Halloween! HallowClean!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Then we got down to work…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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What did you do this Halloween?

What will you do with our extra hour?

 

Fresh Apple Pie Smoothie

Ingredients

1 large handful spinach

1 cup coconut/almond milk

1-1.5 small apples, diced

1 scoop vanilla protein powder

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

Ice

Directions

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

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

Add ice and blend on high until smooth.

Enjoy immediately!

By the Books…

This week, I busted out the cookbooks.  Not intentionally, but it started with one and then another, and then a third followed.  And the next thing you know, I had a pile of cookbooks, dinner in the crockpot, and a smoothie in hand.  Success!

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It helped to have all of our new kitchen gear!  For dinner, I went with a new recipe from a tried and true cookbook 150 Healthiest Slow Cooker Recipes on Earth.  I used some of my new knife skills to dice the onion.

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Then topped it with chicken thighs and sauce.  I don’t typically cook with thighs but figured I would give it a chance.  Costco has some deals on organic chicken, so I picked up the thighs instead of breasts.

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Once the chicken was ready to go, I was eager for a snack.  Enter cookbook number 2!  The new Everyday Detox book from Detoxinista.  I recently purchased this one in an attempt to aid my digestion and IBS.  I find the concept of food combining very interesting and like that the recipes are simple and clean.

Everyday Detox : 100 Easy Recipes to Remove Toxins, Promote Gut Health, and...

My first recipe was the Blended Apple Pie a la Mode.  I subbed in almond butter for the avocado which kept the filling fat and kind of went against the food combing, but it turned out delicious!  Sadly, I lost the picture on my phone along with a few others…total bummer!  I did capture dinner, which turned out flavorful and delicious!

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The last cookbook I used was the BetterHomes Baking book.  I’ve had a zucchini bread recipe tagged in there and a few zucchini’s ripe and ready for peeling in the fridge.  But you’ll have to wait on that recipe!

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Until then…sweet ice cream dreams : )

Do you use cookbooks or the internet for your recipes?

 

Lower Sugar BBQ Pulled Chicken Thighs

From The 150 Healthiest Slow Cooker Recipes on Earth

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 small sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sugar free ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Sucanat
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Directions

  1. In a medium size bowl, whisk together the ketchup, tomato paste, cider vinegar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, Sucanat, garlic, paprika, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
  2. Make a layer of onion on the bottom of the slow cooker, sprayed with cooking spray.  Lay chicken thighs over the onion and pour the sauce evenly over everything.
  3. Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours or low for 4-5 hours, until chicken is cooked but juicy.  Using two large forks, pull apart the chicken and finely shred the meat and stir well to mix with the sauce.
  4. Can serve in taco’s, with a potato, or over slaw.

 

Blended Apple Pie a la Mode

From Everyday Detox

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 raw avocado or 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 apple, cored and sliced
  • 3 soft medjool dates
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Handful of ice cubes

Directions

Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy!  Enjoy immediately!

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.

Juiced

Doesn’t it seem like everyone is juicing?!

Pinterest is full of delicious looking concoctions, and I have to say I find it an awesome way to up my intake of greens!

 

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So I don’t actually have a juicer or even a vitamix, but I have a pretty new blender that makes some awesome, healthy drinks.  I’m a huge fan of the green smoothie, and I’ve recently started getting into the juice.

 

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The benefit of juicing in a blender is that you don’t get rid of the pulp.  With a good blender, you barely notice it and it keeps all of the nutrients of your veggies in the drink

 

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This week, I used some of the sweet strawberries from my Costco sized container and a few slices of kiwi.

 

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The rest got packaged up for lunch during the week.  So although juicing isn’t new to everyone, it’s new to my kitchen, and I just might be addicted.

 

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Especially since now that I know I can double my batch and have fresh juice ready for the next morning.

 

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It just needs a shake and then you can grab it and go!

 

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Do you make juice?

Share some ‘recipe’ links!

 

 

Strawberry, Kiwi, and Kale Juice

 

Ingredients

1 cup strawberries

1 kiwi, sliced

1 large handful of spinach or kale

1 cup coconut water or tap water

1 tbsp ground flax or chia seeds (optional)

Lemon juice from 1/4 of a lemon

Ice cubes

 

Directions

Place water and greens in blender and chop.

Then add the rest of the ingredients and blend on low for about 1 minute.  Increase to high and blend until smooth.

Add ice and blend well!

Store in water bottle or glass jar.

I Made Pumpkin Bread Instead

Yup…that means I didn’t go to yoga this morning.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE yoga, especially at my studio.  But my body is exhausted (and still sore) and their Hot Yoga class is REALLY hard!  And the Yin style classes are at 8am or 6pm, neither which worked into my schedule today, so I…well, made pumpkin bread instead!

 

We didn’t set an alarm this morning, but Cooper’s internal breakfast alarm can be counted on.  At least he waited until after 7am today!  The BOY and I took our time getting moving, but Cooper missed the slow Sunday start memo and was bouncing around waiting for food.  It may sound like I am talking about a dog here, but he is just a bouncy and continuously hungry kitten.

 

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Maybe they won’t see me here and I can spring into the water when it turns on…

 

So you may have noticed that I am yet to make anything pumpkin this fall!  Or maybe you haven’t noticed, but it’s true, and with the end of October approaching, it is time for that to change.  I went straight to my Everything Pumpkin board on Pinterest and started making the first bread recipe that I saw (not surprisingly, there is more than one pumpkin bread recipe on the board).

 

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Meanwhile, I made myself a Green Smoothie.  In an attempt to assess my current eating habits, I’ve been keeping track of what I’ve been eating this past week.  One obvious note…there are not nearly enough veggies in my diet.  So I picked up some spinach at Costco yesterday because that is easy to mix with everything.

 

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I started with my typical smoothie base of spinach, banana, and almond milk.  I added in some Chia seeds and then went looking for something to build in some flavor.  I had no frozen fruit, but did find the ginormous bag of cranberries that I also bought at Costco yesterday.  I rinsed them off and threw in about a cup.  Then 2 handfuls of ice cubes.

 

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I went in for a taste test and my smoothie was AWESOME!  I couldn’t believe how good it was.  In retrospect I should have added some cucumber as well, but I didn’t notice I had any until after I was half way done.  As you can tell, veggies just haven’t been on my radar recently.  I scrambled up some eggies to go with my smoothie and waited patiently for the bread while the house filled with the smells of the season.  I tried to get the BOY talking about this week’s meal plan, but we didn’t get much further than tonight’s dinner.

 

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We let the bread cool, only enough to remove it from the pan, before slicing off an end.

 

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This pumpkin bread is scrumptious!  I love how the crust is crunchy and sweet while the inside stays moist and full of flavor!  You should definitely add it to your pumpkin board and probably your Sunday as well!

 

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The Best Pumpkin Bread Recipe Ever by Recipe Girl

 

 

Just in case you are looking to spend your Sunday making pumpkin bread instead,

here are a few other recipes to try…

Pumpkin Banana Bread

Paleo Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin Pear Bread

Maple Pumpkin Spice Bread

Pumpkin Molasses Muffins

 

All of which pair well with a refreshing green smoothie!

 

 

Spinach and Cranberry Smoothie

 

Ingredients

1 cup almond milk

1 large heap of spinach

1 banana, sliced

2 Tbsp ground flax or chia

1 cup cranberries (fresh or frozen)

Ice

 

Directions

Combine milk, spinach, and banana in your blender and chop until spinach is broken down and everything begins to mix together.  Add flax or chia and cranberries and mix on high until well combined.  Add in ice and blend until desired consistency is reached.  Enjoy!

 

 

Did you make anything pumpkin yet?

What ideas should I add to my Pinterest Pumpkin board?

Rain Rain Go Away…

Don’t come back on Saturday!

 

So the plan this morning was to take my new shoes out for a 5 mile pace run.  At 6:30am when we woke up to thunder and lightening, it didn’t look good for a run.  But by 8:00am, when the alarm sounded the rain seemed to have stopped.

 

I have a shoe dilemma…

My awesome purple shoes that I have been training in since May have too many miles.  I started feeling the effects during some recent long runs and wasn’t exactly sure what to do.  I ended up ordering some new shoes (awesome black and blue color) and an adorable long sleeved tshirt.  I paid the extra $5 on top of my free shipping to expedite the shipment.  My shoes arrived last night and as soon as I slipped my foot in this morning, I knew that the extra support was exactly what I needed.

 

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I took the shoes for a test drive with an aggressive morning pace run.  During which I began to think about my plan to get these shoes ready for the marathon in just a few weeks.  Ugghh!  So my dilemma…which shoes do I wear for Saturday’s 20 miler?  I fear that wearing my old (purple) shoes will cause unnecessary aches and pains, but I’m not sure the new (black) shoes are ready for 20 miles.  Ideally, I’d love to wear the new ones for the first 12 miles or so, and then switch, but that’s not an option.  So help me…what should I do???  Do I wear the shoes with too many miles or too few?

 

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The saddest part about this new shoe situation is that I picked out my neon green socks to go with my purple shoes (I love green and purple together) and I’m not sure how good they will look with the black and blue shoes.  Ok, back to more important things than my race day outfit…this morning’s run.  It appeared that the rain was done and that I would only be joined only by fog and humidity, but with a little over a mile left to go, the skies opened and the rain came pouring down.  I was in the perfect place to take a short cut home and after some debate, and another gust of rain as I rounded the corner on to my street, I decided to cut my run a little short.  Even with a slower last mile, I finished my 4.6 mile run below race pace averaging 8:33 min/miles.  It was tough to maintain that pace, but I’m happy I pushed through this morning.

 

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I didn’t eat breakfast before my run, which may have made that last mile tougher.  I had a fantastic plan for my post run recovery snack…Summer Sander’s Post-Run Smoothie!  I discovered this in Women’s Running magazine while reading it last night.  It’s definitely different than my usual smoothie and I LOVED every sip!

 

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I’m sure it feels like the majority of my posts have been about running lately.  This is mostly because the majority of my life has been about running lately.  With a side of work, eating, and maybe some sleeping.  If you’re not into the running stuff, then you’ll be happy to know that my last long run is this weekend and then the taper begins!  Wish me luck on Saturday’s 20 miler and cross your fingers for a rain free day!

 

One last thing…

Did you know tomorrow is Run at Work Day?

Love it!

 

celebrate run at work day, brooks running run at work day, when is run at work day, run at work day 2013

Source

 

 

Ok seriously…which shoes should I wear this weekend? 

Is three weeks enough time to get new shoes ready for 26.2 miles?

 

 

Summer Sander’s Post Run Smoothie

From Women’s Running Magazine

Serves 2

 

Ingredients

1 cup ice

1 cup almond milk

2 tbsp peanut butter (I used almond butter)

1 ripe banana

1 tbsp honey (I used 1/2 tbsp agave)

4 pitted dates

 

Directions

Add all ingredients into blender.  Mix until smooth. Enjoy!

Another Week in Training

Truth be told…this morning, I just wasn’t that into running.

The alarm went off signaling that the BOY and I should become awake, and Cooper who has learned this sound, took the opportunity to raise his own alarm from the other side of our bedroom door.  I let him in for a 7 minute snooze/cuddle before he began demanding his breakfast.  The boy (kitten…there are two in the house now, so I am out numbered) is cute, but recently he has had a lot to say (when he is not getting himself into trouble…then he is rather quiet).

 

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It was already 70 degrees and although I had a short 5 mile run scheduled, I just wasn’t feeling it.  I ate some breakfast, read some emails, considered if I should go run indoors on the track instead of in the heat outside, read a few blogs (I still have a ton to catch up on after my weekend away), and finally climbed the stairs to change for my run.

 

Surprisingly, the weather was not too bad and I found a nice breeze on the way back.  I decided to let my body pick the pace and not worry at all about time.  My miles hovered right around 9:20 for the first 4 with a slower (9:37) last mile back to my house.  My legs were tired throughout, so I figured that’s not too bad. I’d be thrilled to crank out some 9:20 miles during the last 5 miles of the race on marathon day.

 

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Mostly this week, I am feeling tired.  I have taken naps the past few weekends and although I sleep 8-9 hours a night, my body just wants more sleep.  I had forgotten just how much sleep your body needs to log in long miles week after week.  It brought me back to this fun post I wrote while training for my first marathon, titled Lessons Learned in Marathon Training.  If you haven’t read it, you should definitely check it out my training words of wisdom : )

 

In honor of training season, I picked up some dark chocolate almond milk at the grocery store this weekend.  There is some research to support that chocolate milk is one of the best recovery drinks out there and I just find it to be tasty and refreshing.  The perfect treat during these tough, high mileage weeks.

 

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After this morning’s run, I decided to turn my chocolate milk into a smoothie.  I had tons of good ideas, but my problem was that Cooper kept photo bombing my smoothie photo!

 

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I wanted to add some spinach for the extra greens and nutrients and kept my smoothie pretty simple.  You could definitely add in flax, chia seeds, or some nut butter for more protein.

 

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Or fresh berries and more ice cubes.  This smoothie was the tastiest thing EVER.  I love me some dark chocolate almond milk and can’t wait to create more smoothie combinations!

 

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Chocolate Covered Berry

Green Purple Smoothie

 

Ingredients

1 cup chocolate milk of your choice (I used almond milk)

1 large handful of spinach

1 cup frozen mixed berries

4-6 ice cubes

 

Directions

Combine milk and spinach in blender and chop.

Add in mixed berries and ice cubes.

Blend on high until smooth.

 

Do you drink chocolate milk?