Put Your Skills to the Test

Hey hey hey! Happy Friday! What’s one exciting thing going on in your life today? I’m excited to finally tackle a to-do list that’s about a mile long 😉

Last night I knew I’d be getting home from training a little late for dinner, so I had Shane preheat the oven about 10 minutes before I got home. Because…we were having squash! It finally feels like it’s the weather to start having squash for dinner.

But first…

 

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Putting our newfound wine skills to the test.

Sidenote: Jason, the instructor for the wine class, told us that we should make the first drink of the day a new bottle of wine we’ve never tried before. The husband chimed in, “I usually go with coffee, but whatever you say, Jason!” heheh 😉

I told Shane to go grab a bottle of wine from the wine hutch downstairs, and surprisingly, he came back with an Australian Shiraz (aka Syrah)

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The husband usually picks fruity wines, so I was impressed that after one class, he’d gotten over that! And I knew he didn’t mistakenly think it was fruity, because he mentioned the alcohol percentage. The higher the alcohol, the lower the fruitiness

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 Not surprisingly, this bottle came with a screw cap or a Stelvin closure.

 

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Since this bottle traveled allll the way from Australia, a Stelvin closure makes sense, as they have the lowest failure rate out of the cork, rubber cork, and Stelvin closures. That’s a lot of shipping costs to have to ship back a bad bottle of wine due to a closure 😉

 

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“decanting” going on. I’m horrible at this. I end up inhaling wine which is never a good thing. LOL

45 minutes and a half of bottle of wine later, dinner was ready and we were ready for dinner.

 

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For the squash, I just cut it in half, placed each side upsidedown in a baking dish filled with a half inch of water, and baked at 425 degrees for about 40 minutes. While the squash was cooking, the black beans were marinating in a mixture of apple cider vinegar, tamari, maple syrup, and a little sea salt. During the last 10 minutes the squash was cooking, I flipped the sides over and added the beans.

 

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Topped with goat cheese, this dish was FANTASTIC. The flavors went together impeccably!

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However, don’t pair a shiraz with this dish 😉

As we were cleaning up the kitch, look where I found Clarabelle!!

 

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In between the two panes of glass in our dining room table!! Clearly I had to snap a picture before chasing her down and cleaning;)

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—-

Well I’ve got a to-do list to tackle! You – have a fantastic Friday 😀

What’s your favorite squash? Mine’s the buttercup!

Oh My Mint

Morning!

How was everyone’s weekend? Pretty peachy over here 🙂

Yesterday morning I had a change in plans, client-wise- and thusly, running-wise, and all of the sudden I was getting ready for a 6.5 mile run.

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As I mentioned earlier, my next race in the Frank Lloyd Wright 10k in Oak Park. My goal for time is around a 9:00 minute mile, but I actually might need to revise it, because today I finished 6.5 miles with an average pace of 9:02…and it was somewhat hilly!

1 – 9:23

2 – 9:03

3 – 9:05

4 – 8:55

5 – 9:01

6 – 9:03

6-6.4 – 8:14

Whoop whoop! I think now my goal will be around an 8:45 min mile.

After stretching and showering, my muscles were craving some protein + carbs. My favorite post-run fuel is smoothies – and lately, of the chocolate + spinach variety using Chocolate Vega Shake and Go protein powder, frozen bananas, almond milk + spinach. Today, however, I was out of spinach (*gasp*) so I got creative…

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this is some mint from my flower bed. But it’s not just any mint…it’s a chocolate mint plant!

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Oh…my…mint, this warps a smoothie from an 8 to a 10. A hard 10!!! (She’s Out of My League, anyone?) I sprinkled some Trader Joe’s Pecan Praline granola on top for some crunch – yum!

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However, I still maintain that Ezekiel granola is hands down the best granola to top smoothies.

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Perfect post-run fuel!

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Saturday Shane and I drove up to the Chicagoland area to visit a few of our favorite stores. Actually, this was “the main reason” we took the 1 hr 45 minute drive up:

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but stops were also taken here:

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and here:IMG_0303

Shane was almost as excited as I was…

 

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Haha

We also made the obligatory stop at the WF cafe for some lunch. I basically got every vegetarian option available, in a paper basket.

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They weren’t exactly on the way, but the husband knows how much I crave Whole Foods and Lululemon. Maaaajor haulage ensued. Poor wallet, heh heh 🙂 But it’d been a while since I’ve been to either to be fair. 😉

Anyway, back to the “main reason” for the mini roadtrip. A while back, if you remember, I left the house in a fury and broke a few things in my path of destruction. It left our entry way bare. Finally, FINALLY we got a replacement that Shane “didn’t need any help with” 😉 putting together. One hour later…

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He got it!

 

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We also got two square, woven baskets to put in two cubbie holes, and a cat to put…wait a second!

 

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LOL. This is Clarabelle’s favorite new hang out spot. No loitering in the cubbie holes, Ceeb! 😛

We also got some new flatware and dishes:

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I’m guessing I totally butchered the correct way to place these (sorry, Sabrina!! 😉 )

Don’t they look good with food in them?

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Chipotle vegetarian burrito bowl was the way to go after a day of driving 😉

The dishes we had previously were from my college years, so I’d say we were due for a new set 😉

————

Well I’m off to train a couple clients (a new one today 😀 ) and get my workout on. Catch ya’ll later!

What’s your favorite home furnishing store? I love IKEA, but Crate and Barrel probably takes the cake. And can you believe I’ve never bought anything from William Sonoma? The closest one is two hours away, and we just haven’t happened to buy anything from there! It feels like WS is very popular in the blog world.

Declutter Your Mind

Greetings! Everything OK in your world? I hope so – things are fine here.

I just returned from a quick 2.5 miler(with a 8:45 pace!! I was in a hurry) and am about to down some oooovernight oats. It’s been a while.

 

Yesterday

Yesterday after I took a nap lay awake in bed for an hour, I got up with a fierce craving for hot oats. This is rare in the hot summer heat, so I went with the craving.

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Craving=solved and it was a lovely bowl of oats indeed. A dollop of Greek yogurt does wonders to hot oats in the summer. It’s the perfect way to cool them down without going so far as to making them overnight oat-esque.

 

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A load or two of laundry and some scrapbooking later and I fueled up before heading to the gym:

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Half a peanut butter chocolate Lara Bar.

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It was all I had not to finish the whole thing. I stuck the rest in my purse to eat post workout/pre-training session. After an intense 3.5 interval run followed by back and biceps work, I trained a client, chatted up the owner, and headed home.

I had another errand to tend to. This one’s a doozy.

 

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Getting this one to the vet. She actually didn’t do too bad! And got copious amounts of Greenies when she returned. All is well in the tough life of Clarabelle. Although I do think it’s a load of crap for my county to instill a law that I pay a fee each year to have my INDOOR cat registered for rabies. Whatev.

Still on minimal sleep, I trucked on. Lunch helped!

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I had leftovers of this, but the leftovers pic turned out to be way less appetizing looking than this one.

Dessert was even more unappetizing-looking.

 IMG_8215But it was good, nonetheless. I intended to have a green monster, but I was gluttonous and ate all the frozen bananas in my banana soft serve I had the night before. So I got my protein in protein cookie dough form (protein powder, a little almond milk, a            tsp. PB, sea salt, cocao powder) Yum! 🙂

I glowered at my to-do list when I saw what was next: scrubbing the floors. Once a month I get down on my hands and knees with some rubber gloves and a bucket of hot water and soap and scrub ‘til I’m mad. It’s so rewarding, though.

My reward:

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Pretty sure this is the last Kombucha in my city. Wah!

By this time, I was so beat, the thought of going back to work seemed like a sin! I almost rescheduled for tomorrow, but then I thought of how I’d feel about that tomorrow, and changed my mind 😉 It’s always fun, but getting there is sometimes a challenge.

Before I left for my client’s house, I made a little dinner for the hubski and me:

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Taco salad! Taco taco; burrito burrrito; taco taco!

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I actually got this recipe out of my Hungry Girl cook book. I was feeling uninspired with the usuals, and haven’t made anything from that cookbook from a while because there’s usually chemical-laden/not whole foods ingredients in the recipes like Splenda or egg white substitute. Of course I tweaked it a bunch, but the overall concept was from her recipe;)

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I added some tempeh on top to mine. I love tempeh!

When I got home from training my last client of the day, I started winding down immediately. I didn’t want another restless night like Sunday night. I had a small dessert of some ice cream and then made some sleepy time tea. Finally, I prepared this morning’s coffee, shut down the kitchen, and laid everything out for today. It majorly helped declutter the mind. Another thing that helps is writing down what you need to do the following day right before you head to bed. That way, instead of thinking about it and trying not to forget it when you’re head hits the pillow, it’s already all laid out for ya!

Well I’m off to eat some breakfast and head to work. Catch ya lata 😀

 

What helps you declutter your mind before calling it a night? If tea and a list don’t help, I put on some lavender-scented lotion. The calming aroma does wonders to calm the brain 🙂

Kitty Wheat Grass and the Burn Factor

TGIF!!!!!

What a week! Worked hard and now Friday is the reward 🙂 Hoo-rah!

Currently trying to decide what to whip up for breakfast. I took the morning off from exercise for my Birthday Eve 😉 Plus, tomorrow is the Big Birthday 10 Miles (*shudders*) and I’m petrified. Gah!

Before I get started into my day yesterday, I HAVE to show you this new thing I got for miss Clarabelle…

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I got her her own wheat grass!

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I had to grow it myself – and I started it last Friday, and I’ve already got grass!

I just poured the water in this litter looking stuff, and a few days later, it was sprouting!

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I know she’s going to love this stuff. Seriously, who though of this? I mean, I make sure I get my greens, so why not make sure kitty does the same? hahaha awesome 🙂

OK, back to the topic at hand…

After office-work last night I went to the gym to train a couple clients, and when I got home, it was already somewhat late. And I was staaah-ving.

 

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This’ll do the trick!

While the oven was pre-heating, I noshed on some veggies!

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Shane had a bunch of guys over from work, and one of them brought in a veggie tray (!!) and left it at our house. I told Shane to give him a hug and kiss from me 😉

Look at the cute little seedless bell peppers!

 

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I’ve never seen these before, but they are delicious! I opted for hummus as a dipper instead of the ranch. Yum!

Look at what else I came home to today:

 

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DAISIES!!

 

IMG_1766My mom and dad sent them to me for my birthday. How sweet is that? Thank you mom and dad! Love you! 😀

Finally, the pizza was done cooking, and I filled up a plate:

 

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Three big slices.

 

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Minus one and a half crusts. Just because the hubski begged it off of me 😉 Also had a glass of red to wash it down:

 

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Everything looks better with daisies as a back drop, don’tcha think??

For dessert, I had my attempt at making a POMcicle:

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Last night I poured 100% POM juice into this cute little ice cube tray that my Secret Bloggy Valentine sent me:

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And stuck…errr lay tooth pics on top. Turned out pretty OK!

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The Burn Factor

The other day, I did some Saxon side bends in my full body workout, and it apparently, it’s been ages since I’ve done this exercise, because the day after, I was sore all the way from the top of my rib cage to my hip bones! And although I was sore, I recognized it as a "good kind of sore."

I know I’m not the only one who actually likes feeling sore from a workout the next day, right?!

And I know that you don’t have to be sore the next day in order to have a good workout. Really, the only reason we should be sore is if we’re doing a new (or new in a while) exercise, or working with a lot more weight or intensity. Although it’s not been proven, this soreness is believed to be caused by lifting eccentrically (i.e. the lowering motion of a bicep curl.) We get tiny microscopic tears in the muscle that need to be repaired. This is also called delayed onset muscles soreness, or DOMS.
This is different from the soreness we feel while we are actually doing the lifting or exercising – that’s a different type of soreness. That’s lactic acid build up that makes our muscles feel the ‘burn.’


Do you feel accomplished if you’re sore the next day from a workout? Like I said above, I do kind of like it, because I know I ‘got a good workout in.’ But on the other hand, it also helps me by reminding me that I’ve been slacking on that muscle/muscle group.

Any big plans for this weekend?? I’ve got birthday plans, obv 🙂 Tonight after work, the hubski and I are going to a little vegetarian cafe for an early dinner, then celebrating with some beers at a local bar with another birthday friend. Then tomorrow, we’re heading to my home town to hang out with some girlfriends (and their mens) who we haven’t seen in a while. These girls are my BFF4L’s (hehe) and I can’t WAIT to hang with ‘em!!!

Steep, Sip, Smile

Hi and Happy Saturday:D

As for me, I’ve gotten an early start on this Saturday. It’s not even 8:00, and since I woke up with a twinge of productivity coursing through me, I’ve already made the coffee, changed the cat litter, did a load of laundry, and made Oats in a Jar!

 

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Currently nomming. It may look a little green, but that’s just from the hemp seed powder. The oats were made on the stove with 1 cup H2O, 1/2 cup oats, 2 T flaxmeal, 2 T hempseed powder, peanut butter of course (and I may have been a little overjealous in deciding it was OIAJ time..there was a bit too much pb left in the jar,) handful of blueberries (which I parfaited right smack dab in the middle of the jar,) one small ripe nanner, aaaand a new ingredient…

 

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Brown rice syrup! I decided to pick this up at the store yesterday. I usually use agave nectar to sweeten up my oats, but wanted to try switching it up with brown rice syrup! You see, Agave nectar is produced in Mexico. So originally people in hot, hot climates used this as a sweetener. I’m of Swedish decent (note: note hot, hot, climate ;)) and my ancestors probably didn’t grow up eating agave. It was just a random, probably silly, thought I had while walking down the baking aisle of the local health foods store, so I went with it. Also, brown rice syrup is a complex carbohydrate, and takes hours to fully release into the bloodstream, making it a steady supply of energy, rather than a sugar rush!

The verdict? It’s very, very gooey, but SO good. And I didn’t have to use much for it to be sweet enough for my likings 😀

 

I woke up feeling like a brand new woman this morning. I ended my day over at my friend, Trina’s house, who is also a massage therapist! I got an hour long full body massage, and then a bonus of 30 extra minutes for her to try some of the stuff she recently learned at a workshop. She must have REALLY worked all the lactic acid and toxins out from my muscles, because when I left, I felt like I was wasted! It was a really weird feeling – I was in a somewhat of a euphoric state, but was also very disoriented. Weird. But today, I feel spectacularrr 😀 Gotta pamper yourself every now and then!

Before the massage, I spend my half day running around town doing some personal business errands (and got some very hopeful news!!) before I went to the grocery store, devoured some leftover Amy’s Pizza, walked the Niko-roo, and twerked it out. Twerk out was upstairs in our “gym” because I was strapped for time and was NOT gonna be late for my rub down 😉

 

Another cool thing I picked up at the health food store:

 

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Dandelion root! Lately I’ve been reading all of the amazing benefits this little woody root has for the body, so I filled up a little baggy to give her a whirl.

Mixed it with some loose leaf pom green tea:

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Put it all in the silicon loose leaf tea infuser, then steeped, sipped, and smiled.

 

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Who knows what it did for my body, but it tasted good infused with the green tea! 😀

Clarabelle was jealous of my herbage, so I busted out some herbage for her, too.

She sniffed, rolled, and smiled:

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Kitteh likes her catnip.

Went to my massage, came back feeling drunk and HANGRY. There was no way I had the patience to cook. Boxes were much more fitting.

 

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It was my first time making Falafel, so I was a wee bit intimated:

 

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Yeah..and for good reason.

THESE were the ones that turned out!

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Yes, as in, the GOOD ones. I won’t even show you the bad ones.

Is it just me, or are foods that come out of a box supposed to be easier to cook?? Every other time I’ve seen falafel, they’ve looked fluffy, light, and perfectly shaped balls. Mine? Notsomuch.

After deciding that the above falafels could be salvageable, I had to figure out what to do with them. I had no clue.

 

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Went with putting them on a bed of arugula (?? I don’t know?)

With the mac n cheese (which was fittingly easy to make) and some steamed cauliflower alongside.

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You know what? The falafel + arugula combination was fabulous! The spiciness in the arugula went perfectly with the …tanginess(?) of the falafel!

 

It was only 9:00 at this point, and although I was beat and just wanted bed, I tried to be a trooper.

One screwdriver=trooper

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One piece of toasted brown rice bread with Earthbalance and dark choc. chips (although laughable, but VERY tasty)=trooper

 

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Sure it does.

One game of Mario=trooper.

Passing out before 11:00 on a Friday night=old lady trapped in a 25 y/o’s bod! muahaha.

On tap for my Saturday:

-gym for some running and upper body

-Starbies for some coffee w/ my girl Heidi

-Lunch and bridesmaids dress trying on w/ my girl, Jessica

Should be a supah fun day 😀

 

What are your plans for the weekend? Anything fun going on? If you’ve got time and are up for it, head on over to Janetha’s blog and check out her Secret Blogger Valentine swap! It sounds like such a FUN idea for Valentine’s Day coming up 😀

The Grain that Surprised Me

 

Morning, sunshines!

How ya’ll doing this fine morning? I’m doing not too bad. Just finished a kick-bootay chest-opening yoga session, and it did wonders for the ol’ mind, body, and soul. It also felt great to my sore muscles (still sore from Sunday’s workout!)

Before I start blabbing, I wanted to share with you a few pretty hilar search terms that people typed in to get to my blog:

-running around naked

-eggplant gone bad (it’s like the vegetable of girls gone wild, duh)

-lost of virginity by running (because we’ve all been there)

bahaha! I love it! I’ve been waiting for some funny searches. They’re mostly “Jilliam Michaels,” “running around,” “running my first 10k,” yada yada yada.

So anyway, yesterday at work was a pretty typical Monday – uneventful – just the way I like my Mondays! However, there were a few cool things about Monday like…

Stylin’ my new sweater

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Curry in the car

 

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(yes, I had to eat and drive today…)

Sweet potato chips and swiss

 

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After work, I drove to the Eastland Mall…Bloomington’s finest (bahaha) to pick up the hubski a birthday present. His bday is next Thursday, but we’re celebrating it this weekend, too. The trip was a success! I didn’t go all out like I usually do, though, since we just got a new faucet and a brand new bulb for the projector for our theatre room. Those puppies are expeeennnsive! Hopefully he likes what I got him. He’ll be turning the big 2-8.

I left the mall, and fought the traffic (and the traffic won…) and got home to take Niko for a walkie just as it was getting dark – wtf daylight savings time?! Geesh.

But as I grabbed the mail before coming back in the house, I found a delightful surprise from Janetha B!

I won her 5,000th comment giveaway! She was sneaky, and didn’t even let on that it was a giveaway, but I was super pumped to win:D Anyway, she hooked me up with some loot:

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Hells yeah! Two mojo’s, two lara’s, two Justine’s, animal toys, and a grocery sack! I thought it was SO thoughtful of her to think of Niko and Clarabelle.

Clarabelle started playing with her pumpkin right off the bat:

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And as soon as I gave Niko her toy, she started playing the “I’ll growl at you until you throw this sucker, mama!” game.

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She’s very persuasive. And spoiled. Rotten 😉

 

I then came inside and did some ab work

  • 30 crunches
  • 20 side to side crunches
  • planks
  • side planks

Quinoa, Quinoa, Quinoa

 

As soon as I was done, I was ready to cook dinner. For some reason, I wanted to set myself up for disappointment yet again. Yes, I made quinoa. Again. What’s wrong with me? Is three strikes not enough?

This time, I used a boxed version (last time I scooped it out of a bulk bin) from Trader Joes

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and I got to work making Angela’s Coconut Curry quinoa. I just really want to like this stuff, as it’s SO good for you – especially if you’re a vegetarian. So, one last shot. Here we go.

I washed and drained every morsel of…coating (?) those suckers had on them before I went to work. I wanted my Quinoa and Clean-wa as can be!

I started making the sauce first, per Angela’s recipe. Luckily, I had every ingredient on hand, so I was able to follow it exactly.

 

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Then while that simmered, I cooked the quinoa, and added a couple chopped up carrots and some peas to the mix. Then when all the water evaporated, I poured the sauce over the quinoa mixture, and viola!

 

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I served it with a big piece of naan I cooked in the oven from Whole Foods which complemented the curry flavoring very nicely:

 

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The verdict: I LOVED it! What the heck?! How did it turn out good this time? Believe me, I’m not complaining, but I wonder what made it so good this time. Perhaps it’s not the grain, but the recipe surrounding the grain. Who knows, but I’ve got leftovers for a couple days, and I guarantee they won’t slip past me! I’m so glad I finally found a recipe that’s yummy:)

Well, coffee is callin’ my name folks! And green tea, and green juice, and emergen-c… I feel like I might be catching a little something again. Gotta get the big guns out!

Have a rockin’ day!

 

Has there been a food you swore you didn’t like, but gave it one last try to find that you actually did like it? Was it prepared differently? Did you palate change?

Persecuting Pets??

Hi everyone! I hope your Monday has been cheerful so far! Sorry my lunch post was picture-less. I forgot my port for my camera, and wasn’t able to upload. Lunch was great, though!

I sipped on a smooth plain skim latte as I blogged:


But since I didn’t have enough time to eat and blog over lunch, I had to brown bag the food part and eat it back at my desk.


It was just as delicious though! I got the Fuji apple salad…big shocker, eh?


It about knocked my head, off it was so delish!

Before I left work I was a wee bit hungry again, so I busted out a Super Charge Me Cookie:


x’s 2. Mmmm I foresee baking more of these in my future – soon!

It was indeed nice that I didn’t have a workout to do when I got home. That saved me time to clean up the floors from the Niko episode this morning, and get a few loads of laundry done. The laundry room was looking pretty dangerous.

After getting that out of the way, it was time to put the pets through torture.

This was Clarabelle’s weapon of choice:


Yes, that’s a razor.

I discovered a massive nasty mat underneath Miss Clarabelle’s back leg last night. When I tried to get it out with a brush, she howled and howled. My heart broke in two. Shane even let me try his razor on her (don’t worry it was thoroughly cleaned afterward,) and that didn’t work.

So Shane picked up a heavy duty razor at Walgreens today and we buzzed her. She still howled, but I know now she feels better.

Poor girl I wish I would have caught it sooner… Now I’ll know where to brush better.

This was Niko’s weapon of choice:

And the result:


I hate putting my pets through torture! It kills me..

Man! Between the mats, the puke, the soft paws, baths and the meds, my pets are a lot of work! It’s a good thing I love them to pieces and pieces!<3

Sometimes I wonder how I’ll ever be able to take care of children…

Enjoy the rest of your Monday, everyone! It looks like pizza’s in store for this household. Perhaps I can convince the hubski to go get froyo later? (That’s a subtle hint, if you’re reading this, Shane ;-))