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!!!

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.

Almost Summer Saturday

Hey There!  Happy Saturday! 

It is feeling more and more like summer, which always puts me in a GREAT mood!  And although I haven’t blogged about it, I’ve been busy!

Exercise Updates:

I had a highly successful week of exercise, including a Tuesday morning walk with the BOY and Thursday morning ab work after my run.  You’ll notice I had some competition for my yoga mat.

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This morning, I was psyched to go to (instead of teach) yoga!  It was a super humid class and we worked our way into birds of paradise.  Note: using a block is helpful but you will not master this pose with wicked tight hips.  Also note…you can still have a lot of fun with it.

 

Almost Summer Stuff

With the warm (almost) summer temps, brings crisp and delicious white wines.  I indulged twice this week (two more times than my typical work week).  Once during Wednesday night’s Hawks game with an awesome Cooper’s Hawk blend.  And then again Thursday during sushi night!

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Summer is also accompanied by No Bake summer recipes and So You Think You Can Dance!  Woo hoo!  After  yoga, I brought in Mediterranean for lunch and began watching the new season of SYTYCD as I worked my way through my never ending to do list. 

 

Recipes

We are having friends over for a BBQ tonight and keeping our fingers crossed that the weather stays nice.  The BOY is grilling up shrimp and calamari…Mmm!  I decided I wanted to make a tasty no bake dessert.

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I settled on a Twix Caramel Apple Salad (from Pinterest)!

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I adjusted the recipe a bit because I had almond milk instead of dairy milk, but I think it is just as tasty. 

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Cooper kept watch from his perch in the cabinet!

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Once dessert was settled in the fridge, I decided to make a banana bread with my brown bananas.  As always, I went searching for a new recipe to try.

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I made a slight mistake…adding in lemon extract thinking it was almond.  Oops! I was able to scoop the majority of it out.  But although the plan was to freeze this bread for next weekend, I wanted to sneak a taste to make sure it wasn’t too lemony.

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The lemon flavor was non existent and this bread was absolutely amazing!!!  It took a whole bunch of will power not to dig into the entire loaf : )

 

Saturday Night

Our BBQ was really fun! Our friends brought their almost 2 year old daughter and we were able to blow bubbles and draw with chalk outside before sitting down for some fantastic grilled seafood, roasted potatoes and savory salad.  Dessert was a big hit too!

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And now it’s time to settle in and watch the Blackhawk’s game.  The neighborhood is alive with energy, but unfortunately, I have a splitting headache, so I am missing out on the rest of the festivities.

 

What do you like about summer Saturdays?

 

Twix Caramel Apple Salad

Adapted Slightly From iSave AtoZ

Ingredients

  • 1 small package of instant Vanilla Pudding
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 small tub of whipping cream (I used TruWhip)
  • 1 package of TWIX Bites
  • 2 Granny Smith Apples
  • Optional: Caramel or Chocolate sauce

Directions

  1. Whisk together milk and pudding and then immediately add the tub of whipping cream in it before it sets. Don’t use the full amount of milk as the box says.
  2. Dice the TWIX Bites into halves.  Dice the Granny Smith apples.  Stir them into the pudding mixture, and mix all the ingredients together.
  3. Allow it to set in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Optional: Drizzle with Caramel or Chocolate sauce before serving it.

 

Best Banana Bread

From An Edible Mosaic

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1½ cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
  • ⅓ cup plain low-fat yogurt (or sour cream)
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • ½ teaspoon pure almond extract (NOT lemon!)
  • Cooking spray

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
  3. Place the sugar and butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 1 minute). Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the banana, yogurt, vanilla extract, vanilla bean paste, and almond extract; beat until blended. Add the flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moist.
  4. Spoon batter into an 8½ x 4½-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
  5. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

OMG…It’s June 1st!

So…I had a LOT of returns to make today!  I mentioned yesterday that after ordering every adorable shirt, tank, and dress that I could get my hands on online, I ended up wearing jeans, an old white shirt, and an even older jacket (that I’ve had since before I met the BOY) for our engagement photos.

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I didn’t sleep well last night, which is most likely due to late night pizza and beer.  I got a bunch done this morning before meeting my trainer at 10am.  I haven’t seen him in 3-4 weeks because I was sick and then it was Memorial day.  I was feeling a little bit soft and was psyched to get my muscles pumping.

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Afterwards, I picked up the most delicious lunch at Protein Bar and then began making multiple returns.  I arrived back home with groceries for the week ahead…lots of greens to support my clean eating goal.

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I threw tomorrow’s dinner into the crockpot and then got a spring cleaning bug and attacked the pantry.  And then the office and a few other drawers and shelves.  My tuperware cabinet looks AWESOME!

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Check out Cooper trying to help with the cleaning…

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Either that or he’s looking for treats : )  I spent the afternoon working through my to do list while the BOY grilled up a mouth watering slab or ribs.

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After dinner, I made bags of pre cut veggies and fruit cups and a big pot of quinoa.  And then, per usual, I crashed on the couch to watch a few Castle reruns. I have a feeling it will be an early night for me!  It’s crazy that it’s already June…I am looking forward to all of the fun to come this summer and feel so much better now that I got a bunch of cleaning and chores done.

 

How was your June 1st?  Do you spring clean?

 

Meal Planning 6/01/15

Monday: BBQ Ribs and Mushrooms

Tuesday: Crockpot Green Curry

Wednesday: Turkey Meatballs

Thursday: Leftovers

Inhale the Future

It was well worth it to take the month of March off from goals.  My plate was full and my brain needed a bit of a break.  But now…I am looking ahead and excited to work towards improving my physical and emotional self!

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April Goals

Begin tri training (including swimming)

Play tennis

Cook healthy and delicious meals

Spring Clean

Create powerful and fun kids yoga classes

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What are your April goals?

 

The only way I can describe this past weekend is NON-STOP!

Saturday morning was the first day of spring yoga. I had 3 classes back to back.  It was so much fun to be back doing yoga with the kids!  We had some past participants and a few new kids.  Overall, it is an extraordinary group, which makes my job easy and exciting.

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After yoga, I grabbed the BOY and I lunch at Jimmy John’s and had about 40 minutes to eat and change before going to the gym for a 3 hour self defense for runners seminar.  I run, mostly by myself, so I thought it would be important to have a few techniques up my sleeve.   I did learn some efficient ways to defend myself, but I also learned that I need to practice these skills.  When the seminar ended, I raced out the door to go home for a shower.  The BOY and I had #datenight plans with one of my friends and her husband.  The 4 of us downed some fantastic sushi and had a wonderful evening of laughter and catching up.

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We had one more stop after dinner to swing by and wish Happy Birthday to the BOY’s sisters boyfriend before coming home and playing Mario Brothers on the Wii.  The BOY was hungry (I have no idea how after all that sushi) and ordered pizza, which Cooper stalked like a pro.  Who doesn’t love that Papa John’s garlic butter sauce?  It reminds me of college!

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Sunday morning I slept in and started the day with a long cuddle with an adorable kitty.  After that, it was off to brunch in the city, then downtown to check out bridesmaid dresses at BHLDN, and then post shopping tea with my mom, SIL, and a friend followed by a quick stop at Whole Foods on the way home.  This morning, I met my trainer for a serious training session and then some friends for lunch and shopping.  I picked up the CUTEST leggings at Lulu (on sale, of course)!  After shopping, I stopped by the BRAND NEW Trader Joe’s in town.  I am so excited to finally have one!

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Since I didn’t end up making everything as planned last week, I moved a few recipes to this week, including the Baked Teriyaki Chicken from The Recipe Critic.

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Served with roasted veggies.

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And followed by a new Whole Foods chocolate find.

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Like I said…it’s been non stop!

But all good things and I know that more good things lie ahead!  Did I mention we get to register this month?!

Hooray…it’s spring!

 

Meal Planning 3/30/15

Monday: Baked Teriyaki Chicken (See Recipe)

Tuesday: Pork and Veggies

Wednesday: Pasta/Zoodle Night (since it didn’t happen the last time we planned)

Thursday: TBD

Friday: Passover Night 1

70 Degrees and Chili

I started this morning with a fantastic 10 minute cuddle with Cooper after the BOY left for work. Cooper has been feeling a bit neglected lately!  So have a lot of things…including our house  : )  Before I met with my trainer, I did a bunch of cleaning, organizing, and laundry this morning.  Then headed off to the gym.

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I warned my trainer that it’s been a long two weeks without exercise and some extra carbs, so it was good to get my muscles burning again.  On the way home, I did a Costco and grocery store run.  It was a HUGE success!

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It was the warmest day we’ve had all year!  Oddly enough the BOY wanted chili for dinner tonight, which worked for me because I had just enough time to throw dinner in the crockpot, shower, and switch around laundry before I met my mom for an afternoon of shopping.

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That was also a HUGE success!  I walked in the door moments before the BOY and we both dug right into the delicious chili!

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It was a gorgeous 70 degree day today and spring is in the air!  Woo Hoo!

 

What do you like to do when the weather gets warm?

Do you eat chili in the spring/summer?

 

Meal Planning 3/16/15

Monday: Turkey Chili (with Fritos and avocado)

Tuesday: Spaghetti/Zoodles and Sausage

Wednesday: Tilapia and Veggies

Thursday: Indian

 

 

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

From Natasha’s Kitchen (adapted slightly from original)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 tsp Cumin powder
  • ½ tsp Chili Powder
  • ½ tsp Garlic Powder
  • ½ tsp Dried Oregano
  • Dash of red pepper flakes
  • 15 oz can Black beans, drained and lightly rinsed (or cook your own beans like we do)
  • 15 oz can red kidney beans with juice
  • 6 oz jar of diced green chilis
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (seasoned or plain)
  • 28oz of tomato sauce

Directions

In a large skillet over medium/high heat, add 1 Tbsp olive oil and sautee 1 lb ground turkey until cooked through.

Add 1 medium finely diced onion along with 1 tsp cumin powder, ½ tsp chili powder, ½ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp oregano, 1 tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper (I added more seasoning). Saute until onions are softened and meat is lightly browned then transfer to a standard-sized crock pot, sprayed with cooking spray.

Add drained black beans, pinto beans with juice, diced green peppers, and diced tomatoes.

Add tomato sauce and stir to combine. Set on low for about 5 hours until piping hot. Taste and adjust for seasoning just before finished cooking.

Down Day Dinner

Monday I needed a bit of a physical and emotional break.  I didn’t set an alarm and slept almost 12 hours.  Mind you, there were a few interruptions as Cooper kept wiggling his body into my arms for some love, but I didn’t mind.  I missed my little kitty while I was gone!  And he missed us and his pink blanket which we took for the car ride.

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The BOY and I did a grocery store run to fill up our empty fridge.  Then, I put dinner in the crockpot, took a shower, and planned to dive back into the studying I didn’t do this past week.  Instead, I got comfy on the couch (next to Cooper and the pink blanket) and worked my way through the DVR while folding laundry and snacking on apples and dark chocolate almonds.

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You see…on top of being exhausted, I have a cold and a random rash on my neck.  I was in need of a little down time…and so I took some!  I’m sure I’ll regret it later as there is much to catch up on.

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I chose an easy dinner recipe (to go along with my day of relaxation), and it turned out wonderful!

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So here’s a tasty recipe for the next time you need a down day.

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Meal Planning 2/16/15

Monday: Crockpot Pork (recipe below)

Tuesday: Fajita Night

Wednesday: Chicken and Salad

Thursday: Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

 

Super Easy Slow Cooker Pork

From Pinch of Yum

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs. pork shoulder
  • 1 cup soda (I used diet gingerale)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup Marzetti Simply Dressed Balsamic dressing

Directions

  1. Place the pork, soda, garlic, chili powder, oregano, and Worcestershire sauce in the crockpot. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 6-8 hours.
  2. When the meat falls apart easily, shred it directly in the crockpot with two forks. Add the balsamic dressing and stir with the liquid in the crockpot. The meat should be saucy and moist.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees (or use the broil setting if you have that) and transfer the mixture to a baking sheet lined with foil. Spread it in an even, thin layer (drain some juice if it appears that there is too much) and cook in the preheated oven until the juices are bubbling and the edges are crispy, 10-15 minutes (less time if you have a broil setting).
  4. Transfer to a serving platter and enjoy on salad, tacos, or potatoes!