Sunday, April 29, 2012

Weekly Dinner Post 4.30.12 - 5.4.12

This week I am trying to keep dinners simple and in-expensive.  Most of the ingredients to the recipes were items I already had at the house and I only spend about $50 to purchase the rest of my groceries for this week!

This week we are having the following: 
  • Monday:  Burgers (we didn't cook them last week) Neal ended up making meatloaf because it was too rainy for burgers on the grill!
  • Tuesday:  Warmed Spinach Salad with Chicken Sausage (it's super super yum!)
  • Wednesday:  Coconut Breaded Chicken with Sweet Potato (either fries, chips, or just baked normal)
  • Thursday or Friday:  Fish with Broccoli!
Tonight for dinner we went out to eat with our friends (same ones from the awesome Crawfish Boil) after the Cirque du Solie show.  We went to a great place, Ri Ra's.  I had a delicious sandwich called "Uniquely Veggie".  It's a white bean patty, crumbled goat cheese, sun dried tomato pesto, cucumber, and caramelized onions on toasted wheat!  The pesto and goat cheese really put it over the top!  I had mine with sweet potato tots.  I have never tried sweet potato tots, they were good, but still as greasy as other tots.

Crawfish Boil Festivities and the BEST Fruit Dip Ever!

This has been such a fantastic weekend!  To start off, I finished painting our hallway, we had a lot of fun at a crayfish boil, and we got to see Cirque du Soleil Quadiam. (My first Cirque du Soleil show!)

I want to share with you our Crawfish Boil!  On Saturday our friends Mindy and Taylor hosted a great crawfish boil at their house...I did not eat but a little bit of crawfish that my hubby pulled out for you can see, I was a little freaked out by the crawfish: 

Myself, Danielle and a Crayfish

Danielle is braver than I, as you can see I avoided the crawfish...especially near my face.
Candice, Myself, Danielle and her Crayfish :)

They scare me less when they are cooked, but I still wasn't intrigued enough to eat them:

My husband enjoyed his fair share though:

And I enjoy my husband!
I couldn't come to the party empty handed, so I brought lots of fruit and made some awesome fruit dip

Best Fruit Dip Ever Ingredients
1 cup Chobani Vanilla Greek Yogurt
1/4 Cup Sweetened Coconut Flakes
This is seriously THE BEST FRUIT DIP!  It's so easy to make.  All you do is stir the Greek yogurt and coconut flakes together!  You can easily add more or less of each ingredient to get your flavor and texture of choice!  It was a huge hit and was all gone by the end of the night.

And now I leave you with a happy picture of the girls...towards the end of the night :)
Mindy, Candice, Danielle & Myself
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Weekly Workout Wrap-Ups

It's great to be able to see everything you have accomplished all neatly laid out in front of you.  That's why I am going to post a Weekly Workout Wrap-up.  This will help me stay motivated for next week and weeks to come. 

4.9.12 - 4.15.12
DayExerciseTotal Time (in H:MM)Approx. Calories Burned
MondayRun/Walk w Dogs0:25262
TuesdayTreadmill and Leg1:09700
WednesdayTurbo Sculpt0:40300
ThursdayChest & Tricep1:00577
SaturdayCycling & Abs1:07630
Total 6:162969

4.16.12 - 4.22.12
DayExerciseTotal Time (in H:MM)Approx. Calories Burned
MondayJog w/ Dogs & Neal0:15150
TuesdayP90X Shoulders & Arms0:51287
ThursdayWalk w/ Dogs & Audrina's 4 Move Ab Workout0:40240
SaturdayWalk w/ Dogs & Tone it Up Bikini String Workout1:06436
SundayMowing the Lawn0:50210
Total 3:421323

*as you can see between my first post and my second, I did a LOT less work and burned less than 1/2 the calories.  It was my choice to work out less, but I need to be more consistent!  I know I can do it!

4.23.12 - 4.29.12
DayExerciseTotal Time (in H:MM)Approx. Calories Burned
TuesdayDoggy Boot Camp0:30139
Wednesday2 Tone it Up Workouts0:30200
ThursdayRun with Dogs0:45463
Saturday4 Mile Run0:30385
SundayWalk with Dogs and 2 Shape Workouts0:55250
Total 3:151437

Tuesday's Workout - Doggy Boot Camp consisted of working out in our side yard (it's a large open field) I took one dog at a time and did each workout across the length of the yard once with each dog.  Knee Highs, Butt Kids, Side Shuffles, Springs, and suicides.  I finished up by doing continuous squats while tossing them each a tennis ball for about 2 minutes. 

Wednesday's Workout - I did Tone It Up's Booty, Lower Abs and Love Handles Workout followed by the Sweet and Sexy Valentine's Day Workout.  Both are found here.

Sunday's Workout - After walking Walden and Sasha for about 20 minutes, I did 2 Sets of the A-List Workout found in the March 2012 issue of Shape and two sets of Audrina Patridge's Ab workout found here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Southwestern Salad with Homemade Pesto Ranch

I am so excited to share with you the salad we tried from a recipe in Shape Magazine last night! This was super delicious, and my meat loving, green food avoiding husband even loved it! (Just kidding, he like's veggies and fruits, but meat would be his main choice in a dinner item!)

 We made delicious Pesto Ranch dressing, and switched out a few ingredients, but generally we followed the basic recipe found in the August 2011 Shape Magazine. Unfortunately, I have been unable to find the recipe on their website, and for that article all they have posted is one of their other "Fire Up the Grill" recipes (this recipe being called southwester Grilled Chicken Salad with Pesto Ranch Dressing).
For the Dressing (serves 4 salads but we don't use lot of dressing)
1/4 Cup Olive Oil Mayo
1/8 Cup Sour Cream
1/8 Cup Milk
1/8 Cup Pesto

For the Salad
2 4-oz boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 T Garlic
1/4 Cup Teriyaki
1/3 Can of Corn, Drained
1 Chopped Romaine Lettuce
1 Avocado, Diced
1/2 of a Small Red Onion, Diced
1 1/2 Stalks Celery, Diced...I ate one 1/2 w/ PB :)
1/4 C Black Beans, Rinsed and Drained
1/2 Cup Roasted Pine Nuts
1/2 Cup Feta Cheese
To make your dressing, just measure and stir! Then you should cover and refrigerate this for at least 25 minutes to let the flavor saturate.

Then you need to season the chicken. We did ours with garlic and teriyaki and let it soak up flavor for about 30 minutes before putting it on the stove top to cook.

We heated up our corn with a little butter on the stove top until it got a little crispy. If you are doing this at home, I recommend grilling the chicken and a corn on the cob, but we didn't want to grill so we used canned corn and cooked all of it on the stovetop.

While all of this is cooking up, you can start preparing your salad by mixing the romaine with the avocado, onion, celery and beans.

Then you will want to roast of some nuts, we used pine nuts and roasted them on the stove top until they were golden.
Grab you salad mix, stir in the chicken, the corn, the pine nuts, and top it off with your cheese of choice, we used Feta!


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

3AM Wake Up!

I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.  Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Swimming. Swimming. Swimming!

That was my mantra this morning when my alarm rang at 3am, then again at 3:10am, again at 3:15am and one last RING RING RING at 3:20am.  OK, I am up!

I opened my eyes as Neal got up to take his shower and SWOOSH! Walden was in the bed licking my face saying, "Happy Morning Mom!  Time to play, eat, and play some more!"  Isn't that just wonderful :) (sarcasm).

We had to wake up early because Neal had to leave the house at 4am.  While most people in my position would roll over and reset their alarm for a later time, I decided I would get up!  I knew I had a e-mail from yesterday that I hadn't read yet in my inbox from the girls at Tone it Up and decided that would be my motivation to get moving.  By golly it sure was!  Read it here!  I put on some yoga pants, laced up my kicks and did their Under the Sea workout.  It is such a fun & happy go be it workout, perfect for a morning pick me up - or as the Tone it Up girls say a "Booty Call".  :)  I burned 120 calories in 30 minutes.  To find out more about the "Booty Call" workout, check out THIS POST.

During the beginning of my workout the dogs were very hyper, full of energy.  They think anytime I lace up my sneakers and put on my heart rate monitor it means a walk or a jog with them.  Excuse me mutts, but have you seen the time!?  It's barely 4am, 50 some odd degrees outside, and dark.  I am terrified of the dark, I mean stone cold terrified at times!  Towards the end of my workout, I was able to get Walden to sit or lay beside me, and Sasha laid down in the corner of the room.  They are adorable, what more can I say?

Finally, my favorite part of any day arrived...breakfast time!  This morning I made a Pumpkin Yogurt Parfait.


1 Serving of Plain Greek Yogurt (6oz)
2 Tablespoons Pumpkin
1 Spoonful of Honey
2/3 Cup Kashi Cinnamon Crumble Go Lean Crisp!

This was seriously delicious!  I love that the Greek yogurt fills me up, but I don't love it plain.  Adding pumpkin and honey are great ways to get the right amount of flavor with a little sweetness and no unnecessary sugars.  The Cinnamon Crumbles were the icing on the cake. They don't contain unneeded sugars and are sweetened with cinnamon.  They really do remind me of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, only they are made with more whole grains and less sugar!  This was perfection! 

It was still only about 5am when I finished breakfast, so I decided to do some Pinning on Pinterest (follow me here), get clean with a refreshing shower, and write this post!  It's about 6:15am and I am off to grab a coffee from the gas station (I broke our carafe and we had to order replacement...Opps!) and start working!

Have a Terrific Tuesday!  Are you as bubbly as I am after an early morning workout?

Monday, April 23, 2012

UFC, Brisket, & a Baby!?

Do you ever go to or watch an event with your man and think, why the heck am I here?  That's how I was when I was invited with my husband to watch my first UFC fight.  I think fighting is brutal, way too bloody, mean spirited, and just insane.  However, I will be the first to admit that after watching a few fights I know that I do LOVE the weigh ins. Haha!  Any of my close friends, and especially my wonderful husband, know that I will openly admit to finding a fit man attractive, so that's why I like the weigh ins.  The men undress to their skivvies and it makes me giggle. :)

Our friends who invited us over to watch the UFC fight are expecting their first baby, so I told Neal that there was NO WAY we were going over there to eat their wonderfully cooked dinner and not bring them a baby gift. They seriously make some of the best food ever!  Especially the brisket! Mmm mmm mmm good! (Scroll down for pictures.) 

So I went shopping for little baby girl gifts!  I saw these cute tu-tu's while shopping and had to take a picture to send to my friend with a little girl!  Love them!

I got one item from their registry, a super cute night light plush turtle, and two sleep wear items not on their registry.  I put them in a super cute little monkey basket that I found for $2.50 in the Target "dollar" section.  I think it turned out pretty cute! :)

As previously stated, they make some of the best food.  They made some yummy cheese dips and bean dips, tasty cheesy scalloped potatoes, some tender barbecue chicken and the to-die-for brisket!  There were also healthier choices corn on the cob and raw, which I ate a ton of so I would stay away from the chips and dip!

Oh my gosh would you look at that brisket!

Tender and tasty barbecue chicken!

One of the other guests made this beautiful fruit pizza! 

My slice was delicious!

After finishing the UFC match at around 11 or maybe 11:30pm, we had more friends at a separate gathering to meet up with.  We found them at a bowling alley.  Don't ever ask me to go bowling.  It's just a bad idea.  I have to be in THE BEST mood to even consider going, and I have to be served yummy food or drinks to actually want to stay.  Thankfully, I was in a great mood, didn't have to bowl and just got to watch and enjoy great company!

After bowling, we went back to the home of our friend who was celebrating his birthday that night.  His wife made this awesome red velvet cake, and you better believe I enjoyed a nice slice! 

I am not sure my walk with the dogs at the Newburg Riverfront and my Tone it Up Workout really covered all the calories I consumed Saturday night, but you have to let yourself enjoy some great food once in awhile!

Weekly Dinner Post 4.22.12 - 4.26.12

I am so excited about two of this weeks meals because they use one of my all time favorite ingredients- PESTO!  I am obsessed with Pesto!  I think it's so yummy and flavorful, especially when you add pine nuts and garlic to the mix. I love homemade pesto!  My basil plant is too small right now to make pesto, but I have a can of pesto I bought earlier this year. I promise to post about my homemade pesto when I make some later this spring/summer.

So here's what's for dinner.

  • Monday - Chicken Fajitas
  • Tuesday - Southwestern Chicken or Turkey (not sure yet) salad with homemade Pesto Ranch Dressing
  • Wednesday - Burgers on the grill!
  • Thursday - Pesto Shrimp Pasta with Artichoke Hearts and Roasted Red Peppers
YUM!  I am excited to share some of these recipes with you all!

Have a happy week!  I leave you with pictures of my yummy lunch this afternoon.

1 Small Tortilla Wrap (Multi-Grain Artisan)
3 Small Sweet Peppers chopped up
2-3 Handfuls of Spinach
Ham - about one slice
Feta cheese - a nice sprinkling :)

To make this, saute your peppers for about 2 min over medium heat.  Then add your spinach and saute until slightly wilted.  Add in the ham to get it warm.  Heat up your tortilla in the microwave.  Or if you are super fancy, heat it on the stove in another pan!  Then put your spinach mix on your tortilla, sprinkle with feta cheese, and enjoy!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

2 Different Puppy Treats - Meaty Coleslaw & PB Remix

My dogs always seem to know when I am cooking something special for them.  Yes, they seem to linger towards the kitchen when I am cooking, but when I cook them dog treats they stay glued to my heels!

After posting about my first dog treats found here I realized that the milk in the treats was causing them to mold!  You can't feed your dogs moldy treats!  So I did some research and simply switched the milk out with beef broth.

Beefy Peanut Butter Treat Ingredients

2 Cups of Whole Wheat Flour
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
1 Cup Natural Peanut Butter
1 Cup Beef Broth
(Don't forget the cute cookie cutters!)

In a mixing bowl, combine your flour and baking powder before adding peanut butter.  It can be tough stirring in the peanut butter alone, so you may just want to go ahead and add the beef broth, stirring it all by hand.  Then flour you surface and roll out the dough.  I cut mine with cute bone shaped cookie cutters.  This mix was slightly runnier than my previous recipe containing milk, so I added more flour along the way.

I cooked them at 350 for about 15 minutes.

The dogs couldn't wait!  In this picture, they actually look like they are being very well behaved and nonchalantly patient, but trust me, they were not that patient!

My second mixture was a combination of food my dogs love:  eggs, turkey and ham.  They really love just carrots, but I had coleslaw containing carrots that needed to be eaten, so they got that in the mix as well.  I will call this my Holiday Feast Treats because it reminded me of the my day after Thanksgiving sandwiches where I combine a bunch of leftovers onto some yummy bread!

Holiday Feast Treats Ingredients

3/4 Cup Coleslaw (or better yet, just carrots)
3/4 Cup Turkey (can add ham, chicken, salmon, or beef)
1 egg
Flour to combine

Put your coleslaw in a food processor and chop it up.  Set aside.  Then remove all the fat from your meat and put that in the food processor, chopping it up.  Combine your processed coleslaw, meat, and an egg in a bowl.  After that, add just enough flour to make it all stick together in a small ball. 

I baked these at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.

They may not be the prettiest, but my dogs love them!  Store them in the fridge when you are finished giving your own dog some to enjoy!

Have you ever made any homemade dog treats?  If so, how did they turn out?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Early Morning Workout (Mutts Included!)

It was an early Saturday at our house.  It seems like that's been happening and going to keep happening now that it's getting warmer and brighter outside earlier.  Neal gets the joy of working on the weekends.  I actually will have to put in 30min- and hour today. (I pray no more than that!)  I didn't get to post yesterday because I worked OVER 12 hours! Yuck!  We had just enough time to cook and eat dinner together before I went back to work and then straight to bed.  However, I do value that I get to work from home, that makes it seem like 12 hours isn't so bad. 

After waking up at 5:15am, cooking breakfast, and sending Neal off with a PB&J - I know you must think that's cute :) - I leashed up the dogs and put them, some water, and myself into the car.  We were off to the riverfront! 

I absolutely love walking along the riverfront in our neighboring city, Newburgh.  It semi reminds me of some walks I took along the Greenway in Murfreesboro, around the Dam in Loudon, and through the beautiful subdivision I grew up in 5.5 hours from here in East TN.  I truly love Tennessee.  Well not really West TN since I have never lived there, but Middle is good and East TN is just the most fabulous region.  Who wouldn't love having the smokies out your backdoor?!

We stayed out for 36 minutes and I burned about 240 calories. Some parts we jogged, but mostly we just walked.

Sasha and Walden are sometimes embarrassing. When two early morning runners jogged past us Walden went crazy and began barking and jumping, which in turn made Sasha do the same. I felt horrible. It was only about 7am and they were waking up the neighborhood!  They are still great dogs though.  Mamma's babies!

We took a little pause for some leash adjustments.  As you may see, Sasha poses well for pictures.

Walden was a bit spastic and didn't pose so well without me holding him!

We did get to see lots of very pretty iris in bloom! 

I love all the homes along the river front.  It's a great mix of old and new, and all of them have such pretty landscaping.  I will have to take more pictures to share when I am not trying to walk 2 dogs and take pictures.  :) 

I get a kick out of this sign...I am not sure it's something to be proud of that you were the first part of the State taken by the Confederates and they didn't even have to fight you...

After walking the riverfront, we returned home and I did Tone it Up's Bikin Strap workout. (30 min 196 calories!)  I love Karena and Katrina's Bikini series.  Not only do you get daily workouts sent straight to your e-mail, you get great videos demonstrating the moves, awesome nutritional tips (who knew drinking water boosts your metabolism!?), and some fantastic motivation from two hard-working and inspiring women.  Best of all, you don't need a gym to do their moves!  All you need is some lighter weights, a mat, and a kick-booty-happy-go-be it mindset!  I am currently working on my vision board.  I will share that with you later.  I completely 150% recommend signing up for the Bikini workout series by clicking here and scrolling to where you see the same picture I posted below on their blog!

Now set yourself off right with a smile and enjoy your day!  Let me know if you sign up for the Bikini Series and what you think of the workouts and tips!