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?

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.

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.

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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!!!

 

Tie Up Loose Ends

We made it through Tuesday!

After work today Dana ran some errands including a trip to Mall of America to try to find a backing to my iPhone. Apparently I am kind of picky about my phone accessories because I didn’t find one cover I liked in all of the M.O.A.! The trip was not a total flop though because we decided to get some frozen yogurt at Freeziac  which is self-serve frozen yogurt shop. We don’t have many of these in Minnesota, at least around where I live, so this is a big deal for us and a very special treat.

Yellow cake batter frozen yogurt with cookie dough, brownie, heath bar, chocolate chips, M & Ms (for color of course), a little bit of hot fudge, one pink gummy bear, and a cherry on top to seal the deal. This was heaven in a cup. This will be in my heaven except all the calories will have been removed so I can eat twice as much and not have to buy new pants. Good thing Dana and I were walking around the mall while eating this so we were actually burning calories while eating. Ha ha I know I’m funny. 🙂

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Dinner was one of my favorite salads: The Southwest Salad <——–Check out the recipe!

That is one good-looking salad if you ask me! I covered the fruit and veggie food group, protein food group, dairy food group, and even have some healthy fats in there with the avocado in this meal. I believe I’m just missing my whole grains. I had plenty of those earlier today though. I dare you to check this recipe out and try it at home. It’s a crowd pleaser.

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Remember a little while back when I mentioned I bought a new face moisturizer? Well it’s review time. Product: Aveeno Active Naturals Smart Essentials.

To those who may have missed it, I was looking for a moisturizer to help hydrate my extremely dry face, especially in my t-zone area. I have been using this stuff for a week and a half and I really feel it is making a difference. I am using it every night after I clean my face and in the morning I use just a little bit on my t-zone along with my daily moisturizer (Neutrogena Daily Moisturizer SPF 15). I no longer have dry skin and I feel like my skin looks more radiant. I would recommend it to anyone experiencing dry winter skin.

That was loose end #1 I wanted to tie up. Loose end #2 is my Home-made Tomato Soup Recipe! This was my first time ever making home-made tomato soup, and I was a little skeptical as to how it would turn out. It actually turned out really well. I even added a secret ingredient which helps create a creamy consistency (it’s pumpkin puree) without adding any dairy products. Not a secret anymore is it?

 

Tomato Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic
  • 1-32 ounce container low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1-28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • cooking spray

Directions

  1. In large soup pot coated with cooking spray, saute onion until translucent; add garlic and continue sauteing for 30 more seconds.
  2. Add broth, pumpkin, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, and dried basil; stir.
  3. Bring to a boil; cover and reduce to simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat; stir in basil.
  5. Use immersion blender to puree soup to smooth.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with crackers, shredded cheese, grilled cheese, fresh basil, tortilla chips or eat plain. I hope you like it as much as I did.

I am realizing that this post was all over the place. I guess that’s just how my mind works!

I am off to continue learning about my new phone while sipping on a mug o’ tea. Good night my friends!