Friday, January 31, 2014

An Unplanned Week

Can you believe that today is the last day of January?!

I’ve always heard that time passes quicker and quicker but it never ceases to amaze me! And with Wednesday’s Snow Day, I have no idea what day it is.

I spent this past Sunday at my parent’s house to celebrate Bestie’s birthday, and I ended up having so much fun, that I failed to make a meal plan for this week. It was slim pickin’s in the fridge last night. If you fail to plan then you plan to fail right?

I truly am nothing in the kitchen without my meal plan. I struggle with past due vegetables and nearly empty cartons of yogurt.

Luckily I had the two most important ingredients: Cheese and Bacon! Smile

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Quesadillas are always a good standby.

Rudi’s gluten free tortillas with Cabot Horseradish Cheddar, Caramelized Onion, and Applewood Smoked Bacon

Oh yeah.

Just LOOK at that ooey gooey cheese!

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If you follow me on Instagram, then you may already know that I was recently offered a position on the Cabot Cheese Board Smile

I was so excited to be asked to join a community of bloggers for HANDS DOWN my favorite food. Ever. And I get to offer feedback on new products and packaging. 

Y’all know that I have been blowing Cabot UP on Twitter and Instagram for years. At any point in time, there is never less than 5 bars of Cabot Cheese in our fridge or freezer. I truly LOVE their cheese and the small farmers my purchases support.

Co-ops for life!

And just so you guys know, I am in no way compensated for being on the Cheese Board and I have never been asked to share a review or mention their cheese in any of my posts or social media outlets.

I just genuinely LOVE their cheese.

Know what else I love?

Bacon.

And Basenjis.

And you guys! Winking smile

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Snow Day 2014

Man, what a FUN snow day!

After waking up so early yesterday, I couldn’t wait for Parrish to wake up so that we could go on a snow walk!

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And you know that Max and Hazel were excited to go outside and play!

Max loves snow. It takes him back to his puppy years and he is frisky as a kitten. Hazel Basil….not so much. Don’t get me wrong, she played outside yesterday and had a great time, but we didn’t have to try too hard to get her back inside afterwards.

After playing outside we all came back inside to warm up!

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Nothing like a big patch of sunshine to warm up your fur!

The nice thing about a snow day is that you are forced to rest and relax. Yep. We decided not to venture out and just stay cozy all day. Even though Parrish lived in Montana and definitely knows how to drive in the snow…

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most folks in NC are clueless. I have to admit I was a little bummed when I found out that our local YMCA was closed for the day, but everyone deserves a snow day!

Thankfully we didn’t get too stir crazy. I did take the opportunity to make a batch of my favorite breakfast muffins:

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Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins – gluten free of course!

You can find that recipe HERE. I highly recommend them! So yummy!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast

If you live in the South like me – HAPPY SNOW DAY!

If you live in an area that gets snow often then you’re probably shaking your head and wondering why anyone would be excited about snow. BUT here in the South, we rarely see snow in our own backyards:

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so we celebrate it!

I woke up at 6am this morning and was too excited to go back to sleep! Yep. I am seriously like a kid when it comes to snow. Max loves snow too! Hazel….not so much.

After an early morning frolic, we’re now tucked back inside with hot coffee for me and warm dog beds for them.

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My little sidekicks, patiently waiting for Parrish to wake up and come down the hall.

Any bets on how many hot cups of coffee I’ll have today?

Since I have a bit more time this morning I’m treating Parrish and I to a slow and YUMMY breakfast:

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Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast with Caramelized Bananas

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Oh yeah. So good.

Happy Snow Day!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

But Would I Buy It Again?

Happy Tuesday!

I can’t believe it’s been a week since my last blog post! Geez. I thought my schedule would have opened up by now, but honestly it hasn’t! Between year-end (boring) tasks at work and training at the gym 6 days a week AND trying to be a good wife and friend….I don’t have much screen time.

When I’m home I’m in FULL relaxation mode! Boot Slippers and leggings are a mandatory uniform on the weekend.

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But I really wanted to check in with you guys and tell you about three new yummy products I found last week at my local Kroger.

I rarely shop at Kroger – I’m a Harris Teeter girl all the way – but last week I had to stop by my local running store which is directly beside a Kroger. So I popped in to take a peek at their gluten free packaged food.

I chose three new-to-me items and I chose well!

Two items from Love Grown Foods:

Gluten Free Hot Oats To Go!

Ridiculously easy to make! You just add boiling water to the container and pop the lid back on. Wait 3 minutes and you’re ready to go! We have an electric kettle at work, so this was perfect. I loved the flavor, and I was super impressed by the big chunks of strawberry and raspberry. I will definitely be buying these again.

I also picked up Love Grown Foods Super Oats with Chia for mornings when I have more time.

Guess what. These oats COOK IN THREE MINUTES! Yep. Three minutes. Plus with 5 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein, it leaves me full for hours! I will definitely buy this again too!

My last purchase I would definitely buy again….although I don’t know if I should! Winking smile

Chocolate Peanut Butter Kettlecorn from Popcorn Indiana. Oh boy. Straight delicious. And I finished the bag in a record breaking three days! I could NOT keep my hands out of the bag!

What about you?

Have you tried a new product recently that you absolutely love?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Two Foods I’m Loving This Week

I woke up this morning and literally had NO IDEA what day it was. I was off of work yesterday but I worked the entire weekend, so I couldn’t decide if it was a Monday or a Friday.

Do you ever have those mornings?

It literally took me over a minute to figure it out. A bit of a foggy brain this morning! Luckily it wasn’t anything a good cup of coffee couldn’t fix! I’m currently loving:

Congo Coffee Project from Equal Exchange. It’s bold, smooth, and balanced with hints of chocolate and vanilla. I absolutely LOVE it. Plus the purchase of the coffee supports The Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo which provides life-saving treatment, counseling and aftercare programs to more than 2,000 survivors of sexual violence each year.

Now that’s a good cup of coffee!

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Plus it’s Fair Trade, so I know the farmers who grew the beans were paid a fair wage for their crop – which let’s be honest, should always be the case.

I’m also loving:

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Lesser Evil Chia Pop!

I found this at my local Kroger. If you have a Kroger in your area, I highly suggest checking it out! They have TONS of gluten free options!

But back to Chia Pop. It’s delicious! Plus it boasts 5 grams of Fiber and 3 grams of Protein per serving!

If you follow me on Instagram, then you know that I’ve been having trouble with never ending hunger due to my training schedule. Hardcore workouts 6 days a week is leaving me with too much of a depletion. I’m hoping Chia Pop will be a good option at the end of the day if I’m still feeling hungry after dinner.

And it will hopefully keep my mind from wandering over to cookies!

The last few nights I have been CRAVING cookies. Which is strange because I’m totally a savory person and sugar gives me a headache…. But my mind doesn’t care!

Hope you have a great Tuesday!

Friday, January 17, 2014

It’s ALL about the DRESSING

Happy Friday!!

I’m not dancing the TGIF dance over here – I have to work all weekend. But I’m off of work today and am making the most of it!

I’m starting the morning off with one of my favorite classes at my local YMCA: Intensity! Sort of like a mix between CrossFit and Circuit Training, it’s always different and always fun!

Plus Parrish usually gets to go with me. I love strength training with my hubby!

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After the class, I have a few recipes I’m hoping to try. One of which incorporates a new dressing I picked up at my local Whole Foods:

Tessemae’s Zesty Ranch Vinaigrette! I absolutely LOVE this dressing!

I’m participating in the New Year Shred with fellow blogger NHerShoes, and in addition to the daily workouts, a big part of the program is EATING CLEAN. While I do eat fairly clean, salad dressing was one area that I really needed to work on.

And yes, I know that making a homemade vinaigrette is fairly easy but I don’t often have the few minutes that it would take to whip one up….or the bandwidth in my brain to think up a yummy one. Am I the only one who finds homemade vinaigrettes a bit daunting? Yes? No? Anyway….

So Tessemae’s it is!

It’s Dairy Free, Gluten Free, and Sugar Free. It’s a Vegan Product and fits a Paleo Diet as well. And it’s ALL NATURAL! So no yucky chemicals or mono-this or high fructose that.

The recipe I’m trying today:

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Crispy Ranch Chickpeas from Tessemae’s Blog. Recipe here. Don’t they look amazing?!

And for supper tonight, I’m revisiting an old Gluten Hates Me favorite:

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Gluten Free Jalapeno Popper Chicken

Oh yeah. It’s SOOOOO good!

What about you?

New recipes this weekend?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Gluten Free Pickle Chips

I am so lucky to be blessed with an AMAZING YMCA here in Durham. Seriously. If you follow me on Instagram then you know – I am constantly posting some crazy sweaty selfie or insane calorie count.

Particularly, two classes are offered that I freaking LOVE. Sort of like Cross Fit, the classes focus on a mix of Cardio and Weight Training. Burpees are almost always involved – which aren’t my favorite but do actually get easier with time.

Yesterday was an AMAZING class. It really pushed my me out of my comfort zone. In fact, I nearly skipped a lap but a fellow class mate gave me an encouraging “You Can Do This!” and I pushed. And you know what? I COULD do it! I’m telling you friends, my mind is weak. I’m so thankful to be able to continue to prove myself wrong. I am strong. I am capable. I can do this!

The workout:

5 minute running warm-up then….

5 laps on the track followed by a Basketball Court Suicide

1 lap then Suicide – repeated 4 times

Followed by our circuit:

15 Push-Ups

15 Box Jumps

15 Kettlebell Clean & Press (each arm)

15 180 Degree Jump Squats

15 Side Plank with Clean & Press

15 OverHead Slams with Battle Ropes

Then repeat the circuit until the 45 minutes were up.

PHEW! I made it through 2 full Rounds and half of my third round. I won’t lie. It was brutal. At one point my HR Monitor read 192 – not the best. I took a few breaks toward the end…and definitely felt nauseous after the workout for about 30 minutes, but deep breaths and water helped me out.

And while I’m not a personal trainer and I can’t recommend you do the workout, below is a scaled down version:

Monday's X-Train

A few blogger friends had mentioned wanting copies of the workouts I get to enjoy at my YMCA – so enjoy!

After killing it, I headed home for a much needed shower and more importantly: FOOD! My favorite part of burning over 700 calories? Eating them!

Towards the afternoon yesterday, it became clear that I wasn’t going to be able to fill the void. I was so hungry! I would have a snack:

Cucumber with Greek Yogurt & Feta

30 minutes later – HUNGRY!

Another snack:

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Banana with Homemade Raw Almond Butter

Still HUNGRY!

So I made a pre-dinner appetizer. Oh yeah. I went there.

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Oven-Baked Gluten Free Pickle Chips with Ranchy Greek Yogurt

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You’re gonna want to bookmark this one friends – make a batch. Better yet, make two and share with me!

Gluten Free Oven-Baked Pickle Chips

You’ll need:

1/4 cup Gluten Free All Purpose Flour

1 cup beaten egg or egg whites

1/2 cup Gluten Free Panko (I used Kinnikinnick)

30 Dill Pickle Chips (patted dry)

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Set up your dredging station. One plate with the Gluten Free Flour, then a bowl with your egg, and an additional plate for your GF Panko.

Toss your pickle chip in the flour. Then dip it in the egg. Next pat it until fully covered in the panko. Repeat process until all your chips are covered. Place on a baking sheet. Give the tops a quick spritz of cooking spray to help it brown.

Bake 9 minutes. Flip chips over. Bake 8 minutes.

Enjoy!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Weekend Recap

Happy Monday!

I hope you had a great weekend! Even though I had to work yesterday, I still had a pretty AWESOME weekend.

This past week marked one month of my new dedicated workout schedule: 5 days killing it, 1 one day active rest, and 1 full rest day.

For me, this is the best possible schedule, as it keeps me free from stress and challenges my body. Plus, I’m injury free, so I feel confident pushing myself. But more on this in a later post.

Back to the weekend!

Saturday morning really sealed the deal for an awesome weekend. MOH and I tried a new-to-us yoga class at Durham Yoga Company.

We did a flow class that was simply amazing. Flow is actually what I prefer – holding poses for a few moments and then transitioning into a new position – Love Love Love. Plus the teacher was so stinkin’ nice! Perfect for an active rest day and since it was our first class, we were to attend for FREE!

Plus DYC is right in the heart of downtown Durham and super close to my love….

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DaisyCakes!

Simple breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, potato hash, and a gluten free biscuit. I feel so incredibly blessed that I have a local place that I can go to and actually eat a fresh gluten free biscuit! If you’re ever in Durham, you have to go to DaisyCakes!

The weekend really just bloomed from there. Parrish and I went to a friend’s surprise birthday party at a bowling alley.

I may have only scored a 43, but it was still fun!

And we ended the night early in bed with a few episodes of Dexter. Does it show my age that I look forward to early nights in bed?

Winking smile

Thursday, January 9, 2014

My 2014 Resolutions

Well friends, we’re 9 days in to 2014, and I have finally settled on my New Year Resolutions.
First I will say, that this year I felt like it was really important to not TAKE AWAY with my resolutions. For me, when I try to restrict something in my life I end up obsessing over it. I’ll think “Oh, I can’t have a Diet Coke….well…now I want a Diet Coke.” Then if I do give in, then I get a heap of guilt. So – no restricting resolutions.
Instead, I have decided on two resolutions that will ADD to my life instead of take away.
First:

 

Specifically, I am going to aim to drink a gallon of water a day. Sounds like a lot, but I have a water tumbler that I love, and a gallon is only 5 1/2 cups a day. Easy.
If you work in customer service or retail, then you totally know that often times you can literally forget to drink water. Not only do I forget to pick up my cup, but I will even forget that I feel thirsty.
And water is SO IMPORTANT for good health!
But seriously. Water helps from your head to your toes. It keeps your muscles energized, your skin from drying out, and even helps protect against constipation. It’s  good for your liver and can even help reduce joint pain by keeping your cartilage all juicy! If you aren’t convinced, seriously just Google “Why Drink Water” and you will be flooded with articles about why water is so darn good!
Yes you will have to urinate more often. Seriously guys, I go just about every 20 to 30 minutes! TMI?
But a week in to being better hydrated and I am feeling lots better. I have less bloating in the morning and I definitely feel more energized throughout the day.
Why a gallon?
A gallon is what works for me. Because I do about 60 to 90 minutes of strenuous exercise 6 days a week, I sweat a lot! So I need a bit more than the average recommendation.
My second resolution is pretty simple and it incorporates MY WORD for 2014.
The resolution: I will BELIEVE in my goals.

Believing doesn’t always come easy. And I hate to say that for nearly a year, I honestly didn’t believe that I would ever get back to a place where I felt happy in my own body. BUT I finally have! (More on that in another post) And in getting there, I’ve realized how important it is to BELIEVE.
I will believe in myself. I will believe in God and the path set out for me. In the goodness of others. In my own strength and ability. This is my year to BELIEVE.
So there you have it! Two simple (but not easy) resolutions for 2014. Plus you know I’m still carrying on what I discovered in 2013. Oh yes, that will continue! You can’t have an AWESOME year and forget everything that made it so!
What about you?
I want to hear your resolutions too!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Crispy Panko Shrimp – Oven Baked and Gluten Free

Happy Tuesday Friends!

Wherever you are today, I hope you’re staying warm! We’re having record lows here in NC. Nothing wakes you up like walking your dogs in 8 degree weather with a negative wind chill!

This is the first week where I FINALLY feel like I’m back in my regular week to week schedule. I’m working a full week, there’s no holiday this week, and my workout schedule is back in full force!

Yep. I get to go to ZUMBA this week – in my new shoes!

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This is my THIRD pair of Nike Lunarglides and I love them! You may be thinking “Wow Marlow, you have crazy taste!” But in fact, the above shoes were the only Clearance shoes in my size. It’s funny though, I actually love them! I wasn’t so sure online but they’re super fun!

I have fallen arches, so I need a ton of support or I get shin splints like nobody’s business! Lunarglides are my favorite and then I use a Dr Scholls Active Series insert in the shoe. Shin Splints be gone!

I’m so excited to Zumba in them!

Also exciting:

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Crispy, Oven-Baked Gluten Free Panko Shrimp!

I followed THIS RECIPE from Veggies and Glitter and simply switched out the Panko with Gluten Free Kinnikinnick Panko. And since you bake them in the oven, I gave the battered shrimp a quick spritz of cooking spray before baking. This nominal amount of oil helps the panko crisp!

Parrish and I LOVED the shrimp! We ate them on tacos with lime onions, avocado, and Cabot cheese. Yum!!

And easy!

I hope you have a great day today

AND STAY WARM!

Friday, January 3, 2014

A Reflection on Awesomeness

Happy New Year!!

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I feel like such a grandma when I say it, but…. Can you guys believe it’s 2014?!

Time really flies, and while I usually love a new year, I’m actually sort of sad to see 2013 go.

If you’ve been reading this blog long, then you know that 2012 really sucked for the Ravelli Family. So when we went in to 2013, we really had the intention of having a better year, and man OH man, what an AWESOME year it was!

Perfect?

No way! Ummm….remember vertigo?!?!

But it was still so good!

Parrish and I were together since I finished my commuting in December of 2012.

I started a new job that I love. Parrish continued at a job he loves.

I discovered ZUMBA!

Parrish returned to playing soccer!

My sister Susan married a wonderful man.

My Mom lost over 50 pounds and counting!

MOH moved to Durham.

Parrish and I treasured the little things, like baseball games and trying new restaurants.

My nieces and nephews grew one year older and cuter by the minute.

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I discovered a passion for cross training.

I REALLY LIVED my life. There were so many other wonderful moments, thousands of small things, that made for one heck of a year!

When I reflect back on to 2013, I can really see a clear pattern, which led to the AMAZING-ness of that year. That pattern:

Doing more of what made us happy.

I embraced my hobbies. I planned my life around fitness. I sought out new experiences. I made my family a priority.

I pushed myself OUT of my comfort zone and realized just how rewarding that can be.

And slowly but surely, the year gained momentum, and my life really bloomed in 2013.

I’m still thinking about my New Year Resolutions for 2014, but I wanted to take a step back first. Look at the past year and reflect on what made it so awesome!

Happy Friday!!

Have you started your resolutions? Share!