Beet brownies

So the last time we were at Costco I told Chris I HAD to have the party sized box of pre-steamed baby beets.  He told me it was an impulse purchase.  I told him he was wrong.  I’d eat all the beets in my lunches.

Um, that’s a lot of beets.  After going through a couple of packs I was beeted out.

So I did what any normal internet-loving lady would do.  I turned them into dessert.

Beet Brownies
Recipe from here.

  • 6-8ish pre-steamed baby beets (or real beets that you cook 1st)
  • ¾ cup honey
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease an 8×8 pan (I use olive oil in my mister). Mix everything up in a food processor.

Pour into the pan (lick the bowl too till its spotless because the batter is amazing). Bake for 45 minutes.

Let cool.  Eat.

Update – I tossed the extra brownies in the freezer (to prevent myself from scarfing them all at once) and turns out they are amazing frozen!  They taste sort of like a spicy cinnamon fudgesicle. 

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Fall days + Butternut squash sweet potato soup

So this past week has been awful…well, really just on the healthy eating/working out front.  Work is good, friends are good, life is good.  I just somehow can’t seem to pull myself together and get back on track in regards to all things fitness.  It sucks.  It’s hard for me.  It drives me crazy that I can’t focus on being fit right now and I HATE the number I see on the scale and the fact that my muscles aren’t where I want them to be.  But right now, I swear all my brain power goes to learning new things at my job and loving my husband.  Oh and I’m sick.  So there.  Poor me.

But since there’s no use crying over spilled milkshake I decided to embrace this rainy fall day and make some soup.  And not workout.  And lay around on the couch.  It’s been nice.

Butternut Squash + Sweet Potato soup

  • 6 cups butternut squash cubed (I used TJs)
  • 3 cups cubed sweet potato
  • 1 granny smith apple peeled and chopped
  • 6 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in a crock pot on low for 6 hours and then transfer to a food processor to blend.  You could also use an immersion blender (I don’t have one but today made me realize it’s a great item for my Christmas list…hint hint to any of my family members that might be reading this).  I also added in a little more coconut milk as I was blending because I had to make this in batches so the liquid was a bit off.

The soup was super easy to make, my house smelled like Thanksgiving and it hit the spot for dinner on this rainy day.  I packed the rest up for lunches this week and I’m thinking about cooking up some bacon to sprinkle on top for some extra protein.
Because I fully intent to pull it together this week.  Good workouts, good eats and no sugar.

Hope it happens.

Turkey Mac

So I just opened up my pictures folder and found pictures to a dinner that I never talked about on here.  What the heck?  That’s what being busy will do to a girl.

So without further delay, here is a quick and easy, tasty dinner using some of my last summer tomatoes…cue the violins.

Turkey Mac
Inspired by this recipe

While approximately half a box of whole wheat penne noodles were boiling, I cooked up half of a container/package (?) of ground turkey breast (seasoned with garlic, red pepper flakes and taco seasoning).  When that was almost done cooking I added in about 6 medium-sized freshly grown tomatoes and half of a can of corn.  I cooked all of that for about 8-10 minutes before adding in the noodles.  I topped off of that with 1/2 – 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese and added a little sour cream to my bowl.  Pretty much the easiest dinner ever.

Orange Juice

Today I can’t wait to wear this shirt (under my layers of black…down vest, rain jacket etc – 48 degrees at kickoff).

I’m so proud of my husband for helping to bring this to market :)  Go here for some info on the whole Beaver juice  story.

In other orange juice news, I used the freshly squeezed variety to make a super tasty dinner earlier this week.

Orange Paleo Chicken (adapted from original recipe here)

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 3 T coconut oil
  • juice of 2 oranges
  • zest from 1 orange
  • 1 t fresh ginger
  • 3 T reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 T sriracha

Directions
In a medium size sauce pot, add the orange juice, zest, ginger, soy sauce and sriracha. Set over medium heat and let simmer to reduce and thicken while the chicken cooks.  For the chicken – heat coconut oil over medium high heat in a separate pan. Add the chopped chicken and cook until a nice brown crust has developed on the chicken pieces, about 6 minutes). Add the chicken to the sauce pot and stir to coat with the orange sauce. These were the directions from the original recipe which I followed.  However, to cut down on pans I think you would be fine to cook the chicken until almost done and then just add all the sauce mix to the chicken and let everything thicken that way.

Serve over quinoa with a side of spicy green beans (olive oil, red pepper flakes, garlic, cooked over medium heat).

And unrelated to orange juice but more related to my overall health – I finished week two of the new job and am still alive (but tired).  I also managed to get in a workout every day this week even though some of it had to happen before and after work.  Here’s how they shook out:

  • Monday – Lunchtime pilates (with new work friends) + 30 minute incline treadmill walk after work
  • Tuesday: 45 minute run on the treadmill before work
  • Wednesday: 30 min cardio + lunchtime pilates (leaving a few minutes early)
  • Thursday: Quick 2.5 mile run after work on a new to me trail while waiting for Chris to get out of a meeting
  • Friday: 30 minutes of elliptical intervals + 30 minute butts & Guts class with my new workout pal Laura.

And finally, I wrapped up the week with half a high school football game (sideline view was nice).

Followed by dinner and a delicious sour beer at the Racoon.

And a cider at Journey’s.

And that brings me to now.  Off to pull myself together for game day.  Hope you all have great Saturdays.

Efficient workouts + shrimp pasta

Week one of the new job is one the books.  Done and done.

I also tried out my new lunchtime workout schedule for the 1st time and I feel like it’s going to be doable.  Honestly the only negative thing that was going through my mind when I was dealing with all this job stuff was the fact that the building was off campus which meant I could no longer walk to the gym at lunch and will have to drive.  Huge bummer since that’s a massive part of my day but in the end I realized I can’t base my career on gym access.  So I’ve vowed to make it work.

The commute definitely adds some time into the equation so I’m realizing I’m going to have to get a lot smarter about my workouts.  Gone are the leisurely hour and a half sessions + locker room time.  From now on, it’s 60 min or less in the gym with 15 minutes to get ready, giving me 15 minutes for commuting.  Here’s how things shook out for day one:

30 minutes of intervals on the elliptical.  Varying between resistance levels 7 -12, I alternated 30 sec to 1 minutes bursts to really get my heart rate going.  After that I did a quick dumbbell weight circuit 3 times through:

  • Front Raises 8lbs x 10
  • Lateral Raises 8lbs x 10
  • Single Arm Tricep extensions 8lbs x 12
  • Bent over rows 8lbs x 10
  • Squats 25 (varied between regular, side and sumo)
  • Side ab bends 16lbs x 25 per side
  • Step Ups on the weight bench 8lbs x 10

I did all of that in under an hour.  Nice.

And you know where else I was efficient this week?  With our Thursday night dinner.  I was still tired from my trip and Chris had firewood delivered and had to deal with stacking that.  We were going to go out or get pizza but I really wanted something healthy so I raided the kitchen and this is what I came up with.  It was delish.

Spicy shrimp Parmesan Pasta

  • 20 shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 crown broccoli
  • Whole Wheat spaghetti noodles
  • olive oil
  • red pepper flakes
  • sea salt
  • shredded parmesan cheese
  • garlic powder

But because I was being so efficient I didn’t measure anything.  Here’s my best guess at directions to recreate:

Spray some olive oil on the shrimp, and toss with red pepper flakes, garlic and sea salt.  Steam the broccoli on the stove in a steamer basket while your noodles are cookie.  Cook your shrimp on a pan over medium heat.  Add the shrimp and broccoli to the noodles. Toss in a bit of olive oil to prevent the noodles from sticking and top with parmesan cheese.  I probably added about a 1/4 – 1/2 cup?

And of course, I topped it with sriracha.  So good.

Can you believe this is October? + My favorite Salmon

Um seriously how are we still getting weather like this?  We are living on borrowed time my friends because any day now the rains will come.  But until they do, we’re taking advantage of it.

Like yesterday when we decided to hit up Journeys after work (me in flip flops and shorts).

Sadly they are no longer serving hard cider on draft.  This may be a blessing in disguise.  I certainly don’t need those extra calories.

And before we hit up Journey’s we had a delicious salmon dinner.  This is one of the 1st meals Chris made for me when we were dating and I’ve always loved it.

Sweet & Spicy Salmon rub (courtesy of Chris)

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

2 ingredients.  How easy is that?  Dump them directly onto the (fresh) salmon filet, rub it around and throw it all on the grill.

We served it with grilled, spicy asparagus (olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes) and wild rice (from a box – not my finest moment).

So good.  I could eat that meal every day but I admit that salmon is the one protein we don’t eat enough around here but we need to be better.  So many nutritional benefits.

In other news, my workout yesterday was pretty typical – a pilates reformer class and 30 minutes on the elliptical split into before and after class segments.  And as for my two challenges, I am not at all doing good with the sugar-free variety.  Those darn M&M’s from my mom are just too tough to exist.

And with that, I’m out.  I shall leave you with this picture of my night.  How glorious is that for this time of year?

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!

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.

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?

Home-grown tomatoes & bike rides + Indian Summer

We have had something crazy like 58 straight days without rain.  That is unheard of in the Pacific Northwest.  It’s been amazing.  Nothing but day after day of gorgeous weather.  I’m hoping it continues and we get a full on Indian Summer.  Cross your fingers.

And because this is it – the last time we get to taste summer for another year – I’m trying to take advantage of it and enjoy things like grilled corn on the cob, chilled white wine, salmon burgers, BBQ chicken, sleeping with the window open, and evening bike rides.

Like this one tonight.  Neither Chris or I had time to work-out today (work is crazy for both of us) so we jumped on our bikes and rode around through the village.  It’s so nice to still be feeling warm, summer air on your face as you coast down hills.

And before the bike ride we enjoyed another summer treat – home-grown tomatoes!  I had no luck with my tomatoes last year but this time is a whole different story.  I’ve been getting legitimate edibles from my plants.  Very exciting.

Tonight’s entire shrimp pasta was made with tomatoes from my yard.

And speaking of my yard, tomorrow we’re going to try to spend a little quality time with it before we have to pack away the lawn furniture and fire pit.  We’re thinking drinks and s’mores around the fire and maybe if we’re feeling really crazy we’ll spend the night outside on our air bed.  Wild side I tell ya.

And with that, I’m out.  Chris has just turned on the Pac 12 Network and I need to go negotiate alternate TV programming.  There’s only so much football I can handle around here.

Question for you – what are you going to miss most about summer?