Healthy Homemade Dinners {WIAW}

Happy Wednesday!

I have to let my inner dance geek out for a second because this morning in my Dance History class we got to watch Alvin Ailey’s Revelations. Alvin Ailey is an AMAZING modern dance choreographer and Revelations gives me chills every time I watch it.

Beautiful.

A much better way to start the morning than Bizarre Foods. By a million.

I also had a nice 4 mile run after my Best Body Bootcamp workshop. My tendon is still hating me a little, but things are slowlyyyy getting better. I think I’ll be spending lots of time getting EMS therapy at the injury clinic this week. Gotta soak up all that free-ness while I still can.

I can already tell my muscles are going to be SORE in the morning. I secretly love that.

And because it’s Wednesday…

(Thanks Jenn!)

Remember one of the goals on my 21 before 22 list was to make a real dinner because I’ve been relying on eggs and frozen veggies way too much lately. Well apparently that goal set me on a dinner making roll. My meals are by no means elaborate, but I’ve taken time to cook dinner everyday this week, which is a major accomplishment.

This Wednesday I thought I’d share some of those dinners with you (even though you got a glimpse of them the other day!). Just a warning, I’m on a big eggplant kick lately.

vegetarian dinner

Roasted sweet potatoes, spinach, onions and tomato, with a side of eggplant.

kale salad

Kale, mushrooms, roasted sweet potatoes and eggplants.

kale salad

Kale, sweet potatoes and lots of curry powder!

roasted eggplant and sweet potato

Roasted eggplant and sweet potato

dinner5

Sauteed spinach, sweet potatoes, broccoli (okay the broccoli was frozen, but so cheap!) and tempeh.

dinner6

And tonight’s dinner! Sauteed eggplant (I told you I’m on a kick!), mushrooms, onions, garlic and roma tomatoes over a bed of kale. Yummy.

My dinners seem a little light and lacking in the protein department, but I snack a lot through out the afternoon to power through class so I’m all about light meals when dinner time rolls around.

And time for a few snacks!

popcorn

Air-popped popcorn with coconut oil and cinnamon. That was a mixing bowl full of popcorn and I ate every last kernel. So. Good.

protein cake

Microwave protein cake. 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder, 3 tbsp egg whites and a little (actually a lot) of cinnamon. Came out a little dry and chewy but noting a little peanut butter can’t fix 🙂

Do you usually cook dinner from scratch? Or do you rely on convenience foods? Or both?

What’s you’re go-to dinner on busy nights?

Do you like eggplant? What’s your favorite way to cook it?

Ice Ice Baby & African Dance

Hey guys!

This week is going to be all kinds of crazy, but we are 1.5 weeks from spring break so I can’t complain. In two weeks I will be living it up with my friends at the Outer Banks and I’m a little A LOT excited about.

Speaking of beach-y things here is what Boone looked like today:

boone nc ice storm

And by beach-y things I meant the complete opposite. There’s a good coating of ice over the whole city, which is a little awesome because my two morning classes were cancelled. Sorry to those with responsibilities who had to be at work early this morning, while I was chilling on the couch reading blogs.

Confession: I stole this picture off a random student’s Instagram, thank you mysterious Appalachian instagrammer. I was not about to stand in the freezing rain to take pictures of ice. I like warm things.

Enough weather talk, I’m weathered out here in Boone. I’m not sure if that’s a real word, but it’s how I feel.

If you’re on the hunt for a new and interesting workout, you should definitely try African dance.

You read that right, African dance.

This afternoon I took an African dance class for my dance history class. Every time I take an African dance class (which is much more than you would think for a little white girl like me) I’m reminded of what an AMAZING workout it is. You’re constantly  jumping, turning, skipping etc. African dance uses a very grounded stance, which works those legs like crazy! And you pretty much never stop moving. The class reminded me of cardio dance classes, you know those ones where you feel like you’re not doing that much work until the end of class when you’re covered in sweat? Yeah, like that.

african dancers disney world

Oh you know, just dancing with some African dancers in Disney World circa 2006. Three guesses which person is me.

If you’re looking to spice up your fitness routine you should check out a local African dance class near you! It might push you a little bit out of your comfort zone movement-wise but if you can let go a little it is an amazing experience.

Classes might be a little difficult to find, but you can search local dance studios because they are often offered there, or sometimes they are offered through cultural centers, just keep your eyes peeled!

What’s the most unique workout you’ve done?

What’s the weather like where you are? Icy, and snow is the forecast all weekend. I’m living somewhere warm next.

I Feel Like Dancing.

I can’t believe it’s already Thursday! I head back to Boone TOMORROW and it feels way too soon! I’m excited to start this semester but it feels like Christmas just happened and I’m kinda a fan of hanging out in workout clothes all day. Can I just stick with that? Denim is overrated.

thankful thursday

 

Thanks for hosting Jessie!

This week I’m thankful for dance. Why? Because it’s awesome.

But really, I’ve been dancing for a majority of my life (seriously like 18 years! Whoa) and unfortunately I’ve let it fall by the wayside the past year or so. I’m actually minoring in dance but I took all my technique classes (the classes that involve actual dancing) my freshman and sophomore year so for the first time in years I’m not taking any dance classes and it’s felt a little weird.

However, this weekend I had a practice for a Alumni dance concert that’s being put together for my high school dance teacher. It felt amazing to dance again (and made me realize how NOT in dance shape I’m in, that’s a whole set of muscles I haven’t used in a while!). And I realized how much I missed dancing.

(I’m the white girl in the back corner 🙂 )

I honestly don’t know what I would have dance if I didn’t have dance in my life. I’m a pretty quiet person and dance is such an amazing way for me to express myself, without having to talk.  I love the rush of connecting with each step and getting lost in the movement. Funnily enough I hate public speaking but put me up on a stage and I feel at home. It’s also the best stress reliever, I’ve met so many close friends through dance and it’s pretty much the only form of exercise I participated in until I went to college.

Backstage circa 2008 – purple hair!

Not to mention all the wonderful opportunities I’ve experience because of it, in high school I got to perform at Disney World!

African dancing in Animal Kingdom! Not the actual performance, but we can’t resist an opportunity.

I’m lucky that my parents put me into dance classes at such a young age and that I was able to find something I really thrive in.

Dance is harder to stay involved with after graduating high school, but this weekend reminded me that I need to make a better effort to find more dance opportunities. I miss it too much!

Have you ever taken dance classes?

What extra curricular activities did you do as a kid?

 

Marvelous in My Monday

Happy Monday!

Oh Mondays, how I love to hate you. I can’t blame Mondays too much, it’s not Monday’s fault that it got stuck after the weekend in the weekday line up. Poor guy just can’t compare.

I love the Marvelous in My Monday posts that I’ve seen circling around (thanks Katie!) and wanted to jump on the bandwagon. I’m always looking for ways to make Monday a little less sucktacular and this seems like the perfect way to do so. Why not start the week on a good note?

Things that made my Monday Marvelous:

  • Morning spin class. I love squeezing a workout before class. Those exercise endorphins put me in such a good mood for the rest of the day. It also makes sitting in class for hours at a time so much more bearable!
  • Waking up early enough to catch reruns of Boy Meets World. Learning sappy life lessons all before 8 am. This show makes me nostalgic for 90s TV, TV shows today just don’t compare, I miss TGIF!
  • My apartment got a new dishwasher! So far every major kitchen appliance has broken since moving in (with exception of the fridge), three cheers for cheap student apartments. On the bright side, it’s gotten us a new microwave and dishwasher. As long as the broken appliances continue to be replaced with new ones I won’t complain. Now if only that oven would break…

    Sparkly new dishwasher!

  • 28 people came to my Pilates class!! So. Many. People. It was a little nerve-wracking but I love that so many people are coming out to class and I hope the numbers stay that high. We even ran out of mats, which is not a problem I’m upset about having.
  • Yummy foods packed for lunch. I’m on day number 8 of not eating out and still going strong. My Tupperware collection is getting a little out of control…

Massaged kale salad made with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, red kale, mushrooms, avocado(!) and baked tofu. I love red kale, purple things are better. It’s a fact.

And dinner:

Two eggs (I knocked my cartons of eggs out of the fridge and broke all four eggs in it,  was able to save two of them. Never said I was graceful) and stir-fried onions, green beans, mushrooms, broccoli and collard greens with Trader Joe’s Red Thai Curry Sauce. My love for curry is starting to reach new heights, I can’t seem to get enough of it. Unfortunately the Indian food scene in Boone is sparse.

  • I had my Somatics class today. I’m taking the class as part of my dance minor and I can already tell I’m going to love it. The class is all about mind-body connection, and understanding your body (very hippie and very awesome). Our homework is 10-pages of coloring. Coloring in a college class? I’m in love.
  • Dance auditions are tomorrow! I love the process even if I don’t make the cut. I’ll take any chance to dance I can.

What made your Monday marvelous?

What’s your favorite 90’s TV show? I’m pretty much love everything that came on ABC’s TGIF!

Limits

Saturday’s Pilobolus performance was amazing.

I saw them perform last year, so I already knew how fantastic they were, but the company never ceases to amaze me. They performed four pieces, both new and old: Walklyndon, PseudopodiaTransformation and All Is Not Lost (I think you can find most of these on youtube if you’re interested). I actually went to a special children’s matinee performance (tickets were muucccchhhh cheaper) so the performance was shorter and the pieces performed were more mainstream and kid-friendly, but I still enjoyed it. The strength and technique of those dancers never ceases to amaze me.

One of the benefits of going to the children’s performance (besides the free snacks afterwards!) was that there was a brief introduction to every dance given by one of the company’s artistic director. Listening to the artistic director discuss each dance, even on an elementary level, was incredibly interesting. It’s nice to get an inside perspective on each dance and listen to different interpretations of the movement.

The artistic director talked about Limits as a theme that exists throughout all of Pilobolus’s dances. We generally consider limits to be horrible things that restrict our creativity, when in reality, limits force us to be more creative and approach things in a new light.

That message really stuck with me. Embracing the limits life places on you and thriving despite it. It’s something I want to try to keep in mind whenever I’m feeling stuck or bogged down in life, that our greatest moments can come when we have the fewest resources to create them.

Just getting a little philosophical on you guys.

What the last message/phrase/quote that really stuck with you? Because I love a little extra inspiration in my life.

Have you ever attended a dance performance?

Treadmill Love.

I’m not afraid of a little sweat.

And awkward pictures.

I wanted to take a second to talk about the new love in my life, and the source of my incredibly attractive sweat stains – The Treadmill.

I’m sure all you runners are wondering what in the world is wrong with me. The treadmill is really just a torture device we suffer through when the weather is too horrible to head outside. I’m even guilty of hating on the poor thing. But really the treadmill does have it’s benefits. Really. No really.

As horribly monotonous as the treadmill is, it’s been a really helpful tool for me lately. The treadmill and I may have our differences but when we get it right, it’s so so good.

Oh treadmill, let me count the ways I (sometimes) love you:

  • You let me get my run in when it is both 29485724985 and -29483724985 degrees outside. I’ll admit I’m a complete wimp when it comes to running in less than ideal conditions. I hate the cold and running in the heat is just plain miserable. So I take it inside. Considering highs in North Carolina have been in the 100s, in addition to that lovely NC humidity, I’ll take running in place in a climate controlled gym over braving the oven outside.
  • You have a Stop button. I’ve been having some issues with pain in my foot lately and it seems to be especially bad after a run. It’s been getting better so I’ve been incorporating short runs (2.5 miles or less) into my workouts. The treadmill is perfect right now because if my foot starts hurting I can hit the stop button and hop on a bike instead. I don’t have to hobble a mile home.
  • You help me get speedier. I could not do speed work without a treadmill. I don’t have a fancy-smancy garmin, so I have no idea how fast I’m running, except when I’m on a treadmill. It also means I can wimp out and slow down, unless I want this to happen:
    Oof. I’m sure that ended well.
  • Sometimes you make life easier. Treadmill running is easier, sometimes it’s a cop-out, sometimes I just need running to be less hard. As lame as that sounds.
  • How else can I run and watch Paula Deen at the same time? Riddle me that.
    That tower of butter makes me want to run faster.

Do you like the treadmill?

What are your weekend plans? I’m going to go see Pilobolus tomorrow afternoon and I ama BEYOND excited about it!

I saw them perform last year and it was absolutely amazing. They are a spectacular dance company. I can’t wait!

It Beets Me

I got my 4th of July frozen yogurt! Mission accomplished.

Vegan raspberry fro yo with lots of fruit and a nugget of Reese’s hiding in the corner. I couldn’t resist. I won’t talk about how this was lunch. The fruit makes it healthy.

My mom and I headed out to downtown Apex for their Old Fashioned Fourth of July, but it ended up being a bust because all the activities were for kids At least I tried?

We consoled ourselves with fro yo, a Trader Joe’s trip for watermelon, peanut butter and pizza supplies and then headed out to JoAnn’s for some serious craft shopping. I bought some fabric, and canvases for some projects I’ve had in mind. Pictures to come when I finish.

Dinner was pizza (kinda)!

Portobello caps with pizza sauce, onions, bell pepper, basil, mozzarella and nooch. I miss Trader Joe’s pizza crust, but not the tummy ache after. At least portobellos are a nice compromise.

I skipped out on the fireworks because it was 100 degrees. No thank you. I’ll watch my neighbor’s illegal fireworks from my living room window instead.

My lucky duck of a friend got to watch fireworks at Magic Kingdom.

Though she does work there, so I guess it’s an even trade off.

This morning I woke up wondering why my alarm was going off at 6:30 on a Sunday morning. Oh right, it’s not the weekend. Funny thing is I don’t work normally on Wednesdays anyway.

I stopped by my boyfriends when I got off work to see him for a couple of hours before he went to work (we have completely opposite schedules most of the time which is lame). And since there’s a Whole Foods on the way, I obviously had to stop.

I don’t even remember what all was in there, except there was a hard-boiled egg because I was too hungry to wait. It didn’t even make it to my car.

And because I’m a nice girlfriend I got a salad with both stinky blue cheese and onions. At least I left off the garlicky kale this time. I’m glad I’m at the point of my relationship where blue cheese breath is not an issue.

From there I headed to the gym for Day 38 of Livefit. While I was doing squats, the guy loaded up the chest press machine next to me with 410 pounds. Um, just over 3 times my bodyweight, no big deal.

Dinner was inspired by the slowly wilting produce I have in my fridge:

Tofu, onions and swiss chard, eggplant and beets all from the farmer’s market.

When you cook things with beets, everything turns red. Go figure. Luckily beets turn everything delicious too. I’m pretty certain my digestive track is a nice shade of beet red right now too. I can’t get enough of them right now.

Speaking of things I can’t get enough of, I’m newly obsessed with the show Breaking Pointe. I’m sure I’m the only person that watches it, but it’s a reality show that follows professional ballet dancers in a company in Salt Lake City.

I can’t get enough it’s dance-y dramatic goodness. I’m savoring it now because I’m sure it won’t get another season. Anyone else watch it?

What’s your favorite frozen yogurt flavor? I love tart-flavored, which is boring and old lady-ish but I don’t care. Peanut butter is always a winner too.

What’s your favorite reality tv show? Don’t lie, you know you have one.

June Yoga Challenge, Final Recap!

I can’t believe the challenge is over!

And I can’t believe I actually completed it all! I did a yoga challenge back in May and udderly failed at. But, I think I’ve redeemed myself with this challenge.

Unfortunately, my yoga practice this week was not as good as last week’s, but last week’s was amazing so the bar was set pretty high. I still had some good practices though.

Yoga Breakdown!:

Saturday: Gentle Hatha #4 podcast from Yoga Download. I was looking for some new podcasts and found these. I still prefer the Yoga Journal podcasts but Yoga Download has way more options to choose from.
Sunday: I took a Yoga II class at my gym, it was a great class. One of my favorite instructors was teaching and we got to work on Eight Angle Pose (a new favorite). Yoga perfection.
Monday: Gentle Hatha #1 podcast to unwind before bed. The music in this podcast was too ridiculous though. It was the stereotypical yoga, new wave-y, crunchy music. Too ridiculous. The sequence itself was pretty nice though.
Tuesday: I did a self-practice and it was nice. We did some INTENSE stretching in my dance class and I was looking for some gentle yoga to do to relax my muscles (and try to hold off some soreness!) before I went to bed, and looking through some podcasts I couldn’t find anything that fit the bill. Then I thought “Oh! Duh Lea, make up your own.” Why it took me so long to figure this one out, I do not know. I did some hip openers, hamstring stretches and sun salutations. I was still way sore the next day though, you can’t win them all.
Wednesday: I took another Yoga II class at the gym, this one was not so good though. I took the class after finishing my LiveFit workout and I was functioning on about 5.5 hours of sleep. I just felt weak and anxious the whole class and I couldn’t get into it. It was one my least favorite instructors too, she’s not a bad teacher I’m just not a fan of her style. It was just a mix for a bad class. You win some, you lose some.

Overall I’m so happy I did this challenge. I had been majorly neglecting yoga and this challenge has rekindled my love for it!

My muscles are so happy after keeping up a consistent yoga practice. We worked on tilts in dance on Tuesday.

Tilts!

I was surprised by just how much flexibility I’ve maintained. I haven’t done much dancing since January, so I only have yoga to thank for this. I’m glad I’ve found a way to stay in dance shape even if I can’t make it to a dance class.

I’ve also seen a definite difference in my mood. I feel much calmer and my mood had been much better, even when I’m grouchy, tired, and not had nearly enough sleep.

I definitely plan to keep up a consistent yoga practice even when the challenge is over. I’ve realized how important it is for me  in terms of my overall fitness. Yoga offers so many benefits, and I tend to forget just how amazing it is, so I want to work at keeping a consistent yoga practice, and not forgetting how amazing it is.

I still haven’t made it to class at a studio but I’m hoping to go to one on Saturday.

Tuesday Tangents

  1. Biker shorts and neon socks are the next trend in high fashion



    Clearly. You can thank dance class for that delightful outfit. It’s really difficult to take a picture of your own leg.
  2. Speaking of dance classes, I started taking a contemporary dance class at a local studio and I’m loving it. It feels sooo good to be in the studio again. I was missing dance sooo much (especially now that SYTYCD is on again!) and I really miss the studio setting. They push me so much more than the dance professors at school and it does wonders for my technique.
    I’ve probably been dancing longer than most of the kids in the class have been alive and I’m older than the teacher but I don’t care, I just want to dance!
    This week we worked on a combination to this song.
  3. I’ve checked out like 10 books in the past week. It’s completely ridiculous and there’s no way I’ll finish them before they’re due. This is a major problem I have and it happens to me every time I get my hands on my library card. Nerd alert.
    I’m currently reading:
    I had to wait an entire month before there was a copy available. So worth it. I’m LOVING this book so far, which should say something because I HATE science fiction. I need to stop reading it before bed though. Kids fighting to the death doesn’t make for a relaxing bedtime story.

    I’m also reading:

    Polar opposites much?  I snagged this off the cart of books waiting to be shelved and it’s a really interesting read. I really like this approach to health and medicine. It also talks about yoga, bonus. I’ve been trying to incorporate aspects of Ayurveda into my life and I like it so far. I can recap the main highlights when I finish if anyone’s interested.

  4. The Civil Wars are the only band I’ve  listened to all summer. I love them. Check them out if you’re into folksy-ish, alternative-ish stuff. Career as a music critic in my future? Yes.
  5. Folgers is gross. Yuck. Note to self, cheap coffee is cheap for a reason.
  6. I found out my grandmother had a Vitamix and it is currently sitting somewhere in the depths of my garage. WHY WAS I NOT AWARE OF THIS SOONER? Weekend mission: locate the Vitamix.
  7. I bought a Groupon for a rock climbing class and a one week climbing wall pass. I’m sooooo excited to use it! Rock climbing is on my fitness bucket list and I’ve been wanting to do it for forever. And my new LiveFit muscles will help me climb better. I hope.
  8. You can see through my ear!


    I’ve thought about going bigger but I don’t want my internship to hate me. Something tells me big pointy tapers are not appropriate for the workplace. They’re a 2g right now. I don’t know, I’m undecided.

Have you ever stretched your ears? If so how big? I like the look, not too sure about the time/energy/pain of making them much bigger is worth it.

Have you ever been rock climbing? Was it amazing?

What are you currently reading? I love a good book suggestion!

Rainbows, Black Cats and Bananas

I managed to peel my lazy but out of bed by 11:00 this morning to make it to the gym. I ran a quick warm up mile in 9:00 (fast for me!) and did some leg work with weights. Saturday morning gym goers are crazy. The guy next to me was curling 130 pounders. What!? That’s my body weight, in each hand. I It made my 15 pounds look real wimpy.

Then I took me and my tax refund check to the mall, but had no luck. When I actually have money to spend I can never find anything, without fail. Murphy loves it when I go shopping. I did stop by Wal-mart and bought more fruits and veggies. I know they’re produce is grown in foreign countries and has all kinds of chemicals on it, but it is so cheap, it’s hard to turn down. I picked up some bananas, nectarines, red cabbage, sweet potatoes and plums. Yummy.

The weather in Boone today was so bipolar. It was sun/rain/sun/rain all day long. It even hailed, what the hail? (corny, I know). But that weather is perfect for

Image

RAINBOWS!

It’s really hard to see in the photo, but it disappeared shortly after I took the picture.

I joined some friends for dinner at Black Cat. Always delicious. Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture, again. I’m bad. But it was crazy busy, they ran out of silverware. I got the “Thai Me Up” burrito, it came with rice, tofu, and spinach in a spinach tortilla with a curry sauce and sunflower seeds on top. Sooo good. I cleaned my plate, like a champ.

Speaking of cats, I got to see this cute little guy too.

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My friend’s cat Jack, he’s really cute, but a little crazy. He also doesn’t like to sit still when I try to take a picture of him.

Post-dinner plans was Appalachian’s Spring Dance Concert

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The dances were really good this year. There was choreography from both students and faculty and they were all awesome. I enjoyed myself, and it really made me miss dance. I need to get back into taking classes if I can ever find the time.

I need to get to bed, I’ve got an early morning tomorrow! But first

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I was eating a Chiquita banana and the sticker said “Place Sticker on Forehead. Smile” So that’s exactly what I did. Because sometimes you just need to have a little fun. Thanks Chiquita.

What’s the last silly thing you did?