Forget the 5 hour energy

Forget the 5 hour energy supplement or the vitamin water with all those B vitamins! While meditating during my lunch break for the past few days I have noticed I haven’t been getting that midday slump. Just a quick five minute breathing meditation is like hitting the reset button. I feel relaxed, calm and recharged.

Monday after I finished eating my lunch I got on my go to site and found a five minute grounding meditation by Sura. It starts in an easy sitting position. Since I was outside at the picnic bench I just sat in an upright position. After less than a minute I discovered I was not comfortable. So I moved from the picnic bench to the sidewalk. I felt kind of silly sitting on the sidewalk by the parking lot meditating, but I wanted and needed to do it. Lucky for me the west parking lot is not very busy when I take my lunches.

Tuesday again I was sitting at the picnic benches in the parking lot for lunch. I attempted to complete a longer 11 minute meditation practice. I was half way through then the area was way too distracting. I quit five minutes in and took my dish back into my office grabbed a bottle of water and pulled up my Enya station on Pandora. With my earphones in I walked out the building towards the “fire” side (the building is split between the police department and the fire department).  The back of the building on their side has a little pond with a dock and benches. I laid on one of the benches closed my eyes and focused on my breath. I laid there for an additional twenty minutes just relaxing and coming back to present when my mind wandered. It was wonderful.

Wednesday and Thursdays there was nothing notable about my meditation practice as I did it at home.

Friday after I finished my lunch I wanted to find a shade tree to sit under. I recalled there was a patch of a half dozen tree towards the front of the property, but still blocked from the view of the highway. I put on my Enya station again and sat under a small tulip tree finishing this post. As I sat there I felt the urge to meditate. It was quiet with crickets chirping, the sun shining on my faces and a warm breeze. It would seem it was the perfect environment.  I sat in an easy sitting position with my eyes closed listening to some sound-scape music.  The sun was shining on my face and the wind was blowing gently across my face.  I felt as if the wind was carrying away all my troubles and the sun was pouring positive energy into me.  It was absolutely blissful.

Bayou Shrimp Soup

I came across this little recipe last year at Christmas time.  Keeping with tradition my family normally comes up with a non-traditional Christmas Lunch / Dinner.  Last year we decided that we would each bring a pot of soup.  So my fiance and I pulled out our Better Homes and Gardens “Biggest Book of Soups & Stews” cookbook.  It has the favor of  gumbo / jambalaya, but is much easier to make.  The cookbook suggests 35 minutes total time from start to finish.

As made per directions the Nutritional facts per serving:  394 cal, 19g total fat (7g sat. fat), 149 mg chol, 1,278 mg sodium, 26g carbs, 2g fiber, 28g protein.  I change some of the ingredients which reduces the sodium and the cholesterol.

Ingredients:

8 oz andouille sausage or cooked smoked sausage, thinly sliced

3/4 cup chopped green sweet pepper

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 – 14oz can reduced-sodium chicken broth or 1 3/4 cups homemade

1 tablespoon of steak sauce

2 tablespoons of fresh thyme or 1 1/2 teaspoons of dry, crushed

1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper (optional)

8 oz frozen, peeled, cooked shrimp

2 cups chopped tomatoes

1 1/2 cups cooked rice

Directions:

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1.  In a large saucepan cook and stir sausage, sweet pepper, and onion over medium-high heat for 6 to 7 minutes or until vegetables are tender

2.  Add broth, steak sauce, and if using, dried thyme (If not using andouille sausage, add the crushed pepper).  Bring to  a boil, reduce heat.  Simmer, covered for about 10 minutes

3.  Add shrimp, fresh thyme (if using), tomatoes, and cooked rice heat through.

4.  Enjoy!

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**Just a tip I learned last year at Christmas… add the rice to the bowl at serving time otherwise you will be eating jambalaya instead of soup.

Though the soup is wonderful when made as directed I have made some adjustments.  I normally use Butterball Polish Kielbasa turkey sausage instead of andouille sausage, at times I have also used no salt added broth and I typically add more than the recommended red pepper (I have come to love hot soups).  The last time I made this recipe I replaced the shrimp with chicken and it didn’t have much effect on the taste.

Korean Beef Bulgogi

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As you have probably gathered I do a fair share of my grocery shopping at the local Asian Market.   We recently discovered Asian Home Gourmet marinades and other seasoning packets.  If you like Asian foods I would highly suggest trying the Asian Home Gourmet brand marinades.  I have not had one that I didn’t like.  Though some I thought should have a different spicy rating.  Thia Sweet Basil for example seemed like it should have been much hotter than a 1 pepper hot rating.

The Korean Bulgogi Marinade (Newly packaged as Marinade for Korean Barbecue Meat Bulgogi) is one of my favorites.  It tasted just like our favorite local Korean restaurant at a fraction of the cost.  So not only could you make it healthier by using chicken instead of beef you can save a bunch of money too!

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On my counter (right) I have collected all of my ingredients.  I have the marinade sauce in the large mixing bowl, red pepper paste (optional), garlic, green onions, and 350g (3/4 lbs) meat (I have tip sirloin).  I sliced the green onion to about finger width in size, I added approximately a teaspoon of the red pepper paste to the marinade and sliced the meat.

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I sliced the sirloin very thinly.  A tip I learned from the package is to put the meat in the freezer until semi-frozen and then slice with a sharp knife. It worked like a charm.  I mixed the meat and marinade together making sure all the slices of beef were covered.  I then covered with plastic wrap (a container with a lid would work better) and placed in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

 

 
Once the ingredients were done marinading, I heated a tablespoon of oil in my wok and stir-fried the meat for approximately 5 minutes and served with a side of rice.  It’s not very pretty to look at, but it tasted magnificent.

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Lunch time Meditation

Last week I decided to do something a little different with my lunch break.  Normally I drive down to Whole Foods Market and make a salad and drive back and spend the short amount of time I have left eating or updating a blog.  Thursday I was a amped up, it could have been the pending day off or I just hadn’t done my yoga as much as I should have.  I decided I would sit down and meditate during my lunch, after all I do have a full hour of lunch that I normally waste, but talking or doing generally unproductive things.

A couple of weeks prior I had signed up to receive mediation emails.  Yoga Journal has a 28 day meditation challenge, Meditation Revolution, you will received daily emails for 28 days.  I hadn’t taken the time to start this practice, so I decided lunch was a good time to start.  I opened the first email on my phone, and it had a small yoga hip opener, which I decided since I was in public and in dress clothing I was going to pass on, and an audio file.  As many of us Android phone user have discovered our phones no longer support flash players.  So I was unable to open my audio file, unfortunately I have yet to begin this Meditation Revolution practice, since I want to be able to meditate on the go.

Since I was unable to open my email’s audio file, but could watch the video, I decided to fall back on my trusted MyYogaOnline site.  I found a short 6 minute breathing meditation, which by the way was what the Meditation Revolution daily mediation was as well.  I didn’t want to sit in lotus in the middle of the parking lot at work so I sat at the picnic bench as straight as I could engaging my core muscles.

I sat uninterrupted for the entire six minutes which surprised me, as there was a storm coming in and I heard a car come into the parking lot.  Normally when one of our police officers pulls into the parking lot and sees me at the picnic bench they will either come talk with me or hit their siren, normally making me jump half way to the moon.  But Thursday was different, I sat there enjoying my meditation with my eyes closed and listened to my breathing and felt the stress melt away as I became more aware of the present.  After my meditation was completed the officer that pulled in came over to talk to me and asked what was up as we walked into the building.  I told him I just finished my lunch mediation and he stated he saw me and was wondering what I was doing.  We had only been in the building for a few minutes when the downpour started.  Then the day proceeded as normal.
I have decided I will continue my lunch time mediation as it made the day go much better and I felt more energized for the second half of the day.  I am and have been a strong advocator of meditation, now I am happy to notice it fits into my lunch routine as well.

Back at it

Sunday I attempted to get back to my yoga fitness challenge.  I had been too hard on myself missing daily practices, which I realize misses the point of suspending judgement on the mat.  Sometimes I have been known to bite off more than I can chew.  I realize that attempting a daily practice might have been too much with other events and activities going on in my life right now.  I recently brought two baby ferrets into my home, which  take a lot of time to care for as they need a lot of interaction to get them used to people and we are preparing to move.  While the yoga practice is wonderful for the stress relief, I was putting to much pressure on myself to make sure to get to it. 

Now since my shoulder has not been bothering me as much after the new pillow purchase, I have slowly started a new practice plan, coming in with a new attitude.  I have come to realize that I might not get to everything I want to in a day, after all I am only one person.  I am hoping to get to a practice at least every other day and if I happened to get one in daily that will be wonderful.

Sunday my practice included a video from Sura (www.myyogaonline.com)  it was a seated flow exercise.  I was mildly disappointed with it as I didn’t feel it stretched as well as I would have liked, so at the completion of her routine I added what I thought I needed along with a longer meditation at the end.  Surprisingly yesterday at work I noticed my lower back was a little sore.  Not in a painful manner, but in the manner of muscles being worked that normally get ignored. At first I wasn’t sure what had caused it then I realized one of the movements I had done the day before would have worked the lower back.  So I took back my prior criticism of it being a so so workout to it was a great lower back workout.

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