Instant pot rice and lentils

I make a big pot of this almost every weekend, it’s great to have with lunches and as a side dish for dinners.

What you need:

-Tablespoon of olive oil, chopped 1/2 onion

-One and a quarter cup of white rice, mixed with a quarter cup of brown or green lentils (red will turn to mush).

-Two and a bit cups of vegetable broth. I like to use mushroom to give it an earthy flavor, or onion just because I love the flavour of onions! Regular old vegetable broth works too. If you’re not veg*n (this term is used for vegan or vegetarian), I’m sure it would work well with beef or chicken broth.

How to make it

1. Turn your instant pot on to sauté, add the oil and the onions. Prepare the rest of your ingredients while allowing the onions to caramelize, stirring on occasion.

2. Once the onions are nicely browned and fragrant, I usually use a handful of paper towel to lift out a lot of the oil. I like to use a lot of oil for sautéing and caramelizing, but I don’t want it all in there when I cook. As you can see below very little of the oil is left after this step. If you’re not watching your oil just leave it.

3. Add the dry rice and rinsed lentils, and stir for a couple minutes to lightly toast.

4. Pour in the broth, close and seal your Instant pot and cook on high pressure for six minutes. I usually allow it to completely release naturally, which gets the lentils soft with a touch of bite. If you don’t have the time, let it release naturally for at least four minutes or else it will be too crunchy (I guess I could try adding a minute cooking time instead, but I like letting it release naturally)

5. Serve. It’s really tasty with some added salt, but I try not to because it’s not so healthy! The lass salt I use, the less I crave it.

Notes

*I usually keep it in the fridge for about a week, often a half a cup of this is part of my lunch. Great with soups, or veggies, or mixed with dips like hummus or baba ghanouj.

*If you don’t have an instant pot, it can also be made stove-top. Follow all the directions in a pot until adding broth. After you add the broth bring it to a boil, cover, and turn off the heat. Let it cook for 30 minutes in the residual heat, and it will be ready. I know it sounds crazy to turn off the heat but that way it doesn’t burn and the residual heat is enough to keep it cooking, it’s also very convenient because I can run errands (you can also use this method for cooking rice, without the lentils it takes about 20 minutes to cook in residual heat)!

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Scrunchy crunchy and new lippy

I found this lip pencil in my purse. I honestly don’t remember where it came from, maybe it was a free gift from Sephora? My mom gets them a lot and passes them on to me.

Anyway it’s Bite beauty lip crayon in Glacé. These two pictures are from around 8 AM, and around 10 AM. I was planning to take one later in the day, but got caught up with a work emergency and never got a chance! However, it did last a few more hours. It’s not drying like a lot of long lasting lipstick’s, however it does stay on nicely and feels great! I look forward to using it again.

OK I lied, I just found another picture I took around noon. So that was four hours after application:

These pictures also show an important part of the curly girl routine that I use for my hair. In the first picture you can see that my hair looks wet, it’s actually not wet, it’s dried into a hard cast. This is what you want with curly hair, because it creates defined curls and minimizes frizz. Once it has dried like this, I use my hands to scrunch it out into soft more natural curls, like in the lower side picture. (I usually dry my hair with a diffuser about 80 to 90% at home, then let it dry the rest of the way on my drive to work, and then a scratch it out in the car right before I go into the office, Or in the washroom right after if the weather is bad and I want to protect it). Today’s hair was actually not washed, it was really fast with Mixed Chicks morning after redefining foam , then diffused. This is the best refresh product I have found, my hair dries just as if I washed it, and looks great!

Working on it

So remember when I came home from Sauble Beach and I was a bit upset at how much worse I looked in a bikini than a few years ago? I’ve done something about it. I’ve been keeping a better eye on my food, and adding a lot more strength training to my workouts. It’s paid off! Here is a picture I took yesterday, one month later; you can definitely see an improvement in my tone and waist definition!

In order to keep up my progress, I’ve decided to join Beachbody and I’m doing the 21 day fix. I know that those kind of workouts, cardio plus weight training, have the best bang for their buck. I will probably only do it for one month, and then find alternative free workouts or do my own thing. I felt like paying might really motivate me to keep it up, and that includes a group that will keep me accountable! I did the first workout yesterday, and I have to say I am hurting today! I’m glad, because I would feel like it was a waste otherwise. I don’t like to be in pain when I work out, but I definitely want to feel like my muscles have worked the next day.

 

Yogic progress

Before I got diagnosed with breast cancer in fall of 2015, I was very into yoga. I had worked hard and made a lot of progress. I continued to practice yoga throughout my treatment, and was doing quite well even after chemotherapy and radiation.

It was after I had my ovaries removed in February 2017 that I really started to struggle. The ovary removal hit me a lot harder than I expected, and I was quite lazy for a few months afterwards. By the time I got back to yoga, I had lost a lot of mobility and flexibility everywhere, especially in my right shoulder arm back and chest (as a result of my surgery. It had not bothered me before then because I kept up my range of motion, but during my “lazy months” not so much!)

I continued to attend yoga classes for several more months, but every time I went I would end up crying afterwards, heartbroken by how much I had lost in my physical practice (and how that hurt my emotional practice). Of course I know that’s not a very “yogic” way to think… but it’s where I was.

I started getting more into other things, like Pilates, and back into Barre. Also running, and biking, and weightlifting.

Quietly at home, I’ve been working on getting back my flexibility and strength. I’ve always wanted to go back to yoga, but not until I feel confident.

The last few months I’ve been starting to feel ready, however the classes at my studio that interest me (not hot!!) are at 8:45pm. I cannot do that. I now take medication at 9 PM and I cannot drive afterwards, so it just wouldn’t work.

Last week I took a look at the studio’s new fall schedule, and saw that they have changed two of the yoga classes I would like to take to 7:30 PM. That is perfect for me! A bit early so I won’t always make it, but I can probably do that at least once a week

Today after my regular (strength) work out, I decided to spend some time seeing where I was with my yoga, so I set up my phone to video me so I could really see how I’m coming along. I got some nice pictures of me doing some things that I haven’t been able to do in a long time!

It’s a bit hard to tell but in the left picture I’m actually doing a headstand (Something I have not been able to do in well over a year), in the other two pictures I am (obviously) doing arm balances. I didn’t get pictures but I am also now able to do some things with my hips that I have not been able to do in a long time!

I’m now looking forward to getting back to yoga, this week or next week. In the past it has always been so good for me physically and emotionally! I don’t know that my practice will ever be where it was three years ago, not only because I was sick and had treatment, but also because I am quite simply three years older now. Physically, I’m about 10 years older because of the menopause! I’m confident enough to go back to class and that’s all I can ask for right now.