One Lucky Mama

The perfect Mother’s Day weekend…

On Saturday we went to Bode’s swim lessons and then for a family 3.5 mile run around a nearby lake. The weather was so beautiful which made for a very enjoyable run. I am very excited to get back into running shape. I want to add a half mile on to each week and build up my endurance slowly but surely!

After our run we went and got our BOGO Caribou coffee. They offered BOGO on both May 9th and 10th so of course I had to take them up on that offer both days!

Hubby made us some BLT’s for lunch!

blt

Bode and I watched Dana mow the yard. Bode really liked watching him walk back and forth!

For dinner we grilled up some steaks from our local co-op, red potatoes with onions, and broccoli. Seriously so good. BTW right now I have a little man grabbing at the computer so I need to hurry this post up!

steak

On Mother’s Day (Sunday), Dana got me Caribou and doughnuts in the morning while I was feeding the baby! Have I mentioned how much I now love doughnuts? It all started during pregnancy and it’s a love that hasn’t left. That and burgers!

caribou coffee and doughnut

I was royally spoiled by my family. It’s fun being a mama on Mother’s Day!! Have you all tried the strawberry shortcake Larabars? I am super excited to try them!

Mothers day treats

Sunday night we celebrated my dad’s birthday along with Mother’s Day and I made one of my “famous” ice cream cakes! Caramel chocolate ice cream, Oreos and hot fudge in the center, topped with more ice cream, Oreos and sprinkles of course! So pretty and very tasty! All for under $10!

ice cream cake

The festivities continued into Monday…just how I like it! We celebrated with Dana’s parents and had pizza and pie!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! I am one lucky mama.

I am linking up with Becky today!

Baked Vegetable Marinara

Well hello again ya’ll! Did everyone have a fantabulous Friday? Mine was pretty great and very productive.

It started out with a couple of errands and appointments. I made myself a green smoothie super loaded with kale, egg white protein powder, almond milk, and a banana to begin fueling the fire (aka breaking the fast, getting the metabolism revved up).

green smoothie

Dana and I made a trip to Starbucks while we were out. I decided on a light roast with a splash of half and half and a shot of hazelnut flavor. This really got me “revved up.”

On the way home from our errands I was starving. I am always prepared with food in my purse and had a delicious apple turnover Uberbar calling out to me, so I dug right in.

uberbar

LARABAR, marry me? I love these things.

Within another couple of hours I was hungry again, but was planning on getting my workout in at that point, so I made myself a small snack plate to tide me over yet not fill me up too much.

Turkey breast with avocado, and sugar snap peas and hummus.

snack plate

Next on the agenda: the treadmill. I did the same combo as the other day alternating between running on the treadmill and the ab challenge circuits. I was feeling very fatigued yesterday so ran at a very easy pace. I was nice and sweaty by the time I was done.

Enter another snack: microwaved apple with cinnamon and coconut oil:

apple

Followed by a spoonful of almond butter. Then it was time to change into my painting clothes and get to work on the laundry room. That is where you found Dana and I for a good 3-4 hours. Jammin’ out to music and painting the laundry room. It is amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do to a room. I am so anxious to see it when it is all finished. Tiling the floor is on the agenda today!

Dinner

I was SO glad I had prepared our meal the day before and had it waiting in the fridge to go into the oven, because by the time dinner rolled around we were both exhausted.

I created a concoction I am going to call Baked Vegetable Marinara. I can’t figure out why I haven’t thought of this creation until now, because it was stellar.

I began by roasting my chopped veggies in the oven for about 20 minutes. I chose to use broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, mushrooms, onion, and garlic. I spritzed them with olive oil and sprinkled them with a little salt and pepper before they went into the oven.

Roasting the vegetables before baking them in the dish helps to remove some moisture from the vegetables so that you don’t end up with a watery dish.

baked vegetable marinara

While the veggies were roasting, I made the cheesy topping. I combined shredded Monterey jack, parmesan, almond flour, dried oregano, dried basil, garlic powder, salt and pepper and gave it a good stir. 

baked vegetable marinara topping

One the veggies were done roasting, I added two big handfuls of baby kale. Next, I poured the veggies into a bowl and added about 2/3 of a jar of no sugar added Ragu marinara sauce and stirred together.

baked vegetable marinara

I poured the veggies into a lightly sprayed 9 x 9 baking dish.

baked vegetable marinara

And then topped them with the cheesy mixture.

baked vegetable marinara

I baked it in a 400ºF, oven covered with aluminum foil for about 40 minutes (cooking time will vary!). I then removed the foil, and broiled on low until cheese melted and turned slightly golden brown.

baked vegetable marinara baked vegetable marinara baked vegetable marinara

Please, please, do me a favor and make this dish. It is so unbelievable tasty and comforting. Dana and I and our ravenous appetites finished this whole dish except for about four bites. MMMMmmmm.

And more MMmmmmm….I made banana almond bread. Oh yes I did. It was the perfect bedtime snack. I WILL be sharing this recipe with you all soon. I am very excited about it. I had a hard time keeping my animal paws off of it last night.

banana bread

Off I go to another productive day! I hope you all have a beautiful Saturday.

Baked Vegetable Marinara
(these are not “exact” measurements, but they are pretty darn close!)
Ingredients
  • 4-5 cups roasted vegetables–broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, onion, garlic, zucchini
  • 2 cups baby kale or chopped kale
  • 2/3 jar of marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup grated monterey jack cheese or mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 TBSP almond flour
  • 1/8 tsp oregano
  • 1/8 tsp basil
  • sprinkle of garlic powder
  • salt and pepper

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9 x 9 baking dish with olive oil.
  2. In a medium bowl combine roasted veggies, kale, and marinara sauce. Pour into prepared dish.
  3. In a small bowl mix together the cheeses, flour, oregano, basil, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Sprinkle cheese mixture over vegetables evenly.
  4. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 35-40 minutes.
  5. Uncover and broil on low for 3-5 minutes until cheese is melted and golden brown.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Question of the day: What are your favorite dishes to make in the winter?

That’s Strike Two

On my way home from work I snacked on one of my free LARABAR’s. I chose the Blueberry Muffin flavor this time and decided it wasn’t my absolute favorite, but it was alright. I wish it had more of a blueberry taste. Don’t get me wrong I really haven’t met a LARABAR I didn’t like, it just wasn’t my favorite.

It did a good job of stamping out my hunger and giving me energy for….Zumba! I had plans to meet my friend Amanda at a workout studio after work. This was a class we had taken before and with an instructor we knew we enjoyed, so I knew this would be a good Zumba experience unlike the last time Betsy and I tried a class out at our gym. It still makes me giggle thinking about the moves the instructor had us doing.

Before Zumba last night.

After Zumba. Glistening with sweat, and notice my huge smile. I had FUN.

It was definitely a good one! I shook it with every last ounce of my booty. At least Zumba was a success, because dinner was a total fail.

A couple of months ago, I bought Shirataki Tofu noodles which can be used as a substitute for pasta. I bought a different variety before and made them into a Thai peanut sauce type dish. They had turned out just alright, but I said I may have to try them again in a different way.

Well, here we are. This time around I bought spinach tofu noodles. I rinsed them very well (to get the stinky smell off of them), drained them, patted them dry on a towel, and placed into a bowl. I added steamed broccoli to the noodles along with two Laughing Cow Light Swiss wedges, a dollop of non-fat Greek yogurt, a dash of onion powder and garlic powder, and salt and pepper. I microwaved for 2-3 minutes, removed and gave it a stir.

It smelled good….

But I couldn’t get past the texture of the noodles. It’s hard for me to describe the texture but they were sort of gummy like to me. I took two bites of it and decided I couldn’t do it. I sat on the couch for an hour watching an episode of Modern Family before getting up to make something else for dinner.

At this point it was about 8:30 so I wasn’t going to go hogwild and bake a lasagna or anything. I decided on a PB2 wrap with Craisins (later I added some Welch’s Grape Natural Jelly).

Good old faithful PB wraps. They never fail me. I also had two large handfuls of sugar snap peas. So, that’s a strike two on the Tofu Noodles. I don’t think I’m going to give them another shot. Can’t say I didn’t try.

I am off for the day. I am so incredibly happy it’s Friday. Happy Friday to you all!

Question: Have you ever tried tofu noodles? What did YOU think?

 

A Lucky Friday the 13th

I had a really great Friday the 13th. It all started off with an out of the ordinary breakfast for me which was scrambled egg whites with a little salt and pepper, topped with mild salsa. I found it impossible to take a good photo of this breakfast so don’t judge what you see below.

Work was work, but lunch break was great. I headed to Patrick’s Bakery and Cafe (I had eaten there once before) for lunch with my coworkers. I ordered the same thing as last time….french onion soup served with a piece of a baguette. I neglected to take a photo of my soup because it would have looked exactly the same as the last time , same tablecloth and all, therefore I just decided to use the old photo.

It was a very dreary day here in MN, and a bowl of soup was just what I needed, and I LOVE french onion soup. It warmed my soul.

After work, I had plans to go for a run, but since it was really nasty cold, misty, and windy outside, I decided to take it downstairs to our treadmill to run in the comfort and warmth of my own home. BTW our electrical was installed downstairs today and it looks great! We had temporary lights up down there before but now we have actually have light switches with dimmers to go along with the lights. Woo! It’s still coming a long!

Anyway, I hit the treadmill for 45 minutes doing a bit of a run/walk combo. I flipped channels between Ellen and Paula Deen and was thoroughly entertained.

Part of the reason my Friday the 13th turned out to be so great is because of this….

It’s kind of hard to read but it says:

“Happy News! You were selected as a winner in the LARABAR Very Large Sweepstakes. Your prize includes a tote bag filled with a water bottle, a 16-ct of Larabars, and 5 full-sized mixed flavors. From everyone at LARABAR, I’d like to extend a great big THANK YOU for your support and participation in our sweepstakes. Kindly, The LARABAR Team.”

I WON! I don’t win anything. Ever. I entered into the sweepstakes a while back thinking I had about a 0.05% chance of actually winning. Holy cow. I feel like the dad in a Christmas Story when he won the Leg Lamp. I was jumping up and down after I read the letter like I just found out I got into college or won a ton of money. I really truly love and enjoy LARABARs so this was a big one for me.

Maybe my luck is changing. One can only hope. I want to win more stuff, this is fun!

I can’t wait to try some of these flavors I have never tried before such as Blueberry Muffin and Chocolate Coconut Chew. Um, yum. Thank YOU LARABAR!

To make my day even brighter, this came in the mail today.

My beautifully bright swimsuit from Victoria’s Secret I ordered. Even better news is it fits. It is countdown time until our vacation now…TWO WEEKS from yesterday!

After all the excitement in the house, Dana and I ran a couple of errands including Home Depot and Target because I needed to get a couple of ingredients for our dinner.

Dinner

I sautéed 1 cup of diced onion on the stove top, then added in 1/4 cup of pre-cooked ground beef (I had cooked it a while back and froze it), 3/4 of a can of black beans, 1/2 cup corn, 1/4 cup water, and 1 Tablespoon of low sodium taco seasoning. I mixed all of the ingredients and let simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Meanwhile, I prepared lettuce cups using a head of boston lettuce. I rinsed the head of lettuce then carefully peeled off layers into cups. I also chopped a Roma tomato, and a half of an avocado (no cuts this time).

Once the filling was done simmering, I spooned 1/4 cup of it into the lettuce cups, topped them with tomato and avocado, and enjoyed a very healthy, easy and flavor-filled dinner.

Looking back on yesterday, I had a day of multiple “wins”:

  • An awesome breakfast that held me over until lunch
  • Electric work done in the basement
  • Great soup with friends for lunch
  • A run while watching fun shows
  • A giant WIN in the LARABAR sweepstakes
  • Swimsuit in the mail, AND it fits
  • Great dinner
  • And lastly, a night to relax with my boys (awwwwwww)

It was a very lucky Friday the 13th for me!

How was yours? Anything lucky or unlucky happen to you?

Bright Lights, Lots of Sights, Tasty Delights

Andddd we’re back! New York was such a good time. I want to fill you in on the trip but don’t want to bore with all of the details, so I will do my best to condense without missing anything important! Less talkie, more photos.

Starting with the food.

Arctic Char over artichoke hearts, potatoes, carrots, and peas at Kellari Taverna. This was my first time eating Arctic Char and I enjoyed it. It was a more mild version of salmon.

Cinnamon Honey Oatmeal with bananas from our hotel, The Hilton in the Fashion District. We were pretty happy with our hotel. We liked staying in the fashion district because it was far enough away from the hustle and bustle where we felt like we could get away and relax, yet close enough that we could walk to our destinations and be in the middle of it all when we wanted to be.

Salad Bar from a whole foods deli down the street from our hotel. I loved the asparagus! They had some sort of Asian-inspired peanut sesame and I’m hoping to try and recreate these at home.

Caramel Macchiato from Roastown Coffee (with skim milk). Sinfully delicious.

Lazzara’s Hawaiian Pizza–which is said to have the best thin crust pizza in the fashion district. It was truly delicious.

Food not pictured: 1 lb bag of Rold Gold pretzels, numerous free apples, Peanut Butter Cookie LARABAR, and breakfast and lunch on the plane. On the flight home I had a pretty good grilled chicken salad with raspberry vinaigrette dressing. Not bad for airplane food!

And the great company and some of the sights….

My cousin Steph and her boyfriend, Jeff at Kellari’s for dinner. Thank you for meeting us for dinner, we had a great time!

In the middle of Times Square.

 I caught myself singing many New York inspired songs throughout the weekend. “These streets will make you feel brand new, big lights will inspire you, now you’re in New York,” “It’s up to you New York, NEWWWWw YOOOrrrk,” “I’m in the city, trick,” and many more. Dana did his fair share of it too, you couldn’t really help it. It definitely is a whole different world out there.

The 9/11 Memorial Site. It is still a work in progress but is very beautiful so far.

Central Park.

 Rockefeller Center Skating Rink.

At the top of Rockefeller center at night. Beautiful views!

Check out that moon. Dana and I were the only ones who seemed to be in awe over it which was strange because it was spectacular.

We thought it was neat knowing that while we were on top of the Rockefeller Center building, the SNL cast was getting ready to tape in the NBC studio which is inside the Rockefeller. Jonah Hill was going to be hosting! We asked the concierge man if there were by ANY chance last-minute tickets but of course, no such luck. Maybe next time.

And of course, we had to end with our usual “airport” shot. I was extremely tired and combatting a bit of stomach issues, but other than that I was okay!

Now that’s what I call short and sweet. I spared showing you all ninety some photos from the weekend. You’re welcome. 🙂 I had an amazing weekend and it was so great to spend quality time with the hubby.

We are very glad to be home and were greeted with a happy doggie and gorgeous weather here in MN. As soon as we got home we opened up the house to start letting out some of the stuffy winter air. We ran some errands, stocked our fridge full of fruits and veggies, and I headed out for a walk around the neighborhood.

Now I should go tend to the inevitable unpacking. I don’t know which I dislike more, packing or unpacking. Also, I have some chicken breasts working in the crock pot so that we will have it to add to meals this week.

I hope you all had a great weekend! Happy daylight savings time!

7 Healthy Eating Tips When You Are Away

Mark this on your calendar because this rarely happens…I ate a SAVORY breakfast this morning. Nine times out of ten I will gravitate towards a sweet breakfast but I figured I would go out of my usual this morning, and cook up an egg white omelet. I only set off the smoke alarm three times! 🙂 It’s very sensitive. I sautéed some onion and mushroom and then added them to my omelet along with fresh tomato. On the top, I sprinkled on nutritional yeast and then of course a drizzle of ketchup.

It turned out really well, and I even got some veggies in already! I didn’t get up for my morning workout this morning but plan to go after work. It is supposed to be gorgeous here today so I am hoping to run outside!

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

While amidst our vacation in California, I started thinking about how difficult it can be to eat healthy while away. I feel like no matter how hard I try, I still end up feeling a little bit “off” and not feeling so hot. It’s easy to get a little off track when you’re not in the comfort of your own home with your usual foods and usual routine.

Here are some ideas I came up with to help you stay on track when are away from home.

1. Pack a piece of fruit (or two) in your carry-on. If you need a snack, you have a healthy one right on hand. Plus, fruit is full of water which is important while traveling as it is extremely easy to become dehydrated. Veggies are great too, but not always as portable as fruit.

2. Try to eat vegetables with at least one of your meals throughout the day.

3. Pack some healthy energy bars like my favorite, Lara Bars. During vacations, we often go a long time in between meals without anything to eat. These bars pack well and carry well and are perfect for a burst of energy. Throw a couple in your purse or carry on.

4. When possible, eat breakfast at your hotel. Now, be careful with this one as many continental breakfasts can be full of low-energy carb traps (muffins, bagels, sugar-packed cereals). Try and find some instant oatmeal and get creative with mix-in’s: milk, banana, apple, peanut butter. Oatmeal has soluble fiber, which helps to keep you feeling full, longer. Better yet, throw a couple of instant oatmeal packs (from home) in your bag in case your hotel doesn’t offer it. If hard-boiled eggs are an option at breakfast, snag one of those as well. The protein in eggs will help tide you over for a while and give you a lot of needed energy for the day. Plus, free continental breakfasts are very nice on the wallet!

5. Try to eat protein at each meal: eggs, greek yogurt, fish, tofu, chicken, nuts, whatever it may be.

Fish Tacos

6. Carry a refillable water bottle with you at all times, and drink plenty of water throughout the day, at least 8 cups. Also, keep a glass of water by your bedside at night to encourage yourself to get a few sips of water in at night too.

Can you spot the water bottle?

7. Be cautious of portions while out to eat. Remember that most restaurants serve you twice as much food as you really need. Be mindful while out to eat and stop eating when you feel full. This one is hard for me sometimes because some foods are just SO good. I always regret it later though. I’m still learning too!

So there you have it, a few tips to help you to stay healthy while away from home, whether on vacation, for work, a child’s sporting event, etc. Also, don’t forget about the exercise part. Just because you are away doesn’t mean you can’t find time to squeeze in a few hotel push ups or a quick run.

Give these tips a shot next time you are away from home. Come to think of it, these are good tips for when you are home as well!

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

Last night we headed to mom and dad’s for a birthday dinner for Dana. His birthday is tomorrow but we have been celebrating since Saturday. Lucky boy! That is how I like to celebrate my birthday too, with a birthday week!

I give mom an A+ on dinner last night. Turkey lettuce wraps with peanut sauce, brown rice, and mandarin oranges.

A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! It was so nice to have dinner made for us too! Muchos gracias mom and dad!

I’m off to work. Have a great Tuesday!