Cowboy Caviar Mini Bell Peppers

What a great weekend that went by all too fast as always. How about catching you up a bit from the last time we touched base which would be Saturday around lunch time.

In my belly…a harvest pear salad with romaine lettuce, pears, walnuts, feta cheese, and poppy-seed dressing. Complete with fall leaves in the background of the photo.

After lunch I got to work preparing an appetizer for a Halloween party we were going to that evening.

Cowboy Caviar Mini Bell Peppers

I combined tomatoes, black beans, corn, avocado, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper to make a cowboy caviar. I then halved orange and yellow mini bell peppers, took out the seeds and the stem, and filled each boat with cowboy caviar. Delicious, healthy and beautiful to boot!

To the Halloween part-ay we went. We were greeted by this beautiful witch brewing up a secret potion and making snarky remarks at us.

Before I reveal what Dana and I dressed up as, let’s have a little fun and let me give you some hints and see if you can guess.

  1. I am holding our newest child Penelope.
  2. Our son Mason is at auntie Kimmy’s for the night.

Any Kardashian fans out there? I was Kourtney Kardashian and Dana was her boyfriend Scott Disick. That’s alright if you didn’t get it, most of our friends didn’t know either.

Our lovely hosts for the evening were Freddie Mercury (Adam) and Katniss (Stacy). It made me feel better that I didn’t know who either of them were dressed up as either. It was a general theme for the night—no one knew who anyone was supposed to be.

Except for the egg. I knew that Amanda was an egg. 😉

We had a great time as always being with our friends, munching on some great chow, and  laughing at everyone’s ridiculous costumes. We were home and into bed by midnight and I was wide awake at 8:00 am Sunday morning.

Sunday

I made myself a chopped banana with Parkers Farm peanut butter and cinnamon.

I also drank a cup of coffee while we flipped through the Sunday paper. Next, we hit the road for our grocery shopping extravaganza. We will be leaving for our vacation to Colombia in just a few days, but we needed to stock up the fridge for a very special guest who will be staying at our house with the pup.

We got a late start on running our errands so by the time we got home it was 1:00 pm and we were both very hungry. I notice that’s a common theme around our house. I was excited that I had leftover cowboy caviar from the appetizer on Saturday, so we cooked up a few over easy eggs, topped them on top the leftover cowboy caviar with some cheese, and had a protein packed and super tasty meal within minutes.

In the afternoon I made myself change into workout clothes and took the dog out for 2.6 mile run around the neighborhood. I could tell I was tired and dehydrated because it was a pretty difficult run for me.

A very good friend of mine was in town for the weekend so I got to see him and his beautiful girlfriend for a little while, then mom and dad stopped over too! After that we did a little packing and got ourselves ready for the week ahead.

Oh and we ate dinner too…a turkey burger served on top of a salad with onion, tomato, cheese, and green olives.

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Yoga Challenge

Since it’s Monday that means it’s time to check in on the last October Yoga Challenge for the month! I can’t believe the month is over in a couple of days. I kind of feel like October didn’t happen it flew by so fast, but IT DID. Don’t let me fool you.

This past week I got in not one, but two yoga sessions. The first one was a full body session and the second was a session geared towards athletes. I completed the whole month’s challenge using OnDemand yoga sessions. Once again, I loved every second of this challenge.

Yoga is about connecting the body and the mind, and it is good for all of us to take the time to practice that. Whether or not you are lying on a yoga mat, or sitting in your office, take 30 seconds periodically to become aware of your mind and body. Focus on your breathing if you are feeling overwhelmed. Remind yourself to live in the moment.

I said this before but I do truly mean it again, I really hope to continue to include yoga in my life even though this challenge comes to an end. I feel better after every session and it reminds me to stay calm and helps me to control stress. Thanks to Courtney for hosting this challenge once again!

Namaste.

*****Thinking of all of my friends and family on the east coast. Stay safe!*****

Birthday Surprises, Pot Roast, and a Pinch of Yoga

Hello there friends! You’re going to have to bear with me on this one, judging by the post title, you can maybe tell this is going to be a jam-packed post.

Last time I checked in with you all, I mentioned that we were going to be hosting a very special birthday celebration for my mom’s 60th on Saturday. I left you all dangling in anticipation about the secret menu I had planned for the party. 😉

You may have figured it out with this sneak peek photo I gave you on Saturday

That’s right…savory, warm and comforting pot roast; in the slow cooker of course. But I didn’t do just one roast, oh no. I did two. Who doesn’t love leftover pot roast? Also, I’d rather have too much food than not enough food for company any day.

I began by lightly searing all sides of the roast over medium-high heat on the stove top. I then transferred the meat to the slow cookers, added in the rest of the goodies, and set those bad boys on low for 8 hours. Check out the recipe at the bottom of this post!

An hour or so before company arrived, I got to work on the potatoes. I made simple boiled and smashed red potatoes. First I rinsed and scrubbed off any dirt on the potatoes. Don’t you love my apron BTW?! Thanks to Stacy for her creative sewing work. The other side has ladies on it so that if Dana wants to cook in it he can reverse it. How cute, right?!

Next, I halved the potatoes and placed them into a large pot, covered them with water and boiled for 15 minutes or until fork tender. I drained the water, added 1 tablespoon of butter, and some salt and pepper, and got to mashing.

Ta da! I also made a small batch of cheater beef gravy to go on top for those who were interested.

For some green love to go around I made a salad I found on Pinterest from Espresso and Cream’s website. I gotta give this girl major credit. This salad was amazing. I made just a few minor tweaks. You can check out her recipe here, but below is my modified version.

Pear Poppy Seed Salad
Ingredients

  • 8-9 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 2 medium pears, diced
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3 slices turkey bacon, cooked crispy and crumbled
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese crumbles
  • Ken’s Lite Poppy Seed Dressing
Directions
  1. Add all ingredients into bowl except dressing. Allow guests to dress their own salads.

Once the food was all ready to go, we got a fire going in the fireplace, set the table, and relaxed while waiting for our guests to arrive.

Once my family arrived, we munched on a tasty shrimp appetizer that Kevi brought to share. Then I told everyone to move to the table. It was time for dinner. We gave the birthday girl the head seat at the table, right next to the fire. She’s the freeze baby of the family. Dad, Kevin, and Scott were our other lovely guests.

This photo below is pretty much the best food photo shot I got all night. I must have been so caught up in the excitement of the party and some surprises to come that I wasn’t really into snapping.

For example, these next two photos do not justify the awesomeness of dinner and dessert. The pot roast came out so tender and flavorful. We also had the baby red potatoes, the pear side salad, sunflower whole grain bread, and apple crisp for dessert.

Mom and dad even made me a special gluten-free apple crisp with almond flour. Bless their hearts. It was delicious too! Talk about an all around comforting meal.

After dinner, we moved on to gifts. My brothers and Dana and I bought mom a Cuisinart 7-cup Food Processor. She has been needing a new one for one for quite some time so I thought it would be the perfect birthday gift. I have the same exact food processor at home that ironically enough, my mom and dad gave Dana and I as a shower gift. I really like mine so I decided to get them the same one!

Next came the big surprises. First, dad started off by giving mom a few gifts: a sweater, a shower liner(!), and some golf balls. Mom’s reaction was so genuine after receiving just these few simple gifts being that it was a big birthday for her. She was just happy to have (almost) everyone together—gifts don’t matter to her. But really, a shower liner??

A short while later, dad grabs another gift and gives it to her confessing that he has one more gift for her, and that it’s for their anniversary which is in November. Mom goes right along with it all and opens her gift which is an iPad.

Her laptop has been on the fritz for a very long time, but he has been planning on getting her this iPad for months, so needed to keep making excuses as to why they should wait to buy one. The line that had worked best lately was, “let’s wait until Black Friday, then we’ll go get you a laptop or an iPad.” She was fine with that idea since it at least gave her a time frame and gave her hope. Haha. This all cracks me up.

So, anyway. She doesn’t believe it’s really an iPad, or really her iPad. As she’s still trying to grasp the fact, dad wants to show her something on YouTube. He opens up the application and there is a video clip of one of my mom’s best friends singing a special song she wrote to my mom to the tune of “Give My Regards to Broadway.” In this clip, she divulges to mom that my dad will be taking her to New York for her birthday, and her friend and her husband would be joining them. 

At this point mom is completely floored and practically unsure of what to believe. Her reactions to all of these surprises were absolutely priceless and so sincere.

The last surprise that dad pulled out was tickets to see Jersey Boys on Broadway, and that at the latter end of the trip, they are going to travel to New Jersey to visit my mom’s aunt and uncle that live out there. 

The whole series of surprises left everyone very emotional. Mom deserves every single bit of every one of these gifts. She is so giving, faithful, compassionate, and a rock for all of us. She always knows what to say to make me feel better and to put things into perspective. I hope someday I will have the wisdom that she has.

It was such a fun birthday celebration. I’ve said it a million times but I’ll say it again, HAPPY 60th BIRTHDAY MAMA! You are the most incredible woman and I love you to infinity!

The rest of the evening was spent playing with the iPad and watching these two lovers play. Scotty’s dog Tuner is a husky and black lab mix, and she is beautiful. Mooser and Tuner get a long very well. Moose and Tuner sitting in a tree…

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This post is getting real lengthy, and I apologize but real quickly I just want to check in on the October Yoga Challenge.

On Thursday I whipped out an Ab Strengthening Yoga session OnDemand. I thought it was a 20 some minute session, but when I looked back at it, I realized it was a 30 some minute session. Score! 

I am still loving every bit of this yoga challenge. I would like to work more of it into my schedule!

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Now, finally here is that Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe for all ya’ll. Have a great day and thanks for sticking with me through this novel of a post! Muah!

Slow Cooker Pot Roast
Print
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Ingredients
  • beef pot roast
  • 2 medium onions, chopped in thick wedges
  • 5 carrots, chopped in 1 inch pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. onion powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire
  • 1 tsp. red wine vinegar
Instructions
  1. Brown all sides of roast in pan over medium high heat. Place into slow cooker.
  2. Add remaining ingredients into slow cooker.
  3. Set on low for 8 hours.