Sunday, January 19, 2014

Make a STATE-ment wall hanging DIY

So this weekend Matt (le fiance) and I were feeling kind of like crafting. We also made the decision that we were staying put in our apartment. We had been seriously thinking about moving but decided that for now, it didn't make sense. I mean, I'm 3.3 miles from work. That's awesome. So we're going to wait until I am assigned a new school to work in, which will happen once my client is self-sufficient enough to function in class without a BHP. So maybe in the fall, who knows! We decided that since we are hunkering down, we wanted out apartment to look more put-together. No, we can't afford new furniture, and we aren't allowed to paint (even though our kitchen is the color of baby puke), so we wanted to come up with some fun and cheap ways to make our place more homey. Our inspiration centered around our living room, were we realized that all of the art on the wall is by us, family members, or local craftsmen. We wanted to continue that trend. I had this awesome burlap canvas that I got on sale at Michaels, so we went and got some acrylic paint and got to work. We decided on an outline of Maine because we are celebrating one year of being back in our home state after 5 years away in Massachusetts. Here is what you will need to make your own state-ment wall art!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Mainely Mondays #3

In our quest for fun few ways to brighten up our apartment, Matt and I headed to an art store that we discovered over in Portland. I vaguely remember going there with my dad when I was little, when he still taught classes at the Maine College of Art. And wow- going back there was awesome. I felt like a little kid in a candy store. They have EVERYTHING you need for every hobby you can think of- knitting, embroidery, screen printing, painting, photography, framing, paper making... you name it. I picked up some handmade origami paper. So cute! The staff are also extremely helpful and well educated on many hobbies. I heard one of the ladies go from talking painting to knitting to photography to screen printing and the back to painting. She knew it all. They also have an awesome selection of fun gifts, which is really helpful for me because I can make it a one-stop shop. Get my craft supplies, get that birthday present I needed, and get out! And did I mention the prices? All of their stuff is a good 50 cents cheaper

than the list price, sometimes more. I love this, as sometimes I can't afford to shop at local stores like this because they have to up their prices to cover rent. If you are ever over this way in Portland, you should check it out. It is also right next door to Big Sky Bakery, so you can grab some bread or a sweet treat while you are there- yum!

The have entire aisles full of gorgeous paper!

The aisles seem endless- I could stay there for hours. 

Artist and Craftsman Supple is located at 540 Deering Ave. in Portland, ME. You can check out their website here. They started in Lewiston, ME as an employee-owned local business and have since expanded into Portland, and now even have locations in other states!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Whole30 day 2!

Not sure about the rest of you, but we're having a pretty intense winter up here in Maine. This is the second snow day that I've had since I started my new job in November as a BHP in schools. And it looks like tomorrow will be another one- we're going to get about a foot of snow. Most people don't like snow but I do- I guess I live in the right state :) Are you guys getting snowed out too??

Anyways, one day down in the Whole30! I don't feel that different yet, but apparently it really hits you about a week in, so that should be interesting... I really wanted some warm comfort food today due to the snow and ice, so here's all the good stuff I ate today:

Breakfast: I cooked 2 peeled and chopped apples on low in my crockpot overnight, and mashed them up with a spoon this morning for some homemade applesauce. I love homemade applesauce because I like to leave it kind of chunky- mmmmm! I ate it with a splash of coconut milk, some freshly grated nutmeg, and a tablespoon of almond butter for some protein (again, Trader Joes- best deal ever on almond butter). I also had a paleo latte, recipe courtesy of fellow alumni/name stealer, (just kidding- she's older than me) which you can find here. It is sooo good- it gets all frothy and really does taste like a latte. Basically it is genius and you should try it.

Lunch: I mashed up 1/4 of an avocado with 1 tsp. of homemade mayo, then stirred it all together with a can of albacore tuna. I then wrapped the mixture up in a big leaf of lettuce with some tomato and cucumber chunks. I had tomato juice to drink. 

Dinner: Plain rotisserie chicken with mashed turnip and brussel sprouts. 
Snacks: guacamole with red peppers strips for dipping. Yum!

So it's going pretty well, I still feel hungry a lot but I know it will take some time for my body to get used to going without grains as a filler. Is anyone else doing the Whole 30? How's it going?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

It's been quite a year, and I am excited to begin a new one! I had a great Christmas- my fiance and I got our first tree together and had a craft day where we made all of the ornaments and the garland for the tree. The cats didn't even destroy any of them! I love Christmas- I might just leave the tree up for a while...
My man and I talked a lot about New Years resolutions, and we agreed that living a healthier lifestyle would be ours. I used to be at the gym almost every single day, but since November I've been really bad about it. On top of that, I ate all of that good holiday food! So I decided on doing the Whole30. You can find more about the program here. It started today, but I've been making some small changes over the past few weeks, such as: switching to coconut milk, replacing peanut butter with almond butter, and trying out some recipes. I've also been meal planning like crazy! I have a whole 2 pages full of Whole30 approved meals. So far, I think planning it the biggest key to success for this. Today I ate:

Breakfast: My new favorite green smoothie! 1 c. unsweetened coconut milk, one handful spinach, one banana, and one handful frozen mango chunks (I got mine at Trader Joes, it's the best deal around). Stick it all in a blender and you're good to go! You could use kale as well, I didn't as my itty bitty blender really has trouble with kale. Maybe when I have a nice one, I'll go back to kale.

Lunch: 2 eggs scrambled with sautéed onions, peppers, tomatoes, and spinach, topped with avocado slices and hot sauce. I had tomato juice to drink.

Dinner: Skillet Chicken Ratatouille (adapted from Rachael Ray) with a nice garden salad on the side.

Snacks throughout the day: 1/4 cup of cashews, carrot sticks and cucumber spears.

I'm feeling good so far, I think planning and taking on some of the Whole30 diet changes a few weeks ahead of time really helped this be an easy first day. If anyone else is doing the Whole30 program this month OR if you want to join (having a partner always helps!), let me know so we can trade tips!

Here are some blogs that really helped me out when I was doing my meal planning around this:  (I went to college with the girl that does this blog- she's super sweet and a very talented cook!)

Monday, September 30, 2013

Mainely Mondays #2

Hello all! September was so busy... I went on vacation for the first week or so, and my dad powered through his first 2 IL-2 treatments. They were rough but he is a trooper, and all of our neighbors and friends were so helpful and caring. I really wanted to share one of my favorite moments of my vacation, which was a hike at Grafton Notch State Park in Newry, Maine. We hiked Old Speck mountain. It is a wonderful day hike, and leaves you some time in the afternoon to explore the historic downtown area of Bethel, which is adorable. We didn't as we were starving!!! Definitely something to do next time we go though. The trail is around 8 miles round trip, and it is considered to be an advanced one. It took us around 5.5 hours, including a pit stop for lunch. Roast beef sandwiches, YUM! When you get to the top there is this giant metal lookout tower, which I got halfway up and promptly realized that maybe I don't like heights so much. All in all, it was a beautiful day and a fun hike. If you are ever visiting Maine, I would highly recommend this spot. It is only about 2 hours away from Portland, and definitely less touristy than other hikes such as Cadillac Mountain in Bar Harbour. Also, hiking is such a great workout- it's one of those things where you don't even mind that you are sweating like a pig- it's so darn pretty up there, and the fresh air is so invigorating. My next goal- to hike Mount Katahdin again! Where will your next hike be??

The stream that runs the whole way down the mountain. I love the little rock piles people make along the way!

The main waterfall on the trail

The cutest little mushrooms ever! I had to snap a picture. 

The first lookout right before you reach the top of the mountain

We made it- woooooo!

The view from the top of Old Speck

The scary lookout tower. Maybe if it hadn't been so windy, I would have made it to the top!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Broken lasagna casserole with mushrooms, sausage, and kale

So I had a long, rough week at work. First of all, I ended up having only one day off. Then one of the kids I work with was REALLY physically aggressive towards me. I mean kicking, hitting me over the head with huge books, destroying my things- the works. And to top it all off most of my days started at 6 in the morning (and I don't mean waking up at 6, I mean arriving at a shift at 6am) and ended with me not getting home until 7 or 8pm. Don't get me wrong, I love being a Behavioral Health Professional, but jeeze it can be stressful! So I seriously needed some comfort food. Lasagna sounded good, but all of my noodles were broken! I decided to use them anyways and approach it more like a casserole, so this recipe was born late at night after a crazy day. And wow, did it make me feel better! Here's hoping it can give you the boost you need to keep going after a long, tough week. You will need...

- around 8 sheets of lasagna, broken into bite sized pieces
- 3/4 jar of the tomato sauce of your choice
- 1 lb hot italian turkey sausage
- 1.5 cups of part-skim ricotta
- 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese
- 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 lb baby bella mushrooms, sliced

- 4 to 5 large kale leaves, stemmed and roughly chopped
- 1 onion, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced

1. Preheat over to 375 degrees. Remove the casing from the turkey sausage and brown in a skillet over medium heat. I like to use a potato masher in order to quickly crumble the meat.

2. When the meat is brown, remove it from the pan and set aside. Add the mushrooms, onion, and garlic to the pan that you used to brown the meat. Cook the mixture for about 5-7 minutes, or until the mushrooms are wilted and the onions are translucent. 


3. Add the kale to the skillet and cook until wilted, about 3-5 minutes. Turn off burner and set veggie mixture aside. 

4. Now it's time to make your cheese mixture. Combine the ricotta, parmesan, dried herbs, egg, and 1/4 cup of the mozzarella. Set cheese mixture aside. 


5. Now you can start building the casserole! Spray a 9x13 inch casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray and add your broken noodles, veggie mixture, and browned sausage. The order doesn't matter, because you are going to mix everything together!





6. Now top that pile of delicious things with 3/4 of the jar of your favorite pasta sauce. Mix until everything is evenly distributed. Top with the cheese mixture and then sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. 





7. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until the casserole is bubbly and the cheese is melted and browned slightly. 



YUM! This is the perfect meal after a stressful day at work. Serves 4 very hungry people on its own, serves 6 if you have a nice side salad with it. Enjoy!


Friday, August 16, 2013

Vegan Superfood Smoothie + my favorite workout

This is one of my favorite smoothies! It is super healthy, keeps me full, and has tons of nutrients in it. Kale, berries, and bananas are full of cancer-fighting compounds, and the healthy fats in the coconut milk and avocado help your body absorb those compounds. On the plus side, avocado is considered to be a superfood as well! I know it sounds strange to put avocado in a smoothie, but I did it once when my avocado had ripened super fast and I didn't want it to go to waste. I tried it and now it is a staple in many of my morning smoothies- it adds this silky texture and a rich taste. I love to make this smoothie when I know I need a ton of energy for the day. Twice a week I support families with their morning routines, so this means being there at 6 am. I have to get up at 4:45 and leave my house at 5:30, and I go to the gym at 8am when my shift is done. Needless to say, I need something that really sticks with me until lunch time. This smoothie really fills me up, and it comes in at a mere 291 calories. You will need:

- 1 small banana, sliced
- 1/4 of an avocado, sliced
- 1 packed cup of kale
- 1 cup of unsweetened coconut milk
- 1/2 cup mixed frozen berries

If you have a decent blender... Pack the kale, banana, avocado, and berries into your blender. Pour the coconut milk over the mix. Blend until smooth and enjoy!

If you have an $11 blender like me... I would suggest blending the kale, banana, avocado, and milk together first so you can really break down the kale. Plus, I can't fit everything into mine all at once!

Here it is without the berries... so green! Then the finished product with the berries...

YUM! If it is too thick for you, just add another splash or so of milk.

I personally am not a huge fan of sweet things in the morning, so I really like this smoothie. If you think it isn't sweet enough, I would add more berries and/or some honey/agave nectar.

My favorite workout (for after you've powered up with this smoothie!)

30-20-10 workout
I have seen this workout in many variations on different sites. Basically you can tweak it to your liking! I do 30 minutes on the stepmill (the one that looks like a mini escalator) on the fat burner setting, level 14. This is a great interval workout. Just remember to not lean all over the handles- a lot of people do that, but it makes it so you burn about 30% less calories! I then head over to the treadmill and run for 20 minutes. I use an incline of 3, and I start out at a pace of 6.3. After that, I increase the pace by .1 every 5 minutes. For the last 2 minutes, I run at a pace of 7.0 and then 7.3. I cool down walking for about 5 minutes at a pace of 3.0. For my last 10 minutes, I do abs and arms at home (sit ups, push ups, planks...). I like this workout because it goes by fast due to the constantly changing levels, and if I am ever bored I just replace the stepmill with another low-impact machine such as the arc trainer or the elliptical.

Have a healthy day!