Weekend Recap 10.31.16 … Bray Wedding in Cleveland, Ohio

Good morning!! Happy Halloween!! I hope your weekend was full of fun and relaxation!  We arrived home last evening after a wonderful weekend in Ohio celebrating the marriage of two good friends.  

I’m going to do a quick recap because I’ve got to go vote today (will be out of town during election) and I’ve got a lot of stuff to do before we leave town again tomorrow! 

We got into Cleveland late Friday night and checked into the Hyatt Place and ran to the nearest tv to see the end of the Indians game.  Woo they won!!  Then we called it a night.  

Saturday morning started bright an early with breakfast and then a workout at the hotel before we got ready for the wedding.  The wedding ceremony took place at St. Angela Merici Catholic Church.  It was a beautiful ceremony!

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We had a few hours to in between the ceremony and the reception so we headed to B Spot to meet up with our friends, Amber and Andrew, who just got married a couple weeks ago!  We had a blast reminiscing their fun wedding weekend! 

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We were roommates our freshmen year of college and have been friends ever since!  Love this girl! 

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Around 6pm we took the shuttle to the reception at St. Demetrios Cultural Center.  The bride and groom put so much thought into all the small details.  They had a box that your could give them advice that they would open on their 1st, 5th, an 10th year wedding anniversary.  Such a neat idea.  The couple met at Miami University (in Ohio), which is actually where my husband and I met too.  

I don’t have many pictures of the night because we were busy dancing the night away.  But the highlight of the night… the bride and groom danced their first dance and when we thought they were almost done, they busted out into choreographed dancing to about 10 different songs.  Everyone went wild cheering the couple on.  It was by far the best surprise of the night!!

Here’s us wishing we could dance like the newlyweds. 😉

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Oh, and they had a photobooth with so many fun props! We had such a blast!!! 

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Congrats to the newlyweds, Kat and Steve!  We are so happy for you both!! xoxoxo

This wedding wraps up wedding season for us this year!  We had so much fun witnessing the weddings of 4 of our favorite couples! 

Questions:

  1. What did you do this weekend?
  2. Are you dressing up this year?  If so, as what?
  3. Since it is almost lunchtime, what are you having today?

Tri-Colored Spiralized Salad With Orange Zest Vinaigrette

Happy Friday!!! Who is ready for the weekend?  Do you have any fun things planned?  We are headed out of town tonight for a friend’s wedding and I can’t wait!  I love weddings!  But before I start packing (yeah..still haven’t started) I have a new favorite recipe to share with you all!  

Even though it is technically fall, the 82 degree weather yesterday hardly leaves me craving warm soup.  This recipe is perfect for the in between summer/fall season when you just aren’t quite ready for hearty warm meals, but are still feeling festive! 

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I am all about my spiralizer these days.  It is such a simple kitchen gadget, but it can make boring vegetables so much more fun.  I think I got mine on amazon for around $30.  

Tri-Colored Spiralized Salad With Orange Zest Vinaigrette

Serves 2 as a meal or 4 as a side dish.

Ingredients:

1 beet, peeled

1 cucumber

1 apple 

1/4 cup dried cranberries 

1/4 walnuts 

goat cheese (add to your liking) 

 

Orange Zest Vinaigrette 

3 garlic cloves 

zest and juice of 1 orange 

2 TBL onion, chopped 

1 TBL honey 

1/2 cup olive oil

1/8 cup red wine vinegar 

1 tsp salt 

1/2  tsp pepper 

 

Directions: 

After peeling the beet and washing the cucumber and apple, spiralize all 3 and add to a bowl.  

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Next, add all vinaigrette ingredients in the food processor and blend until mixed.  You will have extra salad dressing.  You can store it in the fridge for up to a week.  

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Pour vinaigrette over spiralized ingredients and toss.  

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Next, add walnuts, dried cranberries and goat cheese and toss. 

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Add orange zest strips for some extra color!

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This salad is the perfect light fall meal and looks beautiful next to fall table decor.  ENJOY!!!

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Have a wonderful weekend friends!! 

Questions: 

  1. Favorite fall meal?
  2. Do you like beets?
  3. Do you own a spiralizer?

 

Date Night… a New Restaurant & Karaoke Night

Hi friends!  I’m stopping by a little later than usual today, but hey, better late than never, right? It’s almost Friday and I am ready for the weekend!  Last night we tried out a restaurant that we have been meaning to try for a while now.  Sundown at Granada is a farm to table concept and they actually grow a lot of their own vegetables in the garden behind the restaurant.  

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I wasn’t starving when we arrive to I stuck with a kale side salad with salmon and my husband got the flatbread.  We both raved about our meals.  

After dinner we headed to a new sports bar in the area called Haymaker to watch game two of the World Series (so sad the Indians lost).  It has a lot of outdoor seating, which was amazing on a cool night like last night.  

After the game we stopped by Milk & Cream so my husband could get some ice cream.  He got the mint chocolate chip as an ice cream sandwich.  The sandwich was a glazed donut!!! 

A little later our neighbors texted us that they were going to a local bar for karaoke and we should join.  I thought we were going to WATCH karaoke.. not actually sing karaoke.  🙂  The funniest part was my husband… in the 7 1/2 years I have known him, I don’t think I have ever seen him sing karaoke.  After a little liquid courage, he hopped up to sing, but was still pretty nervous.  By the 3rd song, he was hogging the microphone… lol.  We had a blast!  

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I will see you all tomorrow for the spiralizer recipe I promised you!  

Questions: 

  1. Do you like to sing?
  2. Favorite ice cream flavor? 
  3. Favorite professional sport to watch?

Healthy Yet Tempting Desserts For Holiday Parties a Guest Post By Rachel Stires

Hi friends!  I have a really fun guest blog for you today!  Rachel reached out to me a little while ago asking if she could write a guest post on the blog.  She mentioned healthy, but tempting desserts as an option for a topic and I was immediately sold!  I love something sweet after a meal, but hate feeling sluggish and too full so I am always in the market for healthy alternatives to some of my favorite desserts!  

Rachel is a contributing writer and media specialist for Orangetheory Fitness and regularly produces content for a variety of lifestyle and health blogs. In her free time she actively pursues a happier, healthier lifestyle, but also loves to travel, write, and draw.

Holiday desserts are, without a doubt, amazing. That’s what makes them so hard to resist, especially when you’re trying to celebrate traditions with family and friends during some of the best times of the year. Trying to avoid desserts might only lead you into further temptation, so why not bring some healthy, delicious alternatives that you and your family can indulge in together?

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Apple Pie (Image Source)

These little apple pies will help you stay a little more health conscious, but are adorable and delicious at the same time! They call for apples in the place of pie crusts, obviously, but you can still get your pie crust fix by draping strips of it over the top of the apple. You can make this recipe even healthier by modifying the filling. For example, instead of using sugar to sweeten it you can always use honey, a zero calorie sweetener, or just leave at is with some cinnamon sprinkled in! While this recipe does call for brown and white sugar, both of these could be replaced with healthier alternatives, and it serves as a good example of what to do.

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Cheesecake (Image Source)

Cheesecake is a holiday classic, but a lot of people worry about the fat content. This is an easy fix! There are many ways to prepare cheesecake, but in this case, I figured I’d stick to a traditional cheesecake with a healthier twist. This yummy strawberry cheesecake recipe will definitely be a hit at your next holiday party, and there are further alternatives to this recipe that I would suggest. I like to make low-carb cheesecake instead of low fat, but one thing I like to do is use almond flour as a crust. This could be as simple as mixing some butter and almond flour together, or you can always add a little brown sugar or another sweetener if you’d like. I personally like the crust to be a little salty so it complements the sweetness of the cheesecake. Again, you can sub in a zero calorie sweetener if you prefer that over traditional sugar.

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Ice Cream (Image Source)

While I do not have any recipes to share for ice cream, I do sympathize with those struggling to find a colder sweet treat to dig into. This is one of my favorite desserts, and can be a bit harder to replace since you might not want to make it by hand. I have a couple of alternatives to suggest. I recently tried Halo Top and it has some great options. Each tub of ice cream shows you how many calories the ice cream is per pint. For example, birthday cake (my favorite, currently) is 280 calories per pint. It’s also a great source of protein, with 24g in every pint. If you’re looking for an even lower calorie option, Arctic Zero is also a great low calorie option, and plenty of bigger ice cream brands such as Breyers and Edy’s have great low sugar options!

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Bread Pudding (Image Source)

Bread pudding has always found its way to my family’s dessert table. Whether it’s extended family or friends, someone always manages to bring it, and it always gets gobbled up! If you see it as a necessity to your holiday festivities, then I have a great recipe for you. This blueberry lemon bread pudding recipe is not only healthy, but flavorful and made from wholesome ingredients. What’s great about this is that you can serve it up warm or cold and it’s bound to be a hit!

Even if you are trying to be more health conscious, I recommend letting yourself indulge a little bit if you can’t make  a healthy alternative. If you’re trying to lose weight or build muscle, it’s important to allow yourself some room to indulge in some way, even if it’s not dessert. Remember, you’re here to celebrate with family and friends; it’s not all about the food. Focus on spending time with people and catching up with their lives. Plan a day out with your best friend, significant other, or parents. Enjoy the holidays for what they are: a time to reconnect, recharge, and have some fun!

Questions (from Taylor)

  1. What is your favorite dessert? 
  2. Do you have a dessert you like to make healthier?
  3. Any favorite dessert recipes you want to share? 

Weekend Recap 10.24.16

Hi guys!  How are you all doing?  I just got back from dropping off my sister at the airport to head to Cleveland for the World Series game tonight with my dad.  I am so jealous!!  I would have gone, but we are actually heading there this weekend for a friend’s wedding so I decided to stay home.  We grew up watching the Cleveland Indians (my parents are both from close to there) so to say we are excited about them making it to the World Series is quite an understatement!  

I feel like I did quite a bit this weekend, but then I looked at my pictures and I don’t have too much to show for it.  Friday night, we headed out to our boat for one of the last lake nights of the season.  It was a beautiful night and the water was actually still pretty warm.  We will sure miss our lake days when it gets cold in a few weeks.  

Saturday morning included a lot of this…. our house was complete madness with 6 dogs.  

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We were going to go to the Dallas Aboretum, but it was SOO crowded so we decided to get a drink from Starbucks and head home.  My husband plays on a tennis league on Saturdays so I grabbed my pups and we went with him to the courts.  Unfortunately at this tennis association, no dogs were allowed so we hopped back in the car after dropping off my husband and headed to a local, new-to-us park near the courts.  

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We just relaxed a played for a couple hours and I even trimmed up both of my dogs’ hair while we were there. 🙂  This one ran around the entire time. 

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While this one hid behind the bench… She is afraid of everything, poor thing.

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I spent most of the time trying to tell Riley not to get in the water… he loves the water and will take any chance he can to get in.  So he just sat by the edge and whined… 🙂 

After we got home and showered up, we headed to a new local indoor/outdoor sports bar down the street to check it out.  Unfortunately I forgot to snap any pictures, but it was a really cool atmosphere and we will definitely be back.

Saturday night we had plans to go over to our neighbor’s house for his birthday party.  He invited all our neighbors and his family was in town so it was a really fun group.  He even had life-size jenga on the roof!! I played my other neighbor and I won, just in case you were wondering. 😉 

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The rest of the night looked a lot like this.  Dance party!!  We all had a blast!! 

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Much of Sunday looked like this…. It was so nice to have a day to just relax with my doggies!! 

I hope you all have a fantastic week!! Check back tomorrow for a fun guest post!!

Questions:

  1. Do you like watching baseball?
  2. What did you do this weekend?
  3. Have you carved pumpkins this year?

Friday Favorites

Woop!  It’s Friday!!  Who else is ready for the weekend?  Technically it is already my weekend since I don’t have to work today, but I have lots to do today so it doesn’t quite feel like the weekend yet.  I am looking forward to hopefully one last boat day for the year this weekend and hanging out with some friends Saturday.  It is nice to not have to travel this weekend so I am soaking up my time at home.  

I just have a lot of random thoughts in my head at the moment that I need to tell you guys so this post is going to be a bit all over the place. 🙂 

  1.  It is finally starting to feel like fall in Dallas.  I had to wear a jacket to the gym this morning.  We even slept with the windows open last night!
  2. You guys, I did it again.  I overcommitted with my dog sitting acceptances.  There are a total of 6 dogs in my house right now.  It is an absolutey zoo.  My dogs are terrified. 🙂

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But I kinda love it at the same time. 🙂

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3. I’m obsessed with candles right now.  I have been lighting them in the evening and something about it is just so peaceful.  

4. I have a really fun guest post coming to ya next week.  🙂

5. My husband and I love to play cards at night.  Our favorite game is rummy.  Do you guys know any other 2 person cards games besides 21, war, or go fish? 🙂

6. I pulled out my spiralizer this week and made a beautiful and delicious creation.  Recipe will be on the blog next week!

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7. I love modern art.  I had to work downtown yesterday and this piece was in the office.  I wish I was that talented!

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8.  Do you guys have a fitbit or step tracker?  Every week I join a work week step competition with a handful of girls and it is so fun seeing who gets the most steps.  My mom recently joined it and she calls me regularly to tell me what place she is in.  🙂  

9.  I am so ready for this election to be over.  Enough said.  

10. I have a really good recipe for butternut squash soup that is delicious and healthy.  Want me to share it soon?

11. Even though I am starting to crave soup as the colder weather approaches, I still love my salads.  With all the fixings!

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12. I had this salad for lunch the other day and I can’t stop thinking about it.  I am not a huge cheese fan, but goat cheese makes everything taste better.  

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Questions:

  1. Favorite soup?
  2. Favorite kitchen appliance?
  3. Favorite card game?

Healthy-ish Tofu/Chicken Thai Green Curry

Well we made it to the halfway point.  I finally got a decent amount of sleep last night so even after an early morning Body Pump class today, I am feeling pretty great!  I never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep.  

You guys probably remember me mentioning me and my husband’s love of curry a time or two. 🙂  Well the obsession is real and it just keeps on growing, but we try to limit dining out to once a week when we aren’t traveling.  Especially after all the time away from home recently, my desire to go out to eat has been less and less.  The good thing is that I have been saving money and spending lots of time in the kitchen crafting up new recipes and ideas.  

Over the years, I have tried quite a few curry recipes with tons of ingredients hoping to find “the one” that gets the stamp of approval.  With no success, we usually just end up ordering out when we are in the mood for curry…. until recently.  I came across a recipe for chicken green curry on Ashy Bines youtube channel and decided to try it.  In true Taylor fashion, I changed a few things to make it my own.  

Not only is this recipe absolutely delicious, it is full of nutrients and only ingredients that you can indeed pronounce.  It is very adaptable to your preferences (types of veggies & protein), which is why I made two batches – one for my husband and one for me.  Like any good thai food, this recipe just gets better and better, which makes it perfect for leftovers throughout the week.  I hope you give it a go!

Thai Green Curry 

For reference, I doubled this recipe and made one batch with chicken and one with tofu.  This recipe makes about 5-6 servings (depending on hunger level). 🙂

Ingredients

2 chicken breasts (or one package of tofu)

1 can coconut milk (full fat)

1-2 TBL thai green curry paste (depending on how spicy you want it) 

1-2 tsp vegetarian (or chicken) bouillon paste (or cubes)

2 cups brown rice (uncooked)

1 zucchini chopped 

1 red pepper chopped 

3 carrots chopped 

1 cup mushrooms chopped 

 1 cup broccoli chopped 

1/2 onion chopped 

1 avocado (optional)

 

The hardest part of this recipe is chopping the veggies.  If you don’t have time, just buy them pre-chopped.  But if you are like me and actually enjoy chopping veggies, get chopping!

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Chop chicken breasts (or tofu) into big cubes and place in saute pan with onion.  No, you do not need any fat (butter or oil).  Add thai green curry paste to pan and coat chicken (or tofu) and onion and cook about 5-6 minutes until the chicken is almost cooked through.  

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My husband prefers the chicken to be shredded so at this point, shred the chicken or leave it cubed if you prefer.  In a separate pot (on medium) add the can of coconut milk.

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Next add all the veggies and bouillon paste to the coconut milk. Stir. 

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Once everything is incorporated, it should look like this.  

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Add chicken (or tofu) – onion mixture to the coconut milk – veggie mixture and continue to cook on medium for about 15 minutes. 

Tofu variation:

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Chicken variation:

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While the mixture cooks, take this time to cook your rice.  I was lazy and used instant, but if you have the time, use the rice cooker.  

Serve the mixture on top of a bed of brown rice with chopped avocado on top!  (In my opinion, everything tastes better with avocado).  Enjoy!!

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*Note: the spice level is mild-medium, but if you prefer less or more spicy, adjust the amount of thai green curry paste to fit your preferences.  

This meal is on the weekly rotation in our house and I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Questions:

  1. Do you like curry?
  2. Tell me a meal that you have weekly at home.
  3. What is your favorite take-out meal?