Reflections

September has always felt like a fresh start thanks to countless years at school, but this one passed by in a blur thanks to my move. It strikes me how 2016 has been such a bizarre and impactful year in my life, both good and bad, from the very beginning. I lost my beloved cat and  aunt, both who I still can’t believe are gone. I became a personal trainer. Made new friends. Moved across the country. Started a new job. And I’m sure there are many other factors that have gone into this year. I’m not sure what’s to say about it other than a person’s ability to adapt is weird and empowering.

Tuesday’s most exciting part of the day was the fact that I mastered how to make a latte. My mom insists the foam makes a woman, but I was just focused on getting the milk to look like that. Yay me. Listen, it’s pertinent to my job.

IMG_5794.JPG

Breakfast was a yummy bowl of oats with almond milk, banana, raisins, walnuts, honey, and cinnamon. The picture makes me want to eat more right now.

IMG_5793.JPG

Lunch was another serving of quinoa and red beans with Brussels sprouts and spinach. No picture was snapped, but it looked just like it did yesterday.

Since it was National Taco Day, I decided to make more tacos for myself. This time, I grilled up some cod and served it over a medley of zucchini noodles and red pepper. Topped with soyaki and some hummus on the side.

IMG_5795.JPG

I’m doing pretty good for myself cooking. According to the scale at my new gym (that I don’t know if I trust or not), I’m down four pounds since I’ve moved. I’ve felt lighter and my clothes fit nicely, so I’ll roll with it.

I’ve remained solid in the exercise department even though it’s not my livelihood at the moment. Tuesday’s workout was a run/walk combination that ended with four minutes of HIIT that left me breathless. After a little yoga, I called it a night!

I already prefer working out in the evening to waking up before the sun, so long as I go to the gym before heading to my apartment. Routine, people. It’s a beautiful thing!

Happy Wednesday! We’re halfway through the week!

Pumpkin French Toast!

I promised pumpkin spice French toast was in your future. I delivered.

While grocery shopping on Sunday, I discovered stocked shelves of cans of pumpkin. We’re mid-way thru September and it was chilly yesterday, I think it’s time we embraced the pumpkin!

First step was to heat the pan. This “special” pan is meant for paninis, but it makes awesome French toast. I gathered all of my ingredients into a pretty picture for your eyes only.

IMG_3905

Into the bowl went an egg- the yolk adds nice texture and ties everything together- a quarter cup of almond milk, a sprinkle of cinnamon, a dash of vanilla, and a quarter cup of pumpkin- it’s a vegetable! All swirled together, we get this autumn-inspired, colorful concoction.

IMG_3906

The spoon promptly fell victim to the mixture and I had to fish it out. Even if I make things look slick and smooth, I promise it’s not. And 9 out of 10 times, I will share this with you. Silly = better blogging.

I dipped my bread of choice- whole wheat sour dough- into the mixture, pressing it down and absorbing the goodness. Here they are after grilled up on one side.

IMG_3907

Notice the batter clinging to the side. My flipping skills need some work.

While the toast grilled, I took to chopping up some fresh fruit. Strawberries, blueberries, and banana add a nice patriotic touch. Just call me international, what with French toast and an American fruit salad. Okay, that’s a stretch.

IMG_3908

So pretty! Except, when topped with peanut butter and jelly, it grows even prettier. I mean delicious. Food can’t be pretty, silly! Well, actually, yes it can.

IMG_3909

Some might say I have too much time on my hands to do this. I’m just doing a service for you.

Pumpkin French Toast:

This recipe serves one, but can be easily adapted to feed your brood.

Ingredients: egg, milk of choice, vanilla extract, cinnamon, pumpkin, bread

  1. Pre-heat pan on stove-top
  2. Crack 1 egg into large bowl
  3. Pour 1/4 cup of milk
  4. Sprinkle generous amount of cinnamon
  5. Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  6. Scoop 1/4 cup of pumpkin
  7. Combine ingredients
  8. Soak bread
  9. Grill bread
  10. Top with goodness
  11. Eat!

I’m not one to usually type up recipe cards such as shown above. It doesn’t include much detail, but the French toast doesn’t take much work. It may look and taste fancy and gourmet, but the prep is null and it really is a nutritious twist on a classic. Enjoy!

Don’t Give Me That Look

Happy September! In the magical world, we would all be on the Hogwarts Express on our way to a new school year. Unfortunately, even if that all existed, I’d be too old at this point. Still worth mentioning.

Since it’s my day off, I decided it would be fine to sleep in just a little bit more than usual, but Bandit (my cat) was against this. He came into my room meowing his paws off because he wanted to be patted. So it’s more than a little hypocritical that while I was folding a load of laundry and singing along to my music that he glares up at me with such disdain. Oh, sorry. Were you trying to nap?

I started my day with this fine looking plate of pancakes. Berries on the side and banana mashed right in, it was the perfect balance of protein, carbs, fruit, and sweetness.

IMG_3834

While enjoying breakfast, I started my reread of Tina Fey’s Bossypants. I know I technically kicked off my Harry Potter reread, but I think I’m going to delay that for awhile longer. There are a ton of new books coming out in September/October that I can’t wait to read! Bossypants came off my hold list, so I needed to attend to it now anyways. We’ll get to Harry, there’s no doubt, but it’s been awhile since I’ve had time to sit down to read and I need to make more time for it.

I’m hoping to get as much out of summer as I can in these next few days, including at least one beach day. I can’t talk about the end of summer until Labor Day passes at the very least. Now’s time to go fit in a strength workout before a day of studying.

Hope you have a great month!

I Almost Choked on a Lemon Seed

My title really has nothing to do with this post, except that while trying to come up with a clever title, I almost choked on a lemon seed. Proceed with caution.

What’s going on with the summer weather? I can handle hot, and somewhat humid, when the sun is shining and I can study by the pool (or at least look outside), but this downcast look is not good for the soul. We’re in the last week of August!

I know technically it’s not the end of summer until well into September, but thanks to school, I will always feel as though September is the real start of a new year. I really think that part of my desire to teach was due to my nostalgic love of preparing for a new school year: clothes shopping, supply shopping, that fresh dose of hope and starting over. Fall adds to the feeling. Alas, it wasn’t enough for me to want to continue, but I’m still glad I had all of those experiences.

Despite my love for fall, I’m not ready for summer to be over, which means I want more pool and beach days, BBQ in the backyard, and summer shandys! Listen, I’m picky about alcohol and beer in particular so the other night at Harry Potter trivia, when they told me they were sold out of shandy for the summer, I had to order a pumpkin beer. Too soon! But I had to get something I knew I liked. Don’t look at me like that…

Changing the subject, last night, my brother made us stir-fry for dinner. He grilled the chicken to perfection and tossed together some brown rice, peppers, and broccoli and mixed it with a dash of soy and teriyaki sauce. It was delicious and a healthy, nutritious meal to end the day. I suspect he keeps making dinner so he can be included on the blog. Thanks, Jimmy!

IMG_3738

Even though I enjoyed my breakfast sandwich for breakfast yesterday, I was chagrined to learn it was National Waffle Day. I’ve been craving waffles these past few weeks, so it would have been an opportune time to enjoy them. This is the danger of having all of these days!

To celebrate belatedly, I heated up two of them today to join my eggs. Chopped jalapeños, tomato, and red bell pepper accompanied my scramble, finalized with a sprinkling of cheese. Rounding out the meal was this bowl of fruit. Gotta say, the raspberries were not as impressive as they have been, but the blueberries and banana were on point. While eating, I read a chapter of Harry Potter.

IMG_3739

As I write this, I am guzzling water in preparation for my workout in a few minutes. Otherwise, I’ve got work and studying to complete. I’ll check back in later on in the day to talk about what gave me strength today (TBD).