Come Spring, and Be Quick!

Well, today was the last day of my winter state of mind and I did what I’d put off for a whole month now – I took down my Christmas decorations. I took my ornaments off the tree, my garland off the railings and my stockings were put back in the box… *sigh* So, I guess that means…

…that spring is right around the corner???

I dare to dream.

Sorry but I’m not a cold weather kind of person. I get cold, I get miserable, and when I’m cold and miserable, you don’t want to be around me. I think DH is ready for spring, mostly because of that reason.

On top of putting all that stuff away, I got a little sad. Isn’t it just sad putting all that stuff away? It’s like the Christmas spirit is sucked away and we’re just left in plain old reality. No magic in the air, no mystery, no nothin!

So I guess that means I have to set my focus on Valentine’s Day. I’m not sure what we’re doing yet. Hubby is officially against going ANYWHERE on Valentine’s Day so he’s planned a whole day of activities on the Saturday before. It’s a surprise, to me, so it should be fun! I’m excited 🙂

On the health scene, I’ve managed to be at the gym for 4-5 days for the last 5 weeks now. I’m officially down 14 pounds since our wedding which is a nice feeling. Actually I think the best feeling though, is when your everyday jeans are loose when you put them on. You know, when you can really feel them sagging in places where they never did. AWESOME feeling – I work out for that feeling!

Tonight, I did Turbo Kick and burned around 700 calories. Looove that! Apparently I turbo’ed my heart rate watch when I was 33 minutes into it though and so it was paused at 330 calories right when I was getting my heart rate up! So I just had to estimate how many I burned after that, and that was my best guess. Either way, it felt amazing. As burning calories always does.

Now that we’re home, I made myself a little banana-blueberry protein smoothie that is very refreshing. It will bring me sweet dreams pretty soon here…Want my recipe?

Banana-Blueberry Protein Smoothie

– 1 banana (peeled)

– 1 half pint of blueberries

– 2 cups crushed ice

– 1/4 cup milk

– 1/2 scoop Whey protein

Put into your blender and blend away!! This makes enough for two people, go ahead and add strawberries or other fruits if you wish! Make it yours!

Enjoy 🙂

Hearts,

Ruby

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Twin Cities Winter Date Night

Ohhhhh boy what a night! My hubby and I had planned to eat out but that’s all we had in mind. What ended up happening was probably one of my favorite nights in a long time! Here’s how it went down.

Firstly, DH got a gift card from his work to Tucci Benucch at the Mall of America – I had never tried it before, and either had he, so we figured what time better than the present!? I made a reservation on OpenTable (love this app, by the way… if you don’t have it, get it) so when we showed up, we were seated in less than 5 minutes. Everyone else was waiting 45 minutes. Did the reservation pay off? You bet it did.

Let me just tell you, the food here was AMAZING. I’d heard good things, but I was very pleasantly surprised with just how splendid it was. Hubs got a chicken fettuccine alfredo and I went for the angel hair pom0doro. His meal was awesome, he absolutely loved it. Mine was equally amazing. I’d requested that instead of the pomodoro sauce be swapped with a pesto/alfredo mixture.

NUM!!! So good.

They also bring you some fresh bread with olive oil when you first sit down. Restaurants like this are my favorite because I’m usually very hungry by this point. They had beer on tap (of course DH had to ask) and I had a Cabernet. It was seriously the best meal out that we’ve had in a long time. We’d definitely go again if we could afford it – lol! The meals were around $17 a plate (give or take) plus drinks so it was a little more expensive than we usually go for but it was definitely worth it.

AAAAAND… since we were at the Mall of America, we couldn’t not shop a little bit, right? So I talked him into going to some of my favorite stores. I got some really cute workout clothes from Marshall’s and Forever21. The nice thing about new, cute exercise clothes is that you want a chance to wear them so of course, it’s more motivation to get to the gym. A real stroke of genius, I know.

We’d seen a bus for Mystic Lake Casino on our way into the mall and kicked around the idea. So after we had hit up some shops, we decided to go ‘all in’ and head to the casino. Apparently hubs was feeling lucky and I was feeling like unlimited soda so off we went!!

DH allotted me $20 and took $40 for himself. (Where’s the trust? I know… But you’ll understand by the end of the story) He sat down at one blackjack table for about 45 minutes. I walked around playing penny slots, 5 cent games, 50 cent games and I even took a chance and played a $1 game. After about 20 minutes, I was at $13.00 and he was at about $80. He was getting comfy so I filled up my cherry pepsi and kept walking around. You won’t believe what I found…

A Sex and the City game!!!!!

*Pause for drool wiping*

I waited and waited for my turn at the machine, then finally I got my chance. I pushed buttons and before I knew it…

I had 5 cents left.

Game over me.

Back to the pepsi machine.

Back to hubby’s game. He was at around $120.

I used the powder room.

Pepsi machine.

Finally the hubs found me and showed me a handful of chips. “Ok – and that is?” He says, “$160 and I’m ready to go when you are. How’d you do?”

I handed him my little ticket print out for 5 cents.

Now you know why he only gave me $20.

Luckily he laughed and said as a team we were still up $100 – go team!

We drove home through the snow and laughed with some new stories and me, with a caffeine high.

It was a really fun night – and the best part about it is that we really didn’t plan it to be that way. We went with the flow with an open mind. Sometimes that’s just what you gotta do I guess!

Oh, but definitely make dinner reservations, because that’d just be crazy.

Big hearts,

Ruby

Brownie/Oreo Pops! Yuuummmmm!

These delicious pops are so fun and so easy! I made them for a friend’s baby shower and am planning on making them for my little one’s first birthday!

What you need:

1. Oreos and/or brownie mix

2. Sticks

3. Chocolate chips (I like white)

4. Milk

5. Brownie pop tin (optional) – $15 at Target

How to do it:

For brownie pops

1. Grease brownie pop tin

2. Pour brownie batter into tin, filling to the brim

3. Bake brownies until firm

4. While brownies are cooling, melt chocolate with milk (to desired consistency) at 20 second intervals in microwave

5. Dip stick into chocolate and place in the center of the brownie hole

6. When firmly secured, dip brownie pop in chocolate

7. Place on wax paper

8. Sprinkle and decorate to liking

9. Allow to cool

For Oreo pops:

1. Separate the top and bottom cookies

2. Melt chocolate with milk (to desired consistency) at 20 second intervals in microwave

3. Dip stick into chocolate and place in the center of the Oreo filling (double stuffed works best!)

4. Place cookies back together

5. When firmly secured, dip Oreo pop in chocolate

6. Place on wax paper

7. Sprinkle and decorate to liking

8. Allow to cool

These are so fun and so cute for so many occasions! Get as creative as you’d like!

-M

Down But Not Out

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Well, I’ve been going at this exercise thing for about 6 weeks now and have managed to lose 19 lbs! Yay! I’ve just been following the advice from my last post. I hope you all have found it helpful as well 🙂

Unfortunately, I had fallen off the bandwagon a bit last weekend. I ate out with friends both Friday and Saturday. Hung out with family Saturday night and snacked on chips and pizza (and beer). Sunday wasn’t much better. I went on a
bit of a sugar binge with the leftover treats I made for a friend’s baby shower (so good and so easy – will post later!). I’m definitely a sugar addict. I wish I wasn’t, but I am. To top it all off, I didn’t make it to the gym Saturday or Sunday.

When I got to the gym last night, I was feeling so unmotivated and like I didn’t want to be there. Sigh… This couldn’t be happening. I couldn’t be giving up already! I haven’t reached my goal yet!

So, I only had one option… I wasn’t going to give up. Darn it. I’m going to reach my goal. Despite being unmotivated I did my  workout. Did things I knew would give me the calorie burn I needed. And didn’t stop until the machine said I had reached my time goal. After the workout, I ran into a friend, who happens to be very knowledgeable about fitness and achieving results. He gave me the pep talk I needed, gave me some advice and a change-up to my typical workout routine that he assured me will get me continued results.

So I may have been down, but I am certainly not out!

So the change-up to my workout is the addition of runnning. I couldn’t avoid it forever. My friend suggested running for 15 minutes at and incline of 5 and 5 mph. In addition to my other cardio. I’m gonna do it!

Despite my slip up(s) over the weekend, I managed to still lose a pound. Better that than nothing, right?

I’ll let you know how the running is going soon!

-Macy

Healthy Chicken Breading

My husband loves chicken. Grilled chicken, baked chicken, fried chicken, you name it – he loves it. But it wasn’t until lately that we started really watching our calories, so I’ve been minding every little detail about my cooking. My usual breading? It’s 110 calories per 1/4 cup – that adds up way too fast. So there was something that had to be done. Here have been my new alternatives.

Chopped almonds

This was way too easy of a solution but it was SO yummy. This came to mind as almonds (in moderation) are the most ‘nutritionally dense nut’ – did you know that? You do now!

They are perfect for snacking, adding to salads, etc. because they are a good source of fiber, protein, potassium, calcium, and iron. Oh, and in a whole bag of sliced almonds (3.75 oz), there are 18 calories. Chop them up in a food processor and you’re good to go!! I also added some spinach in the food processor to sneak in some veggies. Shhh 🙂

Rice thins

Okay, I know these sound gross but you’re wrong. They actually are delicious, and my husband didn’t even know that I switched the breading with this one! I felt so sneaky. What I used here were these gluten free, all natural rice thin crackers. They’re better than you would picture. Take the crackers and – you guessed it – blend them in the food processor.

Now you’ve got yourself a wonderful little breading that is all natural, and gluten free. What more could you ask for? The only thing, is that it’s not that low in calories unfortunately.

In the next picture, you’ll see a picture of the finished product (well not quite ‘finished’). It’s baking currently in extra virgin olive oil. Side note.

No breading

Yeah it’s an obvious answer but have you really considered it? Don’t worry there’s still ways to jazz up bare chicken breasts. I’ve been halving the chicken breasts, then slathering on a mixture of cooked spinach and ricotta cheese then rolling them up. It adds enough flavor that you don’t have to bread it, although you can if you really want to.

Add in some rice, steamed veggies, and you’ve got yourself a healthy meal!

Bon apetit 🙂

Hearts,

Ruby

Awesome Couponing Apps

As I previously mentioned, my hubby got me the iPhone 4s for Christmas this year and I haven’t been able to put it down! So as I mess around with it, I’ve found so many good app that I adore. As of late though, I’ve been really into finding Coupon apps for my phone. I’ve found some alright ones, but I’ve found some awesome ones too!! So I thought you guys might enjoy hearing about some of the awesome ones. The heck with the ‘alright’ ones.

Here are my top favs and the best features about them:

Coupon4That – or “I have a coupon for that”

  • Restaurant deals round up
  • Freebies
  • Hot deals
  • Shortcuts to facebook/twitter feed (to get the latest and greatest)
  • Deals page – featuring the best deals catagorized by store **AWESOME**

Savings – or “Passion for Savings”

  • Hottest deals
  • Free stuff page
  • Hot new coupons
  • Store deals (Catagorized by store!! This is seriously my favorite!)

iSlick

  • Newest, hottest deals online
  • Ability to search for deals
  • Ability to watch certain items and see when they hit a good price
  • Share deals via Facebook/Twitter/Email

Seriously give them a try! Let me know how you like them. Oh, and if you have a favorite that isn’t listed here – please share!!

Hearts,

Ruby

Crockpots with Style

When I was shopping at Target the other day, I came across this adorable crockpot with a damask pattern. Can you believe how cute it is? And not a bad price either! If you’re in the market for a crockpot this is the one.

If you act fast, you can probably still find it there. Now that is cooking with style!! 🙂

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Hearts,
Ruby