How Many Times Will She Say Surprise?

Hey guys! Guess what? It’s finally Friday!

And just so you know, since I had today off work, I took it upon myself to test out the weekend for you…FYI, it’s gonna be a good one! ;)

The other day, I was thinking about surprises and how much I LOVE them!

Of course, I prefer the good surprises…I think I’d be pretty upset with an air pie!

Surprises like:

Coming home to see my lawn seeded and strawed!

Finally! It only took 2.5 months…grr!

Grow little grass seeds! Grow!

Getting not one, not two, but THREE packages in the mail on the same day!

Woo hoo!

First up: the biggest jar of coconut oil I’ve ever seen
sent to me by Tropical Traditions!

I can’t wait to try this brand!

My prize for winning Lindsey’s Stonyfield giveaway!

Fa-fa-fa-free!

And finally a little something special from one of my favorite readers!

Thanks Missy!

Sometimes the best surprises start out as accidents:

Like getting a little heavy-handed on the carob powder atop my overday oats

Um, yeah…pretty flippin’ delicious!

Or are so gradual that it takes a while to notice:

Thank you Summer(ish) sun for saving me money on makeup!

Au naturel save for a bit of mascara (never leave home without it)!

Or something that really shouldn’t surprise you at all:

Yet ANOTHER combo of BBQ & PB&J!

1/2 cup oats cooked in 1 1/2 cups of water with BBQ seasoning and a whole egg stirred in during the last few minutes of cooking. Topped with PB and FROG preserves!

I figure, if I give you guys enough options, I’ll eventually bring you over to the dark side! ;)

No seriously, we do!

Isn’t that right Jess?

Or sometimes, it’s just someone popping in to say hello!

Speaking of FROG, say hello to my little friend!

But as much as I love getting surprises, I LOVE surprising others even more!

Yep, I gotta surprise for you guys!

But you’ll just have to wait till tomorrow…

Because everybody knows a little suspense makes for an even better

SURPRISE!

;)

Do you like surprises?
If not, PUHlease explain as I have never understood how someone could not enjoy a good surprise!

What’s something that has surprised you recently?

Hmm, howabout one more for good measure?…surprise!

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Blazing Upper Body Workout & Protein-Packed French Toast

Hey hey my little sweet tooths (yeah, “teeth” just doesn’t work here)! Sounds like almost every one of you prefer sweet to savory for nightly noshings! I can really go either way, I just try to steer clear of the spice and chocolate…unless I am in need of a crazy dream to conjure up a recipe!

So I mentioned in this post how I was in a bit of an exercise rut. I’ve accumulated quite the collection of workout DVD’s over the past couple of months trying to spice things up a bit, but lately I’ve found myself avoiding them all like the plague!

On Tuesday, I didn’t have time to get a workout in before work (read I couldn’t get my lazy self out of bed before 6:30am because I stayed up too late the night before reading blogs). I usually only workout in the mornings on my late weeks at work (9:00am-7:30pm) because I know that the LAST thing I want to do when I get home after a 10 hour shift is get my sweat on but on this particular day, I got home and just couldn’t shake the itch to do something!

In less than a couple of minutes, I put together a simple upper body workout that took me all of about 20 minutes to go through. I did it more to get the blood pumping and release a few endorphins, but I ended up getting a pretty stellar workout! My triceps are STILL sore! I love it when I surprise myself like that so I thought I’d share with you guys!

*Disclaimer: I am in no way a trained professional. Please use caution while performing exercises and always ALWAYS speak with your healthcare professional before attempting any new workout regimens.

Heather’s 20 Minute Blazing Upper Body Workout:
Total Circuit: Each move at 15 reps x 3 sets using weights that are just over your “comfort level”

  • Standing Bicep Curls
  • Overhead Tricep Extensions
  • Rear Delt Raises
  • Chest Presses (on floor or stability ball)
  • Dumbbell Pullovers (on floor or stability ball)
  • Shoulder Presses
  • Standing Inner-Biceps Curls
  • Tricep Kickbacks
  • Push-ups (modified or regular)
After set, rest for 1 minute and repeat.

I didn’t think about it until after I was finished but next time, I’m going to add a minute of cardio in between sets like jumping jacks, mountain climbers, or high knees. My favorite workouts are those that mix strength training and cardio moves together!

Let me know what you think if you decide to give it a whirl!

And what better way to refuel after your DIY circuit training than with a plate of crisp and warm Protein-Packed French Toast!

Protein-Packed French Toast: (serves 1)

  • 2 slices whole wheat bread
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/8 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein

1. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray.
2. Whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla until combined.
3. Add protein powder to egg mixture and whisk until no lumps remain (small                         continuation of previously mentioned workout).
4. Place bread slices in mixture and allow to soak up as much as possible before placing in      skillet.
5. Cook approximately 4-5 minutes per side or until crisp and brown.

I seem to have acquired a minor major obsession with the peanut butter, pumpkin butter, and carob chip combo in the last week. And I blame thank my friend Jennifer for giving me a jar of McCutcheon’s Pumpkin Butter! ;)

And howabout a drizzle of pure maple syrup for good measure?

Mmm, yes please!

What combo can you not seem to get enough of lately?

 

 

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WIAW: Sweet & Savory

Good morning bloggies, lurkers, and friends of mine who say you read my blog but never comment (it’s ok, we don’t bite…well, unless you’re covered in peanut butter)! ;)

You kids know how I roll on Wednesdays, so let’s get this party started!

Please be sure to tip your waiter thank your host!

Love ya Jenn!

Breakfast (7:15am)
A genius take on a sweet/savory breakfast from my girl Christin!

Peanut butter, egg, pumpkin butter, and raisin sandwich!

With a side of my boyfriend Joe and vitamin candy ;)

Snack (10:45am)
A no-reason-needed cupcake made by a friend at work

Is a cupcake before noon like a drink before 5?

Nahhh!

Lunch (12:15pm)
Clean out the fridge type salad and a tortilla stuffed with crack cheese!

Steamed kale, kidney beans, roasted BBQ kabocha, corn, and fresh tomatoes

Snack #1 (3:o0pm)
Changing my ways and going green!

Snack #2 (6:00pm)
Jaaaaauicy watermelon leftover from this weekend

Dinner (8:00pm)
Overnight Overday Oats

Yep, pretty sure I’m on to something here!

When I work my late shifts, there’s nothing worse coming home after a grueling 10 hour shift and trying to figure out what to make for dinner before chewing your own arm off!

Solution: whip up some breakfast for dinner while you’re packing lunch!

Basic Overnight Oats: (serves 1)
My “go-to” recipe for OO’s

  • 1/2 cup uncooked rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup of yogurt (cottage cheese works well too)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon extract of your choosing (vanilla, almond, etc)
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon cinnamon
1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir well.
2. Cover with a lid and allow to set in refrigerator overnight.
3. In the morning (or night), uncover and add enough water to get oats to your desired           consistency (I usually use about 1/4 cup).
4. Garnish with fresh fruit and healthy fats like nut butter or coconut!

Bedtime Snack (10:15pm)
Next morning evidence of nightly broccoli dipping!

Ladies & gentlemen of the jury, I rest my case!

Water consumption via Camelbak:
2 Liters

It’s funny, without even thinking about it, my meals show a perfect balance of sweet and savory…I guess the body knows best, huh?

What did you snack on last night? Do you tend to go sweet or savory with nightly noshings?

Posted in Breakfast, Lunch/Dinner, Snacks, Vegan, Vegetarian, What I Ate Wednesday | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 56 Comments

Candy Bar Biking

Hey hey guys! Reading through the lists of Top 5 Summer Screaming Foods is making me wish I had a big ol’ plate of grilled veggies, watermelon, and fro-yo…and how on earth could I forget the corn on the cob?! That is a definite must in the summer! Has anyone ever tried it grilled? That’s next on my list!

So to continue on with part 2 of the Weekend Update, I’m so excited to show you guys some pics from my bike ride on Sunday. I think I just found a new favorite route!

There’s a strip of highway in town where a lot of factories and other large companies are located that used to be several, SEVERAL acres of farmland. I’ve driven by it so many times, but it never dawned on me to be a good bike route until Sunday!

 A peaceful strip of highway

A field that seemed to go on forever

Two seconds before I grabbed my phone for a pic, there was a gorgeous stork-looking bird in the pond!

“stork-looking” <- can you tell I know absolutely nothing about birds?

Am I the only one who loves the look of railroad tracks?

Before heading out for my ride, I got all decked out in my new bike shorts and top!

Walmart special baby!

I rode for just under two hours. It was a hot day, but there was a good breeze and some occasional downhill parts helped a bit too! I only actually intended to ride one loop around, but after I found more side streets, I was having too much fun exploring to call it quits.

Wanna know the only bad thing about long impromptu bide rides? Not having fuel when you need it! Luckily, there was a convenience store nearby where I was able to grab some water and an “energy bar”.

Ok, the only difference between a Snickers and a Snickers Marathon Bar is…ummmm, 10 grams of protein?!

I spent 10 minutes in front of the tiny energy bar section until I thought the cashier was going to burn a hole in the back of my helmet. I THOUGHT I went with the lesser of evils here, but low and behold, I ended up buying a CANDY BAR! :(

Luckily I only needed half the bar to give me the boost sugar high that I needed to make it back to the car. I swear this was the ONE time, I didn’t have any sort of emergency food with me…lesson definitely learned!

I’ve really been loving my bike rides lately. Running is great, but I tend to get bored easily…I’ve actually been avoiding my workout DVD’s like the plague…so it helps to change things up a bit!

How do you change it up a bit when you’re in an exercise rut?

Any good recommendations for REAL energy bars that aren’t to heavy for a hot afternoon bike ride/run?

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Weekend Update

[source]

Ahh, the good ol’ days of SNL…before Tina Fey left Amy Poehler in all her prego-ness for dreams of 30 different kinds of rock or something…

Wait, where was I going with this?? Oh yeah, MY weekend…

I actually had one of the best weekend’s that I’ve had in a LONG time even though it didn’t seem like it was going to be in the beginning. Remember how I said I was going to “try” to sleep in on Saturday? Ha! Well, guess who rolled over at the stroke of 6:ooAM?!

Yeah, this girl!

All was not lost though…I decided to make the best out of my morning! After a fueling breakfast I went on a long walk before the temperatures got too high and then made my weekly appearance at the farmer’s market!

A pond scum-esce smoothie topped with brown rice crisps and flax, toast with coconut butter and blooby jam, and of course my daily java!

Why oh why did it take having to see Megan’s breakfast one morning for me to top toast with coconut butter and jam! I have seriously been missing out!

After my farmer’s market run, I set out on an adventure!

I spotted a Saint Bernard!

I found a Luna Bar for super cheap!

‘Twas delicious!

And I crossed over Lake Barkley!

All on my way to see the people you have to thank for bringing me into this world! ;)

My mom and dad recently placed their camper on a permanent campsite in a beautiful area close to Lake Barkley. It’s about 1.5 drive from my house, but Saturday was the perfect day for a long peaceful drive! Besides the humidity, I couldn’t have asked for a better day for it!

Speaking of humidity, as soon as I got to my parent’s campsite, I dove head first into the nice cold kombucha I had packed!

I let my mom and dad have a taste…yeah, let’s just say they’re not the signing up for the fan club of fermented tea! Oh well, just means more for me! :)

After chilling sweating for a while and having more fun than is reasonably allowed with a bug zapper, we had a little visitor!

Meet “Little Bit”, the neighbor’s teacup chihuahua puppy. Isn’t she just adorable?!?!

I seriously wanted to stick her in my purse and smuggle her home!

I wish I could say I got my puppy fix, but I didn’t!

I want one sooo bad!

After trying unsuccessfully to make a squirrel-ish costume for Little Bit in order to sneak her out of the campsite with me, I suddenly realized I was starving!

We fired up the grill and had a delicious dinner in no time flat!

Beef burger topped with bacon and jalapeno cheese, grilled squash, bread ‘n buttah pickle x 2 and some good ol’ beets!

Mmm, mmm, mmm!

And what better way to end a hot night than with some juicy watermelon!

Oh yeah, I’m a watermelon-eatin’ pro!

On the way home, after all day of sweating outside, I started to wonder…

Good question Big Ben…good question!

To save this post from getting obnoxiously long, you’ll just have to wait for tomorrow to hear about my lovely Sunday! ;)

What are your top 5 foods that just scream SUMMER?
1. Ice Cream/Fro-yo
2. Watermelon
3. BBQ (family tradition)
4. Grilled Veggies
5. Traditional potato salad (oh yeah, that yellow stuff that G’ma used to make! You know what I’m talking about!)


 

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Sweet or Savory Vegan Corncakes

Good afternoon my little pancake stacks! Anyone notice that I went missing yesterday? Well, I “unplugged” for the day and went out to enjoy the fresh (and hot…and humid…and…I’m not complaining, I swear) air! I hope you’ve all gotten the chance to relax this weekend and maybe indulge in a little vitamin D absorption!

So today, I have something a little different for Pancake Sunday

who’s up for some cornmeal pancakes?!

Maybe it’s the thought of my newest sandwich, or maybe it’s that I’m beginning to run out of ideas for Pancake Sunday, but when I woke up this morning, I had corncakes on the brain!

I don’t know about you guys, but I am a texture freak! I love combining textures and finding surprise bites in my food so I thought I’d have a little fun with this recipe and add a little “extra” in the texture department! I also decided to make them vegan AND gluten-free for all my bloggy buddies out there who are dairy or gluten “challenged”! ;)

Vegan Cornmeal Pancakes: (serves 1)
Inspired by this recipe in Runner’s World Magazine

  • 1/2 flax egg (1/2 tablespoon ground flax + 1 1/2 tablespoons warm water)
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/8 cup brown rice flour*
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup creamed corn
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used soy) + 1 teaspoon vinegar = “buttermilk”
  • sweetener if desired (I omitted since I knew I wanted sweet toppings)

1. Combine flax and water in a small bowl and allow to set.
2.Pre-heat non-stick skillet to medium heat.
3. Combine dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and stir to break up any lumps.
4. Stir the corn, “buttermilk”, and flax egg together.
5. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
6. Coat skillet with non-stick spray and scoop batter out by 1/4 cupfuls.
7. Cook for about 4-5 minutes per side or until lightly brown on top and bottom.

*whole wheat flour works too for those of you who do not have a gluten preference.

Top as desired, but I highly recommend butter (non-dairy of course for my vegan friends) and maple syrup…simple and delicious!

Or maybe even a few bloobs! :) 

For staying power, I amped up the protein in this breakfast with a little Greek yogurt and bloob action!

Anyone tried the Honey Vanilla Bean flavor of Voskos?

It’s amazing!

Now, I said sweet OR savory, right? Don’t worry, I wouldn’t dare leave you hanging on this one!

These babies were so good, I HAD to find a way to incorporate them into my lunch as well! I used the same recipe as above, but I threw in a little bit of Mrs. Dash crack and BAM!…savory corncakes!

I used about 1/2 teaspoon of Mrs. Dash Southwestern Chipotle Seasoning, but you could add just about anything you have in your spice cabinet…chili powder, smoked paprika, or maybe even some turmeric for a fun twist!

After the photo sesh, I also added 1/4 of an (very ripe and un-photogenic) avocado and some nutritional yeast to the previous topping of freshly diced tomato…it was absolutely perfect!!

And since the other side of my plate was JUST as tasty, I thought I’d share! A simple combo of steamed kale and a tri-blend bean mix topped with this:

Appalachian Piccalilli

I found this at the farmer’s market yesterday.

Ingredients: Green tomatoes, cabbage, corn, green beans, pinto beans, cauliflower, sweet peppers, celery, jalapenos, sugar, vinegar, salt, spice, turmeric, citric acid

Could they fit any more deliciousness into one jar?!

I think I’m in love!

Ok, I seriously can’t think of a question right now, so tell me what your favorite color is!

Mine is GREEN…are you surprised?

Posted in Breakfast, Lunch/Dinner, Pancake Sunday | Tagged , , , , , , | 29 Comments

The Opposite of Snowballing

Hello my little BBQ Balls! Looks like you guys are getting pretty used to my unusual foodie combos…hmm, does that mean I’m free to amp it up a bit? Anyone for a salsa sundae?

Ok, that even makes ME gag! ;)

So, you know how you have those days were it seems like one bad thing happens and then starts a snowball effect until you wish you’d never gotten out of bed?

Well, today the OPPOSITE happened to me!

I recently won a NuNaturals giveaway on Spabettie’s blog and received the package in the mail yesterday. I already knew (or so I thought) what was in the box, so I didn’t think to open it right away. When I saw it on the kitchen table this morning, I decided to take a look while I was waiting for my coffee.

This is what I was expecting to find inside the box

THIS is what was actually inside!

I literally squealed when I saw this!

Cocoa bean extract?!

fa(^$%#shid!

Once I composed myself, I fixed myself a mug of coffee the size of my face

Hey, some of us need a little extra motivation on Fridays! ;)

Then, since I worked 12 hours on Monday for the holiday, my boss let me leave early! (Granted I ran my BUTT off the time I was there…we were crazy busy!)

When I came home, I threw together a fantastic lunch!

Forty spice hummus and jalapeno cheese spread, yellow zucchini, tomatoes, steamed kale, and sprouts!

It’s a wrap! <- Sorry, couldn’t resist!

And then, I made one of the best impulsive decisions ever!

I remembered one of the local pools just down the road from me…only 5 bucks for admission…sign me up! I met a couple of friends there and we had a great time soaking up the sun and just playing around! A great way to spend the afternoon, especially when I’d normally be stuck at work!

And the best part? It seriously feels like it should be Saturday, but it’s only Friday night!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’m going to venture into the kitch and see what I can whip up with that cocoa extract! :D

Any big plans for the weekend?
I’m going to “try” to sleep in tomorrow and then I’m off to check out the new permanent campsite my parents found for their camper! Hmm, maybe I’ll even talk my dad into firing something up on the grill!

Who’s got some recipe suggestions for Stevia? I’m so excited to try out all the different varieties!

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