Currently I’m…

I’m procrastinating in my effort to recap my vacation so instead, I put together this fun little post about what I’m currently thinking/doing/wanting, etc. I hope you enjoy!

Currently I’m…finally unpacked from vacation. The laundry is all done too! I don’t know what’s worse, packing or unpacking? Your thoughts?

Currently I’m…obsessssssed with my dog. I missed him so incredibly much while we were away.

moose

Currently I’m…enjoying the elliptical machine at the gym. I’m still playing it cool with the intensity of my workouts so I have been gently been “ellipticalling”. I especially like the ones that have the arms that move back and forth. Oh, and I’m excited to be back at the gym after a three month freeze that we put on our membership this summer.

Currently I’m…really into cheese. String cheese, cheddar cheese, muenster…just no stinky cheeses. I am just loving it lately. Maybe my body is asking for the extra calcium?

cheese and olive tray

Currently I’m…really excited for fall weather. I really am not complaining about the 70 degree weather we’ve been having, but at the same time I’m kind of ready for the cooler air and the sweater and soup weather.

betsy and melanie

white bean broccoli soup

Currently I’m…super excited to try out my new Ninja Ultima I got this week thanks to our wonderful HLS sponsor, Ninja Kitchen!

Currently I’m…trying to put together the first part of my vacation recap post. I promise it’s coming soon!

vancouver island

Currently I’m…craving my favorite salmon. This is going to need to make an appearance soon!

salmon

Currently I’m…missing my family.

Family Photo

Currently I’m…counting my blessings. Today and everyday.

Now it’s your turn!

Photo Leftovers

The 2013 Healthy Living Summit is just one day away. Wanna know more about HLS? You can read up on my recaps from last year in Boston.

Destination Boston HLS12
Shake Out the Nerves HLS Day 1
Cheers to New Friends HLS Day 2
Decisions, Decisions HLS Day 3

I am so excited to be reunited with my girls and to meet so many new blends!

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So you’ve seen it before from me, and yet again I have some super delicious food photos and some other random other photos that are piling up and needing to be shared with you all.

It’s an easy one for all of us with virtually no thinking involved—leftover day. Sit back and enjoy.

Strawberry Chicken Poppyseed Salad from Panera. I finally got it even though summer is coming to an end. I was actually nervous when I went there because I was afraid I had missed my opportunity. I LOVE this salad.

panera salad

Dinner made my mamacita: tilapia, roasted veggies, and smoky quinoa. Means always taste better when someone else makes them for you.

tilapia and vegetables

Some new pb spread called Tru-Nut that was sent to me to try on gluten-free brown rice toast.  I’m still deciding how I feel about it.

gluten free toast with tru-nut butter

A delightfully veggie-packed salad: mixed greens, broccoli, tomatoes, peas, turkey, cheese, sunflower seeds, and honey mustard.

salad

My favorite salmon with almond, capers, and sesame oil with grilled veggies.

salmon with veggies

A care package from Wild Harvest—thank you and see you guys soon!

wild harvest package

My new friends I met in New York on the cover of the Variety section this week!

mn girls bethenny in newspaper

IMG_3833

And Moose.

moose

Happy Thursday!

Do you have any leftover goodies hanging out on your phones or camera?!

What are your thoughts on leftover food? Yay or nay?

Weekend Scenes: St. Anthony Falls, Maca, and Fresh Greens

Happy July! It’s going to take a little while for me to actually believe it’s July but I’ll get there eventually. Once again, the month of June went by in a flash.

Anyway, how was everyone’s weekend? Mine was downright fabulous. It involved a lot  of rest and relaxation. This post jumps around a bit so get ready…

Over the weekend I decided that I will not be following out Option 1 of the Clean Program, but I will be following Option 2 and throwing Option 1 in sometimes. So what the heck does that mean anyway? It means that instead of breakfast and dinner being a smoothie/shake/soup, and lunch being a solid meal, I will now have the option of having solid meals at all three meals just as long as they fit into the foods allowed on the Elimination Diet.

However, for a while I plan on continuing having a smoothie in the morning (that’s easy in the summer), but for the rest of the day, I don’t want to be tied down to the idea of having to have a pureed dinner. This doesn’t mean that I won’t throw one in there time and again to give my digestion an extra little rest, because I will, just not every day.

This fits better with my lifestyle and given that we will be going camping soon, I feel much more comfortable following the elimination diet and Option 2 while we are away versus the two blended meals; that would be extremely difficult. So, I’m still giving my body the detox, just in a more realistic way for me. That’s my plan.

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This weekend I threw together my favorite salmon recipe minus the butter that usually goes with the almonds and capers. To tell you the truth, I didn’t really miss the butter!

grilled salmon

This lunch held me over for a loooong time which was a good thing because Dana and I headed to Minneapolis to go for a little walk around the St. Anthony Main area. If ya’ll come to Minnesota you should really put this area on your must-see list. It is incredibly beautiful, and so full of life and fitness. I imagined what it would be like to live over there and have these great paths at my leisure to run/walk/bike and I got a little jealous of some of my friends who lived over there (ONW) :wink:. It would be so motivating to look out the window and see handfuls of people out being active. It would make me want to go lace up the sneaks and get out there too!

I do truly love where I live too. It’s just different! More suburban-y.

I joked that Moose wasn’t a “city” dog because he was sniffing every other inch of the ground while the other dogs walked along very nicely like they’d been there, sniffed that, a dozen times already.

I enjoyed every second of St. Anthony Falls…

dana melanie

Afterwards we drove over to Lake Nokomis to have a picnic. I made a simple lentil dish with onions, garlic, mushrooms, kale, carrots, cumin, turmeric, oregano, salt and pepper. K, it doesn’t sound that simple after typing all of that out, but really, it was simple to make! I crunched up some cashews on top. Delish!

lentil picnic

 

Moose was really enjoying himself while we picnicked–there were lots of young pup chicks to scope out. He was extremely exhausted at this point too.

moose

 

We learned that he doesn’t enjoy celery…

moose

He really doesn’t like many vegetables we offer (not that we give him people food too often because we really don’t), and that’s probably because of the funny texture. He’s used to his dog food. Mmmm :wink:.

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My newest breakfast smoothie includes a new-to-me ingredient called Maca powder. “Maca is an herbaceous plant native to the high Andean Mountains of Bolivia and Peru.” source

Navitas Naturals Maca Powder

“The maca root was prized throughout the Incan empire for its adaptogenic-like qualities that enable it to nourish and balance the body’s delicate endocrine system, and to help cope with stress. It also energizes naturally, and can aid in helping to balance hormones.” Source

“In the mountainous regions where maca comes from, it is a regular staple in the diet and is often eaten boiled and sliced, similar to potato chips. Other preparations include use as a gruel with milk, and cooked with potatoes, apples, oats, quinoa or fava beans. The roots are also toasted and ground to prepare a maca coffee-like beverage, and fermented cooked and mashed to make a mild homemade beer. Some Peruvians prefer the boiled roots with water, milk, honey and cinnamon. Today, it is possible to find a wide range of products infused with maca, including whiskey, wine, ice cream and cosmetics.

Maca Powder has a pungent and sweet nutty taste with hints of butterscotch flavor. It can be mixed easily into smoothies, shakes and juices for a flavorful and healthy boost, and it can also be added to desserts and baked goods.” Source

I am all about any natural ways I can try to regulate the hormonal system and I’m really enjoying this Maca!

Unfortunately with the Elimination Diet I cannot have bananas because this would be a great addition to a banana smoothie, but since I can’t, I’ve had to come up with other ways to include it in smoothies. Here is my latest concoction:

Superfood Smoothie

  • kale
  • frozen blueberries
  • almond milk
  • maca powder
  • 100% raw cacao powder
  • cinnamon
  •  a touch of stevia to taste

smoothie

I am having so much fun learning about these different superfoods and natural remedies! Come on body, let’s start to normalize!

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On Sunday we headed to a local Farmer’s Market to stock up on fresh herbs that I will be using this week to prepare our camping meals! We are going to be eating like royalty while we camp. I am going to try to include some recipes for you all when I am away. They are all “clean” but anyone can enjoy them!

We bought dill, parsley, cilantro, zucchini, green onion, and asparagus; all Minnesota grown. MMm mmm. So fresh!

farmers market farmers market

I used the asparagus to make an asparagus leek soup for Dana and myself last night (yes, we ate hot soup on an 80 degree day which is why I’m changing my Clean Plan like I told you earlier).

I don’t have the recipe for ya because it isn’t my most favorite soup ever, but the ingredients were: asparagus, leeks, kale, cashews, water, thyme, bay leaves salt, pepper, and coconut milk.

asparagus leek soup

 

The flavor was actually really good but I just made it too thin.

We took Moose to the dog park and did some yard work and then relaxed for the evening. It was a wonderful weekend. The weather was perfect which made me oh so happy!

I have exciting and fun news to share with you all this week (hopefully tomorrow) about a fitness opportunity to all you local gals! Keep your eyes peeled for it. 😉

How was YOUR weekend?!

A Symbol of Hope & Weekend Recap

Thank you all for your sweet comments on my last couple of posts. I have been feeling very sentimental lately (more so than usual) and it is so nice to have this blog as an outlet to share my thoughts and feelings. You are all so supportive and it makes the journey so much easier knowing how loved and supported I am. I know I am on the right track.

I have been noticing this cardinal friend of mine hanging out in our backyard quite often. There’s something about cardinals and blue jays that just makes me so happy. They are absolutely beautiful. Plus, the lilac bush to the left of him is in full bloom and is so fragrant and gorgeous! No wonder he likes our backyard.

cardinal

According to this source“The male cardinal reminds us passion, warmth and vibrancy is available to us – even in under the cloak of winter’s grey clouds.”

A list of symbolic cardinal meanings:

  • Hope
  • Love
  • Cheer
  • Pride
  • Focus
  • Energy
  • Renewal

“Those who attract the cardinal as their totem are naturally energetic, love life, and happily help others where/when they can.

Pretty incredible, right? I’ll take that handsome guy as a positive sign.

This weekend was pretty darn fantastic, albeit it flew by way too fast as they always do.

Lately I have been eating smaller meals frequently throughout the day. I find that this helps my digestive system to feel better because I’m not loading food in all it once and making it overwork sporadically. Eating small meals helps to keep my energy level up too. This works for some people, doesn’t work for others.

I snapped a few food photos throughout the weekend of some of my mini meals. This one couldn’t have been more simple: raw zucchini, red bell peppers, carrots, and quinoa with coconut aminos.

veggies quinoa

On Friday night, Dana and I had dinner at Whole Foods salad bar. I filled up on tons of veggies, quinoa, chicken, lentils and salads. It was a box full of love if you ask me.

whole foods

On Saturday, we ran in the Fill Their Plate 10k run. The proceeds go to fight childhood hunger and I was so excited to be participating in a race that had such an incredible cause.

dana melanie pre 10k

I know I said in Friday’s post that I need to cool it on the intense exercise (no Insanity, and no longer runs), but since I had already registered for this race I had told myself that I was still going to run it, but then after that I would chill out for a while and stick to shorter runs, walks, yoga, swimming, or leisure bike rides.

We are actually getting summer weather here in MN after waiting way too long for it, so our run was actually super sticky and humid, more so than we are used to coming off of our long “Sprinter” (spring/winter). This made the run pretty challenging for us. However, I think I actually may have hit my time goal (an hour or less) that I was hoping for, but definitely not stressing out over. When we ran across the finish line, the timer said 58 minutes and change, but I know we didn’t start right away when the clock started. I’m still waiting for the website to post results, but when they do I will let you know if I reached the time goal!

I was a hot and sweaty and sticky mess after the race. When we got home I made us a pot of coffee and we had a super chill afternoon watching Fools Rush In (first time watching this movie and I really liked it) and sipping on our coffee.

coffee

On Saturday evening we celebrated Father’s Day with Dana’s parents. The weather was MN weird…on the drive over it was raining and storming, but then it cleared up and was a perfectly sunny evening. We spent a lot of time sitting outside on the deck soaking up the sun.

We had delicious steak and shrimp kabobs for dinner with a big veggie salad…

kabob dinner

And I DID have ice cream cake for dessert. I figure it was just one day. Every other day I am refined white sugar free. I am going to continue to enjoy these moments as they come because such is life and I want to enjoy life (just as long as these moments don’t turn into every day occurrences, then I would have to choose my days wisely). 😉

We are celebrating Father’s Day with my family next weekend. I’m hoping to dig out  some throw back dad and daughter photos to share with you then 🙂

Sunday was the usual: coffee, breakfast, and newspaper. I made myself a bowl-o-banana with almond butter, cinnamon and raw organic honey.

banana almond butter

One of my afternoon mini meals: an apple with tuna salad. In the tuna salad: white albacore tuna packed in water and drained, celery, dill pickle relish, mustard, and black pepper.

apple with tuna

 

Although this made for a pretty photo, this wasn’t the easiest way to eat the tuna salad. Next time I will slice the apple and serve the tuna alongside the apple so I can just scoop each individual slice. You live you learn.

We enjoyed the company of two of our best friends in the afternoon. I hope we can make an ATL trip happen in the next couple of months!

Dinner was a household fav: grilled salmon.

salmon grilled onion

Dessert: pineapple whip made with frozen pineapple, a little bit of frozen banana, almond milk, and a touch of honey.

pineapple whip

We had such a relaxing weekend which was just what the doctor had ordered.

What was the best part(s) of your weekend?!

Health Supplements & Insanity Month One

I have bunch of little tidbits to catch you up on so I’m going to get right in there and be a little random today.

First off, I hope everyone is having a good week so far. We are half way through the work week already. These weeks have been flying by lately crazy fast.

Moose had his second tooth extracted on Monday and he is doing very well. They didn’t have nearly as much trouble with this tooth as they did his other one, and he didn’t have to be under anesthesia as long. We are happy that is over with, and so is he. Thanks again for all of your sweet comments.

Let’s see, Monday evening’s dinner was one you have seen a million times by now, my favorite salmon recipe, but I still snapped a photo because it’s always so pretty.

salmon

And breakfast yesterday: banana with almond butter, honey, and cinnamon = Num.

banana with almond butter

Insanity Update

Two days ago I finished Month One of InsanityIf you’re new to my blog, you can quickly catch up on my weekly Insanity reviews here:

Here is what went down this last week:

Body and Strength Changes

I don’t feel like I went through many body changes this past week although I do feel my core continues to get stronger day by day. I feel this has helped tremendously with my back pain. I continue to see my chiropractor for adjustments but we have been able to stretch out my visits to every two weeks now versus what began as twice a week visits. That is great progress that I am super happy about.

Besides that, I may have hit a bit of a plateau, where my strength isn’t improving much, and my endurance is at a standstill.

So, this week I have started the recovery workout. The focus of this workout is on recovering from all of the cardio madness, giving muscles time to relax, yet still working them so as not to fall back in your progress.  It is a slightly more mellow workout which focuses on core and balance. For the next six days the program has you repeating the same workout daily. I’m a little nervous that I will get bored from the repetition because I usually can’t handle doing the same workout day after day. That being said, the next week of recovery may take me longer than six days to complete because I may throw in some runs or other workouts here and there.

Soreness, Fatigue, or Aches

The sore elbow that I mentioned last week which has been persistent for the last month or so is no longer an issue. Who knows what that was I’m just happy it’s gone!

Every now and then I will get a little tenderness on the top of my feet and occasional knee discomfort. When this happens, I try to take a day off to rest and then get back into it the following day once the tenderness has subsided.

Overall Thoughts and Feelings

I can’t believe month one is complete! I did take before and after photos but I think I may keep them to myself (I haven’t 100% decided either way yet), but what I can tell you is that I see some great results. My stomach is flatter, leaner and stronger, my legs are more toned and much stronger, my arm strength has increased greatly and I am now able to do hands and toes push-ups much more easily. I see more definition in my arms and my shoulders, and I have less back pain! Besides training for the half-marathon, I don’t know if I’ve ever been so diligent with a workout program before, especially with one this intense. I am very proud that I have kept with it this long. Time will tell how the second month goes. If I feel it is too intense for my body, I may scale back. We will see though.

I’m happy to have this week to “recover” before starting up with the even more insane workouts to come. My body could use a little rest, plus I am missing running and hope to get some of that in this week.

To any of you contemplating the Insanity program, I will tell you right now that it is not easy, but it is so worth it! The results are worth it. The way I feel about myself and the strength I have built, is so worth it. If you want to see results and build a stronger body, absolutely complete this program.

But first…Please consult with your physician before you begin this program if your health is compromised or if you are hesitant about the intensity of the program. 

A Sneak Peek at Last Night’s Dinner

I’m hoping to share this barbacoa recipe with you all sometime this week. It was a spicy one and SO good!

beef balcacoa

Health Supplements

Last topic of the day I promise. It has been a little while since I have given an update on my current health supplements I am taking in the journey towards my total wellness. I want to share this with everyone in case there are others out there who are fighting for wellness (in my particular case Ulcerative Colitis), and to give others some hope that alternative medicine can really truly make a difference! I plan to go into this in further detail another day, but today I would just like to keep it to a brief update.

Again I want to reiterate that I truly believe that if you are eating a healthy and balanced diet, and if you are completely 100% healthy and not fighting any type of disease, that you may not need to take supplements. You can get the nutrients you need from foods (Vitamin D is a probable exception) and your body is able to utilize those nutrients properly, but for those of us with compromised health, supplements can be a very good option in helping to find balance. I continue to work with my chiropractor and naturopath, who are working with me to find proper supplements to suit my particular health needs.

Last time I checked in with you all on this subject, I was taking:

  • cod liver oil
  • a multivitamin
  • calcium plus vitamin D3
  • probiotic

Today, I am taking these:

  • cod liver oil
  • multivitamin
  • folic acid
  • calcium plus Vit D3
  • probiotic
  • digestive enzymes

Digestive Enzymes are enzymes that break down food molecules in our body, which helps the body to digest and absorb food and nutrients from foods. I don’t take the enzymes with every meal as recommended, but I take them when I feel my body may need extra help in digesting a meal. For example, if I am eating a meal with broccoli or cauliflower, I will most likely take one beforehand. They really do seem to ease the digestion process for me and they make me feel better and able to tolerate more foods.

I had a terrible experience with the cod liver oil a couple of days ago however. The one I currently have is a liquid cod liver oil with cinnamon tingle flavor. Apparently I coughed right as I was swallowing the liquid and it got caught in my throat. For the next couple of hours my throat burned and all I could taste was fish. It was terrible. I continued to feel nauseous well into the afternoon. I asked my chiro about other options and thankfully there is a gel that has a chocolate flavor and there are also tablets available. The only downfall to the tablets is that you have to take 7-8 a day. I am going to try the chocolate one next and hope that I can tolerate it better because my cinnamon experience totally ruined any chance of me taking that one again. My body LOVES this stuff though. It’s like liquid gold. It’s full of omega-3’s, and Vitamin A and D. Before I take it I imagine it coating my intestines  like a cozy blanket to protect them. That’s weird, huh? Then I chug a gallon of water to get the taste out of my mouth.

Anyway, this is getting a bit lengthy. I do want to write another post about my experience with the naturopath and go more into detail about the specific brands of supplements I am taking, what they are primarily used for, and other health changes I have made to aid in my healing process. But for now, I am going to call it a day.

Happy Hump Day!

What are your thoughts on supplements? 

Insanity: Week One Completed

Happy Earth Day my friends! If you ask me, we should be celebrating this everyday…

earth day

Some things we can do to help preserve our earth:

  1. Use reusable bags when shopping
  2. Walk or bike instead of driving when we can—I’m so guilty of this one
  3. Take shorter showers and really watch our water usage—guilty
  4. Use cold water more often when washing clothes
  5. Recycle–DUH! I am huge on this one. Someday I hope MN is as posh as Colorado is in terms of their recycling habits.
  6. Use refillable water bottles more often versus throwaway plastic bottles
  7. Use energy-saving light bulbs
  8. Turn off lights in the house when you aren’t using them
  9. Unplug appliances when they are not in use

That’s just a short list! Even if we all start making a few changes it can make a HUGE difference! Don’t forget about our future generations and their well-being.

How are you helping to preserve our planet?!

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This is definitely going to be an odds and ends kind of post. As you may have noticed, I took the weekend off from the blog and had a couple of lovely guest posts for your enjoyment. In case you missed them you can check them out:

I pretty much gave the camera a break the whole weekend–it needs time off too. 😉 I did manage to snap a couple from last night so here are a couple of photos for those of you who enjoy food photos as much as I do…

For dinner last night we had the salmon dish that made me start liking salmon. Simply grill the salmon with pepper and then top it with an almond caper drizzle that is made on the stove top using:

  • about 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1/4 cup or less of sliced almonds
  • 1-2 tablespoons of capers
  • 1-2 tablespoons of sesame oil

You want the almonds to turn slightly toasty but this whole process only takes about four minutes.

salmon salmon

It’s definitely my favorite way to eat salmon.

Check out our super healthy stocked fridge. It is filled to the brim with fruits and veggies and I love it!

fridge

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Insanity: Week One Completed

I told you this was an all-over-the-place post. Next up, I have finished week one of Insanity! I thought it might be interesting if I shared my progress week by week for anyone who might be interested in dabbling into the Insanity workouts, and also to do it for my own accountability and to really take the time to notice any progress I might be feeling or seeing.

Body and Strength Changes

Although it has only been a week and some may say you can’t see changes in a week, I am definitely feeling more toned already. I’m still working towards being able to keep up with the push-ups in the videos, but I do notice my strength is improving. After week two we will be completing another Fit Test which tests your stamina and strength, and helps you to note your progress. I will be anxious to see how that goes.

I am very excited to build my core and back strength. I feel this will really help alleviate some of my back problems.

Weight Fluctuations

No changes in weight.

Soreness, Fatigue, or Aches

After the first couple of workouts, I thought I was going to vomit (TMI?) but now I feel really good after a workout–no more nausea. My calves were tight during the first few days as well, but that has since subsided.

Right after a workout I feel pretty exhausted, but after I shower and get ready for the day I am finding I am highly energized.

Overall Thoughts and Feelings

I want to mention that although Insanity suggests you workout 6 days in a row and then take the 7th day for rest, if you feel like you need a break on any day in between, by all means TAKE A BREAK. Continue to listen to your body. Let your body recover to avoid injury, and get back at it the next day. Life happens, and there are days when you may be unable to get a workout in. That is okay but again, just start on up the next day.

I am doing my best to follow the program and follow it’s recommended schedule, but I am going to be throwing in days of rest and there will be days where I may be running instead and taking the day off from Insanity, but mostly I a sticking to the plan.

I love the trainer, Sean T. He is an excellent motivator and super easy on the eyes too. 😉 He really pushes you but not to the point where it’s annoying. He reminds you that it is okay to take quick rests during the workouts and that water breaks are super important!

I am so loving the fact that my hubby is doing this workout too. It always helps to have someone else going through the journey with you and we help to keep each other accountable and motivated.

I continue to eat a clean diet full of protein, fruits, and veggies which helps me fight through the workouts and recover from them quickly.

So far I am feeling GREAT!

Bring it on Week Two!!

Honey P. Nutty Bars

It’s a rainy day, it’s a rainy day, raining outside so we can’t go out and play, so what are we gonna do, anyway? What is that from? My mom always used to sing that with us when we were young. My guess would be Barney or Sesame Street but I really don’t know.

Anyway, it is very rainy and very gloomy over here today. The kind of day that makes you want to snuggle on the couch with a movie and a bowl of popcorn and just stay there for a while. 🙂 Who knows, that may be on the agenda for the evening, we will see.

Breakfast

I can’t believe I’m saying this but I did not have one single bite of peanut butter yesterday. That is unheard of for me! I started the morning off with a bowl of Fage Greek yogurt with blackberries, blueberries, a touch of honey and chia seeds.

yogurt with berries

 

Gym

 

I hit up the gym shortly after for a chest, shoulder, and tricep weights day. Dana was my “personal trainer” and definitely pushed me harder than I would have if I were there by myself. This is a GOOD thing. I am hoping to be able to make it to the gym more often with him so we can train together. I need the extra help especially if I’m going to reach my April Fitness Challenge!

(old photo)

workout

 

Lunch

While I threw my lunch together, I snacked on some walnuts. Lunch was a humungo salad with mixed spring greens, celery, red bell pepper, mushrooms, black beans, peas, and red wine vinegar mixed with olive oil and herbs. I added some cheese and hummus after I snapped the photo.

salad

For dessert: an apple.

Afternoon snacks included a Honey P. Nutty bar!

I received this package of bars from Honey P. Nutty after checking out their website and drooling over their products. They make delicious honey and peanut butter bars that come in a variety of flavors: Chunky PB, Red Chili PB, Cranberry PB, Salty PB, Espresso PB, and Chocolate PB. Their products are also gluten and dairy free with the exception of the chocolate PB which may have some dairy.

honey p. nutty

Of course the first one I reached for when I received the package was the Chocolate PB, aka my favorite combination EVER!

honey p. nutty

I love that the ingredients are so simple: Whole and ground roasted peanuts, honey, organic cornmeal, vanilla extract, and sea salt. Depending on the flavor there are add-ins for example the chocolate PB has chocolate added, the cranberry PB has cranberries, etc. You get it.

honey p. nutty

The bars are chewy and sweet. Personally, I would consider them more of a dessert treat but they could also be used as an energy bar before a workout, after a workout, or for an afternoon pick-me-up.

honey p. nutty

They remind me of peanut butter cookies. They have a wonderful roasted peanut flavor and in combination with the honey, they are perfectly sweet.

honey p. nutty honey p. nutty honey p. nutty honey p. nutty

 

Yea, I REALLY enjoy them. To check out their products you can go to their website at honeypnutty.com. They are a new company and have so much potential for growth with this tasty product! I LOVE IT!

Dinner

Last night we grilled up some salmon and green beans. I actually deviated from my favorite salmon recipe if you can believe that!

I marinated two salmon filets in this marinade:

  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp coconut aminos (you can use soy sauce instead if you prefer)
  • 1/4 tsp dried ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, grated finely
  • 1 tsp honey

I let them marinade for about 30 minutes before the grilling them up! The green beans were seasoned simply with olive oil, salt and pepper and then grilled.

salmon

 

I still prefer the other recipe for salmon with the sesame oil, butter, capers, and almonds, but this one was really good too! I was proud that I switched it up.

Alrighty, I’m going to go milk this cold I’ve got and get on with my day. Have a good one!

A Rainy Run and Spring Cleaning

Happppppppy Saturday! I don’t have a ton of fun photos for you today, but I do have a couple of food photos to share from yesterday.

Once again, I used the NutriBullet to whip up a smoothie. I’ve made this one before. In the mix was: banana, kale, almond milk, chocolate egg white protein powder, peanut butter, and aloe vera juice.

smoothie

Lunch: Quinoa, cheese, and peas. This was actually really good despite it being so simple. Sometimes simple is best. It was cooked quinoa, salt, pepper, shredded cheddar cheese, and peas.

quinoa and cheese and peas

Dinner: My favorite salmon!

salmon

 

 

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I keep forgetting to mention that Dana and I have registered for a 10K race coming up at the end of April! My runs have become few and far between, and I’m going to blame that mostly on the weather. I know, lame excuse. Every time I am out for a run I feel fantastic, and every time I am done I always say I have GOT to do this more often. I wish I could bottle up these good endorphins and release them under my nose when I’m not feeling up to a run.

Now that I have a race to look forward to, I will be hitting the pavement more often again and am really looking forward to it.

Furthermore, the weather is really turning around here which makes it that much more enticing to run outside. Yesterday it was in the 50’s and today it is in the 40’s. The snow is melting super fast and I am loving it. Spring is officially here.

Can you spot the cardinal?!

cardinal and backyard

Dana, Moose, and I headed out for a rainy run this morning. We tried a new loop in our neighborhood and covered 4.7 miles. Despite it being wet, rainy, and a little chilly, it was still a GREAT run! My endurance and stamina felt wonderful and I am confident I will be just fine for the 10K in April.

My hands are struggling to type right now because they are still pretty chilled but my body is so happy. 🙂

Moose hung on through the whole run but he isn’t quite used to runs longer than 3 miles after the winter months. His back paws got a little scraped up and he was bleeding at the end of the run. It’s time to build up those paws again! We covered his wounds with socks and he is now fast asleep on the carpet. Poor guy!

moose

 

Since it is rainy, we have decided that today is SPRING CLEANING DAY! I am off to dust, windex, vacuum, and mop! Fun, fun, fun. Kidding, but it will feel really good to do a deep clean on the house.

I hope you all have a FANTASTIC Saturday! xoxo

Lots of Food Prep

Happy Friday!

I had a bit of a goofy tummy yesterday so my day of eats was very sporadic. I started the day off with a smoothie.

Strawberry Banana Cocoa Smoothie:

  • Strawberries
  • Banana
  • Kefir
  • Kale
  • Aloe Vera Juice
  • Cocoa powder

smoothie

I really had to force that bad boy down; I just wasn’t feeling hungry. I drank about half of it and put the rest in the fridge.

I also sipped on a warm cup of Celestial Seasonings Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride tea. When I was in Colorado last weekend, I got to sample this stuff and really liked it so bought a box to bring home. I still need to tell you about my Colorado weekend!

celestial seasonings tea

Lunch was more of a snacky deal all day than an actual “lunch”. One of my snacks was ants on a log, aka celery with peanut butter and raisins…

ants on a log

This definitely brought me back to childhood. My mom would make us these for a snack or sometimes she would do banana with peanut butter and raisins. I really enjoy the crunch of the celery and the smooth peanut butter combined with the chewy raisins. So many textures and a nice sweet flavor!

Yesterday I received a book I ordered called “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon. It is a book my chiropractor recommended to me and one that he and his family use all of the time. I am just getting into the book but what I know so far is that this book brings us back to our roots, or really, our ancestors roots in regards to food intake. It is about eating whole foods, eating fermented foods to help with intestinal health, eliminating sugars as much as possible, etc.

nourishing traditions

 

I am pretty pumped about it and will keep you posted when I learn more. Right now I have a pot of bone broth simmering on the stove with 2 Tablespoons of vinegar (this helps leach calcium and minerals out of the bone and into the broth; it will simmer for 24 hours). Bone broth is something mentioned in the book quite a bit.

I also made my first batch of homemade fermented sauerkraut. It’s been a while since I have tried sauerkraut, but last time I did I wasn’t a fan at all. We will see how I feel about my own batch.

The directions said to combine one shredded medium head of cabbage, one tablespoon of caraway seeds, and two tablespoons of sea salt (it called for whey but said if you don’t have whey you can use an extra tablespoon of salt so that’s what I did) in a bowl.

fermented cabbage

Next, it said to take a meat tenderizer mallet and pound down the cabbage for ten minutes, to release the natural juices from the cabbage.

fermented cabbage

Arm workout, done. Next, you spoon the cabbage mixture into canning jars, smash it down with a utensil that fits in there (I just used a spoon) until water gathers at the top of the cabbage. You want to leave one inch of space between the top of the cabbage/water and the lid.

fermented cabbage fermented cabbage

Cover the cabbage and let it sit in room temperature for three days, then place in the fridge and eat whenever! Like I said, we will see if I like it but it’s worth a shot at least!

I also made some homemade fauxtmeal raisin cookie bites made from dates, raisins, cinnamon, and almonds. These were also part of my snacky lunch.

mah balls

In the later afternoon I took Moose for a walk outside and it was unbelievably gorgeous! In Minnesota at this time of year that means it was 40 degrees, but it sure felt warm! Moose was having a hay day with all of the smells everywhere in the snow.

For dinner, we made my favorite grilled salmon recipe with grilled parmesan garlic broccoli.

salmon

And an evening snack of FAGE Greek yogurt with honey and strawberries.

greek yogurt and fruit

We spent the rest of the evening catching up on DVR’ed Whitney and Modern Family episodes that we missed while we were away.

It was a good day full of lots of food prep!

I hope you all had a great Thursday and have an even better Friday!

Getting Back into Outdoor Running

Well, I did something yesterday that I haven’t done in a while…went for an outdoor run. The weather around here has been pretty nasty the last few weeks with cold temps followed by snow, so I have been taking my runs (albeit few runs) inside on the treadmill lately.

Yesterday morning I was planning on just that; running on the treadmill. I told Dana my plan and he said okay, but just so you know I am running outside today. Usually the only way I will run on snowy, icy, streets in the winter is if I’m running with someone else, that way if I were to fall, I’d have someone there to help me out. I made the decision to run with Dana and Moose outside.

I got all geared up and wore the same outfit as I did at our January 1st Polar Dash 10K run (photo from the polar dash), except no neck warmer:

dana and melanie polar dash 2013

 

It was 19°F when we were out. The first mile was really cold on my face, but not too long after that I was warming up real well.

The sidewalks in our neighborhood were kinda wishy-washy as far as being clear of snow and ice. Inevitably, the uphill sidewalks were the ones covered in snow so I felt like I was running in sand, uphill. Those hills made me feel pretty out of shape.

At mile two, my legs were feeling like a light load of bricks. The cold was getting to them but they kept moving. We completed our three-mile loop and I am happy to say I finally got an outdoor run in again.

I have less than one month until our 7K run and as long as I start running outside a little more often, I should be just fine. Who knows anyway, the weather could be pretty nice mid-March. Last year it was unseasonably warm. You just never know! You have to be prepared for anything.

From here on out, I’m hoping the weather will only improve and get warmer so I can really start to enjoy outdoor runs again! I’m ready for it.

When we got home I did some stretching, core exercises, and my plank-a-day. Then we got busy packing for our trip and working on some more food preparation!

I wanted to bring some dried fruit on our trip to snack on, so I placed apricots, peaches, pineapples, and bananas into the food dehydrator, covered it, and left it on for a long time; about nine hours.

food dehydrated

*I used canned fruit (in its own juice) for this and rinsed them thoroughly and dried them in the sink

For lunch I ate a grilled salmon fillet with zucchini. I ended up adding some honey dijon mustard to my plate because I’m not into plain salmon yet.

salmon

I finished lunch with a microwaved apple…

baked apple

Later in the afternoon before we left to run errands I snacked on a banana with peanut butter…

banana with peanut butter

Dinner was a grilled turkey burger with avocado, SCD ketchup, and mustard, and cooked carrots. Why do grill burgers taste SO much better?! It was delicious.

turkey burger with avocado

Finally at about 9:30 pm, the fruit was done dehydrating. We laid them out on the counter to cool down.

dried fruit dried fruit

And then bagged them up for the trip!

dried fruit

 

We do plan on visiting a local farm/farmer’s market to pick up fresh produce while we are in Turks and Caicos, but it’s nice to have other options too.

When we were in the Boundary Waters last May with my brother Scott and his girlfriend Nicole, Nicole had made a huge batch of dried fruit and I loved it so much that I went and bought a food dehydrator for myself. Dried fruit is one of my favorite treats, but I don’t like all of the sugar and additives that is often added to the store-bought kind (dried fruit has enough sugar on its own), so I try to make it myself the majority of the time. No additives here!

I have lots to do today so I better get to it. Have a great day!