Last Summer Hoorah!

Well it’s official. The summer is over.

I have to admit, I’m both a little sad and a little bit happy about that. It’s definitely going to be sad to say goodbye to summer, because this one was a great one! We did a ton of traveling, we made a bunch of new friends, we’ve attended a TON of weddings, and have just generally been super busy.

On the other hand, I’m super excited for the start of my absolute favorite season of the year – fall! Football, tailgates, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin beer, pumpkin pie (are you sensing a theme here?) Plus who doesn’t love to finally be able to pull out those scarves and boots again?

I’m having a warm and fuzzy moment just thinking about it all…

Anyway, this weekend Chris and I met up with some of his extended family in Wilmington, NC for a last summer hoorah. It was the first time that I’d ever been there, so it was great to get to walk around and see the city (which was super cute, by the way). It’s basically all local restaurants and shops, with almost zero chains, so we had a great time trying lots of local eats. I’m pretty sure I ate my weight in seafood!

George's Wilmington, NC

Wilmington, NC

We also did a boat tour to get the full Wilmington experience! It was a great way to see the city and to hear some of the history of Wilmington. Plus we got to see where some of One Tree Hill was filmed!

Sweet and Savory - Wilmington, NC

Even though we were celebrating the end of summer, we couldnt forget that football started this weekend! So we ditched the family a bit to head to a local Hokie bar to watch the first game of the season. While watching the Hokies beat up on William & Mary, we enjoyed these AMAZING nachos. Seriously the best restaurant nachos I’ve ever had!

Wilmington, NC

Tourist pic with the USS North Carolina!

Wilmington, NC - Front Street Brewery

Check out this bartender! Kids, dont try this at home!

Wilmington, NC

The line for this ice cream was seriously out the door and around the corner. You know it’s got to be good when people will wait in 90+ degree weather for it. Thankfully it totally lived up to the wait, especially the homemade waffle cone! Chris and I ended up splitting this toasted coconut cone and I seriously savored every bite!

Wilmington, NC - The Copper Penny

On our last afternoon I ended up ordering this GIGANTIC greek chicken pita, which was seriously the size of my head!

Carolina Dog

Luckily Laney loves road trips! This summer she has been one traveling puppy this summer!

This was such a great way to say goodbye to the summer! While I’m sad to see it go, I’m definitely excited for the fall to begin. To me, fall always feels like a time of new beginnings!

So tell me: How do you say goodbye to summer? What is your favorite season?

4 Healthy(ish) Tailgating Dishes

Happy Thursday!

I swear, this week feels like it’s inching on by! I think it goes back to that old idea that when you WANT something to happen faster (i.e. like making it to football Saturday!), the days just drag by. But when you’re dreading something, the week goes by super quick! I just want to make it to Saturday so that I can watch my Hokies play again!

Despite the fact that it’s been a slow week, I’ve been trying to make it as productive as possible and really get myself out of this end-of-summer rut that I seem to be in. Including vamping up my workout routine again with a little bodypump.

Which obviously calls for a sneaky Bodypump selfie.

20140827_172414

Every time I take a few weeks (*cough* or months) off from Bodypump and then come back, I always remember just how much I love it! Nothing makes me feel quite like jello all over the next day!

(Plus we had like 4 new guys in our class today who were big, beefy weighlifter types who had to reduce their squat weights to less than mine. Which kind of made me feel like a badass. Not that I should be comparing. But still. Take that, big muscly men!)

Healthy(ish) Tailgating Dishes

Since today marks the first true day of fall, in my opinion, I thought it would only be appropriate to celebrate. Why today, you ask? Because college football is on tonight! And football = fall!

So I thought it would be fun to share with you some healthy(ish) tailgating dishes that I have been pinning lately to try out this season! We already have plans for the first few games, including a big shindig we’re throwing for the VT v. Ohio State game, so I can’t wait to try out some of these fall, football inspired dishes!

Baked Buffalo Chicken Jalapeno Poppers

I actually made this one a few weeks ago for bible study when I was overloaded with garden jalapenos, and now I pretty much want to make this every day of my life. Buffalo + jalapeno poppers? And baked instead of fried? They are like crispy bites of spicy heaven!

Chipotle Black Bean Dip

Creamy,, smoky and loaded with cheese, this chipotle black bean dip will be a hit! www.lemonsforlulu.com

I feel like bean dip is kind of a staple tailgate dish. Super easy, comes from a can – it’s hard to screw up. But this chipotle bean dip takes bean dip to a whole other level! I have a feeling I’m going to end up hoarding a bowl of this, throwing chips at anyone who tries to snag a bite.

Lighter Bacon Cheeseburger Dip

Lighter Bacon Cheeseburger Dip | iowagirleats.com

Do I really even need to explain? Nothing says football quite like a nice juicy burger (or turkey burger in my case). Put it in dip form, and I’m all over it. Plus, there are veggies, right? See them? Yea, that’s what I’m going with.

Chipotle Sweet Potato Salad

Chipotle Sweet Potato Salad

Because you can’t just fill a tailgate spread with dips (ok, maybe you can in my world), I found this spicy sweet potato salad that I thought would be a perfect addition. A little bit of sweet, a little bit of heat. You really cant go wrong!

Now that I’m officially hungry and ready to pour a cold beer and settle on the couch to watch some football… wait, who am I kidding? I’m a jump up and down and yell at the TV kind of fan! Maybe I’ll just throw some burpees in there and call football-watching a workout!

So tell me: What are your favorite tailgating dishes? Do you follow any fall sports or sports teams? What are you most excited for this fall?

WIAW: Goodbye Summer Edition

I don’t know about you, but for meal this week officially feels like the last week of summer. I don’t know if it’s because all the kids in our county are going back to school next Monday, or because football starts this weekend. Or just because Pumpkin Spice Lattes have officially come to Starbucks (yea, probably that one). But whatever it is, this week feels like the end of great, but busy summer.

And makes me SUPER excited for fall to start! Football countdown is at 3 days people!

Since it’s the end of summer, my eats just seem to reflect this. It’s like I’m naturally saying goodbye to summer and hello to my precious fall!

Peas and Crayons

Since it’s Wednesday, I thought I’d show you all my goodbye summer eats! Thanks for the WIAW link up, Jenn! (If you’re not familiar with WIAW, please head on over to Jenn’s blog to read more about this awesome blog phenomena that’s taken the blog world by storm, and to see what some other awesome bloggers are eating!

Breakfast

20140823_105009

I am seriously obsessed with this combo lately. Eggs have definitely made a resurgence into my life! This breakfast is so easy to make too – 2 eggs and a slice of thin-slice colby jack, slathered in sriracha, on whole wheat toast. Perfection! Plus this sucker keeps me full for a LONG time!

Snack #1

20140826_100434

Because I can’t seem to go a day without a banana…

Lunch

20140825_210332

Ok, I know this doesn’t look like my desk at work. But I totally blogger failed and forgot to take a picture of my lunch! I got to chatting with my coworker and completed spaced until there was literally 1 bite left. Luckily, my lunch was just leftovers from Monday night’s dinner, so instead you’re getting a dinner picture! This was another one of our Blue Apron meals (have you checked out yesterday’s review?) – roadside noodles (basically thai veggies noodles), and it was so delicious!

Snack #2

20140826_130400

A giant iced coffee (my coffee shop just got Pumpkin, so this very well might be the last coconut iced coffee of the season…)

20140826_155618

And this new-to-me yogurt. Ummmmm, AMAZING! Pumpkin spice yogurt? That’s like everything I love! I topped it with a little coconut granola. It’s like saying goodbye to summer and hello to fall!

Dinner

20140826_190930

We went bowling with some friends right after work, so Chris and I ended up just grabbing dinner at the bowling alley. There weren’t too many healthy options on the menu, but I ended up getting the buffalo grilled chicken sandwich. I just couldn’t seem to keep my fingers away from those fries though – so tasty!

Workout

Due to our evening plans, I wasn’t able to get much of a workout in, but I did get in about 2 quick power walking miles during my lunch break. Plus, bowling can be a bit of a workout on it’s own – just on one arm! My poor shoulder is feeling it a bit this morning!

20140826_203205

Check out my sexy footwear!

Also, can I just say that I broke 100 BOTH games. Not only that, I came in 2nd in the first game by 2 pins, and I won the second game. I’m pretty sure that’s a record for me!

Well I hope you all have a happy hump day!

So tell me: What did you eat today? What did your workouts look like? Are you a good bowler?

(My friends make fun of me because I have a weird bowling swing – I lift up one leg to counterbalance – but I say it’s only weird if it doesn’t work!)

Dinner by Blue Apron

I purchased this product with my own money, and am receiving no compensation from Blue Apron. I just really like this product and wanted to share. As always, all opinions are completely my own.

Do you ever find yourself totally stuck in a food rut, where you just keep making the same foods over and over again? Where you find yourself staring into your refrigerator  hoping that inspiration will strike? Have you felt like your kitchen mojo is just lacking?

Well that happens to me quite frequently. In fact, as I’ve mentioned before, in the last few weeks I hit one of my worst cooking ruts EVER. After all the traveling we’ve been doing, I just wasn’t feeling like being creative in the kitchen.

So when I read about Blue Apron (for like the 100th time – I’m slow on trying new things) on a blog, I decided to take the plunge and try it. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, and while I heard good reviews, I was a little nervous about it!

Despite my apprehension, I was still super excited when I got the box in the mail, at exactly the time they said they were going to deliver it (on a Saturday afternoon, so it didn’t have to sit outside all day!)

Blue Apron Review

I was super impressed that it was packed full of insulation, ice packs, and dividers to keep everything nice and cool. Don’t want any salmonella up in here! 

But I was even more impressed with the organization of the box. Everything was very clearly labeled and packaged to make it easy to sort and find.

Blue Apron Review

It also came with directions for each recipe that listed out the background of the recipe (and credit to the chef who created it), pictures of all the ingredients (super handy when you get something unfamiliar like “puslane”), and step-by-step directions on the back. I also thought it was great because you can easily keep these directions to make this meal on your own again! Yay for more recipes!

Blue Apron ReviewBlue Apron Review

So what did I think?

Overall I was really impressed with the meals! I thought they were made up of mostly simple, straightforward ingredients, just with a more gourmet spin put on them. While I am willing to try just about anything, Chris is typically a little more hesitant with unfamiliar foods, so I was really happy that nothing seemed too out of the ordinary!

Blue Apron Review

I also thought the cooking techniques were great. While Blue Apron provided pre-portioned amounts of all ingredients (no waste!), you still have to do all the cooking. And in the 3 meals I made, I was definitely introduced to some new cooking techniques, which I loved! In one meal I had to toast up the rice, and in another it had me pan-searing fish to a light crispiness. These are definitely going to be technqiues that I use in the future.

Blue Apron Review

 

I only had 2 small problems with Blue Apron. First, I felt like their portion sizes were a little all over the place. Some meals were small, 2 person meals, while others had enough leftovers for 2 full additional meals! While I like leftovers, I just wish there was a little more consistency so that I could plan my weekly meals accordingly.

The other issue I had is that there ars no substitutions. While you can make adjustments to your plan based on your meat preferences (we selected no beef or lamb, but you can also elimimate all meat or fish), there is no way to accommodate food preferences or other allergies. I wish there was a way for Blue Apron to let you select at least from their weekly 6 meal choices, instead of just automatically assigning you meals.

Blue Apron Review

 

Again, overall I was super impressed with Blue Apron. At approximately $9.99/person for 3 meals, it’s really not that badly priced for the gourmet options you get. Probably not something I would get too frequently (because I’m cheap), but a nice treat every now and then when you need to break out of a rut.

And while I don’t have any discount codes for you, I know that Tina currently has a discount going for the first 100 people that sign up. So I just wanted to pass that along! Spreading the wealth!

So tell me: Have you ever tried Blue Apron or any other meal subscription services? Would you ever consider it? How do you break out of a food rut?

The weekend without plans

Ah Monday, we meet again!

I’m not going to lie, I could definitely use another day of the weekend. This weekend was so nice and relaxing, I’m really sad to see it gone already. It’s rare that we have a weekend without ANY plans, so I definitely spent as much time as I possibly could soaking it up!

Now here’s to hoping I have a relaxing week to match!

Friday

Can I just say, you know it’s going to be an interesting day, when it starts out like this:

20140822_082153

Ummmm… really? Stefaven? Since when is Stephanie that bizarre of a name that you don’t even get remotely close? Glad to know that one of the most popular names in the late 80s is finally dying out!

Let’s just say that my Friday only went up from there. I ended up getting out of work early to meet up with a local professor I’m working with this summer on a research project (I’m trying to get my feet wet in the research world again before I apply for school), before meeting up with Chris to make the long, traffic-filled drive into DC for the evening. My father-in-law was in town for a few days, and wanted to take us to the Marine summer parade.

But we started out with dinner, which while delicious, I had to scarf down because we got there so late thanks to traffic. This tuna sandwich at Zest was seriously amazing – seared tuna topped with prosciutto, tomatoes, lettuce and garlic aioli on toasted sourdough bread. AMAZING. 

Zest restaurant DC dinner

After scarfing down food, we headed across the street to get settled for the parade. If you’re not familiar, the Marine Corps has a post at 8th & I in Downtown DC, which is where the Commandant of the Marine Corps lives (the white house in the picture below). Every summer, the Marine Corps drum and bugle corps, silent drill team, and parade batallions run summer parades for the public to show off some of the amazing traditional presentations of these groups.

Marine Parade 8th & I

Sadly it was really hard to get a picture of the actual event because it got dark, but here is a video I pulled of the internet. It was such a fun event, and the precision and skill of these marines was seriously impressive!

By the time we got home, it was nearly 2am, which is SUPER late for this old lady! I was like dead on my feet!

 

Saturday

Thanks to the late night on Friday, I declared Saturday a “no alarm” morning. We had no particular plans, so it was seriously nice to just sleep until my body decided that it was ready to wake up (which ended up being around 10am). When I woke up I had a total craving for an egg sandwich, so of course I had to indulge!

Egg and cheese breakfast sandwich

At that point, I decided that I should probably get around to doing something productive, and headed over to the farmers market. Check out these giant banana peppers that I saw! They were so bright and colorful, I always bought them just because they look so fun!

farmers market banana peppers

But the real reason I was at the farmers market was to participate in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge with my friends at Sprelly (who I have talked about several times before!) To make matters even more fun, I decided to challenge some of blends – Erin, Chelsea and Rana!

Also, that was COLD!

By the time I walked around the farmers market a little more to dry off, I was ready to get really productive. Maybe that cold jolt really woke me up! So I headed over to the gym for 45 minutes of cardio (35 min elliptical intervals, 10 minutes stairmaster sprints) and a bicep/tricep workout.

From there I ran a bunch more errands (hello Home Goods, Costco, and Food Lion!) before heading home to get cleaned up for an evening BBQ with some of our friends! I ended up not taking any pictures, but we grilled out food despite the rain, and ended up chatting for several hours. You know it’s a good evening when you look up at the clock and realize it’s already 10pm!

Sunday

Once again, I reveled in the chance to sleep in a bit on Sunday. My sleep has been all kinds of funky lately for some reason, so I’m trying to make sure that I’m actually catching up on the weekends. Thankfully I had almost nothing on the agenda for Sunday!

Which means that I basically spent most of my morning lazing around the house in my PJs, drinking my coffee and watching gymnastics on TV (I’m the nerd that DVRs gymnastics competitions).

Around noon I decided that I should probably do SOMETHING productive, so I threw on some running shorts and headed out for a quick run. I ended up doing about 3 miles, and then swinging by the house to grab Laney and walk/run another 1.5 miles (Laney wasn’t so big on the running part…)

weekend run

There is something about getting my sweat on that always jumpstarts productivity for me! So from there I cleaned up the house, did 2 loads of laundry, and headed out on a few more errands and a grocery shopping trip.

By the time I got back I had just enough time to quickly shower and make myself look presentable before heading off to church and dinner with the in-laws for the evening.

All-in-all, not too bad for a weekend without any plans! After the craziness of this summer, it was a much needed time of relaxation (and sleep!) before the craziness of the fall begins next weekend! We keep saying that one of these weeks we’re actually going to slow down, but it just never seems to happen!

So tell me: What did you do this weekend? Did you get any workouts in? What do you like to do when you have a weekend with no plans?

Five Favorites Friday: Coconut = Summer

It’s Friday!!!!!

Can you tell I’m excited? This has been one of those weeks where I’ve just been gritting my teeth and praying for Friday to get here! It’s been super busy at work and we’ve been a bit understaffed thanks to everyone traveling at the end of the summer, so I’ve had to work a bunch of extra hours. Which means that by the time I get home at 6pm, I’m alteady pooped!

So I am very much looking forward to a chill, relaxing, no plans kind of weekend!

FFFold

But since Friday is finally here, let’s celebrate with some of the random things that I have been loving this week!

Linking up with Clare for Five on Friday and Katie for Friday Favorites.

Favorite Workouts: Strength Training Circuits

20140819_191613(1)


I tend to go through phases with my workouts, where I’ll completely fall in love with one kind of workout/class for a few months before changing it up. And right now, I’ve been all about the strength circuits. I’ll usually superset 2-3 moves 3x through before moving onto the next set, and I’ve been totally loving the burn!

I also love setting up my own little corner or the gym!

Favorite Salad Topper: Stuffed Peppers

20140820_120844

 

As you have all seen, I’ve been on a total lunch salad kick lately. Well I’ve been trying to change up my salads so I dont get bored, and after making some stuffed peppers earlier this week, I topped my salad with some of the leftover filling. And holy cow guys, it was amazing. And so incredibly filling! You nwed to try this ASAP!

Favorite Healthified Splurge: Buffalo Chicken Nachos

20140820_194234

 

Sometimes you’re just in the mood for something unhealthy. Like Nachos. But that doesn’t mean it has to ruin all of your good eating!

The other day I was really craving nachos, but instead of loading myself uo with delicious, cheesy crap, I decided to healthify things a little bit. I topped a small handful of chips with a sprinkle of cheddar and some light buffalo chicken dip, and loaded it up with lettuce and tomato. So while it wasn’t the healthiest meal ever, it was definitely a better option than greasy nachos! Plus, it was seriously delicious!

Favorite Afternoon Obsession: Iced Coconut Coffee

20140821_100621

 

Guys, I thought I’d gotten my coffee obsession under control. Then my coworker introduced me to the coconut iced coffee at our local coffee place. So, so dangerous! I’ve become obsessed. It’s literally just an iced americano with nonfat milk and coconut, but it tastes like summer.

I am still getting mine decaf (no caffeine 2014!) although I will admit that there are some days when I go half caf because I’m running super low on sleep. But that’s still better than nothing, right?

Favorite Way to Try New Foods: Blue Apron

20140821_202123

I know that I just keep teasing you with all of thess Blue Apron photos, but I swear I’ll give you a full recap next week! But I really have been loving Blue Apron for forcing me out of my comfort zone and into trying some new foods and new methods of cooking. I finally gpt my cooking mojo back!

Well there you have it, 5 totally random things that I have been loving during this seriously crazy week. Now I’m off to relax and enjoy my plan free weekend (a rarity for me lately!)

So tell me: What have you been loving lately?

Healthy Mexican Stuffed Peppers

I know I’ve said it before, but I could seriously eat Mexican food every single day without getting sick of it. Hands down, my “last meal” would inevitably be something Mexican related – maybe like the biggest plate of nachos supreme they could find. Even when I say I’m not in the mood for Mexican, if something catches my eye that’s spicy and enchilada-like, I’m going to order it.

Some might say I have a problem.

I like to think of it as built in inspiration.

You see, when I have days where I get home from the gym and haven’t a clue what I’m going to make for dinner, I almost always turn to something Mexican (ask my poor husband, who probably rolls his eyes every time I pull out a can of black beans now). It’s just so perfect for a weeknight meal – it’s usually super quick, super flavorful, and super easy to throw together.

What’s not to love, right?

Thirty Minute Thursday

Well that’s exactly what happened to me last week. I got home with no idea what I wanted to make, and stuck my head in the fridge. I immediately noticed that I had some red peppers that were on their last legs (<—where did that phrase even come from anyway?) and figured red peppers + mexican influence = deliciousness. Obviously!

Thus the Health Mexican Stuffed Peppers were born! Super quick, super easy, and super delicious. That’s like a triple win!

Healthy Mexican Stuffed Peppers

healthy mexican stuffed peppers

Healthy Mexican Stuffed Peppers
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
5 hr
Cook Time
30 hr
Prep Time
5 hr
Cook Time
30 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup uncooked brown rice (or 2 cups cooked)
  2. 1 lb ground turkey
  3. 1 yellow onion, chopped
  4. 1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies (you could also use regular diced tomatoes and just increase the spices)
  5. 4 bell peppers (I only had 2, which is why that's all I used)
  6. 1 tsp cumin (adjust to taste)
  7. 1 tsp chili powder (adjust to taste)
  8. 1 tsp garlic salt (adjust to taste)
  9. 1 tsp chipotle powder (adjust to taste)
  10. 1 tsp red pepper flakes (adjust to taste)
  11. 1/2 cup shredded mexican cheese
  12. 1 tsp olive oil
Instructions
  1. Cook brown rice according to directions.
  2. Heat oven to 325 degrees.
  3. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook turkey until brown (approximately 3-5 minutes). Add in onions and continue to cook until translucent.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add in diced tomatoes, cooked brown rice and spices. Mix and cook until thoroughly warm. Remove from heat.
  5. Cut peppers in half lengthwise, and place into a large pan or baking dish. Fill with mixture. Add any leftover rice mixture around peppers.
  6. Place in oven and cook for approximately 15-20 minutes, or until peppers are soft. Sprinkle cheese over top, and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes until cheese it melted.
  7. Let cool for a few minutes before serving.
  8. Enjoy!
My Freckled Life http://www.myfreckledlife.com/

Healthy Mexican Stuffed PeppersHealthy Mexican Stuffed PeppersHealthy Mexican Stuffed PeppersHealthy Mexican Stuffed Peppers

The best part? This seriously made SO MUCH FOOD! I’ve been eating leftovers for days! In fact, the filling makes a great salad topper, with a bit of salsa for some extra punch! I mean, you’ve got your protein, your carbs, and all your awesome mexican flavors. Who needs Chipotle anyway?

(Ok, that’s a totally false statement. We all need Chipotle in our lives. But this is a good substitute when your wallet starts crying from too many chips and guac splurges!)

So tell me: What kinds of meals do you turn to when you need a quick meal? What would your “last meal” be?

WIAW: Change Up Edition

For the past several weeks I’ve been in a serious a food rut. You know, one of those ruts where you basically end up eating the same thing every day of the week, and every time you look in the fridge you just stare mindlessly hoping that some genius recipe comes to you? That kind of rut?

No, just me? Ok, that’s cool too.

Regardless, I’ve been a bit stuck. Until today, that is.

For whatever reason, today I was just feeling super inspired to change everything up! I felt like I finally broke out of my holding pattern and I’m interested in cooking again. I don’t know what caused it or where it came from, but I’m just going to roll with it. I’m just hopping on that train and seeing where it takes me!


 

Which means that for this week’s WIAW, you get to see a totally different day of eats than usual. Woohoo! (It really is the little things in life, isn’t it?)

PS – If you’re not familiar with WIAW and all of the awesomeness that it stands for, head on over to Jenn’s blog for a great explanation of what WIAW is all about. Plus you’ll get to see what a ton of other bloggers are eating!

Breakfast

WIAW healthy breakfast

I told you things were going to be different today! No more boring oatmeal! I was feeling a little spunky this morning, so I ended up making a piece of wheat toast with natural peanut butter, and a smoothie that contained frozen cherries, 1/2 a frozen banana, unsweetened almond milk, frozen spinach and vega sport protein powder. This breakfast kept me super full until lunch, which is a rarity. This might have to make a repeat performance!

Lunch

20140819_120518(1)

Not the healthiest of lunches, I will admit. But we picked up some pizza yesterday while Chris and his mom’s boyfriend were changing the oil in Chris’ car. And the leftovers were just sitting in our fridge (and there honestly isn’t too much else in there right now… we’re running a touch low on groceries at the moment). So I decided to grab two slices of veggie pizza for lunch today, and I have to admit – it was pretty delicious.

Snack

WIAW lara uber bar snack

Today my office was open late, so I ended up working a 10.5 hour day, which means that by about 5pm I was starting to get seriously hungry (and grumbly – I hate late days!) We are also out of apples at my house right now (I told you our fridge was looking rather pathetic!), so for a snack I ended up digging into my emergency drawer for a lara uber bar. This coconut macaroon might be my all-time favorite lara bar now. So delicious!

Dinner

20140819_200135

When I got home from the gym, look what I found in my kitchen! Man, I could get used to coming home to a man cooking me dinner all the time, sheesh!

WIAW Blue Apron Dinner

Chris ended up making one of our Blue Apron meals, which I promise I’ll talk more about next week once I’ve had a chance to really try out the service. And now you’ll get two opinions since Chris cooked one of the meals! This one was the pan-seared cod with parmesan-crusted squash and roasted red potatoes. Holy yum. That is all I have to say about that.

I also may or may not have snuck a piece of chocolate while writing this post. It just jumped its way into my mouth. I plead the fifth.

Workout

20140819_191613(1)

Even though it was my late day and I really wasn’t feeling it, all of your comments about my post on shoulder exercises yesterday made me get over it and get my butt to the gym. And in the end, I’m glad I did. Isn’t it amazing how sometimes the hardest part of a whole workout can just be getting to the gym?

I started out with 30 minutes of hard intervals on the elliptical, and then completed a 30 minute arm and shoulder circuit workout – including some of the moves from yesterday’s post! I can definitely tell you that I’m going to be feeling it tomorrow. I’m going to have a mad case of jello arms!

Overall, not too shabby of a day for eats or workouts. I feel like I’m finally starting to get my healthy living mojo back. All this traveling lately really took it out of me, so I’m glad to finally be getting back into a (somewhat) normal routine. Now I just need to hold onto that inspiration again and see where it takes me!

So tell me: What did you eat today? What did your workouts look like? Do you ever find yourself in a food rut?

5 Favorite Exercises for Strong Shoulders

As I mentioned in my post about my August goals last week, one of my main fitness goals right now is to focus more on strength training, especially for my upper body. My arms and shoulders are hands down my least favorite body parts to work out, mostly because they are the weakest and it’s HARD. Pathetic, I know, but sometimes it’s easier to focus on working out those muscles that already feel strong than to feel the pain of working out weaker muscles.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? (Cue Kelly Clarkson music here)

So I’ve really been trying to incorporate more arm and shoulder workouts into my weekly routine, despite the fact that I kind of dread them. Which means that I have been searching pinterest for more workouts and moves to expand my repetoire a little bit.

So today I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite shoulder moves! Of course, I use the term “favorite” pretty loosely, considering that I still am not enjoying any of them (so much soreness!!!), but at least I know that these moves give my poor shoulders a killer burn!

Front Plate Raise

(source)

 

The front plate raise is one of my favorites because it’s just so simple. Take a medium-sized plate (or dumbbells if that’s what you have), and raise it until your arms are parallel to the floor, and return to the start. Just be careful not to lock out your elbows. Straightforward, but man does it kill after a few reps!

Alternating Shoulder Press with a Twist

 

olympic-arms-1.jpg

(source)

 

Ok, this one can look a little silly, especially since you want to go fairly light on the weights, but I love it because it incorporates some back and oblique muscles too. For me, this is one of those moves that I wont feel right away, but the next morning when I wake up and my obliques are yelling at me, I remember why. Plus I just like that it’s got a little jazzercise flair!

Dumbbell Shoulder Press

shoulder workout, shoulder workouts, should workout plan, deltoid workout, deltoid workout plan, shoulder workout routine, shoulders workout, shoulder exercises

(source)

 

This one is about as basic as it gets when it comes to shoulder moves, but it’s so effective it’s impossible to ignore it. Sometimes I’ll also use a stability ball to sit on instead of a bench, for a little extra core work. Plus, I love thay I can go slightly heavier with these weights, which makes me feel like a badass.

You know you like to feel like a badass in the gym too, don’t lie.

Upright Row w/ Shoulder Press

Upright Row With Overhead Shoulder Press

(source)

 

This is another move I love because you can either complete the move as a whole, or break it down into 2 different moves. The upright row is probably my favorite shoulder move because, again, you dont start to feel it until about 1 set in. Then it suddenly gets much more difficult! Also, you could easily sub a kettlebell or dumbbells if you have them.

Lateral Raise

(source)

Ok, lateral raises are probably my LEAST favorite shoulder move. But that’s becaude thst particular part of my deltoid muscle is apparently the weakest. So these just plain BURN.

But again, I know that if I want to make them stop burning so badly, I just have to do them. A lot. So I’ve been trying to incorporate them into every shoulder workout I do, no matter how I mix up the other moves. Even if I still have to use super light weights! It’ll be worth it in the end, right?

So there you have it – my 5 favorite moves for strong shoulders. Or should I say the 5 shoulder moves I love to hate. Both would probably be accurate statements! Now if only I could actually learn to love working out my arms…

So tell me: What are your favorite shoulder moves? What’s your least favorite muscle group to work out?

Please note that I am not a fitness professional, and you should always consult with a doctor before starting a new exercise routine. This information is solely from my own personal experience and research.

Hello, car troubles!

How’d we end up back at Monday again so quickly? I swear, weekends just fly by way too fast. Especially when you’re busy.

And like most of our weekends this summer, this one was pretty packed. I swear, I’m kind of ready for summer to be over just so things can slow down a bit! I am looking forward to spending my weekends doing nothing but relaxing and watching football all day!

But since we’re not quite there yet (just a few more weeks!), here is a look at what my crazy summer weekend really looked like.

Friday

As you all heard in my Five Favorites Friday post, I actually ended up spending the day at home with a nasty case of food poisoning (or something similar – no I’m not pregnant for the 10+ people who asked… sheesh!) Thankfully by the mid-afternoon I was feeling much better and was finally able to put on some real clothes and face the world.

The good thing about staying home on Friday though was that I got to spend the entire day studying for my GREs. So even though I was feeling gross, at least something productive came out of it!

skinnytaste buffalo chicken japaleno poppers

Normally since we host bible study, we don’t contribute snacks. But this week we had SO MANY jalapenos that I knew there was no way I could eat on my own, so I threw together some buffalo chicken jalapeno poppers a la this recipe. They were seriously AMAZING. If you’re a buffalo fan and a jalapeno popper fan, go make these immediately. This plate was empty in about 10 minutes.

The rest of the evening was spent doing some more last minute studying before calling it an early night.

 

Saturday

I was up super early on Saturday morning (after a night of nervous, fitful sleep I might add), to head down to Richmond for my GREs. Not exactly my idea of a fun way to spend a Saturday morning, but it had to be done.

Thankfully after sitting for 5 hours in a freezing cold, windowless room staring at a computer screen and feeling my brain turn to mush, I was free! And I’m about 95% sure I did well enough that I’m not going to have to take it again, which I consider to be a major success!

The good news kept on coming after that, considering I came home to this lovely box on my doorstep!

Blue Apron
Yup, my Blue Apron box came!
Blue Apron

 

The rest of Saturday was spent helping my sister move into her new place in Fredericksburg, as she gets ready to go back to school. Which basically meant carrying lots of boxes, bags and mattresses up a flight of historic stairs. Yikes! Definitely got my workout in for the day with that one!

Sunday

Sunday started off a little differently for us than usual, as we dropped my car off at the shop (it was making some funny noises) and headed to an early church service.

Except unfortunately by the time we got out, we had a call from the service station that we were looking at over $1000 in repairs! Umm, excuse me?? I just had my car inspected last month, and there were no issues!

So we spent most of our afternoon talking with the service people (who think that my inspection might have been negligent, seeing as there is no way my entire break system could have gone out in a month), looking up parts and comparing prices, and trying tp figure out the best solution. In the end, we decided to wait on it until we could price a few things out, and talk to the shop that did my inspection!

Talk about a fun Sunday, I tell ya.

By the time we got home it was after 2pm and I was mentally exhausted, so I took a nice little power nap before getting some stuff done around the house.

By 6:30, I was ready to get my hands dirty in the kitchen, so I got to working on one of the Blue Apron meals – the pan-seared chicken thighs with baby zebra eggplant and fennel salad.

20140817_183256

Not before taking a kitchen selfie, of course!

Blue Apron

 

I’ll share more on my thoughts about Blue Apron later this week once I’ve gotten to try a few different meals, but I will say that it is off to a very good start.
Since it was a little bit of a nicer meal than we normally make, we decided to get a little fancy with some wine and candles and have our own little date night.

Blue Apron

We finished off the evening watching Man of Steel, although I had to call it quits with like 30min left because I was falling asleep! Wine totally gets me every time!

So not exactly the weekend I was expecting, but at least my GREs are done! Now if only I can get this car nonsense figured out…

So tell me: What did you do this weekend? Have you ever had crazy car troubles?