Favorites: Sunshine, Weddings, Coconuts

It’s Friday the 13th and you bet it’s a Friday Favorites kind of day.

1. Long or short walks outside. I’ve noticed my pace has slowed down a bit (mostly when I go uphill) but I am still getting out for a walk nearly everyday. It is so peaceful.

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2. Weddings. It is definitely wedding season! We had the NY wedding last weekend and this weekend we have two (although we can only attend one). I love dancing, I love seeing two people in love being united in front of their friends and family, I love being with friends and family, I love dresses…so basically I love weddings.

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3. Sunshine. I mean, is there anything better than basking outside in the sun with a book and a refreshment? Vitamin D oh how I’ve missed you.

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4. My anxiety reliever: lavender.

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5. Greek feasts out on the patio with my favorite coconuts (crazyforcoconuts.com). This is a group of us essential oils ladies who have joined together to start a business that helps us get the word out about the goodness of essential oils. Check out our website and our blog! They were both recently launched! www.crazyforcoconuts.com

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6. And speaking of coconuts, I received a sample of Skinny & Co. Coconut Oil. Their oil is never heated above room temperature and goes through a slow manufacturing process to ensure the highest quality coconut oil. Their oil is 100% raw coconut oil, natural, full of vitamins and minerals and anti-bacterial components.

I use coconut oil as my lotion after showers (often with lavender eo mixed in) and I was thrilled when this company reached out to me. I really can tell the difference with this oil. It has a more subtle coconut fragrance and a smooth feel on the skin. It doesn’t leave me feeling greasy. I really like this stuff and it definitely deserves to be a Friday Fav. For more info: www.skinnycoconutoil.com

skinny coconut oil

 

Happy Friday my friends! xoxo

P.S. I know I need to get another pregnancy update on here again. I will soon! Our little man is doing great!

What’re some of your Friday favs?

Are you superstitious when it comes to Friday the 13th and full moons?

I would have to say that yes I am superstitious. The kids at work are always crazy hyper during the weeks of a full moon and sure enough, it didn’t fail this week. Friday the 13th—I’m usually lucky. We will see (knock on wood!).

Oh and I’m linking up with Katie for Friday Favorites!!

New York in 29 Hours

Holy cow what a great weekend! It was so completely exhausting but so incredibly worth it.

Let’s begin the weekend recap by showing off the fabulous items I won from Caroline’s giveaway a couple of weeks ago! I won a pair of new balance shoes which are super comfy and light weight, and a super roomy New Balance tote/gym bag. I still can’t believe I won. Awesome giveaway!

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On Friday morning, Dana and I were off to New York for my cousin Stephanie’s wedding. Our flight was at 6 am which means I was up at 3:30 am. YIKES!  By the time we got to our hotel, hung out with the bride to be and bridesmaids (btw I felt very honored to have been able to hang out with them as they got ready!), grabbed lunch with Dana, and finally got to check into our room, I was pooped. It was only about 3:00 and I knew that if I was going to survive the evening I needed a nap.

I napped, got ready, and was ready to go to the wedding! I realize I didn’t take a full on photo of my dress but in case you were wondering, the dress I went with (I didn’t go with Rent the Runway) was a black cap-sleeved adorable dress from Kohl’s. I felt it flattered my growing body very nicely and I felt pretty in it. I wore a white chunky floral necklace, cream heels, a red clutch, and even sported red lips!

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My drink of choice for the evening was sparkling water with a splash of cranberry juice. 🙂

The ceremony and reception were so beautiful. The weather was perfect. The couple was stunning. The view was insane. It was a great wedding!

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new york skyline

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Another huge congrats to Steph and Jeff! I am so happy for you both! xoxo

On Saturday we met up with the gang for lunch and then it was time to head to the airport. Back home we went.

I slept super well on Saturday night back in my own glorious tempurpedic bed. I woke up Sunday morning ready and raring to go and in some serious need of physical activity. My body was tired of being cooped up on that plane!

I soaked up the sun and got in a nice long walk.

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I’d have to say this was what you call an epic weekend. New York in 29 hours…done.

How was your weekend?! 

Have you ever taken a trip this quick?

Acorn Squash with Turkey Bacon + Weekend Happenings

What a weekend! This was a crazy fun weekend and I am exhausted but it was worth it!

Let’s begin with Friday…

I really haven’t been into the salads lately. I’m thinking it’s because it’s cold outside and I’m craving more warm foods. However I made myself a nice little salad on Friday for lunch and I actually enjoyed it! In the mix: dark greens, tomato, peas, avocado, olives, sunflower seeds, cottage cheese, and drizzle of olive oil infused with Italian spices.

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Friday afternoon we celebrated Ted and Annie’s wedding!

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It was so great to see the beautiful couple enjoy their special day and it was a lot of fun to see so many of my high school friends!

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On Saturday, I was a lazy bum for the majority of the day. Dana made us a hearty, protein-packed lunch of eggs with chicken-apple-gouda sausage and onions. Seriously delicious and satisfying.

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I watched New Girl and eventually whipped up a batch of this awesome and super easy bean dip for a Halloween party we would be attending in the evening.

http://www.thecountrycook.net/2011/01/warm-bean-dip-and-party-food-highlights.htmlbean dip recipe

In the evening we headed out to our friends Adam and Stacy’s house for the annual Halloween party. Every year they impress me more and more with their Halloween decorations. You can only see half of my costume but I was a Food Safety Inspector (you can’t see my badge or meat thermometer and I don’t have my clipboard with me) and Dana was an Italian chef. Unfortunately his restaurant broke too many codes so I had to shut’er down. 🙂

melanie dana halloween 2013

Thanks Adam and Stace for an amazing party once again!

On Sunday, Dana and I had a bunch of errands we had to run in the morning. I spent the rest of my day prepping for my big TV debut (more to come on this) and I also squeezed in a 3-mile walk around the neighborhood. The weather was absolutely perfect and the scenery was beautiful.

fall walk

For dinner I baked up one acorn squash and served it with organic butter and Applegate Turkey bacon, salt, and pepper.

acorn squash with turkey bacon

I wasn’t in the mood for anything sweet but I think maple syrup would have been really good on this too!

So there you have it. My weekend was a blast and went WAY too fast as it always does.

How was your weekend?
What’s your favorite squash?
How do you use it?

Weekend Happenings: Soups, Weddings, Family Time

Hello, hello! How was your weekend? Mine was FANTASTIC!

It started on Friday. I made myself a super nummy smoothie in my new Ninja Ultima.

In the smoothie (all frozen fruits and veggies):

  • Kale
  • Blueberries
  • Pineapple
  • Bananas
  • almond milk
  • peanut butter
  • flax-seed
  • cocoa powder

ninja smoothie

 

I gave it a whirl in the Ninja…

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So far I have used the Ninja for smoothies and I also used it last night when I made a batch of soup! I love it. It is so efficient! I can’t wait to make nut butters in it. I am hoping the clean up is a lot easier than when I make nut butter in the food processor!

Friday morning I met up with my mom or our annual girl’s day. This year we decided to go to Whole Foods to do some shopping, have lunch at Panera, go for a walk with Abbie around the neighborhood, and just veg out together. It was so nice and so relaxing! I can’t wait for our next one!

Oh, and don’t act surprised when you hear I got the French Onion Soup once again at Panera. It is just my fav! Next time though I might have to try that squash soup, right Katie?

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On Saturday we attended my cousin’s wedding. It was fun getting all dolled up and hanging out with my family for the day.

carolyns wedding collage

On Sunday…more family time! We met up with Dana’s parents in the morning for a while and then went to my parent’s house to hang out with Scott and Nicole before they headed back home. No wonder my weekend was so fabulous, it was full of family time!

In the afternoon I whipped up a batch of veggie soup to eat throughout the week. It’s packed with bone broth, broccoli, green beans, zucchini, onion, carrots, celery and more. I am hoping it turned out well! If so, I will share the recipe!

soup

While the soup cooked, I heated up myself a bowl of four bean quinoa chili from the freezer and added some cheddar cheese to the top. Mmmmm mmmmm! The perfect meal on a cozy Sunday evening.

chili

I have been all about the soups lately. The fall weather has finally nestled in and the forecast is looking like 50’s this week! Bring out the sweaters, slippers, soup, pumpkin scented candles, and let’s get a fire going in the fireplace! Cozy city! LOVE.

What did you do this weekend? Have you been enjoying any soups yet this fall?

A Breathtaking Sight, Then A Bad Night

After being struck by the stomach flu, I am finally back. When I get hit, I get hit hard I tell ya. It started late Saturday evening after a beautiful wedding we attended. Let’s focus on that part first…

The wedding was held at an outdoor facility called “The Woods” in Orono, MN. It was like nothing I had ever seen before. The altar was centered in the middle of well, the woods (hence the name), and in front of a gorgeous water fountain.

The colors from the changing leaves on the trees surrounding the area along with the sunset was just breathtaking.

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There were a couple of quaint little cabin-like buildings on either side of the ceremony site. I believe one of them is an actual chapel and the other one is more of a gathering hall.

It was a whopping 40-ish degrees when we were seated for the ceremony but once we got snuggled in, it didn’t feel too bad. This will sound corny but the ambiance seriously warmed me up it was so unbelievable!

The ceremony was very personable and sentimental. I was very impressed by the planning that went into it. After planning my own wedding I really appreciate every detail that goes into planning a wedding. They truly put a lot of thought and heart into it. The bride was so very pretty and sweet and the couple looked so happy. Such a heartwarming sight to see.

And speaking of sights to see…

Afterwards we headed to the reception, and to those of you who are very observant, you will notice I have tights on at the wedding, but not at the reception. I have this thing about wearing constrictive clothing. I find that if I wear anything too tight (like tights) for too long, my stomach often bloats and becomes very upset. Just another one of my little quirks. Thus, I removed the tights for the reception.

We relaxed with a glass of wine and some hors d’oeuvres (<——-my goal is to learn how to spell that word without spell check), got in one slow dance, wished the new happy couple well, and made our way home.

That’s when trouble struck. I thought the nausea I was feeling was maybe because I ate a cupcake and it just wasn’t settling completely right. I got home and got into bed right away hoping a good nights rest would ward off whatever was trying to weasel it’s way in. No such luck. An hour later I was up and in the bathroom and basically made my bed in there for the rest of the night. That’s as far as I’ll go with the details because you all know the rest of the story.

So, no food photos from the past four days. My food intake has consisted of applesauce, Saltine crackers, banana, frozen fruit bars, brown rice, Cream of Wheat and ginger ale. Bland and boring. My body is definitely craving carbs so that is what I am feeding it for now. Even today, nothing is tasting good to me.

My body is fighting to recover but it is taking a while. I will get back into my normal eating pattern soon enough, and back into working out again for that matter.

I am always so good about washing my hands, sanitizing my office, using antibacterial for my hands, but sometimes it’s just not enough. Being that my immune system is compromised it doesn’t take as much for me to get sick as someone who is completely healthy. My body has been working so hard on trying to normalize my colitis that it doesn’t have as much energy to fend off anything else.

This is just another reminder to all to get your flu shot, wash your hands, eat a well-balanced diet, get plenty of rest, and try to remove unnecessary stressors from your life. It’s easy to forget the importance of that until you are hit with a bug that knocks you down for a solid 4-5 days. So not fun.

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Yoga Challenge Check-In

One last thing… I did get my yoga on this week. I can’t remember which day it was now but I’m pretty sure it was Tuesday, I found a light yoga OnDemand. It was a 40 minute yoga session for beginners and it felt GREAT.

Since I was sick the past few days I didn’t get a chance to check in with Courtney’s link up, but I just wanted you all to know that so far, so good on keeping to my once a week yoga goal!

Anyway, I’ve missed you all. Excited to get back on track and share some good recipes with you very soon.

Berry Me, Today & Everyday

Helllllllo friends! I have had a medium Caribou Coffee and am fully charged and I have lots to cover today, so bear with me…

Celebrating Allison and Adam

Last night we celebrated the marriage of one of my friends from high school, Adam, to his new beautiful wife Allison. The ceremony and reception were both held at the Nicollet Island Pavilion which is such a gorgeous venue.

Their ceremony was outside under a tent, overlooking the river. There was a cool breeze off of the water that felt great, and the ceremony itself was beautiful.

After the ceremony, there was the social hour followed by a delicious dinner, speeches, dancing, the whole kit and caboodle.

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Me with my happy husband…

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Me with the happy groom…

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 The lovely table decorations. I can really appreciate all of the decorations at weddings now that I have planned my own. Oh, by the way, today is Dana and my 11 month anniversary! Holy cow, does time fly. 

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Me with the hot ladies: Kristin and Annie.

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I seriously struggled with the lighting in the venue last night and capturing quality food photos just wasn’t happening for me, but I still want to share them with you because the food was excellent!

Side note: while attempting to photograph my food at dinner, I kept hearing Gretchen [who gave a presentation on improving photos at HLS] in my head saying “say no to flash.” I had to use the flash a little because it was so dark and my hand doesn’t stay still enough. I did my best.

Light and sweet balsamic salad: with flash

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Honey Dijon chicken (amazing): no flash.

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Lemon-raspberry cake I think? Whatever it was it was delicious. Flash or no flash, I’m not sure. I could have sworn Dana snapped this one with no flash but it looks like there is a flash on the plate. Doesn’t matter. It was nummy.

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We had such a great time celebrating with the newlyweds last night. You know I was on the dance floor last night awkwardly jumping/dancing like no one was watching. Congrats to Allison and Adam!

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Driscoll’s Berry Me, Today and Every Day

Total change of subject, but you may have noticed that I have been eating berries like CRAZY lately. Besides the fact that they’re still fairly in season and are so easy to find in the stores right now, the generous folks of Driscoll’s Berries gave me a couple of coupons for their berries so that I could go delight my taste buds with nature’s candy, free of cost. Yes, really, it’s amazing.

I’ve been adding Driscoll’s berries to “cereal”….

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To salads…

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Eating them plain Jane, and making new recipes, like this one…

I began by making a SCD friendly, gluten-free tortilla. You can use any tortilla you like though.

Gluten-free Cinnamon Tortilla

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp water

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300°. Use cooking spray to lightly coat a round pie pan.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together flour and cinnamon; set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl beat together egg and water.
  4. Add flour to egg mixture; mix well.
  5. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 10-13 minutes.

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Next, it was to time start assembling. I rinsed my Driscoll’s strawberries…

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And then onto the tortilla went a big smear of natural Parker’s peanut butter, sliced bananas, sliced strawberries, chia seeds, and a drizzle of honey.

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Now wrap it up! It was the perfect breakfast wrap but could also be eaten for lunch, dinner, or even a snack.

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Can I even call this a recipe? It’s just so easy.

Strawberry Nutty ‘Naner Wrap

Ingredients

  • Tortilla (whole grain, gluten-free, SCD, whatever you like)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 banana, sliced
  • 4-5 Driscoll’s strawberries, sliced (depends on the size of the berry!)
  • drizzle of honey
  • sprinkle of chia seeds for good luck

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients on to tortilla. Wrap it up, eat. Love.

I have always been a berry lover. When I was a babe, my family and I traveled up to Gooseberry Falls, MN and did some blueberry picking. I was eating them faster than any body else and I was only 4 years old. I haven’t changed since. This opportunity to experiment with their berries was right up my alley!

Besides strawberries and raspberries, Driscoll’s also farms blackberries and blueberries. For more information about their products, you can check them out here! Delicious.

I am off to try and make something of myself today. I’m feeling a little tired from the festivities last night, but hope to get my butt moving. There will hopefully be a workout involved, and some weed pulling in the back yard! Talk about a crazy Saturday, right?

Alright, you go have yourselves a marvelous day. Peace, love, and berries until next time.