Friday Favorites v. 65

Happy three day weekend! With Labor Day being on Monday, both Ryan and I are off and I am so excited. With him having to work every Saturday, Sundays are our only true day together, so I’m pumped for an extra 24 hours with my main man.

Before I can jump into the long weekend, I need to wrap up some things at work and get in a run to start off my favorite month of the year.

So let’s chat about Friday Favorites.

1. I scheduled out the rest of my vacation days for 2017. Since Ryan and I didn’t take an actual week-long vacation this year, I got to spread my days. Well I basically didn’t use any vacation days the first half of the year, so now I have a bunch to use before I lose them.

2. Healthy Snacks from CVS. We have a CVS rightnextdoor to work, I walk over there all the time to get snacks when my stash is running low. I love that they are offering healthier options! Even though occasionally Sour Patch Kids somewhere sneak into my basket.

3. With the devastation of Houston, I’ve seen so many groups and business and individuals come together to show their support and raise money and volunteer their time. Keeping praying for those who had to evacuate, those still in their homes and all the emergency responders risking their lives to save others.

4. Fantasy Football starts on Sunday for my group of friends and I’m so pumped. My team name is Gridiron and Wine and I’m ready to take home a win this year.
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5. I survived my second week of teaching, which involved giving a quiz, assigning an article, grading papers and so much more. I love challenging myself and this job is perfect. I am learning just as much as I am teaching.

6. The best recovery routine for rest days. A great video and explanation from Runner’s World.

7. My post on five easy bbq recipes from earlier this week.

8. This is what happens when I take all the sheets off the bed for them to be washed.
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5 Easy BBQ Recipes

With summer winding down, I thought now would be the perfect time to post some easy bbq recipes. For me, one of the best parts of summer is getting to grill out. Since KY is known for our barbecue, I thought I would share some of my favorites with you all.

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BBQ Shrimp Skewers. <– Perfect for your favorite bbq sauce!
Spicy BBQ Chicken Thighs.
Shredded Grilled Tilapia Tacos.
Neely’s Wet BBQ Ribs. STL-style ribs.

And last, but certainly not least, a recipe from my hometown. Owensboro Barbecued Mutton.

So grab your friends and family, a couple beers and a lot of food and fire up the grill. Enjoy the last few weeks of summer. I know I will!

Spinach and blueberry smoothie bowl

Lately, I’ve been trying to make more of an effort to get more greens into my diet. So I’ve been trying to add more spinach to smoothies (rather than just a small handful, I’ve been adding like close to cups). I’ve also been adding Suja’s green drinking vinegar to my smoothie for an extra kick + lots of good vitamins and nutrients.

But the best part of this is they don’t make my smoothie taste gross. So while I’m sneaking in these nutrients, my tastebuds have no idea! Eating healthy can be fun and delicious.

SPINACH AND BLUEBERRY SMOOTHIE BOWL

2 cups of spinach
A splash of Suja green drinking vinegar
1 large spoonful of plain Greek yogurt
Some frozen fruit and veggies (I just whatever is on hand, usually it’s frozen sweet potatoes, bananas, blueberries, oranges, literally whatever is in the freezer)
Small spoonful of Crazy Richard’s peanut butter
2 tablespoons of chia seeds

Then I top it with a variety of honey, nut butters, seeds or nuts, granola and blueberries ( a great source of antioxidants!) I’m seriously addicted. Some days I eat it for lunch and supper. The great thing about smoothie and smoothie bowls is that they are totally customizable to whatever you crave!

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It gives me fuel for the entire afternoon and doesn’t cause a sugar crash since I’m using all fresh and natural ingredients. I hope you get the chance to try it out. I hope you will love it as much as I do!

The best buttermilk pancakes

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INGREDIENTS
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons white sugarDomino Premium Pure Cane Sugar 2 LB
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon saltMorton Salt, 26 Oz
3 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup milk
3 eggs
1/3 cup butter, melted

DIRECTIONS
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together buttermilk, milk, eggs and melted butter. Keep the two mixtures separate until you are ready to cook.
Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. You can flick water across the surface and if it beads up and sizzles, it’s ready!
Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, using a wooden spoon or fork to blend. Stir until it’s just blended together.
Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/2 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

***I also add chocolate chips to my pancakes. I’m still a kid at heart.

But feel free to add in your own toppings!

In the words of Ron and Leslie from Parks and Rec:
Leslie: “Why would anybody ever eat anything besides breakfast food?”
Ron: “People are idiots, Leslie.”

Beginner’s Luck Green Smoothie

Recipe from 100 Days of Real Food.

The Beginner’s Luck Green Smoothie is a great beginner friendly green smoothie. It’s full of iron, potassium and vitamins galore— AND tastes like a tropical treat from all the island fruit.

Green Smoothie

INGREDIENTS
1 cup spinach fresh
1 cup water
half cup pineapple
half cup mango
1 banana peeled

INSTRUCTIONS
Place spinach and water in blender (I use a  Nutribullet). Puree until smooth.
Add fruit and blend again.

RECIPE NOTES
*Use at least one frozen fruit to make the smoothie cold or serve over ice.
NOT A FAN OF BANANAS? Feel free to substitute with another fruit, like extra mangos. You can even freeze the bananas first to reduce the flavor and also add some extra chill to your smoothie.

Drink up!

Friday Favorites v.55

GUYS. TGIF.

Today is going to be hot and maybe rainy?. Tomorrow and Sunday are going to be hot. My plans for this hot and humid weekend include playing with Murphy in his new doggie (kiddie) pool, drinking lots of water and trying not to pass out during my runs.

Stay cool this weekend, friends!

But before the weekend begins, let’s go over some of my favorites from this week. While work was pretty busy and my runs were pretty boring, I found lots of great inspiration and fun things on the web this week.

1. Watermelon Tumbler Set. The cutest set for summer dinner parties or snacks around the pool.

2. Finding Gobi. Finding Gobi is the miraculous tale of Dion Leonard, a seasoned ultramarathon runner who crosses paths with a stray dog while competing in a 155-mile race through the Gobi Desert in China. The pup, who would later earn the name Gobi, proved that what she lacked in size, she more than made up for in heart, as she went step for step with Dion over the Tian Shan Mountains, across massive sand dunes, through yurt villages and the black sands of the Gobi Desert, keeping pace with him for nearly 80 miles.

Their story is now a book and will soon be a movie! As a runner and a dog lover, I can’t wait to get my hands on this book. Such an inspirational story!

3. Mix and match healthy smoothie recipes from Fannetastic Food!

4. I’ve been on a beet kick lately and these juices are so good! These are from a local place in Owensboro, but I also love the beet juice from Suja.img_0783

5. Chemotherapy, then the U.S. Championships, for Gabriele Grunewald. Such an great story of grit and character. I wish her the best! It really does go to show you, that most of the time, we are the only ones holding ourselves back. We have no limitations. We just have to believe we can do anything.

6. The best red, white & blue running gear for the 4th of July. *I love this tank! It looks so light and airy and it’s long enough to cover everything. Definitely buying it this weekend.
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7. Exercise ball ab workout. I tried this out on Thursday and holy abs it was a killer.

8. So focused on his favorite red ball. I love it. Lunch time fetch with Murphy is the best. 

Friday Favorites v.54

I’m starting off my Friday with doughnuts! That has to mean today is going to be a great day. I have a low-key weekend planned at home and I am definitely looking forward to it.

I also am going to start a new training plan this weekend, so that’s exciting! I’m hoping it will help me focus and get my butt in shape (literally and figuratively).

Before the weekend can begin, let’s go through some of my favorite things from this past week.

1. Getting the chance to get out of the office and walk around downtown. I had to go to the courthouse the other day for work-related things and it was so nice to be out in some fresh air! I also love all of the American flags we have displayed downtown. 

2. Look at all of these popsicle recipes! I cannot wait to give some of these a try this summer.

3. If you’re a bookworm who is looking for something new to read, check out this list by PBFingers.

4. My best work friend is left me this week to pursue bigger and better things in Utah. While I’m sad to be losing such a great friend, I am so proud of her work ethic and all the great things she has coming her way!

5. Four tips to work more effectively. Love these tips! Even though I can’t burn a candle at my desk at work, I do like the idea of having a “relaxing/feel good scent” when you work from home. Random example, I LOVE the smell of fresh peaches. It instantly relaxes me and makes me feel invigorated.

6. This howdy y’all phone case from Draper James. Perfect for summer!

7. I love Miley Cyrus and I love Jimmy Fallon, so obviously the two of them together is a win in my book. Earlier this week, the two surprised subway riders in NYC with a surprise performance.

8. Murphy and I took about 20 pictures until I found one that halfway decent. & even then, I still look like a hot mess. #sweatyselfie

Rainbow cake recipe

It’s a new month! So many of my friends have birthdays this month, and every now and I then I like to bake something out of the norm for them.

So here is a fun cake recipe (a little from the Betty Crocker, a little from AllRecipes and some of my own trial and error) for a rainbow cake. Enjoy!

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INGREDIENTS

CAKE
2 boxes vanilla cake mix
2 cups water
1 cup vegetable oil
6 eggs
2 packages (2.7 oz each) classic gel food colors

BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
1 cup shortening
1 cup butter, softened
1 bag (2 lb) powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 to 4 tablespoons milk

STEPS
Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 3 (8-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray.
In large bowl, beat cake mix, water, oil and eggs with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, then on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Divide batter evenly among 6 small bowls, about 1 1/3 cups each.
Using food colors, tint batter in 1 bowl blue, 1 bowl red, 1 bowl green, 1 bowl yellow, 1 bowl orange (using red and yellow) and 1 bowl purple (using blue and red).
Refrigerate 3 colors of batter until ready to bake. Pour remaining 3 colors of batter into cake pans.
Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until cake springs back when touched lightly in center and begins to pull away from side of pan. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pans to cooling racks; cool completely.

Wash cake pans. Bake and cool remaining 3 cake layers as directed.
In large bowl, beat shortening and butter with electric mixer on medium speed until light yellow. On low speed, gradually beat in powdered sugar. Beat in vanilla. Add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until frosting is smooth. Beat on high speed until light and fluffy.
Trim rounded tops off cakes to level, if needed. On serving plate, place purple cake layer. Spread with frosting to within 1/4 inch of edge. Repeat with blue, green, yellow, orange and red cake layers. Spread light coat of frosting on top and side of cake to seal in crumbs, then frost with remaining frosting.

Friday Favorites v.51

This week has been so crazy with coming back from STL, Ryan being gone for almost four days and work ramping up. BUT, all is back to normal (mostly) and it’s a three day weekend. So I am counting down the hours/minutes until 5 p.m.
Before this much needed weekend can begin, let’s get through some of my favorites from this week.

1. I know this sounds silly, but my bed is definitely a favorite this week. After sleeping in a hotel for two days plus being at my parent’s house for three days and sleeping in my brother’s bed while he took the couch, I was so glad to crawl in my bed Wednesday night. Buying a king-sized bed was one of the best things Ryan and I have ever purchased.
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2. Ab work. So running is my strong suite (kind of?) If anything, it’s at least the workout I enjoy the most, but (almost) every day for the last couple of weeks, I’ve been trying to do 100-300 ab variations before I go to bed at night. So between crunches, bicycle abs, v ups and every other ab workout I could think, I’ve been trying to build up my core. Annnnd, I think it’s working! I feel stronger at least. & isn’t that what it’s all about?!

3. I got my Simplified Planner in the mail! If you’ve been reading this blog for any time now, you know my love for Emily Ley and her planners. I love her brand and what she stands for and I can’t wait to start filling these pages come August!
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4. Oiselle thinks sports bras can keep girls in the outdoors. 

5. If you missed my burn bootcamp post from Tuesday, check it out. It’s a simple (but sweaty!) at-home workout.

6. My sunburn from the weekend has now turned into a tan. YAY.

7. These MUST-MAKE CHOCOLATE CHIP ALMOND BUTTER BARS from PBFingers looks amazing. I can’t wait to make + eat these bad boys.

8. Sleepy pup selfies are my favorite. img_0248