Archive | August, 2013

Australia Check In #2

30 Aug

I think it’s time for another Australia recap!

First, I cannot believe i’ve been in Australia for over 7 weeks now!

The days are seriously flying by.

I’ll admit before I left 5 months seemed like a very very very long time.

But I am realizing pretty quickly just how short 5 months really is.

I am also reminded on daily basis by my mother and sister of the small number of days left until I return to the states.

It makes me sad to type that i’ll sadly be on a plane to the US in 85 days.

But let’s not think about that.

Let’s think about all the awesome things i’ve seen so far.

Eureka Skydeck: a breathtaking 88 story view of the city of Melbourne

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Queen Victoria Market: a market that has been in Melbourne for over a century. I was in heaven with the rows and rows of fresh bread, 100’s of different cheeses, cases of fresh fish, and the abundance of fresh produce.

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Phillip Island: A couple weeks ago I took a day trip here with a few friends. The views on the beach were absolutely breathtaking. Australia is such a beautiful country.

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I got to put my feet in the Australian ocean for the first time!

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Driving on the opposite side of the road! I haven’t been brave enough to actually drive yet- riding in the passenger seat is weird enough!

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My first Australian footy game! Footy is the most interesting sport ever and i’m slowly becoming a pro at the rules.

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The city of Melbourne: I try to visit the city at least once a week. It is awesome to be so close to such a beautiful (and clean) city!

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Melbourne street art: the graffiti is absolutely beautiful in the ally ways in the city.

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Healesville Sanctuary: this is a zoo in Australia that specializes in native Australian animals. I saw tons of different animals including Koala bears,  Kangaroos, and Wallabies!

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Up next on my to-do list in the next few weeks includes:

1. St. Kilda: the closest beach to Melbourne
2. Brunch at The Manchester Press: a trendy brunch spot in the city
3. Mid-semester trip to Cairns, The Whitsundays, and Brisbane: I recently booked a 6 day trip with a few of my closest friends from abroad during our semester break. The highlights of the trip include snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef, skydiving, holding a kola bear, relaxing on Australian beaches, and sailing to the Whitsundays.

Here’s to hoping the next 85 days slow down just a little bit!

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What I Ate Wednesday and the Beginning of the Semester

28 Aug

Back to school means back to packed lunches, meal prepping, and easy on-the-go snacks! With Kayla being in Australia, I find myself having to make sure I am am 100% prepared for the next day before I head to bed the night before so I do not forget anything I need in the morning when before I head out the door.

So here’s another week of What I Ate Wednesday, as my week is full of healthy meals, fresh fruits, and some good snacks along the way. Thanks to Jen once again for the link-up! Sharing my meals with others is one of my favorite ways to show how great your food can be when you just take a little bit of extra time to make it! And the outcomes are even better. You feel great, you look great, and even the food that you are eating is beautiful! WIN-WIN situation for sure.

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This week, I made sure I had easy meals ready to go by making a huge salad that I split up into four lunches for the week and a large batch of a bean + greens soup to re-heat for a few easy dinners!

Breakfast is always my favorite meal of the day. That is why I make sure I have enough time to enjoy it, instead of being rushed around in the morning and running out of time.

Yesterday I woke up early to get my morning 2.5 mile run in before showering and getting ready for the day. Afterwards, I made myself a beautiful greek yogurt parfait. This one included plain greek yogurt mixed with chia seeds, blueberries, strawberries, trader joe’s trex mix granola, cashew butter, and mint leaves.

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I had some iced coffee waiting for me in the fridge this morning! It definitely helped to cool me down after that morning run.

For lunch today I had a serving of that salad I mentioned earlier. Here is the recipe for it! Both Kay and I made this week for lunches since it sounded so good to me when Kay came up with the original idea.


Ingredients:

4 beets, diced
1 large butternut squash, diced
2 cans of chickpeas
1 cup of bulgar wheat with soy
1 6oz bag of spinach and arugula mix [kay used rocket!]

Directions:
1. Roast Beets wrapped in foil at 400 degrees for 50 minutes
2. Cut butternut squash into pieces and roast at 400 degrees for 40 minutes
3. Cook bulgar wheat or another grain of choice on the stovetop as directed.
4. Once everything is finished cooking and cools, mix them all together in a huge Tupperware container!
5. Divide into servings as needed! I just estimate 1/4 of the recipe each time!

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How easy does that sound? And it tastes delicious! You can always add in whatever you want too. Some great ideas would be avocado, almonds, carrots, peppers, etc. But this five ingredient basic recipe is great by itself! You can even add some balsamic if you’d like. That is what I did yesterday for lunch!

After lunch, I had to work from 12-4pm. Then I quickly ran a few errands before coming home to snack on a Lara bar until my mom got here! I just love the peanut butter cookie ones. I did see that there was a limited edition snicker doodle bar, and I am dying to get my hands on one of those! What is your favorite flavor?

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The grapes in my fridge looked extra good too so I threw a bunch onto my snack plate as well.

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Not to mention lots of water throughout the afternoon. I was thirsty all day long!

For dinner last night I had my mom over to enjoy some mother daughter time. She also helped me go through some of my old clothes and get rid of anything I do not wear anymore. That is so hard for me. I am such a hoarder. I did get rid of a big or two full of clothing. Afterwards, I made her spaghetti squash with mushrooms, tomatoes, kale, and goat cheese! Topped with tofu! I think she loved it- and I loved sharing my dinner with her!
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In-between cleaning and eating we even got to skype Kay for a few minutes. These moments are so of my favorite. I love when we can all three be together and catching up on each other’s lives. She is doing great- and will be checking in later this week to let you all know how her Australian adventures are going.

For me, a night isn’t complete without a late night snack. Whoever says you can’t eat after 8 is SO wrong. The best snacks are after 8 pm! I do not believe in that philosophy, and know that my body needs something before I get some zzz’s each night. If not, I will wake up starving at 3 am, and not be able to go back to sleep anyways until I get something in my stomach.

Tonight I had a small bowl of cereal [multigrain flax by Nature Path] with unsweetened vanilla almond milk. I love this kind of milk, and find myself re-buying it again and again. What is your favorite type of milk? I heated the milk in the microwave for a few seconds so it wasn’t so cold. Such a genius idea- warmed me right up! I put lots of my fresh fruit on top of the cereal so you can hardly tell it is even there! Isn’t really a small bowl, but the fruit to cereal ratio is way off. What can I say, I love fruit.

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I also had a cup of green tea- another bedtime favorite. Nothing like a few minutes of relaxation after a long day.

Until next Wednesday, stay beautiful.

Back to the Grindstone

26 Aug

Today I am headed back to college to begin my junior year of classes!
I am officially an upperclassman, and over halfway through my undergraduate degree!
And what is even more exciting about the start of classes for the fall?
I am now pursuing a degree in psychology!

After lots of long talks about what Devon wants to really do with her life, I realized that whatever I wanted to do in the future no longer involved working in a classroom full of 3rd graders, or even in a school setting.
So I did lots of research.
Thought about my options.
Questioned my current career choice.
Asked lots of questions.
And realized that I could actually pursue a degree is something I am so interested in.
HEALTH PSYCHOLOGY!
I love health, and I even had thoughts about becoming a registered dietitian or nutritionist up to this point.
And now I think health psychology is an even better fit for me!
So you may be thinking, “what does a health psychologist even do?”

There are so many different settings a health psychology can work in. But basically, they typically work in a clinical setting to help prevent illness and promote healthy behaviors. Health psychologists also influence public policy on health care issues. An example of this would be promoting that all nutritional data is listed on the menu at fast food restaurants. Health psychologists can even take part in research on health related issues.

Although now I have to get my Ph.D. and continue onto graduate school after I complete my undergrad, I am so excited to find something that I have so much passion for.  And what is even better than having tons of passion for it? My twin sister shares this passion with me! Upon telling her of my decision to change my major and purse a psychology degree to later get into health psychology, she was right there with me. We hope to some day open our own practice together, helping others find the joys of living a healthy lifestyle.

So although I have to get back to the grindstone today and begin going to classes, studying, and working hard, I am also beginning my new career path as a psychology major.
And that is pretty marvelous if I say so myself.

Here’s to another marvelous Monday thanks to Katie’s link-up over at Healthy Diva Eats.
And here’s to Kayla, who is already underway on her 5th week of classes in Australia!
How crazy is that?!?!

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So I would like to know: What are you studying in college? What are your career goals? If you already graduated college, what field are you currently working in?

Mix Up What I Ate Wednesday

21 Aug

Kayla and I are 4562456209387409187908436 miles apart from each other.
Well it feels like that anyways.
Maybe we should do a calculation on how exactly far we are apart.
Putting that on our to-do list.
Which has also been updated to include making this kale granola.
Because we love kale, and granola.
We are also driving to the closest Trader Joe’s [1 hr away], buying blueberry bran muffins, and devouring them.
Because they are fabulous.

Even though we are so far apart, we are enjoying the same types of foods as always. Here’s a “What I Ate Wednesday” post filled with pictures of our eats over the past two weeks since we missed last Wednesday’s post due to vacationing and being busy with school work!

Here’s a look at Kayla’s fabulous meals!

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And here are a few of my latest eats! Once again, noticing that my favorite meal of the day to photograph is breakfast! Perfect lighting, enough time to capture the photo, and beautiful food to work with!

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I also mentioned on my Instagram that I found the perfect Kale Smoothie recipe that has the perfect thickness, flavor, and size to fill me up for breakfast! Here’s my basic recipe, and you can top it with whatever your heart desires.

Ingredients:
2 kale leaves, washed and stems removed 
1 cup of unsweetened almond milk 
1 frozen banana 
1 frozen peach, diced  
1/4 cup cottage cheese 
cinnamon 

Directions: 
blend until smooth! 

Once again, thanks to Jen for hosting this fabulous party every Wednesday. Don’t forget to head on over to Peas and Crayons to check out what everyone else is eating this week! Who knows you may find some great inspiration for your next meal!

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Loving Lately

18 Aug

Life is all about taking moments for what they are worth, making the best of every situation, and giving everything you do 110% percent. That has been my motto this past month. I always remind myself that I need to make the best of each and every day because although they will not all be filled with ups, there are little things that make each and every day worth living.

Here’s some of those little “ups” in any given day that can easily be overlooked and brushed aside.

1. Nature, in all of it’s glory in the morning sunshine.
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I rushed around one morning to make sure that I had enough time before work to pick peaches at the local orchard. So thankful that I did. It was the highlight of my day, the peaches were the size of baseballs, and I got 15 lbs of fresh summer peaches for a grand total of $5.20. I stopped counting after I got to 20. Lets just say that you should not leave me alone is a beautiful field of ripe peach trees. I go pick-happy.

2. Being engrossed in a REALLY REALLY good book and having the time to relax, eat breakfast, and read!

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Nicole Sparks is one of my top-favorite authors. Along with Jodi Picoult, there is not a book of theirs that I have not read and loved. If you need any book recommendations, let me know. I’m your go-to book nerd.

3. Having a “twin” moment with my other half even though we are so far apart. I got to meet all of her friends and they could not believe how much we looked/acted alike. The rest of the day was made because I got to share such a special Skype date with my sister and her friends. It sounds cheesy, but I am so happy she has found such wonderful girls as she spends her semester halfway around the world.
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4. Opening an avocado with much anticipation- to find out it is another perfect choice. Because lets fact it, nothing is worse than planning to have huge chunks of avocado on your salad only to find out that it is brown, icky, and not edible! Can anyone feel me here?

5. Empty peanut butter/sunbutter/almond butter/nut butter jars.
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They are perfect for stuffing with greek yogurt or hot oats or overnight oats and topped with granola or fresh fruit or chia seeds or hemp seeds or any other sort of superfood. Any morning with an empty nut butter jar for breakfast is a great morning.

6. Smoothies in any way, shape, or form. But preferably eaten with a spoon in a bowl. After hearing Kayla wish she had her own blender to whip up smoothies in her dorm room, I have been much more thankful for my own blender in my kitchen. I always pretend to send her them via text messaging anyways. It’s the thought that counts.
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These minor, minuscule, moments can easily be forgotten after a rough day at work, a long day at school, or after a fight with a sibling. Instead of brushing them to the side, I have decided that it is sometimes a bunch of small, little moments that can make a day special than a big event.

What little moments have made your life fabulous? Are you noticing these moments, or letting them pass you by?

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Another List

16 Aug

There is only one good thing about being separated for 5 long months.

That only one good thing happens to be  our “the moment we are reunited to-do” list.

This list is fabulous and we may just happen to add to it every single day.

Highlights include making these.

and this

And eating almost everything out of peanut butter bowls.

Not to mention going to Wegmans to try their Marathon bread.

And staying up late making our own version of C.Ville Crunch Granola.

We also want to take a road trip, stopping at every location we deem interesting along the way.

Adding to our list makes the next 99 days almost not seem that bad, almost.

Sister Chili

9 Aug

Over the course of the last few weeks Devon and I have come to the conclusion that cooking by ourselves just isn’t as much fun as cooking together.

The worse part about cooking by yourself is the fact that there’s nobody to help you wash the dishes after. Lets be honest, washing the dishes sucks. Life would really be perfect if we could all just buy robots who would clean up the kitchen after us, right?

That’s why we decided to “cook together” half way across the world style by making the same meal for dinner this week! Although it’s 95 degrees and sunny in Pennsylvania, it’s about 50 degrees in Australia which is where the dinner inspiration came from…chili!

Chili is awesome.

Chili is easy.

Chili is delicious.

[Although we do realized that we cannot actually “eat” this meal together unless one of us wants chili for breakfast]

Sister Chili (Serves 2; huge McKain sized servings)

Ingredients:
1 can of Red Kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of organic corn kernels (or fresh depending on the availability)
1 tsp. of chili powder
1/2 red onion, chopped.
1 can of diced tomatoes

Directions:
1. Throw ingredients in a crock pot or low for 4-6 hours OR combine all ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10-15.
2. Serve with avocado and tortilla chips for dippin’

Devon added some summer squash to her’s because she had a bunch leftover that she did not want to go to waste. She also forgot to pick up some red kidney beans, so she subbed white ones instead!

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Kayla followed the recipe posted above and topped her chili with leftover brown rice and avocado!

 

 

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Although we’d much rather be eating together, this is definitely the next best thing.