I Need More Coffee Kind of Friday

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Amazing Friday morning breakfast:

turkey bacon flat out wrap avocado egg

Egg, turkey bacon, and avocado quesadilla made with a Flatout wrap. Love those things!

Yeah, breakfasts like that are not normal in our household. But I could not sleep last night! So annoying. I eventually ended up just getting up at 5:30AM. The worst part is that Friday is my day off! (So rough I have it, I know) But when I couldn’t fall asleep I kept thinking – I’m wasting my day off! Haha. So dramatic. I think it’s just because I’ve been a little stressed this week. I’m back in the swing of things with my biz — I’m pretty sure I taught the most lessons ever this week! Nobody was out of town or in the mood to skip plus I had two new students start (and hilariously, two also quit due to moving and long commutes). So that was all good — just busy.

But Wednesday I was totally freaked out when I looked at my Facebook feed between lessons there was a warning for people in our neighborhood to lock their doors and not go outside!! And then frantic calls from my students’ parents started coming in because they were stuck in areas the polices had barricaded off because there was some shooting and car chase going on.  Everything turned out fine as it could I suppose, but it didn’t make me love living in the city. Every time I start to embrace it, something crazy violent seems to happen in our general vicinity. :( However, I think Denver is trying to make it up to me, because it’s supposed be 57 today!!!

After all the whining in my last post about going out in the cold weather with Pippa C., I made it out this week in SHORTS!

boydisinbedThat circled chocolate lump is my ridiculous Boykin. He can actually be left unattended in bed while the girls go out for an hourlong run.

Want to know why?

boydisinbed2Because he doesn’t move a muscle!!!!!! What a little fluffernutter.

And yes, that’s my excuse for not having my bed made yet. The dogs burrow!

Meanwhile, Pippa and I managed a little trick I like to call Massive Negative Splits:

massive negative splits running

Haha. Hilarious, right? Okay, so I spent the first 1.5 miles reviewing some Spanish prepositions. That sounds like sarcasm, right? Lol. Seriously, though, I’m kind of addicted to the Duolingo app.

I want to go through every level in every language offered. So far, I’m just testing out of levels — but I’m racking all sorts of encouraging trophies and related bling!

duolingo spanish

I also have to say that Miss Pippa was huffing and puffing a bit towards the end of that run. That never happens!! I guess that’s technically my fault for not getting my little athlete out as much in the last month.

What do you do when you really need to relax? Working out for sure — also baking, and of course, cafe!

Which do you prefer city, small town, or country? Kevin and I are always discussing what it would be like to move back to small towns in MN after living in Denver (although it’s not huge, it’s a big contrast!). I grew up in a tiny town, but since college I’ve lived primarily in Santiago and Denver. Love them all in their own ways.

Denver Date Night: Empanada Express

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Last night, we were researching some restaurants for Date Night and came across Empanada Express. I couldn’t resist when I saw the yucca! The empanadas! The tostones! All the foods I never ate when I lived in the DR. Haha.

Nothing too fancy to look at on the outside. But fabulous on the inside!

I chose the yucca in memory of my friend Jonathan AKA Papa. One of the first times we met, he didn’t speak English, and I didn’t speak Spanish. The lovely Luis was coaxed us into making awkward bilingual conversation by having us tell each other what our favorite foods were. I’m guessing I said pizza. But Papa went with the yucca and cheese! Such a sweet memory. And salted avocado reminds me of Yo-Yo! My future child’s namesake. ;)

Empanada stuffed with black beans & sweet plantains.

You may be thinking — isn’t she in boot camp? Well, yes, I am. And I happen to be absolutely crushing it!

I initially wanted to look for a restaurant with salads. Buuuut, I’ve decided to make an exception for Date Night, and of course, Kevin is really a fan of that idea! He’s very gracious with all my weird healthy cooking and fitness fanaticism so I think it’s for the best. :) I ate according to the plan the rest of the day, did my boot camp workout, and ran four miles. And I’ll be right back on eating clean wagon in the morning!

After Date Night, my hands & feet were freezing!! I’m not a hot chocolate fan, and I wasn’t about to drink coffee that late. So, I made a little protein drink hot cocktail!

Click + Fitmixer! Oops. I just found out Click has caffeine in it. Not sure how I missed that. Oh well. It’s almost the weekend!

Shaking it.

It wasn’t the best thing I ever drank. But it was warm.

Earlier…

Whew! Thursdays are going to be my busiest day of piano teaching! (But, Fridays are of!!!)

Pick 2: Broccoli slaw with my favorite Salsa Ranch and leftover coconut kale soup.

I had a bunch of mini meals in between teaching, dog jogging, and errands.

Meanwhile, Boyd tanned his hide.

And my business cards came!! Yeah.. I ignored everyone’s advice to use Vistaprint and went with MOO! They just seemed to fit my personality better. Haha.

GOOD NIGHT! From all of us!

WHY IS NOBODY SITTING ON MY ICYCLE FEET!?!?!

Have you ever eaten/cooked with plantains? AKA platanos/tostones. I want to try PaleOMG’s recipe for plantain pancakes!

Have you broken out your winter pjs? Yesterday, my friends. And the slippers are next.

Using Cauliflower As Rice + My Hopes Are So High

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I tried my first recipe from PaleOMG tonight, and it was a huge success!!!

This, my friends, is the Pumpkin Cashew Coconut Curry. Here are some things you should know about it:

  • Most exciting? The cauliflower is the rice. This is genius! When I read it, I had a feeling it would work! And it did!!! As long as you cover that stuff up with the chicken and sauce, you totally feel like you are carbing it up!!!!! 26 calories in a cup of cauliflower. 242 calories for a cup of cooked rice. (Also Vitamin C, other benefitsstop drinking the orange juice!!!!!).
  • You can make it in the slower cooker. This is especially handy for people who are not fond of touching raw meat. I just slow cooked up the chicken in the coconut milk and pumpkin before adding the rest.
  • It doesn’t taste like pumpkin. At all. I only remembered later to tell Kevin that it had pumpkin in it. He guessed “pineapple” and “coconut flower”, but was never going to guess pumpkin.
  • I added extra spices like Garam Masala and Tumeric. Why not?

Can’t wait to make some more of JB’s recipes. I have all the ingredients to make another this week!!!

Earlier…

So. I had a VERY exciting day. My thrice daily compulsive search of Petfinder led me to discover a beautiful chocolate lab/Vizlsa mix currently named Remmy! Here’s the only photo I have of her:

Awwwa… my poor baby is underweight! Of course, I called the shelter ASAP, and they passed me on to her foster mom (who is practically my neighbor, by the way!). The lady told me that there was another family ahead of me — booo!!! How could they have possibly beat me? You have no clue how often I look at Petfinder, people!! I tried not to get my hopes up. But I did. I was bouncing around the house, talking to Boyd like crazy about his new friend!!! Sure enough, the family decided to pass on her since she’s a wily 1.5 year old, and they have two small children. HOORAY!

We’re going to see her tomorrow, and I’m confident I’ll be bringing her home soon. Our family will be complete!! Haha. I seriously can’t wait to start spoiling that girl. And she WILL be wearing little outfits!! She’ll get cold in the winter!

Of course, I’ve been thinking about her name all afternoon. I just stopped writing this post for probably 15 minutes to look at lists of names. Ask my mom. I have always been fascinated by names.

My breakfast looks a LOT like yesterday’s panini. But I have to put avocado on everything when I have it at home. And I am on a huge fried egg kick with no end in sight!

This is seriously what Boyd does while I’m doing yoga. I have to kick him (sorry!) out of the way. He ignores me all morning, but the second I try yoga – he’s all over me!! And he adores the yoga mats. I would lock him out, but I don’t trust him!! He’s been so naughty lately.

Just trying to see out the window!

I let him borrow the piano bench so he could lounge more comfortably. So spoiled. So so spoiled. He needs a sibling!!!

Look what I found this morning on the way out to the gym!! A hole in our front gate.

I have two suspects:

  • Me kicking it and not noticing (the gate is hard to open)
  • The neighbor kittehz!

We heard some nose in our back yard last night (and Boyd was freaking out) so I think some of the alley cats were back there. We have REAL live alley cats in our neighborhood. We seriously see one every time we pull into our garage.

Or perhaps it was Boyd’s feline nemesis.

Can you believe Kevin already fixed it? He’s such a handyman. We didn’t have any nails so he pulled one out the wall that the previous inhabitants used for a picture or something. I’m so proud. :)

I know I’ve asked before, but it could be your last chance! What should I name our new baby girl dog?!  Pippa is a possibility. As well as anything beginning with a “B.” Perhaps I should name her after an Olympian?

Have you ever used cauliflower to sub for anything? I also used it to make Skinny Baked Potato Soup. That was pretty amazing too!

P.S. Sleepy kittehz!! Too cute!!

Free Wednesday! + Grilled Cheese w/Avocado

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I think Wednesday is totally the best day ever to be off! Right in the middle of the week! Nobody else is off. You have the city to yourselves!!

Did you used to complain when your mom had a lot of errands to run? Well, I felt like her today because before we could get to the “fun stuff” we hit up the bank, the post office, and the pharmacy. Grown ups!

Kevin James promised be a little shopping. We seriously hadn’t been since BEFORE Christmas. Okay, we went to Target a few times, but that doesn’t count. So we spent a little time at a sweet outlet mall. But, of course, Colorado chose our day off to be freezing cold & snowy. So it wasn’t long before we ducked into Qdoba for a little lunch!

I’ve never ordered anything besides the Naked Taco Salad. And these days I get it extra naked because I had a weird piece of chicken and now I’m afraid to eat it. That’s fine.

We went back for a little more shopping before giving up and going to a matinée! I did get a few goods!! I’m having hard time rebuilding my wardrobe after the big move to the States. I buy a few things, and then I wear them like five or six times a week so they get worn out pretty quickly!! And most of the clothes are for work so if I ever go anywhere else, I choose between my Diet Coke t-shirt and my hot pink Nike t-shirt. My life is rough. Haha.

The movie theater was completely empty!! Yay!!

And, yes, we saw The Vow.

I loved Rach’s cute little pink wedding dress. The movie was “cute.” A little slow, not exactly groundbreaking, but okay for a matinée! Kevin and I just wanted some super relax time, and it was good because we could talk and rudely look at our phones since no one else was in there!

My blogger thought: If I ever lost my short term memory, I’d be good to go! I could just look back at my blog and see what I did & ate each day! Haha.

We didn’t make it to the gym till 8PM!! I felt a little antsy all day so it was good to get a workout in. 3.33 miles of stairs + 2.86 miles = 6.19. Wow. Couldn’t have done that .01 more to get a 10k in. You have to love a runner’s brain!

Thought you might like to see some sweat proof! Seriously. It’s weird, but NOTHING MAKES YOU SWEAT LIKE THAT STEPMILL! I can run a half mar and not sweat as much as I do in 20 minutes on that thing!

10PM Dinner:

Woops!! How did it get so late?!?!! Grilled cheese + avocado was amazing. Obviously. Lauren reminded me of grilled cheese in the comfort food blog, and I had to have it!

Plus I was still working on the HUGE pop from the movie theater. Good thing it was that big since it was a super ripoff. But I didn’t even have a purse with me for smuggling!! Haha. And we did get a free refill on the way out the door! :)

It was only a matter of time before we caved and tried the Dulce de Leche cheerio flavor as well (the peanut butter we just constantly stock these days!). We tried some for dessert! Yum!

Favorite movie snack? My fave is M&M’s mixed with Hot Tamales. Or Good ‘n’ Plenty — but not mixed with M&M’s.

Favorite Rachel McAdams movie? Probably The Notebook. Although I once watched Morning Glory on the bus on the way to the beach and laughed all the way! I think of it every time I heard the word “fluffy.” I didn’t like The Time Traveler’s Wife, but in fairness, I’m sure that’s only because of home enamored I was with the book.

What would you do with a free Wednesday? We had a wonderful day!! Although I’m sure I would’ve been just as happy not leaving the apartment all day. Lol.

Make Mine Iced!

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Last night, our gym threw a Zumba party for Fat Tuesday. The ladies in blue camo pants and beads were actually a little overwhelming!! I tried with my hot pink shirt and capris, but I just did not really make the cut!

I was planning to attend with my running/donut baking buddy, Brooke, but our gym is really hard for a visitor to find. So that didn’t work out. I ended up slipping in for a song or two, but it was really hard to see and too many people just shaking it at random for me to really know what was going on!

The free food, however, I no problem with! I don’t even have to tell you who that brownie belongs to, right? I’m ashamed that my gym was offering brownies. I bet they weren’t the sketchy kind made with black beans either (just kidding – I’d probably like those). I was actually craving the pineapple after my workout. (I showed up before the Zumba party to do 1.53 miles of stairs + 3.58 miles normal).

For dinner, I whipped up some loaded naked taco salads. The key to my salad making is to use as little lettuce as possible. I’m just not a fan of lettuce.  At least I had my avocado! It still wasn’t very ripe so I mashed it like crazy and added salt + cilantro. It was good, but I don’t really like eating salads for supper. Especially in the winter. I feel like I need pasta or bread or something hearty to keep me warm at night! I can’t help it. It’s how I feel. But whenever I’m thinking this, I try to remember that Bob Harper says to keep it “lean & green” in the evening.

I also couldn’t help the fact that I needed  fro-yo last night. I really did! We were both in pajama pants and it was cold out, but we still went! Kevin could tell that I was at the point where I wouldn’t stop talking about it for two hours if I didn’t get any. And we DO have at least three fro-yo spots within a 1-block radius! That I know of.

My flavors: cheesecake, angel food cake *topped with a little cherry*, and cake batter. The cheesecake was awesome. The angel food cake I wanted to love, but sadly, it had kind of a weird texture.

We cheated on Yogurtini again and went to Nella’s around the corner. I’m just not a fan of Yogurtini’s current seasonal flavors: Maple Bacon Donut & Snickerdoodle.

Kevin was skeptical about the topping selection, but I think he was won over by the HUGE chunks of Reese’s PB Cups!

Best Facebook status of the week?

Hooray! I’ve been thinking about it ever since I saw it. So yesterday, in honor of it, I decided to get my Starbucks iced!

I probably haven’t had an iced latte since October! It was nice!!!

 What would your ideal temperature be? 80. Seriously. Maybe even 85.

Do you drink iced coffee/drinks in the winter? Not really. I did not sacrifice my fro-yo, but the frequency is definitely down. 

Any Fat Tuesday festivities? Nice ones, like Zumba. That’s really the only reason I knew it was Fat Tuesday. Haha. Last year at this time we were celebrating carnaval in the Dominican Republic… going downtown during one of those nights probably rates as one of the top five dumbest things I did while living overseas. It way too wild and definitely dangerous. But the daytime cultural things are cool to see!

Black Bean & Sweet Potato Tostadas + Birth Order

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I think I have found the best recipe of January!!! This one was KILLER. Kevin and I agreed that broiling the corn tortillas was what made it special.

Black Beans & Sweet Potato Tostadas

Recipe via Two Peas & Their Pod <—- (Also the Cookie Recipe QUEEN!)

Ingredients:

2 large sweet potatoes, washed, peeled, and cut into small cubes
Drizzle of olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 corn tortillas (we used Tortilla Land)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 avocado, diced
1 lime, cut into wedges
Shredded cheese (optional)
Salsa or hot sauce (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place sweet potato cubes on a large baking sheet. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and toss. Season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until sweet potatoes are soft and tender. Stir a couple of times while they are roasting.

2. In a non-stick skillet, heat corn tortillas over medium-high heat. When tortillas start to bubble up, flip and heat the other side until golden brown, about 30 seconds for each side. Place tortillas on a baking sheet and lightly spray with cooking spray. Place under a hot broiler for about 2 minutes. Remove from oven and turn over tortillas. Place tortillas back under the broiler for another two minutes.

3. Heat black beans over the stove or in the microwave. Top tortillas with beans, sweet potatoes, onion, cilantro, lime juice, and any other toppings you desire. Serve warm.

*Note-these are a little messy, we just pick them up and eat them with our hands:)

** Corrie Anne added a layer of nonfat Greek yogurt as sour cream because she thought it would be nice.

Now I can’t stop thinking about other tostada toppings!! And the little corn tortillas we used were only 99 cents! :)  I’m going crazy with the sweet potatoes and bananas lately. They’re two foods I’ve always hated, but I’ve discovered I like prepared in more nontraditional ways!

We actually used the broil setting twice today. I was trying to teach Kevin the wonder of broiled grapefruit. They didn’t turn out too great, mainly because I took them out to soon. The pan was smoking & bent in two so I thought they were done. I was also experimenting with using Truvia. It tasted great, but didn’t brown up nice and pretty the way brown sugar does. That should’ve been predictable!!

So, when it comes to birth order, my husband is the baby of the family. Can you guess what I am?

Doesn’t he just looked like the spoiled baby eating the cake batter pancakes?

Me?

I’m a middle child. Classic. Middle child. There are six in my family, but there’s a big gap between the oldest three and youngest three so I definitely got the middle child going on.

I’m always teasing Kevin about this when he says something totally bratty to me so I thought I’d do some serious research (via Match.com).

If you’re a middle child…
Contrary to their reputation as insecure messes (example: Jan Brady), middle kids actually make stable and loyal partners. “One thing you’re not is spoiled,” Dr. Leman says. You probably grew up feeling like you got less attention than your siblings, and that drives you to work for every perk — including a happy relationship. Also in the “positives” category: You’re “a compromiser and negotiator,” Dr. Leman notes, so you’ll give your partner plenty of say in everything from how quickly your relationship progresses to where you go on vacation together. And your romance should be free of daily petty squabbles (middles hate conflict); instead, you try to put others at ease. Best match: Youngest child. “Middles aren’t as threatened by last-borns as they are by exacting first-borns,” says Dr. Leman, so the odds are good for open communication.

Sweet!! I married my best match. I’m definitely a negotiator and a peacekeeper, but I wouldn’t say I felt neglected. I was the only girl at that point…. :)

My description actually fits me a lot better than Kevin’s fits him. Contrary to the stereotype of many youngest children, Kevin is extremely responsible… but he is hilarious and makes me laugh a LOT.

What’s your birth order? Do you think the stereotypes apply to you? Middle. Yes, for the most part. And if you’re married, which birth order did you marry? Middle + Baby forever. I’m sorry. I know there isn’t LOADS of truth to this, but there is some and I find it fascinating. Although temperament is probably an even bigger factor.

What food did you used to hate, but you like now? I just started liking avocado when I lived in the DR! I used to fear the green!! I still hate bananas, but I like them in smoothies/oatmeal/anything where that nasty string texture is not present.

When’s the last time you broiled something? Twice today!

It Will Rain Sweat + My Lean Green Dinner

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Our first day back to normal schedules. How did you survive? My co-workers and I were definitely dragging today!

I got a little jumpstart on my day with some fun at-home torture. Last night, I couldn’t decide if I was going to get up early or not to sneak in some strength training. I tricked myself out of bed by promising myself I would just do some Pocket Yoga.

Oh my. Child’s pose felt. so. good. today. But I am so out of shape. I about died when I had to lift a leg while in Downward Dog. My runner legs are tight. I lasted about 15 minutes with one of the Mountain routines. That’s about all the longer the yoga app can usually hold my attention, especially when nobody’s watching!!

By that time, I was awake enough to move on to some bodyrock! I saw their It Will Rain Sweat workout posted, and I wanted to try it for myself. You are supposed to do 10 rounds of 10 reps of 8 exercises. I suffered through 3 rounds, and it wasn’t pretty.

If you’d like a little taste:

  • 10 Burpees
  • 10 Squat Jumps
  • 10 Push Ups
  • 10 Toe Touch Sit Ups
  • 10 Tricep dips
  • 10 Tuck Jumps
  • 10 Plank Jaxs
  • 10 Split Lunges

The problem is that burpees are killer for me so I started every round exhausted!! But I really get into it because you’re supposed to write down your time after each set and compete against yourself. That’s very motivational for an introvert. Lol.

Top top it all of, these days I have the Bodybugg to please!!! The thing is asking me to burn a whopping 2700 calories per day. It has really opened my eyes to the bummer of a sedentary job. I’ve never been able to stand sitting at my chair all day, but this realization has made it even worse. Let’s put it in perspective, I also ran 7.69 miles @ 7:43 pace at the gym tonight. But since I was virtually completely inactive (I’m not hard core enough to wear my Bodybugg to the office — plus it would really clash with my pencil skirts) throughout the day, I’m still short on my suggested calorie burn. Isn’t that crazy? Of course, I have it set on the more intense end, because , well, that’s me. But still!!

We started our breakfasts with a nice, beautiful 1/2 grapefruit. Don’t think for one second that I didn’t scarf a super size bowl of Chex cereal afterwards!! I need some serious fuel when I eat in the morning! I just wanted a picture of the grapefruit because it looked nice in the bowl.

Look at us! We’re making progress on the vegetable front!! Look at all those greens. I also brought out my favorite fruit — the avocado!!

Check out this healthy living blogger famous recipe from Oh She Glows!

Creamy 15-Minute Avocado Pasta

  • 1 medium sized ripe Avocado, pitted
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced + lemon zest to garnish
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
  • ~1/4 cup Fresh Basil
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 servings/6 oz of your choice of pasta
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste 

Directions:

1. Bring several cups of water to a boil in a medium-sized pot. Add in your pasta, reduce heat to medium, and cook until Al Dente, about 8-10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, make the sauce by placing the garlic cloves, lemon juice, and olive oil into a food processor. Process until smooth. Now add in the pitted avocado, basil, and salt. Process until smooth and creamy.

3. When pasta is done cooking, drain and rinse in a strainer and place pasta into a large bowl. Pour on sauce and toss until fully combined. Garnish with lemon zest and black pepper. Serve immediately. Makes 2 servings.

Because I’m a huge cheater, I’ve been using ginger and basil in these little toothpaste tubes. Yeah. I bought it because I needed ginger for the channa masala, and I hate preparing ginger. It makes my hands smell so gross. And then they were 2/$7 so being the sucker that I am, I had to buy 2. Yeah, I said 2/$7. And we wonder why our grocery budget is always shot!! Actually, I bought these in 2011 because I figured we’d already ruined it for that year!! :) But it’s so convenient and truly wonderful. I would love to have a basil plant. Do you think they can grow in an apartment without any light? And I mean, zero light.

What fruits/vegetables did you eat today? Grapefruit, broccoli at lunch & dinner, green beans, avocado, and strawberries. Can’t believe I went a day without spinach!

Do you have an active or sedentary job? Man, I wish I would’ve had this Bodybugg when I taught music and P.E. Not to mention that my classroom was about a quarter of a mile away from the rest of the school which I had to walk several times a day!! I had it good!! :)

If you’re in the mood for avocado, try these avocado fries or maybe some stuffed alligator pears.