...finding solutions for the mid-afternoon slump...
If you find yourself reaching for the chocolate, sugar, and caffeine around 3:00, you're not alone! In fact, google it and you will find yourself with several hits that talk about this not-uncommon phenomenon.
Have no fear, I'm not advocating giving up chocolate entirely! There is a difference between eating a little chocolate for pleasure as opposed to mindlessly noshing to stay awake. Here are a few reasons we reach for the highly sweetened and caffeinated snacks in the middle of the afternoon:
What do you think? Do any of these potential triggers sound familiar? None of us is immune, but there are ways past that afternoon mindless gobble session!
Don't Beat Yourself Up. This is no time for self shaming, negative self-talk, or body sabotage. So what if yesterday a few chocolate bars or a large piece of cake suddenly disappeared? Today is a new day. Each moment, in fact, a new moment, an opportunity we all have to start over. Make that moment NOW.
Take a Moment. Allow a really deep breath. Think about why that chocolate bar, extra large muffin, or maple latte sounds so good. Just for a moment, consider the trigger. Am I hungry? Am I tired? What did I eat for lunch? Am I bored? When did I last have a glass of water? Am I fighting with my husband? Kids?
Consider Alternatives. This gets easier with practice, and with planning ahead. But in the here and now, think about what you can eat or do instead of giving in to your craving, just for this moment.
Sometimes we have no choice about where we eat for lunch...but we can always choose what we eat. I've compiled a handy guide with good information for those times we're out and about and eating on the go.
From plain potatoes to sushi to grilled skewers, fast food can be smarter.
Subscribe to my mailing list to receive this cheat sheet! It may seem like there's no way out, but there are always healthier choices!
Meal Planning: Kick that Craving to the Curb!
Meal planning is, at its' most basic level, planning ahead the food that you'll eat during the course of the day. All of us do it, to one extent or another, even if it's a quick thought while you're standing in line at the coffee shop or as you're cruising the grocery store or sitting parked in traffic on your way home from work. Some of us are more detailed, some less. The key to killing most afternoon slumps is to plan smarter, not harder.
I hear about this same frustration from so many people! From time to time, everyone suffers from the afternoon slump, myself included. I hope this post has helped you find a concrete way to work around chocolate attacks! People are complex creatures, and no one is a "one-size-fits-all" when it comes to solutions that work. This is merely a tool kit I've put together to help you find your best self.
Want to hear what I eat in a day? Join my Facebook Page to get in on the conversation! This week I'm obsessed with lunches, last week I was all about breakfast. Dinner's going to come up soon, as well as snacks, desserts, and drinks. And it's summer...who knows what else is in store!
If you're on the go, I've put together a cheat sheet that suggests the healthier choices we can make! Just sign up for my mailing list and I'll get that to you. If you loved this article, please share it!
All the best, friends.
You don't have to yield to temptation!
I love playing with wonton wrappers. I know I've barely scratched the surface of all the interesting things you can do with them. In fact, I just found this fabulous article with other ideas that I'm going to have to play with down the road.
Tonight we made taco bites. I layered extra lean ground chicken in a silicone muffin pan, seasoned with homemade taco seasoning spice, layered with frozen corn and a slice of cheddar cheese, and topped with a second wrapper. These were baked @ 375*F for about 25 minutes. Served with salsa on the side, to accommodate my picky boys' palate, and fresh vegetables.
The second picture, above, is my BBQ pork nests. These were made by stir frying red peppers, garlic, and onions together with some already cooked leftover tenderloin strips. I mixed in a little sauce, topped them off with a bit of cheese, and baked for about the same length of time at the same temperature. They were delicious, and were a hit appetizer at the party I brought them to.
The third is a twist on the second. These wontons were cooked more traditionally, the BBQ pork stuffed inside the wrappers, sealed, boiled, and then pan fried until crisp. Served with coleslaw, they were given a 2-thumbs up by my first son.
Did any of these ideas inspire you to start playing around in your kitchen? #testkitchen fun! These are especially fun to use when you have some time and a few leftover ingredients you're looking to find a use for. I was able to use up the last of my pork tenderloin, the last pepper, and the end of my bag of frozen corn.
Enjoy your day, friends.
I'm not a fan of gardening. Like baking, I can do it, but I don't really like it. It feels like a chore. I do, however, like food, and the fact that bees are our main pollinators and dying off at an alarming rate alarms me. So I plant flowers and avoid garden centers that use neonicotinoids as pesticides, and try hard to not cringe when dandelions bloom on our property. It might not be much, and maybe won't have a massive impact overall, but if my garden or deck boxes provide a small oasis for some local bees, then I know I've done something to address the problem. Here's another article about this in Wikipedia.
I have a little bit of personal involvement in this issue. When I was a little girl I used to visit what we called "the farm". My grandpa was a beekeeper. The first time I saw those bees winging their way from the house to the fields was terrifying to me, being a city girl through and through. But he and my dad pulled me aside to watch them as they flew to the water barrel next to the house and back out to the fields or wherever they were going. He showed me that they weren't going out of their way to scare me, that if you respect them and give them their space, they would work hard doing what they do- to my young eyes, the only thing they did was make honey for me to take home- but that was a good enough lesson to stick with me for a lifetime.
My mom loves gardening. She always thought I would get to the point in my life where it was something I would eventually enjoy, that it must be an inherited trait. It's really, really not. But as I said, I like food. So my boys (especially my second son) and I are taking care of our "crops"- this year, we're growing flowers and a few herbs, and my first son is growing a bean stalk and a pea plant- we'll keep them protected (as much as possible) from hail and drought. I will take the time needed to deadhead them. I will use my lemongrass, basil and thyme with gratitude, and I hope to sit out on the deck and enjoy the buzz of the bees as they appreciate the effort we went to in order to give them some flowers to visit. My boys are learning that food actually comes from somewhere other than a store, which I think is a helpful thing for them to learn.
Planting flowers does improve our community overall, I think. When spring and summer are such fleeting seasons for us here in Alberta, it does make a heart happy to see and smell flowers and plants growing and thriving, green and blooming. It gives other species a place of peace and rest too, such as birds and butterflies. It is so fun to watch birds chase each other around, to listen to them sing, or to find a place to nest in your clematis. And larger than our local community, giving space for these pollinators will help with global needs. It's not just here that we would lose our pollinators- a world wide food shortage will be the outcome if we lose our bees. We need to be more globally focused and think about what we can do for the earth as a whole. It's a shared space, and we are a village, albeit a pretty large one.
I don't know if the bees will come to my house this year. I've learned a lot about bees in the last few years, ever since a bunch of them spent a summer living in the dirt under our deck. But I hope they'll return; there aren't many in our neighborhood the last few years. I'm going with a lesson learned and deliberately misquoted from Field of Dreams, a movie from several years ago: "If you build it, they will come". (Misquoting makes more sense in this context!)
Peace and love, friends. Enjoy your weekend.
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It's a sandwich for dinner tonight! This weather, while gorgeous, has taken me by surprise this early in the year. Today's high is almost 30*C (close to 85*F), and it's a beautiful night to sit on the soccer field.
I don't know if this kind of sandwich has a different name in another place, but in our house we call it the grilled wrap. It's a large whole grain/whole wheat wrap, stuffed with sweet peppers, leftover cooked meat (tonight we're using some beef or turkey from the freezer), sauteed onions, peppers, and garlic and a bit of sauce and cheese. We're using BBQ sauce with cheddar tonight, but you could also use tzatziki or hummus with feta, caesar salad dressing with parmesan, or hot sauce and monterey jack cheese with jalapenos.
The advantage to this kind of dinner is the speed it's cooked at. Sauteeing takes, at most, 5 minutes. We use the George Foreman Grill to grill it, though the BBQ or a smaller sandwich press works well too. At most, again, 5 minutes. And I can set it up on the deck to cut down on how much heat sets up in the house.
This is a pretty basic recipe, but there will be a printable pdf available tomorrow on my Wednesday giveaway, with all the options listed here, including the exact way I made the sandwich pictured above. Check back on Facebook tomorrow for the like, comment, and share post.
Good morning! This is a test...I'm having some trouble with sharing my blog posts to facebook, so if you can see this and it loads well, give me a shout out!
I know, one day is much the same in the passage of time. But somehow Friday seems to make a difference in how I perceive the day. Monday seems to start at the outer edge of a deep chasm, and it's hard, sometimes, to fathom crossing to the other side. But we start going on faith, with one step after another, and suddenly you notice a ratty rope bridge you set up for yourself a long time ago, but forgot about. And before you know it, welcome to Friday.
This weekend is off to a good start, mostly because it was hot lunch at my second son's school today, which meant I didn't have to wake up my brain enough to make his lunch before enjoying my coffee. A morning of studying, course calls, and baroque classics on Stingray, and I'm in a peaceful, happy place. The weekend stretches ahead like an oasis, blissfully unplanned and open. I know it's going to be less than idyllic because...life...but I can enjoy the illusion right this second. My picture shows the state of my mind at this moment...ahhh...
Now, what are your weekend plans? I have some grand ideas lined up for myself. I am going to cook a dozen breakfast sandwiches, to store in the freezer for breakfasts this week, as well as boil a bunch of eggs and make a pot of oatmeal. Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day, but since coming home from my trip I've been scarfing down a hastily constructed peanut butter sandwich. Hardly the stuff of dreams.
I've also got this strong desire for blueberry and saskatoon crumble. So I think I'm going to make one of those for "now", and one of those for the freezer. I'll use this recipe, but berries instead of apples. We actually have vanilla ice cream in the freezer. It's going to be a tasty weekend.
And, we're going camping in a few weeks, so I should really be thinking ahead about what foods we're going to bring, and start cooking ahead. I like camp stove cooking, but it's got to be easy, and ingredients have to be easily packed, space being the premium it is, with all our camping equipment and supplies stuffed on the roof, in the back, and around the kids. I was going through my bookmarks and came across this Ziplock bag camping article. I thought it was worth the re-read, and so I'm sharing it with you today. I hope you enjoy it!
If you get some time, fill me in on what your weekend looks like! I can't wait to hear about your adventures, from wherever you reside on our lovely blue planet. Until next time, happy eating and drinking, and enjoy every moment.
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