Absent

So, you may have noticed that I have disappeared for a few days. There won’t be any new posts for another week or two. My wordpress storage space is maxed out. 😦

Brian and I have been talking about moving my blog for quite sometime. So instead of doing the quick fix of  buying more storage space, we(mostly Brian, thank goodness) will be hoping for a smooth transfer and possible redesign of Spatoola. Our schedules are quite busy these days, so it might take some time.

Hope to be back up and running soon!

 

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Walk it off

This past winter, I got a great deal on a watch. This was no ordinary watch, but one of those sporty heart rate monitor exercise watches. The only problem with these watches is that the battery doesn’t last nearly as long as a regular watch as they are working so much harder and tracking so much more. So, the battery died about 2 months ago. Last week, Brian was trying to change the battery and accidentally broke the LCD screen on it. He very kindly bought me a new watch, which might actually be an upgrade to my old watch. This one also had a pedometer, calculates the calories you burn throughout the day based on your heart rate and you can set daily goals on it. I really like. It’s also very motivating to move more.

I had a lot of errands to run this weekend and by run, I mean walk. Since we don’t have a car, I do a lot of walking, especially on the weekend. Motivated by my watch to walk a little more than usual, I logged about 20 miles this weekend. How did I fuel all of this walking?

Big breakfasts! And lots of coffee.

Saturday morning, I was very indecisive about what I wanted for breakfast, so I had a little bit of everything. Strawberries and watermelon, an egg with sriracha, and a piece of cinnamon toast. Half with pumpkin butter and the other half with mashed banana and a little cookie butter.

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After a morning trip to the store and an exciting sale on homemade guacamole, I had a lunch of lots of fruits, veggies and an open-faced chicken and guacamole sandwich.  I love homemade guac, but when they sell the good stuff for less than I can make it, I’ll take it!

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A dinner of more chicken and guac, veggies, hummus and chips. I’m really trying to take advantage of the last of the fresh veggies while I can.

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Saturday night, I made some falafel with an extra helping of greens.

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Then I spent a night in with a glass of wine and my sewing machine doing some mending for Brian.

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Sunday’s breakfast was a helping of toast, guac, bacon and eggs with a pumpkin pie muffin.

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That was a very finger-licking and runny yolk! Mmm!

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Brian had a banana and chocolate chip muffin reheated with a smear of cookie butter on top.

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After running errands, a long shoe shopping trip for Brian, lunch at Native Foods(salads for both of us), and buying fabric for me, I did some more sewing. I sewed a yoga mat bag for myself. I have lululemon’s big mat. It is no longer available on the website, but is wider and longer than the average yoga mat and great if you are taller than average and struggle to stay on your mat during classes. Hence it being bigger than average, it doesn’t fit in most yoga bags. So, I loosely followed Kick Stand Fitness’s directions to make a bag. It took me about and hour, start to finish. I even added an interior pocket. Super easy and functional. Definitely work the 1 yard of fabric and one hour of work.

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Sunday’s dinner was fruit, salad and veggie lasagna. I bought the lasagna pre-made and thought it was great. Packed with flavor and protein, I’d definitely buy it again.

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With falafel and leftover veggie lasagna, it looks to be another veggie filled week! And what is great is that during this week’s heat wave, we can live on leftovers and I won’t have to heat up the kitchen!

Priorities

I’ve recently written about how my summer was filled with cook outs and perhaps a little more indulgence that necessary. Since I have been back on track with a healthier lifestyle and exercise plan, I have felt a lot better and have been sleeping better.

Today, this was posted on Facebook and it really struck true to me. This is how I have always felt about people, myself included, when excuses are made.

“Instead of saying ‘I don’t have time’ try saying ‘it’s not a priority,’ and see how that feels. Often, that’s a perfectly adequate explanation. Changing our language reminds us that time is a choice. If we don’t like how we’re spending an hour, we can choose differently.” ~Laura Vanderkam

I think this expands way beyond healthy life style choices and is a great way to re-examine multiple aspects of life.

 

 

Monday, back at it

It’s already Monday again? My weekend was so full of fun activities that it feels like I haven’t been to work in a week!

Thursday night, I was incredibly happy to eat a very summery meal of a half of a BLT with fruit, veggies and a few chips. See that sweet corn? It was my last ear from a batch I received from Iowa. Possibly the best sweet corn of my life. So sweet and tender it made my heart sing.

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Friday night we picked up our wedding invitations and envelopes. Eeek! It’s coming so soon. I’m so excited! Brian and I grabbed dinner at Native Foods. He had a curry bowl and I had the indo salad. Both were amazing. We loved our own choices and each other’s so much that we switched bowls half way through. Sharing is caring. After running some more errands, I got home and collapsed on the couch for the night.

Saturday I got up early, did laundry, worked out and watered the garden before heading to a bridal shower in the burbs.  I had a surprise strawberry waiting for me when I got there to water:

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Brian and I had a nice breakfast together before I left for the day. I made him cinnamon streusel French toast with caramelized bananas for breakfast. I had eggs and toast.

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I got to hang out with some fun Hawkeyes at Sarah’s beautiful shower:

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The rest of the day was full of bachelorette fun.

Sunday morning I slept in and headed to water aerobics. Only one more weekend left of getting to be in an outdoor pool and get exercise. Booo! I wish I could have this weather and schedule all year round. The rest of Sunday was filled with making food for the week and folding and putting away laundry. As much as I hate laundry, I love starting out the week with a full and clean closet.

I made another round of macro bowls(spinach, kale, zucchini, quinoa, lentils, beans and sweet potato) for us to have for lunches this week:

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Took a break to have a lunch of leftover pizza, salad, tomatoes and chips.

 

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I felt like I haven’t made us a proper dinner in a few weeks. When I said this, Brian gave me a strange look like I was a crazy person. I just felt like I hadn’t put a lot of time or effort into a meal lately. Which is the direct result of it being summer and using a lot more fresh food that doesn’t need as much preparation. Anyway, I having a strong yearning to do a little more cooking and use our early wedding gift. Look at her. She’s a beauty. I named her Camille, because she’s French, you know. And she can make honey, almond, rosemary roasted carrots with the best of them.

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I also made a simple and quick tomato sauce, which had tons of great flavor:

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With some seasoned green beans, the meal came together kind of like this:

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Brian gave the carrots two thumbs up. I really like the almond carrot combo. Delightful. It would probably be a recipe better reserved for cooler temperatures, but those are probably right around the corner. And the tomato sauce on the chicken really jazzed it up.

 

Tomato, tomato, egg, tomato

I almost made it to this weekend with out posting about last weekend.

Last week was a little nuts. I started a new workout regimen. I was doing strength before work and cardio after work. This left me with little time to actually make dinner. So, I made good use of my old friend the crockpot this past weekend.

After leaving the gym Friday night, I stopped and picked up dinner at Whole Foods. I snagged a bag of their house made thai pepper popcorn. It was the perfect snack for relaxing on the couch and watching a movie.

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Saturday I got up early, worked out, then made a large and delightful breakfast to fuel the day.

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Toast with egg, avocado and sriracha with a side of clementine, and homemade greek yogurt with chia, flax and strawberries. This powered me through a trip to Whole Foods to take advantage of their one day bulk bin sales:

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After getting home, I threw a curry in the crock pot.

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Feeling good about being able to come home to a hot dinner, I headed downtown to do some marathon shopping. After trying on over 50 dresses, I bought one. Success.

I recently inherited a plethora of homegrown tomatoes and a half dozen ears of sweet corn. I have been greatly enjoying those all week. Is there a limit to the number of tomatoes one can eat in day? I think not!
Tomatoes for breakfast:

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Tomatoes for lunch:

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Tomatoes for dinner:

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Oh, the joys of summertime.

Happy Friday!

I’ve been on a bad cycle for the past month to 6 weeks. A cycle of summer socialization. While the socializing is great, the food and booze that I chose to consume in conjunction with the socializing has taken a toll on me. I’ve been feeling non-stop bloated. Gross. The good news is that I’ve been eating well and exercising this week and things are quickly turning around.

One night this week I brought back a version of the good old macro bowl. This time I used a lentil and bean mixture with rice, chicken(seasoned with five spice powder and berbere), kale and sweet potato. Delicious!

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On Wednesday we received a gift in the mail from our registry. A mortar and pestle! I was so excited. I have been dying to make dukkah ever since I saw More Cheese More Chocolate post about making it months ago.  That mortar and pestle made it happen last night. It’s AMAZING!

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Well, I have a girls night tonight, yoga and water aerobics tomorrow morning then the rest of the weekend is all mine. See you later!

Weekend recap: It’s August?

With temperatures in the 70s all weekend and a tan that is starting to fade, it’s hard to believe that it is August. Aren’t we supposed to be in the dog days of summer?

Knowing that we had back to back to back activities lined up for Saturday, I took advantage of Friday night by doing some grocery shopping and spending time at the garden. I picked a bunch of kale, fennel, carrots and cherry tomatoes. My cherry tomatoes are growing like crazy. They are all over the plant in giant clusters like I am growing grapes.

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The fennel smells wonderful. I can’t wait to cook it up and possibly use the fronds in a savory bread.

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Saturday started bright and early with a double yolk egg(those are good luck, right?) then off to help a friend with a yard sale.

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The weather was  perfect and it nice to sit outside for a few hours. When the yard sale wrapped up, we high-tailed it across the city to do the cake tasting for our wedding.

So many design options.

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We felt the presentation of the cake flavor options was a little odd, but that didn’t stop us from eating cake. In the end, we decided on a non-traditional flavor combination that we are both very excited about.

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We needed a mid-afternoon boost and stopped at Starbucks before heading to try on wedding bands for Brian. He tried the new Valencia Orange refresher. I thought it tasted just like Tang!(gross)

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After that we headed to a party at Challenger’s Comics to celebrate it winning an Eisner award. We had a ton of fun.

Sunday morning came far too quickly after Saturday’s busy day and late night. Despite the chilly 70 degree weather, I headed to water aerobics with a friend for some much-needed exercise. The water felt frigid at first but we forgot all about it once we started moving and chatting. I continued the outdoor theme for the day as I walked to the grocery store to pick up the last few things I needed to get food ready for the week. The weather was just too gorgeous to be inside. Then I piddled around in the back yard trimming my potted plants. I had a red bell pepper and a tiny San Marzano tomato ready for picking!

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After putting away the groceries, I used up some zucchini to make a batch of delicious chocolate zucchini muffins.

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It was a lazy Sunday dinner of salad, fruit and a take and bake pizza.

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Longer days, please

I’m behind. I am really behind. It feels good to admit that. I’ve noticed a pattern lately that I have been blogging about half of the recipes I make. I am really good at making excuses why not to blog them. The truth is that life is busy. Really busy right now. It’s not a complaint, it’s just a fact.

We are a little over 3 months until our wedding day, so it’s time to kick it into high gear on all the little decisions. Decisions that take time to research and make. It’s also gardening season. I love my garden but it takes time. Exercise makes me feel better, but it  takes time, as does the showering afterwards. So does researching recipes and making them. Oh, and blogging them definitely takes time. Add all of these things to a major transition time at work(all good things) and the bottom line is that I would like more time in my day to more of all the things I enjoy.

So how far behind am I? At least 13 recipes behind. GULP. That’s a lot. I had big plans to really try to get caught up this week. Then a killer headache knocked me out the past 2 days and tonight is a garden work night. And of course, the upcoming weekend is booked. Not that I am complaining about having to taste lots of flavors of wedding cake. In fact, I have been dreaming about it all week. Hopefully I can eek out a recipe later tonight. My new goal is to get two recipes posted by Sunday night. Hold me to it people.

And, of course, sorry for the lack of recipes.

Two weeks, one post

This summer is going way too fast, but it sure has been a lot of fun!

Last weekend, I had a girls weekend at a friend’s lake house and they surprised me with a mini bachelorette party. We had a lot of fun, took in a lot if good food, drink and time in the water. I love to build a nice fire.

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While having our coffee out on the dock Sunday morning, two trumpeter swans swam right past us.

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This week I made my second batch of homemade Greek yogurt. This batch turned out even better than my first batch. I really need to blog that recipe. While I was making the yogurt, I also started the base for some homemade ice cream.

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I took a night off from the kitchen to celebrate National margarita day with my friend Katie.

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Thursday night I spent making really good banana bread and the homemade ice cream.

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My parents came into town on Friday and we introduced them to ice cream at Margie’s Candies after dinner. We all left with full and happy bellies. Saturday morning we participated in the Big 10 5k. After last years sweat fest, this years cooler temperatures were much appreciated.

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We spent our afternoon making important decisions on our wedding food menu by trying lots of food. It was all really delicious.
I spent Sunday creating a meal plan for the week with the goal of having to buy as few groceries as possible and use up what we have. I am a visual person, so I had to map it all out in writing.

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Being that my parents brought me a bunch of tomatoes from their garden, I knew that BLTs were in my near future. I spent $8.37 on groceries for the week(most of that was on bacon) plus leftovers we had from buying groceries this week and we should have stuff for more than enough meals this week.
Today’s lunch for me was a mustard, feta and veggie open faced sandwich, chips and fruit.

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Supper was an AMAZING BLT, pretzels, fruit and super 7 salad. This meal made me incredibly happy.

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I’ve also been enjoying the fresh flowers my parents brought to us out of their yard.

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And I spent time at my garden multiple days this week. I’ve started getting cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, pulled the last of my radishes, gotten a few carrots and am continuing to get kale. I’m getting really anxious for my full-size tomatoes to ripen after indulging in my parents home grown tomatoes.
Fresh food in the summer makes me incredibly happy!

The early morning

Wow. It’s only 9am on Sunday and I feel like I can already give you the weekend update.

It’s amazing how productive a weekend can be when I don’t over schedule myself, go to bed at a decent time and get up at a decent time.

Friday night, Brian had plans with a friend to see Pacific Rim, because I refused to go see it. I brought dinner home and relaxed on the couch. It was awesome.

I went to early morning yoga yesterday. I hadn’t been in a few months and was so glad I went. My knee has been killing me lately from a combination of running and biking and yoga is the only thing that seems to help. On the way home I stopped and Whole Foods to pick up something to drink as I was super thirsty. I tried a new beverage. It was delicious!

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Then I hurried home to change clothes and meet my friend Katie at the pool for some aquatic exercise. There was a super creepy guy in our class which made us giggle uncomfortably most of the time. It was really awkward.
I spent the afternoon running errands and had a delicious dinner of a bleu cheese burger and vegetables.

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For dessert, I roasted myself a giant marshmallow over the stove. The mega marshmallow was an end cap clearance find at Target. While it was amazing, it was almost too much, but I’m sure it won’t stop me from eating another one today. And more importantly, how did I ever live without a gas stove?

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It’s been another early and productive morning. I got up, started laundry, ate eggs with sriracha and got to work on my first ever batch of homemade Greek yogurt.

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After heating up the milk and letting it cool, it has an 8-12 hour incubation period. I got antsy waiting for the milk to heat and we know a watched pot never boils(a good thing in this case as you only heat the milk to 180 degrees), so I swept the house. While I was waiting for the milk to cool, I cleaned the bathroom. The yogurt is now at the incubation stage. Just hoping it turns out well!

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I also have another recipe in the works right now. It’s a raisin bran muffin batter that has to sit and refrigerate. Can’t wait to bake those up later.
Well, off to aquatic exercise, then I plan on spending most of the rest of the day pool side! See, it pays to get up early and be productive!