Bacon Avocado & Feta Salad

After a long weekend full of food and drinks, this always seems to be what Mike and I end up googling….

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So, in an attempt to find a recipe that was healthy but also not boring, I went to where I always go for food ideas… Pinterest! After a few minutes of searching, I found the perfect combo of satisfying and sensible. Plus, it was simple and quick to make which is always preferred. Totally something you could do on a week night and unlike many salad recipes, we were both surprised how full we still were later that night. Anyways, hope you enjoy as much as we did!

Bacon Avocado & Feta Salad 

Balsamic Dressing
  • ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons water (or more oil if you wish)
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ¼-1/2 teaspoon salt (adjust to your tastes)
Salad:
  • 5 ounces |150g bacon, diced and trimmed of all fat
  • 8 cups chopped Iceberg and Romaine
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1/4 cucumber, chopped
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • extra Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

Whisk together the dressing and if you’re going to add grilled or seared chicken, use this as the marinade as well. Once dressing is made, refrigerate. Fry bacon to a crisp so that it can be easily crumbled. As the bacon is cooling on paper towels, prepare salad fixings and add all together, crumble bacon atop and toss with dressing. Serve and enjoy!


As I mentioned, you could easily grill chicken to add protein or toast up some Sourdough bread as a side.

That’s all for today! Hope you are having a wonderful Wednesday! Half way thru the week, yippee!

Love & light,

Jessy

Pasta e Fagioli Soup Recipe

When it comes to weeknights can be exhausting and a little frantic at times after you’ve worked a full day and are getting home late. Plus, if you’re trying to eat healthy (especially after a Super Bowl style previous weekend), it can be really difficult. That’s why I love to make big meals on Sunday that are healthy, yummy and easy to reheat! This soup recipe is all of those things so I wanted to share it with you all!

PASTA E FAGIOLI RECIPE:

Ingredients

  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
  • 1 cup diced carrots (about 2 medium)
  • 1 cup diced celery (about 3 stalks)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbsp)
  • 3 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans low sodium chicken broth or beef broth
  • 1/2 cup water, then more as desired
  • 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 3/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried marjoram
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 scant cup dry ditalini pasta
  • 1 (15 oz) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz) can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • Finely shredded Romano or Parmesan cheese, for serving

Directions

  • Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large non-stick saucepan over medium high heat, crumble in ground lean turkey and cook, stirring occasionally until cooked through. Dab off any fat with a paper towel then transfer turkey to a plate and set aside. Heat remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil in same large saucepan, onions, carrots, and celery over medium-high heat until tender about 6 minutes, add garlic and saute 1 minute longer. Reduce heat to a low, add tomato sauce, broth, water, canned tomatoes, sugar, basil, oregano, thyme, marjoram, uncooked pasta and cooked beef then season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover with lid and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until veggies are soft, about 20 minutes.
  • Add kidney beans and great northern beans. Thin with a little more water if desired. Allow to cook 2 minutes longer. Serve warm with grated Romano or Parmesan cheese.



Voila! 40 minutes later, you have a big healthy pot of deliciousness hot and ready for your enjoyment on these cold winter nights.

We like to buy a loaf of fresh sourdough bread as well and put some olive oil, garlic and oregano then toast for some dipping!

Hope everyone has stayed safe and warm over the past few days. And happy Friday!

Love & light,

Jessy

Creating Serenity for Yourself

taking time for you

During a relaxing hot bath, I began reading the first passage of “The Radiance Sutras” and it ended with:

“…exhaling, breath is released and flows out.

There is a pulse as it turns to flow in.

In that turn, you are empty.

Enter that emptiness as the source of all life.

Inhaling, breath flows in, filling, nourishing.

Just as it turns to flow out,

There is a flash of pure joy —

Life is renewed.”

 

What better time for me to symbolically renew my life than now? So I breathed in deeply and exhaled, underwater. I was completely submerged and it felt so exhilarating. I love being in the water– even if it’s just a bath, I find it so cleanings. It makes my heart warm, the water gives me a flushing feeling like I’m really alive. Right now, you’re one of the one of hte most important elements– water. I dunked myself 3 times, for no specific reason other than it felt good. I got water up my nose and that was clearly an issue. So I sat up, swayed my head side to side to get out any left over cricks and sucked down the cold water that sat beside me.

What started as a relaxing nighttime bath, turned into something that left me renewed and refreshsed to start this new week and also start on the new beginning that began last week.

Same journey, different path.

Enjoy the little things in life– make simple gestures to honor yourself and your life.

Lots of love & light,

Jessy

p.s. wanted to show my beautiful oil burner– it’s one of my favorite purchases in the past year!

oil burner

 

I Worried. But it’s okay, cuz I’m Yonce Anyways 

 First  off, I can’t begin to express the feeling of overwhelming love and support I have felt this past week and especially in the past 24 hours. Without doubt, your prayers, radiating energy, good thoughts and positive vibes are what allows me to say that I HAVE AMAZING NEWS TO SHARE!!! My numbers have bounced back up so I am no longer neutropenic and I am able to get back on my treatment today! My bone marrow is cancelled until we need to do it during the final week, which is now currently scheduled for March 30th!!!!! We’re cutting one of my nightly chemotherapy pills in half the dosage so that the lower dosage will hopefully mean that we don’t have more issues like this. Obviously if I come in next week and the numbers have plunged again then we’ll have to reconvene but for now, I am able to go to work tomorrow and go to my retreat this weekend. Right now my heart feels so full, my body finally feels relaxed  and my mind is still buzzing but with all positive energy.

This was the Instagram video I put up right before coming in. My comment was that ” eff you leukemia, you can’t break my spirit.” And I was right, didn’t and won’t ever break my spirit!!!

My spirit has been able to stay strong because of all of you incredible souls who send me positive energy, prayers and well wishes. It’s what pushes me through weeks like last and helps keep a smile on my face.

So thank you, for the thousandth time, thank you! You are all amazing and I am forever grateful. 
Lots of love & light,

Jessy 

Breathe Easy

take a deep breath

I don’t know if it’s the steriods I’m on that’s making me feel like this, but I can’t stop thinking about all I have to do. Life, in general right now, is busy. Work’s picking up, I have personal obligations that I need to complete, I’m trying to take my first online class on Coursera, there are trips I need to research and schedule (which is fun but takes a lot of time!), I want to read this, write that, schedule this, plan that, prepare for this or that. All of a sudden there seems like a pile of tasks to check off the list. So today, this motivational Monday is just as much as it is for me as it is for all of you. I need to remember to breathe. The tasks will slowly come off the list– and if some have to get postponed, that’s okay. Today, I need to remember to BREATHE. To inhale all the good that’s in my life, take a big beautiful breath of positive energy, close my eyes and see the light and exhale any negative thoughts or feelings that don’t serve me well.

There are so many benefits to deep breathing — beyond just helping to calm your mind, but physical benefits that can truly make a difference in your daily health.

Make sure you’re doing it correctly, however, to gain the best benefits. First inhale through your nose, expanding your belly and filling your chest. Count to 5. Hold and count to 3– feel all your cells filled with golden, healing, balancing Sun light & energy. Exhale fully from a slightly parted mouth and feel all your cells releasing waste and emptying old energy.

So trust in the fact that you’re where you need to be today, everything that is meant to happen is happening. Breath the certainty in and any worry out that you may have. Today is a good day.

Lots of love & light,

Jessy

For more information on the benefits of taking time to do some deep breathing, here’s a list of 18 physical benefits from the One Powerful Blog:

1. Breathing Detoxifies and Releases Toxins
Your body is designed to release 70% of its toxins through breathing. If you are not breathing effectively, you are not properly ridding your body of its toxins i.e. other systems in your body must work overtime which could eventually lead to illness. When you exhale air from your body you release carbon dioxide that has been passed through from your bloodstream into your lungs. Carbon dioxide is a natural waste of your body’s metabolism.

2. Breathing Releases Tension
Think how your body feels when you are tense, angry, scared or stressed. It constricts. Your muscles get tight and your breathing becomes shallow. When your breathing is shallow you are not getting the amount of oxygen that your body needs.

3. Breathing Relaxes the Mind/Body and Brings Clarity
Oxygenation of the brain reducing excessive anxiety levels. Paying attention to your breathing. Breathe slowly, deeply and purposefully into your body. Notice any places that are tight and breathe into them. As you relax your body, you may find that the breathing brings clarity and insights to you as well.

4. Breathing Relieves Emotional Problems
Breathing will help clear uneasy feelings out of your body.

5. Breathing Relieves Pain.
You may not realize its connection to how you think, feel and experience life. For example, what happens to your breathing when you anticipate pain? You probably hold your breath. Yet studies show that breathing into your pain helps to ease it.

6. Breathing Massages Your Organs
The movements of the diaphragm during the deep breathing exercise massages the stomach, small intestine, liver and pancreas. The upper movement of the diaphragm also massages the heart. When you inhale air your diaphragm descends and your abdomen will expand. By this action you, massage vital organs and improves circulation in them. Controlled breathing also strengthens and tones your abdominal muscles.

7. Breathing Increases Muscle
Breathing is the oxygenation process to all of the cells in your body. With the supply of oxygen to the brain this increases the muscles in your body.

8. Breathing Strengthens the Immune System
Oxygen travels through your bloodstream by attaching to haemoglobin in your red blood cells. This in turn then enriches your body to metabolise nutrients and vitamins.

9. Breathing Improves Posture
Good breathing techniques over a sustained period of time will encourage good posture. Bad body posture will result of incorrect breathing so this is such an important process by getting your posture right from early on you will see great benefits.

10. Breathing Improves Quality of the Blood
Deep breathing removes all the carbon-dioxide and increases oxygen in the blood and thus increases blood quality.

11. Breathing Increases Digestion and Assimilation of food
The digestive organs such as the stomach receive more oxygen, and hence operates more efficiently. The digestion is further enhanced by the fact that the food is oxygenated more.

12. Breathing Improves the Nervous System
The brain, spinal cord and nerves receive increased oxygenation and are more nourished. This improves the health of the whole body, since the nervous system communicates to all parts of the body.

13. Breathing Strengthen the Lungs
As you breathe deeply the lung become healthy and powerful, a good insurance against respiratory problems.

14. Proper Breathing makes the Heart Stronger.
Breathing exercises reduce the workload on the heart in two ways. Firstly, deep breathing leads to more efficient lungs, which means more oxygen, is brought into contact with blood sent to the lungs by the heart. So, the heart doesn’t have to work as hard to deliver oxygen to the tissues. Secondly, deep breathing leads to a greater pressure differential in the lungs, which leads to an increase in the circulation, thus resting the heart a little.

15. Proper Breathing assists in Weight Control.

If you are overweight, the extra oxygen burns up the excess fat more efficiently. If you are underweight, the extra oxygen feeds the starving tissues and glands.
16. Breathing Boosts Energy levels and Improves Stamina

17. Breathing Improves Cellular Regeneration

18. Breathing Elevates Moods
Breathing increase pleasure-inducing neurochemicals in the brain to elevate moods and combat physical pain – See more at: http://www.onepowerfulword.com/2010/10/18-benefits-of-deep-breathing-and-how.html#sthash.yKZxzcMv.dpuf

New Year, Same Me

  
You hear a lot of “new year, new you” chatter around this time. And although I like the sentiment of making resolutions to improve your life and update something in your world that could use extra time and energy, I like to think that it’s not a new me doing these things, it’s the same me with an improved mindset. 

This year, my resolution is to take at least 5 minutes to myself every day. To lay down on my yoga mat, stress relief oil burner on, feet up in the air, left hand on my heart, right hand on my stomach and really feel grateful for the moment and the day that I just had. Even when I don’t have time to do an entire yoga practice, I’ve found that taking a few minutes to do some deep breathing, stretching out the kinks, and thinking about of the things I’m thankful for can significantly help my mindset and can make me feel better even during a hard day. But often times I don’t make “time” for it, when the reality is I always have 5 minutes. Always. 

And as the quote says, I firmly believe that a positive mind moves to positive vibes and makes a positive life.

So whatever your resolution is for 2016, I hope you stick with it and make it a positive change in your life. But do you, you’re beautiful just the way you are! 
Lots of love & light,

Jessy 

The Happiness Struggle is REAL

What a difference 36 hours can make. 

I left work at 8pm on Friday, a 12 hour day. A day full of meetings, emails and reports. As I got in my car and started driving down the highway, I lost control of my emotions when I once again started thinking “what am I doing?” I cried, and cried the whole way home. I look at my diagnosis as a blessing now since I have grown so much from it and truly believe I am and will live a better, more positive life. However, the blessing that it is to so truly feel the power of “making each day count”can come as a burden as well. There’s a beauty in naive bliss. Before I was diagnosed, I was doing the same thing I’m doing now. But it seemed okay, I was striving for the weekend. Working for Friday at 5pm. Today unfortunately that doesn’t seem right to me. I don’t want to only enjoy 2 days of the week. It is an overwhelming thought– what is going to truly make me happy, AND make me money? That thought got me so worked up to the point that I was shaking, yelling, saying “eff this shit” as I angrily drove home. When I walked in the door, my face was all puffy from crying and I let Mike have it. And as always, he was there for me. He took my hand and let me rant and reminded me that we would figure it out. In this moment, I wasn’t okay. I think in our society it’s almost taboo to say you’re “not doing so great” when someone asks you how you are? I’m guilty of it. Even when I’m not fine, I always say I’m doing really good. But here it is– sometimes I’m not good. Sometimes I’m not happy. Sometimes I’m anxious. Sometimes I’m angry. Sometimes I’m just not feeling it. And I think that’s okay. I think we should all feel more empowered to say how we actually feel more often. Life isn’t perfect and admitting that you’re day or week hasn’t been so good doesn’t mean that you’re ungrateful but you’re simply being truthful to yourself and others at that time.

But I started this blog with, “what a difference 36 hours can make.” And it can. This became a weekend full of activities and it was exactly what I needed. I needed to focus on being physical, getting out my frustration, and centering my mind to be in a more positive place. 

So like every Saturday, Mike and I started our day with outdoor yoga by the most amazingly powerful woman! 

  
  
Then we cleaned the house like maniacs. There’s a part of me that enjoys a good cleaning session. I was sweating and scrubbing the tub on my hands and knees and DAMN did it feel good when I got it looking shiny white. 

Then it was night and I headed to the Gorham Mansion in Waltham for a nighttime, blacklight yoga session underneath the stars. I was by myself, which I was nervous about, but I did it and it felt great. Looking up to the open sky and feeling the cool breeze on my face was rejuvinating and revitalizing. 

   
   
And FINALLY! Me and my Jessie woke our bums up EARLY today and got to Burlington by 715 in the morning to do a 5K with color paint/powder being thrown all over us. It was wild and way more fun than I had expected. Plus, we ran the whole time which I was super proud of us about! Being silly with your girlfriend while getting a workout in, LOVE that combination! 

   
    
  
Net net of this random blog post is to always try to remember that tomorrow can be better and that you have the choice to make it better. Maybe if I had brought that thought to the forefront on Friday, I would have had a more enjoyable ride home 😢🙈

I hope you all found a piece of happiness, fun and rejuvenation on this weekend. 

Lots of love & light,

Jessy