Keto adventures, weekly wrap up

Weekly wrap up

This week we celebrated our one year anniversary of closing on our house here in Florida.

Hard to believe it’s been a year since moving in!

Work was fairly uneventful which is a good thing.

I got two tough runs in. One solo.

And one with our neighborhood run club. We’ve missed previous weeks due to our daughter’s voice lessons being on Fridays so it was a blast to be able to go!

We had another quiet weekend at home. We incurred some much unwanted debt with our move and our doggy vet bills over this year so we’re trying to get caught back up. We did enjoy another weekend of fun and sun at our neighborhood pool.

Speaking of dogs-can you get any cuter than this?

He’s worth every penny.

❤️🐾❤️🐾

We are on point with Keto eating. We’ve wrapped up our 6th week and I’m down almost 6 pounds and the hubby is rounding out at an 18 lbs weight loss! Our goal is to continue with this lifestyle once we hit our goal weight, but allowing ourselves a cheat day every now and then. Here are some of my easy, go-to meals.

How was your week? Tell me something good!!

Cheers!!

Michelle

Keto adventures, Recipes

Keto Crispy chicken!

Tonight’s Keto meal was baked crispy chicken coated with egg wash, spicy pork rinds and almond flour. Bake at 425 degrees for about 35-40 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes and serve with your favorite Keto friendly veggie. We had a few spears of asparagus with bacon.

Yum! What’s on your plate?? Comment below!!! Cheers!!!

Michelle

Recipes, Uncategorized

Boneless pork ribs over asparagus with cucumber salad…YUM!

Tonight’s Sunday supper was cooked as more of a therapy session for me than anything.  The two things I love to do most when I am feeling stressed are run, and cook.  Since I had just gone grocery shopping after work today, I decided cooking a nice Sunday supper would be a good idea since my goal was to cook something new each week!

There’s no real “recipe” for this dish, but here goes.  Season your ribs with your favorite BBQ seasoning, salt, pepper and a touch of lime juice.  Heat your cast iron skillet with a couple tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to a high heat and sear the ribs on each side.  Reduce heat and cook through until done.

For the cucumber salad, use your peeler and make long strips of cucumber (discard the outer green part) that will look almost like a wide fettuccini noodle.  Place in a bowl.  Season with salt, pepper, 1 tablespoon of yogurt and lime zest.  Let chill for 30 minutes.

The asparagus I simply sautéed in extra virgin olive oil in a pan with salt, pepper, and minced garlic.  YUM!

The rest of my week was pretty blah.  My workouts were minimal besides my daily plank due to work stress, school starting, and my little one catching strep on her second day of school.  I’m hoping next week is better!  I’m linking up with Holly and Tricia for their weekly wrap.  Please run over and give their amazing pages some support!

WeeklyWrap

How was your week?  Try any new recipes lately?

Have a great week everyone!

Cheers ❤

Michelle

 

 

 

food, Tuesday Truth

Time to be true-Two things…

 

 

Ok, so I started last year at a pretty dark place, but managed to finish on a pretty high note with lofty yet achievable goals. Running, writing, and researching recipes are high on my list this year mixed in with some awesome photography…Right?  Um…so yeah…about that…

 

Then, I cut my thumb on Christmas day, and my running, motivation, and goal making days halted all too quickly. BUT…thankfully only for just about a month.  Whew…bullet dodged.  I caveat this with saying I DID NOT/DO NOT want a repeat of last winter.  Ever.  Both the weather, and my mood were beyond frigid.

So here we go…

First:

I started running again last week.  My miles are minimal and my pace is slow as can be…but I’m MOVIN’…can I get a yahoo???  Today at work I had a leadership workshop of sorts to attend so my 8 hour day was squashed in to 4 hours of playing catch up.  I was tired by the time the final ‘bell’ rang, so upon arriving to my daughter’s school I texted my Maria…”I’ll be on the dreadmill in 30 minutes in case you want to join me.”  Of course she did, despite battling a migraine for 5 days, and her virtual hug and push helped get my on the mill.  2.6 miles, complete.

My pace may have slowed, but the passion is still very real.
My pace may have slowed, but the passion is still very real.

Second:

I hit the restart button after the holidays to try and lose my 5-7 lbs of marathon training/winter weight/I’m lazy and just ate all the food weight…so I’m back on MyFitnessPal for anyone else who uses this app, tracking my food and fitness and REALLY trying to stop eating all. the. chips.  I have to giggle when it says I should weigh a certain weight if I continue to eat the way I am because yeah-pre-menopause obviously isn’t calculated in to the equation, and well yeah…I don’t see that number on the scale.  BUT…I’ve just restarted in the last week or so, so baby steps, right?  With that I have been eating high protein/veggie/fruit type of diet, so here is tonight’s easy peasy dinner recipe!

Baked Pork chop with white wine, onion and caper sauce over baby spinach salad

Easy peasy pork in just over 30 minutes!
Easy peasy pork in just over 30 minutes!

What you’ll need (pork chops):

4 thick cut boneless pork chops, seasoned with kosher salt, pepper, and a dash of lemon pepper seasoning on all sides-apply liberally and set aside for about 5 minutes while you get everything preheated.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Pre-heat a non stick pan and add extra virgin olive oil and 1 pat of unsalted butter.  Heat to high heat, and pan sear chops on both sides (5-7 minutes each side-don’t over crowd your pan!) until golden brown and transfer to a baking sheet.  *Tip-line your pan with aluminum foil for easy clean up! Place in your pre-heated oven and cook for about 10 minutes or until your chops have reached 155 degrees-let rest for 10 minutes minimum-chops will reach required temp of 160 degrees by this time.  *Tip-cover with foil while resting your meat.  It helps hold the temperature.

While your chops are baking, make your “sauce.”

Sauce

1 white onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tablespoon capers, rinsed

2 tablespoons of Kalamata olives, chopped

Zest of a lemon

1 cup of white wine

1/4 of cold water mixed with cornstarch to thicken

Kosher salt, pepper, and oregano to taste.

In the same pan you seared your chops, deglaze with the white wine (make sure it’s wine you’d drink!)

Add your onions, garlic, capers, and olives.  Reduce down the liquid by half, and add your seasonings and cornstarch water to thicken.  Add zest just before serving.  I served the spinach and pork with the sauce, who needs dressing/gravy?  Not this girl!

So in order to stay on track with food, fitness, and life in general my TRUE goal this year is to BE CONTENT.  I have said it before, but I’ll say it again.  I am, and I have, ENOUGH.

Who’s with me?  How are your eats and exercise lately?  How do you battle off season eating/motivation?

❤ Michelle

 

Holidays, Uncategorized

Birthday weekend wrap up

For the last 42 years, ok not that long but for a LONG time, I have hated my birthday.  I wish I could honestly figure out where this hate comes from, although I have a few sneaking suspicions that I will keep to myself.  Yet as I have grown into a middle aged adult, I truly have worked at embracing my birthday as a day of celebration of life vs. a battle of time.

And this weekend, I was reminded how very blessed I truly am.  I was surrounded by friends and family, and made to feel more special than I can even describe in words…

So this post will have less words, and more pics, because I truly can’t find the words to describe the blessings I feel today, and always.  And of course…food pics.  Because isn’t this why we run so much?  LOL!!!

Make a wish!  You're never too old, right?
Make a wish! You’re never too old, right?
Cherished gifts from my first Chicagoland friend, Carolyn. XO
Cherished gifts from my first Chicagoland friend, Carolyn. XO
My kind of birthday cake....crème Brulee
My kind of birthday cake….Crème Brulee
Birthday wine at Fox Fire in Geneva IL, delish!
Birthday wine at Fox Fire in Geneva IL, delish!
These amazing people planned a surprise birthday brunch for me.  #sigh
These amazing people planned a surprise birthday brunch for me. #sigh
Birthday dinner of twin lobster tails, YUM!
Birthday dinner of twin lobster tails, YUM!
Me and my friend Melissa
Me and my friend Melissa ❤
Walked today, for #megsmiles
Walked today, for #megsmiles

So after quite a bit of deliberation I found myself looking hard at my circle of friends once again today.  I am cutting back more on social media, removing negative forces from my world, and realizing not everyone has the best wishes for us in life.

But…some people DO want nothing more than the best for us…and those are the gifts that I hold true to my heart on days/weekends like this…

Here’s to a new week, more miles, amazing relationships and even better food!

Questions….Do you enjoy your birthday?  What’s your favorite birthday treat?

❤ Michelle

 

food, Tuesday Truth

Tuesday Truths!

First off, I am so very pleased to have been asked by Christina @crazymamarunner to tell my story about why I chose to run a marathon.  I was highlighted on her blog this week, and you can read the story HERE .  I found my eyes welling with tears as I read what she wrote, and re-read what I submitted to her.  Please take a moment to check it out!!

Secondly, as most of you know I have struggled with my running this and last winter.  Initially due to the artic blast we received far too early this winter, and ultimately ending with a nasty cut on my thumb Christmas day…in case you missed it, the story is HERE .  For the first couple weeks my thumb throbbed so terribly I could barely sleep, and hardly fathom running.  Along with this lack of motivation came laziness and poor eating.  Woops.  I fell in to that trap. Darn it all to H E double hockey sticks.  Yeah…I went there.  LOL

LOL
LOL

But this weekend despite crazy work hours and schedule I decided since my hubby was leaving at O dark 30 to travel this morning, I would run on the dreadmill tonight after work.  I told my family, and posted on my FB fan page to hold myself accountable.  I NEEDED to run at least 2 miles.

In stepped my friend Maria from @Runningflaps FB fan page.  We made a virtual date, and I was so giddy to have ‘someone’ to run with even if it was virtually.  I picked up my youngest from after school care and headed home.  And as I pulled on my shorts and tank that was just a bit too tight for my comfort I found myself cringing.  I shook it off, and headed down stairs to the mill.  I decided to take some of my followers advice and turned on Netflix, season one of Grey’s Anatomy.  I started slow, and found myself wanting to give up.  And this I received THIS text:

#This
#This

I made it two miles, and although they weren’t pretty miles, I didn’t give up. I feel like I am starting from square one, but I am at least starting.  It’s truly amazing what a month+ can do for your endurance…or should I say how it KILLS your endurance.

Pretty much how I feel...LOL
Pretty much how I feel…LOL

So I ran 2 miles, and although it was tough I finished.

Ugly, but done!
Ugly, but done!

Day 13 of the AB challenge is done, and I am realizing quick I need to get myself in to gear for next month when my “real” training starts.  Darn my passion and love for food at times like these.  Give me ALL. The. Veggies and someone take away my quinoa chips…PLZ.  #alwayshungry

So tonight’s Truth is this:

Don’t give up, no matter the obstacles, what the scale says, or how your clothes fit.  Keep movin’ forward, and the pieces will fall in to place!

❤ Michelle

 

food

Weekend wrap up

I don’t have a lot to report this weekend.

I worked both Saturday and Sunday, and despite 95% of my weekend being pretty darn good, the nurse that chewed my butt for THEIR lack of planning sorta sunk in, and hit me hard as the weekend wrapped up.  Somehow, it’s my problem that they failed to finish their competency paperwork in a timely manner, therefore locking them out of the testing they needed to perform.  Yet anyone who works in healthcare knows that it’s ALL about rules, regulations, and proper training to keep our patients safe.

Yet I don’t have a BSN in my signature block, so this nurse decided to let me have it.  I kept my composure on the phone, apologizing profusely for a whole lot of nothing that I did wrong, and hung up the phone in tears.  I chose to let this drain my joy…but only briefly.  I drove home in silence, and after my 30 minute commute I was calm and welcomed by my family.  Life was good again.  I dropped my purse on the counter, gave hugs to my youngest who had spent the night at her friend’s house the night before and poured myself in to my welcoming bed.  I slept for TWO hours, and it was glorious.

I woke up to my hubby and youngest cooking our traditional Sunday Supper.  A dinner I normally always prepare.  But they stepped in and saved the day.

Check it out:

Cabbage salad with cilantro dressing, paired with a yummy passion fruit cocktail!
Cabbage salad with cilantro dressing, paired with a yummy passion fruit cocktail!
Marinated steak served over a mango sauce, along with roasted potatoes and mushrooms, YUM!
Marinated steak served over a mango sauce, along with roasted potatoes and mushrooms, YUM!

I finished the night with day 11 of my ab challenge, a hot shower, and time spent in front of the fire.  Tomorrow I have at least a 16 hour work day on deck, so I will postpone my first run of 2015 until Tuesday.

Lastly I was featured on one of my favorite blogs today!  You can see it here!

My goal?  2 miles on the treadmill.  Who wants to join me? What’s your favorite running songs?  I need to update my play list!

Have a great week, Movers!

❤ Michelle

Friday

Five things, Friday

Ah, it’s been a while since I did a five things, Friday post.  This week my 5 things come with photos of a few of my favorite things this week…because isn’t every good blog post filled with pics?

Here goes:

First…tonight I had a day off because I am working the next 6 days and IL law states you can’t work more than 6 days in a row.  What did I do?  I set my alarm to take my eldest to school so she wouldn’t have to wait outside in sub zero temps, I took a nap,  I cleaned my house, did laundry, my AB challenge,  and cooked this beautiful meal for my family.  Once I perfect the recipe, I’ll post it!

 

My deconstructed "Burger and Fries."
My deconstructed “Burger and Fries with homemade BBQ sauce.”

After picking up my mini me from after school care I checked the mail.  It’s been a while as our drive way is hella long, and well, it’s darn cold outside.  I received this beautiful hand made apron and pot holders from my dear friend Michelle who is the most self-less person I know.  While she battles her second bout of cancer, she sews me an apron because she is concerned about my thumb, and over all well being.  I couldn’t hold back the tears.  Wow.

A gift from someone who deserves more gifts than I can even dream of giving...
A gift from someone who deserves more gifts than I can even dream of giving…

And then there’s this guy…We’ve had our fair share of struggles.  He travels more than I’d like.  He plays too many video games.  But at the end of the day, HE supports me and loves me, even when I am pretty tough to love.  Which is often…lol

This dude...yeah...
This dude…yeah…

THIS day.  This.  The day I put off for over a year because I let self doubt win, over. and. over.  ALL THE DOUBT.  And none of the confidence. But this day I took a chance.  It may have not panned out.  But darn it I sure tried and will continue to do so.  #chefwannabe My life will be forever changed because I took this chance…

A reminder of a day where I chased my dreams full force.
A reminder of a day where I chased my dreams full force.

Lastly there’s this little fella…this dog, this FRIEND who hasn’t left my side in years.  True love right here.

My little prince, who's now 7 years old, but still a puppy in my eyes and heart.
My little prince, who’s now 7 years old, but still a puppy in my eyes and heart.

My point to this post, is to hang on to the things you love dearly.  I lost a friend from high school yesterday, without warning, and I am again reminded how short life really is.  So these are just a few of my favorite things that have touched my heart this week.

What keeps you going?  Do you have pets?  Have you stepped out of your comfort zone lately?

Keep Movin’ forward, gang!

 

❤ Michelle

 

goals, Uncategorized

Weekend wrap up and goals…

With not having much of a break last week, well, no break at all in fact-I realized I’ve been slacking on the blog the last few days. Ack…my bad!

Having had worked New Year’s day, I decided to make the very most of this weekend with my family.  I work next weekend, so we decided to do all the fun family stuffs.  Friday I came home from work to a wonderfully cooked meal of BBQ chicken and veggies by my hubby, as well as to find all of the Christmas decorations had been taken down and put away.  Score.  I was ready to move past the holidays.  Friday night we relaxed and watched the movie, “Big Night” starring Stanley Tucci and Tony Shalhoub.  It is an older film, from 1996, but the story was based on the relationship of two brothers who had moved to the United States from Italy to open their own restaurant.  At first, you think the movie is going to be about food but in reality it’s about their passion FOR Italian food, and the relationship the two brothers share.  Great flick, and I highly recommend it to any food enthusiast, or movie lover alike.

Rated 5 stars on Rotten Tomatoes!
Rated 5 stars on Rotten Tomatoes!

Saturday we decided to take the family to see MockingJay part 1 at the theater (GREAT movie), and have dinner at a place we haven’t tried yet that is located in Geneva, IL.  Local readers, I HIGHLY recommend The Patton house, which is on 2nd street in downtown Geneva.  We had bacon wrapped figs to start, and my entrée was a spicy salmon fillet over a sweet potato puree with a maple demi glaze.  To. Die. For.

1-4pattonhouse 1-4pattonhousefig

Today was my day to go shopping at my favorite consignment shop, Clothes Mentor, with the gift cards I received for Christmas.  This store makes me happy.  What can I say…I showed up with a small bag of clothes (they buy back too!) for which I received 15 dollars, as well as had a 5 dollar coupon.  At the end of my spree, I bought a cute purse, Franco Sarto shoes, and several sweaters, shirts, 2 pairs of pants and a sweater dress all for $225.00.  18 items, at an average of $12.50 cents each, and keep in mind these are all high end brand names…Ann Taylor, BCBG max, White house Black market, Nike (yes, I had to get workout clothes too!) and Banana Republic just to name a few…yup…this girl came out HAPPY as a clam.  I used to love fashion, but found that over the last several years I forgot to pamper myself too…so although I can’t afford these clothes brand new, I sure can bargain shop!

1-4clothesmentor

I still can’t run as my thumb is still on the mend, but am praying one more week and I’ll be cleared to run.  Starting now, since my marathon training starts in about 6 weeks I will be eating A LOT healthier, and cutting back on my wine intake…scary, I know…but it’s needed.  I am going back to my high protein diet, as it truly made me feel healthier and stronger.  I’ve fallen off the wagon and have been eating far too much rice/rice pasta.  I’ll still have these yummy things once or twice a week…just not daily.  I was however able to cook Sunday supper tonight, which tasted great, but didn’t look very pretty…my meal prep looks much nicer…LOL!

My friend posted this on my time line today…LOL

My friends know my weakness all too well!
My friends know my weakness all too well!
Salad!  yum!
Salad! yum!
Prime Rib with my red pepper and carrot puree!  Plating is sloppy, but hey I only have 9 fingers.  LOL
Prime Rib with my red pepper and carrot puree! Plating is sloppy, but hey I only have 9 fingers. LOL
Meal prep for tomorrow's breakfast and lunch
Meal prep for tomorrow’s breakfast and lunch

 

With no true resolutions this year, I can say I have lofty goals of branching out, somehow…in my career, and in my life.  What that means?  I’m not 100% sure yet…

What are your goals for the year?? Do you make resolutions? Do you shop consignment?

Have a great week, gang!

❤ Michelle

 

Holidays

I think I found it…

I wrote my last post, pretty down in the dumps, wishing the Christmas fairies would sprinkle their dust on me.  I was being a bah hum bug, and truly was getting on my own nerves.  But last month, after some shifting of funds, saving money, and using the hubbies travel points we were able to schedule our 3rd annual family trip to Chicago during the Christmas season.  The kids had no clue…they kept asking, “Aren’t we going to Chicago this year for Christmas?” to which we would just smile, and say, “Maybe not this year…”

For the last couple years we haven’t traveled past a state or two, having gone to Michigan last summer for 4 days, and Chicago a handful of times.  We don’t spend money on fancy hair cuts, and have cut out all luxuries to include massages, nails, cable, and eating out at “regular” restaurants for the most part.  I cook at home more times than not.  We are truly frugal, shopping consignment for clothes, and EBay for many gifts.  BUT…we don’t cut out good food, or nice places to stay when it comes to our family.  We simply believe it’s important to teach our kids to be frugal, but also appreciate the good things in life.

So to get a deal of half off at The Drake Hotel, and be able to use points was a win/win for our family.  Our kids have always begged to stay there, but as most know, a one night stay can cost a pretty penny.  Saturday night we advised the girls to get to bed early, and pack an overnight bag.  They were GIDDY.  “Where are we going?”  We just smiled.  Pulling up to the Drake was priceless, as the girls just were beside themselves with joy.  And THERE…was my Christmas spirit.  I finally found it…in my children’s laughter.  YAY.

So here are some pics from our 24 hour trip to the city we’ve grown to love.  Chicago.  Despite the gray, overcast, and dreary weather, I found myself coming alive this weekend.  And all due to my family’s joy of being there, with, me.  We enjoyed good food, shopping, and some much needed down time.  Oh…and we walked 5.1 miles just on Sunday!  Win again!

Beef shank for dinner at Quarntino!
Beef shank for dinner at Quarntino!
Say Cheese!  At Eataly!
Say Cheese! At Eataly!
The city looked AMAZING this weekend.
The city looked AMAZING this weekend.
My people.  The mirror to my soul.
My people. The mirror to my soul.
Fondue from Quarntino  YUM even though I don't do cheese often.
Fondue from Quarntino YUM even though I don’t do cheese often.
Yes, this is Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio's initials carved in on their wedding night.  SO COOL
Yes, this is Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio’s initials carved in on their wedding night. SO COOL
Roasted Octopus from Quarntino.  More winning.
Roasted Octopus from Quarntino. More winning.
Our tradition to buy an ornament each year in Chicago left us with THIS. Love.
Our tradition to buy an ornament each year in Chicago left us with THIS. Love.
yes, I got the 15 year old to sit on Santa's lap...More winning.
yes, I got the 15 year old to sit on Santa’s lap…More winning.
Sisters...my heart!
Sisters…my heart!
And here is where I found my spirit...in these two little people's eyes...joy.
And here is where I found my spirit…in these two little people’s eyes…joy.
Eggs benedict from Bar Toma.  DELISH.
Eggs benedict from Bar Toma. DELISH.
True love...TRUE love.
True love…TRUE love.
Zappoli's from Quartinos...have you been there?  You MUST GO!
Zappoli’s from Quartinos…have you been there? You MUST GO!

Sooooo…at the end of the day, besides being tired, I find myself full of Christmas spirit finally.  We were able to spoil our kids at the mall due to being TRULY frugal all year, and seeing their faces made my heart melt.

And yes…there was mad jumping on the huge bed in our hotel room, just to add to the fun.  My kids were LAUGHING and my heart sang.

There it is… my Christmas spirit.  I am so glad I found it. Family…food…feel good stuffs.  YAY.

Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays everyone!

❤ Michelle