Updated: Not the weekend we planned but amazing in the end

So, if you had asked me on Thursday what I was doing this weekend I would have said laying out, seeing a Broadway matinee, and meeting up with fab UGA folks at the NYC BBQ festival in the city. Well, now Monday has once again graced us with it’s presence and we did NONE of those things. But we had a great weekend full of firsts:

1. We didn’t eat out one time! We decided to relax and enjoy our time together by cooking together. We enjoyed grilled fish fillets and veggies with a great new Riesling Friday, turkey burgers and sauteed mushrooms and onions Saturday, and healthier pad thai and our Japanese mushroom soup we invented last night.

2. We made our first trip to Staten Island, NY in hopes of actually finding the perfect rug which we were hunting down at Pier 1. Driving around that place was a bit crazy as the traffic was unbelievable and the signage is horrible! My girlfriend Lindsey had the rug in her adorable house last week when I was in Philadelphia and I knew it was perfect! When she told me that it was from Pier1 I was in shock! The rug was $100 less than any other rug we’d seen at Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, etc and is perfect! I highly recommend checking out their rug selection!

3. We FINALLY decided on a dining room/kitchen table. My friend Meg has decorated her amazing Atlanta condo from floor to ceiling and is always the best person for boutique and furniture recommendations. After exhausting our standard options (Ikea, Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, Williams Sonoma, etc) we were ready to look at a smaller chain and outside of NYC. Sure enough she sent me two great links Ballard Designs and Grandin Road.

The table is round, has classic curves, great chairs, and comes in a pretty deep maple color (we didn’t go with this BLACK color in the picture) which should blend perfectly with the rug above and the rest of our decor. Unfortunately it is backordered until June 29th but we can be patient. I highly suggest hopping over to their website today as it’s the last day of their FULL WEBSITE 15% off sale!

4. Meditated daily! While I have enjoyed and practiced yoga on and off for years, i’ve never tried meditation before this week. But, as part of the Bikini Bootcamp book I won in a giveaway, it challenged readers to invest in their mind and soul for 10-15 minutes each day. I didn’t think i’d be able to reach a state of piece but their suggestions really worked! The purpose of meditation is to calm the mind and develop inner peace. The first step is to find a quiet space whether it’s your car while it’s parked in the driveway after a long day at work, your cubicle when no one else is around, your home, or local park. Next find a comfortable position that works for you. Sometimes it’s cross legged but for me laying flat on my back with my hands gently lying on my stomach was the most calming and peaceful position I could find. After a few minutes with my eyes closed I began to focus on trying to push thoughts out of my mind. It is like a cleanse for your brain. It is hard and almost seems meaningless the first time but after 8 days I’m addicted!

I’ll be back later today to give you our awesome Japanese Mushroom Soup recipe, talk about the importance of eating healthy during meetings/class/work, and the power of positive “health” models.

Have a great Tuesday!

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Okay, I know this isn’t “healthy” or all natural, but every so often a gal or guy loves his piece of chocolate! If you want a coupon for a free MARS item then click here and follow your favorite round friends, Mr M&M, to the website!
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This cool rainy weather calls for soup and DID I REALLY WIN or is it a hoax?

Last week I was lucky enough to win the book, Bikini Bootcamp, which has been featured quite a bit lately over on Danica’s Daily. The book is a 14 day program straight from the amazing spa in Mexico. So far, my favorite part has been the amazing recipes! Bo and I have enjoyed homemade soup for the last two nights and I wanted to share the recipes with you!

Mushroom Spinach Soup (This one is very veggie so if you’re not a huge fan of green monsters or other veggie soups this may not be for you)
Makes 4 servings 

3 c low sodium chicken or veggie broth
½ c chopped cauliflower
½ c chopped broccoli florets
½ onion, diced
1 tsp peeled and minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Splashes of Annie’s Vegan Worchestshire Sauce
10 white mushrooms, chopped into pieces
3 big handfuls of fresh spinach, chopped
Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper to taste

Bring the chicken broth to a boil in a large soup pan and add the cauliflower, broccoli, onion, ginger and 1 clove of garlic. Cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan over medium heat, add the oil. Add the other clove of garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and worchestshire and sauté for about 2 minutes or until they are soft. Turn off the heat and add the spinach.

Remove the chicken broth mix from the heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Puree this mix and return it to the pan. Stir in the mushrooms/spinach mixture, season with salt and pepper, top with pumpkin seeds and enjoy. 

Tortilla-Less Tortilla Soup (Bo stated that this is the best soup he’s ever had and has requested I make a huge batch for him this weekend since i’ll be away on business Monday-Thursday next week.)
Makes 4 servings

6 large tomatoes, chopped (I used 1 can of diced tomatoes w/no salt added since I forgot to buy tomatoes)
½ large onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp chili powder
¼ tsp paprika
¼ tsp cumin
Sea Salt & Pepper to Taste
½ cup jicama, peeled and diced
½ avocado, cubed

Heat a large dry soup pot over medium heat. Working in batches, char the tomatoes, onion, celery and carrot for 8 to 10 minutes, until the tomatoes start to break open a bit and the onion looks a little charred. Add chili powder, paprika, cumin, sea salt and pepper.

Add enough water to cover the vegetables. Add the garlic and cook over medium-high heat until the tomatoes have broken down, 20-25 minutes.

Remove the soup from the heat and let cool 10 minutes. Transfer soup to the blender or food processor and puree on low for 15 seconds. Return the blended soup to the soup pot and cook for 5 more minutes. Season with additional sea salt and pepper if needed.

Top each serving with jicama and avocado. Serve immediately.

Also, in other news, Tuesday’s Vital Juice was all about laser hair removal. This is something that has always interested me especially since my brown hair now seems to grow faster than ever. I can shave in the morning and by the afternoon i’m embarrassed to wear a tank top. I’ve never considered the procedure because I believe it’s pretty expensive and honestly i’m scared of it. But, on a whim, I pushed the button that entered me in Laser Cosmetica’s contest. They were giving away a $2000 gift certificate and a few smaller ones. Yesterday, I received an email from Laser Cosmetica telling me i’d won a $500 gift certificate. I haven’t had time to call their 800 number to inquire but i’m curious about y’alls thoughts. Have you ever had laser hair removal? Did it hurt?

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