Thursday, December 20, 2012

Starting New Year's Resolutions Early

It's days before Christmas and I am among most people who still have a few last minute errands to do and wrapping to get accomplished all while trying to juggle normal life until a (small but sweet) holiday break from work. All the while, my ever pending budget and bank account looms over me, especially now that we are expecting our little baby boy to arrive in four and a half months. We had our ultrasound this past monday and found out we are 'Team Blue' which also poses the internal war of "I want to go buy boy things NOW!! Everything is SO CUTE!!" vs. "No! Don't spend money! You have plenty of time before he gets here and you know between showers and your registry and everything you will have MORE than enough 'stuff' jam packing your house so just wait! Also, you need to be SAVING for baby to get here so you can (somewhat comfortably) be able to take time off of work (without pay) and have a little cushion to get you through!" AHHHHH! The SAVE! vs. SPEND! monsters sitting on my shoulders always having wars with each other.

So I have decided, even in the midst of holiday shopping and spending to start one of my New Year's resolutions early (thank goodness I don't have to worry about the whole 'dieting' resolution this year as I am growing a human inside of me!) and re-evaluate and establish a new budget, aka the 'Now we have a baby budget'. We do use to help us see where our money goes, which is great, but also as a hairstylist I get a lot of tips in cash and that is harder to keep track of. I always say that the cash will be our spending money and that I'll use our card/bank account only for bills and necessities like groceries, etc. but the line gets blurry and I never stick to that plan.

I'm even thinking about going back to the good old 'envelope system' where you have labeled envelopes to put money aside in and that's what you will spend the money on and ONLY that. I have some tweaking and fine tuning to do with this new budget but I am bound and determined, especially for my new little man, to have our financial situation as organized as possible for him to have a good start to life as he enters the world! (I CAN'T WAIT!!!! :)

This is my morning rant as I go through the motions of getting ready for the holidays and getting ready for our baby all while trying to live life day to day with as low of stress as possible and get the most out of it.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Food, food and more food recipes!

So it's been a loooooooong time since I've blogged. Teegan does (so many!) things that I haven't had the time to blog about them all! Between working, house projects, puppies, being PREGNANT and doing all thing things that I do, I've just had 'no time' to blog (aka I've been allowing myself to be lazy/slack) so here we go! I'm back!

So for my first blog back, I'm going to ease into things and just offer up the links to some OTHER people's blogs (and websites) of where I've found some great recipes. So here you go!

Sesame Peanut Noodle Recipe-

Spicy Sichuan Green Beans-

Mango and Sweet Sticky Rice-

Homemade Butterfingers-

Raspberry Jalapeño Chocolates-

These last few recipes I don't have exact 'recipe measurements', I just know the ingredients and do it by taste, so good luck! ;)

Curried Mock Duck-

Sauté sliced white/yellow onion in a little peanut or sesame oil until soft
Add 1 LARGE can or 3 small cans mock duck and warm up
add 1 can coconut milk
Peanut butter to taste
Brown sugar to taste
Ginger to taste
Curry paste (you guessed it, to taste!)
Meanwhile, make some Basmati rice,  6 cups water to 1 cups rice 

Spring Rolls-

Rice vermicelli noodles cooked according to package directions
Spring Roll wraps (softened in warm water for 20 seconds RIGHT before you are ready to roll)
Julienned carrots
Julienned cucumber
bib lettuce
imitation crab
sliced avocado

Add ingredients to wrap and roll up like a burrito!

Sorry this isn't super in depth directions, pictures, etc... but I'm easing back into this :)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Granola Balls- No bake!

Homemade granola bars are a huge hit in our household (and by huge hit I mean that straight out PANIC occurs when we are down to the last few bars, keeping them in regular stock in the cupboard) so when stumbling across these on Pinterest, I knew they would be a new favorite (and boy was I right! :)


1 cup rolled oats
1 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/3 cup honey
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine all of the ingredients in a medium to large bowl (use a large bowl if you plan on doubling your batch, which I will definitely be doing next time), then cover and let chill in the fridge for 30 min. Once chilled, roll into balls, whichever size you prefer. Store in an airtight container for up to a week, but believe me, you won't need to worry about if they'll be gone in a week's time!

In the future, I might play around with swapping out the chocolate chips for butterscotch or vanilla chips or adding other nuts or dried fruit. These are the perfect go-to snack or dessert and it took me all of 5-10 minutes to make them (besides the 30 min. of chill time.)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Making Vanilla Extract

I use vanilla extract all the time for cooking/baking purposes so why not make my own? It's a fun, easy little project that looks pretty and makes for a great gift!

All you need is some vodka, bottles, and vanilla beans.

I got Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans from Trader Joe's and cut the ends off and split the bean down the middle the long way, not cutting entirely through.

I put the beans in the bottle and poured the Vodka over the beans, using approximately 1/3 cup vodka per bean.

Then, I put the lid on the bottle tightly and stored it in a cool, dark, dry place for at least 6 weeks, but if you can wait 2-3 months before using it's a better, darker, richer flavor.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Jalapeño Black Bean and Chicken Enchiladas (formerly known as White Chicken Enchiladas)

6-8 soft taco shells (I use whole wheat, medium sized)
1lb. Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast (free-range, organic!)
2 cups shredded Mexican Cheese
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour (I use whole wheat)
2 cups chicken broth (I use low sodium)
1 cup sour cream
1 (4oz) can diced green chiles
1 Can Jalapeño Black Beans with Lime Juice (Kuner's)
Diced Garlic (I used a heaping tablespoon, I LOVE garlic :)
Diced Onion (about a half of a large onion OR 1 small onion)
Chili Seasoning
Cayenne Seasoning
Lime Juice
Diced Garlic
Diced Onion
Sliced Olives (black)
Ortega Original and Green sauces

Preheat oven to 350˚ degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan.
To cook/shred chicken breasts, spray a pan, put the chicken breasts in a large pan (whole breasts before shredding) over medium-high heat and seasoned them with a little salt and pepper. While the chicken is cooking, sauté the onion and garlic in the pan with the chicken to give it a savory flavor. Then, when the chicken is thoroughly cooked, take two forks and shred the chicken while it is still in the pan and mix the onions and garlic in with the shredded meat.
Next, mix chicken/onion/garlic, beans and 1 cup cheese. Season to taste with chili seasoning, cayenne seasoning, cumin, and lime juice. Roll up the mixture in tortillas and place in pan.
In a sauce pan, melt butter, stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Add broth and whisk until smooth. Heat over medium heat until thick and bubbly.
Stir in sour cream and chiles. Do NOT bring to a boil, you don't want curdled sour cream.
Pour over enchiladas and top with remaining cheese.
Bake 25 minutes and then under high broil, brown for 3 minutes until golden.

I like to top mine off with Ortega's Original red sauce and their Green sauce and some sliced Olives. YUM! (This was MUCH more flavorful than the original recipe!)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Spinning and Yoga

I know that today is 'Fat Tuesday' and everyone wants to over-indulge in things before they give them up, but I'm posting about two of my favorite things that I will never give up, spinning/biking and yoga. I found these great lists of benefits of the two on some websites and I had to share :)

Ten Benefits of Spinning Exercises

By Wendy Dawn on
Ten Reasons Mount a Spinning Bike: Burn, Burn, Burn Calories
I wasn't fond of spinning when I started because it was hard on my lazy legs. However, as I began to get accustomed to the work out and saw the pounds begin to melt away faster than they had when I worked out on any other cardio equipment I was hooked.
A good thirty minute workout on a Spinning Cycle can burn as much as 500 calories. Even at challenging levels other cardio equipment couldn't burn that many calories in such a short time. I usually do a workout that is 50 minutes to an hour long. Longer workouts burn from 800 to 1,000 calories.
Ten Reasons to Mount a Spinning Bike: Cardiovascular Health
Spinning is primarily an anaerobic exercise, pulling energy from your reserves and building up your muscular endurance over an extended period of time. However, there are also aerobic benefits of Spinning. Planned Spinning programs include both endurance and cardiovascular training during the workout. At several points you may be required to break your steady pace and speed up to increase your heart rate.
Heart health is an obvious benefit, as is lung capacity. As you work harder during your Spinning workout you will learn to work on controlled breathing, as well. This may help you with anxiety and help lower your heart rate when you get into a situation where physical exertion begins to take your breath away.
Ten Reasons to Mount a Spinning Bike: Progress at Your Own Pace
Whether following a live instructor or video, the amount of resistance you apply, as you gain strength and endurance is up to you. Each spinning bike has a resistance control knob within easy reach of the handle bars. It works something like switching gears.
While instructors recommend an RPM, as you work toward increasing your RPM and maintaining a steady pace you can't fall behind the rest of the class. You don't feel out of place for not knowing an aerobic or step routine. No one really knows what level at which you are working, so you are free to progress at your own pace.
I was glad of that when I began spinning and ran the entire class with little to no resistance. I'm glad I can progress at my own pace now, because some days I want to add more resistance and work out harder.
Ten Reasons to Mount a Spinning Bike: Time Flies
Have you ever walked or ran on a treadmill for an hour only to discover you burned around 400 calories? Did you enjoy the time on the treadmill? The treadmills at the gym where I am a member have a personal television mounted to help you pass the time. I still find it irritating to walk or run in place for thirty minutes to an hour. For me, the television makes it worse. It slows me down andannoys me to work out with the T.V. on. Time, when I'm on the treadmill, creeps by very slowly.
On the spinning bike, the challenge is constantly changing. As I work through each level I tend to lose track of time. There are training videos that take you along with a group of riders through Las Vegas or Colorado. The scenery is beautiful and also helps distract me as time passes. When I'm in a more contemplative move, I can close my eyes on the bike and think.
Ten Reasons to Mount a Spinning Bike: Low Impact
I have several friends who avoid the treadmill, elliptical, and stair stepper because of the traumatic impact on their knees or feet. Spinning keeps the pressure off of your knees and feet. You are able to work out hard on a Spinning bike without hurting your knees and feet. It is also a good workout for those who cannot use the treadmill or elliptical because of arthritis. I have friends who are able to join a Spinning workout who simply cannot stand the pain of high impact cardiovascular workouts.
Ten Reasons to Mount a Spinning Bike: Shapely Legs
It will not take long for your efforts on a spinning bike to show up as weight loss, but there is another great benefit to Spinning. Spinning uses large muscle groups in your legs. It does not take long before your thighs, hamstrings, and calves begin to take shape. Three spinning workouts a week will make a difference in the shapely appearance of your leg.
Ten Reasons to Mount a Spinning Bike: Lower Your Body's Workout Breaking Point
As you learn to work harder on the spinning bike you will begin to find that the breaking point, at which you begin to feel the workout, will become lower the harder you work. For me, the benefit is that once I reach a breaking point and work through it, I get the natural endorphin kick that most athletes enjoy.
The great thing about working your body into this kind of shape is that you feel better without the use of drugs. You feel better throughout the day following a workout and you have more energy. You are simply training your body to work more efficiently.
Ten Reasons to Mount a Spinning Bike: Get an Ab workout while You Spin
Spinning instructors never give up when it comes to talking about technique and posture. Correct posture is important to working the right muscle groups. In addition to the major leg muscles worked during a Spinning routine, the abdominal muscles get a workout, as well.
As you spin, unlike racing a bike on the road, you get an upper body rhythm going that helps you keep your leg rhythm. The movement from a slightly bent position and side to side works both the central abdominal muscles and those along the side of your abdomens.
You may not see immediate results of your abdominal work, but over time you will feel your entire body begin to tone up, including your abs.
Ten Reasons to Mount a Spinning Bike: Ride Together
Regardless of your fitness level riding Spinning bikes keeps everyone together. This goes beyond sitting in the same spinning class, but each individual works equally as hard at their own level. It is amazing how you can feed off of the energy of other riders when you begin to fatigue and start thinking you might want to quit.
Riding together also gives you the opportunity to encourage others. You can inspire those who have not yet reached your level of fitness, while those stronger than you inspire you. Working together, everyone who spins can reach their goals.
Ten Reasons to Mount a Spinning Bike: Mental Strength
I've found Spinning does two things for me mentally. First, the warm up and cool down are great ways to relax. Before and after putting my body through a strenuous Spinning workout I can close my eyes, work just a little, and allow the physical exertion to become a catharsis for releasing pent-up emotions.
Spinning also builds mental strength. When you spin, there are good days and bad. The important thing is that you carry through with your regular Spinning routine. Push through difficult times. Push up hill climbs and push through endurance training.
Self discipline of the mind gained in spinning can be applied to all areas of life. I have found it most beneficial in areas of self-control and confidence. Spinning helps develop a positive, "can do" attitude.
Trainers recommend Spinning no more than three days a week. In addition to Spinning, strength training is recommended so that Spinning does not burn away muscle, but burns the fat you want to get rid of.


Top 10 Benefits of Yoga

The benefits of yoga are extensive. Not only does yoga affect the physical aspect of the body, it addresses the mind and spirit as well. Daily exercises are a great way to help relieve the stress of your day and can bring a sense of well-being to your life. Here are the top ten benefits of yoga.

1. Stress Relief

Yoga can help reduce the effects of stress on your body. One of the benefits of yoga is that it encourages relaxation and can lower the amount of cortisol in your body.

2. Pain Relief

Daily exercises of yoga can help ease the aches and pains of the body. Many people with very serious diseases have reported less pain after these daily exercises, such as asanas or meditation.

3. Better Breathing

You will learn to take deeper, slower breaths with daily exercises of yoga. It will help to increase your lung function and set off the body's relaxation response. This can be one of the most powerful benefits of yoga.

4. Flexibility

You will notice your level of flexibility will increase, which will help with your range of motion. Sometimes in the yoga daily exercises, people cannot even touch their toes. The benefits of yoga will include lengthening the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in your body to help you become more flexible.

5. Increased Strength

Yoga poses use all the muscles in your body and help you increase your strength level from head to toe. The benefits of yoga and daily exercises will help you strengthen your muscles close to the bones, which increase the support of your skeletal system as well.

6. Weight Management

You will see the benefits of yoga begin to affect your scale. Daily exercises are always recommended, but yoga helps reduce the level of cortisol in your body. This aids in weight loss and fat burning.

7. Improved Circulation

Yoga will help improve your body's circulation. In turn, with daily exercises, you will see the benefits of yoga with lowered blood pressure and pulse rates.

8. Cardiovascular Conditioning

Even the most gentle style of yoga will help to lower your resting heart reate and increase your overall endurance. This is one of the important benefits of yoga to help improve the amount of oxygen taken in during the daily exercises.

9. Focus on the Present

You can have greater coordination, memory skills, reaction times, and improved concentration skills by utilizing yoga for daily exercises. These benefits of yoga will extend far out of the yoga center.

10. Inner Peace

What more could you want. This is one of the primary reasons that people do daily exercises of yoga. This is one of the most important benefits of yoga and is also one of the more easy ones to attain.

The benefits of yoga are very far reaching indeed. There is no one other exercise avenue you can take that will address all of these issues in one simple session. For those of you that think yoga is too easy, I encourage you to try one class. You may find it is just what you are looking for.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

White Chicken Enchiladas

I've been trying to live up to the "more doing, less pinning" part of Pinterest, which in fact is easy to do since there are so many great recipes and projects and things! One recipe I stumbled upon and had to make was a White Chicken Enchiladas recipe. Here it is:
10 soft taco shells (I used whole wheat, medium sized)
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken (I bought uncooked breasts and cooked them then shredded them using two forks)
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (in the future I might use a Mexican blend)
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour (I used whole wheat)
2 cups chicken broth (I used low sodium)
1 cup sour cream
1 (4oz) can diced green chilies

Preheat oven to 350˚ degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan.
Mix chicken and 1 cup cheese. Roll up the mixture in tortillas and place in pan.
In a sauce pan, melt butter, stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Add broth and whisk until smooth. Heat over medium heat until thick and bubbly.
Stir in sour cream and chilies. Do NOT bring to a boil, you don't want curdled sour cream.
Pour over enchiladas and top with remaining cheese.
Bake 25 minutes and then under high broil, brown for 3 minutes until golden.

*This was very yummy, but I'm more of a spicy, seasonings-loving kind of gal so in the future (because I WILL be making this again) I will be adding a little more to it, maybe some garlic, onions, chili powder, red peppers, jalapenos, maybe some black olives, or red pepper flakes, something just to give it a little more kick. Hot sauce is always a plus to any meal. :)