June: Instagram Month in Review

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Some cool things that happened this month, as seen on Instagram.

I am sure many of you all are on Instagram, as the photo taking and sharing feature has become more and more prevalent in our lives. I thought it would be fun to compile a review of the last month’s photos for all of you. Starting in the top left:

We decided to take a little trip to Florida, Orlando to be more specific. We had ulterior motives, but we also spent a few days exploring Disney as adults. Quite different from my memories of it as a very small child. This picture is Wes at Hogwarts. We decided to go test driving trucks one day when Wes realized trucks had come a very long way since he bought his Dodge Ram in 1998. We drove a lot of other Dodge trucks, but we were specifically looking at an ecodiesel. Our puppies were in bad need of a haircut in June, so we took them to the groomer before we left for Florida. We enjoyed a fun date night at Game-X, an arcade in downtown Atlanta. I got most of the middle part of my quilt done. Hooray! I took a month’s worth of barre classes at Pure Barre Virginia Highland, and I LOVED it. Went almost every day. Tried to get to the pool at least once a week, with Wes in tow. Looking out over the water at Universal Studios. Holes and Nones came with us in the back of the new truck, we got them a cool sling/hammock so they didn’t fall off the seat.

More Pure Barre, one day my running capris split right before I was going to class, so I had to buy a new pair of capris at class as you’re not allowed to wear shorts (and fortunately I had shorts in my bag because the capris I was wearing came unsewn all the way down the butt.) Wes and I were fortunate to attend the 5 year Anniversary (#atlactiversary) of Atlanta Activewear. We had a lovely date night out at Agave (pictured, chocolate torta dessert and flan). Wes pretended to be the Incredible Hulk at breakfast in Winter Park, Florida. I got my picture taken at Hogwarts as well! Our puppies said they were hot, and they spent a lot of time flopped in the front rooms on the wood floor. We brought the Dodge Big Horn Ecodiesel home with us to stay! And another picture from Pure Barre, because I just couldn’t get enough this month.

 

Clean: Orange BBQ Pulled Pork

So, we are in the process of cleaning out the fridge and freezer, this means that I get to be really creative with what we have and come up with recipes out of almost nowhere. We had a boneless pork loin hanging out in the freezer from when my parents came to visit and brought us lots of food. It was about two pounds. So I took that out to thaw.

Then I noticed a tupperware container of meatless cacciatore I had made a few weeks ago when I was trying to eat more veggies — obviously, I failed because these were frozen and needed to be used up too.

And there was also a container of orange zest frozen from when I was juicing a lot. Back when we had the ability to buy lots of extra produce each week.

So, throw all those things together into the slow cooker for five hours on high, and what do you get? Orange BBQ Pulled Pork!

Ingredients
2 lb boneless pork tenderloin

28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 cup ketchup
1 large onion, sliced
2 peppers, sliced
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons mustard (I used brown, you could use pretty much anything)
zest of one small orange
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
1 tablespoon Basil
salt and pepper to taste

Put all the ingredients except the pork into the slow cooker, and mix them up well so you have a serious looking barbecue sauce. Add the pork to the middle of the slow cooker, and put the lid on. Set it for four hours on high, or eight hours on low. When the slow cooker is done cooking your meat, remove the pork from the pot and shred it up using two forks (or you could drop it in your Kitchen Aid while it’s still warm and beat it up with the regular mixing attachment, if you wanted to clean that…) I put the pork and veggies on these awesome onion rolls I made from a recipe at Real Simple (No-Knead Onion Rolls), for Wes, and on Hearts of Romaine for me. Yum yum. I didn’t get a picture of the final product all plated because it got eaten so fast!

Here’s the pork as it looked without the rolls or the romaine.
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Whole 30: Ranch Dressing

clean and whole 30 ranch dressing recipe. (keep in mind it won’t taste exactly like brand salad dressing — but is much better for you and as your taste buds change, it’ll taste great! it tastes awesome to me!)

Ranch:
5 tablespoons dried minced onions
7 teaspoons parsley flakes
4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Mix together and store in an air tight container.

For dressing: Mix 2 tablespoons dry mix with 1 cup homemade or clean mayonnaise (a good recipe can be found on The Clothes Make The Girl and 1 cup lite coconut milk from the can from Trader Joe’s.
For dip: *clean recipe only: Mix 2 tablespoons dry mix with 2 cups greek yogurt.
Mix up a few hours before serving, so the flavors all blend.

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Easy Breakfast Roll-ups (With GF/Clean Adaptation).

2 eggs
1 tablespoon water or milk
1 teaspoon coconut oil
Salt and pepper
1 soft taco size flour tortilla (approximately 7 1/2 – 8″ diameter)
Optional fillings: baby spinach leaves, avocado, tomatoes, bacon, crumbled sausage, cheese, etc.

First option: Roll Ups with Tortillas
Put tortilla on a plate and add however much cheese you would like to make the tortilla stick to the egg.
Using a skillet on medium heat, add one teaspoon of coconut oil and melt.
Mix the egg (two to cover one regular flour tortilla), and water or milk until combined.
Pepper the pan, and then pour the egg mixture into the heated coconut oil. Swirl the egg around the pan until the egg covers the whole bottom of the pan. Cook the egg until it is no longer liquid.
Using a rubber spatula, slide cooked egg onto the tortilla and cheese. Then add whatever other toppings you might like, I used raw spinach and let the heat from the egg wilt it down a bit.
Then carefully roll up the tortilla somewhat firmly doing your best to not tear it or move the ingredients around.

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For Gluten Free option:
2 eggs
1 tablespoon water or milk
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon coconut oil
Optional fillings: baby spinach leaves, avocado, tomatoes, bacon, crumbled sausage, cheese, etc.
(Make like above only without the tortilla.)
Using a skillet on medium heat, add one teaspoon of coconut oil and melt.
Mix the eggs, and water or milk until combined.
Pepper the pan, and then pour the egg mixture into the heated coconut oil. Swirl the egg around the pan until the egg covers the whole bottom of the pan. Cook the egg until it is no longer liquid.
Using a rubber spatula, slide cooked egg onto the plate and top with cheese. Then add whatever other toppings you might like, I used raw spinach and let the heat from the egg wilt it down a bit.
Then carefully roll up the egg-wrap (omelet) somewhat firmly doing your best to not tear it or move the ingredients around. There you have a gluten free tortilla roll up for breakfast!

We packed these in my backpack for my 5k and that omelet roll really hit the spot after my race since I can’t really do granola bars and one banana is not all that satisfying.
Great post-workout protein.

Whole 30: Sweet Potato Chips

First of course, preheat your oven. Mine was preheated to 350.

To start, I scrubbed my sweet potato because I really appreciate all the good fiber and beta-carotene in the skin, so I don’t peel them first. Just scrubbed. And then I got down with my trusty mandolin and sliced it up in to super thin slices. (Just one potato, but it was a really big one. Made about two whole cookie sheets of chips).

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I stuck my slices in a bowl and covered them with about a tablespoon of melted coconut oil. I added a tiny bit of pepper, maybe a teaspoon, to help season them and then I put the first batch on a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Make sure the slices are all spread out and nothing is touching.

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I stuck the cookie sheet in the oven, and baked at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, then flipped. I continued baking the chips and checked them every 5 minutes, pulling off crispy chips one at a time so none of the chips burned. I placed the chips on another plate to cool.

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 These chips turned out crunchy and crisp, maybe a tiny bit burned… but I should’ve watched closer. I think you could keep these in a plastic bag once they’ve cooled for at least a day or so. My husband ate all the chips I made as fast as they cooled!

5k Review for April: Atlanta Beltline Northside 5k

(From the Beltline Website) The Atlanta BeltLine Northside 5K is a run/walk along the Atlanta BeltLine Northside Trail and through the beautiful Collier Hills, Collier Hills North, and Ardmore Park neighborhoods. The race starts and finishes at Tanyard Creek Park.

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This is the second year in a row that I have registered for all four of the Beltline Races. April is the Northside 5k, July is the Southwest 5k, September is the Southeast 8k (right by our house), and then December is the Eastside 10k.

This is also the second year I’ve completed the Northside 5k. Last year it was my second race in two plus years — since before I’d married my husband and moved and been sick. My last year’s race result was about 39 minutes. This year — after running with buddies, lifting weights, swimming, and training smarter all year — I came within ONE MINUTE of my Personal Best race time ever.

My final race result was 28:37. My race splits were 7:30, 7:13, and 7:50. Those are some of the fastest miles I’ve ever run. I was impressed because this was a HILLY course and there wasn’t any freezing sleet snow to keep me motivated like there was the last time I got my PR running the CSU Homecoming 5k. Maybe next year I can get my splits down fast enough to actually make it in the top ten. :-p (I can dream. As long as I run in a big city like Atlanta, I don’t think I’ll be getting on any podiums).

So– all in all, it was a really GREAT start to my Beltline competitions of the year and I am looking forward to the next one and continuing to enjoy my run club and my weight lifting plan. And trying hard to get my ACE done by the end of May.

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Crumpets: Gluten Free Recipe

I’ve been working with my gluten free flour mixes we bought, trying really hard to replicate the gluten free bread we normally buy from Trader Joe’s. My attempt at a loaf was a total failure. It was gummy and sticky in the middle. It used 3 cups of flour too — and that really frustrated me because we’re working so hard to save money right now. In an attempt to not dump three cups of gluten free flour down the drain, I tried my hand at a crumpet recipe. Wes did the math to divide the recipe in thirds for me so it only used one cup of flour. To make a big recipe, go ahead and use these amounts:

Ingredients:
3 Packages Active Dry Yeast
3/4 Cup Warm Water
3 Teaspoons Sugar
1 Cup Warm Milk
3 Eggs
3 Cups All Purpose Gluten Free Flour
3 Teaspoons Xanthan Gum
1 Teaspoon Salt
Butter
Makes 25 Crumpets*

Mix the Yeast, Warm Water and Sugar in a glass bowl. Let the yeast “proof” (get foamy) for 5-10 minutes.

Into the Yeast mixture, whisk the Warm Milk, Flour, Eggs and Salt until no longer lumpy. (Mine was still a little lumpy, I have a tough time with hand mixing). Cover with a towel and let rise for 30-45 minutes.

This is what my batter looked like after rising. It definitely doesn't get as puffy as gluten flour.

This is what my batter looked like after rising. It definitely doesn’t get as puffy as gluten flour.

Cut 1/2 Tablespoon of butter and melt it on your griddle/frying pan at Medium-High Heat. Scoop out about 1/4 cups of batter and pour it on to your griddle for each crumpet. You can “eye” it up – pour enough batter to make the size of crumpet you’d like!

Cook them on the first side until the edges firm up and the top looks mostly dry. Mine never looked that dry and after I flipped them I just waited for the sides to get solid.

This is what they look like after they've been flipped once.

This is what they look like after they’ve been flipped once.

The finished product. Not quite as many holes as normal crumpets either but SO yummy.

The finished product. Not quite as many holes as normal crumpets either but SO yummy.

Instagram Review for March

March Photo Grid

Some cool things that happened this month, as seen on Instagram.

I am sure many of you all are on Instagram, as the photo taking and sharing feature has become more and more prevalent in our lives. I thought it would be fun to compile a review of the last month’s photos for all of you.

A new favorite manicure color, coral polish gifted to me by my dear Aunt. Visiting two sweet dogs, and family members, in Arkansas. Wes and I went and rode the Skyview Atlanta Flyer for my birthday last weekend. Some fitness with a workout on Saint Patrick’s day in a neon race t-shirt. Rosie is white on a white kitchen floor — this puppy was SO HAPPY to see me when I arrived in Arkansas. My favorite dinner at my aunt and uncle’s house: salad with salsa mixed in, chicken salad with avocado and cilantro, and yummy avocado on the side. My adorable miniature schnauzers. I got a new dye job, strawberry blonde for the summer. Visiting the art van and the library and the coffee shop in the library with my aunt and cousin. The adorable black cocker spaniel my aunt’s family was dog-sitting while I was there. Seeing Beaver Lake. A pretty nice month overall.

Roasted Broccoli : Clean Recipe

Last week I was very lucky to get to visit my Aunt and Uncle by marriage in Fayetteville, Arkansas for the week. I had been really stressed and sad lately and was in dire need of a change of pace and a reduction in responsibility. It’s hard work running a household!

One day we decided to have sweet potatoes and chicken for dinner and I thought it would be nice to roast some of my very favorite vegetable to share with them — broccoli! So we got some of that, and I turned the oven on to 400.

I got to chopping, and cut all that broccoli up into florets. My Aunt melted some coconut oil for me to drizzle on it instead of the prescribed olive oil and I did. Then I mixed it all up in a bowl with about two tablespoons of coarse cracked pepper, and a tablespoon of garlic powder (we used garlic salt because that was what I could find but I highly recommend garlic powder or even chopped garlic cloves, the salt was way too salty for me).

After everything was mixed up, I spread it out on a baking sheet covered in foil, making sure the broccoli was spaced evenly so as to get a good sear on it. Then, when the oven was done heating, I stuck the pan in the oven for ten minutes. Their oven runs a little hot, so after ten minutes, I pulled it out and flipped all the broccoli so it would cook evenly and put it back in for another ten minutes. I would go longer if you like more char on your veggies.

Finally, it was done to enjoy with our dinner. Everyone really enjoyed it. My aunt had commented that she had tried roasting brussels sprouts before and no one really liked them but it was nice to see my recipe get such a good reception (I hope they weren’t just being nice!).

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Roasted Broccoli
Serves 2-4 as a side dish.

Ingredients:

2 heads of broccoli, cut into florets
2 tablespoons cracked pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted in the microwave

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix all spices together in a small bowl or cup.

Drizzle coconut oil all over broccoli florets and sprinkle with spice mix. Toss together and lay out on a lined sheet tray.

Roast broccoli for 20 minutes, tossing occasionally.

Serve!

5k Review for February: The Get Your Rear in Gear 5k

The Get Your Rear in Gear 5k was February 15th in Grant Park.

This race was pretty neat, but very cold. It’s really been unseasonably cold for Atlanta so far this year and I’m kinda sick of freezing ice and snow and rain.

Anyway, the Rear in Gear races raise money for the Colon Cancer Coalition. The founder lost her sister to colon cancer when her sister was only 46 years old so through this foundation their war cries live on, and those cries were to “Get Your Rear in Gear to Fight Colon Cancer.”

I have to admit, this was not one of my best races. Lots of things contributed to the fact — I still had the cough and stuff from the LAST race a month ago — and was struggling a bit with the hills because of it.

Fortunately for me, my time was better than the Hot Chocolate Run, completing in 33 minutes. (YAY for a minute off). But my general 5k time is just under 30 minutes so it was still a tiny bit upsetting. And here are a few race day photos.

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