Don’t Break The Chain

I don’t always know what I plan on writing when I sit down to write. This makes me not want to write, but it’s not enough of a reason not to. This is also most likely how I end up letting weeks go by without ever even logging in to this blog. Although to be honest sometimes I don’t have enough time to actually sit down and write and sometimes I’m not physically in the studio to sit down to write. But most of the time it’s simply the lame excuse that I don’t know what to write. I even keep lists of topics and drafts of post ideas that come to me when I don’t have time to write, just time to jot down notes or a sentence in my phone, and still, most of the time I just move onto to something else and decide that I’ll do it later. I got really tired of later never coming though and frustrated with days and weeks going by without writing anything.

So at the end of the year I was looking back on what I did over the past months and of course I started thinking about goals, and what I’m good at and what I like to do. You know what was on all three of those lists? Writing. You know what I did the least of in 2016? Write. So I started working on changing this. Writing more both privately and publicly. I’ll admit that I’ve been doing a lovely job of it and part of that is because unless I’m not actually near my computer at all on a given day, I sit down, set a timer for 60 minutes and start writing. I do this twice in the morning; once with the Manic Trout blog and once here. I aim for 1000 words on each. I enjoy both spaces for what they are as the Manic Trout blog is much more research driven, and jewelry and style related. In this space, I get to write what ever I’m feeling that day, which is actually why I think it’s harder to sometimes thing of things.

These two blocks of time are a priority to my schedule and what I do first thing in the day after my morning routine which includes writing my daily morning pages. Morning pages are a concept that many writers and non writers alike use to sort of journal a few pages of longhand about whatever pops into your head. I aim for two pages of anything that’s on my mind; what I was proud of the day before, what I’m excited about that day, what I want to do better today, what I grateful for, even progress reports to myself. I follow this with one page of my plans for the day and how I see it playing out. It’s a great activity to both jump start my day and get my creativity flowing.

What I find interesting is that because I started writing first thing to make it a priority, I discovered by mistake that I write much better early in the day. I was pretty surprised to realize this as I am actually really strong at doing other creative tasks, like designing and making jewelry in the evening and late at night. For a long time, I had in my head that I needed to write blog posts at night for the next day, assuming that I would be able to write better at that time. I always though that I was never writing these because of time, or other things that got in the way, but really it’s just not the time of day when my brain writes well. So this whole exercise and schedule has been working really well so far. I however still often have no idea what to write about.

This is why I usually blog for Manic Trout first. That space has more of a scheduled theme and as I typically research a topic and write about it, it feels easier than pulling things out of my brain. This also means that I have a sort of double warm up before I get here. If I have no idea what to write, even after thinking about it while going though the morning, I’ll write the title, look over my prompts, maybe google a question I have in my head. This will usually strike a chord, even it has nothing to do with what I started writing, what I searched or what the title was. But no matter what, even if I still feel like I have nothing to say, I set my timer, open a blank post and write. Typically, as I’m already warmed up, if I just start typing, the words begin flowing on their own at that point and then after a bit I slow down, review what I wrote, remove the weird tangents and edit. I realize in amazement that there was a blog post in me, even if I didn’t know it yet when I began.

The biggest lesson that I learned in art school was to approach being creative like any other job. You sit down and do it, day after day. No matter what mood you’re in, if you feel uninspired, happy, angry, depressed, whatever, you sit down and write. One of my favorite quotes about this is from Jerry Seinfeld, who has always said that to be a productive writer, you have to wrote every day. His recommends marking an x on the calendar for every day that you write and what ever you do, “Don’t Break The Chain”. The chain concept has become a thing in productivity but it’s incredibly motivating in itself if you are a visual learner. It’s also an incredibly logical lesson, as to be good at something creative, you need a bit of natural ability sure, but for the most part you just have to practice. To do it over and over, day in and day out. Without the daily practice, you will never improve and become great. So do the work, every day. Don’t break the chain.

I have been using the chain with the morning pages for a few weeks so far. My chain has not broken. It usually warms me up and makes me jump right into the blogs, which is great as the blogs are hopefully something that can both get done 5 days a week. As I said, writing is the one thing in my life that is large part in more than one of my long term goals, that I’m good and that I enjoy. I am only hurting myself if I break the chain.

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3 Podcasts About Productivity

I’ve been spending a great deal of time the last few weeks thinking about productivity. Specifically on using my time the best way that I can to accomplish my goals, both business and personal without burn out. I’m not sure if it is because I am so immersed in this topic that it feels like I see, hear and read about this topic everywhere or that so many others are just as obsessed with productivity so that it IS everywhere. I suspect it’s a combination of the two and am glad that the information keeps popping up and that I’m paying attention. The most interesting part of this is that most of the information is really similar and this is a great thing. It basically means that not everyone is giving conflicting information on productivity and goal setting, they are all saying the same things…so I should probably listen.

I wrote this week about the idea of using the new year as a chance to evaluate and regroup and the areas in which I am doing this. I then wrote the next day about my decision to put pen back to paper and to go back to using a paper planner. For me, there were just so many digital options that I was becoming counter productive and felt a desire to simplify. It was a great personal choice and that step alone has been a huge help on getting a grip on my productivity and to regroup in the areas I outlined the day before. The other huge step has been to keep listening and reading about productivity. I’m almost doing so passively, just to keep it all fresh in my head. I listen to podcasts in the car and when I’m doing things like having breakfast or putting on make up, time when I’m paying attention, but not giving my full attention to it.

Three podcasts have stood out to me this week. They all deliver similar basic messages, yet each from their own unique point of view. The first from an economists standpoint, the second from a master planner view and the third from a more trying to find life balance view.

  1. The economist: Freakonomics Radio – How To Be More Productive. The unique POV is explaining the difference between being busy and being productive.
  2. The master planner: GTD (Getting Things Done) – Making Changes Stick. The importance of not only being productive, but staying productive and getting back on track if you slip up.
  3. The life balance: The Goal Digger Podcast – Goal Setting For People Who Hate Goal Setting. This one gets a little too faith based for my personal preference, but it’s good enough that I kept listening regardless of that.

Have you listened to any great productivity podcasts recently? Share them in the comments below, I’d love to know what they are!



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Do you make resolutions?

I’m not much of a resolution maker these days, but I do I do enjoy using the new year to analyze and regroup a bit. Part of it is that as a business owner, I do this with finances and the various things I track. I have become in the habit of spending the week between Christmas and New Years Day finishing up that year and setting up all of my systems for the year ahead. There are the obvious: closing/starting out planners, calendars, spreadsheets and files and the not so obvious: reviewing my vision, and where I am with short and long term goals. Usually there is an area where I immediately notice, if I had not realized it already, that needs improving. If I have already been aware of the problem area, I try to start in mid December so that I’m feeling the pressure of the resolution setting chaos.

This past year, I gave up all sugar and sweet things on December 19th. This was following a doctors appointment where the cause of some heath issues were not obvious. I overheard the doctor and nurse reviewing my chart and wondering if weight or diet could be a contributor. Although in the end, the problems were completely unrelated to anything I was doing, that one over heard conversation gave me the motivation I needed to get my out of control sugar addiction in check. If there were going to be issues with my health, I refused to let them ever be caused by own self negligence. I got to work immediately and by the time the new year began, I was free from sugar and had dropped the extra weight it had caused. In December, I also started “reclaiming wasted time“, so I could do my favorite thing: read more. Soon, I was reading an extra 4 to 6 books a month. Yesterday I wrote about the business goals I was working on this past year, which were about defining my skills and building my personal brand.  But I also met my goal to not stop working out when I was the busiest so I was not removing my best stress reliever when I needed it the most. I set out to schedule time 5 days a week that I would not cancel on and commit to giving to myself this time to work out. I hit that one out of the park and think the habit has set in pretty well on it now and the results have been amazing. I was so calm during the holiday season that Adam was actually worried about me. These were all areas that I wanted to improve on over the past year and are now just a part of my life. I thankfully don’t have to work on these things anymore, just be mindful that I am continuing them.

So what do I feel are the areas that need to be worked on this year? The first area that needs to be worked on is that I stumbled a bit mentally with my vision and long term goals this past year. As I have been aware of this, I have been spending the last month working on not only defining these, but on shifting my mind set to work towards them. Interestingly, as I spent the past year defining what my skills are, I now see that there are a few things that overlap what I am good at and what I love to do and yet I have not been doing them. How sad is that??? Hint, hint, that is literally being worked on by my typing this! Another area that needs some help is that I am too often just going through the motions of my day. I’m getting things done, but not feeling excited to seize the day or proud of what I have done that day. Not that I am not proud, but I’m not all “best day ever, go me!!” as often as I would like to be. I think part of it is the lack of vision and with that, the lack of long terms plan, so although I’m getting through the to-do list, I’m not really sure that I’m accomplishing things for the big picture. I have already been working on this though, enough that I am now able to analyze it and put into words what I have been feeling and put into action some of what needs to be done to fix it.

So while I am not setting goals, I am already working on areas that need some help. I am making changes, I am researching (it soothes me to have information…knowledge is power and all) and learning from others who have succeeded at overcoming these things. I am slowly making changes, a little at a time until the change sticks and then I change a little more.

On the subject of of resolutions, goals and intentions…I was flipping through my old sketchbook/notebooks that I used to use jot down notes, lists, schedules and inspirations in (mostly pages of crazy long lists) and saw the 2 pages of resolutions I was making every year. I was overwhelmed just looking at it. I also never accomplished much of what was on those 2 pages. I then thought about on the flip side, I have veered to the polar opposite and had no resolutions or intentions some years, just took each day as it came along and acted accordingly. In thinking about both of these mindsets, the only thing I know is that neither of these work for me. I need a nice happy medium of having defined goals along with their manageable breakdowns but still allowing myself to have flexibility in my daily routine and life goals. If there is too much structure and too rigid of a plan, I freak out when something unexpected pops up and also say no to too much. If for example, I was not in the mind space I was in this last year (sort of floundering, not sure where I wanted to be doing), I never would have said yes to the interview with the tv channel. I would have said that it didn’t fit into my schedule and that I no interest in a future as a DIY host. Because I was trying to figure out some things, I thought it sounded like a fun project and why not at least look into it. I was incredibly surprised to realize quickly that it was something that I was naturally really good and at and I love it! They are great about working with my schedule (we basically took December off) and it has energized me in other areas. So finding the sweet spot where I am feeling proud of my work and what I am building, accomplishing growth personally and in business and having the time and energy to take on interesting projects seems to be what I’m aiming for.

What are your resolutions and intentions?

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The skinny dress


Last fall, I was not feeling or looking my best and decided to make a change. Although I ate really healthy (including eating all of my daily fruits and veggies) and exercised, it no longer was enough to maintain and my weight had crept up. At the same time, my good friend Luke was changing careers to make his love fitness a full time job. I worked with him for a month from September to October and I learned that I could push myself much harder without dying and that as I have been aging, that I needed to add more cardio. Besides fitness, we were chatting about food one day and he thought I should check out macros and learn about the importance of tracking them if you work out hard, I was intrigued. After our month together, I was motivated, excited and on the right path. Then some health issue came up and I turned to candy to deal with the stress of it. In mid December, after a visit to the dr and finally figuring out the problem (Adenomyosis) and working towards a temporary treatment and planning an eventual cure, I realized how much I had been stress eating (mostly jelly belly jelly beans). I had ballooned up fast in the short span of a month, could hardly fit into my clothes and felt miserable.

First things first, I, as you may know, stopped eating sugar immediatly after the dr’s office visit. All sugar, no cheat days, none in my coffee, zero, zip, nada. I started dropping the extra weight I had put on in the last month really fast from that alone but then decided to get back to my fighting weight. To the weight I had been for most of my adult life, and what almost all of you know me at, so nothing drastic, however it still felt overwhelming. But I dug my heels in and got to work. I upped my workouts applying what I learned from Luke. I alternated longer run days with days where I would do a warm up run and then a video, each week both of these runs became longer and faster. On my two days off a week, I still walked at least 3-4 miles. I bought a fitbit Zip that I keep it in my bra and I started tracking calories and macros to see where the issues were. (Turns out I love tracking food, its like a daily puzzle I have to solve and works really, really well for me.) I had been against scales for a few years and relied solely on how clothes fit, but I knew that I’d need more than that to do this, so I immediatly went out and bought both a food scale and body scale. I was on a mission to not let my uterus (which during an ultrasound was discovered to be 4 times the normal size) with its enlarged size and bloating tendencies dictate how I looked and felt. I would not let my stupid uterus have any more control.

I set a weight goal, but really my goals were the dresses hanging in my closet. (I mean really, what women doesn’t keep clothing for this purpose in her closet?) There were a few specific dresses that each represented a bench mark I wanted to get back to. Over the last few months, as my clothes began fitting normally again and I found myself able to comfortable fit back in most pieces, there were three dresses in particular that were standing out as the ones I was striving for. I have been trying them on along the way to see where I am, and had been frustrated at what seemed like so little progress with them. This morning though, I was feeling good. Last night, Adam told me that any pro athlete would be proud of the training I’ve been doing, and that felt really good to hear! So I was still riding on that when I woke up today and decided to weigh myself (I only do this randomly every few days or sometimes even every week or so), and discovered that I have officially lost 30 lbs since December! Exciting, but you know, just a number.

So I went for the ultimate test, I had shied away from trying on the dreaded dresses for a few weeks as that last time when I tried on the dress from the day we eloped, there was a lot of extra over hang on top, (upper body muffin top, if you will), I couldn’t zip up a dress I wore when I came to visit Austin 5 years ago and I wasn’t even ready to go near THE DRESS…the smallest and least forgiving of any dress I have ever worn that is raw silk, cut on the bias and tight on the hips and makes me terrified to even consider trying. But today, 2 days shy of a vacation in the Bahamas and 2 weeks before the birthday goal date I was aiming for, I was feeling good. I yelled for Adam to grab the wedding dress from the closet (this took two tries by the way, how do men not pay attention to what you wear??). I think he was more nervous than I was as he didn’t want to see me so disappointed again. It zipped with no problem. There was not a peek of upper muffin top, it may have been a little roomy. We both looked at each with a kind of awe. Then Adam got bored and wandered off. But I immediately grabbed the second, and it zipped right up too! So feeling brazen, I want for the last dress…and OMG, it fit!! There was cheering, maybe some weird version of twerking and lots and lots of jumping for joy! All the dancing lady emojis!!!

I’m feeling pretty awesome about how once again hard work and determination accomplished my goals. To be really honest, I’m also kind of nervous about traveling for 8 days and not being able to keep such a tight grasp on what I’m eating, but I do understand the need to live a little, its just really soon to feel like I could actually undo the hard work so fast. Remember the beginning of this post? I can gain weight really, really fast! But at least now I know how to reverse it. As far as long term goes, I really like using the tracking app, especially for macros. I’ve started to notice that if I get a headache or feel sluggish, it’s almost always because I haven’t had enough fat that day. I will most likely keep tracking so I can maintain without fearing that I’ll keep loosing (I have gone board in the past and become too skinny, that and I want to fit in the clothes in my closet!). I also love my current workouts, so I’m sure if I need to dial it back or eat more, but that will have to be figured out. Right now, I’m just really happy that I was able to give up sugar (which will absolutely remain banned from my life, I have no control with moderation in that area) and show my uterus who the boss really is.

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Deep Thoughts from The Past Week


1. It’s weird how much you realize you love some one (pets included) when they are sick. With Mora this week, it was the moment when the emergency hospital vet asked if I wanted to sign a DNR for her. I surprised myself with the level of ferociousness that I responded with when telling them that of course I wanted them to do whatever they could to make sure that she lived.

2. Not all birds will cause dire harm, but SOME birds will absolutely cause bad things to happen to a dog when they eat them.

3. Having goals, a plan to accomplish them and an organized place to track them will make productivity higher.

4. Stacks of random to do lists may do nothing but cause anxiety.

5. Fireworks are more fun for the anticipation factor then the actual event is.

6. A tiny change to a room, like a new duvet cover, can make a huge impact. This can translate to many facets of life. If some part of your life feels in a rut, make a little change and you may be surprised how powerful it can be.

7. Optimism is contagious. “Surround yourself with only people who are going to take you higher.” – Oprah Winfrey.

8. Online sales are slow for everyone in July, stop panicking and work on something that you normally would not have time for, like SEO.

9. You are not alone. No matter what you are feeling, thinking or doing, there is someone else out there going through the same thing.

10. Manic Trout is having a fabulous Summer Sale and you can get really pretty jewelry at really great prices right now. Ok not so deep, but fun!

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Finding my voice

A few months ago I wrote a post about trying to figure out what I want to happen here. I spent a great deal of time thinking about this and confusing myself a little more. Then I stopped blogging for about a month. Which made me sad every day that I didn’t write anything. Then a pretty cool thing happened at Manic Trout that I can’t talk about but was only a brief behind the scenes moment anyway, but it was the catalyst for a lot more behind the scenes conversations. Most of these were with a new friend who is a hand bag designer and our new friendship, which is a direct result from what I can’t talk about, actually led to another new contact, who I also can’t talk about. See, this is why it’s so hard to blog…because I can’t talk about anything!! But seriously, as a result of the third thing I can’t talk about, I have decided to give Manic Trout it’s own blog. A place where all of the very specific jewelry news can go. This also means that this blog, which started in 2006 as the Manic Trout blog, is no longer linked to Manic Trout and free to do whatever it wants. This is both liberating and kind of scary, as being untethered often is. I don’t think much will change here, besides my actually writing and posting things. Both those things might actually happen now. Well, that’s the goal anyway.

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Stuck in a food rut

Blueberries and cream
I have been eating this snack of  frozen blueberries with a sprinkle of sugar and (almond) milk since I was a tiny girl.

I love food. I also love routines. Loving both of these things makes it so I latch on to a few really delicious meals and make them over and over and over again. I usually get bored after a few months and toss in something new and then bring back a few things I haven’t made in a while but this just means the cycle starts all over again. Most of this I blame on my lack of meal planning/its easier to grocery shop this way. I still am doing a weekly meal prep (you can read more about that here, here and here) and I admit that it has made my habit of eating meals on repeat worse. As in, Adam complains about it, a lot. I both feel bad that I force him down my path of food boredom and that he should be really, really happy that his wife cooks all the time and shut up about it. Guilt seemed to win this week though because I gave in and ordered 3 new cookbooks that I have been really wanting. I realized that every time I buy a new cookbook, I get all into it and add amazing new food to my repertoire. So by buying them I am basically solving all of my problems with one click. Yeah, that was some amazing shopping justification going on there!

One of my favorite parts about eating Paleo is that it basically is just putting a name to the way I have preferred to eat for most of my life. But it now means that I can find countless blogs, websites and awesome cookbooks that are dedicated to cooking the way I like to eat. It also means that when I buy a cookbook, I no longer have to cross out half of the recipes because I don’t eat most of the ingredients, like dairy. It’s actually been really awesome and has made it so I cook all the time. I bought and instantly fell in love with Well Fed at the recommendation of my friend Clare, so it made sense to order Well Fed 2.  Well this quickly became an If You Give A Mouse a Cookie scenario because Nom Nom Paleo and Against All Grain basically fell into my amazon cart after that. I blame prime, it makes me make irrational decisions. Anyway, the awesomeness that is prime means that they will be here tomorrow. I’ll keep you posted on how I feel about them, but I have a feeling my instagrams will speak volumes on that as well. Wish me luck 😉

Have you been stuck in a food rut lately as well?


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Spring planting project progress

Our beautiful porch
Our porch in progress

When we moved into our house in the middle of last July, one of our favorite parts was the yard and the side deck, complete with built in benches and pergola. There also was already a growing herb garden and a little rock filled area for our grill.  By late July, summer has been in full effect for months here in Austin, and all of the garden and patio things have left the stores, but I made a promise to myself that in the spring, I would be ready.

Porch shot 2
Shot from the other side
The ottomans ended up being the perfect fit!
The ottomans ended up being the perfect fit!

It has taken me a few years to get used to such an early schedule for gardening here compared to the North East. For 34 years, I mentally had Memorial Day as the kick off for outdoor living, now it’s the the first day of spring at the latest. This year we did somehow manage to hit the stores just in time though as we started shopping for the project on March 21st and by the next weekend, all of the herbs were sold out!

This is how I have been looking these past fe weekends
This is how I have been looking these past few weekends
Close up of the succulent container garden

Here is what we have done so far:

  • Raked and cleaned out the garden, laid down new soil and planted the herbs and veggies.
  • Raked and weeded the rocks and laid down 2 new bags of them.
  • Swept and washed the porch and benches.
  • Bought trees, plants, soil and pots…including 2 new small pots which perfectly match match Mexican pottery collection.
  • Planted 2 hanging planters and hung them from the porch.
  • Planted a tangerine tree for by the front door.
  • Planted a hibiscus tree, large palm and mint for the porch.
  • Bought tomatoes to grow in a pot on the porch as something ate them all in the garden last year.
  • Planted oodles of succulents for out little potted graden.
  • Brought citronella candles out of storage.
  • Bought 2 ottomans to use with the built in benches.
  • Bought pillows, brought them home, hated them and exchanged them for brighter ones.
  • Hung a bird feeder from a tree for Adam.
  • Sprayed ants and wasps who think they own the place.
  • Fertilized both yards with fun wheelie spreader.
  • Rake and clean up front and back lawns.
  • While we were in the plant shopping mood, finally bought 2 huge plants and pretty planters for inside on the fireplace.
The grill area…in need of more rocks
The garden...can't wait until it all starts flourishing!
The garden…can’t wait until it all starts flourishing!

Still to do:

  • Hang the hammock on the porch
  • Buy some solar powered lanterns
  • Buy a tray or 2 for the ottomans
  • May be more palm type trees?
  • Renew rocks around plants in front of house and add more rocks to grill area.
The tangerine tree by the front door

Im sure there are plenty of other things we’ll think up each time we sit outside, but it has been lovely enjoying coffee in the mornings out there while Faye frolics around the yard. We even already have had a few friends out there, success! Hopefully this week we knock off at least the things we have left on the list. Yay for spring!



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House plants for the black thumb

an extra large jade plant
an extra large version of the jade plants I want by the fireplace

I’ve never had much luck with plants. I keep trying, but it’s a one step forward, two steps back kind of thing. I recently had a great run with a succulent that lasted for about two and a half years, and although I haven’t given up completely, it’s kind of sad at the moment. I have had it in three houses though and it was thriving at this one until I hung curtains, and then it was pretty fast downward spiral. I however am currently driven by the euphoric 18 month success with my corn tree that I bought thinking it was fake and an aloe plant that I never thought would last and is still going strong.

the plants would go where the candle is place holding
the plants would go where the candle is place holding

During the holidays, I had two poinsettias that looked so pretty flanking the fire place that I want to have plants there year round. I really want jade plants, but its not quite full sun and the window by the fireplace is under a tree so I’m a bit nervous about the spring and summer light.  The jade is my test though. Like so many other women who have a love of great design, I am obsessed with fiddle leaf fig plants and recently they have been popping up at much more affordable prices.  I won’t let myself buy one though until I have more in faith in myself to keep it alive. I figure if I can get the jade through the summer, I will reward myself with the fiddle leaf fern. It’s only fair that I not set myself up for failure though, so I need to figure out if jade will be ok in that spot before I bring them home.

a beautiful fiddle leaf fern

What are your favorite house plants? Any thought on what would work in that spot by the fireplace?


top and bottom images via pinterest; middle image by me

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Comfort food with less stress on comfort

Penne with chicken, broccoli and reggiano
Penne with chicken, broccoli and reggiano

Why it that the second the temps drop, I want to stuff my face with pasta? Am I the only one who feels that way? Last year I gained a lot of weight over the winter and as I’m still fighting to get it off, this year I have been trying as hard as I can to at least include a good amount of vegetables every meal. On the days that the temps have been above 50, I have even forced a salad upon myself. The downside is that I have been adding cheese to everything.

Spinach, tuna, pepper, mushroom and feta salad
Spinach, tuna, pepper, mushroom and feta salad

Speaking of weight gain, I tell my sisters all the time that as they’ll hit weight hazards as they age. One of the perks of being a much older sister means you get to freak out your siblings with stuff like this. It’s all normal and part of the aging process, but I like to tell it to them like a scary story told at a slumber party. When I hit 20, it seemed like my hips got wider, even though I was the same weight I had been in high school. In my mid 20’s I had to start using weights to my workouts to stay fit and watch what I ate to not gain weight (this was brought to my attention after a horrible year of weight gain followed by 2 years to get back to normal). In my early 30’s I found that the amount of cardio I did had to increase to stay the same size. In my mid 30’s all hell has started breaking out. I have to work HARD to not gain weight. I have to really watch what I eat all of the time now. Remember when Adam Sandler said in Big Daddy the thing about having a milkshake and his ass jiggles for a week…I have hit that age. It sucks.

Quesadilla with black bean whole wheat wraps, low fat cheese, spinach, peppers, mushrooms and salsa
Quesadilla with black bean whole wheat wraps, low fat cheese, spinach, peppers, mushrooms and salsa

Since the whole getting rid of the microwave experiment, I realized I was going through olive oil at an alarming rate. In my quest to be more aware of what I’m eating, I started looking around and discovered my new favorite thing in the world…that pretty much anything you can cook in oil, you can cook in vegetable broth. It was a life changing discovery. There are still things that I always reach for the oil for, such as sautéed spinach and roasted sweet potatoes…but for nearly everything else…broth it is! On colder days, I’m a bit heavier handed with the broth and everything has a wonderful warm soup feel…it’s pretty amazing on a cold day.

Spinach, peppers, garbanzo beans, tuna, mushroom, pepper, tomato, avocado and feta cheese salad
Spinach, peppers, garbanzo beans, tuna, mushroom, pepper, tomato, avocado and feta cheese salad

I am also guilty of falling into food ruts, so the last month or so, I have been bringing home new veggies to mix in with the normal bounty of my produce drawer. Green beans were in heavy rotation for a few weeks, and peppers and mushrooms are more current add in. Although that’s pretty obvious as they are included in almost every meal here.

Chicken breast, roasted sweet potatoes, broccoli, peppers and mushrooms
Chicken breast, roasted sweet potatoes, broccoli, peppers and mushrooms

How have you been dealing with the crazy cold temps and comfort cooking this season? Have any great recipes to share? I know my friend Clare shared a Zucchini Soup recipe the other that I am dying to try! She eats paleo, which intrigues me but also seems like it has too many rules.

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