Ottolenghi Chicken with Cardamom Rice

Happy Sunday everyone!

That gorgeous skillet is filled with chicken thighs with caramelized onions and cardamom rice from Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem – my favorite dinner last week. I highly recommend it!

Today I spent most of the day outside, taking advantage of this un-seasonalbly warm 52 degree New England weather. I come to you with two lists today – the first is the morning practice that I’m committing to for the month of February. And then capping it off with my weekly meal plan – because most of you are here for the food!

For the month of February, I’m teaming up with some of my favorite biz ladies to do Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning. It focuses on making a habit of six activities – all of which I’ve done on a semi-regular basis in the past – but could use a little more incentive to get rolling on. The first step is waking and drinking a glass of water. This doesn’t count as one of the activities, but might be the most important! Here are the six:

Meditation – I’ve worked my way through the Headspace foundation pack, and am now working through the activity packs. I started with Depression (I have a lifelong history of SAD in the New England winters), moving on to Anxiety (might as well tackle the tough ones first!) and looking forward to starting on “Creativity”. I have a year long subscription and am committed to meditating every day.

Affirmations – this is an interesting one, because I’ve avoided these in the past. Why are affirmations important? Well, we chose the scripts that we play to ourselves in our head, and often they can be a repeat of negative and self deprecating thoughts. By thinking of the same negative thoughts over and over, we can make these thoughts a reality. The goal with affirmations is to re-write the script. I’ve written out a series of affirmations that go beyond the inspirational quotes, but hit on my WHYs, my passions, and my desires. Sometimes you have to give yourself a pep talk to get going! (This is actually a great strategy for racing as well.) As I read personal development books, Internet articles, fiction, or even just talk to people, I’ll be building on these affirmations. I’m looking forward to adding to them as I learn and grow.

Visualization – this goes beyond a vision board, but vision boards are a good start! Just by thinking about the life that we want to be living and what our ideal days and years and accomplishments look like, we are achieving the first critical step to making change happen for ourselves. Today I spent ten minutes thinking what my ideal day would look like this coming week. No dramatic stretches! Just reminding myself how I want to act and FEEL.

Exercise – after a quiet winter season, I’m working to bring back movement in a more dedicated way through race training. But the idea here isn’t my whole workout, but to just get my muscles moving and heart pumping. I’ll be starting with a light weight routine in my house. After far too long in the trunk of my car, I just recently brought my frozen kettlebell up the stairs to have on hand. I will also be planking, squatting, and stretching.

Reading – 10-15 minutes of personal development reading. I have a strong reading goal that I’ve written about this year – 100 books! – and I make time during the day for reading already, so this is just a bonus. For my morning practice, I’m going to keep it to non fiction personal development topics. Right now I’m reading Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art.

Journaling – this is something that I already try to build into my day, but could use the extra motivation. I’ll be doing my typical morning pages – 10-15 minutes of free writing with occasional structure – feelings, thoughts, gratitude lists, and the start of my daily to do list.

The most important part of this month is that I’ve found my accountability partners to ensure my success!

And! To make sure I feel rewarded for my habit building – I have a physical checklist that I’ll be using with little gold star stickers to cross off when I’ve accomplished my tasks. Chore charts don’t just work for kids!

Do you currently have a morning routine? 


:: The Weekly Meal Plan: Week of January 31st, 2016 ::

I’ve been trying to add in a new recipe from a cookbook each week. Last week was the gorgeous chicken with caramelized onions and cardamom from Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem. (See above!) – his recipes are always so delicious! Since cooking with Blue Apron, I’ve actually expanded my patience for cooking slightly longer week night meals, so I’m trying for some with a little oomph more often.

Sunday: green salad with smoked andouille chicken sausage and buttermilk biscuits

Monday: shrimp fried rice (Blue Apron) wild shrimp, with a little side of kimchi that my neighbor made and gave to us.

Tuesday: pork chops with brussels sprouts and pancetta, a super simple three ingredient dinner. Okay, plus spices. Maybe five ingredients.

Wednesday: eggs for dinner. I’ll keep this one simple and make a regular scramble and a green salad.

Thursday: the cookbook recipe that I haven’t decided on yet! I know, I know, I’m sorry to keep you hanging! If you have any suggestions for a great cookbook recipe, I’m all ears.

Friday:out! or as we do these days – takeout and an On Demand movie at home.