We Belong To Each Other

If we made a list of things that are hard for me to remember it would include the following:  how to spell college and that we belong to each other.  

At least, that's how Mother Theresa put it.  We belong to each other.  Isn't that lovely?  We could also say we are in this together or we are all one or we are all just walking each other home.  Whatevs.  Same thing.  Same meaning.  Same party.  We're all here.  And in it.  And you know, sometimes we are in it.  But that's another day, another post.  

I started my yoga teacher training this morning.  Yes, this morning.  In Oxford.  The day after the Ole Miss Rebels beat the Alabama Crimson Tide so everyone was a bit tired.  I also had some tightness in my chest after a rousing wave of anxiety the night before.  What caused it?  Probably energy knowing it's about to get stirred up something good and not wanting to face it.  But that is, also, another day, another post.  

Today I'll remember that we all belong to each other.  Me, you, Brandon, the neighbors that are never here in my complex but are here this weekend and up in my parking spots.   The man sitting next to me at the game yesterday that had his middle fingers proudly extended as he called the refs everything but children of God.  The people that came before us, the people that will come after us.  

I've a brain that forgets and does better with visual cues.  So it's only natural that I think this is the coolest:
Notice not the watch, not the pony tail holder but the band of red (crimson?) string.  It's worn at the start of a journey and stays there until it is ready to fall off.  We sat together this morning, knee to knee, left hands up (receivin') and right hands down (givin') touching strangers that wont be strangers for much longer, knowing that we are all together not just on a journey to learn about yoga but on a journey to learn about the self.  Or the Self.  In oneness, breathing and belonging to each other.  From one long string came the bracelets that we will wear for the next bit of time.  Reminding me each time I look down that we belong to each other. 

We ended our time with Om Shanti (peace to me) Shanti (peace to you) Santihi (peace from our little group to the rest of the world).  My bitchy critical self said this is stupid but my kind self stepped in and said kindly hush, this is wonderful.  

Thanks be to God for journeys. 


A Few on Friday

1.  It's 5:21 in the morning and I'm making chocolate chip cookies with kettle chips in them.  Well, I was making them until I realized that I was out of baking soda so now I'm waiting until 6am to hit up the Kroger.  The struggle is real, y'all. 

2.  I think my knee is broken!  Well, not really.  I think I've got an IT band strain.  That's what I and Dr. WebMD have diagnosed me with so you know it's legit.  Feels like I'm being stabbed in the knee every time I walk.  Well, not every time but sometimes.  Please send my left knee good energy so that I'll be in tip top shape, or at least some version of it, for the St. Jude half in December!  These hills, I blame them. 

3.  I believe I slept through a tornado in Oxford last night.  I hope it didn't take down Game Day, that would be awkward. 

4.  I'm on the hunt for a new bag.  I think this Lines and Stripes Catch All would fit the bill.

5.  My bud Win and I went to a great little bible study/meaningful group called Connections at St. Peters this week.  The discussion was related to a chapter from the book The Secret Power of Yoga and it was all about sustaining equanimity.  It's really cool how if you wait and keep you eyes open, the paths of life will start to melt all together to create so pretty cool lessons to really learn what's out there for you to learn.  I've learned about equanimity in my counseling world, this book is one that had just arrived at my door step for Yoga Teacher Training and this is all being talked about at my new church!  I think that's the coolest.  But back to the discussion - it was good stuff.  Check out the book if you are interested...I haven't read it yet but if the whole book is anything like that one chapter than I give it two enthusiastic thumbs up, way up.  Find the book on amazon right here and head to Chapter 6 if you are interested.   

6.  Speaking of St. Peters, the blessing of the animals in next Saturday morning.  I'm taking the Big Browne Hound and it might be so cute that I will fall out right then and there.  Amidst the newly blessed animals and a bunch of people that I don't know.

Guys, if you're still out there, I hope you're well.  I'll be back soon!      


A Few on Friday

1.  Does What Not To Wear still come on?  If so, I'm going to need someone to nominate me for it.  Since I'm working in a high school now I'm rocking high school-esq clothes...hip teachers please tell me where you shop.  I'm so confused.  Today, for example, I wore a denim-y button up, some capri khakis from the Loft, flip flops and my mala beads.  It's worth mentioning that my mala beads had some ketchup on them.  I'm basically killing it with hip-ness up at OHS.

2.  I've been semi-killing it with dinner, too.
Blackened shrimp salad + a festive Rose.  Bam.  

3.  I've signed up for yoga teacher training through Southern Star in Oxford.  I'm 50% excited, 30% terrified and 20% beyond pumped because it meals I'm going to get a fresh three ring binder and some new books.  Namaste, y'all.  

4.  Speaking of things that I've signed up for...we are quickly approaching that St. Jude half marathon.  Have you made your donation yet?  Well, well, well you should jump on that!  Donate HERE.

5.  One benefit of living in a collage (college?) town is Communiversity.  I'm thinking introduction to sign language. That's a useful skill, right?  It's between that and fencing.  But not really.  I'd be the first one to loose an eye, that's for damn.  
5.  People keep saying "yes sir" to Brandon in his classes.  This makes me belly laugh.  It doesn't make him belly laugh.  Wherps.  

Happy Friday, guys and gals!  Keep it real, make it a good one.....


Loaded Quinoa Bowl (Make It and Pretend Like You Didn't Overindulge This Weekend)

What do you do after a weekend full of overindulgence and carbs?  You meal plan like your hair's on fire and invite one of your best buds over for a quinoa bowl.  Done.  Bam.  Balance is restored.  

Well.  If we're playing for-reals then we know that it's not that simple but this festive bowl sure is a start.  It also screams summer time and requires minimal cooking and prep time.  

Also, there's feta.  Who doesn't love feta?  Feta....it's a game changer.  But you know that already.  

On to the quinoa bowl.  This one was flavorful and packed with goodness and had I been able to reach the organic chickpeas on the very top shelf at the Kroger....it would have been "clean" too.  However, not one to go looking for trouble I decided that an all organic quinoa bowl wasn't worth a broken elbow.  Right?  Yes.

Loaded Quinoa Bowl
from Clean Eating Magazine

1/2 cup of quinoa
8 thin asparagus spears, trimmed and chopped
1/2 cup thinly sliced radish or bell pepper
1 cup canned chick peas, drained
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup cilantro
1/4 cup feta
1 tbl almonds, chopped
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Combine the quinoa with 1 cup of water.  Bring to a boil and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the water is absorbed.  Add in the asparagus and cook for one minute.  Transfer to a big bowl.  Add in the rest of the ingredients and toss to combine. 

Serving size 1 1/2 cup (makes 2)
Points plus 10


A Few on Friday

1.  I recently purchased, received and built this lovely cart from Ikea.  It's functioning as a bar cart right now, functioning quite well I'd say.  It's fantastic for folks with minimal storage and a great way to add a splash of color to your kitchen and a splash of soda to your vodka.  Cheers, people.  

2.  Any Weezer fans out there?  This is my  new favorite running jam:

3.  Are you in the mood to do a good deed today?  Excellent.  First....smile at the person beside you.  If there's no one around you then smile at yourself and give yourself a high five for being awesome.  Good job.  Second, throw some cash to a good organization.  Liiiiiiiike to my St Jude fundraiser! Go HERE.  Or to THIS Akita rescue site.  Or to THIS really cool program in Helena/West Helena.  Or to the always wonderful Episcopal Relief and Development.  Or maybe you want to help educate people on mental illness by donating HERE.  

4.  Although I miss many things about living in Greenwood, I sure don't miss the grocery shopping. Oxford has lots 'o grocery options...a new one I'm loving is the Living Foods Organic Cafe and Market.  It's there that I discovered Hilary's line....check it out y'all.  Their veggie burger is the bomb.  

Happy Friday friends!  Be well and do good work!     


Sauted Kale

Y'all.  I know that kale is hipper than bacon and cupcakes combined and you've probably had it a million different ways by now.  Chips, hummus, hell maybe you've had it baked into a cupcake topped with bacon.  Served it with a side of kale hummus or something crazy-town like that. 

But if you haven't tried this super simple presentation of it I suggest that you do.  I used red kale, the recipe called for young kale.  I'm not kale-skilled enough to know the difference so whatevs.  I originally got this bunch of kale to use for salads but like many of my best laid plans.....that one fell off to the wayside.  No fear, dudes, as I decided to enjoy this kale sauteed up next to parmesan catfish (recipe forthcoming) and homemade risotto (not even a little worth it).  Enjoy!
Sauteed Kale
from Food Network

1 head of kale, roughly chopped
2 tbl olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
1/2 cup of vegetable broth
2 tbl red wine vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large pan (make sure you've got a lid!) and add the garlic.  Cook the garlic until fragrant but not until it's turning any colors.  

Add in the broth and the kale, toss to get it all coated. Crank up the heat to high and cover.  Cook for five minutes.  

Uncover and season with salt and pepper.  Add in the vinegar and give it a good toss.      

**I didn't calculate the points on this one but I'd probably say that it's about 2 points for 1/4 of the recipe since it's got the olive oil in it.  


A Few on Friday

1.  I can't handle this book: 

The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons is written by a fella named Sam Kean; he's able to explain the brain in a witty and straightforward way.  I've been fascinated with the brain/mind/all that jazz since attending the Mindfulness conference at Kripalu in June.  Seriously, guys, can't get enough.  It's a bit graphic, though, know that going in if you've got a weak stomach. 

2.  I also cannot handle the following products from Lush:

Big Shampoo

No Drought

Dark Angels 

All three of these products are fantastic for an oily gal like myself; the Big Shampoo is especially fantastic and can only be described as a game changer.  Also, since it's Lush, they are working to fight animal testing and are all handmade and natural and shiz. 

3.  I'm starting a new job Monday.  I'll be working in a high school and absolutely plan to channel Tina Fey 85% of the time.  

4.  I went to my second but by far hottest hot yoga class this afternoon.  It was great but I must admit that at one point I floated up above myself kind of like I did when I was running the marathon in February.  I'd brought my inhaler (just in case) but neglected to bring a medium size towel and a change of clothes, both of which would have been much more useful.  

Seriously.  Didn't think it was possible for one person to sweat that much.  

5.  We at the McCaleb apartment are on a Rose kick.  Well, the mister is on a rose kick and that's what he keeps bringing home when he runs to the store to grab a bottle of something.  Me?  Not complaining.  Enjoying my glass.  Like, as I type.

What are you kicking back this summer?   

Happy weekend!  I wish you radness!        



Don't Maybe call this a comeback.

A comeback from the spiraling out of control that has been my life over the last 2 or 8 weeks or something like that.  

You know how it is.  Moving, traveling, lazy pants....all of these things can get in the way of one's intention to be  healthy and centered and lean.  

But as the saying goes....one day at a time

Yesterday, I didn't polish off any cheese friends and today, so far, I've run, yoga'd and eaten this sassy lunch consisting of an avocado sandwich and a salad with almost turnt fruit and feta (feta is my life source).  I also locked us (me, Brandon, the Big Browne Hound) out of our apartment but that's a story for another day.  
Stay tuned for tales of awkward fish buying (The fish was awkward, not me.  I promise.) and bean salad that's a bit strong on the parsley.  

Hugs and fist bumps to you all and thanks for the recent comments!        


A Few Truths....

.....or at least my truths

I've been spending some time thinking about what to make of this space that is my blawg.  I haven't gotten very far but I did want to stop in and share these things that I have found to be true today.

1.  Things, they come to light when it's time. 

Example: Several years ago, I heard a song on the XMU satellite radio station that I l-o-v-e loved.  Unfortunately, the screen was out in my rattle trap of a car radio so I had no idea what the song was, who sang it, nothing.  I tried to figure out who it was, almost tweeted one of the radio guys with a brief description of the song to get some info.  Eventually, I stopped thinking about, sent it to that back part of my brain where the things I used to really worry about go.  This morning, while my Spotify was shuffling along...there she was.  The song is Gangsta by Tune-yards and it's weird and lovely and I had a wonderful time jamming out. 

See?  Things, they come to light when it's time.

2.  Time spent watching funny you-tube videos does not always equal time wasted, sometimes it equals best 2 minutes of your day.  


3.  That Mary Oliver, she was on to something.



A Few on Friday

1.  I must have this burger at some point this weekend.

2.  Guess where I'm heading in a week?  Kripalu!  I still don't know how to pronouce it, nor do I know how I'm going to handle living in a dorm for a week but I'm going!  I'll be spending my week there learning about the treatment of trauma, doing yoga and not eating meat.  Good thing I'm going to get that burger in before I go.  

3.  I'll be coming in hot from a week of meditation and mindfulness straight to the Bruno Mars concert in Memphis.  Isn't life beutiful in its irony sometimes? 

4.  I'm heading out on a river kayaking adventure tomorrow.  If I get eaten by an alligator, I love you all. 

5.   Signed up for the St. Jude half marathon, it's in December and I'm pumped that this year I wont be triaining for a race during Christmas.  It's hard to enjoy Christmas Spirit Libations when you have to run 47 miles the next day.  I'm kidding, I've never run 47 miles.  I would die.  I would have died if I had to go to 27 miles.  Or my toe would have just fallen off.  Either one, death or toe falling off, is just not cool.  

ANYWAY.  I'm going to be running as a St. Jude Hero with a goal to raise $1000.  Here is the link to my fundraising site if you'd like to donate.  I'm pumped.   I know it's like 200 days away but I had to land hotel rooms so I figured that I'll just be pumped for 200 days.

6.  Speaking of running,  it sure is already warm at 6 am here in the MS Delta.  

7.  You know what goes well with warm weather?  Wine.  Specifially self serve wine.  Check the Greencork next time you are in Memphis, it's a self serve wine joint.  Maybe I should franchize it up in the delta.  Anytime I can get just a sampling of a Rose, I'm a happy gal.

I'm also a happy gal about a three day weekend, hopefully you'll get one, too!  Be well, have a great weekend!       


Pasta with Ricotta Meatballs

Regular readers of this blawg might be wondering.....Girl.  Where are the recipes?  What are you eating?   

Well...I'm not really sure.  Nothing to good, though, that's for damn. 

Well, that's not completely true.  I had some pizza from Lillos on Sunday night and if you're familiar with it you know that was good.  There's also been a semi-classy sandwich or two and this dish I'm sharing with you today.  But we'll get to that in a minute.

Let's talk about cooking.  Just like everything, we all have our strengths and weaknesses when it comes to cooking.  My strengths are:  casseroles, breads, pasta, basically any member of the carb family.  My weaknesses are:  meats and veggies, rice, timing everything to finish at once, lite and healthy meals.  Since we've recently acquired 1/16 of a 4H pig, I've been trying to do lots of pork and veggie meals.  Since that's not one of my strong suits, you can imagine that it's not going all that well.  But I'm trying; it's getting better.  Up on deck for this week is ranch pork chops which is, wait for it, some pork chops with a ranch packet sprinkled over them.  If I mess that up I might need to hang up my apron.  

But here's what I haven't messed up:  the 4H bacon.  Shut your mouth it's amazing.  A-MAY-ZING.  I'm not really one of those yes, this is lovely, but it would be better with bacon.  This 4H bacon, though, is out of this world and I might start to serve it with everything.  There are two pieces left in my fridge right now and it makes me nervous to think they'll soon be gone.  

So I leave you today with this pasta dish.  It was good, real good, as it's one of my strengths.  You may think it's a bit involved but its really not!  I made it in a Thursday with not to much fuss.  Enjoy!     
Pasta with Ricotta Meatballs
slightly adapted from Cooking Light

9 oz pasta
1 oz Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup panko
1/3 cup part skim ricotta
6 oz ground beef (90% lean)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 garlic clove, grated
cooking spray
2 cups marinara sauce

Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.  

While water for pasta is boiling, combine two tablespoons of cheese and the rest of the ingredients through the garlic.  Shape the mixture into 16 1 inch meatballs.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Coat the pan with cooking spray and add the meatballs.  Cook for 6 minutes, turning to brown on all sides.  Add marinara, bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium and cook for five minutes or until meatballs are done.  Remove pan from heat, remove meatballs from pan with a slotted spoon.  Add pasta to pan and toss to coat.  Top meatballs with remaining two tablespoons of cheese.

To serve, place 1 cup of pasta mixture and 4 meatballs into a bowl. 

Serving size 1 cup pasta + 4 meatballs
Points plus 9


Change Directions

I've been thinking some lately about being comfortable in my own skin.  My mom said it on Sunday about a girl we all know.  She's comfortable in her skin, she said, like it was the most natural thing in the world!  Am I comfortable in my on skin?  I guess if you are, you don't have to ask right.  Probably. 

Fast forward to today, Anne Lamott posts on the 'book in her perfect Anne Lamott voice paired God's perfect timing.  This is what she wrote.  It's long, but it's good. 
There's a whole chapter on perfectionism in Bird by Bird, because it is the great enemy of the writer, and of life, our sweet messy beautiful screwed up human lives. It is the voice of the oppressor. It will keep you very scared and restless your entire life if you do not awaken, and fight back, and if you're an artist, it will destroy you.
My pastor said last Sunday that if you don't change directions, you are going to end up where you are headed. Is that okay with you, to end up still desperately trying to achieve more, and to get the world to validate your parking ticket, and to get your possibly dead parents to see how amazing you always were?
This is not going to happen. They are either so dead, like mine are, or they are insatiable, or so relieved that you did not end up divorced--or if you did, then heavily into drugs, like the Woodson girl, or more out of shape than you are, like Esther's son. It's hopeless, and this is the good news.
Putting those tiny pesky parental voices aside, what about, oh, say, the entire rest of the world?
Do you mind even a little that you are still addicted to people-pleasing, and are still putting everyone else's needs and laundry and career ahead of your creative, spiritual life? Giving all your life force away, to "help" and impress. Well, your help is not helpful, and falls short.
Look, I struggle with this. I hate to be criticized. I am just the tiniest bit more sensitive than the average bear. And yet, I'm a writer, so I periodically put my work out there, and sometimes like all writers, I get terrible reviews, so personal in nature that they leave me panting. Even with a Facebook post, like the last one, do you have any idea what it's like to get 500-plus negative attacks, on my character, from truly bizarre strangers.
Really, it's not ideal.
Yet, I get to tell my truth. I get to seek meaning and realization. I get to live fully, wildly, imperfectly. That's why I'm alive. And all I actually have to offer as a writer, is my version of life. Every single thing that has happened to me is mine. As I've said a hundred times, if people wanted me to write more warmly about them, they should have behaved better
Is it okay with you that you blow off your writing, or whatever your creative/spiritual calling, because your priority is to go to the gym or do yoga five days a week? Would you give us one of those days back, to play or study poetry? To have an awakening? Have you asked yourself lately, "How alive am I willing to be?" It's all going very quickly. It's mid-May, for God's sake. Who knew. I thought it was late February.
It's time to get serious about joy and fulfillment, work on our books, songs, dances, gardens. But perfectionism is always lurking nearby, like the demonic prowling lion in the Old Testament, waiting to pounce. It will convince you that your work-in-progress is not great, and that you may never get published. (Wait, forget the prowling satanic lion--your parents, living or dead, almost just as loudly either way, and your aunt Beth, and your passive-aggressive friends, whom we all think you should ditch, are going to ask, "Oh, you're writing again? That's nice. Do you have an agent?")
Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you're 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn't go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It's going to break your heart. Don't let this happen. Repent just means to change direction--and NOT to be said by someone who is waggling their forefinger at you. Repentance is a blessing. Pick a new direction, one you wouldn't mind ending up at, and aim for that. Shoot the moon.
Here's how to break through the perfectionism: make a LOT of mistakes. Fall on your butt more often. Waste more paper, printing out your shitty first drafts, and maybe send a check to the Sierra Club. Celebrate messes--these are where the goods are. Put something on the calendar that you know you'll be terrible at, like dance lessons, or a meditation retreat, or boot camp. Find a writing partner, who will help you with your work, by reading it for you, and telling you the truth about it, with respect, to help you make it better and better; for whom you will do the same thing. Find someone who wants to steal his or her life back, too. Now; today. One wild and crazy thing: wears shorts out in public if it is hot, even if your legs are milky white or heavy. Go to a poetry slam. Go to open mike,and read the story you wrote about the hilariously god-awful family reunion, with a trusted friend, even though it could be better, and would hurt Uncle Ed's feelings if he read it, which he isn't going to.
Change his name and hair color--he won't even recognize himself.
At work, you begin to fulfill your artistic destiny. Wow! A reviewer may hate your style, or newspapers may neglect you, or 500 people may tell you that you are bitter, delusional and boring.
Let me ask you this: in the big juicy Zorba scheme of things, who fucking cares?
From Anne Lamott's Facebook Page, May 12 2014
Before anyone gets concerned, I'm not writing a novel, nor do I have pesky parental voices that I'm dealing with.  I do internalize and worry and wonder if I say the right things and regret it when I feel like I didn't.  I do hate to be criticised and spend more time zoning out on Candy Crush than I'd like to admit.  And I do have goals and dreams and honestly believe that if you don't change your direction then you'll end up where you're heading. 
And so here we find ourselves, back in the place where we always find ourselves when I process through all my feelings on this blawg: 
You're probably OK right now. 
Carry on with your Monday and if you'd like, change directions....


A Few on Friday

1.  If you're not listening to This American Life, A: why the hell not and B: go to this website immediately.  It's some of the top episodes ever aired.  I can speak for the episode about Harper High School, it's phenomenal.  One that I especially enjoyed listening to whilst on my commute is The Psychopath Test.  Wouldn't it be awkward if you found out one day that you were a Psychopath?  That would be so awkward.

2.  You know what else is awkward?  The amount I've time I've spent publicly rubbing my eyelids during this spring allergy season. 

3.  I have a running list of things I want to do but don't want to exert the energy required to do them.  A constant on this list is become a vegetarian or at least like a 99% vegetarian (I don't know what that is but let's move on).  I like this article by a food blogging vegetarian about what she eats in a week.  I also like noodles. 
 find it here
4.  I just had a realization that I want to be a vegetarian mostly because of animal cruelty/the often funkiness of meat but kind of because I just want to eat noodles and peanut butter.
5.  I missed/didn't miss a ton about social media but one thing that I did miss was quick visual reminders like these:

find these on Black Swan Yoga 183's FB page

6.  Heard on a morning show whist getting ready.  And some of this is paraphrased but the good stuff isn't.  

Don't ask boring questions on a date.  Ask unexpected questions!  Like......have you ever counted all of your freckles? 


To be fair, the ladies giving this advice wrote a book called "Smitten:  How the Brilliant Flirt" and they talked (at 6 am) with husky voices and said you only get rejected because you are so awesome.  

Confidence?  Yes, absolutely, all the time, bring it.  Being ridiculous?  Let's leave that at home.  

7.  The Big Browne Hound bounced around like a kangaroo when I got home yesterday.  For a dog who, on an exciting day, is best described as blunted...this is was exciting stuff!

Happy weekend, dudes!  Keep it real!  Hug your mama!  If you can't hug your mama, hug someone else!


Flappy Pork Cutlets and Doing Your Best

Let's be honest, people.   Eating healthy can be a bit of a bummer.  The portions are small, the cream sauce is absent, the baked-on breading flaps off at the corner a little bit.  It can appear dreadful, really, it can.  
But then, oh but then, you look a little closer and realize those are steamed veggies with some lemon juice and that the piece 'o pork is not just any piece of pork, but a piece of pork from a 4-H pig.  4-H pigs are lovingly fed and raised and (I've been promised) humanely slaughtered.  Makes me feel good to know where my meat comes from.  

Also makes me feel good to know that after this meal, I'm sitting on my couch thinking about the pineapple I'm about to cut up instead of regretting the Cinco de Mayo fajitas and cheese dip and brewskis oh my.  

I think the bummer of eating healthy is less about what you are eating and more about what it involves.  Eating healthy involves planning and calculating and washing fresh things and going to the grocery store on Sunday afternoon.  All of that stuff is not fun, at least according to lazy mind.  Lazy mind (friend of bad mind, anxiety mind, depression mind, etc.) enjoys sloth and gluttony and take out.  Lazy mind calls the shots as long as lazy mind is allowed to call the shots; lazy mind is more likely to call the shots the longer it's allowed to call the shots.  

Letting mindful mind (or clear mind or what ever you'd like to call it) take charge allows you to be less tied up in fun/not fun or want/don't want and focus more on what is the best thing for me at this moment?  

Instead of saying I'm going to get back on track this week!!  I'm going to say I'm going to do the best I can today!!  With food and exercise and kindness and budgets and attitude and all of that stuff that lazy mind says is no fun but mindful mind says sure does make you feel better.

Unless I fall face first into some ice cream in the next hour or so, we can chalk this up to a pretty good day...flappy pork cutlets and all! 

Interested in trying them?  Here you go!
9 points plus Panko Crusted Cutlets    


A Few on Friday

1.  I'm back from my Lenten hiatus!  I've got lots to say about it.  But not much motivation to say it.  Stay tuned, yo. 

2.  My big pretty legs have gotten a little bit bigger (and prettier, maybe??) it seems.  While I don't attach my self worth to the size of my hams, I do find thigh chafing and the horrid short ride up to be quite the bummer.  I'm now in the market for some roomier, longer runnin' shorts.  Suggestions?  Shorts to avoid?  Thigh shrinking cream?

Or maybe I could just say to hell with it all and channel Tanya Harding while I run.  Promise me you'll click on that link, it's amazing.

3.  Speaking of shorts:

4.  Things like natural disasters always remind me of how so much pain and so much beauty can exist at the exact same time.  People loose everything, people give everything.  It's goodness in action. 

I heard a story this morning on my way into work about a man from the coast who has pulled together donations and is cooking meals for people impacted by this week's weather.  He shared that after Katrina, he ate only MREs for about a week and a half.  When a crew came through passing out homemade meals, he said that it was, and still is, the best meal he's ever eaten.  Better than anything that's come from Commander's Palace he said.  So he got his truck, got some propane and some food donated and set out to feed the masses.  One of many wonderful stories circulating.  Keep helping, people.  

5.  Check out this awesome info-graphic for beating stress and increasing happiness.  Stress is zero fun, right?       

6.  Did anyone else obsessively watch the Boston Marathon last week?  I did, from my desk.  That Rita Jeptoo doesn't appear to struggle with the shorts ride up like this girl does.

7.  I need new makeup!  Things are orange over here up on my face.  I'm thinking Tarte as it's cruelty free and gets good reviews.  I need a solid make up counter in my life as not to stack problems on top of problems with mismatching color and all that jazz.  What do you wear?     

8.  And what do you eat for lunch?  I love a PB and J but I'm afraid that the time is quickly approaching where the sight of a PB and J might send me into a blind rage.  Remember I commute and don't have access to exotic ingredients. 

9.  If you feel like you don't have enough interesting articles related to mental health on your Facebook news feed, you should go 'like' our page over at the Sunrise Clinic.        

10.  I want to run this!!!! Who's with me?? 

Happy weekend, tater tots!  I'm spending my weekend at the Que on the Yazoo.  If you're around, you should come!!  Check it out here



Lent 2014

Well hey there guys.  

Just checking in to say that I'm checking out.  

Giving it up.  Leaving it for a bit. 

Giving up what you might ask?  

The social media.....the Facebook, the Insta, the Twitter, the Pinterest, the Blogger. 

That was kind of an embarrassing list to write.   

Lent is still kind of new to me but in my mind, it means a time of quiet reflection, getting back to basics.  Sackclothes and ashes, yo. 

A time of prayer, repentance, alms giving, atonement and self denial if you want to ask the wiki. 

Since I waste a lot of time on the social media, I figure it's going to be a great way to move into a space that is quiet.  

Less snark, more compassion. 
Less reaction, more intention. 
Less judgey, more lovey.  
Less chitta vitti, more shanti.   

What will I be doing with all of this spare time that I usually spend trolling the web?  

Well....there's the Lent Madness that my SS class is following.  Take some time and learn about Christina the Astonishing.  You will not be sorry. 
There's also the Bishops Bible Challenge...we will be reading through 1 and 2 Corinthians and Romans.  I've signed up the email updates, you can sign up, too, right here!

Don't forget about those folks at the Episcopal Relief and Development...they've got what promises to be a lovely, meaningful, thought provoking meditation series.  Check it.   

Happy day, dear friends!


Lentil and Sausage Soup

When I was planning out my meals last week I remember thanking dang! I can't make lentil soup when it's 70 degrees outside!  But then, of course, this crazed 40 degree change in weather happened so I guess it's fine.  This soup, though, is more than fine.  

It was my first journey into lentils and I have to say I'm impressed.  I'm impressed like you're probably impressed by my cracked bowl.   
But let's not get distracted.  

Lentils.  It's an edible pulse (don't love that description) and a member of the legume family.  It's way healthy, good for people with diabetes and drought resistant.  Canada leads the world in production  Isn't that neat?  Go Canada. 

I'm always looking for filling yet tasty things to pack for lunch, this soup really worked out with all of it's lentil action.  It was easy to pull together and makes a ton.  It could easily become vegan by taking out the sausage, adding more veggies and using only vegetable broth.  

Lentil and Sausage Soup
from A Cup of Marscapone
2 tbl olive oil
1 lb carrots, sliced
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 cups of lentils
14 oz smoked turkey sausage
32 oz chicken broth
32 oz vegetable broth
2 cans of diced tomatoes
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Cook the carrots, onion and garlic for about 8 minutes.  Add the lentils, sausage and both broths.  Bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer.  Simmer for about 40 minutes.  Add in the tomatoes, salt and pepper and cook for about 10 more minutes. 

Serving size 1 cup (makes about 14)
Points plus 4   


Fresh Starts and Kale Quinoa and Avocado Salad

Happy Monday!  How are you?  Well, I hope.  Hope you're easing into this day with minimal stress and tiredness and an overall feeling of goodness. 

I say all of this zen shiz because that's what I'm working on today.  I've spent the weekend eating thin mints, ignoring my Yoga Glo class reminders and drinking beers.  Not really doing anything healthy; trying to pump the breaks a bit and get things back under control.  Mondays are cool like that, right?  Right. 
For the sake of doing things that are measurable, I'm focusing first on food.  I made this Kale, Quinoa and Avocado Salad yesterday and am looking forward to having it today.  It's full of super foods (kale, quinoa, avocado, etc) and was pretty tasty, too!  Make it vegan by leaving out the feta.  I didn't calculate the points (taking things slow, you know) but I'm guessing that one cup is 6 points.  Don't make me explain my logic but that's just what I'm going to do.  I'm also going to take a walk around the work track and enjoy this sunshine.  And I'm also going to tap my toes to this song:
Have a great week, friends!   


Easy (No, really! It is!) Chicken Pot Pie

It started out the hottest mess of all the hot messes. 

Just like how I usually do my best growing when I'm at my worst, this ugly duckling ended up being the swan-iest thing we've had for a while on Parsons.  It was touch and go, though, and was so because of my inability to follow directions and uncertainty of puff pastry vs. pie crust.  But all's well that ends well, right?  Sure.  And this ended well.  Real well.

I was surprised, though.  Chicken pot pie, in my mind, was one of those don't even try it dishes.  It was up there with souffle and rice*, something that just wasn't in the cards for me.  I think it was the crust...crust seems daunting.  That scary, yet delicious crust.  As luck would have it,  it is in the cards!  All up in the cards.  Thank goodness.  Because it rocks.   

*I can't cook rice, PS.

Chicken Pot Pie
recipe courtesy of Swayze H. who got it from Kimme H.  

1/3 cup of butter
3 stalks of celery, chopped
1 cup of chopped carrots
1 cup of chopped onion
1 large baking potato, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup of flour
1 1/2 cup of chicken broth
1 1/2 cup of milk
3 chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1 tsp each of salt and pepper
2 refrigerated pie crusts (or 2 puff pastry sheets) (whatevs)

Melt the butter in a really big skillet.  Add the celery, carrots, onion and potato. Cook for about 15 minutes or until the potato is cooked through (but not mushy).  Add the flour and cook for about a minute.  It's going to be a bit pasty.  Stir in the chicken broth for about minute.  Add the milk and stir.  Add the chicken and the salt and pepper.  Let it cook and thicken up for about 15 minutes.  Preheat your oven to 350.  

Divide the mixture between two pie plates.  Top it with your pie crust/puff pastry and cut some slits in the top.  Cook for 45 minutes or until it's all brown and delicious.   Freeze that other one or take it to a friend or invite some people over.    



A Few on Friday

1.  One thing I've learned this week:  I do not do well on a snow day.  Why?  I think it's because I don't like TV that much.  And I'm nosy.  I'd get settled in to read then I'd go see what Brandon was doing.  Then I'd go see what Big Browne Hound was doing.  Then I'd think about baking something.  Then I'd do it all over again.... 

2.  Another thing I've learned:  I love to drive in the snow in my Subaru!

3.  I have a large crush on Shawn White.  There's a gold hoop earring (I think) that I could really live without but he's such a cutie!  Good thing I'm a married woman because my hate of cold weather and his love of snowboarding would just never jive.  
 I spy a gold hoop earring.

4.  This is fantastic:

5.  Happy Valentines Day!  Are you celebrating?  I am.  By drinking red, making chicken parm and filling chocolate chip cookies with icing.  Oh.  And hanging out with my herz-band and my Big Browne Hound. 

Happy weekend dear friends!  Hope it's filled with love!



Mississippi River Marathon 2014


Glad I did it, glad it's over, jury's still out on if I'll do it again. 

Maybe I'll do this one.  Who's with me?  Or maybe just like a 5K.  Or maybe just go to Big Sur and drink wine on the beach.  We don't have to make any big decisions right now, it can just be something festive to think about.

How did it go?  Kind of awesome.  I finished, which was my first goal.  My second goal, to finish in under five hours, I missed by 5 minutes and 5 seconds.  But it's cool...I ran my race.

My slow, kinda tearful, almost ate a doughnut at mile 22 race.  Here it is in pictures!  Thanks for all your support!