Memorial Weekend: Productive Yet Relaxing

 

Long time no see! How was everyone’s Memorial Weekend? Mine was very productive but also relaxing. That seems to be a common theme around our house on the weekends. We got so much done around the house and spent the majority of our weekend working outside in the yard.

I want to give HUGE shout-out thank you to the guys who came over on Sunday to help Dana dig the egress window well. THANK YOU times a million! They plowed through that job so fast I couldn’t believe it.

After the window was dug, I helped Dana lay the bricks in for the walls of the well. I felt pretty tough as I carried those bricks around the yard, and my arms are definitely feeling it today! One more trip to Menards for our last batch of brick and the egress window well will be nearly complete. The next step will be putting the windows in, but we’re going to have that done professionally. Then we can start finishing our basement! I’m just waiting for that money tree to start growing in the yard. It all adds up real fast.

Besides getting muddy in the yard this weekend, I also hung out with family, friends, and ate some delicious food. I was hoping to get a bike ride in with Dana but the weather wasn’t really cooperating. The sun hasn’t shown us its beautiful face around here since Thursday if I’m not mistaken. Our poor plants haven’t seen sun since we planted them in the ground on Thursday! We could all use a little Vitamin D around here. Soon enough though. Think positive thoughts, right? Maybe I’ll do a little sun dance later.

Alright, I’m planning on keeping it short today. I don’t have a ton of photos to share to recap the weekend, but I do have a few. So, I’m going to finish off today’s post with the collection of my photos from the weekend. And here we go…

Chipotle loaded with veggies! Proof that you can chose healthy fast food decisions; just go light on the cheese, sour cream, and guac, ditch the tortilla, and go heavy on the veggies and you have yourself an extremely delicious and healthy veggie-packed Chipotle bowl.

 

chipotle

Almond banana muffin with almond butter and sliced bananas…

almond bread

The Egress window well…

dana

Salad: mixed greens, tomato, carrots, peas, avocado, olives, sunflower seeds, and Newman’s Own honey mustard dressing.

salad

 

One of many trips to Menards…11% off everything right now really adds up when you’re there everyday. Spend money to save money, right?

menards

 

Cherry Berry…with no skimping on frozen yogurt OR toppings. I meant business.

cherry berry

Homemade MAH bites, fauxtmeal raisin cookie style.

mah bites

 

And the Bachelorette…

 

 

 

bachelorette

 

I had to throw that last one in there because I am super excited that the Bachelorette is back on again. I spent a good 5-miles on the treadmill watching the season premiere last night. It should be a good one! No favorites yet, though.

I have a nummy vegetarian meal planned for tonight that I am anxious to share with you all (inspiration from Denise). This is actually the only meal I planned for the week because I’m thinking there will be leftovers. Do you have any meals planned for the week?

I hope you all had a FANTASTIC weekend.

Did you do anything fun this weekend? Were you productive around the house? Did you relax with family and friends?

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (again) & Lobster Madness

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

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

scrambled eggs

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

Changing gears a bit…

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

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

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

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

You can read about my journey through SCD this summer:

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

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

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

kitchen food prep

eggs

 SCD Ketchup Recipe

SCD ketchup

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

SCD ketchup and bone broth with carrots

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

banana and pb

Let the SCD begin. I’m ready.

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

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

moose ornament

Double Date Night

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

dana moose and melanie

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

stellas

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

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

betsy and matt dana and melanie stellas lobster stellas asparagus stellas

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

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

dana melanie matt betsy

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

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

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

cherry berry frozen yogurt

As always, Cherry Berry never fails to please me.

What an amazing day!

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

How was YOUR weekend?!

Surround Yourself with Positive People


Can I get a “whoop whoop” for Saturday?! It was so nice not waking up to an alarm clock this morning (sigh). I am feelin’ completely rested and ready to go.

I had a fantastic day yesterday. In the morning I had an appointment and then made my way to the gym for a quick sweat sesh. Then off I went to meet up with my friend Courtney at Whole Foods.

Courtney and I were both completed our Dietetic Internships at Viterbo University in La Crosse, WI. When we were first accepted into the program, we were sent a list of information of all the other interns. Ironically, Courtney lived about 15 minutes from my parent’s place. We met up one time before we moved out to Wisconsin so that we could both have the comfort of knowing at least one person out there. We had the immediate bond of being “Twin City Girls.”

courtney and melanie

Throughout the 11 month internship, our friendship continued to grow. We shared many emotions together and many memories both good and bad. Courtney was my saving grace when I was running a 105°F fever. She picked me up in no time and rushed me to the Urgent Care without hesitation.

We related on so many levels; both having such love for our families and being home. We struggled through the emotions of being away from home and the stress of the internship. We both traveled home quite a bit on the weekends. We shared our dreams, studied vocab terms, and sang at the top of our lungs as we carpooled home.

I don’t know what I would have done if she hadn’t been there. We got through it together and grew as individuals on so many levels throughout the process.

I am so lucky to have her in my life. She is one of the most positive, genuine, selfless people I know. One of my unofficial new year resolutions is to surround myself with more people like her. People who look for the good in others, who imagine positive outcomes, and pour their hearts out for those they love. These are the people that make the world a better place.

We will continue to follow our hearts and reach for our dreams.

I don’t know how to transition into food smoothly after that, so I’m just going to go for it. Lunch was from the Whole Foods salad bar which is a glimpse of heaven for me. The veggie packed salad bars basically having me drooling just thinking about them.

  whole foods

 I tempted myself by walking through the frozen treats aisle. I mean seriously they have everything I could ever want: Coconut Bliss, Frozen Kefir, Soy Ice Cream…I wanted to try them all! Can you believe I walked out of there without purchasing one? That’s because I forgot.  whole foods
 In the afternoon I completed another session of the 30 Day Abs Challenge. Here is what week 2 workout looks like:
week 2 ab challenge
For dinner I headed over to my brother Kevin’s place for spaghetti with mom and dad.
 I had a gluten-free version with spaghetti squash. The sauce was amazing; full of italian sausage, ground turkey, veggies….YUM. Mom also made her Italian salad which tops Olive Garden salad if you ask me.
SO stinkin’ good and so nice to be with my beautiful fam bam, who are also such positive, genuine, beautiful people.
Being that I forgot to buy a frozen treat for Dana and myself at Whole Foods, I thought it would be a good idea to stop by Cherry Berry on the way home to fulfill my frozen yogurt wishes.
I went easy on the toppings (for once). I chose the non-fat vanilla yogurt with marshmallow sauce, sprinkles, and one mini Reese’s peanut butter cup.
cherry berry frozen yogurt
It was a delicious, warm-hearted, lovely day. I can’t wait to make today just the same. Embrace the day. Spread the love. Surround yourself with positive people. Xoxo.

Get Your Laugh On

Happy Friday! Holy cow this week flew by and I am NOT complaining!

I’ve been a busy bee this morning already; I got a quick run in and then ran a couple of errands. I still have a boat load of things on my to-do list today though so I’m not going to get too windy in today’s post.

We’re talking Thursday…

Lunch: diced pear with walnuts, fontina cheese, a sprinkle of cinnamon and a drizzle of honey. This would be a GREAT breakfast as well. I also snacked on a couple of other fruits and veggies to hold me through the afternoon.

After work I wanted to get movin’, but didn’t want to get sweaty because Dana and I had date plans for later in the evening, so I opted for a 40 minute walk on the treadmill. I kept a pretty easy speed the whole time while enjoying my favorite channel, Food Network.

I really haven’t been in much of a cooking mood this week but we managed to throw together a pretty nice dinner considering.

On the menu: turkey burgers seasoned with worcestershire, seasoned salt, and pepper topped with sautéed mushrooms and onions and melted fontina cheese, served alongside roasted asparagus.

So good.

Now, on to date night. 

Our first stop of the evening was at Cherry Berry where we treated ourselves (actually got it for free because I had a birthday gift card there) to a nice bowl of frozen yogurt. Date night shouldn’t be complete without it. 😉

Next up, a whole lot of laughs.

A while back we had bought a Living Social discount deal for a show at a comedy club called “The Joke Joint” which is a family owned business established just six years ago. As life gets so busy, our date nights become less and less, so buying the tickets in advance was a really good push for us to get out and do something fun, because if you know me at all you know I am not one to throw away money.

The actual show room was very casual and intimate and kind of smelled like a really old home but in a welcoming sort of way. Is that weird?

Dana and I were seated literally belly up to the stage. Our entertainers for the night were Geoff Tate and Chris Maddock. They were HILARIOUS. My cheeks hurt from laughing and I had perma-wrinkles around my eyes. It felt great. Laughter is the best medicine.

I would absolutely recommend this place to family and friends that are in the area. Find a comedy club near you and get your laugh on!

Happy FABULOUS Friday! xoxo

 

Reinstated Confidence in My Running Capabilities

I am pretty pumped about my morning and want to share it with you, but first a quick recap of my evening last night.

After a little bit of cleaning and a couple of errands, I had very little energy left to make dinner so I kept it real simple with Fresco Shrimp Tacos. I cooked the shrimp on the stove top for 3 minutes with some seasoning just to warm them up.

To assemble the tacos: Butter lettuce cup as your shell, then chickpeas (because that is what we had on hand), tomatoes, cilantro, shrimp, and salsa if you feel like it.

We didn’t have any ripe avocados but if we had you better believe there would have been some in the mix. These tacos were simple, fresh, and very tasty.

Later, we got the itch for some Fro Yo and made our way to Cherry Berry. I tried to control myself but ended up getting a little wild. I went with a mix of cake batter and s’more Fro Yo. S’more what? S’more FroYo. On top was a lot of chocolately heaven, a few sprinkles and a gummy cherry on top.

Should I have gotten frozen yogurt…probably not, but I don’t regret it.

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

Saturday

So here we are now onto Saturday. I began with a piece of pumpkin bread with Parkers Farm peanut butter and honey…

I also drank 1.5 cups of coffee while getting dinner ready in the crock pot. Tonight my family is coming over to celebrate my mama’s birthday and it is going to be F.U.N. and DELICIOUS!

Any guesses on what’s for dinner? I am making enough food to feed an army even though there will only be 6 of us. I would rather have too much food than not enough!

Run Time

Once those crocks were rolling, it was time for me to get rollin’ outside. I geared up, laced up my pretty pink laces,s grabbed the dog and we headed out for a run.

The weather could not have been more perfect. It was about 50 to mid-50’s and overcast. I didn’t have a mileage goal set as I was leaving out the door, I had just planned on seeing how I felt throughout the run, and going as long as I felt like.

Well…something happened that hasn’t happened in quite some time. Let me premise by saying there is major road work going on in our neighborhood including sidewalk closures, which makes finding a running route slightly challenging. As I made my way through the known neighborhoods I was feeling really good. Like so good I wanted to keep going and going and going, which worked out in my favor because as I was trying to make my way home, I hit about 3 detours which led me back the way I came from. The mileage started piling up and I ran a distance that I haven’t seen in quite some time…

4.6 miles. 

I know that to many, 4.6 miles is a walk in the park, but considering I haven’t accomplished this distance in a very long time, it reinstated my confidence in my running capabilities and I owe thanks to the road closures I guess? Nahhh.

The run this morning really motivates me to sign up for a race, and to start running more often. The feeling you get post-run is indescribable and I always wish I could bottle that feeling up and release it during a time where I am feeling highly unmotivated.

After the run I headed to the living room and did 20 minute pilates stretch and breathe video OnDemand. It was just what I needed.

I am in such a great mood today. I’ll be excited to fill you in on the festivities taking place tonight. It’s looking mighty cozy in our humble abode.

Have a wonderful Saturday my friends!!!