Multitasking Monday

One week into the new year…can you believe it?  Where does the week go?  Seems like just yesterday, I was hosting a fry party and now I’m running around my house making food for the week, searching for my lost marriage licenses, and listening to some new podcasts.  I am multitasking like crazy, trying to make the most of this Monday after a fun and busy weekend!

IMG_20160109_071940315

Saturday morning, the BOY and I were back at the gym after the last two holiday weekends, training together with free weights and dumbbells.  We left with some serious sore arms and made our weekly trip to the Target before running a few other errands.  I refueled with a ginormo latte!

IMG_20160109_094411479

We spent the afternoon cleaning our garage to fit in a car and then napping before getting dressed up for sushi date night.

IMG_20160109_202359153

Sunday morning was another early wake up.  I drove into the city to meet my mom and some friends for a yoga class. 

IMG_20160110_075211895

I forgot my phone so here is a recycled picture from the same studio.  Ironically, it was take exactly 1 year ago and the day looked quite similar : )

IMG_20140119_112220728 

After yoga, I met some of my old coworkers for a fun brunch, catching up over coffee and omelets.  Then, I was back home to scoop up the BOY for dinner with his parents.  On the way, we stopped by my parents house quickly to say goodbye to my dad who leaves for Florida today and have a quick pre dinner glass of wine with my mom’s new wine glasses.  When I woke up this morning, it occurred to me that I did not get close to what I wanted to get done this weekend…hence the busy day today. 

Cooper’s view on Mondays…ha ha!

IMG_20160109_225455253

It was tough for all of us to get up and moving today!  And then it took me extra time to get myself pulled together and out the door.  My first stop was the gym for an intense training session.  My biceps were still sore from Saturday and the resisted burpees were brutal, but it was a GREAT workout.  Afterwards,  I hung around for a yoga class.

IMG_20160111_092154297 

I don’t typically double up on workouts, but I have been wanting to take the Monday morning teacher’s class for awhile.  With a busy week ahead, today was the perfect day to get there.  The class was tough, not just because I was tired, but absolutely incredible and inspiring.  I left the yoga studio feeling invigorated for the week ahead and at peace with the week behind.  I ran a few more errands, including the grocery store where I stocked up on fresh produce and meat for this week’s meal plan.

IMG_20160111_130246298

I made lunch and then began the serious multitasking with laundry, meal planning, and initial packing piles.  And continued to look for our marriage licenses which now appear to be totally gone.  Ugh!  In the kitchen, I put tomorrow’s dinner in the crockpot and began pealing carrots.

IMG_20160111_143859968_HDR

For lunch this week, I decided to try Candice Kumai’s cleansing soup.  I love starting the year with a warm and hearty clean soup!

IMG_20160111_143907480_HDR IMG_20160111_144347141

IMG_20160111_145248767 IMG_20160111_153701973_HDR

The soup was fairly easy to make until the end.  My food processor isn’t big enough to hold everything, so I did it in batches.  However, they turned out inconsistent, so I ended up taking my immersion blender to the entire bowl in the end.

IMG_20160111_155757141_HDR

Which made a HUGE mess, but worked like a charm.

IMG_20160111_155031599

I spent the rest of the afternoon working away on a variety of things including making a batch of Fig and Date Energy Balls and trying on my bathing suits before going back to the kitchen to make dinner.

IMG_20160111_154317668

Since my crockpot was in use, I washed my Dutch Oven for it’s next job.  For the second week in a row, Cooper kept me company while he begged for his dinner.

IMG_20160111_182922983

I accomplished a whole bunch of stuff today, so as always on Monday nights, I happily collapsed onto my couch for a bit of down time before bed.  After packing up tomorrow’s lunch, of course.

IMG_20160111_210643615

Do you multitask?  I do it ALL the time…even right now : )

Meal Planning 1/11/15

Monday: Turkey Meatballs (recipe to come)

Tuesday: Slow Cooker Island Pulled Chicken

Wednesday: Feta and Spinach Chicken Burgers and Broccoli

Thursday: Pork and Veggies

 

Cleansing Carrot Ginger Soup

From Candice Kumai

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1  yellow onion, finely diced

2  pounds organic carrots (2 bags) scrubbed, peeled, rough chopped

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1 bay leaf, dried

2-3 tablespoons ginger, freshly grated

6-8 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock (*depending on desired consistency)

1⁄2 teaspoon nutmeg

1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt, to taste

Directions

In a large stockpot, over medium heat, add the olive oil and sauté the onions just until soft and fragrant, approximately 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add carrots, garlic, bay leaf, ginger and sauté for an- other 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add in the stock and turn the heat up to medium (a mild simmer). Cook carrots and onion until soft, approximately 20 additional minutes. Remove the bay leaf, discard.

Carefully add the soup to a food processor or blender (an immersion/handheld blender works, as well). Pulse until well combined and a pureed soup forms. Season nutmeg and sea salt. Ladle into soup bowls and serve hot. If desired add a bit of extra ginger, or orange zest to top off soup.

*For a thick soup opt for 6 cups of stock; for a thinner soup go for 8 cups.

Advertisements

The Year of Letters

Two big events marked this year for me and both involve adding some extra letters to my signature!

IMG_20151026_124514109

First off…I took my pediatric specialization exam in March and found out in June that I passed, adding the letters PCS behind PT to my professional title.

And then…I became a MRS!!!  Although I haven’t officially changed my name (it’s coming after the honeymoon), that will change two other letters in my last name.  It’s like I’m an entirely new person.  Well…sort of!

PBG_0258

A mix of these external name changes and a year dedicated towards taking care of my mental and physical health has made this year remarkable!  I am grateful for every moment!

2015 Bucket List

IMG_20151025_132402258

LIFE

Set and follow a budget (for real!)- Oh man!  I swear I am super organized, but have totally struggled with this!  We were all over the place with some months being better (or worse) than others.  Definitely something for the newlyweds to work on in 2016!

Pass my test– Woo hoo!  All of that library time paid off.  I am now a Pediatric Clinical Specialist (PCS), which has me smiling from ear to ear!

Have a fun stress free wedding day– Done!  It was the most incredible and memorable day!  It was stress free and full of love and excitement. I swear my heart is still full of happiness from sharing this special day with the people who mean the most to us.

Stay healthy– Two big sinus infections took me down, but the second wasn’t nearly as bad as the first and other than that, I would say it was a nice and healthy year.

DSCN2364

BODY

Do a triathlonThe decision has been made that this won’t be a big racing year…so no triathlon.  And I am A-okay with that!  I am broadening my horizons a bit with exercise and doing tons of yoga!  This decision is helping me feel more balanced and less stressed, and we’ll just have to see what 2016 holds for races and tri’s.

Feel confident in a bikini- I wore my bikini a few times this summer with more confidence than I have had in years!  As always, there is work to do, but feeling happy with myself on the beach was a HUGE accomplishment!

Continue to build muscle strength– I have definitely gotten stronger this year. I see it in my yoga class and at work, which is really important to me.

Keep my skin healthy– Success!  My focus on eating clean and drinking water, plus regular facials has paid off!

DSCN2223

MIND

Be present– I have been soaking in every moment, big or small and have appreciated EVERY moment this year!  I feel so lucky and grateful!

Teach more yoga/take yoga trainings- I think this may end up being more of a 2016 goal. I’d love to do a yoga retreat AND my adult yoga certification.  I was able to talk about kids yoga on a Podcast, which is something I never would have even dreamed of in January. 

Read good books– Check!  I started the year as a reading machine, took a mid year break and then picked back up.  I’m also looking for suggestions…got any?

Give back and volunteer- Ugh! Major Fail here!  I have been donating food, money, and clothes, but not as much of my time as I would like.

PBG_0796

Other Second Half Highlights

Acro Workshop

Thanksgiving in New York

Arlington Million

Door County

Nashville

Minimoon

Tons of lunches and dinners with our friends!

Training for Tahiti

IMG_1751

I’m almost afraid to share our exciting news because it doesn’t seem real, but the BOY and I booked our honeymoon in January to Tahiti!

I know…exciting, right?!  Ever since we met, we’ve talked about going to Tahiti, but I never thought it would actually happen.  But here we are 5 weeks away from a 10 day trip to paradise!

IMG_0674

After talking to a bunch of people and enlisting the help of a travel expert, we booked our honeymoon to 3 islands including Bora Bora.  Like I said…it still sounds surreal!  In prep for the big trip, we have been hitting the gym with enthusiasm.

IMG_20151031_073144661 IMG_2016

Sometimes together and sometimes alone!  My routine has included A TON of yoga and strength training.

IMG_20151204_071405089_HDR

With plenty of early morning post work out selfies!  I’m usually a huge cardio queen, so it was funny when my trainer mentioned that I needed to up my cardio/running this winter.

IMG_2026

I love to run!  But winter weather and later sun rises make it more difficulty this time of year.  Plus, this most recent sinus infection has made walking and light weights my only possible exercise.

IMG_1630

Overall, my goal is to exercise 5x each week with a mix of cardio and strength in order to make me strong and confident sporting my bathing suit on the beaches of Tahiti!

IMG_4518

A little throw back to our 2008 cruise

And I signed up for a spring 10k (and have my eye on a half marathon too) to keep me in good shape even after our trip.  The most fun part about this has been exercising with my husband.

IMG_20151107_084040273

Every Saturday morning, we have been at the gym at 7am sacrificing our usual Friday night fun for a good sweat session.  And we’ve been going to the park district gym one other morning together before work.  Tahiti should be pretty memorable, but I have to say so is the training!

Into and Out of It

Hey all!  Sorry I’ve been gone a bit. 

The truth is that sometimes I’m a little more into blogging than others.   True for a lot of things, right?!

IMG_20151125_123707565_HDR

Plus, the BOY and I just spent the most wonderful Thanksgiving in New York with my family!

IMG_20151130_081801

And we’ve been busy getting back into work and life since we got back.  On top of that, I’ve also been a bit out of it. I returned from NY with a terrible cough and although I feel okay, I had little to no voice and was exhausted from all the coughing.  We’ve gotten back into our life groove and so now it’s time to get back into my blogging groove.  Can you believe, there is only one month of goals left in 2015?  No pressure!

IMG_20151125_123738523

November Goals

1. Figure out a fall/winter workout schedule.

I’m working on the details.  It is so tough for me to move my cardio indoors, but the BOY and I have been able to get to the gym together Tuesday mornings (we initially tried Thursdays = not so good).  I’ve also been able to get to some AM yoga classes, which has been AWESOME!

IMG_20151124_063702918

2. Cook, Bake, and Explore New Recipes

I think you probably noticed more recipes this month (especially compared with the last few).  A few favorites include Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies, Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken, and Cheesey Stuffed Sourdough Loaf.

3. Clean/Organize our house.

We spent Halloween weekend doing a massive clean.  Our kitchen and office benefitted the most.  Although we still have some work to do in the garage, our house looks and feels better already.

4. Reconnect – I feel like I’ve been very wedding-centric recently, so I look forward to spending that time hanging with friends and family.

The best part of life!  It was a fun month getting together with friends and celebrating Thanksgiving with our family!

 IMG_20151126_165227594

 

December Goals

Keep running (and sign up for a spring race)

Stay healthy

Get bikini ready…honeymoon here we come!

Slow down, stay grounded, and appreciate the last month of 2015

 

What are you goals?

What are you into and out of this month?

The First Frost is the Coldest {and a Tangent Tuesday}

So I was ready for a bit of a change…

IMG_20151110_083713425

And a rich new fall hair color!  After rocking my natural color for a good 10 years, it was time to have some fun!

IMG_20151109_090104485

I had a super busy Monday…the gym, a lunch date (tacos and guac), shopping, crockpotting, and then a hair appointment.  I got home after sun down but even the BOY noticed my new hair color.  Unlike when I got bangs and it took him 3 days to notice, this week he approved right away.  We had leftovers for dinner.  Our friends are amazing and sent us home with ribs, mashed potatoes, and cake : ) 

We have an exciting week ahead…our 1 month anniversary (is today!) and the BOY’s birthday…so lots to celebrate!

And celebrations require sweets!

IMG_20151107_102817309

This weekend, I made the most amazing Monster Bars and Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.  Both are disappearing quickly.

IMG_20151107_151901005_HDR

This morning, I took my new tennies for a test drive. 

IMG_20151110_063126180

It was about 30 degrees and way too cold.  Well, I’m sure in a few weeks, I’ll be wishing it was that warm, but it got me thinking…Brrr…that first frost is the coldest (and toughest)!

 IMG_20151110_063139278

I ran about 5 miles and although I LOVED my new shoes, my fingers didn’t warm up until 3 patients into my day : )

I’ve ran out of tangents so I am off to bed…

What’s your Tuesday tangent?

 

Meal Planning 11/09/15

Monday: Leftovers

Tuesday: Crockpot Chicken Curry

Wednesday: Sushi for the BOY’s Birthday Dinner

Thursday: Tacos

 

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

From Two Peas and Their Pod

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
3/4 cup of raisins

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a small bowl add the raisins and cover with water. Let them sit for five minutes. This will help plump them up.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth and creamy. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar mixture. Blend until combined. Stir in the oats and raisins.

Spoon about a tablespoon of dough into a round ball, leaving space between each cookie. They will spread a little. Bake them for 10 to 12 minutes. Take them out when they are golden at the edges but still a little under baked in the middle. Let them sit on the hot baking sheet for five minutes before transferring them to cooling rack.

Make, Bake, Share!

OMG! Where did this weekend go?

It was a fun one but a fast one.  Thank goodness for Mondays or I’d get nothing done!

IMG_20151107_084040273

The weekend started early Saturday morning with a couples workout…followed by our weekly trip to Target (in the same shopping center as the gym).  When we got home, I made another amazing Apple Pie Protein Shake.  This time I added in fresh cider which made it even better.  Before I left for the gym, I set out some butter (hidden on top of the fridge from Cooper who loves the stuff).

IMG_20151107_093210087

Last week, I was sad not to have the right ingredients to make these mouth watering bars, hence the morning trip to Target.

IMG_20151107_092942741

While the BOY rested, I got to work in the kitchen!  After our workout, my arms were a bit sore, so I probably should have used my big mixer instead of my hand mixer : )

IMG_20151107_110538

I followed the recipe as written except that I added in a few peanut butter chips (because I had them in the pantry).  These bars looked and smelled incredible, and it was tough to let them cool before diving in.  I kept myself busy cleaning bowls and reusing them for a batch of soft oatmeal raisin cookies (recipe to come).  I have to say, it is SO fun to use all my new kitchen tools and gadgets.  Even the measuring cups make me smile!

IMG_20151107_151632602

The BOY and I had noon Spectre tickets and no set plan for lunch.  Last minute, we decided to swing by one of our favorite restaurants (Coppers Hawk)which is in the same mall as the fancy movie theater.  We had a fantastic lunch and of course a glass of wine.  We raced over the the theater only to discover our movie was at 12:15.  This gave us plenty of time to get cozy in the reclining chairs and order another glass of wine.  We love this theater!

IMG_20151107_121128756

The movie was good, but no Skyfall!  We decided that a nap was in order and came home and climbed into bed. We woke up 2 hours later with Cooper curled up between the two of us, happy as can be.  We had Saturday night plans at my sister in laws and got home just before midnight crashing back into bed. 

As for the rest of the weekend…to be continued!

IMG_20151107_151716601

I have a few new and different recipes to share and plan to spread them out a bit.  But I can tell that this one is already a favorite!  It makes a huge batch which is perfect for sharing with enough to freeze for later, so I have been sharing it with everyone this weekend!

 

No Flour Monster Cookie Bars

From Together As Family

Ingredients

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups quick oats
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1-2 cups mini m&m’s
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips (or 1/2 cup PB chips and 1/2 cup chocolate chips)

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a cookie sheet by lining it with parchment paper.
  2. In large bowl, combine brown sugar, granulated sugar, peanut butter, and butter. With a hand-held blender, mix until pale in color and combined.
  3. Add the eggs and vanilla extract. Blend together.
  4. Add in the oats and baking soda. With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, mix by hand until combined.
  5. Add in the m&m’s and chocolate chips (reserve some for top of bars if wanted). Stir together well until combined.
  6. Dump onto your parchment lined cookie sheet and spread out. I recommend spraying your hands with cooking spray to work the dough into the pan. Sprinkle the reserved m&m’s and chocolate chips on top (if wanted). Press down slightly into dough.
  7. Bake for 18-20 minutes. The edges will be lightly browned and the middle will still look pale and underdone, but it will finish baking as it cools. Let cool for at least an hour so the bars can firm up and come together. You do not want to over-bake these.

Chipotle Apple Turkey Chili + Pumpkin Cornbread

Wow, I’ve been blogging up a storm recently.  Are you sick of me yet?

IMG_20151102_105408901

We had the most gorgeous 70 degree fall day here!  It felt wonderful to be getting back into my no work Monday routine.  First stop was the gym for a session with my trainer. 

IMG_20151102_104514

Afterwards, I dropped off a car load of household stuff at GoodWill (from our weekend of cleaning) and then went to the grocery store.  I made a quick stop at home for a shower and to unload my groceries.  Then I was out and about for a few more errands and returns.  I ended up at Whole Foods for tasty salad bar lunch.

IMG_20151102_133522665

When I got home, I opened all the windows to let in the clean, fresh air, threw in some laundry, and dove into this week’s recipes.  We brought a whole bunch of stuff back from Door County including a huge bag of apples.

IMG_20151102_152649642 IMG_20151102_152653613

For this reason, my interest was peaked when I found a chili recipe that uses apples.  I got all the ingredients at the store and had some fresh cider in the fridge (also from the farm).

IMG_20151102_151106400

This is a stove top recipe and really quite easy.  The flavors are odd but seem to blend together beautifully!

 IMG_20151102_152605959

Once my chili was simmering, I was ready to make M&M Cookie Bars.  I was super sad to discover that I did not read the recipe carefully enough to realize that I needed more oats and two different types of oats.  But, I moved on quickly with my softened butter to corn muffins.

IMG_20151102_154224602

Only to discover that I bought too small of a package : (  I was having so much fun in the kitchen, between the sun light, clean cabinets, and new wedding gifts that I still wanted to make something.  So I cut the recipe in half and turned it into a bread.  I left the original recipe for muffins as written below.  Just know that you can half it if you buy the tinny 55 cent Jiffy package on accident.

IMG_20151102_154703970

I have never made a pumpkin cornbread before, but I loved the idea and the smell.

IMG_20151102_161537048

And again as odd as the combinations sound, both worked together to create a delicious meal…for tomorrow night.  But I had to try it for a pre dinner snack tonight.

IMG_20151102_174748098_HDR

The BOY came home to grill, one last time it seems, as the grill ran out of juice.  He was able to make dinner in the oven.  We’re planning to have the chili tomorrow since we both work later and the rest of the week, I planned out on our newish chalkboard.  I’m hoping to have the M&M Cookie Bars made (and shared) sooner rather than later!

IMG_20151102_190145829

 

Meal Planning 11/02/15

Monday: Steak and Tilapia

Tuesday: Chipotle Apple Turkey Chili + Pumpkin Cornbread

Wednesday: Indian-Spiced Chicken Burgers

Thursday: BBQ Pork tenderloin and Veggies

Friday: TBD!

 

What are you cooking this week?

What’s the oddest ingredient you ever added to your chili?

 

 

Chipotle Apple Turkey Chili

From Pass the Sushi*

*Recipe is mostly the same…I just rewrote it a bit to make it easier to follow!

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 lbs ground turkey
  • 1 small can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbs ground coriander
  • 1 tbs ground cumin
  • 1 tbs smoked paprika
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 green apples, (1 peeled and diced; 1 sliced) NOTE: I used a red apple
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tbs tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup cider
  • Shredded super sharp white cheddar cheese, toasted pumpkin seeds and/or honey corn bread, for serving

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the turkey and cook until brown,  breaking it into chunks while cooking.

Meanwhile, using a food processor, puree the chipotles and 2 tbs of the adobo sauce.

Once turkey is browned, drain liquid.  Then stir 2 tbs of the chipotle puree into the ground turkey; season with salt and pepper. Reserve the remaining puree to adjust the heat at the end of cooking.  Stir in the coriander, cumin, paprika,  onion, and garlic.

Peel and dice one apple into 1/2″ chunks, add it to the chili. Slice the remaining apple and toss with the lemon juice; Set aside.

Add the cinnamon and bay leaves to the chili, cover and cook, stirring and lowering the heat, for 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, then the stock and cider; bring to a boil.  Then lower to a simmer for at least 20 minutes and up to an hour.

Top the chili with the cheese, reserved apple and the toasted pumpkin seeds if desired.

 

Pumpkin Spice Corn Muffins

From Together as Family

Ingredients

  • 1 package (15 oz) Cornbread Baking Mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin
  • 2/3 cup milk, 2% or higher is best (I used coconut almond milk)
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 large egg

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray. (can also use 8×8 pan for cornbread and bake 15-20 minutes)
  2. In a large bowl combine the cornbread baking mix, cinnamon, nutmeg and whisk together.
  3. Add in canned pumpkin, milk, softened butter, and the egg. Whisk together gently just until combined.
  4. Using a large ice cream scoop or spoon, scoop batter and divide evenly into the muffin cups. They will about 2/3-3/4 full.
  5. Bake for 14-16 minutes.