I’ll Bet You Could Juice That!

Howdy, howdy!

Nothing like starting off a week than some fresh squeezed carrot, apple, and grapefruit juice!


More on that later 😉

This past weekend was a pretty short Christmas vacation (worked up until noon on Christmas Eve) however, somehow I feel adequately rested, even with all the celebration!

In fact, we concluded our Christmas celebrations by having Shane’s dad and his girlfriend, Linda, over for Christmas lunch!

I set my alarm for 7:00, so I’d have plenty of time to get in a good workout before finishing getting the house cleaned and the food prepared. Since we were snowed in, I had to workout upstairs, and I decided to make it a cardio + weights day, and fit the following into exactly one hour:

  • 10 minute warm up on the elliptical
  • Upper body: back and triceps with the following exercises:
    • Skull crushers + long arm pullovers using a 20 lb. dumbbell (works better with a bar bell, though)
    • one armed row on each arm
    • tricep kick backs
    • posterior flies
  • 30 minutes on elliptical with an incline and resistance of 6-10

I was a sweaty mess afterward, so I hopped in the shower, and got cooked up a nice warm breakfast before I got started on the meal and appies. Since the almond butter was a-dwindling in my Trader Joe’s Almond Butter container, I jumped at the chance to make stove top OIAJ with these ingredients:

  • 1 cup water, half cup oats
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin stirred in at the end
  • 1 T agave
  • 1 T TJ’s pumpkin butter drizzled on top



Gah, this combination is a phenom in my book of oats!

Then it was time to get cookin’! For appetizers and snackies, I made hummus with crackers and pita chips, guacamole with blue chips, and shrimpies with cocktail sauce. I had all of this set out when Shane’s dad and his girlfriend arrived.




For the meal I made some lasagna roll ups! I made half vegetarian/portabella, half with meat – and each had ricotta, spinach, and tomato sauce in them:


After getting them all rolled up and in their respective pans, I covered them with tinfoil and put them in the fridge until our guests arrived. Then, I simply got them out of the fridge and popped ‘em in the oven! They needed an hour to bake, so that gave us plenty of time to munch on the snackies, and sip on the red:



Just discovered I like Chianti today! My SIL got me a bottle of it for Christmas, and I broke into it today. Thanks, Jami! 😀 I also love Pinot Noir, as you can see;-)

Thankfully, everything turned out fabulously, and everyone loved it all! Either that, or they’re really good fakers 😉 heh heh

Oh, and look at the sweet gift Shane’s dad got us!!!


A juicer!! I couldn’t believe it! Perfect timing, considering I’m suspecting one of the reasons my last blender bit the dust was because I fed it carrots 😉 While I was dreaming up the concoction above (holy yum, btw,) the husband was trying to come up with the craziest combo’s possible, taking the “it can juice about anything” quite literally. At one point, he even said, “Hey… I’ll bet we can juice a cinnamon roll… or how about pizza juice?!”  Honey, you can’t juice that.

And Linda, his girlfriend, also got us an amazing gift basket. She’s SO sweet, she did a great job on the gifts, too. This was our first time meeting her, and I absolutely loved everything in the basket.

I was so mad that I forgot to take pictures when they were here. We don’t have many pictures of Shane and his dad together, and I figured today would be a great day to change that! Unfortunately I remembered this about 10 minutes after they left. Oh well, next time…


The hubby and I savored hour last hours of the weekend by snuggling up on the couch and watching the movie, Up! It was such a cute movie! Squirrel!!

Hopefully everyone had a lovely end to their Christmas weekend!

Do you have a signature dish or appetizer that you tend to make often when you have company? I almost always make guacamole 🙂


Merry Christmas to All

Hey again! 🙂

Did you all have a wonderful Christmas, if you celebrated? I really hope so!! Mine was great – relaxing, full of family, and full of good food and drink. What more can you ask for?

The husband and I ended up working straight up until noon on Christmas Eve. You know what that means – more go, go, go! As soon as we got home and got ready, we headed over to my Aunt’s house for a little Secret Santa and champagne action. See, told ya where ever there’s my family, there’s champagne! 😉 From there, we all drove over to my parents’ house, where we celebrated with food, cards, wine, and gifts!


Shane, me, my dad, and my mom. This picture was taken right before Niko nearly bit Buck’s head off out of jealousy of my holding him. Niko’s pretty territorial of certain people… *eye roll*

Also not too long after this picture was taken, my brother arrived!


(Hope you don’t mind that I’m posting this picture, Mike! :))

We had intended on going to the 8:30 church service, but the time got ahead of us while playing euchre, and opening gifts, so we just stayed home with family instead.

My family has a tradition of opening all of the gifts besides stockings on Christmas Eve ever since Santa became a fictional character.

Oh, and lookie here what I got!!


HA! I wish. It’s actually my dad’s Cannon 40D camera. Pure awesomeness. I can’t believe he’s letting me borrow it for a week! Thanks, Dad – I’ll take really good care of it. Gotta practice if I’m going to own one of my own some day! Shh. A girl can dream 😉

Obviously, I went overboard with taking a pictures the whole night.





Wouldja look at the detail on that broc?! Broccoli is so much better seen from a 40D perspective, clearly.


Colossal shrimp:


One thing I love about get togethers at my parents’ house is I always know there will be healthy food out. She knows how to pick a damn good veggie tray, and always has TONS of fresh fruit in the house. Growing up, my friends always loved coming over because my mom always had fresh fruit cut up, waiting to be eaten. On the other side, I loved to go to their houses, because there were tons of cookies, and sweets – stuff we didn’t have at home!

I also made eggnog for the very first time. I made it a wee bit healthier by using 2% milk instead of whole, and half and half instead of heavy cream. Yep…that’s the healthy version! :-p


And I may or may not have put some of that brandy in the back ground here 😉


Then one-by-one we all tore into our presents:


Once midnight hit, I was falling asleep in the chair, and had to go to bed! I’d been up since 4:45 and it was a long day!

Someone else was rather pooped, too:


Besides, we had to wake up bright and early to see what Santa left in our stockings!


My Nana made me my stocking years and years ago. It’s been “lost for good” more than a handful of times. Why is it so easy to lose stockings? I don’t know what I’d do if I ever really lost it!

I’m not sure who made Shane’s but clearly whoever did, put in just as much effort on his as my Nana did mine 😉


Scotch taping is an art, you know.

Apparently Shane was extra good this year, as Santa was so inclined to leave him some hotties in his stocking:


Skanks 😉

After stocking shenanigans, I had a Christmas breakfast of plain oikos, Kashi Harvest, and Bare Naked granola:


Sad that I had about a 10 minute photo shoot with a bowl of cereal, playing with the 40D haha    

Soon after, the husband and I headed back on home. The weather was getting a little crappy, and we didn’t want to have to deal with that along with holiday traffic. Plus, we had to go and see what Santa left in our stockings!

While opening the stockings, I made Shane something he’s been asking about for days:


I came back and three were gone. Apparently he had two, and “Niko” had one 😉

The best part of the stocking gifts was the ornament Shane got me. Each year since we’ve had a Christmas in this house, we’ve exchanged ornaments with each other. And the first year, Shane got me the weirdest/ugliest owl ornament out there.


This year’s just might top it:


Ugly little owl, I love you so 😀

I made a deliciously healthy lunch of brown rice, black and kidney beans, steamed kale, and soy sauce:

IMG_4359 IMG_4360

We had a rule of not being too productive on Christmas, so some of the rest of the days festivities included:

Playing some euchre…


Modeling my new Lululemon track jacket…


And I evev managed to sneak in a work out in – 45 minutes on the elliptical with 20 minutes of lower body strength training. Woot!

Then did a whole lot of relaxing (how nice!) and it was already time for dinner! I made a simple and yummy veggie and tofu stir-fry:

IMG_4379 IMG_4388 IMG_4392 IMG_4393 

NOMs allll around :-)    

Well thanks for letting me share what a RAN Christmas is like! It was such a wonderful Christmas. Couldn’t have asked for more. I hope yours was the same and more!!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night (morning!)


I hope we all have a nice, relaxing recovery weekend from the holiday! I’m off to the gym for a quick 3 mile run before a yoga session. Should be just what this girl needs!


What was your favorite part about Christmas this year? How about the meal?

Wishing You a Very Merry Christmas

Oh, Hai!




I hope you’re all having a delightful Christmas, and that you got everything you want and more!

Buck says Happy Holidays!



Tomorrow I’m going to write up a fun Christmas Eve and Christmas Day recap, but for today, I’m off to celebrate!

Be safe, be merry, and have FUN!


Good morning!

How was your weekend? Do anything fun or exciting? Are you all on vacation this week, or are you working right up to mid-day Christmas Eve, like me? 😉

This weekend was a great one for me!

Friday was all about getting ready for a Girls’ Night In Secret Santa party I was going to with my bestest of my girlfriends. After work that morning, I had to hurry home to start making my food contribution for the party.

I went with cashew hummus a la Dreena Burton:

IMG_1257 IMG_1258

Dippers were chopped peppers and some Dr. Krackers:


And for my dessert, I decided to make Averie’s raw, vegan chocolate chip cookie dough balls!


Except to make it more festive, I turned them into raw, vegan snowballs by rolling half in unsweetened coconut, and half in powdered sugar.

IMG_1261 IMG_1262 

They were such a hit, along with the hummus! Woo hoo!

Oh, and I forgot to mention, it was an ugly Christmas sweater party 😉



IMG_1266 IMG_1267

The night got a wee bit crazy, and there were lots of drinks out of Green cups with peppermint straws:

     IMG_1286 IMG_1290

Needless to say, I felt like poo on Saturday. But it was worth it. I ended up staying the night at my girl, Kim’s, and then came home in the morning, to rush home for a hair appointment, followed by a stressful day of fighting the crowds at Petco, Borders, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Von Maur.

Afterward, I realized it was almost 5:00, and the only thing I’d eaten all day was a green monster. Woops! I booked it across the street to Chipotle! I had a craving and only their guacamole could quiet the beast:


However, I sadly discovered that they forgot my guac. What a tragedy!


After having a mini-hormone-induced meltdown, I gobbled it down, and then finally got started on doing laundry in my brand new washer and dryer that my husband installed the night before.

IMG_1299 IMG_1300

Love, love, love it!!!! It washes and dries clothes SO fast, and doesn’t make loud, scary noises like our last one did!

I ended the night in my robe, and gave myself a facial (which I need to do MUCH more often) with the following favorites:


The purple one is a hand scrub that is just SO decadent. This is the dessert right heah, yo.

Sunday I woke up, and met my friend Heidi at the gym for a kick butt cardio work out, where I did a 3 mile run on the treadmill, 10 minutes on the stair stepper, and then 10 more minutes back on the treadmill for some hill walking and a cool down. And I got my Self Magazine fix in 😉

Then it was all about the to do list! Random fact: I Read somewhere the other day that to-do lists should only have seven items at the most on it, or else, you’ll feel overwhelmed, and disappointed if you don’t accomplish everything on it.

My new thing is to cut and prep all the veggies I’m going to use for dinner for the next couple nights, so I did that:

IMG_1320 IMG_1324

Then made a delicious lunch of green beans, spinach salad, and a Dr. Prager’s veggie burger on a piece of ezekiel toast, topped with half of an avocado.


The rest of the afternoon was spent writing and doing more laundry, until it was cutoff time for productivity, and time to start having fun! So I trotted downstairs to play a wee bit of Wii with the husband, followed by some 2-handed Euchre. It was a glorious time. I loooove me some Euchre 😀

At this point, I wasn’t feeling like making a big dinner, so we went with tri-colored cheese tortellini with some kale chips:


IMG_1348 Hit the spot!

So are you all done with Christmas shopping? I pretty much got mine knocked out Saturday, but I still have just a couple more gifts to get. Plus, I lost one of the giftcards I got from Borders, and they’re not exactly being helpful about it, so I’ll need to go get a replacement 😦

I hope you all have a wonderful Monday before Christmas!! See you tomorrow! 

Don’t forget to enter my Vega Bar giveaway! Ends tomorrow!

Fueled on Bailey’s

It finally feels like Christmas at the RAN household. I woke up in a fabulous mood yesterday because the husband and I had big plans to transform our everyday casa in to a winter wonderland!

But first, I headed to the gym to get my workout in. I made it to a Saturday morning yoga class which I loved! It was in the upstairs room of my gym, which is very nice for a yoga class – mirrors, wood floors, space heaters (which I parked my mat right next to,) and big open windows. It was a wonderful class, and Christy, the instructor did a wonderful job. I’ll be going to more of her classes for sure. I planned on doing cardio afterwards, but after 10 minutes on the elliptical, I was just too excited to start decorating!

Fa La La La La

First we needed our decorating fuel:


Coffee + Baileys = holidays. Enough said.


I enjoyed a nice, big mug. Thoroughly 😉

Then Shane started on getting out the Christmas tree:



While Niko hid behind my feet:


She’s such a scaredy cat dog :-p

Per tradition, we put on the first “New home” ornament together:


And then went on all the other ornaments. Each year, the husband and I get each other a secret ornament for the tree, and our first year of having a tree, he got me this gem of an ornament:


Cracks me up every time 😀



And we put up everything while listening blasting Christmas music, obviously. 😉

Substitute This!

We worked up quite an appetite, and Shane asked me to make him a turkey sandwich with mayo and cheese. However, it’d been a loooong time since I’ve used mayo, and when I opened the jar, let’s just say it wasn’t pretty. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m notorious for starting to make something according to a recipe, only to realize mid-way through that I don’t have one of the ingredients. Well, obviously  I can’t just give up and quit trying. So the only solution is to substitute something else for that missing ingredient! Through all of my many, many times of this happening, I’ve had some recipes turn out phenomenally, and some not so much, but it has taught me one thing: how to be creative and use substitutes – ya gotta work with what you’ve got!

Like using laughing cow cheese wedges as a mock-mayo spread:


IMG_2361IMG_2362IMG_2363And having your husband eat the entire thing thinking there was mayo on his sandwich. I had yet another Hugh Jass salad. I didn’t have to substitute annnnything but hummus for more hummus 😀

Or like wanting a bowl of cookie dough ice cream, and only having vanilla in the fridge. Why not make some cookie dough balls (or just snake one from the fridge if they’re like crack to you, as they are me, and you must have them on hand at all times,) toss in the ‘nilla ice cream:


crumble, mix, and you’ve got cookie dough ice cream! Sometimes you just have to work with what you have on hand, I tell ya.

And although we are now decorated for Christmas, and that it’s only three days shy of December, I was very surprised when I took the recycling out to find that wearing a short sleeved t-shirt because I didn’t feel like grabbing a coat wasn’t a stupid mistake! It was almost 60º outside! I immediately called my friend, Heidi, and suggested we take our BFF doggies out for a walk on the trail.

IMG_2376 Immediately after I snapped this picture, Niko totally did a snarl-face at BFF, Alfi. Bully.


IMG_2377 IMG_2378 And about 10 seconds after this picture, I turned around to find Niko covered in burrs. Poor thing. She had them on all four paws and even behind her ear in a matter of seconds! Picking them out one by one took about 10 minutes, but after a bit, she was burr-free.

IMG_2379 We walked about a mile and a half down, and then headed the same distance back.


It was a very nice, brisk, walk and I’m glad we were able to make it out!

It was dark by the time I drove back to the house, and Shane and I were ready to Wii it out. Hrm. That sounds weird. We decided to play some Wii. There 🙂

Snacks:IMG_2381 Rhubarb whine I’d forgotten about:

IMG_2382 We played Cookin’ Mama for a good hour:

IMG_2383 IMG_2384

Until eventually we got hungry ourselves, and I transformed the game into a reality and became the Cookin’ Mama.

His and Hers Deconstructed Lasagna

There were a few things that inspired me to make this dish.

        A) after shopping at Target on Friday, it looked like the Black Friday crowds had deconstructed the store

        B) While having a Top Chef marathon the other day, I saw an episode involving deconstructed dishes and it looked super cool

        C) There was conveniently a recipe for it in Clean Eating mag this month

I took the recipe from CE, and adapted it into his and hers dishes. Mine had some Morning Star ground crumbles, and his, beef, obviously.


Some rigatoni, spinach, ricotta cheese, and some other deliciousness later:


Notice the Christmas Coasters? Eh? Eh?? 🙂 This meal was amazing! There was definitely enough for leftovers, which is fine, because I have to go to a friend’s Pampered Chef party tonight and Shane will be on his own for dinner. The combination of the cheese plus the veggies – especially the eggplant almost knocked my head off.

Well my friends, the last day of the weekend is here. Le sigh. Even though I was sick the better part of it, staying home from work one and a half days made it seem even longer! The majority of the afternoon today will be spent on studying for my ACE exam, and preparing myself by getting a few little things out of the way work-wise. But first, it’s off to meet a friend at the gym, and inevitably Starbuckies!

I hope everyone has a fantastic Sunday, and has recovered from all the Thanksgiving festivities by now! I really enjoyed reading all about your delicious meals and fun time with family 😀