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“When life seems overwhelming, keep calm and carry on !!”
   ~ Unknown

Today started out a bit overcast here on St. Thomas .  And it wasn’t just the weather I’m talking about.  It was my mood !!

I spent some time yesterday afternoon trying to get my calendar together for the next 5 weeks.

tensionAs my mind scanned through everything I want done before the holidays this year, my body began responding to these thoughts too: Breath holding. Stomach clenched. Shoulders crunched up to my ears. Old trigger point in my neck began to ache …

Are you also beginning to feel the pressure of the holidays creeping up on you ?

What if we could let go of the tension? How would it feel if we felt confident we could handle the year-end business goals, holiday parties, and family commitments with more grace and ease this year?

I happened across a really insightful article from the editor of Spa Time Magazine.
http://www.powerweek.com/prevent-holiday-overwhelm/

In summary, the article offers 3 simple “Chaos Cleansing” strategies:

1. Craft an intention.
Craft a motto that will support your health and your sanity this holiday season. Grab a sheet of paper and write out your unique intention. Even if you never look at it again, just the action of writing shifts your intention into consciousness.

2. Increase Awareness.
What causes and what alleviates your stress?   Create your sanity-saver toolkit:

  • Jot down your stress triggers.
  • Then, prepare a list of what alleviates your stress. Be completely honest and authentic here. (And I suppose she’s not talking about multiple glasses of wine here either LOL).

3. Take responsibility.
Realize that you, and only you, are in charge of what gets done. Chip away the unnecessary. Shift from a “time-management” mindset to an “energy-management” mindset.

 

Keep-CalmI’m glad I left my calendar for a fresh pair of eyes this morning.   It looks completely different from an “energy” management perspective.

As I thought through the things that create joy in my life (the stress busters), and the things that create stress, I’m reminded again of that old adage I mentioned yesterday:  Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen, and dinner like a pauper.

Why do most of us leave our biggest, and sometimes most complicated meal, for the end of the day?  I don’t know about you, but by the time dinner rolls around, there are many days when I can barely muster enough energy to pour myself a glass of wine.  And it’s not like back in the day, that my husband has been working out in a field all day, requiring a big meal afterwards ….

The healthiest stretches of time – which also are the most stressfree for me – come when I’ve prepared dinner right along side breakfast.  And I love the feeling it creates, knowing that my evenings – when my energy is waning – will be virtually cooking & cleanup free.

If I can just set aside an hour in the morning, I’ve set myself up for success instead of failure …

So here’s my intention, and commitment to you .. And to me:   Over the next 5 weeks leading into the holidays, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite 30 minute meals &/or slow cooker recipes which can be prepped ahead of time, so dinner is on the table in a flash.

 

Thanks Power to the Veg!  Quinoa & Pasta go great together !!

Take last night as an example.  I had intended to prepare a Double Butternut Squash Pasta:  Roasted squash & pasta, tossed in a butternut squash sauce.  But I didn’t have the leeks for the sauce, and the extra prep time for the sauce part put me into anxt.

So I was really excited when I happened across a post on Facebook over at Power to the Veg!  Sarah shared a simple recipe for

  • Red Quinoa, tossed with
  • roasted butternut squash, fennel, fresh cranberries, onion, garlic, sage, & Field Roast Apple Sage Sausages
  • and dressed in EVOO and maple syrup.

RoastButternutI unfortunately didn’t have all the ingredients for this, but I did come up with a new creation of my own.  As I already had the squash peeled and cut in my fridge from earlier this week, dinner came together in a flash, with very little hands on time.  Enjoy!  And sorry the photo doesn’t show all of the delicious squash in the dish … You can experiment with quantities of squash vs pasta to see what makes you the happiest 🙂

As for my own motto & intention below:
It’s printed out on my white board.  And my “Keep Calm & Carry On” cup is on my desk ! 

I EXHALE worry … and INHALE peace.
I RELEASE tension … and ACCEPT tranquility.
I BREATHE OUT fear … and BREATHE IN courage.
I LET GO OF all anger … and WELCOME love.
I RELEASE my sadness … and RECEIVE joy.

TGIF … It’ll all get done sooner (or later!)

Roasted Butternut Squash & Quinoa Pasta
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Who knew quinoa and pasta would go so good together? Plus, the quinoa adds a nutritious boost of protein to this easy seasonal pasta dish.
Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • Roasted Vegetables:
  • 2 cups butternut squash, peeled, and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • ½ cup red pepper, ½ inch cubed
  • ½ cup red or white onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, slivered
  • 2 teaspoons Herbs de Provence, (or Rosemary)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • --------
  • 2 tablespoons quinoa
  • 1 cup bow tie pasta
  • ----------------------
  • 1+ cup reserved pasta water
  • pinch red pepper flakes & salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450° and bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Prep veggies.
  2. Roast Veggies: Combine squash, red pepper, onion, garlic & herb with the olive oil in a large bowl; toss well. Arrange squash mixture in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Roast squash for 25-30 minutes or until squash is tender. Stir each midway through the cooking times.
  3. Cook Quinoa & Pasta: Meanwhile, when your water has come to a boil, add the quinoa, and cook for 10 minutes. Add in the pasta, and cook according to directions (8-10 minutes), until al dente. Drain, reserving 2 cups or so of the water.
  4. Add pasta/quinoa back to the pot. Toss in the roasted squash. Slowly stir in enough reserved pasta water to make the pasta "saucy". Add in a pinch of salt & red pepper flakes. Serve.
 

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