Sunday, February 26, 2012

Chowing Down on Chick Peas

I have one thing to say:  Chick peas ROCK!    Chick peas were really something I don't believe I've ever eaten before, but I discovered them through a friend of mine last year.  She was actually getting my husband to eat hummus (okay, it was really spicy hummus and it was slathered on top of Wheat Thins).  Anyway, I figured chick peas must be pretty magical if my husband was eating them . . . and they were! Once I tried them, I couldn't stop.

Nowadays I'm all about trying out different chick pea recipes or making my own dishes.  A friend of mine whose blog I follow told me about an entree at a restaurant she ate at recently, and it inspired me to do something similar.

These little chick peas are on their  way to another  recipe hit dish!
All I did was saute a can of rinsed chick peas in olive oil with spinach (I do wish I had baby spinach leaves on hand), grape tomatoes, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes.  The only measurement I used was the can of chick peas.  Everything else was strictly done by eyeballing it.   Jeez, I sound like such a pro!  LOL

When I was putting some in a dish to eat for lunch that day, I added some shredded Swiss cheese on top.  OMG, it was delish!!  

If you give it a try, please let me know how you like it -- or better yet, let me know if you add something to it!  Enjoy!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Going Green . . . for Tea

Growing up in the Deep South, I thought I'd always be a sweet iced tea girl.  However, during my college days at Mississippi State University, I developed a taste for hot tea (among other things -- shhhhh!).  My two favorites were Earl Grey and Constant Comment from Bigelow, and I also loved the Oolong tea at Chinese restaurants.

Fast forward 20+ years and enter Teavana.  I had zero idea hot tea could be so . . . specialized, not to mention expensive!  My brother treated me to a beautiful thermos and Earl Grey from Teavana for my birthday recently, and I must say I'm hooked!  

Reeeeally nice thermos from Teavana -- pardon the wine glass! 

With some Christmas money I received a short time after, I ventured into the world of green tea by purchasing Gyokuro Genmaicha, a blend that is made with toasted brown rice.  A friend of mine said he loved drinking green tea with honey and one Splenda packet.  It helped him sleep like a baby at night.  I'll be trying that for sure!  :D

Gyokuro Genmaicha in Teavana canister -- I cannot believe this picture turned out so well!

Drinking hot tea is relaxing to me and just one more small way to remember to take time for myself after a busy day at work and then at home being a mom.  And, by shopping at Teavana, I'm able to get a new toy for my Kalvin the Kat!  

Kalvin the Kat playing in a Teavana bag.
I think it must have smelled like catnip to him.  LOL

Friday, February 24, 2012

Tabata This, Tabata That, Tabata Tired!

Across the workout world (of which I'm really and truly not a part of), the Tabata craze is hot, hot, hot.  Don't get me wrong -- I do like working out, but I'm definitely a fair weather fan of it.  I happened across Tabata via a YouTube search on short exercise clips to try in the mornings before I got ready for work as part of what I'm doing for Lent (see this blog entry).  Tabata is supposed to be a four-minute workout where you exert maximum energy for 20 seconds and then rest for 10 seconds.  Most people choose routines featuring cardio moves, but you can also incorporate plyometrics and weight resistance.  Basically, you pick four exercises to perform and repeat them until the four minutes are up.  Here's some more information.  I, of course, would die if I did a full-fledged hard core Tabata workout, so I am doing "beginner" types of exercises that (hopefully) won't kill me.  Here's one from's newly certified personal trainer Sarah Dussault.

Beginner Tabata Workout Video

It reminds me a lot of bootcamp workouts and interval training except that it is much, much shorter.  I like that there is an endless variety of exercises you can choose to perform and that the calorie burn is inevitable.  Incorporating this workout at the end of a walk/run but before one of my yoga routines is something I like to do if I'm doing an extended workout.  If you try it, let me know what you think.  :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lent: Doing with Instead of Doing without

Lent is the season of remembrance of the sacrifice of Jesus, and most often Christians who participate respond by doing without some treat or delight.  However, I decided this year to do something different than foregoing something like eating my fav treat, dark chocolate.  I am adding the small step of daily exercise to better myself.  Believe me, this is a big sacrifice for me since I have been choosing not to make time for it on a regular basis over the past year or so.  I figure making myself a better, healthier person can't be wrong.  And, as an added bonus, I still get my dark chocolate.  Ha!  :)  

Oh, and if you participate, I'm interested in what you're doing for Lent.  
Please let me know -- it may give me ideas for next year!  

Jesus said, "Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." Mark 8:34

Of course, before Ash Wednesday we enjoyed a Mardi Gras celebration at my church, All Saints' Episcopal Churchin Atlanta on Shrove Tuesday.  FYI about Lent and Shrove Tuesday:   Gregory I helped established the type of fast to prepare for Lent.  He wrote, “We abstain from flesh meat, and from all things that come from flesh, as milk, cheese, and eggs.”  This was the standard in the Middle Ages and led to the practice of getting rid of milk and eggs prior to Lent by eating pancakes on the Tuesday prior to Lent, known as Shrove Tuesday.  Here are a few pictures from our Shrove Tuesday:

Father Chuck led a short service for the burning of the palms from last year's Palm Sunday.  These ashes were used during our Ash Wednesday service the next day.  The ashes are symbolic of having our sins from the past year forgiven.

All Saints' had a New Orlean's flair with a low country boil.  And, no, that's not apple juice!  :)  There were pancakes, of course, but I stuck with this!  

My son all decked out in Mardi Gras bling!

The kids started an intense game trading masks and necklaces.

My daughter with her choir and hand bell director.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Makeup Haul

Yeah, I know, I know.  Why on earth is this in a blog entitled Small Steps Daily?  Well, small steps are taken every day in pretty much everything we do.  This time I took a small step in personal beauty care.

The last time I bought any make up other than my constant companions of powder foundation, lip gloss, eyeliner, and mascara was about two years ago during a Black Friday shopping spree when I treated myself to a lipstick tube from Kohl's American Beauty line Luxury for Lips in Tickled Pink.  Honestly, my beauty routine took a severe hit once I had my first child 11 years ago.  I stopped using liquid foundation and doing things like painting my nails on a regular basis.

However, my kids are older now, and I'm in my mid-forties looking for a Vitamin B-12 shot, if you will.  I became curious about Revlon's newer PhotoReady line of foundation because I really don't like the powder foundation I'm currently using and searched on YouTube in hopes of a video review of the products.  I hit on the Beauty Broadcast channel created by a newscaster/make up guru Emily Eddington.  She has such a great personality and exudes confidence and expertise on the subject of makeup that I spent a couple of hours exploring her channel as well as her blog.   She totally inspired me, at the age of 44, to update my makeup routine.  So . . . I went to stores like Target, Sally's Beauty Supply, and Walgreens to buy products based off Emily's recommendations.

Makeup Haul

  • ELF makeup brushes -- a lot of ELF products are only a buck a piece!!!  WOW!
    • smaller bronzer brush
    • flat eye shadow brush
  • Revlon PhotoReady eye primer and brightener
  • Revlon PhotoReady concealer
  • Maybelline Dream Matte powder
  • Wet N Wild eye shadow in Comfort Zone
  • Wet N Wild lipstick 547B
  • Wet N Wild nail polishes
    • Wet Cement
    • Under Your Spell
    • 2% Milk -- cute, cute, cute name!
  • China Glaze nail polishes
    • Awakening
    • Avalanche
  • Rimmel Lasting Finish liquid foundation
  • Rimmel Moisture Renew lipstick in Dreamy
  • Rimmel Fix and Perfect primer
  • Rimmel Stay Glossy lip gloss in Non-Stop Glamour
  • Rimmel Soft Kohl eye liner pencil in Pure White
  • Avalon Organics Soothing Lip Balm (on clearance for $1.14)
  • Lip gloss in Strawberry (this was on display at Michael's) -- for my 11yo daughter

What I enjoyed about Emily's videos is that I learned some of the inexpensive, okay CHEAP, brands such as Wet N Wild and ELF had terrific products in their line.  I ended up spending about 85 dollars for 19 products -- that's amazing to me.  Before having children, I would spend 75 bucks just on one bottle of Estee Lauder moisturizer.  Seriously!  

I tried out the new primer (which I had previously NEVER thought of using) as well as the foundation and new eye shadows last night when my family all went out to dinner at a local Olive Garden Italian Restaurant.  I felt so good about myself.  Psychology is an interesting thing, and sometimes you need to take a small step in an unexpected and simple area such as beauty care.  :)  

P. S.  You can tell this haul made quite an impression on me since I decided to blog for the first time since July!  :D