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.

The First Meal Plan of 2016

After eating a whole lotta fried food on January 1st, I knew the rest of this week needed to include some greens.  And I had bought some veggies to go with our aps on new years day and…umm…totally forgot about them while I was drinking mimosas and eating off the cheese plate.

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So, I started my Monday at the gym and then swung by the grocery store on my way home. You will definitely see a theme to this week’s meal plan…lean meats and veggies!  Exactly what we need to start the year off feeling good and energized.

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I had a busy Monday picking up the pieces of a fun filled 4 day weekend.  When I came home, I found my un used veggies and started making Buffalo Turkey Chili for lunch this week. 

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It was fun to use our super sharp new knives to easily dice up the veggies.

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And this is one of my favorite chilies!  Note: recipe is below!  You can make it with chicken or turkey.

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I had company in the kitchen, who was less helpful and more sing whine for my dinner : )

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I can’t blame him because I think he is still recovering from his cousin Roscoe’s visit.  On the exercise front, yesterday morning was a run around the track(and more Serial) and tomorrow morning, it’s treadmill intervals.  And I am planning to bring the BOY with me. 

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Which means, that I will be heading to bed soon.  The goal…to rock the new sale bikini I just bought for under 30$ from Athleta that finally arrived in the mail today.  #Countdowntohoneymoon

 

Meal Planning 1/04/15

Monday: Turkey Burgers and Sprouts

Tuesday: Chicken Tacos (made from 2 Ingredient Chicken)

Wednesday: Fish and Veggies

Thursday: Pork and Veggies

Lunch: Buffalo Turkey Chili

Chipotle Apple Turkey Chili + Pumpkin Cornbread

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Meal Planning 11/02/15

Monday: Steak and Tilapia

Tuesday: Chipotle Apple Turkey Chili + Pumpkin Cornbread

Wednesday: Indian-Spiced Chicken Burgers

Thursday: BBQ Pork tenderloin and Veggies

Friday: TBD!

 

What are you cooking this week?

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

 

 

Chipotle Apple Turkey Chili

From Pass the Sushi*

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

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Pumpkin Spice Corn Muffins

From Together as Family

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

70 Degrees and Chili

I started this morning with a fantastic 10 minute cuddle with Cooper after the BOY left for work. Cooper has been feeling a bit neglected lately!  So have a lot of things…including our house  : )  Before I met with my trainer, I did a bunch of cleaning, organizing, and laundry this morning.  Then headed off to the gym.

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I warned my trainer that it’s been a long two weeks without exercise and some extra carbs, so it was good to get my muscles burning again.  On the way home, I did a Costco and grocery store run.  It was a HUGE success!

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It was the warmest day we’ve had all year!  Oddly enough the BOY wanted chili for dinner tonight, which worked for me because I had just enough time to throw dinner in the crockpot, shower, and switch around laundry before I met my mom for an afternoon of shopping.

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That was also a HUGE success!  I walked in the door moments before the BOY and we both dug right into the delicious chili!

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It was a gorgeous 70 degree day today and spring is in the air!  Woo Hoo!

 

What do you like to do when the weather gets warm?

Do you eat chili in the spring/summer?

 

Meal Planning 3/16/15

Monday: Turkey Chili (with Fritos and avocado)

Tuesday: Spaghetti/Zoodles and Sausage

Wednesday: Tilapia and Veggies

Thursday: Indian

 

 

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

From Natasha’s Kitchen (adapted slightly from original)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 tsp Cumin powder
  • ½ tsp Chili Powder
  • ½ tsp Garlic Powder
  • ½ tsp Dried Oregano
  • Dash of red pepper flakes
  • 15 oz can Black beans, drained and lightly rinsed (or cook your own beans like we do)
  • 15 oz can red kidney beans with juice
  • 6 oz jar of diced green chilis
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (seasoned or plain)
  • 28oz of tomato sauce

Directions

In a large skillet over medium/high heat, add 1 Tbsp olive oil and sautee 1 lb ground turkey until cooked through.

Add 1 medium finely diced onion along with 1 tsp cumin powder, ½ tsp chili powder, ½ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp oregano, 1 tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper (I added more seasoning). Saute until onions are softened and meat is lightly browned then transfer to a standard-sized crock pot, sprayed with cooking spray.

Add drained black beans, pinto beans with juice, diced green peppers, and diced tomatoes.

Add tomato sauce and stir to combine. Set on low for about 5 hours until piping hot. Taste and adjust for seasoning just before finished cooking.

10 Things to do During a Snow Storm

You would think after last year, I’d have snow days all figured out.  And, actually we kind of do.  The most important part is planning ahead of time so that when you are stuck at home, you have plenty of food (chili is a must) and activities to keep you busy…hence yesterday’s Target trip.

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Here is how we kept ourselves busy during yesterday’s snow day…

1. Clean Off Your Car (and head out to a yoga class)

2. Make Chili (and serve it with Frito’s and beer)

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3. Do Laundry

4. Nap

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5. Bake Brownies

6. Read/Study

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7. Stay in Your PJ’s ALL Day

8. Watch Movies (or Law&Order marathons)

9. Nap Again

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10. Catch Up on Blogging (I did set January goals…right?!)

And an extra for good luck…

11. Take ridiculous selfies (plural) with your cat!

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January Goals

1. Study, Study Study!

GOAL MET…I think they know me at the library now.

2. Continue to exercise 5 days a week

Due to schedule changes, I’ve only been exercising 3-4xweek and that’s just how it will be until mid March.

3. Sign up and get prepped for a triathlon

ALMOST MET…I’ve got it narrowed down to two and a friend to train with me.  I did sign up for the Soldier Field 10 miler.  Woo Hoo!

4. Try new recipes/Revisit my cookbooks

Oh man! I’ve been a bit lazy on the cooking front, passing those duties off to the BOY.  I’m thinking that this may be the norm until my test.

 

February Goals

I’m sure these 28 days will fly by and beyond work and studying, I won’t have much time to focus on anything else, so I thought I would keep it SUPER simple!

1. Continue to prioritize studying

2. Drink less soda (an old/new habit that has crept back up with studying…however, it messes with my tummy and sleep so I need to be better about it)

3. Eat clean

 

How do you spend your snow days?  What are snow day food musts?

Getting into the Pumpkin Spirit

I love pumpkin just as much as the next blogger and even though I’m a little late to the pumpkin game, I dove right into the spirit with a few orange recipes this week.

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To start, I made a pumpkin chili in the crockpot.  With talk of the first PV (polar vortex) of the season on the horizon, I knew that I would want some chili this week.  Last year, I made an awesome Pumpkin Quinoa Chili, so I was willing to give the combo another try.

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After I got everything in the crockpot, I busted out my food processor (I swear my kitchen does not have enough counter space or outlets to support all my toys).  I have been wanting to make some raw energy balls to bring into the office for an afternoon pick me up.

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Of course I went with the pumpkin ones.  Although my texture was a little off, the flavor of these balls was great!  I will have to try them again…

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You can check out this website for the full Pumpkin Pie Energy Bites Recipe.  If they turn out a little gooey, then I suggest freezing them. It worked like a charm!  Back to the chili…my pumpkin chili turned out thick and spicy!  I happen to love it, but it has a mushy texture.  So if you don’t like that kind of thing in your chili, then add in some extra beans or lentils.

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And although they look pretty funny, check out the Whoopie Pies I made for the BOY’s 33rd Birthday today!  He ate 4 of them!

Recipe to come…

 

Meal Planning 11/11/14

Monday: Chinese Leftovers

Tuesday: Crockpot Pork

Wednesday: Turkey Tacos

Thursday: Leftovers

 

What was the first pumpkin recipe you made this fall?

Turkey Pumpkin Chili

Adapted Slightly From Garnish with Lemon

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound ground turkey (lean)

2 – 15 oz cans diced tomatoes (drained lightly)

2 – 15 oz cans pumpkin puree

1 15-ounce can tomato sauce

4 tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano

3 tablespoons cumin

2 chipotle peppers in adobe sauce, chopped

Directions

In a large fry pan, cook onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until translucent. Add turkey and cook until meat is no longer pink.

Spray the bottom of a crockpot and add the turkey mixture.  Layer on the tomatoes, sauce, pumpkin, spices, and chipotle peppers.  Stir and cook on low for 4-5 hours.

Serve with avocado, cheese, sour cream, chips or corn bread.

Sometimes I’m a Little Bit Lazy

And this last week has been one of those lazy times!

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I’m sure my definition of ‘lazy’ is a little off the actual textbook definition of lazy.  But compared to my typical activity level, this last week plus has just been lazy.  Minus the half marathon of course (although even my training for that was a bit lazy).  I’ve been lazy about my blogging…lazy about my workouts…lazy about cleaning my house…you get the drift!

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The thing is that because I am usually on the go, I figure that my body and mind need a little break sometimes.  So I give them a break, try not to feel too guilty about it, and then pick up the pieces and move on.  Until then, I’ve been keeping myself busy with Starbucks runs and Cooper cuddles.  Today was one of the laziest days of all…I didn’t even shower.  I did make it to the grocery store and we made our first crockpot full of chili of the season.

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#fallfavorites

It turned out amazing and reminded me why I LOVE Sundays in September…even when the Bears play on Monday : )

So after a lazy week, I’m ready to move forward with a healthy meal plan, exercise, and the start to the Jewish new year.

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Meal Planning 9/21/14

Sunday: Crockpot Turkey Chili

Monday: Salmon and Veggies

Tuesdays: Pork and Veggies

Wednesday: Home for the Holidays!

Thursday: Rosh Hashanah

 

Do you ever feel lazy?