Thursday, December 31, 2015

Ham and Potato Soup

2015 has come to a close. A lot of changes have happened this year, and 2016 already seems like it will be a whirlwind (in a good way!).

Things that have happened in 2015:
  • Turned 30 
  • Taught my first university class as "Dr. Plank"
  • Finished my cross-country move 7 years in the making (Georgia to Texas to California)
  • Published an article
  • Completed an internship at a huge winery
  • Started a new fitness program (21 Day Fix) 
  • Lost weight
  • Became a Beach Body coach
  • Had a lot of personal growth. I will be sharing my insights on Monday Musings
  • Found out that another one of my publications will be coming out next year!!
  • Basically followed my dreams, and I'm really proud of that
I already have one big change in store for 2016, and I'll be sharing that soon. I feel really hopeful for the new year. Though I don't want to name resolutions, I do have one big goal that I'd like to pursue. Basically, I want to get clear on what makes me happy, then do more things that make me happy.

A Facebook friend posted a picture that said you should write a list of things you do every day, then write a list of things that make you happy. Compare lists and adjust accordingly :) One thing that makes me happy that has been pretty absent from 2015 is blogging and coming up with recipes. I've been bogged down with my move and settling into a new place to live and work. While these things provide me happiness, blogging is missing from that list. I've got 307 drafts of recipes to post. 307 ideas that I just want to make happen in order to add to my happiness and to spark a little joy and creativity in your life. So it's my goal to add more content here. I already started Monday Musings, but I also want to share more recipes (of course), fitness, fashion, and food that I enjoy that's not necessarily a recipe per se. Just more of my life and adventures in general.

With that, I will end 2015 with a very humble recipe, Ham and Potato Soup, which used our leftover Christmas ham. This recipe is the epitome of warmth and comfort, which are great feelings to start the New Year with.

Ham and Potato Soup
Printable Recipe

4 tsp butter or olive oil
2 cups diced celery
2 cups diced onion
4 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
6 cups chicken broth (basically enough to just cover the potatoes)
1 bay leaf
3 cups diced ham
1/2 tsp dried tarragon
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
1/4 tsp dried sage
1/2 cup half-and-half or canned coconut milk (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste (I didn't add any salt)

1. In a stock pot, heat butter or oil over medium heat. Add celery and onion and cook until translucent.
2. Add potatoes and just enough broth to cover them, along with the bay leaf, and simmer, about 15 min.
3. Add ham and herbs and simmer 10 more min or until potatoes are fork tender. Mash with a potato masher, making some potatoes little chunks and some a complete mash. Add half-and-half and return to simmer. Season to taste with salt (probably won't need any) and pepper.

Makes 4 servings, which I counted according to the 21 Day Fix program as: 1 green1 yellow1/2 red1/2 blue1 tsp.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Preparing for the New Year: Get Back On Track With These 24 Easy Recipes!

2016 is fast approaching, and many people are re-evaluating their goals for healthy eating. I didn't go crazy with my eating at Christmas, but after any change to my diet I can see why I prefer to eat the way I normally do! After indulging, I like to get back on track with some of my favorite Paleo recipes. Indiana is about to go through a cold snap, and I know the center of the country has been hammered with snow, so this recipe round-up includes warming Paleo recipes that are easy to make and work well for leftovers! I hope you enjoy this collection of 12 breakfast and 12 lunch/dinner recipes!


Lunch and Dinner:

Monday Musings: "New Years Resolutions"

I hope your holiday season has been merry and bright!

As we turn to the New Year, we often start thinking about all the stuff we said we were going to do but didn't do in the last year. The resolutions we made and stuck to for about 3 weeks before forgetting them. According to Forbes, only 8% of people achieve their New Years resolutions. That means there are 92% of people that, at best, feel ok about missing their goals, and at worst feel like a big loser.

On top of not meeting our resolutions, how often do you lie awake at night thinking about the blunders of the year: the deal you didn't close, the marathon you didn't run, the botched presentation, and all other manner of "mistakes".

Before you make up some bright, shiny new resolutions for 2016, I challenge you to draft your resolutions from a place of positivity, not from a place of self-loathing. And to get there:

1) Take out a piece of paper and write down all the good things that you accomplished this year and give yourself a big mental pat on the back for each one. You might be surprised by how much you accomplished, and it may overshadow any resolutions you didn't quite achieve.

2) Forgive yourself for being so hard on yourself.

3) Set attainable goals.

4) Promise to be kind to yourself in the New Year - actually that may be the best resolution of all!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Monday Musings

I've had this blog for nearly seven years now. I've gone from talking about my vegetarian days and then my switch to Paleo in July 2011. It's cataloged my cross country move, from Georgia, to Texas, to California. In the last few years, as I finished my Ph.D., most of my posts begin with me talking how busy I've been. I've been reevaluating what I want for this blog in 2016, and what I think it needs is an injection of personality. I've not been able to post a lot, which means I haven't been able to talk about what I've been up to. One thing I would like to commit to is a monthly "Monday Musings" post, where I write something uplifting and/or thought provoking. Many people find this blog in order to find healthy recipes, but I've come to realize that a big portion of being healthy is due to what's going on in your head! Healthy, positive thoughts can go a long way as you work towards and maintain a healthy lifestyle. I hope you enjoy my ramblings.

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