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What I’ve Been Up To Lately

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Relishing every moment with this precious boy. He’s sitting up all by himself better and better each day.

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A new client gro (lower case) just held its grand opening. It’s located in Matthews, just beside the Siskey Y. I seriously wish it was closer. I could eat their quinoa bowl with chicken or steak every. single. day.

Oh yeah, it’s a Greek restaurant, and it’s sleek, modern, and healthy. They make their own Greek yogurt and I am in love with their PB&J grōgurt.

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One of my favorite things about nice weather is walking to dinner on a random weekday night.

We put Elliott in his stroller recently and walked to 131 Main where I almost always order their Thai Steak Salad. I love a good cold noodle dish and this is one of my favorites. However, I always forget to order the dressing on the side. They can be a little heavy-handed.

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I absolutely adore this photo of Elliott and my brother, Wess. We went
To Cabo Fish Taco a few weekends ago to celebrate my sister in-law’s birthday. It’s always so much fun to get together, especially now that babies are in the mix. That’s me in the background of the photo holding my nephew Grayson.

Unfortunately, this little family outing resulted in all of is getting sick with this awful stomach bug that has been going around. Elliott had it for three days and he was so pitiful. Luckily,
I felt off all that week but never had a full fledged version of it. I don’t know how a sick mother takes care of a sick baby. Thank goodness, we’re all better now.

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I went to my first Mardi Gras party a few weekends ago.

We took the opportunity of a night out to also go to dinner at one of our favorite places, Customshop. All of their pasta is so incredible!

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Something I’ve been meaning to blog about for a while is baby food. Elliott has been eating purées since he was four months old. I absolutely love making his food. It’s so incredibly easy. Pictures above is what I can bananacado — banana and avocado, which is one of his favorites.

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Baking makes everything better

Can I just title every Sunday “Sundays are for baking Part IV”?

After Diana’s brunch, Brad and I swung by the mall to buy one of those wallets you can hide under your clothes to evade the Italian pick-pocketers.

On our way home, I felt really bleh.  I almost felt hungover…tired, slight headache, generally blah feeling.  Maybe my 10 mile run took more out of me than I thought.  I’m not sore at all (which is freaking amazing!), but I just felt off.  I know that I was not dehydrated.  I drunk so much in the past two days.  I made at least five trips to the ladies’ room during my bridesmaid luncheon because I had drank so much water.  Brad suggested that I might be over-hydrated, but I didn’t think so.

When we returned home, Brad continued working on my blog.  We’re slowly getting everything sorted out.  Can I just say that he’s so incredibly sweet to do all this for me?  I can’t wait to release the new look.  I’m crossing my fingers it’s before the wedding, but it might end up being later this month when we return from the honeymoon.

When my soon-to-be mother-in-law visited this weekend, she brought us a bunch of beautiful little pears.

You know I can’t stand to see anything go to waste, and with us going to Italy on Sunday, I had to do something with these pears.  I thought about freezing them and decided against it.

Instead, I decided to have a pear baking extravaganza.  It was either this or a nap.  Baking trumps napping any day for me.

Before baking, I snacked on a La Croix and a mini chocolate coconut date truffle.

See how tiny in my child-size hand?

Not  the best photo.

Pear Crisp

3 cups chopped pears

2 Tbsp. cinnamon

1/2 Tbsp. nutmeg

5 servings of Stevia

3/4 cup oats

2 Tbsp. cold real butter

Place pears in casserole dish and mix well with spices and Stevia.  Top with oats and cut cold butter into small slivers to top oats.  Bake on 350 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour.

And next…

Pear bread

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup spelt flour

1/4 cup ground flax seed

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp.  baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. cinnamon

2 1/2 cups shredded pears

10 dates, pitted and pureed in food process

1 egg + 1/2 cup egg whites (4 egg whites)

2 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix all dry ingredients well.  Mix wet ingredients and all fruit.  Add wet ingredients to dry and stir well (I used my kitchen aid stand mixture because the dough was so thick).  Grease a bread pan with cooking spray and pour bread mixture into pan.  Bake on 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 35 minutes or until you can pierce the center with a knife and it comes out clean.

Baking made everything better for me this afternoon.  It even made me feel good enough to do an easy 30 minutes on the elliptical + 2 circuits of arm and shoulder exercises.

In other news, I’ve caved and bought the Nike Tempo Shorts.  I bought these in pink and yellow.  As much as I love Target and think their workout clothes are super inexpensive, none of their shorts fit the same consistently, even the same brands.  The Finish Line is running a great deal on these shorts and so is Nike.com.  I couldn’t resist.

Do you have any favorite workout clothing brands?  Do new workout clothes encourage you to workout?  It does for me! 🙂

I’m going to be buying new running shoes soon and am thinking about switching from my trusty Aasics so I would love to hear what shoes other runners swear by as well.

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It’s not easy eating green

I haven’t eaten as many greens this week as I usually do and part of the reason is that we’re going out of town in a week and I don’t want to spend a bunch of money on produce.  Today, I seriously made a dent in my frozen veggie collection.

First off, I started with the worlds ugliest, but still tastey, SIAB.

Why so ugly?

I was a little spacey when I woke up this morning and initially forgot to put in the vanilla whey protein.  I had a fully assembled SIAB with granola on top.  I had to remove the granola, put the smoothie back in the vitamix, add the whey, then reassembled with the granola.  That’s why you can barely see the granola and why it’s a darker green.  I also went a little crazy with the frozen spinach.  This is a peach SIAB.

1/2 frozen banana

1 huge sliced peach

1 cup almond milk

1 scoop vanilla whey protein

1/4 tsp. xanthan gum

bit of Stevia

heavy on the cranberry flax granola

It reminds me the slime they used on You Can’t Do That on Television. Look familiar?

My morning was spent working from home, a break for No More Trouble Zones, and my photographer dropped off my bridal portrait.

I used leftover un-chicken fried rice, sans egg white and added frozen green beans and peas, which I roasted until they were slightly crispy.   Then I added a Dr. Paeager’s veggie burger.

This looks huge but was only 1/2 cup quinoa.  The loads of veggies really bulked it up.

Early afternoon, Brad and I headed to the Register of Deeds to get our marriage license, which took forever.  We initially tried to go in through the county courthouse, but they wouldn’t let me in because of my camera.  What a dumb rule, everybody has a camera on their phone and phones are totally allowed.  So weired.

Luckily we could go into the Register of Deeds office from another side of the building.  The whole process took longer than I expected and I think everyone waiting with us were plotting to stage a coup by the time we left.

Next, was a quick trip to Target where I tried this.

It’s just water with a very small hint of blackberry.  I liked it!

Lunch was pretty filling and I didn’t get hungry until 5:30 pm, which was great because we’re probably going to have a later dinner than usual with Brad’s mom and grandmother.  They’re coming into town for my bridesmaid’s luncheon tomorrow.  I’m so excited about giving them their gifts!

Happy weekend!

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Coconut Millet

Ready for my example of complimentary proteins?

For lunch I had coconut millet and tempeh + mango salsa, with two plums on the side.

The millet was deliciously coconutty. 🙂

Coconut Millet: (2 servings)

1/2 cup millet

1/2 cup light coconut milk

1/2 cup coconut water

Toast millet in a pan on medium high heat until the millet becomes fragrant.  Meanwhile begin heating the coconut milk and coconut water in a saucepan until it starts to boil.  Turn heat down to medium and add millet once it is toasted.  Allow millet to simmer until all liquid is dissolved.

I also cut a block of tempeh into fourths and sauteed each piece until they were browned on both sides.  I added the tempeh to the coconut millet and topped with the last of my mango salsa.

A few hours later, I was ready for a snack.

2% Greek Yogurt, frozen strawberries (nuked), and my homemade cranberry flax granola.

I love it when there’s just enough yogurt left to take the whole container.  It’s as easy as oats in a jar, container included.

I like my parfaits the best because they’re not very sweet.  The only real sweetness comes from the strawberries because my granola has such little sugar and plain yogurt has no added sweetner of course.

The iPhone photos does not do this justice.

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Running and showering (Saturday recap)

I wrote this blog entry on  Saturday, but somehow forgot to hit “publish”…excuse my lack of chronological order.

I had a rough night last night.  I woke up at 3:30 am and couldn’t quiet the noise in my head, so around 4:30 I was up and searching for food for my growling tummy.

Snow capped blueberry mountain toast to the rescue, which was Ezekiel, 1% cottage cheese, blueberry jam, fresh picked blueberries from Currituck (courtesy of Joy), sprinkling of unsweetened coconut.  Hit the spot perfectly

Around 6 am I got sleep and took a one hour nap.  My plan for this morning was to get up at 6 am.  Have a light breakfast and be out the door by 7 am to do my long run, a 9 miler.

My nap although necessary, spoiled by plan.  When I woke up at 7:30, I knew I couldn’t go run9 miles without a second mini breakfast: another piece of Ezekiel with peanut butter and Crofters.

I drove down to a greenway where I knew it would be shady and have softly sloping hills rather than the ghastly steep climbs around uptown Charlotte.  I was pretty unsure of my running ability with 5 hours of sleep under my belt.  I wasn’t super speedy but I did it.  Nine miles in 1:26:37.  Right on.  🙂

This was the first time I ran with my fuel belt.  Overall, I liked the fuel belt, but need to remember to close the mouthpiece.  When I stopped running my shorts were completely soaked from leakage.

Brad came to my rescue with mini breakfast #3.  It wasn’t completely tasty.  But it was cool and refreshing and hit the spot.  My mocha smoothie had 1 cup of fresh brewed coffee, a bit of ice, spinach, Amazing Frass, 1/2 scoop chocolate whey protein, 1 cup almond milk, 1/2 frozen banana, and ice.  This would have been better with a tsp. of instant coffee and no ice, which was necessary since the coffee was still hot.

I rushed rushed home because I was due for a wedding shower at 12:00 pm hosted by my aunt and my grandmother for me.  I was only a teensy bit late.  Hey, I had to get my run in!

My shower was at Chantilly’s Tea Room, a cute little old house turned tea room in Gastonia, NC, my hometown.

They serve these little cake-like muffins with strawberry icing.  That’s my kind of hor d’oeuvre.   I had one immediately upon arrival and ordered coffee and water.

We got straight to business opening presents while drinks were served.  First up was a beautiful pitcher to match my Pottery Barn everyday wear from Brittney, who was also nice enough to serve as photographer with my camera.

Closeup of the cupcake tower.  My aunt makes the most delicious cake ever.  I’m so glad she’s also doing my wedding cake! 🙂

Another great gift, a punch bowl.  I’m always borrowing my Aunt Tonya’s for my annual cookies and cocktails Christmas party.  Now I have my own!

Lunch was served.  My choice was the half slice of the spinach and swiss quiche and the house salad with balsamic vinaigrette.  I ate every bite of my quiche and ate all of my salad except most of the cheese and croutons.

I thought it was pretty funny that Brittney ordered the exact same thing, especially since this combination wasn’t even on the menu and we weren’t at the same table.  We had to request the salad separately and was given the choice of the smaller piece of quiche.  Great minds think alike! 🙂

My mom’s choice: quiche + chicken salad.  Chantilly’s is known for their chicken salad.  So yummy!

Joy ordered the chicken salad on a croissant.

After most had left, we took a group shot of mostly family.  From left to right: my Aunt Tonya, my brother’s wife Jen (bridesmaid), my grandmother, my cousin Marie (and wedding director), me (in tall shoes), my mom, my cousin Ashlyn (junior bridesmaid), my best friend Candace (matron of honor), my aunt’s mother in-law Maxine (who I’ve known all my life).

It was such a beautiful shower and reminded me of all of the wonderful things about my family.  I am so appreciative to have my aunt and my grandmother who always support me and want the best of me.  It was so nice of them to throw me a shower.  I feel so lucky to be so close to the women in my family.  My grandmother and my aunt were such a large part of my upbringing and are still such a large part of my life.  My relationship with my Aunt Tonya is like having a second mother and my grandmother has always been a huge influence and guidance in my life.

I’m truly blessed to be so loved.

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Two breakfasts for the price of one

Yesterday’s breakfast: Raspberry “Cheesecake” Oats

1/2 cup oats, cooked in 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup water

raspberries

1/4 cup cottage cheese

AB

Crofters Superfruit Asia Spread

Bullseye.

I first saw the cottage cheese addition to oats over at Carrots n’ Cake and have been making them ever sense.  Somehow it’s never ended up on the blog.

This morning’s breakfast: Mango-raspberry green monster (I’m all about raspberries right now) + spelt toast with apple butter.  This was the very last of my NC mountain road-side stand apple butter.  So sad. 😦

In the green monster:

1/2 frozen banana

~1/2 cup frozen raspberries

4-5 chunks frozen mango

1 scoop vanilla whey

1 cup almond milk

~2-3 cups spinach (I just fill the Vitamix to the brim)

A couple of friends recently asked me what type of protein powder I use.  I like whey best, although the only other I’ve ever tried is hemp protein, which I didn’t care for one bit (had a very grainy texture and didn’t make my smoothie thick).  I usually buy the MET-Rx Protein Plus, which is only about $25 at TJ’s.

When I first hopped on the smoothie bandwagon after reading The Abs Diet for Women, I bought GNC Pro Performance Whey Protein, which is also really good.  The best value is the largest tub, and since I’m a little short on space around here, I opt for smaller containers now.  I always keep vanilla and chocolate because, although chocolate is my first love, some fruit just doesn’t go with chocolate in my mind…like mango, orange, and blueberries.

Rewind to yesterday…

There was some chatter on Twitter yesterday about Balance Bars and although I know they’re a glorified candy bar, I had to try one when my stomach told me I needed some fuel before my run.

Our group got a little split up and I never got a photo of the run/walk ladies.

Running with me was Jen, Jen, and Pinque.  We had a walk group going on too made up of Tiffany, Brittney, and Jessie, plus Britt’s dog Clyde and Tiffany’s dog Lincoln.  Both of which are soooo cute.  I felt bad for leaving my little man at home, but he probably much preferred laziness to the heat.  And I needed to get a run in, which is out of the question for him.

I did a ~2.7 mile loop with the ladies and then took off on my own for a super quick additional loop.  Garmin had a low battery from being accidentally turned on in my purse all day, so I have no idea how quick I was.  But I know I pushed myself and the loop went much quicker the second time than the first, even though I had conversations with my running companions to distract me.

Afterwards Brittney and Tiffany joined me over at the Common Market in Plaza Midwood area, where my old running group meets up after their run.  I feel bad that I have been so sporadic participating in their runs.  But the weather is so hot right now in Charlotte, I much prefer waiting until 7 or 7:30 than running at 6:30 pm.  Even just 30 minutes makes a huge difference when running in the evening.

Common Market has an awesome deli and beer selection.  Their sandwiches and wraps are super fresh with the best ingredients.  I had a Middle Eastern on 9-grain bread.  It had tabouleh, humus, red onion, and spinach, which I had asked for instead of green peppers.  I am not a huge fan of raw green bell pepper.  I ate all but about three bites of the crust and a Sierra Nevada Summerfest.

I later had an Italian beer whose name I can’t recall as I chatted with my friend Stephie.  Since Brad and I are going to Italy in about three weeks on our honeymoon, I feel the need to try everything Italian that I see.  🙂

I returned home and Brad and I attempted to cram the last of a book we are reading for pre-marital counseling into our evening.  We almost finished it and decided that we could finish it in the morning before we meet with our wedding officiant, my parent’s pastor.

I never wait to the last minute for these kind of things.  I think Brad is starting to rub off on me.

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Wedding Shape-Up Challenge Part 2

A little over 30 days ago, I announced that I was going to do a little Wedding Shape-Up Challenge (see the first half of my plan here).  Well those 30 days have come and gone and now I have moved on to the next 30 days, even though I haven’t blogged about it.

I learned some things about myself in that first 30 days.

1.  My body really responds to weight training mixed with short bursts of cardio.  I can tell a difference and so can Brad. 😉

2. My eating habits have really changed in the past few months and I don’t need to count calories, just listen to my body.  I think if I actually monitored what I ate, it would come out similarly to my plan, but sometimes I really need more calories sooner rather than later because of a super intense workout.

3. I can handle some intensity in my workouts, intensity beyond running long distances. When I started Level 1 of 30 Day Shred, I thought, “This isn’t too bad.”  But when I reached Level 2, I didn’t think I would ever make it to Level 3.  Well, I did and I’m there.  It’s not easy, but I can do it!

4. Besides the WSUC, I’ve learned that I really like blogging and I have decided to become more committed to it, which if you read regularly, you probably have already realized this since I’ve been posting way more lately.

So what am I doing for the second part of WSUC?  For the next 25 days (I already started this about a week ago) I’m working…

  • Adding mileage to my runs by doing a long run on Saturday and gradually increasing until I’m up to 10 miles (I’m up to 8ish currently).  This won’t be that difficult, but I want to actually do at least two 10 milers before we leave for our honeymoon.
  • Do three weight training heavy workouts a week, which will probably be  in the form of a Jillian video.  I’m shooting for two Level 3 30 Day Shreds a week + one No More Trouble Zones.  But we’ll see about this.  As long as I get in the three weight training workouts, I’m not going to feel bad about doing a different format of exercise.
  • Eat as balanced as I can.  This means not passing on cake at my showers or wine on the weekends (and our pub crawl in lieu of a bachelor/bachelorette party!), but taking it easy and knowing where my stopping points should be.

This is what I have basically morphed into doing the first 30 days, except for the difference in exercising, so I think this works well for me.

Not too hard.  Not too soft.  It’s juuuuuust right. 🙂

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