May Goals 2019

It’s been awhile since I wrote a post. That doesn’t mean I have not been reflecting though! What has come always from the last month? Positive change is not easy. I have known this and have had it in the back of my mind for the last few years but goodness has it been at the forefront lately. Whether it is personal or business, the mind or the soul, or the relationships we have with those that we live near and dear to everyday.

I had the opportunity to be in leadership class for the past nine months through Sanford. It was titled Leading for Results. Most of us thought it would be how to direct staff and projects to get better results. The class was aimed at personal development. Making us stronger individuals would make us better leaders. Better leaders make our teams better. The class fit perfectly with what I was trying to do. It taught me new things. It confirmed what I had been reading. Some of the teachings I had already implemented. Some got moved up on my list of priorities. Some were ideas I had not heard of and were added to my list. The great thing about this class was I could apply these teachings to my personal life.

I took a break from my monthly goals. It was much needed. I was overwhelmed by them which tells me I need to evaluate them. I want to do too much. I have always been that way. Good things take time!

May did bring a lot of accomplishments:

◦ Work trip to San Diego and attended a Ritz Carlton workshop

◦ Read 4 Nora Roberts books

◦ Joined Weight Watchers and am seeing slow progress (strong and fit is what I am aiming for- moderation)

◦ Presented a presentation for Leading for Results

◦ I am becoming a better version of the wife I aim to be

◦ Working out 5-7 days a week

◦ Trying new recipes

I joined Weight Watchers

(Almost) every morning as I sit down with my Start Journal (thanks Rachel Hollis) I list out my 10 goals.

One of them is to be 10 lbs lighter.

One of them is to be a healthy eater.

For as long as I can remember I could eat what I wanted to and stay the weight I wanted to. I was highly active in dance through my freshman year of college. I then sought out running and bought memberships to gyms. I love to workout. Til this day I would call it a passion. However. More often than before I fall out of sync. More often than before it’s not a high intensity workout. I try though. I keep trying. That is important.

The scale is not budging. Monday morning as I couldn’t sleep I pondered what to do. What do I have to do to make the scale budge? I googled options and I joined Weight Watchers.

Once I returned home from a work trip I was all in. I have to be. Why am I doing this? Why am I not accepting the scale’s numbers? I know I can be healthier. I know I can be stronger. I know this will help me feel emotionally better. I know this will set an example. I am needing accountability. I am needing a system. Here is to accomplishing a goal.

January 2019 Goals

January tends to be a month of new beginnings and resolutions that get put to the wayside two weeks into the new year. There is a Jen Hatmaker podcast where she interviews Jon Acuff. He is the author of a few books including, Finish.

Jon recommends that people need to determine their goal and then cut it in half. He found with his research people tend to reach too high for their reality. Once they do not make the mark they get discouraged and discontinue working towards their goal. Half way through January there was doubt that I would accomplish the goals I had set. I was determined to accomplish them as I wanted to complete them, but time was running out!

The goals were broken down into four areas; Reading, Art, Move and the 7 Challenge by Jen Hatmaker.

Reading

Jen Hatmaker wrote Of Mess & Moxie. This was recommended to me by my friend Melissa. Her writing makes me smile, laugh, and say “ahhh, me too!” Each week I read a section of the book and followed a study guide which prompted me to meditate and reminisce about topics in which she wrote about. The blog has four separate posts.

The goal was to read one other book besides the personal development book. Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty was the January book club pick. Big Little Lies, the HBO series, was based on her writing. I binged watched that show (link) awhile back and was glad that Three Wishes prompted me to actually read one of Liane’s books. The Coffee Pines & Designs book review can be read here.

I surpassed my goal of reading two books in January by one book. The book club pick for February was Still Alice by Lisa Genova. I listened to this audio book on a road trip. A highly recommended book and see why here.

Art

Art is in my blood. Art is a passion. Art gets put to the wayside. *sad face* Abstract art is a strength of mine. I have always wanted to be better at figure drawing. I am attracted to people and what makes them who they are. I ran across Jane Davenport thanks to Instagram. She combines figure drawing and abstract methods creating whimsical drawings and paintings. Guess what? She has books to teach her methods! Guess who bought a couple? Why not? The purpose of this goal was not to complete 4 pages of frame worthy art, but I did manage to complete one page that was intended for my cousins, Kelly and Jade, birthday. It also prompted my mom to ask for drawings similar of my sister and me as well as Stella and Emery. Pressure is on and challenge accepted!

Move

Exercise really makes me happy. I easily get bored though. I miss the gym atmosphere. Living outside of town, working full time and having kids makes it not an ideal situation to use a gym. January was a month to focus on PIIT28. For the most part I liked the variety it gave to me. I fully enjoyed it towards the end of the month when I could do it while watching Dawson’s Creek. My dear aunt, Melinda, read a post I completed while reading Of Mess & Moxie and sent me season’s 5 and 6 of Dawson’s Creek *totally own the guilty pleasure* The goal was to workout 5 days each week. I totally owned this goal until the last week. I am not certain if it was boredom of the method I was dedicated to since mid December or if it was the head cold I was fighting. I managed 4 days that week. Summer can’t get here soon enough so I can run outside again.

7 Challenge

January’s 7 Challenge was over food. You can read about my experience on the blog.

I met my goals at about 95%. I do not feel I need to cut my goals in half, but February is a shorter month. These goals would not be a problem if I did not truly feel passionate about all of these areas. I am going to strive for them all again but if I miss a workout here or there, or do 3 pages in my sketchbook rather than 4, I am going to cut myself some slack.

Love life, do what makes you happy, and feel accomplished! Cheers to a great month to start off the new year!

7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess: Food

The first month had to be food, didn’t it? Food is my weakness. If you read Jen Hatmaker’s book, 7, you will be introduced to her experiment against excess. She took 7 foods and only ate those 7 foods for the whole month. This intrigued me. I thought, what 7 foods would I eat? Pizza. Pizza. Pizza. Wait! I just turned into my 4 year old daughter. She excels at this experiment better than I can! I started to contemplate only eating 7 certain meals throughout the month for breakfast and lunch and then eat dinners based around items we had in the home that needed to get eaten before they expired- which were a lot of items! This sounded like a plan I could handle until the first week was done *sigh* Food is my weakness. The goals that were set for me for the month of January were at the front of my brain each morning as I got ready for the day. Read 2 books, draw 4 pages in my sketchbook, exercise 5 days a week. Anxiety started to build. Ok, tone this one down a notch. Focus on making meals that got rid of items in the home, focus on not buying a bunch of extra things that would end up sitting in the closet for months. Ok, that plan I could handle. *charge on*

Coffee went away for the month. Coffee is part of my “thing”, or more so coffee shops, is part of my “thing”. After all, the blog has coffee as part of its name. Coffee was not something I could choke down for the longest time. Tea was my love. Over the course of the last few years, I went from Pumpkin Spice Latte queen, to Cafe Miel, to flavored coffee with a “dash” of coconut vanilla creamer. The warmth is what draws a moan out of my mouth as I take my first sip each morning. Tea can do that too. A cabinet full of tea needed to be reintroduced to me. Coffee went away. It made me sad each morning for the first week. After that, I looked forward to my cup of tea with honey. Welcome back first love! Today is February 2nd. It was my first opportunity to have a coffee at the Target Starbucks. Guess what? I went with the Mint Citrus tea. Sorry, coffee, you have some competition!

The kids didn’t notice anything different during the month of January. Except that we made them try a few different recipes as we tried to get rid of canned pumpkin, tomato soup and cream of mushroom soup. We had a couple of successes and a couple of flops!

Did I have any monumental take aways from this challenge of getting rid of excess food? I didn’t buy things just because they were on sale. I am certain our checking account saw a slight drop in food costs. I think I will start each weekend with reviewing what we have in our closet and cabinets prior to deciding on a weekly menu.

A few of my favorite quotes Jen had in her first chapter on Food:

“You always have to be doing something, don’t you” p. 28. This resinated with me. I am always trying something out and challenging myself.

“Tell me about the world before. What was it like?” “We didn’t even know what was precious.” “We threw away things that people would kill for today.” – The Book of Eli p.22

“I am hungry” p. 43

Here are the following recipes that were a hit in our home!

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins (not healthy but oh so yummy- we made these 2 times!)

Ingredients

2.5 cups flour

0.5 cup oats

4 t pumpkin spice

2 t baking soda

1 t baking powder

1 t salt

1.5 cups pumpkin purée

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup sugar

2/3 cup vegetable oil

0.5 cup apple sauce

3 eggs

1 t vanilla

Directions

Set oven to 350 degrees

Makes 18 muffins

Bake 25-30 minutes

Combine flour, oats, spice, baking soda and powder, salt. Set aside.

In another bowl whisk purée, sugars, oil, apple sauce, eggs and vanilla.

Stir together dry and wet ingredients.

Pour into muffin tins (sprayed or paper)

Streusel Topping:

0.5 cup brown sugar, 2 T melted butter, 2 T oats, 2 T flour. Mix and place small amounts on each muffin before putting in

Creamy Ranch Pork Chops and Rice from Campbell’s (to use Cream of Mushroom soup)

Beef and Broccoli (to get rid of tomato soup)

The Best Chili You Will Ever Taste (to get rid of diced tomatoes, tomato paste 4 cans of kidney beans *yes, we had that many*)

Couscous salad got rid of some couscous, slivered almonds and craisins

Monday Meals: Lunch Prep

Lunches are hard for me. I need something fast but filling. Some weeks are better than others when I prep for weekday lunches. Last week a friend from work shared with me a recipe for Apple Harvest Chili. A patient had shared it with her. She was kind enough to bring a bowl to share with me. I later made the recipe and quickly wished I had doubled the batch! I also whipped up a batch of Spicy Sweet Potato Soup with Chipotle and Coriander from Gwyneth Paltrow’s book, It’s All Good. These two recipes should get me through lunches this week. I hope you enjoy the Fall recipes…or winter, wherever you may be reading this post from *smile*

Apple Harvest Chili

Ingredients

16 oz chunky salsa- medium heat

1 can corn, drained and rinsed

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

14 oz chicken broth

1 Granny Smith apple, diced

2/3 cup dried cranberries

1 T cocoa powder

2/3 cup chopped cashews

Directions

Mix all ingredients except the cashews in a pot

Bring to a boil

Reduce heat and simmer 1 hour

Stir in cashews before serving

Top with shredded cheese and sour cream

Spicy Sweet Potato Soup with Chipotle and Coriander

Ingredients:

2 T Olive Oil

1 Large red onion, diced

2 Garlic cloves, minced

5 Sprigs of cilantro, chopped

1 t cumin

Pinch of salt

1 1/2 t Chipotle in adobo sauce

6 Cups sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped

6 Cups vegetable stock

Directions:

Heat oil in large pot

Cook onion, garlic, cilantro, cumin and salt on medium heat for 10 minutes

Add chipotle and potatoes along with stock

Bring to boil and then simmer 30 minutes

Purée soup in Vitamix, or other powerful blender

Monday Meals: Meal Planning

Meal Planning, I swear, is an art. An art I feel like I enjoy at times, and one that I despise at other times. I decided to go through the history of Coffee Pines & Designs thus far to see what Monday Meals recipes were posted. I hoped this would give me a good idea what to make in the few weeks ahead. I listed out the recipes for my own reference and thought it might be helpful for you, as a reader, to have them listed out as well. Grab a recipe or two and add it to this week’s plan for your family to enjoy!

Chicken Pot Pie

Meatloaf Meatballs

Chicken Curry

Cheese Tortellini Bake

Taco Salad

Caribbean Burgers

Curry Chicken Salad

Cheesy Veggie Quiche

BLT or BLATE

Tortellini Minestrone

Italian Chopped Salad

Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork

Kale Strawberry and Poppyseed Dressing Salad

Cheez It Pork Chops

Couscous Salad

Thai Style Burgers

Cheesy Stuffed Burgers

Cheeseburger Joes

Chicken Tikka Masala

Cheeseburger Pot Pie

French Toast

Southwest Quinoa Salad

Mango Avocado Salad

Chinese Hotdish

Upside Down Pizza Casserole

Black Bean Soup

Asian Buffalo Sauce

Coconut Shrimp

Slow Cooker Thai Stew

Shepherds Pie

Sweet Maui Taco

Monday Meals: End of Summer Produce

We didn’t have a a large variety in our garden this year but let me tell you, we had a large amount of cucumbers! T did his share of refrigerator pickles, we did the creamy cucumbers thing and the cucumbers and ranch thing. We are a bit spent on cucumbers. Last night I dug out my recipe books and tried a new recipe. This one was from Hemsley Hemsley: The Art of Eating Well. Sesame Chicken Salad with Cucumber Noodles . Mine looked a little different from theirs due to the type of cabbage I used, the way I cut up my cucumbers and I ended up using toasted almonds rather than sesame seeds. It was a light meal that I can’t wait to use for lunches this week.

We had a single zucchini in our garden. Last week I made Kristin Cavallari’s French Toast recipe for the girls. She uses her Zucchini Bread recipe for the bread. It is an extremely rich yet tasty take on the typical recipe. For this we used a small portion of the very large zucchini. We also tested out her Zucchini Chips with Dill Sour Cream and Onion Recipe which was amazing and her Oatmeal Zucchini Muffin Cups which were good, but definitely healthier than the French Toast. In other words, it wasn’t as flavorful as the French Toast.

Monday Meals: Chicken Pot Pie & Meatloaf Meatballs

Pick up Rachel Hollis’ cookbook, Real Life Dinners for the chicken pot pie recipe we tried out last week. If you can’t get the book, The Daily Meal has a similar recipe to the one we cooked up. We used a pre-made Pillsbury pie crust for the bottom and top rather than a package of biscuit dough. My oldest loved the meal, as did I. Currently, you can’t trust our youngest’s opinion *wink*

In the winter we cook meat loaf a handful of times. It is so easy to make ahead of time and serve as left overs. We usually use the Better Homes and Gardens recipe. I took a new approach to it this time. Rachel Hollis makes meat balls rather than cook it in a pan. My kids did prefer it this way. She also uses a food processor to disguise the carrots and zucchini her recipe calls for.

I mixed the two recipes together to create the one below.

Ingredients:

2/3 cup rolled oats

1 cup onion

1 cup diced carrots

1.5 cup peeled and chopped zucchini

1.5 lbs ground beef

2 eggs

1/4 bbq sauce

1 t salt

1 t pepper

1/4 cup bread crumbs to thicken up mixture if needed

1/4 cup ketchup

2 T Brown sugar

1 t Ground mustard

Directions:

Spray baking sheets

Oven at 400 degrees

Process (or blend) rolled oats, onion, carrots and zucchini until veggies are small pieces

Mix veggie mixture with beef, beaten eggs, bbq sauce, salt and pepper

Add bread crumbs if needed to thicken (my veggies ended up fairly blended, rather than chunky- hence the need for the bread crumbs)

Roll into 2 “ meat balls

Top each meatball with a bit of the following mixture:

1/4 cup

2 T brown sugar

1 t ground mustard

Bake 15 minutes or until cooked in the center

We served these with corn on the cob and cream cheese mashed potatoes!

Monday Meals: Chicken Curry & Cheese Tortellini Bake

I have been a bit MIA on the Monday Meals blogging posts. Let’s face it. I have been a bit MIA on any blogging *smile*sigh* The end of summer has been hectic and crazy in fun ways and stressful ways. I am not a person to dwell over my kids getting older and hope that they will be my babies forever. Don’t get me wrong. I wish they would stay in this stage of wanting to cuddle and hold my hand forever, but I am thrilled with seeing how they grow, develop and learn to love new things. The new school year just started and life is about to change once again!

Hold up, this is a Monday Meals post! Not one that talks about the crazy life I have been living! Let me reign this back in *smile* You are reading this post to see what couple of meals I am about to recommend! Let’s talk Chicken Curry. I posted a Chicken Curry recipe awhile back. I am always on the look out for the very best homemade Chicken Curry recipe, so bare with me as I post another. Feel free to message me and let me know how you like this one, or if you have any great ones to share, please do! This recipe is slightly altered from Against All Grains: Meals Made Simple from Danielle Walker.

Ingredients:

3 lbs chicken breasts

1 medium onion, sliced

7 cloves minced garlic

1 piece of ginger, 1 ounce, diced

3.5 t soy sauce

2.5 t salt

2.5 t ground cumin

2.5 t ground turmeric

1.5 t coriander

1 t nutmeg

1/2 t allspice

2 c coconut milk in a can

4 carrots, peeled and sliced

2-3 c broccoli

1/2 c peas

1 c chopped raw cashews

Cilantro

Directions:

In a slow cooker mix onion, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, salt and spices.

Add chicken and coat with the mixture.

Cook or your slow cooker settings until chicken is cooked thoroughly.

Remove chicken and shred.

Place chicken back in slow cooker.

Add coconut milk and vegetables. Cook another 1 hour until veggies are tender.

Serve with cashews and cilantro over rice.

*you could try Danielle Walker’s Basic Cauliflower Rice recipe from the same book, or pick up a pack in the frozen food section at your local grocery store.

My littlest chickadee is a picky eater lately. The next recipe was a no fail with her. I got inspired from Rachel Hollis’ Baked Ravioli recipe in her book, Real Life Dinners (if you have not picked it up yet, please do! I promise you, you will love it!) If you have read past posts you will realize that I highly recommend it! You can check out her The Chic Site blog for recipe suggestion too.

Ingredients:

1 package of premise Cheese Tortellini from grocery store

1 jar marinara sauce

1/4-1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs

Fresh mozzarella cheese (you could use shredded, but we bought a block and cut it into thin slices- used about 1/2 of the block)

Fresh basil leaves

Directions:

Cook tortellini per directions on package

Heat oven to 350 degrees

Drain water from pot of tortellini after it is cooked, mix in jar of sauce , basil leaves and bread crumbs

Pour evenly into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish

Place slices of cheese on top

Bake 20-25 minutes

Friday Favorites: Garden Fresh Tomatoes

We had our first tomato out of our garden tonight! Look at that beauty! There is nothing better than a BLT in the summer. I posted earlier this summer about a new BLT recipe we tried earlier this summer. There are so many great tomato soup recipes out there but Gwyneth Paltrow’s recipe is my favorite.

We are new to gardening this year. Planting it is not my thing but watering it and picking the produce was something I could assist with and maybe I could even call it therapeutic (when the mosquitos were not bad).

I am not sure I want to commit to canning just yet, but when we get the gardening thing down, bring on the salsa making and call me Miss Susie Homemaker!