Nap Time, Please?

Can I get a WOOT WOOT for Friday?!?! I don’t know about you, but I’m doin’ my Happy Dance. 😉

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Unfortunately, a lack of preparation last night, meant for a pretty hectic morning. I hate when I do that to myself. 🙄 Luckily, the day turned out to be much smoother than its start.

Here’s some highlights from today’s eats:

Startin’ things off with a little Cookie Friday celebration, a la Tina style. Hey, there’s banana and oats in there…don’t judge. 😉

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The celebrations continued with a little Coffee Friday action on my way into work. Pumpkin Spice baby…and alllll was right in the world.

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After seeing drooling over Julie’s cottage cheese + pumpkin combo a couple days ago, I finally realized…“DUH, you have all of that in your fridge!”

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I promise, the cottage cheese was down there!

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My combo went a little somethin’ like this:

  • 3/4 cup 1% cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin
  • 2 spoonfuls unsweetened applesauce
  • raisins
  • cinnamon
  • pumpkin pie spice

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Then, as I was putting stuff back in the fridge, I saw my lonely Cinnamon Date Manna Bread sitting there…I certainly couldn’t neglect that! What a combo!

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More goods…

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Thanks for all your feedback on today’s Fashion Friday post! It appears I’m not alone on my feelings about UGGS. If you haven’t weighed in yet, make sure you go check it out! 🙂

I’m really not sure what the rest of the night includes for me and the hubby…but I do know that I’m about to go lay down for a NAP. First full week of teaching = EXHAUSTION. 😯

This Could Be Interesting

Happy Thursday! 😀 Can you guess where I was this morning?!?

BodyPump!

It’s actually been weeks since I last attended a BodyPump class, so I was actually pretty darn psyched about going (despite the 5:45am start time!) 😯 This is the first time I’m attempting an early morning gym trip with having to go straight to work afterward, so it could prove to be an interesting morning. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a smooth routine!

Knowing I wouldn’t have time to come back home after the gym before heading to work, I made sure to get everything prepped last night (including this post). How’s that for organization for ya. 😉

Included in my prep was a terrific bowl of Overnight Oats In a Jar. Jay actually finished off this jar about a week ago, and I totally forgot that I told him to leave it in the pantry empty for me. I thought it was full!

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In the jar:

  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1/3 cup vanilla almond milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin
  • 1/2 smashed banana
  • small slice Cinnamon Date Manna Bread
  • Cinnamon
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    Want to know what else made its way into the bowl…

    Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies!

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    They’re baaaaaaack! I saw the rest of the batch hiding out in the back of the freezer last night and decided I had waited long enough. (So glad I did that, by the way.) 😉 I am happy to report, they are just as tasty as they were on day 1. Yesssss.

    ****On a quick side note, the Caramel Swirl No Pudge brownies totally ROCKED MY SOCKS!!!!! I had to restrain myself from eating more than one. They were so gooey, chewy, and incredibly flavorful…I was totally impressed, especially considering they’re a fat-free brownie! They’re definitely a MUST-TRY in my book!****

    Question for the Morning:

    When was the last time you stopped rushing around and genuinely relaxed??

    I wish I knew the answer for this one……I think that’s my cue to take some Courtney Time!

  • Running Around

    Welcome to Monday my friends! I hope everyone’s work week has started off on the right foot. I have been on the go most of the day, running errands, running the washer, running lists, running my legs…you get the point. 😉

    Breakfast

    I was actually craving cereal for dinner last night, but changed my mind last minute to get in some needed veggies. The cravings were still there this morning, which made my bowl that much better.

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    1/2 cup each Quaker Oatmeal Squares and Kashi Go Lean Crunch mixed with fresh strawberries & vanilla almond milk.

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    Mid-morning, I also snacked on 2 Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies. They were in my car with me, which got the chocolate chips just the slightest bit melty. I think I may have announced “These are sooooo good” at least twice while driving…by myself…with the window down. 😉

    Workout

    By the time I got home, I finally decided I was in the mood for a short run. My body is actually pretty sore from yesterday’s Hot Yoga, and I was originally planning on taking the day off, but I knew I’d feel better if I at least attempted something. I laced up my running shoes and hit the pavement for a 2.5 mile run. It was short, but it was hot and humid out, and I felt like I probably would have collapsed if I went any farther. I’m still trying to adjust to running outdoors, (ever since our treadmill became out of commission) so it’s still a challenge for me. But hey, I like a challenge. 😉

    But I was actually so overheated that as soon as I approached my driveway, I continued running straight into our backyard, threw off the shoes & iPod, and jumped right into the pool! Clothes and all, cannonball style. It was probably the most refreshing swim I have had all summer long. It was fantastic. 😎

    Lunch

    Since lunch time ended up being much later than normal, and I have a 5:00 dinner date with my friend Heather, I kept things on the lighter side.

    I snacked on some unphotographed celery sticks, while I got together a vanilla flavored Chobani yogurt…

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    …and a sliced apple + Kashi crackers with 2 tbsp. PB2.

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    I absolutely LOVE the fact that I can have this huge hunk-o-PB for only 45 calories. It’s just miraculous. And utterly delicious. 🙂

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    Don’t be surprised if I go back for another Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookie. There’s only 3 left! 😯

    Packing

    I cannot believe that I am going to be traveling to Chicago THIS THURSDAY for the Healthy Living Summit!! It feels like just yesterday I was sitting at my computer screen like an eager contestant on Jeopardy ready to “buzz in” at the exact right time. 🙂 I am so ridiculously excited! I feel the way I used to when my family and I had a vacation to the beach planned. I would have my lists ready, bags packed, and that giddy excitement all week long. Now, I still have all the giddy excitement, but I still have to work on those lists and the packing. Hey, at least it’s a start. 😉

    Question for the Afternoon:

    What kind of a traveler are you? Do you pack way ahead, or do you wait until last minute?

    A Free Saturday Morning…Where Am I?

    It’s another beautiful Saturday here in Upstate, and since I had a free morning, a trip to the Farmers Market was definitely on the agenda! 😎

    Before heading out, I woke up nice and early to get my workout all finished for the day. I did the 40 minute Rock Hard Total Body Workout from Exercise on Demand, and it totally rocked my booty! I’m finding that I really like this workout, and it’s been a good switch from my usual BodyPump for a little while. If you have access to Exercise on Demand, and you’re up for a challenge, I’d definitely recommend you try this workout:

    “This strength training workout from Body By Jake will get your entire body moving. Learn challenging muscle building moves that will take your workout to the next level while you watch your body change without expensive weight training equipment. Grab a pair of dumbbells and get ready to seriously sweat it out with this full body workout.”

    After showering and getting ready, I grabbed a quick breakfast on the run, since I only had a few minutes before meeting up with Kate.

    I had an ugly (but delicious) baby banana & two Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies. My supply of these is dwindling…I’m getting sad. 😦

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    (Please ignore the ghetto nail polish sample on my thumb…I was testing out some colors yesterday.) 😉

    I realize this probably wasn’t the best “breakfast” to eat after an intense workout, but I was also taking into account the fact that I would be snacking on various samples while at the market too.

    The market was definitely hoppin’ today! So many goodies to choose from. I would seriously have no problem dropping $50+ if I had that much cash on me. 😯

    Ginormous tomatoes!

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    Pretty flowers 🙂 

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    So ever since the beginning of the Farmers Market season, Kate and I have been eyeballing this crazy concoction called a “pizza scone” at one of the vendors. We’ve passed it up every time, but today Kate bit the bullet and decided to try it out. After we both had a bite, we decided that it was definitely just like pizza! It almost tasted like dough + sauce, with the cheese on the top. Crazy, but totally delish!

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    As I walked in door after getting home, I was greeted by this guy who was definitely somewhere where he knows he does not belong!

    Oh crap, I’m busted…”

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    We had a talk and straightened things out. He apologized.

    Alright, so here’s my goods from today:  

    Basil

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    Tomatoes!! 😀

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    Multigrain Bread

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    Blizzard Butter for Mom to try!

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    And of course, an iced coffee with skim milk to top off my morning trip. 😛

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    I also picked up some fresh corn on the cob, romaine lettuce, some chives, and a cucumber. All of this cost me Jay $20.00, which is probably more than I’d pay at the grocery store, but I really don’t mind. I love buying things locally when I can!

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    Time to go make some lunch and head out for a little poolside action. 😎 Hope you’re all enjoying your Saturday!

    Question for the Day:

    When visiting a Farmers Market (or grocery store) do you go with a list or a budget or do you just buy whatever looks good?

    “You Are Beautiful”

    This morning I made sure to get myself all settled & situated in front of the TV, with my breakfast, by 8:30 so I’d be able to watch Caitlin on the Today Show!

    Waiting patiently…

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    You Go Girl!!

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    Caitlin totally rocked her interview this morning. She was absolutely stunning, elegant, well poised, and beyond inspirational. I probably would have been rambling on like a fool!

    I’ve always found Operation Beautiful to be one of the most amazing movements I’ve ever followed, but I couldn’t help but feel that much more inspired after watching this morning’s segment. Seeing just how far something as simple as a friendly, positive note can go, and the difference it can make, really is just phenomenal. Not only am I proud of Caitlin, but I am so especially proud to be a part of such a supportive, caring community of girls (and guys) who all believe that we really can make a difference. Changing the world, one Post-It at a time!

    *In case you missed the segment, you can click here to watch her interview with Meredith!

    Breakfast

    While watching the Today Show, I enjoyed one of the most incredible batches of overnight oats EVER!!

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    Last night when I got home from my softball game (which we WON, YAY!) I whipped up a quick batch of overnighters to enjoy for the morning.

    In the bowl:

    • 1/3 cup wheatberries
    • 1/4 cup oats
    • 3/4 cup vanilla almond milk
    • 1/2 mashed banana
    • Golden raisins
    • Cinnamon & nutmeg

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    While the oats themselves were incredibly creamy and delicious, it was (once again) the toppings that stole the show.

    • 1 tbsp PB2
    • 1-1/2 crumbled Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies! 😛

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    Holy DELICIOUS!! I think I need to have these cookies on hand at all times, if for nothing else than a topping for oats. The bites with chocolate chips were such a sweet treat!

    I also had a glass of iced coffee (YES, finally made some of my own!) with vanilla almond milk. I didn’t do half bad! 😉

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    **Have you entered for your chance to win 6 bags Food Should Taste Good chips yet??** If not, make sure to check out the GIVEAWAY ASAP. I’ll randomly be choosing a winner later this afternoon! Remember, you have up to 5 chances to win!

    Question for the Morning:

    What would your anonymous Operation Beautiful post-it note say?

    The UPS Man Makes Me Giddy

    Who doesn’t love getting fun packages in the mail? Really. Whenever I see the UPS truck stop in front of my house, I always get so giddy with suspense, so curious as to what could be making its way to my door. (Have I mentioned I can be a big nerd sometimes?) 😉

    Well yesterday I got myself all in a tizzy when I saw the UPS man, decked out in his hot brown shorts, come walking up to my door with not one, but TWO boxes – BOTH for me! Yesssss.

    The first box was the second item that I ordered with my credit to CSN Stores: a spring form pan. Uhh ohh, looks like I just might have to add a healthy cheesecake to my baking to-do list! 😀

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    The second box was quite a fun and interesting package!

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    A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by NuNaturals and was asked if I’d be interested in sampling & reviewing some of their products. I’ve seen some of these products lurking around the blog world, so I decided it’d be fun to try some out. I was quite surprised to see just how many products were sent, along with some great recipes that I’m definitely looking forward to trying. Some of them are even from some fellow bloggies! 🙂

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    Some of the items I have never heard of? I guess I’ll have to do a little research. 😉

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    Workout

    This morning I trekked on over to the gym to get a little cardio in my life. I did 40 minutes on the elliptical, (covering 3.9 miles) followed up with 20 minutes power walking on the treadmill, alternating inclines and speeds (covering 1.5 miles). It was definitely a good, heart pumpin’ workout, even without running. Many people I’ve spoken with tend to underestimate the power of power walking. It really is a lot tougher to power walk at 4.8mph than it is to jog at 5.0…anyone else with me on that one?

    Breakfast

    Before leaving for the gym, I snacked on half of an Arnold Sandwich Thin with PB, which did a great job holding me over all morning. On my way home, I had to stop to grab some caffeine. (I really need to start making this at home again…eek 😳 ) I added some vanilla almond milk & a packet of PureVia –delish!

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    The first thing that caught my eye was a big ‘ol peach that I picked up yesterday from the grocery store. So I sliced that baby up and sprinkled it with some cinnamon. Cinnamon just seems to make everything better in my book. 🙂

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    As I was eating my peach, I spotted a Larabar that I’ve had sitting around for a while, so I decided I needed it. I had half and saved the rest for later. I really like the pecan pie flavor, but I’m sure it doesn’t even hold a candle to the new cookie dough flavor! Speaking of that, why can I not find it anywhere?!?!?

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    Then somehow, one of these made their way into my belly. Ok I lied, I had two…who am I kidding?

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    Hey, they have bananas and oats. They’re both healthy breakfast options. They just happen to be in cookie form. 😉 I actually think they’re even softer today than they were yesterday. Almost cake-like. It will be a sad day when these are gone. Good thing I put some in the freezer!

    I’m feeling a little generous this morning, so I’m thinking there may have to be a giveaway this afternoon! Make sure to check back later on! 😀

    Not One…TWO New Recipes For Ya!

    Recipe #1

    I got the itch again to do some baking today, and since I had some ungodly looking bananas to use up, I had a perfect window of opportunity. As you are probably aware, my baking has pretty much been consumed by cupcakes lately, so I wanted to switch things up. Normally, when I think of baking with bananas, it’s usually in a loaf or cupcake form. But oh no, not today. It was time for this girl to get some cookies in her life.

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    After looking at a few different recipes, I decided that the cookies definitely needed two ingredients: oats & chocolate. 😛 As for the rest of ‘em, I just played around with the ingredients, but was very happy with the way they came out!

    The recipe is super easy, and relatively small; but better yet, it’s relatively low in fat, so you don’t have to feel guilty about making these scrumptious little gems.

    Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

    (Makes approximately 2 dozen cookies)

    Ingredients:

    • 1 cup all purpose flour
    • 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 2 tbsp butter, softened
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 2 medium, overripe bananas, mashed
    • 1 egg
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 1/2 cups oats
    • 1 cup chocolate chips

    Directions:

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

    In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugars, and banana until combined. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Gradually add in the flour mixture until thoroughly mixed. Stir in the oats and chocolate chips. (Dough will not be very stiff.)

    Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto a baking sheet sprayed with non-stuck cooking spray. Bake for 11-14 minutes until set and lightly brown. Let the cookies cool for about 5 minutes on the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. ENJOY! 😀

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    I absolutely LOVE these cookies because they taste so very similar to banana bread, but feel like a cookie. The inside of the cookie is soft and moist, which goes perfectly with the slight crispiness of the edges.

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    I bake all of my cookies on stone baking sheets, rather than regular, aluminum cookie sheets. I’ve always liked the way the stone seems to help the cookies keep their shape, and avoid the over-crispiness that can sometimes happen with cookie edges. I have a feeling if these cookies were baked on an aluminum baking sheet, the crispy edges would probably be even more apparent (and delicious!)

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    I definitely enjoyed two of these directly out of the oven…and I anticipate a couple more in my future. 😉

    Dinner, Recipe #2

    Today while grocery shopping, I picked up a couple boxes of Annie’s macaroni & cheese that were on sale for $1.00 a box. Couldn’t pass that up!

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    Rather than just having a plain jane box of mac & cheese, I decided to spice things up a bit.

    First, I sautéed up a little garlic in some EVOO, then added in some fresh diced tomatoes.

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    Then, I added in the cooked macaroni shells.

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    Using the pot I used for cooking the pasta, I mixed together the cheese packet & milk, along with about 1/2 tbsp. of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Light.

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    Add the pasta & tomato mixture, along with a little fresh basil, and stir until combined. (I let mine sit for a few minutes too, just to allow the cheese to thicken up a bit.)

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    Then you’ve got yourself a delicious bowl of Cheesy Tomato-Basil Shells!

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    Cheesy Tomato-Basil Shells

    (original recipe can be found here)

    • 1 box Annie’s Original Shells & Cheddar
    • 2 ripe Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
    • 2 large cloves garlic, finely minced
    • 1 tbsp. olive oil
    • ¼ cup skim milk
    • 1/2 tbsp. I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Light
    • 2 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
    • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

    Directions:

    1. Boil pasta shells according to directions on box. Drain and set aside.
    2. Sauté garlic in oil over medium heat, stirring, until just beginning to color.
    3. Add tomatoes and cook a minute or two longer, stirring, until soft.
    4. Add cooked shells, mix together, and remove from heat.
    5. Whisk together contents of cheese packet, milk, & butter in original pasta saucepan until blended; add shells & tomato mixture and basil. ENJOY! 😛

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    In case you missed it earlier, I also posted the recipe for the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes that many of you have been asking about! I hope you’ll all let me know if you make them! 😀

    Question for the Night:

    Do you have any favorite “add-ins” for macaroni & cheese or pasta dishes?