Fun in the Sun

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! The weather was amazing although quite toasty. Matt and I tried to make the most of it, and we sure had an awesome time together.

Friday’s dinner was simple but very enjoyable. We layered Greek yogurt on garlic Italian herb toast and then added sliced white wine + balsamic marinated Love Beets. I loved this combination! I steamed fresh green beans and drizzled them with lemon and habanero infused olive oil, cucumber for a refreshing crunch, sauteed broccoli slaw and sugar snap peas with a pepper spread, and organic tri-bean blend spiced and warmed.

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After dinner cuddles with Mason. ❤

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We each made something different for breakfast on Saturday. I combined original Cheeriors with Back to the Roots Purple Corn Flakes and then topped them with banana, Beech Nut guava-pear-strawberry puree, chia, the perfect ribbon of peanut butter 😉 , and milk.

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Matt enjoyed two over easy eggs on a waffle with melted pepper jack. On the onther he layered peanut butter, Greek yogurt, and peaches. Tomato and Swaggerty’s sausage to complete his meal.

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On Friday I stopped by DSW and treated myself to a new pair of sandals with a birthday coupon. I’ve been wanting a pair of these for several years but just got around to finally purchasing them.

Matt and I packed up our lunches and snacks and headed out to the lake house! Panoramic view of our point. It was an incredibly beautiful day!

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One more panoramic shot looking up at the house.

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We tried getting a panoramic shot with us in it using our selfie stick, but it was a fail. So we took three goofy photos together. Oh how I wish we were back standing on the point!! This will be where our altar is positioned in just a little more than four months. 🙂

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We went inside and enjoyed our lunch that consisted of broccoli slaw, sugar snap peas, infused olive oil, leftover baked salmon, and quinoa. I noshed on a Cutie for dessert, then it was time to get into the water.

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It was a little chilly to me when I first stepped in, but our bodies acclimated quickly. We used our tubes to float all the way around the point and back. We saw a turtle come up for air and a hilarious looking bird as it was trying to fish. We couldn’t figure out what it was, but it was hysterical to watch!

On our way home, we stopped by Big Lots to do some shopping. I happened to have a coupon, so we figured we should make use out of it. I love that even a simple visit to the store feels like an adventure with Matt! I could not resist this shower curtain and coordinating towels, so I decided to update our master bath with a spring/summer design. Coral + turquoise is one of the best color combinations, in my opinion.

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The Blue Mason was also handing out free samples of their new gluten free biscuit, so we swung by to snag a taste. I also ordered a cold brew with a splash of half and half.

Modern Table Meals once again provided a fast and delicious dinner. We added one can of drained tuna to boost the protein some more and enjoyed a side of roasted green beans and the last of the marinated beets.

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For dessert I had a bowl of yogurt with frozen fruit, spices, organic coconut, and roasted salted pumpkin seeds.

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We were both craving a scrambler on Sunday, and it turned out amazing. We used rolled oats, chia, spices, and Sprout peas-brown rice-white beans-kale squeeze pouch for additional nutrients and flavor.

We topped our bowls with freshly shredded aged white cheddar, a scrambled egg, and pumpkin seeds. Cuties on the side.

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Baby Girl knows just how to kick back and relax. Our sun-bathing beauty.

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Kaci came over and was able to hang out with me and the babies before we headed over to Lakeshore Park for Barre3 in the Park. They provided these awesome tote bags of goodies and then had raffle drawings at the end.

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We ran into Klay, one of Barre3’s amazing instructors. She’s so fun!

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Juice Bar Knoxville was one of the vendors in attendance, and they handed out samples of three of their juices.

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We got a photo together before class. 🙂 It was h-o-t, so it was admittedly difficult to put forth all of my effort for fear of getting over-heated. Kaci and I made sure to listen to our bodies so as not to take it too far. It was in the lower 90’s, after all. O_O

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Post-class twin selfie. We survived!

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I went home and took a much needed shower then zipped down to Aldi with only 20 minutes to closing time. I bought a lot of awesome food then came home to put together a simple meal.

Even though we have salsa, I couldn’t resist this jar. It has a great level of spice, but unfortunately, the beets don’t shine through it. But it is still very nice!

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Organic mixed greens with freshly shredded red cabbage, salsa, baby pepper, and cooked sweet potato stuffed with roasted garlic hummus. {The sweet potato looks blurry because I think my phone focused on the salad. Whoops!}

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For dessert, I had fresh raspberries and roasted mixed nuts over Greek yogurt with ZenEvo dark chocolate x two. They had melted while in our tote bags, so I refrigerated them once I got home after class.

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Here’s to hoping for a great week for all of us! This is my last Monday as a 27 year old. 😉 I still can’t believe that in four days I’ll turn 28. Time, slow down.

 

Beef & Bison Meatballs Over Noodles with Rich Brown Gravy

Matt and I had just been talking about how he hasn’t been able to enjoy egg noodles ever since his diagnosis, and then we stumbled upon a box while grocery shopping together at Kroger. We were so excited, and we immediately made plans to create a beef stroganoff of sorts that turned out to be amazing!

Jovial Foods egg pasta is made with organic brown rice flour, water, and organic eggs. Simple enough! We already had Pioneer Brand gf brown gravy mix, so we decided to use it. The ingredients aren’t the most wholesome, but it worked in a pinch and came together beautifully.

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We chose to make our meatballs from lean organic beef and ground bison. They really were melt-in-your-mouth delicious. I cut the above onion in our food chopper, scrambled two eggs, added the gf panko bread crumbs, and then we added the meat. Matt mixed it all together.

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Then came the spices! Here was our lineup. We didn’t measure. Instead, we eyeballed the amounts to our liking.

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Voila.

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We decided to use our melon baller to scoop the meat, but ultimately, Matt just started to do so in free-form. The key is to make sure they are very similar in size so that they all cook evenly. Mason wanted to help his dad so bad! This photo warms my heart.

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We had enough meat that we were able to make and then freeze these four patties for later!

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While they did time in the oven, I got to slicing a large box of mushrooms.

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We sauteed the mushrooms and drained off the excess liquid. Matt broiled the meatballs and patties for a few minutes to finish.

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We have plans to enjoy these on English muffins with allthetoppings at the lake house. =D

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We cooked the pasta and gravy according to package instructions. We did forget to add Worcestershire sauce to the meatballs (Whoops!), so when we enjoyed our leftovers on Monday evening, we cooked down white wine, added the mushrooms, gravy, and Worcestershire. Lastly, we splashed in milk to finish. Despite this meal being truly amazing on Saturday, these additional steps added another layer of flavor that kicked it up a notch! Just look at all that swirly deliciousness.

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To go along with it on Saturday, we made a simple side of steamed green and wax beans, carrots, and beets. {That crazy cute owl dish was a surprise from my friend, Stefanie. It is perfect to hold my rings while I’m cooking and washing dishes!}

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I so hope you can enjoy this meal, and if you do, please write to let me know what you think!

This is enough to serve four plus 15 meatballs and 4 3-oz. patties leftover. Since we were already putting forth the effort, we thought it would be best to make plenty to freeze for quick, healthy meals later.

Ingredients:

12 oz. lean ground beef (We chose 91/9.)

1 lb. ground bison (Ours was 85/15.)

2 oz. bread crumbs

2 eggs, scrambled

1 onion, peeled and chopped

Worcestershire sauce

Herbs and spices: garlic powder, Old Bay, ground thyme, chipotle chili powder, cloves, turmeric

One package Pioneer Brand brown gravy + water according to package instructions

Approximately 1/4 cup white wine

2-4 T milk of choice

One large package of button mushrooms, rinsed and sliced

8-9 oz. egg pasta

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 365*. Add scrambled eggs, bread crumbs, onion, and meat to a large bowl. Gently mix it all together. Add spices to your liking and fold to evenly distribute. Portion meatballs equally to number 35. Mold the remaining mixture into four patties. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until meat is close to being fully cooked.

Meanwhile, boil water for the pasta and cook until al dente. Make the gravy per package instructions.

After sauteeing and draining the mushrooms, add the wine and cook until it has reduced by close to half. Add back the mushrooms and gravy before finally adding enough milk to make it as creamy as you desire. Shut off the heat once it is all incorporated.

Switch oven to broil and carefully watch. This is just to finish them and should only take 5 minutes.

To serve, portion the pasta among four bowls and add five meatballs. Ladle the sauce to finish, and if you have nice Italian parsely or perhaps even mint for garnish, even better! Matt and I love to include something green when possible.

Below is our servings the second time around with the addition of wine and milk. In one word this could be described as heavenly.

 

 

Cooking together is one of the many things I love to do with Matt. It’s an awesome way to allow your creativity to flow, and then you get to reap the rewards at the end. As always, enjoy!

 

Happy One Year Blog-iversary to Me!

Friday SnapChat shenanigans.

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I had to go by Wal-Mart to get a yoga mat for each Kaci and myself. While doing so, I stumbled upon this owl-dorable pillow. I wanted it so badly (!), but I practiced self-control. I snapped a photo then went on in search of our mats.

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We discovered that a free class was being held by Barre Belle Yoga, so we jumped at the chance to participate! It was held at the Aveda studio downtown.

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My new mat on the right / Kaci’s mat on the left.

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Bright and colorful is the way to go. 😉

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I love sharing these experiences with my girl! Pre-class photo together.

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Once home, Matt and I assembled a delicious dinner together.

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We watched Thursday night’s episode of Bones and then finally got a good night’s sleep.

Saturday began with a cottage cheese, nectarine, local honey, and roasted nuts parfait along with two slices of toast. I found a great zucchini bruschetta at Big Lots, so I spread that on one slice and layered avocado on the other. Matt had a sausage egg scramble sandwich. Yum.

I hit the jackpot on free exercise classes this past weekend! I joined Pure Barre Knoxville for a free Pop-up Class in the Park. It. Was. Incredible! The instructor did a wonderful job leading us through each exercise.

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I found this V8 Infused Water at Big Lots too, and I have to say it was quite tasty.

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Each of the three photos below were taken by Pure Barre employees. Look at that awesome turnout!

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Some may not think of this as exercise since there are not heavy weights, but I will tell you I received an amazing workout. I immediately felt it in my legs, core, and back in the best of ways. I knew I had engaged my muscles in a different manner.

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I love how I have been able to push myself out of my comfort zone, and in doing so, I’m meeting so many fun people! It helps me to continue to learn more about myself too.

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They are offering one free class to new attendees, so this evening I will be taking a class in their studio. I can’t wait!

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I went by Whole Foods and got us two great bags of coffee and a whole lemon pepper rotisserie chicken all on sale. Score! Pure Barre also gave out deodorant and Quaker Oatmeal Cups.

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I gathered up our lunch and took it over to Matt’s dad’s where he was working on his car. We’ll be at the race track July 4th weekend! Salads for us both topped with kalamata olives and goat cheese. I added Tomato Head hummus to Matt’s while I had my Breakfast Flats with peanut butter.

After a hot shower, I did dishes, laundry, vacuumed, and cleaned our place. I stopped to nosh on an apple and peanut butter, round two. I did so while wearing the most appropriate tank by Eat Healthy Designs. =D

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Matt got home early to help put together what we believe was an insanely delcious meal. I’ll be sharing the recipe tomorrow!

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We were feeling a bit wild, so we each made a mug of coffee to go with our dessert.

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Unfortunately, Matt’s French press from World Market is flimsy, but we’ve yet to spend the $20+ on a replacement Bodum beaker. So he just combined the two. They’re actually quite pretty together!

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We watched at least three episodes of John Oliver’s show, and he had us laughing so hard.

Matt was a sweetie and offered to get up and feed the babies around 6:00 when they were being relentless. We slept in, woke up slowly, and felt amazing on Sunday. We split, warmed, and filled our leftover baked sweet potato with peanut butter and granola. On the side we had yogurt topped with Wyman’s of Maine thawed mixed fruit and bourbon peach jam.

Before I had even sipped my coffee, I washed dishes, cooked a huge batch of quinoa, and prepared our lunches for Sunday and Monday. A good night’s sleep will do wonders! I used chicken broth and the leftover water from when we steamed our purple cauliflower to cook the quinoa. Nutrients are leeched into the water, so rather than toss them, we used them in cooking. The water was a gorgeous blue too! #Koritip

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I met up with Kaci at K brew for an impromtu get-together, and we had the best time. She treated me to a chocolate chip cookie made by VG’s Bakery as repayment for her yoga mat.

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I had to go by Kroger then finally pulled my journal out to make some entries. I’m awful at not staying consistent, but I’m still glad to record even sporadically. It really is soothing and fun to go back and read.

For dinner, I decided to use our injera bread like tortillas, so we made chicken quesadillas. I shredded aged sharp white cheddar and pepper jack while Matt shredded the remainder of our whole baked chicken. I seasaoned and sauteed peppers and onion to accompany it. Salsa, yogurt, and avocado completed our meal. Yes, it was a lot of food, but it sure hit the spot. Matt agreed to go on a short walk with me before showering, and it was perfect.

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I had a small tangerine and a few prunes sprinkled with chia for dessert along with a tea latte. We watched one more episode of John Oliver’s show and then called it a night.

This past Saturday marked one year since I started this blog, and I’m so thankful I did! I love sharing positivity and nutrition through this platform. Thanks for checking in and reading!

**Today is also the official anniversary of my mother’s death. She was an amazing, smart, and beautiful woman who I miss dearly every day. I wish I knew what she thought of this space, my cooking, who I’ve become. But I’m grateful I had her in my life for almost 18 years. She was the best mom. ❤

Our sweet girl was so snuggly this morning.

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Wishing you all a wonderful day!

 

Gosh Ethiopian

Matt and I found Anthony Bourdain’s program, Parts Unknown, on Netflix recently, and we’ve been watching the sixth season. After we watched the episode based in Ethiopia, we immediately searched for an authentic restaurant located in K-town. As our luck would have it, Gosh Ethiopian was located right on Sutherland Avenue!

I called on Tuesday to inquire about their injera bread. As we read, it traditionally was made completely with teff flour, but it has also been made with wheat. They were so sweet and allowed me to place an order in advance for a gluten free version. 🙂

After work and running a few errands, we made our way to Gosh Ethiopia. Unfortunately, the weather turned incredibly ugly, so I couldn’t get a photo of the outside of the restaurant. But next time I’ll be sure to do so.

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We decided on the Gosh Combination platter for Two with Lamb. This way, we were able to try each a chicken, beef, and lamb dish as well as four vegetarian specialties. The injera bread was so spongy and delicious! We loved it so much, we ordered two large rounds to go so that we could split one for a breakfast wrap on Friday as well as create other meals with the rest.

We were both pleasantly full with leftovers for today’s lunch. We simply wrapped it up from the platter into a burrito of sorts then sliced it into pinwheels. I put them over top baby spinach and added squash sliced thin on the mandoline.

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This is definitely one of our new favorite restaurants! The service was wonderful, and we felt pleased with the whole experience. Their coffee sounds divine, so next time we go, we’ll do so for a weekend lunch so that we can try it. The lighting should also be much better so that I can snap some photos of the dining area. I hope you can get out soon and enjoy their Ethiopian cuisine soon!

**Edited to include Friday’s breakfast using injera**

Matt and I split one of the large rounds and filled them with peanut butter, banana, and warmed Wyman’s of Maine blueberries, strawberries, mango blend. We enjoyed Fage 2% plain Greek yogurt with cinnamon, carob powder, and maple syrup. Such a high protein, delicious start to Fri-yay!

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Low Key but Fun Memorial Day Weekend

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend, and unlike us, I hope you’re reading this while still enjoying a day off of work. We didn’t get the day, but we’re focusing on saving our PTO.

On Thursday evening, I had to pick Matt up from work because he left his car at the body shop for some repairs. We fought traffic home, and then I went to the Y. We both agreed how we wish we could carpool every day! He put together this epic meal for us: pan-seared then roasted pork tenderloin with a roasted onion + garlic wine reduction. Side of toast with extra virgin olive oil, rosemary garlic sea salt, and steamed green beans. We were in heaven. He always makes the best sauces!

Upon getting home from work on Friday, I stumbled upon this guy on our porch. I thought it was really neat! Unfortunately, the bird’s nest on our patio is now empty. I have a sad feeling that the snake found a meal…

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For a quick dinner, I chose to make this from Modern Table Meals. The absolute only thing I would change is the sodium content, but to moderate it, I simply bulk up the meal with more vegetables and turn it into six rather than four servings.

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I added fresh spinach and mixed greens along with steamed broccoli and fresh tomato. Served with swai baked with lime and salsa. The fish is a pretty cheap variety that I won’t be buying again, but we both certainly loved this meal.

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For a lighter breakfast on Saturday, we each had a pb&j with wilted spinach. I used the last of our bread while Matt used Van’s waffles.

Went with a somewhat patriotic outfit for the weekend. 🙂

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We stumbled upon Bar Marley when we were taking our engagment photos, and we decided to finally pay a visit.

I know it’s cheesy, but I couldn’t help myself. 😉 I’m very thankful for our love.

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Unfortunately, they were out of goat and ox tail, so Matt chose the jerk chicken. After explaining his need for gluten free, they placed two Johnny cakes on his plate…that bothered me. He didn’t want to raise a stink, but his food was definitely contaminated. I ordered the Madagascar, which is to be a roll with curried pork, apricots, baby bananas. It wasn’t until later that I decided to look at the menu once more and realized they had served me something completely different. I too didn’t want to make a scene, if you will, but I knew it wasn’t right when they delivered it. Matt ended up paying for a pork roll when in reality, I had black-eye peas, which I know cost a lot less.

Despite it being a fun atmosphere, we will not be returning.

We went by Kroger to do some coupon + sale shopping, and we also picked up this awesome head of purple cauliflower.

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The other day, I made a huge batch of tri-color qunioa for quick meals, so this included a quinoa base sprinkled with Earthly Choice Chia Goodness. To that I added steamed purple cauliflower and roasted asparagus and turnips.

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For dessert, I made a fruit and yogurt bowl along with this Bigelow Vanilla Chai latte. Ohmygosh this foam was amazing. I drizzled local honey on top, and it was so thick and delicious.

We watched Scicario with Emily Blunt, and I was most definitely not a fan. I don’t like movies in which all that basically happens is shooting and bloodshed. Bleck.

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Matt came up with the awesome idea to make individual quiches inside portobello mushroom caps. These turned out to be too shallow, so we simply improvised and baked them in our ramekins. We added spices, milk to make them fluffy, and goat cheese.

We enjoyed them over wilted spinach with baked zucchini, fresh tomato, and an orange.

I went for a little more than a three-mile walk, and it felt amazing. I captured these on SnapChat and thought they were very pretty! I should’ve worn sunscreen, though because my shoulders burned. Whoops…

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Kaci returned from her beach vacation and surprised me with this adorable shirt! Love when one of the babies photo bombs me. =D

She also brought back key lime fudge for me. Yummm.

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More SnapChat fun, this time with the flower crown filter. One of my favs.

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Mason’s new spot is at the living room window. He can’t get enough bird and nature watching! Jackson is just too cute for words!

Sunday evening we enjoyed some of the leftover pork tenderloin, and then I noshed on this creation by Matt. He steeped and lightly sweetened the vanilla chai tea then soaked it with almond coconut milk and chia cereal. It was great! I had it with apple slices, strawberries and Greek yogurt, and Constant Comet tea.

Kath just posted about these new Quaker Oats Breakfast Flats, and Kroger offered them as their free Friday download. Score! I chose the banana honey nut flavor.

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I topped them with Daisy cottage cheese, strawberries, drippy peanut butter, and a mug of milk on the side. Delcious!

Wishing you all a fantastic day!

 

Good Golly Tamale

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Matt and I have been wanting to try Good Golly Tamale for quite some time now, and we finally got to sink our teeth into their amazing, made-from-scratch tamales for dinner on Tuesday! Their hours are Monday through Friday from 11AM to 4PM plus at the Market Square Farmer’s Market and additional events throughout the community.

Love the creativity of the wreath!

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I made my way over during my lunch break, and boy was the weather beautiful! I decided to grab a La Croix Coconut from their drink selection. I had been wanting to try it ever since Kath mentioned it on KERF. It’s not my favorite flavor, but it was refreshing all the same.

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These adorable cats and ice cream cones greet you as you first walk in, and they are made by Beth Meadows of With Bear Hands. I have one of her cats, but I still want to snag an ice cream cone!

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I love their decor and vibe! The turquiose caught  my eye immediately, which I’m sure doesn’t come as a surprise. 😉

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More of Beth’s artwork along with this super fun bench with tons o’ pillows.

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Matt and I decided to get two lunch plates and added another tamale to each so we could try four of the five flavors.

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This collage behind the counter is quirky, fun, and perfect.

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I love this display, and I hope to one day incorporate something like it in our home! The vintage poster is so neat, and I love the shelves.

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Once Matt was home from work, we began plating our delicious noms. We chose to split the Queso Poblano and Chicken Tinga for dinner, and we split the Classic and Thai Chicken for today’s lunch. We scored big time!

Still wrapped all snug in their corn husks.

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The sides were so perfect, and check out that beautiful pink of the curtido! It’s an El Salvadorian style fermented cabbage dish.

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An up-close shot. The collard greens had the perfect amount of smoky flavor without being overwhelming.

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We combined our beans and rice, and here they are topped with their lovely salsa.

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Matt and I were “mmm’ing” our way throughout our meal. We felt pleasantly full without being overly so, and we both agreed it is always such a treat to enjoy locally made food. We love supporting local, and the people behind Good Golly Tamale have most certainly perfected their craft. Please stop by their store or their cart at the market. You will not be disappointed!

 

The Kind of Weekend that Makes Monday Even More Difficult

*Sometimes* it almost feels like a curse to have SUCH a lovely weekend because starting the work week becomes that much more of a strain! But I wouldn’t trade these weekends for anything!

Friday evening started with some kitty snuggles {and a Jax photo-bomb!}.

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Kaci was able to come spend time with us and the babies that evening before she left early Saturday morning with Drew and his family for the beach.

For breakfast on Saturday, I chose to make these blender pancakes using a recipe by Monique of Ambitious Kitchen.

Matt requested that I use Greek yogurt in his rather than cottage cheese.

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I followed the orginial recipe, but I accidentally thinned the batter just a tad too much. So his were thicker, but otherwise, both batches were excellent. Enjoyed with fresh strawberries from his dad’s garden, peanut butter, and maple syrup for him and local sorghum syrup for me.

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I made my way down to the Y just after it poured for only a few minutes. After completing my own weight-lifting circuit, I went down to the field and walked three lovely laps.

Back home, I put together a quick snack-style lunch, which included this gorgeous avocado.

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One of my best friends invited me over for a girls game night, so I put together this dish to contribute to the spread. It included steamed lentils, organic spring greens, roasted pepper spread, and goat cheese. Simple but tasty!

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We realized that nearly every dish had cheese in it. You could say we were definitely a group of cheese lovers. 😉

We played Cards Against Humanity and Heads Up. Both were hysterical and provided many laugh-until-your-stomach-hurts moments!

On Sunday, I had a simple and higher protein-based breakfast before I went by Makers Donuts for my fourth free donut as well as by The Artistic Bean for my first visit. I thought it would be quite fitting to wear one of my fav coffee shirts.

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Our sweet and beautiful baby girl kept me company while I got ready!

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It was so difficult to choose, but I went with their dark chocolate ganache with sprinkles. It was perfect!

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I love the cake-texture of their donuts. Soft but not airy, dense but not heavy.

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After I enjoyed my donut, I went down the street to what was K brew’s original location. It now is the home to The Artistic Bean Knoxville.

I absolutely adore their unique look! The turquoise wall is eye-catching (and my favorite color!), the counter is really fun, and the ceiling is oh so perfect!

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I really love the color and texture of their espresso machine.

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I decided to try a latte, and it was wonderful. Strong but balanced, and they use Cruze Dairy.

I love their pink sleeves!

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I went by World Market, Francesca’s, and Target before back home for a quick bite.

I loved this card, so I decided to remove the back page and now have it propped up where I will see it before I leave for the day.

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I’ve been purchasing my perfume from Francesca’s for several years, so I had gone in to buy their Signature scent. To my pleasant surprise, they just released several new scents, and this one does not disappoint. The sweet girls working there gave me the idea to repurpose the box as a cotton swab container. Love it!

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I took our dinner over to Matt’s dad’s so he could finish more work on his car. He also had to cut his hair, and I didn’t want us to eat late.

Kaci brought over some of her perishable food before leaving town, so I put her delicious chicken and rice to use. This hit.the.spot.

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We both made a smoothie and watched the latest episode of Bones.

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I will leave you with this message, and I wish you a great week ahead!

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Lentil-Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Last Saturday when I began brainstorming this week’s meal plans, I realized we hadn’t made stuffed peppers in quite some time. Instead of making them with the traditional meat and rice, I chose to make these with quinoa and green lentils. Both happened to be organic, but they were very inexpensive from, you guessed it, Aldi. 🙂 My go-to store. These were super easy to put together, and I hope you are able to make them soon!

I started by cooking the green lentils and quinoa with chicken broth according to the package instructions.

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After halving and deseeding three colorful peppers, I filled each cavity with equal parts quinoa and lentils then topped with roasted pepper spread.

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Once they had cooked long enough for the peppers to soften, I added gouda cheese. After only a few minutes at the end of cooking, the cheese melted nicely.

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We both had been craving beets, so I put together a salad of dark spring greens, beets, cucumber, and then drizzled it with extra virgin olive oil and fig balsamic vinegar.

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We both agreed they were flavorful and nicely filling while still leaving room for smoothies later. 😉

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Ingredients:

3 bell peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded

1.5 cups cooked lentils (preferably green given they hold up better than the red)

1.5 cups cooked quinoa

6 T roasted pepper spread

2 slices/approximately 2 oz. gouda

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350*. Place the peppers in a large baking pan and begin filling them with 1/4 c each lentils and quinoa. Top each with 1 T spread, and bake for 30 minutes or until the peppers have softened. Add the cheese and finish in the oven until the cheese has melted. Alternatively, you can mix the lentils, quinoa, and spread in a bowl before filling each pepper. Plate two halves with side items of choice and enjoy!

 

Brunch at The Front Porch + Weekend Fun in Pictures

Once again, I am sitting here wondering how Monday snuck up on me. How I wish it were still the weekend!

Friday started with a sweet / savory waffle combination: Greek yogurt, fresh cut pineapple, and ground flax / mashed avocado, sharp aged white cheddar, Nature’s Path Qia cereal.

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I didn’t have time to pack a lunch on Thursday evening due to attending Barre3, so I treated myself to Jason’s Deli. I enjoyed a salad from their awesome bar along with honey graham crackers, cottage cheese, and apple slices for dessert.

I stopped by The Empty Cup to get us a bag of coffee for the house and also grabbed an iced Americano to take back to the office.

Kroger’s Friday free download was for one Curate bar, so I snagged this flavor to try. It was quite tasty and has a nice consistency.

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After getting my hair cut, I came home and noshed on this snack plate of cucumber, Roma tomato, and carrots with hummus. Friday was National Hummus Day, after all. 😉

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Matt was exhausted, so he took a catnap while I had a really simple dinner of chicken, steamed vegetables, and flatbread crackers. We settled in later with our dessert (yogurt bowl for me and a smoothie for him) and watched the latest episode of Bones.

I had not realized that this cute restaurant, The Front Porch, was located just 10 minutes from our house! We chose to have brunch, and it was awesome.

The house is adorable and amazing! It was built in 1910, and I love it’s character and charm.

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The decor was perfect, and I loved all the turquoise/teal!

After we placed our order, we went upstairs to browse their gift shops. I actually practiced restraint and did not buy that cute owl.

Never enough coffee.

I’m really looking forward to having dinner on the deck next time!

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We each enjoyed the strawberry cobb salad and then split the three egg Greek Goddess omelet.

It was an unusually chilly day, so once we were back home, I made mug of tea to warm up with as I munched on shortbread cookies topped with strawberry rhubarb jam.

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After putting in a session at the Y, I swung by Aldi then came home to make us dinner. I came up with a vegetarian stuffed pepper recipe that I’ll be sharing tomorrow!

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I cut up a fresh mango and had it along with pineapple, muesli, and Qia over Greek yogurt + almond coconut milk base. Matt and I watched Deadpool, and we were both in tears from laughter at several parts. I recommend it!

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Sunday began with hot coffee and waffles. I had mine with banana, raisins, and maple along with yogurt in a nearly empty pb jar.Matt made his with banana, yogurt, and pb and then had a hashbrown with cheese, egg, and avocado.

I signed up for the Heart and Sole 5k with Dale, and despite not feeling very good during the run, I managed to finish in 27:55:1 t chip time with a pace of 8:59! I ran this well back at the beginning of February, so I’m thankful I could keep it up now.

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Once home, I prepped our whole chicken and put it into the oven before taking a hot shower.

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It turned out so well! I seasoned it with melted butter mixed with  paprika, chipotle chili powder, thyme, rosemary garlic sea salt, and pepper medley. I also poured low sodium organic chicken broth over the top and spooned it over the chicken a few times while it was cooking.

We enjoyed it with quinoa and a simple salad.

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Matt’s dad surprised us with strawberries from his garden!

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I incorporated them into my dessert with pineapple, mango, blueberries, Qia, dark chocolate, and a little cinnamon crunch cereal by Nature’s Path. Matt made a killer smoothie with pretty blueberries on top.

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When I stopped at Kroger on Friday, I saw these cute oatmeal-in-a-jar creations, by Haulin’ Oats, that I couldn’t resist. They were a splurge, but I reasoned at least we could keep the jars. 😉

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Matt made us cheesy scrambled eggs + berries to go with them. Even though it’s Monday, this was an awesome start.

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Hope you all have a great week!