Tag Archives: exercise

Five Friday Things

27 Mar

Things I Used To Hate But Now I Love

Sometimes, we convince ourselves we have ourselves all figured out. We like what we like, we don’t like what we don’t like, and that’s how it is. You can’t make me like mushrooms, and no, it isn’t because I haven’t had the right mushroom.

But there are exceptions. Maybe something you don’t like keeps popping up in your life and you think, “If I just keep trying this thing, I’ll stop hating it.” Over the last 5 or so years, I’ve been trying things I hate, just to see what would happen. It occurred to me in the bath today that there are actually several things that I used to hate, but now, I I’m into them. My theory worked!

1) Baths: I don’t like being in water. Bathing to me is like a get in-get out situation, I think mostly because I have to fix my hair and get ready all over again. And baths were always…not enjoyable. I felt like I was just sitting in a puddle of rapidly cooling water.

But people love baths. And in a bath, you get all these cool little accouterments, like bath bombs and melts and bubbles and beads and salts. I wanted to have that spa-like experience, and let me tell you, that’s tough to do in a 10 minute shower. So I broke down and bought some sweet bath bombs and other little goodies from Moon’s Harvest. The bath bombs are the size of softballs and turn your water into a magical fizzing pool of goodness. I can get down with a bath now, but now I’m obsessed with finding things to put in my bath, and I now require a huge soaking tub in my future dream house.

2) Broccoli and Cauliflower

Growing up, we never had broccoli or cauliflower. Fresh or frozen, raw or steamed, it just never showed up on the table. I wasn’t use to the taste or texture, and I was just generally not a fan. I blame a lot of this on the boiled frozen or mushy, gloopy “cheese” covered versions I was given. It’s not appealing.

I didn’t like either of these veggies until probably two years ago, just because Brent likes them and I wanted to try new foods. I still am not a huge fan of them raw, but we probably have either of these guys at least once a week. I’ll make roasted broccoli with garlic and lemon with a sprinkling of parmesan, or a nice cauliflower puree or a “risotto” with cream and parmesan. Tonight I made a super tasty broccoli and cheddar soup with ham. I cannot get enough! The crazy cauliflower above is from our CSA last summer, and I hope I more this CSA season. I’m thinking this recipe is coming to our table soon…

3) Electropop

Maybe you don’t even know what electropop is. It sounds stupid. and I thought it was. It’s generally happy, upbeat music driven mostly by electronic instruments, like keyboards and synthesizers and drum tracks mixed on a computer program. It never seemed like “real” music to me, and the singing was sometimes a bit too saccharine sweet and just not serious enough. I used to make faces and request the song be changed.

Now, I kind of can’t get enough of it. I love strong female vocalists and imaginative instrumental tracks and hooks that are really hard to get out of your head. It’s an addiction. (Listen above)


This picture is from my 21st birthday, drinking out of my personalized goblet from Jena, and in it was a super sweet, super fruity moscato that I just absolutely loved. It was the only wine I drank, and I definitely didn’t consider myself a wine drinker. Red wine was gross and made my tongue feel weird and it tasted like sour grapes.

I worked at a coffee shop/ wine bar, and I couldn’t give any customers any recommendations or help because I hadn’t had any of our selection. My only comment on my performance review was “Needs to drink more wine.” Well, if you insist…

So, I started going to the weekly wine tastings that were hosted at my work, just sipping and deciding whether I liked it or not. I started to discover that there actually were differences, and I had preferences. I started out loving Pinot Noirs, and slowly started to branch out. Now, you can pretty much give me any wine and I’ll find something I like about it. I love the flavors, I love the low-volume, low-sugar aspect of wine. It’s the perfect drink.

5) Exercise
Okay, I know what you’re thinking…everyone hates exercising. It’s boring and sweaty and hard and gross. Yeah, it can be. I always thought so. Sometimes I still do. But when you sit inside staring at a screen all day, you start to get antsy.

If you’re like me, the antsy feeling turns to anxiety since you haven’t done any more than walk to the kitchen a few times. I joined a gym. I didn’t use it much for the first year, going in spurts but always finding excuses to skip working out. Then Julie made me go to yoga with her. Yoga…BORING. But then i thought “You’re already wearing yoga pants, Jenny…you might as well do some yoga in them.”

I found out that yoga is fun. Like, really fun, and challenging, and centering. (yeah, I said centering.) I also get to wear yoga pants with a purpose. The gym can be fun, too, because the gym has elliptical machines and cable (yay, tv I don’t have to feel guilty about watching!) And the gym gets me out of my house and out of my weird computer screen funk. Exercise also makes me feel strong and healthy, which is good on many levels.

So, I’ve flip flopped on some things in my short 25 years. Maybe I’ll start trying mushrooms more often. Or maybe not.

Is there anything you used to hate, but now you love?


Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies (yoga and food)

6 Feb

After a couple month hiatus, I went back to yoga today. I seriously love yoga. Don’t turn away yet- this isn’t going to be a long diatribe about yoga! I just wanted to talk about healthy living.

I’ve been working really hard since the New Year to have a more healthful life. I’ve been working out about five times a week and have been making conscious, good choices about the food I eat. I sleep amazing and I never get tired during the day anymore, where I used to need a nap around 2pm. But I took a little break from yoga.

Yoga is expensive if you go to a studio like I do, but I need that studio space to focus and be present. Otherwise I’m fending of cats and waiting for videos to load and getting distracted by dirty dishes and emails. So off to the studio I go, usually with a friend in tow.


Today we went and encountered a new instructor, which was pretty jarring. She had a different approach and style and we were not feelin’ it at all. We missed the calm, focused yoga we used to do with our usual instructor, so we walked out of yoga a bit more tense than we walked in. But this instructor did make a good point. It’s your practice. She said it about 1000 times so it really got hammered into our heads, but I’m trying to use that phrase to help me feel good about our yoga experience by choosing to feel good about it. Healthy living is all about a healthy mindset. Letting negativity and grumpiness to edge its way in, that’s how you’ll feel all day, thinking about that experience with a frown. We’ll probably go to this new instructor’s class again, and maybe we’ll enjoy it more next time. But for today, I’m going to choose to feel good about my choice to go to yoga and further my yoga practice and strengthen my body, letting that choice influence the rest of my choices today.


To continue to nourish my body and keep a healthy mindset, I made these nutrition-packed bars. If you don’t have time to work out today or do something good for yourself, maybe you can make these little treats instead. Fruit and nut bars don’t sound good at all, even to me, but trust me. I have a major sweet tooth that consumes my life; so if I can eat these and feel like I’m eating a treat, I think you will too.


These are essentially Lara bars. If you’ve never had one, it’s a mix of nuts and dates, with one or two other ingredients to give it a flavor. Today we’re doing a brownie version. People comment often on the high sugar count in these bars, but I don’t feel bad about it since I’m getting fiber and nutrients from the fruit and good healthy fats from the nuts. It’s like yummy trail mix in a tasty bar.

The ingredients are simple: dates, almonds, walnuts, a couple tablespoons of chocolate chips and cocoa powder, and a pinch of salt. But it tastes like a fudgey chocolatey treat.


You can eat these as an afternoon pick-me-up, after a workout for a bit of energy, or even for dessert. I really love this bar and I hope you do to! They’re gluten and dairy free (make sure to grab dairy-free chips if need be), and infinitely adaptable – there are tons of recipes and ideas online, so if you like this one, go explore and experiment with others.



Fudge Brownie Fruit and Nut Bars 
Serves 6

1/2 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup raw walnuts
1 cup packed whole dates
3 tablespoons chocolate chips
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
few sprinkles sea salt

Method:  Line a loaf pan with some lightly greased parchment paper. Soak the fruit in a cup of warm water for about 10 min, unless your fruit is very soft.
Add your nuts to your food processor, and process until nuts are very fine, but before they become a paste. Add in the remaining ingredients, processing until mixture comes together into a thick lump (mm…lumps.) This only took me a few minutes, but it could take your processor longer to combine everything.
Spread mixture into prepared pan with a greased rubber spatula, making it as evenly spread as possible. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Remove from pan and cut into 6 bars.
Wrap bars tightly in plastic wrap; will keep at room temperature for a few days, and in the refrigerator for a few weeks. 

Recipe adapted from Leite’s Culinaria