Sep 082015

The original plan for Labor Day weekend was for us to go to Seattle and spend time with friends and see Faith No More at Bumbershoot. In the end I ended up staying home and Michael went to Seattle. I was torn and wanted to see our friends, but I knew that sitting in a car in holiday traffic for 4+ hours was not a good idea for my back. While my back is much better, sitting for long periods of time is not good. I was bummed to be missing out on the fun, but it gave me a chance to get some stuff done at home.


I started my day with the gym:


Then Bella and I hit the road to meet my friend Erika at Laurelhurst Park (where I recently ran my 5k!) for lunch and a walk. Bella sniffing me as we sit at a very long light (she gets antsy when we just sit):


It was a slightly chilly day but we found a picnic bench and ate lunch and talked. While we ate lunch it drizzled on us a teeny bit, but it wasn’t too bad. The park was full of people playing, having BBQ’s and birthday parties and there was even a wedding about to take place!


I’d been craving pasta salad lately so that’s what I made for my lunch. Bowtie high-fiber pasta with chopped carrots, black olives, red peppers, tomatoes from my garden and Trader Joe’s Tuscan Italian dressing. I had a string cheese and a plum with the salad. After lunch we walked around the park for a bit, saw this guy practicing tight rope walking:


And then walked around the neighborhood. I found my new house:

I bet that house has a library in it! 😀 We finished up our neighborhood walk and said our goodbyes and it was just in time, too, because it started to downpour! When I got home I got set baking chocolate zucchini bread.


Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes



  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil, plus more for greasing loaf pan
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1¼ tsp. baking soda
  • 1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1½ cups finely shredded zucchini (about 2 medium zucchinis)
  • ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease a 9x5 loaf pan with coconut oil and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, 2 tbsp. coconut oil, eggs, applesauce and vanilla extract. Whisk together until well-blended.
  4. Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt and stir to combine, taking care not to over-stir.
  5. Add the shredded zucchini and chocolate chips and fold into the mixture until well-blended.
  6. Pour the mixture into the greased loaf pan and spread evenly.
  7. Place in the oven and bake for 50-65 minutes, or until a knife or toothpick comes out clean from the center of the loaf.
  8. Remove the pan from the oven and let rest in for 10 minutes. If desired, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

I liked healthier options for baking things like this. I would have liked to find one that used less sugar, but 3/4 cup of sugar was the least amount of sugar I was able to find in a recipe. I also love using applesauce in baking recipes! It makes the bread moist and fluffy in my opinion. I actually made 4 mini loaves of bread in my mini loaf pan.

The house smelled amazing as the bread baked! Yum yum. I gave one mini loaf to a friend and I froze two of the loaves for later. I carved into the last one for dessert!


It was SO good. Spongy and moist, slightly sweet but not overly so and just plain delicious. I loved this recipe. It’s a keeper!


Sunday was elliptical and yoga time. Then I came home and got lunch ready for Bella’s foster mom who was coming over for a visit. Lunch was cheese and crackers (smoked gouda and pepper jack), cantaloupe, pasta salad, salami and tomatoes. Then some zucchini bread for dessert.


She brought her dog, Kona, so the two pups could race around the yard and play. It was so cute to watch them! Bella LOVES her mama Jen. She gets so excited and spazzy when she sees her. It’s amazing to watch.




Bella was in HEAVEN. The dogs raced in the yard, Bella had zoomies for hours, she was so freakin’ happy! The dogs played for a few hours, we had lunch and chatted and Jen had some ideas for Bella’s latest issue. Jen has done some dog training courses and she’s seriously like the dog whisperer. We’ll see how things go. We have some good ideas on things to try for Bella.

After they left, Bella sat in the window kind of bummed–missing her buddies. Then I got to making tomato soup from the tomatoes from my garden. First I roasted the tomatoes with onions and garlic. Then I cooked it all down for a few hours. I used this recipe.


I used the recipe as a base. I let the roasted tomatoes, onions, garlic simmer for a few hours, stirring occasionally. It thickened up and I used my immersion blender (I LOVE that thing!) to mix everything up until it was smooth and creamy (and didn’t have to remove the skins because it all blended up nicely. I added salt, pepper, seasonings, some vegetable broth, tomato paste and mixed it again. Then added a few pinches of sugar.


Let it simmer a little longer and then put the tomato soup into freezer containers for this winter. I can’t wait to have this soup! When I defrost it I will probably experiment with adding some cream to it and it may need more tomato paste once I reheat it. We’ll see. It tastes good though!



Got two 42 ounce plastic tubs of tomato soup (for freezing) and a small tupperware full for my lunch one day this week. How was your holiday?


Aug 242015

Saturday I awoke to a yellow, glowing hazy outside. The light was very weird, abnormal, and I couldn’t figure out why until I went outside. Then I realized it was all the wildfires in Oregon. Apparently the wind shifted and Portland was engulfed in a haze. It was gross, smelly and hard for me to breathe. Thankfully I already had plans to go to the gym and not try to run outside or go for a hike. I don’t see hiking in the future until the air quality clears up.

It was the first time I was back at lifting weights since my back injury. I took it easy and focused on things like shoulders, triceps and core instead of my back. I was back at doing my PT exercises and glute/core work. It felt good to do it again. Then I did a walk/run on the treadmill. First run since my 5k! I felt pretty good and did 2.5 miles.

I burned 559 calories, went home to clean up and have lunch (leftover turkey enchiladas I made). Saturday I spent most of the day inside to avoid the smoke!

Saturday evening we went to a friend’s house for dinner. It was so good to see them! And to get out of the house and be social. After my back stuff I kind of hid in the house for awhile. I was tired, feeling wounded and a little bit mopey I think. I didn’t do much socializing (aside from our parents visiting) so once I was starting to feel more like myself I was glad to see some friends.

They made delicious margaritas from scratch (limeade, rhubarb compote, simple syrup, lime verbena juice and ice). So delicious and refreshing!! Mine was a virgin because me and Tequila AIN’T friends. No thank you!


Dinner was grilled chicken, corn on the cob and a delicious salad with greens, mint, feta, onions and watermelon.


For dessert they made root beer floats with homemade vanilla bean ice cream. What a treat! I can’t remember the last time I had a root beer float…


It was a fun night. The kids are getting so big.


Michael made french toast for breakfast. It was quite a treat. I hadn’t had french toast in I don’t know how long…at least a year. I’ve been craving it recently and Michael kindly satisfied my craving. He made the fabulous Martha Stewart recipe (it’s a winner for sure).


After breakfast I went to the gym. It was too late for yoga class and honestly I was a bit too sore for it I think. Those jump squats always do me in. I was so sore (hamstrings) from Saturday’s workout. Instead I used the elliptical for a mild workout.


Sometimes doing something like the elliptical can help loosen up the sore muscles. Time will tell. The afternoon was spent in the kitchen working on tomatoes from the garden. I decided to can whole tomatoes. I had so many ripe ones in the garden that needed to be cooked or something. I picked a big batch and got started.


I did a combo of romas and heirloom tomatoes. I love canning whole tomatoes because it’s super easy and fast. I boiled the tomatoes, peeled the skins in no time, cored the tomatoes and then canned them whole. The longest part of this process was the canning part. It took forever to get the water boiling and I had to do the jars in two batches because my pot wasn’t big enough.

Sunday evening we had Michael’s mom and stepdad over for dinner. It had been way too long since we saw them and I was excited to make dinner using the spaghetti sauce I made last weekend. Michael’s mom made a fantastic salad with greens, tomatoes and lemon cucumbers from their neighbor’s garden. I baked a loaf of garlic bread (my weakness).


We did gluten free spaghetti and I cooked up my spaghetti sauce with meatballs. I was so happy with my sauce! It was delicious! Thick and flavorful and just right.


Dessert was a little bit of a cheat. :) I baked cookies.


It was a busy weekend! But a good one. How was yours?