A Relaxing Sunday & One of My Favorite Soups

This weekend flew by just as fast as last weekend if you ask me. We had a very low-key weekend and I loved every second of it.

Sunday

I was feeling incredibly energetic Sunday morning and just in an overall good mood. That was most likely due to the excitement of our upcoming vacation and a good night’s sleep. I was feeling good.

For some reason my appetite has been a little “off” lately. I’m thinking this may be because of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. I was hungry for breakfast but couldn’t decide on anything that sounded good so I put myself together a combo that I know is easy on my tummy and usually pretty appealing : peanut butter and banana of course.

banana peanut butter

 

We went about our standard Sunday errands, came back home and put groceries away, and by 11:00 I was hungry again. I was hungry but again, nothing sounded good to me and my highly energetic self from the morning was starting to take a nose dive.

I pulled out a bowl of homemade turkey veggie soup from the freezer.

turkey veggie soup

It was simple and comforting to my belly. I also had a microwaved apple…

apples

 

Later in the afternoon I had a banana, a bite of peanut butter, and some pistachios.

I have been in a bit of a workout rut this past week. I just haven’t had the highest amount of energy. I was full of energy yesterday morning but once the afternoon hit I was definitely losing it.

I wanted to at least move a little bit, so I headed down to the treadmill for a half hour walk. I  did do a few other strength exercises, but I really wasn’t feeling up to it, so I stopped.

Maybe I just needed it to be a low-key day.

Later in the afternoon I headed over to mom and dad’s for dinner. I got my cuddle time in with the little one which always does a great job of boosting my mood.

melanie and abbie

 

Dinner was one of my all-time favs: French Onion Soup.

french onion soup

I went with the SCD version without the bagel chips and cheese and it was STILL outrageously delicious. I had two bowls and asked if I could take one home for leftovers this week! I swear I could try and make this duplicate recipe at home and it wouldn’t taste the same. Mom has to make it. 😉

french onion soup

After dinner we got cozy on the couch and sipped on hot water with ginger and honey while we watched the Oscars, and then later called it a night. I really like the hot water with ginger and honey, like REALLY liked it. Could this be due to the fact that my dad made it for me? It really is true that food tastes better when someone else makes it for you.

tea and oscars abbie

 

It was a very relaxing Sunday and I feel like more Sundays should be like this one.

Now we are onto Monday and I have a list of things to do as tall as the Eiffel tower, SO I better get a move on!

Happy Monday to all!

Question of the day: Do you think food tastes better when someone else makes it for you?!

Restore My Health

Well I am just so excited it’s Saturday. Anyone else? We have big plans to finish up the laundry room today and it’s the perfect day to do it because it is pretty cold outside again today. It will be nice to stay warm and cozy inside.

You’ll be so proud of me because yesterday I once again did NOT have a banana with peanut butter for breakfast. It was a smoothie morning instead. In this green madness was kale, kefir, banana, Jay Robb egg white protein powder and a small spoonful of PB2. I wasn’t in love with this one but it was okay. Maybe I really wasn’t in a smoothie mood?

green smoothie

I had a chiropractor appointment in the morning which went really well and then it was time to bring the car back into the shop. The back left blinker keeps going out and this was the 4th time we had been in to get it fixed. Very frustrating. I packed an apple for a snack and tossed back a few cashews before we left the house.

We dressed warm (long underwear pants, multiple layers on top, two pairs of gloves, two pairs of socks, hat, coat, boots) and walked over to the grocery store near by to pick up some carrots while they were working on the car. Yes, we went just for carrots. For some reason we didn’t do a very good job last weekend of stocking up on veggies and I was really wanting some more around the house to tide me over until Sunday when we go grocery shopping again.

melanie jump melanie jump 2 melanie jump 3

After waiting around for TWO hours we finally got our car back and fixed. It better stay fixed this time!

On the drive home I snacked on our purchase.

carrot snack

Once home I made myself a banana with peanut butter. Creative right? 😉

pb banana

Then I got to work on my February Fitness Challenge. I turned on Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred workout DVD and completed one of her workouts. There are three levels in this DVD and I went with level one yesterday and was already feeling the burn. I really like how she combines multiple muscle groups in each movement, like doing a squat and then a dumbbell overhead arm press (probably not the correct terminology but you know what I mean).

I have a long way to go with this challenge, but that’s okay, it was day one after all. After Jillian, I completed my plank-a-day and finished off with a 20 minute walk on the treadmill.

I reopened my workout log page to keep track of this challenge. I had it up on the blog for a while but always forget to update it with my workouts so I took it off, but I would like to track my workouts again so we shall see how well I do remembering. It may not stay up long. 🙂

Last night we met up with a bunch of our friends and watched/danced/sang to my cousins Tara and Amber’s band perform live. The show was part of a fundraiser for a hockey team and if we wore hockey jerseys to the event we were entered into a raffle, hence the reason we are all wearing hockey jerseys. We didn’t win that particular raffle but Brian and Amanda did win one of the many prizes that were given away: a giant basket of snacks!

melanie amanda stacy

My cousin Amber (one of the singers) cozying up with Dana…

dana and amber

And the award for best dressed for the night goes to Adam…

Adam

I had SO much fun last night. Maybe too much fun. We danced our socks off.

girls dancing

I’m hoping to restore my body today and get it back to its normal self. We got back home around midnight and my internal alarm clock woke me up at 7:00 this morning and would absolutely not let me go back to sleep. Seven hours is enough for a good majority of people, but not for me. It’s a good thing we have a low-key day today.

I just refueled with a protein packed breakfast and am drinking plenty of water, so cross my fingers I come around soon.

Have a fabulous day my friends.

Question of the day: What’s your remedy for restoring health after a night out?

We Found “The One”

Yesterday you wouldn’t find me shopping in any malls for Black Friday deals, you would find me being productive around the house instead.

My morning started off with a post-Thanksgiving recovery breakfast of banana with peanut butter, cinnamon and honey.

I then got busy ordering our Christmas cards…yea I’m a little late on ordering those I know. Whoops! We didn’t do cards last year because of all the wedding shenanigans, but this year I really wanted to do some.

When lunch time rolled around I pulled together a few delicious Thanksgiving leftovers

Then I took down the fall decorations in order to prepare for Christmas decorations!!!

The next order of business was finding a Christmas tree. We drove down to Nelson’s Apple and Tree Farm to begin our search to find our perfect Christmas tree. I was bundled up in my long underwear, sweatshirt, wool socks, boots, head band, hat, and mittens, but that wind was still pretty darn chilly!

The tree farm was really pretty and very well organized. They had each row of trees labeled so that you knew what kind of tree you were looking at.

Here is the first tree I fell in love with…

But it wasn’t the one we chose. We usually go with the Frasier fir variety like that one but as we walked around a while longer, we found a beautiful white pine and we knew it was “the one.”

That was our baby. We took turns sawing it down…

We tied up that bad boy with love onto the top of our truck, paid for our tree, and called it a successful tree farm trip (ski patrol style)…

I anxiously watched the tree on top of the car on the way home as the wind whipped through it. I was pretty excited when we were able to exit the freeway. Our poor baby. 🙂

We set up our tree once we got home but we still need to decorate it. Once we get’er done, I will be sure to share it with you all! It’s a beaut.

After our tree adventure, we worked on the egress window outside. My fingers were frozen by the time we were done. That is quite the project I tell ya. At some point we will finish both windows so that we can finally finish our basement. Some day.

For dinner we ate some leftover turkey chili that I had frozen from this batch a couple of weeks ago. It was the perfect dinner to warm us up. We relaxed the rest of the evening and were in bed by 9:30, no joke.

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Today we are going to spending more time outside hanging up Christmas lights, finishing some yard work, and hopefully decorating the Christmas tree. I think it’s going to be a little warmer today than yesterday so hopefully we can make it an enjoyable experience outside. Oh the joys of Minnesota winters.

I will be perfectly honest with you…I am insanely distracted right now as I write this post because the Hangover II is on in the background. I was never one of those people who could study in college with the television on. I need complete silence. Nothing has changed since then! Sorry if this is somewhat of a splotchy post.

Anyway, time to get a move on it! Enjoy your Saturday friends!

Mmm mmm Turkey Chili

Happy mid-way through the work week day aka Hump Day! 🙂

I worked late yesterday therefore don’t really have any catching up to do from yesterday, BUT I do want to catch you up from Monday. I keep getting so behind on my posts but you don’t mind that I have to rewind a day or two do you?!

Monday

I’ve really been loving this combo lately: one banana topped with Parkers Farm creamy peanut butter and Peanut Butter & Co Dark Chocolate Dreams. Mmm mmm that’s the stuff.

I had a bucket load of things to do including doctor visits, a haircut, Target run, and most importantly, using some of my birthday money (which I got early) to go shopping for a few new items.

I can proudly say that I bought four items at TJMaxx: three were clearance items and this sweater below was regular price.

I loathe trying on clothes at the actual store. I prefer to purchase items, take them home and try them on, and return them if necessary. Of course if the store isn’t conveniently located near my home, I go a different route. Anyway, I went home and tried on the four items and it turns out I love them all, however I am going to return an oversized sweater which would be so comfortable if it weren’t so itchy. I can’t handle itchy or uncomfortable anything, so back it goes. I’d say 3 out of 4 isn’t bad though right?!

Lunch

Once lunch time rolled around I pulled together this beautiful thing. We have a mixed green salad with blackberries, chicken, feta cheese, walnuts, and Ken’s Lite Poppy Seed dressing. Oh, and avocado. Goodness, I can’t forget the avocado. This salad was fabulous.

I did end up getting a half hour walk in but the walk was done on the treadmill this time around. On Monday it was a whopping 28°F or so here so I thought I would stay warm and walk inside. I flipped the TV back and forth between Ellen and Paula Deen. I was a happy camper.

Big news! I am hosting Thanksgiving at my house this year! This will be my first time ever hosting as well as my first time ever preparing turkey. I am planning the menu and getting super excited about it! More to come on that.

Check out my new kicks! On Sunday actually, Dana and I headed over to Marathon Sports in Minneapolis because we both needed some new running shoes. We had our other pair since March and we were both starting to feel some discomfort in our feet after runs, so we declared it time for new shoes. You don’t have to twist my arm for new shoes!

I stuck with the Asic Gel Kayano 19. The 19 is a little bit lighter than the 18 yet still provides cushioning, not to mention I LOVE the colors! Score.

On to dinner. We’re talking comfort on what was a pretty cold Minnesota day. What does that call for?

CHILI! I pulled a bag of garden tomatoes from the freezer which I had peeled and froze this summer. I threw a handful ingredients into a pot, let them all simmer together for a couple of hours, and something magical happened. I am excited to share this recipe because it was such a wing-it one for me and turned out just FANTASTIC! Mmm mmm!


Turkey Chili
Print
Ingredients
  • 4½ cups pureed tomatoes
  • ⅓ lb lean ground turkey, browned
  • 1-15 oz. can chili beans
  • 1-15 oz. can red kidney beans
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • ½ Tbsp. cumin
  • ½ Tbsp. garlic powder
  • ½ Tbsp. salt
  • 1-2 tsp. black pepper
  • Optional toppings:
  • fresh cilantro
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • avocado
Instructions
  1. Combine all soup ingredients into medium pot; stir to combine.
  2. Cover and let simmer on low for two hours, stirring occasionally.
  3. Ladle into soup bowls and top with avocado, cilantro, and cheese (optional).

One last bit of exciting news…My 27th birthday is this Friday and I am lucky enough to be celebrating it in Georgia this weekend with some amazing friends! We will be staying with these two foxy individuals…

I am SOOO excited! I can’t wait! I miss them so much.

Geez I’ve noticed this post turned a little bit random but that’s okay! Alright, I am off to take on the day. Take care my friends.

 

Great Friends & Homemade Sushi

Man, yesterday was a great day!

When I left you yesterday, I immediately went and made myself some lunch. Homemade bread (recipe coming soon), with cinnamon pB2, bananas, and chia seeds, with a clementine on the side.

After lunch we went and picked up Moose from the groomer…

He was brushed and looks so handsome!

Then, Dana and I registered for our very FIRST HALF MARATHON! June 3rd, 2012. I was so nervous to hit submit in the registration because that means I have actually committed. It’s official, submitted, fees paid, and there’s no turning back. I am so pumped! Bring it on!

Dana’s parents came over shortly after and visited for a couple hours. It was nice to catch up with them as always.

Next, I got ready for our sushi night with friends. I prepped some of the veggies for the sushi and also made some chocolate dipped pretzels to have out for dessert. I had to decorate them with Christmas sprinkles because I didn’t have valentine sprinkles on hand, but they were still pretty and tasty! I snacked on a bunch of pretzels while I made those sweet treats.

The night was full of Asian-inspired snacks: Baked sugar snap peas (crunchy and salty, so good), edamame, and we even tried seaweed snacks. I wasn’t a fan of the seaweed at all. I know they are supposed to be extremely good for you, but I just don’t love the taste of sea and plants combined very much. At least I tried.

We ate lots of homemade sushi which turned out awesome! We stuck to California Rolls with carrots, cucumber, avocado, and crab.

It was a great, relaxing night with friends including getting my tush whooped in Scattegories (and Dana didn’t even cheat)!

Can we please, please do this more often? Love you guys.

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This morning began with a fruit and yogurt bowl and coffee (“the best part of waking up, is Folger’s in your cup!”).

Coupon clipping, grocery shopping, and Byerly’s salad bar for lunch while we were out and about. My salad was loaded with: edamame, peas, zucchini, beets, mushrooms, carrots, jicama, pumpkin seeds, sprouts, cheese, sunflower seeds, tofu, ground flaxseed, and light ranch dressing. Holy cow I guess I got my veggies in!

After lunch, we scoped out Byerly’s fresh fish selection for our Valentine’s Dinner. I think we are going to go with the swordfish. Swordfish and roasted artichoke hearts and fennel. Dessert is to be decided still but we are leaning towards warm brownie with vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt.

And now I am home, and can’t keep my paws off of chocolate. That’s all I want to do the rest of the day…veg out and eat chocolate. I’ll probably do some laundry too, and also I plan to post that bread recipe for you all too, and maybe go to the gym or for a walk on the treadmill.  We’ll see what happens! Okay, that’s it for now. Enjoy a relaxing Sunday!

Training Plans

I am so looking forward to celebrating Betsy and Matt’s birthdays tonight, but first there are a few things I need to do.

This morning I headed downstairs to the treadmill to get a 2 mile run in before meeting my long time friend Amanda for ZUMBA! I have taken a couple of Zumba classes before but they are all so different because each instructor has their own style. Today our instructor was this spunky little thing and I loved her! She kept us shakin’ our booties for a solid hour and let me be the first to say it wasn’t just my booty that was shakin’ (har har)! I had such a blast and can’t wait to go back.

After Zumba I went back home to tackle two more miles on the treadmill. Running again after Zumba? Come on, seems like overkill right? Well, that’s because Dana and I are training for our first half marathon!

We have not officially signed up because registration doesn’t open until February, but we have started our training and are pumped! The longest run we have done is a 15k or 9.3 miles, which was in August 2011. The race we ran was for more “elite” runners and it was set up as a 3-loop run. Needless to say we are not elite runners, and it was a little degrading finishing our second loop when a good chunk of the other runners were finishing their third. We did finish in under an hour and 30 minutes which was our goal, but when we both finished we said, “I am not doing that again.” Ha, we’re eating our words now.

Ear buds are out, I see the finish line!

We think/hope that our next experience will be a little more fun, and it should help to do one huge loop versus three small loops. Plus, we have other friends planning to run it too!

The training plan we used for the 15k was one from Hal Higdon. For this round of training, I found this half marathon plan by him and Dana found this training plan by Jeff Galloway that he is following.  I can’t decide which one to do so for now I am just kind of doing a combination of the two. I like the idea of running Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and having Saturday be my long run which is what Hal Higdon suggested, but so far have not done the short run on Wednesday, so I am pretty much following the Jeff Galloway plan. I don’t know, we’ll see. I will keep you posted about training progress as well as registration for the race. Runners are chosen through a lottery once registered.

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Breakfast recap

Coffee and peanut butter banana much like this one except a little more sloppy and on a paper towel to go.

 

Lunch started with some appetizers (samples) at Costco: chocolate chunk cookie, protein bar, bite of meatball which I handed off to Dana, cowboy caviar, and mango peach salsa, all served in bite size samples.

Once we got home I threw together a whole grain tortilla with a laughing cow wedge, lettuce, tomato, and mustard and a handful of almonds.

I wasn’t sure how this would taste but it was actually pretty good! After lunch I finished up the birthday dessert I started making last night which I am bringing to tonight’s festivities. Now I am off to tackle a couple more weekend “to-do’s” and get ready for the rest of the day including a much needed shower.

Happy Saturday!

Plantain Trial

It’s the freakin’ weekend baby!

Thank goodness! Today was wild and crazy and I am so happy to have a fun-filled weekend ahead.

I am feeling back to normal today. I regained appetite at about 9 p.m. last night and ate some kettle corn and then some mukimame which is the bean from the edamame (for when you’re feeling real lazy and don’t want to mess with the pod).  I got a good night’s rest and was good as new today.

I began my day with a peanut butter banana

 

Followed by 2 (errr more like 3) cups of coffee with cream and stevia.

I was feeling a little hungry mid-morning and munched on a small handful of almonds.

Lunch was a little bit of this:

In the mix was: broccoli, peas, carrots, mushrooms, green olives, mixed greens, laughing cow, and lite honey mustard dressing (Newman’s Own). Alongside a deliciously sweet clementine and some more almonds.

Cut to post-work. I get home and am ravished. The fridge is not very well stocked but I did manage to find some dates. I ate a handful of dates and a spoonful of peanut butter. I am starting to realize why we go  through peanut butter so fast around here. Anyway, I headed out to run some errands. I needed to pick up some wedding photos from Walgreen’s including one that completes our “guest book” cork board photo frame! We are so excited about it. For our guest book at our wedding we went non-traditional. We had our guests write their names on a wine cork which we then glued into a frame. Check it out…

Wooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!! Love it!

Besides Walgreen’s I also needed to return the book, “The Help” to the library (didn’t get to finish it and couldn’t renew because someone had reserved it—I will be finishing it though one day).

Last stop was Target to pick up some ingredients needed for tonight’s “dinner” and for a special birthday dessert I’m making for Ms. Birthday Girl Betsy and Mr. Belated Birthday Boy Matt.  Oreos are involved! OOoo ahhhh.  I also managed to snag a bag of Whole Grain Cheddar Goldfish which I cracked into as soon as I got home, alongside some chocolate chips. Hmmm…all of this snacking this afternoon, no wonder I wasn’t hungry for dinner. I had good plans for dinner too.  I still made part of the fun special dinner and hubby enjoyed it immensely.

Last weekend I picked up a plantain at the grocery store. I love trying new things as you may know by now and had eaten a plantain before but never cooked one myself. I did a little brainstorming and a little researching for recipes, and then remembered a delicious appetizer I had this summer at Chino Latino’s with  my girl friends.

It was fried plantains served with a spicy black bean dip. After chatting with my co-workers today, two of which are from Columbia, I learned that my plantain was not going to make for the best “chips” because it was too ripe. In order to make good chips you need a really green plantain apparently and mine was more of a yellowish-green with some brown spots. Sounds appetizing right? Well, I wasn’t going to give up on it and I’m not one to throw away perfectly good food, so I got creative.

I started by peeling the plantain and slicing on an angle in 1/8-1/4 inch slices. I preheated the oven to 400 degrees, and covered a baking pan with aluminum foil and non-stick cooking spray. I placed the plantains on the baking sheet (pictured below), sprayed the top with cooking spray, and sprinkled with cumin and chili powder. I popped them in the oven for about 17 minutes, turning halfway through.

In the meantime, I sautéed one small white onion in about 1 teaspoon of  Annie’s garlic olive oil (thank you Brian and Amanda). To the pan I then added: one can of drained and rinsed black beans, one 4-ounce can of diced green chilies, a dash of garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, black pepper, and a squeeze of fresh lime.

Once all ingredients were combined, I continued heating on the stove top for about 5 more minutes while the plantains finished in the oven. I then transferred the bean mixture into the food processor and processed until smooth. I removed the plantains from the oven and served them along side the bean dip.

I don’t know if it was the fact that I had snacked so much prior to this, or the sweetness of the plantains, but something wasn’t appealing to me in this dish. However, Dana LOVED it. Thanks to him my self-esteem wasn’t completely battered. I wouldn’t say my first attempt at plantains was a fail whatsoever, it just wasn’t my favorite ever. Stay tuned to see what new food I try to cook up next week!

I am off to start working on the mystery dessert for Betsy and Matt’s Birthday Party tomorrow! I am so suspenseful I know. Wish me luck!

Have a great night everyone. Peace and love. Out.