Fresh Vegetarian Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce

 

 

Happy Saturday! So, yesterday when I was driving to work, it dawned on me what day it was. It was May 17th which means it was Moose’s 5th birthday!  Our little guy is now 5 years old which is just pure craziness! We celebrated by giving him a couple of pieces of cheese with his pain meds and antibiotics last night and he got to lick the end of the peanut butter jar. 🙂 Lucky guy, huh?

mooser birthday

Another thing I was remembering while driving was that last year at this time we were in the Boundary Waters with my brother Scotty and his girlfriend Nicole. The weather was a whole lot different last year and we were actually bathing in the water! It was cold, but it was tolerable. It was definitely an adventure I will never forget. If you want to reminisce with me you can check out this boundary water post!

I’m slowly pulling myself out of my food rut and I got creative in the kitchen again last night! It was a Vegetarian Spring Roll night in our casa!

I began by prepping my veggies: cutting cucumber, red bell pepper and carrots into strips, chopping up fresh cilantro, and opening up a bag of broccoli slaw.

vegetarian spring rolls with peanut sauce

Next, I prepared the peanut sauce. Into the bowl went 1/4 cup creamy natural peanut butter, 2 tablespoons of hot water, the juice of half a lime, 3/4 tablespoon coconut aminos (you could use soy sauce instead), and 1/2 tablespoon of sesame oil. After I made all of the rolls up I decided I should have added some heat to the sauce, so I recommend adding either red pepper flakes or a dash of hot sauce to the peanut sauce!

 

vegetarian spring rolls with peanut sauce

 

Next, we submerged the rice paper into a hot water bath one by one, rotating it until it becomes slightly floppy and pliable. Don’t be intimidated by rice paper, it is really SO easy to use! I placed the paper onto the counter and smeared on the peanut sauce and piled on the veggies (broccoli slaw, red bell pepper, cucumber, carrots, and cilantro).

vegetarian spring rolls with peanut sauce

 

I rolled the long side over first, then tucked each side over, and continued the rest of the roll.

vegetarian spring rolls with peanut sauce

 

vegetarian spring rolls with peanut sauce

 

And the end result is these gorgeous spring rolls!

 

vegetarian spring rolls with peanut sauce

You could also use the peanut sauce as a dipping sauce on the side instead of inside the wrapper, but I was in the mood to tuck it inside.

vegetarian spring rolls with peanut sauce vegetarian spring rolls with peanut sauce vegetarian spring rolls with peanut sauce

 

Aren’t they gorgeous?! They tasted so fresh and delicious and they were actually very satisfying as well. The best part about these rolls is you can use up whatever you have on hand as the filling. The last time I used these rice papers to make rolls I made a warm baked Santa Fe version and they were super good too! The kids would love these rolls especially if you served them with a dipping sauce.

Have a fabulous day! I have to go get Insane

Fudgy Dark Chocolate Cookies (Gluten-Free)

Thank you for all of your sweet thoughts and kind words yesterday. Moose is doing very well! His swelling has gone down dramatically and after I posted yesterday, the vet actually called me back after having talked to a dental specialist who said a little swelling was absolutely normal especially on bigger dogs, so I didn’t need to bring him back in yesterday after all. They told me to keep an eye on the swelling for the next 2-3 days and if it doesn’t go down, then we would have a problem, but otherwise it’s totally normal. And since it’s gone down I am not worried at all!

He did some doggy modeling for me yesterday…

moose moose

Gah! Love him. While we were outside yesterday I wandered over to our garden and spotted one beautiful little flower peaking on its own. It was absolutely gorgeous. Unfortunately, the wind was so intense that by the evening it was completely ruined, but at least I got to enjoy it for a short amount of time.

flower

The temperatures crept to about 98°F yesterday, but since the air was so dry and there was quite a bit of wind, it didn’t feel very hot. So instead of thinking about making ice cream, or popsicles, or chomping on some watermelon, I thought it would be fun to bake up some cookies. Totally not normal I realize. The heat wasn’t going to stop me from my chocolate craving.

I got my inspiration for this cookie recipe from acouplecooks.com. Naturally, I steered towards a healthier cookie, and I knew I wanted to make it gluten-free too.cookie

There is a secret ingredient in these cookies that might surprise you but you will be surprised to find out that you can’t taste it at all and it also packs in some protein and fiber into this decadent dark chocolate cookie and makes for one heck of a soft and fudgy cookie.

chocolate cookie gluten free

chocolate cookie gluten free

Have you guessed the secret ingredient yet? If you guessed black beans you would be absolutely correct. Don’t wrinkle your nose until you try them! I’m telling you–you can’t taste the beans at all and it does wonders for the texture of the cookie and when combined with the cocoa powder, gives these cookies a deep dark chocolate flavor.

IMG_2719

I know you’re intrigued. Here is what I came up with!

Fudgy Dark Chocolate Cookies (Gluten-Free)
Print
Ingredients
  • 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained (or about 2 cups cooked from dried)
  • 1½ Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • ¼ cup applesauce
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¾ tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips or more (I used Enjoy Life dairy-free, soy-free)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking pan with a non-stick mat, parchment paper, or non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In food processor puree the beans along with the oil, applesauce, egg, honey, and vanilla. Puree until smooth.
  3. Add cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, and salt into wet mixture; blend to combine. The consistency will resemble brownie batter.
  4. Remove blade from food processor and stir in chocolate chips.
  5. Drop spoonfuls of dough onto prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Let sit for five minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool. Store in the refrigerator or freezer. Enjoy!

 

What are you waiting for? Get baking!

Question of the day: Have you ever baked any sweet treats with beans or any other wacky ingredients? What did you think?

Nummy Leftovers & Puppy Dental Work

Only in Minnesota can it snow one day, and then two weeks later reach 90 plus degrees. I guess it keeps us on our toes right? All I can say is the winter coat and boots have officially retired to the basement for the summer and they are not making a return for a loooong time. I am pretty excited for the warm weather and the thunderstorms too!

Yesterday was a fairly quiet one around here. The pooch had a rough day–I’ll get into that in a second.

Lunch yesterday was one of my favorites. I kept it very simple and did a slightly modified version of my sweet and creamy salad. In the mix was baby spring lettuce, fresh mozzarella, strawberries, avocado, black beans, and Newman’s Own Lite honey mustard dressing.

salad

I also munched on a bunch of trail mix.

For dinner I threw together a plate of leftover taco salad from our Mother’s Day lunch. Why I don’t make large batches of food at all times and have leftovers frequently, I am not sure? Who doesn’t love a meal that comes together in a matter of minutes? Leftovers are the best! I think it tasted better this time around actually. Seriously so good.

IMG_2701

taco salad

After I snapped these photos I realized I forgot to add shredded cheese and a couple of crumpled up whole grain chips.

I may have to get creative with the rest of the chicken leftovers though—I do get tired of the same meal if I have it more than 2-3 times in a row. I may freeze it for another time too. We’ll see if I catch any creative vibes later on and that will be my deciding factor.


Moose’s Dental Work

Anyway, let’s talk about the pup. Last Friday, we were cleaning Moose’s teeth and noticed that one of his molars was completely cracked all the way up to his gums. My stomach turned when I saw it because it looked so painful, yet Moose wasn’t giving us one single sign that he was in discomfort or pain. After agreeing that we needed to call the vet asap, we first continued on to the other side of his mouth and noticed ANOTHER tooth that was cracked. What had this dog gotten in to?! Again, he had given no signs that anything was wrong meaning he probably was feeling just fine. However, you can’t just leave these two huge cracked molars sitting in his mouth because the risk of infection, abscesses and other dental related issues are sky-high. So, we called the vet and made an appointment for him for yesterday.

First of all, dropping him off at his appointment yesterday was heart breaking. As I handed him over to the vet and started to leave, he looked back at me with his puppy eyes that said, “Mom, where are you going? No, don’t leave.” My heart broke and I had to turn away. I know some of you are thinking come on, he’s just a dog, but he is my little man, he’s my child and his pain is my pain! I can only imagine how tough it’s going to be when I actually have a human child. Geez louise! I’m such a sap.

Going in to the appointment, we knew that they were for sure going to have to extract one tooth and possibly two, but for some reason I was thinking positively and thinking they would really only need to pull one. Well, at about 8:30 yesterday morning they called us and gave us the news that they would definitely need to be pulling both teeth. My heart fell to my stomach. My poor guy!

I didn’t hear anything after that until about noon when the vet called me to tell me how the procedure had gone. Unfortunately, they were only able to pull the one tooth yesterday because of his size (he’s 95 lbs again!), and because of the size of the tooth. They were having a hard time getting all of the roots of the tooth and the one tooth had taken 2 1/2 hours which means he was under anesthesia for 2 1/2 hours. The vet didn’t want to risk the same thing happening on the other side that day, because that is a long time to be under anesthesia, so we had to schedule the other extraction for next Monday. He has to go through all of this again. 🙁

He was so groggy when we got him home last night. He is on a lot of pain medication and he seems to be doing fine. He does have a little swelling this morning but again, he shows no signs of pain and doesn’t wince or whine when I look at his mouth. The vet is so kind and told me to bring him by this afternoon if I feel it isn’t going down and they can take a peak at it. I know he is probably just fine but I’d rather be safe than sorry and I will probably bring him in.

You can see a little swelling in this photo on his right side…

moose

Needless to say, after we picked him up last night he did a whole lot of lying around.

moose

 

Despite being a little groggy, I was actually surprised at how coherent he really was. He wanted to be outside, and he wanted to play, but I had to keep him inside for the most part and make sure he continued to rest. Oh my little baby!

Anyway, that’s what is going on around here!

Questions of the day:

  • Have you ever had to deal with any health issues with your pets? Does it break your heart as much as it does mine?!
  • What is your favorite “leftover” food? 

I enjoy leftover tacos, and meatloaf always seems to taste better the second day for some reason!

Insanity Week 3 Complete: Push Yourself

First and foremost, Moose says hi!

moose

 

Sometimes I think we should enroll him in puppy modeling because he is so adorable, but I wouldn’t want him to lose his modesty. 😉

I can’t believe how much I have been slacking creatively in the kitchen this week. Honestly, the majority of my meals this week have been “wing-it” meals and I have been settling with Greek yogurt and a couple of snacks for my evening meals. It’s a little strange! I’ll get back on the ball though; I always do.

Insanity: Week 3 Completed

I can’t believe I have just finished week three of Insanity. In case you missed my other Insanity posts you can catch up real quick:

Let’s take a look at how week three went down!

Body and Strength Changes

Many of the moves in the workouts are starting to feel “easier” because I am able to use more core strength to get through it. I say “easier” because these workouts continue to be incredibly challenging, I am just able to keep up a little better with some of the exercises. My core continues to feel stronger each week.

The amount of push-ups I am able to do has doubled since I began Insanity and I am so incredibly excited about this! I am still working towards my goal of being able to do at least one unassisted chin-up and I am thrilled to tell you that I am SO close! One of these days I’m going to hop on that pull-up bar and crank out a solid chin-up. I can’t wait.

My legs feel like stronger and more toned. My pants are all feeling very comfortable although I feel like my legs are looking a bit thicker; this may be in my head.

Weight Fluctuations

For the sake of my sanity (ha) I think I am going to remove this column from the following recaps. The scale and I have a poor relationship and I don’t like having to step on it every week; the number doesn’t matter and I don’t want this to be a focal point. I am feeling really good about the changes I am seeing, and I don’t want the scale to jeopardize these feelings.

The main reason I put this category in my recap posts was because I felt readers may be interested in any weight changes during the Insanity journey, and for that reason I will more than likely include that information in my final Insanity recap post, just not weekly. Thanks for understanding!

Soreness, Fatigue, or Aches

My back was really sore last week for some reason, but this week it is feeling just fine. This is a very good thing because that means I can continue the Insanity workouts.

My elbow is a little sore and have no idea if this is associated with the workouts or not. Kind of strange I realize but I don’t know what else it would be from!

Overall Thoughts and Feelings

I continue to prefer to do my Insanity workouts in the morning before breakfast and after I’ve had a chance to wake up for a few minutes. It’s a little hard to get moving during the warm-up but by the third set of the warm-up I am usually feeling good to go. I love the feeling of being completely done with an amazing workout early in the morning and having the rest of the day to do what I need to do. It helps me to stay energized throughout the day too.

(glistening post-workout photo)

insanity

This week of workouts flew by very quickly. I had an easy time finding motivation to complete the workouts (unlike last week). I think part of the reason why is that I am feeling so good about the changes my body is going through and I want to continue to feel and see those changes. I am feeling so much stronger and I am in complete amazement at the changes a person can make to their body in such a short amount of time. I can’t tell if my body is changing enough for anyone else to notice, but I can personally notice subtle changes and that’s all that matters to me.

motivation insanity

I found this Insanity Survival Guide on a blog I ran across on Pinterest, and if you are following the Insanity workouts or thinking about starting them, you should really check this out. He lists 17 tips to help you safely get through the Insanity workouts.

I began this Insanity journey to build strength, to increase endurance and stamina, and to challenge my body and push it out of it’s fitness comfort zone. I can honestly say it has done all of that and more and I am not even halfway done.

I am proud to say I am done with week three and gracefully moving on to week four!

Here I go!

When’s the last time you pushed yourself out of your fitness comfort zone? How did it go? How did you feel?

 

Finally a Warm Run

What an enjoyable weekend. The weather was incredible, I was able to relax, hang out with family, friends, and run a 10k with Dana!

I can’t believe I neglected to take one photo of the actual race site at Minnehaha Park because it is a very beautiful area, but I didn’t. We raced up the streets parallel to the river, crossed the river, came back down the other side, and then crossed the river again. I am always happy when the route is an actual large loop versus multiple laps.

If you are local and are interested in a really nice 10K loop, check out the race course here: Minnehaha Get in Gear 10k Race Course

On Friday we headed over to Minnehaha to pick up our race bibs and scope out the giveaway goodies. We were about to head out and then our eyes caught sight of this:

salted nut roll

That is 25 lbs of pure salted nut roll heaven right there. They were cutting up sample bars and I just had to sample one myself and OMG. This was the best Salted Nut Roll I have ever eaten, and I’ve eaten my fair share. It was so soft and there was so much NOUGAT :smile:. I savored every last bite of that magical bar.

salted nut roll

 

Moving on to race day.

Dana and I gave ourselves plenty of time to get over to the race site but unfortunately the shuttle buses to get runners from the parking area to the race site were not super efficient and by the time we got to the race site, checked our bags (this took a while too) and got into the bathroom lines, we had about 15 minutes until start time.

The bathroom lines were reeeeaaaallly long. I started to get my little anxiety spurts that I get just prior to races and was nervous that we wouldn’t be at the start line when the race began. I knew it didn’t really matter if I was or wasn’t there when it actually began because we had time chips in our race bibs, but I just like to be where I’m supposed to be at any given time.

They made the five-minute until go time announcement and we were still in line, with about eight people still in front of us. Then the two-minute announcement was made and we were still four people back. The National Anthem was sung and there was 26 seconds of silence to honor Boston and everyone involved in the tragedy. The race began and we were still in line.

get in gear 10k

We finally got our turn for the glamorous porto-potty’s and then made a mad dash to the starting line while “washing” our hands with antibacterial goop. By the time we got to the start, there were still TONS of people who hadn’t yet crossed the start line. So basically all of that anxiety and rushing to get to the start line really wasn’t necessary.

 

That was how our race began.

The course was really great and spectators were lined all along the streets almost the entire way. At about one mile in I was struck with side aches on both sides. I used the breathe in through your nose, out through your mouth technique to try to get rid of those bad boys but I wasn’t having much luck. It wasn’t until about mile 5 that they started to go away. Needless to say this wasn’t my best or most enjoyable run, however I am always proud to say that I finished it and I didn’t stop to walk even once.

I finished in 1:01:26 which was about one minute slower than my January 1st 10K race. I was a little disappointed because I had wanted to break the one hour mark, but I didn’t get too hung up on it. I just ran 6.2 miles and I was going to be proud of it!

get in gear 10k

It was SO nice to run in warm weather and not have to be bundled up from head to toe. The sun felt heavenly.

By the time we got home I was exhausted and hungry. I made myself some food and then joined Moose out on the deck to get some rays and relax.

moose deck moose deck

Goodness he’s a big boy.

I gave my camera a rest for the remainder of the weekend but will tell you I had such an incredible weekend. The highlight was spending time with family and friends and enjoying the sunny warm weather.

What was the highlight of your weekend?

 

Spring Has Finally Sprung

 

It’s finally happening people…spring is arriving in Minnesota! Yesterday the temperature got up to 50°F which being that we had these sights just days ago, gets us Minnesotans super amped up. Today is supposed to reach 69, Saturday: 72, and Sunday:  76. If every Minnesotan who is capable of being outside this weekend isn’t outside I would be truly surprised. We have been caged up for far too long. There will be people in shorts and flip-flops left and right, and possibly even bathing suits. Spring is finally ARRIVING! My heart flutters at the thought.

Tomorrow we run are running in a 10K race. Because of the nasty weather, and since the beginning of Insanity, we haven’t been running…at.all. I am hoping since we are keeping up on our cardio and endurance and building up our strength, that 6.2 miles will be a breeze (*fingers crossed*). The other thing that should help is the gorgeous weather. The adrenaline of warm weather and cheering spectators should be all that we need to make this race a great one. We shall see!

Last night there was no doubt in my mind that we were going to grill. At lunch time I started marinading two skinless chicken breasts in coconut aminos, honey, pineapple, ginger, and garlic powder.

When it was time for dinner we threw those bad boys on the grill and hung outside with the pooch while they cooked away.

outside

outside dana grill

“Look ma, no snow!”

outside moose

To go along with the chicken, I put together a simple romaine salad with red peppers and lima beans. For the dressing I made a simple mix of rice vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, and a touch of honey. We plated the chicken over the salad, and dressed it with the Asian-inspired mixture. That’s what you call a springy-looking plate! So light and refreshing!

chicken salad

I’m officially welcoming salads back in as a dinner option now that the warm weather is rolling around.

chicken salad

 

After dinner we took Mooser for a 2 mile walk around the neighborhood. I underestimated my clothing and lack of layers and wound up being pretty chilly through the walk. It was still so nice to get out and not have to trudge through any snow. LOVE.

I am really hoping to make this a ritual in the evenings. So often I find myself wanting to snuggle into the couch after dinner and then I don’t end up moving from my spot until bedtime. I’m working on breaking that habit and the warmer weather will absolutely help that.

After our walk we came in and enjoyed Glee and I whipped up a batch of banana soft serve. I made it in the NutriBullet for the first time and it came out even smoother than when I make it in the blender. We went the simple au natural route and just used bananas and a little coconut milk.

 

banana softserve

 

Between the grilling, the salad, the evening walk, the banana soft serve, it looks like spring has finally sprung over here! Can I get a whoop whoop?!

What do you enjoy most about spring?

Happy Friday my friends!

Chicken Marbella & Weekend Scenes

Mother Nature is seriously testing my positivity and patience. It is ridiculous here. It has been consistently cold and rainy/snowy. Enough to make me want to crawl into hibernation again.

snow

We weren’t able to get our normal weekend run in due to schedule conflicts and freezing rain conflicts, and today isn’t too much better. Although, it isn’t raining or snowing yet. The treadmill has my name on it today unfortunately. It sounds like we’re going to have a week and a half or so of not so nice weather and then it’s supposed to turnaround. We can only hope!

Okay, enough of the downer talk. How about some photos from this weekend?

Mom and dad and Abbie time…

abbie

Morning coffee with coconut milk and a fruit and veggie smoothie…

smoothie coffee

Saturday night steak dinner!

steak

Moose shares my same love for peanut butter…

pb banana moose pb

Leftover steak salad with red bell peppers, tomato, olives, avocado, and Annie’s Green Goddess dressing…

steak salad

We planted some of the veggies for our vegetable garden which we will start off indoors and eventually move to our outdoor garden! These are the things we need to be doing to keep our spirits lifted.

dana garden

A batch of homemade gluten-free almond flour bread

almond bread

And the grand finale of the weekend is a recipe inspired from epicurious and introduced to me by Dana’s mom…CHICKEN MARBELLA. 

chicken marbella

Chicken breasts, olives, dried apricots, prunes, capers, red wine vinegar, oregano, garlic, red wine, honey, olive oil, bay leaves, and salt and pepper were combined in an oven-safe dish….

chicken marbella

And baked for an hour at 350°F…

chicken marbella

The result was pure perfection.

chicken marbella chicken marbella

I am a huge sweet and salty fan and this was the perfect dish to satisfy that taste combination.

Chicken Marbella
Print
Ingredients
  • 2 large chicken breast, cut into 10 large pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced finely
  • 2 Tbsp dried oregano
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup prunes, quartered
  • ¼ cup dried apricots, halved
  • ½ cup large green olives, rough chopped
  • ¼ cup capers and some juice
  • 3 bay leaves
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½ cup red wine
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Arrange chicken in a shallow baking pan; set aside.
  3. In a small bowl combine all remaining ingredients; mix well; pour over chicken.
  4. If time allows, let marinade in the fridge for a few hours, otherwise place in oven right away.
  5. Bake for 1 hour, basting chicken with juices frequently, until chicken is cooked through.

 

It is such an easy recipe that looks fancy but it is really so simple, and it tastes AWESOME. I highly recommend you make this one night this week. You won’t be disappointed.

I hope you all had a fabulous weekend and that your Monday is off to a great start!

Question of the day: Do you prefer salty or sweet?

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

Chicken Stir-Fry with Coconut Aminos

It’s Friday! Oh yea, baby! Before we get too excited about this glorious day of the week, let’s take a quick look at Thursday, shall we?

I had a really great day. I actually kept thinking yesterday was Friday. I was super messed up on my days.

I had the day off and I started it off by meeting up my high school friend Ted, for coffee at Caribou. Why on earth have we not gotten together sooner, I don’t know. All I can say is it was so nice to catch up with him. He is such a positive person and I love having positive people in my life! There is no room for negativity in my life.

In the afternoon Dana and I took the pup out for a 3-mile loop around our neighborhood. The weather was absolutely perfect for an outdoor run; about 50°F and sunny. I was even able to wear my capris outside for the first time this year!

Moose is still working on his stamina. He was pretty wiped immediately after the run.

moose

Allergy Update

I seem to have worked whatever food or medication allergy I had out of my system, because I have been feeling back to normal. The only thing I can think of that may have triggered it is the abundant amount of strawberries I had eaten those few days, but I’ve never had a problem with them in the past! Again, another reason I would like to have an intolerance test done.

Lunch

For lunch I threw together a ginormous veggie-packed salad. I loved the volume of this salad. In the mix was mixed spring greens, broccoli, carrots, red pepper, celery, a spritz of olive oil, hummus, and sunflower seeds. Wowza it was GOOD.

veggie salad

There were a few snacks eaten throughout the day to tide me over between meals, all of which went unphotographed.

We made a purchase yesterday to add to our “at-home gym”…..

A PULL-UP BAR!

chin up pull up bar

I wasn’t messing around when I said I am going to conquer at least one unassisted chin-up before May. We put this up in the doorway on our main floor so that I will be more likely to use it often. Like I said previously, I still have a LOOONNNG way to go, but I’ll get there!

Stir-Fry Dinner and Coconut Aminos

Mmm mmm, dinner was tasty last night. Stir-fry has got to be one of the easiest meals to make and it always comes out well.

Last night I pulled out the wok and sautéed up onion, garlic, red bell pepper, broccoli, sugar snap peas and carrots in sesame oil. Once the veggies had cooked through, I added about 1/3 of a cup of bone broth along with 5-6 splashes of coconut aminos (more on that in a sec). I also added a few sprinkles of garlic powder, onion powder, ginger, and salt. I then let the liquids cook out, added some leftover cooked chicken, allowed that to heat through and VOILA!

stir fry

I served the stir-fry over cooked quinoa (I let the quinoa soak for 24 hours before cooking to help with digestibility) and had myself a deliciously gluten-free and soy-free dinner!

stir fry

stif fry

So, about those coconut aminos I mentioned….

Yesterday I stopped in at Whole Foods and oogled over all of the great products. I meandered down the Asian-food aisle and my eyes spied this intriguing sauce:

Coconut Secret’s Raw Coconut Aminos

coconut aminos

I had to give it a go after what I read on the label. Here is what I have learned about Coconut Aminos (information taken from their website):

Their product is:

  • 100% Organic
  • Gluten-free
  • Soy-free
  • Dairy-free
  • Vegan
  • Contains 17 naturally occurring amino acids which are important for muscle tissue repair and rebuilding, enhance nervous system function, and aid in boosting the immune system
  • It is made from certified organic raw coconut sap and naturally aged and blended with sun-dried, mineral-rich sea salt
  • It can be used as a substitute for soy sauce!

Source

The flavor is a bit more bland compared to regular soy sauce, and less salty, but it did add a really nice flavor to this stir-fry dish. For those of you out there who are looking for an alternative to soy-sauce, I would definitely recommend giving this a shot. I will be 100% honest with you though, I still prefer soy sauce.

But it’s still pretty neat, right? What will they think of next?!

I had a fun new treat later in the evening including another Whole Foods find:

Gluten Free Cereal

These are SO good! And the ingredients are so simple: Organic corn meal, organic evaporated cane juice, organic peanut butter, organic soy oil, sea salt, tocopherols (natural vitamin E), organic tapioca starch. I don’t plan on eating these daily, but they are going to be nice to have around if I want a little treat.

Alright, now that we caught up on Thursday we can officially celebrate Friday. I hope you all have a FANTASTIC day! Keep on smilin’ my friends.

Question of the day: Have you ever used liquid aminos before? What are your thoughts?

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

 

 

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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. 🙂

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