3 Meals + 2 Runs + 2 Domestic Tasks

Good evening! The weekend rounded out on Saturday evening and Sunday with some tasty meals and a short run on Sunday afternoon.

Meal #1:

Saturday evening, Noah grilled sweet potato planks to go with turkey burgers.  The sweet potato planks are delicious – the charred, grilled flavor really imparts such a different taste than the usual baked sweet potato flavor.  We just toss the slices of sweet potato with a little olive oil, paprika, season salt, and pepper.  I had my burger with olive sauce, mustard, cheddar cheese, pickle and a slice of tomato. Hold the bun. please. It was oh so tasty. We also had corn on the cob which was actually really good considering how early in the season it is.

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After dinner on Saturday we headed to Barnes and Noble to use a 15% off coupon I got in my email – Noah purchased Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.  He seems to be liking it so far.  I can’t wait to read this book – it seems like it will be a really inspirational story: about the life of Louis Zamperini – an Olympic runner, WWII airman and POW – and all he had to overcome in some truly trying situations.

We also stopped by a local ice cream shop to celebrate National Chocolate Ice Cream Day – I got this delicious little sundae made with chocolate soft serve, hot fudge, and Oreos.  Yum, yum!

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Run #1:

On Sunday we headed to our local running store so Noah could pick up a new pair of running shoes.  We then made our way to Hawk Island Park on the south end of Lansing to run 2.3 miles on the trail loop in the park. I guess you could call that our marathon-training warm-up run as Sunday morning I input all of our training runs into the calendar for our 19 week marathon training plan.  We’re planning to do the Detroit Free Press/Talmer Bank Marathon in October.  This will be my first marathon and Noah’s 3rd.  He’s done the Detroit marathon 2 other times – in 2006 and 2010.  He’s said that he should run it every 4 years, so 2014 here we come!

I will admit, the sunny afternoon run on Sunday was a tough one for me.  It is going to take some real getting used to running in the heat.  I’ve read that it takes about 2 weeks to get acclimated.  We’ll see.

Meal #2:

Sunday for dinner we had these delicious steak tacos. We started off with all of these delicious toppings on the tacos, but then decided that it was best to keep it simple.  The delicious steak was getting lost within all the avocado, cheese, peppers and tomatoes.

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The last taco was the best – simple and delicous with just steak, cilantro, fresh onion, homemade salsa, and some hot sauce. So, so good!

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We also decided Sunday evening was a good time for a cocktail – I opted for pineapple rum, a Mang-O-Rita, and some pineapple coconut water. It was tasty.IMG_1469

Run #2:

This morning we got up early – only 15 minutes early for me at 5:15, but about an hour early for Noah – to officially start our marathon training.  We ran 2.9 miles – Noah blew me out of the water as I struggled again this morning.  I was not properly attired – it’s amazing what a difference the right undergarments and pants make! – and just was not feeling it.  Oh well, I’ve still got 3 months or so until the marathon, right? I’m sure I’ll be ready for it, right?

Meal #3:

Tonight for dinner I threw together this tasty salad – made up of Earthbound Farm Organics Power Greens topped with just about every veggie in our fridge: carrots, celery, mini sweet peppers, black olives, cucumbers, and sugar snap peas.  I also threw on some Roasted Garlic Pumpkin Seeds for a little salty crunch! Yum, yum, yum!

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And last but not least the 2 domestic items:

#1: Iced Coffee Concentrate – I loosely followed Pioneer Woman’s method by placing 1/2 lb. ground coffee and 3 qts. of water in a pitcher. I let that “brew” at room temperature for about 24 hrs. Tonight I strained it into another pitcher.  We’ll see how it turns out tomorrow morning when I mix it with some coffee ice cubes, and a little half & half.  I just LOVE iced coffee, but cannot justify spending $2+ a day on one from a coffee shop. So homemade it is!Iced Coffee Concentrate 1

After it was all strained I think I ended up with about 2 qts. or so of coffee – that oughta get me through the week 🙂IMG_1480

#2: Homemade Dryer Sheets – I originally saw this on Pinterest (what doesn’t come from Pinterest these days?) and tried it about a year ago.  I will never go back to store bought dryer sheets again.  They just seem to clog up the lint filter in the dryer and I feel like these homemade dryer sheets are so much more economical as well.  I can use one “sheet” for about 20-30 dryer loads (at least).  I usually re-soak the cloth in fabric softener about 3 or 4 times before washing it and starting over.

I simply take a large plastic storage container and pour fabric softener on an old washcloth until the entire cloth is saturated with the liquid.  Then I hang it up with a clip pant hanger until it’s completely dry – this takes about 24 hours or so. Then just throw it in the dryer to soften and scent your fresh, clean clothes. IMG_1481

Tomorrow will be a busy, busy day – work, then a doctor’s appointment, then I’m trying out a new fitness center (circuit training centered group fitness class), then team trivia. Phew!

Enjoy what’s left of your evening! Good night!

Homemade Restaurant-Style Salsa

Hi Friends! Happy Saturday! So I’ve been M.I.A. this week due to some baking projects that took up most of my time outside of work.  I started on Tuesday with the fondant decorations, Wednesday was cake/cupcake baking and frosting making, Thursday was Zumba and frosting/decorating cupcakes, and finishing on Friday evening assembling, filling, frosting, and decorating the cakes.

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For a Wedding Shower at work: Red velvet cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting IMG_1409

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Confetti cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
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This morning we delivered these cute cakes for a friend’s daughter’s 1st birthday party:IMG_1418

Smash Cake for the birthday girl: Strawberry cake with cream cheese frostingIMG_1423

Strawberry cake with strawberry mousse and vanilla buttercream

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And strawberry cupcakes with vanilla buttercream

After delivering the cakes we stopped by a park on the way home to go for a hike.  We were out on the trails for about an hour and ten minutes, but for some reason my GPS watch was not activated so I am just guessing that we walked about 3 miles or so.  It was a gorgeous morning for it, but in the woods near the river the mosquitoes were brutal.  Out in the open fields was much more pleasant for snapping photos.

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After the hike we stopped by a local farm market store to get produce for the week. Then headed home for lunch and naps on the balcony. It’s an aboslutely beautiful day here in MI today.

We’re planning turkey burgers, corn on the cob, and grilled sweet potatoes for dinner later.  Tomorrow for dinner we’ll be having steak tacos and I’ll be making homemade salsa to go with the tacos.

I made this delicious and easy homemade restaurant-style salsa for Cinco de Mayo to have with nachos. This recipe is so easy and so good! It makes a rather large batch so it would be perfect for a summer get-together to munch on with chips or as yummy topping for the grilled steak tacos which we’ll be having tomorrow!

Homemade Restaurant-Style Salsa

Restaurant Style Salsa

Ingredients

1 lg can whole, peeled tomatoes

1 can tomatoes with green chilies

1/4 of a large onion, chopped

1/2 bunch cilantro, large stems removed

1 lime, juiced

3 cloves of garlic, minced (or use a garlic press – even easier!)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cumin

pepper

1 jalapeno (leave ribs and seeds in if you like it extra hot)

or

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes

Directions

Put everything into a large food processor (you may need to do this in batches if your processor’s bowl is not big enough to hold all the ingredients). Pulse repeatedly until you reach the desired consistency.  I like mine fairly smooth, but with a few little bits still. Adjust seasonings and lime juice if necessary – I like to test it out with a tortilla chip. Enjoy!

Like I said this makes a rather large batch – about 8 cups worth! 🙂

Enjoy the rest of your Saturday!

Zucchini Corn Chowder

Good evening!  Hope everyone had a marvelous Monday and a wonderful weekend!

Sunday for me started with a 3.1 mile run at 7:30 am – it was already 70 degrees and for some reason or another I was riding the struggle bus.  Even with all the walking I did (on a 3 mile run, really?!?) I still managed to finish the 5k in under 30 minutes so I was okay with that.

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When I got home from the run Noah was up and had started on breakfast. It turned out real yummy, we had double blueberry pancakes (chopped in the batter, then whole berries sprinkled on while cooking), bacon, fruit salad, and fresh squeezed OJ. So besides chilaquiles (recipe coming soon!), blueberry pancakes are probably my favorite breakfast food! I just love the pop of the fresh blueberries in the sweet fluffy pancakes. So good!

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It was very tasty and held me over until about 3 pm when I had a light veggie snack of cucumbers and sugar snap pea pods – I also really love sugar snap pea pods. So sweet and crunchy and delicious!

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I didn’t want to eat too much since my parents were on their way to Lansing to have dinner with us. We ended up at Longhorn Steakhouse since a new one just opened in Lansing a couple months ago and none of us had tried it yet.  The inside of the restaurant was nice and the food was decent too.  I had the spinach and feta chicken with steamed broccoli on the side.  The chicken was super moist and juicy with lots of good flavor. And doesn’t feta make everything better?IMG_1369

After dinner we headed to East Lansing so I could run an errand for a friend then we headed to MSU to get some delicious ice cream at the MSU Dairy Store.  I had the Death by Chocolate which was delicously divine! Dark chocolate ice cream, chocolate covered almonds, Oreos, and chocolate covered toffee pieces.IMG_1371

Tonight for dinner I made Zucchini Corn Chowder.  Noah said it was one of the best soups I’ve ever made, but we ate right after he got home from the gym so I’m sure the fact that he was super hungry didn’t have anything to do with his assessment of the soup.  It did come together pretty quickly and easily and was tasty.

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Zucchini Corn Chowder

Ingredients

1 Tbs butter

1 tsp olive oil

1/2 large onion, diced

1/2 bell pepper, diced

4 ribs celery, diced (I use the pieces with the leaves too for extra flavor)

2 small-medium carrots, diced

1 clove garlic, minced (I used my garlic press – one of my favorite kitchen tools!)

2 medium zucchinis, chopped into 1/2″ cubes

16 oz frozen corn, thawed and divided

2 1/4 C low-fat milk, divided

1/2 tsp dried ground thyme (or 1 tsp fresh thyme, minced)

fresh ground black pepper

salt

Optional Garnishes:

fresh chives or green onions, chopped

grated cheese (I used cheddar)

bacon, cooked and crumbled

Directions

Heat butter and olive oil in a dutch oven or other heavy bottomed large sauce pot over medium heat.

Add the onion, carrots, celery, and peppers. Saute for 5 minutes or so, until the veggies are tender. Add the minced garlic and zucchini.  Cook for 5 or so more minutes, stirring occasionally so the garlic doesn’t burn, until the zucchini is just starting to soften.

Set aside 1 C of corn. Put the remaining corn in a blender with 1 C of milk. Blend until smooth.  Add the rest of the milk, salt, pepper, and thyme.  Blend until just combined.

Pour the corn and milk mixture and the remaining corn in the pot with the veggies. Stir together and cook an additional 5 minutes until heated through.  That’s it, it’s just that easy! Top with fresh chopped chives or green onions, cheese, and/or bacon. Enjoy!

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Veggie and Cheese Frittata

Good afternoon!

Today started out with this delightful green protein smoothie:

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Perhaps not the most beautiful shake ever, but it was tasty none the less. I threw frozen pineapple, frozen strawberries, oats, flax seeds, vanilla protein powder, spinach and a little water in the blender and done! My first breakfast of the day!

My 2nd breakfast of the day came in the form of Hippie Hash from Fleetwood Diner here in Lansing.  The Hippie Hash is just amazing – potatoes, tomatoes, green pepper, mushrooms, onions, gyro meat (you can get it without), broccoli, and the star of the show – feta cheese!

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After breakfast at Fleetwood’s, Noah and I went to the grocery store, then headed back to the apartment for some pool time.  We were going to go the beach and take Noah’s nephew, but he decided he didn’t want to go so we just hung out at the pool for a couple hours instead.  It is hot and sunny here in Lansing today so it was perfect!

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Once we returned home from the pool, I decided that some reading on the balcony and a snack of sweet potato tortilla chips, a cheese stick (neither pictured 🙂 ) and an apple with natural PB and honey was a good idea.  It’s quite pleasant in the shade so the balcony is actually perfect.  Still sitting out here while I type up this post 🙂

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Noah’s in the process of cleaning the grill in preparation for a beer can chicken he’s going to cook for dinner tonight.  I think we’re planning to use hard cider though so we’ll let you know how it turns out…

Now onto the recipe. Last night Noah and I went for an 8 mile bike ride after work and didn’t get home for dinner until around 6:30 so this Veggie and Cheese Frittata was perfect since it was cooked and dinner was eaten all within an hour.

And it was so good – packed with veggies and cheddar cheese, it’s so easy and customizable.  You could throw in whatever veggies you have on hand.  I was originally going to make it with sweet potatoes and broccoli, but didn’t feel like pre-cooking the sweet potatoes so stuck to a combo of broccoli, spinach, onions, peppers, carrots, and cheddar cheese.  This could easily be made the night before for a breakfast gathering and cooked in the morning or have it for dinner like we did!

Veggie and Cheese Frittata

Veggie and Cheese Frittata

Ingredients

1 Tbs butter

1/2 large onion, diced

1 bell pepper, diced

1 carrot, grated

1 C fresh spinach, torn into small-ish pieces

1 head broccoli, stems removed and top cut into florets

1 C shredded cheddar cheese, divided

8 eggs

3/4 C milk

salt

pepper

paprika

parsley (dried or fresh works)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9x 13 baking dish with cooking spray.

Melt the butter in a saute pan. Add the onion and peppers, cook for 2 minutes until just starting to soften. Add the carrot, cook for 3-5 more minutes until veggies are soft (but not mushy).

While the veggies are cooking, place the broccoli in a microwave safe bowl with about 1/2 C water and cook for about 5 minutes, until broccoli is bright green and starting to soften.

Mix the broccoli and spinach in with the sauteed peppers, onion, and carrots. Pour all veggies into the prepared baking dish.

In a large bowl, whisk the milk and salt, pepper, paprika, and parsley. Add the eggs and whisk together. Stir in 1/2 C of the cheese.

Gently pour in the egg mixture over top of the veggies. Add the remaining grated cheese to the top of the eggs and veggies.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until edges are just getting golden brown, eggs are set (not jiggly), and cheese is all melted. Enjoy!

Veggie & Cheese Frittata

Memorial Weekend – Part II and The Head and The Heart

Good evening friends!

I know it’s so long after the fact, but I just wanted to share the rest of the highlights of our Memorial Weekend with you.

Sunday afternoon on our way home from South Haven we stopped in Holland.  The Tulip Time Festival was a couple weeks ago so we missed peak tulip season but it was still nice to check out the city as neither Noah nor I had ever been there.  We ate lunch in Centennial Park near downtown Holland. It was a gorgeous afternoon.

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And we still got to see some pretty, pretty tulips too!

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I thought this fountain was so cool the way the moss was growing on it.

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These tulips were my favorite.  Called “Sorbet” they looked like someone had painted the pink coloring on with a paint brush. Another example of nature’s awesomeness!IMG_1305

It was nice to be home on Monday before having to go back to work.  I started the day by squeezing some fresh OJ for breakfast! Nothin’ like it! Yum!IMG_1307

We also has a “big breakfast” of pancakes, scrambled eggs, and bacon. Also very yummy!

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We spent the rest of the day at the grocery store and going to the movies to see X-Men: Days of Future Past. Great movie! Have I mentioned how much I love comic book/superhero movies? Well, they are my favorite, and the new X-Men movie did not disappoint. Definitely go see it if you get the chance – and stay all the way through the final credits 🙂

For dinner we grilled up some polish sausages and I made this delightful cheesy cauliflower as a side. It’s pretty easy and super yummy.  I feel like it’s a great substitute for macaroni and cheese because you get all the great cheesy goodness without all the carbs (read gluten – unless I use gluten-free pasta). Recipe coming soon. I promise!

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It’s not the prettiest dish, but super tasty none the less!

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We also had this delicious spinach salad topped with sugar snap peas (one of my faves!), cucumbers, bell pepper, tomatoes, and celery. I LOVE salads too!IMG_1313

 

Last night we went to see The Head and The Heart in concert at the Kalamazoo State Theater.  It’s a great venue, but it was a general admission show so the vibe was a bit different than when we saw Amos Lee there in March.  That crowd was, on average, about 20 years older than the TH & TH crowd.  We ended getting there last night right as the doors were opening so we were lucky to get seats up close – in the 4th row! – but didn’t realize that as soon as the opening band went on all the college-age concert goers were going to bum rush the stage.  Oh well, it was pretty entertaining to just watch all the inebriated college kids at the show too.

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As always TH & TH put on a great show (that was the 4th time we’ve seen them and they’re just great every time!) and the opening act – Lucius was pretty good too.  We didn’t get home until like midnight which is about 2 hours past my normal bed time so needless to say I am a bit tired today.

I did manage to make it to Zumba though which was fun as always.

That’s really all for now, catch ya on the flip side! TGIF tomorrow!!!!!!

Memorial Weekend – Part I

 

Happy Tuesday! Time sure does fly when you’re having fun and I have to say this past Memorial Weekend was a fun one! It started off on Friday with a day off of work (woot woot!) so I could chaperone my niece, Hannah’s 4th grade field trip to The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI.  The museum campus is very pretty and it was a beautiful day.

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Fountain at Greenfield Village next to the museum. I went to Greenfield Village on my 5th grade field trip, but would love to go back and check it out as an adult.

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The museum is pretty cool and mostly dedicated to transportation, technology, and American history. One really neat thing (among many others) that is housed in the museum is the car that JFK was riding in when he was assassinated. They also have the bus Rosa Parks was on when she refused to move to the back, and the chair that Abraham Lincoln was sitting in when he was shot.IMG_1221

I would LOVE to have a VW camper bus someday – so cool!

IMG_1223 Love this girl! We had a really fun time and it was great to hang out with her for most of the day.  I was a bit nervous before the field trip as I didn’t really know what to expect and thought I would have a whole gaggle of 10/11 year olds to supervise.  But it was just Hannah and one other girl and it was very laid back.

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IMG_1227Just as soon as Noah and I got home and got all of our belongings packed up, we headed to South Haven on Lake Michigan on MI’s west side. Our friends Joanne and Travis were there for the weekend staying with Travis’ parents and they invited us out for the weekend as well.

When we arrived in SoHa we hung out for a bit and had some snacks before heading out for dinner at the yacht club.  I brought this yummy spinach parmesan dip to eat with veggies and Joanne had these delightful patriotic colored tortilla chips as well.
IMG_1230 After dinner Joanne, Travis, Noah and I headed to a local bar to have a couple drinks and ended up gettin’ our groove on and danced a little as there was some funky live music at the bar – a duo of a singer and keyboard player – Tony and Doug! – who jammed out to some 70s funk and mixed in some current rap/hip hop music.  It was interesting to say the least and very entertaining!
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Joanne and Travis! 2 of my favorite people – we often joke that Noah and Joanne are similar in personality and that Travis and I are similar.  Sometimes I swear that Travis is like my brother from another mother 🙂IMG_1239 Saturday morning I woke up early (nothing new there) and hung out catching up on some magazine reading while rehydrating and eating my first breakfast of a banana and a Clif Bar.IMG_1241 Once Noah got up we headed outside for a beautiful morning walk on the beach. It was absolutely gorgeous!IMG_1244 I just love this snack shack – reminds me of old school beach movies!IMG_1245

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Later in the morning once we all got around, we headed out for breakfast/brunch at Phoenix Street Cafe in downtown SoHa. I had my 2nd breakfast which was this delicious veggie hash of potatoes, butternut squash, and parsnips accompanied by the best gluten-free bread I’ve had (French Meadows Honey Multi-Grain), an overeasy egg and a mimosa! So tasty!IMG_1256 Joanne and I wandered around the shops downtown for a bit before heading back to the condo to indulge in these delightful Clementine Crush cocktails.  We first had them last April in Chicago at the Grand Luxe Cafe and recreated them last Memorial Weekend.  They were just as good this time around too!IMG_1257 We had snacks for lunch while enjoying the sunshine on the deck of the condo (just a bit too chilly for the beach unfortunately).IMG_1258
We had a delicious dinner on Saturday of grilled steaks, asparagus, green beans, roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes, salad and crispy fried onions. So good!IMG_1264 Sunday morning we went out for another walk on the beach/pier as it was another gorgeous day!IMG_1267 Live life to the fullest indeed! (Though I don’t necessarily agree with the graffiti…)IMG_1272 I love boats!

IMG_1277Off to Team Trivia! Catch ya later!

 

Amos Lee Covers “Like A Virgin”

So I may have mentioned that I’m a pretty big Amos Lee fan – Noah and I have seen him live 4 times. He’s awesome every time and I just really love his music.  It’s the type of music that fits no matter what mood I’m in – sad, happy, content, contemplative – it doesn’t matter. It’s always good and always makes me feel great.

I just finished watching an older episode (like 3 episodes before the season finale) of Grey’s Anatomy and at the end I heard this pretty song in the background…I recognized it as “Like a Virgin” after a couple lines, then thought “That sounds like Amos Lee, but no. That can’t be. That would just be weird.” Well it was Amos Lee covering the Madonna song.  How I missed the fact that this happened on the show a few weeks ago is beyond me, but the cover was amazing!

I shouldn’t be surprised one bit – all of Amos’ stuff is amazing – original songs, covers, it doesn’t matter. At the last show we went to he and his band did a cover of “Single Ladies” by Beyonce as a bluegrass rendition. Musical amazement – it was AWESOME!

Anyway just super excited at this new musical discovery – so please listen and enjoy!

Amos Lee Cover of Madonna’s “Like A Virgin”

Tropical Coconut Cheesecake

Good evening! It is another gorgeous day here in MI and I am enjoying it while I type up this post on my balcony.  I had planned to go running after work, but I am just not acclimated to the heat yet, so decided to wait until a little later in hopes that it will cool off a bit.

I went running after work yesterday- just 2.25 miles – and it was brutal.  My time ended up being okay, but I could tell the heat just got to me a little and I had to walk a couple times. and felt terrible afterwards.  Once my body temp got all the way back down to normal I starting feeling better, but sheesh!

We went to Team Trivia last night and ended up in 2nd place again! We weren’t even in the top 3 at the final question, but wagered the max allowable points and made a come back! It really is a blast and it’s kind of nice to get out and about during the week.

As promised here is the recipe for the Tropical Coconut Cheesecake I made almost a month ago (sorry I’ve been so terrible at keeping up on recipe posts!).  This really is super easy to make, gluten free, and very, very tasty!

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Coconut Crust
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IMG_0956 The unbaked cheesecake (above) and the final product

Tropical Coconut Cheesecake

Ingredients

Crust:

2 C sweetened flake coconut (unsweetened would probably be good too as the cheesecake did turn out pretty sweet due to the sweetened condensed milk)

1 Tbs granulated sugar

Lime zest, grated from 1/2 of a lime

2 Tbs butter, softened

Filling:

3 (8 oz) pkgs reduced fat cream cheese, softened

1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk

3 eggs

3 Tbs lime juice

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Lime zest, grated from 1/2 of a lime

2 Tbs cornstarch

1 C pineapple-mango fruit spread (or other tropical jam)

Garnish – optional:

1 ripe mango, peeled and sliced

1 lime, thinly sliced

Whipped Cream

Directions

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Toss together coconut, sugar, and lime zest in a medium bowl. Add butter and stir until crumbly.  Press mixture into bottom and up sides of a 9″ non-stick spring form pan.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, until light brown.  Allow to cool completely.

Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees.

Beat cream cheese until smooth with an electric mixer on medium speed in a large mixing bowl. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk, beating until smooth.  Add eggs, lime juice, vanilla extract, lime zest, and cornstarch, mixing until well combined.

Pour cream cheese mixture into prepared crust. Stir fruit spread until smooth, drop dollops of fruit spread or jam on top of filling.  Gently swirl jam with a knife until top of filling appears marbleized.

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until center is set when pan is jiggled.  Place pan on wire rack to cool completely.  Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

*I placed a casserole dish filled halfway with water on the oven rack below the cheesecake (a modified water bath if you will).  This did help keep the cheesecake moist, but mine still cracked.  I think I simply overbaked it – being a novice cheesecake maker was my problem I think.

On tonight’s agenda in addition to running – some housework, catching up on Grey’s Anatomy, and reading.  Noah’s in Traverse City for work so I’m a bachelorette for the next couple days – which means I eat random stuff and don’t cook dinner.  Tonight’s dinner was some sweet potato tortilla chips and cottage cheese with Tony Packo’s Sweet Hot Pickles and Peppers! Weird, but delicious!

 

Girls on the Run and a Trip to the Park

On Saturday we arrived at my parents’ house just before my mom got home from picking up my two youngest nieces to spend the afternoon with while my brother and sister-in-law went to the movies and my older niece was at her cousin’s volleyball meet. My brother and sister-in-law saw Godzilla and even my sister-in-law really liked it (she and I have similar tastes in movies) so Noah may be able to talk me into seeing it…

When my mom got to the house with Jillian and Josie, we decided it would be nice to walk down to the park a few blocks from my parents’ house before dinner.  It was a little chilly and a bit windy, but it was a nice afternoon with the sun shining on us.

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Josie Jane!

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As we were leaving the park we saw these Canadian geese in the river with their 3 little baby geese!

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Not sure if this was the first time Josie discovered dandelions, but she sure did love them! On one of them I told her to make a wish before she blew off the fuzzies, and she wished {out loud} for a teddy bear. Just the epitome of cuteness!IMG_1149

Pretty, pretty tulips blooming at my parents’ house.

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A sweet little violet picked for me by sweet little Josie 🙂

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And then there’s Jillian – what a goofball!

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Grandpa and Josie

Saturday evening we took Josie and Jillian with us to dinner at The Grasshopper – a local Mexican restaurant that my family has been eating at for decades.  This (plus home cooked Mexican) is what I grew up on so pretty much everything is compared to this delicious Tex-Mex food.

Then on Sunday we got up early(ish) to head to Ypsilanti for the Girls on the Run 5k event.  Hannah participates in the program at school but Jillian’s still too young.  She’ll get to join the program though next year when she’s in 3rd grade. This is just a great program that incorporates self-esteem and empowerment lessons for young girls with a running program. Hannah seems to really like it and has fun with it too!

My sister-in-law, Nikki, Hannah, Jillian, and I all ran the 5k this year. And these girls were amazing! They both ran the entire 3.1 miles.
IMG_1158I’ll definitely being doing the 5k again next year with Hannah and Jillian and Nikki, and hope that my brother and Noah will consider joining us as well! What a great way to encourage and empower young girls and spend time as a family!

Well it’s a beautiful day here in MI today, so I am sitting on the balcony at our apartment as I type this, but alas, I must be productive this evening and get dinner started. Barbecue chicken and oven roasted green beans here we come!

 

Food Highlights of the Week

Good morning! Today started off with an early weekend wake up at 7 am and a quick 45 minute workout at the gym.  I love weekends that we are at home and can workout early in the morning.  I just feel better throughout the day and more accomplished. Today’s workout started with the StairMaster and followed with exercises to work on my legs.

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Post-workout selfie! 🙂

After the gym we came home and made/ate this protein packed breakfast:

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Migas, turkey smoky links, rice cake w/ PB, honey, and chia seeds.

I promise I’ll eat some fruits and vegetables later today!

This week was a busy one and just flew by – we closed on our house, went to Team Trivia, I went to an Arbonne party, went to Zumba, then last night Noah and I went out to dinner, went shopping at Target (yay!), and had some frozen custard from Culver’s.

Dinner last night was at Bagger Dave’s in East Lansing. We hadn’t been there since it opened about 2 years ago (they messed up my burger order then and I was not impressed), but decided to give it another try.  Noah had a buffalo blue cheese turkey burger that was oaky. He seemed to really like it, but the bite I had didn’t have much buffalo sauce or blue cheese – the burger itself was moist and tasty though.  I tried the Santa Fe Nachos appetizer as my meal.  It was a lot of food (which I had no problem finishing!) and was really good.  The tortilla chips were topped with Sloppy BBQ (ground turkey with a sweet sloppy joe style sauce), Santa Fe cheese sauce, lettuce, onions, tomatoes, jalapenos, melted cheese, and I added guacamole.  Next time I order these I would get them without the lettuce – I find it to be simply unnecessary – it gets wilted and has a weird flavor when it gets warm and really just gets in the way of all the other tasty toppings.

 

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On tap for today is some housework this morning, then if it’s not raining we’re planning to head back out to East Lansing to go to the Art Festival and Craft Show.  If it is raining we’ll head to Adrian a little early to visit my parents and stay the night there.  Tomorrow morning I am running the Girls on the Run 5k at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti with my neices, Hannah and JIllian, and my sister-in-law, Nikki.  I can’t wait! I ran this last year with Hannah and we had a blast.  She ran the whole 5k and was just amazing! Those girls never cease to amaze me with all they can accomplish! Love ’em!

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And last but not least – I discovered Instagram this week! A little late to the game, I know, but I LOVE it! So without further ado some of my tasty food highlights from the week (thank you Instagram!):

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Tomatoes, cucumbers, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.
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Leftover sauteed asparagus with (microwaved) zucchini – LOVE green veggies!
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Oatmeal and amaranth (cold) porridge with almond milk, cinnamon, honey, raspberries, and strawberries.
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Natural PB with chocolate chips – delicious (and so easy!) sweet treat
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Fresh mango – lovin’ that these are in season now!
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Overnight oats from the office cafeteria (and a flying pig photo bomb!)
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We got our new NatureBox this week! Afternoon snack at work – Sunshine Chips and Plantain Chips – so tasty!

Happy Weekend! Enjoy!