I’ve Moved!

I was MIA from the blogging world for a while (don’t look at the date on my last post, I’m embarrassed). I moved to Philly, changed jobs, got married, and just don’t have much time for long posts anymore!

However, I cook for two people now, and have to do it quickly since I don’t get home from work until about 6:20 every night. So I’ve started a new blog, with concise posts, and yummy recipes. Unfortunately, you won’t get anymore strange pictures of me demonstrating exercises, but I’ll probably throw in some mini workouts every once in a while🙂 Check it out!

http://www.speedykitchen.wordpress.com

Good Things🙂

FS&JJ

Sweet Potato Fries, Chicken Wings, and Football

You know fall is getting closer when church goes back to non-summer service times, the produce section at Publix is 75% apples, football is on TV all day, and you start making “fall” recipes like winter will be here tomorrow. You also know that this was a good day.

After going to church (an hour later!) and restocking the pantry and fridge, my brother and I bunkered down on the couch to watch the Colts. For lunch I made these baked sweet potato fries, and got creative using spices this time like Mexican chili powder, paprika, rosemary, and then the called for salt and pepper. The cornstarch is the secret crunchy weapon. I cooked them 15 minutes, flipped them over, and gave them another 12 minutes… before eating them all. Yummy!

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And who can forget a delicious fall (or year-round…) iced chai! EXTRA YUM! I use Oregon Trail Sugar Free Chai Concentrate with original flavor light soy milk from Silk.

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By the time the Packers came on at 4 I had wings on my mind! I picked up a bag from Target and found this recipe. I promise I didn’t eat the whole bag. My brother and his girlfriend approved them, thank goodness.

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You also know it’s fall in Florida because I’m headed out to the pool, where the pool water hasn’t been a refreshing temperature since June and the ice in my cup melts in 5 minutes. Ah, the never-ending summer weather. Good, but a leaf change and white Christmas would be nice…

Before I go, here’s some Bonus Abs! 30 seconds of each exercise, without stopping.
Top half crunch
Plank
Lower half crunch
Plank
Full body crunch
Plank
Heel touches (aka penguins)
Plank

Be done there, or be ambitious, rest a few minutes, and repeat!

Good Things🙂

FS&JJ

Easy, Healthy Bean and Spinach Soup

Just because it’s 95 degrees outside doesn’t mean I can’t sit in the air conditioning and eat soup. It is September, after all. It’s about time to start pretending that it’s FALL! (Next stop…. pumpkin everything).

So this afternoon I threw this recipe for bean and spinach soup into the crock pot and then went about my day. Because I rarely eat a vegetarian meal, I also added a pound of cooked lean ground beef. It was a good choice.

ImageAnd good thing it was delicious, because I think there are enough leftovers for dinner every work night next week, and then some afternoon snacks when I feel like I just haven’t had enough of it.

I’ve been really into mug cakes the past few weeks, so I spend 3/4 of my spare time hunting down healthy, or at least reasonably healthy, recipes nowadays. You can check out my collection so far on my Pinterest page. Tonight I made this Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake (with unsweetened applesauce substituted for the oil), and it’s taking a lot not to go back and make another… kind of defeats the purpose of single-serving mug cakes.

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Be real, you pick around the nuts for the M&M’s.

Disclaimer: I’m not encouraging this. Maybe you don’t buy trail mix. But we all have that friend/family member (GRANDMA) that always has some out. Which you eat all of. Again… mostly the M&M’s.

Happy still-the-weekend time!

Good Things🙂

FS&JJ

 

Let’s Start Over, Whaddya Say?

That saying is from a computer game I used to play when I was little, but I can’t for the life of me remember what it was. I think it had to do with Aladdin.

Anyways, I got a little… under-motivated to blog when it felt like it was all the same. And now I’m back. With a couple new ideas… that are outside the immediate realm of faith, snacks, or jumping jacks. I still want to post weekend challenges, but I’m hoping to post more on other things I love, like podcasts, books, coupons/discounts/saving money in general, marine biology, and things I’m in the mood for. Hopefully you’ll be at least semi-in the mood as well and we’ll stay productive together. So let’s rock n’ roll!

Your Weekend Challenge is to do 50 push-ups both Saturday and Sunday. Regular, diamond, morning, night, on your knees or toes, whatever and whenever, just get 50 done each day!

Your other Weekend Challenge is to watch football, because it’s BAAAACCKKKK! Woot! It may even be time to whip out the tailgating recipes! I know it’s only week one, but you can never start perfecting Superbowl recipes too early, right? You could try one of these, or these, or these. Leave a comment and share your favorite!

Someday when people start to comment I’ll hold a Best Recipe Contest and give away PRIZES!

May your weekend be full of new, old, nothing, and everything great.

I sound like a fortune cookie.

Good Things🙂

FS&JJ

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Late Again

On Thursday morning my boyfriend, his sister/my roommate, their mom, and I left for a wedding in their hometown in Maryland. We drove and drove and hit traffic and drove and I missed my weekend challenge deadline and we drove some more. I apologize for that.

However, through all of this driving and necessary eating-out and sitting and being stiff I realized how different my job is than so many others and how much more important it is for those of us sitting at desks and computers all day to get moving. At gas stations I would stretch, do some jumping jacks, anything to stay loose and keep blood flowing. During a day at work, for those of us not on our feet, it is important to do the same, whether it be taking a lap around the office every half hour or hour, going for a walk during lunch, or stretching at your desk for two minutes. These littles things are not only good for you, they make you noticeably feel good as well.

This week, and permanently if you can, try to sneak in a couple muscle wake-ups a few times a day. The night before or morning of work pack a few ziplock bags of healthy snacks, like nuts and dried fruit, popcorn, pretzels, protein bars, etc. Aim for things with lots of fiber and protein to keep you full until your next meal.

So back to the fun things. The wedding was yesterday and it was so much fun. There were amazingly high levels of happiness and love, and even though I knew hardly anyone, by the end of the night I felt like part of the family.

I caught the bouquet. HA. And guess who caught the garter? (Thank goodness it wasn’t a stranger, that could’ve been awkward.) I didn’t exert much effort, it came straight to me. When the groom saw that he said he just mustered all the energy he could and threw the garter (which is light and didn’t fly very far) as high in the air as possible. Naturally, then, all Ryan had to do was raise his hand in the air and boom, we were sitting in front of everyone with music playing and cameras flashing. See evidence below…

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All in all it was a beautiful wedding with a beautiful bride and groom and wonderful atmosphere. I am so glad we got to share their special day with them.

Try out those active tips at work this week and see how it makes you feel. Better? I bet so!

Good Things🙂

FS&JJ

Weekend Challenge July 20th and 21st

Really? It’s already almost August? It feels like 2 weeks ago that I was obsessing over fall foods and pumpkin scented candles and Christmas shopping and now it’s almost time to start that process all over again? I guess this is what life is like when you’re not in school anymore. Everything just runs together. I need a dog. I’m going to be 40 before I know it.

We had a nice week and a full house. My boyfriend and his twin sister, also my roommate, celebrated their birthday(s) on Tuesday. Their mommy was in town as well, so everyone had a nice time. With everyone in the house crossing paths and coordinating schedules around each other this week sometimes the environment got stressful, which leads me to our weekend challenge….

This weekend, before you fall asleep, lay on your back and take a deep breath. As you exhale, starting with the top of your head, release all of the tension you’ve been bottling up. Move down your face, from your forehead to your eyes to your cheeks to your mouth to your neck and shoulders, arms, hands, legs, feet. Go nice and slow. Reeeellllllaaaaax. I find so often as I lie in bed at night that I’m stiff as a board. It has helped to loosen up my neck and back in the mornings and throughout the day.

During the day, keep a conscious eye on your shoulders. As you sit on the couch, are your shoulders up by your ears? Do a shoulder check as often as your think about it. Again, relax. Built up tension in your neck, shoulders, and back can lead to stiffness and headaches. Yuck! So become more conscious of your body tension and control your stress with a little muscle debriefing.

Better start spending more time outside since it’s going to be December in a week. I’m going to take a spin class tomorrow morning and then head to the farmer’s market. Hopefully the rain stays away enough to spend some time in the sun tomorrow afternoon. I have some library books to finish! Enjoy your weekend! Tell someone you love them (and mean it)!!

Good Things🙂

FS&JJ

 

Sunday, Sunday, Almost Monday

Hi! Did you have a nice weekend? We were pretty busy here. Yesterday we played tourists in our own town, which was a lot of fun. There were so many things we hadn’t seen before. Pictures below! Our roommate moved back in as well. We missed her! And her mommy accompanied her down, just in time for her and my boyfriend’s birthday(s) (TWINS!). It’s nice to have all the company during special times like birthdays and holidays.

Tonight was my Thirty-One party. It was great! Quite a few people showed up, both invitees and their friends, so I got to meet some new people as well. The food turned out great, so I’d like to share a few recipes that went over extra-well tonight.

First, this pink lemonade cake, which I turned into cupcakes. I swapped oil for unsweetened applesauce. I used a marshmallow fluff-pink lemonade mix concoction for the icing, and they were SUPER messy, but SUPER yummy.

Second, this fruit dip, which was a HIT and tasted really great with fresh strawberries and pineapple. I’m sure it tastes good with a lot of other fruits… or plain… not speaking from experience or anything. I used Greek yogurt instead of regular. More protein, less sugar, always delicious.

Another dip that went over really well is one that I made in my mini crock-pot. Mix together 8 oz. cream cheese, 1 cup of salsa, and one pound of ground turkey. Let it heat up and enjoy with tortilla chips. Warning: this dip is addictive!

Finally, I wanted to share about the brownies just because I was so excited about the way they turned out. One box of brownie mix (I used Pilsbury Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix) and one 15-ounce can low-sodium black beans (yes, black beans!). Puree the black beans, liquid and all, until smooth. Stir together with the brownie mix, and dump into a pan. Bake according to directions, but check it a few minutes early because it may cook a little faster than normal.

Food Set-Up (Fruit Dip and Fruit, Veggies with dip and hummus, Swedish turkey meatballs, Mexican dip, chips, and salsa.

Food Set-Up (Fruit Dip and Fruit, Veggies with dip and hummus, Swedish turkey meatballs, Mexican dip, chips, and salsa.

Thirty-One Set-Up!

Thirty-One Set-Up!

Touristing the Whetstone Chocolate Factory. Anti-Hair since... hopefully forever

Touristing the Whetstone Chocolate Factory. Anti-Hair since… hopefully forever

Albino alligator and his turtle friend at the Alligator Farm. Best Buds.

Albino alligator and his turtle friend at the Alligator Farm. Best Buds.

Time to start another week! Make sure you choose to make it a good one for yourself, because you CAN choose.

Good Things🙂

FS&JJ