October 31, 2012 by mybattlebuddyfitness
I am going to start this post out by tooting my own horn. Yikes. That sounded sort of dirty. I rarely give myself a pat on the back for much of anything, so hear me out on this one. I may not be super good at many things, but I do think that I have good taste (in food, fashion, home furnishings, etc.) I am a lover of high quality goods—but I also love a great deal. In fact, I get the most jollies when I find high quality goods at a great deal. That being said, I am going to make a list of “Things I Love Right Now,” a regular occurrence on this blog. The list will likely be eclectic, but I hope that some of these items lead you to something that you love.
So, just in case you were wondering, here are 10 things that I am in love with right now (in no particular order):
(1) Newton’s “Distance U” Running Shoe—I was really hesitant to try this brand because they cost a pretty penny. BUT they are so sure that you will love them that they offer a 60-day no-questions-asked return policy. 60 days is more than enough time to decide whether or not you are crazy about them. It’s been about 21 days for me, and I am convinced. They are the BEST running shoe I’ve ever owned. That’s quite a statement coming from me. I’ve tried almost every brand of running shoe and I was addicted to my Asics Gel Kayano shoes for about 4 years. I found Mizuno this summer and thought that it didn’t get any better—I was wrong. If you’ve ever thought about trying Newtons, I’m here to tell you: DO IT. They’re awesome. Another bonus is that I’ve never received as many compliments from people on these shoes. The colors (bright pink, orange, and yellow) cause people to ask about them everywhere I go. I get more compliments on these shoes than I do when I wear my awesomely colored Nike Frees. Biggest bonus: I’ve been running FASTER than ever. Even if it’s just a placebo effect, I’ll take it!
(2) Paleo Cooking/Baking—You may have heard about this whole Paleo craze. I don’t follow all the tenets of a truly Paleo diet because I think it’s kind of silly to eliminate any one food group from your diet completely. But I do, on occasion, cook up a Paleo recipe. My husband likes them because they are meat-based, and I like them because they make me feel good when I eat them! I get most of my recipes from three sources right now: (1) Paleomg, (2) a book entitled, Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat, and (3) a website/mobile app called Nom Nom Paleo. If you are looking to branch out in your cooking, I highly recommend perusing one of these sources and trying a few of the recipes. I promise, you’ll be hooked too!
(3) My crockpot!—If you don’t have a crockpot/slow cooker, go out and buy one STAT! Not kidding. The slow cooker is an essential for healthy cooking. It should be considered the 8th Wonder of the World for the person on-the-go. It’s truly a miracle. You stick all the ingredients in, turn it on, and then return to it 6-8 hours later only to find a delicious and nutritious meal waiting for you. There are several different models out there, but I can only attest to how wonderful my Cuisinart 4-Qt. Digital Slow Cooker is. I’ve had it for almost three years now and had no issues with it. There is an endless number of fall and winter meals that you can prepare in this magnificent device. Don’t worry, I will post several of my favorite crockpot recipes soon.
(4) Naked Apple Butter—this is such a lovely fall treat! Contrary to its name, it’s not butter. It’s really just slow-cooked, mashed apples and cinnamon. No added sweeteners! I can seriously eat this with a spoon as it is and feel like I am eating dessert, or I can add it to various things to give them a sweet little kick. I highly suggest putting a dollop on top of your steel cut oats or quinoa in the morning to make them kind of fall harvesty and yummy. The oddest thing I tried was a carrot that I dipped into the apple butter and ate it. I thought it was absolutely delicious, but my husband said it was weird. Here’s a link to a great recipe.
(5) A cheap fleece hat for running—it has recently become quite chilly in the mornings here in the Ozarks. I finally broke down and busted out my running hats last week. Sadly, I finally admitted to myself that no matter how many different brands I’ve tried, the only hat I like to run in is my seven-year-old, bought-it-on-sale, white and pink (reversible!) fleece hat from Old Navy. For some reason, the moisture-wicking material that many other fancier brands use just doesn’t agree with me early in the morning. I like the warm comfort of fleece. I guess sometimes it’s better to stick with the basics.
(6 ) Balega running socks—I acquired my first pair of Balega’s from my dear friend, Melissa, who always raves about Balega socks. Coincidentally, she gifted me three more pairs after she realized that I had conveniently forgotten to return that first pair J I was resistant to make the switch, but if you are running every day, your feet deserve the goodness that Balega provides. Trust me, they are worth the price. At least try one pair and save them for your long run days. You won’t regret it.
(7) Ribollita Soup—I received this recipe from a client who raved about this delicious, hearty soup. I started with a recipe from Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa), but then I Meany-fied it and made it healthier (i.e. less olive oil, cheese, and bread). Here it is—try it! Double, even triple the recipe and freeze a portion of it so you have it on hand. It’s amazing and SO satisfying.
4 cans low-sodium Cannellini beans
2 cans low-sodium Navy beans
1 package lean turkey sausage—break the meat out of the casing
2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
1 cup chopped carrots (3 carrots)
1 cup chopped celery (3 stalks)
3 tablespoons minced garlic (6 cloves)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 (28-ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes in puree, chopped
1 bunch coarsely chopped kale
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
A few tablespoons of fresh parmesan for serving
Heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large stockpot. Add the uncased turkey sausage and onions and cook over medium-low heat for 7 to 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Add the carrots, celery, garlic, 1 tablespoon of salt, the pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook over medium-low heat for 7 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add the tomatoes with their puree, the kale, and basil and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for another 7 to 10 minutes.
Drain the Navy beans and add to the pot. In the bowl of a food processor or blender fitted with a steel blade, puree the 3 cans of Cannellini beans with their liquid. Add to the stockpot, along with the chicken broth. Add Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.
Taste for seasoning and serve hot in large bowls sprinkled with Parmesan.
(8) Quilts!—Nothing says fall like snuggling up under a warm cotton quilt. My husband and I just picked up a new quilt when we were at a fall festival a couple weekends ago. It’s a soft yellow color and it makes me happy. If you don’t have a quilt in your house, I’m telling you, you’re missing out.
(9) Indigo Wild Zum Products—their tagline is, “Any more natural and you’d be naked.” They make goat’s milk soap, divine body lotions, cleaning products, candles, tub salts, the list goes on. The ingredients really are things that you can pronounce and they are things I am super comfortable putting on my skin every day. Their scents are earthy and delightful (without making you smell like a dirty hippie). They would make great holiday gifts. Here’s the website. My favorite scent that I’ve tried so far has been frankincense and myrrh. Also very Christmas-y!
(10) My dog, Moose!—I am obsessed with my dog at all times of the year, but particularly right now. She runs outside with such joy even though it’s freezing cold, I can’t help but get excited to go running with her.