Category Archives: Dinner

Cake Batter Blondies and A Shoulder Circuit Workout

Good afternoon! I hope you are all having a great weekend!

Yesterday, we had dinner with my family so I made cake batter blondies to bring.

I have to share the recipe because they were so delicious. And the best part is that they were one of the easiest desserts I’ve ever made!

Of course, I got the recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction. Her blog is pretty much the only place I’ve been going to for dessert recipes.

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Funfetti Cake Batter Blondies

Ingredients:

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sprinkles
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 11 x 7 pan with cooking spray.
  2. Mix together cake mix, canola oil, egg, and milk in a  large bowl.
  3. Stir in sprinkles and white chocolate chips. The batter will be very thick.
  4. Spread into a 11 x 7 baking pan and bake for approximately 25 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and cool for 30 minutes before cutting.

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So easy! So darn good!

Jaden was on a strict dairy-free for three weeks and finally this weekend he was allowed a little bit of dairy so he was so excited for these blondies!

Also, I didn’t have a 11 x 7 pan but Danny went to the store to look for one and he found one for only $3.99. You definitely need a 11 x 7 pan for these to come out perfect. A 9 x 9 pan might work but you’d have to increase the cooking time.

Today’s Workout

Danny and I ate way too much this weekend! We had two family dinners this weekend with lots of food and dessert so we made sure to get out butts to the gym today.

My leg has been really sore lately so we stuck with a shoulder workout.

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This is the shoulder circuit workout that we did. We repeated the circuit four times, resting about two minutes in between. By the four set, my shoulders were dying!

We also pretty much used all the weights. Good thing we had a small spot at the gym to ourselves.

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Before the gym this morning, I went grocery shopping. I found the new Chobani grape yogurt but I didn’t buy it.

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I like grapes and I like yogurt but I don’t know if I like grape yogurt. Has anyone tried this flavor yet? Thoughts?

Have a great Sunday!

  • What did you do this weekend?
  • Favorite dessert?

 

 

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Filed under Dinner, Family Fun, Fitness, Recipes, Working Out

Dinner, Brownies, and a Workout

Good afternoon friends!

I wanted to share last night’s dinner with you because it was so delicious. I’m usually pretty boring when it comes to dinner and seem to eat the same two meals all the time – salad with baked chicken and a Greek yogurt or baked chicken with brown rice and veggies.

Last night’s dinner wasn’t too different but it was a nice change. I made broccoli slaw with green and red peppers, onions, chicken, garlic and a little bit of lite soy sauce.

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I always cook a batch of chicken at the beginning of the week to use throughout the week so this meal was super easy to make. I just added the garlic, peppers, and onions to the pan and let it cook for a few minutes. Then I added the already cooked chicken, broccoli slaw, and soy sauce and let it cook for a few more minutes. Easy peasy.

After dinner, Jaden and I made these brownies by Now Foods.

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Don’t let the fact that they’re organic, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and nut-free scare you. I snuck a little piece and they were delicious! These are a great treat for Jaden since he’s allergic to dairy.

And most of the Ghiradelli brownie mixes are dairy-free so I buy those for him too. Most people think chocolate is dairy but there are quite a few chocolate products that are dairy-free. There’s cocoa butter in a lot of chocolate products which used to throw me off but cocoa butter is actually dairy-free.

Today’s Workout

I went to the gym this morning and did the elliptical, the bikini body mommy day #15 workout, and shoulders.

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I am actually quite proud of myself for doing the bikini body mommy workout every day for 15 days. Usually I like sticking to my own workout but the bikini body mommy workouts are great. First, I like that they’re short because I can do then in addition to my normal workout. And even though they are short, they are killer! Each week get progressively harder and today’s workout was 50 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest for ten different exercises.

Let me tell you, 10 seconds of rest is nothing. After the ten minute workout, I was dying! I love that these workouts really get my heart rate up. I think my highest heart rate during today’s workout was around 170 bpm!

My right quad/leg continues to be a little sore but I have been a lot better about icing it.

Have a great afternoon!

  • Do you have any food allergies?
  • Do you ever do high intensity exercises?
  • Favorite dinner?

 

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Filed under Dinner, Fitness, Working Out

Easy Baked Chicken Fajitas

Happy Sunday!

How are you guys this Sunday morning? Working? Relaxing? Working out?

On Sunday mornings, I always like to wake up before everyone else and enjoy my morning cup of coffee and Sunday paper in peace and quiet.

My new super cute coffee mug from Target:

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I’ve been really good this week about sticking to my healthy eating plan. I did really good during the week so yesterday I was a little more lenient and didn’t track every single I ate. I maybe ate a few more treats than I wanted to (Danny found some Christmas candy we forgot about and I just couldn’t stay away!). But life is all about moderation and even though I ate a few more treats than planned, I am back on track today!

Yesterday, I made the world’s easiest chicken fajitas for dinner. I love Mexican food and could eat it all day, everyday.

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This is a recipe that could easily be made healthy – use corn tortilla or go tortilla-less. Add extra veggies. Skip the sour cream.

Since I was treating myself, I used delicious flour tortillas. I also picked up a roasted verde salsa from Whole Foods to try out.

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I used a fajita seasoning packet from Whole Foods but if you’re feeling fancy, you could add the seasonings and spices yourself. I’m pretty lazy when it comes to cooking and if I can buy pre-made fajita seasoning, you better believe I’m going to. :)

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Chicken Fajitas    Serves: Approx. 4

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken, cut into strips
  • (2) red and green peppers, cut into strips
  • (1/2) onion, cut into strips
  • fajita seasoning packet
  • approx. 1 tbsp olive oil
  • tortillas
  • optional toppings: salsa, cheese, sour cream, cilantro, avacado

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Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Mix chicken, peppers, and onions in a 13 x 9 baking dish, sprayed with cooking spray 022
  3. Drizzle olive oil over the top, add fajita seasoning, and mix until well combined
  4. Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes
  5. Add mixture to tortillas, add toppings, and enjoy

These are so easy to make and so delicious! Cutting the chicken and veggies is the hardest part and that only takes a few minutes.

Like I mentioned above, these would be great as a healthy dinner too. One of my favorite healthy meals is fish tacos in corn tortillas.

Workout

My quad has feeling a little better (with the help of ice, ibuprofen, the stick, and foam rolling). I did an upper body workout at the gym on Friday so yesterday I did two Bikini Body Mommy workouts – a cardio and a strength workout. I also did a few of my leg exercises from physical therapy.

Today, Danny and I are going to head to the gym and work on back and biceps!

Have a wonderful Sunday!!

 

 

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Filed under Dinner, Recipes

What I Eat in a Day and My Big Fat Fabulous Life

Today, I thought I’d do something different and share everything I eat on an average day. I haven’t really done this before because I tend to eat different from day to day depending on my workout, if I’m doing errands, if the kids have appointments, etc. But since yesterday was a fairly normal day, I thought I’d share.

For the most part, I eat fairly similar on a day to day basis. Sometimes I eat more, sometimes less. Sometimes I’m more snacky, sometimes I’m not.

Here is everything I ate yesterday.

7:00 am – coffee with one tablespoon of Coffeemate Natural Bliss coffee creamer and one packet of truvia.

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(I’m weird and write the date that I opened my creamer on the bottle. I’ll only use it for about a week after the date I write.)

My morning starts out with coffee very single day. I usually just drink one cup a day but once in awhile I’ll have two cups.

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7:30 am – veggie omelet made with three egg whites, one whole egg, green peppers, red onion, and a little bit of cheddar cheese.

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This is not my normal breakfast. I made an omelet today because I was trying to use up some veggies and cheese. My normal breakfast usually consists of two egg whites and a Greek yogurt. I probably eat that 6 out of 7 days a week. Boring, I know.

8:40 am – 10:10 am: workout – 623 calories burned.

10:20 am – Shamrock Farms Rockin’ Refuel Shake

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I love these drinks post workout. They’re so easy to just throw in the car and drink right after my workout. I buy the chocolate and vanilla flavors, some with 20 grams of protein per bottle and some with 30 grams of protein per bottle.

12:30 pm – veggie flatbread pizza made with pizza sauce, green and orange pepper, red onion, and mozzarella cheese. I also had turkey jerky and a small portion of fresh raspberries. And a sparkling water. I drink one sparkling water a day and it’s always at lunch.

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I tend to eat the same thing during the week for lunch. It’s just easier. This week it’s veggie flatbread pizza. Sometimes after lunch, I crave something sweet. Some days I’ll have one tootsie pop or a Hershey kiss just to curb my sweet tooth. Yesterday, I didn’t feel like a sweet treat.

3:30 pm – cottage cheese, apple slices, and cinnamon

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This is one of my favorite afternoon snacks.

6:00 pm – salad with baked chicken seasoned with lemon pepper, Greek yogurt honey mustard dressing, and croutons. Green beans, string cheese, and grapes.

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Lots of random food, I know. I like random food.

Bolthouse Farms makes some really good Greek yogurt dressings. I like the honey mustard and ranch dressings.

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The chicken I eat is the Organic Smart Chicken. I am super super picky about chicken and this is the only chicken that I eat. It’s a little pricier but it’s worth it to me.

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8:10 pm – microwave popcorn and a Yasso Greek yogurt bar

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I love these Greek yogurt bars! Only 100 calories and 6 grams of protein.

Total Daily Calories: Approximately 1500

Once the kids are in bed, Danny and I usually have our evening treat and watch tv.

Yesterday, we watched the premiere of My Big Fat Fabulous Life on TLC.

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Source

The show is about a girl named Whitney who was a dancer and grew up being thin. In college she was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome causing her to gain over 200 pounds in a few years, leaving her weighing 380 pounds.

She gets back into dance and the show is about how no matter what size she is, she’s happy. Her weight doesn’t define her and she’s just as happy at 380 pounds than she was when she was thin. She points out that just because she’s overweight that doesn’t means she’s lazy.

I had high hopes for this show but after the first episode I’m worried that I might not like it as much as I thought I would. First, while I think Whitney has a great attitude about loving herself, her happiness and personality kind of exhausted me. She’s very outgoing, very happy, and loud. She seems like a fun person but so far, I kind of like her mom, Babs, the best.

Also, while I understand that she loves herself and is happy at any weight, being that overweight causes a lot of health problems that could be helped by losing weight. I understand that her disease makes it hard for her to lose weight but even though she claims she’s happy at 380 pounds, I’m sure she’s worried about ongoing health problems.

She even makes a comment on the show to the regards of: imagine you had a carry around 100 extra pounds while doing everything you do on a normal day. Wouldn’t that that doing everything in life a lot harder?

She points out that the extra weight makes it hard for her to do a lot of things, so to me isn’t that showing that maybe she’s not happy weighing 380 pounds?

I will watch a few more episodes to see if it grows on me. What I really took away from the show is how people treat other people. Most people assume Whitney is lazy because she’s so overweight but that girl can dance. People call her mean names because of her weight and she points out that people don’t realize that she was thin most of her life. Never judge another person until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.

Have a great day!!

  • What did you eat today?
  • Did you watch my Big Fat Fabulous Life? Thoughts?

 

 

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Filed under Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch

Last Physical Therapy Session

Good morning! It is cold here in Chicagoland! Something like -15 to -25 degrees with the wind chill. You know, typical Chicago weather.

Yesterday

Yesterday morning, I went to the gym like usual. I did a few shoulder exercises including: the shoulder press machine, front plate raises with a twist, alternating lateral raises, and upright rows on the cable machine.

In the afternoon, I had my last physical therapy appointment. I even got a graduation t-shirt.

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It was kind of bittersweet. I’m glad that my hip is healed enough to not have to go anymore but at the same time, I’ll miss it. I really relied on my physical therapist to let me know what I could do and what I couldn’t do. I have been going to physical therapy multiple times a week for  six months so it’s just something I got used to doing.

I feel like the exercises she had me do really helped strengthen my leg and of course, I can do those at the gym since she gave me a list of home exercises. But there was some massage and hip manipulation things that I am unable to do myself.

I really recommend Athletico physical therapy. My therapist did a great job of listening to me, pushing me with exercises without taking it to far, and challenging me. She even came to one of my doctor appointments with me during her own free time.  I will miss her and physical therapy.

Yesterday evening, the kids had back-to-back doctor appointments right during dinner time. Jacob had an orthodontist appointment and Jaden had an allergy doctor appointment. I’m really trying to make a point to eat better so rather then go through a drive-thru or eat really late when I’m super starving, I packed dinner to bring with us.

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I packed a salad in a tupperware with baked chicken and green beans. I also added a package of almonds to eat with it. I packed oatmeal in a thermos for the kids.

Today

This morning was so cold that school was canceled. They also closed the kid’s room at the gym because of the cold.

I drove my brother, sister-in,law, and niece to the airport this morning. They are going to Florida for the Disney Half Marathon and Marathon weekend. My sister-in-law is running the half on Saturday and the full marathon on Sunday!

Good luck, Crystal!!

We got home as fast as we could to get out of the cold. And I probably won’t leave the house the rest of the day!

Since I wasn’t able to workout at the gym this morning, I did the Bikini Body Mommy Day 3 workout on YouTube.

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It’s a 90 day program with a new video workout everyday. The first two days, I did the workout in addition to my normal workout. And today I just did the Bikini Body Mommy workout. They’re fairly short workouts so I have no problem doing them in addition to my normal workout.

The rest of my day will probably be spent trying to stop my kids from constantly fighting! I swear they can’t even get along for five minutes!

Have a great day!

  • How’s the weather where you live?
  • Do your kids fight? Did you fight with your siblings growing up?

 

 

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Getting Enough Protein

Now that 2015 has arrived, a lot of people have a goal to eat better, exercise more, lose weight, and just be healthier in general. A great way to feel full longer and a great aid in weight loss is to make sure that your are getting enough protein in your diet. You can do this by including a protein in every meal and snack you eat during the day.

Protein is one of the three main macronutrients along with fat and carbohydrates. This means that your body needs a large amount of protein for things such as muscle building and repair. You use protein to make enzymes and other body chemicals. Protein is the main unit for bones, muscle, cartilage, skin, and blood. In other words, protein is important.

If your active and trying to lose weight then it’s important to make sure that you’re getting enough protein in your diet. You should aim for between .8 and 1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight.

So, for example if you weight 140 pounds, you should be eating between 112 and 168 grams of protein a day. (140 x .8 = 112 and 140 x 1.2 = 168)

It’s also a good idea to pair a protein with a carb. Do not be afraid of carbs. Your body needs carbs for energy. Never cut out an entire food group from your diet. Just watch what you eat and eat a healthy balance of protein, carbs, and fat. Moderation is key to a healthy and well-balanced diet.

Your body also needs healthy fats. Unstaurated fats are the good fats which include polyunsaturated fattys acids and monounsaturated fast. You can find them in things such as nuts, olive oil, and avocados.

Anyway, back to protein. I really do struggle to get enough protein in my diet because I am not a big meat eater. This doesn’t mean that I don’t get enough protein in my diet, it just means that I have to find other sources of protein that I do enjoy eating.

Here are so great high protein snack and meal ideas if you’re looking for more ways to add protein into your diet.

  • Eggs

We eat so many eggs in our house that it’s kind of crazy. I eat egg whites for breakfast almost every single morning. I don’t eat the yolks simply because I don’t like they taste but there’s nothing wrong with eating the yolks.

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You can make eggs so many different ways – hard boiled, omelets, egg muffins, fried eggs. I love putting eggs on a bagel thin or English muffin with a slice of cheese.

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  • Cheese

Cheese is another great protein source. I know that some people are sensitive to dairy, but I get a lot of my protein from dairy sources. I also take a daily probiotic vitamin to help with tummy troubles.

Like I mentioned, I put cheese on my bagel thin and egg sandwiches. I also use mozzarella cheese on my veggie flatbread pizzas. String cheese with whole wheat crackers or an apple in another great snack.

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  • Chocolate milk / protein drinks

Chocolate milk in a great protein/carb snack post workout. I also like to add a protein drink in my diet if I’m lacking in protein that day. You can buy protein powder or mixed protein drinks. I buy these Shamrock Farms protein drinks at the store and drink them post workout.

Drinking a protein shake post workout helps rebuild those muscles that you just worked on!

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One bottle of Shamrock Farms Rockin’ Refuel has between 20 and 30 grams of protein in it.

  • Greek yogurt

I love Greek yogurt. It’s another thing that I eat almost every day. I admit that I do like the fruit flavored Greek yogurts.

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These tend to be higher in sugar so I eat them in moderation. I also like plain Greek yogurt. I add in a tablespoon or two of PB2 (more protein) and mix it together. Then I dip apple slices in it, preferably Honeycrisp apple slices.

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I also will add a packet of Truvia to plain Greek yogurt and top it with berries.

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Plain Greek yogurt is also a great substitute for sour cream. Try it on a baked potato or taco or use it to replace sour cream in a recipe.

One container of plain Greek yogurt has 18 grams of protein!

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  • Cottage cheese

Yes, more dairy. Cottage cheese has a lot of protein so it makes a great snack. I usually eat cottage cheese in the afternoons with diced apples and a sprinkle of cinnamon. I just toss it all in a  bowl and it’s a healthy and filling afternoon snack. It might sound like a weird combo but it tastes great. Trust me.

  • Meat

Of course, meat has a lot of protein and lean protein is the best choice. Chicken is the meat that I prefer. I usually bake a few boneless skinless chicken breasts in the oven and use them all week for dinner. I top salads with chicken. I make chicken stir fry with veggies. Or I just season it with Mrs. Dash and eat it with some brown rice and veggies.

Average dinner:

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Chicken baked with lemon pepper seasoning, brown rice, green beans. and salad. Always salad. :)

  • Turkey Jerky

I have only just discovered my love for turkey jerky. I am not a huge meat eater but for whatever reason, I love turkey jerky. I usually eat it with lunch or as a snack. I like the Jack Links and the Old Wisconsin turkey jerkys the best.

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  • Nuts

Nuts are a great source of protein and a healthy fat. I usually pair almonds with an apple for an afternoon snack.

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  • Protein Waffles/Pancakes

I love Kodiak Power Cakes mix because it’s packed with a lot more protein that regular pancake/waffle mixes.

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I add an egg to the mix to give it a bit more protein. You can use a mix or make your own protein pancakes using oats, eggs, bananas, protein powder, etc. There’s tons of great protein pancake recipes out there.

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There are lots of great protein sources to choose from and it’s important to find protein that you enjoy eating.

Have a great afternoon!

  • What are your favorite sources of protein?

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Filed under Breakfast, Dinner

Thanksgiving 2014

Good morning! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Thursday

On Thanksgiving morning, I went to the gym. Yes, I’m one of those people that works out on Thanksgiving. I am up to seven minutes of running.

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My stepmom and sister-in-law ran the Turkey Trot and since I couldn’t run it this year, I ran my seven minutes at the gym.

In the afternoon, we went to my grandparent’s house. They just got a brand-new baby puppy named Abby and she’s adorable.

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The kids loved her but I think Jaden wanted to try sneaking her home. He carried her around all night like she was his baby. Unfortunately, we can’t get a dog because he’s allergic but he seemed really good when he was playing with the puppy.  But the next morning when he woke up, his nose was stuffy and his eyes were red and swollen. Poor guy. He loves animals. Once we bought him a dog balloon that you could walk around and he loved that thing like it was a real dog.

The kids: Jaden, my niece, and Jacob.

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Dinner was amazing. This was the first year I’ve had turkey in a long time and it was really good.

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The cranberry sauce is my favorite. My cousin and I always fight over which is better – cranberry sauce or green bean casserole. One day she’ll accept that I’m right and she’s wrong. Cranberry sauce is the best.

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As much as I loved dinner, dessert was incredible. There are no words to describe the pie/cake my grandma made. Well, there’s one word besides amazing – pumpecapple cake.

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It’s crazy – a pumpkin pie, a pecan pie, and an apple pie all stacked and baked into a cake. This can only be eaten once a year on Thanksgiving when calories don’t count.

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How amazing is that cake?! And it was delicious. Great job, Grandma Marlene!

When we got home on Thanksgiving night the kids elf, Nick, was waiting!

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Friday

On Friday morning, I did go shopping at about 6 am. I will not go shopping on Thanksgiving. I think it’s crazy that stores are now opening at 5 or 6 pm. But I did wake up early on Friday to go to Meijer and Target.

The one good thing about shopping that early is that it’s actually late because all the sales started 12 hours ago and the stores were dead. I mean there were a few people out but I as able to find everything I needed, hardly had to wait in line, and was home early.

On Friday afternoon, we celebrate Thanksgiving with my mom. We don’t see her on Thanksgiving so we started the tradition of doing Thanksgiving again on Friday and I cook. This was the first year that I actually made a turkey and I was so nervous.

Last year, I bought one of those turkeys in a bag that can go from frozen in the freezer right to the oven. They are double the price of a frozen turkey so this year I bought a Butterball turkey to roast. I just took the basic route and thawed the turkey, seasoned it with salt, pepper, brushed it with butter, and cooked it. The easy route.

It did take a lot longer than I thought to cook. It was 15 pounds so it should have took 3-3.5 hours but it took  closer to 4.5 hours before the meat thermometer said it was done, and you don’t want to mess around with under cooked turkey.

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I din’t get too many pictures but the turkey turned out perfect and I was really happy because I was so nervous. I should have been more nervous about the rolls because I ended up burning those.

It was a great dinner and it was our third Thanksgiving dinner! The past few weeks I have been overindulging and I am can tell I have gained a few pounds. I have said this many times on my blog – I can workout all day, everyday but sometimes I struggle with eating. It’s all mental and it’s hard to overcome bad habits that you’ve had for years. I’ve lost 30 pounds in the past and have been at my “happy weight” so it’s hard to see the pounds start to creep back especially when it’s my own fault.

The holidays are hard – there’s always parties and family and food and drinks. And let’s face it – I love food. But it’s time for me to get back on track with my eating and I’m going to try hard.

Today 

Today we’re going with my family to cut down a Christmas tree. We have gone almost every year since I was a kid so it’s a family tradition.

Last year’s tree cutting:

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Luckily, the weather isn’t supposed to be too cold today so it’ll be the perfect day to cut down a tree!

Have a wonderful weekend!

  • Do you have any plans for the rest of the weekend?
  • How was your Thanksgiving?
  • If you celebrate Christmas, is your tree up yet?

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Filed under Dinner, Family Fun, Fitness, Working Out

Good morning – I hope you all had a fantastic weekend!

On Friday, Danny had a half day of work, and we went to Jaden’s parent visitation day at his school.

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Afterwards, Danny and I grabbed a quick lunch at Whole Foods.

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I love their California rolls. :)

Friday afternoon, I had physical therapy and was able to run for three minutes on the treadmill. I also did a lot of leg work including lunges. I was a little worried about doing the lunges because the last time I did lunges at physical therapy, my quad was in pain for days.

This time, my physical therapist had me foam roll right after I did them, and I haven’t had any pain! Yay!

On Sunday morning, Danny and I went to the gym. I started out by running four minutes on the treadmill. Since I feel okay running, I’ve been trying to increase my speed slightly. I ran at 5.4 mph. It’s amazing how fast you lose your fitness level after taking time off. I haven’t run in over four months and those measly four minutes at 5.4 mph left me out of breath!

I just have to work on building my endurance back up.

We also did some back exercises including:

  • close grip lat pull downs
  • seated rows
  • t-bar raises
  • deadlifts
  • renegade rows

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It was a great workout and I’m really feeling it today!

On Sunday afternoon, we went to my in-laws to celebrate Thanksgiving with them.

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We did it a little early because everything is so busy on Thanksgiving that it’s hard to get together with all of our family members.

I ate way too much and I ate turkey this year! I have been a vegetarian for many years so I haven’t had turkey in a long time! I just started eating chicken and turkey this year so it was nice to have a little turkey yesterday.

I’m not really a meat person and would be totally fine if I never had meat again, but sometimes I struggle with getting enough protein so eating chicken helps me get more protein in my diet.

The kids are off of school this week for Thanksgiving break and we have a few things going on – parent/teacher conferences, orthodontist appointment, physical therapy, Thanksgiving meal planning and shopping. There’s never a dull moment around here!

Have a wonderful day!!

  • Favorite Thanksgiving food?
  • Did you workout today?

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Filed under Dinner, Family Fun, Running, Working Out

It’s All About That Kale

Yesterday, I received another box of Door to Door Organics produce.

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There were a lot of great fruits and veggies including bananas, pears, apples, carrots, potatoes, romaine lettuce, red onions, and green peppers.

There was also kale.

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I’ve had kale before at restaurants, Whole Foods, and a wedding, but I have never had it at home so I was excited to get it in my produce box.

I knew I wanted to do something super simple with it so I decided to use it in a salad. Kale can be eaten raw but it needs a little bit of prep work before it can be eaten.

It needs a massage.

Yes, you read that correctly – kale needs to be massaged. Raw kale is slightly tough and bitter but by massaging it, it transforms into a soft and sweet vegetable. As you massage, the leaves will get darken, shrink and turn softer.

Massaging kale is easy to do. First, you need to rinse the kale.

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Then, you need to remove the leafs from the rib. This is easy to do by taking your fingers and sliding them down the rib in the middle of the kale. This will break the leafs right off.

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Then you need to break the leafs up into small bite sized pieces. You can use a knife but I found it easier just to rip the pieces with my hands.

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Then you get to massage! You just want to squeeze and massage the kale for about 2-4 minutes or until the leaves start to darken and shrink.

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Ta-da! You have massaged kale that’s ready to go into a salad!

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You can store your massaged kale covered in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Another option is to add olive oil, salt, or lemon to the kale before massaging. I just left mine plain because I knew I would be adding dressing to  my salad.

Have a great afternoon!

  • Kale: yes or no?

 

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Door to Door Organics Recipes and a Giveaway!

Disclaimer: Some of the products I used in these recipes were purchased using the gift card that Door to Door Organics provided me with. Door to Door Organics is providing gift cards to three readers. All opinions are my own.

Good afternoon and happy Friday! I have a great giveaway for you today so be sure to enter!

As I mentioned earlier in the week, I received some great produce and groceries from Door to Door Organics in Chicago. I used some of the produce and groceries to create two recipes. One is an easy lunch idea that serves one person and the other recipe is great to serve your whole family for dinner!

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Grilled Veggie Flatbread Pizza     Serves: 1

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Ingredients:

  • 1 oz (28 grams) red and orange peppers sliced thin
  • 1 oz (28 grams) onion sliced thin
  • Flatout pizza crust of your choice
  • 1/4 cup pizza sauce
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese

Note: There are so many veggies that would work on this pizza so feel free to add whatever veggies you have on hand. I love the onion and pepper combo so that’s what I used.

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I used the Cucina Antica pizza sauce and Organic Valley mozzarella cheese from Door to Door Organics.

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Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Heat grill pan over medium heat until hot. Spray with cooking spray. Grill veggies about 5 minutes or until desired doneness.
  3. While veggies are grilling, place flatbread in oven for 2-3 minutes directly on rack. This is will help the flatbread crisp up so it can hold your toppings.
  4. Once flatbread and veggies are done, spread sauce on flatbread. Top with grilled veggies and cheese.
  5. Place flatbread on a baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for approximately 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

This recipe is my go-to lunch recipe. It’s quick and easy and tastes delicious!

I also had this pizza with a salad on the side. I used the super green salad mix from Door to Door Organics and added some chicken, pecans, and croutons.

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Chicken Parmesan    Serves: 4

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Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 jar marinara sauce
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 16 oz spaghetti

I love Organic Smart Chicken and I was excited to see that Door to Door Organics offered it on their website. I am super picky about chicken but this one is my favorite.

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Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    2. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Then combine breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, and Italian seasoning in a dish. Place egg in another dish.

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  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil.
  2. Dip each piece of chicken into egg then dredge in breadcrumb mixture.
  3. Place chicken in hot pan and cook approximately 3-4 minutes per side or until lightly browned.
  4. While chicken is cooking place about a quarter of the marinara sauce in a baking pan. When chicken is browned, add it on top of the sauce. Top with about a quarter more of the sauce.
  5. Bake in oven for about 15 minutes. Divide mozzarella cheese evenly between chicken breasts and continue cooking approximately 15 more minutes.
  6. Serve on top of spaghetti and with additional marinara sauce.

My family loved this recipe – it came out perfect and so delicious!!

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I served it with some fresh green beans.

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I steamed them for about five minutes and then added just a bit of olive oil, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and garlic.

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Giveaway

Now you can win your very own Door to Door Organics gift card! Door to Door Organics is giving away a $50 gift card to three readers.

Please note: Since Door to Door Organics is a local Chicago company, they only deliver to Chicago and its surrounding suburbs. You can enter your zip code on their website to see if they deliver to your area. If you’re not in Chicagoland but know someone who is, please pass this giveaway along to them!

You can also enter coupon code: ChicagoParent14 to save $10 off your first box now!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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Filed under Dinner, Giveaway, Lunch, Product Review