Monday, June 19, 2017

Weekend Plus - A Recap

I turned into a bit of a slacker late last week and this weekend. I kept telling myself I would post Friday, then Saturday. Then I figured I might as well wait until Monday. So hang we go!

Day two of the conference I knew better and brought my lunch from how so I would have it if/when sent back to the office. Before I left though I met a couple of our presenters - Luis & Roberto Hernandez - winners of Biggest Loser (season 17). They were super nice and I learned they attended my alma mater (a bit after me though). Truth is I didn't watch their season, but wanted to share in case there were any fans out there and who knows when I will have another brush with celebrity, right?
My husband has inspired a new snack...apples with peanut butter. He likes PB2, but I'd rather have less of "real" peanut butter. He also got me started on adding a bit of cinnamon to the peanut butter. It is amazing how a pinch of cinnamon can take a snack up a level of tastiness. Maybe it connects it to all those baked goods that use cinnamon. Cinnamon is my secret ingredient in chocolate chips cookies...but don't tell anyone.
Wednesday's workout was a core workout. Several of the exercises were ones I'd done previously, but there were a couple of new ones. This one was targeting the obliques. I held a 25 pound weight and did side bends. The weight was heavy but the motion felt pretty good.
Another exercise was a lower back raise. It involved me leaning over the arm of our couch. Pictures were taken, but they were clearly NSFA (Not Safe For Anywhere)!

Thursday I worked half a day. I wanted to make my sister from decadent birthday cookies - Easy S'more Cookies from Cookie Rookie. It was a bit of a challenge. You start with a basic chocolate chip cookie. Actually, the recipe calls for the prepared refrigerated dough, but I used my go-to recipe. For some reason my cookies didn't turn out like normal, which made slightly uglier bases than I wanted. The next step was to top the cookies with mini-marshmallows and toast under the broiler. As you can see toasting was a bit uneven. Then you dip cookie halfway in melted chocolate and sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs. I admit mine aren't nearly as pretty as the originals, but they were delicious. I only kept a couple for myself and gave the rest to my sister.
Turns out, I got involved in the baking, and didn't do that day's workout. I am making it up this weekend - I promise.  ***Update - I lied. Sorry :( 

Dinner was simply a steak and grilled asparagus. I sprinkled the steak with a bit of chopped basil - it was a very nice flavor.
Friday night I had a strength training workout. My trainer asked if I wanted him to do the exercises with me. Of course, I said yes. I suggested a few ways we could make it a "couple's workout". We did the Romanian Dead Lifts (one leg) while holding hands (the ones not holding the weights!)  Usually, I have him stand next to me in case I lose my balance. By holding hands we were able to counter-balance each other. I, also, found something that makes squats a bit more tolerable. We stood face to face and palms together and did synchronized squats while gazing into each other's eyes. Okay, it might have been more like a stare down. It was as close as I was getting to a date night, so I took advantage :)

After my husband went to bed, I had a small derailment. There were leftover chocolate chips in the house and remember those Lime & Sea Salt chips I bought and was saving for an occasion to share...well...  First, there was some salty, then I wanted sweet, then back to get the idea. I wish I could say I stopped myself sooner, but when my tummy started to ache a bit I did throw both kinds of chips into the trash. Not just in their packages, but I actually dumped the packages out into the trash can. It had to be done.

Last Saturday I didn't make it to the farmers' market, so I was determined to make it this weekend. In fact, I went to two different ones. Both markets have more than produce. I am enthralled with this booth. The lady makes the most incredible stuffed toys.  I wouldn't even know where to begin to choose!!!

Maybe this guy...until my husband said he looks like a big roach that needs to be squished. I still don't see it.
Another booth was a gardener who sells plants (iris and daylilies). She brings a sample of the flowers and you can order plants that she will bring to the market in the coming weeks. When I was in my 20s my mom was very into daylilies and I got sucked into loving them too. Unfortunately, most of mine have quit flowering. I am pretty sure they need to be divided and saved from the weeds I am having trouble fighting the last couple of years.
 Again, I don't know how I could choose.
A display of cards created by a local photographer. I've made many cards with my photos. Most were given as gifts. I have thought about selling some.
I loved this booth of signs.
My farmers' market purchases included some favorites and a couple of new items. I've never had kohlrabi - the seller suggested eating it raw. The cherries are sour, but I am planning to use some in smoothies. I was surprised to see blueberries ripe already...they are so good!
Millie got a bone from the market. A booth that sold beef had a big box of bones for a dollar each. She was a very happy puppy.
I steamed some of the green and yellow beans together - aren't they pretty. I wrapped a chicken sausage in a corn tortilla and added half an apple to the plate. It was a tasty lunch, but ended up not being as filling as I would have liked.
For dinner, I decided to make a veggie lasagna that would double as some lunch prep for next week. My version was based on this Skinny Veggie Lasagna from Pinch of Yum. I used more sauce (an extra cup) and more veggies (close to twice as much) than the recipe instructed. My veggies were onion, broccoli, peppers, zucchini and mushrooms.  I also used kale instead of spinach in the ricotta mixture.
The ricotta mixture was not enough to make an even layer, but it was definitely enough to taste in the finished lasagna.
 It smelled so good when it came out of the oven, my mouth was watering.
I cut it in 8 portions instead of 9 like the recipe. I recalculated the calories because the recipe seemed a little low. My portions came out to about 250 -  not including the veggies. I wasn't exactly sure how much I put in, but I can't imagine it was more than 50 calories per serving.  I was very happy how this recipe turned out and I would definitely make it again. I am looking forward to the leftovers.
You may be relieved to know I am not eating my sweet potato hash everyday. How could I with these beautiful blueberries to put on oatmeal?  They are so delicious. I only have one serving left though to get me through to next market day :(
Sunday was all about a family get together to celebrate my husband's grandma's 95th birthday.  My mother-in-law asked me to make the chicken/veggie kabobs I made a few weeks ago. But since we had to grill them at home and then take the food to the farm (about 20 minutes away) I was concerned they wouldn't hold and would dry out. So I went a slightly different direction. I bought chicken drumsticks for 69 cents a pound (can't beat that) and brined them using this Tyler Florence recipe. Drumsticks are like natural kebabs, right?
I grilled the chciken using my own barbecue sauce....well, a mix of Kraft and Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauces. We grilled the veggies in our new grill basket. 
There isn't much that looks better than BBQ hot off the grill - even that slight charred piece!
I was very pleased with how the veggies turned out too. We had a combo of green and yellow summer squash, red/yellow peppers, red onion and mushrooms.
To transport I put everything into a big crockpot. Miraculously, everyone was on time and the food stayed nice and hot. When we got to the farm we turned the crockpot on warm, just to keep it hot during serving. 
I was a bit nervous how it would turn out. I am sure we will be doing this again :)

What tricks do you have for transporting food?

I am looking forward to a good week....what are your plans?


  1. Sounds like a fun weekend all around. That bbq chicken looks amazing as does the lasagna!

  2. Another great weekend, with lots of beautiful food.

    The market looks like a neat place to spend some time.

    1. I do enjoy the market. We have two about the same distance from my house - each has their draws, so sometimes I do both.

  3. We have a roaster. If we have to drive anywhere, we will turn it on high to heat it up, then put the food that needs to stay warm in there (in a separate container) then wrap it in a towel and drive it to the location.

    Your meals look so good! Especially the lasagna! (Honesty here: the cheese is my least favorite part of lasagna. I like the noodles and veggies HA!)

    1. The roaster is a good idea. I was happy with how the crockpot turned out this time :) I love cheese, but don't miss it in this recipe.

  4. OOOhhh, I love sour cherries. Had a sour cherry tree growing up and that brings back such good memories. And I am with you, Eat real Peanut butter. I have tasted that pb2 and it's just not worth it to compromise the taste and texture to save the calories. Those stuffed animals are quite unique...not sure which one I'd pick though....


    1. I admit I let the cherries get away from me :( I ate a few, but didn't have a good plan. I was going to freeze them, but the pitting put me off.

  5. I love to add cinnamon to peanut butter. Did you know Jif makes a cinnamon peanut butter? So yummy.

    1. I didn't know that. We get Smuckers Natural and I just add a sprinkle to my serving.

  6. We like kohlrabi fries. Slice the kohlrabi into matchsticks, drizzle with salt and a bit of olive oil, and bake:)

    1. Interesting...I will let you all know what I decide to do with it :)

  7. I'm with you on the pb2....the real stuff is worth it!!! I do use the pb2 in my smoothies!!!

    You are kicking butt on your exercises!!!

    1. Thanks MaryFran. I feel that way about most "real" stuff.

  8. That bbq chicken and veggie's I could almost smell here....looed so deeevine...

    1. I was very pleased how they turned out. I think I am going to make a basket of veggies to have on hand for lunches.