Monday, April 30, 2012

Now and Then

Does anyone remember the movie Now and Then? It was my absolute favorite growing up. I remember my sister and I would hop on our bikes and ride to a little strip center in town. We'd get some subway, TCBY and then pop into Blockbuster, usually to get the same movie - Now and Then.

It also had nothing to do with my then-crush on Devon Sawa. ;)

The film still holds sentimental value, so whenever it is on I have to watch it. I was thinking about that movie after my weekend. Saturday night was my friend Deborah's bridal shower. It kind of combined my two groups of college girlfriends and sorority sisters - the Indy bunch and the Chicago bunch.  We had an absolute blast, and it just reminded me of how much farther we are from college, but what wonderful memories we have then, and continue to make now.

I don't remember the last time we were all together, besides my wedding maybe. I dug through some old pictures of us in college, and I've included a few here, along with the pictures from Saturday night.

Love all you girls!

Jessi, Me and Lindsey
Jessi and the bride-to-be Deborah!
Nicole and Chelsey
Deborah, Me and Lindsey
Kelsey, Lindsey, Deborah, Me, Jessi
...and Then

Our season-ticket basketball group: Deborah, Me, Rachael, Caitlin, Jessi and Nicole
Little 500 - and the room where I met John!
Deborah, Nicole, Jessi, Me
On our porch senior year of college
Lindsey, Me, Caitlin, Deborah, Jourdan and Nicole
Senior year roommates! Me, Deborah, Jourdan, Caitlin, Jessie and Nicole

Friday, April 27, 2012

Kettle Bell Full Body Blast!

Happy Friday, friends! I don't know about you, but this week has gone by pretty quickly. At this time of year, all the way through summer, time seems to fly. The end of the year approaches so quickly, and we have quite the busy summer ahead...3 weddings, 5 showers, 1 big graduation, 1 couples vacation and several parties in the mix. Throw in a couple weekends at the lake and the new school year will be here before I know it. Phew! It will all be a blast, but quite busy.

Anyhoo, I've done pretty good with my weekly workouts, and I'm feeling much better about myself now that I have two solid weeks back in my routine. I'm feeling stronger and like I'm treating my body well.

Weekly Workouts
Rest day…ahhh :)

Incline Power Walking
50 mins
15 mins.
“Feel the Burn” workout*
Abs circuit
25 mins.
35 mins.
10 mins.
Incline Power Walking
45 mins.
15 mins.
Strength Training (legs|arms|core)
50 mins.
Kettle Bell Full Body Blast (below!)
20 mins.
40 mins.

So, here is a new workout for you! You use kettle bells for the whole thing, which is actually a super fun way to mix up your workout. The wonderful Molly, my trainer and friend, turned me on to a bunch of these and I have loved playing around with the routines. For a lighter workout, complete the routine for a total of 1 to 2 times. I hope you have as much fun with this one as I do. You will definitely feel the burn. :)

Kettle Bell Full Body Blast!
Complete each of the exercises with kettle bells
at your current physical level.
Repeat for total of 3 times.

Hockey Lunge
Squat with Back Row
*bonus for doing it on Bosu!
Bicep Curls
Lateral Shoulder Raises
Tricep Extension
Front Shoulder Raises
Plank with kettle on back
45 secs.
Hot potato *in V-position
45 secs.
Some moves you may not be familiar with:
*Hockey Lunge
*Hot potato (not shown in V-position)

Have a wonderful Friday - and weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Seared Scallops with Orange-Soy Glaze

Oh boy these were tasty! I've never had scallops like these before, and I've made my fair share - Bacon-Wrapped Scallops with Chili Butter, Seared Scallops over Spinach & Parmesan Risotto, Scallops Charleston, and Scallops and Pasta with Garlic White Wine Sauce to name a few.

These, however, tasted so fresh and light. The orange and soy gave it such a unique, delicious punch of flavor. Not to mention, so few ingredients made this come together in a snap. Love that - especially after an afternoon of meetings and a tough workout.

If you're new to scallops this is a great easy recipe. Plus, if you serve it with Teriyaki-Roasted Green Beans, you're in for a real treat (and a super easy meal). Happy cooking!

Also, these are not my best, photo-wise. I only had my phone, and with the constant whisking for the last 3 minutes, I was too busy to take pics. Feel free to comment or email me if you'd like additional photos. I will be happy to remake and photograph.

Seared Scallops with Orange-Soy Glaze
Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit, via Epicurious
Serves 2-3, depending on portions

*1 tablespoon sesame oil
*1 pound sea scallops, patted dry with paper towles
*salt and pepper to taste
*2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
*1/2 freshly squeeze orange juice (about 1 orange)
*1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
*1/2 tsp (packed) grated orange peel
*butter or olive oil for cooking scallops
*Optional: green onion, sliced finely (for garnish)

*Heat butter or oil in large skillet over high heat. Sprinkle scallops with salt and pepper. 

*Working in batches, add scallops to skillet in single layer; sauté until brown on outside and just opaque in center, about 2 minutes per side. 

*Transfer scallops to plate, leaving drippings in pan.

*Add garlic and remaining oil to drippings in skillet; stir (I used a whisk) 30 seconds. Add orange juice, soy sauce, and orange peel. Boil until sauce thickens to syrup, stirring frequently, about 2-3 minutes.

*Use a spoon to create a small blot on the plate, and place scallop on it. Spoon extra sauce on top. Sprinkle with green onion slices (optional).

Fresh squeeze OJ and zest
Sizzling scallops
Eat your heart out. YUM.

WIAW: Feeling the Burn

Happy Wednesday, friends! I hope your week is off to a great start and that the prospect of the weekend - and being halfway through the week! - has put you in a good mood today. I am super excited for the weekend because my good friend Deborah's bridal shower is this weekend! I haven't seen her in so long (hello, NYC-dweller!), and I'm really looking forward to spending time with her and my other sorority sisters who will be there.

Anyhoo, thanks to Jenn for hosting another great What I Ate Wednesday. As you'll see, these are fairly Asian-inspired dishes. I don't know what's gotten into me, but I've been having some rocking meals, so I'm not complaining. Not to mention, two of the dishes are new-to-me recipes this week. I love sharing those with you guys, especially when they are as delicious as these!

Let's get down to it, shall we?

Breakfast: Spoiler alert! This is nothing new. I am a creature of habit, that is for sure. A strawberry Greek yogurt from Trader Joe's. Definitely not as good as Chobani, but I was all out so this made do.

Lunch: Leftovers! I love when I cook a great meal that can be an equally great lunch the next day. I had leftovers of Quinoa Chicken Fried Rice (adapted from Jenn herself!) with some sliced strawberries and splenda. Yummy! Note: this is not the picture of my looked so pitiful in my tupperware that I had to share the picture from the previous evening (when I had it for dinner). Trust me, you didn't want to see the other picture.

Snack: I grabbed a fruit strip and some celery and peanut butter. Please note, I never put peanut butter in baggies...but I went on a field trip to the Zoo with the kiddos Monday, and we had to bring disposable lunches. I ended up not eating my celery and peanut butter then, and fortunately it fit in my purse. Hello, tasty snack!

My snack helped me get through an afternoon with meetings at school, and a tough workout at the gym. I started with 30 minutes of cardio, and then did Courtney's "Feeling the Burn" workout plus an ab circuit. Let me tell you, as I type this, my shoulders are definitely burning. It was a tough but awesome circuit. You know I love maximizing my workouts!

Dinner: Another new-to-us meal! Seared Scallops with Orange-Soy Glaze (recipe coming tomorrow!). These were soooo tasty. Light, crisp, fresh and packed with flavor. I had my favorite Teriyaki-Roasted Green Beans on the side, and I was feeling quite satisfied by the end of the meal.

Post dinner, I took a few taste-test bites of guacamole and quinoa to go with my lunch tomorrow - sweet potato + black beans + guacamole + quinoa (inspired by a lunch Ashley made a couple weeks ago). Also, I may or may not have jumped around dancing to the Glee Whitney Houston tribute episode, in lieu of folding laundry...I's Whitney!

Don't judge me! (For the Glee dancing or the excessive use of exclamation marks...!)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Quinoa Chicken Fried Rice

Spoiler alert: No rice in this recipe! Just good 'ole quinoa and my first time cooking with it. Turns out? It's delicious! To be honest, I was a bit skeptical about this whole quinoa thing (apparently pronounced keen-wah). I kinda thought it was another one of those "fad" foods that were over-hyped. Although, I thought that about blood oranges and I quickly became obsessed.

Anyhoo, I saw Katie post this recipe awhile back and quickly pinned it. I even bought the quinoa right away. However I let it sit in my pantry thinking it wouldn't be that good. Oh, I was so wrong. John was too. I told him about this and he said, "Is this another thing your super healthy friends like?" (Here's looking at you Ally and Lindsey!) He was not excited about this dinner, but he trusts my cooking enough now.

He ended up yelling, "Baby! It smells gooooood!" so many times that I lost count. It did smell goooood though. So when I took my first bite I was so pleasantly surprised and happy that I immediately realized I should have made more. Next time my friends, next time. Which will probably be, oh, on Thursday.

Quinoa Chicken Fried Rice
Recipe adapted from Our Little Place and Peas and Crayons
Serves 3-4 as an entree, depending on portions

*1 cup quinoa (uncooked)
*1 1/2 cups water
*4-8tsp low sodium soy sauce
*2-4 cloves of garlic, minced
*1/4 tsp garlic powder 
*2 1/2 cups of fresh or frozen veggies such as peas, carrots, and onion
*2-4 large eggs, optional (I used three)
*oil or butter for sauteeing
*S+P to taste 
*2 chicken breasts, poached and cut into bite-size pieces

*Rinse quinoa, drain and allow to dry (I used this time to chop my veggies!). Once dry, toss quinoa in a pot - without water. Toast on medium heat for 1-2 minutes, allowing it to dry out a bit more (which actually keeps it moist!). Add water to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to low, cover and simmer for 12 minutes.

*While the quinoa is cooking, get your veggies ready. Saute onion and carrots in a pan until softened. (I just defrosted my peas and threw them in at the last minute). Push veggies to the side and scramble your eggs. Add garlic at the end and mix together. 

*When quinoa is ready, add it and chicken to the pan and mix well. Add garlic powder and soy sauce, plus salt and pepper to taste. Allow to fry for a couple minutes and serve immediately. 

Veggies | Poached chicken
Diced chicken | Egg and veggies
Veggies + Eggs + Garlic | All mixed up!

Dinner is served :)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Lightened-Up Dill Dip

I've shared some family recipes with you in the past, including Texas Sheet Cake and Templeton Taco Pie. Both have been huge hits, and this one will be no different. It's another recipe from the family cookbook my mom made for me, and one that John and I have both enjoyed on many occasions.

One of my favorite parts about this dip is that it goes in a Hawaiian round loaf (with the center cut out). It's the perfect bread to go with this, but I found that veggies are awesome with it as well. I lightened this up a bit and added a protein punch by making the base nonfat Greek yogurt (as opposed to mayo and sour cream). John said he couldn't taste a difference, and I know the girls appreciated the lighter fare.

This recipe is a breeze and will be the perfect thing for a cookout, shower or get together. Trust me, you will be glad you made it! And thanks to John's wonderful mom for the recipe! :)

Lightened-Up Dill Dip
Recipe adapted from my mother-in-law Leslie
Serves at least 8 as an appetizer

*1 lb Hawaiian bread loaf (you can get another for extra dipping!)
*1/2 fat free sour cream (original recipe was 1 cup)
*1/2 cup light mayo (original recipe was 2 cups)
*2 cups nonfat Greek yogurt (you can play with the sour cream-mayo-yogurt ratio you like)
*5 tablespoons minced onion
*3 tablespoons parsley
*5 tsp dill weed
*5 tsp beau monde seasoning
*veggies for dipping (I used carrots, celery and bell peppers)

*Combine sour cream, mayo, Greek yogurt and seasonings in a bowl. Cover bowl and allow to sit in fridge overnight.

*Before serving, dig or cut out center of Hawaiian bread loaf. Transfer dip to the center. Serve with the bread you cut out and veggies. Eventually eat the loaf the dip is in!

And the chubby cheeks started early ;)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Maximize Your Moves Workout

Happy Fit Fridays! I have been so bad about posting these lately. Maybe because I haven't been feeling like I was doing such a great job of staying "fit" recently. I continued my workouts but not as frequently as I had been, and I was feeling blah.

Well, this week I definitely took control and changed that. I've been at the gym every day (including Sunday), and I'm feeling so much better about myself already. So, as I write this, I've decided to try something with fit Fridays...add a "Weekly Workouts" blurb, where I share the basics of my workouts for the week. I won't post all details (though I'm happy to if you're interested!), but I will share when I went, what I did (cardio, strength training) and how long I did it. I'm aiming for some extra accountability!

Weekly Workouts (4.14-4.20.12)
Rest Day – in Chicago!

Incline Power Walking
50 mins.
10 mins.
“Maximize Your Moves” Workout (2x through)
30 mins
30 mins.
“Maximize Your Moves” Workout (1x through)
35 mins.
15 mins.
Incline Power Walking
45 mins.
15 mins.
Strength Training (legs|arms|core)
55 mins.
[Plan to get 1 hour in before *date night*!]

The workout I'm sharing below is one I noted above.  I love it because so many of the moves are dual - targeting arms and abs, or legs and arms, etc. By focusing on two areas I don't have as much time to dwell on how one area is burning or whatnot. Plus, you get a whole body workout with fewer moves. Score!

So, here it is...let me know what you think! :)

Maximize Your Moves Workout
Squats with Barbell Press
Wall Sit with Shoulder Raises
Alternating Lunges with Bicep Curl
Alternating Reverse Lunges with Tricep Extension
Back Rows
Incline Push Ups
Plank Side-Side (Toe Taps)
45 sec.
Russian Twist with Medicine Ball
*Complete the exercises a total of 2-3 times.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Roasted Asparagus w/ Soy Sauce

This was the side I served with Ahi Tuna Steaks with Teriyaki-Soy Glaze. It was perfect because they cooked at the same temperature as the tuna. I put these in about 20 minutes before the tuna, and allowed them to finish cooking with the tuna.  Enter a perfect (and easy) side dish! Not only that, these had the ideal balance of crispness and tenderness. We loved it!

Roasted Asparagus w/ Soy Sauce
Recipe by Call Me Mrs. Rapp
Serves 2 

*1 tbsp olive oil
*1 tsp soy sauce
*1/2 tbsp minced onion
*1 small bundle asparagus

*Preheat oven to 450.

*Break off stems of asparagus. Whisk olive oil, soy sauce and minced onion in a small bowl. Place asparagus spears on a sheet pan or on a wire rack over a sheet pan (I suggest this method, with foil on the pan - easy clean up!). Brush spears with soy mixture.

*Bake for 25 minutes. Serve immediately!

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