How to Make Almond Butter

Happy Thursday and happy National Peanut Butter Day! This week has gone by fast but the days have gone by slow. Does that make sense? I’m just happy we are almost to the weekend!

Dana and I have some major laundry room renovation plans this weekend. Tonight we are going to prime the walls, tomorrow we are hoping to paint, and then this weekend we are hoping to tile the floors!

The color we picked out for the walls is called fresh air and it is a very light subtle blue. I would show you the paint sample but to be perfectly honest I am just too lazy to go downstairs and get it. You will see it eventually. It will brighten up the room a lot. We will be painting the shelves white.

Okay, I wasn’t going to do this but how about I give you a quick snap of the laundry room before just to show you how much work it really needs.

laundry room

 

Can I get a womp womppp? I’ll spare you the rest of the before photos until the end of the project, then I will compare before and after photos and stun you all. ūüėČ

It just needs some TLC, and that is what we are giving it. Imagine light blue walls, tan tile, white shelves, and a clean dust-free room! I am pretty pumped about this if you can’t tell! Oh how we change. I never would have imagined five years ago being so excited about revamping a laundry room.

I don’t have much to share on the food front from yesterday. For breakfast I got real crazy and had a banana with almond butter (NOT peanut butter–can you believe it?!).

banana with almond butter

To make homemade almond butter:

  1. I use unsalted raw almonds from Costco which I roast in the oven myself. Once they are 100% completely cooled, I pour 2-3 cups of almonds into the food processor.
  2. I cover the processor and let it go for 15 minutes, stopping 3-4 times in the process to scrape off the sides.
    1. If I want to sweeten the almond butter, I will add 1-2 teaspoons of cinnamon and 1-2 tablespoons of honey about half way through the processing. 

almond butter

3. ¬†For best results, I let the almond butter sit in the food processor for a couple of hours to ¬† allow to cool again completely.¬†After it’s cooled I process it again for 5 minutes, or until it has a smooth spreadable consistency.

almond butter

4.  I then pour it into a canning jar or covered Tupperware, and use it on bananas, dates, almond bread, celery, etc!

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I am really loving having it around the house. I really haven’t met a nut butter I haven’t liked! Cashew butter, sunflower seed butter, peanut butter, almond butter. It’s all good.

Skipping ahead to dinner…I was NOT feeling creative in the least bit. I was starving though and knew my body was craving nutrients, so although it didn’t sound amazing to me at the moment, I threw together a big salad.

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And what do you know, it tasted great. My body thanked me. I snacked on a handful of dates with almond butter a couple of hours later, then hit the hay around 9:00.

Have a great day!

Question of the day: What is your favorite nut butter? Have you made any of your own?

Continue Reading How to Make Almond Butter

Shrimp Pineapple Ceviche

Put it in the books—I did body weight-bearing leg exercises yesterday. I have¬†quite the issue with committing myself to strength training but I cannot tell you how much I do want to get into it. I love the slightly sore feeling I get the day after a great workout.So don’t get me wrong because I know the importance of it and the great outcomes that comes from it, I just need to COMMIT. I am thinking about dipping my toes into the cross fit world…but we shall see.

After a 10 minute warm up run on the treadmill I completed this leg workout I found on Pinterest:

leg workout

I then did 5 minutes on the rowing machine followed by ab strengthening. Today marks the beginning of the 3rd week of the 30 Day Abs Challenge which means a new workout has been posted. Here is week 3:

30 day abs

A reminder that on the off days they encourage you to do at least a 1 minute plank. I am still loving this challenge. Am I seeing results? I think so…slowly but surely? ūüôā

For lunch: mixed greens with baby bell peppers, and¬†shredded chicken¬†from dinner the night before. I didn’t get too creative with this one now that I look back at it!

chicken salad

 I also had an apple and a couple of dates.

In the afternoon I got absorbed in a book on the treadmill and couldn’t believe when I looked ¬†at the time and I had been walking for an hour. I had to force myself to stop so I could get a couple of productive things done around the house!

For the past couple of weeks I have been attempting to plan out meals ahead of time in the hope that it will help me to stay creative during the week when I might otherwise be feeling like just tossing a salad together (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). This week our evenings at home are scarce, so I decided not to plan a week’s worth of meals, but one thing I had decided on for last night was CEVICHE!

I was first introduced to ceviche in Bogotá, Colombia in November when I was visiting my brother Jeff. According to Wikipedia, ceviche is usually made from fresh raw fish marinated in citrus juices, and spiced with chili peppers. Additional seasonings, such as chopped onions, salt, and cilantro, may also be added but there are also other versions of this dish.

The ceviche I chose in Bogot√° had shrimp, plantains, onions, and a creamy sauce. It was amazing. Sweet and salty.

ceviche

When we traveled to Atlanta later in November, I stumbled upon another gem of a ceviche full of shrimp, scallops, pineapple, cilantro and spices.

Shrimp Ceviche from Atlanta…

ceviche atlanta

 I have fallen in love with ceviche. It was time to recreate that dish from Atlanta.

I chopped red onion, bell pepper, cilantro, pineapple, and shrimp and tossed it together in a bowl with lime juice, salt and pepper, a dash of garlic powder, and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes for a tiny bit of heat. I plated it up along with some romaine leaves and called it Shrimp Pineapple Ceviche!

shrimp ceviche

shrimp ceviche

It turned out SO well and it is so darn healthy too.

Shrimp Pineapple Ceviche
Print
Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup red bell pepper, diced finely
  • 1 Tbsp. red onion, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup pineapple, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked shrimp, chopped
  • juice of half a lime
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a dash of garlic powder
  • a sprinkle of red pepper flakes
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl; mix well. Serve cold by itself or with lettuce scoops or endive leaves.
This dinner comes together in about 10 minutes. Yes seriously 10 minutes. Give it a whirl and see if you like it!
I’m off to take on my day—-in the next 5 minutes I need to decide whether or not to get my yoga on or go for a run. I’m thinking since I slept wrong on my neck that a slower yoga session might be a good choice. Hmm…decisions decisions.
Have a great day my friends!
Continue Reading Shrimp Pineapple Ceviche

5 Slow Sweaty Miles With No Boredom!

Thank you all for the sweet and supportive comments yesterday! It’s definitely an exciting milestone!

It’s time to catch you up on the rest of the weekend.

Saturday

We were out of bananas so I couldn’t have my typical pb and b breakfast, but settled for a piece of almond bread with peanut butter instead.

Eventually I made my way downstairs to the treadmill where I got warped into Dance Moms and ran a slow pace for 5 miles. It felt great to get sweaty and was one of those runs where I felt like I could just keep going, going, going. I didn’t experience the treadmill boredom one bit that day.¬†I can’t believe I just admitted I was watched Dance Moms.¬†

Lunch was completely random—it started with a fail of a smoothie. I tried adding broccoli and I just couldn’t get past the flavor and texture it added, so I had to dump it. I hate wasting food so you know it had to be pretty bad. Next I made a simple protein drink with almond milk and Jay Robb’s chocolate egg white protein powder. I gave it a mix and drank it up. It was okay but nothing was tasting great.

So I made lunch a snacky deal. It involved an apple, some veggies, almonds, peanut butter, dates…you name it and I probably snacked on it. ūüėČ

Moose got a belated Christmas gift from us (clearance right now at Petco) which he absolutely adores.

moose

For dinner we had plans with Dana’s family. For Christmas we told them we wanted to buy them dinner from one of our favorite restaurants (and also the restaurant we had our groom’s dinner), Mediterranean Cruise Cafe, and bring it over to their house and watch our wedding video with them.

It was a feast and it was so incredibly delicious and veggie-packed. We had tabouli, hummus, baba ghanoush, kabobs, gyros, greek salad, falafel, and more! med cruise cafe

After dinner we cozied up by the fire and watched our wedding video. It is SO fun to relive the wedding.

 

moose and sue

Sunday

Sunday was pretty lazy but we did manage to get to the¬†grocery shopping and totally stock up on produce. It’s hard to see in the photo but we now have: baby cucumbers, carrots, celery, broccoli, mini bell peppers, lettuce, blackberries, apples, avocados, oranges, lemons, limes…

fridge

…mushrooms, black beans, onions, bananas, and that’s not to mention what’s in the freezer! I think we are set for a while.

fridge

 

Dinner was BBQ crock pot chicken. I placed two large chicken breasts into the small crock pot, slathered in BBQ sauce, a sprinkle of garlic powder and ground mustard, set it on low and covered for about 4 hours and voila. Dinner was ready!

This is one of my favorite homemade salads and I am always reminded of Famous Dave’s ¬†pulled pork salad when I try to make this: mixed greens, corn, avocado, pickles, cheddar cheese, and pulled BBQ chicken. Seriously num.

 

salad

 

I’m making this post nice and short and sweet for ya’ll today. I have a few things to do this morning and I gotta get ready. Have a great Monday friends!

Continue Reading 5 Slow Sweaty Miles With No Boredom!

A Reminiscent Run

Yesterday was an all-around great day. The day began with a relaxing cup of coffee and banana with peanut butter for breakfast. I suppose I could say I am officially in a “rut” with the pb banana. I haven’t changed up breakfast for a good 1-2 weeks now, but I do still love my pb and b!

Mid-morning I swung by Trader Joe’s to pick up a couple of goodies as well as Macy’s in search of a swimsuit for Turks and Caicos. It’s not that I necessarily¬†need¬†another swimsuit it’s just that I would really¬†enjoy¬†another one. I wanted to look at Macy’s because I still have birthday money there and that would have worked out perfectly, but they didn’t have too many options yet. I did find one on Victoria’s Secret website that I like, but I haven’t been able to commit yet. We shall see.

For lunch I met up with my dear friend Kalley¬†at People’s Organic Cafe¬†per Kalley’s recommendation.
kalley and melanie

Just as I had suspected, the menu was stellar, stacked with healthy and veggieful dishes. I was in my element. She knows me well!

I went with the “Really Greek” salad: organic romaine, roasted tomatoes, quinoa tabouli, marinated chickpeas, cucumber, olives, feta and lemon basil dressing.

people's organic

It was a really good decision (ha-ha). I loved every bit of it.

My lunch with Kal flew by all too quickly. I had so much fun catching up on life, reminiscing a bit about the past, and realizing how far I have come with this beautiful lady; about 13 years! I can’t wait to see her again.

I would highly recommend People’s Organic to anybody who enjoys fresh organic, healthy food. It is slightly pricey but that is only because everything is organic. I promise you it is totally worth it. Besides salads they also have sandwiches, wraps, soup, and amazing looking desserts.

I dressed in my running gear at lunch for a reason…after lunch I had plans to run the streets of the neighborhood where I grew up. I was in dire need of a change of scenery and the last time I ran this neighborhood was last late winter perhaps (?), so I thought it would be a welcomed route.

It wasn’t my easiest run but it sure was a fun one. I reminisced the entire time. Every new street I ran by literally brought back so many memories.

I passed by my old house, Betsy’s¬†family’s old house which was just a block away (which explains my closeness to the family as I was there all.the.time.), and about 5 houses of families I babysat for.

I ran on the sidewalk where I would always tell my mom I was thirsty towards the end of our walks. She would tell me to think of biting into a lemon because it makes your mouth salivate and that would be enough to get me home. I remembered our many walks together; reciting state capitals, showing her my new dance steps, singing songs, we have so many wonderful memories.

I passed by “the elephant tree” named because it clearly looks like an elephant. ūüėČ

elephant tree

I passed by the “picnic tree” where Steph, Betsy, our friend Katie, and I would pack lunches and bike to eat lunch under our favorite tree.

picnic tree

I passed the ice rink where I spent many winters learning to ice skate…

ice rinkEvery single step of this run was literally a run down memory lane. Aside from the fact that it wasn’t my “best” run physically, it was sure a great mental run!

Once I got home, we took Moose to the dog park to let him socialize with some buddies. He was in quite the “loving” mood. We had to keep a close eye on him. If you ever are in need of a good chuckle, go to a dog park. Watching the dogs interact is one of the funniest things.

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After the dog park I completed my third session of the Abs Challenge. We are now on to week 2!

Dinner was a favorite of ours: veggie hash with a runny egg on top. I pulled whatever we had in the fridge/freezer which included broccoli, mushrooms, onion, leftover Santa Fe roll filler, bell peppers, and then topped the sautéed veggies with shredded cheese, tomato, cilantro, and an over-easy egg. Perfection.

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We brought out the snorkel gear last night to make sure everything still fit and was ready to go for our vacation. I feel like it is a lot sooner than the end of February based on my excitement level but considering how time flies, it will be here before we know it.

I am in the process of working on a meal plan for the week since we will be doing our own cooking in our kitchen. Once I get that set up I will share with you all!

I hope you all have a fantastic Tuesday!

Question of the day: Any go-to vacation meal ideas for me that are easy yet healthy and satisfying?

Continue Reading A Reminiscent Run

A Healthy Start to 2013: Polar Dash 10K

I am very excited to recap on my run from yesterday so I am not wasting any time today.

New Year’s Day (yesterday) I got up bright and early to eat my usual banana and peanut butter pre-run breakfast and sip on a half a cup of coffee. I laid out all of my running gear the night before like I always do, I even pinned my number on my shirt and tied in my time chip to my shoe.

My nerves took over temporarily while thinking about the frigid temperatures, and I started to second guess if I had the right amount of clothes and layers on. On the ride over the thermometer read -7¬įF. The last long run we did outside it was 9¬įF outside. That’s a big difference! Dana reassured me that what I had on would be just fine and eventually I came to the realization that yes, I would be fine.
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We picked up my brother Kevin and his friend Jeremy (who ran the half-marathon with us in June) and drove to St. Paul. We parked and took the shuttle over to the starting area.

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We all did the bathroom thing then headed over to the starting line. At this point the temperature had probably crept up to a whopping -4¬įF. You had to keep moving to keep the circulation flowing so everyone was jumping, running in place, stretching, and trying to stay warm. This was the hardest part of the whole race for me. From the time it took for us to leave our car in the lot and head to the starting line was about 25 minutes, and my toes were just not having it. They were starting to go numb. All I wanted to do was start running! I have never wanted to start running so bad!

Once the race began and our wave took off, the toes were still feeling pretty immobile, but at about mile 2 they were feeling fine. I ran next to Dana, Kevin, and Jeremy the whole race (minus the very end when K and J took off) which made it so much fun. Jeremy wore an afro wig and crazy 80’s shorts with a fanny pack and got all the runners pumped up and was highly entertaining. One girl even came up to him after the race and told him she was keeping an eye on his afro the whole race and PR’ed because of it!

Another form of entertainment was seeing all of the runner’s iced over faces. It was especially hysterical when men had big beards because the ice completely forms around the beard and turns it white. We all looked like we should have been in some sort of Christmas movie.

Here’s my frosty hair:

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Between the entertainment and running with the three boys and keeping each other company, the race flew by. Even though the temperature was sickly cold, there was no wind so the run actually didn’t feel too cold. Dana was right, I had worn the perfect amount of clothes and layers. It’s the same thing I wore on this¬†training run¬†except I wore a wicking ¬†thermal insulated head band instead of a hat.

I felt like it was one of my easiest races actually (albeit not one of my fastest).¬†I finished the run in 1 hour and 37 seconds. I was¬†hoping¬†to get an hour or less, but that’s alright. I’ll blame it on the very slow first mile due to a large mob of runners. ūüôā I am still just very proud I finished a race in sub zero temperatures.

This was definitely one of the most fun races I have done too. I couldn’t believe all of the die hard Minnesotans who were out there running and out there cheering for the runners! I am so proud of my state.

Post-race the wonderful volunteers were handing out waters, goodies bags with bananas, salted nut rolls, and chips, and best of all HOT CHOCOLATE! I don’t mean any ordinary hot chocolate, this was like super chocolatey totally awesome hot chocolate. It tasted like heaven in my mouth. What a fun way to end the race!

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Our amazing team: Team Ice Pack.

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A little different from our group picture post half-marathon in June. Ha ha!

Besides the 10K, there was also a half-marathon and a 5K. The Polar Dash was put on by Team Ortho. I have raved about their races and the organization of the races in the past, and this one gets the same credit. The volunteers are so friendly, there is never a moment when you are unsure of where you need to be, they are right there for you if you need them, and they help you have fun and enjoy your races.

The Polar Dash race on January 1st was the perfect way to kick off a healthy new year! I felt fabulous!

We were all very excited to warm up and “thaw” in the car ride home.

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Immediately after walking in our front door I turned the heat up and hopped in a hot shower. I got into my coziest fleece pants and plopped myself on the couch for the majority of the day. I think the combination of the cold run and my body working hard to regulate my body temperature coupled with the fact that I slept terribly the night before set me up for a super drowsy day.

I did manage to dress the pup up in Polar Dash gear. It’s always good for a laugh or two. What a good sport.

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I was extremely hungry for lunch but had no ambition to make anything, so I snacked on some freeze dried salted edamame for some quick fuel and protein. These babies pack 12 grams of protein in a half a cup. They aren’t out-of-this-world fantastic tasting, but I do enjoy them and they are a healthy snack, and especially a good snack to pack if traveling.

salted edamame

Eventually I rounded up enough energy to make myself a healthy salad. It’s nothing you haven’t seen before but it did taste pretty darn good.

salad

A kajillion snacks happened in the afternoon. I had a bottomless pit of a stomach yesterday. I snacked on almonds, craisins, carrots, a banana, almond crackers, peanut butter. My appetite was insane.

Once dinner rolled around we were both still feeling pretty unmotivated, so we opted for easy. I found a can of refried beans in the cupboard, heated them up with some Parkers Farm salsa. I topped the beans on corn tortillas with shredded cheese, corn, tomatoes, cilantro, and some more salsa.

bean tacos bean tacos

So simple and so delicious.

I did manage to prepare a meal for the crock pot that will be cooking all day today. I hope it turns out! I’ll let you know.

Off to work I go…Happy Wednesday (I keep wanting to say today is Thursday)!

Continue Reading A Healthy Start to 2013: Polar Dash 10K

Lentil Fajita Salad

Hola mis Amores! How is everyone doing? I am great. I just finished off a 3 mile run outside with Dana and Moose. It was basically brutal again because of the extremely cold temperatures, but we still finished nonetheless. The plan for the 10K on January 1st is not to worry about time and instead just remember to try to have fun. The goal will be to simply finish.

Now I am sitting on the couch in warm sweatpants, drinking a cup of coffee to warm up and we are going to er-er-er rrreewinnndd to yesterday.

Friday

Mark this on your calendar…I went to the gym yesterday! I eased my way back into the gym routine by cardio’ing 20 minutes on the elliptical, 10 minutes on the stair-stepper, and 5 minutes on the row machine. I then finished with some core work with the Bosu ball.

I MUST get back into strength training again because I know how fabulous it makes me feel when I actually do it.

I am getting back on the healthy eating train for sure. Lunch was a pretty typical Melanie salad full of dark greens, olives, peas, sunflower seeds, asparagus and Newman’s Own Lite Honey Mustard dressing. My fav. There is definitely something about olives, peas, and sunflower seeds on salads that I enjoy very much.

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After lunch I dove into one of the most un-fun tasks of all time….sorting through the sock drawer. It had turned into one giant heap of socks and drove me crazy every time I had to go find a matching pair, so I made yesterday a mission organization sock drawer.

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I did make it more fun by blaring the tunes and dancing around like a little girl.

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I cracked open one of my new cans of Perrier sparkling water. I went with the grapefruit flavor and I truly enjoyed this drink. It was so refreshing, with a perfectly subtle grapefruit flavor, and the can was just my size. This definitely gets a thumb’s up.

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For dinner I cooked up a batch of brown lentils: combine 1 cup of lentils and 4 cups of low-sodium chicken broth (you can use water instead if you would like) in a medium pan on the stove. Bring it to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 20-25 minutes. Then drain the extra liquid off and set the lentils aside.

In the same pan I sautéed a half of a large onion and a half of a green bell pepper. I added in some homemade low-sodium fajita seasoning. Once the veggies were sautéed, I added in the lentils, added more seasoning, and let it all warm through.

In the meantime I prepared some quick guacamole: one avocado, one Roma tomato, cilantro, and pepper. I plated up two heaping mounds of dark green lettuce, followed by the warm fajita lentil mix, then some grated cheese, guacamole, and lastly I dressed the whole salad with Parkers Farm Mild Salsa.

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Ya mix it all together and what do you get?

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Lentil Fajita Salad awesomeness!

After dinner Dana and I grabbed a cozy blanket, turned on the Christmas tree lights, planted ourselves on the couch, and watched the movie, “Eat, Pray, Love.” I read this book a couple of years ago and have been wanting to see the movie since it came out. Lo and behold Target had it on sale for $4.50 and I just so happened to walk by the rack and snag it.

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When they make movies from books, 9 times out of 10 I prefer the book (I prefer my own imagination apparently :wink:), but this time I would say I enjoyed both the book and the movie equally. They did a really great job with portraying the characters in the book on film.

Dana and I split a super juicy amazing pear that was the size of a softball.

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It was the perfect and healthy way to end the day.

Question of the day: What’s your favorite evening snack?

Mine is usually a few dates dipped in peanut butter or a small handful of almonds.

Continue Reading Lentil Fajita Salad

Hibachi and Feeling Festive

Merry Christmas Eve Eve! How is everyone’s weekend shaping up?

So, yesterday morning Dana and I geared up for our 6.5 mile run as part of our 10K training¬†plan. Let’s just say my body didn’t quite understand what it was supposed to do with the 9¬įF weather. Clothing-wise I felt I dressed perfectly, but my muscles and actual body functions weren’t quite up to speed.

My running strides had to be so concise and almost “tight” because of the ice and snow on the sidewalks, and my legs literally felt like bricks moving up the hills. My lungs felt like they had never run before either. It was not the prettiest or most comfortable run for me¬†at all,¬†BUT we did finish and it was great prep for our actual 10K on January 1st.

I ate a big bite of peanut butter post-race to refuel for a short bit while we ran a couple of errands, then it was home for lunch:

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In the evening we met up with our dear friends Kate and Luke for a Hibachi dinner at Mount Fuji. They are home from Atlanta for the holidays and I was SO excited to see them!

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Dinner was very tasty and we were thoroughly entertained!

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I LOOOOVEEE this picture below!

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After dinner we met up with some friends and my brother Jeff (!) and had relaxing and festive evening with them.

Now I am off to cut coupons, go grocery shopping (it’s going to be madness at the store), and get ready for a family Christmas party!

I hope you all are having a wonderful day! Catch up with you later gators!

 

Continue Reading Hibachi and Feeling Festive

Quick Veggie Packed Meals

Today begins the official start of my Christmas vacation and I’m thrilled of course. How could I not be? I have my whole immediate family coming in to town. That in itself is the best Christmas present on earth. I am so anxious to see everyone and to celebrate this very special holiday with the ones I love so dear.

A look ahead:

  • Tonight: Holiday party with friends
  • Tomorrow: Christmas party with family
  • Monday: Wrapping gifts at a local hospital and then heading to my parent’s house for gifts, dinner, and 10 pm church service.
  • Tuesday: A Christmas run in the morning followed by celebrating Christmas at Dana’s parent’s house

There is so much fun to be had and so much celebrating to be done and I.CAN’T.WAIT.

With all of the celebrating and festivities, I find it challenging (to say the least), to stay on top of my 5-9 servings of fruits and veggies a day. I decided it might be a good idea to put together a little recipe round-up of some quick and veggie-loaded meals to help keep me motivated throughout these next few days.

  1. Pear Salad: mixed dark greens, pears, walnuts, dried cranberries, feta cheese, turkey bacon with poppy-seed dressing

pear salad

2. Sweet and Creamy Salad

sweet and creamy salad

3. Veggie packed scrambled eggs or omelets

eggs with spinach

4. Sautéed onions and bell peppers with corn, black beans, tomato, and an over-easy egg

egg

5. Cook yourself up a Morningstar Veggie Patty and top it on a big ol’ pile of greens.

morningstar

6. Kitchen sink hash

hash

7. BBQ pulled chicken on top of a big salad

pulled chicken

I find it easiest to get a big serving of veggies in when I make a salad which is why most of the meals I just showed you involve just that. Besides getting an incredible amount of the nutritionally dense veggies, salads are just SO quick which is always a plus if you ask me.

Throughout this holiday season I will do my best to hold true to my fruit and veggie intentions: 5-9 servings a day. Who’s with me?

Alright, I’ve had my morning cup of coffee and my pre-run breakfast, now it’s time to gear up for a frigid 6.5 mile run outside with the hubby. The official temperature outside right now is………9¬ļF. This will be perfect prep for the actual run on January 1st because the weather will most likely be similar to today’s. This will be fun. Unfortunately we will have to leave the pooch at home. He has an ear infection and it was advised he chill out for a few days.

Moose

Off I go! Have an incredible day. Enjoy the season however you chose to celebrate. May your days be merry and bright.

Love,

M

Continue Reading Quick Veggie Packed Meals

Simple Chicken Roll-Ups and a GIVEAWAY WINNER

With the whirlwind of the holidays among us, I am doing my best to remember these stress reliever techniques so that I am able to enjoy this busy beautiful time. I really truly am trying to relish every second of the holidays because to me this really is the most wonderful time of the year and it comes and goes so quickly, but I’m only human, and I’m pretty darn exhausted. My two cups of coffee in the mornings have been very helpful though. ūüôā

Monday

I had the majority of my Christmas shopping done but still needed a few things so I set out to finish it up.

For lunch I refueled with a deli chicken wrapped pickle and havarti cheese as well as carrots and hummus. There was no time to waste, it had to be quick!

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I made myself a batch of homemade trail mix for the road and headed out again.

trail mix

Want to know one of the great benefits of having a birthday in November? I still have birthday gift cards, which means when I go Christmas shopping for others, I also get to go shopping for myself and I don’t have to feel guilty one bit because I am not spending a penny on myself!

I found this workout tank at Macy’s on sale, plus I had a coupon…so the grand total was $9. I thrive off finding good deals like these!

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workout tank

For dinner I had a very tasty salad made of mixed greens, broccoli, black beans, olives, sunflower seeds, avocado, and ranch dressing.

salad

Mom, dad, and Abbie stopped over after dinner to hang out for a bit.

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Tuesday

Tuesday was a doozy of a day. I ran 3 miles on the treadmill before work, went to work, ran some errands, then came home to a leaking fridge which was flooding the basement. It was a stressful day to say the least. Again, I need to remember the stress reliever techniques!

My evening meal was extraordinarily simple yet very delicious. Lettuce cups with hummus, deli chicken slices and avocado. I rolled them up and really enjoyed the cute little concoction.

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Wednesday

I took the day off from any type of workout on Wednesday. My body was needing a day to just chill.

On Tuesday evening I got a batch of butternut squash soup ready in the crock pot. The recipe is very similar to this carrot pumpkin soup recipe, except I used butternut squash puree instead of pumpkin or carrot. At noon on Wednesday, we covered the crock pot and set it to low for 6 hours.

butternut squash soup

The result:

IMG_1141

A dish you can feel real good about eating. Healthy, delicious and ready for me when I get home from work. Perfecto!

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PARKERS FARM PEANUT BUTTER WINNER
It’s that time to announce the big winner of the case of Parkers Farm peanut butter. The winner¬†has been randomly selected using a random number generator and the winner is…
Becky @ Olives n Wine!!
Congrats Becky! Please email me at beautifullynutty@gmail.com with your address so we can get those goodies sent out to you asap!
Thank you to all of you who entered! I am so incredibly thankful for all of you.
Continue Reading Simple Chicken Roll-Ups and a GIVEAWAY WINNER

Fitness Shoes and News

What a FANTASTIC weekend!

A quick summary of the weekend: I PR’ed in Hale to the Bird 5k, successfully hosted my first Thanksgiving, cleaned the house, took down the ¬†fall decorations, put up the Christmas ones, got our Christmas tree, decorated our tree, put lights up outside, hung our wreath…I’d say it was a productive weekend. Now it’s over…waah waah. ūüôā

So to catch you up…

Moose started his Saturday morning off with a very special treat: the few remains of a Parkers peanut butter container.

He licked that thing clean! Happy holidays to Mooser! Lucky duck.

The holiday decorations are up in full force in our house. I am realizing that I don’t have as many decorations as I would like. This may be my year to get out to the stores after the holidays and stock up on some clearance items!

Our decorated Christmas tree…

I mentioned that this year we went with a white pine whereas in years past we have gone with the Frasier fir. The needles are a lot different (longer) but I love how full the tree looks compared to the Frasier’s.

Here are a couple of photos from a few years ago…

2009 at Dana’s old house–before we were engaged

Our first Christmas in our house together–2010.¬†This photo was taken right after our professional engagement photos, so I thought I would flash a couple of those for you too for the sake of good memories!

Awwww! ūüôā Our engagement photos were taken a day after a huge snow storm and it was absolutely freezing the day of our session. The snow made for some pretty great photos though!

Back to reality…

After Thanksgiving I have been on mission veggie load to get back on track. I’ve been getting in a whole lotta greens the past few days…

Saturday night dinner: mixed greens with tomato, black beans, feta cheese, broccoli, and hummus

Sunday morning: omelet with fontina cheese (we discovered this awesome cheese in Italy), spinach, mushrooms, onions, and tomato

Sunday dinner: mixed greens with tomato, broccoli, black beans, corn, cheese, green olives, and light ranch dressing

I think it’s safe to say I’m back on track in the veggie department. I’m feeling better already.

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Fitness News

First, remember those snazzy Asics I bought a couple of weeks ago? Well, they weren’t fitting my foot quite right, so I exchanged them for another pair thinking that it was maybe just a faulty pair. After trial two with the same model of shoe, it turns out that whatever changes they made to the Asics Kayano 19 compared to the past couple of models don’t agree with the shape of my foot. So yesterday, we made a trip back to Marathon Sports yet again to find me some shoes. While browsing, we came across some really long lasting work boots that I really wanted for times when I dabble in gardening in my backyard.

I tried on a different style of Asics, but they weren’t right. Next, they tried me in a pair of Brooks. I took them for a test jog outside of the store. I really like how light they are, they seem to have enough cushioning, and are very comfortable and fit well to my foot.¬†I¬†decided to go with Brooks Ravenna 3; my first pair of Brooks. We’ll see how my first run with them goes tomorrow.

Speaking of running, on to the second part of my fitness news. In order to keep myself in check and keep me running over the holiday season, I have registered for a 10k on January 1st. That means not only will I need to continue to run, I will need to train outside in the Minnesota cold. It’s time to toughen myself up. I will be learning about safety precautions when running in the cold, experimenting with layers and warm gear, and amping up my mileage weekly. I will be keeping you posted on my progress as I go along.

The race is being put on by Team Ortho which is the same organization that puts on the half marathon and Get Lucky (to name a few), both of which I completed this past year. I really like their races. They are always very well organized and participants and spectators really seem to enjoy themselves at their events.

Team Ortho’s Get Lucky 7k: Race Recap

Team Ortho’s Minneapolis Half Marathon:

I am excited to start training! Dana and Kevin will be running it as well.

I am off to get loads accomplished today (hopefully). Have a great day my friends.

Continue Reading Fitness Shoes and News