Monthly Archives: August 2015

Getting Over the 4 Mile Hurdle & Eating Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

Good morning, I hope your week is off to a good start! The past few days I have been trying to get motivated to get running again and overall things have been going well, but I can’t seem to break that 4 mile hurdle.  Fall is my absolute favorite time for running.  The air is cool and crisp and it’s so much easier to breathe, so I’m hoping to really get back into my groove… but man, it’s painful starting over.

4 miles garmin forerunner

I think I may need to bite the bullet and sign up for another race in my near future.

But on another (more delicious) note, dinner last night was incredibly easy and super yummy.  We had some leftover chicken in the fridge and on my way home from work I had a serious craving for a buffalo chicken sandwich.  There is nothing I love more than a healthy meal that takes minimal time to make. On Saturday night, Kris concocted this buffalo sauce and I totally stole it from him for this sandwich – so a shout out to him for forever changing buffalo chicken in our household!  Also, I have to admit I did not measure anything… but error on the side of caution with the spicy ingredients!

Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • grilled chicken breast (sliced)
  • Yogurt bleu cheese dressing
  • Frank’s red hot sauce
  • Sriracha sauce
  • swiss cheese
  • whole wheat bun

Toppings:

  • baby arugula
  • sliced red onion
  • tomato

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400F

In a mixing bowl, combine leftover chicken, yogurt bleu cheese dressing (I used Wegman’s brand), Frank’s red hot sauce, and sriracha sauce to desired spicy-ness.  Make sure the chicken is evenly coated.

Top your bun with the coated chicken and add a slice of swiss cheese on top.  Put the sandwiches in the oven for 5 minutes (until cheese is melted).

Top with desired toppings. Enjoy!

easy buffalo chicken sandwiches

We had ours with a side of baby cucumbers and carbonated water.

Have a good one!

Summertime Hamburgers + Mint Iced Tea

Hello, hello! I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!  We had a nice, low key Saturday while we did our best to savor the last of the summer.  I can’t believe Fall is upon us!!!! (But I’m actually totally psyched about it, this is my favorite time of the year.)

Me and B started our Saturday with some yogurt, iced coffee, and a morning run:

coffee yogurt water

gsp yogurt

perfect august day

4 miles garmin forerunner

Boom. 4 more miles in the books.  Although B called it quits after 2.  I could tell she wanted to go home because she was pulling toward our apartment every time we passed our street and I get pretty nervous about heat stroke when the sun is that intense.

After the run, we did some cleaning and I sipped on this refreshing carbonated water while I did some meal prep for lunch:

La Croix carbonated water

We had some ground beef in the fridge that we needed to cook, so we decided to make hamburgers for lunch, and they turned out delicious.  I don’t know if we were just extra hungry, but I’m telling you they really hit the spot.

Summertime Hamburgers:

Recipe makes 4 hamburgers.

Ingredients:

  • Burgers:
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup panko (or bread crumbs)
  • Montreal steak seasoning
  • salt / pepper
  • Toppings:
  • 4 whole wheat hamburger buns
  • 1 sliced roma tomato
  • baby arugula
  • red onion
  • 4 slices of cheese
  • ketchup/mustard/other condiment

hamburger ingredients

Directions:

Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir it up until it’s well mixed.  (I used probably about a tablespoon of the Montreal steak seasoning, and a decent coating of the salt/pepper.)

Once the ingredients are well mixed, divide into 4 parts and make patties:

hamburger patties

Grill to desired done-ness and add a slice of cheese so it gets melty and delicious.  Add toppings and put that sucker on a bun – done!

hamburger

We enjoyed our burgers with a side of cucumbers/hummus and some cool mint iced tea.

cucumbers hummus

Mint Iced Tea

Ingredients:

  • 13 cups water (3 liters)
  • Herbal mint tea (5 bags)

Directions:

  • Bring water to a boil
  • Add tea bags
  • Steep for 3-5 minutes
  • Place in the fridge to cool down

peppermint herbal tea

mint iced tea

Enjoy over ice!

I hibernated my way into Friday (and saw some Guinea Pigs)

Good morning, and more importantly – HAPPY FRIDAY!  Man, what a week.  I always joke about going into hibernation until Friday (or summer, in the winter months).  But last night I think it actually happened.

I came home from work with big dreams of going for a run, making a super healthy dinner, and maybe even a little blogging. But as soon as I walked through the door I knew it wasn’t going to happen.  I was SO tired.  Full disclosure – I suspect I am just a huge baby (I am horrified to think how I will survive with children one day when I can barely care for myself), but I couldn’t go on any longer.

So I turned on an episode of Seinfeld, made myself a large bowl of Strawberry Mini Wheats, and crashed on the couch around 6pm.  I gotta say, I didn’t even exactly feel like I was ready to start the day when 5am rolled around this morning either.  I’m hoping as the day gets going and the coffee gets flowing that I will snap out of it.

On a side note, we went to the Erie County Fair on Wednesday night and I caught some cute pics of these guys:

fair guinea pigs

guinea pig

You might be asking yourself… of all the things to see at the fair, why Guinea Pigs?  And the answer… I don’t really know.  When I was younger I had a pet Guinea pig named ‘Piggy’ so the little guys pull at my heart strings.  Also, the fair isn’t exactly the most phone-friendly place.  So I wasn’t exactly pulling it out to snap pictures left and right. But there you have it.

Alright, let’s get this Friday going! I am ready for a weekend and a pumpkin beer! (yes, I know it’s still August… but I couldn’t resist). Have a good one!

4 Miles and Eggplant Parmesan

Yesterday was a long day filled with work, running, and cooking.

After work I came home for a 4 mile run.  The little Beester came with me for 2 of them, but it was way too hot and humid, especially for a pup to be logging the miles.

4 miles

(I swear I tried to lighten up this picture, but my efforts were futile.  It took me about 39:20 to run 4 miles.  Not my best time ever, but I’m generally happy if I average under 10 minute miles.)

I hadn’t run in a while and I felt surprisingly good.  There’s nothing better than a run that feels good both mentally and physically.  I wasn’t even counting down the miles, which has felt rare lately.  After my run I chugged some dark chocolate almond milk while I looked up a recipe for dinner.  I think I could easily drink that whole carton in 2 servings.  It is heavenly.

dark chocolate almond milk

I had an eggplant that needed to be cooked but I didn’t want to spend hours in the kitchen making eggplant parmesan, so I did a little research and came up with this Whole Foods Market recipe.  It was still a decent amount of work, but it was easy enough and it turned out delicious!

eggplant parmesan

I actually had some broccoli on hand so I decided to make the broccoli side as well (recipe is also included in the Whole Foods link).

roasted broccoli eggplant parm

Dinner was a success!  And lunch will be leftovers.  Happy hump day!

You Know you Need A Motivation Monday When…

Yesterday morning as I was sitting at my desk, sulking in my Monday blues, I decided it was a good time to do some organizing which happened to include a very large stack of papers that needed stapled back together and filed.

In the midst of my stapling frenzy, I realized that my shoulder was getting tired… From picking up a stapler and putting it back on my desk over and over. While I was feeling a little embarrassed for myself, I realized that it was a clear sign that I needed some motivation. And also that I need to re-evaluate my summer routine.

In an effort to save some money and embrace the summer weather, I quit my gym membership and came up with a handful of circuit workouts that I was going to combine with running. Well let me just be the first to admit that I have officially fallen off the wagon.

out of shape meme

Here are some other signs that you might also need a good, old fashioned, Motivation Monday:

1. Your arms are aching while blow drying your hair (check)

2. You are embarrassingly out of breath at the top of the stairs (yep)

3. Doing one push-up feels like the equivalent of running a marathon (ugh)

4. You post a Motivation Monday post on a Tuesday (whoops)…

On the plus side, I spent all last night grocery shopping and meal planning so at least I have a plan!  Here’s what’s on the agenda today:

Breakfast: English muffin with peanut butter

Snack: Fruit!

fruit bowl

Lunch: One of these awesome salads with baby spinach, arugula, sprouts, cucumber, tomato, bell peppers, edamame, and cottage cheese.

lunch salad

Snack: yogurt and green tea

Dinner: Some sort of eggplant/zucchini parmesan

How do you know when it’s time to re-evaluate your workout regimen?

Wedding Planning for Dummy

If you’re wondering who the ‘Dummy’ is, it’s me.  I have to admit that I am not one of those girls who has been planning and dreaming of their wedding day since I was little.  Until I met Kris a few years ago, I wasn’t sure that I would even ever have a wedding.  I mean sure, who doesn’t hope to find Mr. Right, but after a while it’s difficult not to get discouraged.

BUT, lucky for me, Mr. Right finally made his way into my life and there I was, completely ecstatic about being engaged to Kris, and completely clueless with what to do next. 

marriage meme

So here’s how we sorted through the beginning of the process:

I knew I wanted to have a fall wedding. I love the leaves and the crisp air and the pumpkin everything. So silly me, I assumed I was ahead of the game with about 15 months until my estimated wedding date… Well I was wrong. You can imagine my surprise when I made a few inquiries and found out every Saturday in 2016 until November was already booked at many venues. So I knew I had to move quickly to reserve my date.

The first thing we did was each make a rough list of guests that we wanted to invite.

After that we tried to determine what our budget was. We knew we didn’t want to go into debt over our wedding day.  So we started by reaching out to our families and then came up with an amount we thought we could save ourselves between now and the big day to come up with a final budget.

wedding money meme

Then we came up with a number we believe we can get our guest list down to that fits within the budget and started making inquiries at different venues.  And just as a side note, The Knot has completely revolutionized making inquiries. All the information you need is just a few clicks away and the vendors will email you their information. Gotta love technology.

For each venue I entered the costs into a spreadsheet and tried to capture every possible expense down to the darn postage.

After narrowing down our price, guest list, and style of wedding, we went to look at a few of the venues that fit the bill and I can officially say we have booked a date!

open bar wedding meme

Next up, finding a photographer.  Stay tuned kids!

Chattanooga Aquarium

When we were in Tennessee we had some time to kill before we had to be at the airport, so we went to the Chattanooga Aquarium… and let me tell you, it was awesome!!  If you have children or if you are one yourself, this place has limitless entertainment.  I went a little crazy with the pics, but I tried my hardest to scale them back for this blog post.

There were actually 2 different buildings, the first one was the River Aquarium, and the second was the Ocean Aquarium.

They had a huge display of seahorses:

seahorse

dragon seahorse

… and turtles…

turtle aquarium

turtle aquarium

turtles on a log

… and PENGUINS…

swimming penguin

I LOVE penguins.  There were so many nesting and loving on each other, and even one guy stealing pebbles from another nest to build the perfect throne for his love.

penguin love

if that doesn’t melt your heart, you’re not human.

aquarium penguins

And if that’s not enough to convince you, there was even a Butterfly Garden.  It was an entirely separate room full of butterflies.

aquarium butterfly room

butterfly room

There were also divers that were feeding the fish in the shark tank…

aquarium diver

Yikes.  I think I’ll keep my day job.

shark

aquarium turtle

So if you’re ever in Chattanooga and looking for something to do downtown, I would highly recommend the aquarium.  I could  have spent hours there!

When salads grow in bags

When I lived in Pittsburgh I had a 10 minute drive to work.  That meant on a good day I spent 20 minutes in the car. And on top of that the grocery store AND gym were only 2 minutes from work, and a quick stop on the way home only cost me an extra 20 minutes. I didn’t realize just how incredible that was until now.

Fast forward to today, and I’m driving 30 to 40 minutes each way and the grocery store is another 10 to 15 minutes from my house.

I normally do my shopping on Mondays because the weekends are busy, and when you factor in that every time I go food shopping lately there happens to be a downpour…


…well, you get the picture.

downpour buffalo
Literally.

For the first month after we moved to Buffalo I could not figure out how my days were disappearing so quickly and I really struggled to manage my time.

That’s when I decided that something had to change… and that something was dinner.  Luck for me, one of the closest stores is Wegman’s, and they do not disappoint!  They offer so many different options that are both healthy and quick!

This week on grocery night, I picked up a delicious sushi appetizer for us to split:

wegman's sushi

Spicy tuna with a side of merlot, yummy.  While we snacked on the sushi and caught up about our days, I got to work cooking some chicken and sautéing some mushrooms for our salads.

roasted chicken sauteed mushroom

I have seen a variety of these ‘salad in a bag’ ideas before, but I never really explored their full potential until now.  Let me tell you, they are a game changer.  I am always discouraged by salads because it feels like it takes decades to chop up lettuce, dry it off, chop up the veggies, cook the meat, etc.   But this is so easy!  It comes with a little pre-portioned packet of toppings and dressing.  It works great as a side salad, or the main course.

ginger almond salad in a bag

All you have to do is toss it on 2 plates, top with protein and any extra toppings you prefer, and voila!

ginger chicken salad

Dinner is served!  (And most of all… prep and clean-up is easy!)

The Last 2 Months…

Good morning!  It’s been a while since my last post and I feel pretty guilty that it has taken me this long to come back to the blog.  I wish I had an epic story to explain my hiatus, but the truth is I was just tired and overwhelmed with transitioning to a new place and a new routine.  Although I definitely could have done a better job keeping up, I knew deep down that something had to give and unfortunately, blogging doesn’t pay the bills. Every morning I thought, man I really want to get back to the blog… but every evening I thought “but I am le tireddd”.  (Lame, I know.  But I truly needed the time to recoup so that I can give my best to come up with semi-interesting things to talk about!).  So I don’t have a super cool, legendary reason why I fell off the grid, BUT I do have some super cool, legendary (in my tiny life) news!

But first, here’s the quick and dirty on the last few months…

We decided to become real-life adults and buy some flowers:

front porch flowers

…or at least we tried…

Lilacs in a corona bucket

We picked out the interior options for our house!

kitchen interior choices

And then doubted ourselves, and then changed our minds, and then made a final decision (we think).

I found a new hairstylist… at a salon that serves wine!  And a generous portion, at that!  Maybe I have been living under a rock, but this is brilliant!

hair stylist wine

I took a trip to Chattanooga Tennessee for work (and saw this awesome Buffalo shirt at the airport… someone buy it for me!)

buffalove

Kris and I had never been to Tennessee, so we had planned to make a long weekend out of it and he flew down to meet me Thursday night.  Friday we went to Nashville where we got an incredible tour of a recording studio.

Nashville recording studio

There were SO many buttons… I have no idea how anyone keeps all those cords and buttons straight.  I loved Nashville.  I am a huge fan of live music and I love country, but it was also a bit sad to me.  There were musicians everywhere just trying to make their dreams come true in such a cut-throat, heartbreaking business.  I give them major credit for being brave enough to pursue their dream.

On Saturday we went hiking at Fall Creek Falls State Park in Tennessee.

IMG_3627

We made it to the very top of the waterfall, where we had a gorgeous view (the waterfall seemed to be suffering some sort of drought at the time though, it was more of a drizzle.)

fall creek falls TN

At the top of this waterfall, in the heated battle with the Tennessee sun and a lingering hangover, Kris proposed!!!!!!!

fall creek falls engagement

I’m still not even sure that I actually said yes in the moment because I was too busy crying like a baby.  We are so incredibly happy and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with my best friend.  I am so freakin’ excited to enjoy this time and look forward to our long and happy future together.

fall creek falls

(I’d like to take a moment to point out the difference in water volume between that historic picture and the one I took above… definitely a drought).

Ah, there is still so much left to share and say but I think that will be for another post soon!  Have a great day!