Work-Out Wrap Up {4.14 – 4.20} + Menu Planning + Easter Weekend

Happy {day after} Easter!

Hope you aren’t feeling like you need to check yourself into a Chocolate detox center.

Chocolate kid

I did not partake in any chocolate, but I did slack off as the week progressed.   Going back and reflecting over my mistakes – letting myself get too hungry, staying late at work, allowing boredom to creep in, and the big one- procrastination – I see what I can fix, and that’s motivating!  So here’s what’s going to change this week:

  • Mix up the morning lift routine.  HIIT workouts are great, but get repetitive day after day.  I’ve also just been doing the workout of the day posted on BodyRock.tv instead of spot focusing on certain muscle groups.  I’d like to get a bit more specific.
  • Food prep.  I need to make sure I have a healthy light snack for when I get off work {I’m thinking something along the lines of these little energy bites}.  I am ravenous after I get off work and sometimes make the mistake of eating too much, which then messes up my scheduled cardio. I hate running on full stomach, but need to have a little energy in my tank too.  I also want to start prepping some other items for dinner just to make it that much easier to whip up meals.
  • STOP the procrastination.  This ties in to the snack/food prep modification.  If I have a light snacks, I won’t feel like I need to chill out and digest, which in turn will prevent me from siting down at the computer and getting sucked in.

Seems like a manageable goal list to me!

On to this past week’s {puny} workouts.  BTW, another change: Instead of posting the move-by-move breakdown of each of my workouts, from now on you can find what I did simply by clicking the link. Easy enough, right?

Monday :: HIIT {arms & abs} + Yoga {75mins} + 6 mi run
Tuesday ::  HIIT {full body} + 60 min cycle
Wednesday :: HIIT {full body}
Thursday :: HIIT {chest & back}

Andddd then I fell off the face of the Earth.  Oops.  It started with a pinch in the hip Wednesday {from what I think was inadequate stretching}, so I decided to take a rest day from running, and then my slacking snowballed.

Here’s the plan for next week:
Weekly Workout

On the Menu for Next Week:
+ Goat Cheese Stuffed Turkey Burgers with Soy Apricot Glaze
+ Roasted Lamb and Lemon Rosemary Potatoes
+ Ancho Chicken Tacos
+ No-Bake Carrot Cake Creams Cheese Bars {a girl’s gotta have her dessert!}
+ Blueberry Muffin Energy Bites {for snacks}

Some repeaters in there since I never got around to them last week… I’m loosening up my menu slightly.  We decided it’s easier to have a 3 recipes and ingredients on hand for the time being. Still better than eating out every night.
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Besides working out, here are some scenes from last week’s meals + fun.

Asparagus and onion

Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto.

Shrimp Asparagus Risotto

Broccolini Tomatoes Mozzarella

Heirloom Tomatoes

Cauliflower Bake.

Cauliflower Cheese Casserole

Jaime surprised me with a trip out to Chamisal Vineyards on Thursday night {which is where we first met} for our 6 month anniversary. Yes, we are that cheesy couple, and I love it! We joined the Wine Club and enjoyed a bottle of Califa Pinot on their amazing back patio.

Stephanie and Jaime

Chamisal

We then headed to Arroyo Grande to try out the new hot restaurant in town, Ember. The menu was incredible! We started with the Wood Fired Squid with cannelloni beans, aioli, and toasted bread crumbs. Jaime got the Ribeye Steak with brasero roasted potatoes, garlic confit, and avocado chimichurri. I tried the Pollo al Mattone {aka chicken roasted under a brick} with grilled polenta and farmer’s market seasonal vegetables. We topped the night off with Chocolate and Strawberry Macaroons with milk chocolate chantilly. Plus many more glasses of local wines. Amazing.

Ember Restaurant

We finished off the weekend with Easter celebrations. Out first stop was the Mission, followed by an amazing brunch at Luna Red {Jaime got the Fried Chicken and Quinoa Waffles and I decided on the Luna Red Custard French Toast}, champagne tasting at Cuvee, a couple hours of beach bumming in Avila, then Easter dinner at Jaime’s mom’s house, topped off with a delightful sunset walk around Terrace Hill Open Space. Perfection!

Luna Red Brunch

 

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Whew! That was one hell of a post!  Maybe another goal for next week will be to break these bad boys up into smaller, easier digestible bits.  In the meantime…

Rock On!

 

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Overnight Baked French Toast

Welcome to the third {and final} installment of Stephanie’s Weekend of Baking Extravaganza!

Today I bring you a very special treat that my family makes pretty much every holiday {mostly due to my incessant begging for it}.

Gluten-Free Overnight Baked French Toast

Prep Time: 20 minutes (plus overnight refrigeration)

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 12 – 1″ slices

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (2 long loaves) Against The Grain Gluten-Free French Bread (day old)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 Tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 Cup half and half
  • 1/2 C Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour
  • 6 Tbs brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 Cup Earth Balance butter
  • 1 package blueberries
  • 1 C sliced strawberries

Instructions:

  1. Cut bread into 1 inch slices and place in greased baking sheet, set aside.
  2. Beat eggs, sugar, and vanilla, stir in milk until well blended.
  3. Pour mixture over bread.  Turn bread to coat slices well.
  4. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  5. In a small bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon.  Cut in softened butter until mixture becomes coarse crumbs.
  6. Before baking, turn bread over in dish, scatter blueberries and sprinkle crumb mixture over bread evenly.
  7. Bake 40 minutes, or until brown.
  8. Before serving top with strawberries.
  9. Enjoy!

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As Paula Dean would say, this is a once-in-a-while kind of treat.

Holidays and special occasions!

My blueberry obsession.

This recipe is not originally Gluten-Free, so feel free to use regular french bread and flour.

The key is to make sure your bread is a bit stale. It holds up a bit better that way.

No sugar needed for these awesome strawberries!

A perfect, special breakfast to share with family and friends.

Hope you had a lovely holiday weekend!

Enjoy!

 

Lemon Meringue Cookies

Hey there!

I have spent my day baking up a storm and listening to Pixies radio on Pandora.  It’s been the perfect Saturday.

Loving the sunshine flooding in through my kitchen window…

And finding a way to satisfy my craving for peeps in a bit healthier way. 🙂

Lemon Meringue Cookies

From Country Living.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 2-3 hours

Ingredients:

  • 6 egg whites (at room temperature)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure lemon extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine egg whites, lemon juice, and salt.  Beat using a mixer on low until frothy.
  4. Add in lemon and vanilla extracts and increase mixer speed to medium.
  5. Add the sugar in a slow, continuous stream.  Increase mixer speed to medium high.
  6. Continue to beat meringue mixture until stiff peaks form.
  7. Spoon (or pipe) meringue on to cookie sheets and place in oven.
  8. Bake for 1 hour.
  9. Without opening the oven, reduce heat after one hour in up to 175 degrees.  Bake for an additional 2 hours (or more) until cookies are completely dry.
  10. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool for about 45 minutes.
  11. Cookies will keep for about one week in an airtight container.

Hello! Way better than peeps!

So easy to make!  AND low in calories!

Hell to the YES! Sign me up for seven!

Just kidding.

…sort of.

Perfect for Easter get-togethers!

Enjoy!