Motivation Monday: Getting Enough Sleep + Easy Asian Dumpling Soup Recipe

It’s the first Monday of March, and that means it’s time for another edition of my monthly series, Motivation Monday. For me, healthy living is all about motivation. It’s about finding the motivation to cook instead of order takeout, go for a walk, or skip a second helping. Each Motivation Monday features easy tips and a healthy recipe.

Last month, my focus was on developing a consistent exercise routine, and my goal was to exercise 4 days a week. I’m happy to report that, save a missed workout or two, I did really well. I did lots of barre and pilates type workouts, and I’m looking forward to keeping it up in March and beyond (hopefully, spring weather will show up soon so I can get outside!).

For March, my focus is going to be on getting enough sleep (see my tips below). Plus, I’m sharing a recipe for a delicious and easy Asian Dumpling Soup.

Motivation Monday: Getting Enough Sleep + Easy Asian Dumpling Soup | Hello Little Home #soup #resolutionsI’m not entirely sure why, but since moving to New York, my sleeping habits have been absolutely terrible. Not only have I been staying up too late, but when I do finally get to bed, I haven’t been able to fall asleep. There’s lots of reasons why – stress, staying up too late, a bad shoulder, etc. – but whatever the reason, I need to make a healthy change.

There are a few things that have helped me sleep better in the past, that I’ll be working into my routine:

  • Go to bed at the same time every night. My goal is to have the lights out by midnight on most nights.
  • Turn off electronics at least an hour before bedtime. I’ve fallen into the habit of watching TV and/or working on the computer, phone, or iPad right up until bedtime and that needs to stop.
  • Get anxiety and stress in check. There is nothing worse than laying down to sleep and having your mind kick in to overdrive. Making a to do list for the next day, writing down the days worries (and then letting them go) , and doing a little stretching before bed all help.
  • Wind down before bed with an easy routine. I’m usually really tired before bed, but after washing my face and taking out my contacts, I’m wide awake by the time my head hits the pillow. I’m going to start getting ready for bed a little earlier and then doing a little reading, so I can go directly to bed when I’m tired.

"Sleep is the best meditation." Dalai Lama | Hello Little Home #MotivationMondayOne thing that stresses me out during the week is getting a healthy dinner on the table. I have a bad habit of waiting until the last minute and then resorting to takeout. Eating a fatty takeout meal right late at night is not a great way to prepare for bed!

My Easy Asian Dumpling Soup is the perfect weeknight meal. This recipe is so simple that you can have it on the table in 15 minutes. Plus, it’s super light and healthy.

Easy Asian Dumpling Soup | Hello Little Home #MotivationMonday #recipe #healthyEasy Asian Dumpling Soup

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/4 head of cabbage
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 16-oz. package dumplings (I used Trader Joe’s Thai Vegetable Gyoza)
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • sriracha, to taste

Bring vegetable broth to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat.

While broth is heating, prepare vegetables. Peel and thinly slice carrot. Chop cabbage. Thinly slice green onions (green part only; reserve white part for another use).

Easy-Asian Dumpling Soup Ingredients | Hello Little Home #MotivationMonday #recipe #healthyWhen broth reaches a boil, add carrots and cabbage. Return to boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 5 – 10 minutes. Add soy sauce, sesame oil, and sriracha. Stir well. Season with additional soy sauce, if necessary.

Easy Asian Dumpling Soup | Hello Little Home #MotivationMonday #recipe #healthyWhile vegetables are cooking, prepare dumplings according to package directions. I microwaved mine, and it took about 5 minutes.

To serve, place dumplings in a large soup bowl. Ladle soup over top and sprinkle with green onions. Enjoy!

Easy Asian Dumpling Soup | Hello Little Home #MotivationMonday #recipe #healthyWhat is your best tip for getting a good night’s sleep? Do you have a favorite meal that takes minutes to prepare?

P.S. Read my other Motivation Monday posts.

I’m linking up with Much Ado About Monday, Plucky’s Second Thoughts, Give Me the Goods Monday, Home Stories A to Z’s Tutorials & Tips, Time to Sparkle, The Scoop, Tuesday’s Treasures, Ginger Jamboree, Awesome Things Tuesday, Sugar Bee Crafts’ Take-A-Look Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays, The Makers, VMG206’s Brag About It, The Inspiration Exchange, Wine’d Down Wednesday, The Wednesday Roundup, Lovely Ladies Linky, Make Bake Create, SNAP! Show + Tell, Work It Wednesday, Embracing Change’s Creative Inspirations, Lamberts Lately’s Create It Thursday, Live Laugh Rowe’s Live Laugh Linky, Sweet Bella Roos’ Pin It Thursday, Link’n Blogs, Inspiration Gallery Link Party, Craft Frenzy Friday, Be.You.Tiful Link Party, Inspire Me Please, Nancherrow’s Fridays Unfolded, The Shabby Nest’s Frugal Friday, Pinworthy Projects Party, The Party BunchLink Party Palooza, Best of the Weekend, Cheerios & Lattes’ Saturday Show & Tell, Pieced Pastimes’ Saturday Sparks, Sewlicious Home Decor, Get Schooled Saturday, Saturday Night Fever, Showstopper Saturday, Flamingo Toes’ Think Pink Sunday, Link It or Lump It, DIY Showoff’s That DIY Party, Sunday Best Showcase, Inspiration Monday, and Craft-O-Maniac Monday.

  My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia  Homemade Ginger      Upcycled Treasures  Our Three Peas

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Bruschetta with Pan-Roasted Tomatoes & Ricotta

The 2014 Oscars (also known as the Academy Awards) are this weekend, and I’m in countdown mode!

My husband works in the entertainment industry, so The Oscars are a big deal in our house. Every year, we try to catch as many of the nominated films and performances as possible. We’ve even gone to special all-day movie marathons to see as many as possible in one day. Let’s just say that it took a while for my butt to return to normal after that!

I love checking out all the dresses, and of course, it’s fun to make something delicious to eat while watching, too. My Bruschetta with Pan-Roasted Tomatoes and Ricotta is the perfect thing to serve at an Oscars viewing party (or any day, really). If you want to keep things a little more casual, serve tartines instead of bruschetta. Tartines are simply open-faced sandwiches, and they are delicious!

Whether you serve bruschetta or tartines, you’ll love this recipe!

Bruschetta with Pan-Roasted Tomatoes & Ricotta | Hello Little Home #appetizer #recipePan-Roasted Tomato Ricotta Bruschetta

Ingredients:

  • 1 baguette
  • 1/4 cup parsley or basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 15-oz. container ricotta cheese
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed or minced
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 16 oz. package cherry or grape tomatoes
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove ricotta from refrigerator and set aside.

Cut baguette into 1/4-inch thick slices and place on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake until crisp but not overly browned, about 5-10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Slice Baguette for Bruschetta | Hello Little HomePlace ricotta and garlic in a small bowl and stir well. Season generously to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Add olive oil and crushed red pepper flakes to a large skillet and place over high heat. When hot, carefully add tomatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes begin to char and split. Remove from heat.

Cook Tomatoes until Charred and Starting to Split | Hello Little HomeLet tomatoes cool slightly and then place in a small bowl. Mash lightly with a fork and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Mash Tomatoes for Bruschetta | Hello Little HomeTo assemble bruschetta, top baguette slices with a spoonful of ricotta, followed by a spoonful of tomatoes. Sprinkle with parsley or basil.

Assemble Pan-Roasted Tomato & Ricotta Bruschetta | Hello Little Home #appetizer #recipeBruschetta with Pan-Roasted Tomatoes & Ricotta | Hello Little Home #appetizer #recipeMmm … just looking at these pictures is making me hungry!

Tartines with Pan-Roasted Tomatoes & Ricotta | Hello Little Home #sandwich #recipeTo Make Tartines:

For the tartines, you will need a rustic-style bread with a crusty exterior and firm interior instead of a baguette. I used Trader Joe’s Pain de Campagne, which was excellent, but feel free to use your favorite bread.

Cut the bread into 4 thick slices about 3/4 – 1 inch thick.

Heat a couple teaspoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add bread slices (do this in two batches, if necessary) and cook on both sides until golden. Remove from pan.

Spread hot bread slices generously with ricotta and top with tomatoes. Sprinkle with parsley or basil and serve.

Tartines with Pan-Roasted Tomatoes & Ricotta | Hello Little Home #sandwich #recipeFor more information about the Academy Awards, check out The Oscars website. There, you can learn who the nominees are and watch trailers of their performances, check out an interactive timeline of the Academy Awards through the years, take a Guess the Dress Quiz, and a lot more.

If you’re throwing a party, here are some great resources:

Will you be tuning in to the Academy Awards?

I’m linking up with Much Ado About Monday, Give Me the Goods Monday, A Stroll Through Life’s Inspire Me Tuesday, Time to Sparkle, The Scoop, Cozy Little House’s Tweak It Tuesday, Tuesday’s Treasures, Take-A-Look Tuesday, Ginger Jamboree, VMG206’s Brag About It, The Inspiration Exchange, Wine’d Down Wednesday, Tasty Tuesdays, The Wednesday Roundup, Lovely Ladies Linky, Make Bake Create, Your Whims Wednesday, SNAP! Show + Tell Wednesday, Work It Wednesday, Embracing Change’s Creative Inspirations, Lamberts Lately’s Create It Thursday, Live Laugh Rowe’s Live Laugh Linky, Sweet Bella Roos’ Pin It Thursday, Link’n Blogs, Flaunt It Friday, Craft Frenzy Friday, Link Party Palooza, Best of the Weekend, Cheerios & Lattes’ Saturday Show & Tell, Pieced Pastimes’ Saturday Sparks, Sewlicious Home Decor, Get Schooled Saturday, Saturday Night Fever, Showstopper Saturday, Flamingo Toes’ Think Pink SundaySunday Best Showcase, Inspiration Monday, and Craft-O-Maniac Monday.

  Our Three Peas    Put A Bird On It  The Weary Chef

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Indoor S’mores – 3 Ways!

My husband and I went out to eat recently, and for dessert, we were served s’mores. It was so much fun roasting marshmallows at our table, getting our fingers sticky, and dropping crumbs everywhere. We were laughing the whole time!

I decided to try my hand at making s’mores at home, too. Indoor s’mores are super easy to make and are perfect for serving at a party or just on a snowy night at home with the family.

Indoor S'mores: 3 Ways | Hello Little HomeIndoor S’mores – 3 Ways

Ingredients

  • marshmallows
  • graham crackers
  • Reese’s peanut butter cups
  • dark or milk chocolate candy bar (I used Lindt 85% Cocoa Extra Dark)
  • chocolate and salted caramel candy bar (I used Ghirardelli Dark & Sea Salt Caramel)
  • skewers for roasting marshmallows

Indoor s’mores are pretty self-explanatory to make. You will need a flame. I used a gas stove burner, but you could also roast your marshmallows in a fireplace or over a sterno fuel can or a mini hibachi (affiliate links*). The restaurant we ate at used a mini hibachi.

On to the fun … place your marshmallow on your skewer (we used bamboo, but metal would be better) and roast over your flame. For a gas burner, use medium-low heat.

Roasting Marshmallow on Stove for Indoor S'mores | Hello Little HomeI like my marshmallows pretty well done (burnt is best!), but cook yours however you like.

When the marshmallow is cooked, sandwich it between graham crackers with your favorite chocolate. We used peanut butter cups, dark chocolate, and a salted caramel chocolate bar. Yum!

Making Indoor S'mores | Hello Little HomeTo make your chocolate extra gooey, stick it on a graham cracker and pop it in the microwave for 10-20 seconds before adding the marshmallow. Mmm …

Indoor S'mores | Hello Little HomeEating Indoor S'mores | Hello Little HomeIndoor S'mores - 3 Ways | Hello Little HomeThe peanut butter cup s’more was my favorite, but all were great. I think I will serve these the next time I have a party. How much fun would that be?

How do you like your marshmallows: perfectly golden or a little charred?

I’m linking up with Much Ado About Monday, Give Me the Goods Monday, A Stroll Thru Life’s Inspire Me Tuesday, Time to Sparkle, The Scoop, Sugar Bee Crafts’ Take-A-Look Tuesday, The Inspiration Exchange, Homemade Ginger’s Ginger Jamboree, Wine’d Down Wednesday, Tasty Tuesdays, VMG206’s Brag About It, Creations by Kara, Make Bake Create, Your Whims Wednesday, The Wednesday Roundup, Lovely Ladies Linky, SNAP! Show & Tell, Work It Wednesday, 52 Mantels’ Thursdays Are Your Days, Lamberts Lately’s Create It Thursday, Live Laugh Rowe, Sweet Bella Roos’ Pin It Thursday, Link’n Blogs, Eat. Create. Party!, The Inspiration Gallery, Chic on a Shoestring’s Flaunt It Friday, Craft Frenzy Friday, Nancherrow’s Fridays Unfolded, The Stitchin’ Mommy’s Get Crafty Friday, Link Party Palooza, Best of the Weekend, Cheerios & Lattes’ Saturday Show & Tell, Live Love Create’s Craft, Create & Inspire, Sewlicious Home Decor, Get Schooled Saturday, Saturday Night Fever, Link It or Lump It, Flamingo Toes’ Think Pink Sunday, Sunday Best Showcase, and Craft-O-Maniac Monday.

Our Three Peas

    Delineate Your Dwelling

*This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase something from one of these links, I may receive a small commission. I only recommend products that I love, and your purchase helps to support the free content offered on Hello Little Home (thank you so much!).

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Motivation Monday: Developing a Consistent Exercise Routine
+ Berry Green Smoothie Recipe!

It’s the first Monday of February, and that means it’s time for another edition of my monthly series, Motivation Monday. For me, healthy living is all about motivation. It’s about finding the motivation to cook instead of order takeout, go for a walk, or skip a second helping. Each Motivation Monday features easy tips and a healthy recipe.

Last month, my focus was on healthy snacking, and I actually did pretty well with this. For February, my goal is to establish a consistent exercise routine (see my tips below). Plus, I’m sharing a delicious green smoothie recipe made with Driscoll’s berries!*

Motivation Monday: Establising a Consistent Exercise Routine + a Berry Green Smoothie Recipe | Hello Little Home #MotivationMonday #GreenSmoothieOver the past year, I’ve gone from exercising 5-6 days a week to practically zero days, and I want to get back on track. I’ve had my reasons (weather, shoulder problems, etc.), but I need to stop making excuses. So, I’ve set a goal to exercise 4 days a week this month.

I live a couple blocks from Central Park, so barring another Polar Vortex, I’ll walk/jog a couple days a week, and on the other days, I’ll do some yoga or cardio. If I come into a few extra dollars, I’d love to try SoulCycle (that ish is expensive), too!

Are you in the same boat as me? Use these tips to develop your own exercise routine:

  • Schedule exercise dates. In the past, when I’ve written my workout dates/times in a planner, it made all the difference!
  • Mix it up. Exercise is more fun if you’re not doing the same boring routine every day. I enjoy a combination of walking, jogging, yoga, pilates, and cardio, and jump at the chance to try new things, too.
  • Pair up with a friend. It’s so much harder to skip a day when you know someone else is counting on you. If you’re in New York, I’d love a workout buddy (hint, hint)!
  • Don’t think about it; just do it. Set out your exercise clothes the night before. Put them on as soon as you wake up or get home from work. Don’t turn on the TV. Don’t eat a snack. Spend as little time thinking about it as possible, and just get out there and exercise!

You are going to want to give up. Don't. | Hello Little Home #MotivationMonday

My exercise mantra for February!

After exercising, I like to reward myself with a healthy snack! So I was excited when I was contacted by Driscoll’s* to develop a snack for my readers! I decided to create a green smoothie.

Green smoothies are everywhere these days, but I have to admit that I’ve been a little hesitant to jump on the bandwagon. I think it is the close resemblance to pureed grass!

I shouldn’t have worried, because after I blended up the berries and spinach, I couldn’t taste anything grassy at all (I promise)! As a matter of fact, it was downright delicious. My husband also loved this smoothie, and I think you will, too!

Berry Green Smoothie | Hello Little Home #MotivationMonday #GreenSmoothie

Cheers to your health! My Berry Green Smoothie is full of nutrients, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and lots of other good stuff. Read more about the health benefits of berries, spinach, and green tea.

Berry Green Smoothie

Serves 1 – 2

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 of a banana
  • 1 1/2 cups Driscoll’s* mixed berries (I used blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries.)
  • 1 green tea bag
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1/2 of a pear

Start by covering a cookie sheet with foil. Peel the banana, slice it into rounds, and place the slices on the cookie sheet. Add berries to cookie sheet, cutting large berries (such as strawberries) into halves or quarters. Make sure everything is in a single layer so it doesn’t stick together later. Place cookie sheet in freezer and let sit until fruit is frozen, about 2 hours.

While fruit is freezing, bring 1 1/2 cups water almost to a boil. Pour water into a large mug and add the tea bag. Let steep for 3 – 5 minutes and then remove tea bag. Allow tea to cool to room temperature and set aside.

Berry Green Smoothie: Brew the Tea | Hello Little Home #MotivationMonday #GreenSmoothieI used flavored green tea for my smoothie. This berry-flavored tea pairs perfectly with this recipe!

To make smoothie, add frozen fruit to a blender. Grab a large handful of spinach (about 2 cups) and place it on top of berries. Cut half a pear into large pieces and add to blender. Pour cooled tea over everything and blend until smooth, stirring if needed.

Berry Green Smoothie: Making the Smoothie | Hello Little Home #MotivationMonday #GreenSmoothieThis recipe makes 1 large smoothie or, if you feel like sharing, two small smoothies.

Berry Green Smoothie | Hello Little Home #MotivationMonday #GreenSmoothieCustomize this Berry Green Smoothie to your taste:

  • Use any mixture of berries that you like (or just use a single berry).
  • Replace the berries with another fruit, such as apples, citrus, or pomegranate seeds.
  • Add a tablespoon of almond butter for extra protein.
  • Sweeten the smoothie by adding a chopped Medjool date, a little honey or maple syrup, or a touch of your favorite sweetener.
  • Replace the tea with milk (regular, almond, soy, etc.), juice, yogurt, or coconut water.
  • Spice things up by adding a little fresh ginger or a pinch of cinnamon.
  • Supercharge your smoothie with 1 tablespoon chia seeds or ground flaxseed.
  • Experiment with other greens, such as kale, collards, or Swiss chard.

What is motivating you this month?

P.S. Stop back Tuesday for a roundup of my favorite winter workout gear and Wednesday for my indoor workout essentials (for those days that it’s just too cold to go outside!).

P.P.S. Don’t miss my roundup of healthy snack ideas (including my Spicy Chili Pepper Edamame), and check out Driscoll’s for some great blueberry snack recipes, too!

*Disclaimer: I was provided with Driscoll’s Berries coupons to purchase berries and develop a snack recipe to share with my readers. All opinions are my own.

I’m linking up with Much Ado About Monday, Give Me the Goods Monday, Time to Sparkle, The Scoop, Cozy Little House’s Tweak It Tuesday, My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia’s Tuesday’s Treasures, Sugar Bee Crafts’ Take-a-Look Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays, VMG206’s Brag About It, Homemade Ginger’s Ginger Jamboree, Inspiration Exchange, Make Bake Create, Your Whims Wednesday, Awesome Things Tuesday, The Wednesday Roundup, Lovely Ladies Linky, Work It Wednesday, 52 Mantels’ Thursdays Are Your Days, Lamberts Lately’s Create It Thursday, Live Laugh Rowe’s Live Laugh Linky, Embracing Change’s Creative Inspirations, Link’n Blogs, Inspiration Gallery, Simple Nature Decor’s Fabulous Friday, Sweet Bella Roos’ Pin It Thursday, Chic on a Shoestring’s Flaunt It Friday, Craft Frenzy Friday, Inspire Me Please, Nacherrow’s Fridays Unfolded, The Shabby Nest’s Frugal Friday, The Stitchin’ Mommy’s Get Crafty Fridays, Be.You.Tiful Link Party, Just Us Four’s Pinworthy Projects, Link Party Palooza, Live Love Create’s Craft, Create & Inspire, Pieced Pastimes’ Saturday Sparks, Sewlicious Home Decor, Too Much Time on My Hands’ Get Schooled Saturday, Showstopper Saturday, Saturday Night Fever, Flamingo Toes’ Think Pink Sunday, Link It or Lump It, Sunday Best Showcase, Inspiration Monday, Creations by Kara, and Craft-O-Maniac Monday.

Fabulous Friday Link Party

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