Hello everyone & Happy 2017! How is everyone doing in their New Year thus far?
For me, I've taken quite some time to get back in the swing of things. A very nasty stomach sickness brought me to the ER just before Christmas Eve week began, and while fully recovered by the time I got home (thank goodness!), I still allowed myself some time to relax and de-brief before we rang in 2017.
Being back home in Massachusetts and spending time with friends & family in both MA, CT, & VT was quite the treat; it was so amazing to finally spend the entire holiday week at home surrounded by those whom I love dearly. After a pretty gnarly trip to VT for snowboarding to close out 2016, I've been spending the last week here in DC bundled up again for the most part due to a lingering cold. Cheers to winter, ay?! With the start of 2017 being relatively mellow for me due to this cold I've got, I've been posted up in the kitchen all weekend baking, cooking, & meal-prepping to get myself back in gear. (hence, more recipe posts to come!)
This brings me to my next topic: New Years resolutions and the INSANE amount of diet detox programs and websites/blogs/news/celebrities discussing the next incredible plan to get you to your health and wellness goals. Guys, can I just say that most if not all of these are just pure rubbish. Yes, we may all feel a bit heavier both in mind and body after the holiday from the celebratory dining fare, shopping, and travel; but getting back on track doesn't have to be a drop-everything-all-or-nothing restrictive plan. Yup, you heard me.
I believe that what truly matters is what you do a little bit of each day to project health. Be it setting your alarm 20 minutes earlier to get a quick workout or meditation in, the time you take to eat breakfast at home or prepare lunch for yourself the night before, having healthy options in the fridge at eye level, unplugging from your phone so that you can spend more quality time with your loved ones. You see, none of these include a diet or workout plan that leaves you feeling mentally and physically starved; they are normal tasks that just set you up to lead a healthier life, and that's what I'm all about. Balance, baby.
So since I'm not a fan of New Years resolutions, you may wonder whether I do anything to set myself up for another year. The answer is yes, and that's goal-setting. For the last couple of years, I've had this little ritual where in the coming days before the New Year, I cozy up with a notepad and hot mug of somethin' & reflect on everything I've achieved during that current year, and set some decent life goals to accomplish for the following year. It's a time where I pull out my meditation props, light a candle, and let the magic happen. I truly believe in the power of intention; each year I've remarkably accomplished every single goal on my list. No matter how hippy-dippy the ritual may be perceived by others, I love it and swear by it. As for the smaller goals I have that may be more health-oriented, it's all about routine and non-negotiables. Cooking, meal-prepping, spending time on the mat, running; these are all things that I do almost each and every day so that I feel energized in working towards those big goals.
So with balance and health routines in mind, I wanted to leave you all with a recipe creation inspired from one of my recent plane magazine reads. As some of you know, this year I'm running my first ever (AHH!) full marathon in the coming fall, and I found some great recipe ideas in Runner's World Mag. With a few little tweaks, here's my take on their Winter Quinoa Salad. This is a great option to batch cook as it leaves quite a few servings for the week!
Winter Kale Quinoa & Corn Salad inspired by Runner's World
1/2 C. dry quinoa + 1 C. water for boiling
1.5 C. shredded organic kale
1 C. fire-roasted corn (I buy frozen from Whole Foods)
1 chopped organic apple
1/3 C. feta (you may opt out if you are vegan)
1/3 C. sliced almonds
1/3 C. raisins
for the dressing
1/3 C. olive oil
1/4 C. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1/2 minced shallot
1/4 tsp pink sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Directions: Pour quinoa and water into a pot and heat until water is boiling. Lower heat to medium-low until quinoa has absorbed all water and fully cooked, about 10 minutes. In a large bowl, combine all salad ingredients together. Stir in your quinoa once cooked. Prepare salad dressing in a mason jar and shake up until well-mixed.
If you are not eating the whole salad at once, I recommend mixing the dressing into the salad portion the day of or just before serving to prevent salad from getting soggy.