Shine On!

Yesterday, we did a HUGE spring cleaning.  I went through closets and cabinets and ended up donating more than 3 full garbage bags of clothes.  The BOY needed a little convincing as he really doesn’t see the purpose in spring cleaning, but after relocating a few ‘lost’ items, he was eagerly engaged.  For me, purging my closets felt incredible and made room for some of the new spring clothes I’ve already bought : )


Our weekend is not your typical Easter weekend, but I look forward to it each year.  A beautiful sunny weekend with no plans…count me in for that!  Having a successful Saturday, I still had a little more cleaning and organizing to do.  But what I was really looking forward to on Sunday was a yoga class and a facial.  Although I accomplished a lot yesterday, I didn’t get my bike down and out and therefore, didn’t get in a workout.  It felt amazing to get back into the studio this morning!  The class was challenging and a spiritual and physical cleanse.  During our final relaxation, the instructor gave a fun analogy comparing us to gold to which he concluded, ‘shine on this week!’  I loved it!  We should all SHINE ON this week!




I had my heart set on Protein Bar (quinoa is okay on Passover!) for lunch, but they were closed.  Luckily, Potbelly next door was open and their new Mediterranean salad did not disappoint.  I only had a few minutes for lunch before heading over to the spa.




I was in need of a post winter facial and decided to use a few dollars from my tax refund to treat myself.




It was the BEST facial complete with a head, neck, arm, and foot massage.  It was absolutely divine!  I was even more relaxed and my skin was shining when I was finished and emerged back outside into the sunshine.  Although there was a short line at the Starbucks, I waited to sip down an extra large passion/green tea.  The perfect way to end my selfishly relaxing day!




Next up…

I have to pack!  I am working again tomorrow to make up for my weekend trip to Florida.

Believe it or not…it’s Grandpa Al’s 102nd Birthday!



Five for Friday XXI

1.  I know I didn’t post very much this week.  That is because I haven’t really cooked since Monday and have been living on leftovers.  I also haven’t done much exercise and then cancelled tonight’s tennis time.



2.  I ended up canceling tonight’s tennis because I just wasn’t feeling it and after a long week, neither was the BOY.  What ended up happening was that my parents drove out to drop something off and we ended up having an awesome grilled Friday night dinner.





3.  Due to Passover, our meal was pretty basic…chicken, broccoli, and potatoes, but it was FANTASTIC!  The grill really does make everything taste better!





4.  BTW, don’t you love the BOY’s new shirt that I picked up in Peoria last weekend  Also, it snowed again this week!





5.  This weekend is all about spring cleaning and relaxation (I have a facial scheduled on Sunday).  I can’t wait!

Happy Friday Friends!

Citrus Honey Glazed Vegetables

So yesterday, I went to every grocery store in town and then a few in other towns.  I arrived home with a car full of food, to which the BOY replied.  ‘Why do we need all that food?  It’s Passover…won’t we just eat my mom’s leftovers?’


IMG_20140413_173026686 IMG_20140413_173032228_HDR


Welcome to my world people!

Last night, I got started on my Passover baking with some Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies and Banana Bread.  The banana bread just might be how I survive the week!  I also made a batch of Date and Almond TrufflesAnd let’s not forget a large batch of Matzah Toffee.



That left the heartier foods for today.  I started with everyone’s favorite Fruit Compote and then got started on the veggies.  I was considering roasting a huge batch of asparagus, but instead decided to try something a little different.




I went with Citrus Honey Glazed Vegetables, a recipe I found online.  This recipe has a few of my favorite veggies (sweet potato, carrot, and parsnips) and a new (to me) veggie, orange beets.  I found these guys to be super dirty and challenging to transport (they made a huge mess in my shopping cart), but in the end I had a beautiful, yet fairly monochromatic, array of diced vegetables.




I followed the directions for my glaze and since I didn’t have a big enough bowl, I used a huge Dutch oven.




Unfortunately, I don’t think that I am a good tosser and did not get everything coated evenly.  This left a lot of citrusy honey on my second baking sheet, which not surprisingly burned, instead of glazed.




My other and luckily larger pan turned out well though and so there are more than enough veggies to share at tonight’s dinner.  I did toss the veggies with Kosher salt throughout as I felt they needed a little extra flavor.




I’m hoping that everyone likes this new Passover side!  If not, I also made a Matzah Kugel with addition of some of my Israel seasonings!




This is the kind of recipe that you can easily add into your rotation of sides year round and you certainly don’t have to be celebrating Passover to enjoy!



Citrus Honey Glazed Vegetables

From The Shiksa in the Kitchen


    2 large sweet potatoes – about 2 lbs total

    3 large yellow beets (about 1 1/2 lbs total)

    1 lb carrots

    1 lb parsnips

    1/2 cup honey

    2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

    1 tbsp orange juice

    2 tsp grated orange zest

    Salt and pepper

    Kosher salt



    Place racks in the upper third and lower third of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with foil. Cut the vegetables into 1 1/2-inch chunks.

    In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the honey, olive oil, orange blossom water or orange juice, and grated orange zest.

    Place the cut vegetables into a large mixing bowl and toss them with the honey mixture till evenly coated.

    Spread the vegetables out evenly across the two cookie sheets, making sure to leave space between the vegetables. Don’t overcrowd the pans. Sprinkle the vegetables lightly with Kosher salt and black pepper.

    Cover both sheets with another layer of foil. Place the sheets into the oven. Let the vegetables cook for 35 minutes. Halfway through cooking, uncover and stir the vegetables, recover, then switch the baking sheets on their racks.

    After 35 minutes, uncover the baking sheets and stir the vegetables again gently. Allow the vegetables to roast another 10-15 minutes till they are glazed and caramelized.

    Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Serve warm. These vegetables can be made ahead early in the day, then reheated in the oven or microwave just before serving.

Pinning for Passover

Despite Passover’s bad rep on the recipe front, I’ve found some real keepers over these past few years.  Seriously, my mouth waters thinking about this Matzah Toffee!




Since Passover coincides with tax day this year, I volunteered to help with dinner prep.  It helps that Passover is a Monday so I have more than enough time to cook and bake.  Don’t get me wrong…I’m not making the soup (that’s my dad’s job), or the brisket either, but I thought I could find some fun new sides and desserts.  I turned to Pinterest for help…




Apple Cinnamon Charoset with Candied Walnuts

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Baked BBQ Sweet Potato Chips

Roasted Eggplant Dip






Slow Cooker Brisket with Potatoes and Carrots

Matzo Meal ‘Breaded’ Chicken

Matzah Ball Pot Pie

Matzo Lasagna


Matzo Mac & Cheese

Sweet Cheese Blintzes




Potato Kugel Gratin

Caramelized Onion Sriracha Potato Kugel Casserole

Perfect Potato Kugel

Roasted Mushroom Quinoa Risotto

Passover Carrot Ring




Fudgy Chocolate Walnut cookies

Brown Sugar Orange Macaroons

Spiced Apple Cake

Hungry Rabbit


Mom’s Chocolate Chip Merengues

Passover Magic Bars

Lemony Almond Macaroons



For after your Seder, to survive the week…

Dark Chocolate Coconut Banana Matzah Brei

Roasted Strawberry Almond Flour Muffins

Skillet Matzo Brei with Cinnamon Apples and Raisins

Skillet Matzo Brei with Cinnamon, Apple, and Raisins

Martha Stewart



What’s on your Passover Menu?


Here are a just few more of my favorite Passover recipes!

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cookies {with Chocolate Chips}



I am spending my Saturday in Peoria, visiting a friend (plus her new baby) and touring my old college campus.  I am willing to guess that much has changed in the 10 plus years since I graduated and I can’t wait to check it out!




Even though I’m gone, I am rounding out the week with another awesome recipe…this time for dessert!


IMG_1403 IMG_1405

IMG_1406 IMG_1408

IMG_1413 IMG_1417


I was still in the mood for cookies, and so cookies I baked!  With my lovely kitchen assistant of course : )




Actually, he wasn’t much help at all, but my cookies still turned out super soft and delicious!




This recipe is a Pinterest find and I added in some chocolate chips for taste and texture (which I highly recommend!).




These cookies were a huge hit with my coworkers who loved the mild cheesecake addition to your typical peanut butter cookie!




Happy Saturday!!!!


This week in recipe awesomeness…

Grilled Romaine

Steel Cut Overnight Oats

Strawberry, Kiwi, and Kale Juice

Crockpot Green Chicken Curry

Loaded Oatmeal Cookies




Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cookies

From Pixie Dust Kitchen



8 oz Cream Cheese, at room temperature

¾ C Creamy Peanut butter

¾ C Brown sugar

¼ C granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

2 C all purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 generous cup of chocolate chips (optional but recommended)



Cream cream cheese peanut butter, sugars, and vanilla. Add in eggs one at a time, mixing until combined.

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, salt, and soda. Mix into wet ingredients until just combined.

Let chill in fridge for 1 hour or up to two days.

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

Scoop 2 tbs size balls onto cookie sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. (Even if the middles look overdone, they will continue to cook and set up as they cool.) Let cool on cookie sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling wrack.

Cookies will keep for 2 weeks. Store in an airtight container.

Crockpot Green Chicken Curry

This week’s lunch was fantastic!

Despite the warming temperatures, I still busted out the crockpot for a simple and satisfying lunch.




And to make an already easy recipe, even easier, I went with the frozen veggies.




I threw everything into the crockpot…


IMG_1389 IMG_1390

IMG_1391 IMG_1392


And waited for the deliciousness.

Usually, I eat leftovers all week long and am less enthused by Friday.  But not with this lunch!




I was more than happy to reheat my curry for the 4th day in a row and everyone made a comment about how amazing it smelled (for the 4th day in a row).




The BOY and I had a super fun Friday night date night at the tennis courts.  After a long week, I am more than happy to collapse onto my couch with a glass of red wine and a few squares of dark chocolate.




Also…I added some of the professional pictures from my Aerial Yoga class to my blog post.  They are super cool, so check them out!



Crockpot Green Chicken Curry

From Eat, Live, Run



1 small eggplant, peeled and diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

2 cups green beans, cut into 2 inch slices (or 1 bag of frozen green beans)

1 bag frozen butternut squash, cubed (not thawed)

1 yellow onion

2 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces

1 13.5 oz can light coconut milk

3 tbsp green curry paste

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

3/4 tsp salt

1 tsp fish sauce

1 tsp sugar

juice of 1 lime



In the Crockpot, place the diced eggplant, bell pepper, green beans, onion, ginger and chicken. In a small bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, cayenne pepper, green curry paste, sugar, fish sauce and salt. Pour this over the chicken mixture in the Crockpot.

Turn heat to high and cook for 3 hours. Right before serving, add the fresh lime juice. Serve over brown rice. And be prepared to share!

Freeze your leftovers.