Fitness, Food and Photography

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Weekend Recap: Waffle Fail and Not Quite Date Night

Once again, I’m a little late in posting my weekend shenanigans.  Better late than never, right??  I need to get better at transferring the pictures from the phone to the blog.  I always plan out the post in my head, but never have time to follow through the way I want to.

So this past weeekend was supposed to be a productive weekend.  We didn’t have anything planned, but I did have a few very important things on my To Do List.  (Taxes being one of them!!)

But as always happens, if there are things I don’t want to do, I will find a way to put them off.  On Saturday morning, I thought waffles were a great way to procrastinate….  These are Protein Oat Waffles.

waffles

Don’t get excited and ask me for a recipe.  Even though they look pretty, it was a HUGE waffle fail!!  I found a recipe for pancakes made with oats.  You were supposed to put the oats in a food processor to make them into a fine flour.  I skipped that part thinking it wouldn’t matter.  Oh, it mattered!!  That step was in there for a reason.

waffles with PB

I, of course, still ate mine after I smothered peanut butter all over it.  But the hubs and the kids weren’t too crazy about the consistency.  Oh well.  Back to the waffle drawing board.

IMG_20130413_092636

For lunch, I made a hard boiled egg wrap in a Flat Out.

egg wrap

Have you tried these Flat Outs?  I love them!!

flat outs

Eventually I ended up taking care of my chores.  And to celebrate, Hubby and I went out for a date night.  Well, a ‘Not Quite Date Night’.  We ventured down the street to a neat little place called Double Dogs.

beer at double dogs

We had to take one kid with us.  The other kid was spending the night at my Mom’s house.  She prefers to keep them one at a time.

fried pickles

And a date night with a little person is not quite a date night.

kid1

And it meant we had to share our fried pickles with her.

kid2

And then we had to deal with her fits.  She is definitely a two-year old!

kid3

But my California Buffalo Burger was delicious.  Here’s the description:  A low-fat Buffalo burger patty topped with fresh spinach, tomatoes, red onion, Dijon mustard, our signature lime sour cream and Provolone cheese.

And I shared my fries with the little one.

buffalo burger

On Sunday I was able to get the taxes prepared, filed and put away!!  Yay.  That’s always a chore I hate doing.  Even if we do get a little money back, I still wait til the last minute to do it because I hate the process so much!!

That was what was Marvelous in my Monday ….  even though now it’s actually Thursday.  Oops.

Question of the Day:  What chores do you hate doing that you put off??

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Weekend Update: It’s Been A While

Wow – has it really been 3 weeks since I posted???  Sorry, guys.  Life has gotten so crazy lately.  Plus, the germs have been running rampant in my house.  Hubby is just now getting over a virus he’s had over 2 weeks!!  I managed to get the crud, too, just before the big race.  (I’ll get to that later).

I’ve been taking pictures and constructing blog posts in my head, they just never made it to the computer screen.  In fact, when I logged in just now, I realized that I had 3 working drafts for 3 different posts that I never finished.  Oops.  Part of the problem, though, is that when the pictures don’t upload quickly or WordPress is being difficult, I just walk away.

So I’ll try to catch you up quickly, through pictures:

protein waffle mix

One thing I’ve been doing every weekend is making protein waffles!!  The kids love waffles, but I hate buying the frozen kind with sketch ingredients.

homemade protein waffles

So I’ve been having fun with some recipe testing!  Once I perfect the recipe, I’ll post it.

The first batch was vanilla, and the second batch used chocolate protein powder!  Yum!

chocolate protein waffles

I did enjoy a Girls Night Out one weekend!  Half price sushi and $10 off bottle of wine at the Stir Fry Cafe on Saturdays!  Gotta love that!!

sushi at stir fry cafe

me and gretchen

Niki and Jennifer

My weekends have mostly consisted of a lot of studying …..

studying

… And eating!!  Since everyone in the house was sick, I made a pot of Chicken Noodle Soup, which lasted for days.

chicken noodle soup

I love salmon.  It might be my favorite food.  I also attempted to make mashed cauliflower, but it didn’t turn out so “mashed”.  It looks like rice on the plate.  But with a little garlic, salt and pepper, it tasted pretty good.

salmon dinner

Homemade Chicken/Black Bean/Spinach Enchiladas.  Even the kids devour these.  A pan like this lasts for days.

chicken enchiladas

Being sick meant we spent a lot of time on the couch….

sweet kids

…. watching movies together….  We watched ‘Wreck It Ralph’ (twice!), ‘Hotel Transylvania’, and some other random Redbox find that wasn’t that good.

watching a movie together

But THIS weekend in particular, I was getting ready for my Half Marathon….

I woke up on Monday with horrible sinus congestion, but I was determined not to let it stop me from running the race.  So I asked all my FB friends what their best remedy for nasal congestion was.  Half said Mucinex D and the other half said a neti pot.  So, I decided to do both!!

cold remedies

That Mucinex D really works!!  It didn’t completely dry me up, but enough where I didn’t feel like my head was in the clouds.

So Saturday, we headed downtown to pick up my race paket from the Expo…..  I was starting to get a little nervous.

downtown knoxville

I chose Trader Joe’s spinach tortellini as my carb-loading pre-race meal.  Yum.

pre-race meal

I’ll save all the details of the race for my next post.  (Which I promise not to take quite as long to post)

Here’s the starting line….  The temperature was 54 degrees.  It was the perfect day!

the starting line

I was hoping and praying my new shoes would carry me to the finish line!  Yes, I said BRAND NEW shoes!  I know that’s totally crazy, but that’s just how I roll.

new shoes

And after the race …..  boy, was I glad it was over.

after the race

The first 10 miles were awesome, and the last 3 were pure hell.  But I made it, congestion and all.  And only 3 minutes behind last year’s PR!

Final chip time:  2:19:18.  I’ll take it.

Stay tuned for the details.  It was a GREAT race.  I’m already wondering when my next one will be!

So that’s what’s marvelous in my Monday.

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What I Ate Wednesday – 12/5/12

Wow is it really Wednesday again so soon??  Which, as I’m sure you may have figured out already, is one of my favorite days.  Not only is it Hump Day, but it’s also What I Ate Wednesday Day.  So I have to give a quick shout out to Jenn at Peas and Crayons and say thanks for the fun linkup.

And I’m loving that new holiday banner!

Confession time:  I have a new favorite.  Move over Kale Protein Shakes, there’s a new breakfast in town.  Egg sandwiches.  And this is coming from a girl who never really cared for egg much the first 30 years of her life.  Now I love them.  Can’t get enough.  And if I ever did eat scrambled eggs before, you better not dare put anything in them.  Now I love omelettes.  Bring on the veggies!!  Crazy, huh?  It’s so strange how your tastes change.

egg sandwich

So that’s an egg with spinach on a whole wheat English muffin (except Trader Joe’s calls it a British muffin – LOL).

breakfast ingredients

But, the piece de resistance (said in my best French accent) is the Red Pepper Jelly.  Yes, I said Red Pepper Jelly.  (By who else, but Trader Joe’s, of course!!)  It was amazing!!!

Outfit of the Day

Outfit of the Day

Here’s my #ootd pic I posted on Instagram with the hash tag “all dressed up and no where to go”.  I didn’t have any meetings scheduled, just sat at my desk and worked all day.  Well, not the whole day – I went for a run at lunchtime!!  🙂

pre-run snack

pre-run snack

Yep – I ran on my lunch hour!!  Go me!  I felt I had to take advantage of this gorgeous weather we’re having in December.

Lakeshore Park

Lakeshore Park

I’m getting pretty good at this running on my lunch hour thing!!  I can change clothes, get over to the park, run for 45 minutes, get changed again and back at my desk in just under 70 minutes.  I’d say that’s pretty good!

Post-run lunch

Post-run lunch

Let me first say that I bought this yogurt without even looking at the nutritional information.  I’ve never seen pumpkin-flavored yogurt before, and since it was Trader Joe’s brand, I knew I would love it.  So it’s way high in sugar content.  (But hey – I figured I just ran 4 miles, I kinda deserved it).  It’s also really high in protein (score!!).  And it was deeee-freaking-licious!!!  The only thing missing was a little granola crumbled on top.  Pumpkin flavored granola, at that!!

fancy caramels

We have carrier reps sending us all kinds of crap during the holidays.  This time of year our counters are full of donuts and cookies and you name it, it’s probably there.  Rarely do they ever send the healthy baskets.  Anyway, there were these cute little caramel candies.  I couldn’t resist trying one.  (While you see there a picture of 4 caramels, I promise you – I only had one!  Which one do you think I tried first??  The espresso, of course!!)

For dinner, we originally made plans to go to a local place called the Stir Fry Cafe.  I have one of those Groupon deals I bought where you pay $10 for $20 worth of food.  (Love Groupon)!  Anyway, once we pulled out the printed certificate we realized that there is a restriction – you can’t use the deal on Wednesday nights for Half Price Sushi night.  Bummer.  Well, I already had it in my head that I wanted sushi.  So, by darn I was getting sushi.  Even if I had to pay full price for the half price sushi.  lol

eating a spring roll

I have to apologize … these pictures are horrible.  It’s really dark in the restaurant and the camera on my phone has been acting up lately and not wanting to focus.

I started with an appetizer of 3 Thai spring rolls. The kids loved them!

Here’s a funny story – as soon as we got home from school, my 7-year old ran upstairs to put his jammies on without me realizing.  When he came back down, I told him he needed to change back into his school clothes because we were going out to dinner.  He gives me this big huff and asks “Why?”  My response was “just because”.  (Mostly the answer was because the fridge was bare and the only other option was to go to the grocery store, which I didn’t want to do because I didn’t have my list or my coupons ready – but I didn’t tell him all this).  He asked me who we were meeting at the restaurant.  I said no one, it was just us.  He looks all puzzled and asks, “Then why are we going?”  I guess he didn’t think we could go just the 4 of us.  We rarely go out unless it’s a special occassion and we’re celebrating a birthday or something.  Kids are funny.

fish tacos

The hubs ordered fish tacos, of course.  I think we’ve tried them at almost every restaurant in town.  And Marlin and Rays still wins hands down!!

sushi

The White Diamond and Red Dragon rolls

There’s another local place called Nama, which to me is the standard by which all sushi should be judged.  Nama has the BEST sushi I have ever had.  While these rolls were good, they weren’t Nama-good.  And now that I’ve had mid-grade sushi a few times in the last couple of weeks, I think I’ll be making a trip to Nama soon so I can remember what the gold standard tastes like.  (Get the Soy Joy if you go)!!

So that was what I ate Wednesday!  Now head over to Peas and Crayons to see what everyone else ate on Wednesday.  🙂

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What I Ate Wednesday – Halloween edition

Happy Halloween, everyone!!  Time for another edition of What I Ate Wednesday!  Thanks to Jenn at Peas and Crayons for hosting the linkup!

Spooky Snacks and Healthy Halloween Treats

I started my morning with my usual kale protein shake, but today I made it a little extra festive. 😉  I drank it on my way to a client meeting.

By the time I got back to work, my head was hurting and there was pressure in my sinuses.

I refuse to get sick!

Uh oh. I can’t get sick. “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”  (If you don’t watch Tosh.0, then watch this clip – she cracks me up!!  This has become my new catchphrase.)

Lunch was at my desk.  (I didn’t have time to leave).  Yeah, I know that’s not a lot.  But, I was anticipating eating quite a bit of candy and stuff tonight.  🙂

So I raced home quickly after work so I could get my treats started!

Mummy Dogs for the kids.  (ok, so *maybe* I had one too)

Halloween Ghost Cookies.  (They’re really just Nutter Butters dipped in melted white chocolate with two little mini chocolate chips for eyes).

For the adults, I made the Pumpkin Gnocchi from World Market that I bought the other day.  It was pretty good.  Hubby did not like it, though.  He thought the texture was too weird.

Now for the costumes….

The two on the left are mine.  The werewolf on the right is Luke’s best friend Alexander.

We had soooooo much fun Trick or Treating.  I wasn’t sure how my 2-year old would do.  The very first house we went to, she ran inside when they opened the door.  LOL  Then after a couple houses, she totally got the hang of it.  Even though she can’t say “Thank you”, she would always turn and wave.  And as the treat basket got heavier, she insisted on carrying it herself.  She had a BLAST!!

Checking out her loot!

SO MUCH FUN!!!!

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Bulu Box Review – September

image

Yay for mail delivery. Today the mailman brought me the September Bulu Box!  I couldn’t wait to see what was inside.
image

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!
image

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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Kale Protein Shake Recipe

 

kale protein shake

My hubby and I have been making protein shakes for breakfast for about the last 6 months.  We started out putting Spinach in them, which is great.  I love spinach.  But have you heard about the health benefits of kale?  It is the most nutrient dense of all the veggies!!  It’s packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber.  Why wouldn’t you want to start your day with that?

One cup of kale has only 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, 180% of your recommended daily requirement of Vitamin A, 200% of Vitamin C, and 1,020% of Vitamin K, according to WebMD .

Carotenoids and flavonoids are the antioxidants that have been are touted with reducing your risk of cancer.  There are over 45 different flavonoids in kale.  In addition to the antioxidants and the anti-cancer nutrients in the form of glucosinolates, there are also anti-inflammatory nutrients.  It will turn the ordinary protein shake into a powerhouse breakfast!!

So enough about kale, let’s get to the recipe ….

2 scoops chocolate protein powder (I prefer the cookies and cream flavor)

1 Tbsp ground flax seeds

1 Tbsp PB2 (optional)

1/2 banana (optional)

1 cup frozen blueberries (or other fruit of your choice)

2 cups kale  (YES!)

about 1 cup water

about 1 cup ice, or enough to get it to your desired consistency

Throw all the ingredients in the blender and blend til smooth.

Makes 2 servings.

ingredients

I think frozen blueberries are best because they change the color of the shake to a brown-ish purple.  Especially, if you are trying to sneak the kale in on your unsuspecting spouse.  If you don’t mind the green color, frozen strawberries work well too.  Probably any frozen fruit would be good, but I try to stay away from those that are high on the glycemic index such as mangoes or pineapples.  Don’t get me wrong, I love mangoes and pineapples.  I have them occassionally.

frozen bananas

Quick tip on bananas —  If you have some on your counter that are about to get brown, just peel them and throw them in the freezer.  Being frozen actually helps the consistency of the shake.

Bananas are also high on the glycemic index, meaning they create a spike in your blood sugar levels.  We don’t do bananas every day, but if we do, we limit it to 1/2 a banana per 2-shake recipe.

Two secret ingredients.  PB2 adds that PB flavor without all the fat and calories.  And flaxseeds give you the Omega-3s you need.  I could probably write a whole post on Flaxseeds too.  Love these things!

kale protein shake

You could probably throw in any veggie.  Once it gets blended, you don’t even know it’s there.  In fact, my hubby slipped eggplant in there and I didn’t even know it.

Blend and enjoy!!  🙂

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I’m Back! … with Eggplant!

I must apologize – I’ve been MIA this week.  It’s been a crazy busy week with school starting and getting back into a normal routine.

I even missed the ‘What I Ate Wednesday’ post, which I really hated to do!  I love doing the WIAW pictures.  This Wednesday, my firm hosted a seminar on Healthcare Reform for our clients.  (Don’t even get me started on Healthcare Reform – maybe I’ll save that for another post another day).

It was a catered event so there were the usual pastries, muffins and cereals.  Carb overload.  So I refrained.  I was going to take a picture of the buffet for you, but I was too busy talking to clients.  Because I had skipped breakfast, I was starving for lunch.  I scarfed my salad down before I even had time to think about taking a picture of it. But it looked something like this:

homemade salad

That’s Thursday’s salad.  I ate it at my desk while I worked.  Then on Thursday night, the hubs made us some amazing fish tacos:

homemade fish tacos

But all of that wasn’t too exciting.  It was what I did on Friday that I’m excited to share with you.  I had the BEST day on Friday!!  I don’t know what it was.  Maybe I finally got the hang of the new school routine.  Maybe it’s because I was wearing jeans.  Or maybe it’s because my hubby snuck some eggplant into my kale shake.  Yes, you read that correctly.  EGGPLANT.  In a Protein Shake.  It sounds disgusting, right??  He didn’t tell me until I had drank the whole thing.  And I couldn’t tell anything different.

(Kale Shake recipe here)

In fact, I had just gotten to work and as I sat down, I had an email from the hubs asking me if I liked my shake.  I replied yes.  To which his follow up question was, “Could you tell what the secret ingredient was?”  I had 3 sips left, so I took a big swig, swirled it around in my mouth, furrowed my eyebrow and responded “No.  What is it?”  And then he dropped the bomb.  Eggplant.  Seriously??  We had leftover grilled eggplant in the fridge from dinner two nights before.

grilled eggplant

Not being the kind to waste food, we like to use our leftovers rather than throwing them out.  But he’s never gone so far as to put leftover grilled veggies in our breakfast shake.  Weird.  But it worked.  And eggplant is brain food.  So I really think it helped me have the most productive day I’ve had in a really long time.  I was even offering to help other people get their work done.

I had so much energy by 5pm, I went for a run after work at my favorite place:

Lakeshore Park

Lakeshore Park

It was a beautiful day, but still so very hot.  I remembered why I don’t like to run outside in August!!

So that was the end of my week.  I apologize for being absent for the last couple of days.

I’ll leave you with a sunset picture and a promise….

I promise not to miss a post next week, especially the WIAW post!!  (It’s my fave).  Oh, and stay tuned on the 31st when I reveal my foodie pen pal box!!

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What I Ate Wednesday

Time for another installment of What I Ate Wednesday.   Such a fun little thing to share with the blogosphere, courtesy of Peas and Crayons.

So today started the same as any other day, with a kale shake.  Today’s was slightly different, though.  We ran out of frozen strawberries so we added fresh peaches instead. I know it sounds like a really weird combo – peaches, kale and cookies ‘n cream flavored protein powder, but I promise it works!!

protein shake

Today was a crazy busy day. So busy, in fact, I’m surprised I even remembered to eat lunch at all.  Thankfully I had brought a salad from home.

spinach salad

Spinach, yellow peppers, grape tomatoes, sprouts, and feta cheese with homemade balsamic vinaigrette.   Yum!!
Then I added a pouch of tuna, which is a great way to increase your protein intake.

And a few almonds on the side. 🙂

When I picked my son up from school, I asked him what he wanted for dinner. “Tacos”, he screamed from the backseat.  Ok.  Good idea, buddy!!

tacos with ground turkey

Taco shells, ground turkey, salsa, cheese, banana peppers and jalapenos.
As a rule, I don’t buy iceberg lettuce.  So instead of shredded lettuce, I topped my tacos with spinach.

My hubby crumbled up his tacos, and turned it into a taco salad topped with ranch.

taco salad

My son refused to allow me to post pictures of his taco. He’s so funny.

Then, after dinner, to satisfy a little sweet craving, I had a few peanut butter chips.

peanut butter chips

Question of the day:  how do you satisfy a sweet craving without derailing your diet??

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My new favorite breakfast….

Spinach Protein Shake.  And oh so easy to make!!

Ingredients:

1 tbsp chia seeds

1 tbsp flax seeds

2 scoops whey protein (I like the chocolate peanut butter flavor by Body Fortress)

1 tbsp peanut butter

1 cup frozen blueberries

2 cups spinach

and enough water and ice to make the consistency right

Blend and enjoy.  🙂

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