New toys

Today I’m pretty sure we used every new wedding gadget we’ve gotten.  Tim made delicious waffles in the waffle iron for breakfast, and I used the bread machine, crockpot and food processor with great success today. 

Meet Super Delicious Salsa Slow Cooker Chicken.

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Ugly, yes.  Delicious, yes.

I basically cobbled this together from various recipes I’d found online.  I dumped the following into the crockpot:

  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 small bag frozen corn
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 brick reduced fat cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 c. salsa (We used Pace Mild salsa, blended smooth in the Magic Bullet with a small container of Chipotle hot salsa—our favorite!  We are anti chunk.)

Then…you just let it peace out in the crockpot on low for about six hours, and serve over some brown rice.

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Southpaw was stalking Tim’s plate.  Super good and filling, and there’s enough leftovers for dinner tomorrow!

I also made this beauty today:

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We’ll call this…honey mixed nut butter.  Unless anyone else has a more creative idea.  Again, an easy recipe. 

Into the food processor went:

  • 1/4 c. salted peanuts
  • 1/4 c. macadamia nuts
  • 1/4 c. almonds
  • 1/4 c. pecans
  • 1/4 c. hazelnuts
  • 1 T. honey

Blend until smooth.  Easy peasy and delicious.

The nut butter will go on this:

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The loaf of honey wheat bread in the bread machine.  This will probably go in with Tim to work.  But I’m considering keeping it.  Hee.

Also today:  I did about 10 loads of laundry, vacuumed the entire house, cleaned the bathroom, and got the guest bedroom in a state where I WOULDN’T be embarrassed for people to see it.  Our house is finally starting to look like normal again.  I love it so.

And Tim did this!

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Wall mount wine rack!  (He also took my car for an oil change and returned a duplicate gift.  God bless him.)

I am currently decompressing with this.

0516 005 A glass of Gamay Rouge. 

Operation Break In Orthotics has not gone as well as I’d planned.  Mainly because it’s been POURING here.  I’ve tried.  I’m going to do my best to drag my lazy butt to the gym tomorrow after work and hopefully break them in with some run-walk intervals for awhile. 

Four days until we leave for the honeymoon!  I can’t wait!


Hi, guys.  Sorry no post last night–we just needed some unplugged couple time together.  (And red wine, and dark chocolate.)

Anyway, early yesterday I decreed it pajama day–all pajamas, all day long.  We played a lot of video games (Super Mario Galaxy on Wii for me, Assassin’s Creed on XBox for Tim), watched TV (the Soup, West Wing on DVD, Tivoed Gilmore Girls reruns), and I spent a particularly glorious hour reading in bed with a mug of hot chocolate with Milhouse and Buckley.  We made homemade pizza and a salad for dinner and it was yummy.

Today started out in perhaps the best possible way–Tim woke me up with homemade waffles!  He is really the expert on non-egg breakfasts around here, as his pancakes and waffles are really, really good, and mine always wind up awkward and half raw.  I had two, with a little maple syrup (way more than I intended because the spout was fast!) and almond butter.  And coffee.

I was planning on a run today, buuut my iPhone indicated that the temperature was a frosty -1 degree outside today.   I am hardcore, but negative digits are not my friend.  I’m taking the weekend off so I can be fresh for half mary training, which starts officially on Monday!  Whee.

Today’s plan involved a few random errands.  I had some checks to deposit, and we decided to get the wedding tuxes all squared away.  We ended up going to Men’s Wearhouse and picking out a simple, classic, two-button black tux with a white tuxedo shirt.  They only rent out clip-on bowties, which make me gag, so we are going to buy black silk bowties for the guys to wear.

We also got some groceries and had a late lunch at Panera.  We didn’t get much–oranges, bananas, pears, an onion, some potatoes, whole wheat flour, red wine (we’re cabernet junkies now), and soup (I’ve been on the I love soup train lately).

Plus, a few random protein bars I found on sale.

They were $.88 each, and at 280 calories and 20 grams of protein each, will be split in two, so $.44/serving.  For a protein bar, that’s practically unheard of!  Unfortunately I let my bargain hunter side take over and forgot to check for HFCS, and they do contain it.  Boo, hiss.  I’ll eat them, but I won’t re-buy.

Also, on New Year’s Eve, I went to Costco and stocked up on a few basics.  Tons of Chobani, a massive bag of dried cherries, 40 slices of cheese (oh yeah), shampoo, chicken breasts, and lean beef.  I also purchased the world’s largest box of oats.  (Are you in shock?  Me too.  I’m definitely a breakfast cookie junkie now, but you still won’t catch me eating hot oats in the morning!)

For scale, I needed a volunteer:

Oats > cat.

Anyway, after shopping, we went to a second mall so Tim could get one of his favorite dress shirts, then we went home.  Now we are planning on another chill night at home with the animals–I’m making a simple whole wheat pasta with chicken, olive oil, garlic, and parmesan for dinner, along with a green salad.  I’m attempting to master my mom’s perfect non-salad dressing vinegar and oil combo!  It’s heavenly and so good for you–it’s just olive oil, apple cider vinegar, oregano, fresh garlic, salt, and garlic powder, but it’s so hard to do it just like my mom does.  I’ll report back if I get it right tonight!

Have a great Saturday.  Don’t forget to enter my RoadID Giveaway!

A Country Thanksgiving

First things first–the winner of my Thankful Tee Giveaway!  Using the Random Integer Generator, the winner is (strangely enough) comment #1, which was made by Gwen!  Gwen, check your e-mail for details!

If you didn’t win, don’t fret!  Inkbox Design has been generous enough to offer 10% off any order to Fit Bride readers–just use the coupon code cake at checkout.  Thanks, Inkbox!

Anyway, brace yourselves.  This is going to be a long post!

My boss was kind enough to let us leave work at 3:00 on Wednesday, so we got on the road earlier than predicted.  We were traveling to T’s parents’ house for the holiday, and they live 4-5 hours away, so we had quite a long journey, which was only made longer when we saw a very scary accident on the road ahead of us.  We were delayed for about 45 minutes while tow trucks were brought in and they landed a helicopter to Medi-Vac someone to a hospital.  I was pretty freaked out–we were on pitch black, windy country roads and not a minute before we saw the accident I told T to be careful because it was so scary!

Luckily, we all made it in one piece and went to bed pretty immediately after arrival.  T’s parents have the most beautiful home.  It’s actually built into the side of a hill!  They’re pretty far out in the country (at least by my standards), so everything is beautiful and rustic and PEACEFUL.  I slept like I haven’t slept in months there because everything is so quiet and pitch black!  Here is the part of this post where I assault you with a million pictures of how gorgeous this place is:

On Thursday morning, I went to walk Milhouse in the front yard, and what did I find?

Oh hai.

Not to be outdone, we went and peeked over the backyard fence…llamas!

Did you know that llamas make a noise that sounds exactly like a dog barking?  Well, they do.

However, my favorite animals of the weekend were inside the house–T’s parents have three doggies that were fast friends with Milhouse!  (Well, mostly.)

A big yellow lab:

A medium-sized scruffy terrier:

And the teeniest bundle of energy I’ve ever seen (I couldn’t keep her still enough for long enough to take a good picture!)

She weighs probably four pounds.  Please note that she is barely larger than a kitchen tile!

T and I have been discussing guns a lot lately, and since I’d never shot one (or, really, seen one in person) he took me out in their back acreage to do a little target shooting.  I sampled four different guns (after receiving proper safety lessons from T and his father): a 12 gauge shotgun, a .40 caliber Glock, a .38 special, and a .22 pistol.  My favorite was the Glock.  Here are a few re-enactment photos, taken AFTER the gun was safely unloaded and the safety was on (we did this twice, so that’s why my outfits are different):

Shooting a gun was an interesting experience for me.  I was a little nervous at first, but as my aim got better it melted away and I felt very empowered.  T and his father are very knowledgeable about guns and hunting and I felt as though I learned from great teachers.  I am still uncertain as to my stance on guns politically speaking, but I feel much better know knowing that I can operate one and use it safely and relatively accurately.   But anyway, on to Thanksgiving dinner!  T’s mom set the table:

And then…the food!

Sorry, using my phone again.  I had:

  • lots of turkey
  • lots of mashed potatoes
  • a side salad
  • mac and cheese
  • stuffing
  • cranberry sauce

And a lot of this:

We brought the Chateau Ste. Michelle riesling, which we liked, and the Monogamy cabernet, which T didn’t have but I didn’t like.  (And there’s not many cabernets I don’t like!)  We finished dinner off with pumpkin pie (for everyone else) and chocolate crumb bars (for me!).  After dinner we collapsed and watched Into the Wild on TV.

On Friday, we did a little more shooting, and lounged around the house.  T helped his dad cut down a tree and cleaned out a closet, but I mostly sat around and read and took a nice long afternoon nap.  We ordered pizza for dinner, watched Casino Royale, and then played Scrabble!  (I won.)  After Scrabble, we watched Burn After Reading and eventually drifted off to bed.  All in all, I had a nice, quiet, relaxing Thanksgiving!

We got going around 9 this morning.  Milhouse pooped out in the car:

And, as soon as we got home, I decided the weather was too gorgeous to stay inside (it’s 65 degrees and not a cloud in the sky today!).  Since I didn’t work out at all Tuesday-Friday this week (oops), I wanted to do something, so I changed into my running clothes and ran 3.0 glorious miles in 29:00 around my neighborhood.  (And I reviewed a cool new product which I’ll tell you about tomorrow, most likely!)

Anyway, I hope you all had great Thanksgivings like I did!

Operation Beautiful: Feline edition

Erm, so, I’m running a 5K tomorrow.  Want to know my super awesome strategy?  Run real fast.

This is the first race all season where I’m setting a somewhat aggressive time goal.  Before, all my records were instant PRs because they were the first I’ve done in each distance–a 5K, an 8k, and a 4 miler.  This is my second 5k.  At my first 5K, I came in at 30:18 BUT the course setup was kind of crappy and it was actually 3.25 miles, not 3.1.  My goal for this 5K is to finish in under 30:00.  Full recap to come tomorrow!  Wish me luck!

Today was a lovely day.  We had an early lunch with my old friend Mary and her fiance Matt and sat around chatting for a long time.  It’s always so good to see my friends from college–we’re spread across the country so it’s generally pretty sporadic.  Hopefully I’ll see her again in a few weeks!  He is in the army and is stationed not too far from here, and KC is the closest airport, so she’ll be passing through on her way home.

Then I did a little shopping.  I generally wear either brown or black heels to work every day depending on my outfit.  Unfortunately, they are not exactly nice shoes and this week the leather on my brown ones ripped!  So, I replaced them:

I can’t find a pair of black heels I like that’s less than $140, unfortunately.  I might just spring for them–I wear them every day and hopefully a nice pair will last a long time.

I also picked up two Gap turtlenecks (my latest obsession–snuggly and soft but dressy enough for work) and my absolute favorite hand lotion:

Then I went to Target and picked up the fixins for Thanksgiving dinner.  We’re going to be with T’s family, and I arbitrarily decided to bake Chocolate Crumb Bars (I hate pumpkin pie) and Tillamook Bacon Beer Mac n’ Cheese.  These are absolutely not healthy recipes, but Thanksgiving isn’t a day for calorie counting.  I want to enjoy the day with family and relax!  One day is never going to make you gain ten pounds–it’s the big picture that matters.

We are also bringing wine!

In other “bored on a Saturday” news, we Operation Beautifulized Southpaw as we felt a little bad for commenting negatively on her weight lately.  (If you haven’t checked out Operation Beautiful yet, click the link and do so.  It’s a wonderful project that I’m happy to support!)  She was nonplussed.  And then Milhouse started eating the note, so we had to throw it away.

Tonight’s plans will involve more invitation printing!  Have a good one!


A productive Sunday

Since T and I spent all day yesterday doing fun stuff, today was all business!  (Still fun, though.)

First, I went grocery shopping, and to Petsmart.

Since I’m going to be traveling this week again for work (Chicago this time–home sweet home!  Yay.), I decided to get in a workout today.  (I don’t usually work out on weekends unless I’m running a race.)  I kind of wanted to go for a run outside, but it’s been POURING rain all day.  I’d go if it was sprinkling, but this was full out, chilly rain, and the roads were slippery and muddy.  No thanks!  Instead I spent 50 minutes with Jillian Michaels, doing her “No More Trouble Zones” DVD.

Tangent: I believe in lifting HEAVY weights and I do not believe in “toning” with light weights.  HOWEVER, I will enthusiastically recommend any of Jillian’s DVDs that use tiny 5 pound-ish weights.  Why?  Well, they all involve awesome compound moves that are great for your body, like squats, combined with smaller isolation exercises, like a tricep kickback.  The larger move, like the squat, will skyrocket your heart rate, with the added benefit of the smaller exercise making it a wee bit more challenging. I don’t consider these DVDs weightlifting–I consider them cardio exercise, and I view the light weights as just adding a little extra level of difficulty to the cardio.  So, they’re kind of like cardio plus, I suppose?  Nonetheless, I give every single DVD by Jillian Michaels 5 out of 5 stars, and I’m pretty sure I’ve done them all.   They are challenging, require minimal equipment, and are effective.  Most of her workouts can be broken into two shorter workouts as well, which I like.

Then, after lunch and a shower, I threw in a load of laundry and hit the kitchen.  First project?  Chicken Corn Chowder, which I first saw on Heather’s blog.  I borrowed the recipe pretty much verbatim from her and Cooking Light, except I used garlic instead of green onion.

I made this last year and T wasn’t a fan, but I liked it.  So, I made a batch to freeze, heat, and eat for easy lunches.  I will honestly say that this soup is good, but not great, but I love soup and it is great and healthy for lunch paired with a nice salad.  Mission accomplished!

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Tomorrow at work is our official Thanksgiving Dinner.  The university provides us with a turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese and everyone else brings in sides, desserts, and drinks.  I volunteered to bring a dessert, because I love nothing more than making baked goods…and then getting them out of my house.

Enter brownie balls, the cousin of the cake ball:

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Directions: make brownie mix and bake.  Crumble.  Mix with frosting.  Ball.  Freeze.  Dip in chocolate.  NOM.

Then, I decided to roast another chicken with some veggies.  I just love these–tomorrow’s dinner will be quesadillas with leftover chicken, Laughing cow cheese, and wraps, and T will take some for lunch.  I am a big fan of meals that can stretch and stretch into several!  This time I added not only potatoes and carrots, but sweet potatoes to the pan.  I don’t think it could hold another veggie if I tried!

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We are waiting for it to cook now with some Chateau Ste. Michelle cabernet sauvignon.  T and I recently discovered our love of cabernet, and so we are going to try to work on our wine knowledge without becoming snobs about it.  Next up is this bottle of Deep Purple red zinfandel!  Any suggestions for us?

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Needless to say, after all this cooking, I’m exhausted, but alas, I have piles of laundry to iron.   Sigh.

What are your favorite recipes that can be re-invented throughout the week?