WIAW – The Sleepless Edition

Oh man am I tired.  (Ironically, as soon as I started to type that ‘I’m So Tired’ by the Beatles came on my Pandora.  Fate?)  On Monday, I thought it was just a result of a completely packed weekend.  My siblings flew in to visit for the weekend and we had an amazing, totally packed weekend with them.  But now it’s Wednesday and I’m still completely wiped out. This is also the reason there have been no posts so far this week. I’m pooped.  I hope I’m not coming down with something.

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Anyways, onto What I Ate Wednesday, or in this case, Tuesday.

Breakfast: I started off with my usual breakfast of (Olympic) champions, Grapenuts and a peach Chobani.

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Speaking of Olympic breakfasts, have you ever thought about what they must be eating in the Olympic village? I would think that most of those athletes are on fairly specific diets.  Do they have to bring some of their own food? Does the US team just take care of that for everyone? If so, they must have been shipping in a crazy amount of food.  I can’t imagine there’s a heck of a lot of fresh, local produce around in a wintery Russia.  (See I should totally be an Olympic commentator, I ask the tough questions.)

Morning snack: A big handful of baby carrots

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Lunch: Since we had a crazy weekend visiting with the fam, I did not make it to the grocery store for my usual salad fixings.  Instead I popped downstairs to our cafeteria and picked up a bowl of chicken tortilla soup.  I feel like it should have been called chicken wanton soup, because those tortilla strips did not look like any tortilla I’ve ever seen before, but it was still tasty.

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I also had little roll that comes with it.  I always try to avoid eating the roll and I very rarely succeed.

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Afternoon snack:  This little runt of a banana and a nice big apple

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Dinner: Dinner was a little bit of a cluster. When I got off work I was REALLY craving mac and cheese.  Well, what I was really craving was risotto, but I figured mac and cheese was the poor, time crunched man’s version.  Creamy, gooey, warm, and cheesy.  Seems to have all the components to me. I had to stop by the grocery store anyways, so I figured I might as well pick some up.

I convinced myself that the Annie’s organic version would be better for me than the classic Kraft blue box (obviously I wanted it badly), but the grocery store didn’t have any! As much as I have loved the Kraft version throughout my life, I just couldn’t bring myself to buy it. I left the store pretty grumpy.

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Instead, I made myself a small grilled cheese once I got home.  It was delicious, but not entirely the same. Hey, real cheese is better than powdered cheese so I guess that’s a win.  I paired it with a bowl of my Vegetable Lentil soup that I’d frozen from a few weeks ago and a grapefruit with a little sugar sprinkled on top.

photo 1(4)I may have also had a fingerful (or two) of leftover cream cheese icing while I was making dinner.  It was there, I was hungry, and it was delicious.

Dessert: 1/2 of the last red velvet whoopie pie.  I’m sad to see them go, but they were a big hit with everyone this weekend.

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Water: 2 full Camelbacks and 2/3 of a 3rd one while I was at work.  3 big glasses of water once I got home.  So about 112 ozs for the day.

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Off to muscle through the rest of my day. Have a good one!

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day!  I hope you are spending the day doing something with the people you love, whether it be significant others, friends, or family.  I am lucky enough to be able to spend tonight with the Hubs and my siblings who will be flying in for the weekend.  Can’t wait.

So eat, drink, be merry, and enjoy my current favorite love song:

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Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

Happy (Almost) Valentine’s Day!  I choose to see Valentine’s day as a celebration of chocolate more than anything else.  It is a great excuse to buy it and eat it and really what else do you need in a minor holiday?

We are not huge celebrators of Valentine’s Day.  We normally just get each other something small with a card and will either make a nice dinner at home or go out somewhere after the Valentine’s rush is over.  This year I am planning on getting Hubs one of his favorite all time foods….Dunkin Donuts. That boy seriously LOVES donuts, especially from Dunkin. He will eat a whole dozen in 2 or 3 days. I would be on a total sugar overload and be sick after that, but its just par for the course for him.

Since we were stuck inside for the past few days I also decided to try my hand at making a homemade Valentine’s treat, red velvet.  I’ve always loved red velvet, although honestly I think that might be more because of the cream cheese frosting than anything else, but have always been a little intimidated when it comes to making it myself.  Turns out it was pretty cinchy.

I looked up a ton of recipes and ended up settling on this one from Taste of Home, with a few adjustments. For some reason I decided whoopee pies would be easier than cupcakes, I have no idea why now. Whatever, it worked out.

First, I creamed together the butter and sugar.

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Then added in all the other wet ingredients, it looked kind of like a sloppy mess at this point and I was a little worried.

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I then sifted in the dry ingredients a little at a time and the dough finally started to look more normal.  You know what I found through my quality control taste testing? The batter actually has kind of a velvety texture. Totally makes sense.

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I put the dough in the fridge for about 1/2 hour to firm up and then formed little balls using my nice round tablespoon.  Its important to try and make the balls all similar sizes so you’ll be able to pair them together later.  Bake the balls at 375 for about 9 minutes and let cool.

On to the frosting, which is arguably the best part. I creamed together the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar.  I use less sugar than most recipes call for, only about 2 cups, because I don’t like my frosting very sweet.

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Don’t they look yummy?  I don’t think this batch is going to last very long.

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Red Velvet Whoopie Pie Recipe

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp red food coloring
  • 1 1/2 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 oz semi-sweet chocolate, melted

Icing:

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 butter, softened
  • 2 tsps vanilla
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, buttermilk, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and baking soda and gradually beat into wet mixture. Stir in melted chocolate. Refrigerate dough for 1/2 hour.

Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto baking sheet, creating small uniform balls. Bake 8-10 minutes at 375. Cool completely.

Cream together cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Gradually beat in powdered sugar until smooth. Spread icing on bottom of half of the cookies; cover with remaining cookies. Store in refrigerator.

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WIAW: Ice Storm Edition

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It is sooo gross out.  The freezing rain+wintery mix+snow combo we have been getting is making me want to just curl up under a blanket and not move. I have to say that so far this storm has not been nearly as “catastrophic” or “crippling” as they made it out to be, but it is letting me work from home so I will take it!

See, it doesn’t looks so bad:

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Anyways, it’s Wednesday (the hardest day to spell) so on to yesterday’s eats!

Breakfast: Another Chobani and Grapenuts combo.  This time I had the pear flavor.

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Morning snack: Another banana.  My bunch is ripening much faster than I would like this week.  They are already on the brink of becoming too much for my liking.  Not a good sign since it was only Tuesday. Humph.

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Lunch:  Well I started out with another yummy salad with spinach, spicy sweet potatoes, black beans, and avocado but I had a super busy afternoon so I only ended up eating about 1/2 of it. Here’s what was left when I got home.

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Snack: Luckily I was able to leave a little early because of the impending doom of the ice storm so I was able to make up for my 1/2 lunch with a big piece of buttery cornbread, leftover from Sunday’s dinner, when I got home.

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Dinner:  A big ole piece of chicken caprese (yes this was my second night in a row of eating it).  I loaded on a bunch more chopped tomatoes and basil after this picture, it looked a bit less pretty but was sooo yummy.

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I also had a big side of broccoli (not pictured). And a side salad with spinach, tomatoes, green pepper, beets, and goat cheese.

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Beets and goat cheese are my jam.  Seriously awesome combo.

Dessert: Yeah, I was too lazy to get off the couch to grab anything, so I skipped it.

Water: I decided to start tracking this as well.  I am a big water drinker.  I try to have a water bottle with me wherever I go, and if I ever realize I am situation where I’m without water I immediately get thirsty and need to find some. The Hubs thinks its because I grew up in the desert.  I’m pretty sure that has nothing to do with it, since I wasn’t wandering around searching for water among the cacti, but whatever.

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Yesterday I packed in 2 full Camelbak bottles (24 oz each) at work and then had about 3 large glasses at home, so around 96 oz total.  Not bad.

That’s a wrap for me.  Happy Wednesday!

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Chicken Caprese

I don’t know about where you are, but the past few weeks have been especially dreary here.  It has me longing for sunny, summer days (or partly cloudy, spring days, you know just not winter).  Since sunny days don’t seem to be in the forecast any time soon, hello ice storms, I thought I could at least make something that reminds me of summer…caprese salad.  I love caprese salad, its so simple, so delicious, and one of the main components is cheese. Sold.

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I decided to give the dish a little twist and make it a full meal by putting the salad on top of some chicken.  I figured it would also help take the focus off the not-in-season-so-not-as-flavorful tomatoes.

First, I marinated the chicken in a mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and roughly chopped garlic cloves.

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Then I popped them in the oven at 350 for approximately 20 minutes.  You could also toss the chicken on the grill for a bit if you prefer.  While the chicken was baking, I chopped up a big handful of grape tomatoes and basil, and then tossed with with a tiny bit of olive oil and sea salt.

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As soon as I pulled the chicken out of the oven, I topped each piece with a few slices of mozzarella.  The mozzarella melted just the right amount while the chicken rested for a few minutes.  Nice and gooey but not runny, perfect. Then I spooned the tomato mixture on top and drizzled everything with just a little bit of balsamic glaze.  It was SO good.

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This meal is also great to make ahead for the week .  I baked several pieces of chicken on Sunday night and have just been popping them in the microwave each night to heat up.  I’m done chopping up the tomatoes and basil before it’s even out of the microwave.  All in all, it was only about a 5 minute prep time on a weeknight, which I love after a long workday.  I also think this would be delicious as cold leftovers.  Basically, I’d eat this anyway, anytime. Hope you enjoy!

Chicken Caprese Recipe

  • 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup + 1tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • Mozzarella
  • Sliced tomatoes
  • Chopped basil leaves
  • Balsamic glaze
  • Dash of sea salt

Combine 1/4 cup olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, and chicken in a bowl, cover, and marinate for 30-60 minutes.  Bake the chicken in an un-greased dish at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Combine the sliced tomatoes, basil, sea salt, and remaining tbsp of olive oil in a bowl and toss to coat and set aside.  Immediately upon removing from the oven, top chicken with slices of mozzarella to melt.  Let chicken rest for 2-3 minutes.  Top with tomato mixture and drizzle with balsamic glaze to taste.

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Weekend and Workout Recap

 

This weekend was great, mostly because of the Olympics! I have already worn out the Hubs Olympic tolerance with the amount I watched this weekend.  Hopefully he’ll have a busy week so I can continue to overload on coverage.  My top 5 thoughts from this weekend’s viewing:

5. I used to think Ice Dancing was lame but obviously that was wrong because Meryl Davis and Charlie White are awesome.

4. Torah Bright, the Australian snowboarder is such a badass for doing all three events.  I hope she wins a gold to prove girls are better than boys (aka Shaun White).

3. The Skiathalon looked BRUTAL.  You know an event was rough when every single person collapses to the ground after the finish line. It also made me feel like I maybe should have been working out instead of sitting on the couch.

 

2. Will the figure skaters who were in the team competition all be doing the exact same programs in their individual events? If so, I feel like that will be a little anti-climactic.

1. Do the athletes have hair and make-up people? If they don’t I am super impressed with a lot of those skiing/snowboarding girls because I would look nowhere even close to that cute after coming off the slopes.

In non-Olympic weekend news, we went on our first real friend date on Friday night.  If you are unaware of what friend dating is then count yourself lucky, because you’ve probably never lived anywhere where you don’t know anyone.

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Luckily, the “date” went well.  We went out for sushi with another couple, Hubs was friendly the guy at business school but didn’t know him well.  They were very nice and we didn’t have any awkward lags in conversation.  The girl even asked for my number as we were leaving the restaurant.  I haven’t dated in quite a while, but I feel like that was a good sign.

And now on to last week’s workouts:

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Monday: Winter Shape Up Workout 2..this was another tough one.  Those Tabatas kick some serious ass.

Tuesday: Yoga, needed to stretch it out

Wednesday: Winter Shape Up Workout 2 again.  Was still super hard, I didn’t magically get into better shape (unfortunately)

Thursday: Off day, worked late

Friday: Off again because I worked late (yes on a Friday and yes it sucked)

Saturday: 1.65 mile outside run.  We did not have a lot of time to squeeze in anything more than that, but it was still good to get out in the finally warmer weather

Sunday: Hour long bike ride.  I feel like you never realize how hilly your neighborhood is until you a) bike it or b) try to drive on ice.  Turns out our neighborhood, and the neighboring neighborhood that we got lost in, are pretty darn hilly.  Our legs were toast by the time we finally made it home.

We have the possibility for another snow/ice day or two this week.  Fingers crossed! Although now that I typed it, it won’t happen.

Happy Monday!

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Sochi!

So I totally meant to post the recipe for my Vegetable Minestrone today, but obviously that didn’t happen.  Work was super hectic, I’m actually still working on finishing up a few things for tomorrow,  so there was no time to write up a real post.  But all of that is ok because the OLYMPICS START TONIGHT!

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I LOVE the Olympics.  I love everything about them, the opening jingle, Bob Costas, the crazy events, the athletes, did I mention Bob Costas?  That man is a national treasure. And while I will agree that the Summer Olympics are slightly better than the Winter Olympics, I am still super excited. If you’re looking for me at any point over the next 2 weeks, I will be in front of my tv, glass of wine in hand, watching the amazingness unfold.

Go USA!

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What I Ate Wednesday

WIAWbuttonThanks to Jenn for hosting WIAW!

Unfortunately, we are snow and snow day free this week, so I’m back to my regular noshing. It amazing how quickly my work stamina drops off the table.  After 2 snow days last week I feel like I should be able to just work from home all the time.  The idea of a full week in the office sounds like torture.  Thank goodness its already hump day.  This is a really busy week at work for me, so that means lots of reheating meals I made over the weekend.

Breakfast:  My usual Chobani and Grapenuts.  Apple Cinnamon flavored this morning, love that extra cinnamon punch!photo(1)

Morning snack: A nice banana, I have been on a real banana kick lately.  I think its because the clementines around here have been so disappointing lately.

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Lunch:  I have been going through a bit of a lunch slump lately.  My usual salad combo was not working for me anymore, so I came up with this yummy option on Sunday.  I cubed and roasted a few sweet potatoes that were sprinkled with chipotle chili pepper, cumin, sea salt, and a little olive oil. They were SO good.  I mixed that in with spinach, grape tomatoes, green pepper, carrots, quinoa, black beans, and a bit of avocado.  This definitely cleared up my lunch time blues.  I am loving this combo.

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Afternoon snack: A nice big apple.

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Dinner: A big bowl of my vegetable minestrone.  I made a big pot of this on Sunday (recipe coming soon!) and have been eating it all week.  It is so nice to have dinner already made when I get in from work.  I finally got Hubs to eat a bowl of it last night, after some serious cajoling, and he liked it! Big win.

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Dessert:  We topped the night off with some of the last chocolate chip cookies while watching the Duke b-ball game.  Thankfully they dominated and the cookies were still ah-maazing. Nice way to end a long day.

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Recent Reads: The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic

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I haven’t actually disliked a book in a while.  I’ve felt indifferent about books, I’ve read books I wouldn’t really read again, but I haven’t read anything I actually thought was bad…until now.  I think part of my disappointment comes from the title, The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic.  It’s really what sold me on the book.  I saw it in the New Fiction section of Barnes and Noble and thought, “Hey, I like thinking women and I like magic, of course I’ll like this.”  Big mistake, do you think they include the title when they say don’t judge a book by its cover?

I had two major issues with this book. First, the main character, Nora, was NOT anything close to what I would consider a thinking woman.  She really didn’t appear to think much at all.  At first I thought that just meant there would be some major transformation as the story unfolded, but there wasn’t.

Every time Nora encounters the story’s villain she’s duped. Every time.  And the villain never does anything different; the exact same thing fools Nora time and time again.  There’s no learning from past experiences, no character growth. Nothing.  She’s as dumb at the end of the book as she is at the beginning, the only difference is she can sort of do magic.

The other issue I had was that there wasn’t really an ending.  It wasn’t just leaving the door open a little bit for a sequel or leaving things a bit uncertain to let you come to your own conclusions.  None of the storylines were brought to a close. None of them.  Nothing irritates me more than that.

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On top of all of that, my book was actually missing 30 pages. So random right?  I thought maybe it was a gimmick or a publishing error, but I googled it and nothing came up…soo it must just be me.  Maybe that means I can get a refund…..

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Weekend and Workout Recap

We had a fairly lowkey weekend, lots of  time relaxing at home which is always nice.  After work on Friday, I went to the gym for a quick run.  Younger, college age me would be appalled at that revelation.  Friday nights were for drinking and going out, or drinking and staying in, or vegging out with a movie/Lost marathon.  They were not for working out.  But now that I pretend to be a responsible adult, I find that I really enjoy a quick workout on Fridays.  I normally come home from work with a headache and some back pain, the wonderful side effects of sitting at a computer all day.  If traffic was particularly bad, I’m generally a little grumpy too.  Getting in a quick sweat session normally helps fix all of those things and puts me in a great mood for the rest of the night.  Sorry younger me, it’s the truth.

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College me, classy

After my run we met a friend out for dinner. We tried a new Mexican restaurant and it was surprisingly good.  Growing up in Arizona gave me extremely high standards for Mexican food, so I am generally very disappointed when I try to eat it in other parts of the country.  But this place was a nice surprise.  They had margaritas made with lime juice, not mix, which is always a good sign.  The guac was good and they had several very yummy tacos.

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Other than that we spent the weekend cleaning, relaxing, and watching the Seahawks dominate.  Side note: I was very disappointed by the commercials yet again this year.  The only ones I really liked were the Doritos time machine, the Coke American is beautiful, and the Budweiser puppy commercial, which was really only good because the puppy was so cute.

And here is a quick recap of last week’s workouts:

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Monday:  Was still a little tired from whatever bug I had over the weekend, so it was just a quick yoga dvd.  I love this one, but I have to admit it’s more stretching than it is yoga.  I still like it though, I can tell it is starting to improve my flexibility, especially in my standing forward bend (I can now touch the floor!) and my one legged seated forward bends (I can reach past my toes!).  It also at least gets me up and moving when I’m having a really low energy day.  Always a plus.

Tuesday:  My first Winter Shape Up workout.  I did the week one workout and holy crap was it hard.  Gina is amazing. The workout was really hard but efficient, only 25 minutes, which I loved after a 10 hour work day.

Wednesday: Did Winter Shape Up workout 1 again.  I now know you aren’t supposed to do it 2 days in a row and I can see why.  I died.

Thursday: Yoga dvd again to recover

Friday: 2.5 mile treadmill run (I’m slowly getting back on the horse after my treadmill fail and I broke the 2 mil barrier!)

Saturday: Off but did a lot of incidental cleaning and walking

Sunday: 1.85 mile hilly outdoor run

Hopefully this week will contain more of the same.  Happy Monday!

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