Monthly Archives: August 2012

My foodie pen pal–August

Lindsay over at The Lean Green Bean started this awesome thing called foodie pen pals. I heard about it thru Healthy Living Blogs and immediately signed up for August. Basically, you send someone a box of goodies and someone else sends you a box of goodies.

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The rules are pretty simple: The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written.

Here is what I sent to Robin (a reader) in Michigan. . .

Angie’s Kettle Corn – made in Mankato, MN –>totally addicting. Scott and I have been known to polish a bag in less than a day. Smile 

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Ortega Taco Seasoning with a recipe for Mexican Chicken Breasts (aka Taco Chicken)

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Annie’s Garden Jalapeno Dip Mix – made in WI. Great dip for crackers or veggies.

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An assortment of my favorite Fiber One Bars, Luna Bars and a Lara Bar.

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And a pack of Extra Dessert Delights – Root Beer Float

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And finally a cute card!

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All packed up and ready to go!

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And here is what Robin thought about her box of goodies:

This was my first time doing Foodie Pen Pals, so I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect, but it sounded fun!  Katie was an awesome pen pal!  I was so excited when I saw the box from her in my mailbox!  It’s hard to say what the best thing in the box was, but I was very excited about a recipe she sent me for Mexican Chicken breasts, and can’t wait to try it. 🙂

And my foodie pen pals were Colleen and Graziella from Baltimore Foodie Baby. They have a really cute blog, where Graziella (the Baltimore Foodie Baby) helps Mom (Colleen) make yummy recipes and then tries them out.

I got lots of good stuff in my goodie box. Check it out!

A super cute card with a picture of Graziella helping in the kitchen.

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Homemade blueberry jam

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Berger cookies – which I was warned to have a large glass of milk close by

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Old Bay Seasoning – apparently good on everything! Including popcorn!!!

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‘UTZ’ potato chips with crab seasoning

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RPSs – Rolo Pretzel Sandwiches –>ummm deliciousness Winking smile 

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I opened the box, went to get my camera to come back and take pictures and this is what I come back to. . . Scott breaking into the RPSs.

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A BIG thank you to Colleen and Graziella for a great 1st experience with foodie pen pals. Smile 

Are you a foodie pen pal? If not, and you are interested, check out Lindsay’s blog at The Lean Mean Green – both bloggers and readers can participate.

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Sugar Cookie Bars with Pink frosting

I saw this recipe on Friday Favorites by Kristin at Iowa Girl Eats. And knew I had to make it! Sugar cookies. Yes. Frosting. Yes. Pink frosting. YES! Smile 

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So so so so good. Delicious chewy sugar cookie base with a sugary sweet frosting. And made PINK by a few drops of red food coloring. Winking smile 

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Here’s the recipe:

For the cookie bars:
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
5 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

For the Frosting
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of sea salt
4 cups powdered sugar
5 Tablespoons milk

1. For the cookie bars:

Instructions

1. For the cookie bars: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Line a rimmed 10 x 15-inch (or 9×9-inch brownie pan) with parchment paper; set aside.

3. In the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

4. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

5. Add the vanilla.

6. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda, mixing well.

7. Reduce the mixer speed to low, and slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Mix until thoroughly combined.

8. Using a rubber spatula, evenly spread the cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheet (or brownie pan).

9. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. (They should be light golden brown).

10. Let cool completely.

11. For the frosting: In the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

12. Add the vanilla and salt, mixing well.

13. Reduce the mixer speed to low and carefully add the confectioners’ sugar, one cup at a time.

14. Add the milk and mix until smooth.

15. Add your desired amount of food color (if using) and mix until incorporated.

16. Frost and decorate as desired onto the cookie bars.

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Weekend update: 8/26/12

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Quick run in the rain to stretch out my legs after running 7 miles on Thursday and walking around the fair for 5 hours on Friday!

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First night in the crib ***dramatic re-enactment during naptime

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all dressed up for Brynn’s 1st birthday party!

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Laying on my back is so yesterday

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. . .still trying to figure the whole rolling over thing though.

***Edited to add: Luke rolled over today (Monday)! Smile 

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Sunday morning in my jumper. . . *I just love his little bear feet. Smile

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PicMonkey Collage

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And I think someone was looking for attention this morning. . . the first baby toy to pay the price. poor turtle tail! I am actually really surprised this hasn’t happened until now, because a lot of baby toys are similar to dog toys. But Abby has been pretty good leaving Luke’s toys alone and just playing with hers. . . I guess the hot pink turtle tail was just too temping. Winking smile 

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All that chewing is tiring work.

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Nap time in the swing. . . I know he should be starting to take naps in his crib, but I also know that his time in the swing is limited so I can’t help but let him sleep in there for now – especially cause he is so stinkin’ cute.

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Luke’s new favorite thing is to turn himself sideways at his piano bar activity mat and put his feet up on the bar.

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Overall, another good weekend, just hanging around home. After being at the Fair on Friday, it was good to relax and get stuff done around the house (laundry and cleaning bottles never ends!). And I don’t think it will ever get old to watch Luke continue to discover new things every day.

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The Fair–2012

On Friday, we took a trip to the Minnesota State Fair. It was actually Luke’s second time going. . . but I think he probably had more fun this time!

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We went with Uncle Adam.

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It was HOT! But the baby did really well, hanging out in the stroller for most of the day. And even took a nap or two.

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And of course there was food!

We had:

a corn dog

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corn on the cob

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University of Minnesota Dairy Barn Vanilla Milk Shake

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Pina Colada drink in a whole pineapple

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Formula

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Sunnies in a boat – with an awesome raspberry tartar sauce –> just like last year!

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mini doughnuts

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Frozen strawberry key lime pie covered in white chocolate

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And we walked around

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checked out the Jeep display

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played with our feet

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And my favorite attraction: The Princess Kay of the Milky Way Butter heads. They take huge blocks of butter and carve the Princesses of the fair into them. Super cool! Literally. Winking smile 

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Another great year at the Fair.

On the bus on the way back to the car. . .

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And the car ride home. . .

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Weekend Update: 8/19/12

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*Did you see my new heading??? Many thanks to PBFingers for her awesome post on blogging tips and my new best friend – PicMonkey!

*And I updated my ‘About Me’ Page – check it out!

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4 months!

Luke turned 4 months old on Thursday. On one hand, I just can’t believe he is 4 months old already, and on the other hand, it seems like he has been part of our lives forever.

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Likes: Drinking his bottle, putting everything in his mouth, sleeping in his swing, bouncing in his bouncer, bath time, showers with Dad, watching and touching Abby (the feeling is not quite mutual yet!)

Dislikes: immunizations, wet diapers, being hungry or tired

Nicknames: Lukie, Mr. Luke, Bunkie

Looking forward to: rolling over, starting solids, sleeping thru the night! Smile 

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My new favorite website

Have you checked out The Meta Picture?

It is seriously hilarious. Go there if you need a laugh.

Here are some of my recent favorites: ScreenHunter_01 Aug. 18 18.15ScreenHunter_02 Aug. 18 18.16

 

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***Disclaimer: some things on this website are NOT funny and can be vulgar. Just an FYI for you! Smile

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Weekend Update: 8/12/12

 

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My morning –> perfection (baby, puppy, latte!)

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where Abby hangs out when one of us is sleeping in . . . (outside the bedroom door)

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Perfect fuel for a morning run

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9 miles –> new post-baby long run!

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Afternoon baking project

but first comes nap time. . .

step 1: snuggling

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step 2: sleeping

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Getting my box of goodies put together for my foodie pen pal (more on this later!)

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Getting prepared for teething with Sophie the giraffe

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Salted oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

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And sugar cookie bars with pink frosting (recipe and details to come this week!)

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Hope you had a great weekend too! Smile

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Running favs (right now)

Running has been going so well since having a baby, better than I could have ever expected or hoped for. Scott and I are already working on increasing our mileage in anticipation for the Des Moines Half Marathon in October, which is awesome – both in the fact that it is really nice to have a partner to do long runs with and that I am feeling good and not too tired to complete longer runs!

Here is a list of my recent favorite things about running. . .

1. HOT runs .. . Don’t get me wrong,  I love me some cold winter snowing runs, but there is something for running in the HOT summer sun and sweating more than you thought possible – and afterwards – a cold shower never felt so good!

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2. Increasing mileage – 8 miles last weekend… new post-baby record!

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3. HIIT

High – intensity – interval – training. I hadn’t done anything like it before the Fitnessista Summer Shape Up 2012. I really like it. It makes you sweat like crazy, helps increase speed and intensity of runs, and the time flies by when you are doing it. I only do it on the treadmill cause I really like to be able to control my speed and timing. I do 1:30 easy and :30 hard: for 15-30 minutes. Perfect for fitting in a quick –shorter- workout after work!

4. Running with my husband

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I had no idea how much we would be able to run together after the baby was here and before we could bring him with us in the jogging stroller. Thankfully, we have Grandma and lots of Aunts who love to watch him while we are at the Lake or the teenage girl next door who loves to babysit too.

5. Ok this really isn’t a current thing, but I am already super excited about being able to take Luke out running with us in the jogging stroller when he gets bigger. Smile I think the recommendation is 6 months – so hopefully will be able to get in some nice fall runs before snow and winter comes in MN.

What are you loving about the workouts you are doing right now???

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Party Pretzels

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So I have a super easy, super tasty recipe for you. Perfect for a snack or to take to a party. I got the recipe from my Mother-in-Law who brings it to every party and she gets so many request for the recipe.

Here it is:

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You take a big bag of pretzel twists.

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Put them in a big bowel or container.

Sprinkle with Italian Salad Dressing Mix

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And drizzle with 1/2 bottle of Orville Redenbacher’s ‘popping and topping’ Buttery flavor popcorn oil 

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And mix it all together.

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You want to let it sit for 2-3 days to soak up all the goodness from the seasonings and oil. So either shake or mix the pretzels once or twice a day.

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And then on the 3rd day – get ready for some super flavorful, deliciousness. Smile 

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Be careful, you won’t be able to stop at just one!

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