A Minor Food Slump

Haaaaaaaappppy Friday!

You may have noticed that there weren’t too many food photos this past week. That’s because I went on a lazy hiatus this week with my meals.

Breakfasts have been my typical banana and peanut butter, lunches have been leftover meatloaf or whatever I can throw down during my lunch break…

turkey meatloaf energy bite mah ball apple peanut butter

…and dinners have been more leftover meatloaf! Lame!

meatloaf

However, yesterday morning I did attempt to be more creative and I made myself what turned out to be an egg pancake made with one egg and 1-2 egg whites. I cooked the eggs over too high of heat on the stove and they quickly turned from an omelet into a pancake.  In the pancake was sautéed onions, green peppers, and kale, topped with avocado and Parkers Farm salsa.

eggs

It wasn’t my proudest breakfast moment, but it did taste alright and kept my tummy satisfied well until lunch.

Once lunch rolled around, I ate my usual breakfast of pb and banana (haha I just couldn’t go a DAY without it) and had a bunch of other random bites. I have got to turn this food slump around, because it is NOT exciting.

To tell you the truth, this entire week has been one of those weeks where everything seemed to take twice the effort; preparing meals, workouts, work, daily chores…everything. I really think that it has to do with the cold weather around here that keeps droning on and on. I am so ready for warm weather. I feel like I did pretty well this winter without feeling any symptoms of seasonal affective disorder, but now that it’s technically spring, I am realizing I have had enough of the cold and I know I’m not alone on this one.

Out with the cold and in with the warm please!

I did try to get snazzy with my workout yesterday afternoon. I was feeling sluggish and slightly under the weather after work, so decided that a calm 30-minute yoga session might be nice.

I rolled out the yoga mat and started flipping through the selections OnDemand looking for some yoga, but ended up scrolling across a 45-minute session called Grace and Gusto which combines Pilates and ballet. Being that I used to dance and miss it dearly, I decided to give it a whirl.

sweatpink

The verdict: It was fun and different and was the perfect pace for my mood (not super fast). It didn’t include a lot of jumping around, which was what I was looking for, and the instructor did a great job of combining both ballet and Pilate moves into the session. I was glad I did it and it reminded me that I need to step outside of my comfort zone more often and try new workouts.

As for today’s workout, my tentative plan is to go for a run. We will see what kind of mood I am in though! I seem to be kind of a rollercoaster lady lately.

My goals for the upcoming week are to jazz up my meals and to reenergize my motivation for more intense workouts. Who knows, maybe my body was telling me to lay low this week, but I’m ready for amp it up again!

Question of the day: Have you tried any new recipes lately? Any new workouts?  

 

Restore My Health

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

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

green smoothie

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

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

melanie jump melanie jump 2 melanie jump 3

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

On the drive home I snacked on our purchase.

carrot snack

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

pb banana

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

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

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

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

melanie amanda stacy

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

dana and amber

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

Adam

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

girls dancing

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

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

Have a fabulous day my friends.

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

My February Fitness Challenge

Happy February 1st! What?! That blows my mind.

You know what else blows my mind? The fact that I stuck with an entire month of the January 30 Day Abs Challenge. Just a reminder, the challenge was to complete ab circuits which were given to us weekly, three times a week and to try to do a plank for at least one minute on the off days. I think throughout the entire month there was only one day where I didn’t do the plank, besides that I stuck with it entirely.

What amazes me is how much our bodies can change in just one month. I noticed a significant change in the strength I feel in my abs and not only in my abs but in my legs and arms as well. The circuits involved our entire body which I appreciated so much.

If this is what can happen in a month, imagine what could happen during a longer time frame. This was just the push I needed to begin including core work not only more frequently into my workout routines, but more heavily. I know now that I can be pushed further than the ab workouts I was doing before this challenge. I am so glad I accepted it!

However, I still have a lot of work to do. I really like setting monthly goals and fitness challenges because one month isn’t daunting, it isn’t intimidating, and it keeps me focused on a particular activity for a month.

In an effort to continue building up my strength, I have decided to make a fitness challenge for myself for the month of February.

February Fitness Challenge

  • Incorporate strength training activities into my routine three days a week–this can be free weights, simply using my body weight, weight machines at the gym, fitness classes which include weights,workout videos, etc. and will target different areas of the body. I will continue to mix in my cardio when I please and complete at least a one minute plank daily.

There it is. I know I have mentioned it before, but strength training is my weakness and it’s something I am always wanting to improve upon. I know the benefits and can feel the benefits, and I want to continue my journey in the right direction. I’m a little nervous about this one because I really don’t want to fail, but hey, it’s only 28 days!

Bring it on February!

And now we’re going to back track. Yesterday I let myself have my peanut butter and banana breakfast. I’m still working towards “livening” up my breakfasts.

banana and peanut butter

Mid-morning I crunched on some snap peas and a clementine.

snacks

And for lunch I ate a big salad with mixed greens, chicken, avocado, peas, sunflower seeds, and hummus. Dessert was an apple.

After work I headed over to mom and dad’s to hang out. Right away I threw back a handful of baby carrots and a few almonds, but then wanted to get a quick workout in so I got changed, completed my “last chance workout” from the 30 Day Abs Challenge, and then finished with 20 minutes on the elliptical.

Then I got to the hanging out part of my visit.

IMG_1533

For dinner I had requested some sort of red meat. I realize I hadn’t had any in a really long time and don’t mind it every now and again. We had surf and turf (steak and shrimp), a big ol’ salad, and green beans. I made myself a side of honey mustard dressing for both the salad and the steak made from Dijon mustard and honey. I loved that stuff.

surf and turf and salad

It was a great dinner and felt so nice to be cozy and warm with madre y padre. It was ridiculously cold last night and continues to be extremely cold today.

Later in the evening I came home, fed the pup, and called it a night.

moose

I am constantly amazed at the size difference when I go from being with Abbie, an 11 lb Yorkie Poo, to Moose, a 90 lb German Shepherd. Just a little bit of a size difference there. :wink:

Okee doke friends. I am OUT of here for now. I definitely have some fun plans on the agenda for the night. Catch up with you later gators.

Question of the Day: Do you have any fitness challenges planned for February? If so what are they?

Salmon on Sunday

Happy snowy day here from Minnesota! It is gorgeous outside. Finally, we have snow on the ground again and it feels so right. I just hope the roads are okay because I have a bunch of running around to do today.

So how was everyone’s weekend? Mine was spent working on the laundry room which is really coming along. The walls are painted, and the tile is down. Next will be to seal the cracks of the tile, finish painting a few shelves, and then begin to organize all of our storage bins in there! I’m still really excited about it if you can’t tell!

We are now on to the final week of the 30 Day Abs Challenge which means there is a new workout posted. Here is the final workout circuits. Circuit 5 is a doozy I tell ya. Yikes! I still can’t believe we are coming down to the end of January.

abs challenge

Once we were all finished with the laundry room yesterday, I cleaned myself up and got into cozies. I was sitting in the living room enjoying watching the snowfall, I decided there was one thing missing to really complete the cozy atmosphere…a fire in the fireplace.

Soon enough, Dana had the fire a-blazin’ and I was one happy girl.

dana

Poor Moose really doesn’t appreciate fires like I do. This was way too close for comfort for him.

moose

In the late afternoon I started marinading salmon with a honey, lime, ginger, and garlic powder mixture. It was salmon night again.

Remember how I mentioned that I don’t love salmon but I really wish I did because it is so gosh darn good for you? I made a deal with myself that I was going to eat it once a week in hopes that I will teach myself to like it. I’m getting closer, but still not quite there.

We cooked the salmon on a grill pan on the stove to get the feeling of grilling outside. :smile: I took the advice from Shannon and lit two vanilla candles while cooking the salmon to try to eliminate some of the odor from the fish. We also opened up two windows and go the fan going above this stove. I think it all really worked! There was only a very faint smell lingering.

I topped the salmon with a pineapple salsa simply made from chopped pineapple, cilantro, red onion, a small pinch of salt, and garlic powder.

salmon

I still enjoyed the dinner greatly, just not as much as I typically do. I will get there! I will continue the once a week salmon challenge. :smile:

Alrighty, I am out. Have a wonderful day my friends. Catch up with you soon.

Question of the day: Is there a food that you don’t like that you wish you did?!

What’s Inside My Fridge

Haaaapy Hump Day! I hope everyone is having a good week and staying cozy and warm if at all possible.

Yesterday I kicked off the morning with a sweaty workout but first I ate a banana with almond butter and drank a cup of coffee while working on the blog and catching up on emails. Then I made my way downstairs to get m-o-v-i-n-g. I incorporated week 4 of the Abs Challenge with running spurts on the treadmill. It went like this:

  • 1 mile run
  • circuit (which takes 13 minutes or so)
  • 1 mile run
  • circuit
  • 1 mile run
  • 5 minute walk

It was the perfect way to warm me up on what was such a cold morning. Sweat PINK!

For lunch I made a smoothie with Jay Robb chocolate egg white protein powder, banana, almond milk, kale, and peanut butter. I always think of Shannon when I make this one because she was the one who recommended it. Yummy in my tummy.

green smoothie

I packed some snacks for the afternoon for work: sugar snap peas, carrots, and an apple.

For dinner I made tilapia with a light breading made of almond flour, italian seasoning, a little salt and pepper, and garlic powder. I first dipped the filet into egg whites, then into the flour drudge, and then onto the pan to lightly fry.

Our side dish was a cucumber salad with tomatoes, red onion, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, dried dill, and a sprinkle of onion powder.

For my “appetizer” I snacked on hummus and broccoli. We don’t mess around with our veggies in this house. Check out the Costco size bag of broccoli on the right. What we usually end up doing is eating about 3/4 of it raw, and then freezing the last 1/4 of it before it goes bad.

dinner tilapia and broccoli

tilapia

Oh how I miss my natural light in the evenings for photos. Soon enough!

Throughout the rest of the evening I continued a snacking brigade: pistachios, a glass of wine, dates…then it was off to bed I went.

***************

Fridge Talk

Is anyone else guilty of glancing into other grocery shopper’s carts while shopping? I am totally 100% guilty. It may be because I am a dietitian, and have a passion for health and nutritious food, or I may just be nosey?

I am just in amazement as I see what some people load into their carts. Just the other day I saw in one cart: multiple breakfast pastries, the most sugary cereal you can think of, chips, soda, pizza. I was flabbergasted and all I wanted to do was go replace each and every one of those items with a healthy option. But, to each their own. Of course there was no way I would do that. Everyone has a right to eat what they please. It just tugs at my heart strings a little.

After our weekly grocery trip on Sunday, I decided it might be fun for you all to get a peek into my cart and furthermore, into my refrigerator and cabinets. I am not touting that everything in my household is healthy, but I remind you that it is all about finding the perfect balance of healthy eats and treats.

Let’s take a look!

(FYI: The salmon is usually in the freezer but since I buy it at Costco and it comes in two long filets, I had yet to cut it into serving sizes and bag them up and freeze them)

fridge

fridge 2

 Sweet and Nutty Bites recipe here!

fridge 3

cupboard

There you have it. Have a warm and fuzzy day friends! xoxo.

What are some staples that YOU always have on hand?

Catching Up on Weekend Eats

Happy Tuesday!

Since I kind of dove deep yesterday into the topic of curbing my sweet tooth, I didn’t get the chance to share the rest of my kitchen adventures with you from the weekend. Even though it’s already Tuesday, I still want to catch up. There’s no better time than right now!

My Weekend Eats

On Saturday I broke out the food dehydrator. I sliced up fresh bananas which I rolled in melted coconut oil, and frozen strawberries which I thawed in the microwave and sliced thin, and placed them on the dehydrator trays. I let them go for 7 hours.

strawberries in dehydrator

The bananas came out great as they always do, but the strawberries were just kind of ‘meh’ to me. They are good, just not goooooood. I still enjoy them though!

dried strawberries

For dinner Saturday night I had not a clue what I was going to make. After taking inventory in the fridge and freezer, I pulled out a bunch of veggies and got chopping. First I sliced a whole lot of brussels sprouts into shreds. I sprayed them with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roasted them for about 20 minutes in the oven.

roasted brussel sprouts

In the mean time, I sautéed carrots, onion, mushrooms, and one garlic clove. In a separate  pan, I cooked two strips of turkey bacon.

sauteed veggies

Once the veggies were nearly done on the stove top, I added pre-cooked brown lentils to them, added a pinch of savory seasoning, salt, and pepper, and gave it a good stir.

Once the brussels sprouts were done roasting and the lentils were warmed through, I began plating. First, the lentils and sautéed veggies, next the roasted brussels sprouts, and finally, the icing on the cake, the turkey bacon cut into confetti pieces.

brussels sprouts and lentils brussels sprouts and lentils

This dish was outstanding! There was so much flavor, it was very hearty, and it was full of stick to your ribs soluble fiber. I LOVED it. Dana gave it two thumbs up as well.

Sunday

I already showed you my breakfast in yesterday’s post, so moving on to lunch. After running our normal Target and Costco errands, and grabbing a few nummy samples along the way, I wasn’t that hungry for lunch, but since Dana and I still had more errands to run, I knew I had to eat something to hold me over.

I threw together a salad made of mixed dark greens, blueberries, feta cheese, and almonds.

salad with blueberries

I more than likely ate some dates for dessert. In the afternoon I made homemade cinnamon honey almond butter and you better believe I had to be taste-testing along the way. :wink:

Sunday evening dinner was sesame soy salmon. I marinated the salmon in a mixture of low sodium soy sauce, sesame oil, dried ginger, one minced garlic clove, and honey for about one hour. We grilled it on the stove top inside, about 4-5 minutes on each side, until cooked through. I cranked the windows open, turned the vents on high above the stove, and still wound up with a house that smelled like sesame salmon. I’m anxious for the weather to warm up just even slightly so we can grill outside again.

The marinade gave a nice crispy crust to the salmon which was what I was hoping for.  Salmon is one of those foods that I hope grows on me. I’m just not a huge fan…yet. The plan is to eat salmon once a week, in hopes that I will start liking it more and more. It is just so darn healthy and I don’t want to be missing out on that! I didn’t like red wine at first, but I kept trying it and now I love it so I’m hoping for the same effect. We shall see.

DSCN6378

We began a very exciting project around our house on Sunday. We are “remodeling” our laundry room. I use the term loosely because technically in order to remodel something it has to already be modeled, right? Well ours isn’t. Ours wasn’t even fully sheet-rocked yet. It needs a lot of TLC and that is exactly what we’re giving it.

We will be painting the walls, tiling the floor, putting sheet rock up on the necessary walls, and we will be reorganizing. Our basement is completely unfinished except for the bathroom which we completed last year (whoops except I still need to decorate one wall in there).

This is one more step in the right direction in finishing that basement and I am ecstatic about it. Once we have the laundry room completed, I will be sure to show you before and after photos. Mission laundry room!

One last thing. Since it is now the 4th week of January, that means that there is a new workout posted in the 30 Day Abs Challenge. Here it is!

week 4 abs

I can’t believe it is the 4th week in January already. Did this month even happen? I say that every month! I am still keeping up with this challenge and am feeling very good. I will be sure to update you on any progress I made throughout the month once the challenge comes to an end. :smile:

Have a fabulous day!

Questions of the day: What health goals have you made recently? What are your goals for future months?

I am thinking I may need to find another fitness challenge for the month of February. I love how these monthly challenges motivate me and I enjoy the support of other people partaking in the challenge. I like to set goals and reach those goals!

Morning Yoga and Food Art

Morning Yoga

Tuesday morning at 5:50 am my alarm went off and I can’t believe I rolled out of bed with the intention of getting a morning workout in before work. I had plans to either run or get my yoga on. I chose the latter mostly due to a cranky neck from sleeping. I figured yoga may help.

I changed into my gear, rolled out the magic purple carpet, and kept the room slightly dark while completing a half hour yoga on demand.

yoga

It has been way too long since I’ve completed a yoga session and oh how I’ve missed it. I love the way it stretches my body, calms my mind, and tests my balance. It makes me feel good and really helped me yesterday morning with the slight neck soreness.

Speaking of soreness, I am incredibly sore from that leg workout on Monday! I surely worked it! I used my foam roller to get things loosened up a bit, but even two days later I’m feelin’ pretty tight.

Breakfast

I finally broke the streak—I had NO peanut butter for breakfast and I can still hardly believe it. On Monday night I put together a bowl of frozen strawberries, FAGE 0% Greek yogurt, honey, a sprinkle of chocolate protein powder, and chia seeds. I gave it a mix and popped it in the fridge overnight. Then in the morning I gave it all a final store and had myself a fruity creamy breakfast bowl.

yogurt with chia and strawberries

It was a nice change of pace although I bet you can guess what I had for lunch?!  It definitely involved peanut butter in the form of pb and banana. Ha ha it’s a lost cause. I love the stuff and the protein does such a good job of filling me up and keeping me satisfied.

I found myself on the treadmill once again in the afternoon reading a book. There is something incredibly peaceful about it and I get so caught up in what I’m reading that I don’t realize how much time has passed until I glance at the clock.

Dinner

I sautéed bell peppers and onion in coconut oil then added black beans until they were heated through. I cooked up one over-easy egg and topped it on the sautéed veggies along with a quarter of an avocado, tomato slices, and a little salsa.

I then managed to take a series of photos that some might call art. I’ll name the piece, “The Yolk Progression.” I was really just trying to capture a good photo and find the right angle but the way these photos lined up worked out perfectly.

First, the dish is plated…

veggies with egg

Then, the yolk is broken…

veggies with egg

The golden yolk makes its way over the veggies and blankets the dish…

veggies with egg

Beautiful food art…

veggies with egg

Total nerd alert I’m fully aware.

I had one of those days yesterday where I was just feeling “off.” I am hoping today feels more “on”. Have a great “ON” day my lovely friends.

Question: Are you a morning exerciser? Evening exerciser? 

I know some people who wake up every morning so darn early to workout and I envy their motivation. It feels incredible to finish a workout before work and energizes me throughout the day, and being able to go directly home after a long day versus the gym puts the icing on the cake. We’ll see if I can continue this streak. :smile:

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? :smile:

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 Bogotá 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!

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. :wink:

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?

30-Day Abs Challenge & Vacation Plans

Howdy! Happy weekend to you all. Did everyone have an enjoyable Friday?

Like many of you, my Fridays at work at “casual.” I wish that meant I could wear sweats to work but it’s not that casual. Jeans will do though!

melanie casual friday

Lunch was not captured in photo but I had a bowl of leftover veggie soup, carrots, an apple, and a piece of dark chocolate from a lovely co-worker. We call dark chocolate our “vitamin” so if one of us was looking for a piece of chocolate we will ask the other for a vitamin. We love our daily dose (moderation, moderation moderation!).

After work I snacked on a handful of blackberries and 2 dates with peanut butter. Then I got movin’. On Sunday, I accepted a physical challenge (this brings me back to the show Double Dare–anyone else?) through Challenge Loop. The challenge is being put on by Jen Morgan and is called….

30 Day Abs Challenge

Each week for the month of January Jen posts a new workout and you must complete the workout 3-4x a week. Here is the first week’s challenge:

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On the “off” days she encourages everyone to do a 1-minute plank. Besides the fitness aspect of the challenge, she also promotes the importance of clean eating in reaching your health and fitness goals.

In my entire life I have never had “abs.” When it comes to ab work I tend to get extremely lazy. I’ll do “core” work after some cardio exercises, bust out a few sets of the same move and then be done. I’ve never been consistent enough and have never given it a fair chance to see results. This is why I signed up for the challenge.

It was totally free. The stipulations are you comment on the Challenge Loop site each time you complete one of their workouts and you must post 8 times in order to be entered into a contest to win a copy of Women’s Health Big Book of Abs. The book isn’t my motivation, building confidence in my appearance is.

After 1 month, I shall see my progress. I finished my first set yesterday and I was really struggling through it. I hope I will continue to feel my core strengthening as I progress through the month’s exercises.

What’s REALLY motivating me to get moving and get my body in tip-top shape is knowing that I will be in a bikini in less than two months. Dana and I booked a vacation to Turks and Caicos for the end of February!!!

Turks and Caicos is a little exotic island just north of the Dominican Republic and Haiti and east of Cuba.

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Turks and Caicos Quick Facts (source):

  • Turks and Caicos Islands consist of 40 islands and cays, eight of which are inhabited
  • Turks and Caicos are located in the Atlantic Ocean, not the Caribbean Sea
  • Language – English
  • Currency – The US dollar is the official currency
  • Climate (while we are there) – From November to May the average temperature is 80 to 84 degrees. Water temperature in the winter is about 74 to 78 degrees. A constant trade wind keeps the climate at a very comfortable level. PERFECT!
  • Government – The Turks & Caicos Islands are a British Crown Colony. A Governor is appointed by the Queen and presides over an Executive Council formed by an elected local self-government.

I am literally getting more and more excited by the second as I write this post! We decided on the end of February because that is usually the time that I start to get a mild form of the winter blues. Minnesota winters are very looooonnnnggg so having a wonderful trip like this to look forward to really helps to get you through!

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Instead of a hotel we are staying in a villa—-so basically our own little home. We decided to go that route because 1. It was about the same cost as staying in a hotel and 2. It is complete with a full kitchen so we can make all of our meals, therefore hopefully keep my tummy feeling semi-normal.

It’s the same story each time we got to an all-inclusive resort, I end up eating way too much food namely desserts. Not that we won’t stay in an all-inclusive again, because we will, but this will be a nice change of pace. We will bring some of our own groceries which are non-perishable, and then purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, and seafood while we are there.

The resort supplies us with 2 stand up paddle boards which I have been so anxious to try!

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The villa is right on the water…:smile:

Anyway, I could really go on all day about how thrilled I am about this, but I will stop. I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to go on this trip with Dana. It will be a very relaxing getaway for us. I am planning to pack lots of books, games, and peanut butter!

Back to reality again…dinner’s this past week were all pre-planned. I wrote them all out before we went grocery shopping and stocked up on all necessary ingredients. This made evening meals SO easy. I really need to start planning more often.

Monday: Lobster and crab feast!

Tuesday: Bean burritos—this one was actually spontaneous

Wednesday: Vegetable Soup

Thursday: Buffalo Chicken Salad

Friday: Turkey burgers with grilled onions, brussels sprouts, and broccoli

turkey burger

After dinner we took down our Christmas tree and rearranged our living room back to normal. As much as I LOVE Christmas, it feels good to be moving on now and starting the fresh new year.

I also munched on highly addicting Chex mix that Dana made…

chex mix

Nom nom nom…

Okey dokey, it’s time for me to get on with my day. Happy Saturday my friends!

Question of the day: If you could go on vacation ANYWHERE right now, where would you go?