Sunday, April 29, 2012

Crazylegs = Crazy Weekend

Chad and I anticipating the race start - trying to stay warm.

Another year, and it's another Crazylegs already! As always, the true challenge always starts out with what to wear given the weather. Given an very warm spring this year I was hoping for a bit of relief with having to work to stay warm and dry. Mother nature had a different agenda...but runners and runner-wanna-be's (I'm included in this category) still managed to make it out in droves.

The weather was not the greatest, but definitely not the worst I've ever ran in. A balmy 35-40 degrees, with misty sprinklings of rain and wind, it was a bit nippy. Here is the best tip I can give for people who want to be warm but don't want to overheat in a coat during the race. Chad and I wore garbage bags. Yeah, they look awful but you stay warm, dry, and before the race you can shed the plastic insulation to keep from overheating during the race.

The atmosphere of any race with 20,000 people in attendance is definitely a natural adrenalin rush. It's amazing who you run into and see while out running; people you know or don't know but feel a sort of camaraderie to since you are enjoying this challenge/adventure together.

After making it up the toughest hill of the race in the 1st mile, this view is your reward.
I looked around and saw no one looking right - I guess they were a bit more focused on the race than I was.

Chad and I started together, and I was expecting him to leave me in the dust like he usually does. Amazingly, I felt really good through the whole race. I had thoughts running through my head of how grateful I was to be able to run this distance without any bodily ailments, and I really was taking in all the people and everything going on around me. I never ran too hard - but I felt a sort of endurance euphoria that I've never experienced before. It was like I could run at the same pace for miles and miles. Slow and steady wins the race today, I guess!


After I crossed the finish I looked back and snapped this shot.
This is my favorite part of the day - when you finished the tough part and now you can receive the fruits of your labor!

Our 8k turned into a marathon as we continued through the day to celebrate with family and friends. We traipsed through Madison to places like Union South, Big 10 pub, Paul's Club (the pub with a Tree in the middle of it), Blue Velvet (great Martini's!), and Cooper's Tavern. I have to say, Madison has some of the best establishments for food and drink. This was my first time to Blue Velvet - they have quite a menu of martini's for only $5. Such a deal! (no, they don't pay me to say that...)

When the results posted, I looked back at previous years times and never realized how fast I used to be! It really was amazing to see the evolution of my workout history shown there through the previous years. I sprained my ankle really bad in 2011, and my time definitely reflected that lapse in my running.

Because of these times, I have been inspired to have a new goal: to run the Crazylegs 2013 with a time of less than 40 min. I've always secretly wanted to prove to myself that I can run less than 8 min per mile so here goes nothing! I think this will be one of my toughest challenges that I've given myself, but here goes nothing! 364 days and counting... :)

We enjoyed free beer (good beer, might I add: Capital Amber - yum!)  while dancing and celebrating.
The weather was a bit challenging, but it turned out to be a great time.

It's so inspiring to see people of all ages and sizes finishing the race on the 50 yard line.

My mom and her husband, Charlie.
They did the walk this year, and were smartly dressed with their ponchos and layers.

Chad and I - I think he's still amazed that I got a faster time than him this year (as am I!)  :)

We started the day and the race at the capital so it was very fitting that we ended it at the capital at Cooper's Tavern.
What a way to come full circle for the day!

 

Yearly Results:

2008 - 42:28

2009 - 41:17

2010 - 41:06

2011 - 46:27

2012 - 44:57


39:59 - here I come!!!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Patio Preparation has Begun!

Summer is a comin, and that means time to get my patio ready for plantin, chillin, and whatever else I want to do out there! My goal is to make it uber beautiful so I will want to hang out there every moment that I can while the weather is awesome. It's been tough holding back on planting, but I've been warned, "It's too soon, there could still be a frost". So far I've listened. Or, been lazy - you pick :)

But, this past weekend I did one project that has been in the works for the past 5 years! I have been teak-stain/treating my patio furniture. This set was something I bought when I first moved back to Wisconsin from Orlando and was excited to actually be able to sit outside in the summer. Summers in Florida are as bad as Wisconsin winters; running form air conditioner to air conditioner. So, when I got back to the frozen tundra (spoiler alert, summers rock in Wisconsin and YES it gets warm) I was thrilled to be outside again - so I decked out the patio.

So, back to my set - it's from Target and consisted of 2 chairs and a table. The following summer, My mom bought 4 chairs of the same set, but took WAY better care of it. I basically bought the stuff and left it outside to endure the elements and rot. Mom, on the other hand, never left hers outside to bleach so you can definitely tell which is which. What's the point to this long story? Well, the following year my mom moved and no longer wanted her patio furniture. I inherited the nice set - SCORE!

I wanted to work to get my disaster of a set back to looking like it semi-went with my mom's. I got as far as buying the teak-oil. That simple task took me a whole year and a half... Thank you Mr. Blog for finally motivating me to finish this project. That and my nice new patio (new to me, at least.) This is my first summer living in this apartment since I moved in last August. Summer is going to be the greatest! I'm going to walk everywhere, and read and eat and drink outside all the time! Can you tell I'm excited?

So, I rubbed down every piece of furniture I had. All it took was a good pair of gloves and a durable rag. You probably should sand or clean off your furniture first, but I just dove in - since I expected to chuck the fabric rag anyways. It took me about 2.5 hours to do 4 chairs and a table. The seats and backs are made of a plastic mesh. I attempted to wash those and bleach them in my bathtub, but they didn't seem to get as bright as I was hoping they would, oh-well. At least they are better than they were! It's always nice when you can breath new life into something you already have.

What do you think?

 

BEFORE:

And so we begin - these babies are in rough shape!


This chair is probably in the roughest shape. I may have to sand this one down to get rid of those very damaged areas.
If you have any tips - please share!

Can you hear the wood crying? "help me! I'm so dry..."




AFTER:


Can you believe the difference a little teak oil makes?
I can't wait until these are surrounded by foliage, flowers and greenery!

It brought out a red-ness to some of the chairs, so pretty.

The table probably shows the most improvement!
I have a few areas to touch-up (like that chair arm) and then we should be good for the season.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tidbit Tuesday :: Watch those End-Caps

Do you enjoy shopping? Looking at all the products and packaging and taking your time? Not really to buy but most of the time to see what is out there? Things that could inspire, or give you a laugh. New things can could be functional. Also, I love finding things and thinking of new ways to use them - maybe even other than what they are intended.

A lot of these things can be found on those clearance racks or end-caps. One of my favorite places to search through the isle ends are Target! Here you can find clearance, or over stocked items that are extremely reduced. Even if you aren't looking for something in-particular, this is the place you come across those awesome finds.*

I love my TV - look how clear it is - isn't technology amazing?
The black and white photos are a great compliment to it and the painted wall.

This particular item, well, items were found multiple years ago. I didn't have a place in mind at the time. In fact, I think I was living at home and anything I found would go directly into bins for when I could get my own place. These were on clearance for about 5 buck each. They included the matte so I thought that was a pretty good deal for the whole package.

I finally pulled them out this past year. They had been living under my bed in my previous home and were caked in dust - so gross. I couldn't believe how amazing these have resurrected in a spot that I was having a lot of trouble finding a solution for.

Above my TV was enough room to put something, but what? not a picture - that tends to compete with the television. A shelf? I wasn't too crazy about putting something that could come crashing down on my brand-new LED TV. No, these 2 frames seem to fill just enough space to compliment the wall and TV.

These frames turned out to be the best solution for 3 reason:
  1. They are in multiple's of 3 - my favorite number for clumping things together.
  2. They definitely match the decor and contrast amazingly against the golden cream color on my walls.
  3. It was a great way to show off photo snippets that I had taken back in college.
Didn't these images turn out great? They were studies that I photographed of amazing fixtures found in Radio City Music Hall, and Central Park in New York City. Next time you are on vacation, take a few random pictures of textures, repetitive elements, or architecture. They are simple things that can make for some great and memorable photo fillers.

This was the bathroom vanity in the Woman's bathroom in Radio City Music Hall, NYC.
One of the coolest bathrooms I've ever been in.

Wandering in Central Park, there are many bridges like this one.
I love high-contrast of the deep shadow and the Sunny Day.
Remember, your eye is drawn to where the darkest dark meets the lightest light.

The ceiling light fixtures in the downstairs of Radio City. They look like space-ships!

Rule of 3's: Everything is better in 3's when decorating.
 So, whats the moral of this Tidbit Tuesday? Sometimes there are those deals that you can't pass up. Sure, you don't need them right now, but down the road it could be something great! I'm not saying to out and stock up on all sorts of crap - but when you find those deals that are great deals that you just can't pass up? Just go for it! If you never end up using it, you can always make a gift out of it, right?

*TIP: I've noticed that Target is putting more of their clearance items and good buys back into the isles - so, don't limit yourself to those end-caps!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Clean Eating Mac N Cheese. Oxymoron?

This recipe is something I've been keeping in my pocket since my 6 dinner cooking extravaganza. The noodles have been sitting my my fridge since then. I did something else right that night - I cooked the noodles very al dente (meaning very undercooked) knowing that I would re-boil them to finish cooking them when I could complete the dish. This worked great! It brought the noodles back to life as if I had just cooked them, fresh.

This recipe turned out to be the greatest recipe EVER! I'm a huge fan of mac n cheese, so a recipe that is also healthy instead of full of empty carbs and STILL tastes good is a dream come true. I used whole wheat flour instead of the brown rice flour. Next time, I think I'll try adding cayan pepper to the cheese-sauce concoction to see how it would be with a bit of kick! That's what recipes are about, right? Taking the basic recipe and adapting them to be be your own.

I was amazed at how easy this recipe was as well. I think it takes about the same amount of time as the box does (with exception to the time it takes to bake it.) But the finished product is just like home-made. Oh wait, it is home made! Who knew home made could be so easy? Oh, another idea to try... puree carrots or sweet potatoes and add to the cheese concoction to soup up the nutritional benefits. I think the cheese is so rich, that it would be just as good, if not better.

You have any other ideas to try to make it YOUR own?

I usually like to each either broccoli or apples with my mac 'n cheese - but tonight, this is all I need! YUM :)

 

Clean Eating Mac 'n Cheese

Makes 6 1/2 cups
Recipe source (sorry, original link has since been broken)

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups whole-wheat elbow macaroni
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup stone-ground whole-grain brown rice flour
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 3 oz light Swiss cheese, finely shredded
  • 5 oz low-fat cheddar cheese, finely shredded
  • 1 tbsp whole-wheat panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp reduced-fat Parmesan cheese

directions

  1. Cook macaroni according to package directions.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly mist an 8-inch diameter (1 1/2 qt) casserole dish with cooking spray.
  3. Spoon flour and salt into medium bowl and slowly whisk in enough milk to form a paste. Then add remaining milk, whisking as you do, making sure that no lumps remain.
  4. Place a medium nonstick saucepan over medium heat and add flour-milk mixture. When milk is warm, add Swiss cheese and stir quickly and frequently with a wooden spoon until cheese is completely melted and incorporated. Add cheddar cheese and continue stirring until cheese is completely melted and mixture begins to thicken slightly. (Since stovetops vary in temperature and sauce is delicate, mixture may separate. If sauce separates or if cheese doesn’t fully combine, add the warmed mixture to a blender or the bowl of a food processor fitted with a chopping blade. Process until smooth and combined, covering blender or food processor lid with a towel in case hot liquid splashes. Add cheese sauce back to saucepan over medium heat and stir constantly until warmed through.) Stir in cooked macaroni, then transfer mixture to casserole dish.
  5. In small bowl, stir together breadcrumbs and Parmesan. Sprinkle crumb mixture evenly over top of macaroni. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until topping is lightly browned. Allow to stand 5 minutes. Serve.

Nutrition

Nutrients per 1-cup serving: Calories: 250, Total Fat: 4 g, Sat. Fat: 2 g, Carbs: 38 g, Fiber: 4, Sugars: 3 g, Protein: 18, Sodium: 310 mg, Cholesterol: 10 mg

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Day on My Own

Of course, if I have the choice, I will always pick to enjoy life's little moments with family or friends. Today, that was not an option. No one bit at my invitation and Chad is working through the weekend. So, yay for solo adventures! Nice for people watching, self-reflection and just observing in-general!

I am very lucky to live very close to the zoo.  Not just any zoo, Henry Vilas Zoo: always free and open to the community. It is one of my favorite places to visit! When I lived in Orlando and worked for Walt Disney World, I would take full advantage of free admission to the parks. My favorite park to visit on my own was Animal Kingdom - it's one of the coolest zoo's around and I absolutely love the Safari. It's different every time you ride it!

Now-a-days my 'playground' is Vilas zoo; a pretty amazing place where anyone can visit. There are not many other places that can boast the same experience! I headed out on this day - too beautiful to stay inside - and stopped first at a cafe kiddie-corner to the zoo entrance. The day is sunny but a bit cold so I got the largest hot loose-leaf tea they had and headed for my stroll. I love that I don't have to worry about parking!

It's nice that they have this little cafe so close to the zoo!


The zoo was hopping with families and lots of little kids. It's so funny to hear the words that come out of kids mouths. They get so excited! The animals seemed to be enjoying the outdoors. It is always a bit sad to see them caged up in such a small area, but I'm so grateful for the chance to be able so see them as close as you can. It's incredible the number of animals and the quality that comes from a zoo that's free. Every time I come, I throw in a few dollars if I have them since I know that nothing comes for free.

So what's my favorite exhibit? It has to be the Red Panda... They are so cute and sweet looking and unlike anything I've seen before! I don't think even Disney has one - at least that I've seen! :)

Here are a few shots I caught...

The Polar Bear is always fun to see - I usually catch him peeing for some reason. He must have had quite an itch! (right)

Lots of Ground Hogs (left) Gorgeous Flowers (top right) and Lions, oh my! (bottom right)

There are 2 red panda's because they are trying to mate this endangered species.
It's amazing that we have them here in Madison.
I love the Meerkats! They were so funny and rambunctious!
Check out the one digging - and the one just sitting sun-bathing - HA!


Friday, April 20, 2012

Veggies for breakfast, oh my!

So, how do you get that crazy amount of 5 fruits and veggies a day? Fruits are not so much the problem, but vegetables are a different story. I can only choke down so many carrots and I hate how celery makes my hands stink (I swear, the smell stays with me all day.) So how do we do it? Well, one major meal is definitely overlooked for veggies in my world - breakfast!

Don't you wish eggs were a veggie? I DO! :) But eggs have some really good veggie friends I'm finding. One of the easiest to throw in has to be onions, but I'm talking about REAL veggies. The ones that have lots of color and make your pee smell funny (yeah, I said it.) Probably my favorite thing to throw into scrambled eggs or an omelet has to be spinach! Popeye would be proud. It's so easy - I love that you can just chuck it in the pan. No chopping (although I think it's starting to become one of my favorite hobbies.

My newest veggie that I just started adding is also green, avocado. I swear - this vegetable has it all. It has the texture of a soft cheese (bonus) and also works overtime at keeping you full (double-bonus). Here is one of my favorite concoctions for busy people in the morning. The egg sandwich extraordinaire! Kind of like an egg mcmuffin, but with a twist.

To save time, I got this egg cooker real cheap from Target. It works great, but nuke in 30 sec increments to try and avoid an egg-splosion. Be sure to add a good 2 tbsp of water to each cup. It takes about 2.5 rounds in my microwave to be done. I like to toast the English muffin while cooking the egg. Then I broil the sandwich open-faced until the cheese is nice and melted.

Let me know how you like it!

Avocado-Egg Sandwich Recipe:
1 Whole-grain English Muffin
1 Poached egg
1 Slice of Canadian Bacon
1 Slice of Pepper Jack cheese
Sriracha sauce
1/4 Avocado, sliced


Know how to cut an avocado? Cut the whole way, lengthwise. Twist the 2 sides until one gives.
I like to slice right in the skin, without piercing so that whatever I don't use browns less later.

The broiler does a pretty good of melting all these flavors together.

I look forward to this every morning!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Cooking Failure or Lesson?

This week I've been very obsessed with this whole cooking thing... Since I did the meals with Fit Fresh Cuisine for 4 weeks, I lost 5lbs (which I have a VERY tough time doing). Now, I'm motivated to keep it off by keeping with a more healthy eating plan - Says the girl who pigged out this weekend. Live and learn!

Tuesday night turned into a crazy cooking extravaganza! I prepared to cook 6 things: Asparagus Soup, Clean Eating Coconut Lime Bars, Clean Eating Mac 'n Cheese, left-over turkey burgers that we froze from last week, a new clean-eating tartar sauce I've been meaning to try, and some fish that we thawed that needs to be cooked tonight or it will go bad. Let me tell ya - only 1 turned out to be what I would call a success. I guess I have a knack for soup, but being a big meat eater, I HAVE to get some form of protein in at each meal if I can. Otherwise it's too easy to give into or get cravings. I have found that when I keep a consistent flow of protein going in my body, I don't crave the bad stuff as much.

I wanted to cook at Chad's place since his kitchen is larger and easier to spread out in, PLUS he has a dishwasher. WOW, such a luxury a dishwasher is for me now-a-days! Before that, in an effort not to have to haul my whole kitchen to his place, I worked on the Clean Eating Bars. Note, I had to roast the oats to a golden brown in the oven - do not take this lightly! There is a small window between "man, are these even doing anything" to "holy crap - they are burnt!" Luckily not too much was tainted by burnage, so I weeded out the dark pieces and added a few raw ones to fill in.

Coconut Lime Bars
Wrapping up each bar individually. These will be great grab-n-goes.

For this recipe, verdict is still out on if they are good or not. They are quite dry, but not so far off from those granola bars you can buy in the store. I figure these will be a great grab-n-go snack or a nice way to satisfy those cookie cravings I can't seem to get rid of!

So, the first actual meal was the Turkey burgers... This was to be Chad and My dinner for tonight. Let's just say, this turned out to be a mess. The Turkey was still frozen, so it was very soggy and fell apart on the grill. Also, I tried a new recipe trying to mimic tartar sauce, and thought this would be a good place to try it. Wrong-o... Fit Fresh Cuisine ROCKS at their sauces, and tartar sauce being one of them I just can't seem to find anything that comes close yet. Chad is good humored, though. He's so happy that he doesn't have to cook, he'll choke down anything I put in front of him. Ha!

While the Turkey was grilling, I prepared the noodles for the mac-n-cheese only to realize I had forgotten quite a few ingredient for my other meals. One big one being whole wheat flour - crapola! Oh well, I'm already committed to the Asparagus soup because most everything is chopped, but I'm not sure the Mac-n-Cheese will fair as well without. So, I packed up the noodles once they were cool and figured that recipe would have to wait for another night this week.

Mac 'n cheese didn't make it that far - we'll see how it goes later this week.


Since the grill was still hot, I threw the fish I had on next. It was pretty covered with the turkey mess that was stuck to it from the burgers (what a disaster - basically had to scrape those darned burgers off the grill) so I put the fish on foil - oh yeah, that's me thinking... I'm hoping to use the fish on a salad for lunches this week. Or, maybe I'll make a fish-salad sandwich? We'll see what I'm in the mood for down the road and how it looks. It got a little over-cooked when I forgot about it, so we'll see if I can find a recipe that can salvage it!

I hate to see food go to waste!

Finally, I dove into the Asparagus soup. It was a lot of chopping like the Italian Wedding Soup, but this was a bit tricky in that I had to transfer to the blender to puree and then get it back in the pot to season because it wouldn't all fit in the blender. This actually tasted pretty good - all the hashed up potatoes, garlic, and onions really gave it a lot of flavor without having to add little to any salt. Chad and his brother both gave this a thumbs-up. Maybe we can do a 3 out of 3 thumbs rating for each of the recipes I try ;)

I wish I could include a smell-o-meter. This first part of the soup smells amazing!

I am getting VERY good a chopping.



Pot, blender, pot. Boy I dislike doing dishes!

Yay! One meal was a success! At least this whole night wasn't a loss. The soup gives Chad and Me 3 meals each which is nice that it goes such a long way. We split the cost of groceries this week so everything I make he gets half! I'm not sure I got the good end of that stick, but he's sure being nice to me this week, haha!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Eating Healthy, but Unhealthy Drinking

Week 1 of my clean eating was a great success! Weekend 1, not so much. It's so tough to eat healthy when you visit with friends and family. Also, drinking is definitely a gateway to bad eating. I'm struggling to find a balance in each of them without being deprived at the same time. Problem is I love beer!

This year I have given up soda (which has been tough), but I just can't give up beer! It's not that I drink it a lot, but Madison is one of the best places to find so many types of great beers. No, I'm not talking about that stuff they brew in Milwaukee and named a stadium after. Don't get me wrong - on a hot day I can't turn down a cold one of any beer, but I definitely cannot turn down a great beer from places like Capital Brewery, or New Glarus. Ale Asylum and Great Dane are a couple other local goodies not to be missed. And if you do make it to Milwaukee, skip the larger brewery and head over to Lakefront. I haven't had a beer there I haven't loved yet!

This past weekend I spent a beautiful Saturday hanging out at the Memorial Union Terrace. It's one of the best places where you can overlook gorgeous Lake Mendota, one of two major lakes we have right in the city of Madison.

It is the coolest place for 2 reason:
no. 1:: I work there.
no. 2 :: Anyone who visits falls in love with it because it's more than just a destination, it's an experience (even their tagline says so!)

One of the best views in town! Hopefully the image give you a better feel than my writing ;)

Not being a writer, I'll do my best to give you a glimmer of the coolness that is the Wisconsin Union Terrace. It is a lakefront made up of tiers where you can congregate with friends, or just grab your own table to study or read. Since the Terrace is right on the University of Madison Campus it's full of students, but you'll find every age here. Many a weekend has my family packed up the grandparents (who are a bit less mobile now-a-days) to take in the scenery, throw back a few pitchers and brats, and play some Euchre. It is quite a trip for them on their scooter and walker, but this is a place not to pass up.

Even the chairs are inviting! Here are my Aunt and Cousin playing some Cribbage.

Did I mention that they have this amazing German restaurant (Der Rathskeller) and beer stand (Der Stithskeller) that serves a huge variety of the local brews? My family's favorite and most consumed has to be the Capital Maibock - a seasonal beer that is halfway between a light and a dark and goes down very easy.

Another great beer, that is a bit lighter and has a bit more sweetness, is the very german Franziskaner... it took me about 10 minutes to actually find how to spell this beer. A mouthful either way, it's one of Chad and my favorites but you can't drink too much of it at one sitting.

The building is amazing as well - and full of so much history.

Ok, enough of my beer rant! Just trust me and try them - they won't disappoint. Short story, long... my good and healthy week was off-set by a not so healthy weekend. But, such is life, right? It's all about balance! So on that note, here is the promised and healthy recipe for Italian Wedding soup. So far it has 3 bit thumbs up from Chad, his brother and Me! Happy cooking!

You can also find this recipe on Tastebook

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 lb. lean ground chicken, lamb, pork and/or beef
  • 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 egg white
  • 3 tbsp panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup finely diced yellow onion
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalk celery, diced
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp herbes de Provence
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or homemade chicken stock
  • 1 cup whole-wheat orzo pasta
  • 2 cups chopped fresh spinach
  • 1/4 cup shaved low-fat Parmasan cheese for garnish
  • Fresh parsley sprigs for garnish, optional
Instructions:
ONE: Prepare meatballs in a large bowl, combine chicken, Italian seasoning, egg and panko. Mix well, then form into about 30 1-inch round balls; set aside.

TWO: In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat oil on medium-high. Add onion, carrots, parsnip, celery, salt, black pepper, pepper flakes and herbes de Provence. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until vegetables soften, about 2 minutes. Add broth, stir to combine and bring to a boil.

THREE: Stir in meatballs and pasta. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Add spinach, stir and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Divide among serving bowls and top with Parmesan and, if desired, parsley.
Nutrients per serving (1 cup)
Calories: 240, Total Fat: 10.5g, Sat. Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3.5g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Carbs: 29.5g, Fiber: 6g, Sugars: 3.5g, Protein: 16g, Sodium: 269mg, Cholesterol: 32mg

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Cooking for the Cullinary Challenged

So, for the past month I have been living a dirty secret in blog world. I read blogs posted by these super women who have 6 kids, work full time and manage to do everything (probably even sewing their own clothes.) But my secret? I don't even cook my own food. For the last month I've been living every woman's dream - lunches and dinners provided by this wonderful place called Fit Fresh Cuisine. It's a restaurant of healthy food in my gym. They had a deal, for about $6 a meal for 20 days I received lunches and dinners that were healthy, local, full of nutrition, portion controlled and delicious!

Pita sandwich with chicken salad

Mediterranean Chicken Salad. the best part of Fit Fresh Cuisine? They have the most amazing dressings.


Shrimp dinner - I can't remember what this was called, but MAN the shrimp rocked!
4 weeks came and went very quick, but during that time I saved the recipes that I liked the most, searched for similar recipes online. I've decided the way to go is clean eating! It's full of basic foods, heavy on the veggies, but includes meats and whole grains and desserts. My goal now is to take the lessons I've learned from this delicious and healthy food and continue it on my own.

This is my first week! It's been a slow start. I have made Turkey Burger Sliders, Moroccan-style Stuffed acorn Squash, and tonight is Italian Wedding Soup from Clean Eating Magazine, April/May 2012 (watch for the recipe, soon to come)! Sorry, but the only pictures I have right now are for the soup (am I the worst blogger or what!) I have to say, the soup is amazing. Something that actually makes me feel like a cook! It's uber tasty and has a great kick to it. Truly - if you are looking for something healthy and delicious, this is the soup to try! It takes a lot of chopping with all the veggies, but it will be worth it.

With all this cooking I'm planning on doing I think my best investment could be a knife set! Anyone have any suggestions? I get heckled by my family for how bad my current knives are.

Italian Wedding Soup - before spinach

I'm planning on freezing half to enjoy down the road.

I'm eating healthy, but one of my guilty pleasures?
I highly recommend this margarita - way better than that other popluar skinny brand - not to be named - Cheers!

Finished product! one of the pretties things I've ever made :)

Add some fresh parmasean - muah! So good!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Rubin Omelette! Oh, my!

So, yesterday was a great way to celebrate a beautiful day of Easter weekend! Chad and I made a trek over to Mickies Dairy Bar, again. We had to go since it's slower this weekend - it's the tail-end of Spring break so Madison is a bit quieter without all the students gone from classes. We weren't as early as last time, strolling in about 9am. This trip we ordered a bit more interesting items on the menu, the reuben omelet and oatmeal, apple and raising griddle cakes.

The reuben was quite interesting, filled with corned beef and sauerkraut. The thing that made it really sing was the cheese (swiss I think?) and touch of sauce (probably thousand island) that contrasted well in flavor. Chad and I split both - the sweet vs the salty was really nice to go back and forth between. The griddle cakes had large chunks of apples and raisins in every bite, and the oatmeal gave the feeling that you were eating something healthy.

Oatmeal, Apple, Raisin Griddle Cakes

Reuben Omelet

I, again, drank too much coffee - but it's so tasty, warm and comforting in the morning! This visit was great because we squeezed into a table right by the front window where we could enjoy the view of the amazing spring we've been having. Lots of people were out today running, rollerblading, walking their dogs so there was a lot to look at and enjoy while we ate. One of these days I'll get in a run BEFORE coming here for a breakfast - I bet you I won't get one in after!

Just a note - Mickies only accepts cash! Here is Chad coming back from the bank  - ha!

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