D N T R

I woke up early this morning, before my alarm, brushed my teeth, made some tea, and got dressed in layers.  Around 7am, the BOY and I walked outside into the freezing streets of Chicago to clean off my car.

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We drove north towards Montrose Harbor, looking for a place to park as we got close.  When we found a random parking lot, I felt lucky, until I changed out of my boots and into my running shoes and lost feeling in a few of my fingers.

It was so brutal cold that even the pay box didn’t want to operate quickly.  As I skidded along the icy parking lot to figure out my license plate number, it occurred to me that running in this weather over this ice was going to be brutal.  And when it was my turn to pay for parking ($16 for less than 2 hours), it hit me.  Why???  Why run this 10k?

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I could tell you that I was worried about the weather, slipping on the ice, or feeling sick and crappy for the rest of the day.  But the truth…life is just to short to spend your Saturday morning walking along the lake by yourself in freezing cold weather wondering why?!

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So instead…I got back in my car, changed back into my Uggs, and the BOY and I drove straight to breakfast at Bakin&Eggs.  I Decided Not To Run (D N T R).  Sitting together chatting over steaming hot bevvies, I felt strongly that I was exactly where I should be.  Together with my husband, warm and cozy, and appreciating the morning!

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Our food was AMAZING and because we were there so early, we got a discount.  Note: the only other people awake and eating with us were families with young kids.

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We started with a bacon flight and then devoured everything in sight…as if I had spent my morning burning calories on a run and not just dressed like it…ha ha!

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After brekkie, we went back to my brother’s for a much needed nap!  The rest of our day was spent meeting friends at our favorite pizza place for lunch (Spacca Napoli), and then we swung by the BOY’s sister’s on our way home to meet Cooper’s newest cousins.

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These 6 week old kittens are absolutely adorable and so much fun!

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The BOY and I are spending Saturday night at home having date night with wine, Blacklist, and hopefully some games, which makes me super happy!  Am I sad I didn’t race today?  For sure!  I was looking forward to a running along Lake Michigan and testing my speed a bit.  Did I make the right decision?  Yes!  Sometimes, its just not worth it!

Have you ever D N T R?  Why?

This Week’s Eats {and a recipe}

OMG! I found the most amazing cashew butter at the store on Monday. I was actually looking for almond butter (my jar was almost empty) but there weren’t many options and they were CRAZY expensive.  I decided this would do…

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I, of course, tried it immediately when I got home.  Just to check that it was worth the money.  Now, I don’t even have to tell you how delish this is alone on a spoon but even better smothered over a dark chocolate square…Mmm! 

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Wednesday morning, I went to another incredible yoga class.  It’s been a good week for those!  I will have an entire phone of post yoga glow selfies before this week is over.  On a whim, the BOY and I ditched meal planning and ate Wednesday night dinner cuddled in a booth at Coopers Hawk.

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We had an incredible dinner and a macadamia nut truffle for dessert…

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Thursday mornings breakfast looked a lot like this…espresso + whipped cream + cinnamon = a new FAVORITE!!!

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And of course, I devoured a Pancake a la Jen.  This one includes 1 banana, 1 egg, egg whites, 2 tbsp flax, and cinnamon.

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Needless to say, I made it to Friday with another delicious espresso bevvie this morning : )  I brought an oldie back for breakfast.  The occasion…an almost empty jar of almond butter, of course!

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And although it’s a bit late, here is this week’s latest recipe.  I discover recipes in all different places, but this one came via Instagram.  Kind of random, but I am adding to my following of friends and yoga gurus some foodies.  Hence this Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken recipe from The Cookie Rookie.

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I added in a big bag of frozen broccoli because it’s one of my fave veggies in stir fry and I thought it needed some greens.  This recipe was easy and tasty and reheated perfectly for lunch this week.

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What were your favorite eats this week?

Who do you follow on Instagram?

Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken

From The Cookie Rookie

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. bonesless skinless chicken tenders, sliced into small strips
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 bag frozen broccoli
  • 1 cup cashews

Directions

  1. Heat oil on medium high heat in a large skillet. Add chicken and cook each side for 2 minutes until browned.
  2. Place chicken in the slow cooker and top with soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes.
  3. Stir to combine and add in broccoli.
  4. Cook for 2 hours on high or 4 hours on low.
  5. 30 minutes before done, stir in cashews.
  6. Enjoy topped over rice or quinoa!

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!

Sponsored by the Letter Zee

Good Evening Friends!  How goes this short week? 

OVER! Woo hoo!

I left you with a cliff hanger which means that I owe you a recipe.  I actually have a few as this post was sponsored by the letter Zee for Zucchini!  I had 3 zucchini’s hanging in the fridge and now that my oven is fixed, it was time to bake up a quick bread.  I stuck with the cookbook theme of Monday and whipped up this simple bread from Better Homes.

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It was super easy and low fuss!  Since it makes two loaves, I made one plain one and one with dark chocolate chunks. Dark chocolate makes everything better : )

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Even after two loaves of bread, I had some leftover shredded zucchini that I thought would be perfect to add to one of my favorite breakfasts, the quinoa cake.  I kept mine pretty plain and unsweetened, but you could definitely sweeten it up for a more decadent breakfast.

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The only thing I was missing that I wanted to add was walnuts.  Then it would be a zuchhini bread bake : )  Zucchini also made an appearance in my most recent smoothie from the Detoxinista book!

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It’s got cashews, banana, zucchini, cinnamon, and flax…filling and fantastic!

Other Recipes Sponsored by Zee(cchini)

Zucchini Pineapple Bread *Blogger FAVE!

Healthy New Year Soup

Coconut Ginger Zucchini Bread

Turkey and Vegetable Chili

Paleo Zucchini Almond Butter Muffins

Eggplant, Zucchini, and Tomato Tian

 

What is your favorite Zucchini recipe?  Link ‘em up!

Zucchini Bread

From Better Homes Baking

2 loaves

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 2 1/2 cups finely shredded, unpeeled zucchini

  • 1 cup vegetable oil

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (or dark chocolate chunks)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of 2 loaf pans; set aside. In a large bowl stir together flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl combine egg, sugar, shredded zucchini, oil, and vanilla. Add zucchini mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in nuts. Spoon batter into prepared pans.
  3. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack. Wrap and store overnight before slicing.

 

Zucchini Breakfast Quinoa

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1/4 cup shredded zucchini
  • 2 tbsp flax (optional)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (more to taste)
  • 1 egg + 1 egg white
  • Optional: sugar, stevia, banana, maple syrup, or your favorite sweetener!

Directions

Combine all ingredients in microwave safe bowl, sprayed with cooking spray.  Stir to combine. Microwave on high for 3 minutes.  Let cool slightly.  Remove from bowl and top with nut butter, fruit, or maple syrup.

Not Enough Hours

I ran out of hours yesterday…not just to write a blog post but to do a few other important things, like get my oil changed.  Ugh! I dread car maintenance and more because of the time than the price.

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Monday morning’s breakfast was another variation of 2 Ingredient Sweet Potato Pancakes (this time I added in flax and pumpkin pie spice).  They were delicious!

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Then I hit the gym for a seriously intense strength session.  After Sunday’s double workout, I was feeling pretty good and proud of myself…that was until my trainer suggested jump squats: )

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I drove back home, windows down and blasting the Governor’s Ball on Alt Nation, where I scooped up the BOY for our weekly grocery store run.  Before we left, I whipped up a smoothie.

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Into the Blender

1 cup almond milk

1 apple

~1/2 cup beet juice

Handful of Spinach

Few ice cubes

 

I drank my refreshing smoothie as we wound our ways through the aisle of Mariano’s figuring out our meals for the week.  I planned to make curry for Monday night’s dinner using my new French curry powder.

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And planned to let the BOY grill up the rest of this week’s meals.  He ended up doing a lot of the work for the curry, for which I was grateful, as I scrambled around unpacking groceries, prepping lunch, and switching laundry.

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I planned to make a few adjustments to this recipe, but misread the instructions and added in the coconut milk right away.  I will leave the recipe as intended below but note that if you want to make it ahead or are feeling lazy, it works this way too.  I had about a million things running through my head but needed to shower and get out the door.  Meanwhile, my printer wasn’t working and the BOY required my assistance on a cover letter…leaving me to feel that there are just never enough hours in the day.

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I drove into Chicago, battling rush hour and Hawks traffic, for a neat opportunity that you will have to wait to hear about…Sorry Friends!  But there were clear streets and clear skies ahead when I flew back home to suburbia.

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The BOY had just dug into the curry and I was excited to try it.  I have to tell you that this veggie combo is awesome…I’ve never done cauliflower in the crockpot before, but I am a fan.  I think that the recipe could use a bit more spice, but I’m not exactly sure which one.  I had leftovers for lunch today with a a sweet potato and it totally hit the spot.

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I did stay up to watch the Hawks game but was pretty tired by that point, so most of my to do list didn’t get done (and might not until next weekend).  Because today was an extra long work day, which left me thinking…there just aren’t enough hours in the day!

 

What spice do you use in your curry?  Do you run out of hours?

 

Meal Planning 6/08/15

Monday: Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken Curry

Tuesday: Turkey Taco Tuesday

Wednesday: Scallops (chef’s decision)

Thursday: Pork and Veggies

 

Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken Curry

Adapted from Le Creme De La Crumb

Ingredients

  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped

SAUCE

  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups unsweetened coconut milk (or one 14-ounce can + ½ cup chicken broth)
  • 3 tablespoons yellow curry powder 
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • optional: corn starch slurry (see note)

Directions

  1. Add chicken pieces, peppers, cauliflower, and onions to the slow cooker.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together chicken broth, curry powder, cumin, salt, and cayenne pepper if using. Pour mixture into slow cooker and stir to coat chicken and veggies. Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours or on low 4-5 hours.
  3. About 10-15 minutes before serving, stir in coconut milk. Stir just before serving and top with cashews and freshly chopped cilantro.

The Forgotten Weekend

Did you have plans this weekend?

Most of the people I spoke with didn’t, and I think it’s because this was a hidden weekend tucked between Memorial Day and June.  So rare!

The BOY and I started our weekend Friday with date night at Cooper’s Hawk followed by an uneventful game of Monopoly.

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We slept in Saturday morning and woke to a cool, stormy day.  I planned to go for a run and figured that I’d wait for the sun to come out in the afternoon.  The day progressed slowly with a trip to the grocery store, lunch at home, LOTS of wedding talk and decisions, baking a beautiful banana bread (recipe below), and a trip to Kohl’s for more outfit options for engagement photos.  It is so hard to figure out what to wear so that we don’t match but don’t clash for a 52 degree spring day. Ugh!

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By the time we left Kohl’s after 4pm, my stress levels were elevated.  Sadly, the sun never showed up and the rain was still pouring so an outdoor walk was out of the question.  I decided that the best thing to do would be to head to the gym to burn off some negative energy.  The combination of a long and exhausting work week with wedding plans and lack of exercise/yoga had be feeling edgy.  I knew I’d feel so much better after some laps around the indoor track!

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And I was right!  I did a track ‘Tabata’ workout consisting of 6 minute runs and 3 minute intervals (10 seconds on/20 second recovery x6 times).  Each sprint got faster and faster as I felt better and more energized.  When I got back home, the BOY was making beer can chicken for dinner, which turned out fantastic!  We had a quiet night at home watching the Blackhawk’s game (which they won…woo hoo!).

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Sunday morning, I was excited to go to yoga. I haven’t been in a few weeks due to illness and scheduling, and I knew I needed a tough physical and emotionally cleansing class.  For breakfast, I used the leftover sweet potato from last night’s dinner to whip up some 2 Ingredient Pancakes (+ flax). 

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I was winging the portions a bit but they turned out absolutely delicious!

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My yoga class was positively fantastic!  The teacher talked a bunch about giving to ourselves so that we can give to others and slowing down to connect with our breath.  It was exactly what I needed to feel more grounded and ready for the day ahead.

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When I got back home, the BOY and I made breakfast for lunch (brunch?), and then I tried on no less than 23 outfits for our engagement pictures.  I ran out of time to make a decision because I needed to run out the door for my scheduled mani/pedi.  When I got home, it was time to finish my hair and get my make up done.

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Man, I wish I had someone to do this every weekend!  The BOY and I took our pictures at the park near our house where we play tennis. We took a few fun ones on the swings and tennis courts and then the more ‘serious’ ones near the prairie at sunset.

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After freaking out about these pics all week, I ended up in jeans and a white shirt I’ve had for years.  Go figure!  Although it was freezing, we had a lot of fun!  Afterwards, we grabbed a late dinner of beer and pizza.  I couldn’t let that awesome make up go to waste : )  It was another wonderful weekend, and I can’t wait to see ALL of our engagement photos!  And…I can’t believe that our wedding is just 131 days away!

 

What did you end up doing with your forgotten weekend?

 

Chocolate and Walnut Banana Bread

From Hoosier Homemade

Ingredients

  • 2 cups MINUS 2 tablespoons Flour
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ½ teaspoon Salt
  • ½ cup Oil (I like Safflower oil)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3 very ripe Bananas, mashed
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • ½ cup Walnuts, chopped
  • ½ cup Chocolate Chips

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a bread pan with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, sift together dry ingredients; flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.  Add oil and eggs, one at a time. Beat after each addition. Add mashed banana and vanilla, beat well.  Fold in nuts and chocolate chips.

Pour into pan.  Bake at 350 degrees – regular loaf 50-60 minutes or mini loaves 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

 

2 Ingredient Sweet Potato Pancakes (with flax)

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1 egg + 1 egg white
  • 1/2 medium sweet potato (about 100g)
  • 15g ground flax seed

Directions

Place all ingredients in a blender/food processor or blend in bowl with hand mixer (this is what I did) until mixed well.

Pour onto preheated skillet with coconut oil or cooking spray.  Cook about 5-6 minutes.  Then flip for 3-4 minutes.

Top with nut butters, syrup, or fruit!

Not a Moment to Spare

I jammed so much into this past weekend that there wasn’t a moment to spare…like I haven’t even been to the grocery store and we have no food.  Now, to be fair, the weekend was really short!  I worked Saturday morning, which as always, was SUPER fun!

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We did a superhero theme for the littlest ones, which they loved. We were the Super Yogi’s spreading peace to everyone (plus fighting off some bad guys with punches…their idea and peace signs…my idea).  Then it was on to the seesaw hamstring stretch for my older group followed by some amazing acro yoga with the last crew.  After yoga, I raced home to eat a quick lunch and await the arrival of my family for our fun, family tennis date.

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It all started because my dad has been interested in getting back into tennis.  The BOY and I haven’t played since last summer and although we are rusty, we were exited to get back on the court this spring.  Since my brother was out visiting my parents, he tagged along too allowing us to play doubles.  We are all equally bad at tennis, but good enough to keep a game going.  We played for 2 hours, knowing we’d probably all be sore the next day, while my mom went for a walk and took pictures.

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From the tennis courts, we went to the last of the three stores where we are registering for pots, pans, and fingers crossed some gorgeous Le Creuset pieces.  On the way home, we swung by the Jewel to pick up dinner.  Saturday night, we BBQed and my brother came to hang out with us.

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I was up early Sunday morning because my mom came to get me for another trip to the salt spa.  We started with a stretch and meditation class.  Recently, I have been reading and listening to podcasts about meditation and was excited to give it a go.

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We followed that with 45 minutes in the salt cave…see our attempt at a salt cave selfie!  And then lunch and a little bit of shopping, where we of course picked up some Himalayan salt.

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I got back home just in time to have a quick snack and get myself organized for trip number 2 to Bed Bath and Beyond for more gun shooting fun.  I should admit that the BOY and I are NOT gun shy.  We register for a whole lot of everything, and then I have to come home and organize things online.

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Last night, we closed down the bed bath and beyond and were way too tired to do the planned upon grocery store shopping.  Instead, we swung by Chipotle and arrived back home around 8pm with enough time for me to fold a little laundry, tame our online registries, and cuddle with Cooper.  Prior to realizing how nuts the weekend was going to be, I had plans to bring ya’ll some recipes this weekend.  Instead, I prepared some Overnight Quinoa in a Jar (basically overnight oats with quinoa instead of oats) and crashed into bed.

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This morning, I started my week off early with a 6am hot yoga class. 

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#postyogaglow

When I got home, Cooper dove right into the fridge in search of my oats (he LOVES almond butter).

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And then tried to eat my breakfast before I could scarf it down.  Ugh!  Then I left the BOY and Cooper back home and headed off to work.  I am working Monday this week instead of Friday (hence the super short weekend and lack of food in our fridge).  The BOY ordered Thai for dinner tonight…which was his idea of cooking dinner : )  Luckily, there will be enough leftover for me to take for lunch tomorrow since I’m exhausted and heading to bed.

Looking forward to next weekend with (hopefully) a few extra moments to spare!

 

What did you pack into your weekend?

What do you do when you don’t go to the grocery store?