Category Archives: Wellness

Homemade Granola Bars

Awwwww yeah, summer is in full swing now, y’all. I successfully graduated college, *crowd cheers* and now in my search for a big girl job, I find myself at home with a *lot* of spare time. It has worked out well thus far, however, since the Ryan and I just moved into the new house last weekend. Everything is pretty well finished being painted (the rooms that count, anyway), and I have had the opportunity this week to do a crap ton of unpacking. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve run errands, met with people for services (like Verizon and plumbing :P), and generally tried to get stuff done around the house. I even hung a picture frame perfectly level. Ohhhhh yeaaaaah.

Anyway, one of the ways I occupied my time this week was walking around the new neighborhood, and on one of those jaunts, I walked up to the grocery store we’ve got here. I was going up there for chicken and other food items, but I decided to grab a couple things to make these quinoa granola bars I saw on Pinterest. I changed the recipe a bit, but overall, they looked awesome, and since the Ryan doesn’t like quinoa, I figured I could actually have something that was, well, just mine. That didn’t work, as it turns out, because though he doesn’t like quinoa OR coconut, he does like everything else in the bars, and has eaten them anyway. So..yeah. Marriage is sharing, y’all.

I changed the original recipe some to fit what I kept in my house, and my granola bars came out much more soft and squishy than the ones in the original recipe appear to have. I don’t know if it was the changes I made, or because she didn’t mention to refrigerate them (which works and keeps them nice and solid but still yummy and squishy), or if I didn’t cook them long enough, or what. Regardless, they’re delicious! So, let’s get started!

You will need:

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  • 1 cup of coconut flakes (the original calls for unsweetened, but I couldn’t find unsweetened so I got what the store had)
  • 1 cup of coarsely chopped walnuts (she calls for cashews in the original recipe, but I didn’t have any – I did have walnuts)
  • 1 cup of slivered almonds
  • 1 cup of dried cranberries (original calls for cherries, but again, I didn’t have any – I had cranberries)
  • 2 cups of oats (she didn’t say whether they were instant or rolled oats, I have instant, so that’s what I used)
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and dried
  • 1/2 cup flax seeds
  • 1/3 cup almond butter (I had peanut butter, so I used that)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • Sea salt for garnish, if desired

Preheat your oven to 350, and line a 9×13 pan with wax paper.

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Meanwhile, toast your oats and quinoa until cooked warmed and fragrant. Allow to cool.

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After the oats and quinoa are cooled, combine them with your nuts, coconut, flax seed, and fruit.

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In a small pan, add maple syrup, coconut oil, peanut butter, and honey.

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Warm until melted, then mix together with the nuts and oats mixture until evenly coated.

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Bake at 350 for ~25-30 minutes until the edges are toasted and brown. Remove and allow to cool completely.

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I had to keep mine in the fridge to keep them solid, I am not sure what I did wrong, or if this is normal? But they’re delicious anyway. Once your bars are cooled and solid, cut them into strips.

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As suggested in the original recipe, I decided to dip the bottoms of mine into chocolate. Mmmm.

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I stuck them back in the fridge and let them harden. There you have it, delicious granola bars, all homemade and yummy! And healthy! Enjoy!!

 

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Filed under Baking, Cooking, Food, Uncategorized, Wellness

Summer Smoothie Spectacular!

I don’t know about the rest of you, but it’s getting HOT here! Like, H.O.T. hot! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Do you know what that means? It means you’re going to want to cool down with some deeeelicious cold beverages. Now, I think the rest of you are with me when I say, “Ohmygod I love Slurpees, Frozen Yogurt, Italian Ice, Ice Cream” and all things just..freaking..amazingly cold and sweet!

But, sadly, as much as we want to deny it, those things aren’t healthy for us. They’re good, in moderation. Though, if you’re anything like me and swear that you’ll only have ONE SERVING and then eat it all anyway, that can be a *bit* of a problem.

This semester, with it being my last, and I have to say with it also being the hardest semester of my time in college, I have managed to just sort of stop caring. About me, about my body, about anything except homework. And it has had some consequences. I workedย so hard to lose weight for my wedding, and I’ve gained back all but 7 lbs. Sitting endlessly in lectures, in front of the computer doing hours of programming, staying up late, snacking on whatever is nearby when I get hungry, giving in to my cravings….yeah. It has been a rough semester. Fall wasn’t too bad, but ever since Spring swung around, it has just been downhill.

So here I am, almost a week from graduating, and ready to get back on the horse and whip my butt into shape – literally! (sans the whipping, because…ouch) Plus, now that I won’t have homework anymore, I have time to go running, or take yoga, or do Zumba, or all of it! I can have a life!! I have downloaded an app called “Couch to 5k” by Active.com (the same people that sponsor the Color Run and other shenanigans), and also one called “Just 6 Weeks” that teaches you to do crunches, push ups, etc., in 6 weeks. I have started logging my food on MyFitnessPal again, and have, for the most part, stayed on the straight and narrow for the last week or so. I have lost about 5 lbs, buuut I think it’s mostly just water. I have also had a couple of bad days (can you say someone had a cookout and made bbq chicken, burgers, and grilled corn on the cob? Ohmygod), but I’m not terribly angry at myself over it.

What does this have to do with smoothies? Well, I was browsing Pinterest (because who needs to study statistics when there’s Pinterest?), and I kept seeing recipes for smoothies. Mean green smoothie, flax smoothie, glowing green smoothie, delicious smoothie, smoothie this, smoothie that. I pinned ย bunch of the pins, but I wasn’t totally sold on any specific one that I thought I’d just love. So, I decided to kind of make up my own going off of other peoples’ recipes. And here we are. I don’t have anything to call it (like a snazzy name), but it IS good, and GOOD FOR YOU. I sat down and worked out all of the nutrition information (perks of taking a nutrition class, yaaaaay), and it’s loaded with nutrients. I’d recommend making it in the mornings, so you have a great way to start your day! My recipe includes green tea, which has caffeine in it. So there’s that benefit as well!

Are you ready? Let’s make a smoothie!

Yesterday, I went shopping for a bunch of fruits and some spinach (I’m taking baby steps – I know I like baby spinach, so I’m starting with that first), and brought them home and washed them. I usually just kind of scrub off my food before I eat it with water, but since I knew I was going to be slicing, freezing, and then storing my fruit, I figured I should give them a proper scrubdown. So I mixed 6 cups of water with 2 cups of white vinegar (3:1) and EWWWWWW! Check it out:

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That came off MY FOOD THAT I PUT IN MY BODY! When I poured it out there was brown sludge at the bottom of the bowl that looked like mud. Yeah, never just rinsing under water and rubbing with my hands again. Gross.

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Also, look how shiny everything was! ๐Ÿ˜€ I set my fruit out on the counter to dry and got busy with studying.

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I also made a container of green tea. It was exciting, because the first container I made, I just laid on its side in the fridge, but the hot water (I boiled water, steeped the tea, removed the bags, put on the lid, and stuck it in the fridge – but my fridge is stupid and things as tall as that container don’t fit, so I had to lay it down) caused pressure against the lid and BOOM! My kitchen and fridge were suddenly overflowing with green tea. It was amazing. T___T Not. Though, when I grabbed a nearby towel out of storage to clean up with, I found a $25 Bed, Bath and Beyond gift card, so all is not lost. I bought a serving bowl and a picture frame. Booyah. Anyway, I made this NEW container of green tea and left it on the counter all afternoon into the evening to cool down before I put it in the fridge. Lesson learned (for those of you wondering: one kettle full of water, 4 tea bags, steep 3 minutes, remove. Add a little honey if you want and mix).

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After all the veggies and fruit were dried off, I chopped them up and stuck them in the fridge on a cookie sheet and cutting board to get hard enough to put in bags. I also bought and chopped three different kinds of pears and grapes. The nutrition info I will be providing is strictly for the recipe with strawberries and blueberries in it.

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Once everything was frozen, I put them in their own bag for later use. The smoothie is much more smooth if your stuff is frozen. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Meanwhile, you will also need some delicious yogurt. I prefer Chobani because it has less sugar and sodium than other brands, more protein, and important probiotics for your digestive system. Plus I think it tastes yummy. You can use whatever you want, though.

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Finally, you’ll need some protein powder. I make The Ryan protein bars for his workouts, and we have this sitting around. We prefer soy to whey, but whatever you wanna do, do your thing. That’s the nice thing about smoothies – there’s really no wrong way to do it.

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(Yes, that’s a Game of Thrones cup. Yes, that’s house Stark. Winter is Coming; Though Tyrion is my favorite. I haven’t read all the books, don’t tell me if he dies, I would lose it!)

When you’re ready, combine:

  • 2 tbls agave
  • One serving protein powder (for us that’s 2 tbls)
  • 1 tbls ground flax seed
  • 2 cups baby spinach, tightly packed
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/3 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup sliced cucumber
  • 1 cup green tea

Throw it in the blender and process. NOMNOM. This recipe makes 4 cups, and I define one serving as 2 cups. Don’t worry, the other 2 cups will fit nicely into a mason jar. Add a little lemon juice to the leftovers and give it a whirl in the blender to help slow down oxidation, fill your mason jar all the way to the top to keep air out, and put a tight lid on it. VOILA, now you have one for later too! Stored in your fridge, itย should last up to 24 hours. Check it before you drink it, though!

One serving of this smoothieย as written contains:

  • 18.5g of protein
  • 31g sugar
  • 154mg sodium
  • 5.5g fiber
  • 57.5% DV of Vitamin A
  • 16% DV of Calcium
  • 108.5% DV of Vitamin C
  • 19.5% DV of Iron
  • 887mg of Omega-3 fatty acids
  • 287.3mg of Omega-6 fatty acids
  • 1% DV of Vitamin E
  • 24% DV of Vitamin K
  • 6% DV Thiamin
  • 1.5% DV Riboflavin
  • 2% DV Niacin
  • 3.5% DV Vitamin B6
  • 6% DV Folate (especially good for you if you’re pregnant!)
  • 3% DV of Vitamin B5 (Panthothenic Acid)
  • 28% DV Magnesium
  • 6.5% DV Phosphorous
  • 12% DV Potassium
  • 4.5% DV Zinc
  • 10.5% DV Copper
  • 44% DV Manganese
  • 2% DV Selenium
  • 12.5 mg Caffeine
  • And amazing antioxidants and probiotics!!

So there you have it, whyย wouldn’t you start your mornings with this from now on? What are you waiting for? Go get started!

(P.S. I would like to shamelessly plug my Ninja blender, which I got for Christmas. I LOOOOOOOOOOOOVE IT!! It makes things nice and smooth mmmm)

 

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Filed under Cooking, Fitness, Uncategorized, Wellness

Tis’ The Season – For Kicking Cancer’s Ass!

Afternoon, folks!

Today I am taking a turn from my normal subject of food to discuss something that is very hard to discuss, but needs to be shared.

As many of you know, I did a post a few months back in which I was preparing food for Mommy and Daddy S for baby girl S’s little arrival. ๐Ÿ™‚ She is now 4 months old, and quite a happy little girl.

However, on Thanksgiving, Mommy and Daddy S announced that baby S – her name is Cambria, in case you were wondering, has been diagnosed with neuroblastoma cancer. As you can imagine, Mommy and Daddy S are absolutely crushed…but being the kind of people that they are, they are remaining positive and bright admist it all. The good news is that they found it very, very early. Their pediatrician is amazing, and we just so happen to live close to Washington D.C., and as such, Cambria is able to receive treatment at National Children’s Medical Center. Neuroblastoma is also, I guess, “the” cancer you’d want…if you wanted cancer (which no one does), because it has a very good rate of going into remission, and isย actually curable.ย That’s not a word to use lightly with the “big C.” But it’s possible. And if they hadn’t found this until she was much older, her life would be very different. For now, she’s just a bubbly 4 month old baby that has a bunch of new people paying attention to her and giving her lots of hugs. She has no idea what cancer even is, and that is a blessing in and of itself.

On top of all of that, the people around Mommy and Daddy S are pulling together to support them in any way they can, and the outpouring of support and prayers has been an awesome thing to watch. I am honored that they are my friends, that I know little Cambria, and I am inspired by their strength. ๐Ÿ™‚ I can’t even imagine what they are going through.

BUT! I can gain insight. And so can you.ย Mommy and Daddy S have set up a blog that will detail, for the coming months, Cambria’s fight with this cancer, as it looks as though she will more than likely be going through chemo (something babies are more tolerant of than adults, so it would seem). The blog is written from both Mommy and Daddy S’s perspectives, and it is quite insightful, as well as a great way to stay updated with the goings-on, as there are so many people inquiring.

The internet is an amazing thing these days! So many people can stay connected, share struggles, help each other, and do a bunch of other amazing things.

So today I come to you as a friend of these remarkable parents and this wonderful little baby, and ask for your support in helping them. A cousin of the family set up a donation fund for baby Cambria to help her kick cancer’s ass. With the end of the year, all of the family’s insurance deductibles (their plan has recently been downgraded after the Affordable Care Act’s implementation as well) will be reset to $0, and as you can imagine Mommy S (the breadwinner and only working parent) is not able to work much. Between pregnancy and maternity leave, she is basically out of PTO, so they’re taking a big hit. Any assistance possible is needed, and if there was any time to contribute to a good cause, this would be it. Help these parents help their baby. ๐Ÿ™‚ And help make the struggle ahead a bit easier, if you can. If nothing else, Mommy and Daddy S have asked for prayers for baby Cambria. So even if you can’t contribute financially, you can contribute spiritually.

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(Cambria on Thanksgiving)

 

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Filed under Uncategorized, Wellness

Winding Down & Mother’s Day Freezer Meals

Ahhhhhhhh, finally. The semester is over. I turned in my last assignment on Thursday afternoon, finished my last day of work until July on Friday afternoon, made Mother’s Day up to my mom yesterday because last Sunday I was drowning in ~65 pages of paper writing death….

And now it’s over. For eight whole days. Granted, we’re moving next Saturday, but until next Friday is over, I have time to myself to do whatever I want. Of course, I have chosen to blog, to surf Pinterest for the first time in forever, and to watch TV and movies I’ve been neglecting with the Ryan. We might even get to play some Guild Wars together this week. Mwahahahaha! (Shout out to all my njorn out there! :P)

Anyway, yesterday the Ryan and I made the haul down to my mom’s house where I got to see my wedding dress up close and personal for the first time ever (she picked it up for me and is keeping it hidden, as the Ryan will peek. And yes, I saw it when I tried it on, but this one is actually in my size!) and it is soooooooooo pretty. Yay!! Our Mother’s Day gift to her was a webcam, so she and my brother can Skype us whenever they want (my brother sends us around 9 million messages on Xbox but it’s such a pain in the ass to write back with a controller >.<), and I decided to make her freezer meals.

A little thing about my mom: she never cooks. Okay, maybe not never, but it’s more common to see a blue or harvest moon than it is to see a legitimate homemade meal hit your plate in that house. Unless, you know, I’m visiting, in which case it happens then. As a matter of fact, one of my gifts was turkey burgers, sauteed mushrooms, corn on the cob and watermelon yesterday for lunch. Bam! Anyway, since my mom has been working so hard to lose weight, she has resorted to eating those frozen Smart Ones and Weight Watcher’s meals, which…A for effort, mom. She’s starting somewhere, so baby steps. She has lost 20 lbs, so good for her! In the mean time, my brother is left to eat Hot Pockets and those self-serve pizza thingies, I dunno what they are. He also drinks soda. Lots of it. Needless to say, he’s gotten quite..hmm..pudgy?

Being the avid cook that I am, and the fact that the Ryan and I have made significant lifestyle changes to aid us in losing weight, I sort of freaked out (understatement). I love my family, and I want them to be healthy. Letting my brother happily subsist off Hot Pockets and pizza for the next 20-30 years is not the right practice, and I don’t want to have to become his caretaker (he has disabilities) with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc., to handle on top of everything else. So I sat down, went through Pinterest, made a list of several meals that I knew they would eat, wrote a grocery list, and took my mom shopping. Well, she paid for it, but still. I went through the store, got everything we needed, went back to her house, and got to work.

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Look at it all! Eeeek! I wrote the name of each meal, how to cook it in the crock pot and on what setting, and even what to serve it with. I got her some egg noodles and she picked out some minute rice (baby steps, at least it’s rice, right?).

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Two hours and 13 freezer meals later, I was done. ๐Ÿ™‚ Most of this should have leftovers, so almost all of these meals should serve as two meals….therefore, they should last her almost a month. She was shocked that $120 worth of groceries could get her that far (she spends way too much on eating out 3x/day), so hopefully the health and economic benefits of this experiment will show their pretty faces and get her on the freezer meal train. Plus, she doesn’t have to do any work. Thaw it out the night before, put it in the crock pot, come home and eat dinner. Voila! It’s like those icky frozen foods but much, much better for you.

I didn’t take any photographs while I was working because frankly, my hands were dirty and covered in some sort of food substance pretty much the entire time, so I didn’t want to touch my phone. ๐Ÿ™‚

I am hopeful that this will save my mom some $$ and get both of them eating healthier. In a little bit, I am going to make her a chart for each meal and email it to her so she can write whether she did/didn’t like it, what she did/didn’t like about it, and what I can change if I come down and do it again in a month or so. She and my brother are probably two of the most picky eaters you’ll ever meet. Ever. So I’m terrified that they won’t like something I made multiples of and will throw them out. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ So the chart, I think, will be helpful. High five to the Ryan for coming up with that idea, haha!

In the mean time, here are the recipes for each meal I made her:

Ranch Pork Chops

  • 1 can organic cream of chicken soup
  • 1 packet Hidden Valley ranch dressing mix
  • Pork chops
  • Add all ingredients plus maybe some baby potatoes to the crock pot and cook on low for 6 hrs, high for 4 hrs.

Chicken Tacos

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • one 12 oz jar of salsa
  • 1 envelope taco seasoning (since I was down there, I made my own taco seasoning and put that in)
  • Add all ingredients to crock pot and cook on high 4-6 hrs; serve w/cheese, sour cream, or any other garnishes.

Tortilla Soup

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • one 16 oz jar salsa
  • 11 oz can of corn (I hate that stuff, I bought her frozen corn)
  • one can of beans (I made one with black beans and one with pinto beans)
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Cook on low 4-6 hrs, shred chicken and serve. Garnish with sour cream, cheese, etc.

Sausage & Bell Peppers

  • 3 Italian sausages (I got her Italian style chicken sausages, have you seen the calories in regular sausages? *shudder*)
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 can Italian diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbls Italian seasoning
  • Cook on low 6 hrs, serve w/mashed potatoes or as is.

Mongolian Beef

  • 1 lb stew meat
  • 2 tbls olive oil (she didn’t have any, I used canola)
  • 1 onion, sliced thickly
  • 1 tbls garlic
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup beef broth (we used low sodium)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (I only used 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 tsp minced ginger
  • 1/2 cup Hoisin sauce
  • Cook on low 6-8 hrs, serve over rice.

Lazy Day Stew

  • 1-2 lbs stewing beef
  • 1.5 cup baby potatoes
  • 2 tsp quick cooking tapioca (I have not been able to find this anywhere in ANY store. If you have any ideas where I could get it, let me know!)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • One 8 oz can of tomato sauce
  • 1 tbls brown sugar
  • 1-2 cup baby carrots
  • 1-2 cup celery
  • 1 onion
  • Add 1 cup water or beef broth, cook on low 4-6 hours. Eat as is or serve over egg noodles.

Pork Tenderloin

  • 1 tenderloin
  • 1 cup low sodium beef broth
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3 tbls garlic
  • 3 tbls low sodium soy sauce
  • 4 tsp dried onion flakes
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • Add all to crock pot, turn loin to coat; Spread garlic over roast (I used garlic powder, we didn’t have fresh cloves – she doesn’t have a press and I wasn’t feeling that ambitious) and cook on low 4 hrs. Serve with mashed potatoes and corn.

Buffalo Chicken

  • 3-4 chicken breasts
  • One 12 oz bottle hot sauce (or less if you’re super sensitive – we used a 5 oz bottle of Franks original)
  • One packet Ranch dressing mix
  • 2 tbls butter
  • Spray crock pot with canola oil; Place chicken in crock pot, mix hot sauce and ranch, and pour over chicken. Cook on low 6-8 hrs. Add butter in the last half hour of cooking. Then shred and serve on rolls like pork bbq but not.

Rosemary Chicken

I wasn’t able to make this one, as we ran out of chicken, but I had it on the list anyway:

  • 3-4 chicken breasts
  • 1 can low sodium chicken broth
  • Fresh onion & garlic
  • 1/2 cup fresh Rosemary
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Line crock pot with sliced onions and garlic; Lay chicken breasts on top. Pour in chicken broth, sprinkle w/rosemary. Cook on low, 6 hrs. Serve w/brown rice and a veggie.

So there you have it! I am likely going to have to do some in this fashion myself in the next week or so, since I’m starting field school on the 28th and will be gone from ~7 in the morning to 5 in the evening, and will be out in the hot sun and sweltering humidity digging in the dirt and busting my hump everyday for 6 weeks. Oh, to be an archaeologist…Needless to say, the Ryan is going to be in charge of things for a while. ๐Ÿ™‚ Might as well help him out, right?

Anyway, I am off! Off to do whatever I want today, for the first day since at least Spring break! Wheeeeeeeee!!

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Filed under Cooking, Food, Holidays, Uncategorized, Wellness

Happy Anniversary, Blog! *sniffle*

Oh my goodness, has it been a year already? I can’t believe it! I logged in today with the intent of giving you guys an update on the Ryan and I’s wedding body progress and found a “Happy Anniversary!” notification from WordPress. Wow!

Granted, I’ve sort of fallen off the radar with school, wedding planning, and now a baby shower to plan!!! ๐Ÿ˜€ Huzzah (no not for me, but for the Ryan’s best woman! EEEK!)! But I still love this blog and I am really hoping that once things settle down a bit in the 2nd half of the summer I can do a little more for you guys! For those of you that still read – THANK YOU! ๐Ÿ™‚

I feel like for this one year anniversary I should make something special! But tonight I was just going to make spaghetti because I’m lazy like that and in the process of writing two 20 page research papers…I know! How about Honey Lime Shrimp (it has been a LONG time since I fed the Ryan shrimp!) and Cupcakes for Two? Courtesy of Pinterest, of course! This gives me a chance to make something new and less boring (the Ryan likes less boring) but still within acceptable calorie limits. Except the cupcakes…hehe! I will just hold off on icing, since that is where the majority of cupcake calories come from – it’s pure sugar and butter! SO FATTENING! Actually, they’re not that bad. Maybe 100 calories each.

Woot!

In other news, the Ryan and I have continued to progress. ๐Ÿ™‚ I have lost 5 more pounds since my last entry for a grand total of 15 lbs. I believe the Ryan has lost the same, if not slightly more. He has begun doing sit ups, push ups and squats in his office during the day while his code compiles (oh, to have an office with a door!) and bought a pull up bar that mounts in the doorway for our house. His goal is to get in shape so that he could pass the military PT tests if he wanted to. ^_^ I am proud of him, his arms and shoulders are getting more delicious every day!

Myself, on the other hand, I am not going for military PT test excellence. Instead, I’ve been working (as you know) on toning. Apparently I have been using weights that are too light! Luckily for me, the Ryan’s pull up bar came with resistance bands and yesterday he taught me how to use them. I can do 10 lbs of resistance for triceps and 20 for biceps. No wonder those dinky 3 lb weights weren’t working! On top of that, he showed me how to use his pull up bar on the ground to do push ups. Sadly, I am a wuss and can only do about 12. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Total. SOMEDAY!! I also downloaded the “Just Do It” app (more like the Ryan downloaded it on my phone for me) which is an app that helps you reach a goal of 100 sit ups, push ups, squats and pull ups in 6 weeks or so (with the option to repeat weeks if you need to). You input what you can currently do (it assumes you can do zero otherwise) and then gives you sets/reps and rest times. Do your sets every other day, and it will build you up as you go. When you can do more, you can change your numbers, and it will work you even higher. Tomorrow evening, I intend to start doing squats with the resistance bands and with the assistance of the app. I hope I don’t break my legs!!

So, how bout that dinner and dessert?

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Shameless plug here – this rice maker is the best use of Amazon gift cards and Cash Rewards…..ever! ๐Ÿ˜€ I came home and put in brown rice and walked away. And when it’s finished, I’ll get perfectly cooked rice! This thing has fuzzy logic to monitor the internal temp of the rice to make sure it cooks evenly! Fancy schmancy amazingness. Just saying. Get one.

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So, for the shrimp. Mix together 1/4 cup olive oil, 3 cloves garlic (smashed), 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 2 tbls honey, the zest and juice of one small lime and 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes.

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Pour that marinade in the ziplock bag with your shrimp, mix em up well and stick that bad boy in the fridge for 30-60 minutes, turning 2-3 times.

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When they are good and marinaded, drop them into a nice, hot skillet. The oil in the marinade is enough to prevent them from sticking, so you don’t need to add more oil. In other news, I love my Lodge skillet. Best $20 at Target EVER!

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Mmmm, will ya look at that? They were sweet, tangy and hot. Perfect with the brown rice! And psst – I didn’t realize until I went to cook them – they weren’t peeled! XD And by then it was too late (in my defense, they were de-veined so I ass-umed they had also been peeled. DERP)! It was a messy dinner, but delicious nonetheless! The Ryan was excited to have shrimp.

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Now, for the cupcakes. Preheat the oven to 350. Mix together in a bowl 1 egg white, 2 tbls sugar (I used the equivalent of Stevia), 1 tsp vanilla, a pinch of salt, a heaping 1/4 tsp of baking powder, 2 tbls butter (melted), 1/4 cup flour, and 1 1/2 tbls milk (I used fat free cuz that’s all we have).

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Meanwhile, I didn’t have any cupcake liners (sad face!!) so I sprayed two of the cups with Pam and put water around the other 10 cups, as you should do when you bake things with empty cups. The steam also encourages even baking. Or so Cupcake Wars says.

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Here is your finished batter. Isn’t the stove lovely? The Ryan cleaned it yesterday until it was squeaky, brilliant white. Excellent job, don’t you think?

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Pour the batter into the individual cupcake cups and then stick in the oven. Bake 10-12 minutes.

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Let cool completely. Aren’t they cute? I wonder how they will taste. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Okay, so they’re not the most lovely thing in the world…but they were delish! The Ryan was surprised, and we both enjoyed them!

So, there you have it, an anniversary dinner and dessert! Now, off to homework land!

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One final word: My thoughts and prayers are with those in Boston this evening, I heard the news on my drive home in the car and recently watched the President’s address. May everyone you know be safe and blessed, and may all of the first responders and those who are helping stay safe tonight.

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Filed under Baking, Cooking, Fitness, Food, Uncategorized, Wellness