Weekend Recap

Hi Friends,

It was a bit of a crazy weekend.  But I enjoyed lots of quality time with family and friends.  Of corse lots of good food was involved too :)

After hitting the gym Saturday morning, Art and I traveled to my  home town to visit with my grandparents, parents, brother and his girlfriend.  I do not get back there often since my parents don’t live there any more.  My grandparents live on one of the lakes and the weather was lovely on Saturday.  Hello happy  hour on the deck and grilled dinner!

My fam.  It is hard to capture us all smiling at the same time.

Switch out Dad for Mom.

Flashing the ring.

The view off Grammy and Grandad’s deck down to the lake.  I spent a lot of time there in high school :)

Dinner!  Before it met the grill.

Dessert!  An assortment of mini cakes my parents picked up from their local bakery.

I had to include at least one shot of Molly, my parents’ yellow lab.

I worked at the store on Sunday.  Typically Sunday’s are outstandingly slow and I usually read a cookbook or something in between helping customers.  Not the case on a holiday weekend.  I was busy and selling all sorts of yummy food.  I was the only one on the schedule which meant I didn’t get a bathroom break for the entire seven and half hour shift.  Not cool.

I came home Sunday evening and threw together a tasty dinner including barbequed local free range chicken, a strawberry and avocado salad, and a hunk of Rustica baguette.  Best baguette in the twin cities hands down. 

The chicken stayed nice and juicy.  I wish I could tell you how I did this, but I have no idea.  I am clueless when it comes to cooking meat.  Sometimes I get lucky, other times I don’t.  The breast was pretty big so I have leftovers for lunch this week.

The meal was enjoyed while sipping on this lovely cocktail.  The store I work at is now selling a lemonade sweetened with local honey and infused with lavender and mint.  Add a splash of vodka and you have heaven in a glass.

Today we met up with the family again for lunch and a birthday dessert.  We went to Cheeky Monkey Deli which is quickly becoming my new neighborhood fav spot.  It serves basic sandwiches, salads, and treats with an extended menu for dinner and a weekend brunch.  Art and I have been a few times and always leave satisfied.  Good food for a good price with in walking distance of the apartment.  How can you go wrong?!  Plus they now have a patio :)

What did you do this weekend?!



Beefy, Saucy, Goodness

Hi Friends,

As mentioned yesterday, I used my mom’s recipe for crock pot barbeque beef to make Sunday dinner.  These sandwiches are one of her trademarks and since I am feeling more confident in my meat cooking abilities, I thought I would give it a whirl.   My mom’s recipe calls for six pounds of beef and since it would take Art and I into the new year to eat that much red meat, I adjusted it slightly :) 

Crock Pot BBQ Beef

– 24 oz locally raised, 100%  grass-fed chuck roast

– scant 1/2 cup Pacific Organic Cream of Mushroom Concentrated Soup

– 1/2 envelope of Lipton Beefy Onion Soup Mix

– 3/4 cup Annie’s Sweet and Spicy Barbeque Sauce

Place beef in crock pot and cover with remaining three ingredients.  Turn crock pot on low and let cook for seven hours.  After cooked, use two forks to pull apart beef until it is shredded.  (Note – I skimmed off some of the fat from the cooking sauce before shredding but that isn’t necessary.) 

This turned out really well!  I was nervous for my first big “meat in a crock pot” endeavor, but we were both pleased with the results.  I served it on Arnold Sandwich Thins with a side of steamed broccoli and carrots and “lettuce shots.”  What is a lettuce shot?  Art does this funny thing where he take a leaf or two of romaine and eats it in a manner similar to a stalk of celery without dressing.  I’ve come to refer to this a lettuce shot and must admit that it is growing on me.

It was super weird to eat these sandwiches while not at a big, ol’ family gathering.  They are always on the Christmas Eve menu and frequently get made for other large group parties.  Do you have any foods that are synonymous with family?

Nugget 14

Mornings.  I like waking up and knowing that the whole day is waiting for you.  I can create whatever I want the day to be like.  It is a nice feeling :)



i’m gonna do what i want

Hi Friends,

My friend Seth introduced me to a youtube clip a few years back featuring the ultra sassy Kelly.  After not thinking about it for years, the clip has been popping into my head lately.  I’ve had a few people recently ask me what kind of weight loss “plan” I have been following.  I think of Kelly and want to respond with a sassy “the I’m gonna do what I want plan.”  (Click here and reference 54 sec for this to make sense.)

I think I’ve had success losing weight and keeping it off lately because I genuinely feeling happy with where I am in my life.  No article in Self magazine or diet plan would have helped me get here.  I realize that this is going to sound like a total contradiction, but I thought it might be fun to share with you two weeks of the I’m gonna do what I want plan.  This plan is more about living your life and enjoying who you are and less about losing weight.  I’ll share one “lifestyle tip” and the foods and exercises that I enjoyed for the day.  Sound ok?  Even it doesn’t I’m going to do it anyway because I’m gonna do what I want!

Lifestyle I wanna lead – Talk to people I love often!  This helped me so much.  The more I shared with my parents, Art, my friends, and bloggers the happier I felt.  Expressing my emotions and thoughts is so good for me.  I don’t think I realized that this was something that I wasn’t doing in the past.  Even chatting with regular customers at the coffee shop and kids at the before and after school program was super helpful.  Feeling connected to others was a very good thing for me!

Excerises I wanna do – I popped into the gym today between job number one and two.  10:30 is my magical workout time.  I’ve been awake for 5.5 hrs and I am ready to move my body!  Today I did:

– 15 min hill interval on the Arc Trainer at level 8

– Superset 1 — Chest Fly  and Assisted Pull Ups

– Superset 2 — Low to High Wood Choppers with a medicine ball and Lateral Shoulder Raises

— Superset 3 — Weighted Squats and Tricep Dips

– Superset 4 — Thigh Squeeze Machine and Bicep Curls

Stretch for 5 min

I did three sets of each exercise using a weight that let me do 10-12 reps.  And I don’t know the technical name for the thigh squeeze machine but I know you know what I am talking about :)

Food I Wanna Eat

Breakfast – Smoothie with cherries, spinach, frozen banana, Almond Breeze, and vanilla protein powder with Kashi Honey Almond Flax Go Lean Crunch.  I stir a little cereal in before topping it off so you can’t see all of it.  Plus and unphotographed mug of coffee with vanilla soy creamer.

Snack – mini Lara consumed on the way to the gym

Lunch – Two crumbled Millet Black Bean Patties with Corn with salsa on top of spinach and broccoli slaw plus half a sliced zucchini and mustard. 

Snack – A square of BT McElerath’s chocolate consumed immediately after photographing!  And a Fiji apple that I ate at the at work this afternoon.  Also had three shots of decaf espresso over ice with a shot of vanilla and cream and three chocolate covered espresso bean while working at the coffee shop that went unphotographed too.

Dinner – Slice of olive bread, an heirloom tomato with basil and balsamic, asparagus, homemade pesto hummus, and slices of olive Munster cheese.

DessertVegan Elvis Ice Cream!

There you have it.  A full day of eating, exercising and living how I want.  I will continue this for the next two weeks to give you a picture of the full-scale of what I eat, exercise, and value.  With that said, posts over the next two weeks might be a bit sporadic with trying to get organized for the move, the new job and social events.  But I document it all and return with the full report for you guys.

You guys are great!


See you Sunday!

Hi Friends,

My cousin is getting married this weekend so 32 members of my extended family is coming in from Wisconsin.  I am playing tour guide since this is “my city.”  Yipes! I decided to take today and Monday off to fully prepare and recover from hosting duties ;)  I’ll be back Sunday evening with a post and some pics.  I promise to actually take some this time!

Breakfast this morning was nothing special, just a strawberry banana smoothie topped with coconut and Kashi Heart to Heart.  I make this often during the work week to eat on the ride to work.  Since I had the day off, I sat down at my table to enjoy it and leisurely sip on my coffee.  I swear it tasted better today due to the fact that I was eating it at my table.  There is just something about getting up early, feeling the morning breeze and sun stream in thru the windows, and slowly starting out the day with a good breakfast that is so satisfying.

Have a good weekend!


You guys rock!

Hi Friends,

Thank you all so much for the thoughts you shared in yesterday’s posts.  It is comforting to read that some of you are going thru the same thing too.  Here are some bits of wisdom that I found thought-provoking:

 – u kind of learn to let it go and then BAM it hits you. its like a welcomed slap in the face lol.. i guess thats what happens when u clear ur mind.. u allow room for thoughts/new ideas/channels etcKelsey

– It’s never too late to change your mind or try something newSarah

– Sometimes we just gotta do what we don’t want to do until we have an opportunity to run with our dreams.Shawnee

– I think it’s exciting there are so many things you want to do! i’m sure when you begin pursuing one it will become more clear if that’s what you want to do or not- and good thing we can always change our minds later on and try something new! – Simply Life

– It is a horrible American lie that you have to do “something that you love” or “something that defines you.” You are not what you do. You are HOW you do what you do. Work is WORK. It should be 25% AWESOME 50%okay and 25% HARD. ALmost all people I know it was a gradual progression, myself included, and REALLY ABOUT TIMING. WHO you know, WHEN. So, be open and the best advice is, have a mentor you talk to about these things frequently…Special K

So with all of that, I am going to keep chill and wander down my path that until I stumble across the right opportunity.  I’m also celebrating know that I have crossed department director at a non-profit off my list of careers.  And Kelly, if I do open bakery, I am comforted to know that you would be my best customer :) 

I enjoyed yet another salad tonight featuring my mom’s sesame chicken.

Today’s mix featured spinach, broccoli, quinoa, roasted red pepper, feta, parsley, a blob of spinach dip and some balsamic.  Again, I don’t get excited by meat very often but this chicken does it for me.  I thought I’d share the recipe as it is so good.  It makes a big batch and has become a staple at family parties.  What is your favorite family recipe?

Mom’s Sesame Chicken

– 1/2 cup Olive Oil

– 1/2 cup White Wine

– 1/2 cup soy sauce

– 2 TB grated ginger

– 1 TB dry mustard

– 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

– 4 cloves crushed garlic

– 1/2 cup chopped green onion

– 3 TB sesame seeds

– 2 whole chickens quartered (Mom uses chicken breasts only)

– Combine all ingredients but chicken in a large bowl and stir well.  Place chicken in a large ziplock bag (you will probably need two) and pour in marinade.  Seal bags and marinate in the refrigerator for 4-8 hours.  Cook chicken over medium hot coals for 15-20 min. 

I am currently working on this little dessert bowl of goodness.


I mixed a blob of plain of Oikos with some cocoa powder and stuck it in the freezer while I ate dindin, about 20 min.  Post dinner, I drizzled on a little Nutella and some chopped hazelnuts.  Yum!  Desserty but not too sweet.  The yogurt was just starting to freeze and take on a different texture.  I think it would have been perfect after another 20 min. 

Take care friends,



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