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The Last Friday

5 Oct

After work I stopped at Wegman’s for a few things and was attracted by the juicy rotisserie chicken for $4.99 sign that caught my attention walking in the door.  As soon as I saw it I thought, “You’re right Wegman’s, I don’t feel like making dinner tonight.”


They saw me coming.

The joke was on me though…it was not very tasty to say the least.  When I think rotisserie, I think juicy and flavorful.  Unfortunately, this bird was lacking in the flavor department.  The potatoes and broccoli stole the show.

The Last Friday

Today was bittersweet.

Great because its Friday and for many of us that means fun and/or relaxation.  It’s extra special for me because thanks to Mr. Columbus, I also have Monday off.  Woot for a long weekend!

Not so sweet of a Friday because our new classes opened today, which means we have 10 weeks of challenging coursework ahead of us.

Oh…if only this were true for this girl.  I started working at my “real world” job when I was 17 years old and 8 years later it has only progressed from temporary to permanent.  I didn’t have the typical “college experience” and I’m more then grateful for that.  I commuted though my whole undergrad and worked 32-40 hours a week, so working and studying is not new to me.  When I gradauted, I had no intention of ever going to graduate school…Ever.  I have solid references to back me up on that statement.  It wasn’t till I transferred jobs last year that I recognized my other interests and was encouraged to go on and get my graduate degree.  My best friend had just finished her graduate degree and my new husband was finishing his.  Both are huge, positive influences in my life, so I wanted to follow in their footsteps.

It’s true.

With all that said, I’m excited that the light is at the end of the tunnel (Graduation expected June 2013).  Each quarter is 10 weeks long and I have 5 courses left (2 this quarter, 2 next quarter, 1 capstone/internship).  Bring it on.

With all the time that studying takes up for Ed and I, we started a bucket list of “post-graduate school activities” to look forward to.

Post-Graduate School Bucket List

  • Go on another cruise vacation.  Top Picks: Europe, Alaska or Hawaii
  • Get 7-8 hours of solid sleep a night daily (Yes, please.  Yes, please.  Yes, please!)
  • Buy our first home (Wherever our “home” may be at that point ;-))
  • Get a dog
  • Read at least 2 books per month for fun
  • Decorate out home with DIY projects around the holidays/seasons

What is something you have been working towards that you can’t wait to complete?  Is it a house project?  Paying off debt?  How will you react when it’s all said and done?

P.S. Come visit on Monday when Sand Between My Sneakers hosts it’s first giveaway! It’s going to be nutritious and delicious 😉


Super Sweaty Elliptical Workout

3 Oct

When I work from home, Ed always tries to find things to keep himself busy.  Our place is so small that he can become very distracting once he is awake.  We talk, the TV is on, he is making something in the kitchen.  Every noise distracts me from my work.  So, he decided to sleep in and once he got up, went for a run at the park before work.

I get a call about an hour later.  Ed had dropped the car key somewhere on the path and he took my car.  I had no way to get to him since I don’t feel comfortable enough to drive his stick shift car by myself.  So, like a good wife, I told him to start walking 🙂  I know, I’m terrible, but the park wasn’t that far away and in my work mode mind, I just couldn’t think of anything else at that moment.  He eventually called his work and someone came to pick him up and drop him back off at the house.

Good news, Ed was happy to announce that he got 7 miles of running in when he had to add the extra running time for re-jogging the path to try and locate the key.  Way to go, Ed!

Moral of the story, if you want to increase your distance for the day, loose your keys!


Due to all the drama, I skipped lunch and was craving for 4:30PM to get to the gym for some cardio.

I have NEVER sweat so much doing an elliptical work out.  I opted for this machine since it was 85 degrees of humidity outside and I was in the need for a good interval sweat.  Either way, it was a great workout for below the belt, backside area.

After that sweat I came home, changed out of my sopping shirt (seriously, gross) and stretched.  I am really intrigued to find a yoga class in the area.  I have taken a total of one yoga class in my life and I think it would be great for running.  I’m also really intrigued by hot yoga.  What can I say, I love a good sweat 😉


Dinner was quick since I was on my own tonight.

Garlic Butter Muscles, Brown Rice and Fresh Steamed Broccoli.

Simple and filling.  I was snacking all day long which called for a healthier dinner.  No snacking for this girl tonight.  I gave up my snacks to all the cheese sticks I consumed throughout the day.

My weakness.

Have you ever locked yourself out of your car?  

What are you snacking weaknesses?  How do you curb your appetite?

Cheese.  I love cheese.  My newest find is Munster cheese.  It tastes great melted over half an English muffin or waffles.  Yum!

Chilled Tomato Soup with Shrimp and Pesto

2 Oct

I can’t really catch a break this week with the weather and running so far.  It has been a down pour of rain since yesterday and massive puddles just everywhere.  I didn’t want to risk another short run in between rain spurts, so it was me and the treadmill today.  You know what though, it wasn’t that bad…

The last five minutes of this run was a slow cool down.  I was just under 6.2 miles when I hit 60 minutes.  I’m dangling on my goal of hitting a 10K in under 60 minutes this month.  We’ll see.

Chilled Tomato Soup with Pesto and Shrimp

Over the weekend, Ed and I teamed up and made one of our favorite dishes from our honeymoon cruise last year.  We had so much fun on our honeymoon that started as a Disneymoon and ended cruising the Caribbean.  We both had never been on a cruise before and were overwhelmed with all the delicious food at dinner to order.  We had so much fun testing our taste buds on some of the most delicious appetizers, main courses and desserts.

Formal night at our final dinner on the ship.

For our Chilled Tomato Soup recipe, I worked on the soup part after finding a recipe in All You Magazine and Ed made his homemade pesto sauce.  We broke out some shrimp we had in the freezer and dinner was on its way.

Chilled Tomato Soup with Pesto and Shrimp
Original Source: All You Magazine

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 28 oz. cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • Salt
  • 3/4 lb. cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. pesto (store bought or homemade)


Warm oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add garlic and let cook while stirring until fragrant.  About 1 minute.

Stir in tomatoes with their juice, sugar, Italian seasoning and cayenne and bring to a boil.

Boil, boil.

Once boiling, puree the tomato mixture in batches.  I used my blender.

This made my blender HOT!

Chill in the refrigerator or over a large bowl of ice.  I chilled ours in the refrigerator for over 2 hours before serving.  Season with salt.  (If you just want a non-cream based hot tomato soup, this would be the perfect place to stop. ;-))

Freeze baby, freeze!

Once chilled, ladle soup into bowls and add shrimp and pesto sauce (store bought or homemade).  We used Ed’s Homemade Pesto which contained basil, extra virgin olive oil, garlic and sunflower seeds.

It was cold and a nice healthy option to add to our soup recipes!  Plus it brought back great memories of the yummy food we had each night while cruising the Caribbean.

Per Serving

255 Cal., 11 g. Fat (1 g. Sat. Fat), 130 mg. Chol., 2 g. Fiber, 21 g. Protein, 21 g. Carb., 2,001 mg. Sod.

Have a bite!

What was your favorite dish to recreate after your vacation?  Was it a success?

This is the first real dish I have ever “recreated” after a vacation meal.  It stood out because I wouldn’t normally order cold soup in a regular restaurant.  I do now though 😉

Recovery Saturday

29 Sep

While I’m recovering from my high fever, today was filled with lots of rest and lots of comforting and healthier food.

We started the day with these…

Drank a lot of this…

Snacked on some of these…

Ended the evening with a chilly and spicy dinner…

I have a lot of new and easy recipes to throw at you this week, as well as some new cardio circuits.  I can’t wait!

How was your Saturday?

Banana Custard

28 Sep

After my hair appointment this morning, I came home to get cracking on more sorting and organizing after donating so much last week.

My task was to go through my magazines.  I had a stack of favorite magazines that I wanted to save because of recipes or articles I wanted to keep, but it was getting to be to much.  So, I went through each one and tore out the recipes I wanted to keep before recycling them out of our apartment.

This was a tiring job, but it’s finally done.

When Ed got home, I started mentioning how hot it was outside and I wish the fall weather would just stick around already.  He gave me a weird look and said, “it is cool outside?”  He put his hand on my head, I took my temperature and it’s official, I’ve come down with some kind of bug.

Though I still feel okay, my energy is down and I’m burning up.  So, dinner was simple and sick friendly.

The soup was just plain comforting and the sandwich was packed with fresh deli turkey I picked up from Wegman’s this morning, a slice of provolone cheese and fresh mushrooms.  I sided that with the rest of the baby carrots.

Banana Custard

Last night, Ed and I were discussing our love for ice-cream.  He could eat plain vanilla ice-cream everyday while I love, well, lets just say I never met a flavor of ice-cream I didn’t like.

Truth be told, half gallons of ice-cream don’t last long in this house, so we don’t buy them often.  We have thought of alternatives throughout the summer besides buying expensive half gallons of ice-cream.  One of my favorite alternatives also coincides with my love for bananas.

First take 2 frozen bananas and pulse them in your food processor.

Once pulsed, add a splash of milk and pulse again till smooth.


Add flavorings as desired and mix well.  Examples include vanilla extract or cocoa powder.  I chose cocoa powder.  Chocolate is always the best choice, in my opinion 😉

That’s it!  This was the perfect snack tonight for my overheated body and it was inexpensive.  My sweet tooth was satisfied with the sweetness of the bananas and my waistline will feel much better in the morning.

Try it. You’ll love it!

What’s your favorite flavor of ice-cream? 

What foods do you crave when your not feeling your best?

Winding Into the Weekend

27 Sep

One of my new fitness goals for the next month is to really pump up the cardio.  While I’ll never give strength training up cold turkey, I’m ready to challenge myself and sweat a little more.  This also means I’ll be inputting a lot more time into my workout routines outside of lunch workouts.  Even with a shower, too much sweat can leave me feeling a little nasty in the afternoon.

Just keeping it real.

Work has been pretty eventful this week, so when I got to the gym I knew I just wanted to zone out for the next 40 minutes.  Luckily for me, I have some pretty funny workout companions too.  So, some laughter broke out on occasion as well.

I did the following interval on the elliptical that included a lot of 2 minute, 4 minute, 6 minute and 8 minutes intervals and time frames.

The intervals helped for a fast 35 minutes and the pay off was pretty good for a midday workout.


Ed and I have been on different schedules all week.  So dinner has been pretty simple again tonight.  After last nights 500 degree veggies, I didn’t want to power up the oven and decided on something quick and filling.

I pulled the following two items from the pantry and I made a quick and easy meal for myself.

My aunt gave me this crafty little gadget for making potatoes when I moved to Maryland last year.  You simply just wash your potatoes, wrap them in a paper towel, stick them in the fabric bag and place in the microwave for 6-9 minutes (depending on the size of your potatoes).

Their soft and warm in no time 🙂  As you can see, I’ve given it a lot of use.  See the upper right hand corner.  Yep, that’s a burn mark.

I heated up the turkey chili on the stove top, poured some over the potatoes with a little cheese and sided it up with some fresh green beans with a a spritz of butter.

Probably not going in the healthy meal hall of fame here, but it filled me up!

Oh…and a glass of vino because today is MY Friday!  Plus, it’s been chilling in the fridge for nearly a month now unopened.  It was time.  Since we never drink at home and wine is not my drink of choice, one sip and I’m already sleepy.

Good grief.

What’s your favorite way to wind into the weekend?  Are you ready for some relaxation, to party or a really stiff drink? 😉

I don’t know if I have a specific routine, but it depends if it was my four day week or my five day week.  On my five day weeks, I am so ready to crash in bed early!  Friday night is sadly my earliest night to bed all week long.  If I have plans for that evening, I have to nap or I turn into a pumpkin by 8:00 PM.

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts

26 Sep

WAIT!  Before you turn away from the title, trust me, you want to stick around for this.

First, let’s talk about my less then steller run today.

Definitely not my best.  My body was speaking in hymns today and I just couldn’t shake out of it.  There is always tomorrow.

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts via Family Fun Magazine

I have this sneaking suspicion that many of you have never tried or won’t try this low cholesterol, cancer fighting, green and leafy vegetable.


Well then, what ARE you waiting for?!?

I get it.  Brussels sprouts, in my opinion, will always be the vegetable that everyone loves to hate, but don’t discount the major health benefits or the added tastes to make this veggie a regular side dish that everyone will love.

I bought this lovely little 1 lb. bag of Brussels sprouts last week at Harris Teeter and had yet to break them open.

Randomly, while purging magazine yesterday, I flipped through a Family Fun magazine and found a quick and easy recipe for Caramelized Brussels Sprouts.  I ripped it out and stuck it on the fridge for today’s dinner.


  • 1.5 pounds of Brussels sprouts (I only used 1 lb.)
  • 3 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I used 2 Tbs.)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or 1/2 teaspoon of table salt (I used less then 1/2 a teaspoon of table salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar (I used less then 1/2 teaspoon of white sugar)
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

First, set oven to 500 degrees (yep, that’s 500 degrees of HOT) and place a baking pan on the bottom rung to heat.

Take Brussels sprouts and trim the bottoms, remove any “unfriendly” leaves, cut in half and place in a large bowl.

Add extra virgin olive oil and toss till coated.  Then add salt and sugar and toss till coated.

Remove HOT pan from oven.

Side Note:  This pan is HOT, HOT, HOT.  I felt it right through my oven mitt and the oven set my very dramatic smoke detector off five glorious times.  PLEASE USE CAUTION.

Place the Brussels sprouts flat side done evenly across the pan.  You will hear them sizzling 🙂

Place pan back in the oven for 10-12 minutes.  I did 10 minutes and it was more than enough time.

While I waited, I prepared the rest of my meal and ate a banana which didn’t look like it was going to survive till tomorrow morning.


I sided the sprouts up with 2 scrambled eggs with a splash of skim milk and salt and pepper to taste.

Notice my spelling error? 🙂 “Caramelized Brussels Sprouts”

For more of an “adult” flavor, spritz some lemon on the sprouts.  You may also omit the sugar if you prefer.  It’s just a small amount and its there to caramelize the sprouts.

I loved this dish and looking forward to making it again.  The added lemon did just the trick and gave the sprouts the perfect balance of sweet and sour flavors.

Give it a try.  Maybe your least favorite vegetable will soon rise up to the top of your veggie list 😉

What is your absolute least favorite vegetable?

I’m not sure I have one.  I used to avoid raw onions whenever possible, but since I have married Ed, things changed.  I even told him before we were married that I never want to see onions on the grocery list and if I did, not to expect them.  I was such a charming soon-to-be wife, wasn’t I?  🙂  Needless to say, onions are now a part of my daily diet.  With the stench in my breath after eating them though, I’m wondering if Ed is regretting his decision 😉

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