Treat Yourself Tuesday: Snacks & Girl Time

Today I am linking up with my lovely blend Becky for Treat Yourself Tuesday.

“Do whatever feels best for you. Do something that will make you feel relaxed and loved and happy. Remember this is about treating YOURSELF – not your friends, not your family, not your spouse, not your dog – so make sure you really focus on you. Treat yourself well and treat yourself often so that you will become the best you possible and in turn be your best for others in your life!” source

Little treats, big treats…it doesn’t matter.

Little things like making homemade almond butter on a Sunday afternoon. This was made with raw almonds, unsweetened coconut, and a touch of stevia. It will never compare to my beloved peanut butter but I do enjoy it still.

homemade almond butter

Fruit strips from Target made with fruit juice; 45 calories a piece and 9 grams a sugar. It’s a nice little sweet treat.

fruit strip

A lunch date with my friend Kalley and homemade vegetable soup topped with parmesan cheese!

soup

Air-popped popcorn on #NationalPopcornDay seasoned with olive oil and salt.

popcorn

Girls day with my beautiful mama. Manicure, pedicure, shopping, coffee. Yes, it was glorious!

nails

Treat-Yourself-Tuesday-Badge

How did you treat yourself this week?!

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:

jen morgan

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.

turks and caicos

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!

chairs-on-the-beach-turks-and-caicos

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!

SUP

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?

Low-Fat Vegetable Soup in the Slow Cooker

It’s my favorite day of the week! HAPPY FRIDAY! I have a very low key weekend ahead of me and I am perfectly okay with that.

I have a recipe to share for you that was inspired by Courtney from SweetToothSweetLife. She made a veggie stew which looked spectacular and I wanted to try something similar. I made a few changes and am pretty darn happy with the results!

Into the crockpot on Wednesday morning:

  • carrots
  • parsnips
  • onion
  • garlic
  • green bell pepper
  • celery
  • tomatoes (frozen from garden!)
  • cannelini beans
  • chicken broth
  • italian spices
  • garlic powder
  • salt and pepper

vegetable soup

I set my favorite piece of kitchen equipment, aka the crock pot, on low for 8 hours during the day.

For lunch: Chicken breast with leftover refried beans, melted cheese, salsa, and avocado. This combo was just ‘meh’ to me. I didn’t LOVE it, but I did like that it was protein packed. I’m just more of a bean, Greek yogurt, egg, or peanut butter protein loving kinda gal.

chicken

I also ate a big baggy of carrots and a pear for dessert.

pear

After work I changed into my workout clothes and went to the living room to work my arms and back with the resistance band. My knees were hurting pretty badly after the race so I wanted to keep it low intensity.

Once dinner time rolled around I tested the flavor of the soup, added a touch more salt and pepper, and ladled up two bowls for the hubby and myself.

vegetable soup

I topped the veggie soup with parmesan cheese…

vegetable soup

And thoroughly enjoyed this soup. I went back for a second bowl too. It’s warm, hearty, veggie-filled, low-fat, and DELICIOUS.

Low-Fat Vegetable Soup in the Slow Cooker
Print
Ingredients
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • ½ bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups white beans
  • 1½ Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1¼ cup chicken broth
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes (canned tomatoes would work fine)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients into crockpot. Cover and set on low for 8 hours. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with parmesan cheese. ENJOY!

 

Mooser is just getting over an outer ear infection which included an antibiotic treatment as well as ointment in his ear daily. He quickly learned to hate the ear drops and got all too smart when it came time for them.

I thought this picture was hysterical and really captured his hate love for it!

moose

So resistant!

Thursday

Thursday was a pretty ordinary day around here. I went to work, went to the gym after work (elliptical, push-ups, and core work), came home, made dinner.

I went the easy route again with dinner: Buffalo chicken salad with green onions, celery, feta cheese, and light ranch dressing.

buffalo chicken salad

So spicaaay! I am realizing that the older I get, the more sensitive I become to spicy foods. Is that weird?

I am debating whether or not to get a workout in at some point today. My knees are still very sore. I’ve been icing them daily but they must not have been too happy with my cold run the other day because they are still aching. I’m pretty sure my body is trying to tell me to rest but I’m having a challenging time listening to it because it’s the new year and I really want to get back into a solid workout regime again. I will see how I am feeling this afternoon and then decide.

I am off to take on my day. I hope you all have a fantastic Friday and I will catch up with you later gators!

xoxo,

M