Halloween! HallowClean!

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We had some non traditional Halloween plans today…cleaning!!!

Over the past few weeks, life has been moving quickly and we’ve been accumulating stuff and creating piles to be addressed ‘later’.  After the last few weekends of fun and travel, this was our first quiet weekend at home. So when everyone asked what my exiting weekend plans were this week, my only answer was it’s official house cleaning weekend.  Woo hoo!

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Before the cleaning, we were up early this morning for another joint workout.

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It was brutal but awesome, and the BOY discovered that he hates the ropes : )

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After our workout, the BOY requested some down time.  We found ourselves drooling over the delicious meals cooked on the Food Network (a old-new favorite we recently rediscovered) and making lists of all the things we were going to cook this weekend.

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I made a post workout snack for the BOY of apples and peanut butter and was inspired by my Everyday Detox cookbook and the gorgeous apples we bought in Door County to make a smoothie (recipe below!) for me.

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Then we got down to work…

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After a few more cuddles.  We started upstairs with bedrooms and bathrooms.  Then took a quick lunch break before tackling the kitchen (and setting up our amazing new wine fridge).

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For hydration (and motivation), we sipped on Door County Cider.

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At 3pm, we were ready for trick or treaters despite getting no more than 10 in the past 5 years that I’ve lived here.  We got Cooper all set in his costume…just in case we got anyone : )

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As I said on Instagram, there is nothing funnier than a really mad cat in a shark costume…except the one who rides around on a Roomba!

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Seriously, we never have any trick or treators so I only got two bags of candy (with plans to turn the rest into ice cream toppings).  Despite the rain, we were out before the first hour, but I found some other fun stuff in our pantry to give out.  When our Thai food arrived, I thought he was a trick or treator and tried to hand him a granola bar instead of my credit card…LOL!  No Joke!  We stopped cleaning and shut down during dinner to dig into Chicken Curry and Basil Fried Rice (YUM!) while finally sitting down for some football.

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We sipped on beer and LaMarca and decided to be done with the cleaning for the day.  There is much more to do tomorrow, but luckily, we have an entire extra hour to do it!

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What did you do this Halloween?

What will you do with our extra hour?

 

Fresh Apple Pie Smoothie

Ingredients

1 large handful spinach

1 cup coconut/almond milk

1-1.5 small apples, diced

1 scoop vanilla protein powder

Generous toss of apple pie spice (or cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice)

Ice

Directions

Combine the milk, spinach, and apples and use ‘food chop’ or low setting to combine.

Then add the rest of the ingredients, expect ice, and blend on high.   Taste to determine need for more/less spice.

Add ice and blend on high until smooth.

Enjoy immediately!

Very Bad News

Did I tell you about the time before the wedding when I called the BOY at work and said in my most dramatic voice that I had ‘Very bad news’?  His mind immediately went to our family, ‘Is everyone okay?’ and then to the wedding ‘Did the DJ quit?

No, I told him with continued sadness.  My crockpot is broken…

Obviously, he laughed at me and told me that he had to go back to work, not quite experiencing or appreciating my level of pain.

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But my pain was real, and I had no idea what to do with my cracked crockpot base?!  Of course, I used it to make my planned chili and then sent off an email to All Clad having no idea what they’d say.  They responded immediately requesting more information and pictures. 

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I showed them the damage with a heart felt plea to help (I mean this isn’t that old of a crockpot) and the day before the wedding got the most unexpected gift…an email stating a new liner would be on it’s way in 10-14 days.  I happily returned from Door County to find my new crockpot base and immediately unpacked it, washed it, and put it to work. 

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All of this fall weather had me craving tortilla soup, so I found this recipe on my way back from Wisconsin and was ready to pick up ingredients when we stopped at the store.  Unfortunately, I forgot to get a new container of chicken broth.

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Fortunately, I had about 2 cups left in my fridge.  I made a few changes to the original recipe (no corn, a little extra chicken, and the broth situation), and was floored with how flavorful this hearty soup turned out.

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I ate it for lunch this week with a farm fresh sweet potato and smothered in avocado…Mmm!  And then the BOY and I had it for dinner tonight. He raved about the flavor and I am bummed that I don’t have a better picture for you.  But I guess a picture won’t really show you how tasty this soup is so you’ll just have to trust me and try it for yourselves!  Happy Fall Friday!

More Fall Favorites

Chicken Posole Crockpot Soup

Crockpot Chickpea, Butternut Squash, and Red Lentil Stew

Crockpot Vegetarian Chili

Jen’s Jumbo

Poblano Turkey Sausage Chili

Thank goodness for my new crockpot liner…

What’s your favorite fall soup? 

What kitchen appliance would you be most upset about breaking?

Tortilla Chicken Soup

Adapted Slightly From Skinny Mom

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used 1 1/2)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 15-ounce can reduced sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • Two, 10-ounce cans Ro*Tel® Original Mile Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies
  • 4.5-ounce can chopped green chilies
  • 1-ounce less sodium taco seasoning
  • 32-ounces Pacific® Organic Low Sodium Chicken Broth (I only used 16 ounces)
  • *Optional toppings like cheese, tortilla strips, or avocado

Directions

  1. Place the chicken on the bottom of slow cooker, sprayed with cooking spray.
  2. Add the onion, black beans, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, green chilies, taco seasoning, and chicken broth. Stir to combine.
  3. Cover and cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.
  4. Remove the chicken and shred. Return the shredded chicken to the slow cooker and mix well.
  5. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and, garnish with optional toppings.

MiniMooners

After the absolute excitement and craziness of a wedding, there was only one place we wanted to be…

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Door County, Wisconsin!

We drove up Friday afternoon and after a quick stop at a winery for a tasting, checked into our adorable room complete with a kitchen and fireplace.  We didn’t stay long before heading further up north for Friday night fish fry.  Not surprisingly, there was a wait, so we found a comfortable spot on a bench at the bar across the street, Wisconsin beer in hand.  There is no place more relaxing than DC!

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Even though the weather was raining on and off, we had the most wonderful 4 days.  We caught some gorgeous fall colors and ate ourselves silly with all the delicious food.  We hiked through Peninsula State Park and walked through Cave Point and Newport State Park.

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The waves on the Lake Michigan coast were intense!  And we built our first rock structure along the shore.

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We sampled cheese, bread, wine, and Island Orchard Hard Cider

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We drank coffee, hot chocolate, and tea and ate pie, cookies, donuts, and fudge.  We visited our favorite pizza place (twice)!

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We visited old favorites and discovered some amazing new places (ie farm fresh meats and fresh picked apples).  And when the rain came pouring down, we gathered around the fireplace to play games and drink champagne.

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I shopped the markets and stores and had two peaceful morning runs through the state park.

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It was the perfect long weekend of rest and play…

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For my new husband and I!

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Five for Friday XXXV

1. I’m sorry it’s been so long since I’ve done a Friday post (although this last Cooper edition is pretty cute).  In fact, I’m sorry I’ve been a not-so-good blogger in general lately.

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2.  It’s Friday and that makes me VERY happy!  Especially this particular Friday because the BOY and I are leaving for our mini moon in Door County after this morning’s joint gym session.

 

3. I’m super excited to welcome pumpkin season!  Have you had your PSL or Pumpkin Blizzard yet?

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Even better, the BOY’s homemade pumpkin ice cream!  He nailed it on the first try!

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4.  Exciting news…we booked our January honeymoon.  Can’t wait to share all the details!

 

5. I only have one sneak peak photo from our photographer and I am obsessed.  A HUGE thank you to the incredibly talented woman who created my look, Jaycie, and our fun, and amazing photographer, Gisselle!

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What’s going on with you guys this Friday?

What We’ve Been Up To This Week

Thank you to my friends, family, and readers for your patience, support, and encouragement during these last 15 months.  Our engagement time was incredible and it was so fun to share our wedding excitement with you!

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The BOY (a few of you asked if I was changing his blog title…I considered the MR. or HUBBY, but I think I’m going to keep it the BOY) and I spent last Monday doing a whole lot of nothing.  It was a pizza and PJ’s kind of day combined with the Lifetime 90210 movie and of course Cooper cuddles.

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We did drag ourselves out of the house for one last family dinner with my relatives in from NY and Florida.  It was so fun to spend the night hearing about their Chicago adventures and recapping the stories of the wedding once again.  It was so fun to have everyone in town and I was sad to see them go.

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The rest of the week whizzed by as we adjusted to being back at work.  I caught up on sleep…woo hoo!  I got our new bedding all set up (including the adorable blanket my patient’s mom knit for us). I binge watched UnREAL.  I put my crockpot to work and meal planned.  I didn’t do a whole lot of exercise or much of anything else.  My computer keyboard stopped working for a bit, which is why you haven’t heard from me much.

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Saturday morning, the BOY and I got back into our workout routine with strength training at the gym.  We had a super fun Saturday hanging out with my family and celebrating my dad’s retirement while watching the Cubs vs Mets baseball game.

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I partied way too hardy for my 34 year old body but had a blast drinking beer and playing darts at the bar until 2am.  I paid for it Sunday, but the BOY and I still managed to do our grocery store run and meal plan for the week.  I wasn’t able to find the chili recipe that I like for Buffalo Chili, but found a new one to try instead.

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It turned out good, but  THIS is still one of my favorites!  I also baked up a delicious fall pumpkin bread while the BOY made pumpkin ice cream…Mmm!  I turned in early Sunday night to catch up on more sleep AND because I am working tomorrow.

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I work Monday through Thursday and then Friday the BOY and I are going on a mini moon to Door County, Wisconsin.

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What have you been doing?

Skinny Buffalo Chicken Chili

From The Skinny Fork

Ingredients
1 Lb. Ground Chicken Breast
1 Medium White Onion, Chopped
1 C. Celery, Chopped
1 C. Carrots, Chopped
1 C. Cauliflower Florets
2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
2 C. Sodium Free Chicken Broth
1 14.5 Oz. Can Diced Tomatoes (No Salt Added), Undrained
1 15 Oz. Can Cannellini Beans, Drained & Rinsed
1/2 C. Hot Sauce (I used a chipotle flavor.)
1 Tsp. Ground Cumin
1 Tsp. Chili Powder
1 Tsp. Paprika
1/2 Tsp. Ground Oregano
1/4 Tsp. Cayenne

Directions

Brown the chicken in as skillet.  Toss the cooked chicken and the rest of the ingredients together into a crock pot.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours.  Top with blue cheese, avocado, chips or whatever you like!

{10-10-15} Best Day Ever

I’ve totally become that girl who believes her wedding was the BEST ONE EVER!  Who knew I had it in me?!  After all of the planning and excitement, I was a bit fearful that I had overhyped the day.  Turns out, that the day totally blew me away.  It exceeded my expectations in so many ways!

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The celebration began Friday around 3pm when we turned the hotel lobby into our own private happy hour and continued through Sunday night into the evening at the BBQ hosted by my parents.  There was so much fun and excitement that I could barely sleep in between : )

Saturday started with a tasty and power packed breakfast in my suite with my mom.

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Followed by a yoga class.

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Then I took a nice long soak in the tub.  NOTE: Our hotel suite was INCREDIBLE!

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Around noon, the girls got together for coffee, lunch, hair and makeup.

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The time FLEW by and then next thing I knew…it was my turn!

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When my flowers arrived, I was floored by how sensation the colors and design turned out.

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I heard from a few people who peaked that the room set up was going well too and I was excited to see it.  Around 3pm, my mom helped me into my dress and my heart was pounding as I took the elevator up to the 12th floor for our first look.  I hadn’t seen or talked to the BOY all day and was eager to continue our journey together.  It was a special moment for the two of us (of course captured by our photogs) and then we joined our good looking bridal party for a shuttle ride to a near by park with gorgeous trees and bright yellow barns…and apparently every high schooler going to homecoming in the county : )

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Hopefully I won’t have to wait too long to see our professional pics.  I saw a few that day and I am obsessed!  When we returned to the hotel, we snuck in the back and rode the elevator back up to the 12th floor for family pictures.

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It was windy but beautiful as the sun was setting in the backdrop.

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After pictures, it was time to move forward with our ceremony.

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And the next thing I knew…we were married!!!

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We had some alone time to enjoy appetizers before entering our festive wine themed cocktail hour.

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The cocktail hour décor turned out phenomenal!  I wasn’t exactly sure what it would look like and it floored me to walk in and see the room transformed into our favorite vacation place where we got engaged last year.

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The evening began and progressed way to quickly through thoughtful speeches, a delicious buffet dinner of tacos, stirfry, and BBQ, wild and crazy photo booth pictures, first dances, an extended Horah, mouth watering dessert (pie, popcorn, and caramel cheesecake), and dancing until the wee hours.

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I tried to talk to everyone and soak up every moment, appreciating all the time and personalized touches that went into planning this memorable wedding day AND all of the people who were thrilled to celebrate our love with us!

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At the end of the evening (or should I say early in the morning), we finally had some time to decompress as the BOY helped me pick bobby pins out of my hair and we recapped one of the most exciting days of our lives!  What can I say…it was the BEST DAY EVER!

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