Fitness, Food and Photography

Follow me on my road to fitness… Because it's all about the journey, not the destination.

Healthy Brownies with Zucchini

These were a huge hit at my party on Saturday.  And an even bigger hit with my kids!!  I’m thrilled, of course, that I found a way to sneak in an extra serving of veggies to my unsuspecting children.

 

Healthy Brownies with Zucchini

Adapted from Spark People

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 small bananas, mashed

1 cup brown sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1-1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups finely shredded zucchini

2 cups all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9×13 pan.

In large bowl, mix together the applesauce, bananas, sugar, vanilla and cocoa.  Mix well.  Then add baking soda, salt, and zucchini.  Turn mixer on high to make sure it is thoroughly combined.  Slowly add flour.  Spread evenly into pan.  Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

made with love

 

YUM!!  Makes 24 servings.  Kid-approved.  And at only 122 calories per serving, it’s free of guilt.

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Random Thoughts

Over the last couple of days, I’ve had a lot of random thoughts that I wanted to share with you all.  So I thought it was time for a completely random post!  Sometimes the thoughts in my head are all over the board, so I guess it’s only fitting that the Blog is too!  🙂

1)  Ok – remember that Carb challenge we had at work?  Well, it’s over.  I had to pay $24 into the pot when it was all said and done.  I pretty much cheated every weekend.  Two people tied for first place.  I believe they only had 10 cheat days each.  They each received a $94 prize.  That’s a lot of money that was paid into the pot!  But wait – there’s more!  There was also a prize to the person who was voted ‘Most Supportive Teammate.’  Guess what?!?  That was ME!  I totally wasn’t expecting that.  I won $62  But I will say that I love motivating and inspiring others to achieve their fitness goals.  I love cheering on my friends.

2)  I am so excited about this!  I was contacted by a representative for a new fitness tracker website/ app called Slim Kicker.  They want me to test out the new product, which will be similar to a Fit Bit, and then blog about it.  Sure!  I love the concept.  It takes your diet and fitness goals and turns them into a game!  You can connect with friends for that accountability feature, and the best part is that as you reach your goals and “level up”, you can win prizes!  Now that is some motivation right there.  My user name is katiedaisy921 if anyone wants to buddy up.  I am excited to start using it.  I will let you know how I like it.

3)  I know I sound like a broken record on this one, BUT – we are restarting P90x.  Today is Day 1.  And it will work in conjunction with another Challenge!  My Beachbody coach posted a “Get Lean for Halloween” Challenge.  It’s actually a 90-day challenge to take us through the end of the year, with prizes at each 30-day interval.  So that was motivation for me.  90 days til the end of the year.  Let’s start P90x now.  I want to finish it this time!  Of course, I may be completely crazy trying to do this at my busiest time of the year.  Then again, it may be when I need it the most!

4)  And to follow up a thought about fitness, it’s only fitting that I talk about ice cream!  🙂  Remember that Blue Bell ice cream contest that I told you about where you get to pick the old flavor to bring back?  Mine didn’t win.  Caramel Turtle Cheesecake won.  They say it will be available early next year.

5)  Recent stats show 92 posts since June!  Over 2,300 page views, and growing everyday!  Thanks, guys!  I’m so glad you read my Blog.  Sometimes I feel like Barney Stinson on ‘How I Met Your Mother’, always talking about his blog but none of his friends read it.  LOL  I love that show!!

6) Even after I posted the September calendar for FatMumSlim’s photoaday challenge, I don’t think I actually took one photo all month!  #epicfail  So here is the October calendar, and I am going to try really hard to participate this time.

fatmumslim photo challenge

#fmsphotoaday

I think that’s all the randomness I have for today.  So excited that it’s Saturday.  The hubby took the son to a festival this morning, so I am trying to get some things done this morning.  I’ve already made a looooooong list!  Blogging, running, cleaning, baking, shopping.  Not sure if I can get it all done or not.  I still have my daughter here with me and since she’s 2, she’s not a whole lot of help.  But at least she’s darn cute!  🙂

Hope everyone has a WONDERFUL weekend!  Later.

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Birthday Funday

Today is my birthday.  I won’t tell you what number it is because at this point in my life, I would prefer to stop counting.  I subscribe to the old adage ‘Age is just a number’ and ‘You’re only as old as you feel’.  Sometimes, though, I’ll tell you – the kids make me feel so much older.

birthday banner

I was surprised with a banner, dinner, and presents when I got home from work yesterday.

Yay!  I love opening presents.  Do you see that black ball??  I’ve been wanting a Medicine Ball for so long now.  I am so excited!!

And my son made me some sweet cards.  On the inside of one, he drew me a sunset.  He said, “because you love sunsets.”  How sweet he is!

The hubs handed me a new beer to try.  I love Shock Top, I love wheat beer, and I love Pumpkin!  He did good.  It could have been a little more pumpkin-y, but it was really good.

Then he grilled us some fish and veggies, the makings of fish tacos!!  See that grill pan?  That was one of my birthday presents.  I’m not sure how much it was really for me.  He’s the griller.  I think he bought himself a present and wrapped it up and gave it to me.  But that’s fine.  I’m the eater.  So if he’s grilling, then I’m benefiting!  🙂

Fish tacos have become my new favorite thing!!

pumpkin cake

He attempted to make me a “healthy” pumpkin cake with almond flour.  He says it didn’t turn out well.  I say it was delicious!!!

I took the day off today so I could pack, get a few things done, and get pampered at the spa.  I also had a killer workout.

interval workout

That felt good.  I haven’t been as disciplined with my workouts lately as I should be.  I’ve been feeling a little ‘soft’.  So I needed this workout.  Those wall sits are going to hurt tomorrow!!!

hill sprints

That’s the hill I was sprinting.  From stop sign to stop sign.  I wish I had worn my heart rate monitor.  My heart was about to beat out of my chest on that fifth sprint.

I was so excited to use my new medicine ball for the ball slams!  That box jump-ball slam combination also spiked my heart rate quickly, even though I completed it in under 5 mintues.

low-carb wrap

After my facial, I came home and made a Low-Carb wrap.  There’s grilled chicken, cheese, hard boiled egg, grape tomatoes, fresh jalapenos, and greens topped with some wing sauce.  All on a 90-calorie Flat Out.  Yum!!

The birthday is not over yet.  We will do lots more celebrating this weekend.  Stay tuned for the Weekend Recap with lots of exciting photos.

Also, I wanted to say a quick Happy Birthday to my first foodie pen pal, Stephanie at My Freckled Life.  Other than Bill Murray and Nicole Richie, I’ve never known anyone else who shares my birthday with me!

Question of the Day:  How do you pamper yourself on your birthday??

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Bulu Box Review – September

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Yay for mail delivery. Today the mailman brought me the September Bulu Box!  I couldn’t wait to see what was inside.
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I just got back from a walk so I had water in my hand. I wanted to try the Hawaiian Coconut Energy. It’s a powder you pour in your water. I was a little nervous about the flavor because I don’t like coconut water. Lucky for me, this did not taste like coconut water!
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It had a slight pineapple flavor, and the best part is – it was packed with extra B vitamins. The only downside was that it had that artificial taste like Crystal Light has. I’d almost prefer plain water.

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I also tried these razberri-k capsules. It’s a stimulant-free way to lose weight by supposedly curbing the absorption of fat.  We’ll just have to see how they work.

I have not tried the Athlete Octane yet.  It does not look too appetizing, however, I like that it increases endurance and reduces soreness.

The Detour bar is yummy. And with 15g protein and only 3g sugar, it’s a great alternative to a candy bar.

To sign up for your own Bulu Box subscription, go to www.bulubox.com.  At only $10 per month (includes shipping), you get plenty of samples of new health/fitness products to try out.

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What I Ate Wednesday

First of all, how is it Wednesday already??  This week has flown by, and tomorrow is my Friday!!  Yipee.

It’s time for my favorite post of the week ….  What I Ate Wednesday …..  thank you Peas and Crayons for hosting a fun linkup every week.

My day actually started at 5 a.m, which was 30 minutes before my alarm was even scheduled to go off.  I’m not sure why I popped up so early. I had some strange dreams and I guess my body was just done sleeping.

After about 4 cups of coffee, I had the usual kale protein shake.  I know – I get a little boring.  I have it every day.  But it is so yummy.

kale protein shake

I gave my daughter a few sips before I left for work.  She was eating her pancake on the couch while watching Curious George.

 

 

So I took my salad to a park around the corner, sat on a picnic bench and enjoyed the sunlight while I ate my salad.  Ahhh.  Perfect.

A little light reading during the lunch hour.  🙂

My lunch view

This was my view.  Do you know how hard it was to go back to work???

A few other people were enjoying the park-bench-with-a-view lunch hour too.

temptation

temptation

When I got back from lunch, I found these sitting on the counter – evil cookies from Panera.  A carrier rep had brought them in.

But guess what?!?  I completely resisted them!!  I didn’t have a single bite!!  Yay!

“cheese”

For dinner, we met my Mom, Aunt and cousin at Jason’s Deli to celebrate my birthday.  (It’s on Friday).  I absolutely love Jason’s Deli simply for their salad bar.  It’s awesome.

jason's deli

Tonight, though, I decided to get the Manager’s Special – a half sandwich and salad bar.  (My kids ate the chips for me).

There are just too many good sounding sandwiches to choose from.   I chose the Wild Salmon-wich.  “Marinated grilled wild Alaskan Sockeye salmon, guacamole, roma tomatoes, leafy lettuce, chipotle aioli on toasted herb focaccia.”  Sounds good, right?

It was just ok.   I think that salmon was the frozen variety.  I probably won’t order that again.

The neat thing is that we went on Wednesday night.  Kids eat FREE on Wednesday nights!!  Awesome.  Well, actually it’s a good thing.  I was very disappointed in the quality of the kids food, so I’m glad I didn’t have to pay for it.  My son’s pizza was crap.  And my daughter’s “organic” mac & cheese was straight out of a box.  The kind that uses yellow dye, too.  Not cool.

But the salad bar.  The salad bar is a different story.  All the veggies on the salad bar are organic.  There’s also a huge choice of pasta salad, couscous, hummus, etc etc.  So much great stuff to choose from.  Here’s what mine looked like.  Those little muffins are good, but I had to share with my kids.

Another main reason why I love Jason’s Deli — is the soft serve machine.  It’s FREE for everyone after your meal!  YUM!!!

After dinner, I headed over to a local children’s consignment sale, Duck Duck Goose.  Since I had consigned clothes, I had a Private pass to shop the sale one day early.  This sale is HUGE, and it only happens twice a year.  I got there at 7:45pm to start shopping.  I ran into a friend around 9:30, which was awesome because we could stand in the line together.  We ended up waiting in line for TWO HOURS to check out.  I didn’t get home til 12:30am.  Oh my goodness.  What a long day!

 

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What a Wonderful Day!

I must admit – I was not looking forward to the day.  It was raining cats and dogs, flooding all over town, and I was going to be driving a LOT.

My first destination was downtown, to a Worksite Wellness seminar hosted by BlueCross BlueShield. The keynote speaker was Dr Ann Kulze, a family physician, a nutrition expert, an author, and a mother of 4!  She was energetic and inspiring.  (In fact, she has way too much energy to have 4 kids, let alone all the other things she does – wow!  I am amazed)!  Today’s address focused on Conquering Carbs, specifically the “Great White Hazards” – white flour, white sugar, etc.  She didn’t have to convince me – I’m already on that bandwagon.  But I did learn one interesting thing about fructose.  Apparently when you ingest sugar, it’s like a double whammy to your body.  Not only does the glucose flood the cells, but also the fructose.  The insulin is pumped out in order to deliver that glucose to the cells.  When insulin is pumped out, the cells go into fat storing mode.  So it’s WAY worse when you ingest sugar of any kind!!  Want to hear more?  The archives of her radio show are posted on her website.  There is one on Conquering Carbs here!

She’s written 3 very easy-to-read books on the subject of nutrition.  I highly recommend you check them out!  In fact, if you are an organization and want to purchase the Eat Right for Life books for your employees, they are only $3.95 each if purchsed from the Wellness Council of America (WELCOA).  In fact, you should tell your employer about this deal!

She was so inspiring I just had to talk to her afterwards.

From there, I drove an hour out of the city to visit a new client, Blackberry Farm.  If you’ve never heard of Blackberry Farm, it’s a luxury, upscale Bed and Breakfast, only it’s not like any bed and breakfast I’ve ever stayed at.  The gorgeous 4,200-acre property is located in the Great Smoky Mountains.  Reservations for even the smallest of rooms is $399 per night.  All the way up to a farmhouse for $5,000 per night.

After the meeting, we were promised a tour of the property.  Despite the rain, we still piled into a golf cart with our rain jackets on.  I would have loved to take pictures for you,  but I had forgotten to bring my Nikon this morning, and my cell phone died while we were in the meeting.  Oh well.  Even if I had taken pictures, they wouldn’t have done the place justice.  Plus, the rain and the fog limited our views.

We did luck out, though.  We just happened to walk into the main dining hall around 2:30pm and were offered some leftover box lunches.  Yes, please.  If I have one rule, it’s this:  You never, ever turn down food made by gourmet chefs.  These guys are frequently featured in Food & Wine Magazine.  People pay top dollar just to eat here!

My husband was just lucky enough that I decided to bring the food home and share with him.

blackberry farm menu

The menu

blackberry farm food

blackberry farm lunch food

That sandwich was amazing!!  Every taste was beautifully crafted.  And I think the roasted red pepper was like icing on the cake.  Outstanding.

I loved the pepper and eggplant salad.  I wasn’t sure exactly what grain that was in there… maybe quinoa?  Delicious.  My husband let me eat that whole cup, so I gave him the homemade potato chips.  I definitely got the better end of that deal!!

Beets.  Sadly, I am not a fan.  These may very well be the best beets in the world and I just couldn’t enjoy them.  The flavor is just too weird.

blackberry farm cookies

And finally, Trail Mix Cookies!  They were soft and chewy.  Loved them.

We had such a good time touring the property and meeting with our clients.  And I also thoroughly enjoyed the Wellness seminar this morning.  The driving wasn’t that bad, and it turned out to be a wonderful day despite the rain!

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TGIF: How I De-Stress

I don’t know if anyone could be as excited as I am that it’s Friday!  It’s been a hell of a week.  Client meetings, presentations, and deadlines made for a stressful week and more than a few late nights.

So how does one celebrate that the week is over??  With a long run, of course. After work, I headed to my favorite greenway. It’s actually a beautiful,  old (read: expensive)  neighborhood on the Tennessee River.  Down the middle of the street is a wide, tree lined median with a gravel path.  Shaded, but hilly, it’s 5.2 miles round-trip.

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It was rough starting out. My legs were heavy and tired from the hill sprints I did last night. But I pushed on.

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I won’t lie, there was some run / walk action. But it was a respectable run / walk. Maybe 50/50, but I sprinted the hills and only walked when I knew my heart rate had just spiked.
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I was glad when it was over, though. My legs were jello. My quads are sore. I’ll feel it tomorrow for sure.

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And finally, I’ll leave you with the sunset from this evening. It was stunning.

Hope you have a fabulous weekend!!

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What I Ate Wednesday

Peas and Crayons

I love this theme. Fall. It’s my favorite season.  Well, til Spring rolls around and then I say Spring is my favorite.  Oh, and I love summer, too. There are things I love about every season!  Except winter. I. HATE. Winter.  With its early sunsets and its drab colors and its cold weather, it’s definitely the worst season of all.

It’s been just a little cooler here lately, which means a high of like low 80s.  I’m loving it.  It feels so good outside.

For breakfast this morning, I had the usual kale shake.  I forgot to take a picture of it til I was sitting at my desk and I’d already downed half of it.  The hubs made it extra good this morning.  I don’t think it was any different than ususal, but it was very yummy!

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I was SUPER crazy busy today.  I had deadlines and presentations coming out my ears.  I don’t really want to talk about how STRESSED I am right now.   I’ve been working nights, and I’m sure I’ll be working ALL weekend just to get this one presentation done before Monday.  😦

I think all the spreadsheet action was sucking out my brain cells.  I needed some fuel around 10:45, so I reached for my can of almonds.  (I counted out my 28 nuts to ensure I didn’t eat more than a ounce serving).

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Jalapeno Smokehouse.  Maybe not quite as good as the Wasabi and Soy, but close.  Definitely Top 5.

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For lunch, I brought a low-carb high fiber wrap with a side of carrots and Laughing Cow cheese.  This is probably my favorite snack ever.  This wedge of cheese is only 35 calories, and it makes for an awesome carrot dip.  Way better than ranch!!

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The wrap consisted of a sliced hardboiled egg, mustard, sliced grape tomatoes, shredded cheese and fresh jalapenos!  YUM!!  I think I could have eaten 2 of these.  It was by sheer accident that I even brought this to work this morning.  We had run out of the mixed greens so I couldn’t make my usual salad.  I was in dire need of a grocery store trip.  So I improvised.  But I think I’ll be doing that more often!!

Then, around 3pm, my sweet tooth got the best of me.

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Have you tried these things??  OH MY WORD!!!  They are soooooooooo good!!!!

Ok, I am a sucker for ANYTHING pumpkin!  I absolutely adore the taste of pumpkin.  So I couldn’t resist these kisses with the flavor of Pumpkin Spice.  They did not disappoint.

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The nutritional stats are not great (or surprising).  I only had three.  So if you divide the calories in thirds, the fat in thirds, and the carbs in thirds, well, it’s not that bad.  Three is very satisfying.

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Dinner was on the grill.  These are Chicken Sausages with Spinach and Feta.  (bought at Earth Fare) and grilled veggies.  I only ended up eating one of the chicken sausages.  It was richer than it looks.  I ate the grilled zucchini first.  I LOVE zucchini.  And then the grilled pepper.  I spent the rest of my dinner time fighting with my 7 year old son about trying food.  He didn’t want to even taste the zucchini.  He said it “looked yucky”.  Well, in my house, that doesn’t fly.  I love veggies, not just for their taste, but also for their nutritional value.  I try to teach my children about proper nutrition.  But he still refused.  So I made him go to bed early.

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I leave you with a sunset pic from this evening.  Hope your was enjoyable.

So that is what I ate this Wednesday.  🙂

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My Idea of Fast Food.

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The salad bar at Food City.

It’s across the street from where I work.

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I hadn’t brought my lunch this morning, so I was in need of some lunch fast.

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Only took a few minutes to run over there, build myself a pretty salad and get back to my desk. (Unfortunately there is just too much work to spend an hour away from my desk. )

So see… if you have time to get fast food from a drive thru, then you also have time for a healthy option.

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Weekend Recap: Kids Clothes and Sick Boy

This weekend started out AWESOME with our Friday morning bike ride.  Then, I spent the rest of Friday getting organized in the basement with the kids clothes.  There is a very popular Children’s Clothing Sale here in a few weeks (Duck Duck Goose).  I need to get all the fall/winter kids clothes tagged and ready to go!  In fact, I got an email this weekend that they moved the sale up one full week.  EEK!  I don’t know if I can be ready that fast.  Sorta freaking out a little.  Time for a Red Bull!!

Saturday was a perfect, lazy, rainy day.  I love days like this.  It makes me want to take a nap!!  🙂

Instead, I quite productive with cleaning the house, working on the laundry, and even did this interval workout in the basement:

That was Saturday night’s dinner.  The rest of the family had shredded chicken barbecue sandwiches.  No buns for me.  So I had my cucumber salad on top of some mixed greens, on the side of my BBQ and slaw.  (Ignore the paper plate.  We were eating picnic-style.)

That was the sky on Saturday evening after a storm came through all day.  I love it when there is a break in the clouds and you can see the rays of the sunlight shining down.

The weather on Sunday was absolutely PERFECT!  It actually felt like Fall!  Unfortunately, I had a sick child and wasn’t able to take full advantage of the day.  We woke up at 2:30am to the sound of my 7-year old throwing up.  He had thrown up all in his bed, and then out on the carpet in the hall, making a line all the way to the bathroom.  So there was some major clean up happening on Sunday.  😦

I would have preferred we hop in the car for an impromtu picnic or hike somewhere close by.  Maybe next weekend.  I just hope this awesome weather will continue!!

Here is Sunday’s lunch.  It’s kinda like an egg salad but without the mayo.  On a low-carb high-fiber wrap, with avocado, cheese, spicy mustard, and some greens!  It was delicious!!

So my daughter and I played out in the driveway instead.  (As you can see, this is after she played ‘dress up’ inside.  She LOVES putting on my necklaces and bracelets.  She’s going to be such the little diva.)

The weekend flew by.  So sad that it’s Monday again already.  Hope everyone has a wonderful week!!  🙂

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