The New Hairdo

First of all, I don’t think I ever knew that hairdo was actually a word spelled out just like that. I always thought it was two words, but the dictionary tells me it’s one. Huh, well I learned something today!

I realize it’s Tuesday and a weekend photo recap would have been more appropriate yesterday, but I was really needing to write about running yesterday, and I decided this post could wait. Plus, I wouldn’t have been able to show you my new hairdo yesterday, so it all worked out how it was supposed to.

I actually went out for another run after posting yesterday. It wasn’t as great as my Saturday run, but it still felt good to get out. I definitely notice myself breathing a little heavier than usual, but that will go away shortly.

I’m going to keep it short and sweet for you all today. Here is a recap of my weekend in a nutshell…

Party time on Saturday! I ate way too many treats and my body paid for it the next day.  There was about 5x the amount of food in this photo at the party. Lots of nummies. Such a fun time and the weather held up for a few hours before the clouds opened up into a downpour!

party food

Chilaquile brunch on Sunday at Uptown Cafeteria with Dana, Ted, and Annie. Great food, amazing company.

chilaquile uptown cafeteria

Monday breakfast: the yogurt bowl is back. Greek yogurt with banana, strawberries, and honey. Simple and delicious.

yogurt bowl

And the big wow moment from yesterday was chopping off a good five inches of my hair.

long hair short hair short hair

 

I still have bittersweet feelings towards my new do. I wasn’t really planning on cutting that much off, but I did pretty much give the stylist the go-ahead to do it. I am just shocked at how much she actually took off. I haven’t had my hair this short in a few years at least. I know it will be perfect for summer and I just need to get used to it still. It’ll grow on me…haha, no pun intended. It does feel good to have it all cleaned up!

That’s all I have for you all today. I hope you have a fantastic Tuesday. Find something to smile about today.

Back to the Gym & A Happy Cup of Tea

Okay, good morning! How did everyone sleep last night? I slept really well except for some crazy dreams this morning. Our brains are so incredible. They take our thoughts and wishes and fears and turn them into some very interesting dreams. Some seem so vivid and real like the one I had last night, and some are so completely out there you wonder how your brain even came up with them. Or how about when you randomly see someone in your dream who you haven’t heard of or seen in ages?! That always blows my mind too.

But anyway…let’s get back to reality.

Monday

I’m starting to lose my creativity again and falling back into the pb banana breakfast again. I have still been trying to incorporate more smoothies in though. It’s a work in progress. We’ll leave it at that.

banana pb

I was out all morning running errands and hitting up the gym. Oh yea, I seriously went to the gym. It had been a long time since I had been there because I was sick last week and because I have been doing a lot of my workouts in the comfort of my own warm home. I’m still debating putting my membership on hold, but something keeps holding me back from doing it.

At the gym I planted myself on a treadmill directly in front of a TV showing The Price is Right. I began with a light jog, then decided to make this run a HIIT kind of run. I ran for 3-4 minutes at an intense speed, followed by 1-2 minutes of recovery walking, then amped up the speed this time higher than the sprint before, ran for 3-4 minutes, recovered for 1-2, and so on. I did this sprint/walk drill for 3 miles. I was dripping sweat by the time I was done with it.

Next, I moved over to the mats and worked on strengthening my abs. I feel like ever since the January 30-Day-Abs Challenge, I have learned so many great workouts for my abs that really target all areas. This abs workout was the 2nd session of my February Fitness Challenge.

I packed a large bag of carrots to munch on while I was out and about. By the time I got home around noon, I was more than ready for lunch.

I snacked on a few dates with peanut butter while I got lunch ready.

date pb

I roasted broccoli, brussels sprouts, and butternut squash in the oven with coconut oil, salt, and pepper. I really wasn’t feeling the sprouts yesterday but ate a few of them anyway.

roasted veggies

I finished lunch off with a small snack bowl of mixed nuts and raisins.

In the afternoon I had a cup of green tea kombucha and fell in love with the inspirational words on the tea tag.

tea

“Happiness comes when you overcome the most impossible challenge.” We all have challenges and obstacles in our lives, but we must remember that we will get through them as we always do. Also, we always need to remember to enjoy life each day and show love to the people in our lives each day. That will bring us happiness. At least that’s what I took from it. I’m sure everyone has their own interpretation. I felt happy even before I drank my tea just by reading those words.

Dinner was salmon again! Once a week is still salmon week and let me tell you, I am really starting to like this healthy fish. We made it the same way as we did last week with a little butter, almonds, capers, and sesame oil mixture drizzled over the top of grilled salmon with green beans and asparagus.

salmon salmon

I can’t get over how much more I prefer salmon when it is grilled on an outside grill versus inside. It takes any potential fishy taste out of it and gives it a very subtle smoky flavor. I am happy to say the salmon is growing on me!

The rest of the evening was spent in our cozy home watching the Bachelor and celebrating when someone on there FINALLY got sent home (I won’t spoil it for anyone who hasn’t watched it yet). The second person he sent home though however I wasn’t too happy about. BUT, it’s down to the last four now which means home-town dates, and it looks like it’s going to be drama-filled! Again, this show sucks me in every season.

I made myself a snack of blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries with a dollop of FAGE Greek yogurt and honey.

greek yogurt with berries

It was the perfect sweet snack to end the night.

Don’t forget to enter my Intelligent Nutrients Organic Shampoo and Conditioner Giveaway! You have until Wednesday to enter. :smile:

Have a great Tuesday!

My Sweetened Taste Buds: Regaining Control

Where or where do I begin? I feel like I have so much to share with you. I may end up all over the place so just bear with me please.

First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY BETSY!! Love you peanut!

betsy and melanie

Second of all, it is -11°F outside right now but feels like -34°F. Is that not insane? I wish I didn’t have to go anywhere today but unfortunately that isn’t so. It’s a good thing I have all of the appropriate winter weather gear–thermal insulated coat, insulated boots, hat, gloves, scarves. I’ll be needing it today.

This weekend we didn’t have too many plans except for Friday night’s birthday celebration, so I took the liberty of getting creative in the kitchen.

A quick snap shot of breakfast yesterday: FAGE Greek yogurt honey with blackberries, strawberries, and homemade granola (recipe below).

greek yogurt with fruit and granola

I am on a mission-get-rid-of-sugars around my house, but wanted to have something sweet and fun in the cupboards, so I got bakin’. The product: Sweet and Nutty Bites.

sweet and nutty bites

In a bowl I mixed together chopped pistachios, almonds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, dried cranberries, and chopped dates. In a small saucepan I melted together 2 Tablespoons of coconut oil and 1/4 cup (or so) of honey. Once melted, I mixed the honey mix into the nuts and then pressed it into a 9 x 9 baking dish. I baked these gems for about 20 minutes. I let them cool on the counter for a good hour or two, and then attempted to cut them into bite size pieces but they were too sticky so they just turned into misshapen bites.

DSCN6355

These are not low-calorie or low-fat by any means, but they do provide healthy fats from the nuts and the only sugar in the recipe is natural sugar from the honey, so I do feel better feeding my body this dessert than I do say two handfuls of chocolate (that’s okay some days too though!). Just a bite does a great job of satisfying my sweet cravings.

I wasn’t going to go in this direction today, but since I am already on track for it, I’m going to go for it. It’s time to talk about my “sweetened taste buds” and my mission to eliminate added sugars to my diet.

I can comfortably admit that I have a large sweet tooth.

Everyone has their “thing” and that is mine. I love sweets. I always have and I always will. Growing up I would ask my mom if we could make cookies together only to wind up leaving her in the dust after the dough was made (sorry mom!). I didn’t do it on purpose, but I loved the dough and then got tired when it came to rolling the dough balls. To this day, I enjoy licking the mixers when making brownies, and helping myself to a few bites of cookie dough in the cookie baking process.

I am okay with having a sweet tooth, but ever since the holidays rolled around, my sweet tooth has spiraled out of control after one-too-many cookies. It’s time to regain control. I noticed that my gut didn’t appreciate the added sweets either, and this is something that I was fully aware of. Every day I would say I’m going to cut out the chocolate and the sweets, but sure enough another piece would present itself in front of me and I would cave. Okay, tomorrow I’ll start that shenanigans.

After reminding myself of my education, motivating myself by reading up on holistic living, and whole-heartedly knowing exactly what I needed to do if I wanted to feel well, I cleared all of the chocolates and candies out of the house. I wanted and needed to curb this sweet tooth. I got my husband on board too which helps immensely.

The hardest part of “cleaning up my act” wasn’t the chocolate, but my coffee creamer. I adore a cup of coffee in the morning with hazelnut creamer and stevia. Sweet on sweet. It had to go. I don’t like the ingredients on the label, and never have, but talked myself into using it just for a short while longer. No more my friends, no more. It’s gone.

If I do want to use a little sweetener it is going to be stevia which is a natural sweetener from the stevia plant. However, I am hoping to wean myself off of sweeteners all together.

Some may ask why I don’t just switch to regular sugar because that’s natural too, and they’re right it is, but the thing about sugars (carbohydrates included) is they are not digested well by the body. A lot of the starch from the sugar gets trapped inside of the intestines causing gas, bloating and irritability, and for someone who deals with irritable bowel, this isn’t a good option.

So how is the sugar wean going? 

To be perfectly honest, NOT BAD at all. The first couple of days I could have gone for a piece of chocolate, but I had other options in the house like dates, berries, and the sweet and nutty bites mentioned above, and they have really helped the process and satisfied my cravings. Another thing that helps is having a cup of tea with a touch of honey. I am now on day 4 of “no sugars added” lifestyle, and I have no sweet cravings. This may sound like a small fete but it is something I am very proud of.

My morning coffee…

At first I had told myself that I was just going to give up coffee because I really don’t enjoy coffee without cream, but I have gone back on that statement. I bought a product called Sweet Drops by Sweet Leaf. It is a natural sweetener made from the stevia plant that adds a subtle sweetness to your coffee, tea, or other beverages. This is what I am using in my coffee now along with a tablespoon of coconut milk.

sweet leaf drops

Do I really think I can keep up with this lifestyle? Am I cutting out sugars forever?

Yes and no. I am learning more and more about my body, the science of food and digestion, and know ways I can help to keep myself in tip-top shape. Cutting down on sugars will help me in so many ways and it is a lifestyle that I want to adapt for the health of myself.

I am NOT saying that I am cutting out sugars forever, but for now, I HAVE GOT to get this colitis under control. This has been going on for way too long. Needless to say there are other things going on with my health that may be contributing to this current “flare” but knowing that I can possibly help the situation through diet encourages me to maintain this lifestyle forever. I WILL be eating chocolate again once I get my health under control, but I will be moderate in my intake; one small piece of dark chocolate a day, a piece of birthday cake on special occasions, etc.

Some other natural remedies I am trying…

I am also taking a multivitamin in the morning along with probiotics. In the evening I am taking calcium plus vitamin D. I am incorporating coconut oil into my daily routine because studies have shown it can help heal the gut and sooth IBD symptoms.

Wow, I really opened up a can of worms with this one, huh?

As a Registered Dietitian it is sometimes hard to admit that I have “sweetened taste buds” and that I need to regain control of the issue. Shouldn’t a dietitian know what to do? It’s hard because I know exactly what I need to do in order to control it, but my stubborn self fought back for so long along with every excuse in the book. None of us are perfect, so why is it so hard for us to share our weaknesses?

Even though it has only been four days without “sweets” I already feel better. I have control already. I just feel better all around.

This turned from me sharing a recipe into divulging a weakness. The important thing to remember: we are given one body, and we have control over what goes into it, the activity it gets, and the decisions we make for it. Take care of your body and remember, no two people are the same, so do what’s best for YOU.

I have much more to share but it’s going to have to wait! Have a GREAT day my friends. xoxoxo

Peanut Chicken Salad

 Is anyone else doing their Friday happy dance?! HAPPY FRIDAY my friends! strong

So guess what? Yesterday, I did it again. No peanut butter for breakfast! That’s because I was saving myself for dinner but more on that in a sec. I should also mention I did have banana with pb for breakfast on Wednesday. I am trying to scale back just a little bit for real.

But yesterday I had another Greek yogurt bowl that I had put together and refrigerated the night before.

DSCN6343

For lunch I had carrots, cucumber, a banana, and a nice big salad with tomatoes, black beans, olives, feta cheese, and hummus.

salad with hummus

I made a quick stop at the gym on the way home from work and then had a sweet and juicy snack once I got home…

pear

Then I got ready for dinner. We had our friends Adam and Stacy over for dinner last night and on the menu: Oriental Peanut Chicken; recipe courtesy of Dana’s mom.

We switched it up slightly and used quinoa instead of rice.

quinoa

We sautéed two chicken breasts, broccoli, onion, carrots, and mushrooms…

oriental chicken

Next we drizzled the sautéed chicken and veggies with homemade peanut sauce and gave it a good stir. This is why I saved my peanut butter consumption for dinner time. This sauce is gold it is so delicious. I may have to ask my mother-in-law if I can divulge the recipe to you all. :smile:

peanut sauce

And lastly to put it together: one heaping layer of romaine lettuce chopped into shreds onto a large serving platter, next layer on the quinoa, then the sautéed veggies and chicken, and finally top with fresh chopped cucumbers.

oriental peanut chicken oriental peanut chicken

!!!! It was so good!!! Our company was pretty great too! :wink: We had such a fun time with them as always. I get an extra wrinkle line each time we hang out from laughing so much.

I hope you all had a great week and are looking forward to the weekend as much as I am. I am off to an appointment, then work, and tonight we are celebrating Betsy’s birthday! We don’t have too much planned for the weekend but one thing I know for sure is the rest of the Christmas stuff is coming down (our wreaths are still up–whoops) and the few Valentine’s Day decorations that I do have are going up! Woooo!

How long do you keep holiday decorations up before getting crazy tired of them and taking them down?

Morning Yoga and Food Art

Morning Yoga

Tuesday morning at 5:50 am my alarm went off and I can’t believe I rolled out of bed with the intention of getting a morning workout in before work. I had plans to either run or get my yoga on. I chose the latter mostly due to a cranky neck from sleeping. I figured yoga may help.

I changed into my gear, rolled out the magic purple carpet, and kept the room slightly dark while completing a half hour yoga on demand.

yoga

It has been way too long since I’ve completed a yoga session and oh how I’ve missed it. I love the way it stretches my body, calms my mind, and tests my balance. It makes me feel good and really helped me yesterday morning with the slight neck soreness.

Speaking of soreness, I am incredibly sore from that leg workout on Monday! I surely worked it! I used my foam roller to get things loosened up a bit, but even two days later I’m feelin’ pretty tight.

Breakfast

I finally broke the streak—I had NO peanut butter for breakfast and I can still hardly believe it. On Monday night I put together a bowl of frozen strawberries, FAGE 0% Greek yogurt, honey, a sprinkle of chocolate protein powder, and chia seeds. I gave it a mix and popped it in the fridge overnight. Then in the morning I gave it all a final store and had myself a fruity creamy breakfast bowl.

yogurt with chia and strawberries

It was a nice change of pace although I bet you can guess what I had for lunch?!  It definitely involved peanut butter in the form of pb and banana. Ha ha it’s a lost cause. I love the stuff and the protein does such a good job of filling me up and keeping me satisfied.

I found myself on the treadmill once again in the afternoon reading a book. There is something incredibly peaceful about it and I get so caught up in what I’m reading that I don’t realize how much time has passed until I glance at the clock.

Dinner

I sautéed bell peppers and onion in coconut oil then added black beans until they were heated through. I cooked up one over-easy egg and topped it on the sautéed veggies along with a quarter of an avocado, tomato slices, and a little salsa.

I then managed to take a series of photos that some might call art. I’ll name the piece, “The Yolk Progression.” I was really just trying to capture a good photo and find the right angle but the way these photos lined up worked out perfectly.

First, the dish is plated…

veggies with egg

Then, the yolk is broken…

veggies with egg

The golden yolk makes its way over the veggies and blankets the dish…

veggies with egg

Beautiful food art…

veggies with egg

Total nerd alert I’m fully aware.

I had one of those days yesterday where I was just feeling “off.” I am hoping today feels more “on”. Have a great “ON” day my lovely friends.

Question: Are you a morning exerciser? Evening exerciser? 

I know some people who wake up every morning so darn early to workout and I envy their motivation. It feels incredible to finish a workout before work and energizes me throughout the day, and being able to go directly home after a long day versus the gym puts the icing on the cake. We’ll see if I can continue this streak. :smile:

Laughter is the Best Medicine

Hello there my friends!

A brief food overview from yesterday. Breakfast was a green smoothie with kale, almond milk, protein powder, banana, and peanut butter.

Part of lunch: fage yogurt yogurt bowl

And part of dinner: almond bread with pb.

almond bread

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

With all of the stressors in our lives, bad news on the television, and illness going around right now, I think we could ALL use a pick-me-up. If I could magically deliver dark chocolate and Starbuck’s to each and every one of you, I would, but since I can’t, how bout settling for some of my favorite pins on Pinterest?! I’m hoping there is at least one in here that will make you smile.

I immediately think of Moose when I see this dog in the cone but man throw a baby into the mix and the cuteness factor escalates times a thousand!

pick me up dog cone

Considering my love/obsession for Food Network Television, this one really got me…

pick me up ladies

My relationship with math…

pick me up math shirt

Nothing needs to be said…

pick me up labradoodle

Truth…

pick me up pay bill

pick me up sneeze

Adorable…

pick me up kiddo

Can anyone relate to this grocery one? I know I can!

pick me up groceries

Cute little diva…

pick me up too cute

And this one explains my morning…

pick me up lava floor

Remember the lava game where you can’t touch the floor because it’s made of lava? I’m sure our parents LOVED us running around on all of the furniture. :wink:

There you have it, some of my favorite pick-me-ups from the wonderful world of Pinterest. BTW you can follow me—my username is NuttyMelanie.

Besides Pinterest giving this girl a good old-fashioned chuckle and lifting my spirits, I also turn to friends and family, physical activity, a piece of dark chocolate, Mooser, or Modern Family. They all do a pretty good job of turning my mood around. :smile:

Do something that makes you laugh today. Stay healthy. Laughter is the best medicine.

How do YOU “lift your spirits”? What are your favorite pick-me-ups?

Baked Santa Fe Spring Rolls

Hi there my loves! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. I have some catching up to do so here we go….

Saturday

I cracked open the Parkers Farm Crunchy Honey peanut butter and let me tell you, I was in heaven. The slight sweetness of the honey mixed with the crunchy and smoothness of the peanuts paired with a good ol’ banana made me one happy little girl.

parkers farm crunchy honey parkers farm pb

After breakfast I hopped on the treadmill and did one sweaty and very nonboring routine:

  • 10 minute walk to warm up
  • 1 mile run at 6.0 mph
  • 2 minute walk at 4.0
  • 1 mile run at 6.5
  • 2 minute walk at 4.0
  • 1 mile run at 7.0
  • 10 minute recovery walk

I was really sweating after this one and the best part was it went by very fast.

After the run I completed my second session of the Ab Challenge circuit. I’ll be completing my third session today so that I reach the weekly goal of 3-4x a week. Tomorrow begins the second week with a new ab workout. I’m loving it.

I wasn’t very hungry for lunch but knew I needed to eat, so I whipped together a smoothie with Jay Robb’s chocolate egg white protein, almond milk, kale, strawberries, half a banana, and blueberries. Very satisfying.

smoothie with jay robb

Then I got to work on what I love doing oh so much…experimenting in the kitchen. Later in the afternoon I had plans to go to my mom and dad’s for dinner. They were going to be making chicken and I told them I would bring a salad.

My wonderful aunt introduced me to a deli-bought salad couple of weeks ago that I absolutely adored, and I had decided I needed to try to recreate it. The salad she had was made with chickpeas, but I wanted to use black beans instead. You could definitely substitute with chickpeas if you would like.

Here is what I came up with!

IMG_1313

black bean citrus salad

Black Bean Citrus Salad

Ingredients
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup bell peppers, diced
  • 1/3 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 green onion, diced
  • 2 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
  • Sauce:
  • juice of 1/2 of a lime
  • juice from 1/2 of an orange
  • 1 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. In medium bowl combine beans, peppers, onions and cilantro.
  2. In a separate small bowl mix the sauce.
  3. Pour the sauce over the bean mixture and stir gently to combine.
  4. Serve cold as a salad or with corn tortilla chips.

I snacked on a small handful of Driscoll’s blackberries in the afternoon. I realize now how much fruit I ate that day!

driscolls blackberriesThen off to mom and dad’s for the evening for church, dinner and the Viking vs. Packer football game.
chicken black beans brussels sprouts

Abbie chose the right move by sleeping instead of watching the Vikes lose so terribly.

IMG_1325

Sunday

I was a cleaning machine in the morning not to mention we hit the coupon jackpot. I swear the coupon books (all four of them) were made specifically for me. There were coupons for so many things I actually use. I was psyched.

I headed to the treadmill again on Sunday this time for a long walk (4.0 pace). I walked for about 50 minutes while watching who knows what t.v. shows. Okay, I watched the Kardashians. Guilty pleasure. I also completed my 1-minute plank from the challenge.

Dinner:

I used the leftover bean salad to make Santa Fe Spring Rolls! I added about 3/4 cup of corn and 1/4 cup of shredded cheese into the black bean salad recipe.

The spring rolls I used are made from rice flour, water, and salt. They come in a round package and are very hard. To soften them you simply take one and turn it in a bowl of warm water. It softens right up and is pliable to work with.

Santa Fe Spring Rolls:

Step 1: Preheat oven to 375°F and prepare a baking pan with parchment paper. Once rice paper is pliable, place on flat surface and spoon in bean mixture just off-center.

santa fe spring roll step 1

Step 2: Fold up bottom end of paper to cover mixture.

santa fe spring roll step 2

Step 3: Fold in both right and left sides of paper.

IMG_1332

Step 4: Gently roll up the paper into a roll and place on prepared baking pan and spray the tops with olive oil.

santa fe spring roll step 4

Here’s the kicker…since this was my first time ever working with rice paper, I had no idea how long to bake these. We baked the rolls for about 20 minutes and then switched the oven to low broil where they sat for another 10 minutes. Since the inside did not need to be cooked for any reason, our biggest intention was to crisp up the rice paper.

If I were to do it again I would still probably bake it for 20 minutes, and broil for 10, but I would flip the rolls half way through the broiling process to crisp up both sides.

But anyway, the result was a very tasty sinless meal. I served the rolls with a side of Parkers Farm mild salsa.

IMG_1334

They were definitely very crunchy too! This was a fun change of pace meal for us. BTW before I prepared these rolls I devoured a load of broccoli and hummus, so that was part of my dinner too.

IMG_1335

The rest of the evening was spent being pretty lazy on the couch. I made myself a bowl of FAGE 0% fat Greek Yogurt with fresh Driscoll’s strawberries and blackberries.

It was a nummy day!

Fage with driscolls berries

I have some fun plans on the agenda today including a hot date with a girlfriend of mine!  I am super duper excited. I hope you all have a fabulous day and I will check back in with you very soon.

What has gotten into me lately?

Happy Saturday!

I’m backin’ up the train to Thursday night.

After work Dana and I headed out to run a couple of errands. It was a super gloomy cold day, oh and did I mention it snowed on Thursday?! All I really wanted to do was stay snuggled up in our warm house, but life does go on even when the cold weather strikes…so off we went to get a few things done.

By the time we got home we were both extremely hungry but neither of us were any mood to cook, so I cheated. I opened up a can of fat-free refried beans, heated them up and topped them on a romaine salad along with corn, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, cilantro, onions, and salsa.

A burrito salad. So simple. So delicious. The only thing missing was avocado which we HAD but wasn’t quite ripe. Womp womp…Aw well, next time.

Now to Friday (yesterday)…

I had the day off and started the day with a little experiment. I wanted to see how my body would react to Greek yogurt for breakfast. This used to be a breakfast staple for me back in the day but this colitis business has been throwing me off a bit.

I dished up a bowl of blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, banana and FAGE Non-Fat Greek Yogurt sweetened with a touch of stevia.

It tasted glorious ANNND my body seemed to accept it just fine. It’s nice to have this as another breakfast option again.

After breakfast and a cup of coffee, I vacuumed the living room to get ready for some yoga. I found yet another OnDemand yoga session that was geared towards athletes. Not to say that I’m an athlete by any means, but I like to be active, so I thought I would give it a go. It turned out to be one of my favorites so far. The instructor explained the moves very well and I really enjoyed how he kept the session flowing with lots of different poses.

After yoga I set out to run a few errands including trying to find the last piece of my Halloween costume for a party we are going to tonight. The store I wanted to go to didn’t open until 10 and I arrived ready to go at 9:40. I’m not one to sit around so I decided to head on over to the local natural food store and see how much money I could spent in 20 minutes. Kidding.

When I walked in the door I was immediately greeted with this sample set up. Angie’s White Chocolatier Peppermint Holidrizzle Kettle Corn. Are you serious?! I sampled two delectable kernels and they rocked my socks off. I have plans to try to recreate this in the future for the holidays, or else just go buy a bag. One or the other.

There were some more errands run…and now we are on to dinner (I skipped ahead a bit).

Earlier in the week I had prepped a spaghetti squash by cooking it, scraping out the spaghetti strands, draining some of the liquids, and freezing it in a Ziploc bag. All I had to do last night was defrost it in the microwave, drain off excess liquid and do whatever I pleased with it.

I sautéed some onion, mushroom, and kale in some olive oil. I seasoned the veggies with oregano and basil. Once the veggies were cooked down, I hollowed out a spot in the pan for the squash. I placed the squash in the center and spread it out like a pancake. I cooked each side for about 1-2 minutes. It “toasts” the spaghetti and I really like it better that way. Plus it helps to rid of any excess liquid.

Next, I plated up the squash with the veggies, topped it with spaghetti sauce and parmesan cheese.

Dinner was finished in less than 15 minutes. How about that?

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

Now it’s Saturday morning and Dana, Moose and I just got back from a 4-mile run. It felt AMAZING! It was 27 ° F when we headed out this morning so I broke out the long underwear, ear-warmers, and gloves. The sun was out so that helped to keep us warm. I felt like I could keep running and running and running. What has gotten into me lately? I am loving it.

Off to tackle a few projects including appetizer prep for the Halloween party tonight, and finding the last piece of my costume. I always thought I wasn’t a procrastinator, but now I’m starting to wonder. I think I’m just really picky or have something envisioned in my head, so it takes me a long time to find the perfect piece that fits that vision. Yea, we’re going to go with that.

Have a splendid Saturday! Excited to catch up with you all again!

Taco Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing

Happy Friday!

So, last night I was all ready to make a couple of loaves of nutty gluten-free bread. I brought my laptop into the kitchen and pulled up the recipe from my site. Much to my dismay I learned that the link was no longer active from my recipe page. I investigated further and realized that NONE of my recipe links had transferred over from my old site.

So last night, I had to go through them all and relink them to their appropriate posts. There is probably a much faster way to do this, but since I haven’t quite figured out this whole CSS new self-hosting business, I went the slow route. It was easy, just super tedious.

Needless to say I didn’t end up making the bread, but all of the links on the recipe pages should be fixed! Links from old posts though may still be missing, but I will have to figure that one out another day.

Anyway! How about a quick lil’ recap from yesterday?

I’ll spare you the breakfast photo because you’ve seen it a million and one times: nutty bread with peanut butter and honey. LOOVE.

Lunch

Driscoll’s raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and frozen blueberries (thawed of course) topped with Fage Total 0% Fat plain yogurt, and a healthy drizzle of honey.

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I finished lunch off with a handful of almonds and two hershey’s kisses, one milk chocolate and one dark chocolate. I am usually a huge dark chocolate fan, but when it comes to Hershey’s, the milk chocolate still takes the cake. Any other chocolate though, give me dark. Meh, who am I kidding? I’ll take chocolate in any way, shape, or form.

Dinner

An amazingly delicious taco salad creation with creamy avocado dressing.

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So let’s talk about this because it was seriously awesome.

I had some browned lean beef in the freezer, so I pulled that out and began defrosting. I then heated it up on the stove top with a small amount of taco seasoning, a dash of water, and let it heat through. I added extra cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder as well.

I got to work chopping up a tomato, mini bell peppers, shredding some cheddar cheese, defrosting some corn, and concocting my dressing which can hardly be considered a recipe it was so easy…

Creamy Avocado Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 ripe avocados
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp. tomatillo salsa*
  • salt and pepper

*I wanted to add lime juice to this dressing instead of salsa but didn’t have any on hand so substituted with green tomatillo salsa. It turned out great! Lime juice would definitely work too, though.

Directions

  1. In food processor, blend all ingredients until smooth.

Last step, plating. I started with a nice big bed of mixed greens, next layered on tomatoes, bell peppers, corn, black beans, shredded cheese, ground beef, and lastly topped it with a large dollop of avocado dressing.

The only words spoken by me while devouring this meal were “omg, this is so good.” I encourage you to make it this weekend!

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Taco Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing (for 2)

Ingredients

  • 2 large handfuls of mixed greens
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 4 baby bell peppers, diced
  • 1/3 cup corn
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 lb ground beef, browned
  • 1/4 packet taco seasoning or homemade taco seasoning
  • Avocado dressing (recipe above)

Directions

  1. Plate all ingredients, top with dressing. Seriously enjoy.
After dinner I headed out for a 3.5 mile walk on the most perfect fall evening.

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I am so cold this morning. When I woke up it was only 50° outside, now a couple of hours later it has crept up to 54 whoppin’ degrees. This weather makes me want to bake and drink coffee! I just might, but first I want to make sure and get a workout in, I’m meeting mom for a picnic lunch, and Dana and I have a very fun date planned for tonight!

My baking/cooking bucket list for the upcoming fall months:

  • More nutty gluten-free bread
  • Pumpkin chocolate chip gluten-free bread
  • Some sort of apple dessert (crisp, baked apples…)
  • Chili
  • Some sort of legume recipe

Okay, we’ll start with that. I am off to tackle the day. Have a happy day!

What recipe is on your fall bucket list?!

Prescribe Myself Some Rest

Hi friends! I had so much fun reliving my weekend at the Healthy Living Summit, but I am happy to now be back to normalcy again. In case you missed it, you can catch up on my most recent HLS Boston trip.

Destination Boston HLS12

Shake Out the Nerves: HLS Day 1

Cheers to New Friends: HLS Day 2

Decisions, Decisions: HLS Day 3

It’s time to get back into the groove. You remember how this works right? It’s time for a breakdown of my Wednesday. Here we go.

Breakfast

Overnight Chia Bowl made with:

  • Fage 0% fat Greek yogurt
  • Silk unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • chia seeds
  • stevia
  • blueberries
  • strawberries

I let all of the ingredients except the strawberries mingle together over night, and topped the bowl with fresh strawberries in the morning.

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Lunch

Curry turkey salad over a bed of lettuce. I wrote down the recipe for this one but haven’t decided if I want to share or not because I wasn’t over the top thrilled by it. It was good though don’t get me wrong.

In the mix: celery, onions, turkey breast, grapes, Greek yogurt, and spices.

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Dinner

I stopped at mom and dad’s after work to hang out with them before heading over to meet with some girl friends for So You Think You Can Dance? I munched on some trail mix while relaxing, and then made my way to the table for dinner.

I had a very random, yet delicious dinner: spinach, green beans, and tomato…

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And a half of a banana with peanut butter for some protein which went unphotographed so I used an old photo instead. Perfect!

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The rest of the evening was spent with my girlfriends Amanda, Jules, and Sara. We girl-talked it up, watched SYTYCD, and ate M & M’s (BTW I have been over-doing it on the chocolate lately) while lounging on the couch. I had a great time with them, and always do. Kate, we missed you!

U.C. Update

I was going to end this post with a recipe, but decided to wait on that and give you an update on my Ulcerative Colitis instead. It has now been 3 months that I have been sick and unfortunately, I have to report that I’m still not feeling well. Certain symptoms have subsided such as bloating, which I can mostly attribute to removing gluten from my diet, but other symptoms (which I’ll spare you the details of) are still not under control.

I go through peaks and valleys where I am feeling fairly well for a few days, and then something happens whether it’s stress or a busy weekend, and I am thrown off again.

I am finding my energy level to be very low, so much as I am not working out nearly as much as I used to and it’s becoming less and less of a priority. Sleeping has become the priority, and I am truly trying to honor my body’s request for it.

I am seeing the doctor regularly, eating a very healthy diet, taking my medications as prescribed, sleeping, being active when I can, but the one thing I know need to work on is rest. With the summer being so busy, it is hard to rest. Maybe I should give myself a prescription to rest, then maybe I’ll do it? I’ll work on that. I think this is something that most of us could probably work on, am I right?

My mom reminds me that in the big picture of life, this time in my life is just a small little nick in the frame. With that being said, I must remind myself that not working out is not a big deal right now, and that rest is okay and saying no to invites is okay and that friends will understand. It’s hard to remember that when you are so used to the opposite.

I don’t mean to be a downer but I really wanted you all to get an update because it’s been a little while since I’ve given you one. I continue to try to stay positive, but this is really taking a toll on me. I won’t be sick forever, I can promise you that. I was just hoping to have fought this off already. I’m still me, just a more delicate me. I can’t wait for the day when I can tell you I am in remission and feeling fabulous. Let’s hope it’s soon.

Thank you all for letting me vent. I feel much better. I hope you all have a great Thursday and I look forward to catching up with you again soon!