Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day 2010




"How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!"

~Maya Angelou


Many Americans get to live with no worries and with many privileges and never had to battle for them or wage any kind of war for them. Our freedom is not free at all; it comes at a great price. Today remember all those who gave and continue to give their lives. Thanks for your service. For your valor. Your sacrifice. Your gift to every American. Thank you for paying the price to give us our freedom each & every day!



"I'm proud to be an American where at least I know I'm free....and I WON'T forget the men who died who gave that right to me and I gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today!!! Cuz there ain't no doubt I love this land...

God Bless the USA!"



Friday, May 28, 2010

Birthday Surprise!


Today I received a text message from a dear friend. Here's what it said...

"For your birthday, for a gift, I want to take some new photographs of you!
You have changed so much since the last ones."

Isn't that AMAZINGLY SWEET, GENEROUS, & THOUGHTFUL?!?!?!
What on earth did I do to have such an
awesome person in my life?
Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I really feel like I have something positive to look forward to about this whole turning 30 thing now. I guess I better start deciding on some outfits to wear.

Here are some photos of me from our last photo shoot in December. We'll have to do a side by side comparison after get some updated photos. We haven't even had time to talk about dates yet, but I'm kinda hoping it'll be after I get my hair cut on June 19. It's looking pretty ratty right now since I haven't had it cut since right before our last photo shoot in December. I'm on the twice a year plan these days. ; )




Thursday, May 27, 2010

Green Monster Post #3



Today's GREEN MONSTER:


2 handfulls Spinach (somewhere between 1-2 cups)
1/2 frozen banana
1 cup unsweetened soymilk
3/4scoop vanilla whey protein powder
1 Tbsp. flax seeds

Put all ingredients in blender/Magic Bullet and blend. Pour in a pretty glass, mug, or jar and enjoy!

New Friend


Hello, Size 6! It's so nice to meet you!
I don't believe we've EVER met.


I wonder if I'll ever get to meet your friend, Size 4?

Caboose


It's the Incredible Shrinking Caboose!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Green Monster Post #2



Today's GREEN MONSTER...
Ingredients:
3 handfulls Spinach (somewhere between 2-3 cups)
1 frozen banana
1 1/4 cup unsweetened soymilk
1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder
2 Tbsp. unsweetened coconut
1 Tbsp. flax seeds
4 ice cubes


Put all ingredients in blender and blend. Pour in a pretty glass, mug, or jar and enjoy!


This was HUGE today! I'm going to start making them smaller.

CHOCOLATE


I may have had a couple of
Sugar Free Dark Chocolate bars on hand.
My local Trader Joe's sells them for 1.99 a bar and
my local Walmart sells them for 1.47 a bar.





What on earth is a girl to do with
2 bars of chocolate?
Melt it and eat it with a spoon???
It could happen, but I wouldn't suggest it
with the sugar free stuff.
It's likely that you'll regret it in a few hours.


Check out the GORGEOUS STRAWBERRIES I picked up at a local farmer's market today.


And the STRAWBERRY meets CHOCOLATE!
It's a match made in heaven!


I may have dipped a couple of
frozen bananas too...


And then I dipped some peanuts...


Does it get any better than this?
Mmm... probably not.


I know it's a bad photo (iPhone and horrible kitchen lighting), but you get the idea...
Peanuts, bananas, and strawberries all dipped in
SUGAR FREE DARK CHOCOLATE!

All Together Now:
Oooohhhh......


Aaaahhhhh......

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Kale Chips


The title says it all! I used to be addicted to chips..... more specifically, chips and salsa! They weren't just my favorite things to eat, they were a FOOD GROUP. No, I'm not kidding about that one. = ) I could eat chips and salsa 3 meals a day if someone would have let me. And I must say that the chip was only a means of transportation to get the salsa in the mouth. Don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about... I know there are others out there who understand. Hehee...
I used to be able to sit down and eat an entire 16 oz. jar of salsa in one sitting. Looking back that sure does explain a lot.
Well, I no longer eat chips and salsa. In fact, the last time I pigged out on chips and salsa was at my birthday dinner last June (2009) with my husband and a group of our close friends. I swore them off after that moment. I rarely eat Mexican food and I rarely eat salsa these days. The only time I ever really eat salsa now is if it's on eggs. That's about it.
I've been craving a salty snack lately and chips, pretzels, and crackers are NOT a good choice for a former fat chick/recovering carboholic. It just isn't.... TRUST ME. Today I went to the grocery store to pick up some bananas and what did I see??? They had those yummy, scrumptious GOLDFISH crackers on sale. Those were things I never rarely ate when I did eat carbs, but I must have been in a weak moment today because they were calling my name. Really, they were! I suddenly remembered a recipe I saved for KALE CHIPS. Luckily I remembered enough of the recipe to know that all I needed was kale. So I quickly cruised on over to the produce section and bought a bunch of kale so I could make kale chips to go with our bun-less burgers for dinner.

Kale Chips

4 c. kale, chopped
1 tsp. Emeril's Essence seasoning (I left this out)
1 tbsp. EVOO
(I added a bit of salt)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Toss kale in oil and spices on a baking sheet.
Roast for 10 minutes.
Serve with hot sauce and ketchup.

Gotta say.... these hit the spot! They really did satisfy my craving for something crunchy and salty. I'll be hanging on to this recipe.

Homemade Granola


I found the most splendid recipe for homemade granola. I've already made it once and polished it off so I made more on Sunday. Oats are a carbohydrate, but I allow now allow it in moderation. When I say moderation I mean a couple of tablespoons, not a bowl full. It makes sense to enjoy it in small servings when you see the price on the granola at the store anyways. Have you seen how much they charge for some of that stuff? I've seen it as high as 6 dollars for a tiny bag. That's crazy!!! I make mine for a fraction of the cost.


Rolled oats and sliced raw almonds


All ready to go in the oven

While the granola was baking I cut up some unsweetened dried apricots, unsweetened dried apples, unsweetened pineapple, and unsweetened mango to add to the oat mixture after baking.

The finished product

I found the recipe somewhere on the internet, but sadly I don't know where. If you spot it somewhere please let me know so I can give the granola genius credit for this one. I'm NOT the original creator of this recipe....

HEALTHY HOMEMADE GRANOLA

In a bowl, mix...
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp honey
That’s it! I mixed this all together, making sure to spread the honey and olive oil evenly throughout the dry ingredients, and then spread it out on top of parchment paper in a 13×9 in pan.

Then, I put it in the oven at 350ยบ for 20-25 minutes, mixing it around half way through.

Store it in an airtight container. I made it into 4 huge servings, but it could easily make 6 or 8. But really, you can make this with anything you have around. The honey/oil clumps it together so it gets crunchy and delicious. You can add cinnamon, dried fruit, chocolate, sunflower or pumpkin seeds… you name it. Just remember that if you’re going to put any chocolate or dried fruit (raisins, cherries, etc), you want to add those things after its done baking, but while its still fresh out of the oven and warm.

I threw in some raw pepitas and flax seeds to my granola mixture. I also added 1/4 tsp. of salt, along with some Penzey's cinnamon and cocoa powder. It is super tasty!!!

Granola meets greek yogurt and almond butter with roasted flax seeds

homemade granola + unsweetened soymilk =
match made in heaven!

Recent Eats


Pictured above is shrimp and asparagus (both were frozen purchases from Trader Joe's) seasoned with Northwoods seasoning from Penzey's Spices. I've never had frozen asparagus before so I was a little concerned, but I was pleasantly surprised. It was pretty good! We enjoyed it with garlic hummus, soycrisps, edamame crisps, and brie & light havarti cheeses.


Delicious garlic hummus from Trader Joe's.
I LOVE this stuff!!!

The FINALE of LOST (*tear*) was on Sunday evening. If you're a LOST fan you'll know that it was filmed in Hawaii. So I just had to make myself a low-carb Hawaiian pizza. David doesn't really care for pineapple on his pizza so I made him pepperoni. He said it was awesome!
I used the Flatout light original wraps (6 net carbs for an entire flatout), Great Value pizza sauce (Walmart), Pizza Seasoning from Penzey's Spices, and an Italian Cheese Blend. I baked them at 375 for about 10 minutes. They are YUMMY!

Sunday Afternoon Date



David and I haven't been on a dinner date (with just the two of us) since sometime last fall or maybe even last summer. Eating out is super expensive, generally unhealthy, and we tend to attract poor service.
Well, we don't let that keep us from having a good time. = ) Every now and then we manage to scrape up some change and treat ourselves to a Starbucks date. Our most recent Starbucks date was last Sunday afternoon. The weather was amazing so we relaxed on the patio while sipping on iced coffee. I enjoyed a Venti Iced Decaf Sugar Free Cinnamon Dolce Soy Latte. Did you know that if you have a registered Starbucks card you get syrups and you can make milk changes for free? Yep, my syrup was free and it didn't cost any extra to go with the soy. We enjoy our lil' Starbucks dates every few months.



Green Monster Post #1



Don't like your veggies? Try this...

Today's GREEN MONSTER:

3 handfulls Spinach (somewhere between 2-3 cups)
1 frozen banana (because that's what I had)
1 1/4 cup unsweetened soymilk
1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder (optional)
1 Tbsp. flax seeds (optional)
2 ice cubes

Put all ingredients in blender and blend. Pour in a pretty glass, mug, or jar and enjoy!

Warning: This is REALLY good and I couldn't even taste the spinach. It kept me full for 4 hours. YUM!


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Half Marathon


Many of you know that I conquered my first half marathon on April 25, 2010. That was exactly 4 weeks ago today. The entire experience made me want to shout from rooftops yet left me speechless and humbled at the same time.
It was great to cross the finish line after running 13.1 miles, but to me it was the JOURNEY that really mattered. Every ounce of my very being went into running and training for that day. I trained and conditioned my body for months. The countless hours on the trails, running on ice, passing out, blistered feet, and worn out shoes were all part of an amazing experience that I wouldn't trade for anything.
So here are some pics I know several of you have been patiently waiting to view. Enjoy!

My clothes all ready to go the next morning.

My good luck charm!

Courage, Strength, Resolve

Sporting my running gear... Ready to RUN!

I woke up super early and headed to downtown OKC at 5am. My parents were wonderful and drove me to the racing site. Along the way I enjoyed a small bowl of greek yogurt with 1/2 banana and some peanut butter and a sprinkling of rolled oats. I've been known to start a long run without eating first and I regret it once I'm a few miles out. Eating was a priority that morning. I also enjoyed about 6 ounces of coffee.
I met up with Aunt Amy by the Survivor Tree. We then joined up with the rest of her running group from work. They were all so sweet and eager to run. I just loved their energy and passion so early in the morning. Maybe it's a banker thing?!
We all headed over to the starting line... er, a long ways from the start, but we were still in line. It was so exciting when the run started. We were so far back in the line that it actually took several minutes for us to get to the starting line. Funny how that works. Some of the real competitive runners were probably already 2 miles in by the time we reached the start.
It was really tough in the beginning because Amy and I were trying to pass people who were slower than us.... ya know, runners that were even slower than our already slow and all the walkers. I say trying because we really did have to try to pass them. There were people everywhere! You'd go around one group of racers only to come across more. We eventually worked our way out from the back of the pack and it thinned out a bit. That was nice!
Around mile 3 my darn right knee started bothering me again. I would think and remind myself why I was participating in the event. My knee pain was temporary and very minor compared to the lifetime of pain that is experienced by the family members and friends of those whose lives were taken on April 19, 1995. That thought just kept things in perspective for me... it kept me going.
We were pretty far in and I stopped at a medical tent to have my knee quickly wrapped. The support provided relief for a few minutes, but my body was just telling me that it had enough for the day. I didn't care about the pain because I was finishing the race whether I ran, walked, or crawled across that finish line.
Amy and I ran together the entire way. It was so great talking to her along the way. If you really want to know someone on a deeper level, run with them for 13.1 miles. I think we both learned a lot about each other that day.

About to cross the finish line...

Veni, Vidi, Vici!

"Yeah, I did it!"

I grabbed a ton of food so I could fuel back up after the run. Running makes me so incredibly hungry. I think I immediately downed a banana, several fig newtons, 2 Nutter Butter cookies, 1/2 bagel, pretzels, bottled water, and a powerade. Soon after I ate some of the meat out of the burger and then handed it off to my Dad. I let myself splurge and have ONE CHEAT DAY. Once I arrived to my parents house I enjoyed a rice krispie treat with peanut butter smeared all over it and all sorts of other food. I was SO HUNGRY that day! My metabolism must have been through the roof!

Me with my biggest running supporters = my parents ; )

Me with some of the fam

Me and Aunt Amy
Amy is a survivor and the reason I signed up to run this half marathon.
Thank you for inspiring, encouraging, and believing in me, Amy!!!

A token to remember the day.

What's next? ; )

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Playing Catch-Up... Again!


I've been out of town quite a bit lately and have been pretty busy. I still haven't made a post about my half-marathon experience. I don't have time to post about that one tonight, so I'll have to get back to you on that one.

Here's something to hold you over for now...


I received a phone call late Sunday afternoon (5/16) from a Principal inviting me to interview. The interviews were being held the following two days. I didn't have anything major planned that couldn't be rescheduled, so I immediately packed my bags and started the drive to OKC the next morning. My sweet friend, Rachel, was kind enough to spontaneously go along as my travel buddy. My interview trip was also a much needed Girls Getaway.
We had a blast together!


There is NO good Mexican in St. Louis so I had
to take Rachel out for a real tasty Mexican meal.
We had dinner at Ted's on Monday night.
YUM!!!


Rachel really enjoyed the chips, queso, and salsa.
Ted's has THE BEST salsa! Sometimes I would like to just sit there and eat it with a spoon.


I ordered a bottomless bowl of chicken tortilla soup.
They even sent me with a package of to-go soup.
Talk about customer service!


My Dad ordered their taco salad. He only ate half
and took home the other half to enjoy later.


Rachel ordered a chicken enchilada and Mexican rice.
nom, nom, nom...


I think my Mom ordered the Chicken Fajita Chimichanga
with Papas (potatoes) and refried beans.


A cinnamon sugar sopapilla drizzled in honey.


Rachel was impressed with her sopapilla...


My Mom smiles her biggest smile when she's eating Mexican.
= )


Rachel spotted a randomly parked buggy at Target and thought she'd take it for a spin.
It was hilarious!

This was her thumbs up granny pose. LOL!

YES! I had to be sure Rachel experienced Jimmy's Egg.
This was my delicious breakfast.

After breakfast we headed down to the
OKC National Memorial.

OKC National Memorial


We needed a little "pick me up" after visiting the
Memorial and Museum.
A trip to Braum's sure did help.
I had a scoop of the CarbWatch Vanilla Ice Cream with a
bit of peanut butter. The lady said she wasn't going
to charge me for the PB. Wasn't that sweet of her?!?!
I LOVE Oklahoma!


Hey... I haven't enjoyed a splurge like this in a year. Wowzers!



We drove back to STL on Wednesday. It stormed on us ALL the way to Springfield. The rainy weather really made for a long, miserable, and stressful drive. There were times I was forced to drive super slow. It really was a torrential downpour. We decided to stop at the St. James Winery for a little walking break and to take a look. My parents had been there before and said it was a great place to stop. Rachel purchased some wine and other goodies. I purchased a gourmet dark chocolate rainier cherry bar for David.


My interview went great. I just know that I'm up against people who have zero experience to many years of experience. I really, really want this position, but I can't beat myself up too badly if they don't choose me. My credentials are great and I feel that I gave it my all. Now I just have to be patient. Until I hear something I'll still be on the job hunt.

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