Nov 162015

I’ve noticed lately (like within the last two weeks) that when I work out my heart rate is a bit higher than it’s been thus far. I’m guessing that’s the pregnancy stuff. I had the day off and slept in a little bit, then as I was being lazy in bed, cuddling with Bella and Fat Kitty, I got a wicked Charlie Horse in both calves. The left one subsided quickly, the right one crippled me. OUCH! It hurt so bad. It was like my calf muscle just decided to explode. And I felt the effects of it for the rest of the day and it was honestly sore the next day too! :(

I’d had plans to run at the gym but after the Charlie Horse I decided not to. I did upper body weights instead and then 2 miles on the elliptical. Calories burned:

I got home, it wasn’t raining and it was actually kind of sunny out, so Bella and I took a 1 mile walk to enjoy the weather. I burned another 100+ calories on that walk. Burning a lot lately, without even trying. It’s so odd.

For dinner Michael and I went out on a date night. He was craving pizza (as per usual) and I was craving BBQ. Pregnant lady wins. 😀


We went to Podnah’s! One of my favorites. It was a packed house for a weeknight but we got a table for two right away, thankfully. I got the brisket (my favorite), cornbread and collard greens and mac n’ cheese. (I like the mac n’ cheese at Reverend’s better, though.) Michael got the “meat” plate. LOL It was a sampler plate of the sausage, brisket, pulled pork and ribs. Everything was so good and satisfied my craving!

After dinner we headed to IKEA to check out the baby stuff. We got some essentials, of course:


Then looked at their cribs. We both liked this one:


I liked the drawers on the bottom, I liked that the mattress levels were adjustable and it converted into a toddler bed, too. We’re just in the looking phase right now, but we did end up buying the most important things:


Michael recently sent me a link about how IKEA is transforming kid’s art into stuffed animals for charity. It was SUCH a cute idea! The little green guy on the left was one of those creations and even though it’s kind of derpy looking, it was too cute not to get! The shark was Michael’s impulse buy. The little foxes are going to go nicely with our nursery theme. :)


Fat Kitty was super curious AND freaked out by the shark. Haha!

The next night I tried my hand at making a new recipe I’ve had saved for awhile. Sadly, we haven’t been much into cooking the last few months–making basic meals without trying any new recipes or doing much out of the norm. Part of that was two and a half months of me suffering from morning sickness and no appetite and just eating pasta. Part of it was being busy and tired and just making easy go-to meals (like steak and vegetables, chicken and vegetables, salmon and vegetables, you get the picture).


Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 8 servings

Calories per serving: Around 400 calories



  • 3 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs, fat trimmed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • McCormick Smoked Paprika
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • Pressed garlic
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1 lb. red and white small potatoes, in 1-inch chunks
  • 2 cups baby carrots
  • 2 Tbs. flour
  • 1 1/3 cups chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup white wine (or white grape juice)
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. fresh thyme, finely chopped


  1. In a Ziploc bag, combine about 2 T. smokey paprika, 1 tsp. each of salt and pepper. Mix together and add 4-5 pieces of chicken at a time, lightly shaking. Pull the chicken pieces out and put on a large plate. Repeat the process, adding more spices if needed, until all the chicken has been coated.
  2. In a large heavy frying pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Repeat the process until all the chicken has been lightly cooked.
  3. Add the garlic and onion to the frying pan, stirring for about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and stir another 2 minutes. Add the potatoes and carrots. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and sauté for about 5 minutes.
  4. Gently whisk the flour into the wine. Gradually pour into the vegetable mixture. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Add the chicken stock; stir. Return the chicken to the pan and bring to a boil.
  5. Cover the pan, and reduce the heat to medium-low, simmering until the chicken and vegetables are cooked. Cook for about 30 minutes. Right before serving, stir the chicken and vegetables; add in the thyme. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt and pepper. Serve on farro, rice, or quinoa.

I omitted mushrooms, because I hate them. I also didn’t have any carrots so I skipped that. Other than that I followed the recipe pretty closely. It was a spur of the moment attempt at the recipe and I used what I happened to have on hand.


It was pretty easy to make this recipe. After simmering for about 30 minutes the sauce thickened up like a gravy. The gravy tasted really delicious and flavorful. I made some quinoa and topped with all with the chicken/potato/gravy mixture.


I liked the flavors a lot but Michael and I both agreed that the recipe would have been better with the carrots. Next time! I would make this again, but I’d add the carrots and use chicken thighs instead of breasts.

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?