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    I'm Lauren and this is a blog dedicated to living life with a healthy balance. I love to run, strength train, bike and just be downright active. I'm a marathoner as of April 24, 2010 and am currently looking forward to qualifying for the Boston Marathon.

    I absolutely love to eat and enjoy great food but doing it all in moderation. You'll see healthy, organic foods on here frequently but you'll also run into things such as pizza and sweets. I believe you can have it all... just not all at once.

    I'm always learning and discovering new foods, recipes, workouts and ways to live a healthy lifestyle. Join me on my journey towards becoming my healthiest self.

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A Night of Tastes

I have a lot to catch you up on from last night.  It was 11:30 by the time we got home from our dinner with friends last night and I was too pooped to blog about it.  So here I am!  Well rested after a great 9 hours of sleep last night and already fueled up for the day from breakfast.

I made Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms for our dish last night.  I got the recipe from here.

Recipe:

Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms

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Ingredients

2 tablespoons 365 Everyday Value Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
2 (8-oz) packages button or baby bella mushrooms, stems removed and finely chopped, caps left intact
1 small yellow onion, chopped
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 (1-pound) pkg frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess water
6 ounces Feta cheese, crumbled

Method

Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushroom stems, onions, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl along with spinach, toss well; set aside to cool. Arrange mushroom caps in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Add Feta, salt and pepper to spinach mixture then divide filling evenly between mushrooms, mounding it in the center of each. Drizzle mushrooms with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and bake until softened and juicy, about 20 minutes.

Using our new food chopper we bought the other day to chop the mushroom stems and onion.

Cooking in the skillet.

Letting everything cool with the spinach.

Add the feta and stuff mixture into the mushroom tops.

Cook, then place on serving platter.  I put some more pepper on the top for added flavor.

The hubs tasted the first one just to give his seal of approval.

I think next time I’ll add some more salt and pepper while cooking.  Maybe a little balsamic too, and top with some mozzarella cheese before cooking in the oven.

We headed on over to Mandy and Simon’s and saw this beautiful set up.

Our friends, Lindsey and Drew, also came and brought Mediterranean pizza.

Mandy made beef, chicken, carrot and coleslaw wontons.

Everything is out and ready to be dug into!

Here’s my plate of our entrees.

Served with soy sauce for the wontons.

Everything was delicious!  I definitely want to make this pizza in the future because it had all my favorite things!  Hummus, lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, feta cheese and black olives.

I was glad I didn’t eat any more than this because dessert was well worth splurging with trying all three things we all brought.

Lindsey brought apple crisp that was divine.

Mandy made a chocolate torte that was perfection.

We made the cinnamon ice cream that was in the little bowl that went perfectly with both of these desserts!

It was an absolutely amazing night with the best of friends.  It feels great to be with people where you tell stories, encourage each other and laugh until you’re crying.  We’re very blessed to have these people be a part of our lives.

After getting some much needed rest, I woke up and was ready to eat breakfast.  I had some egg whites in the refrigerator from yesterday when the hubs used egg yolks for the trial run of burnt sugar ice cream that ended up being a bust.

No sense in letting them go to waste.  Paired perfectly with two slices of whole wheat toast topped with butter and red grapes.

I have no idea what our plans are for today. I thought about going to the river for a picnic but it’s still too chilly outside for that so who knows what the day will hold.  I hope you’re having a great Sunday so far!

What’s your favorite characteristic of your mom?  How are you celebrating her on this fine day?

Happy Mother’s Day to the best momma in the world!!  I love you mom!  Thanks for raising me and doing the best job… you’re my best friend and I don’t what I’d do without in you in my life.

The Good Wife

I didn’t get in a run or walk today but I did manage to bike 5.5 miles to and from church!  Does that count?  I am definitely running tomorrow night so I’ll get it all done somehow.  Not stressing out… not stressing out… that’s what I keep telling myself.  It’s a busy week ahead before the marathon and I’m striving to staying cool, calm and collected.

Anyway… I got a hankering for granola bars today so I made some of Anne P’s five minute no bake peanut butter granola bars.  If you remember, I made these a little while ago and they crumbled and wouldn’t bind together so I was determined for them to be right this time!  This time I added a little more brown rice syrup and more peanut butter.  I also tossed in some mini semi-sweet chocolate chips for good measure.

The chocolate chips melted upon being mixed but you can still taste it!!  That’s all the matters!

They turned out perfectly!  They binded, didn’t crumble at all, and are wrapped and ready to go for easy grabbing!!

I ended up cleaning up around the house a bit and got ready for church.  A quick bike ride to church, service and then bike ride home it was time to get cracking.  The hubs led worship for both evening services tonight so I wanted a good dinner waiting on him when he got home.

On the menu, rotisserie chicken, sauteed mushrooms and asparagus and a big green leafy salad!

I got to thinking and decided to make chocolate covered strawberries for dessert.

I was quite pleased with myself.  I even made my own balsamic vinaigrette dressing.  Usually the hubs is our chef so I’m trying to get back into cooking more and more when the time allows.

We’re satisfied, everything’s clean and now it’s time to watch some of the Country Music Awards.  I’m not a huge country music fan but my best friend’s husband, David Nail, is up for Single of the Year for his song “Red Light”.  We’re all really proud of him!!  Keeping our fingers crossed for a big win!

Hope you all had a great Sunday!  It’s back to work for the next three days and then it’s off so I can rest, mentally prepare and get prepped for the marathon!  See you tomorrow!

What ingredient would you add into homemade granola bars?

Monday Already?

I got 8 glorious hours of sleep last night! I was fast asleep by 10 p.m. and it felt great! The only disruption during that time was, of course, a trip to the bathroom (dang water!) and hearing our rowdy neighbors vacuuming at 3 o’clock in the morning.

It was back to work this morning after having a relaxing day yesterday. Is it really Monday already?  How do the weekends go by so quickly?!

I couldn’t wait to eat my breakfast this morning because I woke up feeling ravenous!

I know it’s the end of the month when we’re slowly running out of meal options. I have one more bowl’s worth after this morning of Kashi H2H Honey Toasted and Special K granola. Boo.

I was c-section girl today and was in the operating room during lunch hour and was starving. Is it so weird that I can be hungry while watching a surgery? Another “you know you’re a nurse when” moments.

I couldn’t wait to eat my leftovers from last night’s dinner for lunch today. So good!

Disclaimer from this point out: My lunches usually aren’t aesthetically pleasing because I’m a nurse and usually I don’t truly get a 30 minute lunch break.  So my food looks like a reheated mess but it works, it’s yummy and fast!!

I had a hankering for a mandarin after I ate so I had one. Gotta give my body what it needs and wants!!

I packed a couple of snack options for today. I didn’t know if I wanted the trail mix I brought, apple with peanut butter or both! I knew I had a run planned for tonight so I needed some fuel to get me through my run and not be too famished before dinner.

I chose….

An apple and some peanut butter of course!  It just sounded more appealing to me at the moment.

And look what a co-worker brought me today!  Isn’t that so sweet?  I can’t wait to continue with my new obsession with Laughing Cow wedges.  They are for sure on my list for the next big grocery trip!!

I left work and was contemplating my run that I had planned in my head.  I feel really great after my 21 miles on Saturday but there is just a little tiny kink in my right hip that I feel so I figured since I’d made it this far with no injuries, I wouldn’t start now.  So I’m running tomorrow night!  I was productive when I got home though.  I did many sets of pull-ups, push-ups and ab exercises!

Dinner was pretty simple tonight.  We’re running really low on options for meals all around so we decided that it’d be a breakfast for dinner sort of night.  Nothing too fancy at all!  I had one scrambled egg, a Morningstar “sausage” pattie and a Pillsbury biscuit with strawberry jam spread.  I wish we had some wheat bread but I’ll settle for Pillsbury.  They aren’t too shabby tasting.  🙂

Oh man, I feel like my dinner looks super lame too but tomorrow night will be more appealing… I promise!

I’m off to finish making my tuna salad for lunch tomorrow and get settled into bed for the night!  Hope you all had a great Monday!!

I love the Laughing Cow cheese with crackers and tuna salad with crackers.

What are your favorite crackers?

Catching Up on Calories

Look at what was sleeping on me all day?!  How lucky am I?

Those cute things have been sleeping ALL DAY!!  Lazy boys!

The rest of my day was spent vegging and doing nothing!  It was great!  Around 3 o’clock, I was starting to feel quite hungry so I snacked on some trail mix of mine.

Dry Roasted Almonds, Craisins and Dark Chocolate Covered Plums.

It held me over pretty well until after we went to church and came home to cook dinner.

The hubs and I hopped to it with fixing dinner because we were both starving!  I think my body is so ravenous since I ran 21 miles yesterday so I’m trying to catch up on the calories.

On the menu for tonight: Flank steak, Asian inspired sautéed green beans with mushrooms, onion and bell pepper, Annie’s mac and cheese and baked beans.

The hubs had a Sister Schubert’s roll with his dinner but I decided to skip out since there were a tons of carbs on my plate already.

I packed up half the flank steak, sautéed veggies and rest of the baked beans and mac and cheese for lunch tomorrow.

This was our first time to try out Annie’s mac and cheese.  Usually I’m a Velvetta shells and cheese girl but even their small boxes are so big for the two of us and the serving sizes I scoop for myself ends up being huge!  So I decided to try this!

My review:

I really, really enjoyed it!  The shells, themselves, are smaller than Velvetta and the cheese mixture stayed creamy the whole time.  With Velvetta, they usually clump up and dry out pretty quickly but these were perfect.

A mandarin for an after dinner snack because I just felt like I needed something else.  Maybe I should have eaten a roll after all.  🙂

I’m now settled onto the couch and plan on being in bed and ready for sleep by 10 p.m.  I don’t think that’ll be hard tonight since my breakfast, lunch and snack are already packed up and ready to go for work tomorrow and I’ve showered and caught up on everything.  Here’s to hoping our next door neighbors won’t be partiers tonight and I can sleep all night!

See you tomorrow!!

What’s your favorite trail mix combo?

Water Logged

Thank you all who commented to encourage me.  It surely lifted my spirits and helped me realize how awesome 14.5 really is!!  You all are the best!

After my lunch post I climbed in a hot bubble bath and ended up staying there for 1 1/2 hours.  I ended up finishing “The Skinnygirl Dish” and enjoying my limbs feeling nice and relaxed in the water.

I’m sure I was nice and water logged by the time I got out but my body felt so much better!!!  I’m thinking that 4.5 mile run will happen tomorrow at some point.  I’m hoping to have my body feel almost back to normal after a good night’s rest so I can redeem myself with my run.

After catching up on many food blogs, I decided it was time to start dinner.  Now as you all know, I’m not usually the cook around here.  The hubs usually has dinner made for me when I come home from work or after I get in from a night run so I didn’t want to be lame and do something I normally would in the past like a sandwich, chips, salad, etc.

I settled on baked marinated salmon topped with sauteed mushrooms placed on a bed of baby organic spring mix, shredded carrots and feta cheese.

I didn’t need dressing due to the salmon being so moist.

I started out placing my marinated salmon fillet in foil and baking it for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

I sauteed my mushrooms.  I drizzled them with EVOO and topped them with fresh cracked pepper and salt and a tad of garlic salt for added flavor and cooked in the skillet on medium heat, stirring and flipping constantly to avoid burning.

Before cooking:

I figured that part of the Italian style bread that I brought home last night from dinner would be an appropriate carb to add.  I put some EVOO in a ramekin and topped with fresh cracked black pepper for dipping and warmed up the bread in the oven.

Now everything together!

Ok maybe not everything… forgot the mushrooms!

And I might have had one or two more pieces of bread. 😉

I think I did pretty good if I do say so myself.

It was definitely worth it to take the time and effort to prepare a home cooked meal, even if I was just cooking for me.

I might see some fruit in my future but for now I’m pretty content.

Can’t wait to wake up in the morning and see how my body feels!  Praying for a good opportunity to get that run in!!

I hope you all have had a great Saturday!  I know that my weekend will get 100% better once my hubs gets back home tonight.  I can’t wait!!

What’s a good meal that you’ve made for yourself lately?