Monday, July 21, 2014

Weekend Recap

Yesterday's Workout:
4.5 miles

Sunday mornings are becoming my new favorite time of the week. I wake up early and hit the track for a jog. It was cooler out than it had been the past few weekends and overcast - perfect running weather. I laced up and rocked my new workout gear. I felt great and ended up doing 4.5 miles at about a 10:00 mile pace. Toward the end, the back of my right leg started to feel a little tight, so I went home and stretched it out - I think I might have experienced the first real sciatic pain of the pregnancy so far but nothing a deep stretch couldn't fix.

For breakfast, I wanted to do something a little different than my usual yogurt/fruit/granola, so I tried out this recipe for a blueberry dutch baby pancake. It's basically a cross between a giant pancake and thick crepe, loaded with fresh blueberries and baked in the oven. It was fantastic.


For lunch, we hopped in the car and headed to my mom's to take her and my aunt out for their birthdays. Jasper loves going to visit and couldn't get us in the car fast enough!


I stepped foot in Olive Garden for the first time in like seven years. The salad was just as good as I remembered - yes, I know it's a bag of salad mix tossed in Good-Seasons-esque dressing, but it's just so good. The breadsticks were way more buttery and salty than I had remembered. And the food - eh, it was so-so. I got the most non-creative meal on the menu because everything else seemed to come with their calorific alfredo sauce. I got cavatappi pasta with their tomato pomodoro sauce and a side of meatballs. The pasta, I could have made at home myself, and the meatballs I'm convinced were defrosted and reheated, served without sauce - what the heck, right? Who serves meatballs without some kind of marinara to coat them? I filled up on the salad before the meal, so I didn't eat much of the pasta anyways. So basically, I think I'm good with Olive Garden for another seven years after I finish the leftovers at lunch today.

One of my favorite parts of the weekend was throwing on my painting gear, blasting music on the deck, and going to town on my new...


...outdoor bar! My stepdad built it for me as an early birthday present, and I absolutely LOVE it! Now all I need is some nice acrylic drinkware, and I'll be all set! I think I'll be making a trip to Pier 1 and Home Goods this week to scope it out. He still has to add the shingled roof, but he wanted me to paint it before he did that. I went with a flat white color, and I only ended up doing one coat - I kind of like the vintage look that one coat of paint gives. I might distress it by taking sandpaper to some of the edges, but we'll see. I can't wait to get some use out of it at my baby shower next month!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Frozen Chocolate Covered Banana Bites with Sea Salt

I feel like this probably shouldn't even be a real recipe considering it's just dipping frozen banana chunks into chocolate and sprinkling with sea salt but whatever. It's damn good and worth its own post, if just for the homemade magic shell alone. Feel free to try with other fruits: pineapple, strawberry, and mango are next up on my list!



Frozen Chocolate Covered Banana Bites with Sea Salt

Ingredients:
3 ripe bananas, sliced into 1 inch pieces
1 cup chocolate chips
2 Tbsp coconut oil
Sea salt
Creamy peanut butter, optional
Toothpicks

Preparation:

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place sliced bananas onto the parchment paper and stick a toothpick through the middle of each. Put the baking sheet in the freezer for about an hour, until frozen.
  • To make the magic shell, add the chocolate chips and coconut oil to a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir and continue to microwave in 15 second intervals, stirring in between, until fully melted. 
  • When the bananas are finished freezing, dip each one into the magic shell to coat and place back onto the baking sheet. Sprinkle sea salt over the tops. For optional deliciousness, add a dollop of peanut butter to the top of each banana bite. Return to the freezer for 15 minutes to allow the magic shell to set. Store the chocolate covered banana bites in an airtight container in the freezer for up to a week. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Weekend Recap

Yesterday's Workout:
1.5 mile walk with Jasper
Cardio/Arm Circuit:
1.5 mile run
1 x 12 tricep overhead extension
1 x 12 tricep dips
1 x 12 tricep kickbacks
1 x 12 skull crushes
1 x 12 bicep curl
1 x 12 alternating bicep curl, each arm
1 x 12 hammer curls
1 x 12 alternating hammer curls, each arm
*Repeat circuit for a total of 2 rounds

This was one of those rare weekends where we had no plans. We were all "wow, this is great, we can get a few things done during the day, cook a really exquisite meal and rent some movies Saturday night, enjoy the freedom of relaxation that will be a distant memory in just a few short months..." I don't know why we still think this is even a possibility anymore. See, I have it in my head that while I have all this energy still, I need to harvest it and take advantage of it while I can...before the days of weeble wobble, swollen joints, and extreme exhaustion kick in. Until that happens, I find it very hard to just sit back and relax. And all the while, my poor husband has to put up with me. He's likely counting down the days until the nesting period begins - to be completely honest, so am I!

We did manage to sneak out for a little date night on Friday. It was one of those split second decisions, it was 6 o'clock, we mumbled about how neither of us wanted anything that we had in the fridge, we didn't want to cook, and by 6:30, we were sitting at Wayside Inn. Our meal was fantastic! I had mixed greens in an apple cider/yogurt dressing to start, parmesan-crusted chicken breast with green beans and delmonico potatoes for my entree, and Indian pudding for dessert. Brent got clam chowder to start, a lobster roll for dinner, and also got the Indian pudding for dessert. We went halfsies on our entrees because both of us were having trouble deciding between the lobster roll and the chicken, so it worked out perfect! I had never tried Indian pudding before, so I was intrigued how the texture would be. It was like the entire fall season exploded in my mouth all that once...a.k.a. it was phenomenal.


Our town has their Farmer's Market every Saturday morning, so we ventured over to check it out. We scored some fresh veggies, dog treats, and the most delicious peanut butter chocolate chunk cookies you will ever have made by a local baker.


So when I pulled in the driveway on Friday afternoon, I saw a giant box sitting on the front step, which could mean only one thing...the crib came. Nothing makes this more real than putting together the crib, my friends. So this became our Saturday afternoon.




From start to finish, it took a little over an hour to assemble. Brent did most of it, I was only needed to hold the sides up at the end. Jasper was, of course, right there in the middle of it all, making sure everything was done to his standards. We went with this crib, for the reviews and the price, and we love it now that it's all set up! I'm not posting any "after" pictures yet because I plan on doing a whole nursery reveal post later on. After all that work, the pup was tired and assumed his usual napping position.


My mom came over for lunch, and we sat outside catching up and planning my baby shower. She brought her little Yorkie with her. Dogs love this lady.


Sunday, we took Jasper for a walk in the morning before it got too hot, ran a million and one errands, cleaned the house, and finally we were able to sit and enjoy the weather over some drinks in the afternoon. Brent is becoming a frozen virgin drink PRO these days. He concocted this pina colada for me yesterday, and it was so refreshing!


While he sat and enjoyed his gin and tonic...


Then he made dinner: spice rubbed ribeye with grilled zucchini and summer squash served with pesto that we got at the farmer's market. I'm spoiled!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The multi-functional pregnancy pillow

Yesterday's Workout:
3 miles
Shoulder and chest circuit

One of the most common complaints during pregnancy is the ability to sleep comfortably. As if the soft cheese, cold cuts, sushi, and alcohol restrictions weren't enough, there are even rules on how to properly sleep while pregnant...on your side, ladies - particularly the left. P.S. am I the only person who sings Beyonce when I hear that phrase?

Anyway, have you ever tried to sleep on your side for 7 hours straight, one hip stacked on top of the other? It's horrible. So the rave in pregnancy world are these special pillows that make it easier and more comfortable to sleep on your side.  There are a few different ones out there, but the one my coworker lent me is the Snoogle. And it just happens to look like a giant hook worm. The most comfortable hook worm you will ever cuddle up to.

I'm a stomach sleeper all the way, and up until now, I haven't had much trouble sleeping this way. I've managed to find a way that I can extend my knee out to the side to prop my hip up so that I'm sort of tilted to the side but still on my stomach at the same time without applying too much pressure to my belly. I'm basically a magician.

But now that I'm not too far from entering the third trimester, even my magical position is getting to be tough. I find myself constantly shifting, making sure I'm not putting too much pressure on my stomach region. I can also feel the baby movements a lot easier when I'm on my stomach, and this alone can keep me up for hours in the middle of the night. Enter: the hook worm snoogle. I've used it a handful of times this trimester, but mostly just when I'm feeling growing pains and know I need a restful night of sleep where I don't move. It can get a little warm snuggling next to a giant hook worm all night, and I tend to forget about it until I'm already in bed and don't want to get back up to walk the 5 feet to the closet where it's stored.

I'm lucky that my coworker was kind enough to donate it to my comfortable pregnancy cause because for about $60, it seems like it would be a giant waste of money, especially since I can't imagine women use it for more than a total of 6 months of their entire life. BUT if you have a dog and you are pregnant or planning to be pregnant, I highly encourage you to splurge the $60 on the snoogle. It turns out, it's multi-functional. Not only does it serve as a pregnancy pillow, but it makes a very comfortable dog bed.


Leave it to this guy, I tell ya.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Blueberry & Chocolate Chip Banana Bread with Cream Cheese Swirl

Yesterday's Workout:
5 miles

Because the world doesn't already have enough banana bread recipes - seriously, I think half of the blogs I read on a daily basis have posted their own assortment of banana bread recipes in the past two days - and I'm only going to add to it.


On Friday morning, I noticed I had 3 almost overly ripe bananas sitting in a bowl on my counter, and what else do you do with 3 brown, mushy bananas? Make banana bread, duh. The tropical storm was going to be hitting us at any moment, so I thought it would be a good excuse to turn my oven on for the first time in 3 weeks. I don't know about you, but when it's 90 degrees out, I refuse to turn on my oven. Not gonna happen. But lucky for me, 4th of July was a chilly wash-out.

I love good old-fashioned plain banana bread, but I had about a handful of blueberries left in the fridge and half a bag of mini chocolate chips left over from the week before when I made chocolate dipped bananas (that recipe is coming soon). Bananas, blueberries, and chocolate are a threesome made in heaven. But add a cream cheese swirl to that? Oh my. We tore into the bread immediately after it came out of the oven, and by Monday morning, all that was left was a 2 inch cube...you know how that happens. You go back to cut a little piece, then you go back to cut a little more, then a little more, and before you know it, there's one tiny bite-size piece remaining that will sit on the plate for days because no one wants to be the one to finish it and have to wash the plate. I'm never ashamed to be the person that takes the last piece.


Blueberry & Chocolate Chip Banana Bread with Cream Cheese Swirl

Ingredients:
1/2 C melted butter or coconut oil
3/4 C white granulated sugar
1/4 C brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 C vanilla non-fat Greek yogurt
3 small bananas, mashed
1 1/2 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 C blueberries
1/2 C chocolate chips
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar

Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to 350° degrees. Grease and lightly flour a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
  • In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars. Add the eggs, vanilla, yogurt, and bananas. Mix well to combine.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and sea salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in the blueberries and chocolate chips.
  • In a separate small bowl, mix together the cream cheese and 1/4 C sugar. 
  • To the loaf pan, pour half the banana bread batter and spread evenly. On top of that, add the cream cheese layer and spread evenly. Pour the remaining half of the banana bread batter over the cream cheese layer, spreading evenly and smoothing the top. 
  • Bake for 1 hour, until golden brown on the top. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

23 Weeks

Yesterday's Workout:
4.5 miles
...followed by a good, long stretch!


I'm not going to complain about the weather because I have been very openly wishing for warmth and sunshine to finally hit these parts after the horrible winter we had, but when it's 100 degrees out with 60% humidity, it does make it a bit uncomfortable to walk to the end of the driveway to get the mail, let alone go for a run. My treadmill and I have been good friends this week.

I hopped on it last night with intentions of doing an easy 3 mile jog, but about 2.5 miles in, I realized I was feeling pretty good so opted to keep going. I ended up cranking out 4.5 miles in under 44 minutes. I only stopped because I managed to guzzle my entire water bottle during the course of the run and needed to replenish. Once you stop, it's hard to gain momentum again, so I decided to call it a day and focused on getting in a thorough stretch. I am just so grateful I am still able to continue running like this at this point in my pregnancy. I hear horror stories about joint swelling, chronic back pain, pelvic issues, etc, but I've also heard that exercising properly during pregnancy can help to alleviate some of those issues. I'm going to continue testing that hypothesis and hope it holds true.


This week marks the 23rd week...and according to this chart, I'm in the 6th month...only a few more weeks to go until the final trimester! Baby Mo is growing by the day and wiggles around like crazy! I've even been able to see him move from the outside now when he kicks hard enough. This kid seriously doesn't stop. In fact, one of the only times I don't seem to feel him is when I'm working out - I think the vibration from the running soothes him to sleep. Guess we should invest in one of those fancy vibration chairs for him when he arrives because he seems to like it already!


Jasper likes to lay like this now...I joke that he's just trying to spend quality time with Baby Mo. It is kind of weird, because he never really did this until my belly popped. I can't help but wonder if he thinks it's a personal pillow for him. Maybe one of these days, Baby Mo will kick really hard so that Jasper can feel it.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Day-trip to Portsmouth - dog friendly!

Yesterday's Workout:
3 mile run

It's hard to find good dog friendly places these days. Many public parks prohibit dogs, and I can't say I blame them. There are a good number of careless owners out there that don't know how to clean up after their pups. I've been that person that steps in unexpected dog shit before, and it ain't pretty.

However, there are plenty of responsible dog owners out there as well, and it's worth it to do a little digging to find a dog-friendly getaway in your area if you can. Your dogs will appreciate it more than you know.

If you live in the New England area and own a dog, I can't recommend enough going to Portsmouth, NH for the day. We started off the morning at Peirce Island (yes that is how it is spelled, and yes it drives me crazy). The entire eastern side of the island is an off-leash dog area with beach access and walking trails. Jasper had a blast running up and down the trails and taking swimming breaks.


He had actually never been in the ocean before, only ponds and lakes, so it was quite an experience with the waves and salt water. All the dogs we met were super friendly, and you could tell they were all so damn happy to be running around together.


From there, we headed over to Redhook Brewery for some grub, which is a little outside of the downtown Portsmouth area. They have a big outdoor patio section that is dog-friendly, so we chose a spot under the tent for some shade for Jasper. The waitress was so nice - she brought over a giant bowl of water with ice for him to keep him cool. While we were waiting for our food to come out, Jasper somehow managed to drink almost the entire 1/2 gallon bowl of water and proceeded to throw it all up within minutes. I think he might have had a little too much salt water in the ocean, poor guy! He was looking pretty tired after that so we cut our trip a little short and headed back home.


Not before we stopped to grab some froyo though! :-)