Sweet Friends, Decadent Desserts, and Free Wine

Hi my friends! I don’t usually post on Sundays but I have had such an amazing last couple of days and I can’t wait to fill you in. Does the post title intrigue you?

On Friday I got dolled up after work for a friend’s wedding. I was so happy that the weather actually held up and ended up being beautiful and partly sunny when the evening rolled around.

wedding ready

My hair actually looks pretty long in that photo. It’s hard to believe I had about five inches chopped off of it! I’m starting to like the cut more and more.

On Saturday morning, Dana, Moose, and I hit the neighborhood for a five-mile run. This was our test run to determine if we were ready to run in a 10k next weekend. Well guess what? We passed our test. The run went pretty well and we have officially decided to run in a 10k next Saturday! The registration is complete so there is no turning back now.

Next on the agenda was a meet-up with Becky and Katie, a couple of my fellow blogger friends. We met at a local Caribou coffee where we sipped on our coffee, chatted about life, new adventures, and of course, our blogs. There is so much to know and learn about blogging and it is so incredibly nice to have friends to bounce ideas off of.

coffee with blends

I have a few new projects I would like to work on with the blog this upcoming week. The girls definitely got the wheels spinning with some great ideas!

Our date continued at Patisserie 46 off of Grand in Minneapolis. They are well known for beautiful desserts, fresh bread and pastries, ice cream, but they also offer savory menu options like pizza, quiche, cheese plate, and paninis.

I pretty much freaked when I walked in this place. Cue the angelic music.

patisserie 46

Yes, these are all real and edible. Isn’t it unbelievable?

patisserie 46

We all snapped photos, drooled over the decadent beauties, and contemplated our dessert decisions for what seemed like eternity.

I decided on the “Rory” which is caramel mousse, vanilla cream, sable breton (don’t ask me what that is), salted caramel, and pecan nougatine. Sounds pretty fancy, right?

patisserie 46

It was a work of art…almost too pretty to eat. Almost.

patisserie 46

I savored every bite of it’s decadence. It was creamy and caramely and just sooooo good. I also bought a peanut butter and chocolate chunk cookie home to share with Dana. It was pretty good, but not as good as the Rory.

The main reason we went to Patisserie 46 was to meet up with the wonderful Teresa, who is one of the owners of Famiglia Meschini wines. This family-owned company manages a vineyard in Mendoza, Argentina which is where Teresa’s husband, Eugenio is from. He grew up in a wine-making family, and his passion for wine only progressed over the years. Teresa is equally passionate. Eugenio, along with Teresa, their family and other extended family members, own and run this growing business.

To read more about the family and their story, check it out here: Famiglia Meschini.

Teresa brought four different wines for us to divide among ourselves and taste. She also mentioned getting together again in the future to do more of a complete taste testing. We were all about that idea! We were all excited to meet her, hear about the wine and her company, and of course, we were all happy to get free wine!

Teresa FM wine

FM wine with blends

***Love these girls!***

After our sugar rush, we parted ways…

I’m not one to have a drink very often, but when I do, it’s almost always a glass of red wine, so I made sure to take one of the reds home to try. The one I got was the Pinot Noir which is made from grapes from Chile (they work with another vineyard in Chile).

FM wine

Dana and I had a quiet night on Saturday so we decided to crack open the bottle while we played an exciting game of Yahtzee. We have pretty crazy Saturday evenings. 🙂

FM wine

FM wine

yahtzee

We both enjoyed the Pinot Noir. It isn’t usually our first choice of reds (we usually go the cab sauv route or red zin), but this was a very pleasant, subtle, and smooth wine and we both liked it quite a bit.

I am excited to try some of the other blends too! If you’re local and what to try some of this lovely wine for yourself, you can click here to find a store nearest to you: Wine Locator.

(In case you were wondering, I beat Dana in Yahtzee). 😉

It was an absolutely fantastic Saturday!

Thank you Teresa for meeting up with us! Can’t wait to work with you again in the future, and ladies, can’t wait to see you again!

A Weekend Full of Great Company

Well, hello hello! It’s Monday and it’s gloomy BUT I am going to stay positive for all of us and say it is going to be a GREAT day.

I “disconnected” myself yesterday from the phone and blog. I say that in “quotations” because I still had my phone on me at all times and browsed Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc., but I gave the photo snapping a rest for the most part. By the way are you following me on:

I would love if you did!

Anyway, I do have some catching up to do from Saturday! It was a super fun day!

Saturday Morning

The rain held off and Dana, Moose, and I were able to hit the pavement for our Saturday run. We mapped out five miles around the neighborhood and they were five hilly miles. We live in a very hilly neighborhood which is both a blessing and a curse at the same time. It’s great for training but sometimes you just want an easy flat run, and we can’t get that around here.

Moose’s paws held up just fine this time around. Last week they got a little scraped up and were bleeding. He is toughening up quickly again now that spring is here. Yay!

Saturday Afternoon

In the afternoon I headed out to Minneapolis to meet up with a handful of other Minnesota bloggers for our first ever MN blogger meet up. Katie from Running4Cupcakes and Becky from Olives’n’Wine (remember that awesome cupcake guest post she wrote for me in March?!) organized this get together and I am SO happy they did.

Here was our crew:

MN-Bloggers

From left to right:

Katie from Running4cupcakes
Diana from DianaPantz
Melanie from Beautifully Nutty (me, duh)
Kendra from Kenny Gump

 

We met at Sebastian Joe’s (the one off of Franklin) which I must say has some spectacular sorbet. As you know I adore ice cream but I had plans to go out to dinner that evening so I didn’t want to risk an upset stomach, which is why I stuck with the dairy-free sorbet. Any other day, you know I would choose ice cream, let’s be real.

I went with the Strawberry-Basil Sorbet and it did not fail. It was incredible; so fresh, with huge hunks of strawberries, and a hint of basil. It was very refreshing.

sorbet sebastian loes

sorbet sebastian loes

Your mouth watered didn’t it?

I surprisingly wasn’t too nervous to meet up with these girls. In the blog world you kind of feel like you know each other from reading each other’s blogs and commenting back and forth.

We all said it was kind of weird at first only because we already “knew” the little tidbits about each other that most people would use to start-up conversation, so our conversations hedged a little further right away.

We chatted about our lives, blogging, social media, etc. We all got along very well and the hour and a half we were there seriously flew by so fast. The conversation was great! We are planning another meet up in the next month or two so if there are any other MN bloggers out there who are interested in meeting up, throw an email my way! We are hoping to make the next meet-up a bit more active—like a walk around the lakes or something.

Such a great group of ladies! I’m so happy I had the chance to meet you all! Thanks again Katie and Becky for organizing this, you rockstars.

Saturday Evening

In the evening we had a dinner date with my parents and Dana’s parents. We met at Axel’s Bonfire which is a cozy and warm restaurant that specializes in wood fire cooking.

axel's bonfire

I ordered the Barbacoa Tacos which had seasoned beef with pineapple relish and chipotle cream. I asked if they could prepare them in lettuce cups instead of flour tortillas and they said of course. Never hesitate to ask for modifications to your meal. Remember you are paying for it, you may as well get it how you want it and 9 times out of 10 they will be able to make the modification for you.

axel's bonfire menu

Check out these beauts! I had to pick off some of the peppers on there because they were  making my mouth feel like fire, but this dish was very tasty.

beef tacos axel's bonfire

It came with beans and rice so I ended up scooping the beans onto my taco as well as the pico de gallo on top of the rice.

rice and beans axel's bonfire

Besides the food being great, the company was even better. I adore my families and always enjoy spending time with them!

Talk about a fun day, right?

Sunday

Sunday was our usual gig; breakfast, paper, coupons, hanging out with the pup, grocery shopping, lunch.

moose and melanie

In the afternoon we headed over to my mom and dad’s house because my brother Scotty and his girlfriend Nicole were in town!

We spent the afternoon and evening hanging out, eating a totally nummy dinner (rotisserie pork loin, brussels sprouts, broccoli, salad, and potatoes), and catching up on life. I was so happy to be with my family again! Ahhh I just love them so much.

We made it home just in time before the sun went down to take Moose for a little stroll around the neighborhood. We watched the Academy of Country Music Awards when we got home and then called it a night. This weekend FLEW by. What the heck?! Haha, it always does though.

Okey dokey, I am off to take on the day. Make it a great one and be thankful for the day. Catch up with you soon!

xoxo

Grilled Chicken with Artichoke Salsa & Valentine Surprises

Happy Friday! Do your happy dance!

So, I have pretty much weaned myself off coffee in the mornings and instead have been enjoying a cup of kombucha tea (which does also have a tiny bit of caffeine) but I was really wanting a cup of coffee this morning, so guess what? That’s what I had.

I’m going to cut right to the chase from yesterday. I don’t have much to share up until the afternoon. As you know, I am one of the lovey dovey people who celebrates Valentine’s Day. I do agree that “everyday should be Valentine’s Day,” and that we should share our love all of the time, and not just on one specific day, but I also like the idea of a super special day of love.

We don’t go super crazy celebrating but we usually cook up a nice dinner and have some sort of decadent dessert.  Gifts are usually optional or something small.

Valentine’s Dinner

I haven’t the slightest idea where I found this recipe, but it was tucked away in my recipe book and I was aching to try it. My guess is I had thought about making it last year for Vday?

Grilled Chicken with Artichoke Salsa.

We grilled two boneless skinless chicken breasts seasoned with lemon, salt, and pepper along with a bunch of asparagus stalks. Grilled asparagus is hands-down my favorite way to eat that veggie. It takes on a nice smoky flavor and is OH so good.

valentine's chicken dinner

While the chicken was grilling I got to work on the artichoke salsa (recipe below). This dish was extremely simple to prepare and turned out so amazingly well.

valentine's chicken dinner

 

And kind of fancy looking too. At least fancier than what we’re used to on a Thursday night.

Artichoke Salsa
Print
Ingredients
  • 1 cup artichoke hearts, chopped (I used jarred in olive oil)
  • 1 Tbsp capers
  • 2 Tbsp red onion, diced
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • dash of dried oregano
  • dash of dried thyme
  • dash of italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients and serve on top of grilled boneless chicken breast and asparagus. NUM!

 

Dessert

I had some homemade gluten-free brownies leftover from Tuesday’s work meeting, so I warmed those up for dessert. They were almost paleo, but not quite, so it was a bit of a “treat.”

brownie gluten-free

I was originally planning on making a paleo molten chocolate lava cake, but after dinner I was first of all stuffed, and second of all just simply tired. These brownies were the perfect substitute though. Plus now they are out of the house!

The evening was full of surprises. When I first got home from work, I had a few cards waiting for me. Yes, actually legit cards that came in the mail. It always excites me to get actual “mail!” I was feeling very loved. Mooser even gave me a card. 😉

I sent Dana on a mini scavenger hunt for a few gifts that I had got for him. I love going on those scavenger hunts, so I thought I’d let him have some fun. I think he enjoyed it!

Dana surprised me with my very first Lululemon workout top. Actually my very first anything from Lululemon. That store is so outrageously expensive but holding that shirt I could feel the difference! So soft. I can’t wait to wear it!

lululemon

 

As if that wasn’t enough, Dana tells me that he has another surprise for me. He said that he changed a few things on my blog. To premise that, there is a huge list of details I want to change about the blog, but I haven’t figured out how to configure the changes yet, so this surprise actually sounded like something he would have done. I was still a little skeptical.

I sit down at my computer to look at the changes, and he tells me to use the pullout keyboard (which is just a little pull out sliding shelf attached to my desk which is meant for a keyboard for a desk top). I have no idea what he’s talking about but play along and pull out the shelf and guess what was sitting there…

MACBOOKAir

An Apple MacBook Air.

I couldn’t believe what was in front of my eyes. My computer has been on the fritz for a while now, and we talked about how my next computer will be a Mac, but I was thinking we would practically wait for my computer to start on fire before we replaced it. But no, no, I am now an official owner of a Mac.

Needless to say I feel more than a little spoiled. I spent the rest of the evening with my honey trying to figure out the ins and outs with my new toy and watching Modern Family from Wednesday (LOVE that show).

It will definitely take some getting used to but I already feel less stress while working on the blog. Uploading photos is faster because pictures taken from my iPhone are automatically synced onto my computer, there is no lag time due to overheating, it’s wonderful.

Dana outdid himself. Although he said the computer “isn’t a Valentine’s gift, because it was something you needed.” Either way, he spoiled me rotten.

I had a wonderful day as you can see. I hope you did too!

February Fitness Challenge 

Today we enter into our third week of the February Fitness Challenge. I am happy to say I once again met my goal of three strength training activities for the week. Check out my workout log page if you are interested in what I did!

Question: Did you make any February fitness goals? If so, what are they, and how are they going?

I am very thankful it’s Friday. I have a fairly low-key weekend planned and I’m hoping to get a good run in, do some vacation shopping, and RELAX.

Happy FRIDAY! Catch up with you later gators.

Restore My Health

Well I am just so excited it’s Saturday. Anyone else? We have big plans to finish up the laundry room today and it’s the perfect day to do it because it is pretty cold outside again today. It will be nice to stay warm and cozy inside.

You’ll be so proud of me because yesterday I once again did NOT have a banana with peanut butter for breakfast. It was a smoothie morning instead. In this green madness was kale, kefir, banana, Jay Robb egg white protein powder and a small spoonful of PB2. I wasn’t in love with this one but it was okay. Maybe I really wasn’t in a smoothie mood?

green smoothie

I had a chiropractor appointment in the morning which went really well and then it was time to bring the car back into the shop. The back left blinker keeps going out and this was the 4th time we had been in to get it fixed. Very frustrating. I packed an apple for a snack and tossed back a few cashews before we left the house.

We dressed warm (long underwear pants, multiple layers on top, two pairs of gloves, two pairs of socks, hat, coat, boots) and walked over to the grocery store near by to pick up some carrots while they were working on the car. Yes, we went just for carrots. For some reason we didn’t do a very good job last weekend of stocking up on veggies and I was really wanting some more around the house to tide me over until Sunday when we go grocery shopping again.

melanie jump melanie jump 2 melanie jump 3

After waiting around for TWO hours we finally got our car back and fixed. It better stay fixed this time!

On the drive home I snacked on our purchase.

carrot snack

Once home I made myself a banana with peanut butter. Creative right? 😉

pb banana

Then I got to work on my February Fitness Challenge. I turned on Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred workout DVD and completed one of her workouts. There are three levels in this DVD and I went with level one yesterday and was already feeling the burn. I really like how she combines multiple muscle groups in each movement, like doing a squat and then a dumbbell overhead arm press (probably not the correct terminology but you know what I mean).

I have a long way to go with this challenge, but that’s okay, it was day one after all. After Jillian, I completed my plank-a-day and finished off with a 20 minute walk on the treadmill.

I reopened my workout log page to keep track of this challenge. I had it up on the blog for a while but always forget to update it with my workouts so I took it off, but I would like to track my workouts again so we shall see how well I do remembering. It may not stay up long. 🙂

Last night we met up with a bunch of our friends and watched/danced/sang to my cousins Tara and Amber’s band perform live. The show was part of a fundraiser for a hockey team and if we wore hockey jerseys to the event we were entered into a raffle, hence the reason we are all wearing hockey jerseys. We didn’t win that particular raffle but Brian and Amanda did win one of the many prizes that were given away: a giant basket of snacks!

melanie amanda stacy

My cousin Amber (one of the singers) cozying up with Dana…

dana and amber

And the award for best dressed for the night goes to Adam…

Adam

I had SO much fun last night. Maybe too much fun. We danced our socks off.

girls dancing

I’m hoping to restore my body today and get it back to its normal self. We got back home around midnight and my internal alarm clock woke me up at 7:00 this morning and would absolutely not let me go back to sleep. Seven hours is enough for a good majority of people, but not for me. It’s a good thing we have a low-key day today.

I just refueled with a protein packed breakfast and am drinking plenty of water, so cross my fingers I come around soon.

Have a fabulous day my friends.

Question of the day: What’s your remedy for restoring health after a night out?

Beautifully Nutty’s 1st Birthday

Guess what?! Today is a day to celebrate the blogiversary of Beautifully Nutty and it’s also my 300th post!

blogiversary

One year ago I nervously hit the publish button of my first post with the hope to inspire the world (and motivate myself) to live a healthier lifestyle, and anxious because I was about to expose myself to the entire world.

I can’t believe how much I have learned not only about blogging but also about myself in the past year. This blog has become an amazing outlet for my thoughts and has encouraged me to explore my thoughts, hopes, and dreams further than I ever could have imagined. It’s a great way for me to reflect on my days and my goals and work towards improvements in my life.

I like to think that B.N. has come a long way since it’s debut back on January 13th, 2012, but it still has a looonnng way to go. One of the biggest changes it went through was transferring from hosting on WordPress to self-hosting. I couldn’t have made that switch without the help of my more technically savvy husband. Together we are trying to discover the world of CSS stylesheets and adapt the blog to how envision it. Slowly but surely some changes are happening!

Since I have yet  to do a recap post from 2012, I am going to take this birthday as an opportunity to flashback over the past year and share some highlight posts. I get a little embarrassed when I go back and read some of my first posts because I feel like I have grown and opened up so much since then, but I had to start somewhere. So be gentle with me when reading through the first few months. 🙂

I had a lot of fun looking back through the past year. It was a busy one as they all are, full of lots of travel, family, friends, fitness, and food!

Enjoy the flashbacks!

January 13, 2012: My very first post–The beginning of Beautifully Nutty!

February 2012: California Trip—Prada, Gucci, and Larry King

March 2012: Mindful Eating–Eat when you are hungry not when you’re bored.

April 2012: Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Bars

caramel chocolate chip bars

May 2012: Now U.C. More About Me–I reveal my Ulcerative Colitis diagnosis.

June 2012: My First Half Marathon!

marathon 2012 003-001

June 2012: Specific Carbohydrate Diet—The beginning of an experiment.

July 2012: The Modified Diet

August 2012: Healthy Living Summit 2012, Boston

last breakfast

September 2012: A Nutty Makeover—Beautifully Nutty gets a makeover with some professional help. Here is was the old homemade version….

new-logo-september-2012.jpg

October 2012: Mom’s birthday surprise…

mom and dad with ipad

October 2012: Dana and Melanie’s 1 Year Wedding Anniversary—-reliving the memories

Dana and I wedding

November 2012: Visiting Jeff in Bogota, Colombia

me dana and jeff bogota

November 2012: Atlanta Birthday

kate and melanie

December 2012: 10 Things I Learned in 2012

The year 2012 was quite the year of travel. You can check out some more of my travel adventures on my travel page! I feel so lucky to have so many opportunities to travel and explore the world. I have a lot to see still and can’t wait to do more!

I continue to experiment with healthy recipes and have fun in the kitchen. Check out my recipe page if you get a chance!

It is an honor for me to share my life with you. Thank you to all of you for supporting me and reading Beautifully Nutty. I will continue to do my best to share fun information, recipes, photos, and travel adventures. One year down, and many more fun years to come!

Love,

Melanie

One of My Favorite Meals

Thanksgiving 2012 was a success! 

The day started off with a pre-run breakfast of banana with peanut butter and cinnamon and a cup of coffee.

Then off to Hale to the Bird 5k for a gorgeous morning run. It was mid 50’s and absolutely perfect running weather. I ran my fastest 5k ever yesterday and am super pumped about it!

Photos courtesy of the beautiful Amanda 🙂

I was a co-sponsor of the event and Beautifully Nutty made it on the back of the shirts! I was a whole lotta excited about that!

After the race, Dana and I made our way home to get the turkey in the oven, look through the Black Friday ads, and have a couple of snacks to hold us over until dinner.

Dinner Time

Our guests arrived at 2:00 pm and we enjoyed delicious appetizers, drinks, and company. I also opened up birthday presents from my mom and dad and Kevin. Now my birthday is officially over. Bummer! I guess three weeks is long enough. 🙂

The turkey took a lot longer to cook than I expected (ahem 5 plus hours in the oven–are you kidding me?!), so when it finally came time to eat everyone was pretty darn hungry.

But you know what, it all worked out. Here is our lovely Thanksgiving meal…

Ta da! My very first turkey!

Cornbread stuffing, gluten-free (recipe to come!), and cheesy broccoli and cauliflower.

 

Mashed potatoes with a few lumps which is my FAVORITE. One big dog sitting by our feet while we ate just in case something were to drop. Sorry, no luck there pup.

 

My pretty plate. To the upper left of the photo is homemade cranberry sauce. Cranberry sauce often gets neglected. It was good though!

I cleaned my plate and then had two more bites of mashed potatoes before calling it quits. I wish I could temporarily grow a second stomach just for Thanksgiving so that I could eat a little bit more of this delicious meal. This is one of my favorite meals of all time.

Birthday Dessert

When dessert rolled around everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to me and I blew out my birthday candles! I feel like my birthday is not complete until that song is sung. I love that my mom always harmonizes when she sings it.

 

For dessert I had a piece of mom’s homemade french silk pie (she made it gluten-free for me) and a small piece of pumpkin pie (minus the crust). Both were delectable!

With only a few minor set-backs during the meal preparation, I would say it was a very successful Thanksgiving. I am so thankful for my family for keeping my stress level under control when things don’t go as planned.

Now it’s time to start thinking about eating up those leftovers! I hope you all had a happy and healthy holiday and were able to enjoy time with family and friends.

Catch up with you all soon! xoxo

 

 

Taco Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing

Happy Friday!

So, last night I was all ready to make a couple of loaves of nutty gluten-free bread. I brought my laptop into the kitchen and pulled up the recipe from my site. Much to my dismay I learned that the link was no longer active from my recipe page. I investigated further and realized that NONE of my recipe links had transferred over from my old site.

So last night, I had to go through them all and relink them to their appropriate posts. There is probably a much faster way to do this, but since I haven’t quite figured out this whole CSS new self-hosting business, I went the slow route. It was easy, just super tedious.

Needless to say I didn’t end up making the bread, but all of the links on the recipe pages should be fixed! Links from old posts though may still be missing, but I will have to figure that one out another day.

Anyway! How about a quick lil’ recap from yesterday?

I’ll spare you the breakfast photo because you’ve seen it a million and one times: nutty bread with peanut butter and honey. LOOVE.

Lunch

Driscoll’s raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and frozen blueberries (thawed of course) topped with Fage Total 0% Fat plain yogurt, and a healthy drizzle of honey.

DSCN5461

DSCN5462

I finished lunch off with a handful of almonds and two hershey’s kisses, one milk chocolate and one dark chocolate. I am usually a huge dark chocolate fan, but when it comes to Hershey’s, the milk chocolate still takes the cake. Any other chocolate though, give me dark. Meh, who am I kidding? I’ll take chocolate in any way, shape, or form.

Dinner

An amazingly delicious taco salad creation with creamy avocado dressing.

DSCN5466

So let’s talk about this because it was seriously awesome.

I had some browned lean beef in the freezer, so I pulled that out and began defrosting. I then heated it up on the stove top with a small amount of taco seasoning, a dash of water, and let it heat through. I added extra cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder as well.

I got to work chopping up a tomato, mini bell peppers, shredding some cheddar cheese, defrosting some corn, and concocting my dressing which can hardly be considered a recipe it was so easy…

Creamy Avocado Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 ripe avocados
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp. tomatillo salsa*
  • salt and pepper

*I wanted to add lime juice to this dressing instead of salsa but didn’t have any on hand so substituted with green tomatillo salsa. It turned out great! Lime juice would definitely work too, though.

Directions

  1. In food processor, blend all ingredients until smooth.

Last step, plating. I started with a nice big bed of mixed greens, next layered on tomatoes, bell peppers, corn, black beans, shredded cheese, ground beef, and lastly topped it with a large dollop of avocado dressing.

The only words spoken by me while devouring this meal were “omg, this is so good.” I encourage you to make it this weekend!

DSCN5465

Taco Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing (for 2)

Ingredients

  • 2 large handfuls of mixed greens
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 4 baby bell peppers, diced
  • 1/3 cup corn
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 lb ground beef, browned*
  • 1/4 packet taco seasoning or homemade taco seasoning
  • Avocado dressing (recipe above)

*Other proteins may be used: ground turkey, ground chicken, tofu, tempeh, pinto beans, black beans, etc.

Directions

  1. Plate all ingredients, top with dressing. Seriously enjoy.
After dinner I headed out for a 3.5 mile walk on the most perfect fall evening.

*********

I am so cold this morning. When I woke up it was only 50° outside, now a couple of hours later it has crept up to 54 whoppin’ degrees. This weather makes me want to bake and drink coffee! I just might, but first I want to make sure and get a workout in, I’m meeting mom for a picnic lunch, and Dana and I have a very fun date planned for tonight!

My baking/cooking bucket list for the upcoming fall months:

  • More nutty gluten-free bread
  • Pumpkin chocolate chip gluten-free bread
  • Some sort of apple dessert (crisp, baked apples…)
  • Chili
  • Some sort of legume recipe

Okay, we’ll start with that. I am off to tackle the day. Have a happy day!

What recipe is on your fall bucket list?!

A Nutty Makeover

Hi there my friends!

Notice any changes to the blog? I have been working with the wonderful Maren at Maren’s Blog Designs on developing a brand new header for Beautifully Nutty. I can’t say enough great things about Maren. I am one of the  most indecisive people on this planet, but she worked with me to help dig and find what I truly wanted and what was appealing to my eye. She was incredibly patient. I HIGHLY recommend her work.

Besides the new banner, I have also switched from a blog hosted by WordPress.com to a self-hosted site through WordPress.org. I had been pre-warned that this process can be quite grueling, and the warning was found to be true. This has been quite the process. I am just beginning to learn all of the ins-and-outs of being self-hosted, but I promise you all, it will be worth it.

When making this switch, I lost all of my followers. This includes all of my friends that had signed up to receive emails when a new post is up. Could you all do me a favor? Could you re-subscribe to my emails? I don’t want to lose you! Just go into the right side bar and re-enter your email and it should set up just like that. I’m so sorry about that.

Like I said, I am learning a whole lot about this self-hosting bit. If there are details about my blog that you miss from the old site or that are driving you nuts about the new site, please let me know. There will be a lot of changes being made still. Thank you for your patience!

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Monday Breakfast

I have a treat to share with you all. While at the Healthy Living Summit, I received some wonderful coupons for Blue Diamond’s Almond Breeze product. I have bought their products in the past and love them, and was super stoked to be able to go try out some new stuff using their coupons.

I was at the store and stumbled upon this gem of an almond milk: Almond Milk and Coconut Blend. I HAD to try it! I poured the unsweetened milk over fresh raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and chopped almonds. I then drizzled a bit of honey over this masterpiece.

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Oh my goodness, my belly was so happy. It doesn’t taste super coconutty which is good for me, but it does have a subtle coconut flavor. If you see this at your local grocery store, I suggest you give it a try.

After breakfast I took Moose out for a 3 mile walk through the neighborhood. Then I got to hang out with my beautiful cousin Betsy for a few hours.

Lunch

Lunch was light. I ate a banana with peanut butter and an apple. Then I headed to the gym to crank out 20 minutes on the elliptical followed by push-ups and core work.

The rest of the day was pretty much spent working on the ol’ blog. There were some errands sprinkled in the mix as well as some relaxation with the hubby.

Dinner

Dinner was so simple but it tasted extra good to me for some reason. We grilled up corn on the cob, garden green beans with teriyaki sauce, and a Morningstar Garden Veggie Burger.

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Quick, easy, and super tasty!

Alright, I am off for the day. Enjoy your Tuesday friends. Muah!

Greek Tomato Salad and Major R & R

Wait a minute. Did this weekend really happen? I feel like it came and went so fast. I know I always say that, but you know how certain weekends really really go by fast sometimes? Anyway. I have a lot to share so let the fun begin

We had a very nice leisurely Saturday morning. I ate a Chobani Pomegranate yogurt, headed to the gym for a nice workout (elliptical and core work primarily), and then came home to hang out with the boys.

Moose enjoyed some Animal Planet…

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In the afternoon we headed over to a carnival/fair in our area to check out the action. There were games, rides, food, local companies promoting their products, fire trucks tours, pony rides, a huge inflatable jumper for the kids, helicopter rides….I was pretty impressed.

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The fireman did a demonstration using the jaws of life to open up this smashed car. It was actually pretty neat to see the process.

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After the carnival we headed out to Dana’s parents for dinner. My mom and dad joined us as well. We set up croquet in the backyard. I can’t tell you the last time I played. It was a very relaxing game. I definitely didn’t win though; 2nd to last actually. All that matters is that I had fun.

Moose spectated.

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Before dinner, Sue brought out a bunch of appetizers: veggies, crackers, cheese, hummus, a sweet peanut dip, and liver pate.

Mom says I ate liver when I was younger which I don’t remember (maybe I chose to forget Winking smile). Either way, I did try the liver pate just so I could make sure I wasn’t missing out on anything I loved. After one taste I decided I’m not. I am proud I tried it though! I know a lot of people do like liver plus it’s so good for you; I wish I did like it.

For dinner we had surf and turf kabobs, my mom’s Ramen salad, and I brought a Greek tomato salad (recipe at the end of post). Dinner was literally heaven on my plate with all of the veggies.

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For dessert, gluten-free biscuit with strawberries and fat-free whipped cream.

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We had such a great time on Saturday night. Can’t wait to do it again!

Sunday

On Sunday morning I slept in until 9:00! That is unheard of for me. I must have really  needed it. We did our usual Sunday morning brigade: newspaper, coupons, coffee, breakfast, grocery shopping. Our fridge is very well stocked again.

In the afternoon we got involved in some more community action. Part of the weekend fair included a parade which was right in our neighborhood. We took the pooch down and enjoyed a great parade which ended up being an hour and a half long! The weather was perfect and it was a really pleasant way to spend the afternoon.

Moose got 5 million compliments from the folks in the parade. “I love your dog,” “he’s so beautiful”…His head was the size of a hot air balloon by the time we left. Man, the more I think about it, Moose had a pretty great weekend!

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For dinner we grilled up chicken breasts and topped them with turkey bacon, and cheddar cheese. I ate mine with BBQ sauce and a side of garlicky roasted broccoli.

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A lot of Sunday was spent converting my blog from WordPress.com to self-hosted. It’s a good thing my husband is good with computers AND very patient, because there is no way I could have done that on my own. I would have pulled out half of my hair and eaten a 5 lb bag of M & M’s  by the time I was done with it. Confused smileThe switch has been made, now I just need to figure it all out.

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Greek Tomato Salad

Back to simplicity for a second. I wanted to share the salad recipe with you from Saturday night because I LOVED it and so did everyone else.

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Greek Dressing

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar (heaping)
1/2 Tbsp. garlic powder
1/2 Tbsp. dried oregano
1/2 Tbsp. dried basil
1/2 Tbsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 Tbsp. ground mustard
cracked black pepper

Add ingredients to a container, cover with a lid, give it a shake.

Greek Tomato Salad
Print
Ingredients
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced into cubes
  • ⅓ cup kalamata olives, sliced lengthwise
  • Greek dressing (as much or little as desired)
  • Sprinkle of feta cheese crumbles
Instructions
  1. Add tomatoes, zucchini and olives into a large bowl. Combine gently.
  2. Pour desired amount of dressing over salad, mix gently.
  3. Sprinkle with feta cheese and garnish with fresh basil.


I am off to get a workout in and I have REALLY been in a baking mood, so I may need to do something about that today too. Hope you all have a great day.

Decisions, Decisions: HLS Day 3

It’s time for the final recap of The Healthy Living Summit. Presenting you with day 3 (Sunday)…More photos, less talky.

HLS 5k

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(photo courtesy of Courtney)

Healthy Breakfast and Good-Bye’s

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(photo courtesy of Jamie)

Harvard Square

Both Shannon and I had later flights on Sunday, so we took advantage of our extra time by walking to Harvard and admiring their beautiful campus and the surrounding area.

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It looks a little different from good old Minnesota State University, Mankato! It is a breathtaking campus.

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We oogled the fresh goods at a local farmer’s market and bought flavored nuts from Q’s Nuts, a local company, and I bought a sweet apple for the airport.

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A cupcake truck to tempt us on our walk home…we denied it after much contemplation.

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Back at the hotel, we had 45 minutes to shower, pack, and be down in the lobby to catch a cab back to the airport. In case you’re wondering, yes I did have to sit on my suitcase in order to close it, thanks to all of the great swag! My bag weighed in at 48.5 lbs on the way home.

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At the airport I polished off a small sample of Q’s nuts, my large farmer’s market apple, and then decided I needed some greenery, so wandered around until I found myself a nice little side salad. My first flight was from Boston to Chicago.

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A layover in Chicago (for 3.5 hours) led me to buy more food. Another salad…

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Hmm….what else do I want? So many temptations surrounding me.

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After about 45 minutes I decided that a bowl of vanilla Fro Yo was just what I wanted.  Those apples look pretty tasty though don’t they? I walk by them every time I am at the Chicago airport and drool by the window.

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Fro Yo two days in a row. That needs to stop now. Have you noticed I am quite the indecisive person? It’s not something I’m proud of. Smile with tongue out

Next flight, Chicago to Minneapolis. I munched on a box of Wild Harvest Organic Raisins from the conference and then tried to sleep (with no such luck). I arrived in Minneapolis around 12:30, and crawled into bed around 1 am. It was a LOOONNGG day of traveling and I was so happy to be home.

The main message I took from the conference is, be true to you and remember why you started your blog. I started B.N. to share my love for food and fitness in hope to inspire others (and motivate myself) to live a healthy lifestyle. What you read on my blog is all me. I write how I talk, and am real with you every day. Not every day is a great day, but I do try and find the positives in every situation and keep my blog uplifting and light. I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it.

To the great friends I met over the weekend: you are all such incredible, inspirational people. I learned something from each and every one of you. I look forward to staying in touch over the years and hopefully meeting up with you all again!

I am so glad I made the decision to attend HLS12. I attained so much valuable information and am now finally starting to digest and process it all. I am in the process of putting some of what I learned to work! Expect great changes to Beautifully Nutty in the future.

I will be back to normal posts again. The recipes are piling up and I have some major catching up to do. I hope you’re excited!

Happy  Hump Day!