To Be Continued…

Today I will be attempting to run my final long run before the big Half Marathon day in two weeks.  You think I’d be on edge.  Full of energy and nerves and ready to pump out ever last mile.

You’d think.

But no.  This past week with all its business and chaos has left me feeling like Stitch will a belly full of food.  Tired.  Pooped.  Completely tuckered out.  Yes.  This may very well be the run that will test my mental strength and motivation.

I’ll tell you all about it upon my return…and if you happen not to hear from me, please send the posse.  It means I’m lying on the side of the road, somewhere, in need of a caffeine IV.  😉

To Be Continued…

Wish me luck and Happy Saturday! 😀

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perfect endings.

One week.  One week of babysitting two of the most adorable cats you will ever meet. 

My sister and her husband are on a week-long vacation for their anniversary, and I was more than happy to babysit their fur-babies.  I am, after all, a very proud aunt. 😉 

Just as a note, Stitch and Highstreet have convinced me that dogs aren’t the only ones who keep their owners in shape. 😉  We’ve had many wild chases around the house, games of hide and seek, and—of course—lots of cuddling time.  These boys sure like to cuddle. :mrgreen:

And, really, nothing beats getting head-butted by a warm fuzzy kitty at the end of a hard, long day at work.  These guys never fail to make me smile and laugh.

Speaking of hard, long days at work…

…Today I had a hard, long day at work.  When I came home, I was completely frazzled out.  A nap sounded more appealing than anything, but I pulled on my sneaks and headed out for a 3-mile walk instead.  I know from experience that a bit of fresh air is almost always the perfect medicine.  Well, that and a warm, delicious meal. 

Tonight I chose some of my favorite, simple autumn flavors for dinner.  Roasted brussels sprouts.  Mashed garlic infused red potatoes.  Smashed butternut squash with nutmeg.  Baked cod with crumbs.

Everything came together in under 30 minutes which I liked.  Everything tasted so perfect, so delicious, so healthy, which I loved.  The perfect way to end a long, hard day at work.

Time for me to unwind and relax with a cup of raspberry tea and Biggest Loser!

Question: Are you an animal lover?  Which is your favorite? 

Weekend Post: Caramelized Banana Pancakes

I often think in terms of all or nothing.  Hence the reason I like to ask you guys questions such as, “if you had to eat but one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?”  Or, “if you had to cook one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?” 

You see?  All or nothing.

But maybe that’s because when I land on a recipe that I really, truly love, I can think of nothing I want more.  I’ll usually fall so deeply in love that I continue to make that certain something, over and over and over again.  Until—finally—I either tire of it or something else that’s just as wonderful comes along and takes its place.

Today I discovered caramelized banana pancakes.

 This wasn’t an e-n-t-i-r-e-l-y new discovery.  It’s not like I’ve never had a banana before (HA!)  And I’ve had more than my fair share of puffy pancakes smothered in syrup. 

But there’s something quite miraculous about the combination of a doughy, cinnamon infused pancake and caramelized bannas.  The bananas were anything but ordinary.  The heat from the pan helped them develop a delicate, crispy skin and a plump, marshmallowy center.  It is bliss.  Pure, sweet bliss.

This pancake recipe is much heartier than your standard pancake.  In fact, it reminds me very much of a muffin.  Thick, doughy, and very, very carb-y.  I foresee these becoming a regular at my breakfast table, as they quickly become a member of the all or nothing group.  😀

Caramelized Banana Pancakes
Serves 1

  • 1/4 c. whole wheat flour
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • sprinkle of ground nutmeg
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 T. rolled oats
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp molasses (optional)
  • 1 banana, sliced thickly
  1. Mix together flour through oats.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine milk through molasses.  Add wet ingredients to dry and beat  just until smooth (don’t overmix).
  3. Heat a griddle to medium heat and spray well with cooking spray.  Add batter to pan and cook until browned.  Flip and cook until desired doneness (I like mine doughy on the inside!)
  4. Meanwhile, in the same pan, add the bananas and flip once browned on one side.  Cook until warmed and oozing with sweetness.
  5. ENJOY! 😀

Meanwhile—on the family front—Nicole and Nate’s brand new couch arrived today! 

It’s adorable, cozy, and super comfy to boot. 😀

So far, the cats have been behaving themselves with the new furniture addition.

Let’s hope Stitch can stay out of trouble. 😉

Question: Favorite kind of pancake?  Aside from bananas, I love, love, love a good pumpkin pancake, dabbed with butter and drizzled with maple syrup.  It may just be my favorite autumn meal. 😀

weekend post: my most favorite of things

Thank you all for the get well wishes!  I’m still not feeling completely myself today, but at least I was able to do everything that I had set my plans—and my heart—on doing.  I can tell that my immune system is hard at work fighting something off, and I’m sure by tomorrow I’ll be back to normal.  😀

Today was filled to the brim with a few of my most favorite of things.  It all started with an early morning walk.

And a bowl of your basic oatbran.

This bowl of creaminess was filled—and topped—with warm, sweet bananas.  With a sprinkle of walnuts and chia seeds.  Plus a drizzle of fresh maple syrup.

A short breezy morning walk + a warm, filling breakfast + a hot cup of coffee = just a few of my most favorite of things.

Next on the list: hitting up a farmers market with my sis.  My best friend (aka, Nicole from Simple Moments.) 

We ooohed and ahhhed our way through thai basil, fresh organic kale, peppery radishes, and rainbow colored heirloom tomatoes.  It was nearly impossible not to buy everything in sight.  I’m sure you understand. 😀

And I also spent some time with my fur-nephew Stitch.  He desparately needed a manicure, which is a two-woman job. 😉  Nicole held him, while I snipped away.  He’s such a sweetie-pie, and just acts all upset and hurt vs. scratching or biting.  The poor little guy gave me the saddest look, with an expression that said, “I thought you loved me.”

The post-manicure kitty treats seemed to make up for any hurt feelings. :mrgreen:

 Spending time with Nicole + spending time with Stitch + hitting up a farmers market and feeling 100% inspired to continuously eat fresh and local = just a few of my most favorite of things.

My dad is convinced that everything tastes better when it’s cooked over an open fire. 

I’m convinced that he’s right.

Dad built a gigantic tripod, complete with a chain link to attach a cooking pot. 

Dinner over an open fire.  It felt so early American.  Completely primitive.

On the menu: split pea soup!

 And crackers for dunking.

My bowl was filled, filled, filled to the brim with warmth. 

 But wait!  No campfire is complete without s’mores.  It would be so wrong not to bring out the graham crackers, the fluffy marshmallows and the dark chocolate squares.

Step 1: toast a marshmallow.

Step 2: Redo ‘Step 1’ as necessary.

Step 3: Top the toasted ‘mallow with a square of dark chocolate.

Step 4: Ooze together. 

Dad’s s’more—obviously—came out perfect.

Step 5: Enjoy.  Each.  Bite. 

Don’t be afraid to get all messy.

A campfire + Split Pea Soup cooked over a fire + ooey, gooey s’mores = a few of my most favorite of things.

Twas a deliciously wonderful Saturday.  In every sense of the word. 😀

Goodnight World!!

Question: What were a few of your favorite things about today?

I love weekends.

I love weekends.  And Friday afternoons.  And Saturday morning runs. 

I love cookouts at Nicole’s house.  And I love juicy, last of the season watermelon.  And I love watching people enjoy juicy, last of season watermelon.

I love laughing.  I enjoy listening to my family laugh.  I love laughing and laughing and laughing until my stomach can’t possibly take any more laughing. 

I’m pretty sure this is the way that God intended for us to exercise our abs. 

I love Nicole’s home.  How country and warm it feels.  I love her decorating style and how easy she makes it seem.

I love carbs.  Warm, doughy carbs with a thin, flaky crust.  Covered in rosemary and olive oil.

I’m telling you.  This recipe is worth begging Nicole for. 😉

One bite into this juicy, summer-filled chicken, and I now officially love Nicole’s “Bruschetta Chicken.”

I love a plate filled with variety and flavor and fun.

Caesar salad with croutons.

Sauteed zucchini & tomatoes.

Foccaccia bread.

Bruschetta chicken.

I love dinner time conversations.

Laughing.

Silliness.

Seriousness.

More laughing. 

Love it.

I love strawberry shortcake.

Doesn’t everybody?

I love playing family games.

And laughing.  Not that you would have ever guessed.

I love weekends.  And Fridays.  And Saturday morning runs.

I love feeling refreshed, energized, and ready for a brand new week.

The End.

Good night! 😀

Question: What did you love about your weekend?

Sometimes. Most times.

SOMETIMES.  Most times.

Sometimes I eat the same exact thing, two days in a row.  Exact same thing.  From my breakfast…

 

 …to my dinner.  Exact. 

And sometimes I’m completely okay with that.

Sometimes.  Most times.

 

 Sometimes it takes a gentle stroll through your very own vegetable garden…

 

…and flower garden…

 

 …and herb garden…

 

 …in your bare feet.  Just to remind yourself that, yes, it’s summer. 

And sometimes, by the way, it’s okay to be busy doing nothing.

 

 Sometimes my parents surprise me with little things, like a brand new spoon, because they know that’s how I roll. 

Sometimes those little things make me smile all day long.

Sometimes.  Most times.

 Sometimes I get a craving for chocolate. 

Sometimes—most times—I wave a white flag and surrender.  A lil’ bit of what I really, truly love goes a long way.  I really, truly love Coconut Bliss Dark Chocolate.

Sometimes.  Most times.

 

Sometimes it takes a cat named Stitch…

 

 …one lonely bubble…

 

 …tickling your nose…

 

 …and a brick…

…to remind me that it’s okay to get really excited over the simple things of life.

Sometimes.  Most times.

Question: What made you smile today? 

Saturday Recap

What a great Saturday…Nicole was hanging out with Nate in the morning which meant our shopping trip was planned for later in the afternoon.  I was able to have a relaxing morning, included a 2-mile run (no leg cramping! yay!) and have time to also be productive in getting some chores done as well.  Love mornings like that…:D

Of course, no good day starts without an equally good breakfast!  I’m still on a roll with this apple ‘n’ oats thing.  I can’t get enough of it.  And it keeps me full for hours which most breakfasts never do.  The same old, well-loved mix includes:

  • 3/4 c. oats
  • 1 c. milk + 1/2 c. water
  • tons of cinnamon, a little bit of cloves, and a dash of nutmeg
  • 1/2 an apple (saving the other half to munch on while prepping 😀 )

All cooked together, then topped with:

  • 2 T. walnuts
  • 2 T. granola of choice (my fave is almost finished…sad!)
  • and a couple spoonfuls of coconut on top for extra chew and eye appeal

I think I’ll be eating this until either I get incredibly tired of it or something new and exciting comes along that keeps me just as full. 😀

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I sipped this iced coffee with soy while chatting with the parents.  I love weekends with no chemistry.  I think I could seriously get really used to it. 😀

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So, like I already mentioned, I really enjoyed today’s run.  I wanted to go further…much further…but knew that I shouldn’t be increasing my weekly mileage more then 10%, and I already was just by doing the 2 miles.  This week I covered 11 miles compared to last week’s 8.  But that was a low week…still…no injuries is my ultimate goal!! 😀

After my run I wanted water…and watermelon!  So I had a nice big bowl full of the sweet and juicy fruit, which completely hit the spot.

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Lunch had to be equally refreshing because it was just that sort of weather!!!  I made myself a nice big salad with the works.  On top of all the green leef lettuce and spinach I had…

  • 1/4 avocado
  • handful of raisins
  • garbanzo beans
  • couple slices of turkey deli meat
  • carrots, tomatoes, cukes
  • tsp each of balsamic, EVOO, and orange juice

And on the side were the beloved kashis. 😀

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Dessert!

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I was kind of planning on washing the cars after that, but…it didn’t really happen.  I decided instead to focus on finishing up the ironing, watered the garden, and made dad and Matthew supper for tonight.  I just couldn’t let myself go out for a fun weekend and leave them behind with nothing. 

I used to buy an all-natural taco seasoning mix at the grocery store but haven’t been able to find it.  I was super disappointed, because I refuse to buy Old El Paso.  Some of the ingredients are less then stellar, and I didn’t know what alternative I had to making a quick ‘n’ easy taco meal.  Does anyone know of any homemade recipes for taco seasoning that taste really good?

Instead I bought McCormick’s taco brand which taste extremely similair without all the hydrogenated oils and mispronounced chemicals and additives! 😀  It is still a little high in salt, but just watch the salt intake for the rest of the day. 

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Not too shabby!

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Considering Matthew is a vegetarian, I used kidney beans in place of the beef/turkey and first sauteed some peppers and vidalia onions in about a T. of EVOO.  It made a nice big batch…great inside a burrito.  I hope they liked it!

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Nicole came over around 3’ish to pick me up.  I was all packed and ready to go.  I absolutely love spending the weekend out with her.  I was looking forward to it all week.  Shopping + girl time + chick flick movies (aka “Bolt” in this case…haha…not exactly a chick flick, but it was so cute) + good food + 2 adorable cats = guarenteed fun!

We shopped a lil’ before heading to Panera for lunch.  I’m kind of boring when I go out to eat here because I always love the same sandwich.  I tell myself to try something new, but the Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich will always call my name.  There’s just no preventing it. 😀

So that’s what I got.  I substituted whole grain bread and had black bean soup, an apple, and an iced latte on the side.  Yumm…

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After shopping some more and picking up some stuff for tomorrow morning’s breakfast, we headed back to the apartment to watch a movie and just relax.

This totally hit the spot…Edy’s X-treme PB icecream with some banana slices.  Mmm…

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Thanks for having me over Nicole!  I had sooo much fun. 😀

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Have I ever said how much I love these two furbabies?!?  They never fail to make me laugh and smile.  Nicole adopted both of them from a shelter when they were still little, and they’re almost a year old already. 

This is High St.  Such a prince…haha.  He insisted on cuddling this morning and with a face like that, how could anyone say no??? 😀

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And this guy is hysterical and such a cuddle bug too.  I’m such a proud “aunt.” 😀

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Hope you’re all enjoyin’ the weekend! 😀