Time for Thanksgiving

There are so many ways to show gratitude this holiday season: sending cards to loved ones, giving back to others, or simply taking the time to tell those special people how much they mean to you.

This year, I want to show my gratitude in the post public form I can…on my blog! This is an exercise of reflection for me–a time to appreciate all of the incredible blessings in my life. But this is also a way to let the people in my life know how much they mean to me.

So, here it is. One big thank you note that attempts to compile all of the love and appreciation that just can’t be put into words.

Thank You

I am thankful for my body that allows me to move easily throughout my daily life, in the dance studio, and at the gym. After an injury last winter, I am especially thankful that my body allows me to wake up every morning and work out.

I am thankful for food and the ability to eat it. Last week, I had terrible problems with my stomach that kept me from eating anything without pain; so eating in general is something I really appreciate these days, and the timing couldn’t be more perfect (bring on those holidays meals and treats!!)

I am thankful for Villanova. From #novasaladbar, to my favorite professors, to the academic, service, professional, and study abroad opportunities, and to some of the greatest people I have ever met…Villanova has become a home that will forever be where my heart is.

I am thankful for my family and the immediate comfort and love their presence brings. Being away at school makes me appreciate every moment I have with the most important and special people in my life more than I ever have before.

I am thankful for my boyfriend. Those cheesy rom-coms and Nicholas Sparks novels are nothing compared to the love and care he brings to my life. He brings me more joy and happiness than I ever knew possible.

I am thankful for my roommates. Coming home to an apartment of four of my favorite people on earth is the best feeling and can brighten up even the most trying of days. For the laughs, the support, the friendship, and the love, I am so very grateful.

I am thankful for my friends, at Villanova and at home. I can’t help but smile when thinking of each of you; you mean so much more to be than you could possibly know.

I am thankful for you!! Thank you for reading this article, whether this is your first visit to The Pace or you are an avid reader…thank you from the bottom of my heart. 🙂

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? In whatever way you choose, make sure you save some room between courses for some true thanksgiving.

Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes

Vegan Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and I couldn’t be more excited. Thanksgiving definitely ties with Christmas as my favorite holiday. There’s something so great about waking up, watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in my PJs, and then spending the day in the kitchen with my mom cooking up a storm. The end of a holiday usually makes me sad, but when Thanksgiving is over, it just means its time to start celebrating Christmas! Did I mention I love the holidays?? 🙂

Last Thanksgiving, my family had its first all vegan Thanksgiving meal, and it was amazing—definitely one of my favorite meals ever. Of course I snapped a picture of my plate for Instagram. #veganMy 2013 Thanksgiving meal

My mom and I have already started planning for this year’s Thanksgiving menu. In the process of searching Pinterest for the best vegan recipes, I came across some incredible dishes, so I thought I would share them on The Pace! These recipes are for everyone, so die-hard vegans, get ready to ooh and aah at these recipes, and traditional turkey lovers, think about incorporating one of them into your Thanksgiving meal this year! You will find all of Thanksgiving’s staples below (yes, including vegan gravy and vegan pumpkin pie!). Enjoy!

 

Main Dishes

Glazed Lentil Walnut Apple Loaf from Oh She Glows

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Thanksgiving Meatless Loaf from Fat Free Vegan

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Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash from Vegan Yack Attack!

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Sides

The Best Damn Vegan Mashed Potatoes from The Minimalist Baker

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Southwestern Roasted Butternut Squash from Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice

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Maple Roasted Carrots with Fennel Seeds from Food to Glow

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Mustard-Maple Brussels Sprouts with Candied Pepitas and Pomegranate Seeds from Cara’s Cravings

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Sugarless Cranberry Sauce from Wellness Mama

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Wild Mushroom Gravy from Oh My Veggies

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Desserts

Four-Ingredient Vegan Pumpkin Pie from Lunch Box Bunch

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Deep Dish Apple Crumble Pie from Minimalist Baker

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Enjoy these recipes and follow me on Instagram at @tatumerinmurray to see what my vegan Thanksgiving meal will look like! I hope you all have a joyous, healthy, and safe Thanksgiving!

 

Benefits of Strength Training

A couple of years ago, my fitness routine consisted only of cardio. This was because my goal of working out used to be to stay thin. Oh how things have changed for the better!

Now, I workout to be fit, healthy, and strong. Cardio is an important part of achieving these goals, but it is not the only component. A very important, and often neglected, factor of a good fitness routine is strength training.

Many women are afraid to lift weights because they don’t want to “bulk up,” but the truth is that women don’t have the same hormone levels as men that allow guys to achieve the “bulked up” look. Strength training will not bulk up a woman’s muscles, it will tone them. Strength training not only tones muscles, but it burns calories! The more muscular you are, the more calories you burn throughout the day.

Not sure how to add strength training into your workout routine? Try this strength training workout below that targets the arms, shoulders, and back. The key of strength training is to make sure you are lifting enough. These exercises should not be easy and by the last couple reps of each, your muscles should feel very tired. If an exercise feels too easy, start lifting a higher amount weight!

 

Upper Body Strength Training 1

 

 

 What are your favorite strength training workouts?

Vegan Pumpkin Chili

It’s a rule of fall: everything tastes better with pumpkin. I found this recipe on Janice Amee’s Gluten Free blog when I was searching for something pumpkin-y to make for dinner. This recipe jumped out at me because it looked easy to make and most importantly, delicious…thankfully, it proved to be both! I made a few tweaks to the Janice Amee’s recipe and posted it below! Note: I added a little bit more spice than what I listed in the ingredients, but my chili ended up having quite a kick to it (which my family enjoyed!). So if your taste buds can handle it, spice it up!

Vegan Pumpkin Chili (serves 4)

INGREDIENTS:

1 Onion, chopped

1 Bell Pepper, chopped

2 Tomatoes, chopped

1 can black beans

1 can kidney beans

1 can 100% Pure Pumpkin

Minced Garlic, 2 tablespoons

Cayenne Pepper, ½ teaspoon

Chili Powder, ½ teaspoon

Ground Red Pepper, ½ teaspoon

Olive Oil

Salt to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Sauté onion, pepper, and garlic (in large sauce pan) in olive oil over medium heat
  2. Add tomatoes, beans (don’t have to drain or rinse, just pour it all in!), and spices and simmer for a few minutes
  3. Add pumpkin, stir, and simmer over low heat for at least 30 minutes (longer it simmers, the more flavorful it will be!). If you want a spicier chili, feel free to add more spices
  4. Serve and enjoy!

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What’s your favorite pumpkin recipe?