A Symbol of Hope & Weekend Recap

Thank you all for your sweet comments on my last couple of posts. I have been feeling very sentimental lately (more so than usual) and it is so nice to have this blog as an outlet to share my thoughts and feelings. You are all so supportive and it makes the journey so much easier knowing how loved and supported I am. I know I am on the right track.

I have been noticing this cardinal friend of mine hanging out in our backyard quite often. There’s something about cardinals and blue jays that just makes me so happy. They are absolutely beautiful. Plus, the lilac bush to the left of him is in full bloom and is so fragrant and gorgeous! No wonder he likes our backyard.


According to this source“The male cardinal reminds us passion, warmth and vibrancy is available to us – even in under the cloak of winter’s grey clouds.”

A list of symbolic cardinal meanings:

  • Hope
  • Love
  • Cheer
  • Pride
  • Focus
  • Energy
  • Renewal

“Those who attract the cardinal as their totem are naturally energetic, love life, and happily help others where/when they can.

Pretty incredible, right? I’ll take that handsome guy as a positive sign.

This weekend was pretty darn fantastic, albeit it flew by way too fast as they always do.

Lately I have been eating smaller meals frequently throughout the day. I find that this helps my digestive system to feel better because I’m not loading food in all it once and making it overwork sporadically. Eating small meals helps to keep my energy level up too. This works for some people, doesn’t work for others.

I snapped a few food photos throughout the weekend of some of my mini meals. This one couldn’t have been more simple: raw zucchini, red bell peppers, carrots, and quinoa with coconut aminos.

veggies quinoa

On Friday night, Dana and I had dinner at Whole Foods salad bar. I filled up on tons of veggies, quinoa, chicken, lentils and salads. It was a box full of love if you ask me.

whole foods

On Saturday, we ran in the Fill Their Plate 10k run. The proceeds go to fight childhood hunger and I was so excited to be participating in a race that had such an incredible cause.

dana melanie pre 10k

I know I said in Friday’s post that I need to cool it on the intense exercise (no Insanity, and no longer runs), but since I had already registered for this race I had told myself that I was still going to run it, but then after that I would chill out for a while and stick to shorter runs, walks, yoga, swimming, or leisure bike rides.

We are actually getting summer weather here in MN after waiting way too long for it, so our run was actually super sticky and humid, more so than we are used to coming off of our long “Sprinter” (spring/winter). This made the run pretty challenging for us. However, I think I actually may have hit my time goal (an hour or less) that I was hoping for, but definitely not stressing out over. When we ran across the finish line, the timer said 58 minutes and change, but I know we didn’t start right away when the clock started. I’m still waiting for the website to post results, but when they do I will let you know if I reached the time goal!

I was a hot and sweaty and sticky mess after the race. When we got home I made us a pot of coffee and we had a super chill afternoon watching Fools Rush In (first time watching this movie and I really liked it) and sipping on our coffee.


On Saturday evening we celebrated Father’s Day with Dana’s parents. The weather was MN weird…on the drive over it was raining and storming, but then it cleared up and was a perfectly sunny evening. We spent a lot of time sitting outside on the deck soaking up the sun.

We had delicious steak and shrimp kabobs for dinner with a big veggie salad…

kabob dinner

And I DID have ice cream cake for dessert. I figure it was just one day. Every other day I am refined white sugar free. I am going to continue to enjoy these moments as they come because such is life and I want to enjoy life (just as long as these moments don’t turn into every day occurrences, then I would have to choose my days wisely). 😉

We are celebrating Father’s Day with my family next weekend. I’m hoping to dig out  some throw back dad and daughter photos to share with you then 🙂

Sunday was the usual: coffee, breakfast, and newspaper. I made myself a bowl-o-banana with almond butter, cinnamon and raw organic honey.

banana almond butter

One of my afternoon mini meals: an apple with tuna salad. In the tuna salad: white albacore tuna packed in water and drained, celery, dill pickle relish, mustard, and black pepper.

apple with tuna


Although this made for a pretty photo, this wasn’t the easiest way to eat the tuna salad. Next time I will slice the apple and serve the tuna alongside the apple so I can just scoop each individual slice. You live you learn.

We enjoyed the company of two of our best friends in the afternoon. I hope we can make an ATL trip happen in the next couple of months!

Dinner was a household fav: grilled salmon.

salmon grilled onion

Dessert: pineapple whip made with frozen pineapple, a little bit of frozen banana, almond milk, and a touch of honey.

pineapple whip

We had such a relaxing weekend which was just what the doctor had ordered.

What was the best part(s) of your weekend?!

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Quinoa Tabouli Recipe & Switching to Raw Honey

Oh happy day! Who’s doing their Friday happy dance? I am.

Yesterday was a day of great eats. Although I didn’t get too creative with breakfast and went with my fav; banana with peanut butter, cinnamon, and a touch of honey, I did change it up just a bit. I am now using raw honey instead of the good old honey bear and this stuff rocks my socks for multiple reasons.


Why I switched to raw organic honey

  1. It tastes incredible.
  2. I bought it locally and could tell you exactly what farm in MN it came from.
  3. It has health benefits such as: wound healing, boosts immunity, traditionally has been used to heal ulcers, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal issues.
  4. Rich in B vitamins and vitamin C and contains healthy minerals too!
  5. In the processing of your everyday honey bear squeeze bottle honey, beneficial enzymes, nutrients, and antioxidants are often destroyed. Instead of reaping the wonderful health benefits of honey, you are really stripping away the goodies.
  6. I love it.

some information was gathered from this source

The only downside is it is definitely a little more expensive than the traditional honey bear, but you can see why right? It’s worth it! Another FYI, buy organic if you can.

A friendly reminder: children under the age of one should not consume any type of honey as it has the potential of causing botulism.


Anyway, moving on. After my Insanity workout, I was craving nutrients in a huge way. Usually I hedge toward smoothies post workout, but today I went the salad route. I must say this turned out to be one pretty darn beautiful salad.

What’s in it: mixed spring lettuce, grated carrot, grated pepper cheese, peas, red bell pepper, sunflower seeds, Applegate roasted turkey from the deli, and homemade mustard dressing.

Dressing: deli mustard, red wine vinegar, dash of garlic powder and black pepper, and a touch of water.

salad salad


Mediterranean Feast

For dinner, we had my mom and dad and brother Kevin over for a Mediterranean themed dinner.

On the menu: chicken and veggie kabobs, hummus, veggies, fresh fruit, and quinoa tabouli!

carrots and hummus

Quinoa Tabouli!!

quinoa tabouli quinoa tabouli greek dinner kabobs hummus tabouli greek dinner kabobs hummus tabouli

Oh my goodness I love this food so much. I especially love making it at home because I can control EVERYTHING that goes into it–including the salt content.

This was my first ever attempt at making tabouli. Traditional tabouli uses bulgar wheat, but I wanted to make mine with protein-rich quinoa, and am THRILLED with the result. If you are a tabouli fan, this is a recipe you are absolutely going to want to try! It’s truly so easy too!

Quinoa Tabouli
  • juice from ¾ of a large lemon
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ tsp. dried oregano
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled
  • 2 cups parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup mint, chopped
  • ½ cup cucumber, diced
  • ½ cup onion, diced
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a large bowl, combine lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, and use a fine cheese grater to grate garlic cloves into juice mixture.
  2. Add remaining ingredients into bowl, stir to combine.
  3. Cover and refrigerate overnight if possible to let flavors blend together.
  4. Serve cold on a bed of lettuce (optional). Great with chicken kabobs and hummus.


Happy Friday to all of you beautiful people. Catch up with you later!

What are your favorite ways to enjoy honey?

My favorite ways are of course drizzled over pb toast or pb and banana with a touch of cinnamon, or in a mug of hot water with fresh ginger.

Continue Reading Quinoa Tabouli Recipe & Switching to Raw Honey