Sunday, January 4, 2015

A is for Apricots

Happy 2015!

This year, I am participating in a challenge with the ladies in my family to expand my knowledge of cooking different fruits and vegetables. We are going to go through the alphabet A-Z and each week pick a fruit/vegetable that we don't normally cook with and try a new recipe. Here's to more successes than flops... 

For A, I went with dried apricots. I found a recipe in "Color Me Vegan" by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau that spiked my interest.... Apricot Red Lentil Stew. 

Caleb and I both really enjoyed the stew. It took about an hour to make from start to finish, but had several simmer times, so it wasn't hands on the entire time. This will definitely be added to our make again list. The recipe is vegan, soy-free, and gluten free... As per usual... Caleb requested that next time I add some really thick slices of bacon. My reaction... next time you cook the stew, feel free to add anything you like! 

Apricot Red Lentil Stew 
4-6 servings, 364 calories

2 tablespoons olive oil 
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced 
1/2 cup halved dried apricots 
1 1/2 cups red lentils, picked through and drained (I used 3/4 red and 3/4 green for variety!) 
5 cups vegetable stock 
3 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped 
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste 
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste 
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained 

1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot. Add the onion, garlic, and apricots...cook for about 7 minutes until the onion is translucent. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. 
2. Add the lentils and stock. Cover, bring to a boil...simmer for 30 minutes. 
3. Stir in the tomatoes, cumin, thyme, salt, and pepper...simmer for 10 minutes. 
4. Puree half of the stew in a blender or food processor and then return back to pot. Add the chickpeas and cook until heated through... about 5 minutes. 
5. Ready to serve... garnish with dried apricots and a sprinkle of thyme. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

100% shouldn't happen, breaking up?

Tonight at yoga teacher training, we had a goal coaching session. I am a VERY goal oriented person. I thrive off of having a plan for my life and feel that it really guides me on a daily basis to accomplish things. So... I normally don't have that hard of a time setting goals. But... tonight... two things hit me pretty hard.

1. According to this goal setting philosophy, you should only reach 50% of the goals you set. If you reach 100%, you aren't setting them high enough. 

Ouch... if I should only reach 50% of the goals I set... that means I will NOT be achieving 50%. (And, yes.. I understand these are approximations.) I am just having a really hard time wrapping my head around this one... if I am setting goals in this fashion than I will not be achieving 50% of them.

As a goal oriented person, I get a certain satisfaction from achieving a goal. I don't necessarily need a huge party to celebrate the achievement of a goal... maybe just a pat on the back and a few words of praise. But, when I don't achieve a goal, I get really disappointed and it takes me a few days to kick the feelings of failure.

Why am I so afraid failure? I have a longing to please people and am terribly afraid of disappointing people (probably a post for another day). But, these are MY goals and MY life. I am not disappointing anyone if I don't reach a goal. I mean lets face it... people are more concerned with their own lives and goals to become so invested in mine that they are disappointed when I don't accomplish one of mine.

So... to summarize ... my approach to goal setting has always been challenging, but realistic and attainable goals. Yes, I take chances, but prefer to shoot for the moon and not the stars. And, there is nothing wrong with that. But, what if I set my goals a little higher? Would it push me just a little more to achieve something greater? Am I holding my self back?

2. It's OK to let a goal go. 

As I mentioned early this week, I have been reassessing different aspects of my life to find a better balance. So, I suppose it is only natural that I would be shifting focus with goals. Maybe, just maybe, for this moment in my life... "run a marathon" is not that high on my goals list.

But, taking something that has been on my goals for probably 4 years and shifting it down, seems weird. But, right now, I don't feel excited by this goal. The idea of spending 4 hours on a Saturday running seems so daunting and honestly not that fun. I would much rather go to a yoga class, take the dogs to the park, and lay in my new birthday hammock.

I know I don't have to decide tonight about this goal. And, if I decide that now is not that time for me take on this goal, it doesn't mean that I won't ever take it on... I am ONLY 27 after all.

And... side note. I suppose this is one goal that I have set for 4 years and haven't achieved... I lived and no one really cared that I didn't run a marathon.

Thanks for listening to my evening ramble... Caleb is at the hospital (no surprise there!!) and not sure many people want to talk this deep at 10 p.m.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Window

First, I would like to take a couple of moments to wish my little sister a very happy 23 birthday! Can't believe she is already mid-20's... we won't talk about how I just turned 27.

The window... a small bit of saving grace. Alroy, my little red monster, is a little more energy than I can take care of some days. Walks, ball, trips to the park... sometimes just doesn't quite cut it. The other day, I decided to open a window in the dinning room to see what he thought. He LOVES it. He will stand at the window for hours just looking. He doesn't bark at it much... I turned around yesterday and found him in this position, quite as a mouse... but very alert. Such a busy boy.

My window
He has been a bit of a handful the past month or so. He got pneumonia around the middle of March. Yes, it can happen to dogs... who knew?! It is rare and can be serious pretty fast. We caught it early, so we were able to get him treated. But, it was really scary. Four days in the hospital, two weeks of low activity, and two rounds of antibiotics later...we are recovered. We are still working to put back on some of the weight, but are slowly getting there.

Feeling puny on the way home from the hospital
Taking an afternoon snooze during recovery... see my little IV spot. 
Alroy is still attending his obedience class. He got promoted to intermediate!! haha. I really never thought the day would come. We are doing pretty good with sit, stay, come, down. He even won an award in class a few weeks ago...then he tried to eat it. We are doing OK with jumping on people... but, if he gets too excited that's out of the window. Table manners we are STRUGGLING at. He has figured out that is tall enough to put his head on the table and then his tongue can reach the plate...ugh. Any suggestions??

I won an award... then I ate it. 

Molly is still a little diva princess!! She sleeps late, eats when she wants, and doesn't really do anything she doesn't want to!!

I didn't want to move... so the pillows and blanket got put up around me. 
And... that's an update on my precious little babies!

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