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Weekend Recap

Hi friends! How was your weekend?

Mine was great and much needed after a busy week of traveling for work. James was out of town, so it was a girls weekend. Just me and Phoebe! We spent each morning like this:

blogger morning

There’s nothing better than starting the day with a book, a warm cup of coffee and a kitty.

On Saturday morning, after reading a few chapters in my book, I decided to make some banana bread. The last few recipes I’ve tried have been duds, but this one I tried courtesy of another blogger was fantastic! I’m ashamed to say I put some Christmas music on while I was baking. I normally like to wait until after Thanksgiving, but I was feeling all warm and fuzzy after being curled up with a blanket, book and coffee, so I lit some candles and filled the apartment with the sweet smells of baking and some a cappella music (thank you, Pentatonix).

healthy banana bread

Following the mini baking session, I headed out for an all-out girls day of shopping. I’ve got a few Christmas parties coming up (and, my year-end review lunch at work, eek!), so I went in search of a little something dressy for these occasions. After trying on a few dresses and pencil skirts and getting fed up that none of them worked because of my height (sigh, whats new?), I ended up going with a pair of skinny black pants, a blush sweater, chunky necklace and heels. And, thanks to a ton of Friendsgiving sales, I didn’t totally break the bank.

Speaking of Friendsgiving, after shopping I wanted to just go home and throw myself on the couch, but instead I had to get back in the kitchen and prep some mashed potatoes for a Friendsgiving I was attending. Immediately when I was assigned the mashed potatoes, one of the most boring but necessary Thanksgiving dishes, I knew I had to do something different or unique with them. So, I threw in few secret ingredients, bacon included, and they ended up being a hit.

Friendsgiving

Friendsgiving turned out to be a really great evening complete with good company and good food. Even the turkey, which I don’t normally eat, was well worth the wait.

After stuffing myself at Friendsgiving and a week of traveling with limited workouts and countless meals eaten out, I was feeling a little blah. So, I decided to get right back into the fitness groove with some mix-it up motivation. On Sunday, my mom and I met at a Pure Barre studio for our first class. Holy cow it burns! I’m so glad I finally decided to jump on this train so many fitnessistas have already been on for a while. I loved the focused attention on each muscle group in my arms, legs, butt, and abs. It was such a different workout from anything I’ve tried before – working one set of muscles to fatigue and learning to appreciate the burn.

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I think I’ll definitely be going back. This will be a nice way to mix up my workouts, especially as it’s getting colder and the holidays are coming up. I followed my workout with a small cup of kale turkey sausage soup and some muscle milk.

muscle milk kale turkey sausage soup

I spent the rest of the evening relaxing with James and a glass of wine. We put together our Christmas wish list for the family. Can you believe we asked for a sander, a stud finder and a shop vac? Yep, we just bought a fixer-upper home and we’re really excited about getting started! When we got hungry, I quickly threw together some dinner using what we had available – turkey sausage, asparagus, onion, gluten-free pasta and pumpkin sauce! Yum.

We then capped the night with some cheesy christmas movies and warm cups of decaf coffee for me and hot chocolate loaded with mini marshmallows for James. Weekend perfection. 

How was your weekend? Are you listening to Christmas music yet?

A Crockpot Beef Stew to Keep You Warm this Winter

I made this crockpot beef stew twice in the past two months because it was more than easy to make and filled many tupperware containers that could easily be grabbed for lunches. Not only that, but it’s a well balanced meal – complete with protein and veggies of all kinds.

As the wind blew harder and harder and each day got colder and colder, I looked forward to my mid-day break of a warm cup of beef stew. Before I quit sugar, this lunch was even better –  I paired it with a yummy homemade pumpkin muffin. mmm. mmm. mmm. Now, that’s a fall lunch!

I mean, look how yummy.

beef stew

Ingredients:
2-3 lbs chuck roast
1 t salt
1 t pepper
1 t oregano
1 T dried parsley
1 medium onion, chopped
3 celery ribs, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 carrots, chopped
5 small red potatoes, chopped
14 oz can corn
6 oz tomato paste
32 oz beef broth
2 T worcestershire sauce

Optional:
1/4 c flour
1/4 c water

Directions:

  1. Place the chuck roast in the crockpot. Top with all remaining ingredients. Cook on low for 10 hours.
  2. Optional, if you like a thicker stew: When there are 30 minutes remaining on the crock pot timer, mix flour and water in a small dish and pour into crockpot. Mix well with other ingredients.

Capturing the Joy of Sharing Food

I got a package in the mail yesterday that I can’t wait to share with you!

(Stick around to the end of this post for the most delicious homemade pizza recipe you will ever find. EVER.)

For the past few months, I’ve been opening my recipe cupboard to this:

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There are printed recipes and handwritten recipes shoved inside cookbooks, between cookbooks, behind cookbooks. Papers everywhere.

My husband laughs at me because I like to read cookbooks for fun, but I’m always finding great recipes that way and have to either write them down or take a picture on my phone. If we try the recipe and both love it, then the paper gets to stay in this mess. If not, then its tossed. Over time, the “love it” pile of papers has outgrown the cupboard, and I wanted a better way to save these recipes.

Where most people would turn to an app or some other electronic recipe book, I’m old-school; I still wanted something tangible. So, I ordered this beauty:

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The best part about it is on the reverse side of every recipe is a place to share the memories associated with the meal.

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I knew right away which recipe would be the first I’d write in my new recipe book. And, this one is definitely a “foodie” recipe, not a fitness one.

So, here it is. The most delicious homemade pizza you will ever find. My husband, James, first made this pizza for a date-night in. It was so good we had it the next two days for breakfast and lunch!

This Butternut, Bacon, Spinach and Feta Pizza via Gimme some Oven gave the usual greasy slice a run for its money. 

 

Hope you enjoy.

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Butternut, Bacon, Spinach & Feta Pizza
Cuisine: Fall Flavors
Author: Gimme some Oven
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Ingredients
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, cored and diced into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cup baby spinach
  • 6 slices of bacon
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese
  • 1 medium pizza crust (This is what the original recipe called for, but we ended up being able to make two medium pizza crusts with the above ingredients)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss squash, onion and 2 tbsp of olive oil. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes.
  3. Brush the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil on pizza crust. Leaving one inch of crust around the pizza, toss mozzarella cheese in the center of the crust. Layer with spinach, bacon, and squash/onion mix. Top with feta cheese.
  4. Bake 10-12 minutes.