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Tis the Season

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Yesterday, after writing an article, practicing a little body pump, putting away some laundry, and tidying things up a bit I had to shower up and get ready to attend a couple’s shower.  Even though Brian and I are both friends with Kelsey and Luke, the soon-to-be-wed couple and it was a couple’s shower, I had to go solo so that Brian could head to another friend’s bachelor party…tis the season for weddings!

After showering, I headed straight to the kitchen to quickly prepare something for Brian and I to eat before we both headed out for our wedding themed evenings.

Brian’s mom, grandma, and aunt soon came home, and his grandma had a present for me!  This cute vintage apron…

I love it!  The best thing about it…there is a pocket 😉

The dinner I whipped up was very fast and very tasty.  On a greased baking sheet, I threw on two 4 oz pieces of salmon, a small tomato, some asparagus spears, a little onion.  I topped everything with fresh garlic, salt, and pepper.  I put it in the oven on 400 degrees for 10 minutes…and voila! Dinner was served.

Brian and I then headed out on our separate ways for the evening.

When we arrived at the shower, we immediately headed out back.  It was the perfect venue for a shower!  I thought that the entire atmosphere was fun, relaxed, and just plain pretty!

And the food tasted as good as it looked!  My favorite was the vegetable tray with blanched green beans and asparagus…yummmm I could have eaten my weights worth in asparagus.

It was a great evening spent with friends.  I am absolutely loving all of the events and chatter about weddings…it truly is that time of year!

Now, it’s time to grocery shop, prep my food for the week, and practice body pump.

What is on Your Sunday To-Do List?

Perfect Mother’s Day

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First of all, Mom was completely surprised by my visit!  The plan was a success.

 

Today was the perfect day for gardening.  As soon as my mom and sister arrived back at the house, my mom put Brenna and I to work.  She gave each of us a giant pot and told us to “get creative” and fill the pot with flowers.

I have to admit, I was a little intimidated by the “creativity” aspect of this gardening task.  When it comes to plants, flowers, and landscaping I really enjoy it when it looks nice and put together, but getting it to that point is usually not the portion of the process that I am apart of.  Even so, Brenna and I took our pots and got creative!

We had plenty of plants to choose from and even had to go to the store two extra times to get more pots because my mom bought so many flowers.

This was my pot before I got my hands dirty.

It is actually more of a flower bed.

The finished product!  I decided to make it a “fire and ice” theme by using the  red, orange, yellow, blue, and white flowers.  I hope it survives the summer.  For some reason, I have a history of killing plants…not on purpose, they just don’t survive once I get my hands on them, but maybe this summer will be different.

Brenna and I then got busy in the kitchen preparing dessert and dinner for my mom.  Dessert was a recipe that Brenna found on pinterest.  Strawberry Lemonade Cake.  It was just as good as it sounds.  The frosting was a combination of marshmallow fluff, cream cheese, lemonade Kool-Aid, and yellow food coloring.  It was tasty and tart on it’s own, and paired perfectly with the strawberry cake.

For the main meal I steamed asparagus using my mom’s new silicone vegetable steamer.  It was so simple to use and the asparagus turned out perfectly!  Simply put a small amount of water in the bottom of a pan, set the silicone steamer in the pan, then place the vegetable in the steamer.  Turn the burner on, cover with a lid, and let the veggies steam for about 5 minutes.  Not only does it work well, but it looks cute too 😉  I haven’t done much experimenting with this little gadget, but my mom says that fish could be steamed in this little basket as well.

Brenna made ribs for my mom and her with my mom’s homemade spice rub, beer, and barbeque sauce.  They looked super messy, and my mom and Brenna ate every last bite…they must have been good!

We also had a side of homemade caesar salad.  I have never been a red meat person, so I made myself a nice piece of cod with garlic salt.

Now that our bellies are full and the garden is planted, it is time to catch up on TV, and completely relax.  It is nice to just be at home and actually have a chance to simply enjoy one another’s company.  This was the perfect way to spend such a special day.

I hope you had a great Mother’s Day!

Brian’s Birthday Dinner

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After spending the day at the golf course at the fundraising event for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, I headed back to the apartment to meet with Brian and his parents before heading to dinner with them.

We went to a little restaurant called Fire by the Monon.  Brian and I had been there once before after Tori’s bridal shower, but since we had just come from snacks and desserts at the shower, I didn’t have an appetite for anything and ended up not eating at the restaurant.  So, tonight, I was excited to actually try the food at this crafty, cute restaurant.

 

I ended up ordering the Nero salad, which was a bed of romaine lettuce topped with tomato, mini croutons, parmesan cheese, grilled asparagus, and then I added smoked trout.  At first, I considered ordering the salmon on top, but I wanted to try something new and they smoke the trout in house…sounds like my decision was made for me.  I ordered the smaller sized salad since I was getting the fish on top, and although our waitress thought that this was the size of a side salad, I am glad that I opted for the smaller version.

 

I was glad for the smaller version because, soon after we finished our meals, we heard singing as the waitresses brought out two lava cakes with ice cream for me, Brian, and his parents to share.  His parents made a special request…so sneaky!

The cake was delicious and the perfect way to end Brian’s birthday night.

 

I hope you all had a great start to the week.  I am off to bed so that I can be well-rested for my indoor cycling class tomorrow morning.  See ya bright and early!

Picky About My Equipment

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Yesterday evening I did something fun and unique…

I sang the National Anthem at an Indiana ICE hockey game.  In high school, me and my group of friends called ourselves the Lemon Sistas and sang at nearly every sporting event that needed the National Anthem in high school.  We also sang at churches and events throughout the community.  Even with all of that experience singing The Star Spangled Banner, I realized last night that this was my first  time singing at a sporting even alone.

It was an excellent experience!  I have to admit that I was a little bit nervous about slipping on the ice, but once I was out there everything was fine.  As I was singing the lyrics though, I started to think about the words too much, and realized how easy it really could be for someone to forget the words to a song we all know so well.  Luckily, I didn’t leave any words out 😉

Dinner

Last night, I made Brian his birthday dinner because tonight (his actual birthday) we are going to to eat with his parents.  Brian never really craves certain foods, or offers much input while I make the menu and grocery list for the week, but when I suggested salmon for his special meal he was quick to agree!

My mom had a salmon rub at one point (literally years ago) that had a touch of cinnamon in it, but it was sooo delicious.  The hint of cinnamon mixed with the salmon simply complimented so well and made for a flavorful dish.  Last night,  I tied to recreate that rub:

Cinnamony Salmon Spice Rub

Simply combine all ingredients in a bowl and rub onto the salmon before baking.

  • Cinnamon
  • Garlic
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Onion Powder
  • Ground Red Pepper

I am not quite sure of the measurements because I just started mixing and pouring and tasting, and when it finally tasted good to me, I rubbed it on the fish.  No oil needed! 

Served with asparagus, my favorite springtime veggie, this meal hit the birthday spot.

Workout

Today, I revisited an old friend, the elliptical.

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In my college days, the elliptical was my go-to.  Since I have graduated, I have been much more involved in running outdoors, and spinning when it comes to cardio.  It was nice to zone out on the elliptical for 20 minutes before I lifted some weights doing my 4 move shoulder routine, but I must say I am a bit picky when it comes to elliptical selection.

I like to be able to move forward and backward and change the incline and resistance myself so that I can create a little routine.  This machine, however, shut off whenever I switched directions or resistance, and I couldn’t adjust the incline.  At least I got a little sweaty 😉

Breakfast

For breakfast this morning, I tried something new for the second time, and both times it just hasn’t turned out the way I expected it to.

I have been trying to make Make-Ahead Oatmeal Smoothies, and they are just turning out really runny….and I know why.  It is because I am not using chia seeds.  I thought I could get away with it, I even tried to use hemp seeds instead….and it just isn’t cutting it.  The chia seeds absorb liquid and create a gel like substance, so they are great as thickening agents in these overnight concoctions, but without it…they simply get runny.  Looks like I am going to have to invest in some chia seeds…soon!

I hope you all have a wonderful Monday!  I will be spending the day on the golf course with the Maestro Open for the Indianapolis Symphony…hopefully the weather holds out!

Question of the Morning:

  • Are you picky about your exercise equipment?
  • What do you do to get your cardio in?  Run outside, bike, elliptical, walk, group exercise???

 

A Whole Lot of Nothing

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Tonight, I feel like I have done a whole lot….of nothing.  After lunch, I took the puppies on a walk.  It is hard to get them to pose for a picture because I feel like they are ALWAYS moving, at least when I try to take pictures of them.

Attempt 1:

Attempt 2:

Finally a decent one 🙂 They were playing with each other.

I then went to the apartment to meet Brian for dinner.  I quickly steamed some asparagus…and I must say it was perfectly steamed. Slightly crunchy and full of flavor!  The asparagus was served along side a Morningstar Farms Black Bean Burger.  Simple, quick, and tasty.

I then backed up my computer on my external hard drive because my power adapter has been giving me troubles.  My computer is about 5 years old, so I guess some problems are expected at this point.

The cord is beginning to come apart, so I taped it together until my new one comes in the mail…which should be soon.

While my computer was backing up, I decided to take advantage of the weather and go on a little 40 minute jog.  The weather is seriously perfect!  The only downfall…it is a little windy, which makes it hard when you are running against it, but it was still a great run.  There were so many people out and about, and that is what I love to see.

 

I then packed up my computer and headed back to the puppies, I played around with them for a bit, and the next thing I knew it was just about 9pm!  Where did the day go?  I feel like I didn’t stop the whole day…yet the to-do list is not done.  That’s what tomorrow is for, I guess!

 

This is so random, but about a year ago, I participated in a survey for people with contacts.  Well, they sent me a follow-up survey today and for completing it, I got a $25 gift card!! How awesome is that?  I love free stuff 😉

Alright my friends!  Off to relax for the evening.

 

Homemade Protein Bars and Bowling

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When we arrived home from playing with puppies, I was in the mood to whip up a new and tasty snack: Homemade Protein Bars.  I found some recipes on Jamie Eason’s web site and had been wanting to try them for a while now, but since I had no kitchen on the boat I had to wait until I was home.  

The recipe called for oat flour, and since we didn’t have any I simply put oats in the food processor to create an oat flour and it worked great!

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I thought that these would be perfect for Brian to have as a snack between classes.  Also, when planning snacks, sometimes it is a little bit hard to incorporate protein simply because I don’t always want to include something like tuna or cheese, and these are a great alternative!

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Cinnamon Swirl Protein Bars (Based on the recipe by Jamie Eason)

Yield:  8 servings (cut into 16 squares, 2 bars equals one serving)

Cook Time:  24-28 minutes

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Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup NuNaturals Stevia BakingBlend
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups oat flour
  • 2 scoops Sunwarrior vanilla protein powder
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup Nunaturals Stevia BakingBlend
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup Vanilla Almond Breeze (I usually would use unsweetened but Mom only had the sweetened)
  • 1/4 cup Fage 0% plain Greek yogurt
Directions
Combine 1/4 cup Stevia and 2 tsp cinnamon in a small dish and set aside.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray an 8×8 glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.  
 
In a large bowl combine the oat flour, protein powder, baking powder, salt, stevia, egg whites, almond breeze, and Greek yogurt.  Mix until thoroughly combined, but don’t overmix.  
 
Pour half of the mixture into the bottom of the 8×8 baking dish.  Sprinkle half of the cinnamon and stevia mixture on top of the batter in the baking dish.  Pour the rest of the batter into the baking dish and top with the rest of the cinnamon and stevia.  
 
Bake for 24-28 minutes.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes.  Cut into 16 squares, 2 squares is one serving.  Bars will be slightly dense. 
 
Nutrition (for 2 bars)
Calories:  93.31g  Fat:  1.52g  Carbs:  13.46g  Protein:  7.62g

Enjoy!!!

 

After the baking was done, Mom had dinner ready for us!! She made a delicious meal of marinated shrimp, quinoa with cayenne, black beans, and corn, and steamed asparagus.  A completely nutritious and delicious meal!

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After dinner, Mom, Dad, Brian and I headed to the bowling alley.  We are slightly competitive as a family, and Mom decided to bring her own lucky bowling ball.  Mom and Dad used to be on a bowling league and are secretly pretty good at it…Brian and I are, however, not that good at bowling.

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I was able to get a couple of strikes…as well as a couple of gutter balls!

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Brian got some strikes as well!!

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Brian and Dad were the high scorers for the first game.

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Mom and I were the high scorers in the second game.  I still didn’t break 100 😉  It was a great way to spend the evening! 

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This morning, I woke up super early again simply because of the cruise ship schedule that I am used to, but I headed right down stairs to make myself some more oatmeal with Sunwarrior, peanut butter and strawberries.

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Now, Brian, Mom, and I are getting ready to head to Zumba…this is Brian’s first time and it should be interesting!