Proud Crock Pot Owner

Who enjoyed their extra hour of sleep? I know I did! A lazy Sunday morning and my rest day from Insanity called for a good breakfast.

20111106-094932.jpgFrench toast with Great Harvest Oat Bran bread. Topped with pumpkin dip:

1/4 cup pumpkin

1 TB Mighty Maple PB&Co

1 tsp maple syrup

2 TB almond milk

Pumpkin pie spice

I had planned to spend all morning reading, but instead I decided it was time to take the plunge and register for my own blog domain. When I started my blog, I wanted to make sure that I was going to keep up with it before I went all in. But this is my 71st post so I decided I wanted to take my blog to the next level so to speak. It’s a work in progress. I purchased the domain name and transferred all of my files but I am having trouble with the remapping part. I will hopefully get everything figured out by the end of the week! If anyone is super tech savvy and wants to lend a hand… email me! (bikingbeforebed@gmail.com)

After a few frustrating hours fiddling with the blog and being on hold with godaddy… it was time for a much-needed break.

Despite my not so good first impression with the local Pinkberry, I decided to give it another go.I was going to get pumpkin again but I decided I needed to be more adventurous… so I got a sample of the new holiday peppermint flavor. I was floored. I am not normally a peppermint fan, but this was probably the best frozen yogurt ever! It was tangy and minty all at once.

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At the recommendation of my server I went with peppermint and chocolate swirl topped with granola, chocolate shavings, and peppermint bark. I ate slowly (which is rare) so I could savor every bite. I could go for another right now!

While I was out I swung by Bed, Bath, and Beyond for this baby.

20111106-095025.jpgI had been wanting one for a while so I used one of the infamous 20% off a single item coupon and got this for 25 bucks. Score! Now I can start making all of the crock pot recipes I have bookmarked.

Next stop, HEB for groceries!

20111106-094942.jpgLight coconut milk, beets (my new weird obsession), roasted red peppers (more hummus is in my future), diced jalepenos, and salsa picante.

20111106-094949.jpgI went a little crazy in the yogurt buying department last week. Just needed one of my favorites: Key Lime Pie! I am loving the So Delicious Coconut Creamer. I wanted to try the hazelnut after reading Brittany’s rav review, but they were sold out.

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5 for 5 Lara Bars?! They seem to be going down in price every week. Last week was 4 for 5… I stuck mostly with the tried and true. Ginger Snap is my experimental flavor of the week.

20111106-095004.jpgChicken and cheese for my first Crock Pot experiment.

20111106-095010.jpgJonagolds and some bananas.

20111106-095019.jpgLots of produce! Fall veggies are some of my favorites. Spinach, butternut squash, cauliflower, onions, asparagus, eggplant, red bell pepper and a plastic bag (full of cilantro).

After stocking up on food, I was excited to get busy in the kitchen. Dinner tonight was delicious.

20111106-095047.jpgTofu and eggplant curry soup. It was chock full of veggies and definitely packed some heat. Recipe coming soon!

Time to give my eyes a rest. I feel like I have been staring at the screen all day. My bed and book are calling my name.

Question: What is the first thing I should make in my Crock Pot?

Boots and Butterfingers

Oh Saturday, I am sad you are almost over… but I am looking forward to my extra hour of sleep!

A picture recap of my day…

20111105-114845.jpgFinally used up the rest of my apples from over a month ago! Applesauce for every meal:)

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Homemade butterfingers… Thanks for the amazing recipe Averie!

20111105-114837.jpgClean out the fridge style lunch: Eggs with feta and roasted red peppers, cauliflower mash, and Great Harvest bread with pumpkin butter.

20111105-114919.jpgA clean kitchen!

20111105-114859.jpgSweet fashion accessory. I am setting trends:) Only one page so far. I’m crossing my fingers that it doesn’t go off tonight.

20111105-114907.jpgFinally cool enough to break out the boots!

20111105-114932.jpgBut not too cold for ice cream from the Chocolate Bar. I love when you can mix flavors in a small! Pumpkin white chocolate and rocky road…thumbs up.

20111105-114956.jpgInspiration for next year’s Halloween goodies. It came in a real pizza box! And was 50% off. I guess it would be weird to bring this to a party in November?

20111105-114950.jpgBest purchase at the Chantal warehouse sale. I am in love with this color.

I hope your Saturday was a blast!

I wanted to leave you with a fun survey from Entertainment Weekly.

Question: What is your favorite Leonardo DiCaprio Movie?

The results from the mag survey:

Inception 24%

The Departed 23%

Titanic 15%

Catch me if you can 13 %

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape 7%

Romeo and Juliet 7%

Blood Diamond 6%

The Aviator 5%

I think I am going to have to go with the minority on this one. I love Blood Diamond. It is one of my favorite movies ever.

Hanging with Miss Green M&M

I have been looking forward to the weekend all week.

No I am not going on a trip.

Or running a marathon.

Or going to a great new bar.

I am excited because I have no plans at all! Unless you count being on pager duty for work. Yes, by company still uses pagers. I feel so cool. As I have probably mentioned before, I work at a refinery in the environmental section. Everyone gets assigned 6 or 7 weeks each year where we are “on call.” We get to rock the sweet pager and answer any environmental emergency questions that may come up. Getting woken up at 3 am to talk about potential chemical releases is such a blast… not. But this week (knock on wood), I haven’t gotten any pages yet!

Ryan is in Vegas with some of his friends for a big car show. I miss him like crazy, but part of me is excited for some me time! No crazy plane trips and snow storms this weekend.

I got home from work and immediately put on my PJ pants… when it was still light out!

So what am I going to do with my free weekend? I was super excited to pick up the new Jennifer Weiner book I had put on hold at the library. Until I went to pick it up, and realized I had reserved the wrong one! It was one I had already read. Ultimate fail. So I decided to go to “Lindsay’s library” aka my bookshelves full of things I have never read. I came across this one. By the same author as Prep, one of my favorite books!

20111104-093207.jpgIf I can finish this by November 15, I can participate in book club over at Julie’s blog.

20111104-093215.jpgThis showed up in the mail today. My brother and I absolutely love the Muppets so I can’t wait to read this article. And the new character in the next movie is named Walter… which is my lil brother’s name!

20111104-093223.jpgHope to read a bit of this as well. I am going to be a food trivia master by the time I finish! A random fact for you: Christopher Columbus’s mother in law worked at a sugar plantation. He can be credited for bringing sugar on America!

With all my reading material, I will need some fuel.

20111104-093306.jpgI love the post holiday candy sales. It was hard to find plain candy corn! I had to go to three different stores! The package on the right is pumpkin pie flavored… it is a bit less sweet and has great spice. Its at Target if you feel the need to pick some up! They also had blood orange and caramel.

I also can’t wait to do some baking. I have a bunch of recipes I want to try out. I stocked up on some essentials.

20111104-093230.jpgMy favorite baking PB. In the biggest jar I could find. This is going to be awesome for a jumbo oats in a jar!

20111104-093237.jpgFinally found the big can of pumpkin!

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I love that Nestle Semi-Sweet morsels are now artificial flavor free.

And to keep me company: Miss Green M&M

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Looking sassy for fall in her cowboy boots.

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And all bundled up for winter. I am super excited for this new cinnamon flavor. I have some fun baking ideas I want to try with these!

Speaking of baking, I just signed up for the Great Cookie Swap. It’s a blogger cookie swap. I can’t wait to participate… I encourage all of you to check it out. Who wouldn’t want 3 dozen holiday cookies?

Time to get caught up on my DVR’ed episodes of Cupcake Wars and DC cupcakes.

Question: What is your favorite flavor of M&M? I love almond M&Ms but they are sometimes hard to find. Peanut butter is my second favorite. I am also still loving the candy corn ones :)

Its the start of Insanity!

On Halloween I started a 2 month challenge. I will get to spend every morning with this guy in my living room.

I will be wearing my new kicks (Asics Gel-Iperas)

I will be jumping around ungracefully while trying not to slip on my sweat that has dripped onto the living room floor.

Yes, you may call it Insanity.

I have never tried a DVD workout program before. But I have been feeling in a workout rut lately so I decided why not? For those of you who haven’t seen the infomercials with the infamous Shaun T, let me give you Insanity in a nutshell.

Insanity is a 2 month workout programs. You work out 6 days a week doing mostly plyometric exercises. Every 2 weeks you take a “fit test” which consists of doing as many repetitions as possible of 8 different moves, each for one minute. There is also an optional eating plan that goes with the workout portion.

So why am I doing this program? I am very competitive and love challenges, even against myself. My inner nerd loved the idea of tracking the fit test results in a spreadsheet and being able to see percent improvement. Yea, I’m a engineer, what can I say? I also love that for the next two months, I don’t have to think about my workouts. I may add in some additional exercise such as pilates or easy bike rides, but I will play it by ear. Since my goal is not to lose weight, but rather to improve my fitness, I am not following the eating plan.

Here are the results of my first fit test.

Date

31-Oct

Move

Fit Test 1

Switch Kicks

104

Power Jacks

57

Power Knees

96

Power Jumps

35

Globe Jumps

11

Suicide Jumps

23

Push-Up Jacks

31

Low Plank Oblique

35

I can’t wait for the final test on January 1. I figure it will be a great way to ring in the New Year (provided my numbers improve)!

4 days in and so far so good! I have been doing the workouts in the morning. I love being free after work. I feel like I have gained so much free time! My legs are quite sore, but in a good way.

I’ll be doing periodic updates. Now it’s time to get caught up on the Office! I wasn’t a big fan of the Halloween episode. I hope tonight’s is better.

Question: Have you ever tried a DVD workout program?

Shopping at the Skymall

During my all day flying extravaganza on Sunday, I had a lot of time for reading. I read 3 magazines almost cover to cover. Self, Health, and Food Network magazine. I only skipped over the hair and makeup sections. Yea, I am the biggest tomboy. My eyes just gloss over when I start reading about new ways to style my hair or apply foundation. I am a proud member of the ponytail and minimal makeup club. I can shower and be out the door in 10 minutes. I normally get ready faster than Ryan!

Anyhow, back to my plane reading. After the three magazines and about half of my book (What Einstein told his Cook), I dug the Skymall catalog out of the seat pocket. Skymall never ceases to amaze me. Its kind of like QVC of Pinterest. You discover things that you never even knew existed, yet somehow you suddenly need them. I normally leave the Skymall catalog on the plane for fear of random purchases:)

I wanted to share some of my favorites that I found. All of the images are from the Skymall website. Don’t go there unless you want to waste some serious time:)

1. Protein Ketchup

Protein KetchupThis one ounce serving of ketchup has two servings of tomatoes and 15 g of protein. At $1.43 a cup, I don’t think I’ll be switching to this condiment anytime soon. Does anyone else think that this is taking the “protein” craze a bit too far. It seems like everything can come fortified with protein now! While I do use protein powder, I prefer to get my protein from natural sources: meat, eggs, legumes, dairy, nuts etc.

2. Mustache Mirror

Mustache MirrorHow fun would this be in your bathroom? This would make mornings so much more fun! I personally am a fan of the handlebar one in the center.

3. Pierogi Ornament

Pierogi OrnamentNothing says Merry Christmas quite like potatoes and pasta! One of my mom’s quick weeknight meals growing up was Mrs. T’s pierogis. They were so delicious with sautéed onions and peppers. I used to go to a Polish festival in Scranton, PA. The homemade pierogis were out of this world!

4. Universal Skate Sail

Large Universal Skate SailThis sail can be used to “speed your way to fun, exercise, and fitness.” I’m not sure how much exercise you would get if you were being pulled along by the wind… but it could be fun to try out. Doesn’t look like this snowboarder is getting to far:)

5. Touchless sensor toilet seats

Touchless Sensor Toilet SeatsAre people really that lazy that they would spend $160 for a toilet seat with a sensor? This toilet lid will raise as you approach and the seat will raise if you wave your arm. Then both will close 30 seconds after you walk away. I think friendly reminders or maybe a sticky note would do the trick?

Now, because of this post I have the Skymall catalog in my kitchen. Lets hope I don’t make any random purchases!

Question: Do you read the Skymall catalog when you are on a plane? Have you ever bought anything?

WIAW: Apple Cranberry Crisp 2

Happy 11/1/11! At the doctor today, I had so much fun writing this date over and over. I can’t wait for 11/11/11 in 10 days.

Things to look forward to in November

1. “Falling back (yay for light in the morning and an extra hour of sleep)!

2. Starting the Insanity challenge (I am 2 days in so far and I can tell that the title is no lie).

3. Ryan and my one year dating anniversary

4. My half-birthday (Feel free to send half a cake :))

5. Thanksgiving

6. Starting the month with a party…. a WIAW party to be exact.

This week I decided to bring an apple cranberry crisp. It’s rude to come to a party empty-handed!

20111101-094308.jpgYes, I know its November and Halloween is over. I should already be moving on to Christmas like every store in America. But I am going to hang on to my towels a few days longer ok?

Head on over to Peas and Crayons to check out all of the other eats and to join the party yourself! And thank Jenn too!

Breakfast

20111101-094211.jpgI tried out a new variety of oats this morning: Silver Palate Thick and Rough Oatmeal. It was on sale at the grocery store this weekend so I decided to give it a try. I cooked in on the stove with 1 % milk, water, and a mashed banana. Then I stirred in some pumpkin and topped with chunky peanut butter (salvaged from the broken glass), cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie spice. It was utterly delicious. Perfect start to November! I need to try these new oats a few more times before I decide if they are better than my beloved Quaker:)

Lunch

20111101-094244.jpgI made another turkey loaf… just so I could continue with my turkey loaf salad beasts! I topped a bowl (Tupperware) of spinach with roasted sweet potatoes, canned beets, and turkey loaf. Now I just need to make some more homemade hummus and I will officially be in salad heaven.

Dinner

20111101-094251.jpgI made a recipe for dinner that I spotted on Eat, Live, Run for baked polenta with mushrooms, gorgonzola, and tomato sauce. I subbed feta for the gorgonzola since I am not a huge blue cheese lover. I also added some Italian chicken sausage. It was so quick to throw together! I tossed the chopped sausage in a grill pan while the water for the polenta was boiling. Layer everything in a dish and cook for 45 minutes! I will definitely be making this one again.

20111101-094257.jpgI definitely went back for seconds!

Snacks

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Humongous Honeycrisp apple! On sale by my parents for 99 cents a pound at a local farm. I made sure to grab a few. They were in my suitcase that got lost... luckily I got it back yesterday! Is it bad that I was more sad about possibly losing my bag of apples instead of my clothes?

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It is my mission to recreate this Lara Bar flavor. The lime flavor is so intense! According to the ingredients, it’s from lime concentrate. I think this goes into the top flavors along with peanut butter cookie and chocolate coconut.

Dessert

Apple crisp is my favorite fall dessert… well maybe it’s tied with pumpkin pie. This was always the first dessert that my mom made after apple picking. She always stocks up on cranberries so she can whip up a crisp any time of the year. This past weekend when I was home I think she had 7 packages in the freezer! The first time I set out to make this apple crisp, I couldn’t find fresh cranberries… so I modified the recipe to include dried cranberries.

Apple Cranberry Crisp 1

But now we are in the middle of cranberry season! So here is the “original” crisp recipe.

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Apple Cranberry Crisp 2

This is my favorite fall dessert. The tart cranberries literally burst in your mouth. The cloves add another layer of spice. This makes a perfect dessert with vanilla ice cream or a dollop of plain yogurt. This would also make a delicious breakfast!

Serves: 4-5

Prep Time:10 minutes

Bake Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients

Filling

6 oz cranberries (1/2 package)
3 small apples, cored and thinly sliced
3 Tb sugar

1 Tb flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp cloves

Topping

1/2 cup oats

1 Tb flour

1 Tb brown sugar

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

1.5 Tb melted butter

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 F. Mix all filling ingredients and spoon into baking dish or individual ramekins.

Combine topping ingredients and crumble on top. Bake for 35 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes.

Enjoy in a mug,

20111101-094321.jpgOn a plate (with some seasonal M&Ms)

20111101-094303.jpgOr maybe just grab your spoon and dig into the serving dish! Who wants to clean an extra plate?

20111101-094342.jpgWhile I prefered this crisp with fresh cranberries, Ryan found it a bit too tart. He like the version with dried cranberries better.

Question: Are you a fan of cranberries? Do you prefer them fresh or dry?

No witches were harmed in the making of this post

Happy Halloween!

20111031-082817.jpgMy parents door

I’m pretty sad that I only got 1 trick or treater. Am I imagining that way more kids went trick or treating when I was little? I remember going trick or treating in middle school and being given candy by 8 year olds? I never understood why they weren’t out getting their own goodies! I will definitely be bringing most of my candy to work to avoid a major sugar coma.

20111031-082803.jpgMy festive dish towels

I wanted to do a recap/vent about yesterday aka by never-ending day of travel. My parents and I woke up and the power was still out! We showered in the one bathroom with a window and then headed to Einsteins with the rest of the town. The line was almost out the door! It was so good to have a bagel sandwich! They just aren’t popular in Texas

Given the weather, I volunteered to take the train to the airport. I used the train ride to get caught up on some blog reading on my phone.
When i got to the airport, i knew it was going to be a long day. I had read my ticket wrong and had not one but two layovers. I guess that’s what you get with a ticket booked with frequent flier miles. The guy at the ticket counter couldn’t get his computer to work properly so he had to hand write by baggage tag. I had a really bad feeling about this but i really didn’t want to lug my suitcase around all day. So i took a chance and watched my bag disappear down the conveyor belt.

At this point i was a bit frustrated. But then a complete stranger made my day. I guess he had been listening to me talk to the ticket counter guy… And when i turned around, he asked if I was a singer because I had a beautiful voice. No one has ever told me that before. I was smiling for the next hour until I boarded my plane. I am determined to pay a stranger a compliment this week… To pay it forward so to speak.After an hour and a half on the train and an hour and a half in the airport, it was finally time to board.

On the plane I read the latest issue of Health magazine and made my grocery list. In no time we were in Cleveland for layover number 1!

The layover was only an hour, and it took almost the whole time to get to my next terminal. Doesn’t it seem that you always land at the furthest terminal possible? At least I got I. Some quality power walking. I always play a little game where I race the people standing on the moving walkway. It’s a great way to get in a mini workout. This time I also “raced” a girl on the escalator while I took the stairs. I won!

On the flight from Cleveland to Louisville I read a book I picked up from the library. It’s called “What Einstein Told his Cook.” the comment on the front describes the author as “Martha Stewart with a pHd.” it’s a compilation of food and cooking questions and their scientific answers. Although the book is quite factual the author has a great sense of humor so it isn’t dry like a textbook. Get ready for some random trivia knowledge to pop up in some future posts.

The last leg of my journey was from Louisville to Houston. I was so glad to finally get back to TX at 8 pm… I had been traveling since 10 am! All I wanted to do was head home… But my prediction came true… My bag never made it past Cleveland. So I sent 45 minutes filing a claim with Continental. On a bright note, both women I dealt with were so friendly and helpful! I love when I get good customer service:)

I wanted to end with some airport eats. Although I do pack some snacks, I like to splurge and eat in the airport. I know it’s quite expensive but I find it exciting to eat some fast foods that I don’t normally eat.

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This was actually from my trip to Houston but it was my far my tastiest airport eat. Qdoba burrito bowl with black beans, roasted veggies, pico de gallo, corn salsa and guacamole. I think it was even better than Chipotle!

20111031-082741.jpgObviously I had to get my pumpkin fix the day before Halloween!

20111031-082747.jpgTeriaki tofu bowl. The description made it sound much more appetizing than it actually was. The onions were definitely not carmelized:(

a
Good I had two loaves of Great Harvest in my bag!

20111031-082736.jpgI felt so awkward when I ordered the “Muscle Punch” after the guy in front of me ordered the “Light and Fluffy.” It was tasty, but I actually much prefer my homemade smoothies.

And now a couple Halloween eats from today.

20111031-082809.jpgPumpkin spinach smoothie meets the Wine Witch! (No witches were harmed in the making of this picture).

20111031-082756.jpgLimited edition Candy Corn M&Ms. They are uber sweet, but they are pretty good frozen.

And I leave you with my costume from today.

20111031-082725.jpgTwo of my co-workers and I dressed as the pink ladies! My whole section went out to a Mexican restaurant in costume. It was a blast to see everyone dressed up.

Sorry for the long rambling post, I just had lots I wanted to share with y’all!

Question: What is your worst flying experience? When I was little my whole family got stuck overnight in the Denver airport. We had to sleep under the seats. I have also had to spend the night in the baggage claim in the Houston airport.

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