Multitasking Monday

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cooper’s view on Mondays…ha ha!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meal Planning 1/11/15

Monday: Turkey Meatballs (recipe to come)

Tuesday: Slow Cooker Island Pulled Chicken

Wednesday: Feta and Spinach Chicken Burgers and Broccoli

Thursday: Pork and Veggies

 

Cleansing Carrot Ginger Soup

From Candice Kumai

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1  yellow onion, finely diced

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

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1 bay leaf, dried

2-3 tablespoons ginger, freshly grated

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

1⁄2 teaspoon nutmeg

1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt, to taste

Directions

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

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

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

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

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

It Doesn’t Feel Like Christmas

The BOY made this statement last night and I couldn’t help but agree.  There’s no snow, it isn’t particularly cold, and I can’t say there was much pomp and circumstance to my day.  I worked Christmas Eve morning to afternoon and then met my trainer at the gym.  After a few days of indulging in holiday treats, I knew a serious strength session was what I needed before the long weekend.  He agreed with a tabata style workout…ugh!  I had a few errands to run and so I got them done before arriving home at 5pm to a sleeping BOY and excited kitten.

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Our big Christmas eve plans involved dinner and a movie.  Since we had no food at home and I knew it was too late for a dinner reservation, we thought a movie at the fancy theater was the perfect solution.  We arrived early for a drink and then grabbed turkey sliders to go into the theater to watch MockingJay Part I.

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To be completely honest, MockingJay was my least favorite of the 3 Hunger Gamess books, so I wasn’t sure how the movie would go.  Curled up with my blanket on a recliner with popcorn and red wine, the movie kept my attention and didn’t disappoint!  The BOY and I returned home to an adorable Cooper ready to play while flipping through TV and sipping on green tea.

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It’s that exciting time when Trader Joe’s has my favorite holiday night cap!

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I was looking forward to sleeping in Christmas morning, but the BOY had other plans to meet his family.  My family’s plans…meeting my mom at the yoga studio for a 10am class.  All great days don’t go as planned. My mom skipped yoga (I still went and loved the fun, yet challenging class under the Christmas lights) and the BOY’s mom wasn’t feeling well.  My mom, the BOY, and his dad all ended up meeting for lunch at the deli.

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After lunch, we all went our separate ways.  The sun was shining and it felt like a glorious fall day.  I found an open grocery store before a planned ME day.  Well, actually a me and Cooper day.  I had tons of laundry to do and was looking forward to finally doing some holiday baking.  With a Lifetime movie in the background, I had the most wonderful day!

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I was most excited to make a loaf of fresh baked gingerbread!

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Which looks FANTASTIC!

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Meanwhile, I also made a gluten free Christmas favorite White Chocolate Puppy Chow.  Then I retreated to the couch to fold laundry and catch up on the DVR.

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Even though the lack of blistery cold and laid back vibe made the day seem less Christmas like, it made it all WONDERFUL!

Wishing you all the merriest of Christmases!

 

Gingerbread Loaf

From Tastes of Lizzy T’s

Ingredients

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1½ teaspoons ginger

¾ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon salt

¼ cup sugar

½ cup molasses

½ cup butter, softened

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup buttermilk

powdered sugar for dusting the top, if desired

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, thoroughly stir together the flour, baking soda, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the sugar, molasses, butter, eggs and vanilla until well mixed.

Add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk, stirring just until blended after each addition.

Spoon the batter into a greased 9×5 inch loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes.

Cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and cool.

Gingerbread Rice Krispy Treats

During a ‘ quick’ trip to Target (does such a thing really even exist?), I walked out with an arm full of random stuff including Gingerbread flavored mallows.  I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to do with them (I seem to remember buying them in the past dipping them in chocolate, and loving them), but along with a bottle of red wine and some allergy meds, they landed in my arms, cart, and shopping bag.

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Sunday morning, I had plans to meet a good friend for a Core Power Yoga class.  Beforehand, I had just enough time to whip up a batch of Rice Krispy Treats.

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A quick Google search revealed that not much has been documented about making treats with the gingerbread mallows, so I followed the basic recipe adding in a bit of extra spice.

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The result was delicious!  A hint of spice lingering after each bite!

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Of course, I brought a few to my yoga going friend and then packed up the rest to bring holiday cheer to my coworkers!

The yoga class was hot, sweaty, and intense.  My favorite part…the quote the teacher shared with us as we set our pre practice intention.

After my previous post about life and balance, this hit home, and I have been thinking about it and sharing it with others during this busy holiday season.  With this in mind, it was around 8:30pm that I climbed into bed with my book last night.  Slowing down was a great idea yesterday…especially since today was jam packed!

 

Meal Planning 12/15/14

Monday: Mediterranean Turkey Meatloaf with Roasted Veggies

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Tuesday: Crockpot Orange Chicken (make ahead)

Wednesday: Grilled Pork and Veggies

Thursday: Homemade Pizza Night (a BOY favorite)

 

Gingerbread Rice Krispy Treats

Based off of the Original Rice Krispy recipe

Ingredients

3 tbsp butter

1 package KRAFT gingerbread marshmallows

1 big heap of cinnamon

1/2 tsp clove

6 cups Rice Krispy cereal

Directions

In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat and stir in spices
Add cereal, stirring until well coated.
Using buttered spatula or hands sprayed with Pam, press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cool.  Store in air tight container.  Best served the same day.

12 Days of Recipes {Day 11-Merry Christmas!}

I’m saving my favorite cookie recipe for Christmas day.  Not because I think that you’ll have time to bake it today, but because it just shows how special it is!

 

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In the past, I’ve made ginger or molasses cookies and although they’ve tasted good, they’ve lacked that strong flavor bite that I love.  So this year…I decided to buy the Robust flavor of molasses.  I am a changed woman!

 

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The next step was finding a recipe to use above mentioned molasses.

 

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Thanks Pinterest!

 

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These cookies turned out beautifully!  I think the smiley face one is my favorite : )

 

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And this recipe might be my absolute favorite cookie of the year!

Wishing ya’ll the merriest of holidays and a happy Christmas day!

 

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Do you like ginger or molasses cookies?

 

 

 

Molasses Cookies

From What’s Gaby Cooking?

 

Ingredients

¾ cup butter, melted

1 cup sugar, plus extra for rolling

1 egg

1/3 cup robust molasses

2 1/4 cups flour

1/2 tsp ground cloves

½ tsp powdered ginger

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp baking soda

 

Directions

In a large stand mixer combine the butter, sugar, egg and molasses. Mix for a minute or two until well combined.

Combine the flour, cloves, ginger cinnamon and baking soda and sift together.

Slowly add the flour mixture to the molasses mixture and mix until evenly combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Once chilled, scoop 2 tablespoons of dough at a time and roll into balls. Roll them around in a small cup of sugar and set onto a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Remove from the oven and transfer the cookies onto a cooling rack to cool.

These cookies freeze well!  And taste awesome straight from the freezer!

12 Days of Recipes {Day 9}

The BOY and I had a whirlwind weekend in the city!

 

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We packed a lot into 2 LONG days, including a date night, Hanukkah party, and another yoga class.  We even bumped into a friend on the street and walked over to Bux for some coffee.  And of course…there were bubbles!

 

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Not surprisingly, I was in charge of dessert for Sunday’s Hanukkah party.  I brought along two types of cookies including these Granola Cookie Wedges.

 

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I also made the Hermit Bars I’ve been wanting to make for ages!  I baked up the bars last week, cut them, and placed them in the freezer.  My plan was to bring them downtown for the party and then frost them with cream cheese frosting.  Easy and delicious!

 

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Well, let me tell you…they were a HUGE hit!

 

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So much so that they were gone before I even got a picture.  I kept the frosting near the bars and everyone dug right in adding extra frosting to the Hermit Bars and a taste of sweet cream cheese to the granola bars.  I debated whether or not to post this recipe, but after today’s overwhelming response to the bars, I knew that I had to!!!

 

On another note, today is my 3 year bloggerversary.  Wow! I’m not sure how that happened!

I have a fun idea for a game to try at the start of the new year to honor this occasion.

 

 

Hermit Bars

From The Lemon Bowl

 

Ingredients

4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

2 cups brown sugar – packed

1 cup butter (2 sticks) – softened

⅔ cup dark molasses

2 large eggs

 

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease and flour one standard jelly roll pan (cookie sheet) and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: flour, cinnamon, baking power, baking soda, ginger, nutmeg, salt and cloves.

With mixer on medium, beat together brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add in molasses then egg and mix until combined.

Reduce speed to low and slowly add in the dry ingredients until just combined.

Flour hands then carefully press dough into even layer on the floured cookie sheet.  (Warning: the dough is really sticky!)

Bake 17-19 minutes depending on oven. Remove when toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool completely before slicing into bars.

Freeze or frost as desired.

12 Days of Recipes {Day 6-My house smelled Amazing}

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Happy Friday!

My morning commutes have been so pretty (even with all of the snow), and I was super excited to catch a bit of the sunrise on my new phone.  In anticipation of the forecasted wintery mix, I thought it would only be appropriate to share a new quick bread recipe that I made last night.

 

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With all of the bread that I make, my house has never smelled so amazing!

 

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The blend of pumpkin and ginger is fantastic!

 

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And this makes the perfect holiday hostess gift!

Bake up!

 

 

Pumpkin Gingerbread

From Simply Recipes

 

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups (200 g) all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 cup (240 ml) pumpkin purée

1/2 cup (1 stick, or 112 g) butter, melted

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 cup (120 ml) molasses

2 eggs, beaten

3 Tbsp water

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Prepare a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan (or three smaller pans) with non-stick spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

In another bowl, use a wooden spoon to mix together the pumpkin purée, melted butter, sugar, molasses, eggs, and water.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients stirring until just combined.

Place the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes (40 minutes if baking smaller breads), until a tooth pick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then gently run a knife around the edge of the loaf and invert the loaf to remove it from the pan. Let it cool on a rack for 30 minutes or longer.

Freezes well.

Splash!

That is the sound I expected to hear when I dove into the pool this morning.

Instead…I got more of a swish as I slowly eased myself in reacquainting myself with the water.

 

Truth be told I wrote the title of this post last night in hopes that I wouldn’t back down from my planned swim.  It has been a LONG time since I went swimming for exercise.  But I have been eyeing a June triathlon, which means that training should have started weeks ago!  With my March goal in mind, I drove to the park district pool at 6:05pm for a swim.  I decided to join Caitlin’s Ironman March and although I am a few miles away from my 26 mile running goal, I am yet to swim or bike.

 

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I was so freezing cold on the short drive over to the pool that I almost turned around and definitely thought about walking around the track in my swim suit covered in PJ’s. Yes that is what I wore to the gym!  But once I walked onto the pool deck, I was consumed by heat and humidity…a nice change during this ice cold winter.   The pool was almost empty and quiet.  One of the benefits of the park district pool compared to the gym is that it is MUCH warmer for senior water aerobics.

 

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The goal for today’s workout was to get into the pool, so once I was in, I had to decide what to do.  I figured that 20 minutes of swimming (any kind) would be a great start.  I alternated between freestyle and prone kicking.  A few strokes in and I remembered how peaceful swimming can be and because my newish goggles actually worked, I was way more relaxed in the water!

 

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I was really proud of myself for getting up AND getting to the pool, so I enjoyed my reward of a few minutes in the hot tub.  I would have loved to have stayed longer but I had to get myself ready for work.

 

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I forgot my contacts at home, but luckily I had planned to swing back home anyways to eat a bite of breakfast.

 

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Since Thursday’s have turned into a marathon day, I planned for an easy dinner tonight that the BOY could get started without me.  Yesterday’s dinner was just as easy.  I had planned to make stirfry, but the BOY said that he wasn’t that hungry.  Instead, I roasted up some broccoli to have with leftover salmon (from Tuesday).  Easiest week of meal planning EVER!

 

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I found this salmon recipe on a blog, commented on it, planned to make it, and then totally forgot where I found it.  Please tell me that I’m not the only person who this happens too!

 

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I share this with you so that you know that I can’t take credit for the recipe and because it explains why I have no idea what the portions are supposed to look like.

 

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Yet somehow this Asian inspired salmon turned out AWESOME!

 

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If this is your recipe, thanks for the easy weeknight meal (and leftovers) and please take credit in the comments! 

Clean Eating Magazine (one of my faves) just emailed me with 15 Awesome Salmon Recipes!  Go check it out!

 

 

When was the last time you went swimming?

Any good pool workouts to share?

What are you eating for dinner this week?

Why do I have so many questions tonight?

 

 

Orange Ginger Salmon

 

3/4 to 1 pound of salmon

~3 tbsp fresh squeeze orange juice

~1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce

Ground ginger to coat

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line baking pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.

Mix orange juice and tamari, stirring well.  Coat salmon and marinate while oven preheats (longer if you have time).

Sprinkle salmon with ginger and place in the oven (or on the grill in foil)

Cook for 18 minutes.