My Brain is Tired

And actually so is my body!  During the work week, my brain is on all day every day, so I like to take a little time to unwind and zone out over the weekend.  Recently, my weekends have also  involved a lot of brain activity, so by 6pm on Monday (still technically part of my weekend), my brain is tired and it is done. 

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This morning started with an easy breakfast and my favorite go to tea.  Then, I hit the gym for a strength session with my trainer.  It’s been a few weeks since I’ve seen him and we hit the TRX bands hard.  On the way home, I swung by the grocery store.  I decided I wanted to make some fun cereal bars and just had to decide which Cheerio flavor to try.

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I don’t spend much time in the cereal aisle, but there are a lot of tasty options!  I decided on the multigrain Cheerios but almost went with the dark chocolate version.  I also saw this amazing green box of Lucky Charms, which would be awesome for St. Patty’s Day Lucky Charms Bars.

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I swung by the house for lunch, threw Two Ingredient Chicken in the crockpot and another load of laundry in the wash before heading out to Starbucks for a few hours of studying.  I got a great seat in the sun to soak up some vitamin D and information.

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When I got back home, I attempted to do more studying but was distracted by Cooper…

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A few times…

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And when I continued working, he tried to break into his food supply on top of the fridge.  I, of course, chased him off, which started a new game of ‘chase me’ and hide.  Just before 6pm, I abandoned studying for the day and retreated to the couch to fold laundry and watch something mindless on the DVR.  Like I said, my brain is tired!

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Which is why I chose an easy dinner and a super easy no bake dessert.

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These bars turned out unbelievably good!  The combo of honey and PB…YUM!  Even the BOY dug right in!

What makes your brain tired?

 

Meal Planning 3/02/15

Monday: Chicken Tamale Pie and Sprouts

Tuesday: Pork Chops and Mushrooms

Wednesday: Zoodles and Sauce

Thursday: TBD

 

 

No Bake Cheerio Peanut Bars

Adapted from Healthy Food for Living

Ingredients

1 cup peanut butter

1 cup honey

1 cup salted or unsalted peanuts, halved

5- 5.5 cups multigrain Cheerios

Directions

Combine peanut butter and honey in large saucepan.  Simmer over low heat, stirring constantly.

Once combined, remove from heat.  Stir in Cheerios and peanuts until well coated.  Adjust cereal for optimal coverage (I like mine gooey).

Place in pan coated with cooking spray and spread evenly. Cover and let sit until set.

Cut and enjoy!

Marching On

So hard to come up with a March title I haven’t used in the past.  No guarantee that this is one but I didn’t have the energy to look through the past few years of blogging.  So it’s March…in like a…what? Lion/Lamb?  Tough to tell from the library where I spent most of my weekend.

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Saturday started at Starbucks.  It took two tries to find one with a big table that was quiet enough for studying, but once I did, I was set for 3 hours of cramming.  Then I grabbed a sandwich and went home for a quick lunch with the guys.  I brewed up some iced tea and headed off to the library for another few hours of caffeinated information overload.

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The BOY and I had a fantastic Saturday night date night with new beers, chicken finger salad, and more binge watching the Blacklist.

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I went to bed early so that I would be bright eyed for Sunday morning yoga.  I have not been doing much exercise lately…instead focused on sleep, work, and studying, so this yoga class was a huge highlight of my week!

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Even more fun because I was there with my mom. We did a unique flow using all sides of our mat in a mandala. It was challenging, my muscles were sore, but I LOVED it.  Afterwards, my mom and I went to Whole Foods to stock up on goodies for the week ahead (and a few study snacks for the day).

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I went back to the library for the majority of Sunday until it closed at 5pm, when I picked up the BOY to meet my parents out for dinner to celebrate my Dad’s birthday (it’s today).

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We had a fantastic dinner with lots of laughter!  It was a wonderful way to start the month and celebrate my dad!

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Needless to say, February was not the month I thought it would be.  Although I kept my goals in mind, they just weren’t top priority.  Spending time with my family and friends…appreciating the little moments and experiences…that is what I focused on!

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Photo on 2-14-15 at 10.06 PM

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February Goals

1. Continue to prioritize studying. CHECK!  It’s going pretty well!

2. Drink less soda. DOUBLE CHECK!  I’ve been brewing lots of iced tea.

3. Eat clean.  No Check!  Well…let’s just say I’ve been indulging in a few (but not all) of my cravings.

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March Goals

After some thought, I’ve decided to take a break from goals this month. There is a lot going on and so I am going to just focus on getting through it all with a smile on my face : )  I’ll be back with spring goals next month!

 

Are you setting March Goals?  What’s up this month?

Five for Friday XXX

1. It’s almost not Friday anymore and the only reason I am awake is because I am newly addicted to The Blacklist. 

 

2. I seriously had the LONGEST workday ever, and all I wanted to do when I got home was sit on the couch, eat dinner, unwind, and watch a little television.  I am also slightly addicted to Castle reruns.

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3. But instead I studied for 2 hours while the BOY was out for dinner.

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4. And tried to manage the distractions.  When Cooper got tired of sitting on my notebook, he tried to break into a few cabinets, and then started running laps through our downstairs.  This house is not conducive to learning : )

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5. When the BOY got home, we opened some amazing Sonoma red wine, cuddled up with Cooper, and just enjoyed Friday!

 

Woo hoo!  It’s Friday ya’ll!

What are you up to this weekend?

Mondayness

My Mondays have a bit of a routine and that has been off the past few weeks.  So today, it was time to get back to it (with the addition of printing 100’s of pages of outlines).  I slept in this morning and even fell back asleep after the BOY left the house early for the day.  More surprising is that Cooper let me fall back asleep.  Once my alarm went off around 9am, he came in for a cuddle.  I made breakfast and immediately got down to laundry/printing/tea drinking.  Yesterday’s study session revealed that I am WAY behind and I have A LOT to learn if I hope to be successful with this test.

But there is still housework to be done and food to be bought.  So I did a quick barre class before heading to Target (for printer cartridges and paper), Costco and the grocery store. 

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Then came home to eat lunch (Asian salmon salad) while I folded laundry and threw tonight’s dinner into the crockpot.

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As I studied throughout the afternoon, my house smelled like Chinese take out (yum!) which I would have much preferred to actually making dinner tonight. 

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Cooper attempted to wrestle my ponytail and after the 15th time that he came pouncing across my notes, I got up and fed him his dinner.

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When the BOY came home around 7:30pm, our dinner was hot and ready to go.  Thanks to my trusty crockpot of course.  So I made Kung Pao chicken, but I modified the recipe a bit.  Since the BOY doesn’t like zucchini, I subbed in a big container of Asian veggies.  See notes below…

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Our dinner looked more like stirfry than Kung Pao chicken, and I am not sure if my cornstarch did it’s job.

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But either way, dinner was delicious!  I ran through some note cards and after a long day of Mondayness was ready to finally unwind on the couch a bit to blog a bit, and I finally convinced the BOY to start watching The Blacklist.  Oh…the pilot is good!

What do you do on Mondays?

Do you watch the Blacklist?

Meal Planning 2/23/15

Monday: Kung Pao Chicken

Tuesday: Shrimp Fajitas

Wednesday: Burger Night

Thursday: Take Out (I’m thinking ‘tillos)

 

Crockpot Kung Pao Chicken

From Crème de la Crumb

Ingredients

  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 2 teaspoon minced garlic

Sauce

  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon red chile paste (like Sriracha – found near Asian section in more grocery stores)
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch + 2 tablespoons cold water
  • ⅓ cup peanuts
  • optional: cooked rice, green onions

Directions

  1. Drizzle a large sauce pan with oil and sauté chicken over medium heat for 2-3 minutes until browned
  2. Add chicken to a greased slow cooker. In a bowl whisk together sauce ingredients: garlic, soy sauce, chile paste, vinegar, brown sugar, and ⅓ cup water. Pour sauce into the slow cooker. Cook on low 3-4 hours or on high 5-6 hours.
  3. About 10-15 minutes before serving, drizzle a pan with oil and sauté peppers, zucchini, and garlic for 2-3 minutes until veggies are tender. Add to slow cooker. *See Note
  4. Whisk together corn starch and cold water until dissolved. Add to slow cooker and stir. Allow to thicken for 5-10 minutes. Serve over rice and garnish with peanuts and green onions as desired.

*Note: I added my red peppers with the chicken and then stirred in the canned veggies and peanuts with the cornstarch.

Curling in the City

Did you stay up late and watch the Oscars?  I only caught the end because I was downtown curling (random, I know!).  I never realized behind the meat dresses and crazy costumes that Lady Gaga can sing?!  I also didn’t realize that the Oscars went so late!

I started my Sunday getting back into the workout groove.  After 2 weeks without a yoga class, I was ready to get back on my mat.  I find that when I am out of my exercise routine, the easiest place to slide back in is a yoga class.  And then I found this on Pinterest…

If anything it starts out: " I almost didn't go, but I'm so glad I did!" {{so true, I haven't been feeling it.. But I went anyway to Bikram Class & had an fabulous class!!}}

So true!  Except that it’s a picture of a gymnast, but you can’t win ‘em all : )  I reveled in my post yoga glow and felt physically and emotionally awesome!

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The rest of the day went by in a flash and included Mediterranean for lunch and a study session with my study buddy.  At 5:30pm, I met my friends Jen and Megan in the city.  You might remember them from this snow shoeing adventure.  Shortly after that, they moved to Australia. They are back visiting the states and were excited to go snow shoeing again.  Sadly, there just wasn’t enough snow.  Our back up plan…curling at the Beer, Bacon, and Sausage Bar!

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We had a delicious dinner and then braved the cold (with warm bevvies in hand) to try curling.  Despite the text book form you see below, I was actually pretty terrible at the sport.  But that didn’t mean it wasn’t fun!

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It was FREEZING though so frequent rest breaks by the fire were needed.  It was wonderful to catch up with my friends and I love that they always have the MOST FUN ideas!

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I awoke this morning smelling like a camp fire (love it!) and have a busy day of Monday-ness ahead!

 

Have you ever tried curling? Any tips on technique?

It’s Good to be Cooper & Weekday Reflections

It was a good morning to be Cooper!

After meowing at the door relentlessly, the BOY woke up to feed him his breakfast.  After scarfing it down, he returned to the door where he continued to meow on and off for about an hour until I finally woke up, opened the door, and returned to bed where Cooper situated himself in the direct path of my arm for a good 15 minutes of love.  When the BOY joined us, Cooper entertained by chirping out answers to our questions.  And then it was on to breakfast number two (for Cooper) who nibbled on a few salami scraps while the eggs cooked. 

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He then positioned himself in the perfect place to charge the plate to retrieve the egg + salami mixture he’d been eyeing.  After that, there was a little time to hunt his mousey toy before curling up for the first of I’m sure numerous naps.  And all of this before 10am : )

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Reflections of the Workweek…

It was easy to get myself back into the swing of the workweek.  The kindness of my coworkers and patients was remarkable and left me with a strong appreciation for the people I interact with each day.

Getting back into the groove of exercise, that is an entirely different story.  Partly because of my cold and also because of the –20 degree weather, I didn’t push it this week. And by push it, I mean, do anything!

Somewhere in the middle is studying. I am going through the motions but my heart is just not in it.  The bad news…I am just a few weeks away from my test date. Ugh!

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I spent this afternoon studying at Starbucks.  3 Bux beverages later, I swung by Trader Joe’s (where I bumped into one of my best friends and her family).  When I got home, the BOY decided he wasn’t feeling great (I think he’s coming down with my cold) and so I made a Trader Joe’s Saturday night dinner : )

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Cooper was excited to see the cheese and I think that he even snuck a few bites.

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Like I mentioned…it was good to be Cooper today!

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Down Day Dinner

Monday I needed a bit of a physical and emotional break.  I didn’t set an alarm and slept almost 12 hours.  Mind you, there were a few interruptions as Cooper kept wiggling his body into my arms for some love, but I didn’t mind.  I missed my little kitty while I was gone!  And he missed us and his pink blanket which we took for the car ride.

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The BOY and I did a grocery store run to fill up our empty fridge.  Then, I put dinner in the crockpot, took a shower, and planned to dive back into the studying I didn’t do this past week.  Instead, I got comfy on the couch (next to Cooper and the pink blanket) and worked my way through the DVR while folding laundry and snacking on apples and dark chocolate almonds.

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You see…on top of being exhausted, I have a cold and a random rash on my neck.  I was in need of a little down time…and so I took some!  I’m sure I’ll regret it later as there is much to catch up on.

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I chose an easy dinner recipe (to go along with my day of relaxation), and it turned out wonderful!

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So here’s a tasty recipe for the next time you need a down day.

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Meal Planning 2/16/15

Monday: Crockpot Pork (recipe below)

Tuesday: Fajita Night

Wednesday: Chicken and Salad

Thursday: Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

 

Super Easy Slow Cooker Pork

From Pinch of Yum

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs. pork shoulder
  • 1 cup soda (I used diet gingerale)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup Marzetti Simply Dressed Balsamic dressing

Directions

  1. Place the pork, soda, garlic, chili powder, oregano, and Worcestershire sauce in the crockpot. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 6-8 hours.
  2. When the meat falls apart easily, shred it directly in the crockpot with two forks. Add the balsamic dressing and stir with the liquid in the crockpot. The meat should be saucy and moist.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees (or use the broil setting if you have that) and transfer the mixture to a baking sheet lined with foil. Spread it in an even, thin layer (drain some juice if it appears that there is too much) and cook in the preheated oven until the juices are bubbling and the edges are crispy, 10-15 minutes (less time if you have a broil setting).
  4. Transfer to a serving platter and enjoy on salad, tacos, or potatoes!