A Lesson in Thankfulness

This time of year brings loads of ways to show you’re thankful. Like those 30 days of thankfulness Facebook posts. You know the ones – your friends try to come up with something different every day that they are thankful for. I actually think they are pretty great because everyone should realize that they definitely have something to be thankful for but sometimes I feel as if they’re a little contrived. As if sometimes, there’s entirely too much time spent thinking about “what the heck am I going to post about today?!” I mean, it’s 30 DAYS of these posts. Makes me wonder how much genuine thankfulness is happening.

I am certainly aware that I have plenty to be thankful for but, to be truthful, it’s difficult to recognize it at times. Work is stressful, life is busy, there is loads of cooking to be done, travels to be planned, houses to be decorated, and money to be spent. It’s super easy to get caught up in the whirlwind that is the holidays. Who has the time to truly see what there is to be thankful for?

The other morning, after a workout, I swung through Starbucks on my way to work. I generally make coffee and take it with me in my thermos but I had left it at work the day before. Normally, I’m not down with spending $5 on a cup of coffee (grande, please!) but I’ve discovered I actually like the taste of coconut milk in coffee and they don’t have that at 7-11. They should fix that. Or, maybe I should just remember my thermos. Anyway, I ordered my latte and I was hanging out, waiting, and kind of zoning out, lost in my own thoughts and dramas.

In the distance, I heard, “are you Jennifer?” I snapped out of it and said yes. The barista finished putting the lid and that little cardboard heat protector wrap thingy on my cup and handed it to. It took me a second or two to realize she asked me a question as she handed my coffee. I had to ask her to repeat what she said. Turns out she asked me what I was thankful for.

She caught me off guard with that question. I’ll be honest – I had been mentally dealing with a stressful situation and I certainly wasn’t in a positive mood even after a great workout. I may have actually stammered a bit. And then, reality set in and I didn’t really have to think about my answer. I’m not sure but I’m pretty sure I was grinning ear to ear when I said, “my new grandson!”


Well, that answer surprised her a little (as evidenced by the fact that she had to scrape her jaw off the floor. guess I don’t look like a Nana.) and we talked about him for a minute. She smiled and wished me a happy Thanksgiving, I wished her one in return, and I left in a glow of happiness.

There was never a doubt that I’m thankful for my grandson and my family but I got caught up in some negativity and was letting it affect me and push aside my thankfulness.

When was the last time someone actually asked YOU what you are thankful for? It’s an interesting question to be asked. What would you say? You don’t have time to think about it and craft a perfect answer. What would your first response be? The question is a little like a gift, actually. A bright spot. A ray of sunshine coming through the window and warming things up. Except that window is your heart. Cheesy? Maybe. True? Definitely. :)

So, my friends, what are YOU thankful for? What’s the first thing you thought of when I asked that question? And, thankfulness doesn’t end when Thanksgiving is over and we’ve all started decorating for Christmas. Share the love and ask the question. Not just to friends but to strangers – the bagger at the grocery store, the checker at Target, the guy pushing some random lotion on you at the mall….hey, they always say, “can I ask you a question?” right? Well, ask them one too! :) I’m pretty sure listening to the answers you get will make your day pretty great.

Oh, and in case you didn’t know, I’m thankful for you. I really am. Thanks for swinging by and reading and commenting (or not) and giving me a forum to share. I hope each and every one of you has a happy Thanksgiving. <3

  • Jennifer


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Curried Chicken and Chickpeas over rice

So, um, I totally love curry. Like, LOVE. I could probably eat curry every day and not get bored. Curry is awesome! And there are so many different ways to make it!

You could totally make curry in the crockpot with veggies and chickpeasthe chicken curry I grew up eatingcurry with a bunch of fall veggies, or even curried pork in phyllo dough!

See what I mean about curry being Y.U.M.?!

Well, get ready because I’m about to throw ANOTHER curry recipe at you. Okay, okay, I’ll wait until you’re done with your happy dance. :)


This one is made with Madras curry powder. Madras curry powder is a little spicier than regular curry powder and also has a slightly more reddish color. That’s because there’s a little more chili pepper in it. (um, hence the spicier business!) Not a fan of the spicy? That’s totally cool. Use regular curry powder! Have a bunch of regular curry and no Madras? Just bump up the cayenne in the recipe for the same effect. :)


For an extra protein boost, this curry dish has both chicken and chickpeas in it. You can use chicken breasts if you prefer (or if that’s what you have) but the chicken thighs have a slightly different flavor. Paleo? Leave out the chickpeas and add more chicken and you can certainly serve over cauliflower “rice!” Or, serve over quinoa or couscous, if that’s your thing.


Either way, this recipe is sure to become a curry staple in your home. It’s warm, it’s a little spicy, and it’s totally jam packed with flavor.

Curried Chicken and Chickpeas
Recipe type: dinner
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
Warm flavors of curry and cinnamon meet fresh vegetables, chicken, and chickpeas in a dish that's sure to become a staple in your home.
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1¼ pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ½ medium onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Madras curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 small zucchini, diced
  • One 15-punch can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • Chopped cilantro for garnish
  • Cooked rice
  1. Cook rice according to package directions, Keep warm.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, curry, cinnamon, cayenne and ¼ teaspoon of pepper. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the stock and simmer until reduced by one-third, about 10 minutes. Add the diced red bell pepper and zucchini and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the chickpeas and cook for 1 minute longer. Season the curried chicken with salt.
  3. Transfer the curry to a serving bowl, garnish with cilantro, and serve with the rice.
Madras Curry powder is spicy. If you don't have Madras Curry powder, use regular and increase the cayenne pepper.
Recipe adapted from Food and Wine, May 2001

What’s not to love?

  • Jennifer
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“Who let the balls out?” – WOD for men’s health

So, you’ve probably heard about this whole “Movember” business this month. You might have noticed that many of the men you know are suddenly sporting much more facial hair than normal. You might even be wondering what the heck it’s all about. Well, it’s all about men’s health: prostate and testicular cancer, mental health, and physical inactivity.



The Movember Foundation, started in 2003, is a global charity that helps raise funds for health programs that support: research and health services that contribute to less men dying from prostate and testicular cancer and to improve the quality of life for those that live with the disease, both physically and mentally; programs that help men and boys stay mentally healthy; and projects that encourage men to be physically active and get them to move more.

My CrossFit Box (Pivot Point CrossFit) has been doing a Movember contest and all the guys have been growing out their ‘staches and raising money for men’s health awareness. And Saturday, November 21 was the Movember WOD.


The WOD – “Who let the balls out?” – was built off some statistics regarding men’s health. The workout was a 19 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible), 2 person team (one works while the other holds a kettle bell 70#/53#), of 4 clean and jerks, 7 burpee pull-ups, 38 wall balls, and 50 double unders.

One man dies every 19 minutes from prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer deaths in men.

There are 4 stages of cancer.

1 out of every 7 men will be diagnosed with either prostate or testicular cancer.

1 out of every 38 men will die from prostate cancer.

The rate of testicular cancer has doubled in the last 50 years.

Alarming, isn’t it?

1 out of 7 will be diagnosed and 1 out of 38 will die. Did you know that there are 28 different types of prostate cancer? 28! In 2015, an estimated 220,800 American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and about 8,430 new cases of testicular cancer are diagnosed in men each year.

But, men’s health is about more than just cancer. On average 87 men each day take their life by suicide in the USA and Around 1 in 4 adults in the United States will experience a mental health problem in a given year. Mental health is SO important and many men take the “strong and silent” approach and that needs to change.

Did you know that physical inactivity can kill people? It’s true. Approximately 3.2 million deaths each year are attributable to insufficient physical activity and 41% of men in high-income countries don’t exercise enough. Do you think that’s because there’s a shortage of gyms? Nope. It’s definitely not that. It’s because people get busy and believe you me, I GET it. Life is BUSY but you HAVE to make that time for yourself so you can continue to be there with your family, spending time with them, supporting them, loving them.

Wonder what can you do? Well, first off, if you’re a dude, you need to make sure you go to the doctor EVERY YEAR for your check-up. If you have risk factors, you definitely need to be discussing those with your doctor! And, much like women do regular breast self-exams, you should be doing regular testicle self-exams. These exams help catch problems in the early stages and are SO. VERY. IMPORTANT. Get up off the couch and start moving. Go for a walk, do a Couch-to-5k challenge, join a gym, find a trainer, DO SOMETHING! Involve your family! Get them going, too. Got kids playing sports on the weekends? Get your exercise in while they’re practicing. You don’t need fancy equipment. There are PLENTY of bodyweight exercises that you can do anywhere. :) Also, stay proactive with regards to your mental health. Need help? ASK for it. TALK to someone. There are people who are so ready to listen and help. If you need immediate support, contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or you can visit them online.

What if you’re not a dude? Well, you can support your man, your brother, your cousin, your friend, or whomever, and make sure THEY are doing what they are supposed to do for their best health. We’re all in this world together and we need to support and care for each other.

If you’re interested, you can also check out the Movember web site and make a donation or purchase from the Movember store and help support men’s health. (I’m just pointing you there so you can learn and maybe help, if you want. I’m getting nothing from telling you about it. I just think it’s important.)


Stay healthy my friends!

 – Jennifer

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Life and stuff and figuring out schedules….

So, you may have noticed that I haven’t been blogging as much recently. Or, you may not have because this is your first time here. (Welcome!) Anyhoo, let me ‘splain.

You see, life has been a little busy lately. Okay, so “busy” is probably an understatement. Fine. “Busy” might actually be the understatement of the century.

2 weeks ago, on November 4th, I became a Nana.


Nope, still no gray hair on my head. Thank goodness! Although, I have nothing against gray hair. In fact, I hear it’s pretty popular these days. I’ll hold off on jumping into that trend, though. 😉


Anyway, I’m a Nana. (yes, I needed to repeat that. I need to get used to being referred to as that. It’s all so new!!!) Thing 2 gave me my first Grandthing. Yep. I said Grandthing. You know you love it! :)


And he’s adorable! And, nope, not just biased. I mean, come on – look at that little face!


And now, all I want to do is spend time with him. I mean, duh.

Plus, my place of business has blocked any and all Go Daddy hosted sites and that includes my blog. Which means no more blogging over my lunch hour. :/ People can be on Pinterest, stream videos on YouTube, or play on Facebook all day long but I can’t blog during lunch. Ugh. Talk about throwing a big fat monkey wrench into my schedule!


So, I’m trying to work that out and come up with a reasonable blogging schedule. Because I have lots to share! And, at least some of it will be about food and fitness and other things BESIDES the cutest Grandthing in all the land. :)

– Jennifer

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Pumpkin Oatmeal Protein Bars


How do you start your day? With a quick shower, maybe a cup of coffee, and out the door you go? No time for breakfast?


With a little bit of prep work on the weekend, you can totally change that!


Oatmeal, pumpkin, and the warm flavors of cinnamon and nutmeg come together pretty fabulously in these oatmeal bars. Lightly sweetened with banana and vanilla, these bars are not heavy at all. Paired with a piece of fruit or yogurt, these bars make an excellent addition to any breakfast! And, they’re totally portable which makes them perfect for breakfast on the road!

Pumpkin Oatmeal Protein Bars
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 9 bars
Start your day with a quick grab and go oatmeal protein bar!
  • 2 cups oats
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder (or one serving)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax meal
  • 2 tablespoons wheat germ
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1½ cups milk
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 9-inch square baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients - oats through flour.
  3. In a small bowl, lightly beat egg. Add mashed banana and pumpkin and whisk to blend well. Stir in vanilla and milk.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir just until mixed.
  5. Spread in baking pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in bars comes out clean. Cool in pan, cut into bars, and enjoy!

I store mine in individual ziploc bags in the fridge – perfect for both my sailor and me to grab and go!


And now it’s your turn my friends! Time to share what’s been going on in your kitchen!

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Don’t forget to swing by and see what Lena’s got going on in her kitchen! It’s sure to be tasty! :)

Link ’em up!

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