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 New Kitchen

Hoowddddy, howdy, howdy, how. I just finished my morning cup of joe and I am feeling fantastic! I would feel fantastic either way but it really gives me that extra little boost some days.

How was everybody’s weekend? Mine was full of family time so in my book that means it was a great weekend. We celebrated Dana’s grandma’s birthday, my dad’s birthday, and had an early Mother’s Day celebration with Dana’s family. So many wonderful people to celebrate and celebrate with. The fun continues over the next couple of weeks with Mother’s Day and a few more birthdays to come! Wooo!! I love it.

I’m starting to adapt to this whole giving the camera a rest on the weekend bit, so again, I didn’t snap too many photos. Here’s a few that I did get…

My favorite salmon dinner on Friday.

 

salmon

A smoothie to-go as we ran errands on Saturday: strawberries, blueberries, kale, coconut milk, Jay Robb chocolate egg white protein powder.

smoothie

Sunday’s birthday meal.

 

burger

 

I realize I say this all of the time but I feel like the luckiest gal in the world to have such amazing families. My love for them is endless.

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Kitchen Countertops

Changing gears. I have some revealing to do! No more anticipating, the time has finally arrived. It is time to reveal our new kitchen countertops!

I forgot to do an official “before” photo, but I was able to dig up a few to give you a reminder of what it used to look like. So, without further ado…

Before

melanie in the kitchen

kitchen food prep

 

After!

new kitchen 2013 new kitchen 2013 new kitchen 2013  new kitchen 2013

kitchen 2013

 

new kitchen 2013

new kitchen 2013

 

Isn’t it beautiful?! I really don’t think it would be possible for me to be more excited about these countertops. They are exactly what I was hoping for. We were able to pick our the exact slab of granite that would go into our home. It’s hard to imagine what it will look like in your kitchen until it is actually in your kitchen and then there is no turning back. I was thrilled at the outcome. I feel like we have a brand new kitchen. It motivates me to do more baking and cooking too!

So there you have it. You can finally sleep tonight now that you have seen the official reveal. :wink:

I’m off to tackle my Monday. I hope you have a BEAUTIFUL day.

What was/were the highlight/s or your weekend?!

Enjoyable Salmon and the Room Reveal

It’s a hot water with lemon and honey type of morning over here. I am most definitely fighting some type of head cold with symptoms of stuffy nose, sore throat, and “stuffy” throat if you know what I mean. I will NOT get sick(er) though, and I will fight it off (positivity really helps!).

I’m thinking it should be a fruit and veggie-packed smoothie kind of morning too to get a kick-start on those vitamins.

Let’s talk about Monday. First thing in the morning our pampered pooch had an appointment at the vet. He was less than thrilled about it as you can see.

moose

It was time to get his pearly whites cleaned up. Although we do brush his teeth and give him Nylabones and other bones to chew on, he still has some buildup on his teeth and has grade I gingivitis. The vets highly recommend the teeth cleaning because gingivitis can lead to further serious health conditions if not controlled. Since we love the little guy SO much, we dished out the dough and got it done. His teeth turned out beautifully.

I had some running around to do throughout the late morning/lunch hour, so I stashed some snacks in my purse: carrots, snap peas, and an apple. I had quite the little day and I am excited to share it with you very soon.

purse snacks

There aren’t too many food photos to share with you from yesterday because my day of eats was too random and not the most balanced either, and I didn’t feel like snapping a photo of every little snack I consumed.

I was finally done with all of my appointments and errands at 4:30 at which point I had planned on getting a good core workout in, but by the time I got home I was in no mood to do anything strenuous. My energy was zapped and I was starting to feel symptoms of the cold. But I wasn’t ready to call all exercise off, instead I laced up and headed downstairs for a leisure walk on the treadmill while reading a book. I walked for 45 minutes and completed my plank-a-day, and was so glad I did. It gave me the little boost of energy I needed. When do I ever regret a workout? Never.

Dinner was something special last night. My friend Patti read that I was trying to eat salmon once a week and trying to learn to like it, so she recommended a recipe for me to try. It was very simple which I always appreciate.

What I did was melt a little butter on the stove top, add sliced almonds, capers, and finally sesame oil. It doesn’t take long to make the sauce so I waited until the salmon and green beans were nearly done on the grill (yes we grilled last night—wooo!—no salmon stinky house) to get it going. Once everything was cooked I plated the green beans which I just steamed in aluminum foil on the grill, then the salmon, and finally the almond glaze.

salmon

OMG—I actually loved my salmon last night! It may have been a combination of being able to grill the salmon on a real grill outside along with the awesome crunchy sweet and salty topping that really made it, who knows, but whatever it was, I truly enjoyed this dish. Thank you for the recommendation. They are always welcome! :smile:

The rest of the night was spent planning out our meals for our vacation, watching the Bachelor, and having a snack or two. Pour Sean is in a tizzy. These girls are really yanking at his heart-strings. :wink:

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So, guess what? The laundry room is finished! It took us about two weeks to complete and it feels so great to have it done.
Before the renovation, the room was dirty, cold, unorganized, and you felt like you had to wear shoes if you were going to go in there. Now, the floor is tiled, the walls and shelves are all painted, and all of our “junk” is organized!
Here are some before and after photos; mind you that we moved a ton of stuff from our living room area into the laundry room where we plan to permanently store it, so although it may looked slightly more cluttered, you’re right it is, but it is in an organized fashion. The walls are a very soft blue color called fresh air. Ahhhhhh…
Before:

laundry room before

 After:laundry room after

Before:

laundry room before

After:

laundry room afterBefore:
laundry room before

After:

laundry room done

laundry room after

Before:

laundry room before

After:

laundry room done

Who knew I could be so excited about a laundry room renovation! How times have changed.

These photos are a little embarrassing because you are witnessing firsthand all of the junk that we own. It amazes me how much stuff two people can accumulate. My next project is to sort through all of this stuff, hopefully get rid of a bunch of it, and then reorganize it again.

So now that a good majority of the living room is finally cleared out downstairs, we can hopefully tackle that room next in the near future. This whole renovation thing is kind of addicting. First we did the bathroom downstairs, now the laundry room, and next most likely the living area, and eventually two bedrooms and a workshop! It will be a while on all of that though. :smile:

Okay, I’m going to go nurse this throat and get ready for the day. I hope you all have a great Tuesday and are feeling healthy!

A Day of Comfy Tummy Snacks and Meals

Well, happy Sunday!! I am happy to report that I am feeling MUCH better today. Yesterday was very restful; I was in need of some quiet relaxing time after having a blast on Friday night.

I felt super motivated in the morning and actually made myself a savory breakfast of eggs with cheese and kale. This doesn’t happen very often where I actually crave savory versus sweet in the morning, but I did line my plate with a handful of cold sweet carrots to “balance” the meal and add a touch of sweetness. I can’t tell you the last time I ate carrots in the morning, but I actually really enjoyed them. Weird things are happening over here. :wink:

eggs

I had a great appetite first thing in the morning and these eggs did a great job of satisfying my hunger. After I ate in the morning though, my appetite spiraled downward and I did not feel well.

I found my spot on the couch from around 10:00-1:00. I nibbled on a banana and drank water while my body tried to recover. Finally I fell asleep for a short while watching Bridesmaids (love that movie) and when I awoke, I felt 80% better!

This is not Bridesmaids on TV if you didn’t notice. This was after I woke up and was feeling better, so clearly I default to Food Network. And don’t let those weights deceive you, they unfortunately didn’t get touched yesterday.

couch time relax

I made myself a light snack/mini lunch…

apples with peanut butter

In the afternoon I was actually able to be slightly productive. I painted the shelves for the laundry room, went to Menards with Dana, shoveled the driveway, cranked out my plank-a-day, and then made some super easy on the belly soup.

I used the bone broth I had made the other day to throw together a quick soup with carrots, onion, garlic, peas, broccoli, and chicken. I seasoned the soup as I went along with salt, pepper, savory seasoning blend, and garlic powder. I topped it with fresh cilantro.

bone broth soup

It wasn’t a soup that made me want to go run and scream and tell the whole world about, but it was perfect on my still unsettled tummy.

I did have a few other random snacks throughout the day, but overall it was a pretty low-appetite day for me, and I was listening to my body as best as I could.

After dinner we got to work again on the laundry room. We are now in the process of moving all of our junk stuff into the laundry room where it will be permanently stored. Since our basement is unfinished we have just been storing everything in the living area, but since we would like to work on finishing the living area, we needed to move the junk out of there.

The laundry room is nearly finished. It looks smaller now because we have put so much more stuff in there, but it is definitely cleaner looking and more organized! Photos coming soon!

Just before bed, I whipped together some Paleo-friendly waffle batter so that this morning all we have to do is crank on the waffle iron and cook them up. Dana’s patiently waiting for me as I write right now, so I am going to end this so I can get my breakfast on.

Happy Super Bowl Sunday!

What are your go-to comfy tummy snacks and/or meals?

Overnight Chia Berry Kefir Bowl

 

It’s Thursday! Happy day to you. :smile:

Yesterday I rolled out of bed (I literally do roll out of bed btw) at 5:30 and hit the treadmill for a very leisure 45 minute walk while reading a book and drinking a cup of coffee. Doesn’t that sound nice? It really was. It would be even nicer it I were outside on the beach with the warm sun on my back…ahh less than one month.

Wednesday was day two of my personal “get creative with breakfast” movement. The evening before last, I combined kefir, frozen blueberries, frozen strawberries, chia seeds, chocolate egg white protein powder, and a touch of honey. I gave it a good stir, covered it, and let it sit in the fridge overnight. In the morning I had a refreshingly sweet yet slightly tart chia berry kefir bowl! kefir chia bowl

For those of you new to kefir, join the club. This is my first week of experimenting with it. Kefir is a fermented milk product. It has the consistency of really thin yogurt and has a tangy flavor. It is a probiotic which has been show to help improve intestinal health by creating a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut and can improve digestion. I bought the plain version to try out but they have flavored versions at the stores now too.

kefir

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am all about natural ways to stay and get healthy, and after talking about the possibility of adding fermented foods to my diet with my chiropractor, I decided to give it a go. Here’s a link to more info if you are interested: kefir info.

It is 99% lactose free and gluten-free, a good source of vitamin D and calcium, has 12 grams of protein per cup, and only natural sugars. Sold.

kefir

Lunch was a hodge-podge of all things—chicken with marinara and cheese, sugar snap peas, carrots, and an apple. I had an afternoon snack of a banana and a clementine.

For dinner I was not in a cooking mood at all but was getting pretty hungry. We were running low on veggies so that was making my dinner decision even more challenging. Then I spotted the sweet potato on the counter that I had bought last weekend and the decision was made. I wanted to experiment with it to see how my body reacted to a more “starchy” vegetable and I really do like sweet potatoes.

I made it the cheater way in the microwave. After scrubbing it down, I poked a bunch of holes into it, placed it on a microwave safe plate and cooked it for 3 minutes on one side, and then 3 minutes on the other. This was a monster of a sweet potato, so I cut it in half and saved one half for another day.

I added cinnamon, honey, peanut butter and raisins, and dug right in.

sweet potato

It was a nice change of pace and I really enjoyed my sweet dinner. I didn’t notice any negative symptoms from it either, but I do want to experiment with it one more time before introducing it more often. Potatoes are a no-no on the SCD but they they may be okay on my Melanie’s moderated diet (MMD), and I want to find out for myself. :smile:

I broiled the second half of the sweet potato in wedges to crisp them up, and refrigerated them for another day. I also finished cooking the bone broth–it needs to simmer for 24 hours to leach the maximum amount of calcium from the bones into the broth.

bone broth sweet potatoes

For a snack later in the evening I ate a few dates and had a couple small handfuls of cashews.

cashews

Dana and I sealed the grout lines in the tile in the laundry room last night. Once it was dry we moved the washer and dryer back into place. We haven’t been able to do laundry since  last week and I haven’t miss it at all.

It is so exciting seeing the room come together. Next we will be finishing painting the shelves, assembling them, and moving storage bins in! We’re coming along! Don’t forget, once it’s ALL finished I will be sharing photos.

Have a happy day friends! xoxo!

Question of the day: What are your thoughts/experiences on kefir and other fermented foods? 

How to Make Almond Butter

Happy Thursday and happy National Peanut Butter Day! This week has gone by fast but the days have gone by slow. Does that make sense? I’m just happy we are almost to the weekend!

Dana and I have some major laundry room renovation plans this weekend. Tonight we are going to prime the walls, tomorrow we are hoping to paint, and then this weekend we are hoping to tile the floors!

The color we picked out for the walls is called fresh air and it is a very light subtle blue. I would show you the paint sample but to be perfectly honest I am just too lazy to go downstairs and get it. You will see it eventually. It will brighten up the room a lot. We will be painting the shelves white.

Okay, I wasn’t going to do this but how about I give you a quick snap of the laundry room before just to show you how much work it really needs.

laundry room

 

Can I get a womp womppp? I’ll spare you the rest of the before photos until the end of the project, then I will compare before and after photos and stun you all. :wink:

It just needs some TLC, and that is what we are giving it. Imagine light blue walls, tan tile, white shelves, and a clean dust-free room! I am pretty pumped about this if you can’t tell! Oh how we change. I never would have imagined five years ago being so excited about revamping a laundry room.

I don’t have much to share on the food front from yesterday. For breakfast I got real crazy and had a banana with almond butter (NOT peanut butter–can you believe it?!).

banana with almond butter

To make homemade almond butter:

  1. I use unsalted raw almonds from Costco which I roast in the oven myself. Once they are 100% completely cooled, I pour 2-3 cups of almonds into the food processor.
  2. I cover the processor and let it go for 15 minutes, stopping 3-4 times in the process to scrape off the sides.
    1. If I want to sweeten the almond butter, I will add 1-2 teaspoons of cinnamon and 1-2 tablespoons of honey about half way through the processing. 

almond butter

3.  For best results, I let the almond butter sit in the food processor for a couple of hours to   allow to cool again completely. After it’s cooled I process it again for 5 minutes, or until it has a smooth spreadable consistency.

almond butter

4.  I then pour it into a canning jar or covered Tupperware, and use it on bananas, dates, almond bread, celery, etc!

almond butter

I am really loving having it around the house. I really haven’t met a nut butter I haven’t liked! Cashew butter, sunflower seed butter, peanut butter, almond butter. It’s all good.

Skipping ahead to dinner…I was NOT feeling creative in the least bit. I was starving though and knew my body was craving nutrients, so although it didn’t sound amazing to me at the moment, I threw together a big salad.

salad

And what do you know, it tasted great. My body thanked me. I snacked on a handful of dates with almond butter a couple of hours later, then hit the hay around 9:00.

Have a great day!

Question of the day: What is your favorite nut butter? Have you made any of your own?

Catching Up on Weekend Eats

Happy Tuesday!

Since I kind of dove deep yesterday into the topic of curbing my sweet tooth, I didn’t get the chance to share the rest of my kitchen adventures with you from the weekend. Even though it’s already Tuesday, I still want to catch up. There’s no better time than right now!

My Weekend Eats

On Saturday I broke out the food dehydrator. I sliced up fresh bananas which I rolled in melted coconut oil, and frozen strawberries which I thawed in the microwave and sliced thin, and placed them on the dehydrator trays. I let them go for 7 hours.

strawberries in dehydrator

The bananas came out great as they always do, but the strawberries were just kind of ‘meh’ to me. They are good, just not goooooood. I still enjoy them though!

dried strawberries

For dinner Saturday night I had not a clue what I was going to make. After taking inventory in the fridge and freezer, I pulled out a bunch of veggies and got chopping. First I sliced a whole lot of brussels sprouts into shreds. I sprayed them with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roasted them for about 20 minutes in the oven.

roasted brussel sprouts

In the mean time, I sautéed carrots, onion, mushrooms, and one garlic clove. In a separate  pan, I cooked two strips of turkey bacon.

sauteed veggies

Once the veggies were nearly done on the stove top, I added pre-cooked brown lentils to them, added a pinch of savory seasoning, salt, and pepper, and gave it a good stir.

Once the brussels sprouts were done roasting and the lentils were warmed through, I began plating. First, the lentils and sautéed veggies, next the roasted brussels sprouts, and finally, the icing on the cake, the turkey bacon cut into confetti pieces.

brussels sprouts and lentils brussels sprouts and lentils

This dish was outstanding! There was so much flavor, it was very hearty, and it was full of stick to your ribs soluble fiber. I LOVED it. Dana gave it two thumbs up as well.

Sunday

I already showed you my breakfast in yesterday’s post, so moving on to lunch. After running our normal Target and Costco errands, and grabbing a few nummy samples along the way, I wasn’t that hungry for lunch, but since Dana and I still had more errands to run, I knew I had to eat something to hold me over.

I threw together a salad made of mixed dark greens, blueberries, feta cheese, and almonds.

salad with blueberries

I more than likely ate some dates for dessert. In the afternoon I made homemade cinnamon honey almond butter and you better believe I had to be taste-testing along the way. :wink:

Sunday evening dinner was sesame soy salmon. I marinated the salmon in a mixture of low sodium soy sauce, sesame oil, dried ginger, one minced garlic clove, and honey for about one hour. We grilled it on the stove top inside, about 4-5 minutes on each side, until cooked through. I cranked the windows open, turned the vents on high above the stove, and still wound up with a house that smelled like sesame salmon. I’m anxious for the weather to warm up just even slightly so we can grill outside again.

The marinade gave a nice crispy crust to the salmon which was what I was hoping for.  Salmon is one of those foods that I hope grows on me. I’m just not a huge fan…yet. The plan is to eat salmon once a week, in hopes that I will start liking it more and more. It is just so darn healthy and I don’t want to be missing out on that! I didn’t like red wine at first, but I kept trying it and now I love it so I’m hoping for the same effect. We shall see.

DSCN6378

We began a very exciting project around our house on Sunday. We are “remodeling” our laundry room. I use the term loosely because technically in order to remodel something it has to already be modeled, right? Well ours isn’t. Ours wasn’t even fully sheet-rocked yet. It needs a lot of TLC and that is exactly what we’re giving it.

We will be painting the walls, tiling the floor, putting sheet rock up on the necessary walls, and we will be reorganizing. Our basement is completely unfinished except for the bathroom which we completed last year (whoops except I still need to decorate one wall in there).

This is one more step in the right direction in finishing that basement and I am ecstatic about it. Once we have the laundry room completed, I will be sure to show you before and after photos. Mission laundry room!

One last thing. Since it is now the 4th week of January, that means that there is a new workout posted in the 30 Day Abs Challenge. Here it is!

week 4 abs

I can’t believe it is the 4th week in January already. Did this month even happen? I say that every month! I am still keeping up with this challenge and am feeling very good. I will be sure to update you on any progress I made throughout the month once the challenge comes to an end. :smile:

Have a fabulous day!

Questions of the day: What health goals have you made recently? What are your goals for future months?

I am thinking I may need to find another fitness challenge for the month of February. I love how these monthly challenges motivate me and I enjoy the support of other people partaking in the challenge. I like to set goals and reach those goals!

10 Things I Learned in 2012

Happy New Year’s Eve! Did everyone have a good weekend?! Mine ended with a Vikings’ football win. As much as I’ve neglected to watch them all season, I really get into the games especially at the end and if they’re doing well. Yes, I’m a fair weather fan. I’ll admit.

I guess I can rewind backwards from Sunday to Saturday since I started with Sunday night football. Sunday was pretty quiet. We ran our errands and seriously hit up the Target after Christmas clearance aisles. Dana’s already talking about putting the Christmas lights back up next year. 10 1/2 months to go!

target

We cleaned the house just to tidy it up again and then I headed over to mom and dad’s to watch the game and hang out. I stayed until the 3rd quarter or so then finished the game at my house with Dana and his dad. It was a nail-biter!

Saturday

We were feeling ambitious on Saturday. We started off by suitin’ up for a 3 mile outdoor run. This time the thermometer read 13 but said it felt like 3°F. My legs really don’t react well to this cold weather and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t the tiniest bit nervous about it, but like I said, I need to remind myself….

It doesn’t matter how fast I go, just go. Just finish.

It’s as simple as that. I would really like to enjoy myself too! :smile:

After our run we start tackling our winter project list which included repainting our living room and creating another accent wall with some leftover paint we had from this wall. Over the past two years it got really nicked up from Moose’s toys and bags rubbing against it, etc., and needed a refresher.

DSCN6314 DSCN6315

I know it doesn’t look like much but it FEELS SOOO GOOD. You can sort of tell that the wall with the clock is a cocoa color. It makes the room look larger and more homey. I love it. After our 3 hour paint job, we showered up and got ready for dinner out…

At Roasted Pear. We had bought a Living Social deal for $20 to get $40 worth of food or drink and decided it was the perfect night to use it.

IMG_1241

melanie roasted pear

My dinner order was very non-Melanie-like. I ordered the petite filet with french fries. The chance of me ordering a steak is like 1 in 100 coupled with the choice of french fries over a healthier option….very rare. They both sounded good to me though, and I though what the heck?!

IMG_1245 IMG_1246

And I didn’t regret my decision. It was very good! We finished off our night out with a shared hot fudge sundae with a cherry on top.

IMG_1247

And then went home to our pooch who was waiting to dance with his mama. :wink: Not really, but he was a good sport!

IMG_1252

Since it is the last day of 2012 I wanted to put together some type of recap from the past year. I decided to make a top 10 list of things I have learned in 2012. It can be blog related, life, health, whatever. I just thought it would be fun. So here it goes…

2012

So maybe I didn’t learn all of these things this past year, but I was definitely reminded of the importance of each and every one of those statements. I am so looking forward to a very happy, healthy and “lucky” 2013.

I will be kicking my 2013 off with a 10K run; what better way to start it off! Happy New Year my beautiful friends! I love you all and cannot thank you enough for supporting me and accepting me for who I am.

Question of the day: What is something you learned in 2012?

Refreshing Watermelon and Avocado Salad

I am feeling pretty tired this morning. I’ve got the coffee in hand and I’m waiting for it to kick in. I slept very well last night but just not quite long enough. I slept for about 7 hours but I function best at 8-10. I slept pretty hard, so I think I just need time to wake up still. I always wish I was one of those people who needed hardly any sleep to get by; I would be or could be,  so much more productive. At least it’s not Monday!

Tuesday

For breakfast I made a smoothie to go and it was killer:

  • Cherries
  • Banana
  • Strawberries
  • Yogurt
  • Splash of Welch’s 100% Grape Juice
  • A touch of sweetener to take away some of the tartness

I threw a straw in the cup, and guzzled this smoothie on the way to work. I worked until 1:00 pm yesterday so I made sure to pack a snack to tide me over until lunch. Not pictured is two slices of Muenster cheese. They were nummy!

When I got home I was excited to dig into this beautiful looking salad.

I made this salad the night before and let it hang together over night.

Refreshing Watermelon Avocado Salad

Ingredients

  • 1/2 of an english cucumber, peeled and diced
  • ~1 1/2 cups watermelon, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh basil, chopped
  • a touch of salt

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients together carefully so as not to mash the avocado. Serve cold right away, or let chill in the fridge over night. Either way you will enjoy this refreshing and super easy salad!

I really enjoyed this salad. It was so light and refreshing, yet it has healthy fats from the avocado to give it a little more substance. You could even add in some feta cheese if you were looking to get a little calcium in there too. You could really balance off the meal by eating this salad with a lean protein like grilled chicken or pork tenderloin.

Since I didn’t pair my salad with a protein like that, I finished my meal off with a couple bites of peanut butter for my protein fix. Then I hit the gym for a nice and sweet little jog on the elliptical.

Later in the afternoon, Dana and I got busy rearranging some furniture in our office and guest bedroom. I was in dire need of a better work space for my computer. Before I had it in the kitchen on a little bar that over looks our backyard, but in order for me to type I had to hunch my back and curve my wrists at an angle that just screams problems in the future. Besides that, it was right in the kitchen so the temptations were endless and I found myself sneaking for snacks often, and the other distraction was the television which was right to my right in the living room. When I am trying to concentrate I really need a quiet space. In college, I would often have to turn my fan on in my room and even use ear plugs when I needed to study. I have never been a good test taker and I think it’s because I get so distracted by noises; people clicking their pens, snapping their gum, tapping their foot, etc.

That was a slight tangent. We moved my computer into our back office where Dana has his office space as well. I already have my desk in there but I have been using it solely as a place to get ready in the morning (makeup, hair). I converted it to a desk as well with a space for my computer now. It is working out really well so far, and actually it will probably help me to not be on my computer as much too because it isn’t out right where Dana and I usually hang out at night. A break from technology is always a good thing, and I sometimes forget that.

Moving on to dinner. We made a super simple meal last night of pre-made turkey burgers on the grill, and grilled zucchini. I rolled the zucchini in garlic olive oil, and sprinkled it with garlic powder and salt and pepper. Dana manned the grill, and we were eating in about 15 minutes.

Alright, I have got to head out for the day. I hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday. I will catch up with you soon.

Question of the Day: What’s your most productive study environment? 

I clearly like nice and quiet, but I know Dana prefers background noise. When he was in college he would almost always study and do homework with the TV on.

The Big Reveal

A while back, I mentioned that we were beginning the process of finishing our bathroom in the basement. I feel like it’s been an eternity since I first mentioned it, and some of you were maybe even thinking I forgot to fill you in on it. But no, I was just waiting for the opportune time to reveal it to you. And now that it is finished, except for some last decorating details, I am ready for the big reveal.

It was a lot of fun being able to make all of the decisions in this bathroom. I feel like it’s truly what we wanted and the design and style turned out just as I had imagined in my head. We are so happy with the finished product. Here are some before and after photos.

Before:

After:

Before:

After

Before:

After:

Before:

After:

Did I hear some OooooOO’s and Ahhhhh’s? My favorite part is probably the heated floors. Since this is our basement bathroom, we figured it would be a very nice touch that we wouldn’t regret doing.

I still have some last decorative touches I want to make. I want to buy a dark chocolate-colored shelf to go above the toilet so I can pretty it up a bit more.

I hope everyone is having a great Friday. As you read this I am either on my way to the Boundary Waters, or knee-deep into it, depending on what time you are reading. I’ll be back in a few days. Have a beautiful weekend.