A Rainy Run and Spring Cleaning

Happppppppy Saturday! I don’t have¬†a ton of fun photos for you today, but I do have a couple of food photos to share from yesterday.

Once again, I used the NutriBullet to whip up a smoothie. I’ve made this one before. In the mix was: banana, kale, almond milk, chocolate egg white protein powder, peanut butter, and aloe vera juice.

smoothie

Lunch: Quinoa, cheese, and peas. This was actually really good despite it being so simple. Sometimes simple is best. It was cooked quinoa, salt, pepper, shredded cheddar cheese, and peas.

quinoa and cheese and peas

Dinner: My favorite salmon!

salmon

 

 

*****************

I keep forgetting to mention that Dana and I have registered for a 10K race coming up at the end of April! My runs have become few and far between, and I’m going to blame that mostly on the weather. I know, lame excuse. Every time I am out for a run I feel fantastic, and every time I am done I always say I have GOT to do this more often. I wish I could bottle up these good endorphins and release them under my nose when I’m not feeling up to a run.

Now that I have a race to look forward to, I will be hitting the pavement more often again and am really looking forward to it.

Furthermore, the weather is really turning around here which makes it that much more enticing to run outside. Yesterday it was in the 50’s and today it is in the 40’s. The snow is melting super fast and I am loving it. Spring is officially here.

Can you spot the cardinal?!

cardinal and backyard

Dana, Moose, and I headed out for a rainy run this morning. We tried a new loop in our neighborhood and covered 4.7 miles. Despite it being wet, rainy, and a little chilly, it was still a GREAT run! My endurance and stamina felt wonderful and I am confident I will be just fine for the 10K in April.

My hands are struggling to type right now because they are still pretty chilled but my body is so happy. ūüôā

Moose hung on through the whole run but he isn’t quite used to runs longer than 3 miles after the winter months. His back paws got a little scraped up and he was bleeding at the end of the run. It’s time to build up those paws again! We covered his wounds with socks and he is now fast asleep on the carpet. Poor guy!

moose

 

Since it is rainy, we have decided that today is SPRING CLEANING DAY! I am off to dust, windex, vacuum, and mop! Fun, fun, fun. Kidding, but it will feel really good to do a deep clean on the house.

I hope you all have a FANTASTIC Saturday! xoxo

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A Hungry Morning

We are half way through the work week! How about that?! I hope everyone is having a great week.

Yesterday was one of those days where my body just couldn’t get enough to eat. I think I did a pretty good job of listening to what my body was asking for and feeding it lots of healthy foods. The morning was a feeding fiasco. ūüėČ

It started off with a bowl of gluten-free Erewhon Buckwheat and Hemp cereal with homemade almond milk, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and banana. I had to remind myself to slow down as I ate this but it was SO good I couldn’t help myself!¬†cereal and fruit

I really want to try other Erewhon cereals. They have strawberry crisp, raisin bran, crispy brown rice, and more. They all sound fantastic! I haven’t had cereal in forever.

cereal and fruit

For my workout yesterday I turned on Apple TV and found a ZUMBA workout led by a young male Zumba instructor who was a really good dancer. It was fun but not as fun as actually being in a class with other people dancing with me. After Zumba I completed a 15-minute intense ab workout.

Many snacks proceeded the workouts. I ate walnuts, dates and peanut butter, a banana, celery, and an energy bite. I’m probably missing something else in there.

walnuts

After all of the snacking, it was only about 11:00 am but I figured since I was still hungry I may as well make lunch.

I sautéed onion, green bell pepper, and mushrooms. I then added a splash of bone broth, leftover chicken and black beans. I topped off this concoction with avocado and salsa. NUM!

sauteed vergis

After “lunch” my belly was finally feeling satisfied. The hunger staved off for a while after that!

Later in the afternoon I took the pooch for a 3-mile walk around the neighborhood. It is extremely messy around here these days. The snow is definitely melting and we are left with very muddy grass, wet sidewalks, and a dirty dog, but I’ll take it because that means spring is really here!

Moose

More snacks happened in the afternoon.

Dinner was light because I had done the majority of my eating throughout the day and wasn’t super hungry, but still wanted some nutrition. I threw together a lazy salad with mixed greens, red bell pepper, peas, olives, pickles, avocado, sunflower seeds and a dressing made with Dijon mustard and red wine vinegar. It was simple but tasty.

I am pretty much convinced that I could put avocado on anything and it would taste good. The avocado really stole the show last night.

salad

 

The rest of the evening was pretty quiet and relaxing!

Question of the day: What is your favorite cereal?

Have a great day!!

 

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I Made Almond Milk and an Antioxidant Smoothie!

Oh the goodness of Pinterest. So many pins, so little time.

One of my friends had pinned a link for homemade almond milk and I was beyond intrigued. I knew I could in fact¬†make¬†almond milk, but I had never really given it a thought because it sounded super tedious and it’s way more convenient to go to the store and buy a carton off the shelf.

But I was intrigued, so I clicked on the link which led me to¬†LaurenConrad.com¬†(yes, LC from Laguna Beach). I wanted to see what the process looked like. I was pleasantly surprised when I read through the directions…it didn’t look too bad at all! Plus, there are only FOUR ingredients in this milk. As you all know, I am all about keeping my food clean and simple the majority of the time, so this recipe screamed “MAKE ME!” So I did.

1. In a food processor or on a cutting board, chop one cup of almonds into big chunks and place into a heavy-duty food storage bag or into a glass container. Pour five cups of water over the almonds. Seal the bag or cover the container and place in the fridge to let soak overnight.

almond milk

almond milk

2. In the morning, strain off the liquid into a medium pot on the stove top and save the almonds in the bag.

almond milk almond milk

3. In a food processor, blend up the almonds until they become a paste; grind them up as far as your processor will allow. Add the almond mash back into the water.

almond milk

4. Add 1/2 tablespoon vanilla and 1 tablespoon of honey (optional) and stir. Heat mixture over medium heat for about seven minutes, stirring occasionally.

almond milk

5. Prepare a sturdy heat-proof container by placing a cheesecloth or a linen kitchen towel over the mouth of the container and fasten with a rubberband.

Notes: I started off using cheesecloth but then found that a towel worked better because it was more sturdy. Also, if you have a container with a larger opening, I would recommend using that as it will make the process go a lot faster.

Slowly pour liquid through the cloth. The towel will gather the almond pieces and the liquid will drain through. Use a spoon to assist the liquid through.

almond milk almond milk

6. And voila you have almond milk! It will last up to a week, covered in the fridge. Enjoy!!

almond milk

To view originally recipe, check out¬†Lauren’s website.

I used the milk on some gluten-free cereal with fruit this morning and it was WONDERFUL! Seriously, I really enjoyed it. Plus, I know every.single.ingredient. in that milk which makes it even more enjoyable. I had all of the ingredients right in my pantry.  I think everyone should make this milk at least once in their lifetime!

Moving on. Yesterday morning was another NutriBullet smoothie morning. I stepped outside of my comfort zone with this smoothie which I have named “The Antioxidant Smoothie” because of all of antioxidant-rich ingredients involved. I tried to mentally track the amounts of each ingredient so that I could share the recipe with you, but my mind fails me sometimes, so we’ll see how well I can do here.

The Antioxidant Smoothie

  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 3/4 cup strawberries
  • 1/2 cup raspberries
  • 1 cup kale
  • 2 Tablespoons beets
  • 1 Tablespoon chia seeds
  • water (add as much as you like to reach desired consistency)
  • aloe vera juice (optional)
  • a touch of honey (optional)

antioxidant smoothie in nutribullet antioxidant smoothie in nutribullet antioxidant smoothie in nutribullet

 

In case you were wondering, beets fall outside of my comfort zone. I don’t like beets but they are a food I wish I DID like because they are so pretty and vibrant, rich in B vitamins and other vitamins and minerals, and you could guess by their beautiful red color, that they are in fact an antioxidant food. This is why I included them in the smoothie; so I could get the benefits from the veggie, but not the full taste.¬†I could only very subtly taste the beets in this smoothie, so it was all good.

I don’t like radishes either and I wish I did because they are so pretty! Maybe if I keep introducing myself to these two veggies they will grow on me, just like the salmon has grown on me!

Alright folks, that is all for today. Go make yourself some almond milk! Get crazy and add a little cocoa or cinnamon to the finished product. Mmm..

Question of the day: What kinds of milk have you tried? What’s your favorite?

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Carrot Pizza Crust (Grain-Free)

Once again, where did the weekend go?!

I am pretty pumped about a new gadget that has joined the counter in our kitchen. We have a NutriBullet! It can make smoothies, dips, soups, and even has a milling blade attachment so you can grind your own spices, seeds, etc. Besides the fact that this bullet literally whips up a smoothie in seconds, I also love that it is super easy to clean. The blender works great and all, but it can be a little tedious to clean and it takes longer.

Yesterday, I just¬†had¬†to use it, so I made a smoothie for Dana and myself.¬†I don’t have the exact measurements but I included pineapple, strawberries, banana, kale, flax-seed, aloe vera juice, and water.

smoothie nutribullet

It’s maybe not the prettiest smoothie you have ever seen but it was delicious! I am hoping I stay on this smoothie train for a while to get me out of my breakfast rut of peanut butter and banana. The fridge is stocked¬†really¬†well right now so I think I should be able to maintain a creative week of eats as long as I put my mind to it.

Aloe Vera Juice

I realize I have mentioned this aloe vera juice for a couple of weeks now and not really said anything about it. As you may recall, I am tackling a laundry list of natural remedies to try to combat this colitis thing. Along with those, I am always teaching myself to deal better with stress, I am sticking to a gluten-free diet for now, I have eliminated refined sugars (as best as I can), I am beginning to include fermented foods into my diet to help aid in the digestion process, and I am taking my prescribed GI meds.

I continue to do my research and found that aloe vera juice came up in a lot of my findings.   There is still more research that needs to be done, but some have found that aloe vera juice can help heal wounds (think about applying aloe vera to sunburn), and it can also reduce inflammation. It can also help boost the immune system. I am only taking a very small amount of it, and the taste is pretty unpalatable, so I have found that putting some into my smoothie masks the taste completely and is easier for me to stomach. (Note: I consulted with a medical professional before beginning aloe vera juice).

So that’s my little bit about aloe vera juice and btw I am feeling SO well. Moving on to dinner…

I was inspired by this recipe¬†to make¬†Carrot Crust Pizza!¬†I have experimented with cauliflower crust pizza and veggie nut pizza crust, but never carrots. I can’t wait for the day when I can get my fingers on a good ol’ fashioned piece of pizza, but until that time comes, I’ll be making substitutes!

I began by washing six medium-sized carrots. I chopped them into big chunks and added them to a microwave safe bowl. I added about 1/3 cup of water, covered the bowl with plastic wrap, and microwaved for about 8 minutes or until I was able to pierce through the carrots with a fork.

Next, I food processed the carrots until almost smooth. I scraped the carrots onto a thin kitchen towel (you could use cheesecloth as well), folded up all four corners, and wrung out the liquid from the carrots into the sink. This was a major arm workout! There is a LOT of water in carrots.

I put the carrot mash back into the bowl and added one egg, 1/4 cup of cheese, and one grated garlic clove. I gave it a good mix.

On a baking pan lined with parchment paper, I spread out the carrots into a 1/4 inch layer. ¬†I spritzed the top with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. Next it went into a 400¬įF preheated oven for about 28 minutes.

carrot pizza

I removed the pizza from the oven when the outsides were starting to crisp up, and the center of the pizza was firm.

carrot pizza

Then I added the goodies! I added marinara sauce, cheese, red bell pepper, onion, olives, and mushrooms. Back into the oven it went for about five minutes. I finished by putting it under the broiler for three minutes.

carrot pizza carrot pizza carrot pizza

It was delicious! The crust wasn’t as crispy as I thought it would be, so I’m wondering if it should cook even longer? Either way, I really truly enjoyed this dish!

Carrot Pizza Crust (Grain-Free)
3.0 from 1 reviews
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Ingredients
  • 6 medium carrots, roughly chopped
  • ⅓ cup water
  • ¼ cup and ½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
  • 1 egg
  • 1 garlic clove, grated or minced
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • ½ cup marinara sauce (no-sugar added)
  • 1 Tbsp parmesan cheese
  • toppings of choice
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place parchment paper on cookie sheet. Set aside.
  2. Place carrots in a medium microwave safe bowl and add ⅓ cup of water. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 7-9 minutes, or until carrots are fork tender. Remove from microwave and let cool slightly.
  3. Once cooled, place carrots in food processor and pulse until pureed.
  4. Scrape carrot puree onto cheesecloth or thin kitchen towel. Gather all corners and wring out excess water from the carrots into the sink.
  5. Add carrots back to the bowl, add ¼ cup cheese, egg, and grated garlic clove. Mix well.
  6. On prepared baking pan, spread carrot mixture to a ¼ inch thickness. Spray with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  7. Bake for 27-29 minutes or until outer crust begins to turn golden, and middle of pizza is firm.
  8. Remove from oven and add sauce, ½ cup cheddar cheese, parmesan, and toppings. Bake for 5 more minutes.
  9. Turn oven to broil and broil for 3-4 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven, slice, and enjoy warm!

Have a great day my friends!

Question of the day: Have you ever had any strange pizza? Have you made any yourself? 

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A Minor Food Slump

Haaaaaaaappppy Friday!

You may have noticed that there weren’t too many food photos this past week. That’s because I went on a lazy hiatus this week with my meals.

Breakfasts have been my typical banana and peanut butter, lunches have been leftover meatloaf or whatever I can throw down during my lunch break…

turkey meatloaf energy bite mah ball apple peanut butter

…and dinners have been more leftover meatloaf! Lame!

meatloaf

However, yesterday morning I did attempt to be more creative and I made myself what turned out to be an egg pancake made with one egg and 1-2 egg whites. I cooked the eggs over too high of heat on the stove and they quickly turned from an omelet into a pancake.  In the pancake was sautéed onions, green peppers, and kale, topped with avocado and Parkers Farm salsa.

eggs

It wasn’t my proudest breakfast moment, but it did taste alright and kept my tummy satisfied well until lunch.

Once lunch rolled around, I ate my usual breakfast of pb and banana (haha I just couldn’t go a DAY without it) and had a bunch of other random bites. I have got to turn this food slump around, because it is NOT exciting.

To tell you the truth, this entire week has been one of those weeks where everything seemed to take twice the effort; preparing meals, workouts, work, daily chores…everything. I really think that it has to do with the cold weather around here that keeps droning on and on. I am so ready for warm weather. I feel like I did pretty well this winter without feeling any symptoms of seasonal affective disorder, but now that it’s technically spring, I am realizing I have had enough of the cold and I know I’m not alone on this one.

Out with the cold and in with the warm please!

I did try to get snazzy with my workout yesterday afternoon. I was feeling sluggish and slightly under the weather after work, so decided that a calm 30-minute yoga session might be nice.

I rolled out the yoga mat and started flipping through the selections OnDemand looking for some yoga, but ended up scrolling across a 45-minute session called Grace and Gusto which combines Pilates and ballet. Being that I used to dance and miss it dearly, I decided to give it a whirl.

sweatpink

The verdict: It was fun and different and was the perfect pace for my mood (not super fast). It didn’t include a lot of jumping around, which was what I was looking for, and the instructor did a great job of combining both ballet and Pilate moves into the session. I was glad I did it and it reminded me that I need to step outside of my comfort zone more often and try new workouts.

As for today’s workout, my tentative plan is to go for a run. We will see what kind of mood I am in though! I seem to be kind of a rollercoaster lady lately.

My goals for the upcoming week are to jazz up my meals and to reenergize my motivation for more intense workouts.¬†Who knows, maybe my body was telling me to lay low this week, but I’m ready for amp it up again!

Question of the day: Have you tried any new recipes lately? Any new workouts?  

 

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Lots of Food Prep

Happy Friday!

I had a bit of a goofy tummy yesterday so my day of eats was very sporadic. I started the day off with a smoothie.

Strawberry Banana Cocoa Smoothie:

  • Strawberries
  • Banana
  • Kefir
  • Kale
  • Aloe Vera Juice
  • Cocoa powder

smoothie

I really had to force that bad boy down; I just wasn’t feeling hungry. I drank about half of it and put the rest in the fridge.

I also sipped on a warm cup of Celestial Seasonings Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride tea. When I was in Colorado last weekend, I got to sample this stuff and really liked it so bought a box to bring home. I still need to tell you about my Colorado weekend!

celestial seasonings tea

Lunch was more of a snacky deal all day than an actual “lunch”. One of my snacks was ants on a log, aka celery with peanut butter and raisins…

ants on a log

This definitely brought me back to childhood. My mom would make us these for a snack or sometimes she would do banana with peanut butter and raisins. I really enjoy the crunch of the celery and the smooth peanut butter combined with the chewy raisins. So many textures and a nice sweet flavor!

Yesterday I received a book I ordered called “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon. It is a book my chiropractor recommended to me and one that he and his family use all of the time. I am just getting into the book but what I know so far is that this book brings us back to our roots, or really, our ancestors roots in regards to food intake. It is about eating whole foods, eating fermented foods to help with intestinal health, eliminating sugars as much as possible, etc.

nourishing traditions

 

I am pretty pumped about it and will keep you posted when I learn more. Right now I have a pot of bone broth simmering on the stove with 2 Tablespoons of vinegar (this helps leach calcium and minerals out of the bone and into the broth; it will simmer for 24 hours). Bone broth is something mentioned in the book quite a bit.

I also made my first batch of homemade fermented sauerkraut. It’s been a while since I have tried sauerkraut, but last time I did I wasn’t a fan at all. We will see how I feel about my own batch.

The directions said to combine one shredded medium head of cabbage, one tablespoon of caraway seeds, and two tablespoons of sea salt (it called for whey but said if you don’t have whey you can use an extra tablespoon of salt so that’s what I did) in a bowl.

fermented cabbage

Next, it said to take a meat tenderizer mallet and pound down the cabbage for ten minutes, to release the natural juices from the cabbage.

fermented cabbage

Arm workout, done. Next, you spoon the cabbage mixture into canning jars, smash it down with a utensil that fits in there (I just used a spoon) until water gathers at the top of the cabbage. You want to leave one inch of space between the top of the cabbage/water and the lid.

fermented cabbage fermented cabbage

Cover the cabbage and let it sit in room temperature for three days, then place in the fridge and eat whenever! Like I said, we will see if I like it but it’s worth a shot at least!

I also made some homemade fauxtmeal raisin cookie bites made from dates, raisins, cinnamon, and almonds. These were also part of my snacky lunch.

mah balls

In the later afternoon I took Moose for a walk outside and it was unbelievably gorgeous! In Minnesota at this time of year that means it was 40 degrees, but it sure felt warm! Moose was having a hay day with all of the smells everywhere in the snow.

For dinner, we made my favorite grilled salmon recipe with grilled parmesan garlic broccoli.

salmon

And an evening snack of FAGE Greek yogurt with honey and strawberries.

greek yogurt and fruit

We spent the rest of the evening catching up on DVR’ed Whitney and Modern Family episodes that we missed while we were away.

It was a good day full of lots of food prep!

I hope you all had a great Thursday and have an even better Friday!

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The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (again) & Lobster Madness

Oh boy I have a lot to say today. Grab a seat and let’s get to it!

On Sunday we had a fairly leisurely morning. We woke up, made some scrambled eggs with cheese, looked through the newspaper, cut a couple of coupons, and finally got ready to run to the grocery store.

scrambled eggs

When we go to Turks and Caicos, we will be staying in a villa and will be cooking the majority of our own meals on our own, so this weekend we spent a lot of time getting food together for our trip. We planned out each meal and snacks, wrote out all of the ingredients that we need for each dish, and then went shopping. I think we now have the majority of our food. Next, I will just need to work on the food prep. I will absolutely be sharing this with all of you once it gets a little bit closer.

Changing gears a bit…

If you have been following me for a while, you know I have been dealing with some ongoing health issues, namely Ulcerative Colitis. I am working towards holistic ways of healing and living, and am SO close to finally being healed. It’s like a loose tooth that’s just about ready to fall out. I feel like I need one last final nudge to really heal my gut.

Therefore, I have decided to follow the Specific Carbohydrate Diet for the next week or so before our trip. I followed the SCD this summer but could only handle it for so long because I drove myself absolutely crazy. I know this will be a more short-lived experiment, and have prepared myself mentally for it.

I will begin with the intro diet for 2-3 days and then after that progress as the plan says. ¬†I will limit myself on raw fruits and veggies for the week, and instead eating primarily cooked veggies and fruits. The plan states that you can be stay on the intro diet for up to a week as needed, until symptoms subside, but since I don’t really have many symptoms I have decided to give the intro only 2-3 days.

It will give my colon time to relax, kick up it’s feet and HEAL. I have a really good feeling that this will be what it takes to finally heal.

You can read about my journey through SCD this summer:

You will definitely notice a change in my food intake over the next week.

The SCD involves a lot of food prep, so yesterday afternoon I was in the kitchen efficiently working away.

I made SCD ketchup, hard-boiled eggs, bone broth soup with pureed carrots, cooked carrots, baked chicken, and grape juice gelatin. Farmer’s cheese is also allowed in the intro diet but I was not a fan of it, so I’m leaving it out.

kitchen food prep

eggs

 SCD Ketchup Recipe

SCD ketchup

For the soup: I used homemade bone broth and added a bunch of carrots. I covered the pot and let the soup simmer with the carrots for 20 minutes or so, until I was able to pierce through the carrots with a fork. Then I used an immersion blender to puree it all together.

SCD ketchup and bone broth with carrots

I munched on some mini meals/snacks while I cooked away…

banana and pb

Let the SCD begin. I’m ready.

When we were out at Target yesterday doing our grocery shopping, I just so happened to walk by a clearance shelf and notice this little gem of a Christmas ornament.

It’s Moose with a scarf on! Of course I had to buy it. Again, he’s totally unimpressed, but at least he humors me for a photo.

moose ornament

Double Date Night

Last night we got all prettied up to get ready for a date night with Betsy and Matt at Stella’s Fish Cafe.

dana moose and melanie

Stella’s is actually the restaurant Dana and I ate at right before he proposed to me! So each time we are there I can’t help but reminisce. I’m thinking an engagement flashback post is in order….but not today!

stellas

Bets and Matt were waiting for us in the same cozy booth Dana and I sat in three years ago on engagement night. What are the chances, right? I had to let everyone know how excited I was about that. ūüėČ

We chit chatted away, sipped on some wine, and got ready for our lobster dinner. On Sunday evenings Stella’s has a special where you can get a whole lobster for $19.99. That’s a pretty good deal if you ask me. ALSO, Bets and Matt had a gift card that they wanted to share with us, so we really got dinner for a steal!

betsy and matt dana and melanie stellas lobster stellas asparagus stellas

This was my first time ever tackling a whole lobster. Dana had told me about his first experience eating one and explained that the inside of the lobster body is this nasty looking green stuff. Supposedly, it is a delicacy to some and the people of Maine told Dana that about half of people eat it, and half leave it alone.

Well, I wasn’t expecting to see what I saw when I opened up the body of that lobster. I definitely eat with my eyes so as soon as I saw the green goop, I knew there was no way I was touching that body. I handed Mr. Lobster’s body over to the garbage pail. I had to get that image out of my mind in order to enjoy the rest of the lobster.

dana melanie matt betsy

It was a messy double date but SO much fun! I love those two so incredibly much. Thanks for a great night you guys! xoxo

On the way home I got the idea into Dana’s head that we should stop at Cherry Berry for frozen yogurt. Most of our date nights end this way and I am totally okay with that. Considering I knew I would be starting the SCD the next day, I decided it would sort of be like my Fat Tuesday.

I went fairly easy on my serving size along with my toppings (compared to what I usually do). I went with Chilly Nilly and Cookies and Cream and the added just a few brownie pieces, cookie dough, one mini Reese’s peanut butter cup, one Oreo, one frosted animal cracker, two maraschino cherries (yum), and a cherry gummy. Yes, that’s keeping it minimal for me.

cherry berry frozen yogurt

As always, Cherry Berry never fails to please me.

What an amazing day!

I have a big day planned today as well. I better get to it. The treadmill is waiting for me. Dun dun dun…

How was YOUR weekend?!

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Strawberry Chicken Salad with the Girls

Happy Sunday!

I have some coupon cutting and horoscopes reading to do, so I’m going to keep this short and sweet.

Saturday Recap

Breakfast: Kefir with chia seeds which I let soak for 10 minutes to soften the chia. I then added agave nectar to sweeten it up (because kefir is pretty tangy) and added a banana on top!

kefir with chia

After breakfast I hit the living room for a leg workout and glute which felt GREAT!

For lunch I had a date with one of my girlie girls, Heidi. She was in town so she stopped by for lunch and to catch up. I made us a strawberry chicken salad with blueberries, almonds, avocado, and feta cheese. It was light an perfect.

strawberry chicken salad

After we ate lunch we called Kate¬†on FaceTime (Kate is living in Georgia–I went and visited her on my birthday last year).¬†It was like the three of us were truly having a girly chat together right in the same room. It made me miss her even more but I feel so lucky to have the option of calling her and talking to her “face to face.”

In the afternoon Dana and I had a couple of errands to run. We stopped at TJMaxx and I found another new swimsuit (the one on the bottom right is the newest addition)! I usually don’t have good luck at TJMaxx with swimsuits because the tops and bottoms are sold together as a set, so you aren’t able to mix and match sizes, but this one actually fit me like a glove! Plus, it was only $12.99. Bargain!

swimsuits

We will be spending the majority of time in our bathing suits, so I need to be sure and bring enough plus I like to have options. ūüėČ

For dinner I whipped up a random mix of black beans, onion, garlic, salsa, and cabbage with cheese on top. I wasn’t sure how it would all come together, but it was surprisingly good! I think what made it good was the Parkers Farm Roasted Garlic Salsa. It was so flavorful.

salsa cabbage black beans

We finished off the night watching Glee from last week. Man oh man it was a juicy one. Lots of unexpected events unfolded!

Moose was unimpressed as usual.

moose

I hope you are all having a relaxing weekend. I have a super fun double date tonight that I am so looking forward to!

Catch up with you all later! xoxo

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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. ūüėČ

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.

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I Prefer Small Meals and Snacks

First and foremost, I want to wish you all a….¬†valentine's day

I am such a lover, so this Hallmark holiday really puts me into an EXTRA lovey dovey spirit. Whether you celebrate Valentine’s day or not, I hope you all have a wonderful day full of love and joy! I’ll be doing my best to spread the love today.

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Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, which means it was a day to fast in between meals (it¬†means a lot more than that but I’m not getting into that right now). Being that I am not one to eat big meals, I am more of a small meals and snacks throughout the day kind of gal, this is always a little challenging for me. It involves some planning to make sure I build significant meals to keep me energized throughout the work day and not hit any slumps. Like most of us, I need A LOT of energy to get through the day.

In the morning I unrolled the yoga mat and put on a Yoga/Pilates OnDemand. The workout was about 25 minutes and it felt GREAT. My body was pretty sore and tight before the workout, but once I was done with the session, I felt much more relaxed and less tense. After yoga, I walked on the treadmill for 30 minutes and then finished with a plank.

Then it was time to get breakfast going. I cooked up a batch of quinoa, topped it with kale, a little bit of cheese, salt, pepper, avocado, and an egg.

quinoa and egg breakfast

quinoa and egg breakfast

How’s that for breakfast creativity? That was definitely a bit out of my breakfast comfort zone (aka banana and peanut butter). And as if that wasn’t enough, I gobbled up some lemon blueberry bread. Multiply this bite in my hand times about six.

blueberry lemon bread

I was set.

Breakfast held me over into lunch and then some. For lunch I made a Greek yogurt bowl with chia seeds, FAGE non-fat Greek yogurt, blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries.

fruit and yogurt bowl

And last and maybe least (dinner isn’t too impressive), for dinner I made a salad with cabbage, lettuce, beans, peas, feta cheese, sunflower seeds, and honey mustard dressing. I snacked on carrots while I threw the salad together. I was really hungry by the time dinner rolled around.

salad

Part two of dinner was trail mix with some raisins, peanuts, almonds, and dark chocolate chips.

trail mix

After a day of eating only three solid meals, versus my regular small meals and snacks, I am absolutely sure that I prefer the more frequent small meals and snacks. I felt pretty blech all day.

I am fully aware that some cultures fast all day long for different reasons, and I tip my hat to them. That takes incredible willpower and dedication which is why I refuse to complain about having to do this one day. Making any changes to a typical daily intake, also really makes me realize how fortunate I am to have food available to me at all times.

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Intelligent Nutrients Giveaway Winner

Switching gears here, once again. It’s time to announce the winner of the Intelligent Nutrients shampoo and conditioner!

The winner has been randomly chosen. Congratulations to…

Alicia @ The Wannabe Foodie!!

I’m very excited for you to try these products! Send me an email at beautifullynutty@gmail.com with your address information. I look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you to all who entered! If you follow me on Twitter, be on the lookout for another giveaway coming your way. My twitter handle is: @NuttyMelanie

Happy Valentine’s Day my friends! xoxo I hope your day is filled with love.

Question: Whether you are dating, married, or single…Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Anything fun planned for today?

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