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Tag Archives: Pumpkin

My Favorite Green Beans

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Today I woke up dark and early (the sun was not even close to being up) and got ready for my day at work.  We were doing the holiday floor set.  That’s right, HOLIDAY!  Things in the retail world happen sooo early when it comes to holidays.

Because of my crazy early beginning of the day, my eating habits have also been skewed leading to a lack of vegetable and fresh food intake.  By dinner time, I was craving something green.

I absolutely love green beans, and just happen to have some on hand.  I decided to prepare them using my favorite method, I “blanched” them.

Blanching a vegetable is a method of cooking by plunging the vegetable into boiling water for several seconds or several minutes and then quickly placing them in ice water.  This leaves the green beans a vibrant, green color, and super duper crisp!


Blanching Green Beans Step By Step

This method is quick, easy, and almost fail proof!

Begin by placing a large saucepan on the stovetop full of water and letting it boil.  While waiting for the water to boil, pop off the ends of the green beans, discard the ends and rinse the beans.


Once the water is boiling, dump all of the beans into the boiling water.

Set the timer for 4 minutes.  Let the boiling water do it’s magic.  While the beans are cooking, get a bowl of ice water ready.

Once the 4 minutes is over, submerge the green beans in the ice bath.  Strain with the strainer.  The beans are officially done!


I then added my green beans to a totally new, delicious, and definitely repeatable recipe.

Garlic Pumpkin Pasta (Inspired and adapted by Hungry Girl’s Totally Pumpin Fetticini)

Makes three servings


  • 2 Packages of House Foods Tofu Shirataki Noodles
  • 1 wedge of Laughing Cow Light Swiss Cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk (you can use plain soy milk or lowfat dairy milk)
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth or boullion
  • 1/4 cup finely diced onions
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup blanched green beans
When using Shirataki Tofu Noodles, they have a certain order when they are first opened.  Rinse and drain the noodles.  Place in a microwave safe dish and microwave for one minute.  After microwaving, squeeze all of the excess liquid out of the noodles with paper towels.
In a smaller bowl combine the milk, pumpkin, garlic powder, salt and pepper and set to the side.
In a smaller sauce pan, heat the chicken broth, onions, garlic, and cheese wedge.  Wait 2-4 minutes for the broth to mostly evaporate.  Cook a little longer until the onions and garlic are slightly browned.  Once browned, add in the pumpkin and milk mixture to the onion and garlic.  Stir and thoroughly combine.
Add noodles and green beans.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Brian and I both gave this dinner “two thumbs waaaay way up!” (Aladdin anybody?)
Brian’s friend, Jenny, was also over to study with Brian before their exam tomorrow.  She gave the meal a two thumbs up as well!  She said “I would eat it again!” 🙂
Taking a study cookie break!
Hope you all had an amazing weekend!

Apples to Apples and Congrats to My Sister!

Good Morning!


Last night, Brian and I headed out to a little area in Indianapolis called Broad Ripple that has a ton of cute restaurants, bars, and shops.  We met our friends there for a drink to celebrate Jenni’s, a good friend from Butler and one of my sorority sisters, birthday.  They had rented the game Apples to Apples for us to play and we had a blast!!!

I haven’t played that game in so long, but once we started I remembered that I like to look at the green cards that I have won and think of them as describing my personality.  Last night for the longest time my two cards were “harmful” and “corrupt”…I would like to think those are not true personality traits for me!

It is always great to see friends that I haven’t seen in a while!



This morning, I had another bowl of buckwheat!

Today’s bowl was a mixture of:

  • Buckwheat
  • the second half of the packet of Justin’s Maple Almond Butter
  • 1 Tbsp of pumpkin
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • sprinkle of cinnamon
  • 2 Splenda packets
It was sooo creamy and tasty.  This bowl will definitely be appearing again.
My knee started to hurt a little baby bit last night, so I decided that I was not even going to try anything today when it comes to working out and my knee especially since I have to work tonight.  I opted to make today more of a rest day in hopes that tomorrow I can get back in the groove my completing a short ab and arms workout.
  • 8 minute abs video
  • 10 regular pushups
  • 15 tricep dips on chair
  • 10 regular pushups
  • 15 tricep dips on chair
Not the usual sweaty routine that I thrive for in the morning, but better than nothing!
Brenna’s Graduation!
Today, my sister graduates officially from Paul Mitchell School of Hair and Design.  She completed her hours about a month ago, passed her state boards exam a couple of weeks ago, and now is able to have her final ceremony!
Here are some sibling pics in honor of Brenna’s special day.

This picture is an oldie!

Weird Habit
For Brenna’s graduation, we are going to lunch as a little celebration.  Me being the planner that I am, I have a weird habit of needing to know where we are going out to eat so that I can look at the menu and nutritionals online before we even get there.  I am so indecisive that I often still have no idea of what I am getting when we arrive to the restaurant, but I still “need” to know beforehand where we are going….is that weird?
Do you like to look up the menu and/or the nutritional data before you head out to eat???

Autumn Yogurt Bowl

Since I made that delicious iced coffee a couple of days ago, I have been waking up knowing exactly what I will drink with my breakfast!!

I will have to say that I have been in a weird breakfast mood lately…no smoothies for the past couple of days.  Today, I opted for a yogurt bowl.  To be more specific…an Autumn Yogurt Bowl.

I mixed:

  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin
  • touch of cinnamon
  • 2 packets of splenda
  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter
  •  a little bit of granola for extra crunch
It was very yummy, and I think it would also be great as a tasty apple dip!
This morning, I had big plans to head to the gym to try out a new-to-me les mills class called RPM.  This class is a spinning class that is choreographed to specific music, much like my beloved Body Pump.  Unfortunately, I did not get to bed until later than planned last night and I was just plain tired when I woke up, so I hit the snooze and slept for an extra hour and a half and plan to workout after work.  I know it isn’t ideal, but I will make it work!
How often do you change your workout?  Fitsugar had a poll about switching up the workout routine.  I find that there are specific types of exercise that I enjoy more often, but I change my routine up quite a bit.  If it is running, I will run different distances or paths.  If it is a fitness class that I am teaching or taking, I know that the class will have different moves every week.  I like the change so that I don’t get in a rut, and it keeps me constantly challenging myself so that I am sore in new areas all the time.
Do you regularly change  your workout routine or do you stick with what you know to simply maintain your fitness level?
PS….I am soooo excited for Modern Family to premiere tonight!  Any other Modern Family fans out there?!

Breakfast Before or After?

Good Morning!

This Morning, I woke up bright and early (well it was actually still dark out) to go to Body Pump. Today, I had my favorite instructor who is great at motivating and pushing everyone to their limit!

After Body Pump, I came home and showered so that I could get ready for the work day.

I made myself my first bowl of fall oats…Oatmeal, pumpkin, cinnamon, splenda, and almond butter…delish

I then thought about the age-old question…Should we eat before or after a workout?

In my personal research and fitness education I have learned that one never wants to workout on an empty stomach, such as first thing in the morning when our body is in starvation mode. I have had instructors suggest that I eat a half of granola bar, piece of fruit, or something small to “get me going” or get my metabolism started so that I can totally maximize my workout.

But then what about eating after? I have also learned that the first 45 minutes after a workout are the prime time for eating because your body can digest and metabolize things better. So what is the consensus? I find that eating a little bit before and a little bit after works for me…What works for you??

Do you eat before or after a workout or both??? What is your reasoning???

No Pumpkin?!

Today was actually an early day of work, and Brian got done early with class.  Even though he usually doesn’t like going to the grocery store, I still asked if he would come with me…and he said yes!

A couple of days ago, I purchased a Living Social deal that was $10 for $20 worth of food at Whole Foods.  I love shopping at Whole Foods, but find that the prices don’t usually fit my budget, so I definitely jumped at the chance to purchase food for basically half of the price.

After heading to Whole Foods, I saw a stand for fresh produce at a little stand outside of a store, so I also jumped at that opportunity because I have found that many times I am able to get more bang for my buck when buying fresh produce from a little stand rather than a major grocery store.

We then proceeded to head to Kroger, which is a grocery store similar to Marsh or Publix.  We found everything else on our list that we needed except one item….canned pumpkin.  When I asked a store associate where I would find the pumpkin, she replied by telling me that it was too early for pumpkin so they didn’t have it out……WHAT?!?!

I see Halloween decorations everywhere, fall scented candles and leaves adorning every store yet it is too early for pumpkin???  I was shocked….literally shocked.  So, Brian and I drove across the street to Target to pick up three cans of Libby’s canned pumpkin.  Crisis thankfully diverted.


I think it is strange of her to say that it is too early for pumpkin to be out on the shelves, when I was able to buy a can of it in July…but that is just my opinion.



Grocery shopping took a little longer than planned, and Brian and I were a little cranky because of a lack of food in our system towards the end of the trip.  Once arriving home and putting away all of the groceries I quickly whipped up some veggie gyros adapted from this recipe suggested by my mom.  We made them on Flatout flatbread instead of pitas, the only thing missing was some feta.  They were still totally delicious though!

Included:  Greek gyro sauce (in the recipe!), cucumber, red onion, red bell pepper, tomato, spinach…delicious!


Tomorrow night, a friend of Brian and me is having a welcome home party for another one of our friends who recently came home.  I volunteered to bring dessert, and cheesecake is the guest of honor’s favorite.  My mom has an amazing recipe for Marble Cheesecake, but I have never made it or any other homemade cheesecake for that matter.  I guess there is a first time for everything!  Wish me luck 🙂

I Can’t Believe It’s Pumpkin!

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I was sooo excited about my fixed watch until…

My newly fixed watch broke 😦  I guess I will have to get it fixed again tomorrow!

After nannying, I went to Butler’s gym to workout.  I did 30 minutes on the elliptical while watching the Food Network.  I forgot how much I love that machine!  I usually do some sort of interval so that I am able to change my speed and resistance throughout the workout.  I then did this arm workout:

  • Arm Pullover (lying on your back on a bench)–12 reps, 2 sets, 10 lbs
  • Lunge back with left leg, twist with ball in both hands to left, lift back leg up to front in 90 degrees and at the same time lift the weighted ball over your head (sorry this one sounds confusing!) 15 reps on each side, 10 lbs
  • Reverse Dunk–sit in C-Curve with weighted ball at chest, then sit up slowly bring the ball overhead 15 reps, 10 lbs
  • Squat and push the ball out as you stand up 15 reps, 10 lb ball
  • Tricep dips–get on all fours but with stomach up like a crab, do tricep dips 5 with both feet down, 5 with Right foot raised, 5 with left foot raised, 5 with both feet down
  • Bicep Curls–15 reps, 7.5 lbs
  • Forearm Plank
  • Pushups on ball 10 reps
I then went to yoga.  I understand how important stretching is for the body, and I know people who swear by yoga but for whatever reason, it’s just not my thing.  At least, that’s what I thought before class tonight.  I am not flexible, never have been flexible, and tend to lose interest while stretching (I know it’s bad!).  I also love to be moving and constantly on the go, but yoga forces me to stop for a minute and think or not think and relax.

Maybe someday I will look like that!

So the reason why I ever went to yoga tonight is because I am going to have to teach it on the cruise in a matter of months!  They will teach me the fundamentals of teaching their yoga class, but I thought that the stretching would be beneficial and I should probably understand the basic format of a yoga class.  After class, I honestly felt refreshed and more limber than usual! (thumbs up to yoga!) So, I think I am going back next week…I’ll be doin’ the splits in no time!
Tonight I decided to try a recipe from Julie’s blog that I had read about a while ago and had really been wanting to try. It looked good to me, but I knew it was the kind of meal that I shouldn’t say what the ingredients are until after Brian has tasted it 😉
Pumpkin Enchiladas
After Brian had tasted the filling, he asked “is that bean dip?”  NOPE!  It’s pumpkin!  He then replied with “I can’t believe it’s pumpkin!” and neither can I, these enchiladas were so tasty.
  • 1/4 of a red onion, diced
  • 1/2 of white or yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • One 10 oz can of red enchilada sauce
  • 1 can pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup kidney beans
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 cup fat free shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 large whole wheat tortillas (we used La Tortilla Factory Low Carb High Fiber)
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Saute onion and garlic in a pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray
  • Stir in enchilada sauce
  • Add pumpkin and stir until combined
  • Add in the cumin and chili powder
  • Mix in the beans
  • Fill the tortillas with an equal amount of the pumpkin filling
  • Roll the tortillas and place them in the pan with the seam side down.
  • Top the enchiladas with the remaining sauce and top with cheese
  • Bake until cheese melts
Nutrition:  Calories 157.8g, Fat 4g, Carbs 28g, Protein 10.9g
On the side, we had edamole!  I was in the mood for experimenting this afternoon.  Edamole is like guacamole, but made with edamame and it is tasty.  It didn’t turn out as smooth as I had planned, but it still tasted yummy.
Edamole (Edamame Guacamole)
  • 1/4 plus 1/8 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed
  • 1.5 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • .5 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (I use sriracha)
  • 1 garlic clove, halved
  • 1/2 Roma tomato, diced
  • Combine all ingredients in the food processor except the tomatoes, and combine until smooth.
  • Add diced tomatoes.
  • Chill and serve
  • Makes 2 servings
Hope you all had a lovely evening!  Now, I’m off to bed 😉

Happy Harry Potter Day!

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This morning, I woke up late because I (again) went to bed later than planned so I made a smoothie to-go this morning to drink in the car.

In the smoothie:

  • 2/3 banana
  • 1/2 cup strawberry
  • 1/2 cup almond breeze
  • pinch of xanthum gum from Good Earth Natural Foods
  • 1 handful of spinach
  • 2 splenda packets
  • 1 Tbsp of Krema natural peanut butter
  • Ice and water for volume
It was a little chillier this morning than it has been, so the smoothie made me a little cold.  Unless it is scorching hot outside, and I am sitting in the heat smoothies always make me cold.
Tonight at midnight (so technically tomorrow) the FINAL Harry Potter movie comes out!!  I am going with my sister and Brian to the movie tonight at an IMAX theater…I know, fancy.  Because I love themes and because I love making treats, I made some Harry Potter themed treats to share with you!
Pumpkin Pasties:
  • 1 Box Spiced Cake Mix
  • 1 Can 100% Pureed Pumpkin
  • 1 Can of Cream Cheese Frosting, or Homemade Cream Cheese Frosting
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Mix together the entire box of cake mix and the entire can of pumpkin until combined.  Drop the dough by spoonful onto an un-greased cookie sheet.  Place in the oven and bake for 10 min.  Allow to cool on wax paper before frosting.  Once cool, cut the cookies into the same size round shapes (I used the mouth of a white wine glass).  Then turn the cookies upside and frost their bottoms, and stick two together to make a sandwich!  These are the easiest cookies ever and make great non HP related treats too!
I am off to rest, since I will be watching Harry at midnight.  Don’t worry, I have another HP inspired recipe for later too!