Two Tickets to Paradise

Well friends, we are all packed up…

And we’re off. Off we go into the wild blue yonder flying high into the sky. For those of you who may have missed it, Dana and I are going to be spending a good chunk of time in the beautiful Dominican Republic. We plan to lay on the beach, swim, go on at least one tour of the countryside, hike up the waterfalls, rest, eat, drink, and do whatever the heck we want.

We do plan to continue training for the half marathon while we are there. All of our running gear is packed and we will hit the beaches a few of the mornings for beautiful, scenic jogs.

I had a hard time saying bye to this little man. He gives the most painstaking puppy eyes that get me every time.

This photo of Moose and Dana was from Wednesday. Moose was NOT that happy looking when we left for our trip. He is going to be in very great hands though and will have a blast going for walks, runs, and probably getting even more attention that he gets from us.

Paradise awaits. I am off. I have a few posts planned for you all while I am away. Hope you enjoy them. I look forward to catching up with you when I get back!

Sweet and Creamy Salad

Happy Hump Day!

After my wonderful run yesterday (note the sarcasm), I made myself a giant bowl of Overnight Chia Seed Yogurt although instead of letting it combine overnight, I let it work for just a half hour. I also added strawberries to the mix.

I added a heavy amount of honey to the top and scraped the bowl clean. This was my brunch. I had a goofy schedule at work today so I made sure to pack a few snacks to tide me over through the afternoon: apple, sugar snap peas, carrots, and a string cheese.

For dinner, I used up ingredients we had on hand to make one of my all-time favorite salads.

Moose watched while I prepared dinner. Sorry Moose, I know this isn’t your most flattering angle. 😉

Here is the beautiful colorful plate of healthiness that I put together.

 

The combination of textures in this salad are so pleasing to me between the creaminess of the avocado, beans, and dressing, the juiciness of the fruit, and the crunch of the onion, it’s just perfect. It’s sweet, it’s creamy, it’s my…

Sweet and Creamy Salad

This salad is sweet and refreshing, and perfect any time of year.

Ingredients

Mixed greens

red onion, diced

fresh strawberries, diced (or frozen if you don’t have fresh on hand)

1 can mandarin oranges, drained

1 ripe avocado, diced

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

Newman’s Own Lite honey mustard dressing (or your favorite honey mustard)

Directions

Place mixed greens on large plate. Top with remaining ingredients. Drizzle with honey mustard. You could bulk up the salad with more protein by adding grilled chicken breast or shrimp.

I am off to work. Have a great day!

I Cook, I Eat

Happy April! Today is Dana and my 6 month wedding anniversary (and that’s no joke). 😉

Here is a very quick recap of my weekend. It looks like all I did was eat seeing as most of the photos are of food, but I promise I did more than just eat. I cooked quite a bit too!

Saturday

Morning run

run march 31

Flopped lunch. It looks pretty but didn’t taste pretty for some reason.

Amazing homemade banana bread courtesy of yours truly.

Dinner from Axel’s Bonfire at my in-law’s who just moved into their new home!

Sunday

Attempt at pumpkin protein waffles.

Part of Sunday’s lunch.

Moose and Dana.

Special 6 month anniversary dinner. 🙂

Hope everyone had a great weekend! I plan to share some of these recipes with you soon so check back!

Looking Good

Yesterday afternoon we went to pick up this handsome lad from the groomer. He is freshly shampoo’ed, conditioned, and brushed thoroughly. We also bought him a new forest green collar. Looking good, looking fresh big man.

He was completely exhausted after his spa day and spent the rest of the evening laying pretty low.

All the while, Dana and I continue to stay busy painting the bathroom downstairs. We decided on the color, “perfect taupe.” I was wanting a gray toned color but also was hedging towards a tan, so this one was the perfect compromise.

We look really happy when we paint, huh? 😉

The bathroom is looking real good!

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Dinner came together in about 5 minutes last night thanks to leftover cowboy caviar (altered slightly from last time by adding a half a jar of jarred salsa) and fresh homemade canned beans. Yes, I cheated by using canned refried beans last night. I bought a can of fat-free refried beans in case of an emergency, and this my friends was an emergency. We were both completely drained from the weekend and totally hungry. I emptied the can into a bowl, heated them up and found that my intent for burritos was going to be slightly modified considering we only had one tortilla left. Being the good wife that I am, I sacrificed it for Dana.

Burrito with refried beans, cowboy caviar, lettuce, and pepper jack cheese all rolled into a whole wheat tortilla for Dana.

Refried beans, cowboy caviar, pepper jack cheese, alongside a big green salad for Melanie. Everything ended up getting mixed together on my plate and is was fantastic!

After dinner we finished laundry, made my lunch for today, and I even prepped dinner for tonight! I am super pumped about it too. I hope it turns out. Stay tuned!

Monday Positive Talk

It’s Monday again so that means it’s time for me to say something positive about my day. This Monday, I am so happy that dinner is all ready to go into the oven when I get home from work. Also, it is a dreary day which makes it easier to go to work because I wouldn’t want to be outside right now anyway.

This Monday talk is getting easier and easier for me! How about that. I am rebuilding my relationship. Happy Monday!

A Well-Stocked Fridge

Step right up. Come see the town’s most incredible circus dog! He can leap through hula hoops in a single bound with elegance and grace.

Such simple pleasure we have.

 

I have been feeling pretty good about my reacquaintance with intuitive eating. I have been truly listening to my body’s hunger and satiety cues and have been feeding it with very healthy wholesome foods. I plan on keeping it up!

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My Sunday breakfast was simple oatmeal with peanut butter and fresh blackberries on the side (not pictured). Of course, breakfast was accompanied by my beloved cup of coffee and coupon cutting.

We stocked up on the produce while out running errands today and our fridge is full of grape tomatoes, celery, carrots, sugar snap peas, kale, zucchini, apples and more. I have a couple of dinners all planned out in my head for the week ahead. I love when the fridge is stocked full of healthy foods. I have a bunch healthy, easy to grab foods at eye level: grape tomatoes on the right, broccoli and celery sticks on the left. In the red bowl on the top shelf is leftover cowboy caviar from a barbecue we went to at a friend’s place last night. I have plans to use that tonight with dinner.

Let’s see how long it takes us to go through all of this food. It is amazing how much we can eat.

Lunch came together in a pinch. Sugar snap peas, grape tomatoes, celery, and cottage cheese (with a little low fat ranch on the side). Not pictured were a handful of Emerald’s Mixed Nuts and a juicy apple.

Our Sunday has been pretty busy and very productive. Our bathroom remodel downstairs is really coming together fast. We have been painting today and just made our 100th trip this weekend to Menards for the baseboards. I can’t wait to show the before and after photos once it is finished!

Next on the agenda is picking up Mooser from the groomer. He had an appointment for a shampoo and conditioner treatment as well as a much needed brush-out. He has been shedding like crazy so this should help a little. I can’t wait to see him, he is going to look so handsome.

After that it will be the fun usual Sunday business of laundry, cleaning up the house, and getting ready for the week ahead taking place at our household. I am hoping for a little R and R later this evening.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful and productive Sunday!

 

How to Cook Dried Beans

I’m no professional when it comes to cooking dried beans. I think I’ve only really cooked them two times before yesterday and haven’t been completely successful either time. I was not about to give up on it though. Dry beans are so economical, they aren’t packed in sodium-filled liquids like the canned kind, and they just taste so fresh when you cook them yourself. I’ll be honest though, I DO use canned beans too. I rinse them off under cold running water to get rid of about half of the sodium.

My dad bought these beans for me called Adzuki beans. He had heard about them from Dr. Oz who says they are a nutritional powerhouse (most beans are really). They are packed with protein, fiber, and many other vitamins and nutrients, and are relatively low in calories. I thought I would give them a shot tonight especially since my family was coming over for dinner.

Third time is the charm in my bean-cooking trials. Here’s how it went down.

1. First, soak the beans in a pot of hot water for 2 hours.

2. Next, drain the beans, then add fresh water to the pot (I believe the directions were 4 cups of water to 1 cup beans but I just made sure the beans were covered with 2-3 inches of water). Place cover on pot. Bring to boil.

3. Once water has reached a boil, reduce to simmer and tilt the lid slightly so that air can escape. Let simmer for two hours.

4. Drain and rinse beans and go wild!

I decided to make the beans into a beans and rice dish last night because I thought it would be a nice side dish to the kabobs I was making for dinner. I sautéed a little onion, garlic, and green pepper, then added the beans. I then added in some chicken stock, cumin, a dash of Mrs. Dash’s Southwest Chipotle seasoning, a little salt and pepper, and let it simmer until the stock was absorbed. I then added a half of a can of crushed tomatoes, let it heat through, gave it a stir and served alongside brown rice.

On the kabobs: yellow zucchini, onion, mushroom, green pepper, pineapple, and chicken breast, marinated in teriyaki sauce.

Dinner was a hit!

This photo is kind of bright but I had to post it because it is so funny to me. Mom and dad had brought Abbie over and Moose was getting jealous because everyone was holding (11 lb) Abbie and not him. Okay, he probably wasn’t really jealous but still Kevin wanted him to feel included in the love. So this is what happened.

Meanwhile, Miss Queen Abbie was sitting on her throne observing it all. It was pretty funny!

I am off to work. I am going to get my run in after work today. I’ll let you know how it goes. Have a good day everyone.

Some TLC for the Big Man

After all of our Sunday errand running yesterday, it was time to give the Mooser a little TLC. We took him out for a nice hilly walk where he sniffed and explored as if he had never seen the outside world before.

That’s 92 plus pounds of lean mean doggy machine.

I worked up an appetite out on our walk and had plans for a killer stir fry for dinner. Before our walk I began marinading Tempeh in soy sauce and garlic powder (I used the other half of the Tempeh a few weeks ago in spaghetti sauce and froze the other half which I used last night).

When we got home I first got the quinoa cooking in the rice cooker: one cup of quinoa to two cups of water. I love how the rice cooker cooks the quinoa. I made a cup because I wanted leftovers.

Next, I began chopping up the veggies. I had leftover asparagus from two days ago that I hadn’t made into asparagus wraps so I chopped that up along with green cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, and red onion.

I poured about a half a tablespoon of garlic olive oil in the wok, heated it up, then added onions. I let the onions cook down for a minute before adding the mushrooms. Next, I added the asparagus and carrots, and then lastly the tempeh and cabbage. I flavored the stir-fry with soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic powder, and a little ginger.

Once the quinoa was done cooking and the cabbage in the stir-fry had started to wilt ever-so-slightly, I plated everything up, gave it one last splash of soy sauce (because I love sauciness) and chowed down. This was my first time putting cabbage into stir-fry and I’d say it was a winner!

I really enjoyed the tempeh in there too. It had a slight nutty taste which was exciting. 😉

After dinner we watched a couple of episodes of Modern Family, Season 1, then headed out to the backyard to entertain the dog for a little while. Dana threw the ball to Moose using the Chuckit! which is one of the best dog toy inventions in my opinion. You don’t have to touch the nasty slimy tennis balls ever. You grab it with the claw of the Chuckit! and “chuck” the ball, and it does all the dirty work for you. How about that.

I made myself an evening snack of PoPcOrN! I spruced it up with some butter spray and salt and it was the perfect salty snack to conclude my Sunday with.

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Now, I am going to get this body moving. Hope everyone is having a tolerable Monday! Oh, I almost forgot. I decided last Monday that every Monday I wanted to write something positive considering I am trying to rekindle my battered relationship with Mondays. So, today I am very happy because I have the day off and my family is coming over for dinner tonight. There.

Let’s hear your positive Monday talk!

Love My Runny Eggs

Today is my last day of work before VACATION! Friday morning Dana and I will be on our way to sunny California and I am beyond ecstatic! I am even excited for the flight over there because I plan to read, eat, and relax. Moose is a little bummed he can’t come with us. He’s always wanted to see LA. 😉

I need to get to L.A. if I'm ever going to catch my big break.

Guess what I did this morning!?

I actually got up early, out of my warm heavenly bed, and got a run in on the treadmill! I have been terrible about getting morning workouts in lately, but I figured this morning was the only time for me to do it because we have a laundry list of things to do tonight to get ready for our trip! Plus my friend who is extremely dedicated to morning workouts texted me an encouraging message this morning to help get me out of bed. She is amazing. 🙂 Thanks a million!

More good news, I didn’t have any knee discomfort today. Whatever was causing the discomfort the other day has completely subsided which I am very thankful for.

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Tuesday Recap

I really loaded up my bowl for yesterday morning’s breakfast. Besides the usual fruit, yogurt, and cereal, I also added in a small handful of chopped walnuts and extra yogurt for more “staying” power. This baby held me over until lunch.

Since it was Ash Wednesday, we were supposed to fast in between meals. I found that this is extremely difficult for me because I am a “small meals throughout the day” kind of person versus a three meals that’s it person. I always have breakfast, sometimes a snack around 10 but usually not, lunch always, piece of fruit or small snack mid-afternoon, dinner, and then a snack before bed. Yesterday I stuck with just breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and my body was upset with me almost the entire day. Oh well, it was just one day!

After work I met Dana for Ash Wednesday mass. Day one of no sweets was a good one. My body is seriously unhappy with me after all the sweets I have eaten lately. It is thanking me for a break. I feel out of balance and it’s time to get back in balance.

I went for a walk on the treadmill when I got home. I have been a little lazy when it comes to actually making the trip to the gym, which is only 7 minutes away BTW. I honestly feel that the laziness is associated with the sugary diet lately. It is amazing how quickly you can begin to feel a slide.

Dinner was veggie-filled. I sautéed up a bunch of veggies from the fridge including this little cute eggplant that I had bought at Whole Foods last weekend. It’s just a little babe!

I also threw in leftover fajita filling from last night’s dinner, broccoli, mushrooms, kale,with a little garlic powder, salt and pepper, and topped the warm dish with diced tomato, shredded cheese, and of course, a runny egg. I love my runny eggs.

Delicious and satisfying as always. The rest of the night was dedicated to one last load of laundry, and relaxing while watching Modern Family and Whitney! Wednesday night is our “big” night of shows! No packing was done last night which means tonight will be a fun-filled packing extravaganza. I really don’t like packing. I always pack WAY too much because I never know what I will need!

I am off to work! Have a Happy Thursday!

Big Dog, Little Dog

Good morning! My day started off with a trip to the gym where I polished off 4.25 miles on the treadmill and then the same leg workout from last saturday. On the way to the gym I scarfed down a half of a banana with a schmear or peanut butter. This is a typical pre-run snack for me. It has a little bit of carbs and a little protein to tide me through my workout, yet it’s not so much food that it makes my stomach upset. It does the trick perfectly for me.

Once I got home I blended up a protein smoothie made with 1 cup almond milk, 3/4 scoop chocolate protein powder, and a the other half of my banana. Now I’m off to run some errands!

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After work yesterday I stopped over at mom and dad’s for a bit. There is something about going home that is so comforting and I always look forward to going to their house. The first thing I do is give hugs and kisses to mom, dad, and Abbie, and then I usually head to the pantry because they have THE BEST snacks. While I was there I snacked on some cinnamon sugar pita chips and dark chocolate raisinettes.

Mom and dad are heading up north to see my brother this weekend. It’s cooler up north than it is here, and since they are planning on going for a hike while they are up there, and bringing Abbie, I asked mom if she was bringing a sweater for Abs. Oh you bet she is, and she put it on her so that Abbie could model for us. Photo shoot time! On the catwalk, yeah.

When I got back home Moose sniffed me out and then accused me of cheating on him with another dog. It is always so funny to see Moose after seeing Abbie because he is SO much bigger! Abbie is 11 lbs and Moose is 92 lbs. See and compare.

Big dog, hear me roar…

It’s dinner time…my favorite time of day. Besides breakfast.

Don’t even think about stealing my food. I’m not kidding.

No pictures while I’m eating please. Do I take pictures of you while you eat?

Moose is hysterical when it comes to his food. Whenever Dana feeds him, Moose goes and finds me wherever I am in the house. I have decided this is either to let me know he is excited about his meal, or he is keeping tabs on me to make sure I don’t come and eat his food. I think it is the latter of the two. If only he knew how much I loved dog food, then he would really be worried. Kidding obviously. K, so once he has told me it is time for him to eat, he then goes and sits by his food. He waits and waits until either Dana or I says “good boy.” I find when it’s me feeding him, I have to be extra exuberant when I say the two magic words or he won’t budge. It’s like he doesn’t want to get in trouble for eating. Also, he is EXTREMELY protective over his food. If you come near it while he is eating, he growls. This is something we are working on with him. Hey, he’s not perfect.

So there you have it, big dog, little dog. I love them both so much. Dogs are seriously hilarious.

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Dinner last night was a lazy attempt at a meal. Dana and I pulled out some Morningstar Garden Veggie Patties from the freezer and cooked them up on the stovetop. I snacked on some quinoa and soy sauce while they were cooking.

Dana’s creation:

Melanie’s lame creation:

Pretty embarassing. Dana wins by a landslide. He is always trying to out-do me. 🙂 Morningstar veggie patties are my favorite veggie burgers that I have found so far.

Later gators.

A nice little day off

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day everyone! I work in a public health agency in the area as a Registered Dietitian and had the day off today for the holiday. I am having a great day so far. I woke up and hit the treadmill for a morning walk while watching some Keeping Up with the Kardashians (guilty pleasure). It kept me walking longer than I was planning because I just had to watch Kim tell Khloe that she wasn’t happy with her relationship with Kris. OMG. I am pathetic I know.

After my walk I made myself a fruit and yogurt parfait, had a couple of cups of joe with cream and stevia, hit the showers, then headed out to take care of some errands.

For lunch I stopped at mom and dad’s. They only live about 15 minutes away and I am very lucky to be able to stop by whenever I please. I always love stopping by their place not only to see them and their adorable Yorkie Poo, Abbie, but also I love raiding their cupboards. They always have so many fun things that I don’t have at my house!

I decided on a piece of whole wheat toast with crunchy pb, banana, carrots, some whole grain chips (bean flavored they are delicious), then finished off with a couple of pieces of chocolate kisses. Mom asked me to make her favorite chocolate drop no bake cookies before I left and I happily obliged. I love baking/cooking because I get to “taste test” the batter which is my favorite!

I will be posting the recipe soon! You won’t want to miss it. I had two of the wonderfully chocolately peanut buttery oatmeal cookies then headed for the home front. Photo shoot time with Mooser:

The rest of the day has been dedicated to getting some things done around the house and hanging out with my boys before the work week begins. Dinner is most likely going to be a whatever kind of night. I’m not sure what I’m in the mood for. We’ll see! Have a great rest of your day!