Hermano’s 15th Birthday

The only thing sure to make you feel older than getting older yourself, is seeing people you’ve known their entire lives get older! How is my brother 15?!?!?!

This is the face of a 15 year old. A 15 year old who needs a hair cut.

To celebrate, Hermano, Steve, my dad and I all went to Dave & Busters. My family is huge on games, and honestly we could mostly care less about tickets and prizes–we just want to play everything all day long! We started with the electronic jump rope.

Look at my dad's face. Priceless.

We also played air hockey.

I am serious about my air hockey. I do not like to lose.

Did that game where you try to get your ball into the “run” section and not the “move a micro inch” sections.

We spent the larger part of the afternoon there hanging out and having fun before coming back to my house for dessert. Today is Hermano’s actual birthday, but he is living it up in California with his mom and their fancy birthday trip. Thanks for the invite. Some brother you are ;)

I feel really lucky to have this guy in my life. There is something really cool about the sibling relationship when you have a wide age gap. Most of the time, I’d rather hang out with him than most people my age. Hermano is hilarious, smart (even when he pretends not to be), kind, and patient. Kinda the opposite of what you’d expect from a super talented, well liked teenager. I couldn’t be prouder of the young man (weird–I still think of him as a toddler) he’s become! Feliz cuplianos Hermano!!

Work It Out 4/23-4/29

I can’t believe how quickly the last few months have gone by. This was my last real training week before I brave the Whiskey Row half marathon, and the 1700 foot climb over the first 6.5 miles. Shit. Sorry for cursing, but honestly, shit. Not to mention this course starts at 5300 ft and Phoenix is what like 2 ft? I’m excited, though. Totally nervous, but excited. I’ve been training hard, and this is not my goal race. Not for time, anyway. It’s my goal to take on a new challenge and finish strong. Only race day will be able to show what that will mean.

I’m most looking forward to running with Lisa again. And margaritas, naturally.  So here’s how I worked it out this week.

  • Monday: 5 miles with Jason. We ran. Jason PDR’d. We breakfast’d. It was awesome.
  • Tuesday: Linda’s Spin. This class wasridiculous. Linda came in, and told us we were going to do something different. We all did warm up like normal, cleared our bikes then started over together. She split the class into 4 groups based off where we were sitting and told us we were competing to see which team could complete the most miles while maintaining our individual “flat roads” and keeping up with all of the hills. She even walked around to make sure people weren’t cheating. Once the term competition was involved, I spun my little heart out faster than I knew possible. I was a hot mess. Unfortunately, my group came in third, but I had the highest mileage in my group, and was in the top 5 in the class with 19.7 miles in 43 minutes, with a flat road of 10.
  • Wednesday: Tempo run. 6 miles with 4 tempo miles @ 9:07. Ran with speed Ashley and ended up with 1 mile warm up, then 9:05, 9:05, 9:07, 8:49, 1 mile cool down. This run was tough, but good.
  • Thursday: Rest. Welllll, I did walk 2 miles around the duck pond with Kara. Does that count?
  • Friday: “Long” run. Ran just over 6 miles with Stacey. This run felt great, but my legs are definitely happy for the break they’re getting right now.
  • Saturday: Bike ride. Not the most ideal circumstances, but my legs felt great, and honestly I felt like if I had brought food along (I got super hungry at the end!), I could have just kept going. Also, if I hadn’t gotten a flat and had to stop, but you know…
  • Sunday: Rest. That’s two in one week friends. And it was lovely.
Let the taper begin continue!!

How did you work it out this week?

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Pretzel Cookies

So the thing is, we are definitely not perfect, but Steve and I have learned a bit about photography (him), food presentation (me), and composition (both of us) since starting this little blog. Whenever I go through my old recipe posts, I cringe and hope the people visiting my blog don’t look at them and run away forever. I keep them because the recipes are good, but I have this grand plan to recreate everything I love and get some good quality pictures so that everything on here looks cohesive. And not like a 5 year old made it. The problem is, I get excited and creative and want to make new recipes! However, these I love. Like a to the depths of my heart kind of love.

They were actually pretty popular around the internet too. I mean seriously, peanut butter, chocolate, and pretzels. It’s kind of a sure thing.

My favorite thing about these cookies is all of the contrasting flavors and textures.

Sweet & salty.

Crunchy & soft.

Perfect balance.

I may not always achieve perfect balance with my personal, professional, and health goals, but the most important thing is that I can accomplish it in a cookie, right?

Okay, good. As long as we’re all on the same page. Since we’re going with balance, I even made these slightly healthier this time around, and you know what? They were equally delicious. So to balance out the healthy, I ate about 7 of them in one day. It was awesome.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Pretzel Cookies

yield approx 2 dozen

  • 1 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • dash salt
  • 1/2 cup apple butter
  • 5 tbs packed light brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (preferably PB & Co White Chocolate Wonderful)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup white chocolate chips
  • approx 24 pretzels (one per cookie)

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat apple butter, sugars, and peanut butter until smooth.
  3. Add egg and vanilla. Mix well.
  4. Slowly stir the dry ingredients.
  5. Fold in chips. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  7. Roll dough into small 1″ balls, or use a cookie scoop and drop on prepared cookie sheet.
  8. Bake for 7 minutes, then press a pretzel into each cookie. Cook for an additional 7 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack.

Skinnified Sunday: “Fettuccine” Alfredo

My family loves Italian food. In fact, our birthday celebration of choice happens every year at Avanti–the best Italian restaurant in Phoenix, in my humble opinion. They have a 3 way pasta combination that is ridiculous. There is always a set 3 things on it, but they always let us modify it and order it however we want. My pasta plate of choice: gnocchi cardinale, angel hair fried diablo, and of course fettuccine alfredo. Their alfredo sauce is thick, creamy and buttery. It sticks to the fettuccine perfectly so in every bite you get maximum sauce, and a little bit of heaven.

There are some things I just don’t eat these days, regardless of the occasion. And I’m not saying you shouldn’t. I’m just saying, for me, it doesn’t seem worth it. But you know what does seem worth it? Recreating my own that is just as delicious (seriously!) with a fraction of the calories.

Okay, seriously. I did not expect my first go at this to be a success. I kept tasting the sauce as I was cooking and shouting to Steve “Oh my gosh!!! It tastes like alfredo sauce!!!!!”

“Isn’t that the point?” He didn’t seem to get my amazement that it actually worked. I made legit tasting fettuccine alfredo. My days of drooling over creamy alfredo sauce are back my friends and they don’t leave me feeling the gross heaviness in my stomach!

Also, did I mention it’s gluten free? Carolyn, wanna come over for dinner?

 

Skinnified “Fettuccine” Alfredo’

yield 4 servings

  • 1 large spaghetti squash, split lengthwise and seeded
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 3-4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2-1 tbs light whipped butter
  • 8 oz reduced fat cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/3 cup white wine (optional, otherwise sub more almond milk)
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • fresh parsley for garnish (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Drizzle the center of each half of split and seeded spaghetti squash with 1 tsp olive oil. Using your fingers, rub oil evenly into squash. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Place spaghetti squash in a large baking dish center down, and bake for 1 hour.
  3. About 40 minutes into baking, begin your sauce. Place minced garlic and butter in a large pan with fairly high edges over medium heat. Cook for 3 minutes until garlic is fragrant. Add cream cheese, milk, wine, and parmesan cheese. Using a whisk, stir constantly. Add salt and pepper.
  4. When spaghetti squash is finished (center should be tender and come apart when scraped lightly with a fork), use a fork to scrape out the insides. They will come out looking just like spaghetti.
  5. Make sure all sauce ingredients are thoroughly combined, and transfer the squash “noodles” to your sauce. Use cooking tongs to toss and coat squash thoroughly.
  6. When thoroughly combined, serve and top with fresh parsley.

Mostly Happy Things

Hi friends, happy weekend! The past few days have been filled with lots of things. Mostly happy things. And a few annoying things. I’ve been posting lots of recipes lately, and I kinda miss the whole writing about little things in my life just because they’re important to me thing, so that’s what I’m going to do today. :)

Annoying Things:

There are less of these and they’re less fun. Let’s get them out of the way first. shall we?

  1. Yesterday, Steve, Dan and I set out for a 30 mile bike loop this morning. Around mile 10, Steve got a flat that he fixed, then broke the new tube, then patched. At mile 15, his tire went flat again. I was the only one that had their phone, so we called my step dad (Thanks Hank!! You’re awesome!!) to come get him, and Dan and I set back to finish the loop. At mile 25ish, I got a flat tire. No joke. Dan went back to the house, and Hank came back to get me too. It was not so fun, but it could have been a lot worse. I have a whole list of people that would come rescue me in an emergency, so I’m just gonna try to count my blessings.
  2. Friday I had to stop and use the bathroom mid run at this really sketchy dry cleaners. The toilet had no lid and no flusher, so I had to reach into the open top to flush, but then there wasn’t enough water and so I had to use the hose that went into the toilet. The whole thing was so odd.
  3. The fro yo place is not open at 9:30 am. In fact, they don’t open until 11am. Now, if you ask me, that is just ridiculous.

Happy Things:
So many happy things! It’s been a pretty great week, in fact!

  1. I got some really great news from my amazing friend Emily that totally blew me away. I feel so honored and lucky to be working in such a supportive environment with some truly amazing friends.
  2. I got all of my fundraising letter sent out! I’m still waiting on some addresses (by the way if I asked for your address and you thought you were getting a super awesome present, I’m sorry about that…), and I have a lot of work to do in terms of getting business donations, but I spent hours (with the help, of course, of my super amazing husband) writing, addressing, labeling, stamping, and stuffing envelopes. I actually kind of enjoyed the whole process. Don’t forget, if you’d like to donate, you can visit my page here :)
  3. I found out I won’t be running alone for those 4.5 hours. I can’t say more than that until a very special person gives her own news, but I am beyond excited!
  4. I had a super awesome taper week “long” run with Stacey on Friday! She did a legit long run, and accomplished her first double digit run at a pretty quick pace! I love running with her, and I am so proud of her! PS, she is running her first half marathon next Sunday. Be sure to head over to her blog and wish her good luck!
  5. I ran with Jason on Monday while he accomplished a new PDR of 5 miles! Remember back in February when our runs consisted of a max running time of 3 minutes before taking a walk break? Now he runs 5 miles with no breaks. Think you can’t run? This guy’s progress could inspire anyone to get out there and give it a shot! 3 minutes to 5 miles in 2 months? Ummm, OKAY!
  6. Monday is Hermano’s birthday! He’s turning 15, and is kinda my favorite person on Earth. This also means he is only one year away from being able to drive me around all the time. It’s going to be awesome. “Hermano, take me to the store.” “Hermano, bring me some Dutch Brothers!” We celebrated yesterday. I’ll be writing about it soon.
  7. Last night I went to a fancy gaala! I drank wine, ate food, and pretended I was rich enough to bid on items. Molly and I really wanted the pop corn machine, but unfortunately it didn’t work out. My favorite part was that they described it as “A popping good time!” Yes, I would like a popping good time. How did you know??
  8. MY BFFFF Heather got my subscription to Eating Well magazinefor the holidays/my birthday/running, and the first one came in the mail this week! Thanks Heath!!! Love you!!
  9. I got 3 walks in with the duckies this week with Nicole and Kara. Duck lake is especially pretty these days. It looks like fall and there are all sorts of purple leaves:

    DUCKIES!!!!


  10. This happened:

    Yes, Winston is laying directly on top of Clementine. He is so rude!

  11. Friday I went to work and received these:

    My favorite part is where she writes "Don't worry if you cry. I actually cried too." Obviously these kids know me well, and just how sentimental I am. I totally cried.

Now if that doesn’t make you smile, I don’t even know what to tell you!

What made you happy this week??