Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I'm a horrible packer

Yesterday's Workout: 3.2 miles
10 minute warm-up run (1.2 miles)
Shoulder and Chest circuit:
1 x 12 shoulder press
1 x 12 front raise
1 x 12 lateral raise
1 x 12 upright row
1 x 12 push up
1 x 12 chest press on stability ball
1 x 12 chest fly on stability ball
*Repeat circuit 3x
2 mile brisk walk with Jasper

I feel like every time I travel, I have these really high expectations of myself that I'll be able to fit everything into a carry-on. Nine times out of ten, this is not the case, especially for a week long trip. So tonight, I'm really aiming to make this that one time out of ten where I succeed. Wish me luck!


P.S. I'm really going to miss this lil dude while we're gone. He'll be in very good hands at doggy daycare though - he loves it there! When we drop him off, he usually runs right in to greet the other pups and people, without even looking back at us. I've learned to deal with it.

Also, I'll have my first trimester recap post on Friday for you guys. I'm warning you, it's a long one. But it was a lot of fun to write, so I hope you enjoy it! :-)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Lightened Up Penne Primavera

Yesterday's Workout:
40 minute Barre3 online total body workout

We'll be heading out for our little Midwest getaway this week, so the occasion calls for a "use up whatever is left in the fridge" meal. I was craving some sort of pasta on Saturday night - likely all a mental thing, knowing I would be doing the road race the following morning. I have probably eaten pasta more in the last two months of being pregnant than I had in the entire year of 2013. Don't get me wrong, I love me some good old carby pasta, but I find I can just keep eating it and eating it, and no matter how full I feel at the time, I will be hungry an hour later. Now when I have pasta, I really try to add in filling protein and veggies when I can. So for this dish, I threw in some ham, shaved brussels sprouts, and fresh grilled corn that we had leftover. For the sauce, I opted for a lighter version of cream sauce, using half and half instead of heavy cream. It was phenom. 

Really, this can be made with any kind of protein or vegetable you have on hand. Feel free to substitute the ham with chicken, bacon, shrimp, lobster, tofu, etc. I highly recommend the shaved brussels sprouts, but asparagus, broccoli, green beans, or bell peppers would be equally as delicious. My favorite thing about it is it's a complete meal all in one!


Lightened Up Penne Primavera
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1/2 box penne or other pasta
3 Tbsp butter
1/3 C onion, finely diced (about 1/3 large onion)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C shaved brussels sprouts (about 12 brussels sprouts)
1/4 C corn (I cut mine off 1 eat of grilled corn, but frozen or canned can be used)
1/3 C cooked ham, diced
1/2 C half and half
2 Tbsp cream sherry (or other dry cooking wine)
1/2 C Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:
  • Prepare pasta following directions on box. Drain and set aside.
  • While pasta is cooking:
  • In large frying pan, melt 2 Tbsp butter over medium low heat. Add onion, brussels sprouts, and garlic. Saute for 5 minutes. Add corn and ham. Cook for another 3 minutes than transfer from pan into a bowl and set aside. 
  • Prepare the sauce by adding 1 Tbsp butter into the frying pan. Add half and half and bring to simmer. Add cream sherry and allow to cook down for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add Parmesan cheese and garlic powder, then mix until combined.
  • Add the pasta and veggies/ham mix to the sauce and stir until evenly coated. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with chopped chives or parsley as garnish.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Baby Mo's First 5K and Reflections on Running While Pregnant

Yesterday's Workout
Groton 5K road race! 


Okay so yesterday, I embarked on my first road race while just-shy-of-14-weeks pregnant. Not only did I do better than I was expecting, but I felt REALLY good doing it and had one of my most enjoyable runs in a long time. I took my time, got lost in my surroundings (Groton is a gorgeous town!), waved at every camera I saw, stopped quick to chat with a couple on the sidelines that had an adorable goldendoodle (a giant version of Jasper), and I crossed the line smiling, which is a rare feat hah! I finished in 27:24 - at this point, I was aiming for anything under 30 minutes, so I was VERY happy with my time.

At this point, I have added about 1:00 minute to my usual mile pace, which is unfortunately what happens to pregnant runners. This has been quite possibly the hardest thing to go through since becoming pregnant, and I'm sure any female runner out there who has had a baby can relate. Even though I'm not an elite runner and will never be able to compete with the best of the best, I am very competitive with myself. After working so hard, there is no better feeling than watching your personal time improve over the course of a running season every year. Everyone has their thing, and this is my thing. So yes, it has been a little difficult to endure the slowing of my pace along with laboring of my lungs to pump oxygen through my growing body. However, the most important thing is always going to be providing a healthy environment for Baby Mo, so slow down, I shall!

It's actually kind of amazing how quickly your body adjusts to creating another life. As early as 6 weeks, I could already notice a difference while running. When you become pregnant, the hormone progesterone, which helps to stimulate breathing and improves the transfer of gases between mom and baby, is increased and these elevated levels cause shortness of breath. Also, pregnant woman carry 25-40% more blood in their bodies, which means your lungs have to work extra hard to transfer oxygen to all that blood, let alone when you're doing any sort of physical activity. As a result, by the time I was 8 weeks along, even though I hadn't gained a pound yet, I was already slowing down and saying goodbye to my 8:00 miles. My Garmin has been a life-saver through the first trimester to help me maintain a comfortable pace. I plan to continue using it to help me adjust my pace as my pregnancy progresses. While I've only gained 2 lbs so far in my pregnancy, the second trimester usually ends in a pretty significant weight gain (14-ish pounds), so I can imagine I'm only going to get slower from here...I'll enjoy it while it lasts! :-)

Friday, April 25, 2014

Happy Friday!

Yesterday's Workout: 5 miles
3.5 mile run
1.5 mile walk with Jasper
Bicep/Tricep Circuit:
1 x 12 bicep curls
1 x 12 alternating bicep curls, each arm
1 x 12 hammer curls
1 x 12 alternating hammer curls, each arm
1 x 12 tricep dips
1 x 12 tricep press
1 x 12 tricep kickbacks
1 x 12 skull crushers
*Repeat circuit 2X

In one week, I will be waking up in Chicago, my favorite city to visit ahhh!!! This weekend will be spent prepping for our little vaca. It's supposed to be a gloomy next few days, cool and rainy here in Mass -unfortunately it looks like it might be a wet and chilly 5K for us on Sunday, but it's good weather for shopping and getting last minute things for our trip! We leave next Thursday - we'll be staying in Chicago for 2 nights then driving over to Michigan to visit Brent's family and celebrate our baby news!

Speaking of, I woke up this morning, got dressed for work, and couldn't help notice that my jeans are feeling a little more snug in the waist than usual. Although there's no bump per say, I'm definitely feeling thicker in the mid-section today. Let the awkward beer belly stage commence!


What would this blog be without at least one Jasper picture for the day? Brent managed to get this one the other morning of the two of us cuddled in bed. Gosh, I love this little guy! Enjoy your weekend, everyone!!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Easter Leftovers: Creamy Ham and Egg Salad

I don't know about you, but we still have a fridge full of leftovers from Easter that we're trying to work through, including 2 dozen hard-boiled eggs and a whole tupperware full of ham. One of my favorite snacks so far in this pregnancy has been hard-boiled eggs. I make a big batch at a time and store them in the fridge to snack on throughout the week. It's a great source of protein and a super convenient grab-and-go.

Last night, I took some of the eggs and ham I had leftover and threw them together to make a salad. It took all of 5 minutes to put together, and Brent deemed it delicious. I added a few scoops of the ham and egg salad on top of some mixed greens to make it a meal, but I bet this would be just as good sandwiched in between a bulky roll with lettuce, tomato, bacon, and red onions....okay, that's getting added to my must-try list this weekend.


Creamy Ham and Egg Salad
Serves 2

Ingredients:
3 hard-boiled eggs, finely diced
1/2 C diced ham
1 celery stalk, finely diced
3 Tbsp light mayo
1 tsp mustard (yellow, grainy, or dijon...I used yellow)
2 tsp sweet relish
Dash of paprika
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preparation:

  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well to combine. 
  • I recommend to refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving so the flavors combine. 
  • Serve on top of mixed greens or as a sandwich. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Our Special Announcement

 

Words cannot describe how completely blessed we are to be expecting our new addition this year! Let me tell ya, it's harder than I thought carrying around this big secret that is so exciting and life-changing while going about every day as if nothing has happened! "Baby Mo" (Mo = short for Morse) will be greeting the world around Halloween...a little pumpkin baby!

So far, I am absolutely LOVING being pregnant. I have been very lucky - no nausea, sickness, mood swings, pains...nada. And really, besides one week very early on where I was hit with weird food cravings and some minor aversions, my appetite has been totally normal.  I've been able to keep up with my workouts, which has really helped to maintain normalcy. While my pace is naturally slowing down as my pregnancy progresses, running is my time to reflect on everything, and I have enjoyed it even more than I did pre-pregnancy. I have my first 5K of the season coming up this Sunday actually - pretty exciting!

I've been keeping a weekly diary of my first trimester, so more details to come in a later post!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Easter Recap

Yesterday's Workout:
4 mile run


We hosted Easter on Sunday and had a blast with it. We may have had enough food to feed an army and won't need to cook all week now, but that's ok! It always ends up that way after holidays, doesn't it? We had our annual Easter egg hunt, and since it was 60 and sunny out, we were able to hide half the eggs outside for the hunt (six dozen eggs later...) And naturally, Jasper was right in the middle of it all, grabbing the low-lying eggs and making us chase him around the yard with them hanging out of his mouth.










And look! I didn't totally fail on the cupcake decorating like I half expected I would. The bunny bums were a huge hit! Also, here's the step-by-step instructions for how I folded the napkins into bunnies - leave it to Martha Stewart for that!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Good luck, runners!

Yesterday's Workout:
45 minute kickboxing workout

I'm sitting at work anxiously awaiting the start of the Boston Marathon. One of my coworkers is running on behalf of Martin Richard, the 8-year-old who lost his life in the bombings last year, so we will all be following him during the race, cheering him on. You can watch the live race coverage here beginning at 9:30 EST. Best of luck to all the runners this year, enjoy very moment, and have fun crossing that finish line!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Only in New England..

Yesterday's Workout
5 miles
Stretch, stretch, and more stretch!

On Monday, it was a gorgeous 75 degree day. Tuesday, I got home to see my magnolia tree blooming its beautiful white flowers, suggesting that spring had officially arrived and was here to stay.


...This morning, I wake up to this.



I don't want to talk about it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Our Easter Menu

Yesterday's Workout:
3 mile run with Jasper
Biceps/triceps 


Let's talk food. Brent and I will be hosting our first holiday in our new home this weekend, and we're super excited about it! Our family is pitching in with some delicious dishes, and together we've come up with a pretty fantastic menu for Easter.

Appetizers
Antipasto - It's an Italian staple...salad topped with olives, cured meats, cheeses, and lots of peperoncini (it's Brent's fav!)
Deviled Eggs - We're coloring 4 dozen eggs on Saturday (yikes!) so we'll have plenty to eat after. I'll be keeping them pretty simple - can't go wrong with a classic deviled egg filling, but I like to add some crumbled bacon and chopped chives as garnish.
Chips and Dip - Nothing fancy, but it's always on the table at my mom's house before our Easter meal....Cape Cod chips and Heluva Good French Onion dip...no substitutions.

Dinner
Ham -  Luckily, my mom is bringing her famous ham. I have no idea how she does it, but I need to get the recipe. Ham is one thing I've never attempted cooking before, and it's a little intimidating.
Pineapple Bake - I have to confess, this is my ultimate favorite dish on the table at Easter. This is the recipe my aunt uses. It's by no means diet food, but it's friggen delicious. I usually take a tupperware full for leftovers to have as dessert for the week after Easter. It's my happy place.
Baked Ziti - Ally learned this recipe from her mom, and it's the best I've ever had. Ziti smothered in layers of marinara, ricotta, parmesan, and mozzarella? Count me in.
Grilled Vegetable Medley - Don't get me wrong, I'm a veggie lover, but on holidays, it tends to be dish that people forego in order to save room for the good stuff. We're keeping it easy this year and just sticking to a few grilled vegetables: zucchini, summer squash, carrots, red bell peppers, onions.
Corn on the Cob - Because why not?

Dessert
Brownies - My brother is actually a really great cook/baker. I kindly demanded requested that he make his brownies for dessert. I see a brownie sundae in my future.
Coconut Cream Pie - I'll be honest, as much as I love coconut, I'm not the biggest fan of coconut cream pie. It's a little *GASP* too sweet for my liking. But the ladies in my family love it, so my uncle is bringing it along.
Easter-themed Cupcakes - I'm more excited about these than I probably should be, but it's not every day I get to decorate cupcakes. I'm sticking with a simple confetti cupcake with buttercream frosting. The fun isn't in the batter though, it's in the creativity. I found a super cute idea on Pinterest...there's a decent chance this could turn into the biggest Pinterest fail ever, but I promise to post a picture regardless.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Recipe Recommendation: Key Lime Pie Bars

Yesterday's Workout: 5 miles
*in between every 10-minute segment of the run, I completed an upper body strength circuit with drop-sets
1.5 mile walk with Jasper


Don't get me wrong, I am TOTALLY loving the weather we are being handed lately, but I can't help make note of how weird this time of year is. I drive into work with my winter coat, scarf, gloves, and heat on because it's 29 degrees out, and by the time I'm on my way home from work, I have all the windows rolled down, jacket off, sunglasses on, blasting country music, cruising in the gorgeous 65 degree sun. Like I said, weird.

On a totally unrelated note, I made these amazing key lime pie bars the other day and have to do everything in my power to stop myself from opening the fridge more than once a night to steal a "quick bite" after dinner - it's a messy cycle, my friends. Also, I have no idea how Averie was able to cut these bars so nicely for her photography. I let mine sit overnight in the fridge to better set, and I struggled to get a knife cleanly through the crust. So after my failed attempt at cutting them into bite-sized bars, I left the entire dessert intact and just have at it with a fork. Probably not the best decision I've ever made because the pan is now half gone and it's only Thursday. They're too damn good to resist though. Plus, they have lime in them; limes are green; salad is green; so basically these bars are salad. There, I said it.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Grilled Maple Mustard Chicken

Yesterday's Workout:
2.5 mile walk with Jasper

Many recipes out there are now using maple syrup, honey, or agave as a sweetener instead of sugar, and I'm totally on board with this swap. Any excuse to use the big ol' jug of delicious NH maple syrup we got last month is a-okay with me.

Last night, I was craving honey mustard chicken on the grill, but I only had about 2 Tbsp left of honey, sooo I was in a little bit of a predicament. What I did have was about 6 cups of maple syrup. Can you really substitute maple syrup for honey in this kind of recipe though? I don't want my chicken to turn out tasting like pancakes. Or do I? Nah, no pancake-flavored chicken for me, thanks.

The only way I was going to know for sure is if I tried it. I mixed together 1:1 the maple syrup with dijon mustard, took a deep breath, and gave it a taste. It was perfection. Surprisingly, I couldn't even taste the maple at all - it tasted like true honey mustard, which I thought was a little weird, but I rolled with it. I threw in a little additional spices for flavoring, and I ended up with my new favorite marinade for grilled chicken: maple mustard. Do it.


Grilled Maple Mustard Chicken
Serves 4

Ingredients:
3 Tbsp dijon mustard
3 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
Dash of each: salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp cornstarch

Preparation:

  • In a small bow, whisk together the mustard, maple syrup, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Set aside.
  • Slice each chicken breast in half cross-wise to create 4 thinner chicken breasts.
  • Rub the oil over the chicken in a bowl. Sprinkle cornstarch over the chicken and spread to evenly coat the outside.
  • Pour 3/4 of the maple mustard sauce over the chicken and marinade for 30 minutes. 
  • Grill the coated chicken breasts until fully cooked (about 4 minutes per side, or bake at 350° for 20 minutes)
  • Pour the remaining sauce over chicken before serving.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

5 o'clock somewhere

Yesterday's Workout: 5 miles
1.5 mile walk with Jasper
Abs on stability ball


If only it were 5 o'clock on Friday...it's only Tuesday, and this week is already dragging. Gah!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Weekend Recap

Yesterday's Workout:
2 mile walk with Jasper
1.5 mile run
Hours and hours of yard work!

You know those weekends you never want to end? Ok, so maybe that's every weekend, but this one was one of the best ones we've had in awhile. It's amazing how quickly the weather here in New England can turn around. Just when you're sitting there at your kitchen table, cozied up in three layers of clothing, staring out at the foot of snow that has covered your lawn since the holidays and wondering why the hell you ever decided to buy a house in a state where it can snow 6 months out of the year...Mother Nature decides it's finally spring and delivers some amazing weather.

On Saturday morning, it was a little overcast from having rained overnight, so we took advantage of getting the indoor to-do's done, including the installation of our wood accent wall in our half bathroom downstairs! We used Stikwood in the color "plum" for this project. A couple hours later and a lot of "crap, what did we get ourselves into?"...we finished!


Now I can finish decorating in there. I'm going with rustic, obviously. It's a really small room, so I just plan to add some things on the wall to brighten it up and give it some character. It's the one bathroom all guests will use so I want to make it nice. Thank god for Pinterest!

On Saturday night, I went out with the ladies to dinner and paint night. We ate at Vine Brook Tavern (amazing as always)...I went with something totally out of the norm for me and ordered the meatloaf. Holy wow, it was delicious. It came with mashed potatoes, haricot vert, crispy onions, and a light gravy. I ate about half and took the rest home for Brent to try - I knew he wouldn't have wanted to miss out on that!


After dinner, we headed over to Pinot's Palette for Paint Night. We bought a Groupon deal for 50% off - Paint Nights have gotten crazy expensive, so it's worth it to buy it off Groupon or Living Social when they become available. We had a blast! Here was my finished product:


Yesterday, we spent the entire day outside finishing the yard clean-up. We removed all the dead leaves, raked out the mulch beds, pruned some of the plant life, swept out the garage, seeded herbs, and planned out our soon-to-be garden bed. I think we can safely say the yard is now ready for spring! Next on the list will be to spread new mulch, plant some flowers (tulips, daylilies, and peonies!), build our garden, and begin sowing next month. It seems like a lot, but it's actually super fun. Maybe I'm just saying that since this is my first spring as a homeowner and it's all still new to me. Ask me again next year, and I might be singing a different tune :-)





Jasper was our trusty side-kick all day, guarding the yard as always. We went for a nice long walk once we finished our yard work. Brent grilled some steak tips for dinner, and we served it with a nice big salad. Perfect way to end the weekend.  My two guys were pretty exhausted after all that!




Friday, April 4, 2014

Loving this weather!

Yesterday's Workout: 5 miles
2 mile warm-up run with Jasper
2.5 mile "me-time" run
1/2 mile cool-down walk
2 hours of yard work


Some people might be freaked out about living diagonally across from a huge cemetery, but I happen to love it. It's the perfect place to run - quiet, shaded, no traffic, and plenty of paths to try out. The one downside is that dogs are not allowed, so when I run with Jasper, I run him in the neighborhood behind my house. It's a very low traffic zone and besides one huge hill, it's pretty flat. The cemetery is full of rolling hills, so my workout yesterday was a little tougher than I expected, especially since I've been running on a treadmill since November. The treadmill is a great alternative and all, but it's nothing compared to the workout you get when you run outdoors - so many more muscles are engaged this way.

After my light 2 mile warm-up with Jasper, I headed out to the cemetery for my own workout. I measured the largest loop in the cemetery to be 1/2 mile, so I completed 5 loops running, and the final loop was a cool-down walk, for a total of 3 miles.

The weather has been absolutely perfect lately for getting things done outside, so I headed home to do some more yard work. For two hours, I raked leaves and needles, cleaned out some of the mulch beds in the back yard, picked up sticks, and filled 3 more huge lawn bags with yard waste. By the end, my back was started to feel it, so I figured it was a good place to stop. I came back inside and couldn't believe it was after 6 o'clock already!

It's supposed to be a pretty nice weekend here in the northeast, so we're hoping to get the rest of the yard clean-up done so that we can anxiously await the spring bloom! Enjoy your weekend!!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

First Spring Run with Jasper and Grooming Experience

Yesterday's Workout:
2.5 mile run with Jasper
30 min total body Barre3 online workout
2 hours of yard work
...Yes I'm counting yard work because raking, picking up leaves, and sweeping out the garage = physical activity...I was sweating by the end!

My goal this spring is to make a seasoned runner out of Jasper. I don't think it'll be hard; dude can run for days. The weather was warm and sunny yesterday, so we embarked on a nice 2.5 mile jog together. It's our first one of the season, and wow, is it a huge improvement over the times we went in the fall! He is much better with staying at my side and not trying to sprint up ahead, he doesn't pull on the leash, and he's not stopping every 3 minutes to smell things on the side of the road. The jog took a little less than 25 minutes, which I thought was pretty good for the little guy's first shot at it in awhile. Aw he's growing up!

Speaking of growing up, we hit a big milestone this past weekend...Jasper got groomed for the first time. It was LONG overdue - poor guy had knots all over his belly, dreadlocks forming on his paws, and clumps of tangled hair behind his ears. He was also dragging in sticks, leaves, and dirt that would get stuck to him in the yard, and I had to bathe him after every single walk we took. It was definitely time.

Before the haircut:


See? He was ridiculously shaggy! Cute, but shaggy.

The human opinion of the grooming experience was nothing but positive. The canine opinion is...give me my damn hair back. We chose Wags to Whiskers in Maynard, MA, which is all of a 3 minute drive from our home...talk about convenient! Jasper was ALL excited to arrive, he ran right into the place like he owned it, and immediately greeted all of the people there. They were extremely friendly, sat us down for a consultation to let us know it was likely he'd have to get chopped down to under 1" of hair in order to get rid of all the knots (yikes!), and they estimated it might take 3-4 hours. A little over two hours later, Brent got the call that he was done - that was fast! I was out shopping, so Brent went to go pick him up. Had Jasper not come running to Brent begging to get the hell out of there, he would have never known it was his dog. In fact, we checked him for his birthmarks when he got home because we were convinced they send us back with a different dog.


He spent a few minutes sulking on the couch, then went and spent the rest of the day isolating himself in our bedroom, refusing to come downstairs. He wouldn't eat, he wouldn't drink, he would get up and move away from us when we sat down next to him. Poor guy was miserable and very clearly pissed off at us. Talk about a strong personality...


By the next day, he was a little better but still much more subdued than his usual hyper self. He at least stayed downstairs with us, although he would move quickly from his bed to the couch, to the nearest rug. He hated the wood floors. He was completely content with just laying down on the couch next to us, not moving for hours He was still refusing to eat breakfast, so we hand fed him. Yes, we fed him out of our hands like he was some sultan. It was getting a little ridiculous. By dinner time, we discovered as long as he wasn't on the wood floors, he was fine. So this happened.


Why, yes, that is my dog getting his dinner served to him in bed. It was the ONLY way we could get him to eat. By the next day, he was starting to come out of his self-pity mode and eat like us common folk.


Yesterday, he was back to his normal fun-loving, energetic self. 


Overall, the grooming experience seemed to improve his behavior. While he gained his energy back, it's nothing like it was a week ago. He seems calmer now and is a much better behaved pup. Is this normal??? 

He also can't seem to be close enough to us at night. He used to sleep sprawled out on the floor, and now he's trying to squeeze in as close to as he can get. I think he might be experiencing feeling cold for the first time in his life!


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Food Lately: The Best Burger, Lemon Meringue Pie, Flourless PB Cookies, and How to Cook the Perfect Bacon

Yesterday's Workout:
5 min @ 7.0 MPH
5 min @ 7.1 MPH
5 min @ 7.2 MPH
5 min @ 7.3 MPH
5 min @ 7.4 MPH
5 min @ 7.5 MPH
5 min @ 4.3 MPH
Total: 4 miles; 35 mins
Upper Body Circuit: (1st circuit, 2nd circuit, 3rd circuit)
Shoulders: 1 x 12; dropset (shoulder press, side raise, front raise)
Chest: 1 x 12; dropset (pushups, chest press, chest flies)
Biceps: 1 x 12; dropset (bicep curl, alternative bicep curl, hammer curl)
Triceps: 1 x 12; dropset (overhead press, kickbacks, skull crushers)
Back: 1 x 12; dropset (bent-over row, one-armed row, deadlifts)
*Repeat circuit 3x

I've been trying to be more creative in the kitchen lately, I swear - and these pics are here to prove it! Sure, while most meals I've been making are simple (ahem), we've been trying some new things on the grill lately. Of course, it would be convenient if I remembered to take pictures of all these things - like last night's dry-rubbed prime rib with horseradish sauce and grilled mixed vegetables - but truth is, I scoff these things down so fast that I don't think to take a picture until it's all gone..woops!

We created my new favorite burger the other night.I was almost halfway through it before I captured a snapshot of it, but hey, at least I remembered? I like to use 85% lean ground beef for my burgers; I mixed in some soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, parmesan cheese, salt/pepper, and Pampered Chef smoky applewood rub (P.S. go buy this stuff if you like to grill - it's fantastic!) Each 1/4 lb burger was cooked to medium (perfection!) and topped with melted colby cheese, caramelized onions, sliced avocado, lettuce, tomato, and Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce. NOM.


I made this ultimate lemon meringue pie last weekend to take to my mom's house for dinner, and it was a HUGE hit. I loved how the meringue was used as the crust instead of the topping, and it came so nice and chewy. And the lemon curd? To die for! It's a gluten free recipe that uses very few ingredients (5, to be exact). I actually deemed it my favorite dessert I've made all year. I'll be making it all summer, I'm sure. It's light and refreshing.


Another really great gluten free recipe that uses only 5 ingredients are these flourless peanut butter cookies. First off, if you haven't been to the Pastry Affair blog before, you're in for a treat. I spent hours scouring the recipes one day, drooling by the end. The photography is absolutely gorgeous! These cookies are the first recipe I've made from this blog, and they will not be the last. They were delish! They came together in one bowl and were in the oven within 10 minutes. I loved that the recipe made exactly one dozen...perfect size batch for a house of only 2 people. And I loved the addition of the chocolate drizzle. I used Hershey's special dark chocolate for mine, and it paired great with the peanut butter.




I'm typically a Greek-yogurt-for-breakfast kind of girl - mostly because it's easy to take to work - so on the weekends, I love being able to cook a big breakfast for Brent and I. This past weekend, I cooked up some bacon in the oven, scrambled some eggs, made a few pieces of French toast, and served it alongside a little fruit salad. When it comes to bacon, I like to go the mess-free, zero-hassle route, and I use this method every time. It always comes out crispy and delicious and done in less than 20 minutes. The best part is the clean-up... I just roll up the aluminum foil and toss it in the trash...no scrubbing down the stove top full of bacon grease splatter and having to clean the messy frying pan.

I made the french toast using 4 slices of light wheat bread (only 35 cals per slice), 1 egg, 1/3 C almond milk, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp vanilla, sprinkle sugar. I served it with a little spread of maple cream and fresh NH maple syrup that we got last weekend during New Hampshire's Maple Weekend event.