Three Bean Pasta Salad and Weekend Highlights

Happy Monday, folks!  This past weekend started with a trip to Target after work on Friday – LOVE that store! I know I’m not alone here – what is it anyway?!?  Managed to get out under $30 so I’d call that a win :-)

Then picked up Noah from work as he returned from traveling for work and we had Jersey Giant (no pic – sorry just couldn’t wait) to split a sub for dinner.  The BEST subs around – so good! Fresh sliced meat and cheese, simple toppings and condiments – doesn’t get any better!

Saturday we got up around 8 and headed out for our long run of the week…I didn’t run much last week – just to and from the gym on Thursday and I think the rest did me good.  The 8.55 miles we ended up with felt pretty darn good.  The temp outside was in the 60s it was a little sunny, I took water with me, and despite some issues with my iPod and GPS watch it was an almost perfect run.  Sub 10 minute pace and even 1 sub-9 minute mile!

Most of the miles were on the Lansing River Trail and towards the end these were the sights:

Lansing River Trail runAfter our run I relaxed at home outside in the sun and caught up on some reading of back issues of magazines while Noah helped his sister move. We then went to run some errands, came home had frozen pizza for dinner (not glamorous or healthy – but easy!) and watched the first episode of The Americans (good show).

Sunday started with an early morning (5:30 am!) so that Noah and I could head out to get some sunrise photos.  We ended up east of where we live now at Lake Lansing in Haslett.  The sunrise was really pretty – the bright red sun coming up just couldn’t be captured on my iPhone, but it was peaceful anyway – only 1 or 2 other people were out at that time in the morning.

IMG_1954

IMG_1963After the photo shoot at the lake we were hungry for a 2nd breakfast (our first was a Clif/Lara bar and coffee) so we headed to downtown East Lansing to go to Brueggers Bagels – my old standby of an everything bagel with veggie cream cheese was delicious! We enjoyed our bagels at the Michigan State University Horticultural Gardens. At 8 am on a Sunday there was no one there and the weather was perfect.  It was also the perfect time of summer to be there – all the flowers were in full bloom! Absolutely amazing!

IMG_1966

IMG_1995Just LOVE sunflowers! They’re just so cheery! They’ve got to be the happiest flowers out there :-)

IMG_2003

These peach-colored Dahlias were just gorgeous – totally reminded me of my dear, sweet friend, Emily! (I get to see her in just about a week and a half!)

IMG_2005

IMG_2007

IMG_2011

IMG_2014

IMG_2018

These photos do not do these roses justice…would love to have something this beautiful at my own house one day.

IMG_2020

More sunflowers!

IMG_2023

IMG_2025

IMG_2031

So many pretty, pretty sunflowers!

IMG_2032

IMG_2037And a peacock!

Then we met my parents for lunch which was really nice and made for a great afternoon.  We finished out Sunday with some yardwork and house work.  We took a dinner break to have these delicious steaks that Noah grilled up and this light and tasty Three Bean Pasta Salad:

IMG_2039

Three Bean Pasta Salad

Ingredients

6-8 ounces small pasta shells (I used Gluten Free)

3/4 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut into thirds

1 15 oz. can pinto beans, rinsed and drained

1 15 oz can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

4 scallions, thinly sliced

5 stalks celery, thinly sliced

For the dressing:

2 Tbs. Dijon mustard

1/2 C red wine vinegar

1/2 C olive oil

2 Tbs honey

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp basil

salt and pepper

Directions

In a large pot of boiling water, cook pasta 3 minutes less than package directions. (If using GF pasta, cook until al dente.) Add green beans and cook 3 minutes mores. (Cook green beans separately for about 4 minutes if using GF pasta.) Drain and rinse pasta and green beans with cold water.

In glass jar, mix dressing ingredients by shaking vigorously until combined.

In a large bowl, mix pasta, beans, celery, and scallions – toss gently.  Add dressing and toss gently to combine. Chill for about an hour and serve. Enjoy!

IMG_2038

(Adapted from Martha Stewart/Everyday Food)

 

 

Quinoa Salad

Good evening folks! Well it’s been a great week:

I discovered microwave scrambled eggs! Who knew?!? And why didn’t they tell me? After my mom saw the photo of my breakfast she commented that apparently my dad knew…why has he been holding out on me all these years? :-) I saw this on a list of easy breakfast ideas last week and finally decided to try it this week.  I just put 2 eggs in a bowl (I would add milk next time) and microwaved for 1 minute then stirred (I would stir after 45 seconds next time) and finished for another 45 seconds.  Stir and then I topped mine with homemade salsa and fresh avocado.  It was a great protein packed breakfast after an early morning 4.4 mile run before work on Thursday.

Microwave Eggs

Thursday after work I needed a snack before we had dinner with friends and opted for a slice of semi-homemade gluten free bread (courtesy of a Bob’s Red Mill mix) toasted and topped with Krema PB and homemade strawberry jam that one of Noah’s co-workers made.  The jam stole the show, but all in all it was a super delicious snack!

GF PB and J ToastFriday night I baked chocolate banana muffins.  I did add a teaspoon of agave nectar for just a little extra sweetness and about a 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips because, let’s be honest, you can never have too much chocolate, right? Thanks to Jen at My Kitchen Addiction for a great recipe.  This one’s definitely a keeper in the rotation and I encourage you to try it for a tasty healthy (no sugar!) breakfast or any time of day treat.  Noah said they tasted like brownie muffins – if he likes them it’s a win!

Today we went mattress shopping.  There are about a dozen mattress stores in the Lansing area, but we found our new mattress at the 2nd store we went to. I commented to Noah in the midst of a laughing fit while we were trying out mattresses how silly the whole thing was and that I felt like I was in a movie or something. In the end we got a good deal and hopefully the new mattress will help with some back issues Noah’s been having and keep us well rested as we continue training for our marathon in October.

IMG_1916

Probably the best part of the week though was having my family over for the first time in the new house and grilling up some delicious kabobs.  We enjoyed chicken, steak, smoked sausage, onions, peppers, and tomatoes skewered on the grill.  My parents brought farm fresh sweet corn and my brother and sister-in-law brought berries to top strawberry frozen yogurt and vanilla ice cream for dessert. It was great having my parents, Aunt Sharon, brother, sister-in-law, 3 nieces, and my grandma come to Lansing to enjoy an afternoon in our new house and the weather was perfect so we got to be outside as well.

I made quinoa salad to go along with the kabobs and corn as well.  I had made this last weekend to take to Joanne and Travis’ summer barbeque and I liked it so I thought my family would like it as well.  And they did! This comes together really easily; it’s also light and perfect for a summer get-together.

Quinoa SaladQuinoa Salad

Ingredients

1 C uncooked quinoa

1 C corn kernels (freshly cut off the cob or frozen – thawed, if necessary)

1 red bell pepper, diced

12 oz edamame (frozen – shelled and thawed)

15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

Homemade Italian Dressing

1/3 C olive oil

3 1/2 Tbs red wine vinegar (white balsamic would work too)

1 lemon, juiced

3 cloves garlic, minced (or use a garlic press)

1/2 tsp basil (dried, more if using fresh)

2 tsp oregano

1 tsp salt

1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Directions

Cook quinoa according to package directions. (Though I cook mine in a rice cooker – I just use twice the amount of liquid to quinoa and let the rice cooker do the work!)

Mix cooled quinoa with all veggies and beans in a large bowl.

Combine all dressing ingredients in a mason jar or other container with tight fitting lid and shake until well combined.

Mix salad ingredients with the dressing until combined.  Serve immediately (at room temperature) or chill and serve.

Enjoy!

Quinoa Salad

 

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!

IMG_1668

IMG_1707

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

IMG_1678

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.

IMG_1741

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.


IMG_1574

IMG_1573

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!

IMG_1578

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!

IMG_1533

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 :-) )

IMG_1001

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!

IMG_1497

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!

IMG_1505

There’s Noah out there getting his shots…IMG_1507

IMG_1509

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!