It’s become a nice tradition for hubby and I to get up Sunday morning and head to Memorial Causeway to run over the bridge. Last week, we changed it up and went over the whole causeway to the beach and then turn around and head back. We ran a good bit of it with walk breaks. This morning hubby had the brilliant idea that when we got over to the beach, we would take our shoes off and walk the beach for a bit before we head back over. I used to be such a beach girl so I was all over this and loved him for thinking of it.
I took this amazing shot of the Clearwater from the walkway leading up to the bridge…. I am currently obsessed with the panoramic feature on my iPhone.
Our run started at the beginning of the Memorial Bridge and it was my goal to run the first mile before I took a walk break. Hubby runs ahead of me (darn my short legs!) but I knew I would catch up to him at some point if he took a walk break. Up and over the bridge was great and the first mile was done. I didn’t want to stop, I didn’t need to stop. I kept running. And I ran over the the entire causeway all the way to the beach. My Garmin said 2.15 so I ran a full 2 miles without stopping. I can’t believe it did it and it felt so amazing.
The beach was not busy yet… We took our shoes off and walked on the soft cool sand for a mile. We have the best sand here in Clearwater Beach. The beach is so pretty here and I once again asked hubby why don’t we ever go?!?! We need to! Look at this view….
They have the sugar sand festival going on still and we saw some of the sculptures on our walk back towards the pier. Amazing! And of course I had to have my picture taken with the dolphin, everyone knows how much I love dolphins.
And then we were back to the round-about and it was time to head back over the causeway. I told hubby I was going to see if I could run back over the entire distance again. And I did it. Today was one of those days where everything clicked and felt right and I ran my heart out, without stopping. I felt great the entire time, even running back up the bridge. Hubby snapped a picture of me while I was running…. I think he might be just a little proud of me, one of my biggest supporters.
I ran the exact same distance headed back over, 2.15 and did it faster than the first time over. I was well within my half marathon pace the entire time, even a little faster at some points.
Another thing that made this run nice… I didn’t have any music. I have always had music when I run, except when hubby and I go out because we can chit chat along the way if we’re keeping the same pace. We weren’t together for much of my run and it was just me and my breath. I think it made a big difference.
Best run ever… It’s the kind of run that makes me really look forward to the next, the kind that reminds me why I love it so much. Running is my way of getting out of my own head and all the worries and stressors that I have for that small bit of time. And it reminds me that anything is possible with hard work and dedication. Anything.
Do you run with music or without? What makes for a great run for you?
Yesterday we celebrated my brother Nick’s 31st birthday at their house. As always, Nick and Jenna had a great dinner for all of us, and it was a nice afternoon. What more could you ask for on a Sunday afternoon than great family, Scrabble, silliness, a hedgehog named Freddie, cute kiddos, ice cold beer, and delicious Italian food? Sounds pretty perfect to me.
Would you believe I forgot to take pictures of dinner? Bad blogger!! We had salad, lasagna, and garlic bread. I was in carb overload and enjoyed every bite of it! And there was birthday cake. Yum!
Our day in pictures….
Happy birthday Nick! We enjoyed celebrating with you!
It’s been quite awhile since I’ve spent so much time in the kitchen. Our weekends seem to be busier and busier each month. While I’ve been really good about getting snacks ready for each week, yesterday was all about grocery shopping, snacks, planning meals, and making a great new-to-us dinner.
Hubby and I went to the store yesterday morning right when they opened. We are fortunate to live literally up the street from our favorite grocery store, Publix. I have a love/hate relationship with grocery shopping, so I prefer to do it in the morning before it gets busy. So, list in hand, and the recipe I wanted to make for dinner, we went shopping and were home in an hour. Not too bad.
The recipe I made was taken from Skinnytaste, a favorite site of mine for low fat recipes. And as a bonus, they include Weight Watchers points plus values, and the pictures of the foods are always amazing. I saw this recipe awhile ago and had it on my cookbook rack and yesterday was the day we would try it.
Here is the recipe directly from Skinnytaste…
Slow Cooked Pork Carnitas (Mexican Pulled Pork)
Gina’s Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: 8 • Serving Size: 4 oz (1/2 cup) • Old Points: 4 pts • Points+: 4 pts
Calories:176 • Fat: 7.7g • Protein: 25.8 g • Carb: 1.3 g • Fiber: 0.1 g
- 2.5 lb pork shoulder blade roast, lean, all fat removed (I used Smithfield)
- 6 cloves garlic, cut into sliver
- dry adobo seasoning (I used Goya)
- garlic powder
- 3/4 cup 99% fat free chicken broth
- 2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce(to taste)
- 2 bay leaves
Season pork with salt and pepper. In a medium sauté pan on medium-high heat, brow npork on all sides for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Using a sharp knife, insert blade into pork, cutting small holes and insert garlic slivers. Season pork generously with cumin, adoboand garlic powder all over.
Pour chicken broth in the crockpot, add bay leaves and chipotle peppers. Place pork in crock pot and cover. Cook low for 8 hours. After 8 hours, shred pork using two forks and combine well with the juices that accumulated at the bottom. Remove bay leaves and adjust salt and cumin (you will probably need to add more). Let it cook another 15-30 minutes.
I could not find a shoulder blade roast, so I asked the butcher at the store and they suggested a boneless Boston butt roast. I cut most of the fat off, but I left some of it on for flavor and extra juiciness. Here is the pork when I put it in the slow cooker, ready to cook….
And here is how amazing it came out, all pretty on a whole wheat tortilla with black beans and avocado….
It was super easy to make! It had a nice little kick to it and was very filling. Hubby liked it too, which surprised me with the little kick. We have enough left over for lunch tomorrow and then some.
I also spent about 2 hours getting snacks and such ready for the week. The less I have to do in the morning to get ready, the better. Any time I spend on the weekend to make my mornings easier is always a bonus and absolutely worth it. I cleaned,cut, and bagged celery sticks. I bagged baby carrots. I mixed a bag each of Italian salad blend and baby spinach and made up 3 containers, ready to go. I just have to add whatever veggies I want each day. For hubby, I cut up fresh strawberries and put them in single serving containers. I also made hard boiled eggs and peeled them. They are great for a snack or as a topping on a salad. Protein! I even went a step further and made part of tonight’s dinner so I would have one less thing to do. Who else out there likes a well stocked refrigerator?
And for dessert, I made pineapple cake. We’ve had this several times in the last month, so it’s definitely a favorite in our house. It’s literally the world’s easiest recipe with just two ingredients, one that I got from WW years ago when I first joined.
- Box of angel food cake mix
- 1 can crushed pineapple (in juice NOT heavy syrup)
Put cake mix in large bowl, add can of pineapple, and mix. Bake in a 9×13 cake pan for 38-40 minutes.
That’s it! Super simple! I actually like to make mine in a disposable foil tray, for some reason it cooks better than in my metal cake pan. If you’re following WW, it’s 2 points plus value for a 2×2 piece. You can have 3 tbsp. of fat free Cool Whip on it for no additional points. You know you want to try this….
And because I just have to, here is a picture of my sweet boy Blue… This sweet face was laying right next to me as I was reading yesterday afternoon. Sometimes I just cannot stand the cuteness!
I hope you all have a great week!
How much time do you spend prepping foods for the week? What is your favorite go-to snack?
I think we need to have longer weekends, how about you? It seems that the weekdays drag on and on and once Friday afternoon gets here, it fast forwards to Monday. I don’t like that. But alas, this past weekend was great while it lasted and I guess that’s all I can ask for.
I headed up to the mall at lunch time on Saturday to meet my sister-in-law Jenna, cutie-pie niece Autumn, my mom, and Bea. Bea is my dad’s cousin’s wife and they spend January – March(ish) here in Florida. We love it when they are here! The plan was for all of us to have lunch at Red Robin and then Jenna and I would go for some much needed pampering. A mani/pedi to be exact. But first… Lunch! Red Robin. Yum. This was to be my first time eating there where I was not going to cave and have the ginormous mushroom burger, fries, and coleslaw. I was a good girl after my WW meeting in the morning and went online to decide what I could have that wouldn’t kill my points for the day. So, going in I knew what I was ordering. I’m telling you, that’s the way to go. Know what you want and then there is no going back on forth on everything and you’re less likely to cave and order something really high in points. I ordered a garden salad, balsamic vinaigrette on the side, and a cup of chicken tortilla soup. I took the sour cream and cheese off the top as I forgot to ask them to leave it off. And I had ice water with lemon. It hit the spot, all for 9 points. Not awful. The best part? Sitting across from this cute face… I’m not lying when I say she is THE cutest niece ever. EVER.
After lunch, we headed to the nail salon. I was entertained by Jenna’s excitement and giggles as we sat in our comfy chairs and got ready for our pedicures. I’ve had them for years and yes, I am extremely ticklish. I told her that she would love it. Yes, it would tickle, but just for a minute, and the wonderfulness of it all would make her forget about the ticklish part. Needless to say, there were a lot of giggles and laughter. Did she love it? Yes! Welcome to the dark side, Jenna!
I can’t tell you how bad I needed a pedicure. My feet were begging for some TLC, and they got it. We both chose the same color, Opi Skyfall, I always seem to pick the dark red / burgundy colors for my toes (Opi Malaga Wine is also a favorite) and this was perfect. See how happy my toes were? Bliss!
We also had manicures. Jenna had a French manicure which came out beautifully – I should have taken a picture. I opted for clear as my nails are still growing. I am a nail biter and if my cuticles are out of control, I bite more. Don’t judge me… I am so happy with my manicure and clean cuticles and soft hands, now I won’t mess with them and they will grow.
We walked around the mall for a bit afterwards. Jenna and I grabbed a Starbucks (yes, I cheated on my Keurig!). One a week isn’t bad. We both tried the new Vanilla Spice Latte, with soy milk of course. It was very good – the vanilla is very subtle. And I love soy milk in all coffee drinks – it makes them so smooth and creamy. Hello, old friend….
My mom and Autumn had Dairy Queen and we sat around chit chatting for a bit. A great way to spend a cool Saturday afternoon!
See my hair in the picture with Autumn? it’s getting crazy long. I may have to cut it soon because when it gets this long, it has a mind of it’s own and I can’t deal with it.
I headed home after our mall fun and before I knew it, it was time for hubby and I to go out to dinner with our friend Rachel. She plays paintball with hubby and she is a trip. Five minutes with her and you are laughing your butt off. It was a great dinner, and I stayed on point again. Go me! Salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing, broiled tilapia with broccoli and asparagus, one biscuit, and a glass of wine. A very filling dinner and the biscuit was a nice treat. After dinner and a lot of laughter, we headed home. For dessert, I had a slice of the pineapple cake I made last week with some fat free Cool Whip. Hubby loves it too – score!
Sunday morning after hubby headed out to play paintball, I put on my running shoes and headed to the park for a run. I intended to go to a 90-minute Power Hot Yoga class but I was slightly scared, plus I had not run since last weekend at the Glow Run and I keep thinking about the 3 races I have coming up next month. I had a great run. I tried not to look at my Garmin during and went with what felt right. I alternated running and walking (I like to go from sign to sign, tree to tree, etc… Keeps my heart rate up!) for the whole time. I know the exact route I have to take to hit 3.11 miles so I know when I’m done. I finished with a solid 42:59. Not too shabby for this girl. Despite the cool morning, I was soaked when I was done. It was a great run (but I MUST get back to yoga this week!!!).
After my run, I headed home for breakfast. I was starving! I don’t like to eat before my run (unless it’s a long one) so I was ready for food. I made scrambled eggs with fresh diced tomatoes, onions, and mushrooms with basil, and a cup of coffee. My favorite coffee right now? Green Mountain Limited Edition Golden French Toast. It is so good! When it’s brewing it smells like maple syrup. So good. And it’s not too sweet, it’s just the perfect flavor.
After breakfast and some blogging, I headed to the store. I make noise about grocery shopping but I actually do like it because I enjoy starting the week off prepared. Nothing sends me into a tailspin faster than when we have no meals planned for the week. I have to be prepared. I spent about an hour at the store, but we are set for the week for lunches, dinners, and snacks. I even put celery and carrots in snack bags and cut up strawberries for hubby. The topic last week at WW was all about your refrigerator and being prepared. No convincing needed on my part, I know how important it is. When we don’t have food on hand to cook, that’s when I cave and want to pick up take-out or order a pizza. Right now, I just can’t do that. Our refrigerator is ready for this week! Chicken, turkey sausage, and lots of fruits and veggies. YUM!!
The rest of Sunday was spent cleaning the bathroom (the worst thing ever), laundry, a quick nap, more blogging, and spending time with Blue and Ozzie. They love days when I am home, there’s a lot of snuggling and snoozing and cuteness. Blue is doing much much better and today he will stay home after going everywhere with me last week to keep an eye on him. He still has a few days of meds left and is still eating chicken and rice, but he’s Mr. Saucy Pants again and that’s how we know he’s feeling good. By the way, you should pop on over to hubby’s blog and read his post about Blue and Ozzie, appropriately titled Crazy and Lazy.
I hope you all have a great week!!
What foods do you keep in your refrigerator for go-to snacks? How often do you grocery shop?
This morning I want to share recipe that I tried on Friday night. I had chicken that I either needed to use or freeze, and some veggies that I needed to use as well. I decided to throw it altogether and see what happens. What happened was a delicious meal, one that hubby went back for seconds for!
The ingredients were so simple, and cheap.
1 pack of boneless skinless chicken thighs
6 red potatoes
1/4 white onion
1 can fat-free chicken broth
Seasonings (I use celery salt, pepper, garlic powder)
Quarter the potatoes, leave skins on. If they are bigger, you may need to cut them smaller. Slice the onion into strips. Place all in large baking dish. Add chicken broth and add seasonings.
Bake in oven for 50 minutes on 350 degrees. Your house will smell wonderful while it is cooking. I checked the potatoes with a fork to know when it was done.
We normally eat a lot of chicken breast, and you could easily use that instead of chicken thighs. But, I think chicken thighs are much more tender. This was really good. I love throwing ingredients together and finding another easy, inexpensive meal to make. You could easily put this altogether in the morning and throw in the oven when you get home. Or… You could cook it in a crockpot. Now I just need to come up with a name for it…
I also found a new treat this week at the store. I had recently seen a picture on Instagram from a fellow blogger (BocaFrau) and made a mental note that I need to find it. It was a picture of Pepperidge Farm Pumpkin Spice Bread. When I was at Publix the other day, I had pumpkin on the brain and remembered the bread. I was so excited to see that they had it (along with other yummy flavors but I wanted pumpkin). Rather than wait till breakfast the next morning to have it, of course I had to try it when I got home.
It has a wonderful cinnamon aroma and just the right amount of pumpkin flavor. It’s a winner!
Do you have any easy recipes that you’ve created from ingredients you already have?