May Health Goals Revisited

I love it when health goals go viral. It is so encouraging to know that you are part of a flock, collectively beating your wings in one direction. So thanks to Valerie at Atlanta Mom of Three, I took on a few health goals for May. Simply because she did. And I like putting lofty goals in front of me. (For instance: tonight I asked Honey Dude how many hiking miles we should log this summer. He said 20. I said 300.)

In a like manner, after one of my besties saw my list, she too took on the challenge and created a list of her own. As it turns out, her successes this week (lots of cardio) were my failures. But who’s counting? This isn’t a competition. It’s a partnership. A team.

And this team is all about accountability. So here’s the report on my week:

1. Spend time with Jesus. Every. Day.

Score: Needs work. I found peace on numerous occasions when I popped open my Bible this week, but I’d like to dedicate more concentrated time to worship and prayer. I’m adding a clarifier: Daily scripture and prayer plus a 20-minute devotional three times per week.

2. Drink water. Lots of water.

Score: Poor. When I work at the restaurant, I drink a ton of water. Other times: not so much. I need to actually start tracking like Valerie (read her post), but I need a bunch of clean hair-ties first! Let’s make “lots” = 4 pints per day.

3. Substitute tea for coffee at least twice per week.

Score: Promising. Instead of heading straight for the french press, I did start off with tea several mornings this week. Sadly, I often switched to coffee later in the morning. Oops!

4. Limit sweets. No more than one treat per day, girl!

Score: Good. I love this “rule”! It helps me say “no” to sweets if I know I had something wonderful earlier in the day… or it helps me say “no” early in the day if I know I’m having a treat later. It’s so brilliant. This way, every day has a little sunshine, and I don’t feel deprived!

5. Take my multi-vitamin and prescribed herbals.

Score: Fail. I don’t think I took one multi-vitamin all week. I just hate taking down those horse pills! And the prescribed herbals come tomorrow. So hopefully I get on that stat.

6. Walk at least twice per week. Hopefully more, but I need to be reasonable here.

Score: Good. I like walking, so this isn’t a chore in the least. Daily would be nice, but I prefer a realistic goal here, so I’ll stick with two days per week.

7. Hike with Honey Dude once per week. At least!

Score: Fail. Our schedules were uber crispy this past week. We hardly even saw each other, let alone had time for a hike. We’ll get it, though. I’m sure of it.

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Even though the snow is deep, spring hiking is lovely (especially with Honey Dude there to capture moments like this!)

8. Light yoga near daily. Nothing too crazy.

Score: Good. This is a trend I’d love to carry for the rest of my life! It just takes morning motivation, but if I can wait a half hour before prepping my caffeine fix, it is a great way to wake-up. And it leaves me feeling fit all day (even though I am not!).

9. Run or do 30 minutes of cardio 2-3 times per week. This is the hard one.

Score: Fail. Yeah, I knew this would happen. It is a hard one. I still want to start running (if it ever stops snowing here), so I’ll reduce it down to one run per week, simply because I neeeeed to start somewhere.

10. Make wise food choices at work, where we all eat dinner together before the rush.

Score: Moderate. I have been extremely cautious of what I consume at work. But it isn’t the healthiest food overall (we’re talking Mexican here). I’ll keep at it.

I hope you’re progressing along in your own goals, friends. It always helps me to know my goals, and share them. So feel free to share! xo

May Health & Fitness Challenge

I needed this. Structure, goals, a glimpse into the life of the self-controlled. The first two are my token traits. I strive for structure and, given a half hour of free time, will often grab a pen and paper to rewrite (again) my week’s schedule.

It’s sick, I know.

But the self-control thing: not a fan. I really only eat fruits and veggies because I love them. I exercise because it feels SO GOOD. I enjoy these things. Don’t for one second think I have an ounce of self-control.

It’s pretty obvious if you spot me at a party. I’m the one loading my plate for seconds, piling the buttery biscuits and chocolate eclairs on my plate, wondering why the hostess always puts out such small plates.


My May Health & Fitness Challenge 

  1. Spend time with Jesus. Every. Day.
  2. Drink water. Lots of water.
  3. Substitute tea for coffee at least twice per week.
  4. Limit sweets. No more than one treat per day, girl!
  5. Take my multi-vitamin and prescribed herbals.
  6. Walk at least twice per week. Hopefully more, but I need to be reasonable here.
  7. Hike with Honey Dude once per week. At least!
  8. Light yoga near daily. Nothing too crazy.
  9. Run or 30 minutes of cardio 2-3 times per week. This is the hard one.
  10. Make wise food choices at work, where we all eat dinner together before the rush.

That is one long list. Too long? Maybe. But this is the ideal. I’ll keep you posted and be honest. Heck, I need the accountability if I’m going to do this whole “self-control” thing. It helps that I’ve been somewhat vague in my challenge list. What’s “a lot of water” anyways??

P.S. Thank you, Atlanta Mom of Three, for the inspiration, motivation, and accountability.

Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies

I’m not the biggest fan of carrot cake. But when I saw these adorable creations, I willfully took up the challenge. And with that little step, I fell in love. Small and petite, yet packed with flavor, these little love bites will forever be in my heart. Make them for a birthday party or luncheon, or gift them to the ladies at Mah Jongg, like I did. 

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cloves (or ginger)
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temp 1/4 cup butter and 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups carrots, grated

For filling:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temp
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

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Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees (high altitude areas: 375-degrees)*
  2. Mix all dry ingredients into a large bowl.
  3. In a second bowl, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy (4 minutes)
  4. Add eggs to butter mixture; stir in vanilla.
  5. Combine the two bowls and beat until combined (don’t over-mix!)
  6. Fold in carrot shreds.
  7. Chill for one hour.
  8. Line cookie sheet with parchment and drop batter in small, half-spoonfuls.
  9. Bake for 10-11 minutes.
  10. Let sit on warm cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring onto a rack to cool completely. 
  11. Beat frosting, using cream cheese warmed to room temperature.
  12. Once cookies are cooled, make little sandwiches and stack onto a pretty plate or cake stand (these beauties need a pedestal, after all!). 
  13. Enjoy immediately (within the day)… they weren’t nearly as good the next day. I’d probably freeze half next time. 

 

Like where we live, at almost 5,000 ft above sea level!

Sometimes you just need a little inspiration

 

Do you have a movie, a book, or a tale that inspires you? It never fails; every time I sit down to watch Julie and Julia, my heart settles into a puddle. I am inspired to create, to bake and blog. And to eat, with a side of wine in an oversized glass goblet.

True, it is not yet 2pm, but I am happy to say that I did, in fact, settle down mid-movie to a glass of red Zin, some smoked salmon and a few small wedges of Asiago cheese. The perfect late lunch.

Besides this culinary crusade, I am also inspired to write.

One year ago, I embarked on an exciting feat: A month-long detoxing cleanse. I wrote about it here, including recipes and a fair discussion on the challenges of preparing three square meals a day without even a trace of gluten or grains, dairy, corn, potatoes, red meat, pork, and most nuts… not to mention sugar, caffeine, and alcohol.

I couldn’t have done it without the daily pressure of my blog. Like Julie, I felt a sense of responsibility to my readers… even if my readers only included my ever-supportive mother and a delightfully dear hubby. Like Julie’s supportive husband in the movie, my own Honey Dude would ask: Do you have to write every day? Will anyone care if you don’t?

Maybe not. But I cared. It was a goal that only I could tend to. Do you have a goal like this? Something only you can choose to conquer? Like not having a glass of wine whenever you feel like it? Or telling your employees how much you appreciate them? Tell me about it! I’d love to hear what inspires you to be great. Or just to be normal, with joy.

Thanks for stopping by! xoxo

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I found it. The perfect pumpkin cookie, soft and fluffy like a muffin top, and studded with mini morsels of chocolate. Divine, I tell you.

Of course, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone to allow a whole batch to sit on one’s kitchen counter, tearing down what little self-control they’d built… up to that point. Solution: Make them for a party. And leave empty-handed! Or take them on a hike and bust them out at the summit as a surprise for your friends (everything tastes that much better in the backcountry!).

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup applesauce + 1 tbsp oil (or 1/2 cup oil)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1-2 cups mini chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees; line cookie sheet with parchment
  2. In a small bowl: Mix together pumpkin, sugar, applesauce, oil, and egg
  3. In a large bowl: Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and cloves
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry; don’t over-mix!
  5. Add vanilla and fold in chocolate chips
  6. Drop batter in 1 tbsp increments, 1 inch apart
  7. Bake 10-13 minutes (depending on size of cookie and elevation)
  8. Slide parchment (with cookies) onto cooling rack when they’re done.
  9. Enjoy while warm. So, so good!

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Mini Smoothie

Lately my sweet tooth has taken over. But sugar only satisfies for so long! I can easily go from the freezer stash of chocolate morsels to the cookies pillaged from a recent potluck gathering to a piece of toast laden with jam. It’s bad.

What I really needed was a sweet treat that would fill me up and nourish, too. Hence my new discovery…

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Mini Smoothie

  • 1/2 cup vanilla flavored Greek yogurt*
  • 1 tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 tbsp flax seeds
  • 1 tsp agave nectar
  • Several ice cubes

This makes a petite little power-shot of a smoothie – just enough to satisfy the sweet tooth and hold off hunger pains until dinner. Plus, the ingredients are simple and protein-packed… just what the doctor ordered.

 

*If you use plain yogurt, you may need to add a bit of sweetener. I recommend using more agave nectar or maple syrup to avoid artificial varieties.

 

The great “snow boot” hunt

I’ve become a bit obsessed. But that’s what happens every time I have to make a purchase above $40. I stress. And compare. And research. And stress some more. It’s embarrassing, really.

But Montana winters are not for the faint of heart. They’re treacherous. And as we continue to hear from the locals: It’s going to be an old-fashioned winter. We can only take that to mean: cold, negative-below temps and snow drifts higher than your house.

I don’t want all that snow to keep me indoors. Thus I need – yes, need – a good pair of winter boots. I felt guilty until my mom told me she had boots “this high, this high, and this high,” depending on the conditions.

I’m waiting to find the perfect boot. Will I ever find it? For now, a few contenders:

LL. Bean Carrabassett Snow Boots

L.L. Bean Carrabassett Snow Boots

Sorel Conquest Carly Boot

Sorel Conquest Carly Boot

Sorel 88 Boot

Sorel 88 Boot

Patagonia Wintertide High Boot

Patagonia Wintertide High Boot

The North Face Jozie Purna Boot

The North Face Jozie Purna Boot

The North Face Shellista Lace Luxe Boot

The North Face Shellista Lace Luxe Boot

The Original Muck Boot Company Arctic Sport Boot

The Original Muck Boot Company Arctic Sport Boot

What’s your favorite?