falling back in

It’s been over a week since I got back from traipsing around the world and I STILL haven’t gotten back into the groove of some things…

I’m convinced that everyone has a routine. Unless you are a professional adventurer, or have a different job every day, you have a routine. I definitely do… and I haven’t been able to decide if I like getting back into it or not. I love my job, I love the things that I do on a daily basis (cooking, exercising, reading, coffee etc.).. but I’m not sure if I’m sold on the whole idea of a routine.

I guess you could say that travelling in itself is a routine as well.. every morning you wake up in search of a new adventure. Or, if you’re me, every morning you wake up in search of a banana pancake. Either way, there is something predictable about every day. My question is… is that how we thrive?

Can we progress and develop ourselves with unpredictable lives? Do we need stability and routine in order to grow?

There are certain things about being home that I missed dearly and were so thankful to get back to. One of them is my eating habits. Southeast Asia is a rice-based culture (wheat doesn’t grow in their climate), and unfortunately for me, they aren’t big fans of brown rice. In a month, I probably ate my weight in white rice. For those of you that may be looking into altering your eating habits.. SWITCH TO BROWN RICE! White carbohydrates have no fiber, no protein and no staying power. What that meant for me was that I was hungry about an hour after eating my meals!

Before I left, I also had a pretty active exercise routine. I was working out (or just doing something active like yoga or an outdoor run) at least once every day. I felt AWESOME.

I have definitely jumped back on the oatmeal bandwagon though.. but since it’s been FREEZING here in the mornings I’ve traded in my usual overnight oats for a little hot breakfast action.

I’ve also gotten back into my exercise routine, which along with oatmeal was probably what I missed the most about being home. I love the adventure and unpredictability of travelling so much, but in the heat of Southeast Asia there was NO way I was going to get out for an hour long run a couple times a week. (Trust me, I tried. Ended badly). In weather like we’re having now in San Diego, it feels amazing to wake up with sore arms and legs (like this morning!), but in 100 degree weather with 80% humidity… not so much. This is not to say, however, that I spent the majority of my trip laying around eating cake! We were all very active and filled our days with hiking, walking, swimming and surfing (in 80 degree water… yeeeee!)

i spent 2 hours climbing a volcano in the dark for that view!

Not so surprisingly though, the thing I missed the most was cooking! When I got home, I went into sort of a cooking frenzy. I actually felt anxiety over the fact that I hadn’t really been able to cook at all while I was gone. So, the first thing I did was make some muffins. Which would have been AMAZING… but I forgot baking soda (see kids, never cook when you’re anxious.. you forget things!). Then, since I missed Thanksgiving, I made some sweet potato casserole. That actually was amazing… and I’ve already finished it all!

I think what I’m really getting at here is that routine is something that we really get into, and being thrown out of that routine can be both exciting and a little unnerving. Leaving for a month and coming back has made me realize what parts of that routine I actually appreciate, and what parts I can do without. Exercise and cooking are definitely parts of that routine that I crave!

Which brings me to the reason why people probably read my blog in the first place… RECIPES. Heres one inspired by Gina’s (www. fitnessista.com) black bean sweet potato chili.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Soup with Spinach

mmmm.. comfort soup.

Ingredients: (makes about 4 servings)

4 garlic cloves

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 bay leaves

2 cups veggie broth (I used Trader Joe’s Hearty Vegetable Broth)

2 medium sweet potatoes diced (with or without skin, I prefer with because the skin is good for you!)

½ tsp cumin

½ tsp turmeric

½ tsp paprika

2 shakes cayenne

1 cup canned diced tomatoes

1 can black beans

2 huge handfuls spinach

Method:

Heat a large pot over medium heat and add olive oil. Throw in garlic and cook until it starts to smell garlicky. Add veggie broth and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and add diced sweet potatoes. Lower to a simmer and add spices and tomato. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Open bean can and drain beans, add to pot. Once sweet potatoes are soft enough to pierce with a fork, soup is just about ready. Turn off heat and add spinach. Stir spinach in until wilted. Enjoy! (It will keep in the fridge for about 3-4 days.)

Try playing around with adding in some more protein to make this more of a meal. I added some diced cooked chicken breast to some of mine while heating it up and it really filled me up!

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