Five for Friday XXXV (That I Forgot to Post on Friday)

1. When you read this, I will be out of town doing…well, I have no idea.  See, it’s my bachelortte party weekend (woo hoo!), and all the details have been kept hidden from me.  I do know that we will be in Michigan near the beach, and I can’t wait!  I can’t believe after setting this date, like in January, that the weekend is finally here, and I am so grateful to all of my amazing friends for spending it with me!

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My MOH and I many moons ago : )

 

2.  In prep for the party weekend, I got some party nails!

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3. Which were perfect for the BOY and I to model our new wedding bands.

Sorry folks…no early peaks here!

 

4.  For the weekend, I whipped up a few of my favorite quick breads (including Molasses Banana and Coconut Oil Pumpkin).  I also made two HUGE bags of puppy chow.  One regular and one the amazing white chocolate version.

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5.  I have gotten so much wedding stuff done these past two weeks, including invites.  After almost 9 years since our first date, this wedding is starting to feel really REAL!  I’ll be back Monday with stories of shenanigans, I am sure : )

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Almost Famous

When was the last time you saw the movie Almost Famous? If you haven’t heard of it, don’t tell me because it will only make me feel old : )

The BOY had never seen the movie, but I convinced him that it was the best free movie on Amazon for us to watch Saturday night.  I tried to convince him that we should watch Anastasia (one of my all time favorites but that didn’t go so well).  I’ll admit that Almost Famous was an awesome Saturday night #datenight movie!

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The weekend arrived on cue and I was ready for it!  Both the BOY and I had long and busy work weeks and Friday night was a welcome arrival!  I was up early Friday morning for a hot yoga class and gladly rode the high of yoga through my work day, inspiring my kids yoga classes.

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My ‘Almost Famous’ glasses : )

Before the BOY got home, I quickly soaked up the day’s Tour de France stage.  He claims to not like it, yet he knows a lot about the peloton.  Anyways, we ate dinner and I was so exhausted that I went up to bed early.  I was up early Saturday morning (Thanks Coop!) and met with my trainer for an awesome AM workout of boxing and strength.  I just tried the boxing stuff for the first time, and I honestly feel all brides should do it!  Then, I met my Dad for an hour of tennis in the heat before meeting back up at my parents house with my bestie for lunch and envelope stuffing. 

We were quickly able to figure out an assembly line and within a few hours all of my wedding invitations were sealed and ready to mail!  Sorry friends…no spoilers!  OMG!  We are having a wedding!!!

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After a glass of wine with my parents. I drove home, picked up the BOY, and date night began at Mariano’s.  We bought cheese and dinner and opened up a bottle of wine from one of my favorite wineries from our California trip.  And then started the movie…

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The BOY grilled up a fantastic dinner!  Sunday flew by way to quickly.  The BOY and I played tennis in the morning and then ran a few errands.  We ran into his aunt at Nordstrom, and had an super fun impromptu lunch.  Then, we were off to the grocery store and back home.  It was a busy day since the BOY and  both had to work today.

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I got started way too late yesterday on Monday night’s dinner, which was crockpot pulled pork.  The best thing about this recipe is that I had all the ingredients (except the pork) already in my house.  By the time I was ready for bed, my pork was looking and smelling good, but still not ready to shred.  We ended up moving the crockpot to the fridge and going to bed.  We both had busy Mondays, but the non shredded pork was super yummy for tonight’s dinner!

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Have an amazing week!

Meal Planning 7/20/15

Monday: Crockpot Pork Roast from Mismashed Mom

Tuesday: Turkey Taco Tuesday

Wednesday: I don’t remember : )

Thursday: Out of Town!!!

Never Miss a Monday

It was another crazy busy, non stop weekend!  I barely had a minute to sit down and breath.  On the plus side, we did get TONS of wedding stuff done!  Wedding bands…check!  Suits and ties…check!  Décor…check!  Gifts…check!  Invitations…check!  It looks like we are having a wedding…woo hoo!

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This morning, I went to the gym and my trainer stood me up.  This has never happens, but we had some confusion about rescheduling days since I am working next Monday before heading out of town for my bachelorette party.  Instead of calling it, I warmed up on the jump rope and hit the weights REAL hard!

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#NeverMissAMonday

I returned home sweating from head to toe.  I showered quickly and then the BOY and I did our weekly grocery store run.  When we got home, I had just enough time to unpack the groceries and eat before my mom arrived.  She played with Cooper while I finished lunch, and then we headed out for a wedding meeting.  Afterwards, we did a bit of shopping.  I picked up an adorable hat which will be perfect for the beach next weekend : )

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I started tonight’s dinner before I left.  It was supposed to take about 6 hours, but cooked quicker.  This always happens in my crockpot!  I asked the BOY to add the peppers and pineapple (from memory), and I totally forgot about the OJ.

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Even without the starch to thicken it up, dinner turned out ABSOLUTELY amazing!  Both the BOY and I devoured our dinners and raved about the recipe.  This will definitely get added into our rotation.  It was nice to have such a tasty and easy dinner after a chaotic weekend to enjoy while we binged on Orange is the New Black tonight.  The BOY would tell you that he was happy that the tour was on break for the  day…ha ha!

I’m off to bed as a new week is about to start!

Happy Monday Friends!

 

Meal Planning 7/13/15

Monday: Sweet and Sour Pork (recipe below)

Tuesday: Potato Bar Night

Wednesday: Pizza Night

Thursday: Grilled Chicken and Veggies

 

Clean Eating Sweet and Sour Pork

From Clean Eating Magazine  (Slightly adapted from the original)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2  lb pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 1- to 1½-inch chunks
  • 1 white onion, peeled and chopped into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 3 tbsp unsalted tomato paste
  • 3 tbsp Sucanat
  • 1 tbsp raw honey
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tbsp potato flour
  • 1 each large green and red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 cup peeled and diced pineapple

Directions

  1. In a 5-qt slow cooker, add pork, onion, and garlic. In a large bowl, whisk together broth, soy sauce, vinegar, tomato paste, Sucanat, honey and ginger until well combined. Pour mixture over pork and gently stir. Cover slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours.
  2. In the last 30 minutes of cooking, combine orange juice and potato flour in a small bowl and whisk until no lumps remain. TRUTH: I didn’t do this step : )Add to slow cooker along with peppers and pineapple, stirring gently to evenly distribute. Replace lid, increase heat to high and cook for remaining 30 minutes.

Shakn’ It Up

So I’ve decided to change up my workouts a bit…adding in more strength and perhaps a HIIT workout or two.  I think that these components have been missing from my fitness routine.  Mostly because I HATE them they are not my favorites, and I’m not motivated to do them on my own.  I’m a distance runner/cardio queen…intervals make my legs shake : )

I decided to seek out some morning motivation.  So…Tuesday morning, I went to a run class.  It was raining and without the class, I definitely would have hit snooze and then hit snooze again. But I got myself there and we ran inside and out.  I was a bit wet when we were done but I was reminded that running in the rain can be refreshing!

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For breakfast, I planned ahead and made a Sweet Potato Flax and Chia Bowl.  Mmm!  It was fantastic!

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A great mix of taste and nutrients to power me through the rest of my day.  Wednesday was a rest day, but I was still up early for work.  Thursday morning, I was on my own.  My goal was a 15 minute HIIT and 15 minutes or so of ab exercises.  I snoozed and then waited for the BOY’s alarm, then cuddled with the BOY and Cooper, and then got out of bed.  I only had a wee bit of time and although a relaxed, quiet breakfast sounded like a good idea, I did lace up my sneaks for an interval run.

It looked like this…2 minute warm up followed by 30/30 sprints recovery x 12 and then a 1 minute cool down.  Let me tell you, my legs felt like I was running in quick sand.  This workout was short but REALLY tough!  Sprints just are NOT my thing!

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This morning, I was back at the gym for a fun and challenging class.  I was able to do a free week at a boutique gym 5 minutes from our house.  The classes are both inside and out (LOVE THAT!) and they are tough but don’t leave me too knocked out to get through my work day.  This morning’s class included, amongst other things, a mix of kettle bells, resisted running, and planks.

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After a week of tough workouts, it’s my legs that are shakn’!  The only thing missing from this week was yoga, which I was able to do this afternoon when I taught two amazing kids classes. I had some new faces in my younger group and 11 yogi’s eager to try stretches and exciting acro poses in my second class.  I loved every minute!

I’m hoping that some of these new pieces can find their way more permanently into my weekly workouts.  I know that my sore legs will be more than happy resting on the couch catching up on the Tour de France : )

Do you ever shake up your exercise routine?

 

Sweet Potato Flax and Chia Bowl

Ingredients

  • 1 small sweet potato, cooked with skin removed
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 3 dates
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tbsp ground flax
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds

Directions

Place all ingredients in a blender and refrigerate over night.

In the morning, blend until desired consistency.  I prefer a thicker smoothie.

Top with fruit, nut butters, or maple syrup.  Or just eat plain…it’s delish on it’s own!

Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

It’s Monday and my 4 day weekend continues…woo hoo!  I think that I really needed a little time off to take care of some business and catch up on sleep.  Today isn’t as relaxing as I’d like.  I mean, ideally I would just nap on the couch with Cooper and watch hours of the tour.  But, it’s still a no work Monday!  I woke up around 8am, brewed a cup of black tea, and took my shopping list to the grocery store for a week of meals.

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When I got back, I made 2 Ingredient Sweet Potato Pancakes for breakfast and changed for the gym.  After another tough arm workout (this seems to becoming a pattern), I drove back home.  I did a quick, but effective Ab Blaster (while watching the tour), showered and ate lunch.  My plan was to get dinner set in the crockpot, but I ran out of time before I needed to head back out the door.

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This time, I drove to the train station and settled in with a book for the hour journey into Chicago.  I was probably only in the city for 90 minutes, and got caught unprepared in a wicked rain storm, before grabbing a tea and settled back in with my book for the ride home.  BUT, it was totally worthwhile though because my fiancé and I got to pick out our wedding bands!

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There was plenty of time to make dinner and binge watch today’s stage of the tour when I got back home!  I was already pretty tired and I have a busy week ahead. I am trialing some new strength classes at a boutique gym by my house in the mornings.  Plus, work is busy with patients and yoga.  The BOY had to work late tonight, so I had a quiet afternoon…secretly jealous of Cooper who can nap all day and sleep all night.

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Sadly, the BOY missed out on this delicious dinner!

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This recipe is super easy and really, REALLY good!  Since he missed out, I promised that I would make it again real soon.

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I added some extra veggies to the original recipe and the combo of taste and textures makes this my new favorite crockpot recipe!  I also left out the rice that’s in the original recipe, and I can’t say that I missed it.  Ok then, I’m going to call it an early night, tonight! 

 

What are you eating this week?

 

Meal Planning 7/05/15

Monday: Slow Cooker Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Tuesday: Turkey Taco Meatoaf

Wednesday: Pork Chops and Veggies

Thursday: Leftovers

 

Slow Cooker Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Adapted from Cooking Classy

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs ground chicken
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and finely chopped (I used half red and half yellow)
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (8 oz) can diced water chestnuts, drained and rinsed
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 2 heads iceberg lettuce

Directions

Place chicken and garlic in pan, sprayed with cooking spray.  Cook until no longer pink.   Drain off liquid and pour mixture into a 5 – 7 quart slow cooker. Add bell peppers, celery, onion, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper and toss mixture. Cover and cook on low heat 2 – 3 hours until chicken is tender.

Stir in water chestnuts, cook until heated through 3 – 5 minutes. Separate iceberg lettuce leaves and serve with chicken filling.

New Month…New Goals!

The BOY and I had an ‘Us’ weekend!  We spent Saturday morning hiking, picnicing, and napping (in that order) and then relaxed a bit as I soaked in the start of the Tour de France time trials.  The BOY grilled dinner and we sat out back enjoying the gorgeous summer evening with one of our favorite wines.

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And then we crashed the neighbors party for a couple more cocktails.  We did the responsible ‘go to bed around midnight’ thing, and I was happy because I had biking plans with a friend Sunday morning.

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I woke up feeling a little more tired than I would have wanted (perhaps I had too many drinks with our neighbors).  I packed up my car and pulled my bike stuff together.  It’s been too long since I’ve gone for a bike, ride and I am way out of practice.  I had to turn around twice because I forgot my helmet and bike lock.

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I met my friend at a forest preserve to do a BRICK. She is doing a triathlon and has an interesting training program that involves intervals of biking and running.  Which is what we did for about an hour and then continued to bike for another 45 minutes.  It was a gorgeous day for a bike ride and my head cleared up quickly.  Afterwards, we went for coffee and supplements at the Starbucks/Whole Foods.

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I returned home feeling super tired, but dove into my never ending house and wedding to do list.  I also noticed that my bike chain is rusted and needed to make an appointment to bring it in.  It felt amazing to start crossing things off, and I was reminded about why it was so important to have some down time this weekend.  I also used my time to watch more of the tour, loving the views of the Netherlands and the thrill of the sprint.

I did a big Bucket List post yesterday, but then remember that I had more short term goals to think about…so here we go!

 

June Goals

Eat Clean, Train Dirty– I cleaned up my diet this month and have been exercising often and hard.  The benefits…my clothes fit better, I have more energy, and my stomach has calmed down.

Cook and Bake– I got myself back into the kitchen after a bit of a ‘lack of time’ induced hiatus.  This month, I shared some new dinner recipes and of course some incredible ice cream recipes!

Drink More Water– My water bottle has been with me all day every day.

Slow Down and Enjoy Every Moment!- I had a great talk about this with my friend during our morning bike ride.  It’s always a challenge, but well worth the effort.  There were some great moments to enjoy this month!

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July Goals

Strength Train 2x Each Week

Keep it Clean, Add in Green

Stay the Course with Wedding Planning (and Stay Calm!)

Have the Best Bachelorette Weekend!

Beginnings…

The Tour de France began today!  If you follow my blog then you know that this brings lots of excitement to our house…and by our house, I mean me! (Insert eye roll from BOY who claims that the tour is boring but seems to know a lot about the peloton).  For the second year in a row, I was up before my alarm on the 4th of July.  I came straight downstairs to turn on the TV and dive into the tour.  I only caught the pre race updates on teams and the ‘Big Four’ while I sipped tea and whipped up eggs.  The BOY and I planned to go to Starved Rock today, but flooding led to parking lot closures and we didn’t want to drive almost 2 hours and not get to hike.

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Instead, we drove 45 minutes to Waterfall Glen.  This area is more of a path than a state park and from where we parked, the waterfall was quite a ‘hike’…especially since we started off in the wrong direction.  The path was well used but not crowded as we passed bikers, dogs, and runners.  There was a good amount of shade as we made our way towards the waterfall.

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We were tired when we arrived and stopped to rest our feet a bit and sip some water.

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I must say that the waterfall was cool, but I was hoping that there was more than one!  The bugs made it tough to stay still, so after a quick break we hiked back to our car.

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By the time we reached our car, which was packed with a picnic lunch, we had walked over 6 miles.  There wasn’t a great place to pop a squat, so we decided to drive back towards home.  There is a great park, where I run in the mornings, a few blocks away from our house.  We pass it almost every day and always talk about picnicing, but never do.  We settled under a shady tree by the lake on this perfect day.

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With a full tummy, I could have fallen asleep on our blanket!

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Instead, we waited until we were back home to cuddle in (with Cooper, of course) for an afternoon nap!  Then, woke back up to watch the beginning of the Tour!

I can’t believe that it’s July and the beginning of the second half of the year (like my glass half full attitude?).  It occurred to me yesterday that meant I needed to check in with my bucket list!  This year has been so busy (work, wedding, life) that I barely remember what’s on my bucket list!

2015 Bucket List

LIFE

Set and follow a budget (for real!)- Oh man!  I swear I am super organized, but have totally struggled with this!  Something to focus the next 6 months on…saving up for a honeymoon!

Pass my test– Woo hoo!  All of that library time paid off.  I am know a Pediatric Clinical Specialist (PCS), which has me smiling from ear to ear!

Have a fun stress free wedding day– Yea, so some days are easy and some days my heart beats a little faster.  We’ve had more drama with planning than I would have liked (just found out the planner at the hotel we have been working with since October quit)…BUT, above all the marriage is the most important thing and the BOY and I are in this together!

Stay healthy– Other than those two weeks where I was REALLY sick, I have been feeling pretty energetic and healthy this  year. I’m hoping that continues through the end of the year.

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BODY

Do a triathlonThe decision has been made that this won’t be a big racing year…so no triathlon.  And I am A-okay with that!  I am broadening my horizons a bit with exercise and doing tons of yoga!  This decision is helping me feel more balanced and less stressed, and we’ll just have to see what 2016 holds for races and tri’s.

Feel confident in a bikini- Work in progress!

Continue to build muscle strength– I think that my arms are definitely getting stronger and I am able to do 1-2 pull ups!  I’m hoping to continue to build my strength with the goal of adding in a consistent second strength day each week.

Keep my skin healthy– Success!  My focus on eating clean and drinking water, plus regular facials has paid off!

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MIND

Be present– I have been soaking in every moment, big or small!  Case and point, feeling the wind in my hair as I drove the boat along the lake in the picture above.  I know that more excitement awaits around the corner, and I look forward to experiencing it all!

Teach more yoga/take yoga trainings- I think this may end up being more of a 2016 goal. I’d love to do a yoga retreat AND my adult yoga certification.  I was able to talk about kids yoga on a Podcast, which is something I never would have even dreamed of in January.  It’s fun to see where the year takes you…

Read good books– Check!  I started the year as a reading machine.  With work getting busier, I have been staying up later and reading less, but plan to devour a few more books from my ‘to read’ pile before the year is done.

Give back and volunteer- Ugh! Major Fail here!  I have been donating food, money, and clothes, but not as much of my time as I would like.

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I know I say it every year, but this year has FLOWN by!  There have been some unexpected highs and a huge loss to our family as we said goodbye to our patriarch, Grandpa Al.  I know that there are more celebrations to come as we are less than 100 days from starting our life as husband and wife!  There is also a lot of non wedding excitement, vacations, and moments, and I am planning to breathe deep and appreciate all of the joy and gifts in the year ahead.   Stay tuned for June goals (and Tour de France updates) as this post is already way too long!

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2015 First Half Highlights

Lots of Kids Yoga

Bounding with my SIL

Taking engagement photos

Friendsgiving in April

Playing tennis with the BOY and my family

Wisconsin Weekends

Our first wedding shower

 

How’s your 2015 bucket list coming along?

What’s your ‘first half highlight’ of 2015?