All you need is love

It has been a lovely weekend in the fitnessnfoodie life. This post might be a bit different than the usual and pretty long, but I promise there is a super yummy recipe at the end ๐Ÿ™‚

The weekend started off with an awesome concert Friday evening with some friends. It was a concert that was compiling of about 10 christian bands and 1 speaker, Tony Nolan. I went last year and it was awesome, but this year was much better. There was seriously something there for everyone, hard rock, hip hop, soft rock, worship, alternative, just about every genre of music there is it was there. Even if you aren’t a christian if Winter Jam is coming to your area check. it. out! It is $10 at the door, which is phenomenal given the entertainment, it was a really good time! The Newsboys certainly know how to rock the house and the crowd was loads of fun!

The only picture we got at the concert was blurry and silly... this pretty much sums up our relationship tho. haha

One thing that was touched on continually was the lack of love that many people in this world experience. So many people feel as though they are unloveable because of mistakes that they have made or because selfish people have rejected them time and time again. Being on a college campus I see these loveless “relationships” all the time, and the acceptance that people have for them. But what they don’t know is they are shutting themselves off from the real, true love that everyone deserves. I’m not trying to judge or preach to anyone, but I look around at the world and my heart breaks. My heart breaks because some people don’t know what it is like to be loved because they have been shut out time and time again. Because there are broken families, broken relationships, and lies. Because people are just in it for themselves and don’t care what their actions do to others as long as they get what they want. What kind of life is that? We were created to serve one another and to love and show compassion.

Whether you are a Christian or not you were made with a servant’s heart. I don’t think there is anyone out there who doesn’t feel an immense sense of happiness and gratification after serving another person. Whether it is at the local soup kitchen, across the world, or just helping out a neighbor or friend.

Don’t get me wrong, I do think there is plenty of good in this world and people with good hearts. It just see a lot of broken people and I want to help and to show them they are worthy of love. Whether that love is self love, love from the lord, or another person we are all worth it! The lord loves us more than we could EVER imagine.And if there is one thing that I have learned is that we must love ourselves before we can fully understand what it means to love others….. this may be the beginning of a small self love series on this here blog. I think it is something that can never be read or talked about enough, because we all at some point or another struggle with it. Whether it is loving how your body looks/feels or loving yourself for you are as a person, we all deserve it and yet it seems like such a hard concept to grasp at times.

[steps off soap box]

After the concert Friday night I was pretty tired, and headed home to get some sleep. I woke up around 8 on Saturday and hit the pavement for 6 miles, in the snow. It felt great! One of the best runs I have had in a while. The snow falling was beautiful along the trails! After I headed home and showered the snow was REALLY picking up and the flakes were huge! I knew we were in for more than the inch that was called for, so I ate some breakfast and headed out the door to accomplish some school work.

 

Breakfast was some Cinnamon Raisin Ezekiel bread tosted with a touch of butter and half a banana

I got some of my work done and around 1:30 decided it was time for some lunch. I had a few leftovers from the week in my fridge and decided to combine a few. Butternut Squash soup and the Israeli cous cous mishmash with an apple on the side. It was a delicious combo!

Productivity ended about here for the day…. I had been battling a pretty bad sinus headache all day and decided to try and nap it off. The nap was exactly what I needed! Then the fun for the night began! A friend and I decided we wanted to make some awesome new recipes this weekend, so we set out to make some Spinach Strudel (recipe below). It was amazing and so fresh tasting and actually not that hard! Also perfectly paired with some white wine and veggies and hummus. Such a Mediterranean dinner….. now that I look back many of my recipes are rather Mediterranean, I guess its what I like which is a good thing due to the awesome health benefits!

 

What's not to love here!?

Spinach Strudel

Adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook. <– awesome book!

Filling

3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/3 cup part skim ricotta cheese

1/4 of an onion, chopped, sauteed

3 garlic cloves, minced and sauteed with the onions

1/2 cup golden raisins (sounds weird, but seriously made it!)

2 TBsp pine nuts, toasted

2 TBsp oregano (the recipe calls for fresh, but we used dried and it worked fine)

2 TBsp lemon juice, (again calls for fresh but we used bottled and it worked fine)

10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed dry, and chopped coarse

A dash of salt and pepper

 

Phyllo Layers

10 sheets (14×9) phyllo dough, thawed

Olive oil spray (any kind of cooking spray works)

 

Directions:

For filling:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and adjust oven rack to middle of the oven. Mix feta, ricotta, onion, garlic, raisins, pine nuts, oregano, lemon juice together in a large mixing bowl. Stir in spinach until uniform and season with salt and pepper.

 

Filling.... this one had mozzerella cheese, because we ran out of feta for the second one.

For Phyllo layers:

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Layer phyllo dough sheets one on top of the other spraying each liberally with cooking spray.

Mound the spinach mixture into a narrow log along the middle of the phyllo dough, leaving about a 2 in border at the bottom and 1/2 inch on the sides. Fold bottom layer over top of the spinach mixture and continue to roll the dough around the filling into a tight log, leaving the ends open.

 

building the strudel

Make sure the seam side is down. Slice 1 1/2 inch slits to vent at a diagonal. Place in oven and bake until browned about 20-25min.ย  Let the strudel cool about 10 min then slice into pieces.

 

Before oven

We made two, because we were serving 6 very hungry people but the recipes is for 4.

 

After oven

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend as well! I am ending mine with lots of homework and some grocery shopping!

How would you “define” your diet?

Mine is pretty Mediterranean… lots of healthy fats, fruits, veggies, and some baked goods ๐Ÿ™‚

“You, my brothers were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge in sinful nature, rather serve one another in love.” – Galatians 5:13

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Israeli Lovin

Israeli cous cous that is! I have never even tried it in all my 22 years. I think it is because I have never really liked regular cous cous so I figured Israeli cous cous wouldn’t be much different, but boy o boy was I wrong!

Now that I have your attention….. (did you like the title of this post?)

This morning it was snowing. Yes, really… more snow. Obviously there was no way of getting around that I had to walk to class in it so I started my day off with a warm cup of coffee and some greek yogurt mixed with Trader Joe’s cranberry apple butter, this stuff is goooooood in yogurt! And it was the end of the container, so I got to eat out of it which is always great when I don’t have to do dishes in the morning!

Lunch went undocumented, but consisted of some carrots and hummus, an orange, and a Kashi TLC bar. My wednesdays are jam packed so I munch when I can….. I had some peanut butter crackers and apple sauce as a snack that also went undocumented.

So basically I had been planning what I wanted toย  make for dinner all day long, because quite frankly after 3 nights in a row of pasta with cream sauce I was feeling pretty horrible. –>The boy and I celebrated our 2 year anniversary at Olive Garden on Sunday and the portabella mushroom ravioli were calling my name. Unfortunately they had cream sauce on them which isn’t my favorite, but it was fine for one meal. However, I was left with leftovers, and being as I loved the ravioli I wasn’t going to let it go to waste.

So I knew I wanted something fresh and full of veggies this evening. I had originally planned to make this meal with quinoa, but was rooting through my pantry when I found the cous cous. It took less time to cook and I was hungry, so obviously I was going to settle for that.ย  Here is the break down:

Israeli cous cous mishmash (my random name for this awesome delight)

Kidney beans, kalamata olive, balsamic vinegar, cherry tomatoes, and parmesean cheese

1 box Israeli cous cous

1/4 cup Cherry tomatoes, quartered

1/4 cup Kalamata olives, halved

1/4 cup Kidney beans, rinsed

A splash of balsamic vinegar

1 tsp Italian herb mix (basil, oregano)

Directions:

Following the directions on the box was my approach to the cous cous which included some olive oil in a sauce pan and sauteing the cous cous over medium heat until it was light brown

Then add 1 3/4 cup water slowly, then turn back heat to medium-low and letย  simmer until all liquid is absorbed.

While I was waiting for the cous cous to be done cooking I sliced some cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, and drained/washed a can of kidney beans.

When the cous cous was done cooking I added a splash of balsamic to the pan and stirred in the veggies

Mix it all together and ENJOY! I dusted the top with some grated Parmesan cheese and had a salad with almonds on the side. It was wayyyyy better than I ever imagined!

Off to do some homework, it is really starting to pile on…. I guess it is to be expected 3 weeks into the semester. I plan on finishing my night with a few delicious snacks ( I always need a bedtime snack) Tonight it’s some TJ chocolate cat cookies and pineapple!

Best dessert/snack ever!

This was cut up directly after this photo.... I think pineapples are so pretty!

I hope you all have a good Wednesday!

What new unexpectedly delicious food have you tried lately?

Snippets of the fitnessnfoodie life

So this semester is really starting off right. I’m not sure if it is because it is my last fully loaded semester, or the 95 other things that have slightly changed in my life in the past few weeks. I have had a much more balanced outlook. I have been spending time with friends, enjoying my food and this blog sooo much more, exercising only when I feel right, having awesome conversations, digging deep into the word and spending time in prayer, and just plan feeling good about who I am.

My running schedule has taken a tiny hit, because of the freezing cold weather, snow, and just not enough time. But I have been able to feel good about this. Basically my semester schedule allows for me to have one day on, one day off which my body seems to like ALOT. After years of pounding out miles after miles, day after day, and while doing that not fueling it properly it has taken quite the beating. Have you let your body rest lately? It might need it! I have also been focusing on working out in more ways than just running…. since the summer I have started strength training a bit more, introducing theย  DVD’s below <— amazing way to tone, gain strength, and work out in the warmth!

These women rock! They are all really great and I absolutely notice a difference! No boring workout DVD's here!

Here are my workouts for the week:

Sunday: Rest

Monday: 6 miles

Tuesday: 2o min treadmill, 20 min bike, 15 min abs

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 5.5 miles

Friday: 15 min Legs

Saturday: 15 min abs, 15 min arms, 40 min run

Not only do I have one day on, one day off with my running schedule I have one day on, one day off of classes and work as well! My mind can be free at least one day a week! Now I’m sure once classes really get rolling I will be a bit more bogged down with studying, but I’m sure that won’t leave out time for all the good eats I have been making lately! Here is the run down of some DELICIOUS meals I’ve had lately!

Leftover whole wheat blueberry pancakes with microwaved apples, a spoonful of peanut butter, and some maple syrup. AMAZING, seriously I didn't want it to end!

The boy makes these pancakes for me from time to time. They are literally the best pancakes around, I am so spoiled! We had them for dinner on Tuesday, so Friday for lunch I decided to finish them off.ย  After coming back from a morning of classes, and a freezing cold walk home I wanted something warm and comforting for lunch. I decided the pancakes were a must, but I needed a little bit more than pancakes, then the juices starting flowing and before I knew it I was digging into something amazing! Blueberry pancakes with peanut butter tastes like PB &J but like x10 better, as if that was even possible! The warm apple was a great addition as well, we all know I got my fruit servings for lunch on Friday!

Jessica's chocolate chip cupcakes paired with her vanilla bean buttercream icing... again AMAZING combo! You really can't go wrong with any of her recipes!

Lets just say Wednesday night I was in a bit of a baking/cooking frenzy! I baked cookies at the boy’s house, then came home and made that awesome pesto encrusted salmon. However I just wasn’t content for the night I wanted to make something more, and since we didn’t have any dessert at the apartment I turned to Jessica’s blog and got my head thinking. I took one of her cupcake recipes and another icing recipe and paired them together. This combination is truly amazing! And guess what I began the process at 8:30 and was back sitting on the couch at 9:30 with everything done! So moral of the story, super easy and super delicious!

Wegman's butternut squash, spinach, onions, and craisin salad with a few of my additions (chicken, pasta, and thyme) SUCH a good dinner!

The boy and I were grocery shopping and decided to grab something from wegman’s for dinner. Their prepared food is soooo good, but pretty pricey so I rarely give in. However, it was getting late and I was starving and didn’t know what I would be able to cook by the time I got home before consuming mass quantities of food before hand in turn, not being hungry for the dinner I just made. So we settled on getting a few things. I selected the squash, spinach, onion, and craisin salad because I have been craving squash like crazy lately! On the drive home I decided that I really wanted pasta and perhaps a tiny bit of meat. So when we arrived at his house he got to cooking the chicken and I the pasta. I added a little of both some thyme, salt, pepper, and basil and I had myself a super gourmet meal for $3.50! Am I the only one who does this? Gets take out and then changes it up.

I surely hope you all are having a good weekend. The boy and I are celebrating 2 years together! I really couldn’t be happier!

Have you ever bought a pre-made meal and “spiced it up” at home?

Good food in = lots of energy out

That is right….. I’ve never been good at math, but this is one problem I can solve. I have been so tired since I came back to school and just couldn’t figure out why. Then I also realized just how energized I felt while I was home compared to when I was at school before break. Sure I ruled out the obvious factors; no I really didn’t sleep much more while I was at home, and I certainly worked out just as much if not more while I was home, Ahaha I was eating slightly different food combinations! Might I even say I was eating more food than I normally do, and I was certainly eating more nutrient packed foods (nuts, greek yogurt, pomegranates). The only thing that gets me is all the christmas cookies I was consuming (where do they fit into this equation)?! I guess I’m not complaining. Maybe that is just more energy consumed overall…..

While I never actually eat awfully by any means I was eating more of a variety while I was at home, and guess what I felt soooooo energized and healthy. I really love greek yogurt, avocado, pomegranates, and various other things you can often find in my parent’s fridge. However, I just never want to spend the money so I stick with regular yogurt, bananas, carrots, oranges, hummus, the usuals,– only branching out and buying a different item or two each week.

So after the sluggishness this week I’ve decided to make a few changes to my grocery list. I want that energy back!

This week I am changing a few things:

I bought greek yogurt instead of regular non-fat yogurt AND eating breakfast like I did at home

1/4 cup greek yogurt, 1 banana, spoonful of TJ's cranberry apple butter, and a sprinkle of Kashi GoLean Crunch

I am eating lots more nuts ( I was eating them on my cereal every morning at home)

Love these and the Butter Toffee ones!

I am aiming to eat more protein and healthy fats in general (that is the main trend I saw when I looked back over my eatings from home: lots of nuts, hummus, olives, and avocados)

Sandwich with Hummus/lentil spread, Chicken, lettuce, and red bellpepper and an Orange on the side!

Salad w/ hummus, lentils, carrots, cheese, red pepper, and balsamic vinegar

I definitely notice a difference in my energy level this week as opposed to this week. Yay protein and how food (nutrition) really can fix everything! I’ve realized this semester so far I have really been focusing on my whole body health and balancing it all out. My mind is clearer, I feel leaner and stronger, and I am in MUCH better spirits! I thank YOU bloggers for inspiring me to get out of food ruts, trying TONS of new foods, and fully put my nutrition knowledge to use!

Do you ever have these energy slumps?

Any ideas as to what I should be eating for more energy?

Recipe Overload!

I am so excited! I have soooooo many recipes to share with you! I was feeling super uncreative last week, but boy let me tell you….. Creativity RE-VAMPED this week! In the past week I have made Cherry pie, whole wheat dark chocolate chip cookies, homemade pizza, scrumptious stir-fry, and an amazing pesto/balsamic encrusted salmon!

Tonight I bring you Pesto encrusted salmon with veggies and to top it all off whole wheat dark chocolate chip cookies! ENJOY!

Best random thrown together meal, EVER!

Pesto Encrusted Salmon

1 salmon filet

1 Tbsp pesto

Splash of aged balsamic vinegar

1 serving Broccoli, steamed

1/4 cup Red bell pepper, chopped

Directions: Heat pan over medium heat. Spray with cooking spray and add salmon filet. Cook until browned on one side (about 3 min) and flip. Cook until other side is browned. While salmon is cooking cut bell pepper, and steam broccoli.

Add small spoonful of pesto, spread over side of salmon and flip. (Step away from the stove, it gets messy!!!) Spread pesto on the other side and let cook a few more min. Flip and let the other side cook/crust. Add a splash of balsamic, bell peppers, and broccoli to pan. Let cook for a few min. Serve salmon over veggies.

-> This would probably be amazing with tuna as well!

Pure Happiness ๐Ÿ™‚

Whole Wheat Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

adapted from Betty Crocker

Let me start off by saying these are now my ALL TIME FAVORITE! I have many chocolate chip cookies, they are one of my favorite foods and let me tell you…… these are THE BEST!

3 cups whole wheat flour ( I used King Arthur’s)

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp milk

2 eggs

2 sticks butter

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 (12 ounce) bag dark chocolate chips ( I used Ghirardelli)

Directions: Cream sugars and butter. Add eggs, milk, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix in Whole Wheat flour. We did all of this with our hands, because I didn’t have a mixer on hand and the batter gets pretty stiff. But a mixer would probably be more professional and proper….. but hey, a girls gotta eat make her cookies.

Quality Ingredients are Key!

Sometimes you just gotta dig in!

 

The anticipation was building!

Perfection!

Do you have off-weeks when it comes to creativity?

What amazing-ness have you made this week?

The Perfect Weekend…in my book

Yep! A perfect weekend it was indeed! Being the first weekend back at school and a three day weekend, it was quite relaxing!ย  I completely lacked in the picture taking department, so I only have a few photos to share with you, but I promise LOTS of yummy recipes coming your way! I will try to take more pics this week! Here is my perfect weekend!

1) Time with these girls

2) Time with this boy

He really does love me ๐Ÿ™‚

3) Baking cookies and pie!

Whole wheat chocolate chip cookie recipe and pics on the way!

Scrumptous Cherry pie!

4) Home-made pizza ( my new favorite combo)!

Homemade crust, garlic and herb sauce, black olives, and mushrooms!

5) Time for lunch and delicious salads!

Salad with red pepper, lentils, carrots, hummus, mozz cheese, and balsamic vinegar

6) Long runs and lots of hot coco and tea!

 

What does your perfect weekend entail?

Routines

We all have them to some degree, but I guess you could say I’m a little obsessive about MY routine. Which is part of the reason why I haven’t been around the blog world much this week. I’m trying to establish a new routine…… new classes, new work schedule, etc.Well and I’m hanging out with some awesome friends! I love being at school, it has become my home!ย  The thing is I loved my routine last semester, but there are only a few classes I have let to take so I didn’t have much flexibility in establishing that schedule this semester. Yay for my last semester with nutrition classes! I can ALMOST see the end!

Basically I’ve been trying to figure out when to run, what and when to eat so I can get through my classes without starving, when I need to be doing HW….etc. I think I’ve done ok this week. I like my routine and guess what my routine has flexibility! This is so weird for me, but I think it is a good advancement! I am usually pretty rigid about my routines, but this semester I am taking things as they come. I have several things that are a must day to day but I think I’m going to try a be a little less picky when they are done. Obviously planning my studies but everything else I am taking as it comes!! My running schedule isn’t set in stone like it was last semester and has been for several semesters… this is what I ended up with this week.

Sunday – 6 miles

Monday -2 miles

Tuesday – 6 miles and arms

Wednesday – Rest

Thursday – 5 miles and abs

Friday – Legs

Saturday – 6 miles (in the plans)

Def a little less mileage than I’m used to but it’s winter and it’s FREEZING! Its also a hard semester for me, and many of my friends last semesters here, so I want to be flexible to get some quality hang out time in!

I had a few flops this week for one I ate my regular breakfast on Monday and was STARVING by the time I got through my 1st class…. I had lunch after my first class last semester, but this time I have 4 classes in a row before 1:00 and lunch time. Which means a hearty breakfast is in order, but I REALLY like my yogurt in the morning! This is what I came up with:

Vanilla yogurt, kashi GoLean Crunch, banana, and raisins

I have also been eating two smaller lunches (or snacks), one around 12-1 and one around 3

Leftover tomatoes and lentils from the salmon the other night and come Trader Joe's multigrain crackers

And LOTS of snacks to keep my energy level up during classes and HW time

Applesauce and cinnamon as part of an afternoon snack

Cereal as a night time snack! This is my favorite ๐Ÿ™‚

Raisin Bread with Peanut Butter another evening snack option

 

Basically god has been showing me how everyday is his, he has gone before us and planned it out, he is also right beside us through it all. I have been pretty rigid with planning in the past and not saying that is changing completely because, well that is me. But I know god is in control and I need to trust in him with that control in every area of my life, even my daily routine. I’d say its been a good week, and yay first week of classes done and a 3 day weekend! I can’t complain!

“But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy.

Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.”

Psalm 5:11

How tied are you to a routine?