bastille!

bastille!

loved spending quality time with the hubby-to-be last night at a bastille concert.

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currently loving

i am currently obsessed with the sunday strategist that i found through cooking light’s facebook page.  it has been such a time saver when trying to plan weekly meals and grocery trips.  i have to admit though – i typically only choose 3 meals from there a week, but quickly scan through a previous week to find some others.  it has been so helpful, especially this week as i am trying to recover from the trip to austin.  so here’s what i am trying this week – cilantro-lime chicken with avocado salsa, creamy asparagus, herb and pea pasta, walnut and rosemary oven baked chicken, and peanut noodles with chicken.  i’ll keep you guys posted as to how they turn out and if they are fiance approved!

another milestone, another day!

sorry to be a little mia this past week – i peaced out of chiberia for my bachelorette weekend in sunny austin with 7 amazing friends.  the weekend was beyond phenomenal filled with laughs, sunshine (and more sunshine), and lifetime memories.  it makes me realize how much i miss these girls, and need to commit to making the trips and the calls.

in the meantime, before i left for austin, i worked my booty off – alternating between personal training and high intensity interval classes.  let me just say, by the time i reached austin, my abs were so sore that it hurt to laugh.  then again though, i also didnt want my first bathing suit appearance of 2014 to be something i was critical of.  lets be honest though, when are girls 100% happy with everything.  i feel like there is always sometime to improve, etc. but for this weekend, i took a much needed break to recharge with my friends.  i am now ready to recommit to my fitness routines, starting with a few gym classes this week.

my fiance and i registered for a 10 miler here in chicago that’s in a few weeks.  my goal is to hit a new PR for the 10 miler.  hopefully, the weather is quite a bit better than last year’s race when it snowed that morning.  pics to come from austin soon!

 

to personal train or not?

so, now it really has been awhile!

woah – over 2 years since i’ve posted on this site, and i’ve decided it is time to resurrect the blog!  this time i’m not focused on just preparing for the marathon, but rather getting in shape to marry my best friend 🙂  yes, to catch you up out there, my fiancé proposed to me just over a year ago at the lake where we ran during our time in florida together.  now, it’s time to get my booty in gear and get in shape for the wedding.  i mean, not only do those memories last a lifetime, but so do those pictures!!

i’ll be back to posting more regularly about the trials and tribulations of trying to work off this year’s terrible weather and the hibernation pounds that were packed on.  i’m still a big runner and have a few races coming up this year, but i have decided a half marathon is my distance – enough of a challenge to train, but doesn’t cannibalize your whole life with runs, recovering from runs and more runs.

so get excited – i’m back and better than ever 🙂

its been a few days, huh?

so the weekend flew by – rather uneventfully i might add, but here’s a quick recap of the highlights

my beloved puppy has now managed to get himself kicked out of doggy daycare twice… the first time, because he could jump over the fence, and potentially escape.  otherwise, he played great with the little dogs.  the second time, he didnt get along so well with the big dogs (no chance of jumping the fence).  he has been through post-traumatic doggy daycare depression.  he sits by the door crying and wanting to go back.  he loves to be a social puppy, and just doesnt understand.  the real kicker, it was the only place close enough to us that i could walk him there and back.  given his car sickness, that was a big win, so now – we are stuck with trying to brainstorm something else.  hmph

i am uncoordinated…. i cracked my head pretty good on the countertop while plugging in a nightlight, to the point of icing it until i fell asleep.  then the next day, while trying to catch a cab (in cute heels, skirt, and tights i might add), i tripped on that miniature garden wire fence while trying to catch a cab.  lets just say – i almost cried, had fallen into the street, purse askew, covered in leaves and all.  fortunately, nothing broken but some sore muscles in my left arm – ughhhhhhhhh

packet pick-up – only one more week before the perfect 10!  i have to say, after seeing all the horrible posts on facebook about the hot chocolate packet pick-ups, it was refreshing to walk in, immediately pick-up the packet, and walk out the door in less than 5 minutes.  i have to say – i have heard nothing redeeming about the hot chocolate races.  yes, the chicago race itself was better, but packet pick-up lasted over 2 hours for a lot of racers.  i ran the inaugural race in dc last year and it was a hot mess!  the course was atrocious and not meant to accommodate the number of racers, traffic patterns were amateur causing the race to start significantly late because people could not get to it, i felt like i was going to either get hit by a dump truck or die from its fumes at one point during the course – i mean the list goes on.  i’m glad there are people out there that enjoy the race, but at this point…. i dont think its on the to-do again list, especially since im not really a fan of hot chocolate either!

date night out – the bf and i went out for a date night in the loop and had a great time – so great, we were in bed by 10pm.  oops!  we met at one bar for happy hour and ended up meeting some very interesting characters, that only carried over to dinner.  it was about the first time in a year (wow, it seems kinda weird to say that, i mean i know we’ve dated for over a year, but still :)) that we went to saigon sisters.  it was delish as always!  they specialize in vietnamese cuisine that is amazing.

french market – we have a french/international private school close by and they held a holiday/fall french market this weekend.  i was always curious about the school, and managed to convince the bf to go.  it was very interesting.  for one, we felt like the dumbest people there because we only spoke 1 language, rather than multiple.  we didnt find any holiday gifts, but it was definitely an experience

cooking – cooked lots and lots of goodies this weekend, and more to come.  i’ll post the recipes soon!

happy halloween!

 

happy halloween!  so, i felt like i was reliving mitch’s experience from the halloween episode of modern family, you know where he shows up in the spiderman costume for work, but he’s the only one….  the admin exec for my dept had told me that TONS of people dress up in our office, even got an email saying there was a costume contest in the office.  clearly, 1- i had to witness this so i made my schedule work for that, and 2- i should probably dress up too.  collectively, the bf and i decided, hey, you trained all summer for the marathon, why not be a marathon runner and you get to wear your medal some??  okay, so showed up at the office, and i think i maybe saw a handful of people, out of mmmm… 200 people? dressed up.  needless to say, i got a lot of ‘oh, you look cute,’ and ‘are you going to work out’ responses.  let’s just chalk that up to lesson learned, and i was able to head straight to the gym.  oh wait, did i mention i joined a gym yesterday?!!?

i did.  it’s an interesting place.  one of the first questions i got asked was if i was training for a performance competition, so if that doesnt set the tone for a gym, not quite sure what does.  it works, and it was 50% off membership, so i’ll take it.  with the weather change and some persistent knee pains, i wanted to join the gym so that i could do other activities than run.

so, banjo apparently gets super confused by dogs in costume.  we walked passed a dog dressed as a shark and he was truly intrigued, super excited, and just haaaaaaaad to go give them a sniff check.  for tonight, its just me and the pup, watching tv and catching up on house things, since the bf is away.

lastly, big news today!  i am becoming a student again.  i am pursuing a certificate program through work and a local university.  i’m excited to get back in the classroom, and even more excited that work is footing the bill.  i’m hoping it will give me a leg up on that career ladder, but that’s tbd…

and more recipes!

cranberry lime spritzer – let’s start with this fun drink first.  i haven’t quite seen this exact version anywhere, but when i saw the sparkling diet cranberry juice in the grocery store, i just new there had to be a cocktail out there.  just a shot’ish of vodka, a can of the cranberry juice, and some lime juice

 

carving board spicy sesame noodles – these noodles are amaaaaaaaahzing.  there was this spectacular restaurant back in winston that we frequented all the time while i was in school at wake forest.  my favorite – the 3 salad plate, and i would always get these noodles.  somehow, my old roommate from when i worked at the hospital got her hands on the actual recipe!!! i’ve had it floating around my inbox for awhile, but finally tackled it tonight.  let me tell you, it was delish!!  a few things, tahini – it’s like this weird peanut butter thing that i think was near the oil section in whole foods.  i also couldnt find lo mein, and used udon noodles instead and it worked out just great!  i did run a little short on the sesame oil, but it worked out a-okay.

 

here’s the recipe for these delish noodles –

Spicy Sesame Noodles
2 8-ounce bags Chinese noodles (such as lo mein)
½ cup soy sauce
2 bunches scallions, thinly sliced, divided use
For the dressing:
2/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup molasses
½ cup brown sugar, sifted (clumps removed)
½ cup sesame oil
½ cup tahini
¼ cup chili oil or hot Chinese oil
1. Bring a minimum of 1 gallon of water to a boil. Add and cook
noodles to just al dente, 2½ to 3 minutes. Strain and cool.
2. Toss noodles in a large bowl with the ½ cup soy sauce and
about 1½ bunches of the scallions. Set aside.
3. Meanwhile, for the dressing place the 2/3 cup soy sauce in
a small saucepan and reduce by half, to 1/3 cup. Stir in the
molasses and remove from heat. Let cool.
4. Once molasses mixture is cool, whisk in brown sugar, sesame
oil, tahini and chili oil. Pour dressing over noodles; mix well.
Garnish with remaining sliced scallions.

Recipe courtesy of The Carving Board.

new recipes

so this weekend we went out to galena to visit the bf’s grandparents.  i always like to bring baked goodies as a thank you for our stay, so this time was no different and some of these recipes i just have to share

pumpkin jumble cookies – amaaaaaaahzing and super simple.  it only requires 5 ingredients, yellow cake mix, chocolate chips, toffee chips, pumpkin puree, and mini reeses cups.  mix and bake – yes, that simple and a hit!

baked apple cake – this is a family recipe that is near and dear.  it absolutely reminds me of everything fall.  it has golden delicious apples, butterscotch chips, walnuts and cinnamon.  plus the longer it sits, the better it gets.  so here is the recipe –

Granny’s Fresh Apple Cake
2 Cups sugar
2 Eggs
1 1/4 cup Crisco oil
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon (I usually use 2 tsp.-more flavor)
1 Cup of nuts (I use walnuts)
3 Cups of peeled and cut up apples (golden delicious)
1 Large pkg. of butterscotch morsels

Mix in order given, fold in apples. Pour in 9×13 pan and sprinkle butterscotch morsels over top.
Bake @ 350 for 1 hour

pimento cheese crisps – i have been eyeing these ever since i posted them on pinterest.  let me just say, i’m not sure i did it right.  mine weren’t really light and fluffy and completely missed on the flavor.  i wanted more cheese, less um… bland and that just wasnt the case.  i may try them again, but as of now, not one of those good go-to recipes

the perfect pot roast – so we definitely didn’t take this with us to galena, but i made it the night before and wanted to share.  this recipe has been making the rounds on pinterst, but i did finally find better directions.  it mixes 1 brown gravy packet, 1 italian dressing packet, 1 ranch dressing packet, 1/2 cup of water and a pot roast in a slow cooker for 8-9 hrs on low.  it turned out delectably moist, but just slightly on the salty side – i had salted and peppered the roast before putting it in, so i just need to skip this part going forward.

craft projects galore

so with the upcoming holiday season, excess free time, and some eye catching pinterest ideas, i decided it was time to get busy.

project 1 – baking sharpie marker designs onto a plate to make it permanent.

  • bought a plain white plate from the dollar store (didn’t want to spend the big bucks just yet!)
  • colored a christmas design with multi-colored sharpies
  • baked at 350 for 30 mins
  • colors darkened but looked pretty
  • ran through the washing machine and it became no good since all the colors wore off.  not sure what to do to prevent that, but glad that it was only a dollar store plate 😦

project 2 – glitter chevron canvas

  • i got the idea from this pinterest post
  • decided to use navy as the background with teal glitter to match the guest/office room
  • i first painted the canvas to the desired background color
  •  taped off the pattern to only expose the parts that would be glitter
  • sprayed the exposed areas with adhesive (i used general purpose elmers)
  • cover in glitter and let sit for at least an hour
  • remove tape and shake excess glitter
  • spray with a glitter sealant and voila! there’s your unique artwork
  • here are some pics of the project along the way

 

next on the to do list –

  • modge podge tiles to be coasters, add some cork on the bottom to prevent sliding
  • create christmas wreaths based on this post