Not As Much to Say

Haven’t had too much important to share or say lately.  Bloggers, you know how it goes.  Some days you can’t stop your fingers from typing along the keyboard and other days you are just too busy or too tired to come up with something worthwhile to share.  Between Passover, late night Hawks games, busy work nights, and life in general, my photo count and blog posts have been down.  Just temporarily, I think : )

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After an on-the-go weekend, including a trip to the city for brunch (Latinicity does a 25$ all you can eat + 2 drinks!), I was more than happy to collapse on my couch Sunday night with some DVR.  Shortly after, my living room was overrun with 5 neighborhood children torturing playing with Cooper.  He got in a few right hooks and some good hisses but the children were undeterred.  He did, however, devour, every single one of the treats they offered him in return.  Eventually, their parents came to collect them and I was back alone folding laundry.  I crashed HARD last night and loved it!

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When I finally woke up, I got right at it.  And honestly, I don’t think I’ve stopped moving until now.  Since it’s Passover, it takes a little extra time to meal plan and make sure we have bread-free meals for lunch and dinner.  Luckily, we did our grocery store run last night, so we were all set with food.

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I threw Tuesday night’s dinner in the crockpot, a load in the laundry, and then drove off to the mall to be there the moment it opened.  I had two quick errands to run followed by a trip to Costco and then I was back home switching laundry and a new meal into the crockpot for tonight’s dinner.

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It was a quick turn around and then I was off to a noon yoga class.  Afterwards, I was meeting with the teacher to talk about the summer yoga teacher’s training.  I know that I mentioned that I was all signed up, but not sure if I told you that I was teaching the anatomy portion?!

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I returned home to order a bunch of books of Amazon, super excited for this journey to begin in 1 month.  I had some other ‘adult’ things to do which I attacked quickly and unenthusiastically while Cooper napped next to me.

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We had a gorgeous sunny and HOT day, so I decided to head out for a late afternoon bike ride.  I am series about getting in A TON of rides this year!

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I chatted with my mom a bit and when I turned around, I discovered a sky full of thick, dark clouds.

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I arrived home, just as big rain drops began to fall from the sky.  My mom called to make sure I was safe since big storms with wind and hail, were headed our way.  Cooper started begging as dinner finished in the crockpot and the BOY walked in the door exhausted after a long day of work.  We all dug into dinner and then happily found comfortable places to stay for the Hawks game.

 

How was your weekend?  What do you have to say today?

 

{Passover Friendly} Meal Planning 4/25/16

Monday: Honey Garlic Chicken and Veggies

Tuesday: Asian Lettuce Wraps

Wednesday: Matzah Pizza or Leftovers

Thursday: Grill Night

Monday Motivation and Meals

Good Day Monday!

I slept many, many hours last night and I think I could have slept longer if the BOY and Cooper weren’t so eager to cuddle : )  Breakfast is usually the toughest meal for me during Passover because I am used to toast and oats.  Luckily, the TJ’s finally opened near by and I scooped up some of their frozen quinoa with Passover in mind.  This morning, I revisited an old favorite breakfast…

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Hot Banana Breakfast Quinoa

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After breakfast, I was off to the gym for an intense strength session (my poor arms are too sore to type…ha ha!) and then ran a few errands at the Costco and grocery store, plus dropping off 4 huge bags of clothes at the Goodwill after yesterday’s cleaning.

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Some Gym Motivation

Then I spent the rest of the afternoon doing paperwork and watching TV.  You know I love a day to catch up on Scandal and emails!  And snacking on some delicious cheese and nuts.  Now I am mostly just trying to stay up late enough to watch the Wisconsin game tonight.  The BOY and I are both dressed in our red Wisco shirts ready to cheer on the Big Ten.  I just hope I can stay up late enough to see the entire game!

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I didn’t really plan for as much baking/cooking as I thought this week but will rely on the BOY and his grill…hey, there are worse problems to have : )

Good Night!

 

Meal Planning 4/06/15

Monday: Grilled Chicken and Veggies (hooray the grill is back!)

Tuesday: Steak and Salmon Night

Wednesday: Burgers (sans buns)

Thursday: Matzah Pizza

 

What are you eating this week?

This Week’s Highlights

Hi All!  Hope you had a wonderful Passover/Easter weekend!

I’m sure you thought I forgot about you, but I have returned to tell you that is not the case.  Quite the opposite!  I’ve had a week with plenty to tell you about.  Now, I just have to remember all of it.

Highlights of the Week

Monday: Lunch and shopping with friends that I don’t get to see too often and fantastic new Lulu pants.

Tuesday: Early morning outside run on the path (my first one this year!), where I got into a face off with a deer (that I thought might be a coyote) on my way back home.  Bonus…running in my new Brooks that I found at Nordstrom Rack on SALE.

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Wednesday: A glorious 6am yoga class followed by the busiest work day ever causing me to fall asleep before dinner.

Thursday: Sleeping in!

Friday: Another amazing 6am yoga class and the start of Passover.

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Saturday: A really fun morning of kids yoga, followed by cooking some of my Passover favorites (Fruit Compote and Matzah Toffee).  Then dinner at my parents and some final four action.

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Sunday: Back to the yoga studio for a packed 10am Easter class (<—can you find me in the picture?).  Then back home for a HUGE day of spring cleaning…closets, kitchen, grill…you name it, we cleaned it today!  Then, hung out back with our neighbors soaking in the sunshine and sharing some of the first grilled meat of the season.  The BOY and I came back inside to eat dinner and watch a movie.

We were happy that Cooper came to join us for the movie since today is his 2nd birthday.  We had a special 15 minute birthday cuddle this morning and have been singing to him all day. 

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Cooper has spent this past week getting into everything (much like a 2 year old toddler).  I don’t think there was a cabinet that he didn’t hang out in this week.  His new favorite is breaking into my pots and pans!

I’m hoping to have a Passover friendly meal plan set up for tomorrow and another day to clean, grocery shop, and do some wedding stuff before getting  back into the work week.

 

What was the highlight of your week?

Citrus Honey Glazed Vegetables

So yesterday, I went to every grocery store in town and then a few in other towns.  I arrived home with a car full of food, to which the BOY replied.  ‘Why do we need all that food?  It’s Passover…won’t we just eat my mom’s leftovers?’

 

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Welcome to my world people!

Last night, I got started on my Passover baking with some Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies and Banana Bread.  The banana bread just might be how I survive the week!  I also made a batch of Date and Almond TrufflesAnd let’s not forget a large batch of Matzah Toffee.

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That left the heartier foods for today.  I started with everyone’s favorite Fruit Compote and then got started on the veggies.  I was considering roasting a huge batch of asparagus, but instead decided to try something a little different.

 

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I went with Citrus Honey Glazed Vegetables, a recipe I found online.  This recipe has a few of my favorite veggies (sweet potato, carrot, and parsnips) and a new (to me) veggie, orange beets.  I found these guys to be super dirty and challenging to transport (they made a huge mess in my shopping cart), but in the end I had a beautiful, yet fairly monochromatic, array of diced vegetables.

 

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I followed the directions for my glaze and since I didn’t have a big enough bowl, I used a huge Dutch oven.

 

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Unfortunately, I don’t think that I am a good tosser and did not get everything coated evenly.  This left a lot of citrusy honey on my second baking sheet, which not surprisingly burned, instead of glazed.

 

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My other and luckily larger pan turned out well though and so there are more than enough veggies to share at tonight’s dinner.  I did toss the veggies with Kosher salt throughout as I felt they needed a little extra flavor.

 

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I’m hoping that everyone likes this new Passover side!  If not, I also made a Matzah Kugel with addition of some of my Israel seasonings!

 

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This is the kind of recipe that you can easily add into your rotation of sides year round and you certainly don’t have to be celebrating Passover to enjoy!

 

 

Citrus Honey Glazed Vegetables

From The Shiksa in the Kitchen

    Ingredients

    2 large sweet potatoes – about 2 lbs total

    3 large yellow beets (about 1 1/2 lbs total)

    1 lb carrots

    1 lb parsnips

    1/2 cup honey

    2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

    1 tbsp orange juice

    2 tsp grated orange zest

    Salt and pepper

    Kosher salt

     

    Directions

    Place racks in the upper third and lower third of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with foil. Cut the vegetables into 1 1/2-inch chunks.

    In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the honey, olive oil, orange blossom water or orange juice, and grated orange zest.

    Place the cut vegetables into a large mixing bowl and toss them with the honey mixture till evenly coated.

    Spread the vegetables out evenly across the two cookie sheets, making sure to leave space between the vegetables. Don’t overcrowd the pans. Sprinkle the vegetables lightly with Kosher salt and black pepper.

    Cover both sheets with another layer of foil. Place the sheets into the oven. Let the vegetables cook for 35 minutes. Halfway through cooking, uncover and stir the vegetables, recover, then switch the baking sheets on their racks.

    After 35 minutes, uncover the baking sheets and stir the vegetables again gently. Allow the vegetables to roast another 10-15 minutes till they are glazed and caramelized.

    Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Serve warm. These vegetables can be made ahead early in the day, then reheated in the oven or microwave just before serving.

Pinning for Passover

Despite Passover’s bad rep on the recipe front, I’ve found some real keepers over these past few years.  Seriously, my mouth waters thinking about this Matzah Toffee!

 

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Since Passover coincides with tax day this year, I volunteered to help with dinner prep.  It helps that Passover is a Monday so I have more than enough time to cook and bake.  Don’t get me wrong…I’m not making the soup (that’s my dad’s job), or the brisket either, but I thought I could find some fun new sides and desserts.  I turned to Pinterest for help…

 

 

Apps

Apple Cinnamon Charoset with Candied Walnuts

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Baked BBQ Sweet Potato Chips

Roasted Eggplant Dip

 

 

Source

 

Mains

Slow Cooker Brisket with Potatoes and Carrots

Matzo Meal ‘Breaded’ Chicken

Matzah Ball Pot Pie

Matzo Lasagna

 

Matzo Mac & Cheese

Sweet Cheese Blintzes

 

 

Sides

Potato Kugel Gratin

Caramelized Onion Sriracha Potato Kugel Casserole

Perfect Potato Kugel

Roasted Mushroom Quinoa Risotto

Passover Carrot Ring

 

 

Dessert

Fudgy Chocolate Walnut cookies

Brown Sugar Orange Macaroons

Spiced Apple Cake

Hungry Rabbit

 

Mom’s Chocolate Chip Merengues

Passover Magic Bars

Lemony Almond Macaroons

 

 

For after your Seder, to survive the week…

Dark Chocolate Coconut Banana Matzah Brei

Roasted Strawberry Almond Flour Muffins

Skillet Matzo Brei with Cinnamon Apples and Raisins

Skillet Matzo Brei with Cinnamon, Apple, and Raisins

Martha Stewart

 

 

What’s on your Passover Menu?

 

Here are a just few more of my favorite Passover recipes!

All Done

The BOY and I are All Done with Passover!

As is his tradition, he had pizza for dinner.  I’d show you a picture but the entire pie was gone by the time I walked in the door after work.

I wanted something a little healthier and because it’s a week night…easy!

 

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I found this delicious looking recipe in Mama Pea’s cookbook for Thai Veggie Burgers.

 

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I prepped my ingredients in the food processor last night and then refrigerated them.  I have never tried this with veggie burgers before, but I figured it it worked, it would be a great way to make healthy weeknight meals.

 

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When I came home, I heated up a skillet and rolled out my burgers.

 

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I fried the burgers in cooking spray ~7 minutes each side until they were warm on the inside and crispy along the edges.

 

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The Thai flavor in these burgers is strong and the texture is spot-on.  I ate my burger plain with a side of green beans.  The premade burger mixture worked perfectly!  I will definitely do it again!

 

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For dessert, I whipped up a batch of Mama Pea’s brownies (that I found a few pages later).  The toughest part was making these yesterday and having to wait to eat them today.

 

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I was a little nervous because they are healthy and vegan (although I didn’t use vegan chocolate chips, so they are not fully vegan).

 

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I sprinkled the top with powdered sugar, and the BOY and I dug into them right after dinner.

 

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I was a little nervous that he would notice the texture difference in the brownies, but he grabbed them and ran.

 

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When I asked about the brownies, he answered with a nod, smile, and a mouth full of chocolate.  That’s usually a good sign : )  These brownies are rich and cake-like…you’ll never know that they are healthy (whole wheat flour) and vegan (minus the chocolate chips)!  I bet you have all the ingredients in your house right now, so go preheat your oven.

 

On the exercise front…

I got in my first double workout this morning.  I was at the track early for a 30 minute run before changing into my bathing suit for a 15 minute swim.  It was an awesome workout with some well-deserved hot tub time at the end.  I am super sore from ‘Barbara Lite’ yesterday, and I am hoping to get registered for my triathlon this week!

 

 

Here are the recipes for Thai Veggie Burgers and Double Chocolate/Single Chin Brownies from Peas and Thank You.

Enjoy!!!

Chocolate Almond Butter and Banana green Smoothie

Good Monday Morning!

I hope that ya’ll had an excellent weekend!

The BOY and I were super low key, which meant that I was in bed every night between 10-11pm and sleeping until 8am.  I must say 9+ hours of sleep per night does a lot for your energy levels.  I am feeling refreshed after a crazy work week and ready to tackle the day.  This is easy for me to say, remember, because I don’t work on Mondays : )

 

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My first job was to tackle breakfast.  For me breakfast is the hardest meal of the day to figure out on Passover.  I didn’t prep anything last night and just wasn’t in the mood to make pancakes.  Smoothies for breakfast don’t typically fill me up (especially since I couldn’t add oats), but I decided to try making a hearty Chocolate Almond Butter and Banana Green Smoothie.

 

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Mostly because I had the ingredients in the house and because a smoothie sounded refreshing this morning.

 

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I may have gone a little overboard in an attempt to fuel myself through this mornings workout, so feel free to adjust ingredient quantities as desired.  I will tell you that this smoothie comes out thick which is perfect to sip slowly while you check email and prepare for the day ahead.

 

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I was able to find a similar recipe on the blog for a Chocolate Peanut Butter Green Smoothie.  It was just over 1 year ago, and I can’t believe it was warm enough for me to exercise in the back yard!!!

 

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After breakfast, it was off to tackle ‘Barbara’

Five rounds, each for time of:
20 Pull-ups
30 Push-ups
40 Sit-ups
50 Squats

Rest precisely three minutes between each round.

 

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I chose to do ‘Barbara Lite’ as recommended for those doing CrossFit less than 2 months.  I think I’m right at that 2 month cusp, but 150 pushups just seemed, what’s the word…oh yeah, impossible!

 

Barbara Lite

10 Pull-ups (I used the green band)

20 Push-ups

30 Sit-ups

40 squats

5 rounds with precisely 3 minutes rest in between each round.

 

This was a really challenging workout but thus far one of my favorites.  No heavy weights to lift and a busy group of people getting their work done while cheering each other on.  I may feel differently in the morning when I can’t move…I’ll let you know.

 

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The last task of the day (because I got a lot of laundry and boring house stuff done yesterday) was meal planning.  And this week’s planning was fairly simple.  Tomorrow night is the end of Passover and the BOY will be ordering a pizza the moment he walks in the door with or without me.  Plus, I have dinner plans for Thursday.  I wanted to make a Sweet Potato and Kale Soup today for lunch this week, but the grocery store was out of one ingredient and a few others didn’t look so fresh, so I scratched that idea.

 

Sunday: Beer Can Chicken

 

Monday: Grilled Flounder with Broccoli (Hooray for grilling season!)

 

Tuesday: Pizza for the BOY/Thai Veggie Burgers for Me

 

Wednesday: Grilled Garlic Pepper Shrimp (from the BOY’s BBQ book)

 

Thursday: Out to Eat

 

Friday: As always, we shall play it by ear

 

Lunch: Strawberry Balsamic Quinoa Salad

Snack: Coconut Fudge Balls

 

 

Do you drink smoothies for breakfast?

What is your favorite one?

Anyone play an April Fool’s prank today?

 

 

 

Chocolate Almond Butter

and Banana Green Smoothie

Ingredients

1 handful of kale

1 banana, chopped

1 cup of almond milk

2 tbsp (14g) of cacao powder

1 tbsp (10 g) ground flax seed

2 tbsp (32 g) of almond butter

Ice

 

Directions

Place all ingredients except ice in the blender.  Combine well.  Add ice and blend to desired consistency.

Out Like a Lamb

This title seemed only fitting after my initial March post titled In Like a Lion.  Thankfully, after a few snow storms and quite a chilly month, March did come to an end more like a lamb than a lion.  With 50 degree weather this weekend, the BOY and I have been able to walk along the path out back and clean off the grill.  And since today is Easter, we have a nice relaxing day planned!

 

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I got a rejuvenating 9+ hours of sleep last night and woke up right before 8am without an alarm.  I made a filling breakfast omelet before going to a 10am yoga class.  I was super excited to see that my yoga studio was open today and happy to leave the house while the BOY got busy with his meat smoker (see previous post for fully explanation).  This morning’s class was tough yet revitalizing.  I don’t think I have sweat that much in months!  At the end of our relaxation, I would have been happy to stay on my mat soaking in the good vibes and peace throughout the room.  When I left the studio, the sun was shining and for the first time, it smelled like spring!

 

The BOY and I spent the day at home hanging out and enjoying some much needed down time!  I finally had time to upload music to my new computer (I desperately need to update my ipod) and set up my training schedule for spring.

 

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For dinner, we made a full chicken on the grill.  Ok, I just said we, but the only thing that I did to help was find the spices in our spice cabinet.  The BOY did all of the work and was quite proud of himself!

 

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Rightfully so…it was a pretty awesome dinner!

 

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As the month comes to an end today, here are a few accomplishments worth mentioning…I increased my activity level, adding some speed intervals and took care of myself with a massage.  The BOY and I created some successful meal plans and hosted a dinner party.  There was a ton of basketball thrown into the mix too!  I got to the pool twice and made some decent headway towards IRONMAN March.

 

IRONMAN March Update

 

Swim

1.25 miles out of 2.4 miles

 

Bike

23 miles out of 112 miles

 

Run

34 out of 26.2 miles

 

 

March Goals

Try some new classes

     -I finally made it to a spin class!

IRONMAN March

     -This is such a fun goal!  I finished the run portion,, but have a long way to go on the biking and swimming, so I am making this the IRONMAN March/April goal.

No added sugar

     -I seem to have forgotten about this goal.  Oops!  My eating has been about the same and I still have some changes to make to feel comfortable in my tri suit this spring.

Unplug more often

     -Although I posted quite a bit this month, I did take time to unplug from reading and writing, which I think has helped me de-stress, especially during the workweek. 

 

April goals

-IRONMAN March/April

-Find (and then use) my heart rate monitor

-Set up my Tri/Running schedule

-Feel comfy sporting my bathing suit in Florida

-Figure out what to do with my Google Reader List (I’d be lost without it!)

 

 

Ok, after all of this seriousness, I had to finish the post with a funny!

 

Funny Passover Ecard: My version of pornography is spending Passover week staring at cupcake boards on Pinterest.

How Paleo Helped Passover

Typically Passover (a time where Jewish people do not eat bread, flour, yeast, or corn) is known for it’s blah food.  As children, we would be so excited for that first bite of matzah every year, but as the days wore out we quickly got tired of matzah nachos, matzah pizza, and matzah PB&J.  As an adult, I’ve tried to get a little more creative with my Passover food…often cooking up a quinoa stew or something similar on the weekends to eat throughout the week.  In the past few years, the BOY and I have barely eaten any matzah during the 8 days.  We can usually make it a a few days on leftovers from our family sedars and then it’s the weekend and the BOY gets excited to cook up his favorite red meats.

 

As I was a trying to figure out what to eat for a pre-run breakfast (oatmeal is out during Passover) this morning, I realized that I could totally make my new favorite pancakes.

 

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They didn’t turn out so pretty looking, but they are a nice balance of carbs and protein which is perfect before a workout! 

 

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A quick pre-run selfie (complete with sunglasses)…Hooray for sunshine!

 

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Last weekend’s running group of four decreased to two, but it was great to catch up with my friend.  We are both running the half marathon in 5 weeks and haven’t done many miles.  This morning we ran about 8 miles (72 minutes).  I felt better than expected considering last night’s weak dinner, but I did slow towards the end.  It was a gorgeous morning for an outdoor run!  We have big plans to run again in two weeks (next week is the Shamrock Shuffle) and increase our miles before the race.  Post run, I snacked on pear with almond butter and chugged lots of water.  We had a few errands to run and then were back home for lunch!

 

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Although I don’t follow the Paleo diet, the blog world is abuzz with the newest Paleo recipes.  Many of which use almond meal in place of flour…which is PERFECT for Passover!  This afternoon I made Chocolate Chip Cookies from Fast Paleo.

 

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Heads up, this recipe uses one egg and maple syrup at room temperature, so pull them out of the fridge early.  After you make your dough, refrigerate it for 30 minutes.

 

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I had heard that the dough tastes fantastic, so I had to try it before making my cookies!

 

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Somehow it actually tastes like cookie dough!  It’s amazing!!!  And I’m not just saying that because it’s Passover and I’m slightly starving : )

 

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The cookies baked up soft and puffy.

 

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I had to try a bite while they were warm with the gooey chocolate.

 

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The recipe made one dozen cookies, which is the perfect amount to get the BOY and I through the last few days of Passover.

 

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These cookies are delish (and the BOY totally agrees).  I can see why they are called the BEST!

 

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I would make these any time of year!

 

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You can guarantee they will be making an appearance at next year’s Passover dinner.

 

 

What holidays do you change your eating habits for?

What is your favorite Paleo recipe?

 

 

 

The Best Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

From Fast Paleo

 

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups sifted blanched almond flour (I used almond meal from TJ’s)

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted (melted, not softened)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 whole egg

1/2 cup chocolate chips (kosher for Passover if desired)

 

Directions

In a bowl, mix together your almond flour, baking soda, and sea salt. In a separate bowl mix together your melted coconut oil, vanilla extract, room temperature maple syrup, and room temperature egg. Incorporate your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients, then add your chocolate chips.

After everything is mixed, preheat your oven to 350F and refrigerate your batter for 30 minutes.

Once the 30 minutes are up and your oven is heated, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or Silpats and roll your dough into even balls-to whichever size you desire.

Put them in the oven for about 5-7 minutes, then take them out and slightly flatten them with the back of a spatula. Put them back in the oven for about 5 more minutes, or until they look done.  You will see just a hint of golden brown. 

Remove from the oven and set on the counter to cool.

 

 

I found a few other recipes for Almond Meal Cookies worth checking out!

And you can always make my favorite Clean Almond Butter Cookies!

I Went Swimming Again

Say What???

 

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Yes, I have now been to the pool the same amount of times (twice) in two weeks as I did all of last summer in prep for my triathlon.  I’d say that is a good start!  Especially since I haven’t even signed up for any summer tri’s.  I am considering one on father’s day and one the end of July.  Tri training is a great way to get in shape and cross training worked well when I did my first marathon in 2011. 

 

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So yesterday morning when the only thing I wanted to do was stay in bed, I crawled out and into a swim suit.  Again, my goal was 20 minutes of swimming.  I did 10 minutes of freestyle (new this season with my new goggles is that I can breathe on both the right and left side) and then about 8 minutes of kickboard drills before finishing off with a few more laps.  The reward, as always was the hot tub waiting for me when I finished.

 

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Friday is typically my day off from working out, but I did drag the BOY out for a 10 minute walk around the neighborhood.  It was 50 degrees today, and the snow pile in our front lawn is almost fully thawed.  It’s been a rather uneventful Passover so far so tonight the BOY and I had a rather uneventful dinner.  I’ve been feeding my carb cravings with chocolate…not too good for the waist line but nice on the taste buds : )

 

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They BOY is already asking when I’ll make another batch of Matzah Toffee.  Now that HIS college basketball season is over after a sad Indiana loss last night, he is transferring his attentions elsewhere…the grill : )  With warm weather expected this weekend and no bread in sight until Tuesday, we are hoping to spend some quality time soaking up vitamin D out back.  Woo Hoo!

 

Alrighty, I have a run planned for early tomorrow morning, so it’s a little TV for me and then off to bed!

Happy Weekend Ya’ll!

.