Five on Good Friday

Happy Good Friday!!

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I thank the Queen for giving us Good Friday and Easter Monday off of work!

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1. Good Friday.

Good Friday always reminds me of my first job in high school at Barnacle Bill’s, a seafood restaurant. Every Friday during Lent, and especially Easter Weekend we were crazy busy. We were all like a little family there so the busy buzz of the restaurant actually made it really fun working weekend. Good ol’ carefree high school days!

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2. Protein pancakes

I recently found some cookies and cream protein powder and decided to throw it in to my oatmeal pancakes to give it more of a protein punch.  We have some chocolate protein powder but its nothing special, cookies and cream makes these so good! I usually top mine with some sliced bananas and cinnamon.

I use a 1/4 cup of oatmeal, 1/4 cup of 0% Fage yogurt, an egg white and about half a scoop of protein powder, delish!

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3. Easter lunch

Tomorrow we are going over to Greg’s Armenian Aunt’s house for an Easter lunch.  She is seriously the best cook AND the best baker and cooks the most delicious Middle Eastern cuisine.  She used to be a professional cake maker and is just an amazing cook as well.  Their culture is the more you eat the happier she is because it’s a compliment to her cooking, and there is always so much, so we always leave with happy bellies!

4. Four months today till the wedding!

Today is exactly four months until our wedding!! We still haven’t decided on our first dance song, so I welcome any suggestions!

Check out my child looking chalkboard art.

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5. Sunrise service

I loved going to our Church’s Easter sunrise service on Easter Sunday growing up.  Being outside as the sun is rising for the Easter sermon was always a highlight for me, I think the free glazed doughnuts helped too!  Unfortunately there is a 90% chance of rain tomorrow morning, so it looks like it is going to be rain instead of sun filled morning.

Hope you all have a great Easter weekend!

Any fun Easter weekend plans?

First dance song recommendations? 

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Five on Friday- “Backstreet’s back, alright!”

1.  Backstreet Boys! Greg got me ticket’s to see the Backstreet Boys for my birthday and we finally got to go see them.  Although I was definitely way more of an N’SYNC fan growing up, I did like me some Backstreet Boys. The concert was good, although they must have just released a new CD and I didn’t know any of their new songs, but the classics were definitely a hit!

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2.  Public Health Day  I was asked to be the nutritionist of the day at a local town’s Public Health Day.  I really enjoyed getting to talk to so many people about nutrition.  The day flew by and definitely beat my office admin day job! I met some people that were interested in having a nutritionist come to their businesses to give their staff healthy eating advice so hopefully it will bring some good experience my way.

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3. The original Cookie Butter!   I wasWAY late jumping on the Cookie Butter, and  since Trader Joe’s is unfortunately not in the UK, I heard about the original cookie butter that I can buy here!  I have had the Lotus cookies before and they are amazing and this spread is just as good.  It’s super rich so a little dab does the job!

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4. Venison  We recently discovered venison meatballs, steaks, and sausages sold at our grocery store.  I wasn’t too sure how I felt about venison, I used to have it as a kid at my grandparents during deer hunting season and I don’t think I really cared for it then, so I was a bit wary.  The meatballs were on sale so we decided to try them.  They come with a little packet of sauce similar to spaghetti sauce, and ya’ll, they were amazzzzzzing.  So good I want to eat them every night of the week, I think the sauce really takes them to another level.  We just bought the sausages and steaks to try.  I don’t think they have any sauce with them so we shall see how they compare.

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5. Sweet potato love  I am a creature of habit and have been having roasted sweet potatoes, asparagus, and mushrooms with so many of our dinners lately.

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Growing up in Texas, I pretty much lived off of refried bean and cheese tacos, Taco Cabana anyone?!  As much as I love tortillas, they are made with white flour and lard so I thought I would put my beloved beans and cheese on some leftover roasted sweet potatoes for some more nutritional value instead.  They are the perfect after work snack and a few bites is all I need to get my fix.  You can take the girl out of Texas…….

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N’SYNC or Backstreet Boys? 

Do you like venison? 

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Five on Friday- Get yo booty movin’!

Seriously how fast is this year going by? Rah-diculous!  Can’t believe there are only a few days left of March.   Spring is definitely here and it’s so nice to see all the pretty flowers blooming on trees.

We have to change our clocks forward this weekend, we normally do it about a week later than the States, but this year has been about 3.  It’s been nice only having a 4 & 7 hour time difference to talk to my fam.  The only good thing about losing an hour of sleep is longer days and shorter nights means summer time is almost here!

Mother’s Day is on Sunday here in the UK, and Greg is an April Fool’s baby, so lot’s of celebrations goin’ on! His ‘Mum’s’ 70th birthday is in May and we are surprising her with a trip to Paris to go to the French Open.  We want to make sure she doesn’t try and make any other plans so we are going to surprise her with the gift for Mother’s Day.  He got her a cheese board that slides open to where the knives are and is going to put the ticket there, and I’m going to wrap some French cheese for her to go with it, ha!

So on to gettin my booty movin’, the only race we had considered running this year was the  Las Vegas Rock n Roll half marathon, the insane entry fee last year was $185.  In January they sent out a special for $99 if we wanted to register for this year.  We weren’t sure if it would even be possible only a few months after the wedding, but we thought we might as well enter while the prices are so much cheaper.  We were checking out flight and hotel prices a couple weeks ago, and they were so cheap that we had to jump on the opportunity.  So we’re all booked up now and we’re goin back to Vegas!

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2. 5K Electric Run 

I’ve heard about this run, and after seeing it on The Bachelor it looked like a lot of fun!

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2. Nike Women’s 10K

This is also a night run in Central London, Nike have partnered with Elle for this women’s only run.  I’ve never participated in a night run before, but I’m excited to run around London with my friends at night!

NR 3. Royal Parks Half Marathon

This race takes place in the fall and is through central London and all the famous sights.  The entry is done through a ballot so it’s really hard to get into, we applied last year and didn’t get in, and applied again this year thinking the same would happen.  Well, I got a place, but Greg didn’t.  Luckily he found a way to get a spot through a charity, so we are run-ning! (Forrest Gump style)

The only worrying thing is, the race is exactly a month after we get back from our honeymoon, so that means training right up to the wedding and during our honeymoon.  I guess getting some long runs in around Maui wouldn’t be such a bad thing though!

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5. Spin  One of my good friends I went to school with here got her certification to teach spin, it was fun to take her class and see her teach.  I hadn’t taken a spin class in 5+ years, the saddle soreness kills me! Does that ever go away?!  

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Spin- love it or hate it? 

Do you have any races planned for this year? 

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Gimme sum Vitamin D & Cranberry Pecan Rye Bread

Hey Peeps!

The sun has been shining in London!  It’s supposed to be nice all week and up in the 60′s mid week, can I get a hallelujah for some Vitamin D!

We have different books left in our office kitchen for sale at a cheaper price, and one of them piqued my interest.

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It had some pretty interesting information on what can happen to us during winter months when we can have lower levels of Vitamin D, which I think is currently affecting me!

Since Vitamin D and Serotonin (a chemical in our brains that controls intestinal movements, our mood, hunger, and sleep)  go hand in hand, when Vitamin D is low, so is Serotonin.  When our bodies are low in Serotonin, our mood drops and our bodies often experience cravings to increase these levels.   The book goes on to explain “Many carbohydrate foods are rich in Tryptophan, the pre-cursor to serotonin,  which could explain reaching for starchy foods, bread, pasta, and pastries which then cause imbalances in blood sugar levels which further increases appetite and cravings.”

Some good Tryptophan food sources that aren’t the sugary filled carbohydrates we crave, are turkey (as Thanksgiving has taught us)  chicken, egg, yogurt, and cheese.  The author suggests eating these foods with a little carbohydrate such as a banana, oats, potatoes, or fresh fruit juice to help Tryptophan cross the blood-brain and aid in it’s absorption, interesting stuff!

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Another part that was really interesting to me since I know I drink way too much caffeine was the Coffee: Friend or Foe? section.  This chapter was for people that have issues sleeping, me!  and suggested cutting out caffeine.  I struggle to shut off when I try to go to sleep and started taking Tylenol PM to help, but they just left me feeling really groggy all the time, and definitely didn’t want to get into the habit of that.

I never thought about how much caffeine I was actually drinking, 3-4 cups of coffee a day and 2-3 diet sodas = way too much! It makes sense as to why I always feel like my brain won’t shut off before bed with all that caffeine to keep it wired.  Definitely need to make a conscious effort to cut back there.  I bought some decaf coffee, so that’s a start!

So on to the Cranberry Pecan Rye Bread!

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I followed this recipe, but cut it in half knowing I’d be the only one eating it.

Cranberry-Pecan Rye Soda Bread

1 cup (125 grams) whole wheat flour
1 cup (125 grams) rye flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (50 grams) pecan halves, chopped
1/4 cup (28 grams)  dried cranberries
1/3  cup (80 ml)  plain yogurt
1/2 cup  (125 ml) milk

Preheat your oven to 200 C (400 F) and dust a baking tray with some flour.

In a large bowl stir together the flours, baking soda, salt, chopped pecans and cranberries. Add the milk and yogurt and stir together to form a cohesive dough (you many need a splash more milk to get it to come together).

Pour the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and shape with your hands into a rough ball. Place onto the baking sheet, sprinkle with some extra flour and score a cross shape in the top of the loaf.

Bake for 40-50 minutes until darkened and the loaf sounds hollow when the underside is tapped.

Let cool for 10 minutes before tearing apart.

It’s a very heavy bread, so a little dab will do you! I loved the pecan/cranberry combo in a bread.  It only has 8 ingredients, so it’s super easy and quick to make.

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Do you have any noticeable diet/mood changes during the winter months? Does caffeine affect your sleep?  

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5 on Valentine’s Day Friday

1. We aren’t really Valentine’s Day celebrators, but we still like to have an excuse for a dinner date night!  We usually go out a day or two before to avoid the crowds and ridiculous priced menus but there was a new burger place we found that we really wanted to try.  I didn’t think a burger dinner would be a popular Valentine’s Day dinner, I was wrong! The place we originally wanted to go to had an hour wait, and it was only about 615.  So we decided to check out another really good burger place that I hadn’t been to in over a year,  and luckily didn’t have very long to wait. Meat Liquor!

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What is Valentine’s without dessert right? There is a steakhouse in one of the Marriot’s here that serve USDA beef.  I took Greg there one year for his birthday.  They also claim to have the best cheesecake on this side of the pond, but we didn’t get to try it then.  We were only about a mile away last night,  so I suggested we start walking off our dinner to make room for dessert!

cheesecake

They have a little cafe before you actually go into the restaurant that also serves the cheesecake so we went there to share one.  It was really good, but mainly all crust which is my favorite part anyway!  The good thing about being out in central London is you have to walk everywhere which is a plus after our indulgent night!

Did anyone see Yahoo!’s auto generated Valentine’s Day email’s?! There was a red heart button next to the compose an email, so I clicked it and there was a drop down that you could select from which were crazy in love, friendly love, and all outta love.  I selected crazy in love and this is an example of one of them:

” My dearest darling,

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. The warmth of your love could protect me from the harshest winter. A hundred years together would not be enough. You shine more brightly than all of the stars in the sky.

Here’s lookin’ at you, kid.

Pamela”

Hilarious! I had to send a few to Greg, haha!

2.  What’s up with this winter!

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According to the weather channel, since last night we have been getting about 30mph winds.  It sounds like it’s much stronger than that, and am just waiting for our living room doors to blow open any minute.  We have been getting so much rain lately too.  Apparently this has been the wettest winter in 250 years and there has been crazy flooding all around the country.  I hope this isn’t a foreshadow of this!

1My mom lives in Maryland and she has been sending me pictures every day of the ridiculous amount of snow that they have been getting.

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Baby snowman she made with peanut arms! photo 4

3. Nutrition 101

I was recently invited to give a talk to members of a local charity on basic nutrition information.  I was pretty nervous for most the few weeks before preparing for it.  You never know how people are going to take you, but luckily everyone was very friendly, so it definitely helped my nerves.  The more practice the better right!

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4.  Sugar 101

My eating unfortunately took a turn for the worse.  I’m such an emotional eater, and my nerves were all over the place!  I woke up last Sunday morning craving cinnamon rolls, so cinnamon rolls I had!

cinnamonrollsThere were also birthdays at work, so saying no to a piece, or two, of cream cheese frosted carrot cake was next to impossible!  I’ve been looking into the 21 day sugar detox diet.  I seriously think I’m addicted to sugar, once I have something sweet it’s very hard to stop myself from having a second or third helping.  I’ve been trying to eat lots more veggies and protein to keep my hunger in check and once Valentine’s Day is over I think it’s best to avoid processed sugars for awhile!

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5.  Wedding planning

We are pretty much exactly 6 months out! Seriously can’t believe how quick the time is going.  The last big thing we are doing is our wedding cake.  The only issue we have is we want our bottom tier to be chocolate and the top two to be vanilla so not sure how that will work out.  I’ve sent this picture to the bakery that will be making it, and am waiting to hear back that hopefully they can do it!

weddingcake

We are going with a rustic theme and loved this cake and thought it would go perfectly!

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Do you celebrate Valentine’s?

Any sugar detoxing advice? 

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Weekend Revelations and GO SEAHAWKS!

The Super Bowl is finally here! So excited the Seahawks made it to the Super Bowl and would be even more awesome if they win!!  Being able to go to the game in Seattle where they won the division was so fun, and such an amazing atmosphere.  The only downside is the game doesn’t start until 11:30pm here, womp womp. So I’ll have a nice 4 hour nap after the game before work!

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I’m so jealous of all the fun Super Bowl parties everyone is having.  I guess missing out on all the indulging is probably a good thing, like my cousin’s snack stadium!

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Walk it out

I’ve been wearing a pedometer every day for about 6 months now.  My boss wore one and she had a spare so she gave it to me.  I have always been curious as to how many steps a day I take.  For the average stride, a mile is just over 2000 steps.  I always try to get at least 10,000 steps a day but prefer getting in 12,000.

This was from last Tuesday last week:

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Instead of taking the bus to work I walked to the train station which is about a mile walk.  I took four flights of stairs to the office.  Tuesdays are always crazy at work so I was definitely walking around the building a lot more than normal, and I also took advantage of my hour long lunch break and spent it walking around the shopping mall by work. After work I went to the gym and ran a little over 3 miles, and then walked the mile from the gym home.  What a day! I couldn’t believe I walked close to 12 miles!  Little things like not taking the bus and walking to the station, taking the stairs, making sure to take a walk on my lunch break all add up and really make a big difference.

Then it’s the weekend:

photo (2)I know it’s 2 hours earlier than the one on Tuesday, but I’m currently parked on the couch, so I won’t be moving a lot in the next few hours.  That total also includes a 3 mile run at the gym today.  So the weekends I don’t go to the gym my totals are only around 2-3000!  It’s interesting to see the huge difference and I definitely need to try and figure out some more ways to get moving on the weekends.

My Diet Bet finally finished, and just found out my winnings!

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The bet was $30 to enter, so it was a $10 profit.  Not a lot, but free money is free money, and much better than losing $30!

Seahawks or Broncos? Doing anything fun for the Super Bowl? 

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5 On Friday

One: Pike Place Roast Instant Coffee!!photo (1)So happy they now do instant packets!  Since we don’t have a coffee maker and the coffee press is way too time consuming, this is a much easier way to get my taste of Seattle.  I also discovered all Starbucks serve the Pike Place Roast as one of their brewed coffees, even here in London!

Two: Insanity – Upper body weight training

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I only found this DVD hidden at the back of the box recently, and it’s a great full body workout even though it mainly targets the upper body.  Each set has a cardio and abs component and really gets your heart pumping.  I don’t have any of my own dumbbells so I use the ones Greg used as a teenager, they are so heavy!

I only have 6 days of my Diet Bet left and I’ve already hit my goal weight, so hopefully I’ll be able to maintain or just keep losing till weigh in day!

Three: Girls! Season 3 just started here in the UK so I’m glad my Friday night is free to finally catch up.  Shoshanna and that rocking chair cracked me up!

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Four: Family Skype time!

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The only time I get to talk to my family on West Coast is on the weekends due to the 8 hour time difference.  My Mom lives on the East Coast so luckily it’s only a 5 hour difference so I usually get to talk to her everyday.  I love being able to Skype and see each other,  I always make her show me our dog and cats, and since it’s been snowing like crazy there it’s neat to see her snow covered yard!

Five: Hawaii!!

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We are in the process of planning our honeymoon.  We were originally thinking of spending our entire time in Maui, but now we think we may spend a week in Maui and 3 days in Honolulu.  It’s so exciting to read about all the fun snorkeling, hiking, outdoorsy things to do.  If anyone has any recommendations for things to do, see, or eat on either island, please let me know!

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