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!


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!


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


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


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 : )


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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.

My Brain is Tired

And actually so is my body!  During the work week, my brain is on all day every day, so I like to take a little time to unwind and zone out over the weekend.  Recently, my weekends have also  involved a lot of brain activity, so by 6pm on Monday (still technically part of my weekend), my brain is tired and it is done. 


This morning started with an easy breakfast and my favorite go to tea.  Then, I hit the gym for a strength session with my trainer.  It’s been a few weeks since I’ve seen him and we hit the TRX bands hard.  On the way home, I swung by the grocery store.  I decided I wanted to make some fun cereal bars and just had to decide which Cheerio flavor to try.


I don’t spend much time in the cereal aisle, but there are a lot of tasty options!  I decided on the multigrain Cheerios but almost went with the dark chocolate version.  I also saw this amazing green box of Lucky Charms, which would be awesome for St. Patty’s Day Lucky Charms Bars.


I swung by the house for lunch, threw Two Ingredient Chicken in the crockpot and another load of laundry in the wash before heading out to Starbucks for a few hours of studying.  I got a great seat in the sun to soak up some vitamin D and information.


When I got back home, I attempted to do more studying but was distracted by Cooper…


A few times…


And when I continued working, he tried to break into his food supply on top of the fridge.  I, of course, chased him off, which started a new game of ‘chase me’ and hide.  Just before 6pm, I abandoned studying for the day and retreated to the couch to fold laundry and watch something mindless on the DVR.  Like I said, my brain is tired!


Which is why I chose an easy dinner and a super easy no bake dessert.


These bars turned out unbelievably good!  The combo of honey and PB…YUM!  Even the BOY dug right in!

What makes your brain tired?


Meal Planning 3/02/15

Monday: Chicken Tamale Pie and Sprouts

Tuesday: Pork Chops and Mushrooms

Wednesday: Zoodles and Sauce

Thursday: TBD



No Bake Cheerio Peanut Bars

Adapted from Healthy Food for Living


1 cup peanut butter

1 cup honey

1 cup salted or unsalted peanuts, halved

5- 5.5 cups multigrain Cheerios


Combine peanut butter and honey in large saucepan.  Simmer over low heat, stirring constantly.

Once combined, remove from heat.  Stir in Cheerios and peanuts until well coated.  Adjust cereal for optimal coverage (I like mine gooey).

Place in pan coated with cooking spray and spread evenly. Cover and let sit until set.

Cut and enjoy!

Marching On

So hard to come up with a March title I haven’t used in the past.  No guarantee that this is one but I didn’t have the energy to look through the past few years of blogging.  So it’s March…in like a…what? Lion/Lamb?  Tough to tell from the library where I spent most of my weekend.


Saturday started at Starbucks.  It took two tries to find one with a big table that was quiet enough for studying, but once I did, I was set for 3 hours of cramming.  Then I grabbed a sandwich and went home for a quick lunch with the guys.  I brewed up some iced tea and headed off to the library for another few hours of caffeinated information overload.


The BOY and I had a fantastic Saturday night date night with new beers, chicken finger salad, and more binge watching the Blacklist.


I went to bed early so that I would be bright eyed for Sunday morning yoga.  I have not been doing much exercise lately…instead focused on sleep, work, and studying, so this yoga class was a huge highlight of my week!


Even more fun because I was there with my mom. We did a unique flow using all sides of our mat in a mandala. It was challenging, my muscles were sore, but I LOVED it.  Afterwards, my mom and I went to Whole Foods to stock up on goodies for the week ahead (and a few study snacks for the day).


I went back to the library for the majority of Sunday until it closed at 5pm, when I picked up the BOY to meet my parents out for dinner to celebrate my Dad’s birthday (it’s today).


We had a fantastic dinner with lots of laughter!  It was a wonderful way to start the month and celebrate my dad!


Needless to say, February was not the month I thought it would be.  Although I kept my goals in mind, they just weren’t top priority.  Spending time with my family and friends…appreciating the little moments and experiences…that is what I focused on!



Photo on 2-14-15 at 10.06 PM




February Goals

1. Continue to prioritize studying. CHECK!  It’s going pretty well!

2. Drink less soda. DOUBLE CHECK!  I’ve been brewing lots of iced tea.

3. Eat clean.  No Check!  Well…let’s just say I’ve been indulging in a few (but not all) of my cravings.


March Goals

After some thought, I’ve decided to take a break from goals this month. There is a lot going on and so I am going to just focus on getting through it all with a smile on my face : )  I’ll be back with spring goals next month!


Are you setting March Goals?  What’s up this month?

Making the Most of Leftovers

My morning started off quite nice with a complimentary beverage of my choice from Starbucks.  Well, actually when my alarm went off, I had no idea what the noise was.  After a 4 day weekend, I guess I forgot the sound of my alarm : )  I did get myself up and out for a 5 mile run.  The weather was perfect for a cool morning jog, and my toe held up just fine.  I’m still not particularly fast, but running feels good!  I’m ready for my toe to heal and get back to building up my miles, but I will just have to be patient. 

After the run…came the free venti cinnamon dolce birthday latte!




It was a sweet way to start the day, but even sweeter was this cool sign and these adorable gift bags waiting for me at my desk!




It’s people doing yoga in the shapes of the letters. I loved it!  My birthday buddy (who decorated my desk) got me the cutest pair of Lululemon socks (one says RUN and one says FAST) and homemade granola, which is the best granola I’ve EVER eaten.  I’ll have to ask her to anonymously leave me the recipe soon, since I won’t find out who it is until December.




After a happy day at work, I whizzed home to pick up the BOY and head out for the Mariano’s Grand Opening! 




The store was jam packed with fresh and colorful produce and people.  It was late, but we explored all of the aisles impressed with the selection…especially in the bakery and bulk bins!




By the time we got home, it was after 8:30pm, which is why I won’t take too long for the rest and the real purpose of this post.  As I’ve mentioned when I described this incredible salad, we had a whole bunch of leftovers from this weekend’s BBQ.  Yesterday, I decided to turn everything into enchiladas.  In the past, I’ve only made enchiladas with red sauce, but I got it in my head that I wanted to try making a Mole Sauce.  I looked online for a few different recipes.  The catch…I didn’t want to have to run out to the store.  I found a few recipes and chose one from Positively Vegan.  I had everything in the house that I needed to make a quick sauce, and all my leftovers to turn into enchiladas.




Instead of carob, I used cacao, and then threw everything into the blender.


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I was dong well until the last ingredient…diced tomatoes.  How is it possible that I didn’t have a can of diced tomatoes in my house???  I did have some farm share tomatoes, so I added those instead.  My mixture was thick and brown. 

However, here was only one problem…I had no idea what mole was supposed to taste like.


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I proceeded forward making the enchiladas…beef, rice, and cheese for the BOY and chicken and leftover veggies for me.




I poured the sauce over the top and loaded the BOY up with cheese.


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The BOY walked in the door from school just before I pulled dinner out of the oven.




I was nervous to serve my first mole, but it actually turned out REALLY good.  The BOY ran off with his plate before I could get a good pictures, but once he tasted the enchiladas, he was surprised (that I had made the sauce) and impressed with my effort. 




I think a full can of tomatoes would have balanced out the chocolate flavor a bit, and I picked up 3 cans at Mariano’s this evening…just to have in the house for the next time!


Typically, I am happy to eat leftovers for a few days, and I don’t think about spicing them up.  This was a creative way for me to use all of our meat, tortillas, and cheese, and it was a HUGE success!  I was so proud of my dinner, that I had to share the mole sauce with ya’ll tonight!  It is so easy to fill tortillas with whatever leftovers you have in the house, cover them in this delicious sauce, and bake with cheese.  Enjoy!


What is your favorite way to use leftovers???




Easy Mole Sauce

From Positively Vegan


In your blender, place, but don’t blend:

1/2 cup raw cashews
1 cup vegetable broth
The broth will soak the cashews for a few minutes while you add everything else.


Next add all of the following to the blender:
3/4 cup carob powder (carob is a legume, and contains protein)
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
3 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
3 T agave syrup or nectar
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of 1 lime
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes (the tomatoes go on top to keep all the powders from "poofing" out the top of the blender)

Blend until very smooth. Pour as much as possible into a saucepan or bowl.
Add 1/2 cup water to the blender, put the lid on, and shake it up to loosen all the last bits of sauce. Stir the water/sauce into the rest of the sauce, and you won’t waste a bit.


Note: If making enchiladas, spread sauce on bottom of pan, place stuffed tortillas over the top, cover with mole sauce and cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.


In the mood for Mexican, these are my two favorite enchilada recipes!

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas

Unbelievably Delicious Low Fat Enchiladas

Banana Skillet Oatmeal

Some people were finished with Passover last night (that’s me!) while others (like the BOY) are holding out for tonight.  If you happen to have another day of bread-free breakfasts, then I recommend the following options that have helped me through this week:


Passover Pancakes




Breakfast Stirfry






However, if you are ready to bring on the oats, I recommend Skillet Oatmeal.  I am a huge fan of plain oatmeal, overnight oats, overnight oats in a jar, steel cut oats, oatmeal cookies, green smoothies with oats, etc, etc, etc.  But I have never tried to make skillet oatmeal.  I got the idea to try my my oats like this from my Mom.




I started with the frozen Trader Joe’s oatmeal warmed, added in a mashed banana, eggs, chia seeds, cinnamon, and vanilla.  I mixed everything together really well.




I poured the oatmeal mixture over a warmed skillet pan sprayed with cooking spray.




After about 5 minutes, the edges started to boil and I was hoping that I could flip it over like a pancake.  No such luck!  This oatmeal mixture is softer than pancake batter.  The edges did cook and brown as I used the spatula to mix around the oats.  After ~12 the oats were cooked.




Although my Banana Skillet Oatmeal didn’t turn out as pretty as I had imagined, it was much tastier than it looks.  Plus, the combination of oats, banana, chia, and eggs were exactly what I needed before my Saturday morning run!  You can top it with all of the jam, fresh fruit, or nuts that you want!




It was the perfect fuel combination to power me through this morning’s 10 miler over the hills of Barrington.  We finished in less than 90 minutes and I even felt strong through my last miles.  Maybe, it was the Green Tea Latte with SF Vanilla and Soy Milk (my new favorite Starbucks beverage) that I knew was waiting for me at the end.  I think I need to make a ‘Will Run for Starbucks’ T-shirt.  This treat tastes like a warm slice of cake!



Getting Back To It

About 1 week ago, I wrote a post about my month long ‘funk’.  It was not the easiest post for me to write and I thank you for your words of encouragement.  I am still really interested to learn how you bust out of a rut, so leave some comments here or there!  Because I am ME, I wrote up a little action plan and adopted a ‘Fake it Until You Make it!’ attitude towards positivity and exercise this week  One week later, I am feeling SO MUCH BETTER!


Having some down time last weekend to watch basketball and catch up on sleep definitely helped.  The BOY and I enjoyed some healthy meals from the new grill, and I was able to plot out my workouts for the upcoming races.  Approaching quickly…a half marathon on May 6th.  This morning’s planned run was 10 miles.  I went to bed before the Indiana game was over last night much to the distress of my loyal boyfriend.  I woke up early and had my typical pre-long run breakfast of black tea, oatmeal, and an egg.




Then packed up my hip pack with snacks and water.  I decided to try one of my new Picky Bars as a running snack instead of Cliff blocks which I typically use.  I sliced it up for easy eating during the run.




It started to lightly drizzle outside and it was a little cooler than I expected, but since I was fueled up, dressed, and ready to go, I decided my running buddy and I should give it a try.




It was a good thing that I brought along a jacket because it was foggy and damp although we ended up stashing them a mile or two into our run.  We met at the Starbucks in Barrington and ran a 10 mile out and back path.  It is a hilly course with some steep and challenging inclines.  There were many friendly runners out braving the elements and tackling the hills.  After 10 miles, we were both excited to arrive back at Starbucks.




I earned every ounce of that venti soy latte!  When I got home, I had to quickly shower before heading off to a festive and exciting baby shower.  It wasn’t until I got home that I was able to cross off my latest running accomplishment.  As crazy as it sounds, it feels good to be back in training mode!



Recipe Flashback-Cranberry Bliss Bars

As I was making the White Chocolate Puppy Chow for today’s work party, it got me thinking about what I made last year for the winter party.  Another winter white chocolate dessert, these indulgent Cranberry Bliss Bars, based on the Starbucks bars.



The fresh ginger is the place to start and adds the perfect amount of zing.



It nicely compliments the white chocolate and dried cranberries in these cakey bars.





The bars are drenched in cream cheese frosting, which adds the perfect amount of sweetness and topped with even more cranberries and a white chocolate drizzle.



Absolute perfection!  I must confess that I have never tried this Starbucks sweet, but I’m betting these are just as good.




Cranberry Bliss Bars

From Mr. Breakfast’s Collection
(15 servings)

  • For Cake Base:
  • 2 sticks margarine (or butter if you want to indulge) – softened
  • 1 and 1/4 cups brown sugar – packed
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup minced dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup Lindt or Perugina or other quality white chocolate – coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced candied ginger
  • For Frosting:
  • 4 ounce cream cheese – softened
  • 1 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons butter – softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • For Garnish:
  • 2 Tablespoons minced dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup white chocolate chips (e.g. Ghiradelli or Guittard) — melted

Preheat oven to 350 and lightly grease a 9×13 pan.
Beat butter and sugar together for the cake base, and add eggs/vanilla beating until fluffy. Sift together flour, ginger, and salt and then add to the butter/sugar mixture beating well. Fold in the cranberries, chocolate and ginger. Spread thick batter in pan and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until light golden.
When cake is cooled, mix all frosting ingredients together and spread a thin layer over the cake. Immediately sprinkle with the minced cranberries. Then use a cake decorating bag of melted white chocolate with a tiny decorating tip (like the size used for writing on cakes) and drizzle the chocolate over the cake.
Cut this into bars immediately because the white chocolate hardens pretty fast and makes cake cutting messy.

Hard Core!!!

It’s 11:00AM and I have already had a ‘Hard Core’ day!  I know you are asking yourself, what goes into a ‘Hard Core’ day?  Well let me tell you…

Packing up your workout gear the night before (and then heading to bed at 9:30)


Waking up (almost) before the sun and enjoying a Dough Boy Smoothie with extra banana and a glob of PB


Driving 30 minutes to meet the ‘Cycle Club’

(Look there are already riders out…they must be really Hard Core)


Getting lost along the way and finding yourself at a Lake (instead of a high school)


Can you see the deer?  She ran by the time I got my camera!


Biking 20 miles with some nice hills along the way


Then changing into running shoes


For a 30 minute run around the track


Therefore, completing the first BRICK workout of the season!!!


After a challenging workout, there’s really only one stop to make…


For a well-deserved Iced Skinny Latte


Although I added one more stop…the organic market for some fresh produce!

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Impressed with all that I had accomplished before 11:00AM, I showered and changed into my new T-shirt that just arrived in the mail this week.


With my ‘Hard Core’ morning behind me, I’m off

to enjoy this gorgeous Sunday!

Cranberry Bars

I love a good deal, especially at the grocery store.  I found this HUGE bag of Craisins at Costco for not much more than the tiny bag I usually get at the grocery store (plus I had a coupon).  Now that I have a years worth of dried cranberries, the fun thing is determining what to do with them, besides making trail mix and adding them to salads.

I know everyone talks about the Cranberry Bliss Bars at Starbucks, but I have never tried them. However, I accidentally came across the recipe and knew I had to make them for an upcoming work party.

I started by blending my butter and sugar.

Then adding eggs and vanilla, blending well.

Combine dry ingredients.

Then add the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar mixture and mix until well blended.

The next step is stirring in the ginger, cranberries, and white chocolate.  I found candied ginger at whole foods and bought the 365 white chocolate chunks.  I chopped everything up and added it in.

I always take a lick off the spoon while I’m cleaning up and the dough tastes promising!

Bake the bars for 25 minutes and then cool before frosting.

The cream cheese frosting is simple to make.  Just beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla.  The frosting was delicious and I will use that recipe again for sure!

I frosted the bars with a thin layer and melted white chocolate to spread across the top, then sprinkled with dried cranberries.

I was so excited to try them that I had to cut a tiny triangle for myself.  Unfortunately white frosting doesn’t photo well on a white plate, but the bars tasted fabulous.  The candied ginger is the perfect addition.  Next time, I might add some on top of the frosting as well.  I’m looking forward to serving them at the party  today!

Find the full recipe on the Mr. Breakfast Website

Stay posted for more exciting cranberry recipes!