Almost Summer Saturday

Hey There!  Happy Saturday! 

It is feeling more and more like summer, which always puts me in a GREAT mood!  And although I haven’t blogged about it, I’ve been busy!

Exercise Updates:

I had a highly successful week of exercise, including a Tuesday morning walk with the BOY and Thursday morning ab work after my run.  You’ll notice I had some competition for my yoga mat.

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This morning, I was psyched to go to (instead of teach) yoga!  It was a super humid class and we worked our way into birds of paradise.  Note: using a block is helpful but you will not master this pose with wicked tight hips.  Also note…you can still have a lot of fun with it.

 

Almost Summer Stuff

With the warm (almost) summer temps, brings crisp and delicious white wines.  I indulged twice this week (two more times than my typical work week).  Once during Wednesday night’s Hawks game with an awesome Cooper’s Hawk blend.  And then again Thursday during sushi night!

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Summer is also accompanied by No Bake summer recipes and So You Think You Can Dance!  Woo hoo!  After  yoga, I brought in Mediterranean for lunch and began watching the new season of SYTYCD as I worked my way through my never ending to do list. 

 

Recipes

We are having friends over for a BBQ tonight and keeping our fingers crossed that the weather stays nice.  The BOY is grilling up shrimp and calamari…Mmm!  I decided I wanted to make a tasty no bake dessert.

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I settled on a Twix Caramel Apple Salad (from Pinterest)!

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I adjusted the recipe a bit because I had almond milk instead of dairy milk, but I think it is just as tasty. 

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Cooper kept watch from his perch in the cabinet!

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Once dessert was settled in the fridge, I decided to make a banana bread with my brown bananas.  As always, I went searching for a new recipe to try.

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I made a slight mistake…adding in lemon extract thinking it was almond.  Oops! I was able to scoop the majority of it out.  But although the plan was to freeze this bread for next weekend, I wanted to sneak a taste to make sure it wasn’t too lemony.

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The lemon flavor was non existent and this bread was absolutely amazing!!!  It took a whole bunch of will power not to dig into the entire loaf : )

 

Saturday Night

Our BBQ was really fun! Our friends brought their almost 2 year old daughter and we were able to blow bubbles and draw with chalk outside before sitting down for some fantastic grilled seafood, roasted potatoes and savory salad.  Dessert was a big hit too!

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And now it’s time to settle in and watch the Blackhawk’s game.  The neighborhood is alive with energy, but unfortunately, I have a splitting headache, so I am missing out on the rest of the festivities.

 

What do you like about summer Saturdays?

 

Twix Caramel Apple Salad

Adapted Slightly From iSave AtoZ

Ingredients

  • 1 small package of instant Vanilla Pudding
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 small tub of whipping cream (I used TruWhip)
  • 1 package of TWIX Bites
  • 2 Granny Smith Apples
  • Optional: Caramel or Chocolate sauce

Directions

  1. Whisk together milk and pudding and then immediately add the tub of whipping cream in it before it sets. Don’t use the full amount of milk as the box says.
  2. Dice the TWIX Bites into halves.  Dice the Granny Smith apples.  Stir them into the pudding mixture, and mix all the ingredients together.
  3. Allow it to set in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Optional: Drizzle with Caramel or Chocolate sauce before serving it.

 

Best Banana Bread

From An Edible Mosaic

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1½ cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
  • ⅓ cup plain low-fat yogurt (or sour cream)
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • ½ teaspoon pure almond extract (NOT lemon!)
  • Cooking spray

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
  3. Place the sugar and butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 1 minute). Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the banana, yogurt, vanilla extract, vanilla bean paste, and almond extract; beat until blended. Add the flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moist.
  4. Spoon batter into an 8½ x 4½-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
  5. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

What Do May Flowers Bring?

In some ways, May was a bit of a wash. I was sick for over two weeks and didn’t get my usual energy and zest back.  I didn’t do much exercise, cooking, or blogging and overall felt a little (not a lot, just a little) bit blah. 

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But, in other ways, May was super fun and exciting!  I finished up a successful spring yoga session, I got out on my bike and then biked 30 miles on Lake Shore Drive, the BOY and I have been playing way more tennis, we did a weekend escape to Wisconsin, and on the last day of the month, we are scheduled to take our engagement pictures.

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May is also an exciting month because it is clear that after the long, hard winter, summer is truly on it’s way. And with summer comes green veggies at farmer’s markets, outdoor BBQs, trips to Wisconsin and Michigan, and tons of fun and excitement!

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May Goals

Get into a tri training routine– Although I was initially stressed about the decision, I feel much better having decided not to do a tri this year.  I also appreciate everyone’s support and encouragement about the decision!

Eat whole foods (and lots of greens)-I have cleaned up my diet and will continue to work on this.  Unfortunately, when I don’t feel well, greens are the last thing on my mind.  I’m hoping to hit up more markets and incorporate more greens into each meal this next month.

Get outside…play tennis, go hiking!-We have played a lot more tennis.  The BOY is excited to get more active and we have enjoyed exercising together.

Keep up with my 10 minute daily mind break-Other than one or two times when my foot was its worst, I have been taking my walk breaks (even just 5 minutes in the parking lot when I have to).  It is my way to get in my Vitamin N(ature) and take a little mental break from my work day.

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June Goals

Eat Clean, Train Dirtythis means whole foods, extra greens, lots of exercise, bike rides, and strength training.

Cook and Bake

Drink More Wateryou might be surprised to hear me say this because I drink a lot of water.  But I also drink a lot of black (caffeinated) tea and have not been drinking enough water during my work day, where it is tough sometimes to steal sips from my water bottle.

Slow Down and Enjoy Every Moment!

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What are your June/Summer goals?

Summer Saturdays

Ahh…one week into summer and I am loving me some Saturdays!

This morning, I woke up, got in a good cuddle with Cooper, and then made breakfast.

 

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Instead of my usual eggs, I went with a Quinoa Cake.  Yum!  Although I didn’t have any bananas, so I smothered it with almond butter, agave, and coconut.  It was fantastic!

 

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And gave me more than enough energy to power through an awesome and inspiring hot yoga class.  Let me tell you…my dancer pose has never looked felt so good!  After yoga, I spent some down time on the couch watching trashy TV.  Then, packed up my car to meet a friend for a bike ride and a run.

 

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She is training for her first triathlon, so I offered to tag along to keep her company and live vicariously through her since this is the first year in a few that I am not training for a triathlon.  This is the same friend that I ran the 10 Mile Coffee Date with, so there is always plenty to talk about.

 

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We rode along the Des Plaines River Trail, which was beautiful.  It was really fun to ride a different trail and get a new perspective and of course, workout with a friend.  There was a little flooding, so we got slightly sidetracked on our way north, but easily made our way back.  We were talking so much and enjoying the sights (we saw a deer) that I barely took any pictures.  After our 130 minute bike ride (a little over 20 miles), we locked up our bikes and set out on the next portion of our workout, a 20 minute run.  This was my first BRICK since last summer and my legs felt heavy and slow, just like they were supposed to.  And I felt happy and strong, just like I expected!

 

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After our 2 plus hour workout, we knew we deserved smoothies and fro yo samples, and there was a place just across the street to serve up both.  Then we said our goodbyes and I drove back home.  The BOY and I brought in dinner from one of our favorite restaurants and the rest of my evening is looking like this…

 

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Now that’s one happy day!

 

 

How do you like to spend your summer Saturdays?