So what if I’m 4 days late.
Normally I don’t find New Years’ to be especially exciting. Sure, there’s the bash to watch the ball drop and welcome in the new year, but to me January 1st has always been just another day. Until this year. While I don’t make New Years’ resolutions, I’m feeling completely refreshed. It’s like a mental “airing-out” that’s made me really motivated in all areas of my life, food & fitness included. I don’t know what brought this on, but I like it!
My husband went back to work yesterday after a two-week holiday vacation. It was bittersweet. I’m going to miss having him around every day, but it felt really good to fall back into a normal routine.
I started off the day the same way I’ve started every day since Christmas. With this amazing specimen of coffee-making genius:
This Keurig may seriously be the best Christmas gift my husband has ever bought for me. It’s changed my life. You laugh, but I’m not kidding. Okay, I’m only kind of kidding. It makes the most delicious cup of coffee I’ve ever tasted, coffeehouse or otherwise. The funny thing is, I’ve always sworn that I didn’t want one. I thought those little K-cups would be too expensive to keep up with my caffeine habit. My mother-in-law mentioned that she saw that you can now buy a little contraption (that grey thing in the top row of the carousel) to brew your own coffee grounds. Once I learned that, I wanted one. When I told my husband, he said maybe we’d pool our Christmas money and get it. Sneaky little booger. Turns out, he’d already bought it for me and stashed it at his sister’s house. It’s been so much fun to try all the different varieties. I try to limit myself to one or two K-cups per day and then use my own grounds beyond that. So far, the Emeril’s Big Easy Bold has been my favorite.
I sipped my coffee and read my book for about an hour, just enjoying the quiet. It was glorious. I love spending time with family and friends during the holiday season, but I also love my down time. That’s something I haven’t had much of lately and it was nice for my first “normal” day to start that way. Another great part of the morning was sharing a leisurely breakfast with Peanut when she woke up. After that, it was time to get down to business. Peanut had serious playing to do and I was ready to exercise.
The last few months of 2010 I felt like a hamster on a wheel when it came to fitness. My workouts were half-hearted at best. I knew that the exercise was good for me and I was doing it as often as I could, but I wasn’t excited about it. The switch didn’t really flip in my brain until January 2nd when I made myself accept my sister-in-law’s invitation to go to Zumba. I had all kinds of excuses running through my head for reasons why I couldn’t go, but I didn’t let myself bail. I went and, when those endorphins kicked in, all of the reasons I love exercise came flooding back to me. Suddenly I was excited about getting back into the swing of things. I came right home and jotted down a workout plan for the rest of the week. This is something I used to do every week. Unconsciously, I’d started to let it slip sometime around Thanksgiving and by Christmas I’d quit doing it altogether.
Yesterday reinforced to me how wonderful having that plan can be. I knew exactly which DVD I needed to grab: the original Power 90 with Tony Horton. I did the Sweat session followed by Ab Ripper 100. Definitely got my blood pumping and geared me up for the rest of the day. It also made me hungry.
I’ve found several recipes lately which sounded delicious to me, but that garnered an upturned nose from my husband when I showed them to him. I put those back as possible lunch options when it’s just me at home. Using this original recipe from Real Simple magazine as my inspiration, I made several modifications and came up with a lightened-up, simplified version based on what I had in the pantry.
Rotini with Arichokes and White Beans
(makes 4 servings)
- 5 ounces whole wheat rotini
- 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 15.5-ounce can great northern beans, rinsed & drained
- 1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, quartered, rinsed & drained
- salt & pepper to taste
- Cook the pasta according to package directions. Reserve ½ cup of the cooking water. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring regularly to keep the garlic from burning.
- Add the beans, artichokes, salt & pepper to the saucepan. Cook until heated through, approximately 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the reserved water and artichoke/bean mixture to the pasta and toss.
In keeping with my attempts at eating more veggies, I plated mine with some torn romaine lettuce which I stirred in after I snapped the picture.
I portioned out the leftovers and popped them in the fridge. Now my lunches for the rest of the week are no-brainers which really helps me stay on track.
After lunch I cleaned. And cleaned some more. And cleaned even more while catching up on DVR’d shows. We got a last minute invitation to go out to dinner with some church friends and accepted. The food was mediocre (I’m talking to you, Tumbleweed.), but the company & conversation were fantastic. It was a great end to a great day.
So far, it’s been a great beginning to a great year. Bring it, 2011!
What has been the best part of your 2011 so far?
Oh, and one more thing…