2 things. I seriously can't believe it's the end of May already. And I seriously can't believe how badly I bombed this challenge. That's right - I failed...pretty miserably if I do say so myself. If you remember, I linked up with Kristin and Erin for the 4 week fit challenge.
My two fitness goals were to eat clean for 4 out of 7 days each week of this challenge and to make one new, healthy, clean meal each week.
I think the first week I ate clean 3 days and after that...forget about it! Don't get me wrong - I tried to be more aware of what I was eating. But I definitely didn't eat clean. And I'm pretty disappointed in myself. I KNOW I could have done better. I know I could have made healthier choices (did I REALLY need that third puppy chow krispy treat?!) But I didn't. And so, I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing - which if I had to guess is eat clean 75% each day and allow myself a 25% splurge daily. This isn't where I want to be but it's where I'm at right now and I'm OK with that.
Now for the new, healthy, clean meals. I made 2 totally new-to-us meals - the one pan Mexican quinoa dish and Mediterranean Stuffed Zucchini (actually made these twice this month!) I also made stuffed peppers this past Tuesday night for dinner. I've made them before (using my grandma's recipe) but this time I used a different recipe so that sort of half counts (right?!?!) I definitely want to try to keep doing this and make a conscious effort to make one new recipe each week.
Overall, I wouldn't say this was successful for me at all. But I also know I didn't put the commitment or effort into it either. But that doesn't mean I wouldn't love another challenge - hey, I'll always participate in these sorts of things even if I don't succeed!
So I'm totally jumpin' on the one-pan Mexican quinoa bandwagon. It's been all over Pinterest. Erin posted her version. So now it's my turn. I made this last week for the first time and it was absolutely delish. So I knew I had to post it. Not only is this dish super healthy, but it's quick, easy, and you can make it however you want. You can find the original recipe here. But I very rarely follow a recipe exactly. So here's my version of One Pan Mexican Quinoa.
A splash of olive oil
1 medium onion - chopped
4 cloves of garlic - minced
1 cup of quinoa
1 cup of chicken stock (or you could use vegetable stock or water)
1 (14.5 oz) can of diced tomatoes, un-drained
1 (14.5 oz) can of corn (I used no salt added, drained)
Chili powder (1 teaspoon - more or less depending on your tastes)
Cumin (1/2 teaspoon - again more or less depending on your tastes)
Cilantro (I used used dried) 1 teaspoon
Crushed red pepper (totally depends on your tastes - I used just a little bit because I don't like things too spicy!)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 chicken breast, cooked and cubed (optional)
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute for about 2-3 minutes. Add in the garlic and saute for another minute or 2 (careful not to burn it - garlic burns QUICKLY!) Add in your can of tomatoes, can of corn, quinoa, chicken stock, and spices. Bring to a boil. Once it's boiling, cover your pan, reduce heat to about medium, and cook until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is done (about 25 minutes.) Once the quinoa is done and the liquid has all been absorbed stir in your cubed chicken until it's heated through. Serve immediately and devour!!!
If you take a look at the original recipe it calls for fire-roasted tomatoes, a can of beans, and a diced jalapeno. If I had fire-roasted tomatoes on hand I definitely would have used those. I don't like beans or jalapenos but they'd definitely give this recipe a more authentic 'Mexican' feel to it, so if you like those ingredients I'd definitely suggest using. You could also use this as filling in tacos or tortillas - YUM!! So play around with this recipe - it's the perfect recipe for that since you really can't mess it up (those are my favorite kinds of dishes!)
As I sit here contemplating the last 3 days, I can't help but appreciate every minute of these days. Sure the hubs and I are both exhausted. Sure the days were busy and flew by. But life is always busy. That's just how it rolls. But as I think back it was a dang good weekend. We were motivated. We got projects done...A LOT done actually (but I won't bore you with all those details.) We talked. We made a lot of decisions. BUT we also ate Italian Ice on our deck. And got our hammock out (even if it was only for 20 minutes!) And explored a local park not far from our house. We went to 2 picnics and got to spend time with our families. We enjoyed 3 days of perfect weather. And we celebrated those who served and those who currently serve our country for protecting our freedom. So, yeah, do I wish things have been a little less hectic and exhausting? Of course. But I know we can usually find that happy balance between being productive and also just relaxing and enjoying the days. So with that being said here are a few pictures. I'm still a terrible blogger as this whole picture taking thing is still so new to me. But ya know - had I taken pictures of the entire weekend it totally would have been picture overload and who wants that?! So as I've said many, many times before 'I was too busy having fun to take pictures' - so that's my story and I'm stickin' to it! :)
Happy Memorial Day weekend! Hope ya'll are enjoying the holiday weekend. I'm just poppin' in real quick to link up with Jessica and post this week's menu. The hubs actually created the menu for this week and he did a pretty dang good job if I do say so myself!! I've got him trained so well :)
Monday - Memorial Day picnic with the hubs' family
Tuesday - Stuffed peppers
Wednesday - Salad night
Thursday - Grilled pork chops, sweet potato, and spinach
Friday - Salmon, cauliflower, and asparagus
Saturday - Chicken and broccoli stir fry
Sunday - something quick and easy like breakfast for dinner probably
I was going to post a recipe today but then I saw this link up. And ya'll know how I feel about running so I just knew I had to join in on the fun!! Today's running link up with Amanda is all about race day pictures. I don't have a ton but I managed to find a few to share with ya'll. Some maybe repeats that I've already shared on here (since I tend to talk about running quite a bit on this lil ol' blog o' mine!) I decided to just do a montage of pictures from a bunch of different races I've done over the years. Someday I plan to recap the marathon the hubs and I did together last May. But I'll save that for another day :)
AND I just want to say...if you're been running but have never done a race before - whether it's a 5k or an ultra - just do it. It's what hooked me on running. There's NOTHING like race day. The crowds. The adrenaline. The race itself. It's amazing. I've ran a bunch of races and it NEVER gets old. It's what keeps me going. So get out there. Sign up for a race...ANY race. You won't regret it. I promise.
Sooooo, without further adieu...
Well it's that time again...it's Monday and that means we recap our weekend here in the blog world! But before I start that, I realized Saturday morning that my 5 on Friday post...was in fact still in my draft folder and never got posted!! Oops! Big fail on my part!! But such is life. So maybe this Friday I'll do a 10 on Friday (that doesn't sound nearly as good together!) Who knows...
But in any case, Saturday I got a glorious 7 mile run in first thing. The sun was shining. The temperature was just right. I felt good. It was fantastic. I spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon cleaning the house, doing a load of laundry, and a bunch of other random things while the hubs spent those hours outside working on the yard - mowing, weeding, ripping up bushes, clearing out an area by our garage, etc.
This picture here is a small space between our deck and fence that the hubs cleared out and we plan to put cement down. It was such an un-used, ugly space before that we thought if we cleaned it up and put down cement it'd be a great place to store things, put a sandbox for kids, etc., but we wouldn't be losing out on any actual yard (which is great for us since our backyard is super small to begin with!) Even though this is going to cost us a bit more than I think we had originally expected (which is totally how it goes with house projects I am quickly learning!), I am totally looking forward to getting this project done.
After that my parents came up and we headed to the Lilac Festival and then out to dinner!!
And of course, I can't go to a festival without getting cotton candy...pink preferably!!
And then Sunday was a super crazy busy...so busy and absolutely non-stop I didn't get a single picture!! I got a decent workout in first thing in the morning then headed home to finish up our weekend to-do list. We did a ton more yard work - planted some stuff in the garden, mulched the front and back, planted some flowers, re-potted a plant...all that fun stuff!! Then we still had to grocery shop, food prep for the week, get more laundry done, and do some banking/budgeting! Needless to say, I picked up pizza for dinner because there was no way I was cooking :) And that was our weekend in a nutshell! What did ya'll do?!
Just poppin' in real quick to post this week's menu...
Monday ~ Grilled chicken, sweet potato, and Steamfresh mixed veggies
Tuesday ~ Picadillo served over mashed cauliflower
Wednesday ~ Salad night
Thursday ~ One-Pan Mexican Quinoa (new dish - stayed tuned for the recipe!)
Friday ~ Roasted spaghetti squash with marinara sauce
Saturday ~ Stuffed Zucchini
Sunday ~ depends on our long weekend plans/any family picnics/etc
Hump Day. And for me (during the spring/summer/fall when it's actually still light out when I get home from work) the night I head out for a 6 mile run after work. Yesterday was no different. Except when I left work it was pouring. But by the time I got home the rain had stopped. The skies were clear again and the rain had lifted the humidity - it was great running weather now! AWESOME - I thought...since for a few minutes there I thought for sure I was going to have to get my 6 miles in on the dreadmill...I mean treadmill. I quickly change into my running gear and go to grab my Ipod. EXCEPT...I left the bag that has my Ipod in it at work. So now I have a decision to make. Do I run outside with no music? (which I mentioned here that I couldn't imagine doing!) Or do I get my run in on the treadmill where I could at least watch TV? It only took me but a few seconds to make my decision - I'd much rather run outside with no music than have to run on the treadmill (yes, I hate the treadmill THAT much!!!!) So with that fairly easy decision made, I laced up my sneakers and was off...
...Not a half mile into the run, I see another runner. As we go to pass each other, he shouts out 'Up time!' and raises his hand for a high five! My first instinct was 'Weirdo!' But I raised my hand for a high five and immediately had a huge smile on my face. This has never happened to me before. Sure, you'll give a nod as you run by someone. Or a quick little wave or smile. But this guy's happiness and enthusiasm was exactly what I needed. And one of the many reasons why I love the running community. It totally made my day and I wish more people were like that -his happiness, his passion, his energy. That smile stayed on my face for a good portion of my run. I felt good. My pace was better than it had been in months (even when I got caught in a downpour with about 2 miles or so to home yet!) And I actually enjoyed running sans music....being more aware of the quietness...the sound of my feet hitting the sidewalk...the birds chirping. And I owe it all to that fellow runner. He made my day. He made my run. And for that I am thankful.
~ I wouldn't order coffee at all. Instead, I'd order a tall sugar-free vanilla soy steamer. I'm not much of a coffee drinker and these are my favorite!
~ I'd probably immediately start showing off pictures of my new nephew (and probably my other nieces and nephews too!) Because as my husband likes to tell me I'm a tad bit "obsessed" with him. But how can you not be?! Just LOOK at that cuteness...
~ I'd tell you how stressed I am about getting everything done that we need to this summer. It all seems a bit overwhelming at the moment...I'd need some reassurance that it WILL all get done.
~ I'd probably want you to talk more. I have a hard time talking about myself. And, really, my life isn't all that exciting so I don't usually have much to talk about.
~ I'd try to explain my recent obsession with bagels. I'm a total carbs girl to begin with. Buuuuuut right now bagels are all I can think about.
~ I'd explain that being a wife is the best thing ever. Being a home-owner...not so much.
~ I'd also explain that I'm really not as weird as I may seem at times. And if you really knew me, you'd know that's not true (because I AM weird!) but you'd hopefully love me anyways.
~ I'd tell you that running is amazing and if you don't already, I'll probably try to convince you to start running (but ya'll probably knew that already...it's been no secret on this blog that I love running!)
~ I'd tell you I have big dreams...and just might share a few of those with you if you ask.
~ If you do in fact ask, it might come out that my dream job is to work for the FBI. And to live on the water someday...in a big house. And to have a boat...a BIG, fast boat. Oh, and to get a boob job and a tummy tuck after I'm done having kids (hey - keepin' it real here folks!)
~ And I may even spill a few secrets...or gossip a bit...if prevoked :-p
~ And lastly, I'll tell you how grateful I am for you taking the time out of your day to hang out with me. And I'd end our visit with a hug. Because that's just how I roll.
We had such a nice weekend celebrating my birthday and Mother's Day. I'm going to keep this short and sweet..
...Friday - if you follow me on Instagram you know that I tried Erin's recipe for Mediterranean Stuffed Zucchini. Quite simply said - to die for. It's the perfect summer dinner. It's easy. It's super healthy (and CLEAN!) And absolutely delish. Mine didn't look as pretty as hers did but who cares...it tasted amazing and that's all that matters to me and ma belly! I'll probably be making this weekly- yeah it's THAT good.
...Saturday was my birthday!! 32 - when did I get so old?! Didn't I just turn 21 last year?!?! Anywho, I got a 7 mile run in first thing in the morning then spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon cleaning, while the hubs did some work outside. I know, I know - not very exciting - but hey, it's gotta get done. After that we visited with my friend Christina's family for a while. And then we headed to dinner with her and her husband later in the evening. It was a low key but fun day - it doesn't get any better than that!!
...After a quick work out Sunday morning, we headed to my in-law's for the afternoon to celebrate Mother's Day with everyone. Always so much delicious food and, of course, wonderful company!! After that, we headed to dinner at Tom Wahl's to celebrate Mother's Day with my parents, sister, and grandparents. More great food and great company <3
AND to round out a fantastic weekend, my sister surprised me with her amazing oatmeal chocolate chips cookies. Guess I'll just have to mention them monthly on the blog so she makes them for me all the time!! So freakin' delish!
And to end this not so short post...here's our menu for the week (nothing exciting or new this week unfortunately!):
Monday - I have dinner plans with a friend so Matt has to fend for himself
Tuesday - Crockpot pulled pork, mixed veggies
Wednesday - Salad
Thursday - Baked chicken hummus (we didn't end up having this last week), spinach, cauliflower
Friday - Ham, roasted sweet potatoes, sauteed brussel sprouts
Saturday - birthday dinner with my mom and dad
Sunday - Breakfast for dinner (either eggs with sweet potato hash or pancakes!)
Happy Friday! Let's get this 5 on Friday party started!!
ONE ~ It's Friday. It's payday. Tomorrow is my birthday. And Sunday is Mother's Day. 'nough said :)
TWO ~ Speaking of my birthday, I can't believe I'm going to be 32. I mean - really?!? I feel like that's so old...and yet, I don't feel a day over 25 - honestly. I don't feel like I could possibly be this age!! Where does the time go?!
THREE ~ Today is the first day of the annual Lilac Festival! It's probably my favorite festival our city offers. It's the first one to kick off festival season, it's always right around my birthday, and Highland Park is one of my favorite spots ever - to walk through especially this time of year when the lilacs are in full bloom is amazing...and smells incredible!!!!
FOUR ~ Speaking of festival season, I plan on going to as many as possible this year. There are so many and I just love 'em all. My favorite part? The food of course. Cotton candy. Deep fried Oreos. Smoothies. Gyros. Oh my...I'm in heaven. Mix all that goodness with being outside enjoying the weather, live music, and fun vendors to shop at and you've got perfection in my eyes <3
FIVE ~ And of course, a special shout out to all the mommies I know - Happy Mother's Day!!
I've spent all day trying to figure out what today's post would be. I have a bunch of drafts just waiting for me to post (like my 40 by 40 list...I swear one day I will get to updating those two new tabs I added to the blog a while ago!) But none of them seemed...right. I just wasn't feeling any of them. And then as I was sitting at work I decided I was in the mood for cookies. But not just any cookies - I wanted my grandma's no-bake cookies. So I figured I'd make them tonight after dinner (so much for my May fitness goals, huh?!) And them - boom!! - a light went off. Why not share this recipe for today's post? I mean - it's perfect. Who doesn't love a simple-to-make cookie that has been handed down generations?! I mean duh, hello Renee, you have your post.
So here it is - my grandma's recipe for no-bake cookies. I'm sure you've seen similiar ones out there - but these are THE BEST!! These are probably my favorite cookies - tied with my sister's oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. They're quick. They're easy. And you probably have all ingredients on hand already. It doesn't get any more perfect than that....
Grandma's No-Bake Cookies
2 cups sugar
1 stick of butter
1/2 c milk (I've even used almond milk in the past and tonight I used coconut milk!)
3 cups quick cooking oats
6 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup of shredded coconut (optional - I don't put in mine because the hubs doesn't like coconut)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a large saucepan add together the sugar, butter, and milk. Bring to a boil until all the butter is melted.
Remove from heat and stir in all other ingredients.
Let mixture cool (I usually pop the whole saucepan in the fridge - I'm too impatient to let it cool on its own!)
Once cool, shape into balls on a wax paper lined cookie sheet. I like to use a small ice cream scoop to do this. Then DEVOUR!!! I halved the recipe tonight and it made about 13 cookies (probably could have gotten a few more out of the batch if I hadn't eaten some of it before it was totally cooled -oops!) Enjoy!!
Another weekend has come and gone. It's crazy how fast they go - I don't like it one bit. Mondays never seem to get easier - shouldn't it be easy by now?!
Anywho, we had a fairly low-key weekend, which was nice. We spent the day Saturday visiting with our grandparents. We stopped at the hubs' grandparents' house first then made our way down to visit with my grandparents. After that, we went to my sister's house to hang out with them, my parents, and aunt & uncle, to celebrate my brother-in-law's birthday! You can't beat snuggling with this little one, eating pizza & ice cream, and celebrating a birthday! Happy 30th Birthday, Mike - we hope you have a fantastic day!!!
Since we were gone all day Saturday, Sunday was our catch up day. We cleaned the house, grocery shopped, ran errands, the hubs did some outdoor chores, did laundry, did all our food prep for the week - you know, all that fun adult stuff that needs to get done! I also got the pictures from my 1/2 from last weekend - you know the ones the professional photographers take along the course. I have never once bought one from any of the races I've done. Mostly because they're super expensive but also because I always look....weird in them. I see other people post pictures and they're happy and smiling and having fun. But I NEVER look like that. Instead I always look like this....
I'm also going to start linking up with Jessica and sharing our weekly menu with ya'll on Mondays. I know I started this when I first started this blog but I never kept it up. But I want to get back into sharing with ya'll so I figured this was the perfect way!!
Monday - Salmon (seasoned with chili powder probably), spinach, couscous
Tuesday - stuffed pepper soup
Wednesday - Baked hummus chicken, sauteed brussel sprouts, baked sweet potato
Thursday - Salad
Friday - Erin's Mediterranean Stuffed Zucchini with a side of roasted sweet potatoes
Saturday - Birthday dinner out somewhere
Sunday - Mother's Day celebration at Tom Wahl's
What are ya'll eating this week?
Happy! Happy! Joy! Joy! It's Friday ya'll and that my friends is FANTASTIC! So let's just go on with things...
ONE ~ With a single click of a button, the hubs' undergrad student loan is paid off!! Our next goal is to pay off my last undergrad student loan which I am hoping we can accomplish within the next 12 months! Then all we're left with is the hubs' grad loan (for a few years...thank goodness he works in a low income school and NYS offers loan forgiveness for teachers!)
TWO ~ The iHeart music awards were on last night and I was pretty psyched about it (even if I only watched it for like 15 minutes!) I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE music so this was right up my alley. In fact, I love all these award shows....no, not for the actual awards, but I love watching the performances, of course! I can't wait to hopefully hit up a few concerts this summer. Give me live music and the sunshine and I'm the happiest gal ever! <3
THREE ~ Speaking of concerts, Beyoncé and JayZ announced they were going on tour together. What I wouldn't give to go to that concert. O.M.G!!!
FOUR ~ Erin posted this amazing looking recipe for stuffed mediterranean zucchini that I plan to put on next week's menu. Light - fresh - healthy - meatless. Yum! Yum!
FIVE ~ Speaking of Erin, her and Kristin, are doing a 4 week fit challenge. So I'm linkin' up there as well today. My goals for the next 4 weeks are:
a)...I mentioned last Friday that I had hit rock bottom and was going back to clean eating. Yup - that hasn't happened. I've gotten better but I'm still not eating clean 100%. So my goal for the next 4 weeks is to eat 100% clean 4 out of the 7 days while this challenge is going on. Hopefully, once the challenge is over I can continue this and maybe increase my clean eating days. Baby steps, baby steps!!
b) Make 1 new healthy, clean recipe each week. I've totally been slacking on trying new recipes so here's my chance to get back into it!!
That's all for me. Happy Friday ya'll <3 Have a great weekend!!
Hey ~ I'm Renée...just your ordinary, 30-something Accountant, new mommy, wife, runner, foodie, & Pinterest addict! Welcome to my newest adventure...stay awhile...look around...and keep comin' back!