FriYay!!!

Who’s doing the Friday happy dance?!

I started doing it on like, Wednesday, when I  got home around 7:30 in gorgeous sunshine and convinced the BOY to sit out back with me enjoying dinner and some bubbles.

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So updates on the week…

I started my new job on Tuesday!  I am commuting, via train, into the city.  The first day was sunny and delightful.  My job went well and I managed to find some delicious kombucha during m lunch break.

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Day 2 was raining and gross and indicated that I need to buy some better rain gear.  I was able to find the local coffee shop, which proved very handy : )

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But by Wednesday night, the sun was shining…hence our impromptu outdoor dinner.  Thursday was another beautiful day and this spring weather got me feeing like…

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I just want to sit outside and drink wine and eat cheese : )

Which I can (and did!)…because the BOY had to work late and I don’t work Fridays.  Can’t remember if I mentioned but I am only working 3 days at my new job while I do my yoga training. 

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And speaking of yoga training.  I gave myself some slack this week with my yoga goals.  We are supposed to attend 5 classes per week and I wasn’t sure how to make that work with my new commute.  I am still learning about parking and train passes, etc.  We are also supposed to do daily meditation, which I just sort of sucked at. I did get in one day but was interrupted by this guy!

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To accompany my new yoga vibe, I decided I needed a short, shaggy, summer hair do.  My hair is still in a bit of hair shock (as is the BOY), but I love that change is in the air!

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Although I have no idea how I’m going to put it up for yoga training tonight!

Happy Friday Folks!

 

May Goals

Get organized for Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) – just getting started but diving right in!

Eat REAL clean – hit or miss! I feel like overall my diet has been clean but you know I dove right into the cake from Sweet Mandy B’s at work yesterday : )

Keep up the workouts (mix up cardio and strength) – Done!

Try not to freak out with all the big changes in our lives! – Let’s just say…it’s a work in progress!

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June Goals

So…with the start of teacher training, we are supposed to try to meditate daily (aps allowed) and do 5 practices a week.  We also set a few personal goals.  My thought is that if I want to get the most out of training, I have to commit, so I am making my June goals my YTT goals!

-5 classes per week

-Daily meditation

-Add shoulder openers to each practice

-Eat for energy!

 

What changes are you making this spring?

What are your summer goals?

Return of the Grill {And the Bike}

Spring has sprung!!!

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We have an entire week of warmth and sunshine which concluded with an absolutely spectacular 70 degree weekend!  It definitely feels like June, and I am loving it!

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Started Saturday morning with a strength sesh followed by a protein smoothie.  Then headed into Chicago for my sister in law’s bachelorette party, which was a ton of fun!

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I arrived back home around noon today, after dropping off my SIL and of course taking some time to play with her tiny little kitties.  The BOY had plans to get his grill cleaned off.  I told him stories of the evening while laying in the sun as he drank a beer and scrubbed off his grill.  When all was done, I took a quick nap on the couch while the BOY grilled the first meal of the year for lunch.  After lunch, we did our grocery store run (along with everyone else) and watched the sad end to the Hawks game.

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I am working tomorrow, so it was a productive Sunday.  Dinner went into the crockpot, laundry was washed and folded, and bags of veggies were prepped for the week ahead.  In an attempt to bribe the BOY to take his lunch to work, I also portioned out fruit and snacks for him for the entire week so all he has to do is make his sandwich.  With most of my ‘chores’ complete, I decided it was time to get out a bit and exercise.

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I dusted off my bike and filled the tires and then literally rode into the sunset.  Our path is a bit flooded, but I was able to ride about 12 miles out and back.

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My bike was a bit neglected last summer, and I am planning to do a lot more riding this year!  I’m even hoping to do some bike commuting around town if I can.

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My first time out was fantastic!  When I got back home, the BOY was already working on the meat for tonight’s dinner.  I love grill season!  And bike season!

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For desert we are attempting to make S’mores ice cream.  I’ll keep you posted how it goes : )  An hour of riding wore me out (or it was last night’s 5 hours of sleep…ha ha)!  Either way, I’m calling it an early one!

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How are you celebrating the start of spring?

Meal Planning 4/17/16

Monday: Serf and Turf

Tuesday: Crockpot 2 Ingredient Pulled Pork

Wednesday: Shrimp Surprise (I forgot to buy the Stirfry veggies so not sure what I will do with my shrimp)

Thursday: TBD

Friday: Happy Passover!

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?

No French Fry Bars

The bad news is when you play all weekend, there is a lot of work to do on Monday.  And I don’t mean work, work because it is still the weekend (for me), but house work!  I would have loved to have spent Monday on my couch, cuddled with Cooper, and catching up on Scandal.  Instead, I woke up and immediately started creating laundry piles. 

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Saturday morning, the BOY and I woke up to snow.  Not a lot of it, but more than anyone wants to see in April!

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The BOY and I went to the gym for our training sessions and then quickly packed up before driving downtown.  My sister in law has been wanting to try Soul Cycle and I was more than  happy to accompany here to the Old Rihanna vs. New Rihanna class.

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We had a lot of fun working up a sweat.  Then the guys met us for lunch and beer at Corridor.  The weather was odd, alternating between hail and sunshine, but we managed to walk around and shop before making our way back to their house.  We had a little bit of down time before getting ready for our family friend’s wedding.  My mom, SIL, and I drank bubbles while we got our hair done at the dry bar, and then everyone got all dressed up for the wedding.

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We danced the night away and had a great time together!  Sunday was another fun family day, but this time the weather was gorgeous!

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We walked all over the city, racking up close to 7 miles.  Along the way, we discovered an amazing little bakery and fueled up with cupcakes (and a not pictured cookie sandwich that was consumed during the walk)!

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The BOY and I didn’t get home until late Sunday night, and we stopped and picked up Thai for dinner on our way home.  I was feeling exhilarated with the excitement of the weekend and crashed for a good 10 hours Sunday night.  Which brings me back to this morning.  After getting a few loads of laundry going, I grabbed leftovers for breakfast and debated if I wanted to go to the 9:30am yoga class.  A run would have been ideal, but after yesterday’s 60 degree weather, this morning was chilly.

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So off to yoga I went!  And then came back home to get myself organized for the day while sipping on a Peanut Butter and Banana Protein Smoothie.  I made my grocery list and our meal plan. 

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With the cold weather, chili was top on my list…Mmm!

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So I had the opportunity to bump into an old coworker of the BOY’s last week.  She mentioned that she saw him eating one of the protein balls I had made.  When she asked him what was with the healthy fare, he said that I made them so that he doesn’t eat French Fries (LOL!).  I actually make them so that we have healthy snack options throughout the day, but the French Fry comment had me cracking up.

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On that note, I made another batch of bars this week and we can just call them ‘No French Fry’ bars!

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These are actually a Luna bar knock off and absolutely delicious!

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You’ll have to make a batch and let me know if they keep you away from the drive through : )

 

What is your favorite mid afternoon snack?

 

Meal Planning 4/04/16

Monday: Chili

Tuesday: Sesame Honey Chicken

Wednesday: Burgers and Veggies

Thursday: TBD

 

(Homemade) Peanut Butter

Chocolate Chip Luna Bars

From Lauren’s Latest

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup dry roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 24 oz. pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • pinch sea salt

Directions

  1. Place peanuts into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to chop into fine pieces without turning into a paste. Add in dates, chocolate chips and salt. Continue pulsing until one large mass comes together in the bowl. Line a 9×9 baking dish with parchment paper or plastic wrap and press date mixture evenly into the dish. Dip your fingers into water to prevent sticking. Place into freezer or fridge for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove completely from pan using excess plastic wrap as help and cut into 10 even pieces. Wrap each bar individually in plastic wrap and store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Welcome Spring!!!

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I finally got around to making these protein balls last week, but never got around to sharing the awesome recipe. 

Note: You will want to make a double batch of this recipe because it is awesome but the servings are NOT plentiful enough!

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Saturday morning, I was up again early and at the gym.  I had another kick butt workout, making it my 5th of the week (way to go on that March goal!).  Then it was a quick change and off to my last yoga class of the session.  The kids were really energetic and fun and dove right into all of the partner work and poses.

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I stayed a little after to fill in our life size bracket hanging on the wall in the gym.  From there, it was back home where the BOY scooped me up for lunch and shopping.  Believe me when I say that I was MORE surprised when the BOY wanted to go to the mall for updated work clothes than I was last weekend when he wanted to clean : )

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We had a successful trip to Nordstrom and arrived back home minutes after the Indiana/Kentucky game started.  We watched on the edge of our seats as Indiana pulled away to make it to the Sweet Sixteen.  Saturday night, we had dinner with my bestie, her hubs, and two amazing kids!  I dove right into the play dough while the BOY initiated a pre-bed time sword fight.

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Sunday morning was a unique treat!  We set no alarm and I didn’t have anything on my schedule until 2:30pm!!  I woke up around 8:30am feeling refreshed.  I ate a bite of breakfast (with my espresso) and drove off in the sunshine to the yoga studio for a hot flow class. 

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On the way, I realized I forgot my water bottle.  Luckily, there is a Walgreens in the parking lot of the studio, so I was able to quickly grab a Smartwater.  When I arrived, the room was PACKED!  I was able to find a small piece of real estate in the front row (not my favorite).  It occurred to me as I transitioned to my mat that this was a PERFECT example of finding peace in the present moment.  The front row is tough because it is up against the wall. I find it harder to balance that close to the wall, and I am more self conscious about my movement with other bodies close by.

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But the benefit of being that close to the wall is easily transitioning from standing splits to handstand with the support and confidence boost of the wall, which is exactly what I did a few times this morning.  Slowly working off the wall as I practiced my strength and balance on two hands.  Our teacher continued to remind us to embrace the awakening of spring as we moved through tough transitions in the hot room.  The morning class was a sweaty one and no one (including me) moved quickly out of savasana, like we usually do, taking the time to cool down before arising from our mats and refilling our water bottles.

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I changed out of my wet clothes for a lunch time trip to Whole Foods.  The BOY requested a sandwich and I ended up with a Whole Foods Hodge Podge (basically what happens at the whole foods salad bar when you are starving after hot yoga!).  I had big plans to glue my side view mirror on, but realized that it was going to take an hour, which I didn’t have.  Instead, I drove my car into the city, carefully merging at all times, to hang out with a friend/old coworker of mine.  We walked throughout the city, making a special stop at the Family Matters house, which she just discovered was in her neighborhood (and I just learned was in Chicago).

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We had coffee and walked some more, swinging by Athleta to scope our the scale items.  On our walk, we caught up on life while appreciating the sunshine on this first day of spring!  I left the city a little before 6pm with plans to swing by the grocery store to pick up my dinner (which I forgot that morning at WF) since the BOY had dinner plans with a friend.  I was also hoping to be home before dark since along with a busted mirror, I also seem to have a head light out on my car.  Ugh!  I will definitely be doing some car maintenance tomorrow!

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I made salmon and brussel sprouts for dinner with a glass of crisp white wine, while watching tonight’s March Madness games.  I was feeling torn between cheering on the Big Ten (out of support for the conference) and Xavier, out of support for my ailing bracket and loved all the close games and over times!

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And that’s a wrap for my weekend (and start to spring), which means that I really should tell you more about these protein balls.  The original recipe calls for cranberries, so feel free to go that route.  I actually had cherries in the house, so decided to use those along with a scoop of protein powder for some added flavor and muscle building goodness.

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Like I mentioned way back at the start of this post, these energy balls are fantastic and well worth doubling the recipe.  They make the perfect afternoon pick me up and even the BOY has enjoyed taking these energy balls as a snack to the office.

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How did you start spring?

Any famous TV landmarks in your town?

 

Cherry Vanilla Protein Bites

Adapted From Recipe Runner (makes 9 large energy balls***)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup chopped medjool dates, about 6-7 dates
  • 2 tbsp vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt (optional)

***I would recommend doubling if you have the room in your food processor!

Directions

  1. In a high speed blender or food processor add the cashews and almonds and pulse until they are finely ground, careful not to turn them into nut butter.
  2. Add in the remaining ingredients and blend or pulse until everything starts to come together.
  3. Scrape down the sides several times and add up to 2 tablespoons of water.
  4. Form into balls, rolling between your hands.
  5. Store the energy bites in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

Leap Day

Leap year would make day light savings look weak if only it were an extra Sunday : )

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#whenyouworkSaturdaymornings

It’s only fitting that I started this year’s extra day with a little ME time (and some leaping into handstand).  I had a fantastic weekend…Saturday, I taught a kids yoga class and then went for a 4 mile run.  The weather was AMAZING and it felt like spring.  The BOY and I had lunch together and then I drove into the city to spend some time with my SIL (and Roscoe).

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We caught up on life over some bubbles and then headed out for the night!  It was a well deserved night out that ended with a little dancing before we headed to bed around 2am.  Sunday morning was even more beautiful than Saturday and so we spent most of the day out and about. We walked to get coffee and breakfast, then took Roscoe for a muddy run in the park, followed by a hose off.  We walked to the grocery store for provisions and then it was couch/nap/Lifetime movie time!  We made dinner in and watched a bit of the Oscars before settling in to watch ROOM.  Have you seen it?  By 11pm, I was exhausted and ready for bed.

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This morning, I was up to say goodbye to my SIL before she went off to work.  Then went back to bed for about a half hour.  I enjoyed my morning tea while meal planning for the week on Pinterest before making my way outside.  It was a bit chilly but seriously another incredible day for February.  I loved every minute of my 30 minute walk through the city…so different than my usual commute. I arrived at Zen Yoga Garage (never been before) with enough time to look around, take a selfie, and get to know the girl up front.

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I chose to take a Vinyasa II class because I was craving some introspection and piece of mind.  I had no idea what to expect, but the class surpassed my expectations.  There were only 4 of us and the teacher was incredible.  The class featured some challenging but exciting transitions and handstand play at the wall.  Totally my cup of tea!

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One of the things that resonated with me the most was when the teacher said that we should let go of what we don’t need…okay, we all know that.  But, then she said as we moved into cobra/up dog…open to what you want to receive, to what you need.  All of the heart openers left me feeling happy and the handstands made me feel strong. I ended up walking out with the teacher and as ex gymnasts we hit it off and chatted a bit about yoga and life.

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I stopped by bucks for a latte to appreciate on my walk home (also awesome!).  I changed quickly and met a few friends for lunch in the city before heading back to the burbs.  The weather began to get colder (we have a snow warning…boo!).  I swung by the grocery store to pick up the ingredients for this week’s meal plan.  I ran around the house for about an hour (getting food put away and laundry going).  Then settled into the couch where I soaked up some Cooper love.

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This week’s meal plan is sponsored by Pinterest!  Tonight’s dinner actually comes from Wildtree.  Since I own not one Wildtree product, I had to improvise a bit so this is an adapted version.   And since the BOY doesn’t eat sweet potatoes, I changed up the veggies.

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I was a bit nervous about how it would turn out but it is incredible!  Even the BOY raved about his dinner when he got home late from work around 9pm!

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I am exhausted after my weekend but feeling really good!  The fresh air, family time, and yoga were exactly what I needed this weekend.

How was your leap day?

Do you use Wildtree products?

Meal Plan 2/29/16

Monday: Zesty Mustard Chicken with Roasted Veggies

Tuesday: Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken

Wednesday: Fish and Broccoli

Thursday: Leftovers

 

Zesty Mustard Chicken with Roasted Veggies

Adapted from Wildtree

Ingredients

5 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

1/3 cup Honey Dijon Mustard + a drizzle of olive oil

1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence Blend (or some random herbs in your cabinet)

3 small yellow potatoes, chopped into 3/4-inch cubes

1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved

2 shallots, peeled and sliced

2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

Preheat oven to 450°F and line a sheet pan with foil. In a gallon freezer bag, add chicken, mustard and herb blend and toss to coat chicken well. Set aside for 10 minutes while preparing vegetables. Toss potato, Brussels sprouts, and shallots, with olive oil and spread into an even layer on prepared sheet pan. Season with salt (and pepper if desired). Place chicken thighs, and any remaining sauce in the bag, on top of vegetables. Bake for 35 minutes or until chicken is cooked through: 165°F.

Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

It’s Monday and my 4 day weekend continues…woo hoo!  I think that I really needed a little time off to take care of some business and catch up on sleep.  Today isn’t as relaxing as I’d like.  I mean, ideally I would just nap on the couch with Cooper and watch hours of the tour.  But, it’s still a no work Monday!  I woke up around 8am, brewed a cup of black tea, and took my shopping list to the grocery store for a week of meals.

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When I got back, I made 2 Ingredient Sweet Potato Pancakes for breakfast and changed for the gym.  After another tough arm workout (this seems to becoming a pattern), I drove back home.  I did a quick, but effective Ab Blaster (while watching the tour), showered and ate lunch.  My plan was to get dinner set in the crockpot, but I ran out of time before I needed to head back out the door.

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This time, I drove to the train station and settled in with a book for the hour journey into Chicago.  I was probably only in the city for 90 minutes, and got caught unprepared in a wicked rain storm, before grabbing a tea and settled back in with my book for the ride home.  BUT, it was totally worthwhile though because my fiancé and I got to pick out our wedding bands!

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There was plenty of time to make dinner and binge watch today’s stage of the tour when I got back home!  I was already pretty tired and I have a busy week ahead. I am trialing some new strength classes at a boutique gym by my house in the mornings.  Plus, work is busy with patients and yoga.  The BOY had to work late tonight, so I had a quiet afternoon…secretly jealous of Cooper who can nap all day and sleep all night.

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Sadly, the BOY missed out on this delicious dinner!

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This recipe is super easy and really, REALLY good!  Since he missed out, I promised that I would make it again real soon.

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I added some extra veggies to the original recipe and the combo of taste and textures makes this my new favorite crockpot recipe!  I also left out the rice that’s in the original recipe, and I can’t say that I missed it.  Ok then, I’m going to call it an early night, tonight! 

 

What are you eating this week?

 

Meal Planning 7/05/15

Monday: Slow Cooker Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Tuesday: Turkey Taco Meatoaf

Wednesday: Pork Chops and Veggies

Thursday: Leftovers

 

Slow Cooker Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Adapted from Cooking Classy

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs ground chicken
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and finely chopped (I used half red and half yellow)
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (8 oz) can diced water chestnuts, drained and rinsed
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 2 heads iceberg lettuce

Directions

Place chicken and garlic in pan, sprayed with cooking spray.  Cook until no longer pink.   Drain off liquid and pour mixture into a 5 – 7 quart slow cooker. Add bell peppers, celery, onion, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper and toss mixture. Cover and cook on low heat 2 – 3 hours until chicken is tender.

Stir in water chestnuts, cook until heated through 3 – 5 minutes. Separate iceberg lettuce leaves and serve with chicken filling.

Kicking It Off

If I were a Disney princess, I probably would have woken up singing Saturday morning.  There were even animals present as Cooper climbed into our bed for an adorable 15 minute cuddle.  I was in a great mood and the sun was shining on a promising day ahead for our first wedding shower.  After months and months of planning, it is actually starting to feel REAL.  Disney princess or not, the singing came later.

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I was up super early so took time to enjoy my black tea and breakfast.  Then, I walked out the door for the 8am yoga class.  My intention was to have toned arms to sport with my new shower dress and a zen heart to enjoy and appreciate the special day.  I accomplished both and with my #postyoga glow, I found myself rocking along out loud to the radio on the way home…I told you there’d be singing.

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An hour later, I was back in the car, this time all dressed up, heading to Chicago for our shower.  We were both super excited to ‘kick off’ the wedding season and to meet chef Stephanie Goldfarb who would be leading us in chopping lessons and along with her pastry chef preparing the most amazing meal!

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Appetizers were ready and bubbles poured before we started the demo.  These are the watermelon gazpacho shooters, tea infused quail eggs, and shrimp toasts.  Mmm!

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Our chefs Stephanie and Lucie Ann!

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We got an important lesson in chopping and then got to work making the most delicious pot stickers…learning all the tricks of the trade!

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The peanut sauce was possibly the best I’ve ever had, and I’m hoping to have recipes to make and share soon.  Everything we ate was amazing and I was full before lunch was over!  Everyone felt the same way, but we did save room for dessert!  Mexican hot chocolate mousse and shortbread custard fruit tarts…

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The guys arrived and presents were opened.  Our friends know us soo well as every gift was kitchen related.  The BOY got a gorgeous decanter and his smile was enormous when he opened up the deep fryer.

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The shower was so unique and personalized to us, which made the entire day extremely special!  We are super lucky to have the most amazing friends and family who are just as excited as we are to celebrate our upcoming wedding.  Including my bestie of almost 30 years (who is also the Matron of Honor)!

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The celebrations continued after the guests left as we cozied into the porch furniture for more bubbles and a cheese plate reminiscent of last weekend’s Happy Hour on the dock.  Same great crowd…same blue shirts : )

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Around 7pm, we made our way back to the kitchen for pot stickers part II.  This time, the ladies showed of their new cooking skills to the guys.

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We left around 9pm and taxied a few miles down the road to my brother and sister in laws new house. I wish I could tell you that we went straight to bed after the busy day, but instead we sat out back for drinks and cigars.  Despite my lack of sleep, I was up again early this morning, still excited from the previous day’s festivities.

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It was another beautiful day and I walked the 2 miles to the yoga studio where up I met up again with this crew…

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I was feeling pretty amazing until my first forward fold revealed that I had perhaps a few too many bubbles the night day before.  That feeling quickly passed as I got into the groove of one of the best yoga classes I’ve every taken in my life.  I’m not sure if it was the high of the weekend, being surrounded by my family and friends, the skill of the teacher, or the energy of the room.  I’m guessing that it was all of the above!

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Throughout class, I felt light, strong, and flexible and that feeling continued off the mat as walked down Southport appreciating the energy of the city.  I swung into Teavanna for an incredible tri colored drink and picked up empanadas for brunch.

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I arrived back at my brothers as everyone else was walking in.  Our hosts cooked eggs, bacon, and potatoes and my parents arms were filled with bagels and coffee.  It was the perfect ending to a spectacular weekend!  The BOY and I packed up all our new kitchen gadgets and goodies and drove back home to the suburbs.  Cooper was thrilled to see us, but perhaps more excited to explore all of the boxes and bags!

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The BOY and I did a much needed kitchen cleaning making room for all of our new toys!  And then lack of sleep caught up with us as we collapsed in the living room with a movie and Thai food delivery.  Wait until you see what we (almost) had for dessert…

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Our wedding will be here soon…let the countdown begin!!!

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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.

My Kinda Town

It was the BOY who said ‘How many 72 degree days do we get in Chicago?’ and his point was well taken!

After a dramatic week, I happily drove down to the city Friday after work to drink wine and eat cheese with my sister in law.  As always, we stayed up way too late with one (possibly two) too many glasses of bubbles before crashing into bed exhausted by life with the happy buzz of friendship.

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Saturday morning, we were up by 9 and out the door in our matching gym shoes headed towards the lake.  We wove our way down to the Green City Market with a stop by Starbucks for some fuel.

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The market was packed!  We worked our way through the cheeses, jelly’s, and greens sampling what we could.  Others waited in long lines for tamales and incredible looking crepes.

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After the market, we walked into Old Town to some shops, including The Spice House where I purchased the most amazing smelling curry powder.  Then we walked our way back home, stopping at a few more stores and eventually at 2:30 finding a patio for lunch. 

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We figured that we had to have walked more than 8 miles and hungrily dug into lunch and rose.

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We walked back in the door with about 15 minutes for me to shower, change, and pack up my stuff for my next stop, a friend’s 4 year old birthday party.  I returned home almost exactly 24 hours after I left.  The BOY (whose face was bright red from sun after 2 hours of tennis today) grilled up dinner and snuggled in for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

While watching the game, I went looking for a curry recipe to use my new spice mix.  The Hawks lost (boo!) and I went up to bed early to catch up on some missed sleep from the night before.  My alarm came a little too early this morning, but I was excited to go to the 8am hot yoga class.  The class was challenging, and I left dripping wet.

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On my way home from yoga, I decided I want to bake some zucchini bread.  I found a simple recipe and crafted 4 tiny loaves to share with friends.  I didn’t realize that the bread uses honey instead of sugar.  It’s not as sweet as your typical bread and really delish!  I also made a sweet no bake treat to take into work this week.  We’ve all been super busy and deserve a little fun.

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Of course, Cooper found the best spot in the kitchen.  After baking, I met some friends for a run. We weren’t sure how the weather would be, but the rain held off and we were able to get in an awesome (and sweaty) 1 hour run followed by coffee.

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Chicago is definitely my kind of town…especially with spring (and almost summer) in the air!

Ps I meant to have the zucchini recipe here (it has zucchini and apple!), but I had a bit of a computer melt down and ran out of town before my eyelids got heavy, but you can find it on the True Aim website.