Five for Friday XXVII

1. This morning’s ridiculous yoga look…

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It might be worse than Wednesday’s : )

I have to say that I loved getting to 6am yoga 3 times this week.  What a treat!  My kids yoga class was supposed to start tomorrow, but we canceled due to weather. I do have plans to attend an acro workshop on Sunday.  Can’t wait!

 

2. Wednesday night as I pulled in the drive way, there was a skunk hanging out in front of my house. It was pacing back and forth between the garage door and front door (probably driving Cooper nuts).  I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do, so I hid in my car.  When it strolled off around the house, I opened my garage door and ran inside.  I tried to get a picture but my phone camera was too slow.

 

3. All my Instagram friends saw the excitement on the BOY’s face when Gus’s Fried Chicken opened last weekend.  We brought in chicken and sides (including my favorite fried pickles and sweet potato pie) to celebrate his and my brother’s birthdays in the city last Saturday.

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4. Despite having a pantry full of tea, I found myself lost in the scents of Teavana this week.  I bought way more tea than I care to admit including the most delicious spiced apple cider tea.  Winter…I am ready for you!

 

5. I just got my professional wedding photos back and I am obsessed!  I love that our wedding party totally brought their personalities into the shots and the photographers captured all the joy and excitement of our reception.  WARNING: You may be seeing a TON of wedding pics in the weeks to come!

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Consider yourself warned…LOL! 

Happy Friday!

The List

For as long as I can remember, I’ve used lists to keep track of my life.

Currently, I am working through a never ending to do list of work, wedding, and home stuff.  Including that darn oil change I keep putting off!  Sometimes it feels like my Monday is a chaotic mix of doing the stuff I didn’t do all weekend and prepping for the week ahead.

Yesterday was supposed to be a ‘To Do List’ kind of day but instead it was a spend a fun day shopping with your mom kind of day.  As we were trying on outfits in the Loft dressing room, we decided that shopping was a much better way to spend the afternoon than wedding planning.

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Shopping with post yoga hair : )

Sunday morning, my mom came by to grab me and play with Cooper before heading out for an amazing and sweaty yoga class.  After yoga, she had a quick return at Crate and Barrel which is right next door to Whole Foods.  We chatted, sampled, and shopped before sitting down with a hodge podge picnic style lunch of WF goodies.

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We came back to my house for a quick shower and a little more Cooper love.  Plus, we brought lunch to the BOY.  Then we headed back out for more shopping.  I found some adorable dresses at the Loft and some hot new shoes to go with them.  By the time we arrived back at my house, we were both tired.  But had enough energy for me to give a little fashion show of newly purchased dresses (and the above modeled romper).  We decided that making a list of things that need to get done for the wedding was good enough planning for this weekend.  The BOY ordered pizza for dinner, and I made a colorful salad with smoked salmon.

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I slept 10 hours through the first set of huge storms that rolled in and then met my trainer for a super tough and sweaty workout Monday morning.  On my way home, I stopped by Target and struggled to lift my arms to reach the top shelves : )  I also went to the grocery store to fill our fridge.  When I got back home, I ate lunch and got going with dinner in the crockpot.

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First step…homemade peanut butter!  I couldn’t remember if I shared this recipe with you guys, so this may be a repeat, but I have learned that any Thai peanut dinners are better with the homemade stuff!

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Once my crockpot was up and running, I was back out the door for more errands (yes, I finally got my oil changed) and a bit more shopping.  Time flew by so quickly that at 5pm, I realized my stomach was growling and grabbed a snack from one of my fave places!

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I arrived back home, preheated the oven and started to pull together lunch for the week before the Hawks game. I also wanted to make some cookies with my leftover peanut butter.  My oven didn’t heat up real quick, and I tried to make the cookies anyways. 

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Needless to say, it took forever and I’m now convinced that my oven is broken…bummer!  Just another thing to add to my list.  Luckily, this week’s meal plan involves a lot of grilling.  I stuck with the cookies and they eventually got baked enough to eat…soft and tasty…the perfect kind of cookie!

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Dinner also turned out amazing and was a huge success!  And I realized that I did share the recipe with ya’ll…it’s HERE

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Last night ended with excitement watching the Blackhawks bring home the Stanley Cup in Chicago!  Note: add find awesome Stanley Cup shirt to To Do list!

 

Meal Planning 6/15/15

Monday: Crockpot Thai Peanut Chicken

Tuesday: Sausages with Pasta/Zoodles

Wednesday: Ribs and Veggies

Thursday: Pork and Veggies

 

3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

From Gimme Some Oven

Ingredients
  • 1 cup peanut butter (crunchy or creamy), preferable homemade
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (and cross your fingers that it actually heats up). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.

Using an electric mixer, mix together the peanut butter, white sugar and egg until smooth.

Form dough into round tablespoons. Then roll in an extra bowl of sugar, if desired, to coat the outside of the dough ball. Place on the baking sheet at least 2 inches apart, and then use a fork to flatten and form a cross pattern.

Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cookies are just slightly browned on the bottom, being careful not to over-bake. Remove and let cool on the baking sheet for 1 minute, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Eat immediately or freeze!

Run It…Run It…

Test Over…Training Begins!

Well kind of : )  End of May is my first race of the year…the annual Soldier Field 10 Miler.  One of my favorite races because I usually run it just for fun, we finish in the awesome Bears stadium, and it is the kick of summer weekend!  After that, I am hoping to get myself signed up for a summer triathlon.  I was not able to do a tri last year, and so I came into this year with the thought that once the test was over, my next goals would be signing up for a tri and starting to train.  My bike needs a little work before the ‘season’, but my running shoes are good to go.

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The weather is starting to warm and so Tuesday morning, I hit the path for a short 30 minute pre work run.  It was windy, but I was thrilled to be outside running for the first time in…who knows how long!

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Then I was off to work in more green gear for St. Patty’s Day.  I had plans to get in another good cardio workout Thursday morning.  But, I stayed up WAY too late finishing off season 1 of the Blacklist to get up and workout.  Should I be embarrassed to admit that?!  If you watch the show, you would totally understand and not judge me : )  Thursday night was all about March Madness (as was Friday night + some wine).  But, this morning I had a running date with my friend that was totally worth dragging myself out of bed for.

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What better way to celebrate spring?!  We had much to catch up on and a triathlon to plan for!

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Confession: After my run I had a chunk of time before my facial, so I ate a snack in my car and listened to Serial.  I know I’m the last to the Serial party, but I am diving right in.

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At noon, I had the most amazing facial with my favorite esthetician.  My mom was scheduled after me again so the three of us had tea and cookies in between our appointments.

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When I got home, it was family nap time. 

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On a totally different (and random) note, did you see Cooper’s look alike in the Lowes Glow in the Dark Cat Hat TV commercial?

It makes me laugh every time. Is it possible that March Madness has better commercials than the Superbowl?

We have an exciting Saturday night at home planned (most likely with more wine and basketball) and now that we have worked out some of the triathlon details, real training will begin REAL SOON!

 

How is your Saturday going?

Are you watching March Madness?

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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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A few times…

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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!

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

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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

Ingredients

1 cup peanut butter

1 cup honey

1 cup salted or unsalted peanuts, halved

5- 5.5 cups multigrain Cheerios

Directions

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!

Lately I’ve Been XXIX…

Doing yoga

Teaching kids yoga

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Reading magazines

Thinking about my 2015 Bucket List

Studying at Panera

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Complaining about the cold

Doing LOTS of laundry

Eating Thai food

Playing hide and seek with Cooper

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Drinking tea

Binge watching Downton Abbey (while drinking tea)

Eating lunch with my Mom at WF

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Creating cheese plates

Planning for my wedding

 

What have you been doing lately?

Once I Finally Left the Couch

By January 2nd, I was ready to leave the couch.  The BOY and Cooper…well that’s another story : )

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I slept over 10 hours and started my day with some detox green tea.  I got a David’s Tea sampler as a holiday gift and it is fun to try a different tea each day.  It looked brutally cold outside, so I bundled up for a grocery store run.  It was surprisingly warmer than I expected, so after the store, I decided to tackle an easy 30 minute run on the path.  I had enough time to come home and shower, eat leftover chili for lunch, no bake some bars (recipe below), and was back on the road…this time heading out for my New Year Facial!

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My skin desperately needed some TLC and I was looking for some moisturizing suggestions.  I left glowing and since my Mom was the facial after me, they scheduled some tea time for us in between.  It was sweet to catch up in front of the fire!  A huge bonus of my facial was that it came with a blow out. When the stylist asked how I usually do my hair, I told her that she should just do what she wanted, which of course turned out way cuter than I can do!

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It made me look all dressed up for the Shabbat dinner the BOY and I hosted for his sister and her boyfriend. 

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We feasted on chicken parm and roasted broccoli as we caught up on life.  We had warm, gooey, leftover caramel brownies for dessert.  They are definitely good enough to have 100 two nights in a row.  We also had the peanut butter bars, which I have had pinned for months.  They are very quick and easy and taste delicious!  I think made with a natural peanut butter, these would make the perfect power bar for long bike rides!

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Sadly, I crashed early last night (it was a long day) and slept another 10+ hours.  I slept through my workout time and confirmed this was the best idea when I saw the freezing rain and ‘wintery’ mix outside our windows (and covering our cars).  Today, we had a busy day of driving to a study session for me and wedding planning for both of us.  At 3:00, we were both thrilled to be back inside our warm house with a cold beer and college basketball (followed by a Law&Order marathon…woo woo!).  Tomorrow’s big adventure…lunch with the girls!!!

What have you been doing this year?  On the couch or on the go?

3 ingredient No Bake PB Oat Bars

From Cookies & Cups

Ingredients

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • ½ cup honey
  • 3 cups rolled oats

Directions

  1. Line a 9×9 pan with foil. Spray lightly with non-stick spray.
  2. Melt the peanut butter and honey together until smooth, either in the microwave or stove top. Combine mixture with oats.
  3. Press into prepared pan. Place in refrigerator until set. Cut into squares.

It Doesn’t Feel Like Christmas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Which looks FANTASTIC!

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

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

Wishing you all the merriest of Christmases!

 

Gingerbread Loaf

From Tastes of Lizzy T’s

Ingredients

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1½ teaspoons ginger

¾ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon salt

¼ cup sugar

½ cup molasses

½ cup butter, softened

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup buttermilk

powdered sugar for dusting the top, if desired

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

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

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

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

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

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