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Something New…

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Happy Hump Day!

I always love Wednesdays because we are half way through the week, and almost to the weekend.

**Thank you to everyone who has entered yesterday’s One Year contest!! If you haven’t had a chance to enter yet, you have until tomorrow!!***

Yesterday, I had a very important errand to run while I was on my lunch break.  It was time for me to attend my eye doctor appointment.  I wear daily-wear disposable contacts, and I had literally one pair left….that I had been stretching for a couple of days.  I booked the appointment at the earliest possible time, and I was sooo thankful that it was yesterday, because my eyes were starting to notice that those contacts were gettin’ old.

The past couple of years I have gone to different eye doctors simply because of being in college, moving, and trying to find something near my current place of work.  That being said, I had a pretty good experience yesterday!

He helped me with all of my needs and gave me some daily-wear contacts to try, and is ordering me another type to try later this week so that I can get the most bang for my buck.  He also helped me with Brian’s problems…or at least attempted to.

Brian always complains that his eyes are burning and on fire due to his contacts by the end of the day.  The doctor explained to me that may be because he is reacting to the preservatives that he is keeping his contacts in at night.  I had never heard that before!  The doctor’s solution was to try preservative free storage with a hydrogen peroxide based solution.  He gave us a sample of Clear Care to see if that will help Brian’s burning eye problem.

I hope it works!

Ricotta Cottage Cheese Fruit Dip

In other news, on Sunday when I was prepping meals and snacks for the week, I created a delicious little fruit dip that I just can’t get enough of!

Lately, I have been trying to incorporate more fruit into my diet, especially during snacks and lunch time.  I just love dipping my apples into something and this dip is so perfect for just that!  I can imagine that it would be great with graham crackers too 😉

 Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup lowfat cottage cheese 
  • 1/2 cup lowfat ricotta cheese
  • 1-2 packets of Stevia
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter
  • dash of cinnamon
Directions
Place all ingredients in the blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.  Enjoy!
Makes 8 servings of 2 Tablespoons each.
Nutrition per 2 Tablespoons:
Calories:  55  Fat:  3.3g  Carbs:  2.2g  Protein:  4.6g

Meals for Today…Trying Something New

I have been wanting a food scale for quite sometime, and although I know that I would use it most days, I have been having a hard time bringing myself to spend $20 on one.  Luckily, for the time being, I don’t have to worry about that, because Brian’s parents have one that they don’t mind me using!

I really started using it, because I started something new last week regarding my meals and my exercise. Sorry for not going into much detail right now, but I plan on writing a post about it later in the week.  For now, I will just give you a peek into my suitcase  lunchbox as a little tease…

I hope you all have a great middle of the week!

Now for some afternoon reading…

Of Possible Interest:

Mediterranean Zucchini Boats…Delicious

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A couple of weeks ago, I saw a recipe for zucchini boats in a magazine, and book marked the idea away in my brain until a later date.  Earlier this afternoon, I was just feeling kind of not like doing much…including cooking dinner, when suddenly this recipe idea popped in my head.  I decided to give it a try…and it was a success!

Zucchini is such a summer vegetable to me.  I love it raw with dip, steamed with salt and pepper, baked with cheese on top, mixed in with marinara sauce, cooked into a quiche, and baked in bread.  Just about anyway you can prepare it, I will eat it.  With the summer weather lingering here in Indiana, a zucchini dish seemed perfect.

Mediterranean Zucchini Boats

Yields:  4 total boats, 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 small-medium zucchinis
  • a splash of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp of garlic salt (or more to taste)
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped tomato
  • 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 1/5 block of tofu (pressed and cut into small pieces)
  • 2 cups of baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup low fat cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup reduced fat feta

Directions:
Begin by preheating the oven to 375 degrees.  Cut each zucchini length wise, and scoop the center out of each half of the zucchini.  Place on a baking sheet.

In a medium skillet heated to medium high heat, place the balsamic vinegar, bell pepper, tomato, tofu, garlic salt, and basil until slightly browned.

Once browned add in the spinach and allow the spinach to wilt.  Once the spinach is wilted, add in the cottage cheese and combine thoroughly.

After the cheese, tofu, and vegetable mixture is thoroughly combined, scoop even portions into each zucchini boat. Top each zucchini boat with the feta cheese.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.  This meal was delicious, light enough to be summer meal, but filling enough to be a dinner.  Quinoa makes an excellent side dish with this meal.

Nutrition per 2 boats:

Calories–163  Fat–8.2g  Carbs–14.1g  Protein–18.4g

Go ahead…give this meal a try 🙂  You won’t regret it!

A Missed Holiday

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Good Afternoon!

I realized this morning that I missed a holiday yesterday…National Chocolate Chip Day, which would have been a great excuse to bake up some cookies.

Because I missed this holiday, I immediately wanted to make sure that I didn’t miss another yummy food related holiday.  So, I googled “National Food Days” and I found the jackpot.  According to this website everyday is dedicated to some food item.

I was planning on writing special days in my calendar, but I didn’t realize that it would be such daunting task.  I don’t even know what some of the foods are that are being celebrated, but literally there is a special food for every day.

It just goes to show that there is always a reason to celebrate 😉

Breakfast

This morning after teaching yoga sculpt and a 4 mile run, I attempted to make some protein pancakes again.  This time I omitted the protein powder completely.

I am still not ready to share the recipe yet, because I need Brian to taste them.  Whenever I make something new, Brian usually has a pretty big say as to whether or not the recipe is a success.  I tend to like things that can taste a bit too “healthy” for the normal taste bud.  Where Brian is not picky, but he just likes things to taste “good.”  Thankfully he will try almost anything I make 🙂  It usually works out in his favor.

If you are wondering what is on top of the cakes, I mixed 1 Tbsp of Pb2 Chocolate with 2 Tbsp of Greek Yogurt and a little bit of water.  It was a tasty pancake topping, if you ask me!

Lunch

I then spent the majority of the morning working on Body Pump (I have to be ready to teach a full class soon and make a video!) and applying for full time jobs…the next thing I knew it was time for my midday meal.

Tuna salad made with a little Greek yogurt and cottage cheese mixed with carrots, onions, celery, garlic salt, and pepper over a bed of lettuce.  On the side:  celery sticks (my fav!) and cold baked sweet potato (from yesterday) with a little bit of ketchup.

The perfect fuel to get me through the afternoon.

Of Possible Interest:

How Does Your Garden Grow?

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Today was an absolutely beautiful day in good ole Fort Wayne, so my mom and I took advantage of it by going for a nice walk with my mom’s new dog, Gypsy.  There is a little loop through our neighborhood that my mom had been walking the pup on and she wasn’t exactly sure of the mileage, so I strapped on my Garmin so that we could map the route.

My mom really wanted the route to be 4 miles, so we had to do a couple of additional twists and turns in order to get the mileage right, but we got it!

After the walk I showered and got ready for the day, and the next thing I knew it was time for lunch.  Whenever I am home, I completely take advantage of raiding my parent’s pantry, so I made sure to load my plate up with plenty of veggies and some tuna for a nice and filling salad.

Shortly after that it was time for me to hit the road and head back to Indy.  I wanted to be back in town by at least 5pm because I had my 5th Body Pump team teaching session at 6pm.  I am honestly loving the team teaching aspect of Body Pump and I think I am going to be lonely when I don’t have anyone up on the stage with me to interact with.

When I got home it was 7:30pm and I was hungry.  7:30pm is pretty late for me to have dinner, and I just completed a workout, so I wanted to make something fast.

The meal was kind of a spontaneous decision, but turned out delicious.

Veggie Marinara Mix-Up

I simply steamed 1 cup of cauliflower for the base.

I then sauteed some red onion and yellow bell pepper until they were tender.  Once the veggies were tender I added 1/2 cup of marinara sauce and 1/4 block of tofu.  I allowed the entire mixture to heat through.

Once the cauliflower was steamed, I placed it on a plate and topped it with 1/4 cup of cottage cheese.  I know that may sound a little strange, but in my family we put cottage cheese in our lasagna, so I thought it would add a nice creaminess to the sauce as well as a little extra protein.

I then topped the cauliflower and cottage cheese with the veggie, sauce, and tofu mixture.

It was delicious and quick.  I will definitely be making this dish again 😉

How Does Your Garden Grow?

As Mom was finishing up the gardening yesterday, she realized that she had some leftover starter plants for cucumbers and tomatoes.  I absolutely LOVE fresh tomatoes and cukes from the garden during the summer, however, growing them myself is another situation completely.  But my mom potted up a couple of starters for me so that I could take the plants to Indy and attempt to take care of them myself.

Wish me luck, because I honestly have trouble keeping anything alive that lives in a pot.

I mentioned yesterday that every year on Mother’s Day my mom plants flowers for the yard and gets her garden ready for the summer, but my mom doesn’t grow her garden the old fashion way.  She uses something called and Earth Box.

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These Earth Boxes are essentially a portable controlled planting environment.  There is no weeding involved, it is impossible to overwater the plants, and the planters last forever.  I think my mom has had hers for 10 years now.

She was first introduced to these planters by my grandparents who are constantly moving and don’t usually live in an environment that is ideal for a garden.  They used their Earth Boxes to plant a garden when they had a cabin in Alaska, when they lived on the sand in Florida, and in the dry heat of Arizona.  They were able to tote their boxes around and have delicious, home grown, fresh tasting vegetables in all climates.

Because of the scientific creation of these boxes, they are basically fool proof as long as you water them daily!  Although I have never planted in the Earth Boxes and taken care of the Earth Boxes on my own, I have eaten their produce and I highly recommend it.  According to my mom, they are easy to take care of, and one of the best things about them is that there are no weeds.

You can plant a wide variety of plants in the boxes, too.  We have planted cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, flowers, chives, green peppers, jalapenos, wild flowers, green onions, and many other things that I can’t even remember!  Everything tastes great 🙂

Now, my plants will not be growing the the controlled environment of the Earth Box, but hopefully I am as successful as my mom is with her garden.

Question of the Evening:

  • Do you grow a garden in the summer months?
  • Have you ever used an Earth Box?

Kitchen Gadgets

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Good Monday morning!

This morning’s breakfast was inspired by what I ate while I was cruising around New Zealand, Australia, and Southeast Asia.  Many mornings I would have oats, much like I do now, but another breakfast staple for me was yogurt mixed with cottage cheese topped with fruit.

When eating flavored yogurt (even the light kind), it can sometimes contain a lot of sugar, and while it does contain some protein it could use a little boost in that department as well.  Mixing the yogurt with bit of cottage cheese (this morning I did 3/4 cup of yogurt with 1/2 cup of cottage cheese) gives you more volume without adding in the extra sugar and packs in about 11 grams of additional protein to give this morning meal some extra staying power.

I then topped my yogurt mixture with some chopped strawberries and chopped pair.  It tasted great on the cruise and it tasted great today!

Kitchen Gadgets

Doing all of this cooking at home has had me using my mom’s tools in the kitchen.  My grandma just so happens to be the queen of kitchen gadgets and is always introducing us to new things to use while cooking.

Some of the gadgets she has brought into our kitchen:

Silicone Vegetable Steamer

I used this trinket yesterday, and worked like a charm.  Simply place a small amount of water in the bottom of a pot.  Place your veggies, or whatever you would like to have steamed, into the basket and place the basket into the bottom of the pot.  Cover the entire pot with a lid and turn the burner on to medium high heat.  Allow to steam for about 5-7 minutes or until things are of the desired consistency.

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Krupps Egg Cooker

We have had this egg cooker for a while.  It is great for hard boiling eggs because it simply takes out all of the guess work.  All that you have to do is measure out the correct amount of water for the number of eggs you are cooking and turn on the machine.  A buzzer will sound when your eggs are ready.

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Garlic Roller Peeler

This little tool is pretty  amazing.  Simply place the clove of garlic with the peel on in the little cylinder.  Press on the cylinder and roll it back and forth applying pressure on the garlic.  After a few rolls, remove the garlic from the cylinder and the peel will be removed without leaving any garlic aroma on your fingers or counter 🙂

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Mellita Coffee Maker

Before the single-serve coffee makers came into the scene, my grandparents introduced my family to this little coffee maker.  All that you do is place this little contraption on top of your favorite coffee cup, place a filter inside with a scoop of coffee grounds.  Pour hot water over the grounds, and you instantly have a single cup of coffee.

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Tall Skinny Glasses

My grandpa has a pretty tasty recipe for a bloody mary, and one important ingredient is the tall skinny glass.  Of course, my grandparents supplied my mom with the perfect cups for this tasty drink….virgin or alcoholic 😉

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Wooden Salad Bowl

In my family, we love having a giant salad with dinner, and much like the bloody marys aren’t the same without the special glasses, the salad just isn’t the same without the giant wooden salad bowl.  It is great for mixing all of the ingredients together because of the large size, but it also looks great when putting it on the table to serve.

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Many times, I feel like I see things that look cool but I wouldn’t actually use the item.  I can honestly say that we use all of the gadgets my grandma finds because they are easy to use and extremely practical.  I love seeing the latest gadget my grandma discovers, and I can’t wait to see what she finds next!

 

Question of the Morning:

  • What are some of the kitchen gadgets you have in your kitchen?

 

A New Showering Experience and Graduation Season

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Boy, have I had a busy Friday!  I woke up super early again and started my day with a smoothie made up of a little bit of Greek yogurt, strawberries, spinach, Plant Fusion protein powder, almond milk, ice, and a touch of peanut butter.  I opted for a smoothie because it seems like forever since I have had one, and I was heading to a Body Combat class at 6am and knew that I needed to eat something before hand and didn’t want it to be too heavy sitting in my stomach.  I also knew that I was teaching a spinning class about an hour after Combat, so I needed something that would hold my over.

I’m not gonna lie…my tummy felt a little full during Body Combat.  Don’t get me wrong, I was still able to perform well, I would have just preferred a lighter feeling in the tummy region.  All in all it was still a great class.

 I woke up early so that I could put the finishing touches on some crafting I had been up to.  Today, two of my good friends had their hooding ceremony for their health professional programs.  Maelyn, is now (I guess officially tomorrow after graduation) a Physician’s Assistant (hence the PA) and will be moving to Houston, TX next month!

 And Caitlin, who lives just below Brian and I, will be a pharmacist as of tomorrow (hence the Rx sign).

 I am so proud of them, and although it has been a long journey, I can’t believe how quickly it has gone.  They are both super smart and are going to rock their brand new careers!

 After teaching my spinning class, I did something that I have never done before.

I showered at the gym.  

And it wasn’t too bad!  I was able to get completely ready in 30 minutes…I don’t know about you, but for me 30 minutes is pretty darn quick.

I then drove to Butler for the hooding ceremony and snacked on an apple that I had stashed in my bag.  Thank goodness I packed that because as the ceremony went on, my hunger continued to grow.

 It is such a perfect day outside for celebrating these ladies’ huge accomplishments!

Maelyn and Me

Caitlin and Me

After the ceremony, I came home and quickly made myself lunch.  A nice large salad topped with salsa, plenty of veggies, cottage cheese, and an unpictured side of celery and peanut butter. Delish!

Now, I am off to tackle some things on the to-do list so Brian and I can have fun tonight!

Questions of the Day:

  • Have you ever showered at the gym?  Was your experience pleasant? Any funny stories?
  • What is your record “get ready” time (ladies only for this one!)

Attitude

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Who thrives on a routine and a daily schedule?  I have always loved a daily routine and being able to plan for future events.  Being on the cruise ship was great for that aspect because every day was exactly the same.  If we were at sea the classes and seminars were always at the same time and if we were in port, then I either had the day off or taught a class in the morning or a class in the evening.  We received a schedule with several months of cruises on it, so we always knew which days we were at sea and when we were in port and we could count down the days until we went home.

Today marks one week exactly of me being home, and I went from an extremely structured and scheduled environment to an environment with absolutely no schedule whatsoever almost overnight.  In one sense, the freedom is nice, but on the other hand it is driving me nuts!

I just have to remember that the situation that I am currently in (jobless and schedule-less) is only temporary.  Starting today, I am going to create a schedule for me, as much as I can, and be on the job hunt constantly!  I can only change my attitude about the situation, and my attitude is going to be positive.

Yesterday Lunch

Moving on to what I did yesterday… (in case you haven’t noticed my posts have been pretty sporadic as well, but don’t worry, I will get everything in order soon!)

I made myself a delicious and refreshing salad of romaine lettuce, spinach, red pepper, tomato, a bit of guacamole for some healthy fat, chickpeas, tuna, and cottage cheese.  Brian and I ate lunch outside because the weather was so beautiful!

I then baked my first batch of cookies since I have been home!  Peanut butter to be exact.  This is my favorite recipe to use for peanut butter cookies because it is so simple and they turn out perfectly every time!  Usually they on’t spread out, which is why they are all so close together on the pan, but for some reason this time they spread a little bit in the oven so they all became siamese cookies…oops!  They still tasted good though 😉

Brian and I then wanted to take advantage of the beautiful weather and go for a bike ride, but literally 5 minutes into our ride his brother called to say he was on his way over…so we turned around and came back home and I went for a jog instead.

 

Yesterday Evening

We then met up with some friends to just hang out and have a little cookout!  The first one of the year…and the second time that Brian and I have used the grill that my mom gave us.

I prepared myself a little piece of tilapia by putting the filet in a piece of aluminum foil with salt, pepper, and 2 garlic cloves.

I then wrapped it up and simply placed it right on the grill with everyone’s burgers and brats.

Brian was trying to be the grill master.

But then Matt took over 🙂  My fish turned out perfectly and everyone raved about their burgers and brats.

Today

This morning, I “slept in” until 6am (my body is still out of wack…especially with such a random schedule).  Lately, I have been loving oatmeal for breakfast, but it was rather warm this morning and I was very thirsty when I woke up so I wanted something cool that could quench my thirst.  I made myself a smoothie to get the day started.

Strawberry Spinach Smoothie

  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/3 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup Almond Breeze
  • 1 scoop Sunwarrior protein powder
  • 2 handfuls of spinach
  • 3 ice cubes
  • a splash of water
  • 1 1/2 tsp peanut butter on top
Directions:
Combine all ingredients except for peanut butter in the blender, blend until smooth.  Pour into a bowl (if desired) and top with peanut butter.  Enjoy!

 

The smoothie was delicious and satisfying and great way to start the day.

I haven’t done my daily workout yet because I decided to get some work done early in the day then “reward” myself with a workout.

Have a great day!!

 

Have you had to change your attitude lately in order to deal with a particular situation?

 

What is your favorite thing for breakfast?