Monthly Archives: March 2014

24DC

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Advocare 24 Day Challenge.

Day 1: today. Let’s do this.

Updates to come. Smile

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Friday Favorites: 3/28/14

Oh man, I am SO excited.

#1 – it’s Friday.

#2 – I am heading to Chicago to spend the weekend with my best blends. Expect lots of instagram photos this weekend. Smile

So of course, these ladies are Friday Favorite #1 –> Becky, Melanie and Caroline.

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Also on my list this week, a few cool ideas from this website.

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And honey teddy grahams –> so good! Best when eaten on the couch while snuggling with a puppy who has no concept of personal space or any idea how big her butt really is. ..

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This kid, who, while we were checking out things at the new house, found a bag of trail mix, dumped it out, and then proceeded to eat all the M and M’s out of it and nothing else. . . yup, he’s totally mine. Winking smile

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Teaching a new (to me) BODYPUMP release – 80. It was awesome. I love it. Now, onto learning 89!

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House progress. ..

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Jamberry nails and my all-time favorite candy.

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What are you up to this weekend? Favorites from the week?

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Salted Caramel Blondies

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I think salt and caramel has to be my all time favorite combination. Don’t get me wrong, peanut butter and chocolate is pretty amazing too. But salted caramel anything will win me over every time. And these bars are no exception.

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These are thick and dense with a perfect cake meets bar consistency. The salted caramel layer adds just the right amount of sweetness and chewiness to it. I made a big batch of these to take over to the new house one afternoon while Scott and Matt were working. When I came back home, I couldn’t stop sneaking “tastes” from the pan. So good.

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Salted Caramel Blondies
recipe inspiration from Roxana’s Home Baking

Ingredients

For the bottom layer:

  • 1 cup butter (room temperature)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda

For the middle:

  • 11 oz (1 bag) caramels
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk

For the top layer:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • sea salt

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 350. Line an 9×13 pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a mixing bowl cream butter with sugar. Add eggs and vanilla extract.
  3. Add flour and baking soda.
  4. Spread the mixture on the bottom of the prepared baking pan.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes.
  6. For the middle layer: In a small saucepan combine the caramels and evaporated milk. Melt over low heat, stirring constantly.
  7. Pour over the half baked crust.
  8. Sprinkle with sea salt.
  9. To make the top blondie layer mix butter, sugar, eggs and flour together. Crumble it over the caramel layer.
  10. Return the pan to the oven and bake for 30-35 more minutes. The middle should be set and top layer has the look of baked sugar cookies.
  11. As soon as you take the blondies out of the oven, sprinkle a pinch of salt on top.
  12. Leave to cool completely in the pan before cutting into squares.
  13. Try not to eat the whole pan in one sitting. Winking smile 

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TYT #9–Freezer Meals Update

So last Tuesday, I told you about all those freezer meals that Laura and I made. . .

Well, I already have checked out 2 of them and I am here to report back!

Meal #1 – cheesy chicken chalupas.

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I was a bit worried about this one. Laura had made it earlier in the week and said that she thought it was super onion-y but that her boyfriend really liked it. I’m not a huge fan of the raw onion flavor. .. but I was pleasantly surprised. I didn’t think it was too onion-y at all. The flavor was good. I thawed it in the fridge overnight and then followed the cooking directions and it turned out perfectly. IMHO, it needed salsa, so I am glad I had that on hand.

I also paired it with these Food Should Taste Good Jalapeño chips that the company sent me to check out

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<—great decision! The chips have a great spicy kick to them and pair with these perfectly. I would only get these chips though if you like spice – by the end of the meal my mouth was on fire. . . in a good way. Smile 

Overall grade for freezer meal = B+. It was a good (not great) meal, easy to prepare, went from freezer to oven well.

Meal #2 – Pizza Casserole

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Again, thawed in the fridge overnight and then baked for about an hour.

Paired with lots of salad = dinner.

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Overall grade = A-

Next time I would take out the ground beef and just do our favorite pizza toppings – pepperoni and pineapple. But it was a really good freezer meal.

More updates coming soon. Planning to make chicken cacciatore next!

And I am linking up with Becky for Treat Yourself Tuesday because I think that meal prep/freezer meals are a great way to treat your future self. Smile

Finally, I never heard from my winner for the Apera Bags giveaway –> so I picked someone new! Ashley, please email me at running4cupcakes@gmail.com and we will get you your new bag!

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Weekend Update: 3/23/14

This weekend was filled with lots of fun things. . .

Time in the kitchen – maple almond butter and cookies

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Lunch at Panera with my boys.

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Writing thank you cards.

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This. and yes, it’s already gone. Winking smile 

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Lazy morning with cute new PJs.

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Followed by lots of errands for the house. We went to every home improvement store in town, and I think Luke rode on all the riding lawnmowers.

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Treadmill time, while watching my newest obsession – Pretty Little Liars.

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And couch/play time.

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Weekend perfection.

What were you up to?

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Friday Favorites: 3/21/14

Friday. So happy. That is all. Smile

Here are my favs from this week. . .

BODYPUMP! I taught BODYPUMP 4 times this week. My normal M/W night class and then I subbed for the T/TH 5:30am class. And man, I am tuckered out. But in a “I killed it this week” kind of a way. . . And it is nice to feel that way!

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Spark sampler pack from Becky. Already have tried fruit punch and grape. Both delicious. I credit grape spark for getting me through my 4th BODYPUMP class without dying!

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BOGO at Caribou. #happiness

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Peanut butter + banana. My favorite part of lunch this week.

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This.

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The last snow. Since this will (hopefully) be our last snow fall until next year, I decided to embrace and enjoy it. I wore my thick cozy sweater and took pictures of Abby being a snow puppy.

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Cool down walk after our run. Love holding hands with this guy.

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What are your favorites from this week?

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Spreading the link love by linking up with Heather and Claire again this week.

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Thursday Confessions IV

#1. I can never remember how to spell calendar. I always want to switch the “e” with an “a”.

#2. I also always have to remind myself “i before e except after c” when spelling receive <– yup just totally said it in my head while typing it.

#3. I wish hashtags had spell checker.  

#4. I hate how long it takes me to fill up my water bottle at work. The water stream is soooooo slow. <—totally random but I think about it every time.

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#5. All those “healthy” recipes for a shamrock shake just made me super hungry for the real thing.

#6. Building our house is super exciting and I am super thankful, but I am also REALLY looking forward to some weekends where we have nothing to do, other than eat fro yo!

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What do you need to confess today?

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Thankful

So, I have been quite the complainer lately. . . How much painting sucks, how busy we are trying to get everything with the house done, I even complained about our vacation because of that darn whale watching trip. . . Well, I am done complaining today because you know what?? The fact that I have all of these things to complain about, means that I am so blessed. And so today, I am doing a thankful post. All of the things that I am thankful for in my life lately that make life great and worth the hassle, long days and being busy!

1. My Husband. . .you guys, I seriously don’t know where I would be without this guy by my side. He has been a rock star with the house, being a Dad, working full time and is always amazing at checking in with me to make sure I am still doing ok. I appreciate and love him more than I think he will ever know.

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2. cute baby – again, how did I get so lucky? Waking up to his smiling face every day (ok, most days.  . ). This morning, I was rubbing his back and I squeezed his booty and said “who’s booty is this?” and without even opening his eyes, but smiling, he said “Lukie’s.” Heart melting every day.

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3. new house – I feel so fortunate that we are in a place in our lives that we can build a new house. And while it is 100% stressful and busy, it is also so much fun and so exciting. And I can’t wait for all the new memories that will be made in this new house.

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5. bodypump – this is awesome for 2 reasons, #1 – I get paid to work out and #2. I get to teach the best class ever. I can be having the worst day and within the first few beats of the warm up song = total turn around. It just makes me so happy. And I feel so good when I am done with that hour. And since I have been teaching it for a while now, I have my regulars bodypumpers and it is just so nice to see them every week.

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6. my treadmill – when we moved into our townhome, we didn’t know where we should put the treadmill. We finally decided to drag it all the way upstairs into the office. And I am SO glad we did that. I have put on quite a few miles this COLD winter and am so thankful that my run is just steps from my bed.

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7. running – ahhh my main stress reliever. And all that running helps to offset my sweet tooth that has been going crazy on the weekends!

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8. weekends – I am thankful that I have a job where I only have to work about one weekend a month and I have that time to dedicate towards working on the house, hanging with Luke and laundry!

9. family – both Scott and I have such wonderful families. Both of our parents have given up multiple weekends already to help with the house. Both Grandmas have watched Luke and provided lunch for us while we are busy working. So blessed to have them.

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10. friends – AND we are so thankful to have so many friends who have given up their Saturdays to come paint or put in flooring or anything else we need. We would not have been anywhere close to getting everything we needed to get done in time for closing without them.

11. this puppy face. she makes any day better.

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12. this blog and your support. I appreciate all the warm wishes and good thoughts that have been sent my way via this blog when I have complained about painting, building the house, being busy, and life in general. You make me smile. And for that, I am truly thankful.

What are you thankful for today?

And finally – the winner of the Apera Bag giveaway is. . . Emily!! Please email me at running4cupcakes@gmail.com and we will get you your bag!!

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TYT #8: Freezer Meals

So, when Laura was here this weekend, she had the awesome idea of putting together some freezer meals. And I was totally game. We texted back and forth and used Pinterest to come up with some ideas. And we agreed on 8 meals to make. So, we were ready to go on Saturday morning.

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We picked up Caribou and hit up Aldi, Sam’s and Cub Foods.

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We spent $232 total, so $116 per person for 8 meals. + some things that we had at home already – mostly spices.

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We got right to work. We found that it worked the best for us to tackle one recipe at a time and work together. We also both took turns chopping onions, browning the beef, writing on bags, etc.

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We made:

Chinese beef and broccoli
Crockpot Chicken Cacciatore
Crockpot Chicken Fajitas
Pizza Casserole
Cheesy Chicken Chalupas
Quesadilla Casserole 
Crockpot Pot Roast
Hawaiian BBQ Pork   

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And now we both have FULL freezers. I am planning on making each meal – at least one per week – and then doing a blog update for #1. how each meal froze #2. how many servings each made #3. and overall success – ie would I make it again? So stay tuned!

We had so much fun putting the meals together and are already planning on doing it again.

Linking up with Becky for Treat Yourself Tuesday! –> totally treated my future self by having all these quick and easy dinner options ready to go in the freezer!!

And last chance to enter my Apera bags giveaway!!

What’s your favorite freezer meal?

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Weekend Update: 3/16/14

First of all – Happy St. Patrick’s Day!! And second of all how is another weekend gone already?? Is time flying by for anyone else? It was a really good weekend around here. And I am already looking forward to next weekend. Smile 

My weekend started with a cold and windy run, I was super happy that my new jacket has a hood on it. . . followed by Panera French onion soup <—so good!

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After work fro yo date. . . yup, that’s my son!

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Aunt Laura came to visit. And I was so excited about my fro yo that I forgot to take a picture until the end.

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Friday night we just hung out. ..

And Saturday morning, up bright and early.

Started with a trip to Caribou and the car wash.

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And we went to 3 grocery stores. .  . .

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To get all of this,

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To make 8 freezer meals –> more details tomorrow!

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Quick 5K on the treadmill – with a helper at the end.

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Sunday morning French toast bake. And coffee.

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Followed by working at the new house. . . here are some pics of the progress!

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So excited to show you all the finished product – hopefully in just about a month!!

What were you up to this weekend? Highlight?

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