Killer at Large

Hi Friends!

I hope you’re having a great day 🙂

I wanted to mention a documentary that Jason and I recently watched:

If you have a Netflix subscription, please check out all of the instant play documentaries on there. I have found plenty that I want to watch over the next few weeks. Killer at Large is all about the obesity epidemic, and the movie was quite good!

We hear from different experts (including Michael Pollen – the author of the book I am reading), farmers, teachers, athletic directors and lunch ladies. The movie discusses many different ideas as to why our nation is as overweight and obese as it is, starting with advertising to kids, what corporations get government subsidies, school lunches, vending machines, the food guide pyramid, etc.

The part I didn’t like (or maybe I just wasn’t paying attention enough) was when they showed a Northeastern city (I can’t remember the name) that received some sort of grant to make their city “healthy” – so they paved walkways and made bike lanes, businesses gave benefits to employees who walked/biked to work, they had info centers about nutrition, they gave certain restaurants “seals of approval” if they had good menu choices (fresh produce, decent portions, etc). All of that seemed great, but at the end they said that they needed $15 Million dollars to continue the project but they only received $150,000 – and they emphasized that it was such a disaster that they didn’t get the $15 Million – that was for one small city! Again, maybe I misunderstood, but that seemed ridiculous!

I made it to the gym last night and I need new shoes. Badly. I realize that the shoes I have are almost a year old and have tons of miles on them – so tonight I am going to go get refitted and a new pair of shoes. I did get 5 miles completed:

The guy next to me on the treadmills kept singing along to his headphones – but he didn’t say the swear words, he would say the word “beep” – I tried to not laugh and he was too into his workout to notice me at all!

I came home and fixed myself a smoothie. Usually I have a smoothie for breakfast, but this works out so well after going to the gym –

Blueberry Flax Oatmeal Smoothie

4 ice cubes
1 scoop protein powder
1 TBSP ground flaxseed
¼ cup old fashioned oats
¼ cup blueberries
½ banana
1 cup vanilla soy milk

And I thought I’d bring back the Big Mac glass (to go with the movie review, makes sense, right?)  🙂

Afterward I tried making my own Cashew Butter – it worked OK in my Magic Bullet, but it took forever to get even close to the consistency I wanted. So I’m not going to bother putting up pictures until I get something figured out. I have a freezer full of raw nuts from Trader Joe’s with the intention of making my own nut butter – I guess I need a food processor perhaps?

*What is the last movie you watched? Did you like it?

Smoothie Dinner & Book Signing

Hi Friends 🙂
 
I finally got to the gym last night, it has been almost a week since I cut my foot. It took a while to heal up and I didn’t want to risk reopening the wound and getting it infected. And since it was such a beautiful day, I decided to run outside!
  
The weather has been quite nice for the past few days – its in the 40s for now and this weekend it gets cold again. So I’m enjoying it while it lasts! I ran 3 miles in a little over 30 minutes. Running outside vs running on a treadmill is way different for me. But it felt good, no matter how long it was going to take!
 
After my run, I fixed myself a delicious smoothie for dinner. I had a bunch of errands so I wanted something quick and easy, and something I can take in the car with me!
 

 
Strawberry Banana Smoothie
 
Serves 1
 
Into the Magic Bullet cup:

1 cup vanilla soy milk

5 ice cubes

1 scoop protein powder

1 TBSP chia seeds

1 TBSP peanut butter

½ banana

4-5 sliced strawberries


 
YUM!


 
After a few errands, I went to Barnes & Noble to get this book (downloaded it onto my Nook!)
 

And to meet the author!
 

I started reading Charlotte’s blog The Great Fitness Experiment only a few weeks ago and I wish I had found it sooner. She is hilarious and when I found out she lives in Minnesota (and also has a husband named Jason!), I knew I wanted to meet her! And her book signing was only a short drive from my house. Woohoo!
 

 
Charlotte: I am a huge cheeseball and I probably acted like a fool, but I was so excited to meet you. I can’t wait to read your book!

I have to be honest and say that I really didn’t want to post that picture of me. As I looked at it last night, I immediately saw things I didn’t like about it: I wish I had washed my hair after my run, I wish I had done my hair (!!!), maybe wear some makeup, dressed nicer, etc. And as I did so, I started to get so mad at myself for thinking those things! That is how I look — I don’t need to make excuses to myself or to anyone about why I looked the way I did. I had a great time at the book signing, I loved hearing Charlotte’s stories and I even got to see one of her sons pick his nose 🙂 I have no reason to feel badly about myself, and yet, when I looked at the picture, I considered not posting it. Why must these feelings still creep in? Why do I let them?
 
*What is the weather like around you? Are you experiencing a short heat wave like we are?

*Do you ever struggle with negative thoughts about yourself or your appearance? Have you figured out ways to conquer those bad feelings?

Enjoy your day!

~Holly

Peanut Chocolate Souffles

Hi Friends 🙂
 
Did you have a nice Valentine’s Day? Did you go anything exciting? Jason loved his giant Reese’s Heart:

And he got me a new Blu Ray player!!! Our old one crapped out a few weeks ago — so this was such a nice surprise!

The Vegan Alfredo was so good that we had it again on Valentine’s Day. 


 
We had the rest of the Alfredo from yesterday, but I added some chopped chicken breast and sprinkle of Nutritional Yeast on top. For dessert we had Peanut Chocolate Souffles! I bought these little ramekins from Target on Sunday and then I stumbled across a Souffle recipe on the Weight Watchers site. I switched up a few things so here is the recipe:

Peanut Chocolate Souffles (serves 2)

1 TBSP peanut flour (you could use regular flour, it would be a chocolate souffle instead)

1 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder

3 TBSP sugar (divided)

3 TBSP soy milk

1 egg white

powdered sugar to sprinkle on top

In a small saucepan, whisk together flour, cocoa powder and 2 TBSP sugar. Stir over medium heat and slowly add milk. Whisk/stir for about 2 minutes, until ingredients are well mixed. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes. Whisk the egg white until soft peaks form, then slowly add the sugar. Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg white carefully. Pour into 2 greased ramekins (just use cooking spray) and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

My souffles didn’t really rise — I’m not sure if I didn’t stir the egg white enough, or if peanut flour didn’t work well, or if the soy milk didn’t work well. Either way, it didn’t look the best, but it sure tasted good. Kind of like a gooey peanut butter brownie 🙂

I also finished one of my books last night!
 

 
I really enjoyed reading this book. For anyone who is interested, please recognize that this is a Christian book about marriage. All of the principles reviewed in the book relate to Bible passages or stories. The author’s website explains it this way:

 “We believe love best motivates a woman and respect most powerfully motivates a man. Research reveals that during marital conflict a husband most often reacts when feeling disrespected and a wife reacts when feeling unloved. “

The principles are pretty simple if you think about it, and the author sure repeats himself over and over to get his point across. I think the book could have been half as long and just as effective. Maybe it is because the author is a man, but I felt as though the author tended to “blame” wives for issues in marriages moreso then the husbands. Honestly the best point in the book is to communicate with your partner — don’t go to bed angry, don’t be afraid to disagree, don’t hold back your feelings, and show your partner love and respect — these are things most people know already, but sometimes we all need reminders! I would recommend this book to someone who enjoys reading books about marriage and how to better communicate with your partner.

Now I am moving onto In Defense of Food  I have 14 days to get through it!

*How was your Valentine’s Day?

*How do you like to revamp leftovers? Or do you even like leftovers?

Enjoy your day!

Holly

Strawberry Love Bread & Dairy Free Alfredo

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Check out the Valentine I received this morning from the DOUGHBOY himself!

How sweet, right? 🙂

Yesterday Jason had to work, so I was up way earlier than normal for a weekend day. I decided to use my time “wisely” and bake some treats. I had a ton of lovely strawberries in the fridge, so I decided to make a Strawberry Bread.

Looks delicious, right? And it turned out pretty well for a first attempt!

Strawberry-Cornmeal Bread

¾ cup flour

¾ cup cornmeal

3 TBSP sugar(see note* below!)

½ tsp salt

1 ½ tsp baking soda

1 egg

1 banana, mashed

1 cup soy milk (or any milk)

2 cups sliced strawberries

(I also intended to add some vanilla but I forgot!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients in one bowl, mix wet in another. Add wet to dry and stir until combined. Fold in sliced strawberries. Pour into greased bread pan (or you could try muffins instead) and bake for 40-45 minutes (or until toothpick comes out clean!)

*This bread had great texture – however, I thought it lacked sweetness. I was hoping the banana and strawberries would be sweet enough, but if I make this again I will add more sugar. I also think using blueberries (in addition to the strawberries or alone) would taste wonderful, and would perhaps add the right amount of sweetness. Jason, on the other hand loved this bread — he didn’t think it lacked sweetness at all.

I’m bringing most of the loaf to work today, hopefully it is a hit with my coworkers!

After I was done baking, I went to visit Jason at work. His work is almost an hour drive away, so by the time I got there, it was time for lunch! We went to The Old Markey Deli which had a great lunch/sandwich menu.

I went with the bowl of chili:

Which was so filling and delicious. Jason had the turkey/swiss sandwich which had avocado, sprouts, roasted red peppers and a garlic mayo spread on top:

And the whole meal cost about $10! You can’t beat that.

After I got home I decided to plan out dinner and figure out what I’m going to make for Valentine’s Dinner (or if we should go out!). Since I wanted to use my new Nutritional Yeast, I went to Angela’s blog and found a recipe for Vegan Alfredo. I think I have mentioned before, I am not even close to being a Vegan, but I appreciate their recipes so much because not only are they usually very creative, they also don’t use dairy products!

Jason and I prefer to eat dairy free (digestive issues…enough said!) although we seem to be able to tolerate some dairy: butter and swiss, provolone, and mozzarella cheeses all seem to work well for us. Cheddar cheese? Problems. Ice cream? Cottage cheese? Yogurt? No way.

Back to the Alfredo!

Click here for Angela’s recipe. I omitted the tahini (didn’t have any!) but otherwise followed the recipe 100%!

This was rich, creamy and so delicious! The sauce contains raw cashews + other ingredients and I was worried that my Magic Bullet would not be able to grind the cashews – but it worked out well! The sauce tasted like Alfredo! Jason loved it as well and I will definitely make this again!

*What are your plans for Valentine’s Day?

*Are you an Alfredo or Mac and Cheese fan? Do you make it as a side dish or is it the main star? As I made this, I thought of my dad making us Mac and Cheese when we were kids. He would add chopped hot dogs and a can of peas/carrots/lima beans. YUCK!!!

Enjoy your day!

~Holly

Lonely, Lovely Morning

Hi Friends!

Jason had to go to work today so we were up early – which really stinks 😦 Usually on Sundays we can sleep until at least 8 but this morning we were up before 6! It is lonely being home all alone in the morning though!

As much as it sounds like I’m complaining, I’m really not. I don’t enjoy the act of getting up early, but I never regret it. I get so much done. I am caught up on laundry, I changed the sheets, vacuumed the main floor and the steps (the worst job!) and I got in some reading too. Not bad, eh?

Yesterday we went to our niece’s 3rd birthday party – we had a Tea Party and got to decorate our own tea cup (Jason chose a little tea pot instead!)

Jason stuck with the Alice in Wonderland theme (check out the Mad Hatter!) and I tried to do a nice design. “Tried” is the key word there!

I chose not to take any picture when I was there. If I had kids I wouldn’t want someone putting pictures of them on their blog (unless I was asked or unless it was my kids on my blog because then it is up to me!) But all in all, we had a wonderful time, and my sister-in-law loaded me up with lots of goodies:

Beautiful strawberries, blueberries, ham, mini waffles/pancakes (Jason loved those!), honey roasted peanuts and tons of candy!

My plans for the day include doing some more cleaning, a few errands (a Trader Joe’s trip?), possibly visiting Jason at work for lunch, and making dairy free alfredo tonight – I can’t wait to bust out my new can of Nutritional Yeast (I’ve never used any before!):

What are your plans for the day?

Do you post pictures of your friends/family on your blog (if you have one)? Do you ask their permission first?

Are you a morning person? How can I become one? 🙂

~Holly

Saw-weet Pah-tay-toes and Keen-wah

Hi Friends!
 
After a long week of work, it is finally the weekend! Today Jason and I are going to my niece’s 3rd Birthday party – we are having a Tea Party (with 40 people, eek!). I can’t wait to see her. She is such a sweetheart.
 
Seeing my niece (the daughter of Jason’s brother and his wife) immediately makes me think of my sister, my brother-in-law and their two children. They all live in Oklahoma (we live in Minnesota). I so wish I could see them more often, but it is a 14 hour drive and there are no direct flights (ok, no CHEAP direct flights) from MN to Oklahoma City. I stop and think about those kids every once in a while – Flora and Henry are so incredibly adorable and sweet.
 
As silly as it sounds, I always think of Flora when I have a sweet potato. My sister has a book about making your own baby food, and it shows pictures of the different vegetable and fruit purees you can make. When I saw Flora last June, she kept asking me to read her that page. I would read one, and then she would repeat it. She would enunciate each syllable. It was so cute.
 
Me: mashed potatoes
 
F: mashed Pah-Tay-TOES
 
Me: sweet potatoes
 
F: Sah-Weet Pah-Tay-TOES
 
Me: Parsnips
 
F: Pow-Snips
 
SO UNBELIEVABLY ADORABLE.
 
Last night I had a sweet potato with dinner and I immediately thought of Flora and I can’t keep my mind off of her. I love her so much!
  

I enjoyed my sweet potato with some quinoa…
 

 
QUINOA BEAN BURGERS
 
Click here for the recipe at Beth’s Journey. I followed it exactly, except I used a smaller amount of cumin and added some garlic salt instead (I’m not a huge cumin fan)

Beth is so amazing – I have been reading her blog for a long time. And when I saw this recipe I knew I had to make it! Beth they turned out fabulous, thanks for sharing that recipe with us! Jason loved it — he said “I don’t know if these took a lot of time, but we need to eat more of these” – thankfully they were easy to put together, I think it took 35 minutes total from start to finish!

February Goal: Make at least 2 new recipes each week:
 
Recipe 1: The Non-Dairy Queen’s Salmon Patties on Thursday
Recipe 2: Beth’s Quinoa Burgers on Friday
 
Goal completed for this week! Woohoo!
 
*Did you make any new recipes this week that I *need* to try next week? I’m up for a challenge, so let me know!
 
*What are your plans for the weekend?
 
*Does your family live near you? Or do you have to travel often to see family members?

Have a great weekend!  ~Holly

Success in the Kitchen: Salmon Patties

Hi Friends!

Well I’m not technically starting Marathon training until next week, but I am already skipping workouts! But, I have a good excuse. With that cut on my foot from Wednesday, I really don’t want it to get infected, so I skipped my Thursday run in hopes of the wound healing properly. Ok it was Jason’s idea. And I was ok with having a reason to not go to the gym!

So instead, I worked on making a delicious dinner. I had a large salad with some roasted veggies on top along with:

SALMON PATTIES

I found the recipe on The Non-Dairy Queen’s site a few days ago and it looked so easy and yet so delicious that I knew I had to try it. Plus I had a can of salmon in my cupboard just begging to be used.

You can find the recipe here. The only change I made was adding some Old Bay seasoning.

Sarena these were delicious! I had one crumbled on my salad and one with a big blob of ketchup.

One of my goals for February was preparing two new recipes each week. Wednesday night was supposed to be one of my new recipes 😦 But it burnt, remember? I’m still kind of upset about that cauliflower dish being ruined — I was so looking forward to it. But these salmon patties totally made up for it!

But I already have a recipe picked out for tonight and it involves:

An ingredient I have used only once before!

What are your plans for the weekend?

Are you a salmon fan? What about quinoa? Any guesses as to what I’m making?

Recipe Fail: Eggs to the Rescue

Hi Friends 🙂

The weekend is almost here!

Have you ever seen someone that you SWEAR you know – but you can’t figure out from where? There is a girl at my gym that I have seen twice now – and I know I know her, but I can’t place her. Did I work with her? Is she one of my sisters’ friends? Or does she just look like someone I know? If I see her again I will ask her, even though I feel really creepy just thinking about doing that.

Has this happened to you? How did you deal with it?

Since I’m trying to keep track on the blog, here are my treadmill stats for the day:

On Wednesday night the plan was to make dinner incorporating a new recipe from this cookbook:

The recipe is called Roasted Cauliflower with Dates and Pine Nuts.

Sounds good, right? Here is the picture. I thought it looked really delicious:

And here is how my attempt turned out:

It turned out horrible. I burnt most of it because a glass fell (as I was putting clean dishes away) and a piece of glass fell near my foot, cut through my sock and into my foot. At first I thought I only cut my sock but then I looked down and saw my bloodstained sock and ran upstairs to get a bandaid – it took me a while to hop on one leg up the stairs (didn’t want to stain the carpet, but I did anyway) and then by the time I got downstairs the sauce had burned and there was nothing I could do. AAHHHHH!!

I needed something for dinner, so I turned to my stand-by: EGGS. I made a eggs benedict type of dish, almost like a deconstructed spinach omelet (who has been watching too much Top Chef? ME!) It only used 4 ingredients:

Tomatoes

Garlic Gold Olive Oil

Spinach

Eggs

Salt/Pepper (on the show 5 Ingred Fix, salt/pepper is a freebie, so it doesn’t count!)

First I roasted up my tomatoes in the Garlic Gold oil:

Then I wilted my spinach and cooked my egg. All together now:

I love eggs and I love any excuse to make them. Even if it involves wasting forty minutes on a recipe that ends up burning on the stove. 😦

What do you do when a recipe doesn’t turn out quite right? Do you try to fix it or do you pitch it and move on? For me, if it burns or way overcooks, I pitch it. Otherwise, I put on a happy face and eat my meal anyway.

Have a great day!

Holly

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Super Easy Roasted Chicken

Hi Friends!

Yesterday was another freezing day here in MN – temps were -7 when I left for work! Boo!

I really want to get outside and run, but it is too cold and I am too much of a wimp! So I headed to the gym for a quick run:

Afterward I spent some time foam-rolling (focusing on my IT bands mostly – they sure feel sore!) and stretching, along with some pushups, planks, squats and lunges (my “quick” strength workout moves).

I want to show you probably the easiest dinner I have made in a long time:

Easy Roasted Chicken Breasts with Veggies

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a baking dish, combine a bag of veggies (could use baby carrots or broccoli/cauliflower or a mix of all 3) and toss with 2 cloves of chopped garlic and about a teaspoon of oil.

Take 2 chicken breasts, rub with some oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, and place on top of the veggies. Roast for 35-40 minutes.

Super easy and really delicious. I have made a whole roasted chicken in a similar way, but this is easier with just the chicken breasts instead of the whole bird.

What is an easy meal you like to prepare when you are short on time? Usually I make eggs/toast if I am in a rush, but this one might be a close second.

I was looking through some old magazines yesterday (am I the only one who keeps almost any magazine?):

And I picked up an old Cosmo with Christina Aguilera on the cover from 2006 (yes it was that old!) – maybe I thought of her Super Bowl performance?

Anyway, one of the articles is called The Simple Secret to Happiness and it talks about how to “feel calmer instantly, improve your mood and make your life more enjoyable”. Here are a few points :

  1. Buy memories instead of things (go somewhere and experience something vs. buying actual things)
  2. Do a digital detox – for a day or a whole weekend
  3. Instead of spending time thinking about what you wish you had, be thankful for what you DO have
  4. Think happy, positive thoughts
  5. Streamline your schedule
  6. Simplify your home: clean, organize, and get rid of as much as you can (you don’t need it!)
  7. Before “shopping, pigging out or otherwise overindulging” – think about whether doing so will really help you or will it hurt you in the long run (make you feel bad, increase your debt load)

Obviously an article (or even a book) cannot list all of the “secrets to happiness” – but what do you think of the list? Is there anything you would add? Anything you would take out? I personally really like #6 — we have been working on this and it feels good to donate things and to have a clutter free home. I don’t think that is the “secret to happiness” but it definitely helps me keep calm, which in turn makes me happy!

Enjoy your day!

Holly

Training Plan & The Return of Pumpkin

Hi Friends 🙂
 
Yesterday was a rest day. A glorious rest day!
 

 
I filled out my training calendar – for Grandma’s Marathon in June– it is ready to go. Next week “officially” starts our 18 week plan. I’ll have 2 “short” runs (3-5 miles), 1 “medium long run” (5-10 miles) and 1 long run (starting at 8 and building to 20 miles) each week. In addition, Sunday will be my crosstraining day (yoga, biking, or elliptical) and on Tues and Thurs I will do strength training after my run. Nothing too vigorous, I want to get through the 18 weeks injury free. Monday and Friday are 100% rest days.
 

The plan I will follow is Hal Higdon’s Novice Marathon Plan. This is the same plan I followed last year. I don’t feel “ready” to move up to intermediate. Maybe next year 🙂
 
Jason ordered Run Less, Run Faster – which is a book I read about on N Her Shoes. I think that type of plan work well for him because of his work commute/schedule. If he reads it (and I read it!) quickly enough, maybe I’ll do it too. For now, I’m trusting Hal 🙂
 
After work yesterday I decided to make one of Averie’s Microwave Banana Oat Cake. It was so delicious on Saturday that I decided to make another one. But I tried switching it up with ¼ cup pumpkin and ½ banana (instead of 1 whole banana), lots of cinnamon and nutmeg.
 

 
IT WAS SO GOOD!!! I think I was on pumpkin overload in November but now I’m ready to slowly add some back into my meals.
 

 
No need for any peanut butter on top or anything. Please, check out Averie’s recipe and give it a try! It is so easy!
  
So delicious!
 
*How do you plan your workouts? Do you like to train for events or do you just choose a workout each day?
 
*Are you a pumpkin fan year round or only in the Halloween/Thanksgiving time of year?
 
I also wanted to say thank you to Christin at Purple Bird Blog – she told me the secret to replying to comments so they are emailed and they appear on the blog 🙂 Thank you Friend!

And thank you to anyone who checked my blog yesterday and saw it had been “deactivated” and then checked back later. I do appreciate anyone who takes the time to read my blog. I was so pissed yesterday morning — and I still haven’t gotten an explanation. I’m glad they realized their mistake and reactivated it somewhat quickly.
 
Enjoy your Tuesday!
 
Holly