To the Farmers’ Market We Shall Go!

Happy Sunday Runday! This morning I put in a great 6 mile run in the BEAUTIFUL weather.  After my run, I stopped down at the local Farmers’ Market held weekly on Sundays in Littleton, NH and I picked up the following goodies!

Nom!

Nom!

I got some purple beans, feta cheese (which is TOTALLY amazing), giant tomatoes, raspberry pepper jelly, and strawberry rhubarb topping.  I think that the raspberry pepper jelly and feta will be a wonderful combo. I’ve already tried it, as if I’d wait! It always feels good to shop local and to know you’re eating quality foods.  To find out if you have Farmer’s Markets in your area check with the National Farmers Market Directory!

Hope you’re having a great weekend!

Mood Boost Monday #1

Happy Monday!  Glad it’s almost over?  C’mon don’t be like that.  Just kidding – I know that Monday is a day that most people dread.

I literally watch that every Monday, no joke.  So okay, Monday bites, but there’s no way around it, however, until some genius out there creates a time machine where we can avoid them, we must face them.  Perhaps the best approach to facing Monday is to find something to boost your mood to help you get through it.  Today I decided to boost my mood by trying a new snack.  Seriously, food is a mood booster any day of the week.  I indulged in The Better Chip, which admittedly is a boastful name, but between you and me, it lives up to it.  I tried the Spinach & Kale variety and they were fab-u-lous.  In fact, my only negative opinions are that they are a tad too salty and that they are far too delicious to only eat one serving (approximately 10 chips).  If you’re a fan of either Spinach or Kale or both you absolutely will love these babies!

betterchip

You know what else boosted my Monday?  Deciding to lead an indoor cycling class at 6 pm.  Truthfully, at about 4 pm I didn’t know how I was going to pull it off, but I did and with a vengeance.   I feel better for it and I gave my group one hell of a workout.  If you can kill it on a bike for an hour on a Monday evening, you’re pretty badass!  I pushed them through a challenging ride with a kick ass playlist.

So after my class I came home to play catch with my pup, Maggie who also powered through a Sunday Runday with me yesterday and lived to meme it!

hot dog.

hot dog.

After a brief game of fetch and a nice shower I decided to refuel with a spicy black bean veggie burger with white cheddar cheese, tomato, and red onion on a stone ground wheat roll.  It really hit the spot …especially with another side of spinach & kale chips.

veggieburger

If you fill your Monday with something new and inspiring I promise it will lift you up through the rest of the week.  Try it, and I guarantee you’ll struggle to suffer with a “case of the Mondays” from here on out; I know it is now on my permanent “to do” list!

Until next time! ;)

 

Take This Burger and Stufz It!

What did you do this weekend?  I ruined my jeans, burned my face, and had indigestion.  I should probably explain myself.  Well, as I have mentioned before, I am a sucker for As Seen On TV products.  So, the other day, while I was walking through the drug store and saw the big sign overhead “As Seen On TV” and, well, I was sucked in!  I was just about to say there was nothing there to throw my money at and there it was …the Stufz Burger Press!  I do not eat burgers all that often and I truly did purchase this with the intention  of making veggie burgers with it, but I decided this weekend that I would try it out with beef and make a selection of gourmet burgers.

stufz

What is the Stufz Burger Press?

It is a round burger chamber that boasts it produces, “a perfectly stuffed and neatly sealed patty every time”.  Does it do this?  It can …if you do it properly.  This weekend I got together with my friend Gordon at Short & Hungry (amazingly hilarious food blog, by the way) to hit the grill and put the Stufz to the test!

How did it go?

Here’s the thing about As Seen on TV Products, they are usually what they claim to be, but you kinda have to follow the instructions.  I will say, in our defense, that the instructions that come with the Stufz are not the best for those who cannot follow instructions in the best of times (redundant, but makes my point.)  So, needless to say we were ready to give up on it until we decided to watch this youtube video on how to use it properly.  Once we figured it out, it actually does make a perfect and neat patty in the end.

What did we make?

Our burger menu included:

Mac n’ Cheese (Kraft Macaroni & Cheese)

Brie and Caramelized Onion

Toppings Stuffed (Relish, Ketchup, Mustard, and Cheese)

Potato Puff Stuffed (Alexia Crispy Seasoned Potato Puffs)

How well did they cook?

Well, as I stated in my Thursday post, I have not been grilling for long.  There are still a lot of, um, elements to grilling that I don’t get.  What may you ask?  Well like, if you’re cooking giant hamburgers filled with cheese you should probably back away from the grill once you open it.  Hence why I ruined my jeans and burned my face.  I’m okay, by the way, it was just a tiny spec of grease.  In fact the entire situation reminded me of the 30 Rock episode with the Tracy Jordan’s Meat Machine.  You know, the scene when the grease keeps leaping out and burning Kenneth.  So funny, well, until it’s happening to you!

How did they taste?

I’d love to say that each burger we made was amazing, but that was not the case.  The best one, hands down, was the potato puff stuffed burger.  Makes sense though, seeing as burgers and fries go together beautifully.  Coming in second would be the brie and caramelized onion burger – with that combination you really cannot go wrong.  In third place was the toppings stuffed burger – it was good, but really not much better than just using them on top.  So that leaves us with last place, which was a big bummer, the mac n’ cheese burger; it just didn’t do well with the Kraft variety, unfortunately.  Tips for improvement on the mac n’ cheese burger, anyone?

Tips for Stufz Success

One thing I have to stress is food safety.  Any time you are stuffing meat you have to be very mindful of cross-contamination.  Be sure to use new utensils each time you stuff the burger and to wear gloves as well.  Also, any food that you stuff inside the burger that requires cooking must be cooked before placing inside your burger meat. Nothing dampens a food experience more than making yourself sick.  That’s no fun!

The Overall Verdict?

For $9.99 the Stufz can add some fun to your next barbecue!

Happy eating!

 

 

Fixin’ to Grill

It’s Thursday.  It’s “all downhill from here” day, peeps!  I’m sure you can tell from my post title that I’m going to pay homage to foods cooked on the grill!  So you want to know what was all up in my George Foreman?  First of all, it wasn’t a George Foreman, but believe me, you’ll be hearing all about my love of his grilling devices in a future post!  For my dinner tonight I decided to grill left over veggies from the holiday weekend.  I grilled up some zucchini, summer squash, yellow pepper, radish, and red onion.   I created a mixture of chopped veggies as well as VEGGETTI sliced versions of the veggies – which I marinated in a little (I mean tiny) bit of olive oil, smoked paprika, salt, and black pepper — mm mm! Now, I am not putting this lightly when I say I am a fan of sweet potatoes.  I absolutely love them.  When I go to a restaurant and the waiter asks if I want “regular or sweet potato fries?” I respond a little something like this…

attachment (3)

Okay, so I’m a fan, you get it.  Funnily enough, I have never tried to grill a sweet potato, but I must admit, I have only been using a grill for about a year – so there’s a lot to more to explore!  For those of you out there cooking sweet potatoes on the regular, you know that unless you are microwaving them, they take a pretty long time to cook.  I thought I would take a stab (no pun intended) and throw them on the grill.  I started by cutting them in half but then decided to quarter them to make them shaped like a big sweet potato “skin”.  How did they turn out you might ask?  Fantastic!  Grilling a sweet potato is like eating sweet potato fries, but without all the deep fryer guilt.  I also decided to add a bit of tzatziki to my sweet potatoes, which I can’t take credit for; my sister, who is an avid vegetarian, turned me on to this combination and I’ve never looked back since.  Also worth mentioning, but I think I have some work to do, were the eggplant “fingers” I grilled.  They were a little bit too soggy for my liking as I think I may have gone overboard with the olive oil, but totally still delicious.

I also paired my veggies with some chicken cutlets and was ready to eat!  All in all a dinner which was healthy, tasty, and easy!  Also, clean up was pretty low-key which is always pretty awesome.  I am always excited to cook any time that does NOT include me having to also do a big clean-up.   My boyfriend has a sudsy future ahead of him, but in all fairness, he’ll be eatin’ well, so it’ll be all good!

purty foods.

purty foods.

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Hope your week is going well!

 

What did you eat today?

Favorite Things Tuesday (Food Edition)

Happy Tuesday!  It is happy, right?  Well, if not, find something to make it happy.  You know what makes me happy?  My favorite things!  Move over, Oprah, I like some good stuff too!  I’ve decided to throw together a blog post about some of my favorite things at the moment.  Some are new, and some I have mentioned before.

A few of my favorite things...

A few of my favorite things…

  1.  PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter.  This stuff is awesome.  It is dehydrated and pressed powdered peanut butter that you can use in smoothies, baked goods, and you can even make a lighter version of peanut butter by adding water.  It has 85% less fat than traditional peanut butter, but all of the taste and protein.
  2. Bob’s Red Mill Black Bean Soup Mix.  I simply cannot say enough to praise this stuff.  I absolutely love the ‘bountiful black bean soup’ recipe included on the package.  I have made it for friends and family over the last couple of years and it is a crowd pleaser even for the pickiest of eaters.  You can also use it in chili or to make black bean salad.  It is super duper delicious!
  3. Bob’s Red Mill Golden Flaxseeds — By now most people know the benefits of flaxseed, but in case you don’t here’s a few: Improved nutrient absorption, protects the heart from blood vessel inflammation, and lignans found in flaxseeds are known to convert bacteria to help with hormonal balance.
  4. BOOMCHICKAPOP Lightly Sweet Popcorn  – this stuff is my go-to snack of choice these days.  I LOVE me some kettle corn and this gives you all the flavor of the classic with a whole lot less fat and calories.  One cup of this popcorn is only 35 calories.  Perfecto!
  5. Mrs Renfro’s Mild Tomato Relish – Seeing as it is barbecue/grilling season this is a fantastic product to have on hand.  It’s delicious on hot dogs, burgers, salads, and even on a sweet potato (or baked potato).
  6. FlatOut Light Sundried Tomato Wraps – Again, with the Summer heat and barbecues on fire these wraps are great for housing burgers, hot dogs, chicken salad, or even to use on the grill to make a grilled veggie flatbread.  They are high in fiber and flavor and low in calories.  They also have them in non-flavored varieties.
  7. (Also #8) Chobani Blended Yogurt – Featured here, Orange Vanilla and the much praised Key Lime.  I absolutely love Chobani yogurts.  They are great for when you want something sweet and light or even to add to a smoothie, pie, or to mix with granola.

So there you have it!  Some of my favorite things.  This is just the tip of the iceberg, really, as I have so many things I love.  Stay tuned for more!

 

What are some of your favorite things?

xoxo

 

Nature, and Ice Cream, and Yoga. Oh my!

Happy (belated) 4th of July!  Hope your holiday weekend has been filled with good times and excellent weather!  I have been house/dog sitting in a beautiful, mountain house, enjoying the peace and quiet; it’s been a very nice time.  I was able to catch up on sleep, reading, Golden Girls dvds, and discovering the wonderment that is pistachio ice cream – believe it or not, I had never tried the stuff before in my life.  I’m going to be 34 in a few weeks; that’s a very long time to not have known how delicious pistachio ice cream is.  We all experience these moments though, don’t we?  Trying something for the first time and that incredible realization of the “OMG how have I lived?!” first bite.  Remarkably, I haven’t eaten an entire pint to make up for lost time …yet!

I know we just met ...but I think I love you.

I know we’ve just met, but
 …I think I love you.

Let’s touch more on the joy of getting away from it all.   I have been away from my phone signal, a (decent) Internet connection, and pretty much another human being for at least a few miles, and it’s been pretty fantastic!  I think it was just what I needed after the last month or so – just to have a mini hiatus.  Not that I don’t love my friends and family, but I think we all require some time on our own to reflect on things …or to look at pretty mountains and gardens with cute dogs running through them.

attachment (2)attachment (1)

Sadly, this will all be over tomorrow when it’s back to work, but for now I am enjoying the serenity.  I took a little break from my normal workout schedule as well, however I did do a hill sprint workout yesterday, which left my right hip a bit sore.  A fellow fitness instructor at the gym sent me this workout from the youtubes (sorry, I have to call it that, because it makes me laugh) and I think it is a really great post-run and basic Yoga workout, check it out!

I really must get more into Yoga.  I definitely need something to help calm me and help me work on my flexibility.  Flexibility is a very important factor when performing any exercise as it it increases your coordination and perfects your overall form.

So, I’m off to enjoy the rest of my Sunday afternoon in captivity.  Hope the rest of your holiday weekend is fantastic!

xoxo

A Muffin for Nuffin’ (Well, for under 200 calories, that is.)

I am honestly not sure where or how I come up with some of my concoctions, but sometimes I can think up something splendid and I totally run with it.  So the other day I was thinking I’d really love a muffin.  Like a squishy, carby, sweet, and savory muffin.   A muffin with chocolate and creaminess and maybe even to have this muffin toasted.  I could have jumped into my car and bought said craving from any nearby shop, but instead, I opened my mind …and literally every cupboard in my kitchen and discovered the following facts:

  1. Laughing Cow Swiss Cheese flavored cream cheese is the cat’s meow (or cow’s moo?)
  2. Mini dark chocolate chips have saved me from OD’ing on candy several times in the past month.

  3.  Lastly, English muffins, when toasted and topped with the two ingredients listed above, taste like a chocolate cheesecake muffin.

muffin

Yes, this is a fact; a wonderful and delicious fact.  The best part is this treat is under 200 calories and as far as I’m concerned fills the baked goods void better than most sugary, mock desserts on the market these days.

It’s fast, easy, and yummy.  Once you toast your muffin top with a wedge of laughing cow (or a tablespoon of light cream cheese), add ½ tablespoon of mini dark chocolate chips and blend with a knife!

Happy snacking!

xoxo

Workout Tunes I’m Lovin’ Friday

I’m really loving Florrie’s new EP “Sirens”! She is such a fun artist. I’ve been a fan for years and find her tunes to be super catchy, fun, and great to workout to. You can hear her entire library on Spotify, so if you’ve got an account, or generally don’t live under a music streaming service rock, check her out!

WIAW …Thursday!

Well, hello stranger!  I’ve been SO busy the past couple of weeks.   One of my best friends was in town and I was spending as much time as possible with her.  It’s always so nice to catch up with your closest friends, right?  The ones who really, really know you.

Word.

Word.

Now this week I am getting back to my routine, well, trying to at least!  A HUGE part of this is my eating.  Confession, I was off the rails for the better part of the month.  I actually feel like straying from the norm was good for me, and this is a big deal for me to have come to this realization.  Believe me, it’s hardly been the case most of my life!

Lately I’ve noticed on the Twitter that people are really into #WIAW (What I Ate Wednesday) so I thought, what better way to get back into the blogging groove than to impress (or bore) you with what I filled my boots with yesterday!

Breakfast

Breakfast has been exciting this week since I located Dorset Cereals granola in a local Ocean State Job Lots (come on, you know you love that place too!)  My boyfriend had some while I was visiting him in Scotland and I thought I would have to suffer separation anxiety from it like I do from basically all Cadbury products, but alas, I do not!     I stocked up on several boxes of different types of granola, but this week I tried their honey flavor, and it’s tres delish!  It’s got a blend of almonds, pecans, oats, pumpkin seeds, and the whole kitchen sink, really!  A serving size is 1/4 cup, which is 150 calories and 8 grams of fat, but it’s loaded with protein and low in sugar (which, by the way, is NOT corn syrup!)  Plus, the box is all cute and Britishy (word)?  Literal sad face; I so miss it there!

cereal

Lunch

I am trying to cut back on any unnecessary spending ( seriously, I’ve cut out my solar nail habit and all!)  I thought I could help save a few dollars this week by bringing my lunch to work with me.  I decided to buy a mix of things to throw together as a salad.  I LOVE chopped salads.  They are my fave, but nobody in my neck of the woods gets that concept — so I guess making my own salads is for the best!  My salad was a mix of spinach, raw slaw mixture (carrot, cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage), onion, sunflower seeds, and goat cheese.  For dressing I used Raspberry Merlot vinaigrette made by Bolthouse Farms.  I’m not bragging, but it was a pretty fantastic salad and I’ve been eating them all week for less than the price of one and a half trips to the salad bar!

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Dinner

I actually prepped for my dinner on Tuesday night by baking four medium sized sweet potatoes.  My creation was a sweet potato and green bean cold salad with honey mustard dressing.  This is a pretty quick, low stress salad.  The most work is really the fact that you have to bake the sweet potatoes and let them sit in the fridge for nearly 24 hours before chopping them, cold, to prepare the salad.  For the green beans, I steamed them while I was chopping the cold potatoes — don’t get in a tear just yet, I did rinse and cool them after!  I added the chopped cold sweet potato, cooled green beans, and a half a white onion into a bowl.  I then topped the entire salad with a 1/4 cup of honey mustard dressing.  I used my new fave Briannas Dijon Honey Mustard.  Add a pinch of salt and pepper and you’re ready to eat.  It’s high in fiber, vitamin A, iron, and delicious!

Cool salad...

Cool salad…

 

Dessert …oh yes, dessert!

My latest sweet tooth obsession has to be Chobani’s 2% Coconut Blended yogurt.  It is fabulous all by its lonesome, but my favorite thing to do is throw in a 1/2 tbsp of mini dark chocolate chips and a few sea salted almonds.  OMG, it’s like eating an almond joy — packed with much more nutrition.  Hey, who can’t rationalize this dessert?  This treat is packed with protein, healthy bacteria, antioxidants, potassium, and it’s freakin’ delicious.  If you’re a fan of coconut and chocolate, I highly recommend you give this lil’ treat a try!

Magically delicious!

Magically delicious!

So, there you have it!  What I ate Wednesday, as reported on Thursday.  Now that was some good eatin’!

TGIF tomorrow!

xoxo