May 2, NY19 Resolutions Check-In

2019 Resolutions

Hi all! I’m here today with another accountability check-in on my New Year’s resolutions. I’m happy to say that I’m still doing fairly well on all of my goals that I set forth. Let’s get into them in order…

My first New Year’s resolution was to keep up with my blog. I’ll have to admit, lately I haven’t been posting as much as when I first started, but I am still posting. So that’s good. I’m posting almost once a week which was my minimum goal when I started. Unfortunately, the toughest part now is thinking of content to write about. I’ve blogged most of my favorite go-to recipes already and a few posts about thrifting. I think I will have to step up my at home cooking a bit more in order to give myself things to write about. I also need to get better at photographing things I’m up to so that I can post about them. I have already moved my seedlings to the garden and laid down my soaker hose irrigation, but unfortunately did not take any photos so it makes it difficult to illustrate my process in my posts. In order to try and keep up with this resolution, I’m going to try and be better at documenting certain processes and recipes that I can post here.

My third resolution (skipping number two because it was only a two week goal at the beginning of the year) was to not buy anything new. I am doing great with this one despite the occasional urge to splurge. No, really, I went to Target yesterday to get an eyebrow pencil (can’t buy these used), and ended up with an entire basket full of goodies. I looked at the basket and realized that I was getting ready to buy a bunch of stuff I didn’t really need and that would really just end up being a waste of money. I’m proud to say that I put all the items back and left with the items I had intended to buy originally. We all know how difficult this can be at Target, so I’m pretty proud of myself to say the least. I have continued to purchase clothing and other items secondhand when I need to. The only new items I’ve purchased so far are a vacuum cleaner, mascara, an eyebrow pencil and of course other toiletries and cleaning supplies you really can’t buy secondhand. Overall, this is a huge win because I used to frivolously spend pretty often. I am excited to keep this going throughout the rest of the year. Oh! However, I should mention, I will be going to Nashville in May, and I am thinking about rewarding myself at the half way of the year mark (close enough) with a new hat. We will see how that goes…

New Year’s resolution number four is sustainability through food. This one is also going great. I have all of my vegetable seedlings now transferred to the garden and have been watering them regularly to keep them alive and well. Some seem like the recent heat wave may have hit them a bit hard, but I’m hoping they will bounce back. I’ve also been fairly good at not ordering out for food (although this has happened a few times – damn you DoorDash!!). I’ve curbed waste in our home by purchasing dinners in the evenings at the store instead of doing large grocery trips each week. I’m finding that this cuts down on the possibility of menu plans being forgotten or skipped and food being wasted. I’ve also found that it helps keep me more accountable to actually make dinner instead of ordering something that may be less healthy and typically more expensive.

My final resolution was to take better care of my physical form – working out mostly. I’m proud to say that my gym opened a few months ago, and I am now on my 7th (or maybe it’s my 8th? I can’t remember) week of going to the gym at least 3 days a week (I may have had one busy week where I only went once or twice, but did work out at home instead). I’m really enjoying going to the gym, and feel like I’m finally starting to see real results when I look in the mirror. It feels great to put in the work and I find that I’m sleeping better, wanting to eat better, and also waking up feeling more energized than I have in months. This also helps with my evening grocery store trips. My grocery store is right next door to my gym, so swinging by after a workout makes it super convenient and quick to grab stuff for dinner.

Overall, I am happy with my progress this year, and I really feel like this blog has been helping me to build good habits. Going to the gym and cooking every night may not seem like alot, but working a full time job plus managing several freelance opportunities and maintaining a home can be tough. Often it can be difficult to balance my time properly and encourage myself to do things other then sit and watch tv when the days feel so grueling. I’m happy to say that finding new things to keep me busy is not making me more tired but quite the opposite. I’m enjoying the fruits of my labor already and can’t wait to see what I can sow throughout the rest of the year. Thanks for reading!

MelissaRose

March 11, NY19 Resolutions Check-In

2019 Resolutions

It’s been a while since I checked in with how my New Year’s resolutions are going, so I thought I’d write up a quick post to keep myself accountable. If you’re reading this, I hope it helps you to stick to your resolutions as well or maybe to pick back up on them if you’ve fallen off the wagon.

My first resolution is to keep up on my blog, which I am happy to say I think I’ve been doing a fairly good job doing. I’ve been posting almost once a week, and I feel like it’s really helped me to take more pride in the things I’m cooking, the plants I’m planting and the steps I’m taking towards living a more sustainable life. If you want to see what I’ve been up to, go to my home page to scroll through my most recent posts, or use the menu above to browse by category.

My second resolution was a two week detox, which ended a while ago, so I’ll be skipping to resolution #3: No New Things. Resolution #3 is basically a rule I set for myself to not buy anything new in 2019 unless absolutely necessary. So far, I am doing great, as the only things I’ve purchased new are a vacuum cleaner and some hair clips. Both of these items I feel are completely justified as I would never buy either of these things used, and the vacuum cleaner is a huge necessity in our house because of all of our fur babies. Also, I didn’t just go out and purchase a new vacuum for the heck of it, our old one took a crap and so it was necessary to find a replacement. I got an amazing pet-focused vacuum from Kohl’s which I’ve been thrilled with (major #adulting), and the Kohl’s cash program gave me $30 back which I was able to use to purchase new pads for my steam mop. To be honest, sometimes I miss buying new things, but it’s made me even more resourceful and more determined to find things used. I even found a Kitchenaid can opener at the thrift store!

Resolution #4 is sustainability through food. This is a multi-faceted goal including more cooking, less eating out, as well as starting a larger garden. So far, the cooking has been mostly on point with the exception of a few unplanned cheat days. It’s been fun to try new recipes like bagels and lobster tails in lieu of purchasing these items premade at the store or in a restaurant. I’m also finding that the more recipes I try, the more my confidence builds in the kitchen. The more confidence I have the more fun it is for me to try new things and see how many things I can make that I never thought I would before. The lobster tails and bagels (not at the same time LOL) are definitely the most daunting things I’ve tried, but both turned out wonderfully and make me excited to see what I can do next. The gardening has been going pretty great too. I will be getting ready to harden off my seedlings this week to get them ready for the great outdoors. I have one more bed to prep in the backyard before they can move in which I’m hoping to get done either this week or next weekend. The longer days should now help with having more time to get things done. Also, the weather is looking excellent (finally!) so I’m definitely looking forward to spending some time in the yard.

My fifth resolution is a pretty standard goal for most people around New Years, and that is to take better care of my physical form. It’s been a rough go the last couple of months since we’ve been getting a TON of rain. Each weekend that is hasn’t rained though, my husband and I have been taking river walks with our German shepherd Nixie. It’s about a 3.5 mile walk/hike round trip and it’s always a nice little escape and a joy to be out in nature. Also, my new gym finally opened up last week! I’ve been once so far, but I am so excited to continue to go. The place is so clean and new and I love how the machines are set up. It’s been a while since I visited a gym regularly, but I just know that if I can keep myself going for the first couple of weeks I won’t want to stop.

So that’s pretty much it on how I’m doing so far this year. Overall I’m pretty proud of my consistency and progress. I definitely think having this blog and having a place to document everything I’m working on is super helpful.

What about you? How are your resolutions going?

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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January 3, NY19 Resolutions: Detox, Walking, Meal-Planning

2019 Resolutions

Today is officially day 3 of working on my New Year’s resolutions. So far, the main challenges have been resolution #1 (keeping up with my blog) and resolution #2 (two week detox). I should also mention that I didn’t make a dedicated description blog for resolution #5 because I felt it was pretty self explanatory (working out, better physical care). I am proud to say that it is day 3, and I have not had any alcohol, cigarettes, or sweets, and I’ve walked every day except the first (because hello New Year’s Eve regrets). So far it hasn’t been too tough other than band practice on the second day. Band practice is the evening where the band gets together, plays and writes music, and drinks beer (and some of us smoke). I think this night was especially difficult because smoking for me is such a habit based addiction. I don’t feel that I crave it physically in my body so much as I just feel like I’m supposed to be doing it because I’ve done it in this time and place so many times before… a bad habit. Not drinking isn’t as difficult for me, plus I know if I were to slip up and have a drink I’d just want a cigarette even more – thank you alcohol for keeping me honest. Anywho, it’s going pretty good so far, and I think I am already seeing some of the benefits.


Taking walks has been so nice! I really love being outside with my dogs, even if it does feel freezing cold outside. Today we visited a local coffee shop that has amazing breakfast burritos. We got coffee and sat with our burritos in the park. It’s so nice to be able to enjoy the clean, fresh air without wanting a cigarette. I think another benefit I’m feeling already is my sleep. I feel as if I’ve slept far more soundly than usual and feel like it’s easier to initially fall asleep as well. I don’t know if this is an actual side effect of detoxing from nicotine, but I’ll take what I can get. Today was supposed to be the most difficult day for cravings. I read online in several places that once you’ve quit for 72 hours that the nicotine is 100% out of your system. I find it incredible that the changes can happen this fast. Again, I don’t feel like I’ve really had too many physical cravings, and being at home (I took the week off work) I think makes the habit part of it easier to ignore since I don’t typically smoke much when I’m at home anyhow.


Being on vacation at home has been nice. It’s given me time to really reflect as well as research and keep up on some of my resolutions. I still have 3 days left in which I plan to meal plan, prep and shop for the coming week. I think what I want to do is a rice, hummus, vegetable bowl that I used to meal prep for lunches, and maybe some egg muffins for breakfast. I’ll post the recipes for them later one once I’m able to get some decent photos. I’m also looking forward to trying out some new bread recipes. I either want to make my own bread bowls for soup or some sandwich bread to cut down on grocery costs (the bread we buy now is over $5 a loaf). So far in the New Year, it’s been a lot of take out and fast food – which is fine to me right now since I haven’t been grocery shopping and since I haven’t been getting any of it delivered (ha, go me!). My favorite eat-out meal so far has been the new Beyond Famous Star burger from Carl’s JR. Seriously, if you’re a vegetarian, go try this thing, it’s bomb.

Well, I think that’s all for now. This has been my first accountability check for 2019 and so far so good.

Do you have any favorite bread or meal prep recipes you’d like to share? How are your New Year’s resolutions going?

MelissaRose

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