone else menu planning?  What goodness do you have going on?

Friday, May 01, 2015

May 2015 Goals


I'm really moving on the high from accomplishing so much last month.  Let's keep the momentum going and I'll be working on the following goals/projects in May.

Family
  • Plan for the boys' birthday on May 29th.  We're not going to have a big party this year, just small with family, but will need to do something for both of their Kindergarten classes and then their YMCA class in the afternoon.
  • Phoebe's Field Hockey schedule - they have a big field hockey tournament on May 30th
  • Register boys for CYFF classes in the fall (these are Catholic Youth Faith classes)
  • Register boys for summer camps at the YMCA for June and one week in August
  • Plan what we want to do in August for vacation - one or two weeks?  where do we want to go and do?
  • Work with boys on sight words and numbers/math skills 
  • Date nights with Tom - we're on a roll with this one!

Work
  • Build my Beachbody Coach business - I'm still trying to decide what my exact goals should be.  I'd like to sign two coaches to become Emerald.
  • Blog post 5x a week - I'm getting much better at posting more often.  Now let's get more updates from me other than goals and what we are eating for dinner!
  • Get up to date on blog reading on Feedly
  • Get to the office earlier - 8:30 is the target to meet.  I'm going to start tracking the number of days I meet this goal this month!

Health and Fitness
  • Drop the remaining 6 lbs from last month's goal.
  • Elliptical 5x per week
  • Stretch or do yoga daily
  • Meal prep on weekends and/or after grocery shopping - make hummus, salad dressing, prep salads, chop veggies

Financial
  • Meal planning weekly
  • Take a state of our finances and decide any plans to make changes to budget

Home/Garden
  • Setup the outside garden with veggies and herbs
  • Paint guest room for Phoebe
  • Declutter the garage
  • Clean out the basement - find out what I can sell to the children's consignment vs. donations
  • Now that the carpet cleaner is fixed and our bedroom carpet is done, I can clean all the carpets in the house
  • Plan/build out where the hot tub is going by contacting/setting up an appointment with a landscape designer.  I have a message into them from their website, but need to follow up as I haven't heard back.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

April Goals Recap




Family
  • Easter planning
  • Update Phoebe's Field Hockey schedule - she's done Spring Break the day after Easter
  • Work with boys on sight words and numbers/math skills - come up with some fun games
  • Date nights with Tom (already have next three weekends planned)
The last two goals will continue next month!

Work
  • Become a Beachbody Coach - Working on helping people, finding out who needs our services, products and who wants to be a coach on my team!
  • Blog post 5x a week - This is post #12 for this month, which is not where I wanted to be, but it is better than in the past
  • Get up to date on blog reading on Feedly - Sort of.  I'm still working on finding time to read and comment on blogs more.
  • Build my blog followers:  Google - 50 and Feedly - 50 This so did not happen.  However, I do have more Instagram followers.  I need to identify what I really need to be targeting for growth in getting my message out.
  • Get to the office earlier - 8:30 is my new target.  This means I need to work on my evening routine to get more ready for the morning. LOLOLOLOLOL - This so did not happen either.  Lots of late nights and making sure stuff around the house was done before I left for the office. I need to work on this much much more!

Health and Fitness
  • Drop the 10 lbs I gained in grad school by the end of the April - I dropped 4 lbs! I'll take it!
  • Elliptical 5x per week - Not quite, but much better than I used to be.  I got in (counting today's workout later) 15 workouts on the elliptical machine!!!
  • Stretch or do yoga daily  I do stretch most days, but I also went to 2 yoga classes with Phoebe this month.
  • Limit coffee to one morning cup per day I did in the beginning of the month.  Sleep has been hard to come by.  Later in the month, I've liked that second cup of coffee in the afternoon again.
  • No wine/alcohol during the week and if I can avoid on weekend, bonus!  Last Saturday night, Tom and I had a date night and I stuck to water!!!  It's not as much of a need anymore.  I will still have a glass on a weeknight if I'm enjoying my favorite shows (Game of Thrones is back on !!!!)
  • Meal prep on weekends and/or after grocery shopping - make hummus, salad dressing, prep salads, chop veggies  This has been going great!

Financial
  • Submit taxes
  • Meal planning weekly
  • Build system of grocery lists - Sort of.  Our grocery shopping has been evolving this month.

Home/Garden


  • Wash off plants in house
  • Paint guest room for Phoebe
  • Declutter the garage a little.  I have some stuff for donations stored in there I will get those cleaned up and out of the house
  • Start cleaning out the basement - find out what I can sell to the children's consignment vs. donations
  • Fix the carpet steam cleaner 
  • Plan/build out where the hot tub is going - Yes!  We bought us one for my birthday.  It should be available in May for installation.  That will make all other house projects easier, knowing we can go sit in the hot tub as a reward at the end of the day.
Under Home/Garden, there was a lot that didn't get done and will be moved to next month.  However, I did get the carpet cleaner fixed and I cleaned the carpets in our bedroom and sitting room.  Very proud of that.  Other things I also got done was scheduling the boys 6-year physical with my doctor.  I'm moving them over to my doctor instead of their pediatrician.  Everyone else in the house already sees my doctor and she does take children.  Very happy to have that decision made.