Lentil Kale Soup

What's better on a cold day then a warm bowl of homemade soup? Especially when you have a cold and cough after the flu?

For lunchtime I put together this yummy easy soup that's ready in about 30-35 minutes.No need for hours and hours of stewing. Oh and completely vegan! 

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 of an onion
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery
  • 1L of vegetable stock
  • 3/4 cup red lentils
  • handful of kale (or spinach would work)
  • spices of choice. I used tumeric, coriander seed and cumin. I also used a pinch of Asafoetida, which is commonly used in Indian dishes to add flavour and is a digestive aid. If you don't care if this is vegan you can used chicken or beef stock and you would get some of the flavour missing when using vegetable stock. 

Directions:

  1. Heat the pot with the olive oil at the bottom. 
  2. Add the diced onions, garlic, celery and carrot. Cook until a little soft and the onions are a bit translucent. 
  3. Add the stock and lentils and spices you have chosen.
  4. Cook for about 20-25 minutes until the lentils are soft.
  5. Add the kale/spinach in the last 5 minutes. Tip, chop them into smaller pieces, making it easier when eating. 
  6. Serve and enjoy. 

What's some of your favourite things to throw in your soup?

Love, 

Jen The Bitchin' Housewife

 

Fitness Gear Review - MY Zone Heart Rate Monitor

I've been teaching yoga at the RVX gym all summer and they have all their athletes wear these heart rate monitors. There is a big t.v up on the wall so the trainers can see their efforts in real time. Pretty cool. I enjoyed watching the heart rates go up and slow way down from the yoga I was teaching them. 

I was so intrigued that I just had to get myself one of these My Zone Heart Rate Monitors. I have to admit, I'm a little obsessed with it. 

Since it goes around the torso, rather then the wrist as in a watch there is constant contact getting the results of monitoring to be %99.4 accurate. 

It's easy to wear and you can't even see it under a shirt. 

It shows you on an app on your phone your effort. Showing where your heart rate is in different "zones". Where I am assuming where they get their name from. 

The brilliant thing about these zones is that you are rewarded points or as they call it MEP's for every minute you are in a different zone. The harder you work the more points per minute you get. Hence their slogan "Effort Rewarded". These points can be added up for challenges, personal goals or competing against friends. You can add your friends and see where they are at with their workouts. You can help motivate them by a little friendly competition. Not that I know about this or anything........ Oh and they just added an update where you can post a photo to your feed with your workout!

Since you also plug in all your personal info, including your age and weight etc it tracks your caloric burn during a workout. It's fascinating to see the difference from what the cardio machine at the gym is telling you and your actual amount. 

I have found myself pushing a little harder in workouts, if not because I see my heart rate in a lower zone, but because I want more MEP's! Either way I'm motivated!

The thing that super impressed me about this monitor is that I wore it during the Spartan Super race I did, running through mud and swimming across a river and it stayed in place AND it still works! I wasn't near my phone, but it will track up to 16 hours of your workout for you and upload it when you are near your phone again. 

Overall, I'm super happy with my purchase and continue to love my new workout gear. I believe you can get them online at the My Zone website or you can buy them through a local retailer like I did at RVX Factor Gym here in Edmonton. 

Love, 

Jen the Bitchin' Housewife

Self Care Sunday - Real Self Love

I've been writing Self Care Sundays for a few months now. And I believe we are all ready for this week's self care. It's a doozy.

I was talking with a friend/client yesterday morning and we were talking about how easy it is for us to name off all the things we don't like about our physical appearance. I imagine most of us can easily name of a dozen without thought. But most of us may find it hard to find something we like about ourselves. 

I'm currently reading Michele Theoret's book Empowered Body and in it she talks about how the world of marketing and social media basically sells us stuff based off of the fears of not "being enough" or good enough". We create these images in our heads of how we "should" be, rather then loving and accepting who we actually are. 

Today we aren't focusing on who we are in progress of something. Today we love ourselves for who we are. Period. The end. 

So this week's self care Sunday is uncomfortable. It may be challenging. But it will be worth it. 

We are going to look at ourselves in the mirror and find something we like. Actually two things. Because I guarantee you have at the very very very very minimum two things about you that are worth YOU loving. 

For those that are unsure, maybe it's sitting in front of a mirror staring at your face. Study it while repeating self love words. "I love........ my freckles, dimples, eyes", "I like the way........ my skin does, my hair is, my lips.......". Catching yourself when you start to put words out that do not serve you in self love.

For those maybe a little bolder.... Get undressed. Stand in front of the mirror. Find things you love. "I love.... my toes, my posture, my skin tone, my butt, the way I can wrap my arms around myself in a hug, the way my scar makes me look badass, my belly button......" or "I like...... the way my muscles pop as I flex, my height, my hair, my tattoos, my....." whatever it is. This is obvious deeply personal. 

Be kind to yourself. Show yourself some love. Genuine unfiltered love. 

Love, 

Jen the Bitchin' Housewife

Self Care Sunday - Acupuncture

This week for Self Care Sunday we are talking about acupuncture. A little while back Andrea Wingrave from Acupuncture Edmonton and I put together THIS post, all about acupuncture and what it is.  I thought what a wonderful self care idea. Getting some acupuncture. 

Luckily most benefits cover acupuncture these days up to $500 or $1000 so in reality you aren't out anything if it isn't your thing. But really, it's going to be. 

The needles are sterile one time use needles. I know this is something people have expressed concerned about when I tell them about acupuncture. I was also worried I wouldn't be able to donate blood anymore, but turns out if they are sterile singe use then you still can. (Bonus!)

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At first it seems a little intimidating thinking about the needles going in and/or staying in. But really after they go in and some minor adjusting to your comfort, you don't even feel them.

But here is the best part people..... you get a 30 minute nap. Yeah, the needles go in, adjust as needed and then you get 30 minutes all to yourself to relax on a soft comfy bed and have a heat lamp on your feet. Oh that glorious heat lamp. I need one for home. 

Now whether or not you are sure if you "believe" in acupuncture working or not, the relaxing time spent in the room and you taking time for yourself is a huge step toward tapping into that parasympathetic (rest and digestion) cycle of the body. This is truly self care. Calming down, unwinding and finding time for yourself. 

Oh and before I forget.... you get a head massage at the end.... *drooooool*

So a few tips for heading to the acupuncturist. 

  • Maybe find a referral from a friend. I love friends that tell me about professionals they love and why, that way I sort of know what to expect. 
  • Wear loose fitting clothing. That way pant legs can be rolled up if access is needed to the knees etc. 
  • They will have music but honestly I think this relaxation time would pair perfectly with a mediation podcast or yoga nidra recording on youtube. 
  • Turn off your phone. Not on vibrate, You don't want to hear buzzing and crap as you are trying to relax. 
  • I highly recommend booking an appointment in the evening so you can go to sleep after!

Have you ever seen an acupuncturist? Whats your favourite part?

Love, 

Jen the Bitchin' Housewife

22 Pushups for 22 Days Challenge

I've seen a few friends post about this challenge and finally a good friend said she wanted to do it and well... here we are. I donated my $22 at www.woundedwarriors.ca (you should too) and today I start the challenge. 

Suicide is a real threat to our Armed Forces personnel, veterans and first responders. Let's show them some love by having some fun and spreading the world. The more people that share what they are doing, the more exposure the people have to it, eventually prompting them to engage! Just like I did. You, as the one single human being you are can always make a difference.

To keep it fun, check out my Facebook page everyday for a new style of push up to try! 

Love, 

Jen The Bitchin' Housewife

Self Care Sunday - Tea Time

 Throughout the centuries tea has been a custom of calm, gathering, relaxation and tradition. 

Chinese tea ceremonies at weddings as an offering to parents and thanking them for raising them.

In Indian, chai tea can be found on every street corner.

In Morocca, mint tea is practically their national drink. 

Classic British afternoon tea time. (I always picture cucumber sandwiches and the Queen)

And in Russia "Zavarka" is tea time with a piece of cake. They called it "naked" if not eaten with cake. 

No matter where in the world, or what tradition, tea time is a time for oneself. A time to sit and enjoy this small pleasure or warmth when it's cool or cooling when it's hot. This is this weeks Self Care Sunday.

Take the time to go a tea store and browse, smell, ask questions about what teas are for different things. Possibly see if a friend sells tea through a direct sales business. (I love supporting local business and friends). Or even take some time in the tea aisle at the grocery store. I like to stand there and read all the interesting flavour mixtures companies have come up with. 

Set aside some time this week and plan it in your calendar. Yes, we are planning 30 minutes of relaxing tea time people. Maybe plan everyday at a certain time you take this 10-20, or 30 minutes to sit down with your tea. 

A few tips for your tea time:

  • Turn off t.v''s or media if you can. Or be in another room if you are using it to distract your kids!
  • Find your favorite mug. Everything is better in your favorite mug.
  • Slow down and pay attention to all the sensations of drinking the tea. Notice the temperature as your mug touches your lips.  
  • Is the tea bitter, sweet, sour? I love mint tea and I like the tingle left on my tounge long after the sip is gone. 
  • Feel the warmth of the tea in the throat and belly. 
  • Pay attention to the aroma.
  • Sit quietly for a little while. Set a time if you are concerned about getting back to your busy day. 

How do you like your tea? sweet with sugar or honey? Smooth with cream or milk? 

My favorite is mint tea, black without sugar or milk. 

Love, 

Jen The Bitchin' Housewife

What's That Barre About?

Every thought about trying out a barre class? Yeah that was me. A friend and I have thought about it for a while and weren't sure. I figured I would try and blog about it so you can see if it's something you wanted to try! I'll experiment on my body for you like that. We cool.

Thursday night my two friends and I went to Xtend Barre in south Edmonton and tried out a class! First of all this brand new studio is super gorgeous and the people that work there are amazingly friendly and inviting! I mean I know I have tried many different things in fitness, but always embarking on a new journey can be a little intimidating and these guys treat you like a best friend the second you walk in the door.

So we walk in and fill out our forms and get ready for class. Fist thing is we grab some equipment. Some straps, mat, ball and choose our size hand weights. Now, let me tell you a bit about my ego. There are 2, 3 and 5 lbs weights. And I'm all like, "I lift weights, where's the 15 lbs weights?" and Cheryl is all like "3 lbs is challenging and 5 lbs is like hard core". I almost grabbed the 5lbs, but last second thought, I'm a newbie I'll go 3. *Insert rolling laughter from everyone ever who has taken a barre class*.

We get all set up and start on some warm up movements. It was pretty good, I felt loosened up and got a grasp of hand placcement and footing. I had concerns about how complicated it was going to be, especially after I saw the equipment we needed, but the moves are simple and easy to follow.

After warming up we grab our weights get to some strength. Yeah so I'm a weightlifter..... I can hip thrust a whopping 270 lbs. These 3 lbs weights kicked my ass. Well shoulders, but you get the idea. I seriously part way through had to put those suckers down and do just bodyweight. Which is a wonderful option for newbies to fitness too. It's totally still a good workout. 

We got to some more bodyweight stuff......

Happy Chris doing her favorite move, tricep dips. With a pointed toe twist of course. 

Happy Chris doing her favorite move, tricep dips. With a pointed toe twist of course. 

Then we hit the bar. Where I learned, it doesn't matter how fit you are, you can ALWAYS learn something new. I'm totally proud of my capabilities to perform a very good squat with my butt back and low. But Cheryl had to keep correcting me to tuck my pelvis the other direction. Not a squat but a plie! Let's talk about using new muscles! yowza!

Then my FAVORITE, core work!!!!!

Overall we had a total blast. Chris and Melissa proclaimed to be very sore yesterday. I wasn't as sore since I taught 7 hours of yoga and stretched all day, but I can feel it still in some parts of my body!

My overall take on barre:

  • Great workout, with something available for all levels to get a challenge.
  • Very simple to follow, with easy transitions between exercises. 
  • Fun upbeat music.
  • What I liked best was it was almost like a taste of being a dancer, without the intimidation or seriousness. We were just some friends hanging out and having fun, while learning a new way of fitness. My friend Melissa was actually a dancer as a child and she said it reminded her of her dancing years and she will definitely go back. 

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Grip socks are required. This particular studio offers them for sale, but I see them all the time at Walmart or Shoppers or places like Keylime Athletic Wear.
  • Keep within your limits and rest if needed.

Overall, I'm a fan and will go back for sure! Have you tried a barre class? Will you?

Love, 

Jen

Self Care Sunday - Get Yourself Some New Clothes

Hello again friends. This week for Self Care Sunday we are talking getting ourselves some new clothes. As much as I like to find cheap or inexpensive ways of self care, sometime you also need to spend a little on yourself. You deserve it.

That said, if money is tight you can also host a clothing swap (I will so blog about that soon). Clothing for free while cleaning out your closet. I actually spent the first 6 months of the year without buying any "new" clothes. As in meaning from a store. Only clothing swaps and second hand stores. 

Now as that was fun, this past week I got some new clothes and it feels pretty great. 

I did some online shopping at Belle + Bliss Boutique and got this awesome shirt.....

And this sassy skirt.....

As I said in the Self Care Sunday - Self Primping post, when you're in a rut, when you spend some time on making yourself feel good, something awesome happens. You start to feel good! It's really that simple. A few simple pieces of clothing that make you feel sexy, comfortable, saucy or just plain fresh and new help boost your confidence, starting that chain reaction of positive thought. 

So this week I want you to buy yourself a new piece of clothing. Either actually new from a store (think investment pieces lasting longer than #30wears) or new to you from a thrift store or clothing swap. Not that you likely need tips in shopping but here are a few to avoid maybe some upsetting:

  • Think about what's missing from your wardrobe that would make a difference. For example, I'm actually in particular need of some cute flats that aren't sporty or sandals. Closed toe, non fancy cute flats. Something that every time I leave the house in cute shorts and think "crap I don't have the right shoes for this", so it would help complete my wardrobe and feel better. 
  • Go alone or with girlfriends. DO NOT drag your kids or hubby along. This is time for you. 
  • Plan a few stores (or stores online).
  • Eat a good light meal. No need to be hANGRY  (hungry + angry) and get impatient while waiting for the dressing room, but not to full so you're bloated!
  • When you look at yourself in the mirror each time, say one nice thing to yourself. Even if it's unrelated to the clothing. (This is a bonus tip just to be nice to yourself)

Happy shopping friends! And come back to share with me what you got. Either on here, my Facebook  Page or Instagram

Love, 

Jen the Bitchin' Housewife