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Despite being super sore, I was able (with a lot of Nick’s help) to get everything done we needed to this weekend, including cleaning the house, finishing the laundry, mowing the grass (that one was all Nick), prepping for this week, and completing our baking projects.

I finally finished the laundry a little bit ago and finished cleaning up the kitchen from baking while Nick vacuumed for me – I just couldn’t lift/move it, so he helped out a lot with that. Love him 🙂

Dinner tonight was pretty easy. Since I had the oven on already for baking, I threw 2 sweet potatoes in the oven for us and Nick grilled some strip steaks that I got on special and some romaine for a quick, chargrilled salad.

steak

I love grilled romaine – we just slice an entire romaine heart in half, lengthwise, drizzle a little oil on it and some salt and pepper and grill for 2-3 minutes. you don’t want it to get soggy, but it heats it up and gives a nice smoky, grilled flavor.

steak

My new thing with sweet potatoes is just a little salt and some cinnamon – I can’t get enough! I’m always sad when I take the last bite of my sweet potatoes. I would just about put cinnamon on anything, though. I love it.

 

Baking Projects:

The first baking project I made today is actually a recipe I saw on 101 Cookbooks and I’ve been dreaming about it ever since.

carrotbread

Carrot Cake

I’m not sure how….but I haven’t even sliced into this yet. I think I was just so focused on getting all the laundry done that I forgot about this once I took it out of the oven and started on the other baking project and dinner.

This hasn’t been iced yet, and I think I may just wait and ice each slice so we can add however much icing we want  🙂 This bread smelled amazing while it was baking. 

I did make a few modifications:

  • I cut out the butter – I wanted to see how it would be without. I just soaked the dates in a little hot water instead.
  • I added a splash (1 Tbsp? or s0) of orange juice

I’ll make sure to post more pictures and a real review once I try it  – as good as it smelled, I’m sure it will taste even better.

 

Baking project #2 will have to remain a bit of a mytery – I’m working on a cookie recipe for a contest, so I can’t tell you exactly what is in them, but they turned out much better than I thought they would!

cookie

Nick and I both tried them, and I think they need a bit of tweaking on the sweetness factor, but the texture is amazing and I love everything else. I think once we figure out the sweetness, these will be perfect  🙂  And they’re super healthy, which makes me happy.

 

Well…for having pain meds in my system, this post didn’t turn out too bad! Sorry for any typos there might be or weird stuff I might not have noticed  🙂  I’m going to let the pain meds kick in while I finish watching Iron Chef and call it a night.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all your comments, thoughts, and emails – I appreciate every one.

I hope you all had a great weekend – and hopefully ones without accidents!  🙂

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Woohoo – it’s the end of humpday!

I loved reading all of your hair routines. I am pretty low maintenance – wash, dry, done. I usually let it air dry most of the way because I hate drying my hair THAT much, plus I know air drying is a bit better for it. I know my hair would look a lot better with some curling, ironing, twirling and whirling, but it just takes so long! I need my own hair person to make me pretty every morning, and I haven’t convinced Nick to do that for me yet.

I think Roxy would help, but she doesn’t have thumbs, so that would be tough.

roxy

Not to mention that this is the look I usually get from her and she’s lazier than I am  🙂

I planned on this awesome stick-to-my-ribs snack since we had BodyPump after work – I was just glad I was actually hungry for it! I guess my lunch was mostly veggies, so I was ready for this at 3 pm.

yog

I took some fat free plain yogurt and topped it with some sliced strawberries, blackberries, and this:

granbar

I love that this bar has whole almonds in it! Yum. I also need to remember to crumble granola bars over yogurt/oats/anything instead of just eating them by themselves. This seemed like a huge amount of “granola” on my yogurt, but I could probably eat that granola bar as-is in 4 bites. I like that it stretched out the enjoyment but I knew I only have a serving, too.

So – ready for BodyPump, right? Snack eaten, workout clothes on….and I worked it out in Kroger instead  🙂  Neither Nick or I were really feeling like BodyPump tonight: We had some more errands to run before our crazy weekend, it was gloomy and rainy, and we kind of convinced each other to not go tonight. It actually worked out good – I missed the class, but I had so much stuff to do tonight, so I’m glad we came home.

We ran to Kroger to buy a few things for next week so Sunday night won’t be so crazy. I was planning on running once we got home if it wasn’t raining, but of course it was. It slacked off a bit so we went outside and played some b-ball with our two neighbor boys across the street – 20 minutes of heart pumping activity is better than nothing! I was sweating and I was playing horribly, but it was fun. I’m blaming the bad playing on the fact that it was wet and the ball was slippery (come on, Sarah – I’m waiting for it!)

I came in from playing and made a dish for a work lunch tomorrow – I’m glad I got that done earlier tonight. Otherwise, I would have probably remembered in the middle of LOST and have to make it then.

We had easy dinners tonight and ate the leftovers of the Sweet, Hot, and Sour Chicken with brown rice and the rest of the asparagus/radish salad.

chikpinechik 

The pineapple is my favorite part.

I think this dish got hotter while sitting – I guess it soaked up that hot chile garlic paste – my mouth was on fire after eating dinner.

I’m off to research a possible dessert for tomorrow and get ready for LOST *cue creepy music*

Oh, and these also might happen, too –

cookies

 

What’s your favorite end-of-the-day snack when you’re hungry?

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Weighed and Watered

Well, our run didn’t happen, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

This afternoon was pretty good – I worked on my report and just about have it finished! I’m hoping to get it done tomorrow, and I think I’ll be able to regardless of whatever else comes in tomorrow.

I got hungry this afternoon so I snacked on a mix of dried peach, dried apricots, and a few dried strawberries to hold me over. They were so sweet and chewy – it was just what I needed, and just enough to get me home and into my busy evening.

driedfruit

We had to stop and fill up the car on the way home, and as soon as I got back, I changed clothes and went to weigh in for the month. Thank goodness that’s done! I don’t know how May is going to be (besides busy!) so I’m glad I got it done. By the time I got home, Nick was up working in the garden, so instead of going running, we just decided to work a bit in the garden before heating up dinner. Yeah, I probably should have gone running, but it was almost 7 pm by then and I was starving. I know I’ll get to go later this week and I’m not training for anything so no biggie.

Nick took care of the weeds in the garden and I watered the peas and tomatoes. It’s been dry + hot the last couple of days, so our little plants were parched! I watered them really good. I think we’re supposed to get some more rain this week, so I hope they perk up soon. I want some veggies  🙂

Dinner tonight was leftovers of the pasta dish, but I decided to be even lazier and just make a mountain of my meal.

pasta

I layered about a cup of green beans on the bottom of my bowl, topped it with a serving of the red pepper pasta, and drizzled it with a little olive oil, parsley, and crushed red pepper. On top of spaghetti…is it stuck in your head now?  It’s stuck in mine!

I’d been waiting for this treat all day. I had already decided that I was going to have this tonight, so I’ve been thinking about it since this morning.

chewy

It’s my first food EVER from Whole Foods – I know, right? What took me so long?  🙂 We don’t have a Whole Foods here, or a Trader Joe’s for that matter, so I miss out on a lot! Beadie was nice enough to bring me a little “Richmond” goodie bag this weekend and these chocolate chewies were included. They are so super cocoa-y and crumbly. I love the deep chocolate flavor in these. Thanks Beadie!

I’m off to pack my lunch for tomorrow and have a lazy night on the couch with Nick and Roxy.

If you have a Whole Foods / Trader Joe’s, what are your favorite things to get? I need ideas for when I do get to go  🙂

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Sunny Run

Happy almost Friday! I ended up not going outside for a walk at work today, but I did do a bunch of stretching in my office this afternoon for my 15 MMC. I’m still pretty sore from BodyPump yesterday, so that’s about all I could handle! I stretched out my back with a few moves, my arms, shoulders, neck, legs – just about everything! It felt great to just sit or stand and stretch out instead of just sitting in my chair.

I got a little hungry this afternoon and made sure to eat this at least 2 hours before I left work since we were running after. I think I need to not eat too close to when I run in the afternoons – I haven’t pinned down the horrible side stitches to anything yet, but I seem to do a little better when I haven’t eaten anything for a couple of hours.

I packed about 1/2 -3/4 cup plain yogurt, 1/3 cup TJ’s fruit and nut medley cereal and a couple of raspberries. The raspberries were so good…i wish I had put more in my yogurt!

yogurt

 

The weather today was pretty nice all day, but it was really windy at lunch. It finally calmed down this afternoon and it was the perfect weather to run in when we got home. I even got to try my new running skirt! I’m officially a convert  🙂  Although, Nick called it my “running squirt” – catchy, huh?  🙂  We got to run along the river tonight, and I just love it. I hate, hate, hate the hills around our house sometimes, but I can’t help but be thankful that we can run along a river and see mountains the entire time we’re running. As painful as it may be, it sure is beautiful.

My HRM said we went 3.57 miles in 33 minutes and something, meaning I was running a 9:26 mile (average). Woohoo! I love having this HRM – it’s nice to know exactly what my heart is doing, my pace, the mileage, etc. I don’t know how I survived so long without it.

Dinner tonight was leftovers of the Achaar Gosht and apricot couscous, plus some zucchini and squash I sauteed with a little olive oil for tonight.

achaar

 

Of course, I needed to have a little something sweet and I had just the thing waiting for me in the fridge.

cookiebar

 

I heated up one of the last of my cookie bars and topped it with about 1/2 cup of my Samoa ice cream. Mmmm….it was so good.

Speaking of those cookie bars, Coco made the cookie bars today but switched out an ingredient and they look awesome! I can’t wait to make them again.

Only 30 more minutes until The Office – I gotta pack my lunch and get settled!

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Brandi’s Cookie Bars

I really wanted to make up for my baking project that didn’t work out well a couple weeks ago, so I came up with this and was hoping for the best. I’m all about changing regular meal recipes, but I’m still a bit apprehensive about making up my own “baked goods” since you have to have some sort of balance between the ingredients you use for it to come out okay.

cookiebars

These totally made up for my bad batch!

Brandi’s Cookie Bars

  • 2 cups oats (I used 1.5 cups quick oats, .5 cup old fashioned)
  • 3/4 cup wheat bran
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup butterscotch chips

Mix oats, wheat bran, sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Add in applesauce and eggs. Fold in chips.

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Then, hurry up and get one if there’s anyone else in the house  🙂

cookiebar

I honestly thing I would eat just about anything that has chocolate and butterscotch chips in it.

I’m pretty sure Nick liked them, too; he ate 3 the night I made them!

cookiebar

What is better than melted chocolate and butterscotch?

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The To-Dos Are Done!

It started raining this afternoon 😦 BUT that pretty much made me get all the stuff on my to-do list done!

  • Finish laundry – check! The only thing left is to make the bed with the clean sheets
  • Clean house – check! Nick and I finished that earlier
  • Plant tomatoes – check!
  • Make dinner – check! and eaten  🙂
  • Bake cookies – check!
  • Uh….clean up kitchen full of muesli that I just spilled on the floor  :\  check! I’m glad we have a small shop vac. What a mess!

We were able to plant the tomato plants right before it started raining hard here, and I’m glad we got them in the ground for their first rain. I can’t wait until they come up!

As for dinner, I wasn’t sure how I was going to like the meal.  I’ve tried meals like this before and I think I just expect it be like cornbread even though it’s not. Once I got it into my head that it was NOT cornbread, I really liked it.

tamale

 

Baked Tamale Casserole

Meat filling:

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can beans, drained (use any kind you want – I had great northern)
  • 1 small can chopped green chiles
  • 1 Tbsp ancho chile powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp onion flakes (I was just too lazy to dice real onions tonight)

Tamale Dough:

  • 8 cups water
  • 4 cups cornmeal
  • 1-2 Tbsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • couple tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  1. Heat pan over medium and add ground beef. Brown beef.
  2. Heat oven to 350.
  3. Add tomatoes, beans, and spices to beef and let simmer while you cook the cornmeal mixture.
  4. In big pot, bring water, cornmeal, and salt to a boil. Lower heat and let cook 5-10 until thick, stirring/whisking constantly to keep from clumping.
  5. Take off heat, and stir in eggs and applesauce.
  6. In 9×13 pan, layer 1/2 of the cornmeal mixture, top with all of the meat mixture, then layer the rest of the cornmeal mixture on top.
  7. Bake 20-30 minutes until heated through.

Ole!

tamale

 

We had the tamale casserole with some corn, and salads with romaine and avocado. I topped my salad with a little salt and some lime juice.

I really enjoyed this meal; more than I thought I would! I think making sure my mind and mouth isn’t expecting cornbread is the key.

In cookie news:

I found this package in the grocery store yesterday and decided to try it.

cookies

I love the packages of the “break and bake” cookies for busy weekends, but I hate that most of them are filled with ingredients I can’t understand. Enter Immaculate Baking Co.! Nick just ate a plate with about 5 of these cookies, and he said they’re even better than the normal break and bake cookies we get.

I haven’t had one yet, but I’m planning on it. It’s nice to know I can get these for busy weekends and feel good about what we’re eating, even if I’m not making it all myself.

It looks like have a bunch of different flavors, so I’ll have to keep my eyes open for them.

Well, I’m off to make the bed and get ready for a little Iron Chef before getting some sleep.

I hope you’ve had a great weekend! We did and I’m sad it’s almost over.

 

What was the best part of your weekend?

Mine was probably watching the football scrimmage / getting to the farmer’s market. It was such a nice day yesterday, and I enjoyed both things. It was fun to just be outside enjoying the weather.

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I love butterscotch chips in cookies. I think it’s one of my favorite cookie add-ins.

My mom’s best friend Jill makes these awesome oatmeal cookies with only butterscotch chips and they are some of my favorite cookies – ever!

Nick and I wanted some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies a while ago, so I made the Quaker Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookie recipe that’s usually on the lid of the oatmeal canisters but I used 1/2 semi-sweet chips and 1/2 butterscotch chips instead of all chocolate.

Before baking:

batter

aaaannnnddd…..after!

cookie1

Hello Mrs. Butterscotch Chip

The mix of semi-sweet chocolate and the sweet, buttery butterscotch was SO good! It made for a really good balance in the cookies. I don’t know if I can make these without butterscotch chips now!

Here’s a few more shots just for good measure  🙂

cookies2

Crispy goodness…

rowcookies

If you haven’t tried this recipe, you should! I’ve never tried it with the raisins – I like chocolate and butterscotch too much to do that  🙂

What’s your favorite cookie?

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Welcome to the Weekend!

Well, we got here safely last night!

The work day dragggggged on – and whoever thought of having a 4-5 pm meeting on a Friday is crazy, but the meeting was good.  No pics from lunch – we ate during the conference so I had no chance to whip out my camera. We had some box lunches from heavenly ham: mine was a turkey sandwich on whole wheat with some of their amazing honey mustard, a few pretzels, and one of their cookies. Then….my boss took us to coldstone on the way back to the office! That almost made up for the fact that the Hokies lost their basketball game in the last couple seconds  :\  I had a raspberry sorbet mixed with raspberries and a little bit of sprinkles.  It was really good!

After 2 hours on the road (and editing a document while riding in the car), we got here and had an awesome dinner waiting for us. 🙂

Surf’n’Turf – grilled tenderloin and some crab cakes, roasted asparagus and a HUGE baked potato!

srftrf

Since I also had a lunch meeting in Roanoke, Nick had to go get some lunch for himself and ended up buying me one of our favorite cookies – I almost ate the cookie in the car on the way here, but I wasn’t horribly hungry and I really wanted to enjoy my cookie.

After dinner, I broke into my cookie! I shared a few bites with my family, but I still probably ate 3/4 of it.  With a cup of coffee…it was the perfect way to end the day.

cookie

Breakfast is always a big to-do at the in-laws, which is great 🙂

This morning, we had some scrambled eggs, turkey bacon, plums, and some really good apple muffin that Nick’s mom made.

bfast

great way to start my day!

I’m drinking some coffee, and we’re about to have a meeting about our trip to Honduras this summer.

Then:

– Amish Market

– Shopping  🙂

– Fun dinner with the girls since the boy have their “bike night” at the the motorcycle shop

It’s so nice to have all my family in one spot this weekend – everyone is here except my little sister.  Hi Tiff!  🙂

See you later -enjoy your Saturday!!

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway – contest ends Sunday!

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Comfort Food + Cookies

Today was not what I expected! I thought the weather was going to be like yesterday – in the 40s and rainy. It’s only been in the 30s today and it’s been snowing/raining all day! We have probably close to an inch at our house, but we saw on the news that there’s more near work. I’m hoping there will be enough by morning to get work cancelled – it’s a long shot, but I have to be optimistic  🙂

 

Since it was so cold today, I changed my original dinner plans and made this instead.

tacosoup1

 

Mexican Chicken Soup

  • 4 chicken thighs, skinned
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 packet taco seasoning
  • 1/2 packet Ranch dressing seasoning
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp red onion, diced
  • 1 bag frozen veggies (I used one with green beans, peas, carrots, and corn)
  1. Put chicken in crock pot. Pour tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans, onion, and seasonings over chicken.
  2. Cook on high for 3 hours.
  3. Once chicken is cooked, take out of crockpot.
  4. Shred the chicken into bite size pieces and return to crockpot.
  5. Steam frozen veggies, then add to soup.
  6. Let cook for 5-10 minutes more.
  7. Serve!

 

I toasted a ww tortilla in the toaster oven to make some “tortilla chips” to have with my soup.

tacsoup2

 

This is just what I needed today. It was so warm, spicy, and comforting.

And…..these didn’t hurt either  🙂

cookies

 

 

I used the Oatmeal Raisin Cookie recipe here, but used chocolate chips instead of raisins.  I love cinnamon with chocolate – I think all chocolate chip cookie recipes should call for a little cinnamon. There’s just something about the combination of the two.

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Bread Experimentimg_1439c Update!

img_1438c

 

 

 

Interestingly enough, both slices still look fine! Today is day 7 of the experiment, and I don’t see any spots on either slice. Now, neither have been exposed to any air since I put them in the ziploc bags, but I am surprised that I can’t see any changes yet.

————————

 

I’m about to have a few cookies and a big glass of cold milk and get ready to watch an all new Iron Chef.

 

A la cuisine!

Make sure to check in tomorrow for the next Heart Health Installment!

 

Also – Check out the cool giveaway Krista is doing!

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Baking Project #2 Revealed

Ha – I guess I forgot to post my other baking project from last weekend, so here it is!  🙂

Nick loves cookies. And so do I. We decided to try to make some healthier cookies, so I looked up some recipes and we ended up making our version of these Oatmeal Brownie Cookie

choccookie

Check out that chocolate chip – looks like he’s trying to bust out of the cookie  🙂

 

My modifications were:

 – I ended up having to add a little milk to the batter to get it to come together

– We did 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips and about 1/4 cup walnuts

– Instead of using just regular sugar and vanilla extract, I used this!

 

vansugar

 

Vanilla Sugar!!! Beadie gave this to me when we met a few weeks ago, and I knew I need to use some  – this stuff smells and tastes a.mazing.

Needless to say, these cookies did not last long in our house….although, it only made about 25 cookies so I guess there weren’t too many to begin with  🙂

cookies

 

I figured I should finally post these since I’m hoping to bake some more healthy cookies tonight! Don’t worry – I’ll try not to make you wait a week to the next batch!

 

The church fellowship was good and I think people liked my couscous salad – it was completely gone. I’m glad I made a batch of couscous just for us.

Alright – off to finish laundry, clean, finish dinner, and hopefully bake before posting dinner!

It’s snowing here!!! I’m hoping it will stick.

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