Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Though technically not correct.  Just reflecting on some of the yummy stuff  I've had recently.  Lots of new stuff for me!

  • Ethiopian Millet, Mushroom Tibs and Sauteed Collards. From the amazing Isa.  Let me warn you that the mushrooms were SUPER spicy! Even for this spice loving chick.  There are a bajillion spices in this dish, but I absolutely loved it!  Made it again already and pulled the curry powder.  Just as yum with some heat, but that simple fix made it something I will definitely be making regularly - COMFORT food!!
  • Larabar Sale!!!! New flavors for me including Lemon?!. And the cookie dough. Craaazy good.
  • Sweet and Spicy Dates!  It's not too late to hop on board the Meatless Monday A-Z train! Go check out Heather's blog for more Date recipes!  Next week is edamame!
  • Salad with hummus for dressing - not new, but always seems like an indulgence.
  • Tuscan Kale Soup
  • Artichoke!! with some leftover Ethiopian millet.  What an adventure to clean one of these lovelies!
  • Green Tea Kombucha. I am still getting use to green tea.  Liked this one - clean, refreshing, and it makes me feel good about myself!
  • Fro-yo!!  I may be the last person on the earth that had not had fro-yo. Well at least in my suburb.  A new Smart Cow store opened at the beginning of summer, the only fro-yo place around, and you would have thought there was money at the bottom of each cup.  Its has been PACKED.  And our girlies have been pleading with us to go.  I had a vanilla bean with sea salt caramel pretzel,  (aka fro-yo crack) and strawberries - oh my yum! and I am addicted!
  • Falafel, another Isa recipe. It was my first try making homemade falafel.   They were great - but seriously I think I would eat anything chickpea based - addicting!
  • Gala Apple Salad with Shittake Vinagrette, Feta and Almonds - oh joy!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Sweet and Salty Dates

It's Monday peeps.  What do I have on the brain? 
DATES and dates! 
Hubby and I have to do our annual health assessments for the insurance company, so we decided to make the best of it, take the day off, shuffle the kids off to day camp and and make it a date day too! 
Yay for us!
So after I skee-daddle, yeah that's right I said skee-daddle, it's a word, out of work this evening, I get a day off to get blood drawn, my weight taken --- um, no that's not the good part yet --- and have a date day with my man!
Other dates on the brain?  DATES!  Like the kind you eat! 
I was so excited when Heather over at Better with Veggies suggested Meatless Mondays from A-Z! While I have tried SO many new-to-me veggies, there are still some I have yet to experiment with.
Better With Veggies
For instance - the artichoke.  I have had these before actually, but usually the briny canned variety and usually in something prepared by someone else.  I decided that I should get my big girl pants on and tackle this ART-I-CHOKE.
Did you know they are mean little guys?  They poke.  It hurts!  It is a lot of work to prep them too!
phew!...and yes, my kitchen has the worst lighting
Satisfying?  Yes!  So yummy, this is the Ethiopian Millet Stuffed Artichoke I got from all my hard work! De-lish!
Ethiopian Millet Stuffed Artichoke
I have had NO luck finding Beets or Caper berries, neither of which I've had. 
So sad. 
Is there some kind of shortage of beets? Are they out of season?  I have no clue.  But I know I have seen them at my grocery store before, so I'll keep waiting.
This week the challenge was :  DATES!
Again, a new one for me.  I may have had these IN something, at sometime, but I couldn't really remember it.
My first thought when I saw them though was some cheesy, sweet and salty concoction.  The great google told me that some people like to eat these guys with bacon!  Interesting. 
I was looking for a veg friendlier version, and found a goat cheese stuffed version on pinterest.
A few adjustments and soon we had:
Sweet and Salty Dates
4 oz tofutti better than cream cheese
3 tbsp shelled, salted pistachios
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
Freshly ground pepper
8 plump, soft dried dates, pitted and halved lengthwise
Sea salt
  1. In a small bowl, combine cheese, 2 tablespoons pistachios, and 1 tablespoon chives.  Season with pepper.
  2. Arrange dates, cut side up, on a platter. Scoop and stuff dates with cream cheesy goodness
  3. Garnish dates with remaining pistachios and sea salt
Need a quick app for guests?  Look how sophisticated these little guys can be!
Take a bite and it's creamy sweet and salty goodness....oh my yum.

As my obligatory taste testing was going on, I had another epiphany.
Date Sandwich Spread!
Chop up the dates, add some more cheese, and sea salt right to the bowl, combine and you have a perfect sandwich spread that would love to meet up with some rye bread for some tea sandwiches. 
Hmm, guess I'm not over the tea time treats the kids and I mustered up for the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, but that's a tale for another post ;)

Earl grey tea, cucumber dill sandwiches, and figgy spread

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Saturday Sweaties

I love Saturday workouts.
Saturday I can extend my workout time, try something new, do something fun - well, the possibilities are endless!  No early morning, time stressed worries.  No time budgeting or rushing to get somewhere else. I can get sweaty and take a leisurely shower, take my time to fix my hair and get into some cute and comfy clothes feeling FIERCE!
This week was a long and busy one at work, so I came up short on logging in workout days. 
Today I was determined to get sweaty!!
For some people that would mean easing into a workout so as not to over do it. 
THAT is completely rational.
I am not always so rational.
So I pulled together a bunch of my favorite moves for a hurts-so-good session I called -
Give me 50!
     50 reps of each
Box Jumps
Jumping Jacks
Pull Downs*
Curls (per arm)*
Triceps OH Extensions (per arm)*
Side Kicks (per side)
Walking Lunges
Frog Jumps
Squat Jumps
Upright Ab Twists*
Leg Lifts
*with weights
This was great!  Loved it.  Body is SCREAMING!  Verdict? Hurts so good!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Try that Recipe!

This week on Try that Recipe!,  I attempted to cook a lovely Zuppa Toscana Soup from the brilliant mind of NS Sweet Life.  Oh sweet Kelly, you may want to close the screen down now.  If you haven't then let me apologize, 'cause I'll admit it:  I am TERRIBLE at following recipes. When it comes to recipes, I am a reckless, mess of an almost-sometimes-I-do-tell-myself-I follow-a-recipe kind of gal. Anyone else like this? 

How does this happen?  It's simple right? Anyone who can read should be able to successfully follow a recipe.  Perhaps its because I have the attention span of a gnat, perhaps the character Dory was based on me, or I can blame the kids and tell you they don't allow me two consecutive minutes doing ANY activity at any time, EVER.

Regardless of the WHY, the fact is I am fairly certain I couldn't completely and accurately follow a recipe to save my life.

This is how it went down:

A few weeks back: 

LOOK! NSSL has a gorgeous (almost) vegan version of a soup I haven't  had in EONS!

I LOVE that soup. 

Hubby might actually eat this "vegan" soup with me....

**"Scan" ingredients.**

I can do this.

I'm going to make that soup!

**Kind of-sort of skim the directions**

(Several weeks go by now as I buy ingredients when I see them at the grocery store, one by one and completely from my fading memory, then subsequently forget and use them in different concoctions).

See a cooking show making soup - and remember I never made that GORGEOUS soup! 

Next grocery stop I am determined to get all the ingredients.  (Nope, determination doesn't spur me to look up the recipe again or make a list to get ALL the ingredients at home)

At the grocery store:

Spy YELLOW potatoes.  Oooooh.  I LOVE yellow potatoes, so buttery and creamy. 

Fields sausages!! Score!

Kale, kale, kale, kale, kale! Reminder to self, don't use up this kale in a smoothie! 

Hmmm....I think the rest of the recipe was staples.

I'm good!

Declare to twitter followers that I have ALL the ingredients to FINALLY make said soup - something has to hold me accountable, right?


Decide to start prepping soup ingredients at about 4 pm on a lazy Sunday afternoon.  Occurs to me I need to look up the recipe as I have no idea what I am adding, let alone what quantities.

Wait...this is a CROCK POT recipe?  This would be GREAT in the fall!  Ok, focus - I can still do this.  We would eat dinner at what, 11p?.......?!!!  THAT's not going to work.  Okay, okay, I can do this in a pot, right?  You can make soup in a pot. Ok!

Onions, onions....oh crap.  My onions went bad last week.  No onions.  OH, RED onion!  What's the difference again?  Um, okay close enough.

Garlic!  Chopped garlic.  How many teaspoons per clove?  Oh well.  I LIKE garlic.  Let's add LOTS.

Russet potatoes?  Oh, those went bad too.  Yellow potatoes are sooo buttery and creamy though. I love yellow potatoes!  That'll be good!

Only have cherry tomatoes.  THOSE are pretty. Dice? I'll just cut them in half.  They're so little!  Oh darn, that wasn't suppose to go IN the pot? 

White wine.  white wine? I don't remember that at all.  Hmmm, I have white wine vinegar....noooo, that can't be the same. Skip it.

Okie dokie, searching, searching, searching.  YES! - I DO have vegetable broth.  Good thing, 'cause that pot is sizzling!  I need to add some liquid, fast!

How many ounces are in a cup?

 **break for kid referring**

Was that four or five cups I added? 

Hmm...that's it? Awesome!

But....well.... I like me some spice! 

*liberally shake in some pepper.......add a little more......resist the urge to start tossing in other "italian-y" spices**

Boil, boil, boil pot!  I guess a watched pot doesn't boil. Well, what do you know?

FINALLY boiling.  Set on low and cover.

Actually read the recipe directions. 

Realize I have no DAIYA!  Oh good, it says optional.  Aww, I love me some daiya - poo.

OH, so the tomatoes were a gar-nish!

So if its 4-6 hours in a crock pot, how long is that in regular pot time???

Its starting to smell good!!  I must have done something right!


So in the end, this is how I murdered revised this lovely innocent  recipe ingredient list:

4 Italian "sausages" (vegan Field Roast)
2 cloves 2 tbsp Garlic (minced)
1⁄8 1/3? large red Onion (diced)
4 cups 1 bunch Kale (mostly torn in to pieces - extra rustic! chopped)
2 Large Russet  3 medium yellow Potatoes (cubed)
32 ish ounces Chicken broth (vegetarian, if desired)
2 cups Water (added later just realized it was actually in the ingredient list!)
1⁄2 cup White Wine
1⁄2 cup Daiya cheese (optional)
1⁄2 cup  1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved Tomatoes (diced, optional)
black pepper to taste

I could pretend that I am just sooo creative in the kitchen, and meant to do this.  And ultimately these shananigans would be fine when I actually end up with a tasty concoction.  But I NEVER end up marking up the original recipe, because I am delusional and think I will ONE DAY do it right. OR that I will remember what I changed!! - HA! I crack me up.
So there you have it.  Kelly, if you're still reading, I'm sooo sorry!  I'm sure your version is phenomenal as it likely actually took careful thought and planning.
What was that? How did it turn out you say?
SUPER tasty!  And yes Kelly, HUSBAND approved!! (I did manage to save some for him after devouring a good portion of it - so yum!)

I am definitely giving it another go.  I may even follow the directions this time and enjoy the FULL awesomeness of this recipe!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Bootcamp ...why did it have to end?!

Every night this week, I have had the feeling that something is missing.  Ever have that?  There is some void and you can't quite put your finger on it?

Is it my keys? 
My purse? 
Did I forget to pay a bill?
My kids???!!

Thankfully, none of the above.


It's been a week since the completion of the 12 week Fitmixer Bootcamp. And I still can't believe it's over.

No daily workouts in my inbox each day?
No weekly video's?
No homework?!

It seemed so wrong, not to be doing 100 burpees while I watched the Olympics.  Shouldn't I be doing a Tabata routine about now?  What about those mountain climbers? I should just drop and do a few while I wait for the water to boil for this pasta... And I DID, every time, because it just seemed wrong not to.

What the../?!!!!

I guess if it takes 21 days to form a habit, then 12 weeks will change your lifestyle!

When I started this journey, I didn't really know what to expect.  There are "other" bootcamps out there that quite frankly scare the crap out of me.  This one was no exception. 

I worked harder than I have ever worked in my whole life.
I was SO sore, EVERY DAY!
I can't count the number of times that I felt pain in a spot and said, "oh, there's a MUSCLE, there?"
I often couldn't even breath. 
I often couldn't finish a set through, especially in the beginning, it must have taken me 3x's the estimated time to do them!

The results?

  • By the end of it I doubled the number of plyometric lunges and push ups that I could do in a minute.  I was able to hold a wall sit for 2.5 minutes! When I started I was at 42 seconds (and that took herculean, not pretty at all, effort!).
  • I lost 2 inches across the chest, and 3 inches in both my waist and hips!  And although I didn't take measurements of my legs or thighs, I think that was where I saw the most slimming and toning (thanks squat jumps!)  Sorry, not brave enough to post photos yet, but the differences are obvious! (you'll just have to take it from me :)
  • I lost 10 lbs.
  • But best of all?  YES, I was able to kick my OBESE BMI!

I feel so much stronger today than 12 weeks ago - not only physically, but mentally and emotionally too.  On this long road of mine, it was the perfect midway point boost that I needed to continue my journey.  I learned so many much needed lessons on fitness and diet, and received immeasurable emotional and mental support, and was able to deal with things that I didn't realize where hindering my progress!

In a nutshell, those fitmixer ladies are AMAZING.

So there it is, the end.  So awesome! Why did it have to end?!!!

But it can begin for you!

If you are interested in trying the bootcamp, the information is below.  And if you decide to sign up, tell them I sent you!

slim fitmixer Boot Camp Motivation

The next Boot Camp starts September 10, 2012! Here's what's included in your registration:

  • $154.45 worth of fitmixer® product (at retail value):

  • A personalized nutrition plan created by our Registered Dietitian
  • 40 daily workouts created by a certified group fitness trainer
  • Eight (8) weekly webcasts lead by our Registered Dietitian and Fitness Expert
  • Lessons on healthy eating, healthy living, physical fitness, and mental fitness that will last you a lifetime
  • Support from fellow Boot Camp participants through and the private fitmixer® Boot Camp Facebook Group
  • Direct contact with our Registered Dietician, Fitness Expert, and fitmixer® staff
  • Access to write blogs and leave comments on the fitmixer® website