Nov 242014
 

I am so glad I’m not sick anymore. Having bronchitis and being segregated in the house for four days straight made me stir crazy and aching for some social interaction!

Friday

First swim in two weeks! Bronchitis is an ass-kicker. I wasn’t sure how I’d do because swimming is the #1 barometer on fitness in my opinion. If you are not up to par you will know it immediately in the pool. I had my inhaler with me just in case, but didn’t need it. I was able to swim and breathe normally and didn’t cough once! The only thing I noticed was I was getting really tired towards the end of the swim. Despite all that I did 1.125 miles without any breaks and felt great.

Saturday

Back at the Warrior Room! Thank goodness. I was still not back to normal. My stamina isn’t fabulous. My muscles were getting fatigued quicker than normal and I had to stop to rest in between sets. Other than that the class was really fun and the workout was challenging. There was one set we did where we held kettle bells in each hand and did front raises then Ashley would say “hold” and we’d have to hold the kettlebells in mid-air. It is SO MUCH harder than it sounds, trust me. Even with super light weight kettle bells it was brutal. Then we did the same thing with side lateral raises and holds. Ouch!

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Later on Saturday we went to our friend’s house for a housewarming party. They bought a house together recently and have been fixing it up so this was our change to catch up with them and see the new place.

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Michael made his famous mac n’ cheese to bring. Trust me, this is the perfect mac n’ cheese recipe. If you ever make this for a potluck or holiday party, be prepared to be nominated to make it for every following potluck for the rest of your life. Word will spread. People will request it. Trust me, I know. Michael made it one year for my family Christmas party and I think there would be a mutiny if he ever skipped it a year!

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While I ate some of the mac n’ cheese, I tried to limit how much because it’s so high in calories. I was trying to practice what I preached when it came to holiday eating…try a little bit of everything I want but don’t go overboard.

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Christi also made some roasted nuts that were AMAZING and I ended up eating way too many of those babies. They were seriously so good. Butter, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, rosemary and thyme. Amazing. We ended up playing Cards Against Humanity for a few hours and before we knew it, it was really late. It was a fun night though!

Sunday

Sunday I was finally back to yoga class. I’d missed it. So had my stiff joints and muscles. I also got in a two mile run on the treadmill before class. Which was nice because both things loosened up my tight muscles after the Warrior Room Saturday.

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After class Michael and I went over to a friend’s house for lunch and board games! Something else I had missed terribly lately.

My friend Courtney made chili so I found a cornbread recipe and made that. I decided to do mini muffins and used my mini muffin tray that we got as a wedding present. I liked the mini size. :) Because I used the mini muffin tray and I substituted the Splenda Blend, the calorie came out to 60 calories per muffin. Obviously if you do regular sized muffins that will change.

Cornbread Muffins

Prep Time: 14 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 12 or 32 depending on size

Serving Size: 1 muffin

From: http://princesspinkygirl.com/delicious-cornbread-muffins/

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup yellow corn meal
  • 1/4 cup melted butter or margarine
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine corn meal, flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.
  3. Combine milk, egg and butter/margarine and mix well.
  4. Combine the dry and liquid ingredients in a bowl and mix (do not overmix, should be slightly lumpy).
  5. Pour batter into a well greased muffin pan.
  6. Bake 15 – 20 minutes or until golden brown.
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I made three changes to the recipe: first I substituted Splenda Blend for the sugar and then I added about 1/4 cup of corn kernels. I like cornbread that has actual corn in it. Lastly, I heated the oven at 350 instead of 400 because they are so much smaller than other muffins. I thought they might get overdone.

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I liked the muffins and I liked the flavor. They were a little on the dry side eating them on their own. But with some butter melted on top or with chili, they were fine. I’d make these again but I’d probably add maybe some shredded cheese to make them a little moister? Other than that it was good.

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I love chili! It was fantastic and she used chunks of beef instead of just ground beef. It was really good and next time I make chili I want to try using chunks of beef in it. Usually I just do ground turkey or beef. This was a nice variation.

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We played two games, Love Letter and Gloom. They were both really fun. I liked the Gloom game but it was really involved and intricate. I need to play it a few more times to really get it I think.

It was the kind of weekend that was jam-packed and I didn’t have any downtime to myself, but it was worth it. It was a ton of fun!

Do you have any game recommendations? Looking for something new!

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Oct 282014
 

Goodbye summer!

Fall is here. We were soaking up the sun in Hawaii when Fall officially arrived to the NW. We got back to cooler temperatures, leaves turning colors and pumpkin everything. It seemed too soon and out of place. But after a week or so of being home, I started to settle in and welcome the coming autumn weather. Cozy sweaters, fires in the fireplace, hot tea, and soup.

from http://livinginportlandor.blogspot.com/

from http://livinginportlandor.blogspot.com/

I found this recipe somewhere…it’s not a blog I’ve ever read and I honestly don’t know what search I did that brought me to it but once I found it I thought, I need to make this! I knew Michael would love it. He’s a huge fan of spinach and wants to eat more of it. I have not-so-fond memories of cooked spinach from my childhood. In fact, they were so horrible that I never ate spinach again until I met Michael. I remember we were first dating and he made me this Greek scrambled egg breakfast with spinach in it and I wrinkled my nose and said “I hate spinach.”

Lo and behold, I didn’t hate spinach. I just hated the frozen spinach slop defrosted in a microwave and used as a side dish at dinner. Ever since then I’ve found that I actually quite like it and it went GREAT in this recipe. It was one of the highlights I think.

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I cooked the veggies in a skillet and heat the tomatoes and broth in a separate stockpot. It’s actually a wedding gift! Le Creuset stock pot from Michael’s coworkers. Very generous gift that we will use often. This was the maiden voyage of said pot.

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So I cooked the onions, carrots and celery separately and then added that to the stockpot of broth. The recipe was vegetarian but had options to make it not vegetarian. I didn’t have vegetable broth so I used about 1 cup of leftover beef broth and the rest was chicken broth. I had some leftover hamburger meat I needed to cook up so we browned that in the skillet with the garlic and then added that to the pot, too. I’d say it was roughly about the amount you’d use for one hamburger. It wasn’t much and I wish it had been a little more.

Here is the recipe:

ITALIAN ORZO SPINACH SOUP

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 4-6

Calories per serving: 300-400 calories depending on servings

From: http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/italian-orzo-spinach-soup-recipe/

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 (14-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups (about 8 ounces) DeLallo whole wheat orzo pasta, or other whole wheat pasta
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 4 cups loosely-packed spinach
  • salt and black pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute for 4 minutes, until soft. Add carrots, celery and garlic and saute for an additional 3 minutes. Add chicken stock, tomatoes, orzo (pasta), thyme, oregano, rosemary and stir to combine.
  2. Bring soup to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is al dente.
  4. Stir in the spinach and cook for 1-2 minutes until it is bright green and wilted.
  5. Season with salt and black pepper to taste (if needed). Serve warm.
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I’ve never had orzo before (shocking) and I liked it a lot! Kind of a cross between brown rice and tiny pasta…I got roughly 7 servings out of this recipe. I topped the soup with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

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Michael said it was okay; I liked the recipe a lot but I’d make one change: I’d use spicy ground pork in it. I think the spice would go great with the rest of the flavors.

So while the evening darkened outside and we settled in to watch The Walking Dead, we ate our soup and felt it warm us from the inside. I love soup weather! We shared a few glasses of a sweet, smooth Malbec wine and it went perfectly with the soup.

I had some leftovers that I ate for lunch during the week. It was less soupy then because the orzo soaked up most of the broth. Despite that, it was still really tasty and it might even have been better the next day. I liked this dinner and would make it again. I’d probably also make some biscuits to go with it. Perfect fall meal for not many calories!

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