Photo a Day {March}

March 1st- Mom and Dad Birthday Celebration

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March 2nd- Cooper recovering from above mentioned celebration

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March 3rd- Afternoon at B Wubs!

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March 4th- Dinner!

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March 5th-Quiet Night at Home

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March 6th-Did Cooper Throw a Party Last Night?

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March 7th-TGIF with an Early Bed Time

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March 8th– Breakfast at the Bakery

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March 9th-I Took a Walk!  Outside!

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March 10th-New Workout Pants

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March 11th-The Snow is Melting…

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March 12th-The Snow is Back!

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March 13th- Breakfast at the Gym

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March 14th-A Rough Week Ends with a Fantastic Friday Night Dinner

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March 15th-St. Patty’s Day in the City

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March 16th-I Heart Fro Yo!

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March 17th-Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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March 18th-Post AM Workout Reward

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March 19th-Office Starbucks Run on a Rainy Day

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March 20th-Happy First Day of Spring!

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March 21st-Playing with Cooper

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March 22nd-Meridian Yoga Workshop

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March 23rd- Wiener Circle at 12:30am

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March 24th-Morning Workout

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March 25th-Tuesday Tradition (after spin class of course)

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March 26th-Sunrise through the Frost

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March 27th-Rocking the 80’s Curls

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March 28th-Friday Night Tennis Date

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March 29th-Finally Watched Frozen (with my girl Scarlett)!

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March 30th-Run in the Sun

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March 31st-Girls Dinner Sushi Date!

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Heeello Spring!

We have missed you!  The arrival of above freezing temperatures happens to coincide perfectly with my newly refreshed and enthusiastic approach towards a healthy lifestyle!  I finally have a workout schedule figured out, went running outside, and have accepted the fact that I will be participating in a modified race schedule this year.  Meal planning is working well and I am adding in more protein and greens which has me craving way less junk.  Things are looking BRIGHT!

 

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Since I was so late on my February/March goals, I figured I could get started on the April goals a wee bit early!

 

March was a great month!

It started with snow and birthday celebrations

 

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And ended with rain (read melted snow) and an awesome weekend catching up with friends (and finally watching frozen)!

 

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I made some awesome meals!  Mostly in the crockpot, but still, there were some non crockpot highlights…

Chicken Tamale Pie

Marbled Banana Bread

Sweet Potato and Quinoa Chili

Parmesan Brussel Sprouts

 

And let’s not forget that we can’t have a March without Irish Soda Bread and St. Patrick’s Day Shenanigans!

 

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Of course, Cooper was adorable and he continues to grow as he nears his 1st birthday.  He also continues to love the dishwasher, bath tub, and sink, where I caught him hiding one night this past week.  He thinks if he ducks down low, I won’t find him : )

 

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I have finally gotten my workout schedule organized and made time for a spin class, yoga seminar, and tennis.  Needless to say, I am counting down the days until warm enough weather to bust out my bike.

 

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I am ending the month feel strong, energized, and focused on what lies ahead!

 

 

February/March Goals

1. Decrease Sugar Intake

-This had been up and down, but the past 2 weeks I have definitely gotten my sugar consumption in check and am feeling really good and energized.

 

2. Build Strength

My muscle mass has increased (according to my trainer), so I am definitely on my way!

 

3. Play Tennis

-The BOY and I have been playing at least once a week.  I think we are getting better and are at least at a place where we can play a match and have fun with it.  Although my serve has a long way to go…

 

4. Sign up for Races

So after much thought and research, I have decided to wait until the fall for races.  The main reason is that this spring is very busy and I will not have the time to train that I need.

 

 

April Goals

1. Strength Train 2xweek

2. Do Yoga 1xweek (and do a workshop)

3. Unplug and Unwind

4. Drink More Water and Eat More Greens

5. Cook from your Cookbooks!

 

 

What are you most looking forward to this spring?

What are you April goals?

To Race or Not to Race?!

So you may have noticed that my 2014 Race Page is non existent!

 

This is by no means a reflection on my desire to train for and participate in a spring triathlon or half marathon.  It is just the reality of spring 2014 being packed to the brim.  For the past 2 years, I have run the Great Western Half Marathon in early May.  In some ways, it’s good that I am not running it this year.  Because of weather situations, I got out for a run in the sun for the first time TODAY!  And, it was too chilly this morning to go out for a run.  But by afternoon, the 55 degree weather was calling to me.  I have to say that being out running in the sun left me nothing less than happy and energized!

 

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I left the boys working on dinner and hit the path for my first outdoor run in a long time (and I was wearing short sleeves!).  I chose an easy and comfortable pace and was shocked to clock in my first mile at 8:30.  It’s been a few weeks since I’ve run, and I was overjoyed to be back in my running shoes.

 

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I completed 4 miles keeping all of my miles under 9:00 minutes, which was hard work.  But totally worth it! 

So back to the race calendar…I won’t be running the Great Western Half because my brother’s fiancé has a wedding shower that day.  I do have a loaded Memorial Day weekend with the Soldier Field 10 Miler followed by Bike the Drive.  Beyond that…my race calendar is empty!  Sad news…I didn’t win the New York Marathon lottery : (

 

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May is full with 2 wedding showers, family in town, and the BOY’s law school graduation.

In June, I am heading out of town 2 weekends in a row and July is my brother’s wedding, plus the BOY takes the bar.

Fingers crossed, the BOY and I will be taking a week long trip in August.  Plus August really isn’t my favorite month to race.  Which brings us to September…which is when I am hoping to do 1 or 2 running races.

 

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For me, training for races is half the fun!  But it is time consuming to get up early and plan around 1-2 hours workouts.  I’ve done a handful of triathlons over the past 3 years and I am extremely sad that I won’t be doing one this year.  With my weekends packed, I just don’t have enough time to train for a healthy and safe race.  I am still planning to bike a bunch this summer and may even consider doing my first Century bike ride!

 

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The benefit of a mostly race free spring, is that it will make it easy to keep up with my strength training and yoga. 

The bad thing is that I just really like weekend races!  But I know that I can pack a few in this fall (which is much quieter) and that there is always next spring!

 

What races are you doing this year?

How do you decide which races to do?

Five for Friday XX

1.  Thank you guys for all of your awesome brussel sprout suggestions!  The BOY and I will definitely be eating more sprouts this spring!

 

 

2. The BOY and I had our second Friday night tennis date tonight.  We played from 8-9pm and instead of practicing strokes with the ball machine, we warmed up, practiced serving, and then played a few games.  Although I’m still not as good as the BOY, I did beat him in 2 games and was in the process of beating him in a third when we ran out of time.

 

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3.  I have a new Starbucks obsession.  It’s Chai tea with steamed soy milk.  It is creamy, filling, and takes care of one of my servings of dairy every day.  Ok, so I don’t have one every day, but I wish I did : )

 

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4.  Cooper created a new game this morning.  I call it Ice Cube in a Box, and I totally went along with it because it meant that I could eat my breakfast in peace without him stealing my eggs.

 

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5.  I have watched basically none of March Madness this year.  Usually, I am way more into it, but with Indiana not making the tournament and my weeks being really busy, I just haven’t turned on any games.  I’m hoping to catch up on some basketball this weekend…starting right now.

 

Does your pet steal your breakfast?

Are you watching the tournament?

Brussel Sprouts {Love Them or Hate Them?}

The brussel sprout and I are rather newly acquainted.  Like with other foods…salsa, avocado, and chili (I never ate it until college), I am a late bloomer.

 

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Of course, I knew of the sprouts reputation.  Who doesn’t???  So the first time I tried them, I wasn’t expecting much.  Well, I don’t remember the first time, but I do remember when I fell for them.  It was Thanksgiving 2011 and my cousin’s wife made the most incredible roasted brussel sprouts with walnuts and cranberries.

 

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So embarrassing that I actually have a picture of that meal : )  After that, I tried to make my own brussel sprouts with no success.  Last summer, the BOY even attempted to roast some on the grill.  And, they were okay, but slightly bitter.  I’d basically written off the veggie until we were in Vegas last month and I had THE MOST AMAZING brussel sprouts ever.  My mouth still waters thinking of them.

 

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Double embarrassing…I have photos of this meal too.  I’ve been thinking about brussel sprouts ever since Vegas, so I picked some up about 2 weeks ago.  The BOY took care of dinner and made an awesome side of sprouts.  The trainer and I have been talking about adding more green veggies to my diet.  While I was at Costco this past Monday, I picked up their bag of brussel sports.  The guy behind me in line started talking about them and gave me an entirely different way to make them.  He’s a fan and was excited to meet another person buying this veggie with the bad reputation.

 

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Monday night, I prepped the brussel sprouts according to the BOY’s instructions (apparently he’s an expert after last week).  I placed them in the oven and retreated to the couch to catch up on some E! News while the BOY finished dinner.

 

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The brussel sprouts came out of the oven perfectly seasoned and so delicious, I picked a few off the baking sheet.  We eat a lot of veggies here, and I don’t always remember to share the recipes.  For this reason, I can’t say that I actually measured the ingredients below, so use you’re best judgment and give brussel sprouts another chance!

 

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Brussel Sprouts…Love them or Hate them?

 

 

Parmesan Brussel Sprouts

 

Ingredients (see note above regarding measurements)

3-4 cups brussel sprouts

1/4 cup olive oil

2-3 tbsp graded parmesan cheese

Sea salt to taste

Shaved parmesan

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cover baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.

Wash and dry brussel sprouts.  Slice them in half and place them in a bowl.

Cover sprouts with olive oil, parmesan cheese, and sea salt.  Toss with your hands until well coated and lay sprouts out on baking sheet.

Roast sprouts for 35-40 minutes, mixing at least once.   Note that baking time may be different depending on the size of sprouts, so roast until edges turn brown and become crispy.  Sprinkle with shaved parmesan cheese and return to the oven for a few minutes until cheese just begins to melt.

Eat warm or enjoy as leftovers.

Monday Reflections and Spinach Turkey Burgers

This morning, my trainer and I sat down and talked goals.  I’ve been working out with her for about 2 months and it was time to reassess where we’re at.  Last week, we started talking and it became obvious that I’m not totally dialed in.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I am exercising a few days a week and making some healthy meals, but my weekends are pretty boozy and french fry filled.  For example, this midnight trip to Wiener Circle on Saturday!

 

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It was with that in mind that I reluctantly agreed to let her retake my measurements this morning.  We did circumferential measurements and body fat.  And although my weight is the exact same, I have lost an inch in my middle and almost 3% body fat.  Which was pretty good news.  I was feeling a little lost and misdirected before the appointment and left feeling motivated with a game plan.  And some serious goals to work towards, including strength training at least 2x week and being strong enough to do a pull up.  I wouldn’t typically share these details on the blog, because I know most of you don’t care.  But, I thought the lesson of measuring your success by more than one number was enlightening and an excellent reminder to all of us who put in so much effort each week in the gym and the kitchen that we sometimes forget to celebrate our small victories.

 

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Afterwards, I had some errands to run, most of which included grocery store shopping and of course Costco, where I stocked up on healthy foods and snacks.  I came home for leftover Thai for lunch and then the BOY and I were back at the tennis courts.  We played on Saturday as a make up for last week and I was feeling rusty.  It felt good to be back on the courts today.  We are both doing a little better, I do think I would benefit from another refresher lesson, and I am counting down the days until we can get outside and play in the sunshine.

 

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The BOY and I went to the grocery store on the way home to get food for dinner.  While the BOY worked on his homework this evening, I prepped our turkey burgers.

 

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While we were at Mariano’s, the BOY asked why I wasn’t buying the premade turkey burgers that we like so much.  Great question…right?!  I guess I had planned on trying this recipe and was looking forward to having a few burgers for lunch during the week.  Plus, it takes no time at all to mush together some burgers.

 

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This recipe is really easy and even though it was originally meant to be sliders, it worked perfectly in big burger form.

 

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I should probably tell you that after I made the burgers and prepped the brussel sprouts, I retreated to the couch and let the BOY finish out dinner.  He made the burgers on the grill pan on the stove (I am counting down the days until we can grill outside) and sautéed some mushrooms and onions to add to his burger.

 

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Our entire dinner was easy and satisfying!  It was a real team effort in the kitchen!

 

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How do you celebrate the little victories?

Have you grilled outside yet?

 

Meal Planning 3/24/14

Monday: Spinach Turkey Burgers with Brussel Sprouts

 

Tuesday: Crockpot Tikka Masala from The Wanderlust Kitchen

 

Wednesday: Salmon and Veggies

 

Thursday: Leftovers

 

 

Spinach Turkey Burgers

Adapted from Bon Appetit

 

Ingredients

Flat-leaf spinach, thick stems removed, leaves chopped (about 1 cup)

4 scallions, thinly sliced

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 pound ground turkey

1 teaspoon ground cumin

 

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.  Mix with your hands until well combined.

Form meat into 4 patties.  Place on a paper plate and cover with press and seal.  Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.

Grill burgers on outdoor grill or on indoor griddle for about 8 minutes each side.

Serve with your favorite toppings.

Crockpot Beer Fajitas

Happy last day of winter!

How happy are you?!

 

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Cooper is awaiting spring’s arrival!

 

 

It’s only fitting to mark the end of this horrid winter with a crockpot recipe.  Not that I put my crockpot away now ever, but it just seems like the right thing to do.  Confession: I made this recipe for lunch this week, but it smelled a little boozy (hence the beer in the title), so instead of taking it to work, I ate it for dinner.  Which reminds me that I’m not even sure if I posted our meal plan for the week.  Oh well!  I blame the holiday weekend!

 

Anyways…

 

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Just a warning, use a beer that you like the taste of because while the booze may be gone, the flavor will remain!

 

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Fajitas are always the best and although I like them when the BOY makes them on the grill the best, this is a great rainy day substitution.

 

What was your favorite crockpot recipe this winter?

Share your links! I crockpot all year long!

 

 

 

Crockpot Beer Fajitas

 

Ingredients

1 onion, sliced

2 peppers sliced (I used green and yellow)

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 tasty and flavorful beer* (I used a random ale from our fridge, but I bet a Mexican beer would be great)

2 tbsp taco seasoning

Salt, Pepper, and Garlic (to taste)

 

Directions

Place all ingredients in the crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours until veggies are soft and chicken falls apart easily.  Shred the chicken using 2 forks and return to the crockpot to cook another 30 minutes.

Serve with tortillas and your favorite toppings (for me that’s salsa and avocado!).

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

 

*Note: Feel free to substitute chicken broth, salsa, or water for beer!