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Pumpkin Pie Protein Smoothie

6 Oct

Last night, Ed and I ran to Target to tackle some birthday gifts and pick up something on my want list that I have been anticipating for awhile now.

It is now in my possession.

We popped up some homemade microwave popcorn and popped the blu-ray in for a date night in.  Ed had never saw this movie before and we both enjoyed the classic touches the movie had throughout.  I had to explain to Ed that the castle at Disney World was Cinderella’s castle and we would be running through her castle in January.  He had no idea.  🙂  I specifically enjoyed the orchestral music throughout the movie.  You don’t hear real, live instruments like this in movies anymore.  It was an enjoyable and nostalgic night.

This morning, Ed and I woke up and split up before 7:30AM.  Ed had a “Men’s Breakfast” (and yes, you should say this with a deep and manly voice at all times) at church this morning and I headed to the park for a different change of scenery.

A solid start to the morning.

Three miles of my run was spend on the trail head which made things a bit more challenging, but enjoyable.  Being in the trees away from the morning sun glare was helpful.

When I got home, I showered and made a fall inspired smoothie to cool myself from the sweat of the morning.  Even my hair was soaked when I took it out of the ponytail.

I was inspired by Julie’s Pumpkin Protein Smoothie and tweaked it with what I had in my kitchen.

Pumpkin Pie Protein Smoothie

1/4 – 1/3 cup of pumpkin

1 scoop vanilla protein powder

1/2 cup milk

1 frozen banana

1.5 tsp. pumpkin pie spice plus some for sprinkling

5 ice cubes

Blend and serve.

The thickness was perfect and I opted for a spoon instead of a straw.  It tasted more like a pumpkin milkshake.  Yum!

Yes, I am one of many that includes pumpkin in my diet throughout the season and at points throughout the year too.  I love pumpkin flavors!  Thank goodness for all the health benefits!

What is your favorite pumpkin recipe?  Are your pumpkin goodies sweet or savory?

I’m not the best baker around.  I do well, but there are few things that I do really well.  Pumpkin Iced Cookies are my specialty though.  They are requested throughout the season for both Thanksgiving and Christmas for events or bake sales and I enjoy making them.  The recipe came from All Recipes originally.  The cookies are light and cake like which always has people coming back for more.  (I’ve already made 2 batches for events this week.)  I am looking forward to sharing the recipe with you soon!

Friday Run Around

28 Sep

This morning, my alarm went off at 6:15 AM and I was ready to conquer the world.  The weather had other plans though.  It was pouring!  This was no drizzle.  The storm started last night and stuck around awhile.  I would have been drenched within seconds.  So, instead of skipping the outdoor run, I cuddled up with my Kindle for a while until the rain subdued and was able to get a short run in around 7:30 AM.

The hills got the best of me today.

It had to be short since I had to shower, eat and drive to my 9 AM doctors appointment.

With the humidity during my run from the rain, I was a sweaty mess and wanted something cold and quick.  A refreshing Cocoa Raspberry Protein Smoothie was all that sounded good.


  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 large handful of frozen raspberries
  • 1 8 oz. cup of Raspberry Chobani Greek Yogurt
  • 1 scoop cottage cheese
  • 1 tsp. cocoa
  • Enough vanilla almond milk to get everything moving
  • 1 packet of instant coffee (optional)
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder (optional)

I added the coffee to put a pep in my step to get the day going and it worked 😉

Chocolate Raspberry Smoothie

It was such a pretty color too!

After the doctor, I zipped through Wegman’s for a few produce things before lunch and my hair appointment at 12:30 PM.


In an effort to clean out the fridge I used the last of some spaghetti sauce to make mini pizzas with Nature’s Own Multi-Grain Sandwich Rounds in the toaster oven.  I added some extra mushrooms to the sauce and onions.  I sided it up with a big salad, with baby carrots and three different salad dressings (balsamic, zesty Italian and regular Italian).  There was a only a small amount left of a couple of those, so my salad was extra flavorful today. 😉

I added a clementine for some sweetness that I picked up at Wegman’s. These things are just so darn good!

Cute and delicious!

Soon I’ll be off to get my hair cut and I’m still unsure which direction I want to go.  I have been growing my hair out for some time and it is looooong.  I think I’m good with committing to 1-2 inches, but don’t want to go to drastic.  I was thinking about going darker, but I’m not sure I’m ready for that dramatic look just yet.  I’ve always been a blonde.

What is the most dramatic thing you have ever done to your hair?

When I was in high school, I was much more adventurous (and had a lot less bills).  I had blonde highlights with red streaks and low lights often.  I was constantly in the hair salon and usually just told my stylist to do what she thought would look best.  She loved seeing me come in because my hair type took to color so well and she got to experiment.  Now, it’s strictly blonde highlights.  I tried going back natural for a while in an effort to save money, but I’m a true “dishwater blonde” and I felt so washed out every time I looked in the mirror.

Oh, the things we sacrifice for beauty 😉

‘Just in Case’ Clothes

22 Sep

Today has been eventful and I’ve barely left the house.  We are going through some major arranging in our little space and purging, purging, purging.  Clothes, books, shoes, handbags, electronics.  You name it.  It’s possibly in a bag right now on it’s way to Goodwill.

We did break for lunch and I made a fantastic Mango Raspberry Protein Smoothie.

Mango Raspberry Smoothie

Mango Raspberry Smoothie

  • 1 handful mangoes (I used a whole fresh mango)
  • I handful of raspberries (I used a handful of some fresh raspberries that were frozen)
  • 1 8 oz. container of Chobani Mango Greek Yogurt
  • 1 scoop of cottage cheese
  • 1/2 – 1 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder (optional)
  • 2-3 ice cubes
  • Skim Milk to get everything moving

It was just what I needed since the weather went from pleasant fall to warm and sticky.

On the side, Ed started our salads with Italian salad mix, a sprinkle of Artisan cheese and his homemade dressing.  I added sliced strawberries for some extra bite.  His dressing made the whole salad a little nutty in flavor.  Which is ironic because he is allergic to nuts.  Odd, but filling.

Check out our new glasses from the Sares Rib Burn Off this year.  They make perfect smoothie glasses.

Clothes Donations

I’ve always struggled when I should donate my clothes because I feel like my body is always changing.  It seems like when my clothes are to small, I have no hesitation donating them out of my life, but when they are to big, I keep them around “just in case” I gain that extra weight back.

True story.

Apparently I had more confidence gaining back the weight then actually keeping it off.

One of my old co-workers  put this idea into my head and I would not recommend living by it like I have for so long.  For example, currently I wear a healthy size 6 in most jeans.  At one point in my life, I was a size 12 and some of those jeans were still floating around in my closet, “just in case”.

Will I ever be that size again?  I don’t know.  Will I ever want to be that size again?  Most likely not.  So, I could potentially keep these items in my closet for years under the “just in case” wardrobe and never wear them again.

Today (and some of this past week), I finally am saying goodbye to the “just in case” clothes and moving on to continuing my active lifestyle.

Now, who wants to go shopping 😉

Keeping Things Interesting

8 Sep

Last nights plans didn’t quite work out, but Ed and I had some relaxing time together before we enter into our finals week of school.  Our evening included bad reruns of old TV shows (thank you Netflix) and this snack.

Homemade wine and Homemade Quesadillas.

Yeah, we’re real classy.

This morning, I woke up and worked on my finals before breaking for my run on the treadmill.  Since it’s still really hot here and I waited too late in the morning to get outside…the treadmill was where my long(er) run this week had to be.

I ran 60 minutes at a 10:54 minute pace with a 5 minute interval walk in the middle to mess with my Pandora station.

For lunch I prepared some leftover Fiesta “Lite” Chicken and a smoothie.

The smoothie was rather weak.  It tasted a little “chalky” this time.

In the smoothie we have:

  • 1 Frozen Banana
  • 1/2 scoop of Vanilla Protein Powder
  • 1 container Wegmans Black Cherry Greek Yogurt
  • 2 tsp. instant coffee
  • 2 tsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 handful frozen raspberries
  • Skim milk to get everything moving
  • Ice cubes

I think I went wrong with the raspberries when I should have chose frozen strawberries.  I still drank the whole thing though 😉

Keeping Things Interesting

I have been reading a lot of posts from friends and family about losing interest in terms of exercising and dieting.  I can totally relate to this mentality.  It’s easy to fall into a routine of working out in your “comfort zone”, working  only one part of your body at the same measure and eventually not seeing results anymore only to give it up altogether.

Here is my input on keeping exercise interesting.  I once watched a trainer on TV explain that “nobody will ever be an expert at working out”.  In other words, don’t take exercising so seriously.  If you treat exercise like its a chore, that’s all that it will ever be.  Mix it up and do things that you really love doing.  When that gets to be too easy, find something new that you love or are interested in to challenge yourself and don’t forget to reward yourself for reaching your goals, large or small. (My favorite rewards are a pedicure after I run a race or a big breakfast that does not include protein powder ;-))  No one should ever say you “have” to run a marathon or you “have” to be a heavy weight lifter.  Do what works best for you and keeps you working towards your own goals.

Look at exercising as exciting and fun and not as a chore.  Keep an open mind and recognize the privilege it is to build a healthy and active lifestyle.


Question of the Afternoon:

What is your favorite way to keep in shape?  How do you keep exercising interesting?

While running is perfect for me to set goals, I LOVE and miss Les Mills body routines.  At my old gym, I was a big advocate of Body Step and Body Pump.  One day, I hope to find another good gym in the area that offers these classes.  Before moving, I was approached at becoming a Body Step instructor…don’t think that goal has not entered my head for after graduation 😉

Road Trips

31 Aug

Today’s lunch was quick and cold.  I stumbled through my parents fridge (where we are staying this weekend) and created an ‘end of summer’ fruit smoothie.  While summer still has some days left, it’s hard to believe we are in the final day of August.  September is practically here and after arriving in Ohio last night…it’s already colder here.  Yep, it’s true.

In the smoothie you will find Chobani Mango Greek Yogurt (enough protein for some staying power), lots of frozen peaches, 2 ice cubes and organic milk.

I drank that with a side of almonds and a quick sandwich and off for more Ohio excitement.

Road Trips

Since Ed and I moved to Maryland from Ohio, road trips have been a part of our lives often.  Long weekend trips usually start on an evening after work and arriving somewhere around midnight.  In order to stay on budget, we usually pack enough food to keep us from eating on the road.

I LOVE this bag! I found it at Target on Clearance for $8 this year and its perfect for traveling.

In the bag this time we packed grapes, watermelon, salad, granola bars, yogurt, almonds and water.  We try to keep things on the healthier side since we I have a bad snacking problem when I’m stuck in one space for 6 hours.  Popping grapes in my mouth instead of chips or cookies seems like the better choice.

As tasty as these things were, we needed some substance and still made a quick stop by Wendy’s for a burger each for dinner.

Niagara Falls – September 2008

Before Ed and I ‘officially’ dated, what seemed like every weekend was filled with a day trip to somewhere within a reasonable distance.  Our first day trip was probably one of the biggest and most memorable to Niagara Falls, on the Canadian side.  It took just over 3 hours to get there and it was my very first trip outside the country.  For a few hours we visited the falls, mini golfed, ate a very tasty Italian dinner and checked out the casinos before heading back that evening.

Columbus Zoo – September 2008

After Niagara Falls, other trips included while we were dating:

  • Columbus Zoo
  • Toledo Zoo
  • Pittsburgh Zoo
  • Kentucky
  • Cinncinnatti, OH
  • Presque Isle, PA
  • Detroit, MI
  • Hocking Hills
  • Renaissance Faire (Southern Ohio)
  • New York City (We took a bus trip that drove us overnight.  We spent 12 hours in NYC before hopping back on the bus home)
  • Among many others…

Top of the Rockefeller Center – New York City, NY – December 2008

All these trips included a lot of getting to know each other conversations and car games that we still bring back on our long car trips today.  Who knew that all these road trips would prepare us for our car rides when we moved out of the state together.

While the trip from Maryland to Ohio is much longer then most of these trips, we thought we would be smart and leave the seat in the back open for the non-driver to take a nap if they wanted.  We figured that would be much more comfortable then the passengers seat.  While it worked for a while, I was really missing a bed.  After waking up at 5 AM, working 9.5 hours not to include rush hour traffic, I tend to turn into a pumpkin around 9:30 PM.  It was a tight squeeze back there.

We eventually made it and are settled in at my parents for another crazy busy weekend with friends and family.

How do you pack for a longer road trip?  How do you pass the time?

Unique Races

29 Aug

Today’s lunch workouts were quick and challenging.  I warmed up with a short and sweet 20 minute cardio session on the treadmill all at a 1.0 incline.  I ended it with an abdominal workout before heading back to work.  Those jack knife sit ups got me good this time around and I love doing Russian twists.  I feel the burn through my whole abdomen working.

Treadmill workout--(Source: Itty Bits of Balance)          I like this one!(Source: Back on Pointe)

Due to lack of time, lunch was quick a much more filling than anticipated.


I prepared two ham wraps that included apple wood ham, spring mix greens and horseradish mustard on corn tortillas.  I included a side of carrots and a black plum.  For a cold beverage, I whipped up a peach vanilla protein drink.

In there you will find…

  • 1 Yoplait Vanilla Yogurt
  • 1 big scoop of cottage cheese
  • 1 White Peach
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (optional)
  • 2 ice cubes
  • Soymilk, enough to get everything moving

Unique Races

Yesterday I had a conversation with a friend about running races in the future.  We always seem to email each other when we find the next best race or challenge that we want to try.

Warrior Dash Maryland – May 2012

I’m more adventurous when it comes to choosing my races.  There are SO many unique ones out there that it’s hard for me to run one more than once.  I like the challenge of the unexpected hill or obstacle that I didn’t see coming.  After a quick Google search, I came up with some of the most unique races I could find in the United States.

  1. Krispy Kreme Challenge, Raleigh, NC – Runners are required to run 2 miles AND eat a full box of donuts before running 2 miles back to finish.  My question is, are you disqualified if the donuts come back up?
  2. Impossible 5K, Woodstock, GA – Two things make this 5K unique.  1) It takes place at 1:50 AM.  2) It takes place on Daylight Savings Time.  Therefore, your time when you finish will most likely be in the negative digits!  Impossible in any other race?  Uh, yeah!
  3. The Zombie Chase – “The Only 5K Worth Dying For.”  Um, CREEPY!
  4. Wife Carrying Race – Husbands complete obstacles while wives enjoy the ride on their back.  Yeah…no. This is actually a sport for some!  Check out this video from the UK on YouTube.
  5. Muddy Buddy – First you need a buddy—who will also get muddy.  Run 6 miles with 5 obstacle separations that are mysteries for everyone.
  6. Halloween Half and 5K – Said to be the “craziest” Halloween Race out there and it’s all down hill!
  7. Twinkie Run, Ann Arbor, MI – Runners run two loops and have to indulge in a cream filled Twinkie each loop.  Every Twinkie you eat means 1 minute off your time.  Bring them on!
  8. Dog Day 5K, Minneapolis, MN – A race for man and his best friend.  Have a small dog?  Strollers welcome 🙂
  9. Santa Speedo Run, Boston, MA – Strap on your holiday Speedo and run through the cold streets of Boston in December.  Sure to be a crowd pleasing event.
  10. Beer Belly Run, Green Bay,  WI – Ever half mile, indulge in a cold one.  Beer belly not required to enter…

Well, there are 10 of the most unique races I could find.  Notice how many of them require eating bad food.  How do you keep it down?

It’s pedicure night with my friend, Tina and Le Madeline’s for some yummy coffee drinks after that.

Enjoy your afternoon.

Question of the Afternoon:

What crazy races have you seen/participated in lately?

Check out my new pages at the top of my home page.  Use them for quick references for workouts and recipes I’ve featured on my blog!


28 Aug

Dinner tonight was quick and plentiful.  I used leftover steak from our dinner last night to make a large salad.

Steak salad with spring mix greens, fresh corn and carrots with Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing

I added a peach raspberry smoothie on the side for a nice and cold addition.

In this smoothie:

  • 1 cup of Chobani Peach Greek Yogurt
  • 1 White Peach
  • 1 handful frozen raspberries
  • 2 ice cubes
  • 1 scoop of cottage cheese
  • Enough soymilk to get everything moving

Perfect for a humid afternoon

Last night, Ed and I spent the evening walking around the Georgetown waterfront.

It was the perfect evening for a walk along the water and through old town.  After all the walking, we stopped by one of my favorite sweet places for dessert.

Georgetown Cupcake from TLC’s “DC Cupcakes”

Yes, it was a sweet night for sure at Georgetown Cupcake.  From the top left we have Blueberry Cheesecake, Vanilla Birthday Cake, Honey Banana , Toffee Crunch, Red Velvet and Cinnamon.   We have been sharing ever since last night and as of tonight, all of these babies are GONE!  They really know what they are doing at Georgetown.

I had been here once before when I came to DC for work while living in Ohio.  DC Cupcakes on TLC had just began airing, so I ventured off to find them.  It was SO hot that day that by the time I had made it back to my hotel, the frosting’s had melted together.  All were just as good though.  I had picked up three on that trip.  All the cakes were as light as I remembered and the frosting was perfectly creamy.  I am not usually a frosting fan, but I was sure to get some in each of my bites with these cakes.  My favorite was the Honey Banana and Ed’s was the Red Velvet.

Cupcakes are a favorite for both of us.  It was our wish to have cupcakes at our wedding reception instead of the traditional tiered wedding cake.  It was the perfect balance of formal and modern.

Our Wedding Cake

Our top tier was red velvet cake, which is Ed’s favorite cake of all time.  We had five cupcake flavors for our guests to choose from.  When they announced it was time for cake, no one thought twice about waiting to try their favorite flavors.

We did traditionally keep two cupcakes for our one year anniversary in the freezer.

Our Wedding Cupcakes

They look okay, right?

“Not so much…”

The cake was okay, but I think I broke a tooth that icing was so sweet!  Cute tradition, but we did not get very far…

And that’s, that!

At least this time, the cupcakes stayed in our mouth.  Which is more then I can say for last year.


Now that your sweet tooth is wide awake, lets get to today’s workout!

I started with a treadmill interval.


(Source: In Sweetness and in Health)

The first two rounds of this workout, I did not go above the 8 mph speed.  However, the second two rounds I did the workout exactly as it was outlined.  Woo hoo!  You have to celebrate the small milestones.  That 9 mph is tough!

Just in case all those cupcakes were still setting up camp around my lower regions, I ended my workout today with a short lower body workout.

best butt workout

(Source: Back on Pointe)

Next time, I think I will incorporate weights into this workout so I can feel the burn much faster.

Off to finish some assignments and to bed.  Goodnight everyone!

Question of the Evening

What kind of cake did you have at your wedding?  Were you traditional, modern or extreme?

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