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Archive for December, 2010

I love beautiful things. Especially beautiful, vintage things. There is just something about old items that I find comforting and exciting all in the same. Whether it be jewelry, clothing, furniture or photographs, if it comes with a story from a previous life, I fall in love with it. Head over heels, I’m tellin’ ya. I have a special place in my heart for things that have been in my family and passed onto me or will eventually be passed onto me one day, right, Mom? But I also appreciate things I have found at garage sales, antique shops, or even online (Proof God loves us – Etsy.com).

With this love comes inspiration of what to do with all this ‘stuff’ as my husband calls it. Sometimes I find great inspiration from within, but other times, I like to gain inspiration by researching the success of like-minded peeps. A new addiction is a fabulous website and this week’s chosen flavor: A Beach Cottage – Life By the Sea.

Seriously, this Aussie has got style & sass. I could spend HOURS clicking around this little slice of internet heaven. The genius behind this website shows how she has successfully turned other people’s trash into some beautiful treasures. Currently an apartment-dweller, her home is what my future habitat looks like in my dreams. I encourage you to make a pit stop at her virtual domain, you won’t be disappointed.

This site helped me realize my love for furniture in all shades of white. And it sparked an obsession within yours truly of finding an old beat-up dresser and  the desire to rehab it with whitewash and silver knobs…

Well, I actually found the below piece of furniture at an antique shop near my Mum’s over Christmas break. I plan on keeping it in its current state, because alas, it is vintage, white-washed and has silver knobs.  We were meant to be together!

Love at first sight!

3 drawers below and a shelf concealed by 2 doors above

Not too shabby, eh?

 

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Veggie Couscous

I made one of my favorite dishes last night for dinner, it is a take on the Moroccan Couscous with Saffron recipe from The Kind Life book. This is absolutely one of my favorite books and it is loaded with yummy recipes! You should mos def check it out!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large zucchini cut into 1/2-3/4″ cubes
  • 1 large onion (I choose white) cut however you please – I prefer larger chunks
  • 2 cups peeled  butternut squash cut into 1/2″ cubes (I cheat and purchase the pre-cut, frozen variety)
  • 2 cups chopped sweet potato
  • 1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat couscous
  • 2-3 tablespoons EVOO
  • sea salt
  • black pepper

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F
  • Clean and cut all vegetables, and add to a large baking dish
  • Drizzle EVOO over vegetables and sprinkle 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper and toss vegetables
  • Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, turning once with a spatula about midway through to prevent sticking and to allow for even cooking of vegetables
  • Pour vegetable broth into a saucepan and bring to a boil
  • Scrape the roasted vegetables and their juices into a large bowl, and add the dry couscous on top
  • Pour vegetable broth over the couscous mixture all at once
  • Cover bowl tightly with a plate and allow to stand for 15 minutes
  • Toss the couscous and vegetables with a fork, and serve
  • Add more salt and pepper to taste according to your preference

Roasted veggies! YUM!

Whole wheat couscous thrown into the mix

Bon appetit!

This is one of those vegan dishes that even the most dedicated of carnivores (ahem, my husband) enjoys eating. This dish makes quite a large amount, but don’t fret, it stores really well. In fact, I pack it in my lunch during the work week quite frequently and it tastes just as good as when it was first prepared.

Enjoy!

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Boston Training – Week 3

Sunday 12.19.10

  • Run: 16 miles

Monday 12.20.10

  • Recumbent Bicycle: 30 minutes
  • Strength: Core & Lower Body Workout: 45 minutes
  • Deep Water Running: 45 minutes

Tuesday 12.21.10

  • Rest

Wednesday 12.22.10

  • Run: 9 miles

Thursday 12.23.10

  • Run: 9 miles

Friday 12.24.10

  • Run: 9 miles

Saturday 12.25.10

  • Run: 9 miles

Sunday 12.26.10

  • Run: 10 miles

This week was a recovery week, so nothing too exciting to report. I did feel strong on all of my runs and it felt nice to have an easier week thrown into the mix. During the holidays, when the hubs and I were spending most of our free time visiting with family and friends, it was nice to not have to fit in a speed workout or a super long run.

Today marks 16 weeks until BOSTON and I received some key items in the mail that got me super jacked!…

Front of my DetermiNATION singlet

Gotta love thumb holes!

That's me!

Can’t wait ’til April 18th!

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Just a few shots from my Christmas weekend.

Some of my mother's angels.

This little light of mine.

Merry Christmas!

For me, there is nothing quite like the coziness of my mother’s home, especially during the holidays. I hope all of you had a wonderful weekend spent with family, friends, joy and laughter.

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I have developed a new appreciation for beautiful, one of a kind stationary, cards, invitations, etc. In a world where I am surrounded daily by virtual and digital correspondence, I get mega-excited when I receive something of the hand-written breed in the mail. This fall, I talked my husband into taking some photos at our favorite Lake Erie beach to be featured on our Christmas card. His only catch? It had to be “REALLY cool”. Well I thought the perfect person for the job would be the mastermind behind this week’s obsession, ink & ivory.

I envisioned a vintage-looking postcard featuring a photo of my love and I on the beach, with ‘Sending love from Lake Erie’ written in script across the front of the card.

Back and front view of our Christmas postcard!

She nailed it, if you ask me! The owner and designer at ink & ivory brought my vision for my Christmas card to absolute fruition, and it turned out better than I could ever imagine!

Members of my family have used ink & ivory for bridal shower invites, baby announcements, Christmas cards and new address announcement cards, and have loved each and every design.

I encourage you to check out her portfolio and consider purchasing your next personalized piece of mail from ink & ivory!

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Sunday 12.12.1o

  • Run: 14 miles

Monday 12.13.10

  • Recumbent Bicycle: 30 minutes
  • Strength: Core & Lower Body Workout: 45 minutes
  • Deep Water Running: 45 minutes
  • Massage: 60 minutes (Happy Birthday to me!)

Tuesday 12.14.10

  • Run: 9 miles

Wednesday 12.15.10

  • Yoga: 90 minutes

Thursday 12.16.10

Recumbent Bike: 30 minutes

Speed workout on indoor track: 8 miles total. 80 laps! I should probably have my head examined.

  • 2.5 mile warm-up
  • 1 mile @ 6:32
  • 800 m jog
  • 1 mile @ 6:32
  • 3 mile cool-down

Friday 12.17.10

Deep Water Running: 30 minutes

Recumbent Bike: 30 minutes

Lower body/core strength work: 20 minutes. I was STARVING I had to get outta the gym before I hurt someone and cut this portion of my workout short.

Saturday 12.18.10

Run: 8 miles

Sunday 12.19.10

Today I had a 16-miler on the schedule. I did manage to get up before the sun, chugged some lemon-lime Gatorade, had some pomegranate and some pretzels (I know, totally random) and was out the door. The first 8 miles felt ROUGH, not gonna lie and I was feeling rather sorry for myself (I’m sure it had nothing to do with going to a holiday party and indulging in wine and party snacks, followed by a bean burrito from taco bell – WTF was I thinking?! And only getting 5.5 hours of sleep). At the turn around, I ate some fruit snacks, took a quick stretch break and gave myself a much-needed pep talk. I REALLY wanted to go to yoga class at 10:00am, and I had to be back to the apartment no later than 9:15am so I could eat inhale a snack, change clothes and drive a half hour to Oberlin. Yes, the class is THAT good. Also, I told myself that I have worked too hard to qualify for Boston and I needed to take my training seriously and I needed to grunt through the ickyness and do work! So, I dug deep and surprised myself with one helluva negative split!

Stats from today’s training run:

Total time: 2:13:11 for 16 miles (8:19 pace per mile)

First 8 miles: 1:09:02 (8:37 pace per mile)

Second 8 miles: 1:04:09 (8:01 pace per mile)

Resulting in a 4:53 negative split!!!!

I am disappointed in my first 8 miles, but it was all my fault. I RARELY consume alcohol. For multiple reasons, but the biggest is that it makes me feel like total crap, and the crappiness lasts for days. And I make really poor nutritional choices while under the influence – exhibit A: taco bell. It was just a tortilla filled with beans, thank goodness it didn’t contain dairy or meat. However, it still was utterly disgusting. In my hazy state I even realized this and threw half of it in the trash. But I redeemed myself with my final 8 miles and I am pleased with the overall results.

After my run, I went to yoga, and it was the best class I have had yet and am so glad I made the effort to attend. A 90 minute yoga session is the perfect way for me to jump-start my recovery from my long runs.

After class, I treated myself to my favorite vegan everything cookie, a soy chai latte infused with espresso, and a soak in the tub with some bath salts my Massage Therapist gave me for a Christmas gift. So, I have a weakness for pampering myself, sue me.

I know I am not perfect, I don’t expect to be. Sometimes I am really hard on myself and am my biggest critic. I do realize though, sometimes you need to make mistakes and poor choices to learn, grow, and to even be reminded of why you choose to live your life in a particular way. Did I have fun last night? Absolutely. Could I have had as much fun without alcohol and poor food choices? Absolutely. Next time I will be sipping good old H2O outta my red solo cup.


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Thought it appropriate to feature some photos I snapped earlier in the week of how the weather is changing the beautiful Lake Erie landscape. Enjoy!

Blue skies & crashin' waves.

Mother Nature rocks.

I love trees.

Survival.

Hope y’all are staying warm on these blustery winter days, but don’t let the chill of the air deter you from exploring your own back yard. You may not live on a Great Lake but I can assure you that there is beauty sprouting up all around you. Just slow down and take in your surroundings, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

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Sweet Potato Quasi-Quesadilla

I was poking around for some recipes and I came across the notion of using mashed sweet potatoes instead of cheese to create a quesadilla. Genius. It was one of those situations where you stumble across a blog and have no clue how you got there, failed to bookmark the site and have zero recollection of what it was called. I do know that the recipe featured didn’t include everything I included in my attempt tonight for some reason I can remember a list of ingredients, but fail to remember a simple website, eh, I like it complicated.

Ingredients:

  • 2 of your favorite tortillas (I chose whole wheat tonight)
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/4 of a white onion
  • 1/4 cup of black beans
  • Salsa

Directions:

  • Fill up a pot with water and place on stove, bring water to a boil
  • Wash and cut up sweet potatoes and add to pot of water, boil for 10 minutes, or until potatoes are soft

Boiling sweet taters

  • Heat up whatever appliance you intend to use to cook your quasi-quesadilla (I have a George Forman-style of table-top grille that works awesome for paninis and quasadillas)
  • Dice onions, set aside
  • Slice up avocado, set aside
  • Prep black beans (I used canned due to lack of time, and rinsed them really well and placed in a bowl until I was ready for them, if planning ahead, I would have preferred dry beans that I cooked ahead of time)
  • Once potatoes are finished boiling, drain water and mash. (Adding butter to the potatoes is optional, and will create a creamier consistency. I used 1 tablespoon of Original Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread) and a pinch of salt and pepper

Thank goodness for my red stand mixer!

  • Once potatoes are mashed, spread onto one of the tortillas, stopping about one inch from the edge of the tortilla (to prevent potatoes from oozing out the sides of tortillas when pressed)
  • Top spread with black beans and onions

Starting to look pretty tasty!

  • Spread sweet potatoes on second tortilla and place on top of first tortilla (like making a sandwich)
  • Place tortilla ‘sandwich’ onto grill and cook for 10 minutes (or until tortilla begins to brown and the edges become crispy
  • Once quasi-quesadilla is finished grilling, place on plate and pull up top tortilla, insert as much avocado as you prefer (for me, the more the better!)

Seriously, how beautiful is that?! Veggies rock!

  • Slice quasi-quesadilla into quarters (a pizza slicer works perfectly)
  • Top with as much salsa as you would like (again, the more the better!) and some more avocado if you are feeling crazy
  • Indulge

Voila!

Holy canoli! Seriously the best thing I’ve tasted in quite some time! This will mos def become a regular visitor to the Stout family dining table. The carnivore of a hubs taste-tested and even thought it was delicious!

Stout stamp of approval.

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I almost forgot to mention the awesome lil birthday gift my neices and nephew (okay, really my sister picked it out and bought it) got me. I am obsessed with my new necklace and basically everything else from Emilina Ballerina

Love.

My sister is an Etsy junkie too, and has always had a knack for picking out really great gifts. This little bubble charm, along with everything else in the shop is a handmade original by the shop owner. Carve out some time and definitely visit her shop, you won’t be sorry!

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Epic Birthday.

So I recently celebrated a Birthday! Woo! And BOY was I spoiled. In our household, we don’t just celebrate Birthdays we celebrate Birthweeks! My Birthweek started out strong with the hubs divulging my main Birthday gift a tad early, and extended through the weekend with fun activities! He took me to Snow Days at Progressive Field (where the Cleveland Indians lose play games). The entire stadium was transformed into a winter wonderland. My favorite feature was the Batterhorn, a giant snow-packed hill used for tubing.

The Batterhorn!

After getting our fill of the Batterhorn, we ran into Slider, one of the team mascots. Of course I couldn’t let such a clutch photo-op pass me by!

Me & Slider!

Post-Snow Days fun, the hubs took me to The Root Cafe, an organic bakery & cafe. The menu is chock-full of vegetarian and vegan options. I chose the vegan calzone. OH EM GEE. It was delicious! Filled to the brim with marinara, broccoli, mushrooms & kale, with a side of marinara dipping sauce. I don’t think I spoke the entire meal, I seriously inhaled it.

Vegan Calzone!

I loved this little cafe, it had such a cozy atmosphere. One of my favorite details? Instead of table numbers, they used drawings of veggies. How cute is that?! Why didn’t I think of this idea for my wedding?!

Table Corn. What what.

One of my bffs sent me this SAWEET gift basket. Coffee, tea, biscotti, oh my!

Mother load!

In addition to tickets to see CATS at Playhouse Square with her in January, my mum sent me a ballin mix CD featuring the following:

  • Memories (CATS)
  • Don’t Rain on My Parade (Funny Girl)
  • Defying Gravity (Wicked)
  • Seasons of Love (RENT)
  • Circle of Life (Broadway version)
  • Moon River
  • Podcast with Bill Rodgers (only one of the greatest American distance runners of all time) regarding the Boston Marathon

Seriously, how cool is my mother?! LOVE her.

And as if my Birthday couldn’t have gotten any better, I was offered a new job as a Health Coach! Holy smokes, I am excited.

I seriously feel so loved and blessed.

Cheers to 28 years!

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