D N T R

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have you ever D N T R?  Why?

This Week’s Eats {and a recipe}

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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What were your favorite eats this week?

Who do you follow on Instagram?

Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken

From The Cookie Rookie

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

It’s a Good Thing We Don’t Have a Reality Show

Because then you would all see how crazy we are!

Excitedly, I pointed out to the BOY that I couldn’t even remember the last time we went to sleep without setting an alarm as we crawled into bed before 10pm last night.  I was exhausted from my work week and fully aware that a good night’s sleep would be necessary to propel me to the finish line at tomorrow’s 13.1 mile race.  I should also point out that the BOY is sick (which is why he went to bed so early).  He has a stuffed nose, kleenex everywhere, can’t leave the house and I’m drinking tea non stop kind of sick. Ugh!  Apparently this is also the kind of sick that according to the BOY does not require medical intervention (insert eye roll here…)

So this morning when he woke up around 5am because he is sick and couldn’t sleep and came downstairs to discover that his precious, most prized possession La-Z-boy was broken, things got a little out of hand.  There was some hammering, some flipping of the chair, and some more construction.  All of this drove Cooper into  tizzy causing him to come whining loudly and incessantly at my door.  Until I opened the door, where he jumped onto my pillow allowed me to pet him a few times before biting me.  Which got him immediately removed from the room by the BOY who was eager to come share the tales of his morning.  People…I couldn’t make this stuff up if  tried!

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I told the BOY that he needed to feed Cooper (‘but it’s only 6am’…’yes that’s what time I wake up every day and feed him’).  The BOY moved himself and all of his possessions taking over my couch and Cooper was able to scarf down breakfast in one bite.  Feeling calmer, he returned to my room.  After exploring the entire room twice, he finally curled up between my legs where we both fell back asleep.

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Around 8am, when I finally woke up for real, the BOY returned to bed stating that he needed to be woken up at 9:20 so that he could be the first one at the La-Z-boy store when it opened at 10.  I whipped up French Toast for breakfast and brewed a strong pot of tea!

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I don’t know about where you are, but we’ve had a cold spell.  It’s supposed to be 60 degrees this weekend but it’s been much more chilly than that the past few days making it the PERFECT morning to bake my #firstloafoftheseason of Pumpkin Bread.  I found this recipe on Pinterest (in between pinning wedding ideas).  With the BOY asleep and my eager assistant chef busy searching for hidden treats, I got to work.

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This recipe makes 3 big loaves which was perfect…one for us, one for my friend running with me tomorrow, and one for the birthday party I’m going to this afternoon.  I didn’t have enough oil, so I subbed in applesauce.  This recipe is really easy and has lots of spice (my favorite) so perfect for a Saturday morning breakfast.  I popped my bread in the oven, eagerly awaiting the smells of fall, and happily settled onto my couch for a a Law&Order marathon.

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When the BOY woke up, he decided to call the store instead (much smarter idea) but sadly discovered that someone cannot come out to fix his precious chair for another week or so.  It’s going to be an interesting few days.  But at least we’ve got warm tea and pumpkin bread to get us through…

 

Autumn Pumpkin Bread

From Hope in Every Season

Ingredients

1 29oz. can pumpkin puree

1 1/2 c. oil

3 c. sugar

6 eggs

4 3/4 c. flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1 1/2 tsp. cloves

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 and grease 3 loaf pans.  Mix the pumpkin, oil, sugar, and eggs.  Combine the dry ingredients and then stir into the wet mixture.  Pour into pans and bake 45 min. or until done all the way through.

 

Have you made anything with pumpkin yet?

Roasted Rosemary Potato and Spinach Frittata

I had another crazy productive day…so much so that I almost didn’t get a chance to sit down and share the amazing breakfast that I made to fuel me through this busy day.

 

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I had leftover Roasted Rosemary Potatoes from last night’s dinner and decided to use them to make a frittata this morning.  I layered my potatoes with eggs and egg whites, wilted spinach, and my favorite breakfast seasoning, Vulcan Fire Salt.

 

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Then baked it in the oven until the edges were starting to brown and the center set.  The only bad thing was that I forgot to add in some herbed shrimp that I had in the fridge.  That would have been the perfect finishing touch.

 

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This frittata makes enough for breakfast leftovers later in the week.  Woo hoo!

 

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I smothered my egg with salsa and enjoyed it with a delicious cup of chia tea.  Mmmm!

 

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Then it was off to the tailor, the gym, the hairdresser, the eye doctor with a few other stops along the way.

This breakfast takes a little extra time and planning, but is totally worth it! 

 

 

Roasted Rosemary Potato

and Spinach Frittata

 

Ingredients

About 2 potatoes, turned into Roasted Rosemary Potatoes

Olive oil

Spinach

2 eggs +6 egg whites

Vulcan Fire Salt

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray baking pan with cooking spray.  Layer with potatoes.

Meanwhile, place olive oil in small frying pan.  Add spinach and stir until wilted, about 5 minutes.  Layer spinach and eggs over potatoes and sprinkle with salt (and any other seasonings you desire).

Bake for 40 minutes until the center is set.

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

Strength followed by Steel Cut Oats

I am committed to strength training and just starting to remember what I used to like about strength training back when I used to be committed to it.  I guess this makes me RE committed to strength training then : )

 

Anyways, I know that I am committed because even though I had to be at work early one morning last week, I still got up, went to the gym, and did my own strength routine.  It was shorter than my usual AM workout, but I made it work and using the jump rope in between sets, made the most of my time.  I still haven’t mastered the strength training selfie, so I don’t have a good photo to accompany this post.  Mostly, I haven’t mastered it because I typically leave my phone in the car or in the locker room because I’m always embarrassed to get caught taking photos of myself.  Unless I’m upside down in an aerial yoga class that is…there I did just fine.

 

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So after my workout, I had a quick turn around time to get myself ready for work and on the road.  And had to fit in breakfast.  I didn’t have any bread for almond butter toast and only had steel cut oats. I also happened to have yogurt from a previous recipe.  Although I don’t typically eat a lot of dairy, I wanted to use the yogurt before it spoiled.  I knew there was a way to do overnight oats with steel cut oats and thought just maybe the yogurt could work too.

 

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I was able to find a recipe for inspiration and came up with my own concoction.  I wasn’t sure how it would turn out and was thrilled with my breakfast when I sat down to eat it before drying my hair.

 

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So excited that I even took a few pictures to share the recipe with ya’ll!

 

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I ate my oats with an apple and was truly satisfied with the thick mousse like texture.

I liked this breakfast so much, that I made it again this morning after spin class!

 

 

What do you eat at the gym?

 

 

Here are a few of my other favorite On-The-Go breakfasts…

Baked Oatmeal

Banana Chia Breakfast Bowl with Flax

Banana Quinoa Baked Breakfast Oats

Crockpot Breakfast Porridge

Eat Clean Oatmeal Pancakes

Hot Banana Breakfast Quinoa

Overnight Oats in a Jar

 

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I know last week was kind of a bust with my messed up meatballs, so I’m excited to have lots of recipes for you guys this week!

Starting with these incredible cookies

 

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Steel Cut Overnight Oats (in Yogurt)

Adapted from The Lemon Bowl

 

Ingredients

20 g steel cut oats

1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (optional depending on desired consistency)

10 tsp ground flax

10 tsp chia seeds

1/2 tsp vanilla

 

Directions

Mix all ingredients together in a tupperware or glass jar.

Place in refrigerator over night until set.

In the morning, cover oats with your favorite toppings, like nut butter and fruit, and enjoy!

 

Note: this is not a sweet breakfast.  If you are looking for something sweeter, add in some agave or honey the night before or drizzle with your favorite sweetener before eating.

St. Patty’s Soda Bread

I have been planning to make Soda Bread all week long (I even bought buttermilk) and pinned a whole bunch of recipes.  But I had just one of those weeks, you know the type, where the stress levels are high and exhaustion runs rampant.  Instead of baking up loaves of bread Friday night as planned, I postponed it to Saturday morning.  I spent Friday night with a glass of red wine and Cooper’s Hawk dinner.

 

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Saturday morning, we slept in as long as Cooper would let us.  We got invited to celebrate St. Patty’s Day down in the city with my brother and his friends.  They began their morning at 7am, but we slept in and when I finally woke up, I took advantage of the sunshine by going for a run.  My path was frozen so I just ran some laps around the neighborhood.  When I came back, I had big plans to finally make soda bread to bring into the city.  My brother called and said that parking was tough and that he would be okay with store bought soda bread.

 

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So instead of making soda bread, we drove down to the city for a day of fun and green shenanigans.

 

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Needless to say, Sunday morning started like this…

 

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Followed by a trip to Whole Foods for breakfast ingredients.

 

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We had a wonderful breakfast/brunch and then came back to the burbs to have lunch with my best friend.

 

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I had plans (in my head) to make soda bread Sunday night, but instead the BOY and I curled up with Cooper to watch the second Hunger Games Movie.  After a workout in in my neon green tshirt with my trainer in the morning, I came home to celebrate St. Pattys Day with homemade soda bread.

 

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I found a great recipe complete with cinnamon and raisins on Pinterst.  Yum! 

 

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I sprinkled some extra cinnamon and sugar over the top, which made the house smell unbelievable!

 

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It only took 40 minutes for both breads to bake perfectly!  We had a small situation on Saturday that involved Cooper breaking into the store bought soda bread bag for a taste test.

 

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So I had to hide away my cooling bread in the laundry room for safety.

 

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After my own taste test of course!

 

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I am so excited to have soda bread in the house!  I’m thinking about soda bread french toast for breakfast tomorrow (or maybe even dinner tonight)!

 

This recipe is absolutely incredible!

Here are a few other St. Patty’s Day favorites…

Brown Irish Soda Bread

Dark Irish Soda Bread

Soda Bread Scones

Lucky Charm Treats

 

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How did you celebrate St. Patty’s Day?

 

 

 

Cinnamon Raisin Irish Soda Bread

From Bakers Royale

 

Ingredients

5 cups flour

1 cup sugar

4 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup raisins

3 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

*extra cinnamon/sugar to sprinkle over the top

 

Directions

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease baking sheet or use Silpat.

Place flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a bowl and mix to combine. Stir in raisins. Set aside. Beat eggs in a bowl.  Stir in buttermilk, sour cream and vanilla, then add to dry ingredients and stir until well combined.

Divide dough in half. Shape each portion into a ball. Place on prepared baking sheet. Make a deep X on top of each loaf with a knife. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and top is golden brown. Transfer loaves to a wire rack to cool.

Saturday in Snapshots!

The BOY and I had date day today!  It started with breakfast at the bakery around 9:30 and we spent the rest of the day tooling around town until 3pm, when I headed off to an afternoon Hot Yoga class.  Afterwards, we spent the night in with Cooper, cooking crab legs and playing poker.  PS I won!

 

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How did you spend your Saturday?

 

Random Ramblings {Tennis, Spin, and Everything in Between}

The BOY and I had our second to last tennis lesson last night.  At the end, we got an evaluation.  We are both around the same point with different areas of strength.  I will definitely be sad when our Adult Beginner lessons are over.  It’s been really challenging and fun.  Although we could continue and do another round of lessons, instead we are going to try to make time on our own to practice.  This is always really tough!  The best thing about our lessons was that once a week, Mondays at 6pm, we had set aside for tennis.  I’d like to keep Mondays as a tennis day, but until the snow starts melting off the outdoor courts, we will have to spend some money to play indoors.  I know that if I don’t keep practicing, I won’t get any better, and I don’t want to waste the lessons we took.  And…I’m not quite to a place where you’d want to play with me yet : )

 

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One positive is that I am trialing a new gym for the end of February and rest of March.  This gym is also a park district from the next town over.  It has A LOT more amenities, but also costs significantly more than my current membership.  I’ve had a gym membership since I was in high school.  Some of have been fancier than others, but I really do LOVE a big, shiny, gym with lots to offer.  It’s not something I’ve had since moving in with the BOY a few years ago.  So…when I stepped in the door of this gym last weekend to play tennis with the BOY, I was smitten from the start.  They have a 25 bike spin studio (my current gym has about 9-10), tennis courts, two pools, well lit clean locker rooms, fit people, a rock climbing wall, a triathlon club, and a lot of classes early in the morning.  Can’t you see the appeal?!

 

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I’ve always been a bit of a gym snot and I just felt right at home here.  It reminded me how much I am missing at our current park district.   Another bonus is that it will allow the BOY and I access to tennis courts until we can play outdoors.  AND, it’s not on the way but not out of the way to my newer job.  Worth a shot in my mind.

 

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This morning, I tried out the new gym.  I went to the 6am spin class.  I loved that the gym was busy but not overly crowded.  The people were friendly and you could tell they were a consistent crew.  I felt way more at home.  The locker rooms were clean and easy to get ready for work.  It was so different from my old days at the big commercial gym.  I even took a few minutes to sit and watch the news while enjoying my breakfast before drying my hair.  It’s the little things that make me happy!

 

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And the spin class was one tough workout (and an awesome way to start the day)!

The problem is that I don’t want to spread myself too thin or out in too many directions.  I love my yoga studio and it’s where I am doing training and a strength class each one time a week.  Currently tennis is at a third park district, but that will be over this weekend.  And I have my current membership at the park district 1 mile from our house for the next few weeks that I can renew for cheap at the end of March.  Decisions…Decisions!

Obviously, I have to weigh out all my pros and cons and check my financials, but I will definitely spend the next few weeks figuring it all out.

Thanks for listening!!!

 

So my questions after this random post…

How do you choose your gym?

Does anyone else fall for the high end amenities?

Can I keep running, strength training, yogaing, and add tennis?

How will I ever get better at tennis if I don’t practice? (Ok that one doesn’t need an answer!)

Who wants to meet for a tennis date?

Steel Cut Banana Oatmeal {Crockpot Recipe}

It seems like I haven’t posted as many recipes these last few weeks, but that’s not because I haven’t been cooking.  I took a lot of your advise and have been working to keep my meal plans simple and easy.  That combined with early morning workouts and less social media has kept my stress levels a little lower these last few weeks.  And I like it!

 

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But I also really like trying new recipes and so this week is full of them.  Which basically means, I spent Monday cooking and baking up a storm and will spread the recipe love throughout the week.

 

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Starting with breakfast!  I’ve got an entire bunch of brown bananas and have been wanting to make oats in my crockpot.  Since I also had steel cut oatmeal and almond milk in the house, this recipe was a great place to begin.

 

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Instead of overnight, I made my oats this morning, while I was grocery shopping and working out.

 

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When I got home, the house smelled fantastic.  I love all of the spices (I added a few more).  My pictures aren’t so pretty as I just packaged up my oats in 4 pyrex’s for the weak ahead.  I plan on covering them fruit, nuts, and other clean toppings.  As for this week’s meal plan, I’m sure you’re noticing a trend.  Monday is crockpot day.  Tuesday is the BOY’s day.  Wednesday is the BOY’s late night, so I’ve been making salmon, and Thursday is perfect for leftovers : )  Nice and Simple!

 

When my oats were done, I quickly washed out my crockpot and got ready for tonight’s dinner.

More Recipes to Come…

 

 

Meal Plan 2/24/14

Monday: Crockpot Thai Peanut Chicken from Rachel Schultz

 

Tuesday: Pork Chops

 

Wednesday: Salmon and Veggies

 

Thursday: Leftovers

 

Breakfast: Slow Cooker Banana Oatmeal

 

 

Slow Cooker Banana Oatmeal

Adapted Slightly From The Lemon Bowl

Serves 4

 

Ingredients

1 cup steel cut oats

1 ripe banana – mashed

2 cups almond milk

2 cups water

4 tablespoons flax seed meal

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon cloves

Optional Toppings: banana slices, walnuts, coconut, chocolate chips or brown sugar

 

Directions

Place all ingredients in slow cooker* and stir until well combined.

Cook overnight or all day on Low for 8-10 hours.  (It only took me 4-5 hours while cooking on low.)

Stir oatmeal with a fork to loosen the steel cut oats and make sure everything is fully incorporated.

Serve warm with toppings.

Store in fridge in airtight containers or freeze.

 

NOTE: I probably should have used a crockpot liner for easy clean up with this recipe!

Did I set January Goals?

I really have NO idea!

Which means that I have to go back looking through my blog in search of January goals.  I mean it’s mid February already, I probably should have figured this out.  I know that I did set my 2014 intentions with an exciting new bucket list.  But can’t remember any January, or February for that matter goals.

 

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Search complete…Hope you enjoyed the view.

It seems that I never set January and February goals, which is why I can’t remember what they are : )  I’m thinking that I do want to keep going with the monthly goals this year, which means that I need to get thinking. 

 

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Meanwhile, I will just share a recipe with you.  You all know how much I LOVED eating Flax and Chia Bowls last winter!

 

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Which got me thinking…what if I subbed in sweet potato instead of banana?

 

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The result was today’s breakfast, and it was really flavorful, filling, and satisfying!  Sadly, I have no finished pictures to share (the ones above are from the night before), because they don’t really do this breakfast any justice.  Like last winter, I’ve been running intervals around the indoor track for cardio during the cold and dark mornings.  Tuesday it was descending ladders and this morning, I threw some intervals into the end of my run.

This breakfast always hits the spot after a tough morning workout!

 

 

Sweet Potato, Chia, and Flax Bowl

 

Ingredients

1/2 cooked sweet potato, mashed

12 g chia seeds

1 heaping spoonful of ground flax

1 tsp or more pumpkin pie spice

1/2 cup almond milk

Optional: honey, agave, or sweetener of your choice

 

Directions

-Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir well.

-Place in fridge over night.

-Serve the next morning topped with berries or granola.

 

 

And…Let’s just call these my Mid February and March Goals

1. Decrease Sugar Intake

2. Build Strength

3. Play Tennis

4. Sign up for Races

 

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Yup, that’s the gym parking lot this morning.  Yuck!