Thursday, May 29, 2014

Bloglovin' Blog Hop





Happy kids inc Bloglovin Blog hop May


Your Devoted Host:

Meg Hodson Happy Kids Inc Bloglovin' Blog Hop Blogging

Your Lovely Co-Hosts:

Nummy For My Tummy Bloglovin' Blog Hop Blogging    The Thrifty Firecracker Bloglovin' Blog Hop Blogging    I am the makeup junkie Bloglovin' Blog Hop Blogging


Life Between the Books Bloglovin' Blog Hop Blogging     Downsizing Ashley Blog Bloglovin' Blog Hop Blogging    A Moment in My World Bloglovin' Blog Hop Blogging


1.  Add your link directly to your Bloglovin' profile below.  You will have to manually upload a photo of yourself (it will not automatically input from Bloglovin').
2.  Please follow your host, co-hosts, and sponsors.  It just takes a few quick clicks and it is much appreciated!
3.  Visit a few other bloggers in the linky, say "hello", and give them a follow.
4.  Tweet and share this hop!


Twice The Mum Bloglovin' Blog Hop


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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Few Bar Review Rules and Lyft Review

For those of you keeping track at home, I graduated from law school earlier this month. I experienced a brief and shining moment of relief before reality set in: now that law school is over, I have to study for the bar exam. The bar exam is a two day nightmare that law school graduates must endure to become licensed attorneys. It is offered twice a year in July and February. I will be spending my summer studying for the one in July. This will be an incredibly stressful two months so I've come up with a few rules for the exam prep period that I hope will keep me healthy and sane until test day.

Rule #1--Set Aside 1 Hour Per Day To Workout

The road to the bar exam will be long and grueling. I'm sure there are things that won't get done because studying takes precedence. Fitness is not going to be one of the things I give up. For me, working out is about stress management as well as fitness. I may not be able to drive an hour away for an epic hiking adventure in the woods, but I can go to the gym or ride my bike daily and still have plenty of time to study.

Rule #2--Eat a Healthy Diet

I'm stressed out and I don't have much free time, but I am not going to subsist on a diet of frozen pizza and Au Bon Pain cheesecake brownies the way I did my first year of law school. That kind of stress eating is how I gained weight that year and I'm not going to let it happen again this summer. Instead, I am making time to cook reasonably healthy meals like the cheesy grits and turkey bacon above or the almost vegan macaroni and cheese sauce made with blended cashews, spices, and water below.


Rule #3--Limit the Caffeine to the Mornings

I'm not a huge coffee drinker, but I have been known to drink those little energy shots to finish a paper or in the days leading up to finals. The Sweat Pink Ambassadors were given a chance to review these Lyft energy sticks and I finally gave them a shot this morning before I started watching a Bar review lecture. They're basically little stir sticks that you can use with whatever beverage you are drinking. The stick has some sort of powder on it, but when I stirred it into my green tea, I didn't really notice a taste. 

I didn't feel very different after I finished my tea, but that might be a good thing. Energy shots like 5 Hour Energy always make me feel wired and kind of make my stomach hurt. The fact that I felt awake and alert after using the Lyft stick but not jittery is a plus for me. 

Rule #4--Get Enough Sleep
This rule goes hand in hand with limiting the caffeine. I do my best studying when I am well-rested. As a result, I need to make sure I get a good night's sleep every night.

Have you ever taken a major exam? What did you do to take care of yourself and manage your stress?

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Bloglovin' Blog Hop








Happy kids inc Bloglovin Blog hop May


Your Devoted Host:

Meg Hodson Happy Kids Inc Bloglovin' Blog Hop Blogging

Your Lovely Co-Hosts:

Nummy For My Tummy Bloglovin' Blog Hop Blogging    The Thrifty Firecracker Bloglovin' Blog Hop Blogging    I am the makeup junkie Bloglovin' Blog Hop Blogging


Life Between the Books Bloglovin' Blog Hop Blogging     Downsizing Ashley Blog Bloglovin' Blog Hop Blogging    A Moment in My World Bloglovin' Blog Hop Blogging


1.  Add your link directly to your Bloglovin' profile below.  You will have to manually upload a photo of yourself (it will not automatically input from Bloglovin').
2.  Please follow your host, co-hosts, and sponsors.  It just takes a few quick clicks and it is much appreciated!
3.  Visit a few other bloggers in the linky, say "hello", and give them a follow.
4.  Tweet and share this hop!


Twice The Mum Bloglovin' Blog Hop


Happy Kids, Inc.





Monday, May 19, 2014

The Problem With Madeline

Remember back in January when my car was totaled in an accident? I don't think I ever mentioned it, but I finally got a replacement car. Her name is Madeline, after the immortal children's books by Ludgwig Bemelmans. 


You remember those books, right? They always started with this really great quote:

"In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines
Lived twelve little girls in two straight lines
In two straight lines they broke their bread
And brushed their teeth and went to bed.
They left the house at half past nine
In two straight lines in rain or shine
The smallest one was Madeline."

Image Credit
Get it? Beetles are small cars, and the smallest one was Madeline? No? No one else thought that was a brilliant and clever name? That's cool. I get it. I'll be over here whining because nobody gets me. As an aside, the little girls had a dog named Genevieve and that is where I got the name for my bike. Anyway...

It has been a while since I read the books, but the one thing I remember about the plot is that Madeline is constantly getting herself into some sort of mischief. In the books, the little girls have a guardian named Miss Clavel who always wakes up in the middle of the night and is certain that "Something is not right!" Call me Miss Clavel because a week or so ago, my Madeline's check engine light came on and today's trip to the mechanic made it clear that something is not right. He used lots of car words that I don't know the meaning of, but the important thing is that several things are broken, it will cost several thousand dollars to fix it, and that may be more than the car is worth. Insert sad face here.


I generally deal with my stress in two ways: miles and meals. Today there were only 8 miles of bike riding at a very easy pace at one of my favorite local parks.


I had some Crohn's related issues last week that left me feeling fatigued and sore. I feel a little better, but it's going to be a day or two before I'm ready for a longer or more challenging bike ride. I'm trying to be better about listening to my body and taking it easy when I don't feel good. Sometimes cutting back on exercise is what's best for my health.


There have also been some (mostly healthy) meals going on lately, including my new favorite breakfast. Sweet potato and turkey bacon. It might seem a little weird, but this pairing satisfies two of my biggest breakfast cravings--sweet and meaty. It's also a really filling meal that involves bacon. Enough said. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Explore Asian Bean Pasta Review and One Pan Pasta Recipe

I recently discovered a company called Explore Asian that makes healthy pasta out of organic beans. They also make wheat noodles and soybean noodle soup bowls. They were nice enough to send me several of their products to review, so I wanted to tell you a little more about the company and my experience with their products. The long version is below, but here's a spoiler in case you're feeling impatient: I really like them. In fact, I already ordered more of the noodle soup bowls on Amazon with my own money. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the clearest possible indicator that I am a fan.




The noodle soup bowl was the first of the products that I tried and I was very impressed. When you open the soup bowl, there are three little packets: noodles, flavor powder, and salt. Since the salt packet is separate, you can control how much sodium your soup contains. You make the soup by adding boiling water to the fill line, stirring in the flavor packet, and letting the noodles sit in the hot water for three minutes. While I was waiting, I took a look at the nutrition information. The soup bowl had 214 calories, 3g fat, 11g fiber, and a whopping 22g protein. I thought that was pretty good, but I was not fully sold until I tasted the soup.


I tried the broth then added a small amount of salt from the salt packet. I was not sure what vegetarian chicken flavor would taste like, but it turns out that it is comforting and delicious. The noodles were also a pleasant surprise. I have tried something called tofu noodles in the past and I was worried that the soybean noodles would have a similar texture to the tofu noodles, i.e. slimy and weird. Turns out, the soybean noodles in this soup were thinner, not at all slimy, and al dente enough to give the noodles some bite. The noodles still don't have the same texture as regular pasta, but I have never encountered a healthy pasta alternative that did. If I had to compare the texture to something, I would say it reminds me of baked tofu--not meaty exactly, but pleasant and very edible.


Next, I used the Organic Mung Bean Fettuccine in a one pan pasta meal that originally appeared in Martha Stewart Living. It also appeared on every blog on the internet according to Lottie & Doof, but I had never heard of it and it sounded good so I decided to try it with bean pasta.


Ingredients (Serves 1)
2 oz. Explore Asian Organic Mung Bean Fettuccine
1/4 of a Sweet Onion, Diced
6 Fresh Basil Leaves, shredded
10-15 Cherry Tomatoes, diced (or just halved if you like big chunks of tomato)
2-3 cloves of garlic
2 cups of water or broth
dash of red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions
Put all the ingredients in your pan and boil until the pasta is cooked and the liquid has reduced into a sauce. Yup, it's that easy. The organic mung bean pasta will keep its texture even if you boil it for longer than the package instructions, but be careful if you are using regular pasta because regular pasta may overcook before the sauce reduces. At the very end I added a little bit of butter substitute to replace the olive oil I omitted from the original recipe. I garnished my finished pasta with more fresh basil, bacon bits, and a bit of low fat mozzarella.


I really enjoyed this meal and will definitely be making it again. Next time I think I might try it with chicken sausage. The bean pasta took on the flavor of the other ingredients. I think the pasta would work well in pretty much any pasta dish, though, since it doesn't have any flavor of its own. Overall, I'm really pleased with Explore Asian's offerings and I will definitely keep using their products as a healthier alternative to pasta. Have you ever tried Explore Asian's products?

*Explore Asian sent me several of their products to try free of charge, but I did not receive any further compensation for this review. As always, all opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Bloglovin' Blog Hop




Happy kids inc Bloglovin Blog hop May


Your Devoted Host:

Meg Hodson Happy Kids Inc Bloglovin' Blog Hop Blogging

Your Lovely Co-Hosts:

Nummy For My Tummy Bloglovin' Blog Hop Blogging    The Thrifty Firecracker Bloglovin' Blog Hop Blogging    I am the makeup junkie Bloglovin' Blog Hop Blogging


Life Between the Books Bloglovin' Blog Hop Blogging     Downsizing Ashley Blog Bloglovin' Blog Hop Blogging    A Moment in My World Bloglovin' Blog Hop Blogging


1.  Add your link directly to your Bloglovin' profile below.  You will have to manually upload a photo of yourself (it will not automatically input from Bloglovin').
2.  Please follow your host, co-hosts, and sponsors.  It just takes a few quick clicks and it is much appreciated!
3.  Visit a few other bloggers in the linky, say "hello", and give them a follow.
4.  Tweet and share this hop!


Twice The Mum Bloglovin' Blog Hop


Happy Kids, Inc.