2 October Challenges, family visits + I can’t stop eating M&Ms

Couple things to talk about today…the most interesting might be that I physically cannot stop eating M&Ms.  Like seriously impossible.  My mom gave me a bag of the minis which she said we were suppose to save and give out as Halloween Candy (um, have you met me and my sweet tooth) and I wasn’t going to open them I swear, but I got snacky on the car ride home from Olympia and well, pretty much I’ve done nothing but dive into the bags ever since.

And while eating all that candy wasn’t good I’d like to think of it as my last hoorah before October challenge number one starts tomorrow.  Challenge one = no sugar.  One of the pilates teachers and the Zumba teacher at the gym are giving up sugar and I’m joining in.  They’re following this 21 day detox plan which includes both sugar and alcohol and I’m sure a couple other things that you can find in the guide.  I haven’t gotten the guide and I don’t know how closely I’ll follow the alcohol plan because cutting out sugar is enough.  And we’re not talking natural sugar, we’re talking sweets – candy, cookies, M&Ms’ etc.  Last weekend I told my grandma I was going to give up candy starting last Monday and I did good until the weekend when I blew it on some delicious banana, oatmeal, chocolate chip cookies that Chris’ grandma made me so hopefully a new month will give me that push to really make it happen.  Let me know if you want to join me, I could definitely use the support.

October challenge number two is a fun little contest I found here. It’s called the Rocktober challenge and basically every day there’s a fitness/healthy challenge that you need to do and take a picture of and then tweet it to @MichelleLMyers.  Tomorrow is “athletic shoes.”  Easy.  I looked at the rest of the month and they’re pretty fun – wall sit, favorite nut butter, fitness quote that inspires you…Oh and best part, you are entered to win prizes if you complete the whole month.

And now, the actual reason I started this post, the recap of my weekend.  We went up to Seattle to watch my Washington State Cougars take on the Oregon Ducks.  I knew it was going to be a blow-out so I didn’t have very high expectations but surprisingly the Cougs held their own for the first half before stinking it up big time in the second.

And because we like to pack in as many things and people as possible, we hung out with Chris’ grandma and cousin on Saturday where beyond just feeding us delicious cookies made a tasty lunch of grilled turkey, grain salad, fresh from the garden tomatoes and avocados.

We also hung out with my dad, step-mom and sister.

And on the way home this afternoon we stopped in Olympia and had lunch with my mom, brother and grandma at Red Robin (and it was delicious – the whiskey river BBQ chicken wrap with honey mustard for the fries in one of my most favorite meals).

And now that I’ve written a novel it’s time to go.  Revenge is on!

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Happy Saturday

Happy Saturday my friends. Hoping you have some fun things planned today? I will be at the WSU v Oregon game where I will be watching my Cougs get crushed by the Ducks. They’re predicted to lose by 28 points. Yikes.

On the trip up to Seattle Chris and I played one of our favorite car games – name that 80’s or 90’s tune. You have to guess the artist, title and year of the song. Trust me. It makes car rides fly by.

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We stopped in Olympia and saw my brother on the way up. Loved hanging out with him. I don’t get to see him nearly enough. Also in Olympia we saw a gorgeous sunset.

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When we got to Seattle I chatted with my sister and got stressed out about the youth of America. She is 11 and receiving texts from stalkerish boy who calls her sexy and goes to school with a group of girls who call themselves the “sexy 7.” Do I really want to have kids? (Note – my sister does not participate in any if this “sexy” calling thank goodness).

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I also stayed up way too late watching Eight Below, the movie with Paul Walker and these amazing dogs in Antarctica. If you like dogs you should watch it. Totally tugs at your heart.

With that, I’m off to start my day but wanted to leave you with a quote I saw on Facebook.

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Adios.

Spicy chicken tomato cream sauce over broccoli

Wait, what is going on here? Someone is blogging about her day the day it actually happened? Like for real, on an actual computer? Pinch me I must be dreaming.

And what great things do I have to share with you today? How about a little twist on a classic? Like I’ve mentioned here before, Chris looooves pasta. If it were up to him, we would have some sort of penne pasta every night (or maybe bean and cheese burritos). And tonight was no exception. I needed to use up some of the last tomatoes from our yard and had chicken thawed from earlier in the week (note – we buy organic chicken breasts from Costco but I split each breast in two. They are gigantic). So of course, we had pasta. I pretty much followed this spicy shrimp pasta recipe, tweaking things ever so slightly.

I chopped up 2 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Sautéed them in olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes.

Then I chopped up a bunch of smallish tomatoes (probably 8-10).

Then I added said tomatoes to chicken (and sprinkled in more garlic and flakes).

I stirred that around on medium heat for 5ish minutes. The sauce will start to thicken just a bit.

Then I added in goat cheese (about half of a container) and about 1/4 cup non-fat, plain greek yogurt.

I poured it over noodles for Chris.

And steamed broccoli for me.

Don’t forget to top with sriracha.

Lemme tell you, this meal was delicious. I’ve been trying to tone back my noodle intake but it’s been hard since Chris loves them so much and tonight’s dinner proved a great solution. Besides steaming the broccoli, this wasn’t any more work than making one big batch of pasta and I felt so much better about what I was eating. Highly recommend it.

In other news, I have become obsessed with the gym stepmills. I’ve always loved these machines but they hurt my knees. I hopped on one the other day to test things out and at I realized that the machines store all the other people’s workouts. You hop on and you can see the weekly average and highest “score” (stairs and calories). Um, are you kidding me? Amazing. I did 30 minutes on one Tuesday and got the 2nd highest score (you can actually enter your name into the machine) and then today did 28 minutes and climbed 130 floors to take the top spot. I am a dork. And also my knees hurt. Clearly I cannot continue this.

Um ok, now it’s time to watch Grey’s. They totally jumped the shark last season…hello plane crash? But I’m too invested in it to quit watching. Hope you had a great night and happy Friday.

Tuesday thoughts

Ok, so I had grand plans of sitting down and actually writing a decent post – you know, one with actual content and quality pictures. I have a great pumpkin smoothie to share… But then I got side tracked trying to transfer files from my old PC to my new Mac. My mom needs a laptop so I’m giving her my old one but before that happens I need to get everything off of it. Kind of a nightmare is all I can say. Luckily I seem to have found a solution. Cross your fingers.

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Dinner was Chris’ favorite chicken penne pasta which is not mine. Even though I was the original creator of this recipe it’s too blah for me. But the way to man’s heart is through his stomach right? So I pick my battles :) And since I knew I wasn’t going to love dinner, I made myself a tasty little appetizer…a bowl of brussels sprouts. I LOVE the b sprouts. And tonight I just steam/sautéed them in some chicken broth with salt/pepper/garlic. I was so excited to eat them that I burned my tongue.

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Speaking of tongues, something that was delicious on mine were plums from our yard. This is the first year our tree has produced legitimate fruit. If anyone has any great recipes that include plums, send them my way. I’m thinking some sort of plum sauce with pork or chicken?

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And last but not least – my workout. I ran 4.5 miles and it was glorious. Somehow the weather continues to cooperate and I was able to spend my lunch hour running in the sunshine. I had zero knee pain while running but unfortunately I have a little right now so I’m going to whip out my ice cups and give my knees a good freeze while we watch some shows.

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I love that we’re finally getting new stuff on TV…Parks & Rec, New Girl, Parenthood. Any new shows you’re getting super excited about or can ready recommend? I haven’t watched anything new to me yet but I can’t wait for Nashville.

And I’m out. Hope you all have good Wednesdays.

Whirlwind

I feel like this last week has been one big whirlwind. Pendleton, Hood River, home and a last-minute trip to the beach. On top of all of that I got some (really good) work news which still feels a little surreal. All in all, life is pretty incredible right now and I’m just trying to soak it all in and appreciate the goodness of it all.

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Pumpkin Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Muffins

Like I mentioned here I procrastinated yesterday and baked instead of being productive.  Well, good thing I did because these muffins were worth it.  You know what else was worth it?  Being home and able to take pictures in perfect light.

And now for the recipe.  I started with Tina’s Pumpkin Walnut Paleo muffins and then subtracted a few things (almond butter) and added in a few things (cream cheese).

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Cream-Cheese Muffins
Makes 12

Ingredients

  • 2 cups almond flour/meal
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter ( I used Justin’s Honey PB)
  • 1/2 cup honey + 1 tablespoon for filling
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 oz light cream cheese

Directions
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix pumpkin, almond flour, eggs, PB, 1/2 cup honey, baking powder, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and salt together.  Fill greased muffin tins halfway full with muffin mixture.  Set remaining mixture aside.  Mix cream cheese and remaining honey together.  Add a dollop of cream cheese mix to muffin tins.  Top off muffin tins with remaining batter. Bake for 32 – 35 minutes.

Questions?

I could never be a housewife

I’m off work this week and had grand plans to accomplish a bunch of things I never got to this summer – cleaning closets, organizing the gym etc. And today, I had a rather large list of things I was hoping to check off. And yet somehow it’s 2:17 and nearly none of those have been accomplished.

Except one.

So that’s good I guess.

And now, while I still have the opportunity to be productive I’m sitting here waiting for some delicious smelling things to be done in the oven. Because of course the logical thing to do when you have a million tasks to accomplish is to bake pumpkin peanut butter cream-cheese filled muffins. Duh.

So the lesson we have learned here today friends is that I could never be a stay-at-home housewife. I would have the dirtiest house ever, my husband would not arrive to a home-cooked meal, and I’d weigh a million pounds.

But he would have muffins.

And speaking of my husband, he is amazing. Because of some work stuff we celebrated our anniversary at home last week which I completely enjoyed. As long as we’re together on 9/11 I don’t care what we do. Except he did. He decided to surprise me with a night in Hood River after we got back from the rodeo. It was perfect. And I have tons of pics to share but downloading and editing them are on my list of things that have not been accomplished.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with one of my favorites.

And that’s all I have for you today.

Things I am jazzed about

Can you tell I’ve been busy at night enjoying our glorious weather that seems to be never-ending?  Instead of trying new recipes, taking pictures or talking about my workouts we’ve been celebrating our anniversary, meeting friends downtown for dinner, going on long walks and eating Chipotle.  Ahhh the life.  And the best part, it looks like the sun is going to stick around at least for another week which is even better because I’ll be able to lay out all day and enjoy it.

“How?”  You ask?

Because this gal is taking a vacation.  Except not really.  I just have tons of time off saved up. So much that if I don’t use it I’ll lose it so I took all of next week off.  Chris and I might go to the beach for a couple of days or we might not.  And on the days he has to go to work and I don’t, I’ll be laying out on the deck.  Soaking up those fleeting summer rays.  Can’t wait.

You know what else I can’t wait for?  The rodeo!  Tomorrow AM we’re heading to Pendleton, OR to catch the finals of the Pendleton Round Up.  We’ve never been to this rodeo and I’m super excited.  As long as I can find a cute dress to wear…that’s my after-work mission.

To match these boots.

But first I have to get through the rest of today.  A couple of meetings, a workout, the Coug game.

And while we’re on the topic of workouts, it has been a pretty good week on that front.  Pilates + cardio Monday and Wednesday, circuit workout + cardio Tuesday, and yesterday I went for a 4 mile run outside.  The best part – my knees didn’t hurt on the run, after it or this morning.

Alright, I feel like this post has been random enough so I better get a move on.  But, I will leave you with one of my favorite photos from Tuesday’s 2 year anniversary photo session (and by photo session I mean me strategically setting the camera on the deck and running back and forth between auto-timed shots).  Chance dog was so excited for me to be in the pic that he full-on licked my face.  That guy.

Hope you all have good weekends.

2 favorite weight circuits

Lately I’ve been loving myself some free-weight circuits.  Now that my knees are finally feeling better (clearly they are glad I didn’t run Hood to Coast even though I was not) I’ve been doing some sort of circuit at least two times a week…on a non pilates reformer day.  I have yet to do a circuit and then pilates back-to-back so we’ll see how sore I am.  Tomorrow will be the big test.

On circuit days I usually go straight to the weights area and grab a bench.  Typically these take me about a half an hour and then I follow-up with 30 minutes of cardio.  Last week I did 30 minutes of cardio intervals where today I just did 15 minutes on the rowing machine followed by a leisurely 15 minute bike-ride while reading a magazine.

Side note – my fave lady Jillian used to say you could never read a magazine while on a cardio machine at the gym but in the newest issue of Shape (or Self…) she changed her tune.  She said now that she’s a mom, she’s had to become all about multi-tasking and can often be found returning emails while getting her cardio in.  And while we’re on the topic of Jillian.  How excited are you that she’s coming back to the Biggest Loser?  I seriously can’t wait.

Ok and now onto the circuits.  Both get your legs where the 1st one focuses a little more on back and biceps where the 2nd focused a little more on chest.  When using the Bosu, I stood and did my push-ups with the dome-side down.  These are also great at-home workouts even if you don’t have a bosu or bench :)

Any questions?  Thoughts on these?  Do you guys like doing circuits with free-weights?  I could spend hours in the gym doing them.  I am a gym dork.

2 years

When you’re little, you dream about meeting your prince charming.  And how he’ll come riding in on his white horse,  sweeping you off your feet.  You dream about the day you’ll marry him, wearing a beautiful white ball gown, becoming his princess.  And how you’ll live happily ever after.  In a castle. 

Meet my prince.

He’s made my life better than any fairy tale.

He’s made it perfect.

He’s my best friend.

And two years ago, on the best day of my life, I became his wife.

On a beautiful day at the Oregon Coast.

Surrounded by all our family.

And our friends.

We toasted.

And laughed.

And cried.

And danced.

Lots of dancing.

And we enjoyed every single moment.

Thank you Chris, for marrying me.  And making me the happiest girl in the entire world.  I can’t wait to re-live this day with you for many more years to come.

I love you.