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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Weekend Recap: Cleaning and Party time

This weekend was a blur!  So much to do!  First things first, though, I have to show you where we found our Elf on the Shelf Saturday morning:

He was playing Legos all night long.  This freaked out my 7-year old.  He wanted to know how he could carry the legos downstairs.

Then we went to drop off our Operation Christmas Child box.

samaritan's purse

Hubby was hunting so I had the kids by myself.  So I put them to work.  I made the 7-year old clean his room while the 2-year old helped me bake.  (Notice the same cheesy smile in every picture).

I spent most of the day Saturday cleaning the house getting ready for a “girls party” at my house.  It took me 2 hours to scrub every surface in the kitchen.  This is the cleanest this kitchen has been in a really long time …. probably since before we had kids.  🙂

I was selected to host a Snapfish House Party.  Have you guys ever heard of House Party??  I signed up with them over a year ago after a friend of mine hosted a party.  I’ve applied to host lots of parties but not been approved until now.  Basically, if you are selected to host a party, you agree to show off the products (whatever it may be) and in return they send you free products.  Well, I was finally selected as a host for a Snapfish party.  I could not have been more thrilled.  I love Snapfish.

As a host, I was able to create my own 50-page hardcover photo book for FREE!!  I also got a box of Christmas cards for FREE!!  And all my guests got coupon codes for discounts on their books or cards.

I always love planning a party, simply for the food:

Mini quiche with broccoli

Zucchini Brownies and Protein Oat Balls

And wine, of course

We ended up talking the whole time rather than making photo books, but we still had fun.  And I am very grateful to House Party and Snapfish!!

being silly with the props Snapfish sent us

On Sunday I was so tired from all the festitivies the day before to do much of anything.  I did manage to get in a 3-mile walk in my neighborhood, though.  It was a beautiful day!!  Only 4 more days til the Thanksgiving 8k race.  I’m getting excited.

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Last Chance Survey

I’m a huge fan of Surveys, so after I saw Heather from Kiss My Broccoli Blog post this, I knew I had to do it too ….

Last Food You Ate:

Dinner was sauteed zucchini and salmon on the grill …

Last Beverage You Drank:

Coffee…  drinking as I type this, as a matter of fact.  🙂

Last Workout You Did:

I went running yesterday – 4.2 miles @ Lakeshore  (This is the screen shot from my Endomondo app).

Last Thing You Pinned:

Can I just say how much I love Pinterest??  I’ve been a pinning fool lately, getting ready for the holidays… elf on the shelf ideas, Thanksgiving recipes, Christmas crafts, etc.  You can view my boards here.

The last thing I pinned was a recipe for Homemade Stuffing with whole wheat bread and fresh fruits and veggies by Spark People.  Doesn’t this look yummy??  Recipe HERE.

Last Text Message You Sent:

To hubby last night, to let him know I was on my way home

Last Blog You Visited:

It was Peas and Crayons.  Not only to see her WIAW post, but also look up her recipe for Salmon Tacos.  I might know where I have some leftover salmon  🙂

Last Place You Visited:

North Carolina mountains …. for more pics, visit this post or this post.  (I took so many pictures I couldn’t fit them all in one blog post)  🙂

Last Time You Did Ab Work:

Eek.  Do I have to answer this one?  I’m embarassed to say it’s been a while ….  Probably last Tuesday when I did this workout with planks.

Note to self:  Do ab work tonight!  🙂

Last Show You Watched:

Last night we were catching up on the DVR.  We watched ‘American Horror Story: Asylum’.  That show is flippin’ CREEPY!!  I loved the first season with Connie Britton.  But this season… man, it’s Insane!!

Last Thing You Baked:

I cook a lot more than I bake.  I think the last thing I baked would have to be this super simple Pumpkin Cake.  2 ingredients:  1 box of spice cake mix and 1 can of pumpkin.  That’s it – bake at 350 for 30 minutes or so.  Could not be easier.

Last Thing You Instagrammed:

Well, the last thing I instagrammed was my coffee (above).  The one before that was my zucchini (above).  And the one before that was featured on the blog already in this post.  And I didn’t want to repeat a photo, so I had to go 4 back to get this little gem:

Last Item on Your TO DO List Today:

Clean the bathrooms.  It’s always last on the list because I always put it off.  I hate cleaning bathrooms …  especially with a 7-year old son!  YUK!!!

Ok…  Passing the torch …  now it’s your turn to complete the survey!!  🙂

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4 Miles Later the Bad Mood is Gone!

As I told you earlier, I was in a funk.  But just as I knew it would, my run put me in a better mood.  In fact, that was the best run I’ve had in a long time!!  After work, I headed over to my favorite running spot, Lakeshore Park.  In less than 2 weeks, I’m running in a 8K on Turkey Day, so I really need to get some mileage in.

The view from the top of the hill

The sun was starting to set so I was trying to run as fast as I could.  This is a hilly greenway, so my goal is to sprint the hills and recover at the top with a short walk.  I was a little slower in the beginning, but once I found my groove it was smooth sailing.  I probably could have done another 2.1 mile lap but I didn’t want to overdo it.

When I got back to my car, I refueled with some BCAAs.  This Protein Shot is really not bad.  It tastes better than you would expect.  And at 120 calories and 26 grams of protein, it’s a great recovery drink.

Finished the night off with a healthy dinner.

Grilled pork chops, roasted carrots and steamed broccoli. Delicious.

Question of the Day:  What is your favorite post-work out drink or snack?

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What I Ate Wednesday – 11/7/12

Time for the weekly installment of What I Ate Wendesday!  Shout out to Jenn at Peas and Crayons for creating this fun link up!

Did you know today is also National Healthy Eating Day?   Yep!  Let’s celebrate.  🙂

I was really excited to get out of bed this morning!  Not because of the National Healthy Eating Day.  And certainly not because I had to go back to work today after being off yesterday.  No, I was excited because I bought a new creamer!!  Coffee Mate has their holiday flavors out.  And while I love all the flavors I just can’t have most of them because of the high sugar count.  (Never looked at the label on creamer?  Do it).

BUT… lo and behold ….  Coffee Mate made the Pumpkin Spice in SUGAR FREE!!!!  YIPEEEEEE!!!!  I wish they could make all the holiday flavors sugar free, but if they were only going to do one, they picked the right one!!  The pumpkin spice is my favorite!

As it’s getting colder outside, it’s harder to have a kale protein shake for breakfast.  I’m shivering by the time I get to work.  Even with heated seats!  (which, by the way, are the BEST invention ever)!!

So breakfast today was an egg sandwich.  No bacon this time.  Just egg and a little cheese. Mmmmm.

Of course, after taking the day off yesterday, my TO DO list was really long today.  😦

So I had a little almond snack.  I’ll just say ….  I love Trader Joe’s and I love the wasabi almonds but they are not hot enough for me.  I like the Blue Diamond version of the wasabi better.  It’s hotter!

with Boca burger

So that’s my homemade salad.  Don’t make fun.  Yes, I know it doesn’t look very appealing, but it tasted good!  It’s simply mixed greens, chopped red and yellow bell peppers, carrots, sunflower seeds and vinaigrette dressing with a Veggie Boca Burger on top.  (That Boca burger only has 70 calories, but it has 15 grams of protein)!

snack

I couldn’t wait for dinner!  I had been thinking about some fish tacos ALL DAY!!!

And after not seeing the hubby for a couple of days, I was glad to curl up on the couch with him and a glass of wine.  🙂

I usually have a hard time getting the kids to eat what we eat.  But tonight they enjoyed a plain piece of fish with a side of peas.  I call that a success.

Finished the night off with an episode of Nashville.  Anyone else watching that show??  I love it!!!  Did you happen to hear my favorite local band, the Dirty Guv’nahs?  This is the second episode that they’ve had one of their songs featured on the show.  How cool is that?!?

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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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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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WIAW – 8/1/12

Time for another installment of ‘What I Ate Wednesday’.

But I warn you, it’s not great. Nor recommended.

Before I even had time to eat breakfast, I was out the door pushing the stroller around the neighborhood.  We covered 3 hilly miles.

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When I got back to the house I was starving. So I counted out 14 almonds (1/2 serving) before pressing play on P90X Plyometrics.

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My daughter even did part of the video with me!

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(Ignore the dark picture and the toy-filled room).  🙂

For lunch, I couldn’t resist my famous low-carb veggie wrap. Have you tried these Flat Outs yet??  They are really good!  Only 100 calories and 9 net carbs.

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We had some veggies leftover from the chicken fajitas we ordered the night before at Chili’s.  (Yeah, let’s don’t talk about my carb overload that day)!

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I added spinach, jalapenos and hot sauce, of course!

I didn’t snap a picture of dinner because, well, I am embarrassed to say – I didn’t eat dinner last night. I know, I know – that’s not smart. It’s just that I had a hair appt that took longer than expected. I didn’t get home til after 8:30 and at that point, I just wasn’t hungry anymore.
I’m sure I’ll make up for it tomorrow!

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