keep calm and give thanks

Thanksgiving in exactly one more day… so exciting! I have a few recipes I’ll be making this week (and they all incorporate my favorite fall foods); sweet potato casserole, pumpkin trifle and the cranberry almond quinoa. For my sanity, I’m just gonna give in to the fact that I will be stuffing my face with naughty yummy foods this entire week; I have friendsgiving event today (Wednesday), thanksgiving with the fam on Thursday, date night with Dave on Friday, and high school reunion on Saturday. This just means I’ll have to be on my A-game for all of December {well, up until christmas}.

wicked smaht
Last week I had to go to NY for training. On my way there, we had to wait about 20 minutes on the runway due to some inexplicable air “traffic” issues. Why in the world there’s traffic in the air is beyond me but we did get a gorgeous skyline view of Boston. I’m a huge city girl and although I don’t live and breathe the city life I like that I’m so close to it. I’m not in the midst of all the hustle and bustle of being in the city but I live close enough that I can still enjoy all it has to offer. I don’t have to contemplate whether or not its worth heading into the city because it’s literally 10 minutes away!
Boston
I heart you Boston.

kenne cooks a special dinner
If there’s one thing you should know about the bestie Kenne is that she loves shrimp. She’s semi obsessed with it, there’s probably 3 bags of shrimp in the freezer at this very moment and they’re are all hers. She cooks with if often and during my bikini prep I witness and smelled [#nocaloriesinsmelling #dontjudgeme] her delicious cooking. She promised me (or more like I demanded) that she make it for me after the competition was over. This is what she made for me, coconut shrimp and tilapia with wild/brown rice. It came out so good! Now I just need to have her cook for me again… do I need to do another competition? cause I’ll do it! ok, I’m kidding… well maybe.

ShrimpTilapiaDinner

instant transformation
How about that for a transformation? Sometimes even I amaze myself… from work to gym clothes in a jiffy. Sneakers are on and hair is pulled up, it’s time to get swole! ok, but seriously now that I’m working from home I don’t have to worry about carrying a gym bag so this doesn’t happen as often. There were so many times I forgot to bring a hair tie, or my socks, or even worse my sports bra!

WorkToGym_JPG

learning from the pros

For a while now I’ve been wanting to go to a cooking class and one day I randomly decided to look into the course offerings from Boston Center for Adult Education (BCAE). This place is pretty awesome and they have all sorts of fun classes. I had previously taken a photography class there and I definitely see more BCAE classes in my future. Aside from satisfying my own interests, it also made for a fun date night.

coupon gf
If there’s one thing you get out of reading this is to always google for promotional codes when buying online. I can’t tell you how many times I was able to get 10-30% off my purchase or even free shipping {I’ll take it!}. This particular savings adventure came in multiple layers. It started when I found a Gilt deal for $100 for a $200 voucher for BCAE classes {oh snap!}. this. is. perfect. I jumped on that like white on rice. Now that I’m at the Gilt checkout ready to buy my voucher, it asked me for a promotional code … hmmm, I don’t have one but I’m sure my friend google does. Guess what? I found a code for 20% off on a Gilt purchase. Did I just get a savings on top of my savings? At this point I’m cheesing so hard I’m sure you can see all of my wisdom teeth. My $100 purchase has just gone down to $86 (including some fees). The $174 class only cost me $86, a 51% discount and I still have a $26 left in my voucher. They {namely, Dave} don’t call me coupon gf for nothing!

Savings

i fiend. that’s what I do…
I may have kinda-sorta bought a few things with my tastearoo kangaroo, specifically an apron {and a mug!}. Aren’t you fiending just a little bit Bermary? nope. I’m having fun with this and it makes me happy [#thatswhatido #ifiend #blogobsessed]. The course description said to bring an apron and that’s what I did.

Represent

not your typical bootcamp
The Basic Cooking Bootcamp was a three hour long class on a Saturday afternoon where we cooked four recipes (that even included a glass of wine!). Our instructors were Katie and Richard from The Skinny Beet. They were pretty awesome and explained that the class would emphasize more on cooking techniques than a step by step of the recipes. Some of the major take-aways from the class included the proper way to hold a chef’s knife, how to dice an onion and cube a carrot, why it’s good  to use kosher salt and a searing and baking technique in cooking meat.

let’s eat.
The four recipes we made were:
1. roasted tomato, herb, and goat cheese frittata
Frittata

2. mediterranean eggplant and carrot salad {my favorite!}
MediterraneanSalad

3. spice-crusted chicken
SpicedChicken

4. mango fool
MangoFool

pumpkin spiced butter

pumpkin spiced butterwhy buy it when you can make it
A couple years ago I bought a maple pumpkin butter from Stonewall Kitchen (which is really good and definitely recommend it) and was considering getting it again. But my inner foodie said “why buy it when you can make it?”. So I did {always listen to your inner foodie}. The ingredient list looks extensive but it’s really meant to give the pumpkin purée a nice flavor.

You can use the pumpkin butter on crackers, in oatmeal, on a bagel or even to give basic recipes a fall twist (like meatloaf)!
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you can do anything in 12 weeks

“your hobby list is exploding”
Apparently I have too many hobbies (according to Dave) but this time I’ll blame it on my friend Arlenis. She recently posted about having registered for Nike Women’s Half Marathon in D.C. The idea to run it with her got implanted in my head and grew uncontrollably {am I really contemplating this?}. The ironic thing is that I don’t like running, I’m not a runner and I’ll never claim to be one. However! there’s something about it that intrigued me; I like the challenge of having (and completing) fitness related goals. I looked into a typical training schedule and found out it basically consist of 4 short runs and one long run every week for 12 weeks. Twelve weeks huh? what a familiar number… apparently you can do anything in 12 weeks (that’s also the “cookie cutter” training schedule for a bikini competition prep). This starts with about 10-15 miles a week and slowly increases. I was running about 21 miles for the bikini comp and although the approach was different (intervals on a treadmill) it seemed doable.

So that was the reasoning behind the decision. Decision?… yes, I officially registered to run a half-marathon…gulp [#damnyouarlenis #lordhelpme #howmanymilesisthatagain]. Kenne (the bestie and the runner) heeeelp!
nike womens half marathon

pumpkin pb&j
I was craving a PB&J earlier this week so I decided to use one of my pumpkin doughnuts and since I’m pumpkin obsessed, I decided to use a my pumpkin spiced peanut butter (from Nuts N More) with sugar-free strawberry preserves (from Polaner) to make this little bundle of deliciousness.
pumpkin pb and jelly

oatmeal suicide
My container of oatmeal fell from the counter top and this is how it landed… {ugh!}. But oatmeal, I love youuu!
OatmealSuicide

oh my quad!
I want to build up my leg muscles so I’ll be switching things up a little bit on leg days. I usually put on enough weights to do about 10-15 reps (to reach failure) but I’m going to start increasing the weights to lower the reps to stay within the 6-8 rep range. I’ll be tracking my progress….let’s see where I end up in a couple of months. Here we go!
LegPress

cranberry sauce with chopped walnuts

cranberry sauce with walnutlet’s get saucy
Since thanksgiving is just around the corner {exactly 9 days!} I was craving a thanksgiving-inspired sandwich. I need to cover the basics – turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. Since I was going to make this into a sandwich I decided to forgo the stuffing {who needs the extra carbs anyways!}. I got some turkey thighs and threw that into my crockpot, and then looked up a recipe for a homemade cranberry sauce. There were two recipes that intrigued me, this one is the combination of the two.

After drafting this post I realized I must be on a cranberry kick because this is my third recipe (the first being the pumpkin doughnut and the second one being the quinoa) that incorporates them – I’ll blame it on the time of the year. And, as if I needed another fall ingredient to fiend on, I also got a few pumpkin recipes coming soon.

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carrot cake oatmeal

carrot cake oatmealwhat’s up doc?
During a grocery store run I walked by some golden raisins and quickly decided those needed to come with me! I’ve been wanting to make carrot cake oatmeal and thought the golden raisins would be a perfect addition to the recipe. I love oatmeal but interestingly enough it actually bloats me (and no, I’m not allergic to gluten) but it’s so darn good! You can do so many things with it.

I’m sure this will be one of many oatmeal recipes.

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quinoa with toasted almonds and cranberries

Cranberry Almond Quinoakeen on quinoa
The inspired recipe actually came from the back of a package of Nature’s Earthly Choice tricolor quinoa. I’ve  learned not to ignore those recipes, sometimes you find a hidden gem. The first time I made this recipe there were so many things that went wrong that I literally had to throw out the batch. After making it the second time around, with a few tweaks to both the ingredients and the instructions, it came out perfect. This is my modified version and it’s seriously delicious!
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