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?

Meatloaf on a Wintry Night

I can still use that post title for another couple of days. Although the last day of winter is technically tomorrow, it’s going to take a while before the snow goes away around here and it actually looks like spring. Oh well! It will get here when it gets here, but I am just a little antsy for that warmer weather and more outdoor running!

I took advantage of the coziness of the cold evening and baked up a comfort meal for Dana and I….

Mini Turkey Meatloaves!

meatloaf

I used a recipe I created back in July for Mini Turkey Meatloaves using ground turkey. The only change I made was I used fresh minced garlic instead of garlic powder.

*Note: These are SCD legal if you use SCD legal ketchup!

I served the meatloaves along side some simple roasted broccoli.

meatloaf

I love how meatloaf makes the house smell.

meatloaf meatloaf

And I love how they taste.  It was the perfect meal for a cold winter night.

I hope you all have a fabulous day! Happy last day of winter!! WHOOOPPPP whooop!

Question: What is your favorite comfort food on a cold evening?

Frozen Yogurt Cake & Almond Cookies

The snow is coming down here in MN this morning. I can’t say I’m thrilled about it after all, spring begins on Thursday. BUT, I am thinking positively that this is our last snow of the season.

I’m pretty sure Moose is even bummed about the snow and he LOVES snow.

moose

I have a little catching up to do from the past couple of days. On Saturday evening we headed over to my mom and dad’s to celebrate Dana’s birthday. Kev met us there too and the five of us had a Greek feast of a dinner thanks to mom and dad.

kabobs

 

They even had Mediterranean-like music playing when we got there. Yes, they’re that cute.

I said I would bring the birthday dessert and Dana had decided he wanted an ice cream cake. He’s talking a homemade creation which really couldn’t be much easier.

At the store I had him pick out what kind of ice cream he wanted and then what cookie. He picked a Moose Track Frozen Yogurt and Oreo Birthday Cake Cookies

oreos

 

How to make ice cream or frozen yogurt cake

Birthday Frozen Yogurt Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 tub of favorite ice cream or frozen yogurt
  • 1 package of favorite cookie (try choosing a cookie that would taste good with the ice cream selection)
  • 1 Tbsp butter, melted

Directions

 

  1. Remove frozen yogurt from freezer.
  2. Line a bread pan with plastic wrap; set aside.
  3. In a food processor combine half of the package or Oreos with 1 1/2 tsp butter. Process until it reaches texture of coarse sand.
  4. Pour crumbs onto bottom of prepared pan and use fingers to press them down into the pan forming the first layer.
  5. Next, scoop all of the frozen yogurt onto the crumb layer; use fingers to pat it down.
  6. In the food processor, add the rest of the Oreos and the remaining butter. Process again, but this time leave it a bit more chunky.
  7. Top the ice cream layer with the last layer of crumbs. Garnish if you like. Place in freezer to set and VOILA you have homemade ice cream cake in about an hour!

 

**If I were to do it again, I would have probably added fun colored sprinkles to the top.

oreo birthday cake

I topped everyone’s cake with some Cool Whip to really add that extra wow factor.

oreo birthday cake

I am still passing on the extra sugars at this point, but everyone else gave this cake rave reviews! It is such a fun cake idea for anyone, because they get to choose exactly what goes into it! I made this other Oreo ice cream cake a while back—feel free to check it out!

After dinner we all just relaxed and chatted, and Abbie could hardly keep her eyes open. She was exhausted from all of the socializing!

abbie

 

Sunday

Happy St. Patty’s Day just one day late! We got real crazy…we slept in until 8:30 and read the paper, cut coupons, went grocery shopping, and get this, we even went to Petco for dog food. Talk about a CRAZY morning! 😉

Sunday mornings are my absolute favorite.

After restocking our fridge I threw myself together a spectacular salad with mixed greens, peas, avocado, chicken, sunflower seeds, olives, olive oil, and a piece of cheese and a Claussen pickle (my favorite pickle) on the side.

It’s green!

salad

 

We had another family birthday party to celebrate in the afternoon so we got all prettied up and threw on our Get Lucky 7k sweatshirts—mine was from last year and his from this year. How embarrassing if we would have worn the SAME one. 😉

st. patricks day 2013

For dinner there were MORE veggies on the menu in the form of Veggie Hash or I like to call it Kitchen Sink Hash. We threw all of the veggies we had into a pan which included zucchini, green bell pepper, onion, broccoli, kale, and black beans. We gave these veggies a good sauté. Then we plated them up with some chopped tomato, avocado, cilantro, cheddar cheese, and topped it off with an over-easy egg.

veggie hash

Once again, this dinner never seizes to please me. It’s always good!

Since I am still watching my sugar intake until I am 100% healed from the UC, I made myself a little treat to help satisfy my slight sweet craving I had last night. I found a recipe off Pinterest for Easy Almond Cookies and were they ever! You can check out the recipe here. The only changes I made were I used honey instead of stevia, and vanilla extract instead of almond. If I HAD almond extract in the house I absolutely would have used that.

simple almond cookies

 

These cute little guys turned out well, and best of all they were so easy! Only 5 ingredients. They satisfied my sweet tooth which was what I was hoping for.

I suppose I should get this little lady ready for the day. I’m hoping the roads aren’t too terrible. Chances are they will be fine, it’s the drivers I usually worry about more.

Keep your head up and Happy Monday!

“So keep your head high, keep your chin up, and most importantly, keep smiling, because life’s a beautiful thing and there’s so much to smile about.” ~ Marilyn Monroe

How was your weekend? Did you celebrate St. Pat’s Day?

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!

A Quick Health Update

Hello there! How is everyone’s week going? Mine is going FAST which is a great thing because vacation is just right around the corner.

I don’t have too much to share with you in terms of food photos from the past couple of days. I have been trying to stick to the basics and keep my digestive tract an easy ride for a little while.

Here’s a quick run down of my eats over the past couple of days….it won’t take long!

Leftover french onion soup:

french onion soup

Cooked apple with cinnamon:

apple

Scrambled eggs with avocado and SCD ketchup:

eggs

Turkey burger with avocado (I LOVE avocados!), and roasted zucchini:

turkey burger and zucchini

 

Not pictured are some random lunches, bananas, and spoonfuls of peanut butter. See, not much to share on the food front.

But, I do want to give you an update on my health. Knock on wood, but I have been feeling SO darn good. First of all, my chiropractor is really happy with my progress and I am sleeping so much better due to less back pain. Sleep is a glorious thing and I’m not one to do well without it. It is so important for our overall health! Nutrition, sleep, and activity are all very connected!

Second, I am continuing to limit my white sugar and processed food intake. I am following the SCD (short-term) and my colitis is making some headway.

I am taking my vitamins religiously:

  • Multivitamin and cod liver oil in the morning
  • Digestive enzymes with meals
  • Calcium + Vitamin D and probiotics in the evening

So overall, I am feeling good. There’s just a few other components of my health I need to get worked out, but if I’ve learned anything through all of this it’s that healing takes time. I have also learned to be very patient with my body. I have learned to listen to my body and  to make changes in my life to reduce stress.

I am reminded with all of this that I have to take care of myself because I am the only person who truly can. This is the only body I have.

Take charge of your health and be an advocate for yourself.

If something doesn’t feel right, get a second opinion. I have chosen to follow a more holistic approach to my health and wellness and have deviated slightly from original recommendations because I didn’t feel they were right for me.

I am working closely with my chiropractor to figure out the best way to help my body heal. Also, I have done a lot of research on my own and learned from my personal experiences what works for me and what doesn’t.

Each and every person is different therefore there is no cookie cutter treatment or answer to reach optimal health. It is all about trial and error and listening to our bodies. I can’t say that enough.

What have YOU done for your health lately?

 

A Relaxing Sunday & One of My Favorite Soups

This weekend flew by just as fast as last weekend if you ask me. We had a very low-key weekend and I loved every second of it.

Sunday

I was feeling incredibly energetic Sunday morning and just in an overall good mood. That was most likely due to the excitement of our upcoming vacation and a good night’s sleep. I was feeling good.

For some reason my appetite has been a little “off” lately. I’m thinking this may be because of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. I was hungry for breakfast but couldn’t decide on anything that sounded good so I put myself together a combo that I know is easy on my tummy and usually pretty appealing : peanut butter and banana of course.

banana peanut butter

 

We went about our standard Sunday errands, came back home and put groceries away, and by 11:00 I was hungry again. I was hungry but again, nothing sounded good to me and my highly energetic self from the morning was starting to take a nose dive.

I pulled out a bowl of homemade turkey veggie soup from the freezer.

turkey veggie soup

It was simple and comforting to my belly. I also had a microwaved apple…

apples

 

Later in the afternoon I had a banana, a bite of peanut butter, and some pistachios.

I have been in a bit of a workout rut this past week. I just haven’t had the highest amount of energy. I was full of energy yesterday morning but once the afternoon hit I was definitely losing it.

I wanted to at least move a little bit, so I headed down to the treadmill for a half hour walk. I  did do a few other strength exercises, but I really wasn’t feeling up to it, so I stopped.

Maybe I just needed it to be a low-key day.

Later in the afternoon I headed over to mom and dad’s for dinner. I got my cuddle time in with the little one which always does a great job of boosting my mood.

melanie and abbie

 

Dinner was one of my all-time favs: French Onion Soup.

french onion soup

I went with the SCD version without the bagel chips and cheese and it was STILL outrageously delicious. I had two bowls and asked if I could take one home for leftovers this week! I swear I could try and make this duplicate recipe at home and it wouldn’t taste the same. Mom has to make it. 😉

french onion soup

After dinner we got cozy on the couch and sipped on hot water with ginger and honey while we watched the Oscars, and then later called it a night. I really like the hot water with ginger and honey, like REALLY liked it. Could this be due to the fact that my dad made it for me? It really is true that food tastes better when someone else makes it for you.

tea and oscars abbie

 

It was a very relaxing Sunday and I feel like more Sundays should be like this one.

Now we are onto Monday and I have a list of things to do as tall as the Eiffel tower, SO I better get a move on!

Happy Monday to all!

Question of the day: Do you think food tastes better when someone else makes it for you?!

Getting Back into Outdoor Running

Well, I did something yesterday that I haven’t done in a while…went for an outdoor run. The weather around here has been pretty nasty the last few weeks with cold temps followed by snow, so I have been taking my runs (albeit few runs) inside on the treadmill lately.

Yesterday morning I was planning on just that; running on the treadmill. I told Dana my plan and he said okay, but just so you know I am running outside today. Usually the only way I will run on snowy, icy, streets in the winter is if I’m running with someone else, that way if I were to fall, I’d have someone there to help me out. I made the decision to run with Dana and Moose outside.

I got all geared up and wore the same outfit as I did at our January 1st Polar Dash 10K run (photo from the polar dash), except no neck warmer:

dana and melanie polar dash 2013

 

It was 19°F when we were out. The first mile was really cold on my face, but not too long after that I was warming up real well.

The sidewalks in our neighborhood were kinda wishy-washy as far as being clear of snow and ice. Inevitably, the uphill sidewalks were the ones covered in snow so I felt like I was running in sand, uphill. Those hills made me feel pretty out of shape.

At mile two, my legs were feeling like a light load of bricks. The cold was getting to them but they kept moving. We completed our three-mile loop and I am happy to say I finally got an outdoor run in again.

I have less than one month until our 7K run and as long as I start running outside a little more often, I should be just fine. Who knows anyway, the weather could be pretty nice mid-March. Last year it was unseasonably warm. You just never know! You have to be prepared for anything.

From here on out, I’m hoping the weather will only improve and get warmer so I can really start to enjoy outdoor runs again! I’m ready for it.

When we got home I did some stretching, core exercises, and my plank-a-day. Then we got busy packing for our trip and working on some more food preparation!

I wanted to bring some dried fruit on our trip to snack on, so I placed apricots, peaches, pineapples, and bananas into the food dehydrator, covered it, and left it on for a long time; about nine hours.

food dehydrated

*I used canned fruit (in its own juice) for this and rinsed them thoroughly and dried them in the sink

For lunch I ate a grilled salmon fillet with zucchini. I ended up adding some honey dijon mustard to my plate because I’m not into plain salmon yet.

salmon

I finished lunch with a microwaved apple…

baked apple

Later in the afternoon before we left to run errands I snacked on a banana with peanut butter…

banana with peanut butter

Dinner was a grilled turkey burger with avocado, SCD ketchup, and mustard, and cooked carrots. Why do grill burgers taste SO much better?! It was delicious.

turkey burger with avocado

Finally at about 9:30 pm, the fruit was done dehydrating. We laid them out on the counter to cool down.

dried fruit dried fruit

And then bagged them up for the trip!

dried fruit

 

We do plan on visiting a local farm/farmer’s market to pick up fresh produce while we are in Turks and Caicos, but it’s nice to have other options too.

When we were in the Boundary Waters last May with my brother Scott and his girlfriend Nicole, Nicole had made a huge batch of dried fruit and I loved it so much that I went and bought a food dehydrator for myself. Dried fruit is one of my favorite treats, but I don’t like all of the sugar and additives that is often added to the store-bought kind (dried fruit has enough sugar on its own), so I try to make it myself the majority of the time. No additives here!

I have lots to do today so I better get to it. Have a great day!

 

February Fitness Challenge Review

Happy Saturday! Today’s my second favorite day of the week after Friday, so I’m a pretty happy camper today.

Considering I don’t have many food photos to share (the SCD is fairly redundant right now), how about we talk about fitness instead?

At the beginning of February I set a goal for myself to complete three strength training workouts each week. They could involve free weights, machines at the gym, workout videos, whatever, as long as they involved improving my strength. I also challenged myself to complete one plank a day for at least one minute.

I am a cardio junkie and love getting my heart rate ramped from the cardio which is also great for overall health, but all-to-often slack on the strength and I wanted to do something about it. I called this challenge, my February Fitness Challenge.

Although I know there are still five days left in February, I have decided to reflect now.

I am happy to say that even though I was struck with a head cold for a solid week this month, and felt very low energy due to the SCD intro, I still managed to stick to my goal each week. I tried to keep it spicy and exciting so that I wouldn’t get bored with it.

Some of My February Strength Workouts:

  • Jillian Michael’s 30-Day Shred: Level 1 and Level 2
  • This leg workout incorporated with dumbbells
  • This arm workout plus other arm exercises
  • Ab workouts (from the January Abs Challenge)
  • Most of the time I just did my own thing and mixed up different exercises

I have done my plank-a-day every day too!

I have noticed that with the combination of eliminating white sugars from my diet, and increasing my strength activities, that I do feel stronger. I even feel it when I’m doing cardio. When I’m running my core helps carry me and makes me run lighter.

I definitely feel stronger overall, however I have a looooooonngg way to go to get my strength to where I would like it to be. But it takes time. I’m going to continue to work on it.

I already have a March fitness challenge brewin’ in my head! Be on the look out. 😉

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

I can’t leave this post complete photo-free because that’s no fun, so I do have a couple to share.

Yesterday I couldn’t eat meat (Lent), which is a main component of the SCD. I was thrilled about it because I am SO TIRED OF IT and completely tired out of eggs too, so it was time to introduce a new food. Peanut butter. I’m not talking boat loads of pb, but enough to satisfy my hunger and give me some protein.

I introduced baked apples into my diet two days ago and my body responded well. My girlie girl Kalkal said one of her favorite breakfast combos lately is cut up apple, with pb and cinnamon. I usually do that combo with banana, but often forget about the lovely apple. I gave it a whirl, but used a slightly cooked apple instead (to aid in digestion for now).

apple with pb

I honestly think I could slather peanut butter on anything and it would taste good. This was a very nice treat! I would prefer it with a raw apple like Kalley had suggested, but for now this will have to do!

The REALLY good news is that peanut butter is sitting very well with my system. Like I said I have no plans of going crazy with it like I tend to do, but one serving a day and I should feel just fine. I am really missing my legumes and lentils however. Soon enough!

The evening was spent:

  • getting some more vacation stuff together
  • doing some food prep for vaca
  • vacuuming
  • mopping
  • planking
  • core strength
  • running around the house and up and down the stairs with Moose
  • and cleaning up broken links on the ol’ blog (this is quite the task)

We also picked this guy up from the groomer after getting a nice intense brush-out. He looks so handsome.

moose

I have plans to get a little run in this morning and then we have some more packing to do!

What’s on your Saturday agenda?!

The Next Phase

Yesterday was the third day of the SCD intro diet. Since my symptoms were so minimal to begin with, I decided to start incorporating some foods back into my diet after two full days on intro diet. I am choosing foods that I knew my body would normally handle well. Yesterday I reintroduced the banana.

After eating only eggs, meat, cooked carrots, and grape juice gelatin, I was ready for more variety. Eating a banana was such a treat! It was like eating candy.

My body reacted very well as I suspected it would. I will continue to slowly reintroduce easy to digest foods.

I apologize for the food photos, but here they are…

Breakfast looks like carrot puree but it was really a totally botched carrot and egg pancake. I also drank a glass of diluted grape juice.

carrot egg pancake dcd

For lunch I heated up some chicken breast, a turkey meatball, and cooked carrots. I couldn’t stomach the chicken some reason so that went back into the fridge.

scd lunch

I grabbed an egg…

egg scd

And finished off lunch with grape juice gelatin.

For dinner I ate another bowl of the carrot and bone broth soup and another banana.

carrot soup scd

I also had a very small diluted glass of grape juice. I think I drank too much juice yesterday, but my body was completely craving it.

I’ve been taking it easy on the workouts the past few days because I know my food and calorie intake isn’t where it should be. I am truly doing the best I can with the SCD intro and trying to eat as much of the allowable foods as I can stomach. I am very happy that I can reintroduce some other foods again because it is not healthy for me to continue on with this minimal amounts of food. I know that I can’t eat “as much as tolerated” of the allowable foods in the intro diet, but when you already have a slight distaste for meat, it is really challenging to force it down.

I continue to do my plank-a-day though as part of my February Fitness Challenge. Today is the last day of week three which means I need to get one more strength training activity in today. I’m hoping I feel up to it this afternoon!

Thanks for sticking by my side through this diet. I am very anxious to eat more of my “normal” foods again and to be 100% healthy!

Happy Thursday!

Flashback: Our Proposal Story

How about some lovey dove reminiscent memories to help us get through this freezing cold Wednesday? Sounds good to me!

On Sunday night, Dana and I met up with Betsy and Matt at Stella’s Fish Cafe for dinner. I mentioned in a previous post that we were coincidentally seated in the same booth that we sat in the night Dana proposed to me. I realized I had never shared the story of our engagement proposal, so…..it’s share time!

Flashback to January 29th 2010. 

Dana and I had plans to celebrate our one year anniversary. Dana had made reservations at Stella’s. I remember getting all dolled up in my blue sweater dress, saying bye to mom and dad, and driving over to Dana’s house.

As I waited for him to finish getting ready, I browsed the cupboards for a snack and found some Sweettart Valentine conversation hearts. I snacked on a couple of those while I waited, and then off to dinner we went.

We were seated in a booth upstairs and I was giddy the whole time. I was so happy and felt so lucky to be celebrating an anniversary with this man. We ordered our food and a bottle of wine and thoroughly enjoyed eachother’s company as we always do. Dana was cool as a kitten. I had not the slightest idea he had anything up his sleeve.

After dinner we made our way to the parking lot. Once we were in the car, and waiting for it to warm up, Dana handed me an envelope of photos that he had printed off from Walgreens. I had given him a photo album a year prior to this as a gift with the intention of filling it up with photos of all of the fun things we do together. He told me that he had printed some photos for the album.

I immediately start flipping through about 20 photos, commenting on each memory along the way. As I got to the last photo, I had to do a double take. At first it looked like an advertisement or a coupon from Walgreens, but as I looked at it again I noticed some very special words spelled out for me…

marry me 3 i think this is the one

I was in total and utter shock. I looked over at Dana and there he was with tears filled in his eyes (although he may deny this), and he had a gorgeous engagement ring in his hands. He asked me to marry him and I’m pretty sure he said some other things but my head was in a cloud of love dust (I am such a corny lovey person—I won’t apologize for it) so I don’t remember.

I muttered yes and as I tears began pouring out of my eyes, still in total shock mode. Yes I absolutely want to spend my life with this man. YES YES YES! But omg, I’m engaged!

We called our parents on the way home to tell them the incredible news. This is when I found out that my dad already knew because Dana had gone over there earlier that day and asked for his permission to marry me. My dad knew but he hadn’t told my mom because my mom and I have this weird connection with eachother  and I immediately would have known something was going on if she were to have known.

Our parents were beyond ecstatic. After our parents knew I started calling my brothers and some of my friends (the ones I knew I wouldn’t be able to tell in person). Then it was time to celebrate.

Once we got back to Dana’s place, we celebrated with his roommates and a nice bottle of wine. I told Dana I had snacked on a couple of the Sweettarts while he was finishing getting ready in his room and we both had a good chuckle. Little did I know!

We didn’t snap any photos at Stella’s or in the parking lot, so of course I had to make up for it when we got back home.

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It was an unforgettable night and the beginning of forever with the most amazing man.

Fast-forward: Engagement Photos

For our engagement photos, we chose to relive the memories of the day by having our photos taken at Stella’s. I remember being so incredibly nervous before the photo shoot. I really don’t like being the center of attention. Eventually, I warmed up and had a blast! Our photographers from Erin and I photo really helped ease any nervousness.

Here’s our booth (the same one from the other night too!).

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The night before our engagement photos, I want to say it snowed about 9 inches. The snow was so fresh and perfect for photos. It was extremely cold on the day of our photo shoot as well, so we did the outside photos as quickly as possible.

Our outside photos were taken at Lake of the Isles.

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We had to make sure Mooser got in the photo action!

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He was made for the camera.

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I can’t believe our engagement was three years ago already. Time flies. Soak up every moment of life because it does go by so fast!

I hope you enjoyed this flashback as much as I did! Oh, and in case you are wondering what my food intake looked like yesterday, take a look at Tuesday’s post and it was pretty much an exact replica except for I also added lean ground turkey into the mix. I am going to be introducing banana today. How exciting! 😉

Have a happy Wednesday!