She’s Back!

Hello Friends!

It’s been entirely too long – but there have been awesome and exciting things happening around here.

Where to start? My favorite: we finally moved into our new house!

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Also, I got a promotion at work! Here’s my fancy new head shot I got to take :-)

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We ran a 10k last weekend.  My first 10k – I like running 6 miles, it’s a great middle distance.  But I missed a turn on the course and ended up running a 1/3 of a mile extra. Oh well! It was still a great course and my time was decent.

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Also we signed up for the Detroit Full Marathon in October! Yikes! So we’ve been running more, which I like, but we have yet to get above 6 miles – which was the 10k last weekend…time to buckle down with training.  Well, maybe after the summer get-together at our good friends’ Joanne and Travis’ this weekend :-)

Hmmm…those are the biggies that come to mind right now. My hope is that now that we’re getting more settled in our new home, I’ll have more time to cook and blog about it :-)

Hope all is well with everyone out there!

 

Banana Blueberry Pecan Coconut Baked Oatmeal

Good afternoon folks!

This past week was a weird one for sure – not super busy, but I started getting sick which was a bummer and that kind of just threw me off my game.  It started Wednesday with itchy eyes so I thought allergies were just acting up. But then on Thursday I started to feel worse and Friday developed a cough and congestion and started losing my voice.  Ugh, chest colds are crappy no matter which way you look at it so I’ve been taking it easy yesterday and today.

Yesterday we did get up early though to head out so Noah could take some early morning photos – well it was overcast and the light was not great so it was kind of a bust as far as that goes…however, we did end up in Fenton, MI at The Laundry for breakfast.  I used to live in Fenton so I had eaten lunch and dinner at The Laundry (still trying to get used to that name – it used to be The French Laundry, but I wonder if they had to change it due to the restaurant of the same name in CA?) but had never eaten breakfast there.  I have heard amazing things about their breakfast and it truly did not disappoint.  Noah and I agreed that it was the best breakfast either one of us had had in a long time.IMG_1572

Noah had the Fat Elvis which was buttermilk pancakes layered with sliced bananas and peanut butter. Served with maple syrup and he got the smokiest, richest, most melt-in-your-mouth bacon that I have ever had.  It was really good.


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I ordered the Spanish Conquistador skillet – tater tots topped with crumbled chorizo, smoked mozzarella, the most delicious Romesco sauce, and 2 over easy eggs. Absolutely amazing! With some fresh squeezed OJ on the side!?! Can’t be beat! If you live in MI – you must try any meal at The Laundry – it’s always delish!

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This morning for breakfast we had Banana Blueberry Pecan Coconut Baked Oatmeal. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – we really love baked oatmeal in our household.  I can’t really get Noah to eat regular oatmeal, but he’s always up for baked oatmeal.  This recipe is in the permanent rotation and ever disappoints. It comes together quickly and you really could mix it up any which way you like: omit the coconut, switch up the nuts, add different fruit – it;s a very versatile recipe. Try it, you won’t be disappointed.  And the best part is – there’s leftovers in our house so we have breakfast for a few days this week.

Oops! We couldn't wait to dig in!

Oops! We couldn’t wait to dig in!

Banana Blueberry Pecan Coconut Baked Oatmeal

  • Serves 6-8
  • Bake time: 20 minutes 

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 C regular rolled oats
  • 1/2 C steel cut oats
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbs flax seed
  • 2 C milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 C applesauce
  • 1/3 C plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 C chopped pecans
  • 1 C shredded coconut
  • 1 – 1 ½ C blueberries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Stir together rolled oats, steel cut oats, baking powder, flax seed, and cinnamon in a large bowl, set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk milk, egg, applesauce, yogurt, and vanilla. Add milk mixture to oat mixture and stir until combined.
  4. Stir in banana, pecans, coconut and blueberries.
  5. Pour into 9 x 13 lightly greased casserole dish and bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes, until set and lightly browned.
  6. Spoon into bowls and enjoy. Top with milk, syrup, butter, cinnamon, or fresh fruit.

Banana Blueberry Baked Oatmeal

 

Adapted from: PB Fingers’ Banana Pecan Coconut Baked Oatmeal

 

Chilaquiles

Good Monday evening! This past weekend was pretty chill, but fun none the less. Sunday morning we had chilaquiles (pronounced “chee-lah-key-lays”) for breakfast after our 3 mile run. To me, these are happiness on a plate – it must be something about the memories tied to this particular food but they are so delicious and I just get a good feeling when I eat them.  They simply remind me of Mexico – love it!

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I first had chilaquiles when I was studying abroad in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico in college.  Of course those were the best I’ve ever had, but a couple years ago I decided I would figure out how to make them at home and actually think my homemade version is pretty good.  I think the key is all the accompaniments – fresh sliced onion, cilantro, and avocado are a must.  A little queso fresco or cotija cheese are excellent additions as well!

Last time I made these (before yesterday) was for my birthday breakfast! So delicious!  I don’t make them that often only because you have to cook the chicken ahead of time (though you could use rotisserie chicken which would cut out that step) and they just take some planning ahead of time to make sure you have all the proper toppings and garnishes necessary. :-)

Chilaquiles

 

Chilaquiles

Ingredients

1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies

1 can green enchilada sauce (or 2 small cans salsa verde)

2 C cooked, shredded chicken

2 C tortilla chips (about 2 handfuls), broken into medium sized pieces

Toppings:

onion, sliced into half moons

cilantro, chopped

salsa and/or hot sauce

cotija cheese or queso fresco

avocado, sliced

Directions

Place tomatoes and enchilada sauce in a large saute pan over medium heat. Heat until warm, about 5 minutes. Add shredded, cooked chicken and warm through, about 3-5 more minutes. Add the broken tortilla chips and cook until soft about 3 more minutes.

That’s it! Serve topped with cilantro and sliced onion, hot sauce or salsa, and avocado are super delicious as toppings as well. Refried beans and scrambled eggs make excellent sides too! Buen provecho! (“Bon appetit or”Enjoy” in Spanish :-) )

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Cupcakes, Muffins, and an Early Morning – Oh My!

Good morning all!

I baked up these little gems on Thursday night to take to work on Friday for a treat day.  Healthy Banana Oat Muffins – gluten free, no flour, no sugar, no butter or oil.  But they are super tasty, I promise!  And easy.  I also added blueberries to mine this time.  I’ve added choppd walnuts and chocolate chips too in the past. These are really, really good!

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Also on Thursday evening I whipped up a batch of funfetti cupcakes – some with cream cheese frosting, some with regular buttercream. And don’t sprinkles (really non-pareils, which I personally think are superior) make everything better? These were for one of Noah’s co-workers whose birthday it was on Friday.IMG_1500

This morning we got up early – around 5:15 so we could hit the road to East Lansing for a photo shoot.  Noah wanted to get out and snap some pictures so that’s what we did. I personally love getting up and out the door early in the mornings – even on weekends – it just makes me feel so accomplished.  Today for instance, we had stopped here and there for photos, ran 3.15 miles, and stopped at the farm market store all before 8:30. Love it!

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There’s Noah out there getting his shots…IMG_1507

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I just loved the sun coming up in the background with the silhouette of this gorgeous tree and the farm buildings in the distance. It was a beautiful morning!IMG_1514

Not sure if you can really see it real well but, someone cut MSU (Go State!) in the field! Love it! And so pretty with the low-lying fog.

IMG_1517It was a somewhat chilly morning – around 45 degrees when we headed to MSU’s campus around 7 am for our run.  It was just about perfect running weather though.  I still felt like I was riding the struggle bus and Noah’s battling some sciatica/leg issues.  But we made it and finished and now we’re done for the day.

On the agenda for today: taking some items to Goodwill to donate, recycling, grocery store, a gathering at Noah’s sister’s, and dinner and a free concert in East Lansing.

Happy Saturday!

 

Chorizo and Egg Tacos = Brinner

Good evening, folks! Yesterday was a busy day, but it started with this beautiful sunrise.  What a great way to start the day!

Sunrise

Then lunch at work was this bowl of goodness: quinoa, kale, and veggies.  It was tasty too! (Today’s lunch was slightly modified with quinoa, spinach, chard, kale, and different veggies, but was just as good!)

Quinoa, Kale, Veggie Lunch

I left work early yesterday for a routine doctor’s appointment, then headed downtown to check out a new (to me) fitness place for a circuit training class.  My friend, Becca, has been going to FLEXcity Fitness just about as long as they’ve been open (about 2 years), but I just bought a Groupon for 3 classes and met Becca there for my first class yesterday.  The classes take place in the gym’s small space, but they have enough room/equipment to accommodate about 24 people. Yesterday’s class had three groups of 8 rotating between TRX straps, spin bikes, and treadmills.  I was super sweaty after the class and felt challenged throughout.  Definitely worth a try and I am sore today so it definitely worked!  We were only at each station for 4 or 6 minutes so I never got bored of the exercises.  If you’re in the Lansing or Grand Rapids area, do yourself a favor and head to FLEXcity for a class or two – you won’t regret it! So much fun and such a great workout!

After class at FLEXcity, we headed to Leo’s for Team Trivia – we did pretty well last night and finished in 2nd place. And we had a great time so all in all it was a really great Tuesday!

Today after work I headed to the gym, but wasn’t feeling super motivated so I just stuck to some treadmill walking and light elliptical work before doing a few ab exercises and stretching.

Dinner tonight was actually “brinner” – breakfast for dinner. And it was super delicious! Chorizo and egg tacos topped with cotija cheese, avocado, cilantro, homemade salsa, and hot sauce. Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm! The leftover chorizo and eggs will be yummy for breakfast tomorrow too!Chorizo and Egg Tacos

We also had this colorful and refreshing fruit salad of pineapple, blueberries, and strawberries. So good and a great reminder of summer since it was gloomy and rainy all day today.

Fruit!

I’m planning to go to bed early tonight so that I can try to catch up on some sleep and hopefully get up early in the morning to go running.

Have a lovely, lovely evening!

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.

Steak Tacos

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!