Thursday, January 29, 2009

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Mallow Bars

How's that for a lot of stuff!

This recipe was on the cover of a recent issue of Kraft Food and Family Magazine. My favorite! I've made quite a few things out of it and they are usually really easy and tasty! The second I saw the oooie goooie bars on the cover I knew I'd be making them at some point.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Mallow Bars
from Kraft Food and Family Magazine
1 pkg devil's food cake mix
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
2/3 cup cold milk, divided
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 jar (7 oz) Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Creme
1/2 cup salted peanuts
6 squares semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used chocolate chips instead)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix dry cake mix, butter and 1/3 cup mil until blended
Press two thirds onto bottom of 13x9 inch pan
Bake 12-145 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool 3 minutes.
Mix peanut butter and remaining mil; spread onto crust. (this part was difficult, I felt like I didn't have enough peanut butter, I might make more next time)
Top with spoonfuls of marshmallow creme and remaining cake mixture.
Sprinkle with nuts and chocolate; press gently into cake mixture
Bake 18 minutes or just until center is set. Cool before cutting into bars.

Ok, it is very, VERY rare that you will hear me say this about a dessert, but.... I really didn't like them. I KNOW! What's not to love.... chocolate, peanut butter, marshmallow fluff!!! I love it all. But for some reason these bars just didn't do it for me. I think there was simply too much going on. I also think I would have prefered a brownie base. The cake tasted strange to me. However, Zach thinks they are awesome, so maybe it's just me. Try for yourself and see!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Lean 'N Green Chili

I got this recipe from one of my favorite blogs, Cast Sugar, You should check Emily out, she's fantastic. A few people I know had made it and raved about it, so I thought I'd give it a shot! It didn't disappoint!

Lean 'N Green Chili
8 6-in. corn tortillas, divided
2 tsp. vegetable oil, dived
1 c. chopped Poblano Chile peppers (or green bell peppers)
1/2 c. chopped onion (naturally, I leave this out. Yick!)
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into ¾-in. pieces
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 garlic clove, pressed
2 cans (14.5 oz.) 99% fat free chicken broth
2 cans (15 oz.) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/4 c. salsa verde (or 1 can green Chile enchilada sauce)
3-4 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 400 F. Cut four of the tortillas in half and stack them one on top of another. Cut the tortillas into ½ inch strips. Place in bowl and toss with 1 tsp of the oil. Spread in a single layer in a baking pan. Bake 10 – 12 min or until crisp, stirring once. Remove from oven.

Chop Chile peppers and onion. Cut chicken into ¾ inch pieces; toss with cumin in small bowl. Fold one tortilla to fit into a food processor coarsely grate. Repeat with remaining 3 tortillas. Set aside.

Heat remaining 1 tsp oil in large pot over medium heat. Add chicken; cook and stir 5 min. Remove chicken from casserole; and Chile peppers, onion, and garlic. Cook and stir 3 min. Stir in chicken, broth, beans, salsa and grated tortillas. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 15 min.

Stir cilantro into chili. Ladle soup into bowls; top with baked tortilla strips.

This was really easy to make and is super hearty. A perfect meal for a cold winter night. PLUS it only has about 250 calories per serving! Seriously, it doesn't get much better than that! Zach and I actually fight over the leftovers. I think the homemade tortilla strips really make it. And of course, I always top my chili with a little cheddar cheese. Yum, Yum, Yum!

Fitness Log - Week 3 2009

Monday, January 19
Run: .25 walk, 1.0 Run, .25 walk
Elliptical: 17 minutes (gluts)
Yoga: 60 Minutes
Abs: 10 minutes amped abs
Great workout! Very happy with this one

Tuesday, January 20
Day Off

Wednesday, January 21
So frustrated. Ate like crap too.

Thursday, January 22
Elliptical: 15 min (hill climb)
Zumba: 45 Min
Alright, still not feeling too good

Friday, January 23
Walk Missy: 20 Min
Disappointed I didn't go to the gym

Saturday, January 24
SET Class: 60 Minutes (Weights and Cardio)
Tough class. Still wasn't feeling too great. Wished I would have run beforehand.

Sunday, January 25
Run: .25 Walk, .50 Run, .25 Walk, .50 Run, .25 Walk
Abs: 15 Min
Extremely sore and tired. This workout was hard to complete.

Gained 2 pounds this week. Super upsetting. So now I'm feeling like I'm starting all over.

Overall notes:
Really frustrating week. I started out thinking this was going to be the week to really kick things into high gear, but I got sick and just fell into a huge funk. I ate HORRIBLY all week and definitely paid for it. I hope to not have many more weeks like this.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Bye, Bye Tanner Doggie....

My parent's dog, Tanner (I consider him to be my dog as well) passed away yesterday. He was only about 5 years old. Two and a half weeks ago, my parents took him to the vet because they noticed some bumps on his legs and neck. Turns out it was cancer in his lymph nodes. The vet gave him 8-10 weeks. We all figured since he was so stubborn, he'd beat the odds and be around for quite some time. Well as it turns out, the cancer got the best of him very quickly. I won't go into the details, but my dad came home last night and knew it was time. The vet informed him that they got Tanner there just in time. Instead of suffering, he went peacefully.

I know everyone in my family is going to miss Tanner very much. He was everyone's buddy and my dad's constant companion. He followed him everywhere. If he so much as went in the garage for two seconds, Tanner cried. My dog, Missy will also miss him. He was her "crazy Uncle Tanner" and we went over to play with him (well, more like attack him with kisses and loving) nearly every weekend. I dread the day we take her over there and she can't find him. It breaks my heart just thinking about it.

Tanner was always some what of a "lemon". He always had something wrong with him, but we never ever imagined he'd be gone so quickly.

So here's to you - Tanner Doggie! I love you! I miss you....

Monday, January 19, 2009

Fitness Log - Week 2 (2009)

I decided to change when I update my fitness log. It will now be Monday-Sunday. So this week I have 2 Sunday's to report.

This week was a little tougher. We were having car problems, so it was difficult to get to the gym. I also wasn't feeling so well off and on, so my workouts weren't as intense as I had hoped for this week. I kicked it up a notch this weekend, so I feel like I'm back on track. Here's this weeks' update.

Sunday, January 11
Running: 25 minutes on the treadmill (1.25 straight run, .25 warm-up and cool down)
Yoga: 60 minutes. Legs focused
(Tough workout. Yoga was brutal. Felt great afterwards though!)

Monday, January 12
Day Off

Tuesday, January 13
Walk Missy: 35 Minutes
Fit TV: 1/2 hour of All Star Workouts - Cardio
Basement Work: 150 Jumping Jacks, 50 Butt Kicks, 50 Mountain Climbers, 50 high knees, 50 high kicks each leg, 250 crunches
(It was freezing outside and the car was having issues. I tried to make due the best I could. I was disappointed in this workout)

Wednesday, January 14
Running: 20 minutes on treadmill (.25 warm-up, 1.5 run, .25 cool-down)
Weights: Biceps, Triceps, Shoulders
Stair Climber: 15 Minutes
Sauna: 15 Minutes
(I wasn't feeling that great so this workout got cut a little short. I also was planning on staying for Zumba, but had the wrong day..oops!)

Thursday, January 15
Walk/Run Missy: 25 minutes
(Didn't feel good at all. Ate horribly - Bad day!)

Friday, January 16
Nothing. My planned long walk with Missy got cut because there was a flipping police standoff on the next block over and I wasn't about to leave my house, but I did run back and forth from my dining room window to bedroom window to watch the action. I don't think that counts though.

Saturday, January 17
Running: 30 minutes on the treadmill (.25 warm-up, 1.0 run, .25 recovery, 1.0 run, .25 cool-down)
Elliptical: 20 Minute hill climb
Weights: Ab machine, legs
Sauna: 15 Minutes
(Great workout! Intense cardio focus. I was beat after this workout. The sauna was extra refreshing.)

Sunday, January 18
Running: 30 minutes on the treadmill (.25 warm-up, 1.0 run, .25 cool-down, .50 walk at 6 incline)
Weights: Hit all major muscle groups. 20 minutes

Weight Loss
This Week: -1.5
To Date: - 3.5
Weight Left to lose: 6.5 lbs by the end of February

Overall Notes
Like I said, I was some what upset with my progress this week. It was tough. I ate a lot of stuff I probably shouldn't have, so I plan to reverse that this week and eat fairly decently. I also plan to kick up the workouts even more.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Fitness Log - Week 1 (2009)

Here is my first installment of my Fitness Log. I will do this every week to keep myself accountable. I'm still working through the format, but the content will be about the same each week.

Sunday, January 3
Day Off

Monday, January 4
Treadmill: 40 Minutes (1.5 mile run, walk 10 min at 6 incline)
Amped Abs Class: 15 minutes
Weights: Leg Abduction (2 sets of 20, each leg), Shoulder Press (3 sets of 10)

Tuesday, January 5
Treadmill: 20 Minutes (1 mile run, the rest walk)
Elliptical: 20 Minutes (Hill Climb)
Stair Climber: 10 Minutes
Abs: 50 Regular Crunches

Wednesday, January 6
Day Off

Thursday, January 7
Treadmill: 20 Minutes (1.5 Miles, 1 Mile Running)
Zumba Class: 45 Minutes

Friday, January 8
Fit TV - Two Yoga Classes, each about 20 minutes (Yoga/Thai Chi and Namaste Yoga)

Saturday, January 9
Elliptical: 20 Minutes (Two Hill Run)
SET Class: 60 Minutes, Weights and Cardio
Walk Missy: 20 Minutes

Weight Loss
This week: -2 lbs
To date: -2 lbs
Weight left to lose: 8 lbs by the end of Feb

Overall Notes
I am feeling like I'm starting to get back to my old workout routines. For some reason after we moved into our new house and got our dog, I had the hardest time getting to the gym. But, now I've made it an absolute priority, so it's getting easier and easier to go.

I feel like my runs are getting a little easier. I can go longer without feeling so winded and my legs aren't getting as tired early. I'm still struggling with getting my weight lifting strength back. It's coming along though.

The weight loss thing is always frustrating when I start working out hard core again. I feel like I should have lost a lot more, but I realize I've gotta build my muscle back up first, then the real pounds should start slipping away soon. We shall see!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Shall we Zumba?

Last night I tried a new class at the gym - Zumba. I was skeptical, but since it is one of the only classes than I can make it to during the week, I thought I'd give it a go.

The class started at 7:30 and people started lining up outside the doors around 7:10, which is a bit strange. I mean, could they not take a walk on the treadmill or hop on a bike for 20 minuets? Must you just stand there like a blob? I started to question my decision to go. I continued my mile run and decided to join the crowd around 7:20. I studied the group that was there and started to have serious doubts about the actual physicality of Zumba. Most of the women there were not what I would consider to be "fit". Most of them were considerably older or slightly younger than me. I figured this was just going to be a "fun" class where you wiggle your ass a bit and call it a "workout".

Once we all filed in and I secured my spot (Front row, far right the mirrors, it's my spot. Don't mess with me.) I noticed that it was a HUGE class. I also spied some girls my age who looked like they were in pretty good shape, so that gave me some hope. I've taken other dance classes from this instructor so I knew she was high energy and that proved to be the case. She explained the class to us newbs, telling us it was a "Latin dance inspired fitness class". Interesting.

Turns out that it was actually a pretty decent workout! The music was loud and very catchy. The "dance" steps were easy to pick up on and there were a fair amount of squats and jumps to make me feel like I was getting my heart rate up and doing some toning. And what can I say, it was fun to shake my money maker! I will say that the class was very fun! I love, love, love to dance so anything that incorporates dancing is right up my alley, but I also don't have countless hours to spend at the gym, so I want my workouts to be INTENSE. Zumba was no TKB (*sigh* I miss the class up north) by any means, but I think I'll continue to go to the Wednesday night class just for a fun little extra workout. I just need to make sure that I go early enough to get in a run beforehand. Zumba is one of those classes that is as hard as you want it to be. It would be pretty easy to just kind of do the moves, but if you really want to kick it into high gear, there's lots of opportunity. I think the ladies who lined up at 7:10 didn't really get this concept. But to each their own I guess. I'm kind of a gym snob...

Saturday I plan to take a 60 minute Cycle class followed immediately by a 60 minute SET class (weights and cardio), because I'm crazy.

I'm going to start updating my weekly workouts on Saturday or Sunday here on the blog. I think it will help me be more accountable. Since Zach is working nights now, I don't get to see him during the week, so there's really no rush to get home (besides to see what Missy has destroyed). I can feel myself quickly slipping back in to "psycho workout girl" mode, like I was before I got married. I love it!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Bruschetta Chicken Bake

Yesterday I was on the hunt for a quick and easy recipe that I could make. I found this recipe in one of my Kraft Food and Family magazines. It looked simple and tasty, so I tried it. We thought it was pretty good! I served it with a garden salad and some Grands biscuits.

Bruschetta Chicken Bake
from Kraft Food and Family Magazine

1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 pkg (6ox) Stove Top Stuffing Mix for Chicken
1/2 cup water
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
1 tsp dried basil leaves
1 cup Kraft 2% Milk Shredded Reduced Fat Mozzarella Cheese

Heat oven to 400 degrees, Mix tomatoes, stuffing mix, water and garlic just until stuffing is moistened.
Layer chicken, basil, cheese and stuffing in 13x9 or 3-qt baking dish.
Bake 30 min, or until chicken is cooked through.

(I just realized as I was typing this that I mixed everything together in a bowl and didn't layer it. Hmm, might turn out a little better if you do it t
he right way.)

I also had some left-over frosting from my Christmas cookies so we had some yummy graham cracker sandwiches for dessert.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2008 Recap

Well it seems only fitting to do a little recap of 2008 since all my other blogging friends have. I hope I remember all the important stuff, my calendar that has all my 'events' on it is at work.

January- I started in a new department at work. I was expecting to have to do a lot more work than I did. The first month was insanely boring. My car gets broken into at my apartment on New Years Eve and isn't fixed for nearly a month and I'm forced to drive the Stratus I drove in college. My brothers had apparently trashed it after I used it. It was torture. Zach and I star thinking about buying a house. Celebrate Mom's 50th birthday at Manny's. Feel guilty for not throwing a party.

February- Most of the month was spent house hunting. Every weekend was spent driving around Lee's Summit and hours were spent obsessing over house listings online. Went to the Matchbox Twenty/Alianas Morisette concert at the Sprint Center with Jessica. Celebrate Valentine's Day with Zach at Accurso's. Find two houses we want, but someone else gets them first. Find "Our House", make an unbelievable offer and it gets accepted. Successful home inspection. The waiting game begins. Celebrate Zach's birthday, but neither of us can remember what we did.

March- Go to the Carrie Underwood/Keith Urban concert with Jill and Kristy. It was amazing. Jump through a million hoops to get our house. Can't close on the house because the paperwork was done for the wrong home. Can't close on the house because the bank didn't fax over the correct paperwork. Finally close on the house with a few hours to spare before losing it completely. Celebrate with dinner at The Peachtree.

April- Paint the master bedroom and office. Move into brand new house. Love every bit of it. Get a huge tax return. Decide to get a privacy fence. Find an unbelievable deal on fence. Run the Trolley Run. Fall in love with running races. Zach loses his job before we even make our first mortgage payment. Stressful.

May- Zach finds new job with great flexible hours. Zach studies for test for work all the time. I decide I want a puppy. Spend hours online looking for the perfect dog to adopt. Find Misty at Wayside Waifs. Drag Zach to meet her. She's not there. She's filming a movie. Put our name on waiting list. Go to Sioux Falls for Alicia's (Zach's sister) graduation and bridal shower that I hosted. Get the call that Misty is ours. Run out and buy books, toys, kennel, food, collar and leash for new puppy. Meet Misty for the first time and change her name to Missy. Fall in love. Sleepless nights and hours of crying after she gets sick 3 days after bringing her home. Spend lots of money at the vet.

June- Run the Hospital Hill 5K on my 27th birthday. Vow to complete the 10K next year. Celebrate birthday with McDonalds fries, shopping and dinner with Zach at Minsky's. Eat delicious Dairy Queen ice cream cake. Go to Sioux Falls for Alicia's wedding. End up coordinating wedding and decide to do look into starting an event planning business. Stain my gorgeous red dress and cry hysterically when the dry cleaner can't get the stain out.

July- Celebrate the 4th at my aunt's house. Cuddle with cousins new baby. Erica moves back to KC from Colorado. Host a welcome home party for her at my house on the hottest day of the year.

August- Take Missy to the lake. She swims for the first time and I get in the lake for the first time in almost 7 years. Went to the new LS pool and float around the lazy river. Realize I'm old. Go to my first Nebraska football game.

September- Paint the Dining Room and kitchen. Love the color. Take Missy to "Strutt With Your Mutt". Longest walk ever. Paint the downstairs landing. Hate the color. Repaint landing and hallway.

October- Run the KC Marathon (5K) sicker than a dog. Feel like a loser running a 5K at a marathon. Vow to run the 1/2 marathon next year. Celebrate my 1 year wedding anniversary with Zach at The American Restaurant. Realize they packed the wrong layer of my wedding cake. Zach loses his job. Again. His family comes to visit.

November- Paint the living room and entryway. It looks so much better than the horrible white walls. Dread watching the news. Vote for a new president and he gets elected. Go to another Nebraska game. This time they beat Kansas. Celebrate Thanksgiving at my aunts house. Go shopping on Black Friday for the first time. Decide it's overrated. Decorate my new house for Christmas. It looked beautiful.

December- Zach gets new job. Doesn't start until January. Carefully budget money. Host a baby shower for my cousin. Go to The Nutcracker with my mom and brother's girlfriends. Go to The Radio City Christmas Spectacular show featuring The Rockettes. Love it. Spend my first Christmas away from home, in Sioux Falls. Watch housing prices in our nighborhood plummet to insanely low prices. Spy on everyone who comes to look at them. Prepare to ring in the new year with dinner at Chili's with Zach and Erica and Guitar Hero at home.

So, I guess 2008 had it's definite ups and downs. Next year should be much better.

My resolutions (first ever!)
-Lose 10 pounds
-Spend more time with Zach
-Drastically reduce my sugar intake and up my water consumption
-Run the KC 1/2 marathon.

Happy 2009 People!

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Greenwood, Missouri, United States