Taco Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing

Happy Friday!

So, last night I was all ready to make a couple of loaves of nutty gluten-free bread. I brought my laptop into the kitchen and pulled up the recipe from my site. Much to my dismay I learned that the link was no longer active from my recipe page. I investigated further and realized that NONE of my recipe links had transferred over from my old site.

So last night, I had to go through them all and relink them to their appropriate posts. There is probably a much faster way to do this, but since I haven’t quite figured out this whole CSS new self-hosting business, I went the slow route. It was easy, just super tedious.

Needless to say I didn’t end up making the bread, but all of the links on the recipe pages should be fixed! Links from old posts though may still be missing, but I will have to figure that one out another day.

Anyway! How about a quick lil’ recap from yesterday?

I’ll spare you the breakfast photo because you’ve seen it a million and one times: nutty bread with peanut butter and honey. LOOVE.

Lunch

Driscoll’s raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and frozen blueberries (thawed of course) topped with Fage Total 0% Fat plain yogurt, and a healthy drizzle of honey.

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I finished lunch off with a handful of almonds and two hershey’s kisses, one milk chocolate and one dark chocolate. I am usually a huge dark chocolate fan, but when it comes to Hershey’s, the milk chocolate still takes the cake. Any other chocolate though, give me dark. Meh, who am I kidding? I’ll take chocolate in any way, shape, or form.

Dinner

An amazingly delicious taco salad creation with creamy avocado dressing.

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So let’s talk about this because it was seriously awesome.

I had some browned lean beef in the freezer, so I pulled that out and began defrosting. I then heated it up on the stove top with a small amount of taco seasoning, a dash of water, and let it heat through. I added extra cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder as well.

I got to work chopping up a tomato, mini bell peppers, shredding some cheddar cheese, defrosting some corn, and concocting my dressing which can hardly be considered a recipe it was so easy…

Creamy Avocado Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 ripe avocados
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp. tomatillo salsa*
  • salt and pepper

*I wanted to add lime juice to this dressing instead of salsa but didn’t have any on hand so substituted with green tomatillo salsa. It turned out great! Lime juice would definitely work too, though.

Directions

  1. In food processor, blend all ingredients until smooth.

Last step, plating. I started with a nice big bed of mixed greens, next layered on tomatoes, bell peppers, corn, black beans, shredded cheese, ground beef, and lastly topped it with a large dollop of avocado dressing.

The only words spoken by me while devouring this meal were “omg, this is so good.” I encourage you to make it this weekend!

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Taco Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing (for 2)

Ingredients

  • 2 large handfuls of mixed greens
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 4 baby bell peppers, diced
  • 1/3 cup corn
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 lb ground beef, browned
  • 1/4 packet taco seasoning or homemade taco seasoning
  • Avocado dressing (recipe above)

Directions

  1. Plate all ingredients, top with dressing. Seriously enjoy.
After dinner I headed out for a 3.5 mile walk on the most perfect fall evening.

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I am so cold this morning. When I woke up it was only 50° outside, now a couple of hours later it has crept up to 54 whoppin’ degrees. This weather makes me want to bake and drink coffee! I just might, but first I want to make sure and get a workout in, I’m meeting mom for a picnic lunch, and Dana and I have a very fun date planned for tonight!

My baking/cooking bucket list for the upcoming fall months:

  • More nutty gluten-free bread
  • Pumpkin chocolate chip gluten-free bread
  • Some sort of apple dessert (crisp, baked apples…)
  • Chili
  • Some sort of legume recipe

Okay, we’ll start with that. I am off to tackle the day. Have a happy day!

What recipe is on your fall bucket list?!

Greek Tomato Salad and Major R & R

Wait a minute. Did this weekend really happen? I feel like it came and went so fast. I know I always say that, but you know how certain weekends really really go by fast sometimes? Anyway. I have a lot to share so let the fun begin

We had a very nice leisurely Saturday morning. I ate a Chobani Pomegranate yogurt, headed to the gym for a nice workout (elliptical and core work primarily), and then came home to hang out with the boys.

Moose enjoyed some Animal Planet…

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In the afternoon we headed over to a carnival/fair in our area to check out the action. There were games, rides, food, local companies promoting their products, fire trucks tours, pony rides, a huge inflatable jumper for the kids, helicopter rides….I was pretty impressed.

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The fireman did a demonstration using the jaws of life to open up this smashed car. It was actually pretty neat to see the process.

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After the carnival we headed out to Dana’s parents for dinner. My mom and dad joined us as well. We set up croquet in the backyard. I can’t tell you the last time I played. It was a very relaxing game. I definitely didn’t win though; 2nd to last actually. All that matters is that I had fun.

Moose spectated.

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Before dinner, Sue brought out a bunch of appetizers: veggies, crackers, cheese, hummus, a sweet peanut dip, and liver pate.

Mom says I ate liver when I was younger which I don’t remember (maybe I chose to forget Winking smile). Either way, I did try the liver pate just so I could make sure I wasn’t missing out on anything I loved. After one taste I decided I’m not. I am proud I tried it though! I know a lot of people do like liver plus it’s so good for you; I wish I did like it.

For dinner we had surf and turf kabobs, my mom’s Ramen salad, and I brought a Greek tomato salad (recipe at the end of post). Dinner was literally heaven on my plate with all of the veggies.

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For dessert, gluten-free biscuit with strawberries and fat-free whipped cream.

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We had such a great time on Saturday night. Can’t wait to do it again!

Sunday

On Sunday morning I slept in until 9:00! That is unheard of for me. I must have really  needed it. We did our usual Sunday morning brigade: newspaper, coupons, coffee, breakfast, grocery shopping. Our fridge is very well stocked again.

In the afternoon we got involved in some more community action. Part of the weekend fair included a parade which was right in our neighborhood. We took the pooch down and enjoyed a great parade which ended up being an hour and a half long! The weather was perfect and it was a really pleasant way to spend the afternoon.

Moose got 5 million compliments from the folks in the parade. “I love your dog,” “he’s so beautiful”…His head was the size of a hot air balloon by the time we left. Man, the more I think about it, Moose had a pretty great weekend!

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For dinner we grilled up chicken breasts and topped them with turkey bacon, and cheddar cheese. I ate mine with BBQ sauce and a side of garlicky roasted broccoli.

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A lot of Sunday was spent converting my blog from WordPress.com to self-hosted. It’s a good thing my husband is good with computers AND very patient, because there is no way I could have done that on my own. I would have pulled out half of my hair and eaten a 5 lb bag of M & M’s  by the time I was done with it. Confused smileThe switch has been made, now I just need to figure it all out.

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Greek Tomato Salad

Back to simplicity for a second. I wanted to share the salad recipe with you from Saturday night because I LOVED it and so did everyone else.

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Greek Dressing

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar (heaping)
1/2 Tbsp. garlic powder
1/2 Tbsp. dried oregano
1/2 Tbsp. dried basil
1/2 Tbsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 Tbsp. ground mustard
cracked black pepper

Add ingredients to a container, cover with a lid, give it a shake.

Greek Tomato Salad
Print
Ingredients
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced into cubes
  • ⅓ cup kalamata olives, sliced lengthwise
  • Greek dressing (as much or little as desired)
  • Sprinkle of feta cheese crumbles
Instructions
  1. Add tomatoes, zucchini and olives into a large bowl. Combine gently.
  2. Pour desired amount of dressing over salad, mix gently.
  3. Sprinkle with feta cheese and garnish with fresh basil.


I am off to get a workout in and I have REALLY been in a baking mood, so I may need to do something about that today too. Hope you all have a great day.

Peanut Sauce Spice Baby

I have to give credit where credit is due. The Hyatt Regency Hotel in Cambridge, MA, where I stayed for the Healthy Living Summit last weekend, really had it goin’ on. Right off the bat their customer service was fabulous and the front desk staff was so kind and accommodating.

We stepped into our very spacious room and I was blown away at how modern and clean the rooms were; clean-looking and literally clean which I automatically assume when I get into a hotel room but it’s not always the case unfortunately.

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There was a walkway behind the bed that led to the vanity on the left and the bathroom on the right.

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I really appreciated this vanity area. This is where I got ready for the day and evening.

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And I always love a nice bathroom. Open-mouthed smile

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To top it all off, we had an incredible view from our room.

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I would highly recommend this hotel to anyone looking for a great place to stay when visiting the Boston area. Thank you to the Hyatt staff for such a comfortable stay and for accommodating our large healthy living group so well.

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Got wrinkles? I do.

They’re happy wrinkles because I smile all of the time.

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In our swag bags from HLS we were given Hydroxatone Instant Lift pads that supposedly help ward off wrinkles. The directions are to place these pads on your wrinkles for 20 minutes every other morning. They are very soothing which I like, and the directions suggest keeping them in the fridge for an even cooler soothing effect. But about those wrinkles, we shall see.

I thought if nothing else I might give someone a giggle from this self-portrait…

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It’s good to embarrass yourself sometimes right? Done and done. Keeping it classy.

I enjoyed a cup of coffee yesterday morning in my love mug that I got as a wedding shower gift from my mom and dad. I feel like it’s too cute to use, but I really needed the warm fuzzy feeling yesterday, so I broke it out. Mom would want me to use it anyway. Right, mom?

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Breakfast was the exact same as yesterday and lunch was eaten at my desk; both very lame. Therefore no photos.

After work I met up with my girlfriend Courtney who I went to school with and who is also a dietitian. We met at Centennial Lakes and walked around the Farmer’s Market and made a loop through Whole Foods. It’s a lot of fun walking through both of those places with another dietitian. We have lots to criticize and discuss. Smile

We spent the majority of our Whole Foods trip in the nut butter aisle as I contemplated buying some more sunflower seed butter. We also spent quality time in front of the chocolate. If you can believe it, I walked away empty-handed. I know, I’m impressed too.

Dinner came together in a pinch.

I threw together mixed greens, mushrooms, red bell pepper, cilantro, grape tomatoes, black beans, a small amount of feta (because I wasn’t sure if feta worked on this salad), and topped it all with Newman’s Own Lite Honey Mustard dressing.

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Dana made us strawberry banana soft serve for dessert. I watched last week’s episode of SYTYCD. It was a quiet night which was just what I needed.

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Zucchini AGAIN

This is turning into a very random post, but now I have to share a recipe with you that I made back on Tuesday evening. Thai Peanut salad complete with zucchini pasta making it 100% grain free. It was AWESOME.

 

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Such a beautiful complex dish but it’s really not. Wait no, it is beautiful, but it’s NOT complex. But man, be careful with the peanut sauce. It tends to run on the spicy side. I forgot about that and am such a spice baby. My nose was running as I ate this dish but I still really enjoyed it.

Thai Peanut Salad
Print
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • medium zucchini
  • medium carrot, shredded using knife, food processor, or vegetable peeler
  • ¾ cup cooked mukimame
  • ½ cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. peanuts, chopped
  • a drizzle of peanut sauce (I actually used store-bought this time)
Instructions
  1. Using a mandolin or a sharp knife, cut zucchini into thin linguini-like “pasta”
  2. Place zucchini in colander over sink, sprinkle with salt, let sit for 10-15 minutes. Pat dry.
  3. Plate zucchini on two plates. Sprinkle with garlic powder. Top with remaining ingredients.

So there you have it. The 10 millionth way I have shown you to use zucchini. The possibilities are endless!

I am off to conquer my Friday, my favorite day of the week. Make it a happy day!

Nutty Gluten-Free Bread

Happy Wednesday!  Are we really already half way through the week? Thank goodness, it has been an exhausting one.

Not that I like to wish time by, but I am seriously so excited because… I leave for the Healthy Living Summit tomorrow! I can’t believe it’s here already. The agenda looks AMAZING and I am so looking forward to meeting everyone and having a fun weekend with a bunch of new friends! I will be snapping mega photos and taking notes so that I can keep you well-informed of my adventure.

Monday

I didn’t get to blog yesterday, and really only have one photo from Monday I want to share. I earned the best wife award for Monday night because I made hubby a beef pot roast in the crock pot.

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In the morning I placed 4-5 medium carrots, chopped, into the crock pot, along with 5 mini onions from our garden, beef roast which I believe was a “round” cut but now I don’t remember, a packet of Lipton’s Onion Soup mix, and 3/4 cup water. I set the crock pot on low for 10 hours and it was ready to go at the end of the day!

Being that I’m not much of a meat lover, this actually tasted pretty darn good, and my body could probably use the extra protein and iron these days.

Tuesday

On Tuesday morning, Dana and I set out on a 4-mile run. I haven’t fully run this distance in quite some time due to the UC, and during the run, I remembered why.

My body is working in overdrive right now to fight and heal the inflammation happening inside, therefore I become fatigued fairly easily. I try so hard to push myself because I want to be able to endure activities at the level I was at before when I wasn’t sick, but it’s just not in the cards right now.

With the motivation of Dana at my side, I was able to pull through 4 miles, but I could feel my body grumbling at me as I ran. I am very proud to say that I accomplished that run now.

I have noticed that some days are better than others when it comes to my stamina and activities. Friday for instance, I ran 3 miles and it seemed to be a much more enjoyable run. My body wasn’t fighting back like it was yesterday, but  I still felt fatigued though towards the end.

I not only feel this way with running, I feel it with any type of activity: weights, elliptical, and even every day tasks. I find myself becoming very tired quickly. The docs are investigating my situation full force to make sure I am doing alright and doing their best to “fix” me when they can.

I will continue to keep you posted as I learn more. I know my limits and am doing my best to stay within those limits and not push my body further than it can go right now. I have open communication with my body and we keep each other in the loop. :wink: I listen to it when it says cool it, and it listens to me when I say keep it comin’.

Breakfast

For breakfast, I turned to another old favorite, overnight chia seed yogurt bowl! We were running very low on yogurt so I had to use a little more almond milk than usual but it still turned our great, just a smaller bowl of goodness than I would have liked. I added heaps of blueberries and strawberries to add to the volume.

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A smaller bowl but still oh SO tasty.

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That is the end of my photos for the past couple of days.

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I think this is the perfect opportunity to share with you a gluten-free bread recipe I have been making for Dana and I since we began the SCD/Paleo diets.

I experimented with a few different recipes over time, made my adjustments, and have come up with my favorite version of the bread. It uses Greek yogurt so doesn’t fall perfectly into the SCD or Paleo diets, so I will go ahead and just call it Gluten-Free.

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Nutty Gluten-Free Bread (makes 2 loaves)

Ingredients

  • 5 cups almond flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 egg white

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Mix together all ingredients (I use a hand-mixer).
  3. Pour into two lightly greased bread loaf pans.
  4. Bake for 50-55 minutes. Bread is done when toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean.

This bread is dense but not crumbly like some of the other recipes that use SCD homemade yogurt. The Greek yogurt really helps to make it stable. It cuts perfectly, and tastes great toasted with some nut butter! Dana has also used his for turkey deli sandwiches, or as a base for a couple of over-easy eggs.

NUM!

I did post a bread recipe here that fits perfectly into the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. Feel free to check it out!

I hope you all have a great day. Catch up with you soon.’

Vegetarian Mexican Lasagna

Another awesome Saturday to go down in the books. It started off with a mango, banana, and almond milk smoothie.

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And a piece of almond bread slathered with PB2.

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Dana and I sipped our coffee on the deck while tossing the ball to Moose. It was a very relaxing morning.

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During the middle of the day we headed to celebrate our friend’s son, Leo’s 1 year birthday.

We mingled outside, hopped in the blow up hopper, watched as 5 kids opened up Leo’s gifts for him, and ate some awesome food. I didn’t snap a photo but I had a plate full of pulled turkey, Ramen salad, some sort of pesto pasta salad (maybe?), fruit, a peanut butter cup chocolate chip cookie and a piece of birthday cake. OMG everything was fabulous and so much fun. Leo is such a cutie and handled all of the extra attention so well.

After the party we stopped at Gertens Greenhouse and Garden Center to look for some plants for our front yard.

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We had a $50 gift card from our wedding and we did a great job of spending as close as we could to that amount. With a water thrown in our total came out to $49.66. Not bad, huh?

We bought three Barberry plants and one Sedum. I’m excited to see how they look in the front! Thanks Brian and Amanda!

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We stopped home to drop off the plants and pick up the pooch. We took off for a nearby little lake for a walk. Moose was not on his best behavior but it was still a nice walk. He wanted to get into everything and kept cutting us off and pulling more so than usual. He has his good days and bad days just like me.

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Dinner

For dinner I got creative with the zucchini once again, this time in the form of lasagna. The zucchini is popping up in our garden here and there and you better believe it’s going to get eaten. 

To start, I cut my zucchini into thin lasagna-like noodles. I sprinkled them with salt in a colander, and let them sit in the sink for 10-15 minutes. Then, I removed them from the sink and patted them dry with a paper towel.

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Next, I combined 1 cup of cooked black beans, 1/4 cup diced red onion, 3/4 cup corn, 1/4 cup diced tomatoes, 2 teaspoons of chili powder, and a dash of salt.

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Next I began the layering process starting with salsa on the bottom, then a sprinkle of bean mixture, zucchini, salsa, bean mixture, zucchini, salsa, bean mixture, and topped with cheddar cheese.

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Into the oven it went for 45 minutes at 400°. Then I flipped the oven to broil and broiled for 2 minutes to crisp the top.

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I let it sit a few minutes before slicing and plated it up.

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So pretty!

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Vegetarian Mexican Lasagna

Ingredients

  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 cup black beans, cooked
  • 3/4 cup corn
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup tomatoes, diced
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Lightly grease bread loaf pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Cut zucchini into lasagna-like strips. In a strainer in the sink, sprinkle with salt. Let sit for 10-15 minutes, then drain and pat dry with paper towel.
  3. In medium bowl combine beans, corn, onion, tomatoes, chili powder and salt.
  4. Begin layering: 1/3 cup salsa, 1/3 of bean mixture, zucchini, 1/3 cup salsa, 1/3 bean mixture, zucchini, last of the bean mixture, last of the salsa, finish with the cheese.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes then switch oven to broil. Broil for 2 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Cut carefully and serve. Finish with a few sprigs of cilantro.

Such a great spin on lasagna. I hope you’re not getting tired of all of the zucchini recipes! Pretty soon there will be a bunch of tomato recipes once they start turning red in the garden.

Have a wonderful Sunday!

Garlic Parmesan Zucchini Pasta

We are having the most incredibly beautiful weather here in Minnesota. The nights are falling to the mid 50’s and daytime in the mid 70’s.

This makes for perfect weather for a morning run. I hit the road for a 3.37 mile run (according to MapMyRun) and the temperature was 56°.

I jammed out to my Jack Johnson radio station on Pandora and ran at a leisurely pace. I find that my running pace often matches my music tempo. I was in the mood for a slower run, so I thought this music selection would be perfect and I was right, it was. My average pace was 9:37 minutes per mile. I think I’ve finally concluded that I’m not a fast runner, and I’m not sure if I ever will be a fast runner and I am okay with that.

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I am starting to enjoy running again and am very happy to be able to say that.

My day’s eats went undocumented except for dinner.

Dinner

Zucchini pasta.

 

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Garlic Parmesan Zucchini Pasta

Ingredients

  • 1 large zucchini, peeled
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup green olives, diced
  • 6 grape tomatoes, quartered
  • parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp. fresh basil, chopped

Directions

  1. Place zucchini pasta in strainer in sink, sprinkle with salt, and let sit for 10-15 minutes. Drain and pat dry.
  2. In a large pan, sauté mushrooms, onion, and garlic in olive oil for 4 minutes.
  3. Add zucchini, salt and pepper, green olives, and tomatoes until heated through.
  4. Plate up pasta and top with parmesan and basil. Enjoy!

This was such an easy, fresh, and inexpensive meal. Both Dana and I really liked it! 

Dessert

Strawberry banana soft serve!

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A friend of mine asked for the recipe for this dessert and although I don’t have any exact measurements, I will do my best to help you out!

Strawberry Banana Soft Serve

Ingredients

  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • a splash of almond milk (maybe 2 tablespoons)

Directions

  1. Place ingredients in blender and patiently blend until smooth. You will need to periodically stop the blender and push the frozen fruit around to get things moving. Once a soft serve consistency is reached, it’s ready to eat!

Happy Saturday to everyone. Catch up with ya’ll soon.

Italian Dunkers in 5 Minutes

Happy Thursday, friends!

Do you know what makes my day? Receiving packages in the mail or at my doorstep. Especially ones like the one I got from Wild Harvest Organic yesterday. Wild Harvest is sponsoring a recipe contest in collaboration with the Healthy Living Summit 2012 and you better believed I signed up to be a part of that. Let’s just say as soon as I laid eyes on the contents of the box, my brain began whirling a mile a minute. Recipe creation is my passion. I am thrilled to be able to participate in this fun event. More to come on that!

After work I came home and I was not feeling very motivated to make dinner. You all know by  now that I love to cook, try new recipes, create new recipes, and have fun in the kitchen. But I am only human, and today I was just not feeling the gusto.

I was hungry though, so I was going to have to figure it out. What I really wanted was to dive into the raw broccoli and hummus, BUT I refrained because that is a no-no right now. I scanned through the cupboard, the fridge, and the freezer. Then I spied the nummy leftover Bolognese sauce from Sunday evening. Then I spotted the spelt bread, then mozzarella cheese, and my mind was made up. It was Italian Dunker time, baby.

I preheated the oven to broil, then defrosted the sauce in the microwave, and toasted up a piece of spelt bread in the toaster. Once the bread was toasted, I sprinkled it with garlic powder and topped it with a small handful of mozzarella cheese. I placed it on a piece of aluminum foil and set it under the broiler for about 3 minutes (making sure to watch carefully so it didn’t burn into a crisp). Once the cheese was melty and starting to brown slightly, I removed the dunkers from the oven, sliced them into three strips with a scissors, plated them up alongside the reheated Bolognese sauce, and got dunkin’!

Italian dunkers in 5 minutes? Um, ya!

I swear the sauce was even better this time around.

Oh the high school memories that come along with this meal. I remember how excited everyone would get in anticipation for Italian Dunker day. They would use thick french bread, loads of butter I’m sure, garlic, tons of melty cheese, and served them along with some simple marinara sauce, and usually a small side salad.

I wasn’t much of a hot lunch gal, I would often veer more towards the salad bar or bring my own bag lunch, but Italian Dunker days were a different story. The lunch line went on for a mile and if you were a senior, you didn’t have to wait, you got to budge to the front (according to the seniors at least). I was a little too nice and too much of a wiener for that though, so I would usually wait in line like the rest of the younger kiddos. What can I say? I believe in liberty and justice for all. :smile: They were always worth the wait but remember feeling a little sick in the afternoon from all of the grease. Anywho…

After dinner, I laced up the sneakers and headed down to the treadmill. It has been raining like crazy lately around here and I have felt very fortunate to have a treadmill right in the comfort of my own basement. I especially love that we have a TV hooked up to cable down there too.

I started walking while watching Wheel of Fortune, and then got carried away into watching my favorite show, “So You Think You Can Dance.” I ended up walking for an hour. Chalk that up with a morning yoga session, and I’d say I had a nice day of low-impact activity.

The rest of the night was spent relaxing and sleeping.

I am off to tackle my day. You go tackle yours!

Question of the Day: What was YOUR favorite lunch offered in school?