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Cream is the Theme

Happy Sunday!  We’re enjoying a beautiful day here in Texas. The SUN has decided to grace us with its presence once again, and we’ll be seeing the 70s this week!  Let the pool party season begin.

After enjoying some Amy’s soup this past weekend, Dustin and I realized that we really love soup..a lot.  This week shall be devoted to finding lots of new soup recipes to make.  It seems like one of the easiest and most delicious ways to eat veggies if you ask me.

Today’s soup was inspired by a recipe we found on Taste of Home, called Garden Chowder.  We wanted to be a little adventurous and make our first “creamy” soup from scratch.  We took the original recipe and adapted it to make a healthier version with some added flavors.  Definitely check out the original recipe, where you’ll also find about 22 more pages of vegetarian soups.

“Creamy” Vegetable Soup

THE INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup each of the following chopped ingredients: carrots, celery, broccoli, red potato, onion, bell pepper
  • 2 T of olive oil
  • 4 cups of water
  • 2 vegetable bouillon cubes
  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 3 T pre-mixed garlic and herbs blend (sesame seeds, black pepper, dehydrated garlic and green onion, lemon peel)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups rice milk
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 green onions (chopped)
  • Colby jack cheese (optional topping)

1. Chop the carrots, celery, potato, onion, broccoli, and peppers into bite-size pieces.

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2. Heat your soup pot on high and add 2 T of olive oil.  Then add the peppers and onion.  Add 1 T of garlic and herbs blend.  Sauté for about 3-5 minutes or until the onion is browned.

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3. Once the peppers and onions are sautéed, throw in the rest of the chopped vegetables.  Mix together.

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5. Add 4 cups of water.  Mix.  Bring to a boil.

DSCN3568 6. Add 2 vegetable bouillon cubes.  Mix.

DSCN3569 7.  Put in one dry bay leaf, 1 T of dry parsley, and 2 T of garlic blend.  Mix.

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8.  Once it reaches a full boil, add 1/2 cup of brown rice.  Bring to a simmer and cover for about 35 minutes or until rice is tender.

DSCN3578 9. While soup is simmering, prepare your “cream” mixture to the side.  Pour 1/2 cup whole wheat flour and 2 cups of rice milk into a mixing bowl.  Mix until smooth.

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10.  When the soup is finished simmering and the rice is tender, slowly add in the milk mixture.  Stir until it is fully mixed in.  Cook on medium-high heat for another 5 minutes or until you reach your desired thickness.

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11.  In the final 5 minutes, throw in 4-5 thyme sprigs and 3 chopped green onions.

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12.  After about five minutes, remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs.  Your soup is ready to serve and eat!

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We cut up some little cheese cubes and added a DROP of habanero hot sauce.  Delicious!!

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Honestly, we were extremely nervous about how this would turn out, as we chose whole wheat flour over white flour and rice milk over whole milk.  It turned out so great!  Obviously, the appearance won’t look as “creamy” as traditional cream-based soups,  but the flavors were phenomenal.  I highly encourage you to try it or create your own adaptations of it.  We were satisfied, but not stuffed.  It also didn’t leave me with an icky feeling after eating it, as most dairy dishes tend to do.

And finally, a new green smoothie recipe!

BLUEBERRYSTRAWBERRY CREAM GREEN SMOOTHIE

We experimented with some new flavors in our green smoothie today.  Vanilla coconut milk was on sale this week (plus $1 OFF coupon I had). I snagged a carton for $1.99!  Blueberry pints were also on sale for $1.77!  Hellooo, antioxidants!

THE INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/4 cup vanilla coconut milk
  • 1/2 banana (frozen if you can)
  • 3 frozen strawberries
  • 1/8 cup blueberries
  • Handful of spinach
  • 2 T vanilla yogurt
  • 3 ice cubes

Throw in a blender (or Magic Bullet), blend, pour, and enjoy!!

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This may be my new favorite green smoothie.  That is, until the price of blueberries goes up.  Then, I’ll be getting creative again.  The combination of blueberries and coconut is out of this world!  🙂

Have you ever had a green smoothie?  If so, what is your absolute favorite recipe?  We’re always looking to try new ones!

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Just Keep Blogging, Just Keep Blogging

“Just keep swimming, just keep swimming”Finding Nemo

Why hello friends!  I just have to say, I give the big-time bloggers some major props for being so consistent with writing multiple blog entries a day for multiple years.  I didn’t realize how time consuming it can be!  Have no fear, though.  We absolutely love it!!  Now, we’re just working on creating a consistent schedule of blogging times.

Anyhoo, here’s a quick recap of some our EATS from the past couple days.

We were a little more adventurous with our breakfast dishes this week! Woohoo!

First up is a very KathEats-inspired breakfast.  A few days ago, she had posted some French toast with warm pears and, no lie, I literally booked it to the kitchen to recreate it!  SO YUMMY! It was my first time actually making French toast too. 🙂

The ingredients:

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  • 2 eggs
  • 2 slices of Sprouts Wheat and Oats bread
  • A splash of vanilla rice milk and vanilla extract
  • A dash of cinnamon and brown sugar
  • A chopped up pear (for topping)

Mix eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and brown sugar in bowl:

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Place bread in bowl and cover both sides with the mixture:

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Heat on stovetop, flip, plate, top with pears, drizzle with maple syrup, sprinkle more cinnamon, and ENJOY!!

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We also ate some veggie, rice, and bean wraps.  A STAPLE dish in this house!

Load up a whole wheat tortilla with rice, beans, peppers, onions, avocado, spinach, salsa, and Greek Yogurt.

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Exploding with goodness:

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Mmmmm.

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Oh, hey! Another breakfast surprise and another KathEats-inspired dish:

OATMEAL!!!!

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Do I dare say, this is perhaps my new FAVE breakfast?  It kept me full and satisfied until lunch time!

To the pot, I added:

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  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup rice milk
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon and brown sugar
  • Splash of vanilla extract

Cook on medium heat and swirl around until it reaches your desired consistency.

Pre-toppings:

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  • Honey and almond granola
  • Scoop of peanut butter
  • Maple syrup

While I ate oatmeal, Dustin prepared his fave:

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Omelette and pancakes!  He is willing to give oatmeal a chance this week though!  Wahoo!

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FITNESS

Finally, some fitness news.  After a few days of trying to squeeze in running, yoga, and Whittle My Middle, we realized we were totally overwhelming ourselves.  It was our first week working out in a LONG time.

We’ve decided that we’re going to make RUNNING our priority for the next week, really enforcing it as a habit.  Then, we are going to introduce yoga and core exercises each following week.  It seems that in order to make a habit stick, it’s best to focus on ONE thing at a time, which is where we messed up.

Although we are just focusing on running this week, it doesn’t mean we won’t try to fit in other exercises.  We simply won’t stress it to the point where we feel bad if we don’t fit it in.

We also joined 24 Hour Fitness, since our apartment gym has been packed even in the morning now.  This ensures we have NO excuses for not finding the time to work out.  We’re also pretty pumped about the lap pool and some of the classes.  I think it will help us keep focused as we can add some variety to our workouts.

In regards to our running program, we are still doing the Couch to 5K (week 2, baby!).  From now on, however, we are walking/running for 50 minutes 6 days a week.  I read somewhere recently that for the first 20 minutes of running, your body is simply using up its glycogen stores and it’s not until after those 20 minutes that you begin burning fat, which is one of our aims.  So bring on the burn!!!

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Oh, and we also haven’t been forgetting our daily green smoothies and salads!

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I’m working on a Ten in 10 update post that will include our first two weeks and give you a glimpse into our progress so far.

Catch ya later!

The Hardest Part is Getting Started

Heyooo, everyone!  How is your week going?  I can’t believe it’s already Thursday.  The week flew by for us.

Yesterday we didn’t get a chance to post because we were super busy cleaning the apartment from top to bottom.  It’s amazing how much stuff we always find despite our efforts to minimize clutter.  Bah!  But what are you gonna do?

Anyways, we kind of used cleaning as our exercise.  It was a lot of work, and we definitely burned some calories.

Here are some of our eats from the day.  Let’s just say it was a cheese-a-licious day!  I realize cheese is not the healthiest food, but it’s awesome! And we still got greens.

The day started with egg and cheese on whole wheat English muffins with mustard:

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Somewhere mid-morning, the green smoothie craving kicked in:DSCN3090DSCN3097 DSCN3098 Mmmm. Love. Love. Love!

A snack of orange and apple slices:

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Grilled cheese English muffins (hmm our breakfast minus the egg…guess we weren’t feeling the creativity yesterday) with Deep River Kettle Cooked Chips and salad mix from Costco:

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And tomato soup (I couldn’t get an appetizing picture, but it tasted amazing):

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Later that night, we had some Annie’s “peace sign” mac and cheese:

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Loved the concept, but overall, I wasn’t that impressed with this particular flavor. I do like their other flavors.  Dustin, on the other hand, really liked it and said he would easily go buy some more to eat right now.  😉

We also attempted to make some hummus:

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It looked sooo good, but we hated it! Maybe we are too addicted to Sabra.  Probably.  Dustin tried fixing it by adding in all kinds of random ingredients, but it just got worse.  C’est la vie!  If anyone has any amazing hummus recipes, we’d love to know! We’ve attempted many times and it’s never right.

OK, now flash forward to today.  Well I guess if it’s today, then you wouldn’t need to flash forward because you are already here.

It was day 2 of Couch to 5K.  It was also our second day of waking up at 5AM for a morning workout.  I’m not going to lie.  It was extremely hard to get up this morning.  Not sure if it’s been the unusually cold weather or getting to bed a little later, but we ALMOST decided to snooze.

Dustin deserves all the credit for getting us up.  It really helps to have a supportive partner.  I kept saying, “Do you want to sleep for another hour?”  I think I asked so many times that he was finally just like, “Let’s just get up!”. We felt so incredible once we got to the gym and really just have to remember that feeling every time we struggle to get ourselves up.  The hardest part truly is getting started.

GOOD NEWS:

  • Both treadmills were working at the gym today.  This meant we knocked it out in much less time.  Score!
  • Dustin discovered XM radio built into the walls of our apartment’s gym.  Needless to say, he was pumped because his headphones went out and one of the XM fitness channels plays the exact type of music he would normally play.  Double score!

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Super attractive red face…sweet!

FUN PROJECT:

Today I decided that after every workout (starting tomorrow), we are going to take a picture of ourselves holding up a sign that says how many days we’ve been hitting the gym.  Then, after 365 days, we are going to each create a slideshow that goes through every picture from start to “end”(fast forward style) in order to see how our bodies have transformed.  It will be fun just to check every couple weeks or so too.  😉  If anyone else is interested in taking part in this, let me know! Maybe we can have everyone’s compiled on one website and it can be motivation for people just getting started.

After the gym, we did our first session of yoga at home.  We put candles around the living room to set a tranquil mood.  It made me so happy.

DSCN3150 DSCN3151After some yoga, we made breakfast.  We have a slight pancake addiction right now.  At least they are healthy ones, and I added chia seeds for an extra health boost.  I made the pancakes while Dustin whipped up a big southwestern omelette for us to share.   It had salsa, green/yellow/orange/red peppers, and a sprinkle of cheese.

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Then, we headed out to RunTex and Costco.  We needed to go to RunTex to swap out Dustin’s shoes.  He had blistered abnormally fast and called Donnie, the man who we met the first time, in order to find out if it was the shoes or if he was running improperly.  Donnie was SO nice.  Such genuine service.  He had us come by in order to re-do Dustin’s sizes and watch him run some more.  Dustin  tried on some more pairs and was able to swap his out for a pair that fit him much better. Donnie and his wife also gave us more great running tips, as well as advice on eating a diet with no meat.  Thanks, Donny and RunTex!

While we were there, our curiosity (and hunger) caused us to try these:

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Freeze-dried fruit made locally.  We tried the strawberry and decided we prefer our fruit juicy.  We have yet to try the pineapple.

For lunch we wanted something quick so we swung by the grocery store to pick up these goods:

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And this:

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This is what we created:

DSCN3178 DSCN3185DSCN3183We’re not usually fans of“imitation” products and prefer cooking from scratch on most occasions, but I have to say, these were awesome!  I honestly felt guilty at points because it felt like I was eating an actually hamburger.  Which is also the part that weirds me out.  We gave it two thumbs up!

Some apple slices to snack on the way to Costco:

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And we haven’t been forgetting to bring our water bottles with us:

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Now it’s time to go prepare some dinner!  We’re making Quinoa Vegetable Pilaf from Savvy Vegetarian’s website tonight.  Exciting! We’ve been needing some more protein.

Hope you’re all having a fabulous day and feeling great!

Vegetarian Burrito Bowl – Make your own Chipotle at home!

For lunch today, we made our own version of Chipotle’s Vegetarian Burrito Bowl—with loads of spinach.  We have been banging through the 2.5lb bag of Spinach we bought at Costco at the end of last week. 🙂

We filled a huge plate with a few handfuls of spinach and then added the following ingredients:

Black beans and sautéed bell peppers and onions:

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We simply nuked a can of organic black beans and sautéed  the veggies with organic extra-virgin olive oil  and salt+pepper.

Next up, we made our version of the cilantro and lime rice:

Homemade Chipotle Salad 007We had plain brown rice that was cooked and refrigerated two days ago, so we sautéed it with olive oil, about 2 Tbsp of chopped cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice to taste.

Then we made some guacamole in the food processor:

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We threw in 4 avocados cut in half, 2 Tbsp of our homemade salsa (recipe to be posted soon..but any salsa will work), 1/2  Tbsp minced garlic, and salt+pepper.  So delicious and creamy.  We are loving the food processor!! Hummus to be made in the near future, for sure.

To the top of the salad, we added a dollop of Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of cheddar cheese (grated in the food processor):

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Greek yogurt is an excellent healthy alternative to sour cream and tastes almost exactly the same.  And believe me, I am pretty hardcore about my sour cream. 😉

The finished product (with some tomato slices for Dustin):

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A touch of hot sauce was added.

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This is seriously a great way to take care of any Chipotle craving you may be having.  Not to mention the fact that our salads were HUGE and filled with much more greens!  We also have leftovers galore.   I love me some Chipotle, but it’s great when you have control over exactly how your food is prepared.  Try it out!

Our First Experience with RunTex as Newbie Runners

Before venturing out to RunTex in Georgetown this morning, Dustin and I whipped up some green smoothies.  One of our Ten in 10 goals already accomplished for the day…cha-ching!

We decided to go with a tropical smoothie.  It included everything you see below, minus the orange.  Changed our minds last minute.

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Each green smoothie included:

  • 1 cup of spinach
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 kiwi
  • 6 small slices of pineapple
  • 1/4 cup soy milk
  • 1 T vanilla yogurt
  • 1 T chia seeds
  • 3 ice cubes

We used our Magic Bullet to make them.  It works perfect for individual portions and quick cleanup!  Place all of the ingredients into the cups, cover it with the blade, and blend away.

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We got some new travel cups from Ikea that are great for green smoothies.  They were delicious and very much needed after overloading on sweets during the holiday season.

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With smoothies in hand, we headed out to find RunTex.  The one we decided to go to is located in the heart of downtown Georgetown.  DSCN2912 DSCN2913

The best part about going to a specialty fitness store is being greeted by happy and healthy people.  I don’t think I’ve ever met a miserable runner.  🙂

Here are some photos of the inside.  It was a fun shop with lots of character.  I loved the bright red walls.

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RunTex literally carries everything for your running needs, and the staff was so knowledgeable.  Since the Couch to 5K will be our first real experience becoming runners, it’s nice to have a place where experienced veterans can share their knowledge and advice.  DSCN2917

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Nearly immediately upon entering, we began the process of finding the perfect shoes.  Although we originally planned to just buy one pair for Dustin’s birthday, we decided it would be best to get a pair for my birthday, as well.  It’s not until the end of February, but that will be about the time we are done training for our first 5K, and I really want to train properly and minimize my risk of injury.  Plus, what better birthday presents than the gift of healthy bodies and minds.

First, we had our feet analyzed.  As I always say, Dustin and I are complete opposites, even when it comes to our feet!  He has extremely flat feet and I have super high arches.

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We then walked over to another room, where our feet were analyzed as we walked and jogged across a hardwood floor. Here we discovered that Dustin is an overpronator, whereas I am neutral.

DSCN2923 We headed back to the shoe area and had our feet measured.  I found out I’ve been buying shoes a half size too big and Dustin had been buying shoes a half size too small!  This can make a huge difference in running.  We then tried on about 3 pairs each before choosing the perfect ones.

Dustin ended up going with this pair of New Balance:

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I chose this pair of Mizuno:

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We had an awesome experience at RunTex.  We are now even more pumped to become dedicated runners and will definitely be returning in the future as we increase our distance training.

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We’ll be testing out the shoes over the next week and will let you know how they work out and if they live up to the high expectations we have of them.  We’re hopeful that they will!

Egg, Spinach, and Mozzarella Bake

This morning we decided to experiment and attempt to make our first “frittata”.  Unfortunately after prepping the ingredients, we quickly realized we didn’t have an “oven-proof” skillet.  But, we improvised and decided to make an egg bake instead!  The frittata will make an appearance some day in the future.  😉

This is a delicious, nutrient-dense meal that creates six servings.  If you have busy mornings, you can prepare it in advance and simply heat it up when you are ready to eat it.

Here’s what we did:

1. Gather necessary ingredients and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

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  • 5 eggs
  • 2 T of milk of your choice
  • 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 9 oz package frozen spinach, cooked
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

2. Add eggs, milk, and cheese to mixing bowl.

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3. Stir together.

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4.  Add salt and pepper to taste. (Snowman shakers optional 😉 ) Put aside.

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5.  Heat skillet on medium-high and add olive oil, garlic, onion, and pepper.

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6.  Sauté ingredients until onions are translucent (about 3 min).

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7.  Add in cooked (wilted) spinach and sauté for one more minute.

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8.  Pour sautéed ingredients into a greased baking pan and mix in egg/milk/cheese mixture.

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9. Once mixed, sprinkled additional cheese on top (as much or as little as you like).

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10.  Place in oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes (or until eggs are settled and cheese is melted). DSCN2533

Use a knife to check the center.  If it comes out clean, you are good to go!

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Cut into six rectangles, and enjoy!!

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Such a delicious AND nutritious meal LOADED with spinach! Best part is, for kids (or adults) who don’t like to eat greens, you can’t even taste the spinach.  😉

See ya at lunch time!

Brunch and Beans

We enjoyed a nice, relaxing day.  It was filled with good food and good company and ended with a great movie.

Dustin made a late brunch with pancakes, eggs, and sausage!  Good ole American classic, but with controlled portion sizes.

Whole wheat pancakes, sunny-side up egg, and two slices of sausage 🙂

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We had run out of agave nectar and maple syrup, so Dustin had to run to the store to pick some of this up:

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It is so great living across the street from the grocery store, especially for last-minute people like us!

Thanks for the scrumptious breakfast, Dustin! 🙂

A few hours later we headed over to Lauren and Jay’s for dinner and a movie.

Lauren prepared this awesome spinach dip as a snack:

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SO GOOD! We joked about it having MSG in it because we cleared two bowls of the dip.  Then we agreed that cheese is pretty much the equivalent of MSG, addictive-quality wise.

Next up was a chicken risotto dish with green beans prepared by Jay:

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Everything was so flavorful and delicious! Mmmm.

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I snacked on a spinach salad before we left because I knew it would force me to control my portions of cheesy goodness!

After eating we hit the couch/recliner to watch a classic Christmas movie:

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Can you guess what movie it is?! 😉

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How cozy does their apartment look?  And get this: almost everything in it was FREE.  Go Craigslist! The Christmas decorations, tree, lamps, end tables, coffee table, entertainment center, sofa, and recliner were all FREE!  I cannot say enough good things about utilizing Craigslist.  One person’s “junk” is for sure another person’s treasure.

OK, my friends, prepare yourself for some out-of-control cuteness.

Check out the kids, their “Peanut” gang:

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Lucy, Linus, and Charlie…get it?! Adorable!

Thank you for having us over guys!  Always a good time with you!

Tomorrow will be a fun day filled with making goodies and getting ready to head out of town for Christmas festivities.

Goodnight, everyone! 🙂