How I beat the winter blues

Living in Central NY, our winters are long and brutal. This winter has been especially bad, most days temperatures have barely reached positive numbers. On top of the cold, we get hammered with lake-effect snow and wind. Lake-effect snow is a whole different animal than normal snow, it comes down quickly, and hard. And the worst part is, that sometimes our winters continue through March. It is like we can’t see a light at the end of the freezing cold tunnel. This time of year, I know that many of us get grumpy, antsy and just frustrated with the weather, otherwise known as the “winter blues”¬†, yes it is a real thing.

So, I have decided to make a list of some things that I do, to help me feel a little cheerier in the dead of winter ūüôā

  1. Drink hot-tea throughout the day. There is something very soothing and warming about sipping hot tea. Usually it is something as simple as a green tea bag and a slice of lemon for me.
  2. Enjoy indoor activities. Sounds silly, but knowing that you have to bundle up¬†and brave the weather keeps many people at home in the winter, not partaking in as many social actives, which can lead to “cabin fever” or in my case, the urge to want to re-decorate my apartment. ¬†Go see a movie, go to one of those indoor trampoline or go-kart places, go out to dinner.
  3. Have friends over for a movie night. You can stay in your sweatpants, and encourage everyone to bring a snack. You can still hangout with your friends and save some money.
  4. Bundle up. Have no shame wearing bulky sweaters, fuzzy socks, and lots of layers. I find that no matter what, if I a cold I am miserable. I made the decision to upgrade my winter coat this year, and it was the best money I have ever spent.
  5. Hit the gym. Going to the gym a few times a week is a great way for me to warm up, and I always leave feeling positive, and good about myself.
  6. Turn off the Netflix and read. Yes, binge watching ¬†is tempting this time of year, but take the time to join your local library and read some books. Personally, I find the act of reading a book just as relaxing as watching TV, but I feel better after, knowing I expanded my vocabulary, learned new things, and all the great things reading books do for you. A few weeks ago I picked up “The Happiness Project”¬†and I stopped watching TV before bed, so far¬†I find myself sleeping much better.

So, is there anything that you do to help stay warm and optimistic in the winter?

Your’s truly-M

What’s Up Wednesday: Easy Mid-week recipe

Good morning! This week has been hectic, COLD, and snowy.. and all I have wanted is a warm cup of soup and a cozy blanket. So if you have a crazy week and need a quick, easy, and healthy recipe I have the one for you! Below is a great take on corn chowder in under an hour. Soups usually take hours, but this one is a nice stand in when you have less time during the week to make a healthy meal. The prep is what takes the most time in this recipe, so you may need to devote a small amount of time ahead of when you want to eat to make this soup.

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil

2 cups of corn kernels (if frozen defrost under hot running water)

1 small onion – diced

4 slices of turkey bacon – chopped

1 tbsp flour

2 large baking potatoes (peeled and cubed)

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32 oz chicken broth

1 cup skim milk

4 oz of reduced-fat cream cheese

salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions and bacon.

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Cook 5 to 6 mins until the onions are soft, but not caramelized. Add the flour and cook an additional 2-3 minutes stirring continuously until the flour coats the onion and starts to stick to the pan. Add the potatoes, half the corn, and the broth. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Add the skim milk and cream cheese and mix until blended. Add the remaining corn and salt and pepper to taste!

*If you prefer, after adding the skim milk and cream cheese you can blend the soup in a food processor or with a stick blender.

I wish you all warmth!!

-Cheers

A

Why I practice Yoga

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I stole this amazing graphic from prevention.com

So the other day a friend of mine posted on Facebook asking why she should start doing yoga. She had heard good things about it, and wanted to know why she should give it a try. So it sparked my mind, to share why yoga is such an important part of my routine and identity. I started taking piyo and yoga classes in college, and fell in love. After relocating for my job, I finally found a good routine, and some classes with an instructor I feel comfortable with. For the past 6 months, I have been going to yoga classes once or twice each week at my my gym. I am by no means a professional, or an advanced yogi but I look forward to going to the gym in the evening to roll out my mat and get to work. But why do I love it?

  • It is “me” time. I know that for that hour, there is nothing else that I need to think or worry about. I can focus on myself. It is such a simple thing, but after a long day at work, it is nice to have some time to reflect on yourself.
  • It is great exercise!¬†After a good class I¬†am sore in all of the right places. I can feel that my abs, thighs, and arms are being engaged throughout the class, and I can improve my flexibility which is really important.
  • I feel like I am part of something outside of work and my social circles. It just feels good to be around other people who are as dedicated and passionate about something as you are. No one in my yoga class has any expectations from me, and I don’t have to worry about¬†making them happy. I can be me, and worry about just me. They also give me great inspiration, when I see someone who can really master a tricky pose, it gives me motivation to push myself harder.
  • I can clear my mind. My favorite part of the class is shavasana, otherwise known as the end of the class when you lay on the floor and meditate. It helps me let of any worry or stress from my week.
  • It is refreshing. There is no better feeling than walking out of a great yoga class. I feel replenished, full of energy, and at peace. I am a much happier, purposeful and energetic person when I practice yoga, and I don’t feel right when I miss a class!

So why do you practice yoga? Or why are you afraid to start?

You’rs Truly- M

Recipe: Kick-ass Veggie Chili

Veggie Chili is a staple in my house. I first learned to make it in high-school, shortly after becoming a vegetarian. Since then, I have made a million modifications, and I think I have finally found the perfect balance. This isn’t really a recipe, but more of instructions. Use what ever veggies/spices/beans you like or have on hand, that is what I did here. Ideally, I would have loved to add some fresh jalape√Īos, carrot and zucchini, but it was Super Bowl Sunday and I didn’t want to brave the grocery store!¬†I usually cook this chili on lazy Saturday or Sundays, because it really takes about 20 mins of prep, then you can just let it sit for a while and it is ready to eat when you are.

Some other great recipes to go off are Annie’s Eat’s vegetarian chili, Yesterday on Tuesday’s vegetarian chili, and if you eat meat, check out What’s Gaby Cooking’s Smoke Chipotle Chicken Chili!

So this is what I used….

Basic Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • Onion, red, yellow, or white
  • Peppers, any colors
  • Frozen corn
  • Garlic, I use pre-chopped because no one has time to peel them
  • Spices- Paprika, chili powder, cumin, pepper flakes, and cocoa powder
  • Hot peppers, jalape√Īos/poblanos or serrano, I use some frozen poblanos that I purred over the summer.
  • A big can of crushed tomatoes
  • A small can of tomato paste
  • A can of diced tomatoes with chilies or plain
  • Beans- I use a can of pinto and a can of black beans, I have used kidney and chickpeas before too

Okay so here is how I do it:

First, wash and chop my peppers and onions…

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Second, I saut√© the peppers, onions and garlic in a pan in olive oil until tender…

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Then I add about a teaspoon of each spice into the pan, you can just eyeball it…

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It should look something like this, looks gross I know but I promise it will turn out good!

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Then I add in the tomato paste, canned tomatoes, and hot peppers, and turn the heat on low…

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Then I add my beans to my crock pot, and pour the saut√©ed mixture over top…

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Let it cook for an hour or two on low, add corn 20 minutes before serving! I sometimes garnish with a dollop of plain greek yogurt (instead of sour cream), some crushed tortilla chips or a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Then enjoy!

Do you have a kick-ass chili recipe too? Or something you love to cook on lazy Sundays?

Yours Truly- M

A Lonely Sports Fan on the Rival Island: Superbowl Edition

Although I reside in New York, I am a proud New England-er and I love my Patriots! I grew up fairly close to Gillette Stadium and football is a religion in my hometown area (under the Kraft/Belichick/Brady Era). Boston sports fans are prideful and sometimes arrogant, but I feel I am just a confident fan – “The Patriot Way” indeed. When the team made it to the Superbowl I was ecstatic!! And soon enough¬†the Patriots hate¬†was heightened with the dominance over the Colts and the #DeflateGate controversy. Living in NY, I work with plenty of different sports fan bases including: Buffalo Bills, New York Jets, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Miami Dolphins aka a lot of Patriot rival teams. ¬†Well..

Spoiler Alert! (Jk everyone watched this years Superbowl) The Patriots prevailed with a game saving interception by corner back Malcolm Butler with 20 seconds to go in the 4th quarter! And Katy Perry danced and sang during the Sharks Halftime show ūüėČ I hope everyone was able to get over the terrible and sad nature of the commercials and enjoyed the night!

Here are a few of my favorite moments surrounding the Superbowl 2014!!

Chya Mayo РA Lil Mayo at Media Day 

A smiling Bill Belichick during Team Photos

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The First Family of Football – Tom Brady,¬†Gisele B√ľndchen after the Superbowl win

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AND Lastly: this really awesome sweatshirt 

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Cheers to Superbowl Champions, the New England Patriots!!

-A

Thrifty finds

Hey y’all! Just wanted to share a few gems I brought home with me this weekend! I hit up a thrift store not too far from my house, in hopes to find some odds and ends for the kitchen, but I ended up snagging a few different things! I generally try to hit thrift shops every couple of weeks, as most “professionals” will tell you to go often, and it is a great tip! The good stuff goes fast, so you never know what you will find! If you have never tried thrifting/gragesaling/fleamarketing I would check out this oldie but goodie post with a bunch of tips!.

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I found this really pretty basket for $3. I am currently using it as a place to hold my keys, purse, and mail on my table to make things look more organized.

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I snagged this scoop-neck sweatshirt for $4. It fits perfect, seemed pretty new, and I am thinking it will be perfect for spring/summer layers.

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I also grabbed these two jars for $2 each. As you can see, the first one is currently holding my oatmeal, and I am still working on the second one’s use. The design on the right jar really caught my eye. I have no idea what brand/style it is, but I remember my grandma had the exact same pattern in her kitchen. So I had to take it home because….memories.

Did you do any thrifting this weekend?

Your’s truly- M