January 8, NY19 Resolutions Check-In

2019 Resolutions

Today marks the eighth day of the New Year and so the eighth day of working on my 2019 resolutions. So far, so good. I have reached the half-way point in my two week detox. I have not had a cigarette, a drink or a sweet since December 31, 2018. I can’t say that it’s been incredibly easy, although it hasn’t been terribly challenging either. Like I said in my previous check-in on January 3rd, the most difficult time was Wednesday night during band practice. This will come around again tomorrow. I do not think it will be as tough as the first week. Having other people over drinking and smoking does present temptation, however. The other part that was difficult at first was coming back to work. Smoke breaks at work were a good little stop in the day to sit on my phone and not think about anything. Without smoking, I don’t find myself taking the same breaks. Also, as I said in my previous check-in, I think that smoking is more of a habit for me than a physical addiction, and so not being able to follow through on that habit was a bit difficult the first couple of days back at work even though I had already gone six days without a cigarette.

My other resolutions have been going well also. I’m continuing to follow my meal prep plan with prepared lunches and planned out dinners. I am not stick to my original meal schedule so to speak, but I’m not going out to eat or grabbing fast food for lunch. I’ve been cooking dinner every night and preparing lunches and breakfasts in the morning for my husband and I. It’s been nice actually. I always feel better when I eat food from home. Fast food just makes me feel so sluggish. I really don’t know why I ever go back when cooking can be so easy. Speaking of, I don’t want to do a full post highlighting this since it isn’t really a recipe, but the easiest and most delicious cheap lunch idea came to me last week – homemade frozen bean burritos. Seriously, it sounds crazy, but I made some frozen burritos at home this weekend. I used one can of vegetarian refried beans, a can of Rotel, some shredded Mexican cheese and tortillas. I wrapped it all up together into a burrito (all together it made four decent sized burritos) then wrapped the burrito in parchment paper and placed in a ziploc bag for freezing. The next day, I put the burritos in little containers for us to take to work. It only took about a minute and a half to heat them up and they were delicious! This was a great discovery for me because it’s so cheap and easy to prep. I will be saving this idea and using it in the future.

My last resolution is to take better care of my physical form. I’m happy to report that I’ve been successful with this also. I’ve been waking up at 6am every morning with enough time to have a cup of coffee, get ready for work and take our dogs on a walk. The pups really love the extra attention and I’m finding that I really enjoy the extra jump-start to my morning. I haven’t officially started working out yet since the gym I joined hasn’t opened yet, but I’m hoping they will soon so that I can get back into some light weightlifting as well. All in all, the lack of toxins, the light exercise and the healthy sleep pattern have made me feel amazing! I have more energy throughout the day, I fall asleep faster and sleep better and I find myself looking forward to getting home and making dinner.

This weekend may be more tough than the last, however, to stick to my resolution guns. My husband and I are supposed to attend a pirate themed 30th birthday party on Saturday. This is only three days away from the end of my two week detox. I’m struggling with the thought of cheating for the one day so I can enjoy myself versus sucking it up and finishing out the detox. A part of me thinks it would be fine to do it for one day, and then to maybe extend the detox afterwards to the following weekend, thus giving myself almost another entire week of detox. But another part of me says I need to stick it out. It’s a difficult decision too because it’s a family member’s birthday party, and I don’t want them to think I’m not having fun or being a party pooper. Decisions, decisions. I guess I will have to get through the week to see what I end up wanting to do. I’m still so torn at this point. Gah – what would you do?

Anyway, I hope everyone is having a great start to their year. It feels like it’s flying by already doesn’t it? Until next time…

MelissaRose

Vegan “Chicken” Noodle Soup

Recipes

We are now 5 days into the New Year, and I gotta say, I’m pretty proud of myself so far (cue laughter – a whole 5 days – wooo!) But seriously, everything is going just swimmingly. Still no alcohol, smokes or sweets, which is making me feel incredibly good and energized at this point. My meal plan and shopping for next week is complete. I purchased the majority of my produce from local vendors at my city’s farmer’s market this morning (as well as some other goodies I will share with you), and I even made “chicken” noodle soup from scratch as well as a loaf of French bread to go with it. I am on a roll (or on a loaf?)!

The farmer’s market this morning was amazing despite the freezing cold temperatures and the wind – oh the wind. At one point one of the vendors tents started to flip over, the poor young girl underneath didn’t really know what to do as I grabbed the leg of the easy-up and pulled it back down to earth. Luckily, the vendor next to her was able to tie their tents together and provide some weights for the legs – it was an all out event. Anyway, I was up before the sun this morning, which NEVER happens. I am going to attribute this burst of morning energy to my lack of toxic intake the past 5 days. It was so nice to have coffee and get ready at my leisure while the sun rose. I went to the window every ten minutes or so to see how the sun’s progress was going along with my own. I met my mom at the farmer’s market and we were able to pick up several items including carrots, potatoes, broccoli, celery and even some olive oil and homemade lotion. Here’s a little picture of the things I got that weren’t produce related:

I haven’t tried the biscotti or the spices yet, but both look and smell divine. I cannot wait to enjoy the biscotti tomorrow with my morning coffee. The biscotti comes from a local baking company called The Upper Crust Baking Co. They’ve been around for about 30 years and source their ingredients locally which I think is pretty cool. You can even order some of their products online and have them shipped to you (seriously, if you try this let me know how it goes). The olive oil is from a company called Theofani’s and is possibly the most delicious olive oil I’ve ever tasted. It’s difficult to explain, but something about the flavor is so fresh – so fresh that I wanted to sip the olive oil straight from the sample cup (which I did – no shame). I’ve decided to dub this my “special olive oil” which will be used only for dipping breads and making dressings and not cooking – this stuff is too delicious to be mixed with other ingredients. The last two items come from one of the nicest booths my mom and I met during our visit. Herban Wild is a family run business that offers everything from all natural lotion bars to spice mixes to loose tea blends. The lotion bar is made with local beeswax and feels and smells absolutely amazing. They were also offering samples of their Wild Nettle Chai tea that I cannot wait to purchase (although, my mom did buy some so I guess I could steal some of hers until I get my own). The owners made the tea with sweetener and a little bit of almond milk – it was absolutely divine! It was also a nice touch on a gloomy day that really required you get something warm to drink. All in all, there weren’t as many vendors as there usually are on a good weather day, but I’m grateful to have found the ones that were willing to brave the weather like my mom and myself.

Now, back to the produce… The carrots, celery and potatoes were a part of my meal plan for the week. With the weather being as gloomy and as cold as it is I knew I wanted a soup mixed in for the week. And the only thing better than soup is bread – which I also made and will post about later on. My go-to soup is usually tomato bisque with a good old fashioned grilled cheese sandwich, but this week I really felt like switching it up (especially since fresh tomatoes aren’t in season). I made the quick and easy decision of tagging in some vegan “chicken” noodle soup. I put chicken in quotes because I do not eat chicken and instead used Beyond Meat’s grilled chicken strips, which are actually just some type of plant protein formed and marked to look like grilled chicken. It really is a great substitute and worked out perfectly for my purposes. This recipe was fairly easy to make as well – as usual I did some research into a couple different chicken noodle recipes (vegan and non-vegan) and sort of mixed them together to create the perfect version for me and what I had on hand in my kitchen. (However, big shout-out to http://kblog.lunchboxbunch.com who gave me the idea for using the Beyond Meat chicken strips in soup. I have used them as a substitute in many other recipes such as salads, sandwiches and even enchiladas, but I hadn’t tried a soup yet. Check out their blog for loads of other great vegan recipes and meal planning info.) The result – a comforting and tasty soup that will not only provide loads of leftovers for the week of rain ahead but provide a warm nostalgic feel of winters past with mom’s or grandma’s homemade chicken noodle.

What’s your favorite soup recipe to make when the weather is gloomy? Do you buy your ingredients from a farmer’s market? And, are there any go-to products that you’ve found from local or small shops?

Vegan “Chicken” Noodle Soup

3 medium sized carrots, cut into rounds

2 larger sized red potatoes, cubed (you can peel these too if you like)

3 stalks of celery, cut into slices

3 tsp olive oil

1 1/2 tsp onion powder (equal to about 1/2 onion diced)

1 bayleaf

1 1/2 tsp garlic, minced (equal to about 3 cloves)

1 1/2 cups ditalini pasta (or whatever pasta you prefer)

1 bag of Beyond Meat chicken strips (make sure to get the unseasoned variety)

4 cups vegetable broth

3-4 cups of water (depending on the consistency you like your soup to be)

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Place olive oil, celery, bayleaf, onion powder and garlic in the bottom of a large soup pot and cook over medium heat until they just start to soften or about 5 minutes.
  2. Add in the rest of the ingredients (start slow with the water to build up your consistency, keep in mind the soup will cook down so you may have to add more water as you go) and stir to combine.
  3. Bring mixture to a boil, stir occasionally.
  4. Once the soup comes to a boil, place a lid on the pot and reduce heat to low and let simmer until the pasta and potatoes are cooked through. This should take about 15-20 minutes. Keep in mind, you can let the soup simmer longer to enhance the flavors, but the liquid will dissipate and the ingredients will become softer the longer you cook it.
  5. When finished, add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve with homemade bread or rolls for a real crowd pleaser.
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NY19 Resolution #3: Sustainability // No New Things

2019 Resolutions

We live in a world that is driven by hardcore consumerism. Every holiday and event presents its own opportunity to purchase something new, whether it be a gift, a card, an outfit, a pair of shoes – pretty much anything as long as you’re able to find justification. It seems a little crazy to me that we are all so ready to spend crazy amounts of money at any time on things we don’t need or on things that we give to others that they don’t really need. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love gift-giving as much as the next person and I guess what this epiphany is for me isn’t necessarily about not spending money but about being more thoughtful about what I’m spending my money on.

Throughout 2018 I made a conscious effort to quit spending money on fast-fashion, and can actually proudly say that I did not spend a single dime on clothing from Forever 21, H&M or Target. I did buy some jeans from Levi’s and a couple things from Nordstrom but that’s another story about my fashion needs altogether. But this year I am upping the ante – no purchasing anything brand new, and this is everything – no clothing, home items, kitchen accessories, bathroom decor, etc. Pretty much anything that isn’t a COMPLETE necessity, I am not going to purchase brand new. This does leave open a loop-hole – notice I say “I’m not purchasing anything brand new” not “I’m not purchasing anything at all”. The second-hand market is absolutely incredible. If you haven’t checked it out yet, I encourage you to check out my Videos tab and take a look at some of the things I’ve been able to score in 2018 alone.

So this year I’m going full thrift, and there’s a couple of reasons why. #1: Money – you can save a TON of money by buying things second hand. Sure, you may not find it exactly when you need it, but if you keep a running list of items you need and check the stores each time you go, you’re bound to find it eventually. This can range from clothing items, dish ware, kitchen appliances, blankets, decor and more. I have found some of my favorite clothing items, my most treasured home decor items and some of the COOLEST things at my local thrift store. And thrift stores aren’t the only place open for business – there are garage sales, online second hand (such as Poshmark, Faceboook Marketplace and Craigslist), flea markets, closet swaps, estate sales and so many other unique opportunities to purchase other peoples no longer loved items. Reason #2: The planet – tons of items we no longer love make their way to our landfills every day. The garbage piles up higher and higher while we continue to purchase new things, only to end up adding those to the mountain of possessions we used to treasure. This kind of consumerism needs to stop. There is absolutely no reason or excuse for it, and with all of the items already circulating from purchase to dumping, it seems a waste to not pass on our used items to other people who might find great joy in them. Let’s end this cycle of buying cheap and tossing quickly to help save our planet from being swallowed up by waves and waves of garbage.

This challenge for me is very exciting. I love thrifting and find great joy in the hunt for things that I need. I’ve even purchased gifts from the thrift store that would have been better than anything I could have afforded brand new, and felt great pride in being able to give something that was not only useable and of great value but was not something that was going to fall apart in a month or end up in the garbage. Being sustainable in this aspect is something that is very important to me, and I anticipate this will be a large part of my blog as well as my YouTube channel simply because it is something that I am passionate about and would love to educate and inspire others to do the same.

Today is the last day of 2018, and I am looking forward to starting all of my resolutions tomorrow. We are having some people over for a fancy New Years Eve party with drinks, games and food which should be an excellent time. I am excited to ring in the New Year with close friends and celebrate all of the strides I am going to take in 2019 to better my life and the lives of others. If you’re enjoying what you’re seeing or know of someone who might enjoy it, please share this page with them. I’m always looking for like-minded people to connect with and to help keep myself encouraged as well as to inspire change in others. I hope you all have a safe and Happy New Year – Cheers to 2019!

MelissaRose

New Year’s Resolutions 2019

2019 Resolutions

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2018 is coming to a close, and for the first time in several years, I’ve decided to tackle some New Year’s resolutions. I haven’t had many resolutions in the past, I think because I didn’t feel like they were important enough to save for the beginning of a New Year. But this year, I’ve decided to tackle some pretty tough and important items to me, and to hopefully, blog about it along the way.