Monday, May 25, 2020

2020 Self-Improvement Challenge: UPDATE


 -  Challenge  Day  24  .  Falling  off  the  bandwagon  .  Gratitude  List   -



Hi everyone! It has been some time since I've posted an update on how I've been doing with the 30-Day May Self Improvement Challenge, so that is going to be my objective for today's post!


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To get right to the point, this month-long challenge has been A LOT harder than I expected it to be! The daily challenges I came up with were pretty simple and manageable individually, but as the days passed and I tried to be consistent with continuing to implement each one while adding on another, at times I would begin to feel overwhelmed. I've had some lazy emotional days where I'd throw in the towel entirely and just give up. Perhaps emotions are heightened with all the corona drama going on, but I also think it is worth acknowledging that everyone, that is human, has 'off' days. I have to remind myself that no one is one hundred percent perfect one hundred percent of the time. I am doing pretty well with not being too hard on myself about it so that's good.

At the start of the challenge, I was really looking forward to posting updates daily to report to you on my progress as a form of incentive and accountability for me, but I quickly learned how unrealistic that idea was. I know not all blog posts need to be artistic masterpieces or crammed with tons of content, and while through this I have learned how to abbreviate posts in certain situations, it still takes me a really long time to formulate blog posts and ironically enough, the very goal I had to be posting updates every day was directly conflicting with some of my daily challenges regarding less technology or challenges about how to be spending my time. I decided the challenges were more important so I let go of the daily blogging.


BUT let's talk about some positives!  I'm learning a lot, which is always a good thing! This month-long challenge has been productive in helping me to manage my time better and take my health and happiness more seriously. I was encouraged by the fact that I was starting to implement a lot of the challenges naturally before even getting to them on the list. I was surprised to discover the challenges that are hardest for me to complete are all the ones categorized under self-love! The majority of the challenges I have left are all under the category of self-love! With only one week left of the 30-Day Challenge, I guess I'm going to finish it off with a lot of pampering! Overall I would say doing this challenge was a good experience and well worth my time during quarantine! I think I would do it again with a couple adjustments! If you have been wondering what 30-Day challenge I've been referring to there is a link to the original page at the end of this post!


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30- Day Challenge


  • My Daily Challenge: Gratitude List

  • My Daily Prayer:  "With life so uneventful and lonely right now it is easy to look past all the things I am so blessed to have. Lord open my eyes to see just how greatly you have blessed me in the small things but also the big!

    AMEN."

  • The Approach:  


  • My Progress: 
    • Meal Plan (continuing)
    • Regulate Sleeping Patterns (continuing)
    • Eat Three Meals a day (discontinuing)
    • Going to sleep before Midnight (continuing)
    • Drinking Water (trying to continue)
    • Eat snack and put the rest away (continuing)
    • Establish and stick to a Morning and Night Routine (continuing)
    • Wash dishes right after meal (discontinuing)
    • Pray and Journal (continuing)
    • Memorize a Bible verse (discontinuing)
    • Read Bible (continuing)
    • Fill 1/2 of plate with veggies (failed... Ha I just don't like veggies that much)
    • Make Bed (continuing)
    • Get outside (discontinuing intentionally)
    • Say no (trying to continue)
    • Less tv (continuing)
    • Declutter something (maintaining)
    • Eat sitting in silence (being more mindful of not multitasking when eatting)
    • Slow down and enjoy a hot drink (trying to continue once a day)
    • Set Realistic Goals (trying to continue)
    • Look the part (always ☺ )
    • Random Act of Kindness (prioritize)
    • Have Dinner with family (continuing)



Check out the Full 30-Day Self Improvement Challenge here!
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Sunday, May 24, 2020

Sweet Potato Kale Corn Chowder


I'm totally enjoying all the chill vibes this Sunday, with clouds and rain keeping me inside, and not an item on the agenda today. This is my kind of Sabbath. It's a soup kind of day! My shelves have been looking kind of scarce lately as we approach the end of the month. At first, my situation seemed dire as my eyes scanned the cupboards and fridge realizing that the few ingredients left in them were all random and uncomplimentary, but I am thankful. If it weren't for this situation I found myself in, I would have never discovered the recipe down below that taught me that kale, sweet potato, and corn are indeed complimentary, thanks to Pinterest!



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 Listen, So I'm pretty casual in the kitchen, and most times I follow recipes pretty loosely, especially when I'm like missing half the ingredients. Ya got to do what ya got to do! Below is my adaptation of a recipe calling for many more ingredients then what I had on hand. So if you are in the same boat as me and have landed on this page for the reason that your selection of ingredients is minimal and basic with not much more then a potato, some kale, and some corn, then you're going to love my adaptation, a delicious, abbreviated alternative to the original Pinterest recipe found HERE, which I'm sure is the bomb.dot.com if you have all the ingredients!

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Sweet  Potato  Kale  Corn  Chowder



Yields:


A perfect soup recipe for a lone ranger and single girl like me, only yielding to about 2-3 servings which is awesome! I feel like usually, the soup recipes I find online often yield family-sized portions, leaving me eating soup all month long! No thank you, but if you happen to have double the ingredients on hand and want to make more, you can always double the recipe if you'd like!








Ingredients:


  • Sweet potato- 1 large
  • Onion powder to taste (about 1 Tsp.)
  • Garlic powder to taste (about 1 Tsp.)
  • Kale- about 1 handful
  • 1 to 1-1/2 cups of corn (I used an 11 oz. can of corn)
  • 1-1/2 cups of veggie broth (...But I used chicken and it was just as delicious)
  • 1-1/2 cups of water
  • a pinch of salt to taste
  • a pinch of pepper to taste
  • 1/4 Tsp. of cinnamon 
  • 2 Tsp. of coconut oil 


Directions:

  1. Chop sweet potato up into small cubes

  2. Saute the potatoes cubes, onion powder, garlic powder, cinnamon, salt, and pepper in your coconut oil in a pot for a few minutes.

  3. Add water and broth, and cook until potatoes are easy to pierce with a fork.

  4. Next, puree using an immersion blender or transfer to standing blender. 

  5. What is the difference between a soup and a chowder? FUN FACT:
    I used my nutribullet to puree my soup. I tried to give it a quick pulse, a quick zap as not to puree it too much. Needless to say, it did come out a little "soupy" initially, but did thicken up over time.







  6. Return to pot, and add kale and corn. Cook until soft.

  7. Salt and pepper again to taste, and enjoy!





Buen Porvecho!




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Friday, May 22, 2020

How to Make Produce Last Longer


Since our nation's lockdown began, has anyone else gotten really good at making food last? I mean, I think I've mastered the art of grocery shopping once, no more than twice, a month! I will admit, I actually have years of experience when it comes to this practice, but let me explain! 






During my former years in Mississippi as a trainee with Ballet Magnificat, I didn't own a car. Not being a car owner was no problem in the days I lived on Miami Beach where everything was walking distance, but let me tell you, in the city suburbs of Jackson Mississippi, that was not the case. But of course, ya girl had to get groceries and eat, so thanks to my servant-hearted housemates I often was able to hitch rides to the store with them. It is within my nature to hate being an inconvenience to others and often times I felt like begging people for rides was a nuisance so I did my best to limit my "begging" to once or twice a month trying to catch my housemates in an instance when they already were planning on making a grocery trip for themselves anyway. I had to do this for two years and got pretty good at it!

To pull it off, I first made sure to stock up on a good number of non-perishable food items. Pasta and rice, saltine crackers, canned fruit and vegetables, frozen meats, peanut butter, cereal, and poptarts were among some of my regular purchases. My housemates could testify to it! My blog post, Grocery Haul- Quarantine Edition, features other nonperishable items that are easy to stretch and tend to be staples in my diet. But fresh foods have always been a must too which is what I will be covering in this blog post. I would like to share with you the tips and tricks I have on how to make produce last a long time. I wouldn't have been about to get through the quarantine without them!



#1 Make strawberries last longer by: 


After washing your strawberries, increase their shelf life by two times longer by placing them in an egg carton to keep them from touching each other! I first saw this online and was skeptical about it. Then I saw a friend on Facebook vouching for this method so I had to try it for myself and now I'm a believer. I never used to buy strawberries because living alone and single, it had always been a struggle to eat my produce fast enough before spoiling, especially strawberries, but now this new hack changes everything! You have to try it for yourself!






#2 Prevent bananas from turning brown: 


Bananas emit chemicals into the air turning themselves brown and often accelerating the ripening process in other fruits too. One hack I learned to mitigate the emission of these chemicals is to wrap the stem of your bananas in cling wrap! 






#3 Prevent apples from turning brown: 


Squeezing some lemon juice onto your cut apple slices will help them not to brown. Hardly affecting the taste of your apple, the thing I noticed most was the delicious freshness.






#4 How to keep celery crisp: 


Upon cutting up your stalk of celery into smaller pieces, keep them stored in a Tupperware or other container submerged in water to aid with keeping them crisp. This practice is often done with carrots too! Fact: It is said that glass containers are better for storing food but don't worry! I have yet to make the upgrade to glass myself (It's on my wish list!) I want to reassure you that if you don't have any Pyrex or Anchor Hocking glassware, fear not, plastic will do just fine. 








#5 What to do to keep spinach fresh longer: 


To help make your spinach and other greens for that matter last longer, include a couple paper towel squares in their storage containers to soak up extra moisture. keep the paper towel squares fresh and replace when necessary.


My paper towel is pretty ratchet looking. Must be time to replace, but with pandemic ya know...


BONUS!  


#6 Avocados not ripe yet? Do this to speed up the ripening process: 


Did you know if you store avocados in a brown paper bag and leave them on the counter for a couple days they will ripen faster! Try it!





#7 Prevent water from boiling over: 


I discovered this magic trick from one of my housemates years ago and it has revolutionized the way I make pasta! Put a wooden spoon across the pot you are cooking pasta in to prevent it from overflowing, then sit back and relax!






#8 How to open a difficult jar lid: 


I learned this trick at the ice cream shop I worked at in my early 20's. It was always so hard to open up that big air-tight sealed jar of cherries. My fingers could barely grasp around the circumference of the metal lid. My boss taught me if you bang the edge of the jar's lid against the edge of a counter and ding it just right then enough air would be released out the side of the jar allowing the lid to pop right off! Truth! Another way to release air from the jar is to simply stab a hole into the lid using a knife (kids don't try this at home 😋) but only if you plan on using all the contents of the jar, otherwise the lid will no longer be effective in keeping the contents fresh.





You learn new things everyday!
Do you know of any other kitchen tricks of the trade?
 Complete this blog post by sharing them with us in the comment section below!


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