Pancake Fail

Good Morning!

I spent all day yesterday cleaning up the house and getting ready for my sister, niece and nephew to come and stay with us. I did squeeze in some time for TurboFire 45, cooking and a little reading. 🙂

Plus we went to Best Buy and Home Depot to look at washers and dryers. We also looked at cameras – we are thinking of getting one for J’s mom for her birthday. She is taking a trip to Italy in October and we think she could use a better camera! J really liked this one: 🙂

I finished The Lovely Bones! To be honest it was a very depressing book. What I didn’t like was the description of Heaven – it sounded like a sad place. If you’ve read the book, do you agree? I wanted to finish it because I want to move onto a new book:

I’ve had it since Tuesday but I haven’t had a chance to open it up. The Lovely Bones was pretty depressing, so I am looking forward to reading a much more positive book.

Here are some of my favorite OB posts from last week:

Michelle

Angela

Tina

There were more, but these three stood out to me, in the best way possible. Thanks ladies for the great posts!

Today I used up some Farmers Market goodies while making lunch. I wanted to celebrate Pancake Sunday in honor of HEAB. 

I made Potato Pancakes.

I used a recipe that you can find *here*. But I didn’t fry them in oil, and I used oat flour instead of regular flour.

Here is the “batter”:

In the skillet:

 

And the final product, topped with eggs:

The verdict? They were ok. Once J and I dumped salt on top of these babies, they were ok, but they really lacked flavor. Next time I will add more seasoning, and I will make them thinner – the outside was nice and crunchy (like hashbrowns) but the inside was pretty soggy 😦

So I threw them out and we had some cinnamon toast instead. 🙂

So I’ve been totally putting my 10 mile training plan to the side and only using TurboFire. Why? Because TurboFire is fun and running just hasn’t been as much fun. This week I need to start focusing on running more, or that 10 mile is going to feel like a marathon.

You know what might help? Compression socks. 🙂

Good thing I won a pair from Shelby’s giveaway on Eat, Drink, Run! I hope to get a pink pair just like Shelby:

Thanks again Shelby!

Don’t forget that my OpenSky shop opens tomorrow – woohoo!

Questions:

Did you write an OB post? Tell me and I’ll go check it out!

What do you do when you lose motivation to workout?

Do you wear compression socks?

Kale Friend

Hi Readers!

 Look what I got yesterday 🙂

 Thanks for all the nice words about my TurboFire results! I am super excited.

 Saturday morning I went to the St. Paul Farmers Market – it was raining lightly, but nothing could keep me away from those veggies. The difference between the Farmers Market produce and the regular grocery store produce is huge.

Here are the goods:

And look at the little friend who came home on the kale with me:

All together now:

 I’m a little nervous about the okra. The only time I’ve prepared it before it turned out slimy and really gross. I’m sure if it was deep-fried it would be delicious. Any ideas on preparing okra?

Last night I decided to use the green peppers. They were huge! I thought stuffed peppers sounded delicious!

Black Bean Stuffed Peppers
Ingredients:
2 large peppers
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 cup black beans
½ onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 zucchini, shredded
1 cup salsa
¼ tsp cayenne
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook brown rice. Saute onion and garlic until soft. Wash peppers, cut the tops off, and clean out any seeds. Place peppers in a baking dish coated with cooking spray. You might need to cut off a portion of the bottom of the pepper to help them stand up straight. Mix brown rice, beans, onion, garlic, zucchini, salsa, cayenne, salt and pepper in a bowl. Divide mixture evenly between the peppers.

 Cover dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes. I would have liked to add some shredded soy cheese, but we were out. They still turned out great:

 This was very easy to put together, and when I make this again, I will add more salsa, since the stuffing was a tad dry.

Sunday plans:
Laundry
Vacuum whole house
TurboFire
Grocery shopping
Update blog roll…
Relax
Read The Lovely Bones (I’m almost done!)

 Questions:

 What are your plans for today? Anything fun?

 Do you read any non food related blogs? What is your favorite one?

Pies, Pickles and TurboFire Results

Good Morning Readers!

First, let me give you a little TurboFire update. I have finished a month of following the program, and here are my results:

Left Bicep – 1/ 8 inch lost
Bust – 1 inch lost
Waist – 1 ¾ inches lost
Hips – 1 inch lost
Left Thigh – 1 ¼ lost
Total – 5 1/8 inches lost
Total weight loss: 4 lbs

I wish I had gotten my body fat tested, but I used what I had: a scale and a measuring tape. I’m not trying to lose any more weight here, but I’m ok with losing more inches! I can definitely feel everything firming up – I can see it in my legs the most.

Conclusion: TurboFire is an awesome program! 🙂 It has definitely been worth the cost – I love having a good mix of dvds that really challenge me! Plus, the workouts are fun and as corny as it sounds, they don’t seem like actual exercise some of the time. It is just dancing around and having fun.

Last night J and I went to dinner here:

 Betty’s Pies is such a cute little place. The original location is in northern Minnesota and is a total tourist stop. Anyone who vacations on the North Shore has been to Betty’s Pies (and if they haven’t, they are totally missing out!) They opened a location near St. Paul a few years ago. I think when they opened my Dad went there at least once per week, if not more than that! Here is their pie menu:

I ordered the Cobb Salad. I was so happy to see that the lettuce was romaine and not iceberg! Plus there was a lot of avocado and a lovely wheaty roll.

J got the spicy chicken wrap and sweet potato fries. I may have had a few. They were crinkle cut sweet potato fries – the best kind!

We also got pie afterward and I forgot to take pics until we were both half done. But, here they are anyway. I got the Great Lakes Fruit (pear, blueberry, raspberry with a crumble top) and J got the Butterfinger Cream. We also ordered a full Great Lakes Fruit to give to J’s mom. It is her birthday today!

So, remember these pickling cucumbers I got at the Farmers Market last weekend?

Well, I decided to try making pickles today. I found a few recipes online that didn’t require jarring the pickles so I took a little bit of info from each recipe and threw together my own.

First, I washed and cut my pickles into spears. Then, I sprinkled them with sea salt and let them sit in a colander for 20 minutes or so. This is supposed to dry the pickles out. Then, place pickles in a large bowl:

Bring the following ingredients to a boil:

2 cups water
2 cups vinegar (I used 1 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar, which is what most websites recommended, plus 1 cup apple cider vinegar, which was also recommended)
2-3 cloves of garlic roughly chopped
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsbp dill weed
1 tbsp fennel
¼ cup sugar (you could add more if you want sweeter pickles)

After the mixture is boiling, pour on top of the pickles:

Let the pickles mixture cool to room temperature. Here, you are supposedly able to eat and enjoy the pickles, but I wanted to wait overnight before trying them.

The verdict? Not bad for my first time making pickles. Next time I will use more water and less vinegar. I also would have thrown some fresh dill on top of the pickles — but my grocery store was out of fresh dill!

There were so many recipes, and most of them said to throw spices into a vinegar/water mixture, bring to a boil, cover the pickles and wait. Easy peasy!

Saturday plans:
Farmers Market
J’s Mom’s bday – stop by after lunch with the pie!
TurboFire 20 min abs, 40 min stretch
Run 3 miles
Laundry
Clean the house like a madwoman – my sister, niece and nephew are coming up to MN (they live in OK) next week and they are staying with us! The guest room is in a shambles and the rest of the house could use some sprucing up too!

Questions:

What are you doing this weekend? Any fun plans?

Have you tried TurboFire? What workout have you enjoyed recently?

Have you ever made your own pickles? Do you like pickles?

Beautiful Zucchini Scuffins

Hi Readers!
Do you ever just want to bake? I can go months without baking and then I will bake every night for a week. I read Angela’s blog and saw her Scuffins last week and knew I wanted to make them. Then, I read Janna’s blog and saw her remake of the scuffins with zucchinis – guess what, I have a bunch of zucchinis to use. Guess what: I made zucchini scuffins.
I used the same recipe Janna used, with a few changes. (original recipe)
“Healthy Zucchini Power Scuffins”
Ingredients:
1 cup oat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
1.5 tsp pumpkin pie spice (OR: 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ginger)
2 tbsp canola oil
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 egg
1/2 cup regular oats
1 cup shredded or grated (approx 2 medium) zucchini
1/4 cup golden raisins – all I had in the cupboard, you could swap for craisins, regular raisins, etc
1/4 cup toasted, chopped walnuts – mine we just chopped, nothing fancy!
Directions: Preheat oven to 350F. In a large sized bowl whisk together all of the dry ingredients. Using a food processor or grater, process/grate the zucchini. In a medium sized bowl mix together the wet ingredients (carrots, vanilla, oil, maple syrup, egg). Add wet to dry and mix until just incorporated. Stir in the walnuts and raisins. Scoop mixture onto a baking sheet lined with foil or greased with oil. Scoop about 1/4 cup for each Scuffin to make 6 large scuffins. Wet hands and shape into a circle if desired. Bake for 25 minutes at 350F.
Into the oven they go:
They were huge! I probably used too much zucchini and should have made more smaller scuffins, but it is too late for that now. They turned out really good:
Look at those big shavings of zucchini! Baked goods are so beautiful, aren’t they? Speaking of beautiful…(nice transition, right???)
I picked up Caitlin’s book on Tuesday night and I was so excited to read it. If you haven’t picked it up yet, do it!!!
All through high school (and the years leading up to it) I was consumed with thoughts about my size. I felt “big”. I was uncomfortable with being in a skirt or a dress (I couldn’t even THINK about a swimsuit much less wear one). I wasn’t severely overweight, but I wasn’t at a healthy weight. I thought I was ugly, unpopular, gross, out of shape, unhealthy, undesirable, unworthy. Where did these feelings come from?
I don’t know. I can’t remember a specific instance that made me feel that way. But I have been working on getting rid of those negative feelings and replacing them with positive ones.
I am beautiful.
I am fit.
I am strong.
I am worthy.
I feel good.
I look good.
I take care of myself.
I am a good wife.
I am a hard worker.
I am a loyal friend.
I tell myself these things whenever those nasty, negative thoughts pop into my head. Do I still think negative thoughts? Yes. Am I getting better and learning to love myself more? Yes.
To me, this is what Operation Beautiful is all about. Getting positive thoughts and feelings out there – on bathroom mirrors, in dressing room stalls, on car windshields, in our hearts and in our minds.
Change the way you see – see yourself as a friend. A friend would never call me ugly, fat, pathetic, lazy, etc. But I have called myself all of those things. It is time for ME to be MY best friend. It is time to treat myself right with respect and with love.
I wish I had Operation Beautiful when I was a young girl. Instead, I had thin models and unhealthy/unrealistic actresses to admire and aspire to be. I would constantly compare my body to others’ bodies. If only I could have seen how beautiful and special I was already. I didn’t need to change to “be” anything else, but myself.
Please share a positive thought about yourself. I shared plenty of mine – feel free to choose one or make up your own. Most importantly — BELIEVE IT!

Triple Treat

Good Morning! Here are your three treats for the day:
Treat #1

I’m opening a shop with OpenSky!
 My shop will open on August 10th and I am so excited! OpenSky is a community of shopkeepers with tons of products that I am able to recommend to you.
 Like my foam roller! Hows this for an action shot? 🙂
I can’t wait to show you the rest of the products in my OpenSky store, but you’ll have to wait until next week! OpenSky has a very user-friendly website and the return policy is the best. I decided to partner with OpenSky to pass along product favorites, which you can get right here through the blog. Please let me know if there are any products on the blog that you’d like available in my shop.
I’ll announce next week when my shop will actually be open, then you can take a look and see what I’ve got!
Treat #2
 (source)
Please check out Cake Wrecks. This is a hilarious blog with pics of hideous cakes, cookies and treats. Some of them are pretty awful but they also have some pics of really beautiful cakes. I thought Batman here was hilarious though.  I mean, how pathetic is that frosting? I found this blog by looking at Wendy’s blog Seriously Sassy. Do you like to look at blogrolls? I do because I love to find new blogs!
Treat #3
I read Angela’s blog a few days ago which featured her Mexican Pie. Wow, did that look good or what??? I made it myself with a few changes, but it turned out great:
Mexican Tortilla Pie
1 (15 ounce) cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup salsa, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15 ounce) can refried beans
5(8 inch) flour tortillas
½ cup shredded soy cheese
Enchilada sauce (I used for top layer)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix the pinto beans, garlic and ½ cup salsa in one bowl. Mix refried beans with ½ cup salsa in another bowl.  Lay down 1 tortilla in a pie pan coated with nonstick spray. Top tortilla with a layer of the pinto bean mixture and a sprinkle of soy cheese. Top with another tortilla, followed by the refried bean mixture and a sprinkle of soy cheese. Continue this rotation until tortillas are used up. Pour ½ cup of enchilada sauce (or more!) on top of the last tortilla and finish with the rest of the soy cheese. Bake for 25 minutes.
I could not believe how delicious this was, and J gave it a big thumbs up – and I don’t think he even noticed it was all beans and no meat!
I’m sure the leftovers I’m having for lunch today will be spectacular as well. Thanks Angela for a great recipe!
So there you have it. Three treats.
Tonight: TurboFire HIIT and the season premiere of Real Housewives of DC!
Questions of the day:
Is there a blog you recently found that you love? Do you have a blog? I’d like to update my blogroll again, please leave me a comment if you’d like to be included!
Do you like Mexican food? What is your favorite dish?
Have a great day,
Holly

Smart Dough

Good Morning!

I feel so privileged that I got to share Zubaz with so many of you! I remember at one point in my childhood seeing almost every 30-40 year old man wear a pair of purple/gold Zubaz with a Vikings jersey or sweatshirt. Yikes.

Tuesday morning I got in a great 3 mile run with J – it is so hot in the morning (we got up at 5:30am!) but we got through it. I saw a 8 wild turkeys all huddled together too – not something you see every day! I only wish I had my camera with so you could see them all.

For dinner I really wanted pizza. Normally we order from Papa Murphys (where you pick it up fresh and then bake it at home), but I wanted to make my own. So, I got some help from Bob:

I really wanted this to work, since it is dairy free (for J) and had decent ingredients. I started by mixing up the crust dough. I was bummed to see that I had to let it rise for 20 minutes (I know, I know, I’m not much of a baker and forget that you have to do these things!) I followed the instructions, divided the dough in two and let it rise.

Meanwhile, I busted out a TurboFire HIIT workout (20 minutes long!) – I think the dough “knew” I needed to workout and the timing was just right.

After 20 minutes I was covered in sweat. The dough had risen quite a bit in just a short time. I pressed the dough in a cookie sheet (no pizza pan here, folks!) and baked it for a few minutes. Meanwhile, I chopped my veggies and shredded my soy cheese:

Red pepper, orange pepper, onion, spinach

I took the crust out of the oven and saw how amazingly thick this crust is. YUM! I threw on the tomato sauce, veggies, some cooked Italian sausage and the soy cheese:

And after 15 minutes in the oven:

Delicious pizza. The crust was so thick and crunchy (and soft at the same time) – it was just perfect. I wasn’t expecting much from a dairy free/wheat free/gluten free crust, but it was awesome!

I did look for some new shoes, but I couldn’t find anything I liked. Where do you like to buy shoes?

I did find something to buy:

I can’t wait to read it!

Question of the day: What are your favorite pizza toppings? Do you prefer to make your own, or do you have a favorite pizza place?

A Zubaz Tutorial and Zucchini Chips

Good Morning!
There were a few comments about not knowing what Zubaz are? Maybe it is a regional thing (MN thing?), I’m not sure. Here is a Zubaz advertisement:

Zubaz are athletic pants with crazy zebra stripes in odd colors. They were really popular 15-20 years ago? Everyone in my school had them and recently they’ve been popping up again. Honestly, Google Zubaz for more information. You won’t be disappointed!
I was really dragging all day Monday, I think lack of sleep and not working out on Sunday kind of slowed me down. Do you get that way when you skip a workout? Exercise gives me so much energy and when I take unplanned days off it kind of throws my whole week off. But Monday night I got my TurboFire workout in and holy cow do I feel better now! I did Fire 45 – which has 3 fire drills (HIIT drills) that really get my heart pumping. I felt great afterward.
Dinner was the always popular tilapia and green beans. I pan fried the tilapia with a little bit of butter, salt and pepper. But the green beans were the star of the show.
Remember these babies from Saturday?

Yep, I got these precious treasures from the Farmers Market and I couldn’t wait to roast them up with some garlic sea salt, pepper and canola oil. They turned out great.
My plate: 
Afterward, while I was packing my lunch (boring Minestrone soup w/extra kidney and black beans added and a small salad) I decided I needed something more. So I went through my Farmers Market produce again and pulled one of these guys out:
I figured my kale chips turned out well, so why not try zucchini chips? I found some recipes online, and combined a bunch of them.
Zucchini Chips
Combine in a small bowl: ¼ cup crumbled bread crumbs ( I used a toasted piece of Ezekial bread), ¼ tsp seasoned salt, ¼ tsp salt, 1/8 tsp black pepper. Put 2 tbsp almond milk (or milk of your choice) in another small bowl. Chop up your zucchini into thin slices.
Dip the zucchini into the milk and then into the bread crumb mixture:
Place chips on an oven safe wire rack (a basic cookie sheet might work fine too). Bake for 30 minutes at 425 degrees.
I also made some chips seasoned with only salt, pepper and rubbed with canola oil. Before the bake:
After the bake:
Delicious. The perfect addition to my lunch! This morning they shriveled up even more and were much more crunchy.
Plans:
Run 3 miles before work (done!)
TurboFire HIIT workout after work
Dinner: pizza?
Look for Operation Beautiful at B&N!
Laundry (ugh)
Buy new work shoes – on Wed I’ll show you the sad shoes I’ve been wearing lately and (hopefully) some new ones.
Question of the day: What is your favorite, easy meal to make for dunner? I love making chicken breasts/veggies or fish/roasted veggies. They are both quick and easy, and we eat that 2-3 times per week!

Breakfast for Dinner

Good Morning!
Yesterday J and I were at a local parade near our city. It was a beautiful day and we had a great time. Check out these great floats:
A huge mosquito – only in MN!
The “Up” house – it was a float for a guy running for Sheriff — the slogan was “things are looking UP in MN”. Dumb I know, but that movie makes me cry so I liked it.
This guy had a GREAT time — as you can tell.

hahaha – did you own Zubaz as a kid? I can honestly say I didn’t. Thank you Mom and Dad for never buying me any!
I was so tired from walking around at the parade (we walked non stop, back and forth for over 2 hours) – so I skipped my workout. I needed the rest, but today I am back to TurboFire.
Remember all of my Farmers Market veggies from Saturday? When I bought the kale I KNEW I needed to make my first batch of Kale Chips:
They turned out really well. Even J ate some! They really were crunchy and salty like good potato chips.
Last night at dinnertime I was craving breakfast foods — specifically this:
Denny’s Heartland Scramble: Two scrambled eggs with bacon, country-fried potatoes, green peppers and onions and Cheddar cheese
Instead, I made my own without all the cheese and deliciousness grease.
Couch Potato Scramble
Ingredients:  Italian sausage, eggs, onion, green pepper, red potatoes

Start by washing, cutting and roasting your veggies:
(I roasted them with canola oil, salt and pepper for 30 minutes at 350 degrees)
After veggies are done roasting, turn oven off, but keep veggies in there. Brown crumbled sausage pieces in a skillet, and cook eggs over easy in another skillet. Arrange ingredients this way in a bowl: first layer veggies, second layer sausage, third layer egg.
This was a really filling meal and very easy to make. Next time I’ll mix in some mushrooms and tomatoes. The best part was cutting into the egg and letting the yolk ooze out onto the veggies. Egg yolk is good on just about anything.
Question: Do you like parades? What is your favorite part? I love seeing the unicycles, or the little kids doing karate moves. I also love the food and beer gardens that usually accompany parades…

Burgers & Pancakes

Good Morning Readers!

Last night J and I had a great time at the Twins game! We are not baseball fans, but somehow going to a game to watch it live is different, you know what I mean? The ballpark is absolutely beautiful.

There you can see TC Bear our mascot!
The Twins won 4-0, and 3 of the runs happened in the first inning, so it wasn’t the most exciting game. However, the FOOD was the exciting part. Here is what we all shared:
The Vincent Burger: a beef patty with braised short ribs and smoked gouda stuffed in the center:
It was worth the $12 for only a few bites! Yes we paid $12 for a burger!
J had a steak and onion sandwich:
I’m still dreaming of the Vincent Burger. It was named the Minneapolis Best Gourmet Burger in 2007. How could I ever eat another burger after that? It will pale in comparison.
This morning we got up and I had one thing on my mind: pancakes. But I really didn’t want to bust into the Bisquick mix, I wanted to make my own. Here they are:

Quick Banana Oatmeal Pancakes
  
Throw into blender:
½ cup oatmeal
½ cup almond milk (or milk of choice)
1 scoop whey protein powder
1 banana
¼ tsp vanilla

Place skillet on stove and turn burner onto medium heat. Use a ¼ cup measuring cup to measure batter for nice sized pancakes. I added a few walnuts to mine:

When edges start to brown, flip and cook about 1 minute on the other side. You know how you like your pancakes, so cook them that way! I like mine with a slightly doughy/mushy center, so I didn’t cook them completely. There aren’t any raw eggs in the batter so I wasn’t worried!

I topped mine with more sliced banana and a dribble of maple syrup. J thought they tasted chocolatey – even though there isn’t any chocolate in them.

Plans:
Workout: TurboFire Fire 55 EZ, Stretch 40 (didn’t get to this yesterday)
Read The Lovely Bones
Watch the local parade (and maybe visit the beer garden)
Clean kitchen
Relax
Watch TV: anything good on today?
QUESTION OF THE DAY: What is your favorite breakfast?

Italian Sausage & Arugula Pasta

Hello!
I love that there are so many Full House fans! After thorough online research, I found that Full House was on TGIF for their first 4 seasons, then the show moved to Tuesday nights for the remaining 4 seasons. 🙂
FOOD
Tonight I made a fabulous pasta dinner. It was delicious and smelled great!
Italian Sausage & Arugula Pasta
8 oz. Italian turkey sausage
6 oz. whole wheat pasta
2 handfuls of arugula
1-2 chopped tomatoes (I used 2 small ones)
 
Start by preparing your pasta.
As the pasta cooks, crumble and brown the sausage in a large skillet.
 
 
After sausage is cooked, throw in a few handfuls or arugula and a ½ cup of water:
 
 
Cover skillet until arugula wilts. Throw in the chopped tomato and stir until the pasta is ready.
Top pasta with the sausage/arugula/tomato mixture. You could also drizzle on some olive oil if you prefer.
Finished product:
 
 
It turned out great! The sausage really makes the dish and the kitchen smelled amazing. Plus, the whole dish was really easy.
 
FITNESS
I just finished my TurboFire 45 min EZ workout. Let me tell you, EZ does not mean easy! It just means there aren’t any fire drills (1 min HIIT circuits). It definitely keeps your heart rate up.
FUN
I started The Lovely Bones last night. It is already a disturbing book to read, but I am already loving the main characters. It is definitely a much different type of book than the last book I read (one of the Sookie Stackhouse books).
QUESTION OF THE DAY: What are your plans for this weekend?