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Archive for February, 2012

And the Crowd Goes Wild. Well that’s what it feels like when you are part of the crowd at a Record making hockey game. Today my husband and I attended a Detroit Red Wings Hockey game.

These tickets were not easy to come by. The Detroit Red Wings have been selling out their home games since November 2011.

Today’s game was a record maker, we have won our 23rd. home game in a row. That is a league record  and it was so much fun being at the game to experience it.

I indulged in the typical sports arena food, I had a hot dog and an order of nachos, but my favorite treat was the 190 octane frozen drink I got from the margarita hut.

The Red Wings won the game 3 to 2. The crowd was so much fun, I love the spontaneous chants that start-up and the entire stadium joins in. Today’s attendance was 20,066, and this crowd knew how to make some noise.

Joe Louis arena was alive and full of celebration.

The City of Detroit is really an amazing city. I know it has had some bad press over the years, but the city I know and love has so much to offer.

So glad we were part of a history making game.

Question of the day: What’s you favorite professional sports team?

Check ya later.

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Well the baking bug did hit me. I have a small stock pile of canned pumpkin. So that’s when Courtney’s Recipe for Protein Pumpkin Breakfast Cake called out to me.

Use your favorite apple. I used a crisp Fuji apple.

Going into the oven.

Fresh out of the oven.

Protein Pumpkin Breakfast Cake

Makes 9 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups liquid egg whites
  • 1 can pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup light coconut milk
  • 2 packets Truvia
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • 2-2/3 cups slow cook oats
  • 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1 medium apple, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp pecan pieces

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix all ingredients in blender except apple and nuts. Fold in apple.

Spray a 9×9 pan with non-stick cooking spray. Pour mixture evenly in pan and sprinkle with nuts on top.

Bake 50 minutes or until center of cake is dry.

Top with Greek yogurt and maple syrup and enjoy. I love the crunch you get from the apples. This breakfast cake has amazing texture’s and layers of flavor. In one bite I got tons of cinnamon flavor, and the next I got an oatmeal and apple bite.

Today’s Workout:

30 Minutes on the Elliptical and The Ultimate Butt Workout.

Killer, absolutely Killer Workout. This was very challenging, and that’s exactly what I am looking for. I found this little gem on Alyssa’s Blog. I was not able to do every exercise as listed above (I did 10-12 reps), but I completed the 3 sets. I was left with a little energy so I added a set of Straight Leg Deadlifts.

The Deadlift is one move that has always been difficult for me and left me sore for several days after. I know how important these are and I plan on making them part of my weekly workout. I used a bar for this, I wanted a little more stability and I think the bar is best for me to start with.

Dumbbell Straight-Leg Deadlift

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Focus on form. Do It: Grab a pair of five-to eight-pound dumbbells and hold them in front of your thighs, feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Bend at your hips to lower your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor, keeping the weights close to your body. Return to standing, keeping the weights close to your body (as if you’re shaving your legs with the dumbbells). That’s one rep. Now I don’t know if this was such a good idea to do this set after the Ultimate Butt Workout, but I am really trying to challenge myself.

I love my purple weight bar and purple workout matt. It help’s make a rough workout just a little bit better, and any help I can get, I will take. After I completed that workout I got down on the matt and did some deep stretching.

My best friend recently went on a Caribbean cruise and sent me these little nuggets of love.

They have little bits of sea salt on them and are flavored with rum. Talk about a great combo, nuts, rum, salt and caramel, what a unique flavor. I had to check myself and only have a few, they were a great treat after that Killer workout.

Well I’m off to spend the day with my husband and my parents. We have a fun day planned out.

Question of the day: How did you spend your Saturday?

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Happy Friday Everyone.

So I want to get right to it, yesterday I made a few dishes, and I want to go over the recipes.

For dinner I made a Quinoa Crunch Casserole that I saw on Caitlin Blog. This was so easy to make and I loved the fact that you did not have to cook the quinoa, the recipe calls for it to be raw.

Ingredients (for three servings):

  • 3 cups chopped broccoli
  • 3/4 cup raw quinoa
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup hummus
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 1/2 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • Dash of pepper
  • Topping: Pasta sauce

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease a loaf pan.
  • In a wok, stirfry the broccoli until it begins to brown.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients + broccoli except the pasta sauce.  Mix well.
  • Pour mixture into loaf pan and cook for 40 minutes.
  • Remove and slice.
  • Top with pasta sauce and enjoy.

With the casserole I made a side dish of Polenta Provencale that I got from Trader Joe’s.

Then I steamed a side of asparagus, and I heated up a jar of pasta sauce.

This meal ended up being one of my favorites. I loved the crunchy’s on the top of the casserole.

Now if there is one thing I like to keep on hand this is it. Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies. I got this recipe from Annette Blog.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies (bonus: high in protein!)

Ingredients:

  • 1 box chocolate cake mix (or spice cake works too)
  • 1 large can pumpkin
  • 2 Tb vanilla
  • 2 Tb cinnamon
  • 1 Tb nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • chia seeds (2 Tb)
  • 1 scoop of protein powder <–optional
  • chocolate chips (I put 3 chocolate chips on top of each cookie), but you can add directly to the mix

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Mix all of the above ingredients together in a large bowl.
  • Add chia seeds and protein powder if desired.
  • If the batter is too thick, add 1 Tb water or if it is too wet, add 1/8 cup extra oats.
  • Drop by spoonfuls onto a baking sheet.
  • Bake for 18 minutes.
  • Cool and enjoy!

These cookies are soft, moist, chocolately, and delicious. And SO easy to whip up. Oh, and they’re semi-healthy with a punch of protein. Each cookie has 94 calories.

Normally I eat these for breakfast, but really they would be good as a dessert.

I love rice krispy treats and Luna bars and when I saw a recipe on Chocolate Covered Katie for a Homemade Luna Bar, I thought why not try to make a Luna Bar/Brown Rice Crispy Bar.

Brown Rice Krispy Treats

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups crispy brown rice cereal (I used Erewhon)
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter, peanut butter or other nut butter
  • 3/4 cup agave syrup (I used Domino’s Organic agave)

Preparation:

  1. Place cereal in a mixing bowl.
  2. Heat nut butter and rice syrup on low heat, stirring until warm and creamy, but not boiling.
  3. Pour the nut butter and rice syrup mixture over cereal and raisins and coat evenly.
  4. Press mixture evenly into a 13×9 casserole dish.
  5. I put the pan in the freezer for about 30 minutes to make it easier to cut into squares.

Bagged up and stored in the freezer to keep them fresh and on hand whenever I want them.

Have a great weekend, we are expecting some mild weather here in Michigan. How is it possible that we have had 3 days of 40 degree weather in February.

Question of the Day: what have you baked lately?

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Having time to bake and cook up some dishes is how I spent my day. I played hooky from work and I do not feel bad at all. Well I didn’t really play hooky, my boss gave me the day off for covering for her vacation. I just feel more rebellious saying I’m Playing Hooky.

The Urban Dictionary described Playing Hooky as:

Playing Hooky
Skipping school or work.Play hooky, ‘be absent from school without an excuse’, is an Americanism first recorded around 1848.

It also says, To play hooky comes from the verb hook, euphemistically meaning ‘to steal’, or from the phrase hook it, meaning ‘to escape, run away, make off’.

So I mapped out my day:

  • Sleep In –  Oops I slept until 10:30, I guess that’s what happens when I don’t use an alarm.
  • Workout – did 30 minutes on the Elliptical
  • Eat Peanut Butter – perfect breakfast
  • Baking- done
  • Make Quinoa Dish – done
  • Blog- doing that now
  • Shower I hope to get to it right after I publish this

It’s really cool to have a day off during the week.

Here’s what I made.

Breakfast was an English muffin with peanut butter, sliced banana and chia seeds. Hands down this has to be my favorite breakfast at the moment.

Then I made a batch of Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies.

This batch made 28 cookies. Once they cooled I bagged them up and put them in the freezer. They are perfect for a breakfast on the go.

As the cookies were baking, I mixed up the ingredients for Quinoa Crunch Casserole

Before it baked.

After it baked.

Then I made a no bake batch of Healthy Brown Rice Treats.

They are easy and super fast to make.

Slice into 12 bars.

Bag them up and store in the freezer. When you want to eat one they thaw out in about 15 minutes, but I like mine slightly frozen.

Perfect way to spend the day. I will post all the recipes on tomorrows blog, have a good night.

Question: When was the last time you played Hooky?

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Throwing together a salad is something I love to do, I just grab things I think will taste good and I go for it. I just needed a small side salad to go with dinner so I didn’t add a ton of ingredients. I keep the pecans and the dried cranberries in my freezer. That really helps to keep them fresh.

All the good stuff was on the bottom, I didn’t realize how bad this photo was, until after I ate it. The goat cheese and the cranberries are so amazing together. I chopped up the pecans in a little food processor and mixed in a tablespoon of the raspberry vinaigrette. Quick, easy and delicious.

Lets get serious about working out. I am guilty of this and admitting it is only going to help me in the long run. I don’t push myself enough. I have lots of reasons why; I’m afraid of injury, I don’t view myself as strong and I get set in my patterns and routines.

Here’s what I am going to do; realize I am not going to seriously injure myself if I do the exercises properly, admit I am strong, and mix it up and do new things.

I recently did a post about going to Boot Camp. One of my irrational fears of injury started back in the day when I joined a friend at the gym for a workout and me not being on her fitness level or any fitness level at all, I did her routine along side of her. She used heavy weights and did lots of squats and lunges which I had never done before.  At the end of the workout I could not even walk up the flight of stairs to get into the dressing room. I think this has been in my head all these years.

Well I am not accepting any more excuses.

I don’t just want to get by with my little 5 pounds weights, I want to do real workouts. I noticed that I tend to train my upper body more, I tend to try new exercises only if they involve training arms. I can do push ups and squats and do a workout DVDs, but I want to know how to lift weights and build muscle. That leads me back to why I’m excited for the boot camp, I don’t really know where to start, and this will give me the confidence I need.

Stuart was enjoying my blog today, he even had a front row seat. He cracks me up. I love my little chihuahua.

Stuart is very helpful, he let’s me bounce idea’s off on him, he’s a great listener.

Question of the day: Do you lift weights?

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Happy Valentines Day. 

Well I am one happy girl today. My boss is back and my normal hours resume. For me that extra hour sleep in the morning is priceless. I don’t envy the amount of hours she works as owner/manager. I like my secretarial/office assistant position.

So now for the fun stuff. Yesterday I went grocery shopping after work and I killed it. I had a 36% savings on my grocery bill. My original total was $239.58. This shopping trip is almost an entire months worth of groceries. I got the bill down to $151.26. I saved $88.32.  I will need milk and other fresh produce here and there. This haul will last for a while.

 

I had $32.09 worth of manufactures coupons, my bonus coupons totaled $18.10, my Kroger’s card savings was $38.32.  This shopping trip did take me a little longer than normal, I spent a total of 60 minutes shopping. Normally I can get in and out in about 45 minutes.

Here’s some of my goodies.

The produce section was really picked over. I was lucky to find a decent bunch of broccoli.

All my favorites are back in my fridge.

The Kroger’s I shop at has a great Health food section and there are always great manager specials. I found this Deli Smart veggie protein slices. It mimic bologna, I have had this before and I really like it.  There is 14 grams of protein in each serving, and this package makes 3 servings, and I only paid $0.99 cents. Now that’s a good deal.

Here’s whats in today bag.

I picked up a few of these Lemon flavored sparking waters, I can’t wait to try it. It’s looks so fancy.

So to repeat my sentiments, I am happy to be Back to Normal Hours.

Tonight’s workout will be a 60 minute treadmill walk and I plan on doing some of the Tone it Up circuits. I think I want to do the Lean Arm Pyramid and some ab work.

Tonight I just want to enjoy time at home and have a low-key dinner with my husband.

Question of the day? How do you celebrate Valentines day?

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We need groceries. I don’t think my refrigerator has ever been empty. Since I could see everything in my fridge I wiped down all the shelves and drawers. I have been neglecting some of my favorite things, grocery shopping and saving money. I am embarrassed to admit it, but I ran out of nearly everything that was not a condiment in my refrigerator.

So I got out all my coupons and started to plan my attack.

I often email companies I love and tell them what I like about their products and they usually send me coupons for future purchases. Companies love to hear feedback, and they love to send you coupons. I have received some pretty amazing coupons just by saying I love your product.

Some of my favorite printable coupons sites are as follows;

Red Plum

Coupon Network

Mambo Sprouts

Organic Deals

Smart Source

Coupons

One of my favorite Coupon blog site is; We Use Coupons. They have everything you will ever need to stay on top of sales, and new coupons being added to printable sites. They don’t just have coupons for grocery stores, they list restaurant deals and department store coupons. I always check the site for available coupons whenever I go out shopping. I found a $10.00 Famous Footwear coupon on there the other day.

Most coupons sites let you print up to two coupons. I also “Like” companies on Facebook, they sometimes have a coupon tab right on their Facebook homepage. I love my grocery store, they double coupons up to $1.00. So if the item is on sale, I get the sale price plus my coupon doubled. I have had several huge coupon savings trips, I once saved $86.00 off my total bill, and I had lots of organic healthy foods.  I’ve watched the show on TLC Extreme Couponing and some of those shoppers buy quality foods, and then some buy anything that’s on sale.  I pick and choose what coupons I want to print and items I want to buy. I’m not just looking for the thrill of a coupon, I want a quality product  that I can make a healthy meal with.

Companies are all jumping on the coupon bandwagon. Why not take advantage of it. Even produce companies are getting in on it and offering coupons, like Driscoll’s Berries  offers coupons if you sign up for their newsletter. They send recipes and have little contest now and then, but they also let you print coupons.

One time I wanted a particular product so I Goggled it and found a printable coupon that way.

I also have friends and family save me coupons from the Sunday paper. I cannot believe how many people don’t care to save money and think it takes too much time to clip coupons. I spend about 30 minutes per week cutting coupons and organizing a grocery list. If I can save $50.00 on that shopping trip, it’s worth the time I’ve spent clipping, organizing and shopping.

Also did you know that there are programs out there where you can send all your expired coupons to for Military families. I have a local VFW Hall that I send all my expired coupons to. Military families can use expired coupons up to 6 months after they expire. Call your local VFW and see if they participate.

Using a Couponizer really helps keep me organized and ready to shop, but I see all kinds of coupon holders out there. It’s just a matter of finding out what works for you and using it.

Well those are some of my tricks on using coupons and saving money. I am hitting Kroger’s as soon as I get out of work. I have a big list to shop for and lots of money to save.

I plan on doing a quick little update on tomorrows post showing my saving from my Monday nights grocery shopping trip.

Oranges are about the only produce I have left in my house. Don’t they just look so plump and juicy.

Question of the day: Do you clip coupons? Do you have any savings advice?

Check Ya Later.

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Normally I have a cocktail on Saturdays, but yesterday I just was not feeling it. So I tried something different. Coconut water on the rocks. The first sip I was a bit unsure if I liked it, but I had a few more sips and it really started to grow on me. It was a nice change.

This morning I had a fast and easy breakfast, Chobani and the last of my Pumpkin Protein Cookies that I had frozen. They thawed out in a few minutes. It was a really good combo. Looks like I am going to have to get some baking done soon. I love having these on hand, they are one of my favorite pumpkin recipes.

After breakfast it was time to get serious, I need to cook. My kitchen is now back in full working order. I have my new stove and I intend on using it.

Just a few ingredients added together created a nice big pot of Chicken Chili on Sunday.

The Fiesta soup really added a nice zip to the chili. I didn’t have this as part of the ingredients until I started to cook. The broth seemed a bit thin and looked boring. So as I looked in my cabinet for something to add, I saw the Fiesta soup and took a chance, and I am glad I did.

White Chicken Chili

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cups cooked chicken (you can use a oven-baked rotisserie chicken from the grocery store to save on time), shredded (I used a can of Sam’s Club premium chicken)
  • 1 can Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1 can (4 ounces) green chilies
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 box (32 ounces) chicken broth
  • 1 can Campbell’s Fiesta soup
  • Kosher salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • 1 lime, juice

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, saute the onion and cook until it starts to become translucent.
  2. Once the onion is done, add shreds of chicken, beans, corn, green chilies (with juice from can), cumin and oregano to the large pot. Stir to combine all of the ingredients and then add the chicken broth and can of Fiesta soup.
  3. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30-40 minutes to allow the broth to reduce. Add salt and pepper and juice from one whole lime.
  4. Leave simmering on stove until ready to serve.
  5. Serve with sour cream, shredded cheese, avocado or tortilla chips.
I love these tortilla chips, I don’t buy them that often, but when I do they don’t last long in my house.
What’s you preference Chili or Soup?

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Sad. Have you heard of it? 

Definition of SAD

By Mayo Clinic staff

Seasonal affective disorder (also called SAD) is a type of depression that occurs at the same time every year. If you’re like most people with seasonal affective disorder, your symptoms start in the fall and may continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Less often, seasonal affective disorder causes depression in the spring or early summer.

Treatment for seasonal affective disorder includes light therapy (phototherapy), psychotherapy and medications. Don’t brush off that yearly feeling as simply a case of the “winter blues” or a seasonal funk that you have to tough out on your own. Take steps to keep your mood and motivation steady throughout the year.

Fall and winter seasonal affective disorder (winter depression)
Winter-onset seasonal affective disorder symptoms include:

  • Depression
  • Hopelessness
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of energy
  • Heavy, “leaden” feeling in the arms or legs
  • Social withdrawal
  • Oversleeping
  • Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
  • Weight gain
  • Difficulty concentrating
Not being able to play outside in the winter is really hard for me, not to mention that we don’t have many sunny days. For me I need to stay active and have projects to do. That’s why I am so glad I have a treadmill and an elliptical in my home to keep active.
Looking at pictures taken in winter you can really see how different the light is. It’s always overcast and gloomy. I saw that a local tanning salon has a tanning bed with light therapy bulbs in place of the tanning bulbs. I have even seen little light machines at Rite Aid.
Winter Light.
Summer Sun.

Just looking at a bright photo of a flower or a butterfly changes my mood. There is something to be said about the power of light, color and the sun.

What picks you up in the winter?

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So thankful that it’s Finally Friday. I have been without a stove for over a week. My new stove is being delivered on Saturday, and I cannot wait. I am so glad I made this dish on Superbowl Sunday, because it saved me. This Guinness Venison Stew served as our leftovers all the way though Wednesday. I have a rice cooker from Pampered Chef that you use in the microwave, so I made a few cups of that and added it to the stew and dinner was done. I just cannot get over how much stew came from 3 pounds of venison.

Not having to meal plan during the busiest work week I have ever had, made it possible for me to work longer hours, get home, workout and still have a good dinner. Nothing like a good pot of stew, chili or soup to help out in that department. This got me thinking about a recipe that I love, but have not made yet this winter, White Chicken Chili. I think I found a recipe to make this weekend.

Tonight I plan on doing a 30 minute interval training workout on the Elliptical, followed up with the Lean Leg Pyramid. If your looking for a great work out, check out the Tone It Up Girls.

Today I combined and sorted my growing to-do list. I’m feeling a bit of stress about it. Normally I am on top of things, but the past two weeks have been a really big challenge for me. I am working more hours to cover my bosses vacation, so losing those extra 3 hours everyday has really put me behind.

Working the extra hours has been great in the fact that my paycheck will be bigger than it normally is, but I love my normal schedule because I have more time to do things. I’ll be the first to admit it, my schedule is normally stress free. I do work everyday at a desk job, but my hours are flexible. That leaves me time for working out, planning and cooking meals, shopping and keeping up my home. I also do not have kids, so my time is my time, and when my husband gets home from work, my workout’s are typically already done and dinner is just about ready, which then leaves my evenings open for spending time with him and relaxing.

My schedule will be getting back to normal on Tuesday of next week. I am so glad that this is something I rarely have to do.

Weird to say that this is what I have been craving today.

Today's Craving

Normally I don’t have cravings for beverages, but today I can’t get enough H2o. A friend once told me to listen to my body, that my body was trying to speak to me. She gave me this advice a few years back when I was constantly getting sick. Every time I turned around I was getting a sinus infection, a cold, or worse I kept getting really congested.

 

Well I took that advice and started listening. I didn’t hear anything at first, but then again I was taking this advice literally. Then it hit me one day what it meant, and then it happened. I had a little scratch in my throat, and I acted on it. I had a few cups of green tea with honey and lemon, and wouldn’t you know it that little scratch went away. The next time I heard my body, I acted on it with a positive and healthy solution and it never developed into anything.

Now I hear my body. I feel the signals its throwing at me. I then took it a step further and I started to take vitamins, drinking more water, doing calming exercises and stretching. Listening to my body just became second nature.

So as my schedule has been thrown out of whack the past few weeks, I have tried to keep my ears open, and my Vitamin C on hand.

Can you hear what your body is saying to you?

Check Ya Later.

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