Sunday Seven {May Day}

1. I’m BACK!!!

Been a crazy week but happy to say that I am back to blogging.  Can’t wait to tell ya what I’ve been up to ; ) 

 

2. My computer…

Did a mandatory update rendering itself completely useless this week!

IMG_20160428_205623277 IMG_20160429_204038443

 

3. Space Pants

I couldn’t even tell you the last time I watched Saturday night live, but watching Peter Dinklage’s Space Pants dance last night had be cracking up!

 

4. Date Night

Prior to watching SNL, the BOY and I had game night, which involved me kicking his booty in Yahtzee!  And I got my FIRST EVER Yahtzee!

IMG_20160430_203152409_HDR

 

5. Reading!

Check out all my new reading materials…yoga training her I come : )

IMG_20160428_203418426

 

6. Sunday Not As Funday

I have to work tomorrow.  I started my day with an intense hot yoga class (love!) but crashed by the afternoon.  I didn’t want to go to the grocery store tonight but made myself go.  I did a quick run for essentials and this week’s meal plans will be simple…I’m thinking lots of grilling!

 

7. Speaking of the Grill…

We have to decide what BBQ sauce to use on our ribs tonight!

IMG_20160501_180346831_HDR

I’ve got big plans to get myself back to blogging this week with some fun stuff coming your way!

 

Tell me some of your Sunday Stuff…

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 : )

IMG_20160422_081923558

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!

IMG_20160425_184505524

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.

IMG_20160425_084946055

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.

IMG_20160425_132501249

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?!

IMG_20160425_141819991

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.

IMG_20160425_162913622

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!

IMG_20160425_170154411

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

IMG_20160425_171641314

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

No French Fry Bars

The bad news is when you play all weekend, there is a lot of work to do on Monday.  And I don’t mean work, work because it is still the weekend (for me), but house work!  I would have loved to have spent Monday on my couch, cuddled with Cooper, and catching up on Scandal.  Instead, I woke up and immediately started creating laundry piles. 

IMG_20160404_164233747

Saturday morning, the BOY and I woke up to snow.  Not a lot of it, but more than anyone wants to see in April!

IMG_20160402_075142531

The BOY and I went to the gym for our training sessions and then quickly packed up before driving downtown.  My sister in law has been wanting to try Soul Cycle and I was more than  happy to accompany here to the Old Rihanna vs. New Rihanna class.

IMG_20160402_111845093_HDR

We had a lot of fun working up a sweat.  Then the guys met us for lunch and beer at Corridor.  The weather was odd, alternating between hail and sunshine, but we managed to walk around and shop before making our way back to their house.  We had a little bit of down time before getting ready for our family friend’s wedding.  My mom, SIL, and I drank bubbles while we got our hair done at the dry bar, and then everyone got all dressed up for the wedding.

IMG_20160402_224701738

We danced the night away and had a great time together!  Sunday was another fun family day, but this time the weather was gorgeous!

IMG_20160403_102904983

We walked all over the city, racking up close to 7 miles.  Along the way, we discovered an amazing little bakery and fueled up with cupcakes (and a not pictured cookie sandwich that was consumed during the walk)!

IMG_20160403_131422469_HDR

The BOY and I didn’t get home until late Sunday night, and we stopped and picked up Thai for dinner on our way home.  I was feeling exhilarated with the excitement of the weekend and crashed for a good 10 hours Sunday night.  Which brings me back to this morning.  After getting a few loads of laundry going, I grabbed leftovers for breakfast and debated if I wanted to go to the 9:30am yoga class.  A run would have been ideal, but after yesterday’s 60 degree weather, this morning was chilly.

IMG_20160404_091856306

So off to yoga I went!  And then came back home to get myself organized for the day while sipping on a Peanut Butter and Banana Protein Smoothie.  I made my grocery list and our meal plan. 

IMG_20160404_111816901

With the cold weather, chili was top on my list…Mmm!

IMG_20160404_160317009

So I had the opportunity to bump into an old coworker of the BOY’s last week.  She mentioned that she saw him eating one of the protein balls I had made.  When she asked him what was with the healthy fare, he said that I made them so that he doesn’t eat French Fries (LOL!).  I actually make them so that we have healthy snack options throughout the day, but the French Fry comment had me cracking up.

IMG_20160404_161054707_HDR IMG_20160404_161155276

IMG_20160404_161234284_HDR IMG_20160404_161338913_HDR

On that note, I made another batch of bars this week and we can just call them ‘No French Fry’ bars!

IMG_20160404_161749744_HDR

These are actually a Luna bar knock off and absolutely delicious!

IMG_20160404_172342480

You’ll have to make a batch and let me know if they keep you away from the drive through : )

 

What is your favorite mid afternoon snack?

 

Meal Planning 4/04/16

Monday: Chili

Tuesday: Sesame Honey Chicken

Wednesday: Burgers and Veggies

Thursday: TBD

 

(Homemade) Peanut Butter

Chocolate Chip Luna Bars

From Lauren’s Latest

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup dry roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 24 oz. pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • pinch sea salt

Directions

  1. Place peanuts into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to chop into fine pieces without turning into a paste. Add in dates, chocolate chips and salt. Continue pulsing until one large mass comes together in the bowl. Line a 9×9 baking dish with parchment paper or plastic wrap and press date mixture evenly into the dish. Dip your fingers into water to prevent sticking. Place into freezer or fridge for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove completely from pan using excess plastic wrap as help and cut into 10 even pieces. Wrap each bar individually in plastic wrap and store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

All Things Yoga…

Like I said, everything this week is turning up YOGA : )

IMG_20160331_175735905

And I LoVeD it!!!

IMG_20160323_180123530

Sunday I went to the Easter class with my mom and was back on my mat Monday morning for the 6am class.  Then I taught a Spring Break workshop to an energetic group of kiddos.

IMG_20160328_102653294

Wednesday, I got out of work early for the second week in a row and so I darted off to the 6:30pm class at my studio.  I would have loved to run, but the clouds were dark and stormy, so I took the safe route.  The entire class was based on opening our upper back, which felt fantastic.  By the end, my thoracic spine felt so open that I popped into my half wheel and lifted one leg into the air.  I was stunned.  Not only have I not done that in years decades, but it never crossed my mind to try.  I think my open spine allowed me to really push through my arms which unweighted my leg and up to the sky it went!

IMG_20160331_175204603_HDR

Thursday, I worked a half day and then jetted off to the city for the Kathryn Budig Aim True event.  I had enough time to grab coffee and do nails with my SIL before picking up a friend and driving downtown.

IMG_20160331_175803836_HDR

IMG_20160331_183653530

IMG_20160331_202347105

We arrived at Block 37 surrounded by brightly dressed yogi’s toting mats.  The first hour was swag hour and I collected Lunabars, mat cleaner, and chapstick while I sipped kombucha and snacked on coconut oil popcorn.

IMG_20160331_185520221

We took a bunch of pictures while the sun sank over the city.  At 7pm, everyone found their mats for the yoga portion.  I’ve never done yoga in a large group and loved the idea of sharing energy (and space) with that many like minded people.

IMG_20160331_195931910

Kathryn’s message of finding your authentic self rang true and the yoga was creative and fun.  It wasn’t the most in depth practice I’ve ever done, but so unique and inspiring in different ways.  After the class, we grabbed a little more swag and then a class of wine.

IMG_20160331_210512992

Despite having a week of yoga, I was eager to squeeze in a run Friday morning.  Luckily, when I woke up in the morning, the weather agreed.  It was 40 and the rain held off for me to run from my brother’s house to meet a friend for her Friday morning Donut Club!

IMG_20160401_073358731

I ran the two plus miles, circling to build ob some time.  Then dove right into the mix of donuts shared between the table.  The blueberry and maple were by far my favorites.  I snagged a few donuts to go and jogged back home to my brothers.  After a quick shower, I headed over to Southport for an eyebrow wax, shopping, and Starbucks. 

IMG_20160401_080144586

IMG_20160401_081337043

IMG_20160401_081615544

Talk about a FUN Friday!

With all of the yoga, my mind and body were feeling so flexible and strong in prep for an exciting weekend.  It also has me looking forward to my 200 hour teacher training which I am signed up for and begins in 2 months.  Woo hoo!

Savasana Then Easter Bunny

Holla!

IMG_20160326_121238102

Meant to have this post to you last night, but after two non stop days, I crashed Sunday night with a mild tension headache.  Would have much rather been watching basketball and blogging, but had to get ready for the day ahead (I worked today!) which included a 6am yoga class and then I taught a 90 minute spring break yoga workshop for kids.

IMG_20160326_171327408_HDR

Had a super busy weekend. Spent Saturday running from here to there putting on a good 100 miles on my car, but all totally worth it for a facial, refreshing new haircut, lunch with my P’s, and dinner with two of my favorite girls!

IMG_20160327_082722739_HDR

Sunday morning, I was up before my alarm and the BOY made us a tasty Easter breakfast.  I met my mom for a hot yoga class (realizing that short hair means creative yoga hair).  The class was inspiring, one of my favorite teachers talked about shedding our winter self, the past, and pieces no longer needed and opening to the beautiful opportunities ahead.  It was also REALLY tough and REALLY hot!  Hence our pink, pink cheeks!

IMG_20160327_113045712_HDR

Afterwards, we definitely deserved a Starbucks, so we scooped up the BOY and made our way to the new store by our house.  I had a free drink which meant a ginormous drink…Mmm!  Afterwards the 3 of us did our weekly grocery store run.  My mom dropped us off at home where we made lunch and spent the afternoon cleaning and getting organized.

IMG_20160327_153413334

For me, this meant a weeknight dinner in the crockpot and busting out the rice cooker.  I planned to also do another crockpot recipe but didn’t get my timing right before we had to run out the door for dinner with the BOY’s family.  Instead, I put all the ingredients into a ziploc and figured one of us could get it into the crockpot when we get home this week.

IMG_20160328_145208487

Which is exactly what we did today!  The pictures aren’t anything glamorous, but the recipe is so amazing that it is worth sharing!  I didn’t eat a huge dinner because I had BIG DQ blizzard instead…more to come about that…but the BOY dug right in and said that it might be the best peanut chicken I’ve made!

IMG_20160328_201612137

Everything this week is turning up yoga…This morning, I did a 6am class before work and then taught an enthusiastic group of kids a spring break workshop.  And later this week, I am attending a yoga event in the city!

IMG_20160328_102658974

How was your Easter?

Whatcha eating this week?

Meal Planning 3/28/16

Monday: Slow Cooker Thai Chicken with Peanut Sauce

Tuesday: Buffalo Chicken Bowls

Wednesday: Tilapia and Veggies

Thursday: Dinner in the City (for me!)

 

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken with Peanut Sauce

From Five Heart Home

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup chunky natural peanut butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (more or less, to taste)
  • 1/3 cup chopped peanuts, for garnish
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish
  • Rice, rice noodles, or lettuce leaves, for serving

Directions

  1. Arrange chicken breasts in the bottom of a large slow cooker. In a medium bowl, stir together coconut milk, peanut butter, garlic, honey, soy sauce, lime juice, rice wine vinegar, and red pepper flakes; mix until (mostly) smooth. Pour over chicken.
  2. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours, or HIGH for 3 to 4 hours (or until chicken is tender but not overcooked, depending on the strength of your slow cooker). Reduce slow cooker temperature to WARM. Remove chicken from slow cooker, cut into chunks, and shred. Return shredded chicken to slow cooker to allow it to absorb sauce and heat through.
  3. Serve chicken and sauce over cooked white or brown rice, cooked rice noodles, or stuffed inside large lettuce leaves, as wraps. Garnish with chopped peanuts, fresh cilantro, and additional red pepper flakes, if desired.

NOTE: You can mix chicken and sauce ahead of time in a bag to place in your crockpot at a later time.

Brackets and Bars

It has been a bit of an odd week!  The time change, full moon, and impending spring break have had the kids (my patients) in a mood!  In our house, Cooper has been falling asleep in my arms each night, and the BOY has been super busy at work.

IMG_20160321_180952543_HDR

Basketball has returned (my bracket has my cortisol levels rising!) and so have the energy bites.  Except this week, we are leaving the world of bites and bringing on the bars!

IMG_20160322_085007678

A healthier option than the amazing Peanut Butter Cookie Brownies, I made earlier this week, both the BOY and I have been chowing down on these bars!  Ok, we have been devouring the brownies too : )

IMG_20160321_173431435

With the ingredients as written, my bars didn’t come together into a dough.  Luckily, I am no rookie when it comes to these things, and so I knew that I could add honey, agave, or maple syrup.  I went the syrup route and my bars pulled together quickly.

IMG_20160321_173857574_HDR

I tell you this in case you have the same problem when you make them, and I highly recommend that you do!

IMG_20160322_073529069

I love the mixture of coconut and almond butter, and they will power you through even the craziest of days…don’t ask me how I know this!  Thankfully, I got out of work early on Wednesday and instead of going home to clean my house and do responsible adult stuff, I went to a hot yoga class.

IMG_20160323_180123530

It was a new-to-me instructor, and the class was absolutely incredible!  None of my bracket teams are winning by enough tonight for me to sleep sound, but I might as well give it a try since I have an early morning of work tomorrow.  Looking for more ‘raw’ recipes, check out my very busy Pinterest board!

Do you have a favorite raw recipe?

Who are you cheering for in the NCAA tournament?

Almond Coconut Energy Bars

From My Sequined Life

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of whole pitted dates (approx. 12 dates)
  • 1/4 cup creamy almond butter 
  • 1/4 cup roasted almonds
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 3 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • Maple Syrup (if needed)

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend for one to two minutes, or until everything is evenly combined and just about smooth. You may still have little crunchy pieces of almonds remaining.   If a dough does not form, then add in maple syrup (or another sticky ingredient like honey) and continue to process.
  2. Line a 9" x 5" loaf pan (or a small dish) with parchment paper or cooking spray and press bar mixture evenly into about half of the pan. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes so the mixture sets. Once chilled, cut into bars and store in the fridge

Welcome Spring!!!

IMG_20160316_194341804

I finally got around to making these protein balls last week, but never got around to sharing the awesome recipe. 

Note: You will want to make a double batch of this recipe because it is awesome but the servings are NOT plentiful enough!

IMG_20160319_070221578

Saturday morning, I was up again early and at the gym.  I had another kick butt workout, making it my 5th of the week (way to go on that March goal!).  Then it was a quick change and off to my last yoga class of the session.  The kids were really energetic and fun and dove right into all of the partner work and poses.

IMG_20160312_105956917

I stayed a little after to fill in our life size bracket hanging on the wall in the gym.  From there, it was back home where the BOY scooped me up for lunch and shopping.  Believe me when I say that I was MORE surprised when the BOY wanted to go to the mall for updated work clothes than I was last weekend when he wanted to clean : )

IMG_20160319_141318344

We had a successful trip to Nordstrom and arrived back home minutes after the Indiana/Kentucky game started.  We watched on the edge of our seats as Indiana pulled away to make it to the Sweet Sixteen.  Saturday night, we had dinner with my bestie, her hubs, and two amazing kids!  I dove right into the play dough while the BOY initiated a pre-bed time sword fight.

IMG_20160319_210611629IMG_20160319_210529977IMG_20160319_210526049

Sunday morning was a unique treat!  We set no alarm and I didn’t have anything on my schedule until 2:30pm!!  I woke up around 8:30am feeling refreshed.  I ate a bite of breakfast (with my espresso) and drove off in the sunshine to the yoga studio for a hot flow class. 

IMG_20160320_084018783_HDR

On the way, I realized I forgot my water bottle.  Luckily, there is a Walgreens in the parking lot of the studio, so I was able to quickly grab a Smartwater.  When I arrived, the room was PACKED!  I was able to find a small piece of real estate in the front row (not my favorite).  It occurred to me as I transitioned to my mat that this was a PERFECT example of finding peace in the present moment.  The front row is tough because it is up against the wall. I find it harder to balance that close to the wall, and I am more self conscious about my movement with other bodies close by.

DSCN2931

But the benefit of being that close to the wall is easily transitioning from standing splits to handstand with the support and confidence boost of the wall, which is exactly what I did a few times this morning.  Slowly working off the wall as I practiced my strength and balance on two hands.  Our teacher continued to remind us to embrace the awakening of spring as we moved through tough transitions in the hot room.  The morning class was a sweaty one and no one (including me) moved quickly out of savasana, like we usually do, taking the time to cool down before arising from our mats and refilling our water bottles.

IMG_20160320_113350740

I changed out of my wet clothes for a lunch time trip to Whole Foods.  The BOY requested a sandwich and I ended up with a Whole Foods Hodge Podge (basically what happens at the whole foods salad bar when you are starving after hot yoga!).  I had big plans to glue my side view mirror on, but realized that it was going to take an hour, which I didn’t have.  Instead, I drove my car into the city, carefully merging at all times, to hang out with a friend/old coworker of mine.  We walked throughout the city, making a special stop at the Family Matters house, which she just discovered was in her neighborhood (and I just learned was in Chicago).

IMG_20160320_151334808

We had coffee and walked some more, swinging by Athleta to scope our the scale items.  On our walk, we caught up on life while appreciating the sunshine on this first day of spring!  I left the city a little before 6pm with plans to swing by the grocery store to pick up my dinner (which I forgot that morning at WF) since the BOY had dinner plans with a friend.  I was also hoping to be home before dark since along with a busted mirror, I also seem to have a head light out on my car.  Ugh!  I will definitely be doing some car maintenance tomorrow!

IMG_20160320_190000069

I made salmon and brussel sprouts for dinner with a glass of crisp white wine, while watching tonight’s March Madness games.  I was feeling torn between cheering on the Big Ten (out of support for the conference) and Xavier, out of support for my ailing bracket and loved all the close games and over times!

IMG_20160320_195647419

And that’s a wrap for my weekend (and start to spring), which means that I really should tell you more about these protein balls.  The original recipe calls for cranberries, so feel free to go that route.  I actually had cherries in the house, so decided to use those along with a scoop of protein powder for some added flavor and muscle building goodness.

IMG_20160316_194427703

Like I mentioned way back at the start of this post, these energy balls are fantastic and well worth doubling the recipe.  They make the perfect afternoon pick me up and even the BOY has enjoyed taking these energy balls as a snack to the office.

IMG_20160316_194407564

How did you start spring?

Any famous TV landmarks in your town?

 

Cherry Vanilla Protein Bites

Adapted From Recipe Runner (makes 9 large energy balls***)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup chopped medjool dates, about 6-7 dates
  • 2 tbsp vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt (optional)

***I would recommend doubling if you have the room in your food processor!

Directions

  1. In a high speed blender or food processor add the cashews and almonds and pulse until they are finely ground, careful not to turn them into nut butter.
  2. Add in the remaining ingredients and blend or pulse until everything starts to come together.
  3. Scrape down the sides several times and add up to 2 tablespoons of water.
  4. Form into balls, rolling between your hands.
  5. Store the energy bites in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.