Posts Tagged ‘green monster’

Happy Monday! Ready to start your week? Who’s starting school back up today? Good luck if you are 🙂

Well – put it in the books – this is the first morning since Spring that I’ve had to wear pants on my morning Mom walk!! It was a nippy 55 degrees this morning…ice cold. We heated up soon enough though and it’s supposed to be in the low 80s today, so all is not lost!

Last night I made an overnight Green Monster with some spinach that I picked up at Costco yesterday (item #1!). This morning I whirred that baby up and devoured!


I literally have 1 scoop of almond butter left! Ben is heading to Chicago this weekend though, so I have a list of things for him to pick up at Trader Joe’s 🙂


Is your Green Monster ever too thick? Add a splash of water. Overnight green monsters get suuuuper thick from the oats absorbing the milk, so I add a splash of water in with the ice and banana, which gives me the perfect consistency!


Today for lunch, I packed a: Spinach Salad, Blueberry Yogurt & an Orange.


In the salad we’ve got:

  • Spinach
  • Feta Cheese
  • Chopped Celery
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Cherry Tomatoes


Look at these beauts. Fresh from the vine!


Sir, I think you could use a haircut…


Love the salty feta with the tart cranberries.

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While I don’t eat oranges a lot, they are actually a really good snack option. After you peel them, it takes awhile to remove each section and eat!


Finally, one of my faves – Blueberry Buckle Yogurt. Sweet and creamy!



Today’s Running Tips

Monday’s running tips are from the “Advanced Running” section of the 101 Greatest Running Tips list. Don’t let the advanced name scare you – again, these are tips that I pulled out of the list of 101, that I thought were applicable for runners & athletes at all levels!

Tip #37. Go with mind over grind: "Any idiot can train himself into the ground; the trick is doing the training that makes you gradually stronger." –Keith Brantly, U.S. Olympic marathoner

I’ve mentioned this in the past, but I think it’s important not to go from 0 to 100 when you first start getting into running, or are getting back into it from a break. If you go too hard too fast, you’ll likely get super sore, which can be discouraging. My advice would be to ease into a running/exercise routine and slowly increase time and miles.

Tip #44. Rest assured: "Back off at the first sign of injury. Three to 5 days off is better than missing a month or two. Take regular rest days." –PattiSue Plumer, two-time U.S. Olympian

We touched on this in Tip #16. It’s really important not to push through an injury – you’ll likely make it worse! Taking rest days is important too – your body needs time to recover from heavy exercise and runs.

Tip #45. Divide and conquer: "Pick one thing each year that you need to improve, and work on that. It might be improving your diet, getting more sleep, or increasing your mileage. You can’t work on everything at once." –Bob Kennedy

– This is my favorite tip of the day. I think getting into a healthy lifestyle is daunting for a lot of people because they think ‘Oh, I have to be perfect. I have to workout, eat right, drink lots of water, sleep 8 hours a day, etc., etc.’ Be easy on yourself – again, you can’t go from 0-100 in one day. Baby steps! It’s ok!


Alrighty friends, off to begin another week! Check back tonight for the start of a week-long, end of summer dinner series. Tonight’s going to be a good one!


What did you have for breakfast today? Do you typically go for a “healthier” breakfast on Monday’s?


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Morning runs are back! Kind of…

I woke up early and ran a 1.5 mile loop before I went on my Mom walk and intended to complete another loop when we were done. Well…the weather had other plans.

While running my first loop, it was kind of misty out and I could see lightening in the far distance…ugh, not good. Thankfully by the time I made it home, the misting had stopped so my Mom and I headed out for our walk.

About 1/4 of the way in it started sprinkling so we turned around, but by the time we got back to my street, the rain had stopped! Gosh! We continued past my street a little while and by the time we turned around and got back home, it had started sprinkling again and there was lightening in all four directions. At that point I just threw in the towel – the second running loop was not going to happen. Oh well, it least I got a little somethin’ somethin’ in there!

Breakfast went better. Guess who was patiently waiting for me? An overnight Green Monster!


That’s 1/4 cup of oatmeal in the bottom, followed by a cup of skim milk, a scoop of almond butter and two big handfuls of spinach. Blend, add a couple handfuls of ice + a frozen banana and enjoy 😀


I added a splash of water to my smoothie today because the oats soaking in the milk overnight made it so deliciously thick, that my little blender blade couldn’t handle it!


I actually looooved what the splash of water did. It came out to the perfect smoothie consistency. I chugged this baby!


Served in my sweet Iowa glass, of course 🙂


Today for lunch, I packed a big salad with spinach, fresh corn on the cob and some leftover tomato, cucumber, basil & red onion salad.


Cutting the corn off the cob makes it so much better, don’t you think? I love eating my corn in “sheets” if you will!


I’m packing some olive oil based Italian dressing + a splash of balsamic vinegar for my salad dressing.


So last week I stumbled upon an amazing, motivating article/tip list on WomensHealthMag.com that I wanted to share with you all. It’s titled: Beginning Runners Guide: 101 Greatest Running Tips. While the article is intended to motivate runners who are just getting into the sport, I thought the tips were applicable for runners at ALL levels!

I went through the list and picked out the tips that really spoke to me and want to share them in increments. Today’s tips come from the “Starting Out” section of the article:

Tip #2. Shoot for this (at least): Running 8 to 15 miles per week significantly increases your aerobic capacity, and positively effects many of the coronary risk factors.” –Dr. Kenneth Cooper, aerobics pioneer

– Running 8-15 miles/week is totally doable. They don’t necessarily have to be “runs” either – go ahead and jog it if you’re new to running. The point is to just get moving!

Tip #3. Be a minuteman: The biggest mistake that new runners make is that they tend to think in mile increments–1 mile, 2 miles, 3 miles. Beginning runners need to think in minutes, not miles.” –Budd Coates, four-time U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier/coach

– I always think in terms of miles when I’m running, but if makes so much sense to think in terms of minutes if you’re trying to build up your stamina and mileage. Tack on a few minutes each week or every other run, and you’re on your way!

Tip #8. Relax to the max: When running, let your jaw hang loose, don’t bunch up your shoulders close to your ears, and occasionally shake out your hands and arms to stay relaxed.” –Dave Martin, Ph.D., exercise physiologist

– This is really important and something I struggle with. I always seem to tense up the right side of my body when running, which expends so much energy. On Sunday’s run, I really focused on relaxing my body and checking in every few minutes to make sure I wasn’t tensing up.

So those are today’s tips! Hopefully you guys will find these worthwhile, I know I definitely did. Looking forward to sharing more with you!!

Have a great day everyone – oh, stay tuned this afternoon for a fun announcement!


Do you follow any of these three tips? Which one can you identify with?

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Hello! Friday dance!

No post last night because I was doing this:


And ended up with these!

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These precious duck and personalized cookies are destined for a baby shower this weekend. I sure hope they like them!



It’s for a little girl – hence the pink. I just love the combination of pink and yellow. It is so sweet 🙂


While I was working on the cookies, Ben went and got us dinner – one of my faves – Chipotle!


I just love the fresh toppings, hormone-free chicken and zesty cilantro-lime rice.

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Hey! Remember my homemade chipotle rice kick!? I need to get back on that train ASAP!


So it has been scorching hot here lately, so I have definitely been craving cooler meals. I stuck with it this morning and made a Blue-Green Monster.


Now, I have been getting harassed – harassed – to include yogurt in my Green Monster by a friend who insists that it’s the best thing that ever happened to the GM. Today I finally caved and added a Blueberry Cheesecake Yogo in place of my usual almond butter!

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Mmmmmmmm – I must give credit where credit is due. My friend is a genius! Every time I have a GM I talk about how smooth and creamy it is…well THIS was soooooth and creeeeamy. Oh my!


Plus the extra flavor of sweet, blueberry cheesecake was just to-die-for. Good call, friend – you rock! 😀


Today for lunch, I re-purposed my Chipotle leftovers from last night. I put them over a bed of spinach and added some perfect, cherry tomatoes.


Not sure what kind of dressing I’m going to pack for this…perhaps a dallop of good old ranch?



Ok, not going to lie – the addition of the yogurt really makes the Green Monster fill-ing. I am STUFFED! Going to roll myself out the door now…

Ugh, I just remembered that I have to go to the DOT over lunch today. My license is expired…eep!

Have an awesome Friday, all!


What’s your favorite Green Monster or other smoothie mix-in? Do you every use protein powders or mix-ins?

Yogurt was definitely bomb – but that mango from the other day was insanely good!

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I’ve adopted a basil plant! This puppy is the one my Mom picked up when we went to the Farmer’s Market way back in May, when it first opened for the season. Well it turns out she doesn’t eat as much basil as she thought (hence the massive quantities of it on this plant,) so she gave it to me. Score!


I put basil in everything – so much so, that I killed the plant that I had bought for myself at said Farmer’s Market 😦 Rats… Oh well, problem solved!

For breakfast today I had an overnight Green Monster. Yep, I put all the ingredients, minus the banana & ice, in my blender last night and stuck it in the fridge so it was all ready for me to blend up this morning.


Oh, I also came up with another time saver for my monsters. Normally I slice my bananas, put them in little plastic baggies and stick them in the freezer. In the mornings I put my frozen, bagged bananas in the blender then get a scoop of ice and put it in there too. Well last night I figured, why not put the ice cubes in the baggie with the bananas? That way I can put all the frozen ingredients in the blender at the same time! How kaizen of me. 😉


Those are some extra mango chunks from dinner last night. Remember my Mango Smoothies and how silky smooth they are? They definitely made this the smoothest, creamiest green monster yet!


Nutritious, delicious and satisfying, with just a touch of Minnesota. Fab!


So yesterday’s Italian Salad was such a hit – I made it for lunch again today.


I subbed the mixed greens for spinach, but the rest is the same. It is the perfect combo of flavors – I’m telling you, the pepperoni stole the show!


I’m also packing some blueberries. They are so incredible…I savored every last berry yesterday. I’m thinking about going back while they’re still on sale so I can freeze a bunch. Blueberry Crisp in December, anyone? 😀


So, fun fact: I love Britney Spears with all my heart and soul. Judge me if you must. Anyways, her Circus tour is coming to Des Moines and I would literally give all the toes on my left foot to go…only problem is the cheapest tickets, in the worst seats are $75. Is it worth it? Has anyone seen her Circus show? I know it’s a 360 show, but is it worth $75 if I’m going to be sitting so high up? Help a sister OUT!


Do you like going to concerts? What’s your favorite one you’ve ever been to?

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One word – FRIDAY!

It’s a rainy Friday here – in fact, the rain even chased me and my Mom down the street at the tail end of our walk! We got home just as the clouds opened up.

Friday also marks the return of the Green Monster. Gosh, I haven’t had one of these babies in forever! I made the overnight version, and per usual, it was so sweet, thick and creeeeammy.

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Recycled pic because the Green Monster lighting was fussy today.

Hey – guess who jumped on the Green Monster train?? THEO!! Is this not the most adorable little 3 year old you have EVER seen? His Mom, Stacey, sent me this picture of him enjoying a green monster smoothie. While Theo is a very healthy eater, he usually turns up his nose at spinach. That is, until his Mom started making this beautiful, bright green smoothie that peaked his interest. Now he can’t get enough!!


So Mom’s out there – if your child isn’t getting enough greens in their life – give this smoothie a whirl. I know another Mom who has her little boy convinced these are milkshakes and even puts sprinkles on top! Hey – whatever you gotta do!!

Today I packed a lunch-o’-randomness. Cantaloupe, Rotisserie Chicken Rice & a Peach.


I think I might have already proclaimed this earlier this summer but this is, hands down, the best cantaloupe ever. I was in melon heaven yesterday!

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I also packed a CranberryOrange PURE Bar.


This bar is bomb – love it!


Super chewy with big chunks of dried cranberries!


So friends – what are you up to this weekend? Once again I have ZERO plans…cool! I’m not sure how long this rain is supposed to last but if it’s still around this evening I’m thinking I’d like to go to a movie. Have you seen anything good lately? I heard that Ryan Reynolds/Sandra Bullock flick was decent.

OH also! I want to tell you guys about one of my favorite websites ever: 1000 Awesome Things. Basically it’s a site that posts one awesome thing about life everyday. Some of my favorite postings include:

#712 Emptying the recycling bin on your computer

#714 Changing the channel during a commercial break and then flipping back just as the show’s coming back on

#717 Sleeping with one leg under the covers and one leg out

#724 Placing the last piece of the puzzle

I seriously read everyday and I’m like – “YES! That is awesome!” It’s a great mood-boosting website, so I wanted to share with you all 😉 A great Friday read if I’ve ever seen one!


What’s something that you think is awesome?

Here’s one: Checking out at the store and finding out that what you’re buying is on sale.


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Goooood morning friends!

I was MIowA girl last night because I had another cookie order to finish up! I’m happy to say it’s all packed up and ready to send 🙂 Letting go and shipping off your product is the hardest part – it’s like sending your child off to summer camp. You know you’ve supplied them with all the right materials – bug spray and mementos from home for the kids, bubble wrap and tight shipping tape for the cookies… All you can do is cross your fingers and hope everything turns out ok! 😀

Anyways, last night before I went to bed, I partially pre-made a Green Monster for this morning. I combined all the ingredients, except for the ice and banana, in my blender so all I had to do this morning was take it out of the fridge, add my frozen items and blend! I seriously love my “last night” self when I do stuff like this. Making things easier on my “morning self” makes me SO happy!

Check out that frosty blender.


This was the creamiest, thickest and tastiest Green Monster to date!


Do you get a “green monster” mustache (think Kool-aid mustache circa 1993) when you drink yours? I do!


I poured this baby to the TOP – it was dripping down the sides of my glass just like an ice cream float 🙂


Once again spinach pulled double duty today as it was the base of the Fiesta Salad I packed for lunch!


After looking through my pantry last night, I discovered I had all the ingredients to make a modified Beanis Dip, which topped my salad. I combined:

  • 1 chopped fresh tomato
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can pineapple tidbits, drained

And spooned the mixture over a bed of baby lettuce.

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My favorite part is the black beans & corn – dy-no-mite!


Off to work, buddies. Tonight = CLEANING NIGHT! I love to get all my “chores” and housework done during the week so I can relaaaaaax during the weekends. 😀


Are you “brand blind”? Meaning, will you buy whatever is cheapest (assuming quality isn’t compromised)? Or are you brand loyal, and always buy a certain brand of products no matter what the cost?

I’ve always been pretty brand blind. If I can get the same product for cheaper, I will always opt for the cheaper priced product.

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Last night we had my little brother’s going away dinner 😦 I’m sad! He had been living in Chicago for the past couple of years and then decided that he wanted to move to Denver. This summer he lived at home in between moves and just when I got used to having him back, he’s leaving again! Denver is an amazing city though and I know he’ll absolutely thrive there. I’ll miss you bro! 🙂

For our special dinner, my Mom made Pasta Salad, Fruit Salad & Italian Sausage Sandwiches!


I didn’t have my sausage in sandwich form, but AHHH I LOVE THESE!! There is a long story behind these babies – but let me just tell you that they are made by my Italian Aunt and her Italian mother and they are TO DIE FOR! Seriously – bold statement – these might just top the top 10 best things ever eaten list… Only problem is my aunt and her mom live in OHIO, so these are a rare, rare treat for this Iowa girl. My Dad was there visiting family last week and he brought some back with him. Yes, these are “crossing state lines” good!!

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I have to show you what it looks like in its intended form. Spicy Italian sausage links sandwiched between a crusty, chewy roll & smothered in rich, homemade marinara sauce…are you kidding me…


The spicy sausage was complimented perfectly by a cold and light pasta salad. It contained the works: black & green olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, cheese cubes, green onion & bow-tie pasta…does my Mom know how to make a pasta salad, or what?!


Ugh…I could seriously eat about 15 of those links. I had to hold myself back at one, because they are one of those kryptonite foods – if you have one, you want a thousand. Which, doesn’t doesn’t seem all that bad actually… 😉

So this morning my Mom and I had better luck with our walk – the rain was nowhere in sight. We completed our 1.5 mile loop and when I got home I was starving. Starving to the point where I made two of my favorite breakfast classics – Toasted English Muffin with Almond Butter and Sugar-Free Raspberry Jam AND a Green Monster Smoothie!


The perfect yin and yang 🙂


This breakfast held me over really well earlier this week and I’m giving almond butter the credit for that. What’s your favorite brand of almond butter?


I also made a 1/2 batch, slightly modified version of my green monster recipe.


In today’s mix:

  • 2 handfuls spinach (yep, still went hardcore with 2 handfuls even in a 1/2 batch!)
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1 handful ice
  • 1/2 frozen banana

Look at that baby sweat…ice cold! Not sure what’s up with the glacial patterns – but it still tasted great!



I am finally satisfied now – perfectly stuffed and content. Ahhhh I kind of don’t want to move from my chair…

Anyways, for lunch today, I packed a salad that I haven’t had in Heaven knows how long – a Caesar Salad!


This was created out of a “salad kit” and said salad kit was ONE DOLLAR at the store this weekend. Are you kidding me? $1? The bag contained:

  • Crispy romaine lettuce
  • Freshly shaved romano & parmesan cheeses
  • Cracked pepper & herb seasonings
  • Garlic croutons (normally I’m not a huge crouton girl – but good gravy these are good!)
  • Newman’s Own caesar salad dressing

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The shaved cheese tasted so fresh (yeah, I nibbled) and the herbs & cracked pepper are really going to jazz up this mix. Not going to lie – I’m really excited to eat this today 😀


I also packed a fresh, sliced peach. I really had to fight with myself not to eat this for breakfast because the sweet, quintessential “peach” smell almost brought me to my knees!



Time to boogey, as they say, I’ve got big day ahead of me! Have a great Wednesday everyone!!


Do you have a hobby? Scrapbooking, sailing, hiking, needle-point, etc?

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