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Are you in? I get back from Napa and Sonoma later this week, and once I am recovered from my redeye flight (They KILL me!), I am ready to be healthy again. Winter and illness and spending LOTS of time at home snacking and just kind of letting it all go health-wise has gotten me feeling really sort of icky.

I need to make some small changes to restore the balance in my life and more than that, to have energy and to be able to sleep normally. Will you join me on my quest for better health?

To sweeten the deal, I am taking advantage of a gift code giveaway from CSN Stores. So as we prepare to spend more time outside, you can check out outdoorsy things like wood swing sets or fitness gear like yoga mats, weights, and just about anything else you can think of. They have just about everything! I am giving away a $30 gift code, and all you need to do to enter is to leave a comment telling me the small (or big) change you are making toward better health this spring.

Since I’ve been talking about renewal, I have really gotten myself to start thinking about it as well. And when I get back I need to hold myself accountable to the following things:

1) Getting to bed earlier. Every morning, when I wake up exhausted I promise I will unplug at 9:00 in order to ease myself to bed earlier. And at 11 PM I am still usually reading emails/blogs/job hunting etc. and my mind is whirring well past midnight. Must stop.

2) Smoothies. I need to drink spinach smoothies five days a week. They are easy and delicious, and when I consistently drank them I had so much more energy. I’d like to juice more as well, but my juicer is so messy! I’ll try for twice a week. Beet, carrot, and ginger juice happens to be my favorite, FYI.

3) Three quality workouts a week, preferably two at the gym that I am donating money to each month. My workout trifecta would be 30 minutes of all out cardio and two strength workouts each week.

4) More movement in general. I need to organize my time so that I am working enough but not from 7 am until midnight each day. I need to leave my house more. Of course, the weather needs to be a little warmer. But you get the drift. I have spent enough comfy months in my house, and getting outside and just walking is something I need to do.

I hope you don’t mind if I check in weekly via a blog post. And I hope my goals don’t stress anyone out; they are truly to feel more energetic and to support my readers’ healthy goals as well. I would love it if you would check in with ME too!

So, let’s get started. Do you have any small changes you are going to make toward better health this spring?

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Tags: challenge, eating, exercise, fitness, giveaway, health, workouts

That’s right.  On the first day of my Eat from Home Challenge, I cheated. The day started out well. Since I was working from home, I had a big old spinach and strawberry smoothie for breakfast along with lashings of Lyon’s tea as my sore throat from last week has turned into a full on chest cold.

Lunch was the best salad ever, a mixing bowl filled with an entire heart of romaine, an entire avocado, a sprinkle of crumbled blue cheese, 15 grape tomatoes, 4 pieces of Morningstar veggie bacon, and an English cucumber. Topped with Frank’s hot sauce, this was enough to full me up until the Morton’s event which was close to 5 hours later.

Cobb salad

All was well. The Morton’s event was something I was invited to as a blogger, so it did not count in the challenge. But what I had for dinner did. Yes my friends, I ate takeout, BUT it’s not my fault! My friend was visiting from Western MA, and she offered to bring me Bueno y Sano, which from this post you know is the food that got me through college. I had 2 bean soft tacos, wicked hot, with yogurt, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and cilantro. And I dipped them in burn your face off homemade hot sauce which actually burned my skin! But it tasted soooo good! I am a Bueno y Sano addict, and since I only have it a few times a year, I cheated and jumped at the chance!

I am back on track and on Tuesday enjoyed a Fage Greek yogurt with honey, another giant best salad ever, and some almonds at the office. Since I was forbidden from buying snacks, I also had 2 free office hot chocolates because I was pretty hungry! Tuesday’s dinner was a delicious Mediterranean dish that I will be posting as part of Oldways’ Mediterranean Month. And I have lots more planned for the week including a yogurt marinated chicken.

And since it is Wine Wednesday, a wine review of a bottle I just picked up, a Sicilian red made from the Nerello Mascarese grape. This bold and slightly spicy wine had a hint of very ripe fruit and a nose that reminded me a little of that sweet, dry leaf smell of autumn. This is the 3rd Sicilian wine that I have purchased lately, and I love the spice and warmth in these reds. Add another grape to my count!

Sicilian wine

Nerello Mascalese

The challenge has been difficult, but I am committed to being on track, at least until Friday night :)

What is the most challenging thing you have ever done?

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Tags: challenge, Food, salad, Sicilian wine, takeout, wine

With all of the marathon weekend activity last weekend, we never got around to doing a big haul grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s as we normally due each weekend. Add in the fact that my knee was too sore for me to get many groceries during the week, and you have a hungry girl without many food options.

Enter morning scones from Starbucks, sushi from Teriyaki House, salads from Rebecca’s and a shrinking bank account, not to mention I felt pretty awful for all of the packaging wasted in each food purchase.

So this week, we did an ample grocery shopping trip and will have to make do with what we have. I am hoping it will spark some creative meals and get me to use up some of the stuff in our freezer or pantry. The challenge starts Monday morning, and I will keep you posted every day.

One thing I hope to eat of lot of this week is salad. Last week, craving something crunchy and cold, I did go to the market to buy a few things for a Cobb-like salad.

I started with a bed of butter lettuce, grape tomatoes, and sliced mini cucumbers. I love cucumbers so much; they feel like such a hydrating addition to a salad.

tomato, butter lettuce, cucumber

Then came the bacon. As you know, I am not a full on vegetarian, even though the majority of my diet is veggie. I was originally craving some real bacon, but watching the Law & Order SVU episode about the slaughterhouse this past week kind of turned me off. . .

Enter Morningstar Farms bacon strips. Even my meat loving husband thought they were close to the real deal, and they provided the salty, smoky crunch we were looking for.

Morningstar Vegetarian Bacon

I added the crumbled bacon to the salad veggies, then topped it with crumbled gorgonzola cheese and hot sauce.


Vegetarian Cobb Salad

Soooooo good. So good. This is a meal salad, and it was full of flavors and textures, crunchy cold veggies, crispy “bacon”, and soft, tangy cheese.

Cobb Salad

To make this even more delicious, I bought several avocados to chop up in this salad next time. I kind of want to eat it for 3 meals a day, it is so good. If you like these flavors, definitely give this salad a try. It made a really good lunch one day last week, and I expect that it will make a repeat appearance at my desk this week.

What are your favorite salad toppings?

Did you enter my Cabot Cheese gift box giveaway? Only a couple days left!

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Tags: challenge, Food, recipe, salad, Vegetarian

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