Day Drinking

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I thought about calling this post ‘My Weekend in Pictures’ but Day Drinking just seemed WAY more accurate!

 

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Saturday began in downtown St. Louis at 8am with Pints and Pancakes…

 

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No explanation necessary…

 

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We started with some Guinness (I mixed mine with cider) before moving on to more beers and Mimosas!

 

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Initially, the bar was pretty empty but after the St. Patrick’s Day race ended, the bar became more crowded with runners seeking beer.

 

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The weather was cool, so around noon we ditched the parade for the casino and some basketball games.

 

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Massive quantities of food followed…

 

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Day drinking requires a certain amount of energy!  After the basketball game, we left the city and may or may not have crashed a 5th birthday party at the bowling alley. 

 

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Ok, our friends are related to said 5 year old, but the BOY and I were crashers.  Around 6:00pm, we finally made our way back to our friend’s house after a long day of food, beer, and fun!

 

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The BOY headed straight for the deer jerky while the rest of us dug into the White Chocolate Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.  I also made a cup of tea.

 

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It felt amazing to put up my feet!  We relaxed for the next hour before ending our day with dinner and a rerun of the latest Justin Timberlake Saturday Night Live.  By 10:00pm, the four of us were all in bed.  When you’re over 30, it’s tough to transition day drinking into night drinking.  Luckily, we packed more than enough excitement into our day!  The BOY and I were sad to say good bye to our friends this morning, but we already made have plans to see each other again this summer!

 

 

How was your St. Patty’s Day?

Are you a day drinker?

Ch Ch Chia-What’s the Hype?

As I was creating, devouring, and sharing this incredible breakfast bowl, I was surprised to see how many people weren’t familiar with chia seeds.

 

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What are Chia Seeds?

 

Chia is a member of the mint family that grows abundantly in southern Mexico.  These seeds are rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids and antioxidants, and they also provide calcium, fiber, iron, and magnesium.  Chia seeds were an important energy source for Mayans, Incas and other ancient cultures, and remain a dietary staple in  many South and Central American countries.

 

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Why Eat Chia Seeds?

 

The benefits of chia seeds, also known as salvia hispanica, are plentiful!  Chia seeds can be eaten raw or in a variety of recipes.  Many people even drink them in their favorite juices and smoothies.  Chia seeds are important in hydration.  They can hold 9x their weight in water, which is why they have caught the attention of distance runners.

 

Chia also…

* Provides energy
* Boosts strength
* Bolsters endurance
* Levels blood sugar
* Induces weight loss
* Aids intestinal regularity

 

 

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What Should You Do with Chia?

 

My favorite way to eat chia seeds is for breakfast before a long run.  I love Overnight Oats and of course the Dough Boy Smoothie.  My newest discovery is this Breakfast Chia Bowl.  Chia is a wonderful addition to smoothies and shakes and it’s texture, when mixed with water, lends itself to gels and puddings.

 

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Here are some new recipes to try…

 

Chia Pomegranate Pudding

From Dr. Oz

 

1 oz ground chia seeds

3/4 cup pomegranate juice

 

Directions

Mix ingredients together in small bowl. Let sit for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

 

 

Chia Tea

10 oz of your favorite iced tea
1 tablespoon chia seeds
Sweeten to taste

 

Directions
Stir chia seeds into tea for about 10 minutes, and enjoy.

 

 

Chia Ice Pops (this is great for hot summer runs)

1 c frozen strawberries
1 c frozen mango chunks
.5 c orange juice
1/3 c chia seeds
1/4 c water

 

Directions

Processes all ingredients in a high powered blender and liquefy. Pour into ice-cube or popsicle molds, and freeze.

 

 

Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

From Shape Magazine

 

1/4 cup of chia seeds
3/4 cup of almond milk
1 tbsp. cocoa powder
Small spoonful of sugar (1 – 2 tsp.)

 

Directions
Combine chia seeds and almond milk. Stir in cocoa powder and sugar. Let sit for 30 minutes or overnight until mixture has thickened. Stir and enjoy!

 

 

Raw Spring Power Applesauce

From Raw Vegan Chef

 

2 cups baby spinach, gently packed

3 apples, cored and chopped

1/4 cup chia seeds

juice from 2 oranges

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

dash ground nutmeg

 

Directions

Put all of the ingredients in a food processor, fitted with the “S” blade.

Briefly process until the ingredients resemble chunky applesauce.

Enjoy! (Note: if you wait 10-15 minutes before serving, the chia seeds will gel with the orange juice for a brilliant texture.)

 

 

More Recipes…

Chia Chipotle Bean Burgers

Chia Fresca From Oh She Glows!

Crockpot Apple Crumble Breakfast Pudding

Whipped Banana Scottish Oats

Honey Whole Wheat Chia Seed Pancakes from PB Fingers

Chia Energy Bars from No Meat Athlete

Chia Margarita

 

Do you eat chia seeds?

What is your favorite chia recipe?

 

 

For more information about Chia Seeds, here are the Top 10 Benefits of Chia Seeds and 10 Unique Uses for Chia Seeds from Wellness Mama.

 

Resources

Dr. Weil

EatRight.org

MyChiaSeeds.com

Natural News

OneGreenPlanet.org

Run Down

Man, I am feeling run down this weekend. ( Note: my definition of weekend includes Monday since I don’t work today! )

And this is not just because I stayed up late to watch the fairly predictable Oscar’s last night.  It all started Saturday morning when I had a slow start to the day, followed by a nap, before actually putting in my contacts at 1pm. 

 

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I did hit the neighborhood for a 30 minute run.  It was pretty slow and I felt like I was running with weights strapped to my ankles.  I have no idea why I felt so tired.  It’s possible that it had to due with a stressful week that lacked my usual hours of sleep or maybe I’m just coming down with something.

 

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For whatever reason, I was running on empty, literally!  Sunday morning was Hot Yoga!  This is always a challenging class, but this week my legs were shaking like crazy 30 seconds into chair pose.  Although my balance poses were on, I was more than ready for child’s pose, stretching, and shavasana by the end.  The rest of the day was laid back and productive.  I had a lot to do around the house (yes, my pantry needed to be reorganized AGAIN) and a run down weekend is the prefect time for these types of activities.

 

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It’s no surprise that I didn’t wake up until my alarm went off this morning after more than 9 hours of sleep.  I set it for 30 more minutes waking up a few minutes before I needed to get ready for CrossFit.  I was a little nervous to go to this morning’s workout, especially when I found out that it involved burpees.  I knew that I didn’t have 100% of my energy but I figured I would do the best that I could.  Thankfully, the people I workout with are super supportive and there is great energy in the gym.  I survived today’s WOD AMRAP 8 although at one point I thought I might fall over : )  I made it through the ~2 minute cash out (optional) workout too.

 

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When I got done with my workout, I felt strong but tired.  I knew I needed some serious energy in the form of a refreshing smoothie.  I recently saw a carrot and orange smoothie on Herbivore Triathlete that intrigued me.  I didn’t have any fresh carrot juice, but thought that maybe my new blender could puree the carrots good enough to be a smoothie.

 

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On a whim, I threw in some kale.

 

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I had full intentions of adding ginger as well, but didn’t have time.

 

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I took one quick sip before packing up my smoothie to go.

 

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The BOY had an eye doctor appointment and I was going along to help him pick out new glasses.  Meanwhile, I found some glasses of my own to try on.

 

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While I was keeping myself busy reading a magazine, I saw a similar smoothie (minus the kale) in Clean Eating Magazine.   The best part is that it is supposed to boost energy.  That’s exactly what I needed this weekend!  When I’m feeling run down, it effects more than just my workouts.  I don’t make wise decisions about snacking and my memory stinks.  Looking to the week ahead,  I am committing to catching up on sleep, eating well, and working out hard.

 

 

Do you have weekends where you feel run down?

How do you get energized again?

 

 

Carrot, Orange, and Kale Smoothie

 

Ingredients

2 carrots, peeled and chopped (or carrot juice)

1 large orange, peeled (or 1 medium orange and 1 cutie)

1 handful of kale

1 cup of almond milk

1 handful of ice cubes

Ginger (optional)

 

Directions

-Chop carrots finely and then use your blender to puree.

-Add oranges and blend to combine.

-Add kale (and ginger if using) and blend well.  Stream in almond milk to preferred consistency.

-Add ice cubes and process until smooth.

-Sip Up!

To Peek or Not to Peek

I was finally able to sleep past 7 this morning (both Saturday and Sunday I was up at 7 for no reason and couldn’t fall back asleep), but I was afraid to get out of bed and see the state of my car.  Luckily, the temperature was well on its way to today’s 40 degree high, so my car looked wet and not frozen.  That’s a bonus!

 

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I had all of the ingredients needed to make Elixer, so that is how I started my day.

 

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I got a little overzealous with the cayenne pepper, but I was able to fix it and enjoy my morning beverage.  This is definitely a spicy way to start the day, but I liked it.  The only problem was that I started to overheat a little bit which may be secondary to the above mentioned 40 degree weather combined with our heat still being turned on and the cayenne pepper.

 

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Breakfast was Trader Joe’s frozen oatmeal with mashed banana and covered in homemade peanut butter.  While I nibbled on my breakfast, I debated whether or not I should look up today’s WOD before CrossFit.  I was curious, but sometimes I think the element of surprise is helpful with a tough workout.  But…I checked it out anyways!

 

Pull Ups (to fatigue) *I used the green band

1 minute rest

Push Ups (to fatigue)

1 minute rest

x7 Rounds

 

Yikes!  I might not be able to move my arms for a week.  Just like last week, everyone was very friendly when I arrived.  One of the benefits of the 9:30 Monday morning class is that it’s mostly women which I find less intimidating.  We all got down to business when the clock started. I was surprised by how many pull ups/push ups I was able to do, but my arms were exhausted before I was halfway done.  But I stuck with it, pushed a little farther, and was proud of my finish.  One of the things that I like about CrossFit is that as everyone finishes, they stay and cheer each other on.  One of the harder things for me is remembering to keep my form.  I am all about alignment and preventing injury, which I had to remind myself as I was trying to crank out my last few reps each round.  As expected, my arms felt like jello before I even walked out the door.  I finally made it to get my oil changed before coming back home for lunch.

 

I had an early lunch of leftover Lentil Chili, which was even better reheated today.

 

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A few hours later, I was watching Scandal and craving a green smoothie.  Typically, I have a few favorite recipes that I use, but I got a new idea while flipping through the pages of Cooking Light magazine last night.

 

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This one involves ginger and apples with my favorite green leafy veggies.  I would have loved to make green juice, but I didn’t know if my blender could handle it.

 

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So I added in a little almond milk with a few ice cubes to make a smoothie.  It was a little thick and pulpy, but I loved it!  One of the best green smoothies I’ve had in a long time.  The addition of ginger is genius!

 

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As I look back through these pictures, it was definitely an awesome day of eating!  I have a few more recipes from this weekend to share throughout the week, but for now I am logging off for a quick trip into the city.  I need to go pick out a book for the train!

 

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Green Juice Smoothie

 

1 big handful of spinach

3/4 apple chopped with peel on (I ate the other 1/4)

1/2 chunk ginger, peeled and chopped

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

5-6 ice cubes

 

Place all ingredients in blender and blend on high until everything is smooth.  Drink fresh!

Elixir and Exercise

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I have a new obsession…

 

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And I’m not talking about my new computer.  Ok, obsession is probably too strong of a word.  But I have a new favorite AM beverage…hot water with lemon!  Over my winter break, I read that it was a good way to start your day because of it’s detoxifying principles, so I decided to give it at try.

 

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Shortly there after, I noticed hot lemon water popping up on numerous blogs.  I was intrigued…was there more to this than I realized?  Or does everyone just love the taste (like I do)?

 

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Then a few nights ago, Whole Living magazine shared a recipe for elixir as part of their 3 week new year cleanse.  Their version included lemon, ginger, turmeric, and honey to taste.  Since I don’t love honey, I left it out.

 

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I was nervous to try this odd combination, but pleasantly surprised with how refreshing and tasty it was.  I think I will pick up some fresh ginger this weekend because I have heard that it is even better.  I have no idea how detoxified I actually am, but overall, I am feeling really GOOD!  I am working to decrease my stress levels, eating clean, and figuring out a new winter workout routine. 

 

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At the risk of getting too personal, I am also highly pleased with my Good Belly probiotics.  Without oversharing, I can tell you that since starting to take this probiotic a few weeks ago my stomach has felt fantastic.  I was even able to have some Yogurtland without a flare up.  Awesome!  I would have told you that I was skeptical about probiotics, and now I am a huge fan.  I drink one every morning before my lemon water and breakfast.

 

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And hot lemon water is totally necessary when this is the start to your Friday morning!

 

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Now, on to the exercise…

 

I definitely got my workout groove back this week starting with some much needed strength training.  And when the temperatures dropped below my comfort zone, I found myself an indoor track.  Actually two indoor tracks. One near work that is new, 3 lanes and free. The other is 5 minutes from our house, smaller, but less crowded and costs only 2$. The possibilities are endless!  Since I don’t have a gym this winter, I am committed to using these resources and trying some new classes.  Along with my CrossFit groupon and incredible hot yoga studio, I should be all set for an active winter.  Now…I just have to figure out how to get the BOY to join me : )

 

BTW, if all of this talk about working out is making you hungry, feel free to make one of these amazing peanut butter recipes in honor of yesterday’s National Peanut Butter Day.  It’s never too late to celebrate…right?!

 

 

Golden Elixir

From Whole Living Magazine

 

Ingredients

1 cup hot water

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1/8 tsp turmeric

1/8 tsp ground ginger

Cayenne

Honey

 

Directions

In a mug, stir together water, lemon juice, turmeric, ginger, and cayenne and honey to taste until combined.

 

 

Do you drink hot lemon water?  Why?

Like I said, I am intrigued by this new health trend!

Does anyone else take probiotics? What do you think?

Baking Bonanza 2012

I love my life!

Wake up…breakfast…yoga…baking…shopping…more baking…

 

Does it get any better than that?

 

Last year, a new December tradition was started.  The BOY heads off to the library, and my Mom and I spend the day together baking up a storm!

 

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Yesterday, my Mom met me at yoga and then came back to my place for lunch and baking.  She brought even more goodies with her!  I think we overdid it a bit this year…ha ha!

 

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There is no possible way that I could share every recipe with you today because I just don’t have the time.  And I am relaxing on the couch with a tummy ache after trying every bite of dough and cookie all day.  But, I can tell you that we started with the basic spritz cookies and ended the evening with a glass of warm spiced wine.

 

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My Mom got a new cookie press after many years, and we were eager to try it out. 

 

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She even found a fun new recipe with cardamom. YUM!

 

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Aren’t these cookies adorable?  I also whipped up a batch of Cream Cheese Spritz Dough, but it needed to be refrigerated over night.  So…more spritz cookies to come!

 

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Fast forward to the end of the evening…My mom and I were on our feet all day and ready to relax with a spicy warm drink.

 

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I have been talking about making spiced wine for 2 years, and when I saw this recipe, I knew I need to try it.

 

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I am a huge fan of tasty adult beverages, but hate to add any extra calories…especially after a long day of sugar eating.  So I subbed in some sugar free apple cider.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it turned out fabulous!

 

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This ‘winter sangria’ might be my new favorite snack!!!  Thanks Erin!

 

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So, I could go on and on with recipes and stories from the day’s events, but instead, I will share one or two recipes at a time to spread out the sweet throughout the coming weeks!  Sounds like a good plan…right?

 

What holiday cookies are you baking this year?

 

 

 

Vanilla Cookies (Spritz Cookies)

From Kuhn Rikon

 

Ingredients

1 cup (1/2 lb) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Combine the butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl.

Using an electric mixer set on high speed, beat until light and fluffy.

Beat in the egg, vanilla extract, cardamom and salt

Using a spoon stir in the flour until well mixed.

Remove the white ring at the base of the plastic barrel and pack the dough into the cookie press. Fit with the desired disk and screw white ring back in place.

Place the press flat against the cookie sheet and squeeze the trigger to compress dough in the barrel. Use one click per cookie, lifting straight up and off the sheet.

Space the cookies 1 1/2 inches apart.

For perfectly identical cookies, keep pressing cookies at consistent intervals every 1 – 2 seconds until no more dough remains.

Bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Be sure to watch them so they don’t burn!

Gently transfer cookies to wire racks to cool.

Sprinkle with vanilla sugar or other decorations if desired and let cool. Decorate.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.  Freeze well!

 

 

Spiced Wine

From The Law Students Wife

 

Ingredients

2 c. apple cider (I used sugar free packets with 2 cups boiling water)

1 (750-ml) bottle red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon

3 T. honey/Agave (I used a mix of honey and raw sugar)

1 orange, zested and juiced

1/2 tsp. ground cloves

2 cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces (2 or 3 pieces should do it)

 

Directions

Combine all ingredients and stir well.  Bring to a boil and then simmer for ~20 minutes.

Enjoy warm.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

A Rainy Arrival

We are home safe and sound after another incredible weekend in Door County!  Despite arriving in quite the rain storm, we had three perfectly gorgeous 70 something degree days sandwiched in between the rain.

 

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We arrived in Fish Creek around 7pm on Thursday night.

 

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We checked into our Inn (more details HERE) and went out in search of food.

 

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Despite the rain, the town was pretty busy.  One of the benefits of staying in Fish Creek is that there is an awesome downtown area with plenty of shopping and food within walking distance.

 

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We decided on Cooper’s Corner, which is an upscale bar with a covered outdoor seating area.

 

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We ordered some drinks and sat back enjoying the feeling of vacation!!!

 

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The BOY ordered the meatloaf which looked impressive, but was REALLY disappointing!

 

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I ordered the Jambalaya, which was much better.  It was loaded with spicy flavor and full of chicken and shrimp.  According to the waitress, the secret ingredient is bloody mary mix. 

 

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The BOY and I split the Jambalaya and I had a glass of Door County Pinot Noir.

 

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After dinner, we walked back to our hotel room and spent our first night in front of the fire with the Olympic games.  It was the perfect end to the day.

 

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I fell asleep immediately after my head hit the pillow feeling happy, relaxed, and looking forward to the days ahead! 

Now that I am back home, car unpacked, first load of laundry in the dryer, and computer rebooted, I am working on taking that feeling of calm with me throughout the week (while I fill you in on all of our fun of course)!

Feels Like Friday

Does anyone else’s work day end like this???

 

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It would be nice to know that I am not the only one who sits in their car, flipping through radio stations, constantly switching lanes in an attempt to go above 8 miles per hour in their post-work day pursuit of home : )  At least in tonight’s case, it was also the end of the work week!  Hooray Weekend!

 

The good news tonight was that the BOY was not too far behind me when I finally made it home feeling exhausted after a LONG week at work!  I was ready to celebrate the weekend!

 

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The BOY picked out this affordable wine during our last trip to World Market, and we were both looking forward to trying it.  I pulled out our grown up glasses in anticipation of his arrival.

 

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And brought out maybe my best batch of Garlic Hummus EVER for a pre-dinner snack!

 

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Dinner was simple and thrown together based on what we have in the house.  I had some of Dr. Praeger’s newer veggie burgers, the Bombay Veggie Burger, that I found on my most recent trip to Trader Joe’s.  Have you tried them yet???  They are incredible.  All the healthy deliciousness of your California burgers with a hint of curry.  Love it!

 

Dr. Praeger's Sensible Foods Curry Veggie Burgers

 

 

But probably not as much as I love this new wine!

 

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I was so busy this week that I didn’t have time to properly celebrate National Blueberry Muffin Day yesterday.  I actually didn’t even know that it was Blueberry Muffin Day until I checked out Renee’s website.  You should definitely pop over to to Bendiful and check out her new and updated website.  Even though I am a day late, I wanted to share one of my favorite Blueberry Muffin recipes with you.  And because it feels like Friday, I feel like I can even stay up past 9pm to finish this post.

 

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These Lemon Blueberry Muffins were an early early addition on the Luv What You Do blog. And although this batch turned out blue (note to self…don’t use frozen berries), this is not the norm!

 

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They are actually quite tasty and the combination of lemon and blueberry is superb!

 

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Perfect for a weekend treat!  Especially since blueberries are now in season!

And if you are a lemon and blueberry fan, you HAVE to try these Blueberry Lemon Cookies from Itty Bitty Bakes!  And these Healthy Banana Blueberry Muffins from Baker on the Rise look divine!  But if you happen to pick up some zucchini at the farmer’s market this weekend, I recommend this Blueberry Zucchini Bread from My Baking Addiction.

 

Happy Friday Feeling!  And Blueberry Muffin Day!

 

 

Blueberry Lemon Muffins

 

Ingredients

Nonstick cooking spray

1/2 c firmly packed light or dark brown sugar

4 T trans fat free soft tub margarine spread, chilled

1 c lowfat lemon yogurt

1 c blueberries

1/2 c yellow squash puree

1 large egg

2 t pure lemon extract

1 t grated lemon zest

2 c all purpose flour (can substitute whole wheat)

1/4 c flaxseed meal

1 t baking powder

1 t baking soda

1/2 t salt

 

Directions

-Preheat oven to 350. Coat a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray or line with paper baking cups.

-In large bowl, beat the sugar and the margarine with a wooden spoon. Stir in the yogurt, blueberries, yellow squash puree, egg, lemon extract, and lemon zest.

-Add the flour, flaxseed meal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir just to combine, but do not over mix-batter is supposed to be lumpy.

-Divide the batter amongst the muffin cups. Bake until tops of the muffins are lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center, 13 to 16 min. Turn the muffins out onto a rack to cool.

-Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days, or wrap individually and freeze for up to 1 month.

Girl’s Night In

The BOY is away with his Dad on a Guy’s Weekend!  Which means…it’s Girl’s Night!!!

 

The day began with an awesome and sweaty BRICK followed by lunch at Which Wich? and some serious retail therapy with my Mom.  Let me tell you…I found Lucy carpis (that fit amazing) at TJ Maxx for $20.  I’m still in shock and if I wasn’t wearing my new PINK jamies (also on sale), then I might be parading around in my new Lucy pants right now!  I am planning to watch some cheesy mindless TV shows (thank you E! for always providing this) and maybe work my way through this season of Girls which I have saved on the DVR while enjoying my dinner before heading to bed early.

 

On the beverage front (because girl’s night definitely requires some wine), I decided to open up this Evolution Red wine.

 

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The Evolution White wine is one of my favorite wines.  It is crisp and and fresh and perfect for summer.  So I was excited to find this lighter red at Costco last week and thought it would be fitting for girl’s night.

 

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Before making my way to the kitchen to begin prepping dinner, I switched from Hollywood trash to Stage 7 of the Tour de France.  I picked up a beautiful piece of salmon at Whole Foods yesterday for tonight’s dinner.  The BOY is not a huge fan of salmon so it is usually my treat when I am on my own for dinner.

 

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This was my first time using this salmon seasoning that I picked up my last trip to the Spice House.

 

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I poured myself a glass of wine to enjoy while I worked on dinner. I thought about using my new ‘Crunk’ cup that my Aunt sent me.  Let’s be honest, this glass is awesome and it’s okay that you’re jealous!

 

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But instead, I went with my portion control glass to avoid finishing the entire bottle and being in bed by 7pm.

 

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As a side dish, I made sweet potato discs using another one of my favorite seasonings.  This one is especially good on sweet potatoes but also incredible on popcorn.

 

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Dinner

 

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Is

 

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Served!

 

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The green beans came out of steam bag, which is kind of cheating, but tasty none the less.

 

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And everything turned out sooo yummy and good!  Don’t judge me…but I ate my supper in front of the TV enjoying the stunning views of France (and fun international accents) during the tour.  I don’t know many of the players, but as I said this morning, their athleticism amazes me.  I love the team aspect of this race.  How each rider has his specific role to support the benefit of the team or team leader.  And, there is one guy from Chicago.  Impressive!!!

 

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I have been looking forward to banana soft serve for dessert all day, so I didn’t wait long after dinner to make some.

 

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Have you tried this before? You just throw a frozen banana into your food processor (and I added in a splash of vanilla and some vegan chocolate chips) and blend until smooth.

 

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Then enjoy this sweet (and somewhat healthy) frozen treat!

 

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In the mood to get creative with your dinner time dessert???  You can also add in PB, nuts, white chocolate, frozen fruit, butterscotch, and/or honey. It’s a sweet way to end your night!  The only thing missing from my evening is my old partner in crime (Emmy, we miss you every day!) and maybe Magic Mike on DVD : )

 

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Sweet Dreams!

How do you like to spend your quiet nights at home?

Who’s tried homemade softserve banana ice cream?

{Iced} Tea Sparkler

I love when it’s 9AM, you’ve already gotten in your workout and you have the entire day ahead of you!  What’s even better is that the BOY is out of town and my Mom is coming over for some lunch and shopping this afternoon!

 

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Let’s be honest, with weather this hot, you don’t really have a choice but to get up early and hit the road.  This morning, I had a biking buddy which was a really nice treat (and helped me get out of bed so early).  We headed North up to Barrington, chatting the entire way.  19 miles later, we were back at my house and the 75 minute ride flew by.  He headed off to swim, and I hit the path for a 30 minute run.  AND…IT…WAS…BRUTAL!  So crazy hot, humid, sunny, everything.  I seriously collapsed on the couch in the air conditioning the second I walked in the door, and then realized I was super thirsty and needed some water stat!

 

With record breaking temperatures, I have been all about staying hydrated and coming up with fun drinks to cool me off.  My new favorite is a tea sparker!  Are you getting into the iced tea this summer?  With 100 degree weather, how could you not be?!  There is a billboard along my commute for a sparkling tea at Caribu Coffee.  I’d love to go try it, but I also figured I could easily make my own healthy version at home.

 

I have been brewing a whole bunch of loose tea since my lesson earlier this year.  My newest acquisition from Argo Tea is this Hibiscus Apple Tea, which came highly recommended by the staff.

 

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When I opened it earlier in the week, the strong, sweet aroma was amazing!  You could seriously leave this out on your counter as an air freshener.

 

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I brewed up some iced team in my favorite Crate and Barrel pitcher, and refrigerated it over night.  This pitcher is perfect because it is meant for hot and cold AND totally airtight to slide on its side into your fridge or a cooler on the go!

 

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When I stopped drinking cut back on soda, I became a big fan of these Ice Mountain flavored waters that I buy at Costco. Surprisingly, even the BOY likes them! Combined with fruity tea, they make an refreshing (and calorie free) summer drink!

 

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Just combine ~3/4 tea with ~1/4 cold plain or flavored sparkling water in a glass with some ice. 

Seriously, the word refreshing doesn’t even do this drink justice.  I am addicted!

 

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Drink Up!!!

 

What cold drinks are keeping you cool this summer?

 

 

Here are some other blogger favorites worth trying!

 

Chilled Chocolate Chai

 

Vanilla Baily’s Slushie

 

Peanut Butter Iced Coffee

 

Fresh Cherry Mojitos

 

Perfect Iced Coffee

 

Fresh Mango Lassi