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!

Watermelon infused water + our dinners for the week

If there is such a thing as “hot spinning,”  I’m pretty sure I did it.  I hopped on our spin bike around 5pm and rode for 45 minutes in what felt nearly identical to a sauna.  Sweat-y.  It was in the 90’s today and we don’t have air conditioning so the ceiling fan and an open window was all I had.  Glad to be done with that :)

I also got sweaty when I helped Chris for a bit in the yard, shoveling river rock into the backyard for our latest project.  I’m super excited, it’s looking awesome!  I’m particularly pumped for this one because it involves a new home for my garden.  Instead of having all my beds and various containers on the backside of the house, he’s creating a new area and new beds right outside the kitchen.  Much more accessible for my “farm to fork” dinners.  Which we enjoyed the last of tonight (sad).

I’m officially out of greens.  They’ve all bolted so from now on, any strawberry salads will have to be made using store-bought greens.  Such a travesty.

And while we’re on the topic of store-bought, here’s a glimpse into what I got at the store today.

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, I meal plan and then grocery shop once a week and we try as hard as we can not to go back until the following week.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

Here’s what dinners those groceries are going to turn into:

As you can see from the list above watermelon was not included in any of those dinners.  While not originally on my list, when I saw it at the store I had to have it and immediately cut it up when I got home.  I put some in the fridge for snacking, froze some for some delicious PB watermelon smoothies, and then decided to make some watermelon infused soda water with the rest.  It just felt like the right thing to do on a hot day like this.

Watermelon infused soda water:

  • 6-8 cans club soda
  • 2-3 cubs cubed watermelon
  • Ice

Pour everything into a big jar and enjoy.  Note – mint would be awesome with this but when I went to grab some out of the garden I realized I forgot to water it and now it’s dead.  Whoops.

And now I’m off watch some TV and waste some time on Pinterest and try not to melt :)

Question for you – how do you handle your grocery shopping?  Are you like me and go once a week with your planned out meals?  Or do you wing it?  Go whenever you need stuff? 

 

 

1st weekend of summer

Summer finally arrived in Portland…just like always, after the 4th of July.  And I’ve had a great time enjoying every moment of it.

I drank lots of water for the #hydrateinjuly challenge.

Enjoyed dinner downtown at Santa Fe with some friends and while we were there, watched the line at Salt & Straw (ice cream shop across the street) grow like crazy.

Did Jillian’s 30 Day Shred levels 1 & 2 and had a hearty breakfast of steel-cut oats with chia seeds, flax, almond butter and a little agave…

Before heading off on a brew cycle tour with approx 13 other people for a friend’s bday.  You ride a giant bike around Portland while stopping in at different breweries.  Awesome.

We also worked in the yard.  And by we I mean mostly Chris.  I helped him shovel some rocks but he turned them into something beautiful and finished off our retaining wall.

I also harvested some crops in my garden…we will be eating salads forever.

And went to the store to pick up some necessities.

This evening, we rode our bikes to Journey’s for a private Keg Killer party (I was good, only 1 mug and one slice of pizza).  Not sure if I should be embarrassed or proud that I have the 2nd highest kills for a girl?

And currently we’re chilling on the deck.  Chris had some fro yo while I opted for my favorite lemonade popsicle.  So good.

And we’re also enjoying a little mini fire thing that my mom bought for us a while ago.  It’s so peaceful and cozy out here I never want to go back in the house.

All in all, an excellent way to kick off summer.  We may not get a lot of it here in Portland but what we do get is spectacular.  And as much as I don’t want to go back to reality, I haven’t worked since Tuesday so it will be nice to get back into the swing of things.  Especially the a consistent gym routine.  Summer is good for my soul but not my waistline :)

Hope you all had a good weekend.  What was your favorite thing you did?  And what’s your go-to popsicle flavor?

 

 

Sunday iPhone photo dump

I just spent waaaaay too much time online researching DSLR camera bags (like the whole afternoon) but I finally bit the bullet and bought what I hope turns out to be a beautiful lady. Once she arrives I’ll tell you more about her :) In the meantime, here’s a recap of the past 24-48 hours.

(Rainy) Organic Brew Fest

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Hopkins’ joint bday celebration at Old Gold

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Morning workout

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Lunch

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Dinner

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And that’s all I’ve got for you. Hope you had a great weekend. Tell me what you did…

Making homemade peanut butter

So recently I’ve become obsessed with Bee-Nut butter.  I picked some up last Saturday and the jar is almost gone and that made me sad.  I was going to pick some up yesterday but it’s almost $7 a jar and I got to thinking…the only ingredients are peanuts, honey and sea salt…it couldn’t possibly be that hard to make my own right?  I’ve made almond butter before and it’s super easy.  You just dump almonds and a little olive oil in a food processor and let it go.  So I figured peanut butter (the nuts only cost me $3) would be more or less the same.  And it was.  And it was equally delicious.

Honey Coconut Peanut Butter
Makes 16oz.

  • 2 cups roasted un-salted peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Sea salt to taste

Place peanuts and oil in a food processor.  Process for about 2 minutes and then scrape down the sides, add in honey and then process for few more minutes.  The peanuts will get crumbly looking and you’ll start thinking that you’ll never end up with peanut butter but all the sudden it starts turning into a big blob and then BAM. It gets creamy.  That’s when you know you’re in business.  At that point I started adding in salt until I liked the taste.  After eating a couple spoonfuls, I transferred the peanut butter into a mason jar and stored in the fridge.  Can’t wait to have it on my apples today.

Note – Make sure to use a larger/stronger food processor.  Don’t use a mini or it could overheat and break.  I think mine is a 7 cup? 

Has anyone else made their own nut butters?  Any good recipes to share?

And since I had my food processor out, I decided to make hummus using this recipe.  I packed it up in one of our glass containers (we have zero plastic storage containers in our house by the way.  BPA freaks me out) and will be having it plus carrots this week for my afternoon snack.

And since I was in prep-mode, I cut up a huge seedless watermelon so that any sweet cravings I get this week can be satisfied with fruit and not candy. Some went into a bowl in the fridge and some was packed up for work food.

And finally, because I just hadn’t messed up enough pans, spoons and bowls, I made us some spicy penne rosa with shrimp (minus the spinach) for dinner. I added a little more greek yogurt than normal and it was so much creamier.  Not sure if it was because it was the first meal I’d eaten that didn’t require being grilled on the campfire or what, but it was extra amazing.

All that work in the kitchen seriously wore me out but I’m so glad I did it.  All my snacks for the week are prepped so now when I get up in the morning it’s an easy grab an go.

What about you guys?  Are you Sunday food preppers?  Any other favorite easy snack ideas to share? 

Rain is a good thing

That was what I woke up to Saturday morning. In case you can’t figure it out, that’s rain. Pouring down onto our tent. And that’s the same type of rain that greeted us upon our arrival at the campsite and the type of weather we had to deal with when setting up our tent. Not going to lie…there were some early moments when we all looked at each other and seriously considered packing up and heading into Bend to “camp” on a friend’s couch. But we waited it out and thank goodness we did because eventually the rain let up and it ended up being a great weekend.

We camped at Lake Billy Chinook which is in Central Oregon near Madras which is about 2 hours from Portland and 45 minutes from Bend. While we go to Bend all the time (one of our favorite places), we’d never been to this spot. We were able to get out on the pontoon boat Saturday and check out the lake which, minus a little rain at the beginning of the boat ride, was awesome. The rest of the weekend was spent hanging at the campsite around a campfire with great friends. Life just doesn’t get much better :)

When we got home this afternoon I meal-planned out our week and ran to the store for groceries before somehow getting a crazy burst of energy and experimenting in the kitchen (which I’ll tell you about later). After that I made this dinner. So good. And now I’m off to bed. Camping can really wear a girl out :)

Who else out there loves (or hates) camping? I think sometimes I forget that we’re a little spoiled here with so many places to camp in the Northwest. It’s seriously one of my favorite summertime activities.

I love this man

 

Sunday Night Dinner…Texas Style

Have I ever really explained how much I love country?  And not just country music. I’m saying give me 5+ acres, a big red barn, a ton of chickens, a watering hole down the street where I can spend my weekends doing the two-step in my cowboy boots, enough of a garden to serve farm to fork dinners every night, a river down the way where I can rope swing into, big trucks with country music blaring from the speakers, and a backyard with string lights where I can dance under the stars with my best friend.

And luckily I married a guy who is right there with me.  And while we don’t quite have everything I just mentioned, for living in Portland proper, we’re doing pretty good…a 1/4 acre, a dog that sometimes looks like a small pony if you squint, two country bars nearby where I’ve danced in my red cowboy boots, a 4-runner where the only two stations listened to are current and old-school country, a river with a rope swing (about an hour away), farm to table salads, and now we have string lights. Can’t wait for our 1st fire pit out there under them.

Backyard string light

You know what other country thing we love?  BBQ.  From Texas.  Specifically Austin (which is the only city I’d probably ever consider moving to) and even more specifically Rudy’s.

2008 flashback

So today Chris decided to recreate some Texas BBQ Brisket…on the smoker…for 6 hours.

Chris spent the day outside, checking the meat and hanging the string lights.  Chance watched him while I ran errands and rode the spin bike for an hour (while watching One Day.  Have you seen it?  With Anne Hathaway?  Good but different ending than I was expecting).

Guess what?  The brisket was amazing!  Chris did a fantastic job.  I had mine plain with BBQ sauce, sautéed swiss chard, baked beans (with cayanne pepper) and garlic corn on the cob.

Chris had his “Rudy’s” style with bread and pickles.

And we enjoyed all of it outside with our friend Dan.  Chris even broke out his special beer which he had to sneak back in his suitcase on his last Texas trip since Lonestar is only available in Texas.

Good stuff my friends.  Good stuff.  And a great way to end the weekend.  Hopefully you all are enjoying a relaxing evening before it all starts again tomorrow :)

Friends in low places

Happy Sunday.  Although can you really call the last day of your weekend and the day before you have to go back to work happy?  I’ve been a complete bum today and really need to do something productive…  A trip to the grocery story and a long walk with the Chance dog are definitely in my future.  I’ve planned out our meals for the week and now I’m just working on the extras – lunch & breakfast type stuff.  I’m struggling with lunches.  I’ve done quinoa salads for the past couple weeks and I think I want to switch it up.  I might go back to some classic PB & J’s with a side of greek yogurt and fruit.  I mean you just can’t beat peanut butter and jelly right?

Here’s what dinners look like this week.  I’ve got a couple new recipes on there so we’ll see how they turn out.

Meal plan for the week:

What about you guys, do you meal plan for the week or do you tend to wing things?  It’s definitely challenging trying to come up with everything but it makes it so much easier to go to the store once and get it out-of-the-way.

And now for the recap that I’m sure you’ve all been waiting with bated breath for right? Drum roll please…the wedding of two awesome people, Jon and Lauren :)  My pictures just don’t do it justice.  I love taking pictures but sometimes when you’re always behind the lens you don’t always get to experience what’s going on in front of it.  So last night my camera spent most of the evening tucked away in my purse while I had a blast.

I can’t even begin to tell you all the great moments of the evening…when Jon’s sister brought everyone to tears as she officiated the ceremony, when the best man reminded us in his speech that “sometimes things that happen in Vegas shouldn’t stay in Vegas,”  when we spent what felt like hours in the photo booth to leave Jon and Lauren images they’ll get to laugh at for years to come, or when all of us, including the bride and groom, were on a circle on the dance floor singing the lyrics to Garth’s Friends in Low Places…I mean, this wedding was awesome.  I danced the night away with basically all of my Portland friends….this is the crew that welcomed me in when I started dating Chris and the crew that has become more or less my extended family.  It truly was the perfect wedding to cap off our “wedding gauntlet” and the perfect way to start off the next chapter in the lives of some very special people.

Makela Gets Married

Phew – busy day around here.  I got up and went for a 3.5 mile run.  It felt so nice to get up and get my workout out of the way.  Then I made our standard smoothie/coffee breakfast.  After that I showered and headed out on some errands – Babies R Us for a baby shower present, Nordstrom Rack to look from some shoes for a wedding I’ll be going to next week ( I was there forever and couldn’t find anything I like.  I think I’m just going to wear my cowboy boots), and then Fred Meyer for groceries.  After that I zipped home, dropped off the groceries and headed to the baby shower.

I got home and whipped up a big batch of black bean & quinoa salad for lunches (more to come on that tomorrow) and then we had a delicious BBQ chicken pizza for dinner. Overall, a great end to a great weekend.  Which included a fantastic wedding last night.  Our friend Todd married his lady Autumn in a beautiful ceremony and a reception at the Crystal Ballroom, which for those of you unfamiliar with Portland is an awesome venue where a lot of bands come to play.  It was so cool dancing around at their reception knowing that the stage I was sitting on at the end of the night was the same one that Eric Church performed on about a year ago. And not only was it a great to be there for Todd and Autumn on their special day but we also got to see our friends Troy and Jennifer who flew in from Amsterdam, along with our friend Dennis (who lives in Bend) and his lady, and of course Craig (Chris’ best friend).  Todd, Troy, Dennis, Craig and Chris all grew up on the Oregon coast so it’s always fun to hear their stories when they all get together.  Great night.

And now I’m off to watch TV with Chris but I’ll leave you with a photo summary of the night.  Hope you all had great weekends.  Did anyone do anything super fun?

 

Reading Books

When I went to bed last night I told myself I would be out the door and on a run by 8 and then I would work in the yard and clean the house.  But when I woke up this morning I decided it would be ok to read one chapter of The Hunger Games.  Except one chapter turned into 4 straight hours of laying in my bed reading.  And when I finally finished book 1 I got out of bed (after buying book 2 and charging my ipad), ate breakfast and made some coffee.  And then it was noon so I put on my bathing suit and headed outside.  To read more.  And that’s pretty much how I spent my entire day until Chris got home from his bachelor party at 3:30.

And at first I felt a little guilty for doing nothing with my day.  I kept thinking maybe I could spin on the bike, or take Chance for a walk but I quickly brushed those thoughts aside.  Sometimes you just need a day to rest, to give your body a break.  And today was my day.  And guess what?  It’s been glorious.  I’ll get back on the workout train tomorrow.  I’ll push myself hard at the gym every day this week but today, I’ve 100% enjoyed not pounding the pavement, not lifting weights, not getting sweaty from anything but the sunshine.

Me and Chance – my “fur” son – spending Mother’s day together.

Oh but I did make sure to take some time out of my busy book-reading day to call my mom.  She lives in Olympia and I wasn’t able to make it up there.  She’s spending the day with her brother and my grandma, working out in the yard.  And even though I told her on the phone, I want to make sure she knows just how much I love her so I’m putting it out here on the internet.   That even though I’m not there with her in person, she still means the world to me.  That I love being her daughter and that I’m so proud to have her as a mom.  I could never have asked for a better person to be my role model.  For a better example on how to be a genuinely good human being.  She’s an amazing lady my mom.  And I love her very, very much :)  Thank you for being my mom and everything you do for me.  I love you!