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2012 Starts With A Bang

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Before the New Year’s Eve festivities began, I figured I’d get up a little early in order to burn some calories and jump start my day.  I don’t feel awake until I’ve sweat a little bit 😉

Nothing is quite comparable to a basketball practice, because my heart rate gets higher during those than anything else…it’s much more intense than a jog on the treadmill or an interval workout on the elliptical…on the other hand, basketball practices are much tougher on my knees and back than being on the elliptical, too.

After breakfast and a shower, fixed my nails, & got my dress clothes packed up.  Jarid & I hit the road for a wedding in Bethlehem, PA around 10am.  A buddy of his from college, in the military, had to leave for California on January 2nd, and proposed to his girlfriend just two weeks before, asking her to move there with him.  How romantic is that?!  I can’t believe how amazing the wedding was for having planned it in that short amount of time.

The wedding and the reception were held at Blue, which is also a restaurant.  The banquet hall was absolutely beautiful, complete with chandeliers, antique gold trim, and a nice, little, wooden dance floor.

Jarid and I were seated at a couple’s table with the best man and his fiance, who were both exceptionally personable and sweet.  We had a great time socializing at the event and even shared our first dance.

I promised Momma FF I would be home for the NYE celebration with the family, and we ended up making it home by like 7pm. 

Almost immediately, we got changed into comfy clothing.

It’s tradition that just before midnight, everyone gathers in our living room, grabs some already blown up ballons, noisemakers, and confetti poppers, and counts down while watching the ball drop in Time Square on TV. 

We all yell, “ten, nine, eight, seven…” (you get the picture).  You can bet your bottom dollar there was a big kiss at midnight, too 😉

As you can imagine, it left a huge mess for cleaning up, but it was totally worth it to keep tradition. 

At least, that’s what we tell ourselves.  After midnight, the boys go out side & shoot their guns.  We used to have fireworks, but that was before they were illegal.  Soon everyone leaves, and we go to bed.  Within a few hours (aka, noon NYD), everyone is back for pork & saurkraut , or in my case, a big old vegetable roast.

I couldn’t think of a better meal to start the New Year than my favorites: roasted butternut squash and parsnip fries.  I could eat them every single day with either reduced sugar ketchup or light ragu.  Don’t worry, I had a little bit of the white meat pork, some roasted broccoli, too. 

After lunch, the kids have Christmas #2, when my Aunt and Grandma give their gifts to the kids.

As you may remember, there are a TON of kids in our family…it’s always fun to watch them light up as they open gifts. 

2011 had been the best year of my life…but 2012 is looking pretty promising, too.

Literally

See anything different about my left hand?

Yep!  I’m engaged!!

Just kidding.

It is a beautiful promise ring, though!

Gotcha! 😉

Here’s to an amazing year!

XOXO.

Excuses, Excuses.

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I know I haven’t blogged since Thursday…but I promise, I have some good excuses…

Excuse #1: Christmas play with the boy, the surrogates, and the middle sister.

Every year, Christian Life Assemby puts on a Winter Wonderland play around Christmas time…Last year, A Little Boy’s Christmas Prayer, this year…The Gospel According to Scrooge.

I begged Jarid to get his picture with the characters posing at intermission…they were actually singing as I took it!

Don’t worry, we got a nice one together, too 😉

The set was beautiful…just like you’d imagine the streets of London.

They did a nice job with the production…we were impressed!

 Excuse #2:  Absolute Wellness Group’s Jingle Bell Jam

My friend, Toni invited me to this event, and I’m so glad she did!  I had no idea this little studio existed!

The event was free!  All that they asked was that you bring a toy to donate for a needy child. 

The place was stocked full of goodies (mats, weights, kettleballs, etc.) and for two hours (10am-12pm), we did 20 minute classes of each kickboxing, abs, cardio jam, body sculpt, & pilates)

It was a great workout, and as you can see, we were sweaty messes when we were finished…but we had a lunch date, so we headed downtown (just 2 minutes away).  I promised to introduce her to the goodness of the Pita Pit.

This place seriously puts Subway to shame…they’ve got sprouts, roasted red peppers, black beans, hummus, avocado, you name it!

I always end up with the same thing because I love it SOOO DARN much.  It makes my mouth water.

Another reason I love it so much, is that they actually grill the deli turkey, so it’s nice, warm, and moist when you chomp into it.  

They even wrap it up all nice and neatly for you, too, which is definitely a feat in itself when it comes to mine.  I get turkey, black olives, spinach, lettuce, tomato, onion, sprouts, cucumbers, mushroom, green pepper, pickles, banana peppers, oregano and roasted red pepper hummus on the side for dippage. PHENOM.

Excuse #3Jarid’s Company Christmas Party

When we arrived on Saturday night, we were greeted by the owners of the company, me with a kiss, Jarid with a handshake.

The crowd was quite diverse, to say the least, but everyone was very warm and welcoming.  They had a DJ and a high school chorus group for entertainment, followed by a buffet dinner.

I was pleased to find a pretty decent looking salad bar, grilled chicken, and green beans!  I told Jarid I would split a baked potato with him, too, but was full by the time I got around to it…I think I filled up on too much coffee!

He’s pretty new to the company, but it’s clear that everyone loves working with him…who wouldn’t? 

Excuse #4:  Sunday Festivities

First, there was church…they still had two more products left, so the set was still up!

I think you can see more of the detail from this angle, anyway!

We changed outfits in the car, to be more comfortable and got our weekly Wegman’s fix for lunch.

This was my favorite box by FAR.  It had alllll of my favorites:  Kung Pao Shrimp over wokery seared vegetables (squash, mushrooms, onion, and red peppers w/ a simple balsamic marinade), blanched broccoli florets, and baby spinach.  On the side, some three bean chickpea salad (mmmm!).  I could eat this everyday, all day.  Again, we shared fruit & Jarid gave me some of his roasted butternut squash medley

After lunch, we went to a sports bar to watch the football games with some of Jarid’s friends.  We came home from lunch and Momma FF wanted to do Christmas pictures… aka Excuse #5.

Take One

As you can see, this year’s theme was a comfy, cozy Christmas.  Normally, we get all dolled up, but my idea this year (after being asked to get creative by Moma FF), was to sport PJs & bean bags.

Take Two

Help us decide which one will go on the Christmas card by voting, please!

Take Three

Take Four

Take Five

 

So, whatcha think?  Take One, Two, Three, Four, or Five? Let me know in the comments section!  Thanks for your help! 😉

XOXO.

 

 

FUEL.

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I don’t know how many of you readers are involved in high intensity training or sports, but I think it’s important to talk about, considering the fact that prior to reading this article by Brendan Brazier, I really wasn’t sure what was best to feed my body to achieve optimal performance.  Sure, I’m a “clean” eater.  Huge fan of vegetables, whole grains, fruit, and lean protein…but when should I eat what on the day of a game?!  

Here’s what the article had to say:

When it comes to training, proper nutrition is as important as physical activity itself. Without the proper fueling, your body simply cannot perform at its peak, ultimately derailing the efforts of training. While determination will get you going, nutrition is what dictates your performance and success.”

First: Nutrient Timing

  • Pre-workout fueling can not only help you go longer and stronger, but can also help your body recover for the next session
  • What you consume right before exercise takes those nutritional elements from just eating to directly impacting athletic performance
  • Many pre-workout drinks are very heavy on the protein. Yes, your body needs protein to repair muscle tissue, but it is best consumed after training or only in small amounts, just before exercise

Second: Balanced Fuel Sources

  • Your body needs sugars or glucose to provide energy for muscles, especially within 20-30 minutes of exercise.

    **This doesn’t mean we’re supposed to snort pixie sticks or anything like that…high-fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, or white sugar do not provide sustained energy because they shoot immediately into the bloodstream and disappear just as quick, causing an equally quick crash***

  • The GI system, or glycemic index, which reflects the rate at which the sugars from a particular food get absorbed into the blood stream, can be a useful tool in choosing what to consume.
    **A slower burn—meaning a lower GI number—is better. High GI foods provide immediate fuel, but should be derived from natural sources like whole grains or fruits. 
  • combination of both high and low GI foods provides the best, balanced energy to sustain your workout.

    Here’s the part I REALLY didn’t know about…

  • Since your body directs all of its energy to sustain your body during exercise, artificial sweeteners, flavorings, and colorings not only provide zero energy, they also put unnecessary strain on the body to process, so they should be avoided.
    ^ AKA, zero calorie sports drinks such as powerade zero, sobe lifewater, etc(!!)

Third: Mental Focus

  • The premise of many pre-workout product formulations is to give the body a boost of a stimulant, tricking your brain into thinking it is simultaneously rested and revved up.
  • Studies have shown that moderate amounts of caffeine can increase performance—but you can have too much of a good thing! Athletes’ responses to caffeine vary, leaving some feeling nauseated or too jittery to perform, so the amount and source of caffeine or other natural stimulants pre-workout can make a big difference in performance.
  • Green tea has some caffeine, but also provides potent antioxidants for cellular repair. Rhodiola also naturally boosts endurance but along with green tea provides mental clarity and focus. These ingredients, combined with the natural stimulant Yerba Mate, create a powerful, yet sustained boost, aiding in endurance for both the body and brain. These can also to help increase aerobic and anaerobic capacity while aiding in recovery.

I hope this article was as helpful for you as it was for me!  Thanks, Brendan for the awesome tips!  I’ll be sure to remember them while I’m wondering what to use for fuel prior to the big game!

XO.

Welcome Fall & The Weekend

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Friday when I got home from work, there was a My Blogspark package on my doorstep.  Did you know that Yoplait added another flavor to their line of smoothie mixes?

Yep.  Chocolate & Banana, here I come.  Along with the free coupon, I got a plastic tumbler, a lavendar eye mask, & a neck pillow!   I would say that this was a positive start to my weekend 😉  I love presents!

Friday night, the boy & I went to meet my parents & sister at the movies to see Abduction.

[source]

The theatre was packed since it was a rainy night and the movie had just come out.  We had a funny audience to watch it with…you know, the kind that claps at heroic scenes and “awhhh’s” at romance. Overall, the plot was good, the acting was not…Taylor Lautner may be nice to look at, but acting wise, he doesn’t impress me.

Saturday, I felt super productive. 

I finally got to try out the recipe for Katie’s Almond CoconutMacaroons.  They were absolutely delicious.  The recipe included all ingredients that I already had onhand…except the 1/4 C. stevia baking blend.  So, for the record, it takes approximately 30 splenda packets to make 1/4 C 😉  THEY.WERE.AWESOME.  Notice, I said were. Boyfriend approved, too.

904 calories, avg. hr 113

Not ALL my Saturday morning productivity happened in the kitchen, as you can see.  I worked out in the basement for a little while.  It’s so easy to get caught up in a workout when you’re watching the Biggest Loser on Hulu (:

For lunch, I whipped up some of Mama Pea’s Mmm Sauce and made a glorious vegetable dish.

Steamfresh cauliflower & broccoli, 1 egg + 2 egg whites with a piece of Stonefire Flatbreads whole wheat roti

‘Twas divine. 

That night we celebrated my cousin’s birthday party at my house.  The camera battery was dead, so there were no pictures, buuuut it was a nice time.  Plus, Jarid and I got some shopping done for a wedding reception we’re attending next month.

Sunday morning was another great sweat session in my basement thanks to Insanity and Netflix, but not before I devoured this delicious little chocolate oat bran cake with peanut flour icing.

cake:

  • 1/3 C. oat bran
  • 1 diet Swiss Miss hot chocolate packet
  • 1 Splenda packet
  • 1 egg white
  • baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • water to thin

icing:

  • 1/4 C. peanut flour
  • 1 splenda packet
  • salt to taste
  • water to thin

Instead of heating up the oven for just a personal sized cake, I nuke mine in the microwave.  They taste just the same!  Easy peasy.

The stats from the cake fueled workout were decent as well.

615 calories, max hr 156

The series we are doing in church now was all about how to be more like Jesus.  A recently converted believer from a non-believer told us her testimony and it was baffling.  She is now part of a discipling program!  How cool is that?!

Jarid & I headed to Wegman’s to get our weekly fix for lunch.

My box of goodies was rather exciting.  I tried three different types of quinoa salads (Quinoa w/ Cranberries & Pumpkin Seeds, Blueberry Quinoa, and Butternut Squash Quinoa) and a tri-color chickpea salad, all of which were scrumptious.  I’m going to try to get the recipes from the website!  Along with the grains, I got some loose vegetables (blanched green beans, broccoli, red pepper, beets, cucumbers, and lettuce) with just a smidge of taco seasoned chicken.  Fit for a queen, I tell ya.

We dined on the way to Lancaster, so Jarid got a wrap for convenience.  He said he chose the wheat one in my honor.  Haha.

We spent the afternoon & evening hanging out and watching football together.  Jarid spent a bunch of time with my little cousin, Cole. 

My grandparents came over later and we all went to dinner together.  Later, they whipped out the “baby Sami” pictures, and we had a nice little trip down memory lane. 

I don’t get to see these guys nearly as often as I’d like, but I am pretty excited that we already have a weekend picked out in October for me to visit!  We are both just SO busy.  If we don’t pick out a time at least a month in advance, our schedules end up conflicting.

The food took a back burner to the company and conversation at dinner.  I had much more fun holding this little guy than I did chowing down on the salad bar & my sweet potato + scallops…although they were pretty awesome 😉

I had a little cup of french onion soup, too, which was mouthwatering, before I ate my dessert plate. I love that Hoss’s is jumping on the “healthy” bandwagon and offering sugar free pudding & ice cream!

Another weekend success.  Tell me about your weekends!  And don’t forget to enter the Stonehouse 27 & Lundberg Heat & Eat Rice Bowl Killer Combo Giveaway

ALSO, Kayla, the winner of the Brat Hans prize package, please email me at freckledfoodielove@gmail.com with your shipping info. I tried to reply to the email you used to comment, but it said the message was undeliverable to that address.

XOXO.

TidBits.

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I don’t think I ever showed you guys what my sweet boyfriend’s parents gave me for my birthday, did I? 

I absolutely LOVE it.  Probably because Jarid sneaked back to buy it after I picked it out while we were shopping together.  Stinker.

I guess I haven’t shown you what I’ve been learning in A&P, either?

That’s right.  All of the bones in the skull.  From the coronal suture to the foramen magnum.  I’ve got an exam coming up in about two weeks, so I’m really cracking down.  The tough part about the class, is that the NON lab part (textbook reading) is all on us to learn…there’s no lecture.

 

It’s been stress busting trips to the gym, where I can sweat out my anxieties keeping me from pulling my hair out.

Lunches lately have been lackluster, yet healthy.  I had high hopes for this Helen’s Kitchen organic burrito, but the flavors were less than stellar. 

It was all-around kinda bland, which I’m not sure I understand because I love all the ingredients.

It even smelled good when I pulled it out of the microwave and chopped it in half…I’m not sure where I went wrong.

It needed some serious salsa or marinara sauce or something…It didn’t taste bad, it just didn’t taste at all.

Steamed green beans & snap peas on the side.

Anywho, this next tidbit will be appreciated by any chick out there who has thick hair like mine, and even with those seemingly invincible hairties, manage to break a few each week.

I bought these jelly textured hairties at Rite Aid (I think they were Goody brand), and highly recommend them.  They STAY PUT not matter what and it’s next to impossible to break them…coming from the girl who went through three thick ones in one night (TWSS). 

Dinners have to be one-pot-wonders, because they are stashed in a locker until it’s time to feast after the gym and before class. 

That’s right, I’m the girl sitting in my towel on a bench in the locker room chowing down on baby shrimp, broccoli slaw, and black pearl rice.

 I think I’m in a rut… I need some healthy ideas of quickly packed lunches for this fall semester!  Preferably ones I can nuke at work. 

What are your favorite frozen meals?  I love Kashi, but I’m not a fan of Lean Cuisine, etc. 

Paradise Part 2

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While every single morning at the beach began with a workout of some type (running/biking; usually both)

every single night at the beach ended with dessert as it should, right?!

Considering the fact that our house was within 1/2 mile (walking distance) to the nearest ice cream shop, Fat Boyz, this should be no surprise.    More so, there was a place that I couldn’t resist.  American Pie, a little shop in Nags Head (all home-made!) made a “no sugar added vanilla” which tasted like Pillsbury icing from the can that I couldn’t resist.

 Breakfasts before these morning workouts consisted of coffee &

Ezekiel cinnamon raisin sprouted english muffins with a Laughing Cow cheese wedge mixed with Splenda smeared on top .  It was like cream cheese frosting.  After the workout, it was About Time for a protein shake with spinach blended in I don’t have any pictures, because I think the blog world has seen quite enough green drinks.

Beach time was next on the agenda. 

I made it there by about 11 (if not earlier) every morning, breaking around 1 or 1:30pm for lunch.

This was a typical plate of mid-day eats consisting of a turkey sammie with lettuce, tomato, hummus, and onion on Nature’s Own whole grain bread. 

On the side I had some fresh seasonal fruit, because at the beach, nothing tastes better!  Strawberries and cantaloupe were on the menu this particular day.   Watermelon was another favorite!

The rest of the afternoon was spent basking in the sun, typically, causing me to turn into one big freckle…a happy one, though.

 After showering, I usually hung out with the family and helped get dinner ready…when we ate in, it was mostly things like this.

No, that’s not baby food…that would be my Amy’s Organic low-fat split pea soup and a huge monstrous salad with homemade honey mustard dressing (mustard +S & water to thin). Carbage came later in the form of hummus toast 🙂

One night after dinner, we hit up the sand dunes for a spectacular view of the sunset.

At the sand dunes, they have a hang gliding school, and I swear, one day I’m going to try it. 

Could you imagine gliding in the air off of a sand dune with a view like this one?

…yeah, it’s that gorgeous.

Morgy & I thoroughly enjoyed the sand between our toes after trekking up-hill to get to the top of the dunes.

Momma & Poppa FF got a nice little shot together with the moon in the background.

Anndddd recap #2 : complete! (:  Still lots to show you, so come back for #3 tomorrow!

Party Yourself Into Shape.

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Fast Food Beliefs 

READY: 
Wait for the LORD; be courageous and let your heart be strong. Wait for the LORD.”
Psalm 27:14

 

 SET: 
Every time I hear about a coach who has been fired after a year or two at a school, it breaks my heart. I once told an athletic director that it would take four years to turn a program around to contend for a league championship. That was not what he wanted to hear, so I did not get the job.

 In our society we want everything right now. Actually, we wanted it yesterday. A great example is in the fact that we actually drive through places to get our food. At most fast food places they don’t even hold the cup to fill your drink anymore; they put it on a belt, it goes under a fountain, they push a button, and the drink comes out. I suppose it’s faster. I’m not sure it’s better, but it’s faster.

Sports are no different. It’s almost rare to watch one morning of SportsCenter without hearing about performance-enhancing substances or some other method an athlete or a coach has tried in order to get to the top faster. But, that is not what sports were meant to be.

A few years ago I read Coach John Heisman’s book on football. You might know Coach Heisman by the little award named after him. In his book, Coach Heisman never once uses the word “win.” He talks about character and building young men into quality men. Isn’t that what sports should be about?

When we compare sports to our walk with God, the same is true. There are no short cuts. We can’t take a shot or a pill and grow closer to God faster. We have to put in the time and the effort. It doesn’t happen overnight, and there are tests and trials, but, in the end, those hard times are what make the good times that much sweeter. They also build our faith and make us stronger.

Today, I challenge you to invest more time and effort into your relationship with Jesus. After all, that’s the most important relationship you have. If you’re married, think about what your marriage would look like if you were always looking for short cuts. What would your friendships look like if you never invested any time in them? Athletically, what would your skill level be if you never practiced? Our relationship with Jesus is the same way. We have to grow it like any other relationship or pursuit, and that takes time. Be willing to dig in with Him and watch Him transform your life day by day.

1/3 C. oat bran + 1 mashed banana, water to thin, 1 Splenda +fiber packet, and 1.5 tbsp. unsweet Hershey’s dark chocolate cocoa powder

Even more than my chocolate-covered banana oat bran, I love the Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ devotional that arrives in my inbox every morning.

The other night, Toni invited me to join her at my first ever ZUMBA class.  She actually held the position that I’m currently in, before she got promoted.   She is a sweetheart, and was kind enough to offer me her guest pass for the night! Since it was my first time, it took me awhile to get into the swing of things…I felt like each time I got the hang of the booty shaking in a particular song, it was time to move on.  Haha. 

It was a blast, though!  I only burnt about 200 calories, but it felt effortless!  Not the hardcore workouts I’m used to, which was a really nice change for once.  I got a little impatient with myself, wishing that I could’ve picked up on it more quickly, but Toni reassured me that I did great and that it’s even more fun if you go on a regular basis, because you start to remember the steps!

 

Anyway, back to bring things back into focus, I had a quite colorful lunch consisting of a green leaf lettuce salad sprinkled with purple cabbage, cherry tomatoes, yellow peppers, and 1 Tyson grilled chicken breast.  Of course the entire thing was covered in a balsamic glaze for dressing.

 Have I ever showed you guys this cute bracelet I got while in Disney?

I pointed them out while we were there, and my sisters pointed out that they would be cute for us to all get!  Each of us chose a different color…Mine, black

Also!  I know it’s been awhile since you’ve seen peanut flour on the blog…such a shame!  Don’t worry, I was out of it for a little while, but I just received my shipment of 4-2lb. bags in the mail yesterday 😀

I have discovered the most brilliant use of it to date…

Frozen Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

1 serving: 130 calories, 5g fat (.5g saturated), 17 g protein

-1/4 C. Peanut flour

-2 Tbsp. Unsweet Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder

-1 Splenda packet (or other sweetener)

-Water to thin

Directions:
Combine all of the ingredients in a container, mix well, and freeze! Simple as that!  It makes a HUGE bar, too.

  After snacktime, there was a brief sweat sesh.

Complete with a nice, easy calorie burn of about 400 🙂

Then, I got started on dinner.  I made a lazy girl’s grilled cheese sammie with faux tomato soup.

2 slices Nature’s Own high fiber bread toasted with fat-free swiss cheese and dipped in Light Ragu (since I didn’t have any tomato soup!)

Plus a bigggg batch of kale chips roasted and sprinkled with nutritional yeast powder.

 I’ve got to address something, now.  I’ve done it before on the blog, but some of the newer readers may not be aware.  I got a comment the other day concerning my calorie intake vs. calorie burn.  The reader was genuinely worried that I was not eating nearly enough calories in a day to maintain my body’s structure.  As much as I appreciate her caring nature, I feel the need to tell you all that there is no way I photograph EVERYthing I eat, therefore not everything is posted. 

For example, here’s a list of things that you DIDN’T see from today:

1 handful cocoa roasted almonds
-1 HUGE fuji apple
-1 big glass of unsweet almond milk
-1 peach Chobani

among other things, probably…Being a Nutrition major, I’m very aware of my body’s needs and requirements.  Please understand, if I’m hungry, I eat.  Restrictive eating is not my thing 😉

HAPPY FRIDAY!

Anything exciting on your agendas this weekend?!

XO

Surrender Sin.

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Is anyone else completely dumbfounded by the fact that God can totally and completely change our hearts if we surrender it all to Him? Just another amazing way that He proves his love to us. Sure, it feels like we’re losing control…because we are.  Giving everything over to Him means that we fully understand that we AREN’T in control.  Why would we want to be when HE knows what’s best for us, after all?

I had a new bar for breakfast on Sunday!

They’re called Solo Bars and they are delicious.  As you long-time readers are well aware, I don’t care for much that is lemon flavored, but this sweet, yogurt-covered bar was an exception.

The company sent me a few flavors to try out, and I’ll be elaborating more when I do the official review, but for now, let’s just say they’re fabulous.  They’ve got a very low glycemic index, which is awesome for an energy bar, because it means you won’t have to deal with blood sugar spikes!

For my workout today, I did the typical 15 minute Insane Abs video, some biking and then ellipticalling.  “Secret Millionaire” kept me entertained for a little while, but I got bored kind quickly, since I do the same routine just about everyday.  I really wanted to focus on my core, so I seeked out an old fave…Windsor Pilates

I only burned about 400 calories, but I forgot to capture the HR monitor screen on my camera.  Afterward, I just wanted something cold and refreshing with a little bit of protein for my muscles!

Greeeen monster to the rescuee.  Hugee handful of baby spinach, 3 ice cubes, 3/4 C. unsweetened vanilla almond breeze, Splenda, 1/4 C. canned pumpkin, and 1/8 C. peanut flour.  JUST like a peanut butter milkshake, I’m telling you.

I got a shower, did some school work, and hung out.  Before I knew it, lunchtime rolled around.

No, that’s not spaghetti…it’s Shiritaki Noodles 🙂  And I piled on the steamed broccoli, canned mushrooms, and light ragu mixed with garlic lovers’ hummus to make a lunch bowl fit for a queen.

We had a birthday party to get to in Lancaster, and on the car ride there, I snacked on a Coconut Cream Pie Larabar…my FAVE!  Around 5, Momma FF, the sister, and I met some of our favorite ladies at Ruby Tuesday’s for dinner!  We were all headed to an Amy Grant/Michael W. Smith concert at 7!

Table #1 left to right: Randa, Momma, Lin, & Kimmie!

Table #2 was Susan (who adopted me for the night, since her daughter couldn’t come along) & I

Along with mother/daughter couple #2, Jan & Bek.

Incase you’re a newbie, Ruby Tuesday’s is one of the only chain restaurants that I actually enjoy, because they’ve got such a ridiculous salad bar.  Sometimes I even imitate their salads at home!

Baby spinach & mixed greens for a base, broccoli, cucumbers, carrots, zucchini, peas, tomatoes, mushrooms, cottage cheese, chickpeas, grapes, and balsamic vinegar

When we left, I had a happy belly.  The only thing that could have made it better was the next stop on our itinerary! Can you guess?!

If you said Starbucks, you would be correct 😉  I got a tall coffee with sugar-free vanilla & sugar-free caramel flavor shots.  Just like at home!

Randa got a caramel frapp & bek got a mocha latte. It’s funny how different all of our tastes are. 

The weather was nothing but rain, so we got to the venue looking like drowned rats, but didn’t care.  It was a blast to be there all together!

For any of you readers who have had the privilege of seeing a show at the American Music Theatre in Lancaster, you know that it is beautiful inside!

This picture doesn’t even come close to doing that chandelier justice!  It was exquisite!

Our seats were pretty high up, but there isn’t a bad seat in the house!  Unfortunately, my stupid battery eating droid died before the music started, or I planned on doing my first VLOG :-/

The two together were awe-inspiring.  I didn’t even know many of the songs they played, being that a lot of it was from their older albums, but it was enjoyable, none-the-less.

When it was over, after ten, we left and hit a HUGE blizzard in Harrisburg.  Cars in ditches, accidents all over the place, and a car full of scared-to-death girls trying to soothe themselves by singing to the CDs we bought at the concert.  God brought us home safe and sound.  He is always faithful!

XO.

The Blink Of An Eye.

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This weekend seemed to have come and gone in a split second.  It feels like just moments ago that I was leaving work on Friday, stopping by the Farmer’s Market for some produce, and heading home to start the weekend.

(Red leaf lettuce, romaine, bananas, broccoli, cucumber, red pepper, orange pepper, blueberries, apples, squash, avocado, and tomatoes)

I always try to support the local farmers by getting as much as I can at the market.  It’s usually much cheaper than the grocery store, too! 

After Insanity and some brief cardio on the elliptical, I got a quick shower, sat down for dinner with the family.

Pops had picked up Chinese, since no one felt like cooking, and chose to branch out from my normal steamed shrimp & chinese vegetables.

I opted for the steamed chicken instead.  It wasn’t bad, but I definitely missed the seafood and will probably never make that mistake again.

After dinner, I went to visit the best friend & baby Bowman.  He is getting so big!  My phone died, or I would’ve taken some photos.

Saturday morning, I did have breakfast, but somehow let it manage to escape my camera.  I’m pretty sure it was something basic like peanut flour ontop of Kashi waffles 🙂

All I found was this shot of my coffee with sugar-free vanilla bean frozen yogurt plopped inside.  If you’ve never tried this, it’s a great alternative to “cream” in coffee.  It tastes like dessert! 

 Next up, my Speech Communications class from 9-11:50AM.

 

The expository demonstrations were still going on this week, but since I had already done mine, the only work I had to do was “toastmastering” the other speeches, aka writing commendations and recommendations.

 

Some of the interesting topics this week, was one all about black women’s hair (weaves, braids, wigs), palm reading, and how the internet works.

And then there was lunch, of course.  I wanted to try out a “new-to-me” product that I found in the freezer aisle of the grocery store.

 Garden Lites are little souffles that come in a few different varieties, but I chose the roasted vegetable version.  They’ve got butternut squash, too, which I think would be awesome!

Good stats, great ingredients!

1 Garden Lites souffle, canned green beans, and a slice of toast with fat-free refried beans and sugar-free maple syrup

 The souffle was good, but nothing mind-blowing.  It was also rather pricey for the taste, so I would probably make my own from now on.  Can’t beat the convenience, though!  All I had to do was pop it in the microwave.

After lunch, I checked facebook and got to chat with D for the first time since he’s been over there.  All of our correspondence until this point had been messaging.

Then, it was time to get sweaty.

Insane abs workout & then some cardio on the bike & elliptical.   I get tired of typing those words…I can’t wait until it’s warm out, so I can get outside!

I rocked til I dropped…or actually, until my episode of “What Would You Do?” was over.  Ever watch it

It’s a reality show, that puts people in uncomfortable situations where they are forced to either speak up about an injustice that they’re witnessing, or ignore it.  For example, in this particular episode, they place two, role-playing soldiers in a diner that had just reunited.  They made it obvious that the two were a homosexual couple, and they publicly showed affection in front of all the people at the diner.  I thought it was interesting how many different types of reactions were caught on tape, and even some of the word exchanges that occurred!

After getting cleaned up, I finished an English Comp. paper and made some dinner.  Green monsters are perfect for tiding me over until my veggies are finished roasting. 

They’re refreshing, too, which is perfect for post workout eating.  This one was 1/3 C. canned pumpkin, 1/8 C. peanut flour, 3/4 C. unsweet almond breeze, sugar free syrup, ice, and spinach.

Soon the buzzer sounded on the stove, which meant my feast was ready to consume.

I remembered to photograph about 1/2 way through my plate.  I can assure you, this plate was piled high with zucchini, squash, broccoli, parsnips, and mushrooms with sea salt and pepper.  The sauce is a combo of light ragu and garlic lovers hummus ❤  I had some toast with the meal, too, for whole grains, but it was camera shy 😉

That night, a friend of mine was playing at the Hardware Bar with his band, Faded Fortune!

Stay tuned for an exciting Sunday recap! 😉

XO

Wow, God.

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Daily Devotional:

Yet another peanut flour & banana breakfast was on the menu this morning.  This time, Kashi took part in the meal, providing seven whole grains from these waffles 🙂

23g of whole grains, 6g fiber and 560mg of beneficial ALA Omega-3

Wafflewich, anyone?  Common, I know Holly and I aren’t the only ones obsessed with this combo. 

When I went outside to leave for work, I had a “WOW, God” moment.  Sometimes, His creations just astound me and stop me dead in my tracks.  Don’t you love moments like that?  From this second, I knew today was going to be a good day.  I was going to MAKE it one.  Life is too short not to be joyous 🙂

I did forget my gloves for the walk to work, so my fingers were icicles by the time I arrived at my building, but they thawed quickly.  *Note to self: Paint your fingernails.

Around 10am on our morning break, a girl at my office and I decided that the sun was shining enough to take a walk.  We took a lap around the Capitol building into downtown Strawberry Square and headed back.  It was great to get some fresh air.  Spring is soon here!

Not sure what exactly inspired this lunch today, but it was good, never-the-less.

Of course, the mix of greens was fabulous, but my favorite part was the spaghetti squash that I topped the romaine with!  It meshed well with the Balsamic Glaze that I used for dressing.

Shredded romaine, cucumbers, snap peas, lima beans, sketti squash, and orange pepper drizzled with raspberry balsamic glaze

For protein and carbs, I incorporated a new-to-me snack.

They’re kind of like rice cakes, only lighter.  I got the “Apple Cinnamon” flavor and crumbled a few up.  Into my bowl of fat-free cottage cheese & cinnamon they went. 

3/4 C. fat free cottage cheese + cinnamon & 3 crumbled Crispy Wheats

Again, the sunshine through the windows teased Amber and I all afternoon, so guess what we did on our 3PM break?

Yep, another lap around the Capitol building.

When I got back to my desk, I had a note from my “work hubby” haha.  One of my guy friends that actually started working for the State at the same time I did, always jokes that “if he wasn’t married”…

Completely innocent, I can assure you.  But it was a nice little pick-me-up to get a note from a friend.  The only person I really look forward to hearing from during the day is D, though.  When he first got to Germany, I heard from him about twice a day, which was awesome.  Lately, I feel like I’m lucky to get a message.  I know it should be expected…and it is, it’s just hard because I’m constantly wondering what he’s doing and how he is.  Funny how one of D’s messages can make or break my day…I don’t know that it’s such a good thing

 I had a juicy, fuji apple for an afternoon snack.

Work stayed busy, and at 4pm, I hurried out the door to get to a basketball meeting that coach had called.  It was really good to see all the girls again.  We haven’t gotten together since our State Championship game, and I’ve missed them.  I found out lots of things: A- There is going to be a formal awards banquet in May; B- We are going to start having open gyms again (thank God!); C- We get to participate in a summer league!; and D- At the request of someone at Fort Indian Town Gap, we will be scrimmaging an Army team of girls from all around the country on March 19th!

When I got home, I had a taco-themed sandwich for dinner.

2 slices whole wheat bread, 1/4 smashed avocado, 1/4 C. fat free refried beans and 2 tbsp. Pace salsa

I’m not a fan of “light” breads, like this stuff which was only 45 calories per slice, but it was on its last leg, so I used it up…toasted, of course, to avoid the staleness. 

The rest of dinner was a veggie feast.  Roasted broccoli, squash, zucchini, mushrooms, and parsnips with light Ragu and Cedar’s tzatiki dippers.

After dinner, I got to working on my fitness in the comfort of my basement.  First up, Shaun T and insane abs and then some biking and elliptical.  I guess I should probably change up my routine.  Any suggestions?

 

Biggest Loser was the entertainment of choice on this particular night.  Totally inspirational the frame of mind changes that these people go through.  On this episode, the contestants got to go home for 2 weeks and when they came back, they had to run a 5k.  Hulu rocks, by the way.

346 calories, 1:36:10, max HR 155

I cut it kinda short tonight.  I was just tired and wasn’t feeling it, so I stopped, got a shower, ate an orange, and watched American Idol with my Dad.  I only saw one person sing, but she was definitely the best. 

She was given a standing ovation and completely deserved it.  I knew bootcamp at 5am would come early, so I got to bed at a reasonable hour…probably around 11ish, but beforehand, I had a green monster.

3/4 C. Unsweetend Vanilla Almond Breeze, sugar-free vanilla syrup, huge handful baby spinach, 1/4 C. canned pumpkin and a dash of peanut flour

It was a good, good day.  I hate that I feel like I’m on a constant emotional roller coaster, even though I’m pretty good at hiding it and acting like I’ve got it all together when I interact with people.  I get frustrated with the fact that I don’t always feel appreciative for the hand I’ve been dealt and for the people I love in life.  Maybe it’s a fault of mine that I keep myself so busy in order to avoid dealing with those feelings?  Can anyone relate?

In other news, check out Blyss’s awesome SHOT GLASS giveaway!  She’s got an ETSY shop, too! 🙂

XO.