Gratitude in Action

We talk so much about gratitude; usually we talk about expressing gratitude, but it often revolves around reflection–or events in the past we now feel grateful for.

But what about the gratitude of the NOW? Of the present moment?

I had a surreal day where I made a particular effort to be mindful of my gratitude in the moment, and it truly enriched my experience. Living in California has been both the scariest change and this biggest blessing in my life. I had the chance to go horseback riding along a beach trail and every moment felt like a magical gift.

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I love horses. Sure, they smell and there are more flies, but these are wise animals. I feel a strange sense of security and calm when riding. It was a quiet, peaceful ride along near the beach, through a woodsy trail, culminating at a pristine beach.

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We had to leave our phones behind (a wonderful exercise for living in the present) so while we couldn’t take great selfies, we could fully embrace the beauty and experience. I felt so calm, centered, and fulfilled afterwards and will continue to seek out experiences that force me out of my routine, cut me off from technology, and let me immerse myself in deep gratitude.

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Do you practice gratitude in the now?

Ted Talk Friday: The Power of Introverts

In my first blog post I mentioned I am an introvert, but I think we too often confuse being an introvert and being antisocial. Susain Cain is amazing advocate for dispelling this myth. He book Quiet is absolutely amazing and delves even further into what she discusses in this talk. I hope you enjoy!

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Do you identify as an introvert? Why?

(Not Ted) Talk Friday: Women in tech

This is not a Ted Talk (as you may have guessed), but this talk is incredibly interesting and important–for any woman in the tech industry, and beyond. Denzel gives an inspiring look into her career and gives some incredible advice for thriving professionally. I hope you enjoy!

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What part of her speech stood out to you the most?

Veg Fest 2017

When you see a car with an advertisement for artisan almond milk, you know you’re getting close to a Veggie Fest! I went to the World Veg Festival put on by the San Francisco Veg Society last weekend.

I have been to a few similar festivals in the past, and this one was certainly smaller, but they had very high quality companies (with great samples)!

I was insanely excited to see Lakanto had a booth. I have an ongoing love affair with their sugar free, naturally sweetened line of chocolates and I was thrilled to see all their new products.

I so regret not buying the matcha latte mix! It was insanely good. They blended it with unsweetened almond milk and it was divine. I have a love-hate relationship with matcha; sometimes the flavor comes across too strong or bitter, but this was so mellow, well-balanced, and sweet.

I already knew I loved their chocolate, but I still had to sample every flavor just to make sure 😉 I love the crunch in the cocoa nib chocolate!

The drinking chocolate was new to me, and I loved it as well. It had such a rich, decadent mouth-feel with a great lasting flavor.

Aside from the taste, all of these products are so nutritious and are great alternatives for less healthy versions of an overpriced Starbucks latte, Hershey’s chocolate, or artificial hot cocoa mixes.

I have been dying to try Ripple (a pea-based milk), but I was hesitant to buy a whole bottle in case it was awful!

I finally had my chance to try it, and it was delicious. I tried the unsweetened vanilla and was impressed. It has a slightly nutty mild flavor and is a great alternative if you want to try a higher protein plant-based milk.

I have heard about Imperfect Produce, but was thrilled to see them at the festival. This company is SO cool. So you know how most produce in the grocery store looks pretty and perfect? Well nature is not perfect so all of that ugly produce usually gets grown away…

This is so wasteful, especially when we think about the hunger and food deserts that plague our country, and the world at large. Imperfect Produce works with farmers to salvage the ugly fruits and veggies and deliver them to your doorstep, like a CSA.

I signed up immediately. It is reasonably priced, supports a wonderful mission, accepts SNAP benefits, and saves the ugly produce of the world! If you live in the Bay Area, Seattle, or Portland, sign up!!! They are expanding quickly, so definitely look out for when they come to your city.

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What do you think of eating ugly produce? Have you ever been to a Veg Fest?

Ted Talk Friday: There’s more to life than being happy

This talk really rings true for me. I have been fascinated with the field of Positive Psychology for years, and people often believe the focus is only on happiness, which is certainly not the case. I think Esfahani Smith offers four pillars that really sum up what it means to live well beyond the superficial notion of being happy. The pillar of “Storytelling” resonated particularly strongly with me; I worked in a psychology lab focused on narratives and wellbeing, and Dan McAdams’ work (referenced in this video) is groundbreaking. I hope you enjoy!

 

 

 

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Do you agree with her pillars? Which pillar speaks most strongly to you?

Shishito Pepper Rice Stuffed Squash

I was beyond excited to see a box of Shishito peppers in my CSA box this week! I got so many fresh goodies, but these peppers are so trendy right now…so of course I have been wanting to try them. I’ve heard they are particularly fun because they are mostly mild, but every once in a while a super-spicy pepper sneaks in! I decided this called for a new recipe; I looked up a few recipes and found that the peppers pair well with garlic and ginger. I had a few delicata squash lying around from my Trader Joe’s expedition, so soon a seasonal idea was brewing…

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I have seen great results from recipes that blister the peppers on high heat, and luckily my trusty air fryer heated those peppers up in about 8 minutes!

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Look at how toasty and charred they got?! My favorite. I had to eat a few right then and there–these peppers have a great mild flavor with notes of citrus–I definitely see what the fuss is all about.

I use the ultimate squash life hack–always pre-cook in the microwave! I swear this trick has saved me hours of agonizing while attempting to chop a raw squash, plus it is faster and uses less energy. So I microwaved my delicata squash (whole) for about 4 minutes, before de-seeding it and stuffing it with my rice mixture.

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Look how preeetttyyy

The last step involved one final cook through to make sure the squash was fully tender, which also let the flavors in the rice mixture come together even more and crisp up on top.

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Yum, I’d say it turned out pretty well! I’ll let you know how it heats up as leftovers at work.

 

 Ingredients:
1 bag miracle rice
1 tbsp liquid aminos
1 tbsp pickled ginger
1 delicata squash
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp coconut oil
6-8 blistered shishito peppers

Directions:

Roast shishito peppers at 425 or air fry them until crispy (about 8 minutes).

Place whole delicata squash in microwave for 4 minutes.

Prepare Miracle rice according to directions on the bag. Combine prepared rice with coconut oil, liquid aminos, garlic, pickled ginger, and chopped roasted peppers.

After cutting open the delicata squash lengthwise (be careful of the steam escaping), de-seed the squash and stuff it with the rice mixture. I was able to generously fill both halves of my delicata squash.

Place the stuffed delicata squash back in the over (or air fryer) for approximately 10 minutes at 400 degrees or until the top looks crisped and browned. Enjoy!

Use code HANNAHOCTOBER for a discount when you order from miracle noodle 🙂

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Have you tried Shishito peppers? Do you stay on top of the foodie trends?

Ted Talk Friday: Depression is a disease of civilization

I initially watched this talk because it was given at Emory (my alma mater), and I quickly came to love it for the same reasons I love Emory. Dr. Ilardi looks at the facts about depression as an illness in a larger context–in the context of history, society, and medicine at large. I learned a great deal from this talk–I hope you do too!

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Do you agree with his opinion on depression? Do you agree that exercise is medicine?

Sweatpink Takes on Mission Peak

Moving to a new place is definitely not easy; after four amazing years of community and support in college, the transition has been anything but easy. I’ve been very transparent about my experience and feel comfortable discussing it, but that doesn’t solve the real problem. Where do you meet people in real life?

I’m not into bars or partying, so much that option is out…

I have met up with fellow alums from my school, but I want to diversify. Luckily, I’ve have been apart of an amazing blogger network of empowered, fitness-focused women for the past few years: Sweatpink.

As luck would have it, the Sweatpink San Francisco Chapter had their first ever meet up just a few weeks ago and of course I went. Sure I didn’t know anyone, but I knew these women had similar goals and values.

 

We met up at the base of mission peak at 7AM and from the moment we met, I felt complete comfort and ease (until the hike began haha).

It started off easy enough with fairly flat terrain (and quite a few grazing cattle). It was slightly warm, but a lot of the trail was shaded.

45 minutes in– me: “wow, I think we are probably almost there, right?” I say between pants. My friend checks her running watch, nope. We have hiked a mere. 8 miles of the full 7 mile hike. Luckily fun, questbars, beautiful views, and good conversations helped the next few miles go by quickly.

As we approached the peak, I saw a young girl, maybe about five years old, climbing up as well. I immediately realized “If a five year old can do this, what’s my excuse?”

And with that dose of healthy comparison and motivation, I made it to the peak, saw the incredible skyline, and celebrated victory with plenty of good photos.

We had such a wonderful time together and by 11AM I felt so accomplished and had so much day left. I could already feel a soreness settling into my hips on my drive home, so I stopped and bought some BCAAs on the way home to help with muscle recovery.

While I still had to take some Advil the next day, I am so excited that o found such a great group of ladies and can’t wait to keep exploring fitness and the Bay Area with them!

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Thanks for the fun, Pauline, Melissa, Sara, and Jocelyn!

Grainful Eats

I was so excited when Grainful contacted me to try their savory oat meals; I do not eat a lot of oatmeal typically, but I decided to take a chance and try savory oatmeal. I received two flavors: Porcini Mushroom Chicken and Unstuffed Pepper.

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All of their oatmeal entrees are made withe gluten-free steel cut oats and healthy, real-food ingredients. They are completely free of preservatives, artificial flavors, and artificial colors. Both of my meals are high in protein and fiber–the perfect pairing for a healthy, filling meal (they each contain 17g protein and 5g fiber).

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Check out the short ingredients list!

Both of my meals included meat, but they also have plenty of vegan and vegetarian frozen meals.

As much as I love doing meal prep, there are some weekends or days that are just way too busy. And on rare occasion, some days I just don’t feel like it. On days like that, I don’t want to blow $15+ on a mediocre take-out meal (yes, I am very frugal) because I often end up disappointed.

These meals are delicious, reasonably priced, and take a few short minutes to cook in the microwave. These are great when you are craving a wholesome, filling meal ready in minutes.

Now to the nitty-gritty–the real meal reviews!

Porcini Mushroom Chicken:

Upon opening, the meal looked very fresh and was a really reasonable (big) size. I hurriedly popped it into the microwave and four minutes later…voila!

I am not a huge fan of cheese (I know, I know I’m weird), but the Romano cheese on top added a great rich flavor to the whole dish. After I stirred it up, it became a creamy mix with the abundant mushrooms and chicken. In the picture below you can see how generous the meal is with mushrooms and white meat chicken. I am exceptionally picky about my chicken, and this is one of the few frozen meals that includes fresh, delicious white meat chicken. If you look closely, you can also see a chunk of fresh garlic and flecks of basil, parsley, and oregano. 

Next up, I tried the Unstuffed Pepper entree. I was not feeling meal prep on Sunday night after a 90 minute hot yoga class so this was the perfect solution. Four minutes after I popped it in the microwave, I had a delicious, hot lunch . The entree was extra creamy, and perfectly spiced. There was some mild heat and it had a nice tang from the green bell pepper. I prefer lean meat, and the turkey was perfect.

Here is a close-up:

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Money shot 😉

Look at the creaminess? All in all, 10/10. I will definitely be trying these again; find a store that carries Grainful near you here.

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Have you tried savory oats? Which meal would you try first?

Disclaimer: Grainful sent me some of their frozen meals to review, however this post represents my honest thoughts and opinions.