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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Summer Reading List

One of my New Years resolutions this year was to read more.  And I have to say that I am not doing very well with it!  In fact I am not sure I have even finished a book!  I have started a few but they are all sitting half finished on my night stand or in the closet.  As I looked at my dead Nook (yes it needs charged) I decided that I wanted to make a summer reading list.  This list of books isn't going to be long but I am hoping this list will prompt me to read more!  And what better time to read then during the summer!  

2013 Summer Reading List: 

One Thousand Gifts - Ann Voscamp
Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn 
Sharp Objects -  Gillian Flynn
Lean In - Sheryl Sandberg
Room - Emma Donoghue
Three Cups of Tea - Greg Mortenson 
Born to Run - Christopher McDougall 
Life of Pi - Yan Martel
The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald 
And Derek and I need to finish this book - The 5 Love Languages 

Any other good books you recommend?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

In a Pinch - Stuffed Poblano Pepper

I am always on the look out for fast and easy recipes. Especially on those nights where I am just cooking for one. So when I found myself with an extra poblano pepper and a rumbling stomach you better believe I was all about a quick 5 ingredient or less dinner that would come together in a pinch! 

If you have been reading my blog for a while you know that I am a huge stuffed pepper fan. Just look at all the stuffed pepper recipes that have been featured on the blog.

Vegetable Stuffed Peppers  - Better Homes and Garden
Sweet Potato Stuffed Peppers - Natural Health Magazine 

 So when a quick recipe search produced dozens of stuffed poblano pepper recipes I knew exactly what I was going to make. 

I settled on the following recipe from Cooking Light for a  Cheesy Refried Bean Stuffed Poblano Pepper.  You can find the recipe here. And since this recipe had a mere 5 ingredients this dinner took no time to prepare (we are talking 15 minutes)!  

I loved that I could sub in whatever ingredients I had on hand.  Since I had no instant rice in the house I omitted the rice and crushed up a few tortilla chips which I sprinkled on top for some added crunch!

Not the pretties picture -

 The results? Pretty darn good! Easy enough to make for just one and tasty enough to make again! Try it tonight! 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

End of a Chapter - Graduation

This past weekend Derek and I traveled to Omaha with my family to watch the little one graduate! 

My little sister! 

Hard to believe my little sister Miranda is a college graduate, a Creighton University Alumni! 

Where Have the 4 years gone?

We had a wonderful time this weekend celebrating this wonderful mile stone in my sisters life.  It was exciting to see her walk across the stage at graduation and which marks her entrance into the real world.  

I am so proud of the women my sister has become.  She has a wonderful future ahead of her and I know she is going to do great things.  She can do anything she sets her mind to, the sky is the limit.  I cannot wait to see what the future holds for her. 

Your future is bright Miranda! 
Oh the Places You Will Go!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Salad Bar Love - A Guilty Pleasure

Let me start by saying that one of my guilty pleasures (it's not even bad for you) is a well stocked salad bar.  The Lunds (MN Grocery Store) across the street from me is one of my favorites and I will frequently run over there and make a huge salad for dinner when I am being lazy!  I am also pretty spoiled at my offices because our Cafe has a pretty great salad bar too!    I know odd way to start a blog post talking about salad bars and how they are my guilty pleasure... But I swear I have a point.

There are many things I love about a well stocked salad bar.  Lets take a look at the one at work as an example.  Our work salad bar is packed with a great selection of fresh veggies and this really awesome grain bar!  I mean we have everything from fresh made quinoa to farro and everything in between.  It is pretty awesome!

Ok now here is the point I am trying to make by telling you all about my salad bar obsession... I am completely obsessed about adding grains into my salads!   Quinoa and Farro have been my favorite go to grains recently!  Not only do I love the bulk that grains add to my salads but I love the addition of the texture and flavor!  I find that topping my salads even with a few spoonfuls of these nutrition packed grains keeps me full and alert well into the afternoon!   Check out my favorite go to lunch salad!  Its pretty hearty!

Farro Chopped Salad for One:

One Handful Arugula Chopped
1 Handful Lettuce (I like romaine or butter lettuce) torn into bite size pieces
Handful of Grape Tomatoes Chopped Small
1 Tbs Red Pepper Chopped
1/4 Cup Corn (Fresh or Frozen)
1/2 Cup Prepared Farro (I like Trader Joe's - cooks in 10 min)!
1/4 Cup Chickpeas
1/4 Avocado Chopped
1 Tbs Dressing of choice (Trader Joe's Asian Style Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette is my fav)

Combine chopped vegetables in a mixing bowl and toss.
2- Add in farro, chickpeas - toss again
3- Add dressing of choice - toss one last time and serve!

Easy, delicious, filling and nutritious!

Check out these other great grain salads from around the web!

1- Waldorf Salad with Steel Cut Oats - Cooking Light 
2- Heirloom Grain Chopped Salad - Epicurious
3- Everyday Green Chopped Salad - Jamie Oliver - I would add grains to this!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

13.1 - DONE!

After 12 plus weeks of training and countless long runs... I can now officially say that I have run a half-marathon (And I can officially cross it off my New Years resolution list)!  I am so proud of Derek and I for finishing our first half-marathon!  It is hard to believe that after all that training out race is over! 

Derek and I ran the Lake Minnetonka Half - Marathon and I have to say it was the perfect race for our first half.  The race was smaller which made this long distance race less intimidating!  

The half-marathon course ran along beautiful Lake Minnetonka with gradual slopes (thank goodness not very many huge hills) and gorgeous views of the lake and mansions! 

I have to say that I was a swirl of emotions leading up to race Sunday.  I was excited, nervous and down right scared!  I even struggled to fall asleep Saturday night as I anxiously awaited my 5:50 AM wake up call!  But my anxiousness quickly turned to excitement as my alarm went off Sunday morning!  At promptly 7 Am Derek and our cheering squad (my mom - and awesome sign she made)

were loaded in the car and off to the start line!

And after a little waiting around and a not so prompt 8 AM start time Derek and I were off on our 13.1 mile endeavor!

Katie and Nikki even brought the babies out to cheer us on! Thanks for coming out guys!

Now lets talk the actual running and the stats... shall we?

Race day I wasn't feeling to hot!  Minnesota went from a beautiful 72 degree weather to 30 degrees and snow in just a week... which left me with a cold that I unfortunately didn't shake before race day.  But you know what?  I rallied through it and ran the best that I could!  Despite the cold my legs felt great.  I was pretty glad that I had taken it easy the week before!    Derek and I ran the entire race together and ended up having the exact same race time!   I had a little bit of a side ache issue around mile 11 but we made up our time and came in well under our goal time!   So what was our first official half marathon time?


I wanted to run my first half in under 2 hours and we DID!  We beat the 2 hour mark by 12 minutes!  I was ecstatic to say the least and I am still super pumped!  All in all I am happy that the race went well and that it is over.  But what is next you may ask?  Another half? A full marathon?  I am thinking a few more half's before I take on a full marathon is in order.  Check out the list of half marathons I would love to signing up for or run someday!

Minnesota Half Marathon
Women Rock Half Marathon 
Las Vegas Rock and Roll Half Marathon

I may have even recruited a new running partner... My Lil Sis!!

Happy Tuesday Everyone! 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

All Set -13.1

Race packets have been picked up and I am just a day away from running my first ever half marathon!

My goal is to run the whole race and hopefully finish in under 2 hours! Hopefully those 12 weeks of training paid off!

Stay tuned for results! Happy Saturday!