Monday, November 30, 2009

Back to the grind today after 5 days off work!

To my surprise the gym was practically empty this morning. Here’s what my workout looked like: 20 minutes of intervals on the elliptical and ran 1 mile on the treadmill. It felt great to start off the week with a sweat. Hopefully I don’t get sick since I came home and took Elli out in shorts- it was 48 degrees outside but I was still hot from the gym.

We didn’t have our official Monday weigh in but I jumped on the scale anyway. I was worried that I gained a few over the holiday but was exactly the same, 130 lbs. I can handle that but plan on working really hard this week to loose some more.

Once I got to work I had my morning coffee, regular with unsweetened soymilk and breakfast. This is totally outside of my normal routine of oatmeal- I had a breakfast burrito. Something different taste good once in awhile. I enjoyed Amy’s breakfast burrito made with black beans, tomatoes, tofu, and some other veggies. Pretty tasty and packed with protein that should hold me over till lunch.

Today for lunch I packed soup and salad. We ordered lunch out yesterday from a local pizzeria; Jeff had pizza and had a garden salad big enough for two. It worked well since I needed something to pair with my TJ’s black bean soup. Who knew that it would be ugly outside and raining all day- perfect soup day!

Black bean soup isn’t the nicest looking soup but it is hardy and filling. I brought new salad dressing today: Cape Cod Sesame Ginger dressing. We found this while bargain shopping Saturday. It has a nice subtle taste and we’re going to use this to flavor our dinner tonight as well.

Since I am posting this before dinner I’ll spare you those pictures and details. We’re planning to throw together an Asian inspired dish with steamed broccoli and brown rice, using the dressing as I mentioned.

I hope that everyone has a wonderful and healthy week! Can you believe tomorrow is December?!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Mexican Night and Week's Plan

Today was catching up day around the house. Didn’t get into too much just laundry, a little touch up cleaning, football, and we both managed to get a nap in. I’m really excited about dinner tonight- it’s my favorite MEXICAN! Since we had lots of leftover veggies in the frig we’re making grilled vegetable fajitas with refried beans and sweet potatoes fries. Strange combo but hubby was hungry for fries and since they’re so good I couldn’t resist.

I usually microwave sliced sweet potatoes in water before baking them. It seems to speed up the baking and allows them to get cruncher. However I’m sure you could omit this step but I microwave two sliced potatoes for 8 minutes. Then placed them on a pan, brushed them with canola oil, sprinkled with paprika and pepper, then into the oven. I just guess on time and temp but went with 425 degrees until brown, flipping after about 20 minutes. These fries are one of our favorite sides to make and we usually have them at least once a week.

Ready for the oven

After baking for about 40 minutes

For the fajitas we grilled sliced red onion, red and green peppers, tossed in olive oil and seasoning. I make my own taco seasoning and found a great recipe here.

Here are the veggies on the grill... love this grill pan!

To finish them off, we topped with Amy’s Kitchen traditional refried beans. Yummy!

Here is my plate, I decided to go without a tortilla.

Earlier today we planned our meals for this week, here’s what will fill our bellies:

Monday: Asian broccoli with brown rice
Tuesday: Whole wheat pasta with marinara sauce and vegetable side
Wednesday: Boca burgers with sweet potato fries
Thursday: Jeff is on his own since I’ll be out of town for work
Friday: Shrimp and vegetable pad Thai

I plan on hitting the gym everyday this week. It’s my last trial week before I make my decision, to join or not to join? Anyway, Wednesday night we’ve planned a quick dinner since Jeff has basketball and I want to take the “Rock Your Skinnies” class at the gym. What a catchy name!

Well that’s all for tonight. I’ve had a sweet tooth since dinner so I think I’ll curl up with some sugar cookie tea. Good Night :)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Spin class and Elli's return home

Finally made it to spin class! I needed a kick-butt workout after the holiday so I went to a cycle class this morning. I got there early and did a 20 minute ab routine then asked the cycle instructor to help me with the bike since it was my first class at this gym. I really enjoyed the 65 minute class and look forward to going back again next week.

While I was at the gym Jeff picked Elli up from doggie daycare. She was there throughout the holiday since we had a lot of company. It’s nice to have her back, we missed her! Last night we went out and got her a new toy and a birthday treat. She turned 1 year old last week and we forgot to get her a treat. Of course I didn’t take a picture but it was so cute- a homemade cookie with icing that said Happy Birthday in pink. We left it in her food bowl and she noticed it right away. The toy we bought her is pretty cool. It’s a heavy plastic bone that screws apart and holds treats in the middle and has these brushes that spin around to clean her teeth…. Very interesting to say the least. She wasn’t sure about it at first since it’s really heavy but Jeff tourmented her with it and now she won’t leave it alone.

Elli checking out her toy basket and her new toy! (The lines on her back are from the sun coming through the blinds).

After spin class I was ready for a yummy lunch. We had broccoli leftover from Thanksgiving so I steamed some with pepper and made a “cheese sandwich”. I used TJ’s soy cheese slices to maked my grilled sandwich and put tomatoes in the middle. Served up with a side of raw green pepper slices. So tasty…

Now for the shopping part- after lunch we decided to get out of the house and do a little shopping. We really don’t need anything but like to poke around in discount stores to see what we can find. So we headed out to Ollie’s and Big Lots. You never know what kind of deals you’ll find at these stores. We came home with a few bags from each store of toiletrees and a few convenience food items. I love to find good brands like Kashi and Cascadian Farm organics so cheap and we never pass them up!

Now that we're home for the day it's time to chill out. There are a few things to finish around the house but it's feeling like a movie and popcorn kind of night.

Enjoy the weekend everyone!

Friday, November 27, 2009


Thanksgiving was wonderful! We hosted both sides of the family this year and fixed our first Thanksgiving dinner. We were blessed to have lots of help from our family and everything turned out great. It was so nice having everyone together this year, all 17 of us. I was busying playing hostess and didn't take as many pictures as I would have liked.

Here is a quick recap and the few pictures that I took.

My sister-in-law works in the floral business and sent us a beautiful centerpiece. So very thoughtful and it looked perfect on our table.

We borrowed a table from church to extend our dining table. With help from my Mom and SIL we managed to set a quite a pretty table. If I must say so myself.

The "older" adults got silver... next year we'll have to combined two sets so we have enough for everyone.

We had two turkeys, one roasted and one deep fried. I didn't eat either of them but everyone seemed to really enjoy both. Jeff watched a lot of Food Network and prepared his first turkey. He also helped my Dad fix the fried turkey.

We started dinner off with my Mom's delicious pumpkin shrimp bisque. By far my favorite part of our meal. After we served soup and said the blessing the rest of dinner was setup buffet style. Again, no pictures.

I had to laugh at Jeff's first plate. A fried turkey wing with beer.

Once everyone stuffed themselves we cleaned up and got ready for dessert. With the help of my Mom and amazing Mother-In-Law the clean up wasn't too bad. They both kept me sane and I can't thank them enough.

Coffee was served and we enjoyed dessert. My Mom made pumpkin and pecan pie and also brought a couple pumpkin rolls made at a local culinary arts school. I sampled the pumpkin roll and pecan pie, both were quite tasty.

We sent everyone home with leftovers and cleared out our refrigerator. This way we are not too tempted with food over the weekend. We kept just enough for one more day of munching.

I want to take a moment to share how truly thankful I am for our amazing family. Jeff and I pulled off our first Thanksgiving dinner but we didn't do it alone. Everyone of our family members pitched in to help make this a successful "production". We love you all and thank you very much!!!

Big thanks to my BIL for getting up early after turkey day to run with me. It felt great to get out for a nice brisk run!

Good Night :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pumpkin muffins and holiday tea

‘Tis the season for everything pumpkin! I have been waiting for a chance to try this recipe for pumpkin muffins. I made them today to serve to our family Thanksgiving morning, something to hold them over until dinner. They smelled so good while baking and I had to sample one. I chose the biggest just incase it wasn’t baked through the center. It was still gooey so I put the rest back in the warm oven for a couple minutes. It had a nice flavor, not to sweet, but tasty for being under baked. The cinnamon and brown sugar topping was quite tasty :)

Pumpkin muffin batter

Ready for the oven

The finished product, check out the brown sugar and cinnamon topping!

Guess what I found?! The Celestial Seasoning holiday tea!!! I was at Safeway picking up last minute groceries and practically ran right into the display…. I’m so excited to try these flavors. The sugar cookie will be my after dinner treat and I plan on serving them along side coffee during the holiday.

Can't wait to try this...

Tonight is pizza night! Have I told you how much I love Trader Joe’s? They have fresh pizza dough for 99 cents and delish pizza sauce. This week we’re all about convenience meals and had fun making this pizza. I grated some fresh mozzarella for Jeff’s and chopped some veggies for mine. We may have created a new flag… The “stars” are made up of onion, green pepper, and broccoli :) Yummy…

We chose the garlic & herb crust but they also have whole wheat and plain. This one is probably not the healthiest but has the most flavor.

Only needed 1/2 the jar of sauce.

And finally the pizza is ready for the oven. Nice shape!

Dinner time

Time to relax with my tea and catch up on our recorded shows. Good night!

Hectic Morning during Day 3 at the Gym

What a morning so far…. I got up super early, for me anyway, at 5:10 to take Elli out and head to the gym. My legs were feeling sore for some reason (probably didn’t stretch enough, duh) so I kept my workout light. Went for 25 minute intervals on the elliptical then did some abs: 50 bicycles, 25 side crunches, plank and side planks, then stretched really well. By then I had to leave in order to make it to work on time. As a “trial” member you are given parking coupon to get out of the secured lot. I tried 3 coupons before we (myself and the front desk attended) realized that they expired yesterday! I had to go to the security desk for them to open the gate for me to exit. What do you know, the guard who had the key for the gate didn’t come in until 7 am!! At this point I was beyond irritated and kept thinking about Elli who still needed to go out a second time and work. Yeah I have a job to go to and a 40 minute commute. I ended up sitting in the parking lot for 20 minutes waiting for the guard to arrive and let me out. There were other cars waiting so it took another few minutes to finally leave.

What a wonderful start to my day…. Luckily I have a very understanding boss who has allowed me to work from home. This way I don’t have to stress over being on time today.

Now that I’m home and Elli has been out, I can sit down for breakfast. I grabbed my packed lunched bag out of the refrigerator where I had some prepared oatmeal for this morning. Unfortunately there was no fruit to go along with it but I wasn't that hungry anyway.

Here’s my oatmeal and morning coffee. My oatmeal was made up of 1 cup oats, 1 tsp agave nectar, 1 spoon of pb, and a dash of cinnamon. I just had a small cup of regular coffee with unsweetened soy milk.

On to a better note…. Last night I polished our silver for Thanksgiving. My great-aunt left me her silver which is probably over 100 years old. As much as I didn’t feel like taking the time to polish it, I felt a bit of pride doing so. It turned out gorgeous!

It's about time to get ready for my real job. Oh yeah, all most forgot that I'm off tomorrow and the rest of this week! I am going to try a cycle class at the gym tomorrow between all my holiday preparations so I'll post how it goes.

Hope today is wonderful!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Gym Trial Day 2 and Monday Weigh In

Today was my second of the fourteen-day trial at the gym. This period is going to give me the opportunity to see how the gym will fit into my schedule. The gym is open 24 hours for members but during the trial period you have to be there when they have an attendant, 6am – 9pm. If it were up to me I’d be there right at 5:30am since that would allow enough time to get ready for work.

This morning my alarm went off at 5:20 and I quickly got up to make it to the gym by 6 am. I was buzzing the door at 6 am on the dot. I got a decent workout in: 2.25 mi on the treadmill, stretched, abs workout. I had to be out of there by 6:40 to get home and take Elli out then get ready for the day. I made it to work on time, which proves to me that if I can start going at 5:30am I’ll have more workout time and will not have to rush.

Monday is “weigh in” day at work. I work with two other ladies and we’ve been tracking our weight over the last two months. When we started I weighed 135lbs and today I came in at 130lbs. Not bad- my goal weight is 120 so I have a ways to go!

Here’s what the rest of the day looked like…

A hearty breakfast of TJ’s steel cut oats, pb, and ½ banana with a cup of Celestial Seasonings cinnamon apple spice tea.

For lunch I packed some veggies, hummus, and Amy’s chunky vegetable soup.

Ended up snacking on this later in the afternoon.

It looks like we’ll be having chili again for dinner tonight. Yesterday during football we threw some chili in the crock pot. Jeff makes the best chili and we love how many meals we get out of it. I threw together some corn beard for the side. We had some for dinner last night and ended up with 3 large containers leftover. Two went in the freezer for future use and I left one out for dinner this week.

We never follow a recipe for chili but here’s the run down of our ingredients:

Morningstar Farm crumbles
Dark and light kidney beans
Black beans
Tomato paste
Diced tomatoes (we found some with chili seasoning added)
Chopped onion
1 bag frozen pepper slices (red, yellow, & green)
Chili powder
Whatever else Jeff threw in to make it delicious!

My smokin' hot dinner...

We just got finished eating and Jeff ended up having chicken noodle soup and a grilled cheese instead. We are both feeling a bit under the weather and that sounded better to him. I made him a grilled cheese with TJ's american soy cheese and to my surprise he actually liked it! Another keeper :)

Since my computer is being crappy and not letting me upload pictures... and I need to polish our silver for Thanksgiving dinner.... I'm going to jump off here.

Have a great evening!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

New Gym

I just got back from Canton Club, a gym that I'm thinking about joining. They offer a 14 day trial membership which I started today. It seems like a pretty nice gym and the view is amazing. It's located right on the water overlooking the marina. They offer a lot of classes that I look forward to attending. While I was there I jumped on an elliptical for 35 minutes and just did some intervals and stretching afterwards. Tomorrow I'll try to squeeze in a workout before work. This trial period will allow me to see how well I can schedule visits around my 9-5.

I took Elli for a walk then sat down for lunch. Once I get cleaned up I will probably go meet Jeff for some crabs, beer, and football.

Since there was salad leftover from dinner last night, I made a wrap and added tofu salad with carrots on the side.

I will keep you posted on the gym experience.

Are you ready for some football?

Mexican and Irish weekend out

This weekend flew by… we had a fun and somewhat relaxing couple days. We ended up going out for dinner Friday and Saturday night. Friday we headed out with our friends to a Mexican restaurant in our neighborhood, Nacho Mama's. It’s a cool spot, very corky environment, cheap eats and good taste. The hostess confirmed that we have become regulars there since she remembered our last name. There are not many selections on their menu that I eat- most are loaded with meat and cheese. I tried something different this time, vegetable fajitas without the cheese and sour cream. My friends kept telling me that I was missing the best part but these fajitas were wonderful and definitely didn’t need the dairy.

Nacho Mama's has some "rules" and my fav is that they play Journey every night at 10pm.

Started out with the usual chips and salsa.

Here are my veg fajitas- look at all this food! Jeff helped eat some veggies and I had plenty left for lunch on Saturday.

I almost forgot that I had a glass of wine before we left for dinner. Our friends were running late so it was a nice way to pass the time.

We headed home after dinner since we planned to get up early and clean on Saturday.

Saturday we clean everything possible! It was like the spring cleaning we somehow forgot to do. Since we’re hosting Thanksgiving it was nice to get the major cleaning out of the way. I’m off on Wednesday and will touch up everything then too.

After cleaning we headed out to use some gift cards we had laying around, one for Crate and Barrel and one for Ryan’s Daughter, an Irish pub. It was a fun afternoon with a couple beers and light dinner most of which was FREE!

At Ryan's Daughter I got the Greek salad with tuna.

Jeff got a seafood shepherds pie that looked tasty.

That sums up most of our weekend. I'm going to check out a new gym once I post this. I really need to join a gym!!

Oh yeah, Elli enjoyed her weekend too. Here's a pic I took of her chilling on our deck.

I'll check back later with gym updates and week plans. Enjoy this nice Sunday!

Friday, November 20, 2009


Good Morning! I’m just checking in quick before getting ready for work. The weekend is finally here.

I’ve accomplished a lot already this morning:
took Elli out and fed her, emptied the dishwasher, ironed Jeff’s outfit for work, fit in a quick workout (30 minutes Tai Chi and Kickboxing from FitTV) and now I’m headed upstairs to get ready for work.

Here’s what in store for the weekend:

Friday- out to dinner with friends
Saturday- run, clean house, 5:00 mass
Sunday- finish cleaning if needed, football, plan for the week (Turkey Day is almost here!)

I will check back on Sunday with weekend pictures and plans for the week. Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cold misty weather and warm chai tea

Hello all and Happy Thursday! The weekend is almost here :)

Today started off kind of strange with this crazy weather. When I took Elli out this morning I found it to be a bit creepy outside. The best way to describe this weather is like a scene from Stephen King’s The Mist. Luckily there were not huge bug-like creatures flying around, just the usual bum sleeping in the park.

I over slept a bit this morning but was able to fit in a quick workout:

30-minute boot camp (recorded from FitTV)
10-minute abs routine

On my way into work this morning I stopped at Giant for some tea. I always drink something warm throughout the day since my office is freezing. I went to see if the holiday Celestial tea was out that was recommended on one of my favorite blogs. Doesn’t sugar cookie sleigh ride tea sound deliciously warm and cozy? Well of course it’s not out yet or at least Giant didn’t have it stocked. I will be on the look out for this tea all season so let me know if you see it out. I like the Giant close to work because they have a huge selection of natural and organic products. I always head straight to that isle to see what goodies I can find. I ended up spotting sometime I knew would keep me warm at work: Chai Tea Latte Concentrate. I’ve been on a chai tea kick ever since it started to get cold outside and refuse to pay $4-5 a pop at Starbucks or my fav Vaccaro’s although I treat myself now and then. Besides I don’t even want to know how many calories are packed into their drinks. So I got the concentrate and a carton of unsweetened soymilk to keep at work. It’s an easy one-part concentrate to one-part milk and one serving is only 100 calories. (Still a treat in my book) I drank mine warm but you can also pour it over ice. I must say it taste pretty good especially since everything cost as much as one latte out and it will probably make about 10-12 servings. Sweet!

This morning I had vanilla soy yogurt with fresh berries, same as yesterday. Have I mentioned how yummy this yogurt is? It’s a must try! I packed soup for lunch, which went great with the nasty weather, and helped keep me warm. Amy’s Kitchen soups are delish and I had the vegetable minestrone today. This week has been all about healthy convenience foods- not usually the case since I cook most often. My only excuse is that we’re gearing up for Thanksgiving, does that work? I’ll blame it on the fact that we’re anxious about hosting for the first time. Keeping this weeks food simple allows us to relax and get ready for our company. We are hosting both sides of the family, a total of 17 people, and it’s our first turkey!

My Angel

I headed to Target today eager to shop for my Salvation Army Angel. I could have been in there for hours! They had some of the cutest infant/children clothes. It’s a good thing that I set a $25 limit because I could have gone crazy buying clothes for her. I mentioned yesterday that my angel is a 3-month-old little girl and I feel so fortune to be able to help during this holiday season. I tried to get her the most I could with my spending limit and here is what I got.

Cute little girly warm outfits, infant toys, and socks. I decided to get one outfit for her to grow into at 6 months. I pray that her and her family will like what I picked out and hope it helps keep her warm this winter.

It’s time to make dinner, which means I’m done blogging for today. Have a good night!