Thursday, April 29, 2010

Another Quick and Easy Bowl Meal

After a delicious deep tissue massage last night, I quickly ran home to help Scott get Ava ready for bed and read a bedtime story.  Then, I took Chase on a quick walk.  When I returned I wasn’t in the mood to cook the meal that had been planned.  I decided that it was going to be another ‘Quick and Easy’ bowl meal, incorporating some quick cooking grain and leftovers.

Hmmm…quick grain, well, there’s really nothing quicker than couscous.  Enter, Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat Couscous.

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I tried the microwave directions and it was done in 3 minutes!  

After a quick scan of the fridge, I found some leftover cooked eggplant, frozen peas that had been thawed for Ava, but not used, and a tomato.  Bingo!  I tossed in some blue cheese and dried cranberries and called it good.  Actually it was really good!   Of course, Scott was quick to point out that this was yet another meatless meal this week. 

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I continued the  theme, with a quick 30 minute high intensity interval workout this morning.  Just a walk/run combination with the stroller alternating walking with a balls-to-the wall run every minute.   I love walking out the door, and returning in 30 minutes with my workout completed. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Easy Meal after Weekend Fun

Whew, I know it’s Wednesday already (and I’ve been MIA) but it feels like I’ve had an extended weekend since Friday.  That’s when all the fun started for Ava’s christening.  We had both sets of grandparents, my brother and his fiance visiting from the midwest, and 20 of our closest friends here.  It was a fun and busy weekend.

Having fun getting attention in church

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Enthralled with the priest’s beard

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Playing with Grandpa

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We had a nice spread of food for Ava’s party after church

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I didn’t make the sandwiches or deviled eggs, but we were busy all day Saturday baking and decorating cookies, making potato salad, baking poppyseed bread, and grocery shopping.  Oh, and don’t forget, trying to come up with something the relatives could eat while they dropped in and out.    Needless to say, I was ready for a super easy dinner come Monday. 

Starting with a much needed glass of vino:  J. Lohr Cab…yum!

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In honor of Meatless Monday, we tried this organic tempeh from Trader Joe’s.  I don’t know why it took me so long to try it!

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I wasn’t really sure about what to do with it, and I wasn’t in the mood to search for recipes or get to creative, so I sliced it up, put over some of Trader Joe’s rice 3 grain medley and summer squash, and then doused the whole thing with homemade peanut sauce.  It wasn’t the prettiest meal, but it sure was tasty!  Of course, I’m convinced you could put peanut sauce over cardboard and it would taste good. 

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I will happily buy tempeh again, and can’t wait to experiment with some other ways to include it into a meal. 

Have you tried tempeh?  If you have, what are your favorite ways to prepare it?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Ava’s Workout

Ava’s mobility means that she now has a bigger world to explore. Now anything we leave around is fair game for her to play with. Just yesterday she started pulling out drawers to our dresser to start pulling herself up.

My workout bands on the pantry door apparently were a tempting target for Ava. She made her way over to them for a little morning workout…

The pre-workout crawling warm up… DSC02258

Starting the workout.

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Working some abs.DSC02261

Pausing for a little mid-workout teething break. DSC02265  DSC02270

Onto the next exercise with the foam roller… DSC02274

All that working out makes you hungry. Here’s Ava after cleaning her plate from breakfast…

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Later Ava got to be the “package” in our little beverage tub. She seems to like being carried around!DSC02276

Maybe we’ll have to do a DVD series of “50-second Abs by Ava”?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Brazilian Blow Out

Have you heard of it?  And no, get your mind out of the gutter, it’s not something like that!

Happy Friday-eve bloggies!  I hope everyone is starting to get excited about the weekend!  I know I am.  Today after my favorite boot camp class at the gym, I got my hair done.   It was a big deal because I got something done that was very new to me.   The Brazilian Blow Out, is a straightening treatment to get rid of the waves and frizz in your hair.   It is supposed to last about 12 weeks, depending on how often you wash your hair.    It took an hour and a half, and I went from frizz central to this:

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Please excuse the no make-up, post workout, look. 

I love that this is a treatment that actually conditions your hair and puts it in better shape than it was before.  So many things done to hair, color, highlighting, perming, etc. are damaging, but this is actually very replenishing.  Also, usually to get my hair this straight, it would take about an hour of blow drying, flat iron, hair serum, etc.  My hair feels so soft and healthy.  I think it’s shinier that it was before as well. 

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No meals to report today.  I’m going to spend the rest of the day cleaning and getting ready for lots of out of town guests.  We are baptizing Ava this weekend, and having a big shindig at the house on Sunday after the service. 

What are your weekend plans?  What treatments/work do you have done to your hair? 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Back yard BBQ with new friends

Remember last week when I asked what you would choose between the wasabi salmon and the pork tenderloin with mustard sauce?  Guess what we chose?  You will find out in a moment.

First, the appetizers:

Sweet Pea and Ginger Hummus

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Unfortunately I can’t post the recipe, since it was given to me by the chef at our club, but if you’re really interested, email me and I can give it up.   It sure was yummy!

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Blurry photo of endive leaves with gorgonzola and pecans, along with goat cheese stuffed dates.

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Traditional Hummus; a little on the bland side since I make it for Ava to eat as well.  She LOVES hummus.

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One of the bottles of vino.  The Tin Roof Merlot was quite good.  I’m picky about merlots and only like a handful of them, and this was one.  Not my favorite, but not to tannic, medium bodied, and went really well with the appetizers.  (We also had a lovely white from Argentina that I forgot to photograph.  It was the hit of the evening!)

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Sarah brought this awesome Asian Green Bean Salad.   Filled with peppers, green beans, cilantro, ginger, garlic and serrano peppers, this was not only flavorful but a great mix of textures.

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And, if you guessed Wasabi Salmon, you were right!   Perfect with the salad that Sarah brought.  We must have been on the same wavelength!  Grilled perfectly by hubby – aka Grill Master. 

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Altogether with a few grilled wedges of butternut squash and enjoyed on the patio on yet another beautiful Arizona evening. 

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We had so much fun with our new friends, and can’t wait to introduce them to some of our other foodie friends.   I love meeting new people!

How do you meet new friends?  Or do you find it hard to meet people and click where you live?

I’m fairly outgoing, but I think it’s also about the area where you live.  Are people open and friendly, or more reserved and go about their own lives? 

Monday, April 19, 2010

Friday night Date Night – at home

All day Friday we had planned on going out to see a movie, or perhaps going to listen to a free outdoor jazz concert.  As the day went on, we decided against the movie.  We both have been so tired lately, we thought we’d have a hard time staying awake.  We talked about heading to Jazz in the Promenade, which is every Friday in the spring.  Turns out, it doesn’t start until next week.    Hmm…0 for 2.  Thoughts of going out for drinks at one of the many restaurants with patios entered my mind, but wait, we could just have drinks on our own patio.   So, that’s just what we did!

We started with unpictured mojitoes and popcorn while we gave Ava her bottle and enjoyed watching Chase hunt lizards in the backyard.  “Dinner” was a fun assortment of appe’s.

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Spring rolls with peanut sauce, kale salad, endive boats with Laughing Cow cheese, and grape tomatoes.  (More popcorn was consumed with dinner, as was a big glass o’white for me. 

We decided since we were seeing a movie, to bring a movie to us.  Well, not exactly a movie…we caught up on some episodes of 24 while munching and watching the sunset. 

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Chase enjoyed the company in his back yard domain.

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The sun set, and the moon rose.  It was a gorgeous evening, and I’m so glad we enjoyed it at home on our own patio!

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What is your favorite way to spend a Friday night?

Friday, April 16, 2010

TGIF!

Hello and happy Friday blogland!  Does anybody have any fun weekend plans? 

If we don’t see a movie, we’ll probably do our typical home version of “Friday night happy hour” and sit on the patio soaking of these delicious evenings.  I made a fresh batch of peanut sauce, so tonight will include some fresh spring rolls of some sort.  Here is a little of what we had last Friday..

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We can easily make a meal out of shrimp cocktail, cheese and crackers and hummus with plenty of vino.  Oh yes we did! 

Tomorrow night we are having our new friends from down the street over for a back yard bar-b-que.   This couple recently moved to Scottsdale from Boston.  They have a 4 month old daughter for Ava to entertain.  But, the real bonus is that they love to cook and they love to drink wine.  We couldn’t have found a better match for some new friends.  Isn’t it fun to find other couples that have a lot in common with you?  My philosophy is that you can never have to many friends. 

So, I’m debating  on what to make for dinner.  I’m thinking my favorite wasabi marinated salmon.

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Or, a delicious pork tenderloin recipe that is a favorite of ours ever since my friend, Renee, introduced us to it.

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Bourbon marinated pork with mustard sauce.

Decisions, decisions!  What would you choose to serve to new friends, if not completely sure of the tastes/preferences? 

What are your plans for the weekend?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My “Home Gym”

Even though I belong to a lovely gym:

     

and pay a premium monthly membership, now that I have a little one to think about, I don’t always get to workout at the gym anymore.  There’s a lot more walking and running with the stroller, and swimming here at home.  There is also times, when Ava is down for a nap that I do a little strength and resistance training at home.   (It is great to be able to get in a workout in 30 minutes, and be done and showered by the time she wakes up.) 

Over the years I’ve acquired enough “toys” to mix it up a bit, and make it more fun.

Medium Resistance Band:  Great for standing bicep curls, Lat pull-downs, Chest flies, squats with overhead raise, etc.

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Multiple weight dumb bells:   Self explanatory.  I have the 5 lb, 8 lb, and 10 lb sets

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Bosu Ball:  Did you know that Bosu stands for Both Sides Up?  This is a great piece to work on balance and core, stand on it while doing bicep curls, etc.  Also great for all sorts of ab exercises.  Be careful not to hop on and off to quickly, I’ve sprained my ankle this way. 

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Not to mention, this little “weight” for ab exercises.  <3

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And thanks to CNS Stores, I have a new toy!DSC02216

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The j/fit heavy handles with resistance tubing.    From j/fit: 

Resistance from dumbbells never changes, while the resistance from tubing increases throughout the exercise motion, make the exercise motion more efficient in toning and building muscle. 

Makes sense to me!  Also, I love that it came with a door anchor.  With the band that I had already, I never had a way to use it entirely, because I didn’t have a place to rope it around.  This will allow me to do so many other exercises.

I tried it out with some hammer curls and tricep kickbacks and must say it was much more challenging than either dumb bells or resistance tubing alone.  I can’t wait to try more of the exercises that are shown in the guide that accompanied the tubing.   You could easily get a whole body workout with this one piece of equipment. 

Do you have a “home gym?”  If so, what kind of exercise machines/equipment/gadgets do you have?