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Category Archives: Travel

Honeymoon Mystery and Deliciously Simple Asian Tofu Salad

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Yesterday, Mom and I spent the morning driving up to Michigan to meet my dad and be with family for the morning.  On the way up there, we saw about a bazillion hot air balloons.  I know it’s hard to see in the picture below, but all those little specs are hot air balloons!  We had no idea why so many were out on a Wednesday morning, or even that so many people owned hot air balloons, but it gave us some nice scenery along the drive.

The trip to Fort Wayne and Michigan was short and sweet, so before I knew it, I was in the car and heading back to Indianapolis to meet with our Travel Agent to speak of honey moon plans.

It was a long day of driving, so I needed snacks in the car.  Mom packed up some cucumbers, radishes (yum!  I don’t eat these enough!), green pepper, and dried apricot.

It was great talking with the travel agent.  Brian and I just keep getting more and more excited about the wedding and our honey moon each day and can’t wait for next summer!

We haven’t booked anything yet, but hopefully soon we will have our arrangements all settled to travel to one of these locations…

Cinque Terre, Italy

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Negril, Jamaica

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The Bahamas

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Any guesses as to which location Brian and I are trying to make our honeymoon destination? We will let you know the answer once everything is all booked!

Dinner

When we arrived home, it was later than our usual dinner time and both of us were a bit hungry.  Luckily, I had prepped a meal on Sunday so we had to wait almost no time for dinner to be on the table.

Asian Tofu Salad

Yields:  2 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp Hoisin Sauce
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 1 tsp Honey
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 cup of cubed tofu
  • 2 cups of lettuce, chopped
  • 1 cup of chopped cabbage

 

 

 

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey, and olive oil.  Stir until combined.  Pour about half of the Asian dressing over the cubed tofu to marinate.  Spray and grease a baking sheet, and lay the tofu on the sheet.  Place in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes.  Remove from the oven, stir the tofu around and place in the oven for 10-15 more minutes until it reaches your desired crispness.

This tofu can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days so that you can have this meal later in the week, or you can serve it right away.  

Divide the lettuce and cabbage into two bowls.  Top with the tofu and the remaining dressing.  Eat and enjoy!

This meal was delicious and tasty, so simple, and we both cleaned every bite from our plates!

Hope you all have a great Thursday!

Of Possible Interest

 

A Welcome Break

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Good Morning Friends!

Right after work last night, I made a pretty impromptu trip up to Fort Wayne for a family thing that happened last minute.  I got home around 10 and jumped right into bed…let’s just say I was tired.

Mom and I are headed to Michigan at around 7am, which really didn’t leave me much time to complete a morning workout.  Because I had already planned on completing a 9 mile run on my usual day off, Sunday, I welcomed the extra hour of sleep this morning and I am sure that my body is welcoming the rest!

Breakfast

Is it just me, or does everyone take a peek in the cupboards and the fridge to see what kind of food Mom and Dad have on hand first thing after arriving home??

Well, before hopping in bed, I peeked in the cupboard and saw Coco Wheats, peanut butter, and egg whites.  I knew EXACTLY what I was having this morning.

Protein packed Coco Wheats!

I prepped the Coco Wheats in a similar method to oatmeal that I occasionally make with egg whites.  Then, I added a dollop of peanut butter and called it good to go!

Drop Dead Healthy

A couple of weeks ago, I asked for book suggestions before heading to Florida on vacation.  After receiving several suggestions, I finally decided to read Drop Dead Healthy. I am not finished with the book yet, but so far I love everything about it!

I am still fairly close to the beginning, but something that A.J. mentioned that really got me thinking is mindfulness.  

If you are unfamiliar with this book, it covers a two year span of A.J. Jacobs’ life in which he attempts to be the healthiest man alive.  He tries various exercise plans, eating styles, goes to several specialists to learn about what is going on in his body and creates a 53 page list of things he needs to improve on.

He mentions mindfulness, because for the first time ever he is thinking about what happens in his body as he breathes and thinks, he is thinking about how is body is digesting the food he puts into it and how it absorbs the nutrients.  He is thinking and aware of everything.

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While I would consider myself to be a pretty mindful person when it comes to my body and my health, there are times when I catch myself not thinking and just doing.

Now, I am not quite sure where I am going with this, but the whole idea of being aware of the body and being mindful just got me thinking.  Maybe it got you thinking too??

I can’t wait to read some more of this book!

Well, friends I am off for now.  Have a great Wednesday!

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A Dirty Trick and Delicious Egg Salad

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Yesterday, Brian, Kate (a good friend from Butler), and I all pulled a dirty trick on someone.

We told one of our dear friend’s, Caitlin who just graduated from pharmacy school, that we would not be able to make it to her graduation party in Chicago.

That was a lie.

Kate drove up from Louisville to meet us in Indy so that we could all drive up to Chicago together to surprise her.

We needed a little fuel for the three hour drive, a mocha light frappacino fit the bill for me!

Once we arrived, we had to take cover and hide so that as soon as she came into the kitchen we could jump out and yell “SURPRISE!”

We got her good!

She was so surprised to have us there, and I am so glad that we were able to make the trip.

She then spent a little time opening some gifts.  Of course, Brian and I wanted to get her the best gift possible.  So, we got her a car. A Mini Cooper to be exact….a mini Mini Cooper 🙂  The doors open, and it moves when you pull it back on a flat surface.  She will definitely get some good times out of that little gem.

We then spent the evening drinking wine, visiting, and just hanging out.  It was a perfect night, and I am so glad we were all there together to celebrate Caitlin’s hard work.

Congrats Caitlin!

We stayed the night at Caitlin’s then woke up bright and early to get back to Indianapolis today.

Lunch

When we arrived home, it was about lunch time.  I was pretty hungry and egg salad sounded delicious to me!  I honestly can’t even tell you the last time that I had egg salad, so I had to text my mom to double check on the ingredients that I wanted to use.



I remember my mom making egg salad sandwiches when I was little, and I absolutely loved the tanginess of the mustard with the creaminess of the egg.  So delish!

Delicious Egg Salad

Yields: 2 Servings

Nutrition Information:  Calories 119.8  Fat:  4.3g  Carbs:  4.5g  Protein:  16.9g

Ingredients

  • 4  hard boiled egg whites
  • 2 hard boiled eggs
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp mustard

Directions:

Begin by hard boiling your eggs.  I used the good old Krups egg cooker, but you could do it the old fashioned way by boiling the eggs in a pot of water.

I then peeled all of the eggs, and removed some of the egg yolks.  I combined all of the ingredients in a large bowl and mashed it together with the back of a fork until it was my desired consistency.

Then, you are able to serve the salad any way you like!  It would be great as a sandwich or a wrap, great to eat on it’s own.  I served mine up with a big bowl of spinach, cucumbers, and tomatoes.  So summery and soooo good!

The salad was completely delicious, and tasted exactly as I remembered it tasting even though I subbed some Greek yogurt for the mayo.  I know that sometimes subbing Greek yogurt for the real deal mayo sounds great but can end up tasting not so good, but honestly this recipe is perfect for subbing.  You will not miss the fat, you will not miss the flavor, and you will not miss the calories or extra protein 🙂  This swap is totally worth it.

Question of the Afternoon:

  • What childhood meal have you been wanting to recreate recently??

Florida Recap: My Brother’s Film College Graduation

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Good Morning!

Yesterday was my first day back at work after being in Florida for a week.  Is it just me, or does anyone else ever feel like they need a vacation from vacation to mentally rest and prepare for getting back into the grind?

My first day back at work wasn’t too bad, except for one thing.  I had a headache lingering all day.  I had some medicine with me, and I did take it, but I am always a bit leary about popping a ton of pills in order to feel better.  Unfortunately, the meds didn’t really help and by bedtime the headache was in full swing.  I have a prescription for these headaches that I don’t like to take outside of emergency situations, and last night was one of those instances.

Lately, though, the prescription hasn’t even been working.  So, while I was able to fall asleep, I woke at about midnight with a full blown, horrible headache.  Thankfully, I was able to take another round of medicine to really kick it in the tush.  I was able to fall back asleep, and wake with no head pain.  Whenever I have one of these headaches, even if I get rid of it, I never quite feel 100% the next day.  They really take a lot of out me, and I crave one thing…carbs.  I awoke starving, and rice cakes and peanut butter sounded comforting…so before heading out to teach spin, rice cakes and PB it was.

Now, I am not sure what causes my headaches, but does anyone out there know of any remedies or preventative actions that maybe don’t involve popping a ton of pills??  If so, I would love to hear what you have to recommend or what you have tried in the past!

Now, to the fun stuff…

Florida Recap

While my family was stoked to go to Disney at the beginning of our trip, the real reason that we all traveled down to Florida was to celebrate my younger brother’s graduation from Full Sail University’s film directing program.

On Thursday evening, we were very excited for the entertainment of the night because we were attending a screening of my brother and all of the other Full Sail Film students’ films that they had made throughout their classes.

Before we could enjoy any sort of entertainment, we had some shopping to do…at Sam’s Club and Publix.  Two of my favorite stores!  My brother and his house mate were hosting a cookout after the graduation on Friday, and we needed supplies.

I love Sam’s Club, because there is bound to be a good sample that I want to try, and I am a girl that LOVES samples (and anything else free for that matter!)

Cheese please? Don’t mind if I do!

Mojito in a bag?? It was pretty tasty as well 😉

As if I didn’t already love Publix, as I was walking down the cereal aisle, I saw this little gem.

Weetabix…I ate those every single day in London, and I haven’t had them since!  If you ever get a chance to try them, I highly recommend!

Full Sail Backlot Tour

After our errands were completed and we had supplies for the cookout, Kenny gave us a tour of Full Sail which has an awesome backlot that looks just like a real little city for all of their movie making!

This is all fake

He showed us around the sets that they used while filming various projects.  One of Kenny’s projects was a cooking show in this little set kitchen!  I guess the whole food-loving thing runs in the family 🙂

He learned how to operate very high-tech and expensive equipment.  Not only did he learn how to use it, but he used this equipment to complete his projects.

Full Sail Grad Fest

After the tour it was time for the Grad Fest, where we had the opportunity to view all of the hard work that Kenny and his classmates had been putting into various films for the past two years.

Of course, they had popcorn for a little snack.

They rolled out the red carpet for these young directors and film-makers and even had a camera crew interviewing them about their experience at Full Sail.  The interviews were projected live on large TVs in the auditorium.  Pretty neat if you ask me!

The Family

The movies were amazing.  Some made me laugh, some made me cry, but all in all they were each pretty awesome in it’s own way.

Smokey Bones Dinner

We then headed to Smokey Bones for dinner with all of Kenny’s friends and their families.  The atmosphere was casual, fun, and welcoming.  Perfect for our large and loud group 🙂

I thought it was cute when they brought  out “bone bags” for my brother and grandpa when they both ordered the ribs.

At restaurants like these I always get so overwhelmed because of all of the options on the menu.  I ended up ordering the Nutty Chicken Salad, with shrimp instead of chicken.  I absolutely love salads with the sweet and savory flair going on.  This salad had dark leafy lettuce, candied pecans (such a treat!), goat cheese, strawberries, red onion, and shrimp….yum!

I thought I took a picture, but can’t seem to find it, but someone ordered a GIANT piece of chocolate cake for each of the grads.  Luckily Kenny was a little full and had to pass the plate around to the rest of the family.  Thank goodness he ordered a huge meal before his cake!

Graduation Ceremony

Friday was Kenny’s actual graduation.  It was held in the same location as the Grad Fest on the campus of Full Sail in one of their new buildings.

Because the classes were so small, each student was called to the stage with their name projected behind them like they won a game show!  I thought it was a pretty awesome effect.

We are all so proud of Kenny and his friends for graduating from Full Sail.

I think that one of the great things about Full Sail is that it allows these students to study something abstract like film making, internet marketing, music business, video game design, etc and still obtain a Bachelor’s degree.  It’s a great opportunity for someone who is completely capable of furthering their education, but can’t find the program that they fit into at a “traditional” school.

Graduation Cookout

After the graduation, we all headed back to Kenny’s house to hang out and grill out with Kenny’s friends and some of their families.

My dad, and my cousin Chuck (the one who works at Disney!)

My mom picked up burgers for everyone to eat from the grill.  I have never been a person to enjoy red meat, and was about to pick up a fillet of fish at Publix to grill, when I saw a lemon dill salmon burger.  I decided that was a better option for grilling, and I am so glad that I tried it.

Seriously, this burger was so tasty.  I purposely saved half of it for dinner so that I could savor the flavor even longer and eat it twice 🙂

The graduation celebration was a perfect way to end our family vacation before heading up to Ocala and then back to Indiana.

A beer with the same name as the school!

I am so proud of my brother, and I can’t wait to see where the future takes him!

Florida Recap: Never Too Old For Disney

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Day 1:  Disney

We didn’t waste any time on this vacation.  Ever since my sister and I knew that we were going with my parents to Florida to celebrate my brothers graduation, we were asking that a trip to Disney be put into the plans.

As children, we went to the theme parks several times and have never truly out grown them.  My cousin works for Disney, and he wanted to meet up with us to spend the day in the park, Monday worked for his schedule and we made sure that it worked for ours.

We had an amazing day riding several of the rides with VIP fast passes thanks to our little family connection.

It was a long day starting with Hollywood Studios, Epcot in the middle, and ending with the Magic Kingdom.  We were dog tired at the end…but it was sooo worth it!

Pool Time

While we never actually made it to the beach on this trip, we did make it to the pool…several times.  And in the spirit of the Olypmics, we practiced some synchronized diving!

After spending the beginning portion of our day on Wednesday at the pool, we headed to Publix, which is a Southeastern United States grocery store chain…but I totally wish we had it in Indiana.

We stopped by their bakery section to pick up some fresh rolls to go with our Grandma’s planned meal of pulled pork or caprese sandwiches for those not to fond of pork (that would be me!).

Just walking through the Publix bakery made me want to buy just about every item they had out.  I love this grocery store so much because they have so many fresh items, it doesn’t seem too unreasonable priced, and it just has a nice clean look and feel.  What can I say…there is just something about the store that I like.

My grandparents were camping in their little mini motor coach (they call it the “Trek”) that they literally drive all over the country in the the Disney campground, Fort Wilderness.  This is where my family used to stay during our Florida vacations we would take as children, so my sister and I had big plans of hanging out at the pool…unfortunately, the afternoon got a bit rainy.

So, we put on the ponchos (ok…I put on the poncho), and we just walked around and explored the campground.  Soon enough, we were ready to head back for a couple of card games, and dinner.

Like I mentioned, my grandma made pulled pork for the family with a barbeque sauce that was low in sugar and absolutely tasty (I must get the recipe for that!), and caprese sandwiches for her and I to enjoy (neither of us really have ever enjoyed pork).

The sandwiches were served alongside some of her homemade secret ingredient potato salad…betchya can’t guess what’s in it.

Cauliflower! Another recipe that I need to make sure I ask for 😉  We then enjoyed some of my grandma’s favorite breakfast bread grilled with a little butter and apricot jam for dessert.  My grandma loves this breakfast bread, but she can only get it at Publix.  So, whenever she is in the Florida area she picks up some extra bread and freezes it for a special occasion.

After trying this bread, I completely understand why she carries this stuff back to her Arizona home.  It is a hearty bread with raisins, dried cranberries, dried apricots, and nuts all mixed in.  Seriously…it’s good stuff.

While I love going out to eat and trying new local places, when I am with my family, I really enjoy the home cooking provided by my mom or grandma.  We can all relax in our comfy clothes, play cards, and just hang out…I love that!

Time for You to Share:

  • When you go on vacation, do you prefer to eat out at a lot of different restaurants and try new things, or do you like to hang around in the evenings in your cozy clothes and just relax with some home cooking?? Or, do you like a bit of both?

Baby, I’m Back!

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After an amazing week long vacation in Florida with my family, I am back home in Indiana.  I took so many pictures attempting to capture each moment, and plan to recap the vacay within the next few days, but I thought that I would start off today by recapping today and the end of our journey.

Leaving Florida

After packing up our bags and making sure that we had everything out of the condo, my family headed up to Ocala, FL.  Ocala is a small town a couple of hours North of Orlando, and it just happens to be where my Aunt and Uncle call home.  It has always been a tradition to stop at their house on our way home to fill our tummies with a delicious meal before hitting the long road home, and yesterday was no exception.

My grandparents were there too, and my grandma picked up some special treats to serve as appetizers to our lunch.

Fried Alligator

and Crab Legs

 

Now, I have tried crab legs before…and I love them!  So when it came to that dish I (and the rest of the fam) dug right in!…literally

 

My dad and grandpa stayed out of the mess.  To them, crab legs are a lot of work, for not a lot of food…but I think that the work is all the fun!

Now, as far as the alligator goes…I would be lying if I didn’t say I was apprehensive.  It took a little coaxing to get me to agree to trying a piece:

I would also be lying if I told you I didn’t go back for seconds ;)…I liked it!

After chatting and catching up for a bit, my aunt then laid out some delicious salads and toppings for us to “build-our-own” lunch salads.  Just the kind of meal I love! Create-your-own…and veggies!

Grandma and Brenna

Uncle Chris, Mom, and Grandpa

Aunt Doreen, Dad, and Me

It was a great afternoon and a great way to end our vacation.  Thanks Aunt Doreen and Uncle Chris!  And thanks Grandma for the gator and crabs 🙂

Surprise Breakfast

We then drove through the night, switching drivers every couple of hours so that we could all stretch our legs and by around 8:30am we were pulling into the Rochford’s driveway…and they had a surprise breakfast made up for us!

 

 

 

There was delicious fruit and yogurt, bagels, hashbrowns, and Greg (Brian’s dad) was making eggs however we liked…it was delicious and much needed.  My parent’s were especially thankful considering they were dropping my sister and I off in Indianapolis with another two hours to go until they reached their destination of Fort Wayne.

Thankfully, we all made it back safe and in one piece!

Sunday Prep

Rather than heading straight to bed or scheduling a nap in during the day, I decided to be productive and work on getting things done in order to prepare for the work week so that I can go to bed early and not worry about anything I didn’t have time to get done.

I made some hummus:

I baked some peanut butter cookies…seriously delish!

Greg shared the harvest from my tomato plant with me…

Two baby baby tomatoes, with a third one still green on the vine!

I really owe a big thank you to Brian’s dad…he watered that tomato plant, while I barely even looked at it!  And thanks to his water pot…we have three baby tomatoes, and they were tasty!

Getting Back in the Groove

Now, that I am back and laundry is done, I have grocery shopped, and prepared food for the week I am sooo ready to get back on track.  I absolutely love vacation and spending time with my family, but I am the kind of person that needs to function on a schedule, I thrive on it!  So, I am completely ready to dive in head first to get back into the routine of my half marathon training, Body Pump practicing, group fitness teaching, and healthy eating regular schedule 😉

Shout Out

And one last shout out (to the longest post ever…).  Thanks so much to Sam at Fit for my Fork, Courtney at Sweet Tooth Sweet Life, Clare at Fitting It All In, and Andrea at A Doctor in the House for guest posting while I was spending a wonderful week in Florida with my family.

Leaving Florida

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Hello all!

It has been such a great vacation in Florida.  Today, we pack our bag (that’s right, Brian and I had to share!!) we hit the road and head back to good old Indiana.

 

See you soon!

Weekend Reading Materials: