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Heavy Minded

It is bizarre. At times we hold ourselves to unrealistic expectations but justify the same actions for others. Why are we so hard on ourselves? One thing I attribute to my spiritual growth over the past few months was accepting that I can’t do it all. I honestly just can’t and you can’t either. We can maintain a certain level of superhuman strength for a period but not without a steep price. Sadly, we again are the ones who suffer from the lack of sleep, stress acne and appetite for life! This week I’ve given extreme effort to being more selective with my time, my stressors and my direction. Random I know but I had to get that though out of my mind.

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We should be focused on filling our core with healthy, loving, peaceful thoughts and actions. Each day I get a little closer to my goals but at the cost of sacrificing instant gratification. Okay, that went a little deeper than I expected but I do have something uplifting to share. I promise!

Since there are now over 1,000 healthy living bloggers registered with the Healthy Living Blogs Database – I’m sure most of you already know what all the buzz is about but if you haven’t seen or heard of this lovely site check it out and register! Bloggers from all over are uniting on one local site to share their thoughts.

Here is a preview of my guest post that will be published tomorrow. _________________________________________

Twenty four months ago if you said “health” I heard “diet”…. and immediately saw visions of power bars, treadmills, liquid meals and leafy bitter greens. Yoga was something “tree huggers” did at music festivals and I couldn't pronounce zumba?**

Healthy Living = Flavorless Cruel Torture

Tipping the scale at 218 pounds I thought I had no choice but to bow down and accept the lashings from “dieting”. I survived months of vigorous discipline and lost a whopping 65+ pounds. I kept my gym appointments like it was my job, measured every cheerio that went into my mouth and started my day with both feet on my home scale. #scaleobsessedMAJOR. I truly believed I was living healthy because I was active and losing weight and everyone was telling me how great I was “starting to look”.

What few saw was “dieting” defined me, dieting consumed me. Through blogging and reflection I’ve realize that I was invested in finding eternal happiness from points counting and how many activity points I earned. It was something that I was finally was good at! There is a long dark story associated with where I’ve come from- diet pills, night time binges, try to skip a meal to make up for an over indulgence! My quest for a healthier life has been sculpted from all of those experiences. Each of us have our own past, some dirtier than others. It truly does not matter where we come from what posses the most value is where we are going. I… I am seeking the ripest most fruitful life of balance. Balance between my character, core, belly and body. Hey – They say shoot for the moon and I have an entire life time to get there.

To savor life’s graces is one of the greatest gifts that I rarely have time to open. After a long talk with myself then the boyfriend I chopped up my timeline to perfection. I vowed to experience life not to just function through the day. My goal is to simply be better today than I was yesterday. Some days I don't completely succeed but I’ve learned constancy seems to be key. Leading a healthy wholesome lifestyle should not be reflected by numbers, labels, classifications or prejudices but simply by how you feel about yourself, your life, your body, and your habits. The definition is within each of our individual souls.

**Since I have converted to a zumba loving tree hugging yoga freak! No harm intended.


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I went to finalize my financial aid paper work for culinary school and the graduating class’s final projects were in display. I was able to sneak a few iphone pictures.



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I leave you with this.


Who do you rely on for your happiness? Do you base your satisfaction on how many page views you receive? Or how many people noticed your hair cut? Do you wait for your partner to open a bottle of wine or do you pour glass for yourself?
I am learning that when I close my eye each night the happiness and comfort that I felt throughout the day depends on me and me alone. The amazing people in my life and my countless blessing are he icing on the cupcake!

Challenge: Practice feeling good no matter what! Can you work towards lowering certain expectations? Are you capable of teaching yourself to find satisfaction no matter where you are, what you are doing or where you are going?


Spanglish Empanadas

We all have eaten something somewhere at some point that leaves us days later waiting, wishing, hoping for a magical second or third serving to appear.I dont know Most of the time these foods are not the usual “Tuesday Night Tuna Casserole”. These foods are heavenly. They dance around in our head with halos over them calling for us in our dreams. No surprise they are usually a challenge to replicate.
Well, what if your partner had a list of magical life changing treats that they missed from their childhood. Things you have NEVER eaten or cooked? One could….
A) Find a local place that sells them and be completely disappointed with their version. Angry
B) Stalk his mother to get her to translate her recipe from Spanish to English.
C) Google your heart out. Compare 12 different recipes to figure out which ingredients are constant and which are “optional”. Take your research to the love of your life to get his input. Then, finally step foot on the dusty road of trial and error until you end up with a product that looks similar to Google images.
D) Pretend like it is no big deal if they never experience that joyful food again.Tongue


Since I’m such a loving caring considerate girl friend who might just happen to have a deep infatuation with Latin/Spanish cuisine a select few of his favorites have been re-developed through approach “C”.

What is worth all of this devotion you ask?

One example, beef empanadas of course!
Disclosure: The following is based on my personal pallet and seasoning preferences. I am not claiming that these are authentic empanadas. They have been created based on my own opinion and the man’s feedback.Winking



Last weekend I visited a local farmers market where you buy larger quantizes of produce for very very cheap! The trip did save my wallet from unnecessary pain but it left me with my hands full of green peppers and cilantro.


IMG_1867 IMG_1868Which is why I am introducing you to the magical world of sofrito. Consider your life changed from this point forward.


Sofrito is a pepper, onion, garlic, cilantro season blend which is a base for many Puerto Rican traditional dishes, especially beef empanadas!
It is simple to make but takes some time to prep. Also, the exact ratios are difficult to measure. This is the definition of an “eyeball measuring” recipe. You can buy this stuff premade at the grocery but the flavor does not compare to the fresh stuff. Think jarred El Passo salsa verses real salsa – OR – Keg beer verses bottled beer.
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This is the site I reference to make my sofrito (man approved). They use supersized qualities and various methods but here is my version. It includes the sacrifice of one of these…. Guess which one? IMG_1873


!CULANTRO!


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Spanglish Sofrito Ratios:
2 – Medium Onions (chopped)
1.5 – Medium Green Peppers (chopped)
3 – Small Sweet Red Peppers (chopped)
8- Green Olives (whole) **Optional** I loath’em but he loves’em and you can barely taste’em.
1/3 Cup – Whole Garlic Cloves
(I’m a cheater and use the pre-peeled cloves, shame on me!)Big Grin
FULL hand of Fresh Cilantro (steams and all)
10-15 Fresh Culantro Blades
1TBSP – Oil
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Put everything in the food processor and mix until completely pureed. The end.


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It will keep in the frig for 2 weeks in a sealed jar. I usually take the leftovers and divided them into ice cube trays and freeze for future use.


DSCF1169Okay now that the hard part is done :wipes sweat: Yawn
Let’s move on to the main event, adapted from the one and only
Goya Foods.


Spanglish Beef Empanadas
Ingredients:

1LB Lean Ground Beef
1 Medium Onion (Chopped)
6OZ Tomato Sauce
10 Green Olives (Sliced)
3 Packets Sazon with Achiote
6-8 Cloves of Minced Garlic
1 TBSP Dried Oregano
1TBSP Olive Oil
1 Package White Goya “Discos” (In the freezer Section) – Maybe in Culinary School I will master making homemade dough?
Oil for Frying


Directions:
1. Heat oil in a skillet (medium heat)


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2. Sauté Onions and Garlic. Cook until soft. Do not burn the garlic!


3. Add ground beef. Cook until browned. DSCF1178


4. Stir in olives, sazon, oregano and sofrito.
5. Once that is mixed well add tomato sauce. Bring to low boil.
6. Lower heat to "medium low" and simmer until mixture has thickened. (About 10-15mins)
7. At this point be sure to begin to heat your frying oil to HIGH heat.

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I usually use the infamous “Deep Fryer” but this time I didn’t! I went old school with a deep skillet on the stove top with fresh canola oil in it. Best decision ever! They came out much more crisp and the dough didn’t absorb as much oil.


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8. Place one “disco” on a plate.


Put a heaping scoop of the thickened beef mixture in the center of the disc.


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Now it is time to seal these beauties!

9. Dip your finger in water and trace the edge of the disc with your moist finger.
10. Fold dough over. Make sure beef filling is completely centered. You do not want any of the filling to touch the area that you moistened.


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11. Use a fork to press the dough to the opposite side to seal.



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12. Fry until crispy (honestly - just a minute or two)



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Enjoy!

Job < Career

Howdy, while the sun takes it’s time to set I needed to occupy my brain before it starts telling me how baking brownies & pretzel rolls is better than running.

Proceed with caution:

amazing, life changing, EPIC news ahead!

Yes, this news does require the use of all of those adjectives! Me and this site are going places- sweet, glazed, naughty places…
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Remember Project 121 in 1001, my 2.5 year knock off bucket list? One of my aspirations is to “enroll in an higher education program”. Here is the dealio. Fresh out of high school I attended a large university, where I studied business and finance. Devil Why was I studying such a dry, boring, repetitive subject you ask? Because…. That’s all.

  • I thought I was safe with a business degree.
  • I thought I was going to get incredibly rich from dealing with other people money.
  • I thought a 9AM-5PM office job was convenient.

Boy was I wrong!

I hated the courses that I was taking. Ummm, Failed Accounting I twice right here! I skipped class so often to avoid the torture. Two years later, once my courage and bank account were completely drained I finally decided to transfer to the local community college and finish the last two classes that I needed to obtain my Associates degree. In May of 2009 I graduated with my Associate of Arts degree. For the last year I’ve been looking for my purpose. You know? Trying to find something that inspires me and brings me joy…. hoping that it could provide an income.

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ThinkingI think I’ve found IT!

I have been accepted into the International Baking and Pastry Program at Lincoln Culinary Institution.
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15 signatures, 4 meetings,

3 hours of financial aid applications and 1 interview later

Class Starts October 4th!

WoW – I got butterflies just typing that.Surprise

Life is going to change major. This is a dream come true! When I graduate from the program in 18 months I will be seeking my first career. No more jobs! A FREAK CAREER doing something that I’m passionate about!

Since I will need to practice my hope is to document the entire experience on this blog. Finally, these pages will take more from the shape that I intended. I want to share my ambitions and creativity. I need to use my real voice!

And I mean who wouldn’t want to read posts about impressive cooking techniques?

Here is a preview of what is to come in the future.

Introduction to Culinary Art – All the basics!
Baking and Pastry Techniques
Artisan Breads and Viennoiserie
American and European Pastry and Baked Goods
Contemporary and Classical Cakes
Techniques and Artistry in Sugar
Techniques and Artistry in Chocolate
Food Beverage Management
Foodservice Operations
grp
Then, I will have three levels of externships at local establishments.

Word on the street is your performance throughout the program determines the quality and location of your externship. Ekkkkk!

Big changes headed our way. I’m also working on moving the site over to wordpress. I hate that I can’t reply to comments. Stay tuned!


You Stretched Your What?!?

Woooowsaaaa… Waking up to not just one or two but MANY comments brought me so much joy! LaughingThank you again to everyone who took their time to share such kind feedback! Now here we go with….


WEEK 1 Recap of PROJECT SAVE MONEY :

AKA- monitoring your grocery purchases so you can spend your allowance on something other than peanut butter and marshmallow fluff

Mission Accomplished

Last week’s grocery shop was a major challenge! I wanted to make sure all of us survived the weeks eats before I shared my evil methods. It is no secret that my grocery shopping habits have gotten just a little unruly over the past few months.

Our combined incomes and my strategizing allows for a very generous monthly grocery budget. (About $600 – Don’t forget we live in Florida where EVERYTHING is more expensive!) I make great effort to buy variety, quality, nutritional, wholesome foods for our meals. This often works against me because I OVER SPEND AND WASTE, even thought we eat breakfast, lunch and dinner from home at least 5-6 days a week!

As a young couple we are clearly a “pay check to pay check” household. There might be a tiny bit of paper security in our coffee can-piggy bank and I have plastic cards that will buy me things but we live on a budget, like most do. In the past If I spent too much at the grocery store I would pull money from another fund. Last week I chose not to utilize that option. The result?

A $55 grocery budget for three people and an empty freezer. Okay – the word challenge was an understatement. Angry

I lived to tell the tale….

1. Make a meal plan

2. Take inventory of what you already have

3. Make a list of “absolute must” and “maybe” items

4. Added up guesstimated $prices$ for everything

5. Make a new list of the specific things you will buy that keep you within budget. Next to each item write their guessed $ so you can compare at the store. This will help you decide if you need to sacrifice a “maybe” item.

Tips for stretching your dollars:

- Absolutely NO sporadic purchases one shop out of the month

- Buy juice from concentrate or fresh squeeze your own, mix with water and sugar for a beverage *Man Approved**

- Take it old school with Kool-Aid *Man Approved**

- Have breakfast for dinner one night

- Buy whole chicken breasts then remove skin and bone yourself. Will save you tons!


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- Use less ground meat in your normal recipes and add beans to make them more filling and hearty.

- Get creative with what is in your pantry. Try using All Recipes : Ingredient Meal Search Tool to get ideas.

- Cut back using foil, plastic wrap, and baggies. Use your reusable Tupperware! The planet and your pocket will thank you.


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- Only take the trash out when it is completely full! Trash bags are $$$$.

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- Skip on paper products (towels, plates, napkins). Don’t be so lazy, go reusable!

- Take it easy on dish soap and washer liquid. Use the proper amounts and only run the dish/washer when its full!

If you seek further “savers” knowledge, check out Trading Up DownTown. Amazing “new to me” find.

I’ve got the baking bug, so we might just end up with cookies for dinner. Angel

For your entertainment…

Last Weeks Meal Plan:

Sunday – Waffles and Egg, Bacon Biscuit Sandwiches

Monday – Tater Tot Bake, men everywhere bow down...

Tuesday – Kielbasa Jambalaya **Kielbasa is a super budget friendly protein/meat

Wednesday – Grilled Chicken Parmesan with Pasta

Thursday – Chicken Enchiladas

Friday – Mojo Pork Chops and Spanish Rice

Saturday – Take Out


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Double Dose, Meal Plan for this week:

Sunday – Homemade Pick your own Pizza with salad

Monday – Chicken, Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado Sandwiches

Tuesday- Stuffed Peppers with Mashed Potatoes

Wednesday – Chinese Chicken “Fried” Rice with Edaname

Thursday – Beef Stroganoff with Broccoli

Friday – Grilled Sirloin with double stuffed potatoes

Saturday – Take Out

Sipp’in Gin and Juice

Ugh, that song will not leave my head! But delish Jambalaya is on the stove, so all better. Big GrinYum!

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Lets be honest, we cant be happy, smiley, cheerful and peppy ALL the time unless one of the following applies:

11. You live & work at the North Pole where your daily routine includes fireplaces, homemade hot chocolate, fresh baked cookies, sweets, treats and toy making. (Source)

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2. You are one of the seven dwarf who’s name rhymes with sappy.

5 I usually make a conscious effort not to blog when I’m down and grumpy. No one enjoys constantly reading about how depressed,gloomy and negative someone is. But the truth is we are simply not “ourselves” at times. Right now. This moment. I’m experiencing this – it is a negative feeling that I can’t identify. Is it the sadness that I feel from having so few “friends” or is it that I’m not going to the HLS this weekend to make new ones? Am I discouraged because I’m not getting any many comments on this blog? Am I disappointed because I struggle so much with forming habits that last? Or am I irritated that the man of the house and my brother have devoted the majority their extended waking hours to nothing except play STARCRAFT for far too long. FML… I just heard one of them say “when do you wanna get those 15 more guys?” :SIGH:

Who knows? Maybe it is all those crappy thing combined that has me prematurely PMSing but now that I've identified that these are feeling that I do not enjoy or want to indulge in I have to choose the way I proceed. Bubble Bath and Wine immediately to follow this post. WinkingNote to self: Great choice!

“If you keep doing what your doing. You’ll keep getting what your getting.”

Stole the concept this week and applied it to my approach to reintroducing activity back into my life. Since the injury I’ve been taking it ridiculously easy on the movement front. Over the past two weeks I’ve kept saying to myself “I'm going to workout 5-6 days… at least 1 hour… no sweets… no diet soda…”. I was setting myself up to fail. This week I took the unraveled path – being kind to ME.

My mind seems to have forgotten that my body needs time to acclimate back into strange territory, even if it has only been a few weeks.

I challenged myself to more obtainable goals.

  • Workout 4 days at least 30mins
  • Eat consciously
  • Journal what I eat

That is all. It is going well thus far. I am have been indulging a lot with my free time. I’ve made time to read and take the pup on long slow walks and tonight I have my hot bubble bath scheduled. Party Even made time for yoga class last night which was delightful!

I've been reminded how critical my mental well being is. Treating your soul kindly feels so fulfilling! Don't you agree?

What are some little simple pleasure you indulge in to find your balance?