WIAW & Baking Updates

As I am sure some of you have noticed my Year of Baking posts haven’t been very frequent. I have definitely been baking, but with the craziness of summer it’s been a rush to get the baking done and get out of the house to whichever event we are going too, never mind taking pictures.

I am hoping with the start of fall (apple and pumpkin season!) I will be able to spend a little more time in the kitchen and share some recipes with you. My dad & his wife also got me a wonderful gift card to Williams-Sonoma so I was able to get some baking tools that I have been too cheap to buy myself, so hopefully I can expand on what I make.

I did however learn a lot from this experiment thus far, I have learned that I would rather make cookies and brownies from scratch, but that can usually alter how a recipe will turn out. I am looking at you slutty brownies! Long story short, my sister and I tried to make these but with homemade brownies and cookies, turns out those are much more dense than the pre-packaged kind. SO we will make these again, but we have a plan on how to make sure the entire recipe gets cooked instead of ending up with raw dough & brownies!

This past week I have been obsessed with having an egg rollup for lunch, sometimes I even have it for breakfast.

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YUM!

A tortilla, eggs (usually scrambled), avocado, tomato, and onion. It doesn’t sound like much but it is perfect on a summer day.

Grilled Chicken & Peppers and Carrot and Parsnip puree!

Grilled Chicken & Peppers and Carrot and Parsnip puree!

I have also been experimenting with my Vitamix. I have been looking for new ways to get some veggies in to my diet.

I made a mash-up of a carrot & potato and paleo parsnip puree. I cubed about a pound of carrots and parsnips and one onion and put them in a pot with two cups of water and two cups of low sodium chicken stock, the water boiled off faster than the I anticipated, so I added a cup of 2% milk. Warning: the milk will cause the liquid to boil up fast, so don’t wander to far.

Once the veggies were fork tender, I drained the liquid and put the veggies into the Vitamix and blended for about one minute. Yes it looks like baby food, but it is delicious. The parsnip flavor was a bit too sweet for Nick, but B and I took it down.

I have also learned how to bake Bacon. The secret is to put it in a cold oven!
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Do you have any great fall Vitamix recipes? What is one secret to easy cooking you’ve learned?

Link up with Jenn for more WIAW goodness!


The Great Debate: Baby Sprinkles

Since my last Great Debate went so well and sparked a lot of great conversation, I thought I would try another one.

I also want to clarify, I don’t necessarily believe in having these parties or not, they are things I have seen discussed with family, friends and on other blogs, and I wanted to discuss them here as well.

So what is a sprinkle? I first learned of them on Real Housewives of Atlanta (don’t hate) and they seemed to be exclusively a Southern “thing”. A sprinkle is a party to celebrate the second (or third, etc…) pregnancy.

It seems like these events, are less event-like, and more of a lunch with friends type of affair. It is also much more intimate than a baby shower. This usually very close family and friends instead of all the women in your families.

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Bridal Shower not Baby Shower

Personally, I wouldn’t mind having a lunch gathering celebrating a pregnancy, but I would also probably just call it a girls brunch, as I usually hate being the center of attention.

I also wouldn’t be upset or offended if someone didn’t throw a luncheon for me or the future child.

So now it is time for you to weigh in. Did I get the definition of Sprinkle right? What are your thoughts on one?

Summer is hard

Before I get to today’s topic, I want to share two articles. The first is written by one of the owners & trainers at Achieve Fitness (my gym) and is about the struggles that even trainers face with the scale. The second article is one that she shared via social media and is an eye opener about what we are teaching children about health in the grocery store. Please take some time to read both of these!

For most people, well in New England at least, you look forward to summer all year long. Beautiful, sunny, long days. Plenty of fun things to do outside. Tons of parties and time to spend with friends and family.

Unless you are trying to lose weight.

At least for me, summer is the hardest months to lose weight. Even in the winter months, the temptation to indulge isn’t as strong as it is in the summer.

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This was my reward after my second half-marathon

In the summer I run a lot more than I do in the winter. But with the running comes the mindset, well I burned X calories so I can eat this. I don’t tend to do that with strength training for some reason.

Also in the summer are the every weekend bbq’s and beer and desserts. This is where the summer gets sneaky on ya.

The desserts, like strawberry shortcake, that’s healthy right? I mean it has strawberries.

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Of course, then we have the drinks. Nothing tastes as good on a summer day as an ice cold beer or margarita on the rocks, right?

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Then last but not least, and this may only be a problem for me, is the abundance of celebrations in the summer months.

For us it kicks off in May with my sister’s birthday, mothers day, and both our mom’s birthdays. June has fathers day & my birthday. July has our anniversary, B’s birthday, and Nick’s birthday. Talk about dessert over load.

So for me, I am looking forward to fall, the slowdown with the crazy celebrations and the regular eating.

What months are hardest for you?

MIMM: Concerts Galore

I have had quite the marvelous few weeks instead of writing lengthy posts about each one, I figured I would give you the highlight reel for this Marvelous Monday link up. Thanks for hosting, Katie!

Last weekend, Nick and I were able to go to the Jay Z/Justin Timberlake show at Fenway Park. I won tickets through a radio twitter concert, which was pretty amazing. We were in the second section back and had a sick view.

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our view before the show started

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part of our view during the show. They had a massive set up and huge screens

I loved the show, it was more amazing than I would’ve even imagined, but my hugest issue was the fact that the tickets said the show started at 7, but they had some really annoying dj playing for almost 90 minutes and the show didn’t start until 8:30. My favorite songs of the night were Holy Grail and 99 Problems, Justin playing the part of the cop was amazing.

The following week was crazy, the B man and I headed to Maine with my dad, his wife, her kids, my sister and her boyfriend. Nick was crazy busy at work so unfortunately he couldn’t come. I don’t really have any photos, because we barely had cell or internet so I just ended up leaving my phone in the room the whole time. It was so nice to unplug and relax for a bit.

Friday we had tickets for the John Mayer concert in CT. Front Row.

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view before the show

John Mayer is hands down my favorite artist. I have seen him almost every single tour, and met him almost 10 years ago. I love seeing him live and this show was absolutely amazing. Philip Philips opened up for him and he was also outstanding. I loved him on American Idol, but you could tell that he felt he was in his element on that stage, singing his music.

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Then of course John Mayer. You could tell his voice is still not the same, but you could clearly tell all he wanted to do was sing on stage and he was enjoying every minute.

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His set list for the CT show was awesome. He sang 83 for the first time and hearing the crowd sing along was so moving. This song from his first popular album, it felt like ages since I have heard it live, and everyone in the audience singing together was wonderful.

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He also sang 4 songs from his new album, due out on Tuesday, and my favorite was “Waiting on the Day” and his encore song was a long version of Gravity, then John and the band left. It is definitely one of the best shows I have seen of his and I am glad I got to share it with Nick.

Then today I was looking online and Nick and I are on the webpage for the Hartford Set List show.

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How was your week? What was the best concert you have ever been to?

Team In Training: Round 2 & Raffle Prizes!

You know what would make my Monday EXTRA marvelous? A donation to the LLS, via my Team In Training chapter!

As most of you know I ran my second half marathon with Team in Training!

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Then this year I was given the opportunity to mentor the Boston chapter participants who are running Nike this year.

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This weeks practice: with a participant & Coach Spencer. Photo Credit: Coach Laura!

So what does this mean to you? I am raising $500 to help the find a cure for blood cancers, 100% of the donations I receive of to LLS. I try not to ask readers for money to donate to often, but I did want to make you aware of the raffle I have going on. Anyone who donates $10 between now and September 7, 2013 will be given an online raffle ticket.

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Edited: It has been brought to my attention that I can’t use some companies information, even in raffle purposes, on the blog. I have taken down the raffle prizes and they are now listed only on the donation site. I hope no one feels any pressure to donate.

I appreciate anyone’s support, and if you can’t donate to a charity (mine or anyone else’s) things like donating blood are also a wonderful way to help!

Confessions of a Mom, Vol 5.

Disclaimer: please read this post with an open mind and sense of humor. Sometimes we all need a good laugh.

After the ridiculously crazy week I have had

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Getting ready for a vacation with a toddler

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When I found out there were 3 winners for the Power Ball and I wasn’t one of them

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When I found out I won tickets to the Jay Z & Justin Timberlake concert

The-Office

{Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3, and Vol. 4}

Wakefield Farmers Market

A lot of the Farmers Markets near where we lived in Medford had bizarre hours, like Wednesdays from 12 – 5. Not conducive for me when I was working, and when I had B, not really ideal, as the area wasn’t great for strollers and he hated being worn.

Well, fast forward to now, there is a great farmers market in Wakefield, I’ve seen it a bunch of times when I was driving by, and I knew I needed to make an effort to stop. This past Saturday, I went with my mother-in-law, and purchased some fabulous items.

For this WIAW, I am going to share my finds and what I made with them.

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Farm fresh eggs. I love these babies. They can be expensive, but so worth it. 1 dozen for $6 or 2 dozen for $11 from Copicut Farms in Dartmouth, MA

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Pajazzo from Swiss Bakers, I have been meeting to visit their store front since we moved to the ‘burbs. We also bought an almond croissant & a chocolate croissant for the boys. The bread was nice and crusty on the outside and chewy on the inside. Perfect for dipping!

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Cucumbers, $1 each, from Kelly’s Farm, the woman running the booth was super sweet and told me to take one of the pickles as well. I don’t eat pickles so Nick will have to report back about the taste.

I hit the jackpot at Farmer Dave’s! All of the food below cost me $30.

fruit

2 apples, a pint of blueberries, 4 zucchini’s, a pint of raspberries

veg

Boston lettuce, 2 peppers, carrots, wax beans and green beans, and lettuce

I forgot to take a picture of the sign so I can’t remember exact prices for everything, but it was a pretty good deal.

Not pictured, Butternut Squash ravioli and Basil & Goat Cheese ravioli from Fior D’Italia. We haven’t opened the basil in goat cheese yet, but I was sort of expecting a puree of sorts inside the butternut squash ravioli, but it was more chunks and there was also cheese and peppers, which I wasn’t expecting, and not working well together on my taste buds.

So what did we make?

A huge salad obviously, it is so much better than anything you will ever buy. Nick’s mom also made us zucchini and beans in tomato sauce. Super easy, sauté garlic and onion in a little bit of oil, add zucchini and beans, add sauce. Cook until the veggies are soft. Spoiler, it went amazing with the bread from the Swiss Bakers.

Check out even more delicious eats at WIAW!


What makes a family?

This was not a post I was quite ready to share, but recent events have left me feeling like I wasn’t being honest with myself, or with you.

I know a lot of blog lurkers readers take issue with the fact that some bloggers make things seem happy and cheery all the time, even though we know they aren’t. I think that some things are inherently private, like your relationship with your significant other, your job or your children. Some items are just meant to be talked about with just that person, and some things are just too difficult to put on paper the computer.

I am falling into the latter when it comes to the subject of my family.  Every time I meet a blend in real life they are usually shocked when they find out I have 3 sisters, not 1. My two oldest sisters are my half-sisters as we have different fathers, my dad adopted them before my biological sister and I were born.

A lot of my upbringing was tumultuous and I don’t usually like sharing, so I am not going to share much here. Just know that my relationship with my two eldest sisters, is strained, at best. Recent nasty text messages that I received regarding my parenting have really got me thinking. What is family?

Everyone just keeps asking that I continue to be the bigger person and let it go, but when you have kids that all goes out the window. My immediate family is the most important thing to me, and I will do anything to keep them safe, and keep them from knowing people like this.

To me family are those that support you and love you. They can give you criticism and you can give it to them. No one is keeping score, it is a relationship where no one minds who is giving or who is taking in that moment.

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These guys are my family.

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These are who I call my brothers and sisters

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One day, he will be a brother too :)

parents

These are my parents

baptism

This is a small sector of my wonderful friends

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I would be remiss to not include people I have met through social media & blogging. While I haven’t met you all in person, having your friendship and support is amazing.

Family to me is not blood. I think sometimes we let that cloud our happiness. If someone makes you unhappy, it shouldn’t matter that you were born into the same household. The only person you owe anything to is yourself.

Sorry for the heavy post today. Back to my antics tomorrow!

Confessions of a Mom, Vol. 4

Disclaimer: please read this post with an open mind and sense of humor. Sometimes we all need a good laugh.

 

What I am going to be like in 15 years.

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How I feel about exercise after the kiddo has been up all night.

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How I feel about mom’s who know it all, or at least tell me whatever I am doing is wrong.

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How I feel whenever my sister leaves.

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What are you confessing this week?

Check out Vol. 1, Vol. 2, and Vol. 3

Summer Craziness and Running Updates

I know that my blogs have been inconsistent as of late, and I want to apologize.

These summer months, and the nice weather lasts only so long, I like to spend the majority of my weekdays with B.

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Fill me up with gas please

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You’re taking to long, let me handle it

He received a bunch of wonderful outside toys, and before you know it, it is going to be brutally cold, so I want to make sure he has ample time to play with them.

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It’s also only about 8 weeks until the Zooma Half Marathon (by the way you can still get 10% off with the code: CCAMB9) and I don’t think I have had a great training so far. I am getting the miles in but I feel slow, and my last long run was supposed to be 7 miles and I had to tap out at 4. My left hip, right leg and left heel were bothering me and instead of hurting myself I decided to take a break.

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I am still doing a ton of strength training and metabolic conditioning at Achieve, so I am hoping that I will be able to log some serious miles these next few weekends, I really want to PR at Zooma, but I know that I need to set myself up for success.

I know I will be out and about the next 3 or 4 weeks so I need to make sure that I make training a priority.

How is your summer training going?