Looking Back

It had been quite awhile since I posted last week so I decided to look through my blog Thursday evening to refresh myself on what I had posted and boy was some of it eye-opening!  Remember those “life changes” I was striving to make and how proud I was of myself when I started?  Well, I think it is time to re-visit those.  My original post listed the life changes I hoped to adopt to make myself a better person and then I broke them down to be a little more manageable here.  With everything that has been going on in my life I pretty much fell off the wagon with all of these and now it is time to hop back on!!

Life Change 1: Wear my FitBit Flex Daily (goal of 10,000 steps daily):

Time to dust this off and charge it up! I plan to charge it today and wear it to work tomorrow.  I haven’t worn my fitbit since starting at Target so I am interested to see how active I am there.

Life Change 2: Track Using MyFitnessPal Daily:

While I definitely think it is a good thing that I have been cooking a lot more lately, it is harder for me to track (mainly because it takes a few more seconds to do—which is NOT a good excuse).  I definitely find it encouraging to have a visual representation of my day so I just need to do it.  Pre-planning will also help make this easier.  So far today I have tracked my breakfast :)

Life Change 3: Eat More Whole Foods/Eat Less Processed Foods:

For me, this is a constant struggle and I am sure it always will be.  I try to make good choices when it just involves me, but when I am cooking at home for me and Chase I don’t always follow this rule.  Plus there is definitely a difference and “his and hers” snacks in our house.  I have recently been really looking at foods to check out ingredients and that is always eye opening.  I need to continue to focus on my individual meals and make changes at home when possible.

Life Change 4: Cook more/including meal prep to be prepared at work:

I talked about this last week in regards to my changing schedule at work.  I know I will have to make this a priority so that I do not slack off when I get off work at 7.  While planning is key it is also going to be important to prep ahead when I can!  I began working on a “new” Pinterest board  for some quick and easy dinners last Thursday to get my ideas flowing!  I also plan to use Sunday afternoon/evening to make my plan for next week!

Life Change 5: Live in the moment–enjoy every single day:

It is so easy to find yourself looking forward to something; whether it be a vacation, holiday, or just the weekend.  It is ok to look forward to exciting things, but don’t forget to enjoy your time in the present.  I think my life is pretty awesome right now and I plan to enjoy it all I can!  A good way to remember this is my daily gratitude post.

  • Thursday August 24, 2014: I was able to look at the first pictures I took with my new camera and I was pleasantly surprised!  I am loving my new camera so far!
  • Friday August 25, 2014: I was able to meet with my new staff pharmacist and I am excited for new changes.
  • Saturday August 26, 2014: Chase and I had a date night at one of our favorite Greek restaurants, Athenas.
  • Sunday August 27, 2014: I got two compliments on my watch at work, which let to two different, but great conversations with my guests at work.
  • Monday August 28, 2014: I had a super productive day at work and was able to take advantage of our last day of overlap to step out and grab lunch!

 

I plan to enjoy the nice weather this afternoon!  I can’t believe that it is 74 degrees at 11:15am in July!  Hopefully I can take some pictures and practice more.  You know what they say–practice makes perfect!!

Speaking of practice here are a few pictures I took yesterday evening.  I tried to focus more on exposure and was happy to see they looked much better when I viewed them on my laptop this morning.

Neighbors

Neighbors

from the porch

Focus on shirt and background is out of focus

Focus on shirt and background is out of focus

focus on background and shirt is out of focus

focus on background and shirt is out of focus

 

An Oldie But A Goodie

As I was trying to decide what to cook for dinner this week while I am off work I decided to go for an oldie, but a goodie.  Pork chops, macaroni and cheese, and asparagus!!  Of course, in keeping up with the oldie theme I decided to use Shake and Bake for the pork chops.  Every time I go to buy Shake and Bake I can’t help but thinking “its Shake and Bake and I helped!”  I said that last night as I was cooking dinner and Chase looked at me like I was crazy haha.

There is not a lot to say about this casual dinner except that sometimes the oldest recipes are the best and just seem to hit the spot!

I also took some time yesterday afternoon (before I went to Zumba!) to mess around with my new camera.  I wish Chase had been here to take a picture of me sitting on the couch with my camera, camera manual, iPad to look at tutorials online, and what I am sure was a look of utter confusion on my face.  I found lots of helpful information online and just decided to start trying things out.  Trust me I deleted a lot more pictures that I kept.

This morning I downloaded the pictures I took yesterday to my computer (and deleted a lot more along the way).  I downloaded the Google program, Picasa, to use to make any minor edits I might want to after seeing good reviews online.  I noticed as I was looking at my pictures that a lot seem to be underexposed (too dark), which I sort of realized while taking them because there is a scale on my camera to serve as a guide and I did see it on the under exposed side.  I know it is because most of the pictures I took were inside in our kitchen which has absolutely zero natural light.   I made a few minor corrections to help with the contrast of the photos, but definitely look forward to getting more practice.

 

Willow Tree Angel of Spring 7.23.14

One of my first pictures

Apples 7.23.14

A basket of apples

Asparagus 7.23.14

Asparagus for dinner

porkchops 7.23.14

Pork Chops

Boiling Water 7.23.14

Boiling water for pasta (messing with shutter speed)

cupcake 7.23.14

Tasty treat

 Dinner 7.23.14

The finished product!!

Hello again!

So I have been neglecting this blog for the past month and I have really missed it!  I started a new job at the beginning of May and started at my new store in June and I am happy to report that things are going GREAT AND I TRULY LOVE IT!!

This week is my last week of having 2 days off in a row so I am trying to savor it.  We will be switching to optimized hours at the beginning of August, which means my schedule will be changing some.  Even though my schedule will be changing, I am looking forward to working 10 hour days during the week, because I think 2 extra hours in the evening will really make a difference.

There are a few things I would like to get done before working all weekend:

  • Finish my grocery list and head to the grocery store
  • Do some research on crockpot meals and quick fix dinners and compile a list to use when I get off work at 7
  • Work out today and tomorrow (Zumba today at 4:30 and Zumba toning tomorrow at 4:30) NO EXCUSES
  • I got a new DSLR camera so I plan on spending some time playing with it and doing more research because it is a lot to learn!
  • Sign up for Flickr for photo sharing (general photography)

Have a wonderful day!!!

Foodie Penpals May 2014

I had previously participated in the foodie penpal program from The Lean Green Bean last summer and I didn’t have an amazing experience, but decided to try it again!  Boy–I am sure glad I did!!  I was matched with Ariel and after several emails back and forth I received an awesome package in the mail :)

I loved everything in my package:

  • Dang toasted coconut chips: I cannot wait to try these!
  • Luna peanut honey pretzel bar: so good…I’ve already bought more to take to work :)
  • Earnest eats superfood trail mix bar: I am looking forward to taking this to work for my morning snack
  • Peter Cottontail Marshmallow Poles: yummm marshmallows
  • Java City Vanilla Dream K-Cups: delicious! vanilla toffee flavored coffee is where it is at!
  • Swish Miss Hot Chocolate Packs: always good (not to keep them away from Chase)
  • Jelly Belly Jelly Beans: already eaten :)
  • Green and Black’s organic dark chocolate: saving this for a day that needs a pick me up
  • and some other associated teas, coffees, and drink mixes that I can’t wait to try

 

If you are interested in joining the monthly foodie penpals exchange read some more about it below or check out the Lean Green Bean for more information!

Here is a brief explanation of the program:

-On the 5th of the month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.

-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treatsThe spending limit is $15The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you can choose to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
- Foodie Penpals is open to US, Canadian residents & European residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. So, I’m going to keep two separate lists and match US w/ US and Canada w/ Canada!

 

Taco Soup

I am so happy the weather is finally starting to warm up (although today hasn’t been such a good example)!!  It is hard to believe that 2 weeks ago it was cold, rainy, and SNOWING!  I was off Tuesday (2 weeks ago) and I knew that I would want something warm and hearty for dinner to go with the cold, damp day.  Thankfully one of my technicians, Ashley, had just given me a recipe for taco soup and I knew it would be perfect!

 

Taco Soup
1 can corn (don’t drain)
1 can kidney beans (don’t drain)
1 can rotel (I used the hot variety)
1 small can diced green chiles
1 can diced tomatoes
1 lb ground beef, browned
1 packet taco seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp minced onion

Add all the ingredients to the crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

I simmered mine on the stove stop for a little over an hour and it was delicious!  Serve with sour cream, shredded cheese, and tortilla chips to complete the meal!

I plugged all the ingredients into MyFitnessPal (see a tutorial on how to do this here) and while I think I under estimated the servings at 6 it still came out to be a good calorie bargin at 249 calories/serving.

Working it out

So this past month has been a whirlwind of work, bad weather, and lots of errands and  to-do list activities.  After an incredibly fun weekend celebrating St Patrick’s Day I decided it was time to get back on track.

I went by WalMart yesterday and got the ingredients to make some super simple chicken in the crockpot to take to work this week.

Crockpot Salsa Chicken:

  • 1 package boneless/skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 jar salsa
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 can lower sodium black beans

Place all ingredients into the crockpot and cook on low for 8 hours (or if you wait until the last minute like me cook on high for 4 hours).

I plan on taking a serving to work tonight for dinner and also as one of my meals tomorrow.  It is so good by itself, with brown rice, with tortilla chips, or I have even used it as a filling for enchiladas!  I also love this simple recipe because it freezes well.

I have kind of fallen off the wagon with my FitBit Flex, so I am currently charging it so I can wear it to work this week.  I definitely like seeing how much I am walking and also find that it is a great motivator to get those extra steps in.  I did just hit up the gym in my apartment for a short workout and I know that is something that I definitely need to make time for.  I feel so much better when I am working out and eating better.

I feel the need to get back on my goals and have been thinking about how I will incorporate them this week as I face one of my long weeks at work.

Daily Goals–Starting March 17, 2014:

  • Get in at least 10,000 steps daily using my FitBit Flex (the hardest day for me will be Wednesday because I am off work, so I will definitely focus on this)
  • Track my meals using MyFitnessPal every day
  • Do some meal planning/prep Wednesday to help me stay on track as I work through the weekend
  • Look at my Pinterest and pick some new recipes to try out
  • Think of ways to mix up my snacks/meals so I won’t get burnt out of the same ‘ol same ‘ol :)

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Don’t forget to wear green!

Baked Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal

I have an extremely busy week coming up at work and I knew that I needed to take some time yesterday to write out my meal plan and also decide when and what I would need from the grocery store.

Image

One thing I decided to make this week to take to work was baked pumping chocolate chip oatmeal that I originally found a couple of years ago from Slender Kitchen.  The recipe is for a single serving so I went ahead and tripled the recipe so I would have 3 servings for work.

Baked Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal (From Slender Kitchen)

  • 1&1/2 c old fashioned oatmeal
  • 3/4 c milk
  • 3/4 c pure pumpkin (like Libby’s)
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 tsp mini chocolate chips
  • 3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • dash of salt
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Mix all ingredients together
  3. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and add the ingredients
  4. Bake for 20 minutes and allow to cool

**store leftovers in the fridge

Using  MyFitnessPal I calculated each serving to have 240 calories