Rain Rain Go Away…

Don’t come back on Saturday!

 

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

 

I have a shoe dilemma…

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

One last thing…

Did you know tomorrow is Run at Work Day?

Love it!

 

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

Source

 

 

Ok seriously…which shoes should I wear this weekend? 

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

 

 

Summer Sander’s Post Run Smoothie

From Women’s Running Magazine

Serves 2

 

Ingredients

1 cup ice

1 cup almond milk

2 tbsp peanut butter (I used almond butter)

1 ripe banana

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

4 pitted dates

 

Directions

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

Elixir and Exercise

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I have a new obsession…

 

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And I’m not talking about my new computer.  Ok, obsession is probably too strong of a word.  But I have a new favorite AM beverage…hot water with lemon!  Over my winter break, I read that it was a good way to start your day because of it’s detoxifying principles, so I decided to give it at try.

 

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Shortly there after, I noticed hot lemon water popping up on numerous blogs.  I was intrigued…was there more to this than I realized?  Or does everyone just love the taste (like I do)?

 

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Then a few nights ago, Whole Living magazine shared a recipe for elixir as part of their 3 week new year cleanse.  Their version included lemon, ginger, turmeric, and honey to taste.  Since I don’t love honey, I left it out.

 

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I was nervous to try this odd combination, but pleasantly surprised with how refreshing and tasty it was.  I think I will pick up some fresh ginger this weekend because I have heard that it is even better.  I have no idea how detoxified I actually am, but overall, I am feeling really GOOD!  I am working to decrease my stress levels, eating clean, and figuring out a new winter workout routine. 

 

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At the risk of getting too personal, I am also highly pleased with my Good Belly probiotics.  Without oversharing, I can tell you that since starting to take this probiotic a few weeks ago my stomach has felt fantastic.  I was even able to have some Yogurtland without a flare up.  Awesome!  I would have told you that I was skeptical about probiotics, and now I am a huge fan.  I drink one every morning before my lemon water and breakfast.

 

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And hot lemon water is totally necessary when this is the start to your Friday morning!

 

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Now, on to the exercise…

 

I definitely got my workout groove back this week starting with some much needed strength training.  And when the temperatures dropped below my comfort zone, I found myself an indoor track.  Actually two indoor tracks. One near work that is new, 3 lanes and free. The other is 5 minutes from our house, smaller, but less crowded and costs only 2$. The possibilities are endless!  Since I don’t have a gym this winter, I am committed to using these resources and trying some new classes.  Along with my CrossFit groupon and incredible hot yoga studio, I should be all set for an active winter.  Now…I just have to figure out how to get the BOY to join me : )

 

BTW, if all of this talk about working out is making you hungry, feel free to make one of these amazing peanut butter recipes in honor of yesterday’s National Peanut Butter Day.  It’s never too late to celebrate…right?!

 

 

Golden Elixir

From Whole Living Magazine

 

Ingredients

1 cup hot water

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1/8 tsp turmeric

1/8 tsp ground ginger

Cayenne

Honey

 

Directions

In a mug, stir together water, lemon juice, turmeric, ginger, and cayenne and honey to taste until combined.

 

 

Do you drink hot lemon water?  Why?

Like I said, I am intrigued by this new health trend!

Does anyone else take probiotics? What do you think?

Slow Cooker Turkey and Bean Chili

We haven’t made chili in a few weeks, so it was time to grease up the crockpot and chop up some veggies.

 

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I found a wonderful looking chili recipe in Clean Eating Magazine.  I picked up all my ingredients at the store last week, so that I could get right to work Saturday morning.

 

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Unfortunately, I didn’t have white beans (kind of a big deal since it is in the title of the original recipe), but I knew that black beans would be a fair substitution.  I was able to find tomato puree (I’ve never used that in chili before), and decided to use sweet potato instead of white potatoes for taste and nutritional value.

 

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I like to slow cook on low heat.  I don’t know much about slow cookers of the past but I think that my crockpot is super strong and therefore I can cook something on low (8-10 hours) for only 6 hours and have a thick bowl of chili.

 

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After a few hours, my chili was smelling good but not as thick as I would have expected.  I added in the roasted corn.  Yes, it appears that microwaving a premade bag of roasted corn could be considered cheating, but when I saw this in the frozen section, I knew it would make life this recipe MUCH easier.

 

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A few more hours back in the crockpot with some additional seasonings, and I had a THICK and smoky chili!

 

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I was even more surprised to see how much thicker my chili was when I poured myself a bowl for lunch today.  Although I shouldn’t be too surprised as soups and chilies usually taste even better the second day.  I think some of my substitutions changed the flavor of the recipe as written, but I am totally digging this colorful chili.  The sweet potatoes add the right amount of sweetness that compliment the smoky corn.  Covered in avocado, this was a filling lunch after this morning’s challenging Hot Yoga class.

 

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Meanwhile, the BOY grilled up some burgers for our Dad’s who came over to watch the Indiana v Northwestern basketball game today.  It took a little convincing but the BOY braved the cold (it was in the 30’s) to make juicy burgers for the guys’ lunch.  He even took the time to make roasted mushrooms and caramelized onions to go with the burgers.

 

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We had a wonderful afternoon relaxing in the living room, devouring our lunches, chatting about sports, and telling stories.  This was the first time that just our Dads came over and it was an awesome way to spend the afternoon.  The boys were more than happy to save room for dessert, Peanut Butter Bon Bons.

 

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And the Dad’s even took a few to go home.  FYI, the BOY has decided that the vanilla coated bonbons taste even better than the chocolate ones in case you are already making your Valentine treat list!

 

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I know it sounds crazy, but I could totally go for another bowl of chili for dinner.  Maybe that’s because we are watching the football playoffs and chili just seems appropriate : )

 

Have you made any new recipes in your crockpot?

 

 

 

Turkey and Bean Chili with Roasted Corn

Adapted from Clean Eating Magazine

 

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey breast

4 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped

1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed (can sub in min red skin potatoes halved per original recipe)

1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped

2 cups low sodium chicken or veggie broth

1 can black beans, rinsed (original recipe calls for navy beans but any white bean will work)

1 cup tomato puree

3 tbsp chili powder

1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

1/4 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

salt to taste

3 medium cobs of corn or 2 cups frozen and thawed corn kernels

 

Directions

In a large skillet, heat oil or cooking spray over medium heat.  Add turkey and cook, stirring frequently until beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.  Add garlic and onion, stir and cook for 5 minutes until soft and well cooked.

Transfer turkey mixture to slow cooker sprayed with cooking spray.  Add potato, pepper, broth, beans, tomato puree, and all seasonings.  Stir and cook on low (6-8 hour setting) or high for closer to 3 hours.

Meanwhile, if using corn cobs, char on grill or over grill pan.  When cool, shave kernels from cob.  About 1 hour before finished, stir in fresh or microwaved corn and cook until potatoes are soft and chili has thickened.

Store in airtight container in refrigerator or freezer.

Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms {Revisited}

First up, a ‘I’m sick of being sick’ update…

I saw the doctor today and am beginning round II of antibiotics tonight.  This one is a super big pill and the gold standard in sinus infections, so I am ever hopeful!  It’s been 2 weeks since I’ve gone for a run, and I am in need of some activity.  It appears that the weather will be warming up next week (40 degrees), so I’m hoping to have some exercise posts to share.  Although the doctor suggested not heading out for a run just yet.  Thanks to everyone for your warm wishes…I really appreciate it!

 

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Even though I haven’t worked out in 2 weeks (other than one yoga class), I have had plenty of food to share.  As is our NYE tradition, the BOY and I spent the night working together in the kitchen to create a an incredible dinner!

 

What was on this year’s menu?

 

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Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms

Crab Legs

Lobster Tail

Roasted Broccoli

Grandma’s Brownies

 

The stuffed mushroom recipe comes from Real Simple magazine.  The first time I made it a few years back, I was amazed that such a decadent tasting recipe could come out of my kitchen.  Since then, it has become a New Year’s Eve tradition.

 

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Last year, I used a few large mushrooms, but this year I went back to the original recipe.

 

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I like to add a little extra garlic and parmesan to my mushrooms which enhances the flavors and it makes it difficult to stop eating this mouth watering appetizer.

 

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And any leftovers heat up nicely!

 

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If you’re looking for an easy appetizer for a weeknight meal or to impress your friends at a dinner party, save this recipe for your files!

 

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With the oven hot, we also roasted up some broccoli with olive oil and sea salt

 

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And that sat down to enjoy this special meal!

 

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I definitely won’t be waiting until next year to make these mushrooms again!

 

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Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms

Adapted From Real Simple November 2010

 

Ingredients

24 medium mushrooms (about 1 1⁄2 pounds total)

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the baking sheet

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 5-ounce package baby spinach, chopped

kosher salt and black pepper

3/4 cup panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup Parmesan, grated (2 ounces)

 

Directions

Heat oven to 375° F. Remove the stems from the mushrooms; finely chop the stems and reserve. Coat a baking sheet with oil. Bake the mushroom caps, stem-side down, until just tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and chopped mushroom stems and cook, stirring, until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the spinach, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon pepper and cook, tossing, until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes more.

In a bowl, combine the spinach mixture with the bread crumbs and cheese. Spoon into the mushroom caps and bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes.

Store for 1-2 days in an airtight container and reheat in the microwave.

I Heart Frozen Cookies

My freezer is FULL of cookies.  For the most part, I have been good about staying away, but there are a few favorites in there that I have been sneaking some tastes of all week.  What can I say…I heart frozen cookies!  Almost as much as cookie dough : )

 

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It’s not the holidays without ginger cookies.  I found plenty of incredible looking recipes out there in the blogging world.  It was hard to choose which one to make.

 

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I went with these Ginger Molasses Cookies from Mercedes’s website.  Her pictures looked so amazing, I wanted to lick my computer screen.  And this dough didn’t disappoint!

 

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What was really disappointing, though, was dropping a sheet of these cookies onto the bottom of my oven.  Yikes!  It was the first blunder of the day, but my Mom was there with the spatula to save what she could.  These cookie crumbles tasted so good that I just couldn’t toss them.  I had the idea to crunch them up and turn them into some type of bark.  Instead, I snacked on them throughout the day, froze the rest, and have been eating them all week.

 

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They are just THAT good!

 

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I did share the beautiful cookies in my holiday cookie tins.  There is just something about curling up on the couch with a gingerbread cookie (or two) and dunking them into hot chocolate on a cold winter day that is so comforting during this crazy busy season.  Now, that is happiness!  I have more molasses and plan to make more ginger cookies before Christmas! 

Any good recipes that I should try???

 

I had one more cookie mishap this year that I just can’t figure out…Does this ever happen to you?

 

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I tried a new oatmeal cookie recipe.  Everything went well until I pulled them out of the oven and the edges were super thin and crispy while the centers still doughy.

 

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Hmmm! I’m not sure if it is the recipe (I don’t usually make cookie recipes from SELF magazine and these certainly don’t look like the picture) or something gone wrong with my butter (although it felt the right amount of soft).

 

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Any ideas?  They are not supposed to be lace cookies, but they sure look like it.

 

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Not too worry, these oatmeal cookies taste fantastic.  I think it’s the combination of dried cherries, walnuts, and chocolate.  Most of them turned out okay and the few that broke apart got added to the broken cookie pile in the freezer that I have been loving all week (and weekend).

 

These are definitely two of my favorite cookies from this holiday season!

Here are a few other great cookie recipes to try…

 

Chocolate-Mint Thins

Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies

Kahlua Balls

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Double Chip Peanut Butter Cookies with Pretzels

 

 

 

Ginger Molasses Cookies

From Satisfy My Sweet Tooth

 

Ingredients (20 cookies)

12 Tbsp (6 oz.) unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup molasses

1 egg

1 3/4 cup flour

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp soda

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line baking sheets with tin foil and grease foil with butter or nonstick cooking spray.

In a small, microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter then add the melted butter to a large bowl.

Combine all dry ingredients (except sugar) in medium bowl and set aside.

Add the sugar and molasses to the butter and beat with an electric mixer until well-blended. Add egg and mix.

Add dry ingredients to butter mixture and mix to incorporate. Batter will be wet.

Drop batter onto cookies sheet using a cookies scoop or large spoon. Leave 2-3 inches in between as cookies will spread.

Bake 8-10 minutes and cool completely on foil-lined cookie sheets.

 

 

Chocolate Chip-Walnut Cookies

From Self Magazine

Ingredients

1/2 cup whole-wheat flour

1/4 cup rolled oats

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (I used more!)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

6 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

1/4 cup dried cherries

 

Directions

Heat oven to 375°. In a bowl, combine flour, oats, baking soda and cinnamon. In another bowl, cream butter and sugars until fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add egg and vanilla; beat until smooth. Blend flour mixture into butter mixture. Stir in chocolate chips, walnuts and cherries. Drop 20 dough balls (1 tbsp each) onto 2 ungreased cookie sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake until golden brown, 9 minutes. Remove from oven; let cool on sheets 3 minutes, then transfer to foil to cool fully.

 

*I’m going to make these again and see if I can figure out the problem.  They are definitely worth trying!

Meat and Meatless Monday

Even though the BOY and I have very different eating styles, I don’t typically make two dinners per night.  There is a lot of compromise made on both sides, and it usually ends up working out.  However, every now and again, I have a recipe that I really want to try (that I know he’s not going to eat) or the BOY has a craving for red meat (which I don’t eat).  That’s when we end up with meat and meatless meals.  On the meatless side, I know I teased you guys with this recipe last month, so I was really excited to make the African Peanut Stew that I found in Clean Eating Magazine.

 

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I pulled all of my ingredients together.  For some reason, I couldn’t find chard at my store, so I just subbed in everyone’s favorite green leafy, kale!

 

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I let everything simmer a little longer than the recipes calls for because I didn’t think 12 minutes was long enough to let the flavors blend, and I was working on the BOY’s dinner as well.  The curry in this recipe is so fragrant that I couldn’t wait to sample the stew. 

 

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My soup turned out a little more watery than I expected based on the picture in the magazine…story of my life!  Maybe that’s because I used a thinner homemade peanut butter.

 

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I served my stew over brown rice which was so hearty and filling.

 

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I almost didn’t have any room left to go searching in the freezer for the Mint Chocolate Puppy Chow….almost : )

 

Now onto the meat…

While my stew was simmering, I got to work on Sloppy Joe’s for the BOY.  I found a homemade recipe on Trkingmomoe’s Blog.

 

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I loved that I had all of the ingredients to make her sauce already in the house.  It just took me a few minutes to collect everything.

 

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This recipe is nice and simple.  I did cut it in half though although if you make extras you can always freeze them.  It smelled exactly like I remember Sloppy Joe’s tasting!

 

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Although I’ve never been a big Sloppy Joe fan, this sauce had complex flavor, and the BOY was thrilled!

 

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First…because I actually made him Sloppy Joe’s (not even Sloppy Jane’s with turkey meat), and secondly because this recipe is delicious!

 

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He is so excited, he actually said that he’d eat leftovers later in the week!  When I have two healthy(ish) and comforting recipes like this, I certainly don’t mind making two dinners.  And I know that we’ll have plenty of leftovers for lunch during the week.

 

Here’s what else we’ll be eating…

 

Weekly Meal Plan

 

Monday Night

For Him: Sloppy Joe’s

For Her: African Peanut Stew (see recipe below)

 

Tuesday Night: Girl’s Night Out with some coworkers

 

Wednesday Night: Turkey Taco Meatloaf

 

Thursday Night: Crockpot Chicken Tacos

 

Friday Night: Work Event

 

Dessert: Mint Chocolate Puppy Chow

 

 

You can find the full Sloppy Joe recipe HERE!  You should definitely go check it out.  It is the perfect comfort recipe for this time of year!

 

African Peanut Stew

From Clean Eating Magazine

Makes 10 servings

 

Ingredients

1 tbsp high heat cooking oil (ie safflower)

2 yellow onions, cut into 1/2 inch dice

6 cloves garlic, minced

3 jalapeno chile peppers, seeded and finely chopped

2 tbsp curry powder

1 tbsp minced fresh ginger (I used powder)

4 cups low sodium vegetable broth

2 cups chopped tomatoes, with juices

1/3 cup smooth or chunky all natural peanut butter (I used homemade)

1 2/4 lb sweet potatoes, cut into 1 inch dice

4 cups shredded green or red Swiss chard (I used kale)

Sea salt, to taste

 

Directions

In 5-6 qt stockpot, heat oil on medium.  Add onions and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender, 5 to 7 minutes.  Add garlic, jalapenos, curry powder, and ginger and sauté for 1 minute more.

Stir in broth, tomatoes, and peanut butter.  Add potatoes and chard and increase heat to medium-high.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until potatoes and chard are tender, uncovered, 12 to 14 minutes.  Season with salt.

Serve over brown rice.

 

Note: I may have cut my potatoes too big, so I let my soup simmer for closer to 30 minutes.

Baked Coconut Shrimp

The minute I saw this recipe in Clean Eating Magazine, I knew I wanted to make it soon!  My mouth was watering just checking out the pictures and it looked like a fresh idea to our meal rotation that wasn’t too complicated.  Perfect for a quiet night in after a long holiday weekend!

 

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Which means I made it Monday night.  I did skimp on the homemade dip though and just picked one up at the store.

 

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I was a huge fan of this recipe before I even put it into the oven.  Three bowls, four ingredients, and it all reminded me of a fun art project.

 

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Don’t these guys look tasty?  The whole time, I kept thinking about what else can I dip into coconut/panko and bake?

 

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I would suggest baking them slightly longer than suggested to get your shrimp EXTRA crispy!

 

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In less than 20 minutes, dinner was served!

 

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And it was a really good dinner!

 

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We will definitely be making these again soon and adding them to our meal planning rotation!

 

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I am a huge fan of a quick, easy, healthy, and satisfying dinner!

And I think that you will enjoy this recipe too!

 

 

Baked Coconut Shrimp

From Clean Eating Magazine

 

Ingredients

Olive oil cooking spray

2/3 cup whole wheat flour

2 large eggs

6 tbsp panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

24 shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails on

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil and mist with cooking spray.  Place 3 wide, shallow bowls on work surface.  To first bowl, add flour; to second bowl, add eggs and beat lightly; to third bowl, add panko, coconut, salt, and pepper and stir to combine.

Pat shrimp dry with paper towels.  Holding 1 shrimp by the tail, dip in flour, shaking off excess.  Quickly dip in egg, then in coconut mixture, coating thoroughly.  Place on baking sheet and repeat with remaining shrimp.  Bake for 11 minutes (or longer if needed), turning once, until shrimp are firm to the touch and browned.

11 Hours

I am sick!

 

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Not the ‘I’m so sick that I can’t get out of bed’ sick, but the, ‘I have the worst sore throat, raspy voice, and more mucus than can be humanly possible’ type of sick.  Yuck!  Go figure…I spend 2 weeks on the go working like a crazy person and this is my first quiet day off and I wake up and I am sick.  The worst part…I am supposed to run 11 miles today in prep for my Thanksgiving half marathon.  Instead, I slept for a full 11 hours!  As I’ve mentioned before, this is the consequence of working with kids.  After 6 years in pediatrics, I have built up an immune system, but after an exhausting few weeks, fatigue and stress usually take its toll.

 

When I woke up this morning, I was in pretty bad shape (even after 11 hours of sleep).  Not totally surprising as I started getting a sore throat and cough on Thursday night.  I knew a run was not in the cards, which makes me sooo sad since it is a sunny 50 degree day.  Perfect for a long run!  The BOY suggested breakfast, and I was in for pumpkin pancakes.  I started with some tea and the BOY ordered pumpkin hot chocolate.

 

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I know that yesterday was National Pumpkin Day, but we are a bit late in our celebrations.  I brought along October’s Cooking Light where I found this good looking chili recipe.  My thought was to pick up the ingredients on our way home.

 

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For breakfast, I ordered an omelet with figs, apples,and turkey sausage.  It also came with goat cheese, but I got that on the side, and a side of pancakes (not surprisingly, the BOY and I both chose pumpkin).

 

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The pumpkin pancakes, topped with bananas and pecans were incredible!  It was hard not to inhale them in a minute. 

 

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But, I am working on slowing down while eating, so I took my time to enjoy every bite!  And then had leftovers to take home with me.

 

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After lunch, we made a quick stop at the farmer’s market.  This is the last weekend that it is open until spring, which is a bummer!  Does your farmer’s market stay open year round?  If so, I am jealous!

 

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Then it was on to Mariano’s for a few more chili ingredients.

 

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When we got home, it was partner chili cooking in the kitchen.  The BOY got to work on some chopping and I browned the meat.

 

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Instead of following the preparation described in the recipe, we decided use our trusty crockpot, which always produces amazing chili!

 

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For now, I have settled with getting some fresh air by opening the back door.  Perhaps, I will be able to get out for a walk later if my head stops spinning (not sure if this is the cold or the medicine), but for now, my medicine has kicked in and I think I am in need of a nap, perhaps another round with my netti-pot, and some serious hydration.

 

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Poblano-Turkey Sausage Chili

From Cooking Light October 2012

Makes 6 1-cup servings

 

Ingredients

1 cup prechopped onion

1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic

8 ounces sweet turkey Italian sausage

1 tablespoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

2 poblano chiles, seeded and finely chopped

1 bay leaf

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons no-salt-added chicken stock (such as Swanson), divided

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained

1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained

1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added pinto beans, rinsed and drained

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream

Sliced radishes (optional)

 

Directions

1. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 4 minutes or until browned. Remove casings from sausage; add sausage to pan. Stir in chili powder, oregano, cumin, poblanos, and bay leaf; cook 4 minutes or until sausage is browned, stirring to crumble sausage.

2. Add 1 cup stock, tomatoes, and beans. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes or until slightly thickened. Combine flour and the remaining 2 tablespoons stock in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk to form a slurry. Add slurry to chili, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute or until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in cilantro and black pepper. Discard bay leaf. Serve with sour cream and sliced radishes, if desired.

 

In the mood for chili on this crisp, fall weekend, here are some other great chili recipes!

 

 

What is your favorite food to eat when you are sick?

Mine is my Dad’s homemade chicken soup. I usually have some stashed in the freezer, but sadly I am out.  I’m not sure how that even happened…Hint, Hint, Dad!

Ahhhhh

Thank you everyone for the sweet birthday wishes and comments this weekend!  It is always fun to share the celebration (and of course the recipes) with ya’ll!

 

I have been waiting all summer for this 4 day weekend as I transition from Fridays off back to Mondays off, and it worked out so well to have it be the weekend of my birthday.  It gives me an entire day to relax, recoup, and recharge after a crazy busy summer and an exciting weekend.  Although the BOY and I mostly laid low yesterday, it was nice to catch up on some sleep last night!

 

I woke up this morning with (insert sigh of relief here)…

Ahhhhh, an entire day to myself!  First up, Chai tea in my new tea press!

 

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It turned out incredible!  I’m so excited to have this fancy new toy (I bought it on sale at Sur La Table yesterday) for hot and premade iced tea.  It complimented my breakfast which consisted of a spinach egg with toast and Door County jam.

 

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First up on today’s list…

 

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Laundry

 

And…

 

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Dishes

 

Then, I was off for my morning bike ride.  One can never have too many pairs of socks with colorful bikes on them!

 

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Since my toe is feeling so much better, I tried to get into my spin shoes, but it was just too painful, so I was back on my hybrid again today.  In a few weeks, my mom and I are doing a (modified) Century Ride.  The game plan is ride ~60 miles, and I have not been getting in any long (more than 25 mile) rides.  So today, I headed out for a long ride!

 

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I wasn’t exactly sure how far I would ride, but I hit the trail first…then headed up north.  I hit some serious construction early on, and had to fend for myself along the busy roads.  But I made my way to the quiet streets lined with barns, farm animals, and huge homes.  It was beautiful!  I even saw this funny sign that says Farm Machinery Crossing.  Have you ever seen such a thing?

 

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Despite the construction, I found my way back home.  I was feeling great until I hit mile 30 and  got a wicked side cramp, which never happens to me while I’m biking.  I finished the last 5 miles, but had to slow down a bit.  When I got home, my legs were sore, but it felt great to get in a long and scenic ride this morning.

 

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After a super quick shower, I was ready for a late lunch.  We have tons of Fiesta leftovers that I was able to turn into a fresh colorful salad, with a veggie burger for some added protein.

 

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I think this might be my new favorite plate!!!

 

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And this might be the best salad that I’ve ever made!  It was so tasty that it didn’t need any dressing!

 

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The only thing that could top it…an amazing dessert involving THESE (but we’ll get to that!).

 

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First, I should show you a few of my accomplishments besides laundry, dishes, and getting a new phone from AT&T.

 

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Before

 

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After

 

Ok, now on to the yummy part of the post…

While I was nibbling on these dark chocolate covered raisins from Trader Joe’s last week, I came to the conclusion that they would taste unbelievable in banana bread.  I HAD to test my theory.  I even picked up some overripe bananas at the store for just this reason.

 

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If you’ve been reading LWYD for a while, then you have probably seen a fair share of banana bread recipes.  I have a bunch of them in my recipe binder and have found even more online.  For today’s bread, I went with Mom’s Banana Bread from Cooking Light.  Can you believe that I’ve had this recipe in my binder since 1996?!

I followed the banana bread recipe exactly.

 

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But only stirred the flour mixture briefly…

 

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Before dumping in the majority of the dark chocolate covered raisins.

 

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I folded in the raisins until everything was just combined and then poured the dough into 4 prepared mini loaf pans.

 

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I was worried that the raisins would sink to the bottom, but when I pulled the bread out of the oven 40 minutes later, it looked PERFECT!

 

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I let the bread cool slightly and then immediately sliced off a piece to try…

 

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The banana flavor in the bread was incredible, and the bread was full of warm, gooey dark chocolaty covered sweet raisins, that made my mouth very happy!

 

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As strange as it may sound, banana bread and dark chocolate covered raisins make the perfect couple!

 

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You should give it a try!!!  I recommend making the mini loafs to share with your friends!

Then sit back and say…Ahhhhh!

 

Here is my long list of favorite Banana Bread Recipes:

Classic Banana Bread

Clean Banana Bread

Flour’s Famous Banana Bread

One Bowl Banana Bread Walnut Bread

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Rum Coconut Banana Bread

Strawberry Banana Bread

 

 

On another note, I spent some time this weekend updating my Being Me (had to change my age and all), Eating Well, and Staying Active pages.  Next on my list is the Recipe Page.

 

And because Monday can never have enough randomness, I have to share the exciting news…

Mariano’s in Schaumburg (less than 2 miles from my house) opens tomorrow!  The BOY and I are already planning a trip there tomorrow night!

 

I hope you had a great Monday!  What did you do???

 

 

Dark Chocolate Covered Raisin Banana Bread

From Mom’s Banana Bread in Cooking Light

November 1996

 

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Ingredients

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup light butter, softened

1 2/3 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)

1/4 cup skim milk

1/4 cup low-fat sour cream

2 large egg whites

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 container of Trader Joe’s dark chocolate covered raisins

Cooking spray

 

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine sugar and butter in a bowl; beat at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended. Add banana, milk, sour cream, and egg whites; beat well, and set aside.

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt; stir well. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture, beating until just blended.  Fold in chocolate covered raisins

Spoon batter into 4 (5 x 2 1/2-inch) miniature loaf pans coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans. Let cool completely on wire racks.

Note: To make one 9-inch loaf, spoon batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray; bake at 350º for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Yield: 1 loaf, 20 servings (serving size: 1 slice).

Olympic Fever

With like 3 hours of free time last night, I got caught up on my weekend race recap and the Olympics.  Did anyone else have tears in their eyes watching the women’s gymnastics team come together on the floor???  For as long as I can remember, I have LOVED the Olympics…and the summer games are definitely my favorite.  For obvious reasons, I’m a huge gymnastics fan (I lived in a gym for 12 years of my life), but I am digging the swimming and cycling as well.  Especially now that I know the big biker names from the Tour de France.  Next weekend, I’m hoping to catch the marathon, and I’ve never watched the triathlon before, but I am definitely going to DVR that.  The saddest thing for me about the Olympics is that I am at work all day and not at home on my couch discovering fun new sports and learning more about London!

 

This summer there has been tons of Olympic hype, and I am afraid that I have caught a serious case of Olympic fever!  This isn’t the first time though.  I can tell you stories of memorizing every detail of the girls gymnastics team in Atlanta and still remember the 1992 Dream Team poster that hung on my wall at overnight camp.  During those summers, my parents would send me cutouts from the newspaper to keep me posted on all the happenings while I was away.  At work, we are all such Olympic fans that we have the kids participating in athletic events and are rewarding them with cutout paper medals.  They are so motivated to get involved (especially in the pool), and the fever has spread!

 

It’s hard not to get all pumped up when magazines like this continue to arrive in your mailbox!

 

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I got this magazine last month and immediately began flipping through the pages.  My Mom signed me up for Women’s Running at the marathon expo, and I am a huge fan.  It is a passionately written magazine that never ceases to inspire me.  For example, this Founder’s Note (titled Fever) concludes with this paragraph that just made me smile!

 

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I too have always had Olympic dreams and hopes (even just to be a spectator would be incredible), and I channel my inner athlete during my weekly workouts and of course this weekend’s triathlon.  I will be dreaming of and continue to prepare my body for the 2048 Olympic games : )  What about you?

 

I’m guessing by the amount of people I have seen biking to/from work, the fact that road races continuously sell out, and the general enthusiasm for activity that running and biking are on the rise.  I came across this statistic in the magazine a few pages later.  How amazing that so many women are seeking out and attempting this awesome middle distance race.

 

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I also came across this question, and was curious to know…what is your answer???

 

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For me, it is definitely Number 2!!!  If you haven’t read Women’s Running and you’re looking for some inspiration, I highly recommend that you check it out.  Their blog, which often features bloggers that you know on the run, is also a joy to read!

 

Have you caught the Olympic Fever?

What sports are your all time favorites and what new ones have you discovered this year?

 

 

The Olympics are super exciting and will inspire me all month and into the fall (my favorite running season).  I still have my goal of  a half marathon PR this year that will require some training.  And I have found some interesting distance races (9k and 25k) that I am recruiting friends and family to run with me.  August 1st has snuck up on me, and I can’t believe that the first half of the year has flown by.  This past month has been an eventful one, and the Olympics came at the perfect time to carry me through a few stressful weeks.  I am looking forward to an Awesome August (details to come) with a whole lot of family and fun!

 

July Goals

Commute by bike

     –I did it!  I loved it!  And I can’t wait to do it again!  Speaking of bikes, this tribute to my bike is one of my favorite posts of the month!

Avoid white flour and sugar in an attempt to loose a few more LB’s around my middle

     -Making progress, but I will continue to work on this through the fall.  This has been especially challenging with sweets such as cookie brittle, cake batter fudge, pancakes, and this insanely good blueberry muffin French toast in the house.  Trust me…if you haven’t already, you should check out THAT recipe!

Make veggies the star of my meals (especially the green ones)

     -This has been tough being grill season and all because the BOY has been making some fantastic dinners, and I just can’t say no to a premade dinner when I walk in the door after a long day of work.

Get moving ever day

     -This has been my favorite goal to accomplish!  I have been adding in walks, casual bike rides, and some other fun activities with the BOY in an attempt to move every day.

Enjoy every mile of my 2012 triathlon!

     -Yes…I loved every minute, even the swim.  Read all about it here!

 

And in case that doesn’t give you enough detail of what I’ve been up to…check out my first ever Lately, I’ve Beenpost!  For the best no bake recipes of the summer, this post will have your mouth watering!

 

 

August Goals

***Since this is a super busy month and we are out of town a few weekends, I’m keeping the goals simple!

-Avoid MORE white flour and sugar in an attempt to shrink my middle

-Make yoga (classes and home practice) a priority to keep stress levels in check

-Sign up for some local road races

-Get moving on vacation!