The Best Pup Ever

This past week, we lost our little fur baby way too early at just 7 young years. Moose passed suddenly from a massive tumor that had been growing around his spleen, under his rib cage. He showed no signs of pain or change. Dana and I were away on vacation when he passed and the vet said that was his gift to us; that we didn’t have to see him suffer at all. We got to see him as our happy big bear.

I never allowed myself to think much about what it would be like when he was gone, and now that I’m living it, it is so much harder than I could have even imagined. He was such a huge part of our lives and a loving member of our family. Everything we do reminds us of him. We keep thinking he is going to come running around the corner with one of his toys or greeting us when we get home from grocery shopping. It’s so strange not letting him outside, petting him as he goes by, and having him always by our side.

We miss him so dearly. He was seriously the best dog ever. His biggest fault was that he gave too many kisses. He was such a lover.

We will forever remember and love you our big Moosebear. I hope you are enjoying endless peanut butter, glorious runs, and lots of puppy friends in heaven. Thank you for all of the great memories!

moose and dana moose kisses for moose Moose polar dash 2013 moose moose and melanie moose moose

Cinnamon Roll Waffles and Blueberry Pie

Happy FRIDAY! My favorite day of the week has arrived! Ahhhhh….

I am definitely linking up with Katie and Clare for Friday Favorites because I have lots of goodies to share from the week (as if you couldn’t tell from the post title)!

1. Moose definitely got in on the Friday favorites this week when he got to clean up an empty jar of peanut butter. Lucky pup!

Moose peanut butter

2. The beauty of fall makes me so insanely happy I can hardly explain. I love fall.

 

 

 

 

fall

3. Blueberry pie while celebrating my mom’s birthday. I can’t tell you the last time I had blueberry pie but I can tell you I wish it would have been sooner because this stuff rocked.

 

 

blueberry pie

4. Mind you the sweet tooth is in full force….this cinnamon roll waffle. OMG this thing was no joke. Cinnamon waffle with cream cheese icing. Um okay!

 

 

cinnamon roll waffle

5. Going through old bins and finding gems like this one. The fabulous four roomies from college at Mankato!

 

 

 

melanie angela heidi katie college

6. Weeknight dates with Dana. We kept putting it off because we have been so busy remodeling our upstairs bathroom and would really like to finish it before baby arrives, but we decided this is something we really wanted to do. We went to Ciao Bella in Bloomington and I got spaghetti and meatballs. I cashed the whole plate except for a couple of bites. I loved it.

 

 

spaghetti and meatballs caio bella

7. Crock pot meals. These were simple chicken tacos made with chicken breast, salsa, chili powder, garlic powder and onion powder. They were set in the crock pot for a little while and were ready for us when dinner came around.

 

 

crockpot tacos

8. New Larabar flavors. When we were in La Crosse we went to this ginormous grocery store called Woodman’s. We stumbled upon the Larabars and loaded up on some seasonal flavors like snickerdoodle and gingerbread! YUM!

 

 

larabar

 

I told ya–lots of goodies in today’s Friday Favs!

 

No updates on the baby front; I am definitely still very pregnant. It is so exciting to know it could be any day now that we meet our precious guy!

 

I hope you all have a great weekend!

 

What were some of your Friday favorites?

What’s your favorite kind of pie? 

I usually go for French silk pie but this blueberry pie opened my eyes to fruit pies again!

House and Fashion Updates

It’s Monday. Choose happy. I know it’s not always easy but do it. 🙂

happiness

This weekend was very productive around our house. We finished painting the basement! The next step will be putting in the baseboards and the door frames and then the carpet can go in! Eeee we are getting closer and closer to having a finished basement and it is so exciting!

We also bought flowers for our window flower boxes, a couple of plants, and vegetables for our garden. This year we are going with zucchini, three different tomatoes, sugar snap peas, and red bell pepper. Everything is planted so now we just wait a 2-3 months and hope for a bountiful year! Last year the weather wasn’t in our favor and our veggies didn’t do well at all. I have a feeling it will be a good year this year.

I wanted to let you all know that the dress and shirt I bought from Filly Flair fit perfectly and I will be keeping them. I’m wearing the dress to a wedding this summer and the shirt for kicking around. Yay for cute clothes!

filly flair top 2 filly flair dress

 

Now I just need to find a necklace to go with the dress. I really like how the mint one looks with the dress so I might be on the search for something similar. What do you think?

I still haven’t decided if I’m going to use Rent the Runway for a dress I need for a New York wedding that I’m going to in June. I’m actually learning towards not using it only because I have a girlfriend with a couple of really cute dresses that I could borrow plus I want to go to a couple more stores before deciding. The biggest issues I have with RTR is that 1. I don’t get to keep the dress afterwards (I LOVE dresses) and 2. I’m afraid I won’t like it or I won’t like how it fits and then I’ll be stuck with RTR store credit. IDK. I’m still up in the air about it but my guess is I will more than likely not use it right now. But thanks for helping me “shop” and giving me your opinions on the dresses. They really are adorable! I probably would have gone with this one:

rtr dress

 

 

Moose turned 6 years old on Saturday! We celebrated by giving him a little bite of steak and throwing the ball to him in the yard.

moose

 

Plus mother nature gave him beautiful weather all weekend. It was such a nice treat!

Alright, that’s all the updates I have for now.

I want to know… How was YOUR weekend? What were some highlights?

I am Grateful

I’m grateful for so many things, and I don’t express my gratitude nearly as often as I should. As always, I am so grateful for my family and friends. You make my life wonderful. life is only as good I am thankful for the warm sunshine. It rejuvenates my soul and feeds my body with the Vitamin D it so needs. melanie orlando I’m grateful for Moose. Even though he annoys me like no other sometimes, the majority of the time he is hysterical and keeps me smiling. moose moose moose I’m grateful for my passion for cooking and experimenting with healthy ingredients and creations (like this sweet potato gluten-free crust). carrot crust pizza I’m grateful for all of the opportunities I have to travel and explore the world. There is so much to see and do, I can’t wait to see it all! turks and caicos Melanie I am grateful for Young Living Essential Oils. They have opened my world to a new way of treating headaches, anxiety, cold and flu, etc. Let me know if you want me to order anything for you! medicine cabinet makeover I am grateful for my chiropractor who keeps my spine in line and helps me to feel my best. I am grateful for my acupuncturist who I see weekly. My sessions help me relax and ease any tension that I may be holding on to. My list is much greater than this but it is a start. I have a lot to be thankful for. Now, it’s your turn. What are you grateful for?!

Treat Yourself: Sweet Treats, Sunshine & Clothing Bargains

Happy Treat Yourself Tuesday! It’s been a while since I’ve linked up with Becky’s TYT and I have some fun things to share with you all, so today I am linking up!

To read about Becky’s Treat Yourself Tuesday, head on over here and learn why Becky is a firm believer in treating yourself on a weekly (and even daily) basis.

Since the weather has been amazingly beautiful, I have been treating myself to extra time outside. I am loving the Vitamin D and Moose is loving my company outside. moose

This was a total random purchase as are most of my clothing purchases, but I happened to stumble upon the clearance section at Gap and found this adorable polka dot blue sweatshirt. It fit me just perfectly so it was meant to be. I snagged it for just $9! gap sweatshirt

I am treating myself to a huge container of Driscoll’s strawberries. They are so sweet and perfect! They scream summer to me. strawberries

From healthy strawberries to a not at all healthy doughnut. I enjoy a doughnut I’d say maybe once or twice a year. We had a free doughnut coupon for a doughnut shop in our neighborhood so…….guess what happened. A long john, that’s what happened. I was bummed they didn’t have any long johns with chocolate and sprinkles but I made due with just the solo chocolate and it sure was tasty still. #allinmoderation #doughnutsaredelicious doughnut This maxi dress from Target. I wanted it ever since I saw Becky post about it but this one is the one I wanted and it was no longer available online and it wasn’t at my normal target. BUT…..after acupuncture last week I stopped at a different target and lo and behold…my dress! I also found a 15% off coupon on Cartwheel and got an extra 5% off by using my redcard. Boo ya. maxi dress

On Sunday my mom and I went out for a nice long walk. It was sunny, it was peaceful, it was lovely. We chatted away and talked about how we wish we could meet up for walks everyday! That walk was definitely a treat.

How did YOU treat yourself this week?

What’s your favorite kind of doughnut?

Thanks, Becky again for the link-up! Treat-Yourself-Tuesday-Badge

Non-Caffeinated Energy and a Giveaway Winner

Happy Thursday!

I’m over here trying to ward off this congestion/runny nose situation I have going on. It’s disrupting my sleep and this girl needs her sleep. I’m staying positive though that I’m going to kick this thing to the curb asap!

Since I’m off of caffeine while I let my gut heal, I have to look to other modes of fuel for energy…

… like vitamin-packed smoothies. In this one we have a clementine, blueberries, raspberries, almond milk, and amasai probiotic. I’m hoping to write a post more about amasai and other beyond organic products in the future. I just started the amasai and will be starting the terrain, and I want to wait until I’m more familiar with the products and see how they work for me before I share with all of you!

smoothie

 

And I definitely want to chat with you all more about Young Living Essential Oils! I have fallen in love with the oils so much that I’ve decided to become a distributor!

To help rid this congestion/runny nose I am diffusing Thieves and Lemon essential oils. I’m also sipping on some raspberry leaf tea. Does this not sound like the recipe to wellness if you’ve ever heard one?! I’m not going to let a little congestion get me down!

 

beverages and diffuser

 

I’m going to kick this thing. Water, tea, balanced meals, rest, essential oils and I’m thinking soup for lunch is in order. Bring on the liquids!

Question: Any natural remedies that you swear by for clearing up congestion?!

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Popchip Winner

Enough about me, let’s talk about you, and Moose.

moose

I asked Moose to give me a number between 1 and 44. He continued to stare blankly at the television like a teenager so I had to take matters into my own hands. Random number generator helped me to pick the winner of the one-month (24 bags) supply of pophips and the lucky winner is….

JORDAN!! Congrats, Jordan!

Please email me at beautifullynutty@gmail.com within 48 hours with your mailing address and popchips will send you your box of goodies!

Thank you to all who entered!!

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

Have a great day!

have a good day

xoxo

A Crispy Healthy Snack and a GIVEAWAY! {giveaway closed}

Haaaaaapy Tuesday!

Have you all ever heard of popchips?!

I first stumbled upon them in my college years and was blown away by the healthy (and incredibly delicious) chip.

They are natural potato, tortilla, and corn chips that aren’t fried or baked; they’re popped! They use heat and pressure which makes for a crispy and delicious snack!

Their pledge: “No fake colors, no fake flavors, no preservatives, no fluorescent orange fingertips, and no wiping your greasy chip hand on your jeans. They leave out the bad stuff like hydrogenated oils and msg. Popchips have no preservatives.” source

popchips

Are you enticed yet? You should be.

When I was first introduced to them, there were only a handful of flavors, but now they have a whole lotta’ flavors…

Potato popchips flavors:

  • original
  • barbeque
  • sour cream & onion
  • sea salt & vinegar
  • cheddar
  • salt & pepper
  • chili lime
  • sweet potato
  • thai sweet chili

Tortilla popchips:

  • nacho cheese
  • ranch
  • salsa
  • chili limón
  • The newest addition to the popchips family is katy perry’s signature flavor, katy’s kettle corn popchips

I hope I’ve intrigued you enough because I am teaming up with Popchips and Jillian Michaels to help promote healthier snacking! There’s an awesome giveaway to come at the bottom of this post, so keep reading!

popchips jillian michaels bring the fun social post image

What Jillian Michaels has to say about popchips: 

“my kids love popchips and i love that they are not only delicious, but chemical free with no artificial ingredients of any kind.”

“popchips are my go to afternoon snack. delicious and with half the calories of fried chips and none of the chemicals, they won’t slow you down.”

Here are some healthy living tips from Jillian Michaels that I totally agree with!

1) this new year have more fun with your fitness. staying healthy and in shape shouldn’t be about foods you have to cut or spending hours in a gym, getting healthy can still be fun! instead of working out in a gym, get outside and mix it up during the week. go for an outdoor hike, bike ride, try skiing or take your friends with you to the gym and  try a new class like my new Bodyshred!

2) it’s not about completely eliminating food groups or opting for famine in the new year. enjoy foods that taste great and are better for you.

3) it’s not just about the cardio training. many people believe if they run for an hour they are shedding the pounds. the reality is your body gets used to this type of activity. strength training is a great way boost your metabolism. if you do strength training four times a week, you can increase your metabolism by 6-7 percent! taking a fun weekend boot camp class gets you outside and meeting new people who are trying to accomplish the same goals. plus switching up your workout keeps it fun.

4) making wiser eating choices doesn’t mean you have to skip the fun traditions like taco night. when picking out your main dish options, always go with lean organic meat whenever possible. lean turkey and grilled chicken are great options. and if you love beef in your taco, just make it half lean grass fed organic beef and half turkey meat for a better option that still tastes great. having a burger night? instead of piling on the condiments, which are full of calories and high fructose corn syrup, try adding sliced avocado. they are full of healthy fats that are good for your body and skin!

5) when making dinner for your family, you don’t need to skip out on the fun and nibble on salad – just eat it first! start your meals with the healthiest thing on the table like a rainbow salad or steamed vegetables. that way when you get to the bad stuff you won’t need as much to feel satisfied. also, with better options on the table, your family is more likely to eat them and reap the benefits with you!

An incredibly intriguing recipe using cheddar potato popchips and almonds to crust chicken breast!:

Almond-Crusted Chicken Breasts 

popchips original popchips crusted chicken

Crusted with cheddar potato popchips for added flavor

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup unsalted almonds, toasted
  • ½ cup of cheddar potato popchips
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¾ teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4-to-5 ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

Procedure:

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
  • In the work bowl of a food processor, place the almonds, popchips, olive oil, lemon zest and juice, rosemary, garlic, and salt.  Process until coarsely chopped; the mixture will be a thick paste.
  • Arrange the chicken breast halves in a baking dish. Divide the almond paste and spread on the breasts; pat down to cover each breast completely.
  • Roast in the oven until cooked through and an instant-read thermometer reads 165 deg F to 170 deg F, about 10 minutes. Loosely tent with foil and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Real quick: I’m not saying that you can swap popchips for your fruits and veggies, because that is a no-no, but you can have popchips as part of a balanced diet. Say it with me…ALL IN MODERATION.

Woooooooofta! That was a lot of fun info, right? It gets even better. Are you still with me?

Enter to win at www.popchips.com/bringthefun

“No resolutions required”. Popchips are asking snackers to tell them how they will bring the fun (not the fat) to 2014. They can enter their “bring the fun” ideas @www.popchips.com/bringthefun for a chance to win the following:

  • a round trip for two to jillian michaels maximize your life tour
  • a 1 year subscription to fitfusion
  • a 1 year supply of popchips!

Saaaaweet!

bringthefun_DIGITALCAMPAIGN_612x612_instagramimg

A giveaway to my readers NOW!: One lucky participant will win a one-month supply of popchips (24 bags)!! Yes really!

To enter to win one month supply of popchips: leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite popchip flavor or the one you would be most excited to try if you’ve never had them. Earn an extra entry by tweeting, “I want to win a month supply of @popchips from @NuttyMelanie! http://wp.me/p2J5VV-2FS.” Be sure to leave another comment on this post so I know you tweeted!

I will announce a winner this Friday. Good luck! (No P.O. Boxes—-sorry).

Disclaimer: I am teaming up with Popchips to help promote healthier snacking. I was not compensated for this post but was given free popchips to sample. All opinions expressed in this post are opinions that I agree with and/or are my own.

Maple Mustard Salmon and Sisterhood

This was one of those weekends that went so fast it hardly seemed like it existed. The only proof I have is that I took a few photos from the weekend. 🙂 Kidding, I have fond memories from the weekend to remind me that it existed too. But seriously, it did fly by.

My weekend was full of exercise, cleaning, putting Christmas decorations away, hanging out with girlfriends, and running errands. Today as the weather is dramatically low, I will be keeping warm and hibernating as best as I can.

A couple of snap shots from the weekend:

Quinoa salad bowl with spinach, quinoa, tomato, muffuletta, and hummus. It was pretty darn good even though I was forced to scarf it down in the Target parking lot and even though I was really craving peanut butter. But, it’s what I had packed!

spinach quinoa salad

 

On Friday night I switched up our typical salmon (my favorite salmon) for a maple mustard salmon. Dana grilled the salmon on the grill per usual as I prepared the maple mustard mixture. You are actually supposed to slather this mixture/sauce on the salmon before and as they are being grilled, but I didn’t want to waste any of it down the grates of the grill so we kept them separate.

The mustard maple sauce was from a recipe on Chow. Here’s the recipe from their website: Maple-Mustard Grilled Salmon

For the glaze:

  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

The changes I made were I used dried thyme instead of fresh and halved the recipe since we were only making two salmon fillets.

 

maple mustard salmon

 

After the salmon were done on the grill, we set them in the saucepan inside and then transferred them to our plates pouring the sauce over the salmon. It was good but not as good as my favorite sesame oil, almond, and caper recipe!

On Saturday evening I had some of my girls over for girls night. We had an array of snacks: Chex Mix, apples with peanut butter Greek yogurt dip, cheese (havarti–my fav) and crackers, veggies and hummus, chocolate, and wine.

girls night appetizers

 

We chatted, played games, ate, watched part of a movie and then crashed before midnight. Oh how the times have changed. I love those ladies with all of my heart and can’t wait to be reunited again!

Speaking of ladies, my dear friend Katie (Running4Cupcakes) has nominated me for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award! I am always grateful for these nominations so thank you Katie for nominating me!

sisterhood-of-the-world-bloggers-award-w500

The Rules

1. Post the logo on your blog
2. Thanks the person who nominated you
3. Answer the questions
4. Choose 10 or so other ladies who blog as your nominees
5. Post the links to the nominees’ blogs and notify them on their blog

Favorite color – I really don’t have a favorite color. I like them all and my color choice depends on my mood mostly. I guess I could say I’m a red gal though. I have a lot of red accents around my house and I love wearing red.

dana and melanie

Favorite animal – Dogs and monkeys and gorillas. They all make me laugh!

Moose camping

como zoo

Favorite non-alcoholic drink – Turtle Mocha Northern Lite Lattes, Skinny Peppermint Mocha, sparkling water, water.

coffee

Facebook or Twitter – Facebook I guess. I kind of get tired of both actually and yet I check both of them all of the time.

Favorite pattern – Zebra print, leopard print, stripes, polka dots.

date night lago taco

Favorite number – Growing up it was 32 which was my basketball number, but today I don’t have one. Maybe I should follow Katie’s lead and use birthdays; so 16.

Favorite day of the week – Friday! I bet you could have guessed that based on my excitement in my Friday posts.

Do you prefer getting or giving presents? – Giving a perfect gift and seeing that person’s face light up is the best BUT I will not lie…I like getting presents too.

christmas 2013 mom and dads

Favorite Flower – tulips, gerberas, roses…

wedding and flowers

What is your passion –  Family, food, health, fitness, cooking, positivity, travel, happiness, and love.

Florence Italy

Now it’s your turn:

Sarah
Caroline
Becky
Shannon
Chelsea
Hannah
Kim
Christie
Jackie
Kate

It’s your turn too even if your name isn’t listed above! Answer some of the questions in the comment section! HAAAaaaave fun!!

Extended Thanksgiving & Now It’s Time for Christmas

Well, hello. How’s everyone holding up after the holiday weekend? I know I’m a little late with checking in as Thanksgiving was officially last Thursday, but many of us continued to celebrate over the weekend so I’m not too far off!

The last time I checked in I was recovering from Thanksgiving food coma #1. I’ll catch you up from there as the celebrations continued over the weekend.

On Friday, I started the morning off right with a slice of homemade gluten-free almond bread with peanut butter and a touch of organic maple syrup.

almond bread with peanut butter

Mid-morning I got a four-mile walk in on the treadmill while watching Gossip Girls, again. 🙂 For lunch, LEFTOVERS of course!

thanksgiving leftovers

After I filled my belly with turkey, Dana and I headed out to find our Christmas tree. Every year we go out to a tree farm and chop our own tree down. This year we went to two different tree farms, trekked around for a good hour and a half, and realized we were much too picky when it came to finding our tree this year and we left with nothing.

We weren’t finding one that was full enough or fat enough, so instead of settling, we moved on….to Costco. After our long hunt all bundled up in winter gear in the tree farms, we ended up buying our tree at Costco this year. It is absolutely perfect and was half the price too! We can’t say we didn’t try.

We set it up on Friday but didn’t decorate it until Sunday because the tree needed to settle, but here is the finished product from Sunday! Da da da da………

christmas tree

Moose was unimpressed but I’m impressed myself. It turned out great!

moose close up

On Saturday we headed over to Dana’s parents to celebrate Thanksgiving with them. They made my favorite cheesy veggie recipe which I go crazy for.

cheesy vegetables

Au gratin sweet and russet potatoes…

au gratin potatoes

I contributed a fruit salad made with whole cranberry sauce, crushed pineapple, grapes, walnuts, and whipped cream. This was so easy and very tasty.

fruit salad thanksgiving plate

I cleaned my plate and loved every bite. Apparently I didn’t snap a photo of dessert but it was a very delicious piece of homemade pumpkin pie! Num num num. I love celebrating Thanksgiving twice!!

Now that Thanksgiving is over, it is officially time to think about Christmas. Who am I kidding, I was already listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving. But now it is in full swing: music, shopping, treats, snow, potlucks, mint mochas, family, friends, parties! I am excited!

Happy day to you all. I hope you had a great weekend!