Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Happy Humpday! (I realize it's almost Thursday but I began this post this morning).I really wish my posts weren't so random and sporadic. I haven't had the greatest time management lately and I've also been having camera issues. Hopefully soon I can return to posting my daily meals on a regular basis! This morning I met with my trainer at 8 for a leg-focused workout. Monday was arm-focused so today was my lower body's turn to work for an hour. It actually wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be, but I'm sure I'll be feeling my legs later! It's been 8 weeks since I started training with him and I have noticed such a huge difference in my strength. Before I left I had a few extra minutes so I sipped on half a cup of coffee and a slice of Veganomicon's Lower-fat Chocolate Chip Banana Bread. I made this fantastic loaf yesterday and I couldn't wait to try it. I added way more mini chips than I needed, but it's okay because you can never have too much chocolate!

My post-workout breakfast was a protein packed Blueberry Peach Banana smoothie. I have been addicted to these lately. When I make these as a meal, as opposed to a snack,  I use a cup of 1% milk, 1/2 banana, 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, 1/2 cup frozen peaches, and 1 scoop of Kashi Go Lean! vanilla protein powder. Sometimes I'll add ice to give it more volume. The combo of the milk + protein seems to fill me up for hours. Today however, I was hungry within 2 hours. 

For lunch I made one of my favorite fun dishes- Quinoa & Bean Pilaf. I like to mix it up, so each time I make it is new. Last night I used Inca Red Quinoa, which I cooked in vegetable stock. To the cooked quinoa I added a chopped yellow bell pepper, half a zucchini, scallions, tomatoes, cannelli beans, cashews, and feta cheese. I tossed the colorful salad with Seeds of Change Organic Greek Feta dressing. I had this for dinner last night, but it was even better today. 

Work was pretty steady all day so it went by fast. After Friday, I'll only have 1 week left there. It's bittersweet but I can't wait to begin my new job!! I tried a new bar this afternoon, a Fiber One Oats & Apple Streusel

I've had the oats & chocolate flavor before, but I was excited to try this one. This flavor was fine but I like the chocolate better. Overall I still prefer <3>

I have been starving all day for some reason. My meals have not satisfied me today! I got started on dinner pretty early. I chose to make Mango Jalapeno Shrimp from the current issues of Everyday with Rachel Ray. It came out great as a light and refreshing summer night dinner. I had mine taco style with 2 corn tortillas and a little avocado. Yum-o!

Since I had dinner pretty early I'll probably need a snack or dessert later on!


Monday, July 21, 2008

My, my, how can I resist you?

My head has been filled with ABBA lyrics for the last 36 hours. Why? Well, I saw Mamma Mia! (the movie) this weekend with some girlfriends and we loved it. It's a fun, silly movie that had us dancing and singing our way out of the theater. The funny thing is I've never been a huge ABBA fan, but now I am ;) 

Yesterday was a long day. I got up at 5:30 and didn't go to bed until 12:30. We took a road trip to Madison, WI for my cousin's baptism. The drive is about 3.5-4 hours each way so I am sick of sitting! My legs need a big stretch. But it was fun seeing family and celebrating little Daniel Alexander's baptism. And the food was amazing. My aunt is an amazing cook! She made delicious Mexican dishes and I wish I would have taken pictures of the food. I had 3 corn tortillas stuffed with different things. One with shredded chicken in a tomato salsa broth, 1 potato-chorizo, and a rajas one. Rajas is a mixure of poblano peppers, corn, zucchini, mexican sour cream, and cheese. It so delicious and definitely my favorite dish at the table. I also had black beans and rice. 

Daniel Alexander

Cousin Aly, Sister Renata, Cousin Bianca, and Me

I slept in today to recover from the lack of sleep. I panicked a bit this morning when I walked into the kitchen. No oats, no cereal, limited fruit choices...I seriously considered going to the grocery store right away, but then I thought of something I could make...toast with peanut butter and bananas and juicy strawberries!

Despite my lack of breakfast options, I think I did pretty well in coming up with a nutritious, yummy breakfast. I used 2 full tablespoons of pb, usually I only use 1, but I need this breakfast to hold me through a workout and late lunch. The bread is Trader Joe's Sprouted Multigrain, made with organic high protein sprouted wheat berries, rye flakes, and flax seeds. Two slices provide 180 cals, 1 g fat, 4 g fiber, and 10 g protein. 

Pb + Bread = 18 g protein. Usually, I'm not concerned with my protein intake. I, like the majority of Americans, get more than enough protein in my daily meals. That said, I love whole grains, fruit and veggies more than protein. My trainer thinks that I will get better results by increasing my protein intake. He gave me a meal guide that I'm going to try it out for awhile and see how I feel. 

Today is my only day off from work this week. Plans for today include a cardio and strength training workout, planning meals for the week and buying groceries! Hope everyone is having a great start to the week. 

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Big News!

Good Morning! It's been a relaxing Thursday morning for me. I work at 11 but I decided to take this morning off from exercising. I'm feeling pretty sore from earlier workouts this week. I am hoping to make it to yoga after work and then run, but it all depends on my evening plans. My mom and sister are going to the mall- she's having her high school senior pictures taken tomorrow- and I might tag along. I don't have much desire to go, but it's always nice to shop with moms ;)

For breakfast I had coffee and swiss oats. I made this by soaking the oats overnight with soy milk, cinnamon, dried cherries, and pecans. In the morning I mix it with low fat plain yogurt and banana slices. This is such a great breakfast during the summer. It's filling, yet cool and light.

For lunch I packed leftovers from Monday night's Caramelized Tofu with brown rice, pecans and broccoli. I can't wait to dig-in!

My snacks throughout the day include: baby carrots, plain yogurt, 2 pluots (plum-apricot hybrid), and a banana cookie lara bar. I'm not sure if I'll eat all of the snacks but I want to be prepared if hunger strikes, especially if I go to the mall.


I was offered a full-time job working as a weightloss consultant at a local clinic!!!!! I won't know full details until my training starts August 4th, but after meeting with the director I can say I am excited! This company seems to have a great philosophy on food and weightloss, taking a lifestyle approach to health and wellness as opposed to a quick-fix diet. When I know more, I'll share details with you all! I cannot wait to start!

This has been a very hot and humid week here in Minnesota. Today is no exception. We're expecting storms today and I would guess sooner than later since the sky is already dark. I guess it's a good day to be working inside a coffee shop! Have a wonderful Thursday!

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Hi y'all
! I can't believe how fast time flies these days. It's already a new week. Wow. I had a fun-filled, busy weekend spent with friends. We celebrated a birthday of Friday night by having a few cocktails, playing charades, and birthday cake of course! I spent most of Saturday working, and Sunday morning as well. The weekend highlight was yesterday when we went out on my friend's boat. It was a very windy day, but the sun was strong and we had a lot of fun. Chris and one of my friends even convinced me to go tubing. My arms are sore today but it was worth it!

Last night I was in bed by 9! The weekend wore me out so it was great to wake up feeling refreshed and well-rested. Lately, I've been liking to bake right away in the morning. So while I sipped on coffee I whipped up a batch of carrot, apple, and pecan multigrain muffins. These fiber rich muffins were on the back of Hodgson Mill's Multigrain Hot Cereal. I made a couple of changes to the recipe so I posted it on my recipe page.

I wasn't feeling a big breakfast so I had one of these and it was great. The muffins are moist, not too dense, and have the perfect amount of sweetness for me. I also had half of a grapefruit. It's been awhile since I've had one but I just love its refreshing quality.

To continue the refreshing trend I went to a yoga class this morning. My body was a craving a deep stretch. I have missed it so much the last couple of weeks. I hope I can continue to practice yoga at least once or twice a week, but sometimes my schedule just doesn't allow it. The instructor for this particular class likes to hand out cards that have sayings on them to focus on during class. I love this. Today mine said "Every thought I think is creating my future." This is so true and made me think about how important positive thinking is. The class definitely refreshed my mind and body.

I miss blogging my meals everyday so I've decided that when I have the time to do it, I'm going to be posting them again. I'm hoping that posting my meals again will motivate me to have more creative meals. The last few weeks have not been the most exciting food-wise. Of course, I've baked lots of goodies, but cooking? Not so much.

For dinner I made the
Caramelized Tofu from 101 Cookbooks. I cannot rave enough about Heidi's recipes. Every single recipe I have tried from this website is amazing. The first time I ever tried cooking tofu at home was with this recipe. It came out great and my whole family enjoyed it. I prefer my tofu with crispy edges. My trick with tofu is pressing it for as long as possible (usually about 1 hr) and then slicing it in half depth-wise. Then I slice each thin block into thin strips. I just find that this method is easiest for crisping the tofu up and flipping it in the pan. 

Tonight we enjoyed it with broccoli and brown rice. I also like to add crushed red pepper flakes for some heat. Yum!

Oh! I made another batch of the Strawberry Pecan Shortbread Crumb bars last week. Only this time I used blackberry jam instead of strawberry. This version was just as deliciously addicting as the first. The bars were a hit and my only caution is that you cannot just eat one. Well, maybe you can if you have a strong willpower against desserts. I certainly don't!! I meant to take a picture of these pretty bars but they didn't last long enough!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Two Amazing Recipes

I mentioned before that I have been baking a lot these last few weeks. Lots of events and gatherings mean I have a chance to bake yummy treats! Most of the baking I've done is not low in fat or calories. But if you are going to indulge, these goodies are worth it!

Whenever I get the urge to bake, I look into my recipe binder for inspiration. My recipe binder is nothing more than a plastic 3-ring binder filled with magazine pages, printed out recipes, and scraps of paper with recipes scribbled out. Basically, I find a recipe that looks good and put it into the binder. Lately, I've had the urge to bake every morning so I've been needing to find new recipes to add to my recipe binder. Baking Bites and Cookie Madness are two of my favorite sites to look for yummy treats. A few weeks ago I came across Strawberry Pecan Shortbread Crumble Bars from Baking Bites. I have been dying to try these babies out and I finally got my chance!

I made these bars on Monday morning and by yesterday afternoon they were completely gone. We had family in town- but not that many! We are just a sweet-toothed family ;) These bars are so so so good, they melt in your mouth. They are buttery, yet light. I was a little bit nervous at first because I've never made shortbread. I've never been a fan of the whole cutting the butter into the flour- it takes too long and I don't have the patience. However, the recipe is so simple and comes together pretty quickly. The most time consuming part is finely chopping the pecans. Other than that, the bars take no time at all.

I am already planning on making more for my mom's friends this week. I might experiment with a different flavor of preserves, so I'll let you guys know how they turn out.

Another yummy treat I made this weekend was inspired by July's issue of Cooking Light. My aunt was flipping through the magazine and begged me to make Chocolate Sandwich Cookies with Marshmallow Cream Filling. I was slightly disappointed that she picked these out. They looked great, but I wanted to make something else. Well, I am so glad I listened to her request because these sandwich cookies turned out better than expected. I changed the recipe a little. Also, I didn't feel like making the marshmallow filling, I'm not a huge fan of marshmallows, so I made a cream cheese center. The adapted recipe for my sandwich cookies can be found here.

I tried a bite of one sandwich cookie and ended up eating the whole thing. It was too hard to put it down. The good news is that I packed up the cookies and sent them off with my aunt and cousins. I am glad I don't have those temptations around anymore!

Some of the other treats I made this weekend:

Food Network's Smore Brownies

Chewy Blondie Bites

Stay tuned for more recipe reviews!

Side note: The aunt that was visiting us with her family is a huge foodie. I actually think I inherited my love of baking from her. We have a lot in common because we are both the first-born. We both love cooking, baking, and anything food-related. She is a fantastic cook. When she lived in Mexico City, she had a catering business and specialized in cakes. In fact, she made cakes for most of her siblings weddings. I remember going to visit her when I was little and she would give us leftover icing to decorate parchment paper while she decorated the cakes. I'm close with all of my aunts, but I definitely have a special bond with Carmina.

Monday, July 7, 2008

I'm Back!

Hi everyone!!! I'm back from a little blogging hiatus. It was an unintentional break, I just got too busy to blog! Now that the holiday weekend is over I can focus on blogging again. I've missed blogging, but I have been reading all of your blogs so I haven't been totally absent ;)

Here are a few pictures to paint a picture of what I've been up to the last few weeks.

Abbey & Justin's Wedding- 6.27.08

Twins Game

Dog-sitting little Nemo (Brody's brother) while his parents were on their honeymoon.

Enjoying the great weather by dining al fresco at Salut Bar Americain on Grand Ave.

I've also been job searching, working at the coffee shop, and getting back into running (I took a break after the half marathon). I also did a lot of baking the last few weeks. My sister and her friends went up North for a couple of days to a cabin. I made s'more brownies, chewy chunky blondies, and blondie bites for her to take. For the Fourth I made Paula Deen's blueberry cream cheese tarts. I had a ton of overripe bananas so I made banana-wheat germ muffins AND banana-date-walnut-bran muffins. I will be blogging about these goodies in the next week. And finally, my family is in town so I made Strawberry Pecan Shortbread Crumble bars this morning. I have yet to try them so I will blog more on these yummy looking bars later.

My eating hasn't been very healthy the last few weeks. It's okay to indulge in moderation but I have been indulging too much. I'm not going to do anything extreme about it, but I am going to try and eat clean and exercise daily these next few weeks. My birthday is in 3 weeks and I want to be feeling my best!

I've also decided not to post every single one of my meals. I'll still post every day, but I'm going to post *new* meals, recipe ideas, etc. I think this will keep things fun and interesting! Whew, it feels good to be blogging again :)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Gary Bjorklund Half Marathon

I cannot believe I ran my first ever half marathon. It seems like just the other day that I decided to sign up, but June 21st came before I knew it. 

On the ride up to Duluth on Friday afternoon, I was nervous. To calm my nerves I tried to listen to music and visualize my race. Once we got there we headed straight to the convention center to pick up my race packet. The convention center was packed with runners and families. The energy of the people was contagious and I started to get more excited and anxious for the next day. After I received my packet, we had dinner at Olive Garden. By then my nerves were back and I felt sick to my stomach. I had a plate of salad, 2 breadsticks, and a few bites of my pasta. I couldn't eat. My dad told me I needed to eat more but I just felt sick. After dinner my dad wanted ice cream but I only had a few bites of his. 

We finally got to Chris' apartment around 10 and I tried to calm my nerves by setting out my clothes for the next day. I wasn't able to sleep very much- I tossed and turned for an hour before dosing off. I woke up every few hours until my alarm went off at 4 am. I got up, got dressed, shaved my legs, and forcefully ate my peanut butter and chocolate chip clif bar. My dad drove me to the bus stop at 5, where we waited in line for half an hour. The weather was cool, but not as cold as I had originally thought. My nerves were on full force (see picture below). Once on the bus, I started talking with a group of older women and I felt a little bit better. 

Waiting for the race to start felt like a long time, but finally the line began to move forward. I slowly jogged toward the starting line and crossed it about 5 minutes after the start. The first half of the race felt great. I started out a nice, easy pace (10-11 min miles). The views were amazing. We ran along the scenic highway with breathtaking views of Lake Superior and downtown. Only slowed down twice during the water stations. I saw my parents, Chris, and Brody at mile 6. It felt great to see them because I knew I was almost halfway there! 

Around mile 6.5, I started to get tired. I started thinking- 6.6 more miles? I don't think I can do it. I kept pushing but around mile 7 I finally took a walking break. My knees were starting to hurt, I was thirsty, and in a mental block of negativity. I continued to walk/jog until mile 9. There was a big sign that read "Good job runners! Only 4.1 miles to go!" At this point I thought to myself, You can do it! This is an easy 4 mile run. You've got it! I pushed myself to keep running. It wasn't easy but all of a sudden I was at the 3 mile mark, then 2, and then 1 mile to go! The last mile was by far the toughest. My body was aching, I was thirsty and hot, and my legs were weak. I kept turning corners, expecting to see the finish line only to find I had to make another turn. Just as I thought I couldn't go on, I saw the finish line. I gathered all of my strength and crossed the finish line in 2:21. 

I have to say that the spectators were amazing. The entire 13.1 mile course was filled with people cheering and encouraging the runners. The energy at the finish line was incredible! I am so happy that I was able to accomplish this goal. A year ago, I would have never thought I would be a runner. I hated running. Now I'm proud to say I am a runner. My next race is August 24th, when I will be running the Woodbury Days Half Marathon. I hope to complete a full marathon in the near future as well!

Thanks so much again for all of your support and kind comments. It was extremely motivating to think of all of the support I had! 

Here are a couple of pictures from the race.

Waiting in line to board the bus that brings you to the starting line. 

Feeling good at mile 6.

I think this is somewhere around mile 10 or 11. 

Getting kisses from Brody

I finished!!!

Friday, June 20, 2008

15.5 Hours...

I want to thank all of you for your sweet, supportive comments and good luck wishes. I am beyond nervous, yet excited to participate in tomorrow's half marathon! My aunt called me earlier to give me advice and calm my nerves. She has ran many marathons before, and was the one who inspired me to start running. It was incredibly sweet and she managed to calm me down a little. My parents are due home any moment and then we'll be on our way to Duluth. The forecasted weather at 6:30 am is a cool 50 degrees which will be just perfect running conditions. I'll be sure to take as many pictures as I can while I'm there and have a full report. Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Less than 48 hours!!

Okay sorry for the super late post. I was having issues with blogger so I gave up trying to post earlier today! 

Remember how on Tuesday my morning was filled with cherries? Well today was filled with blueberries. Keep reading for details...

I bet you'll never guess what I had for breakfast today...Swiss Oats! This time I did switch it up a little to keep things interesting! Last night I soaked the oats with soy milk, cinnamon, walnuts, and DATES. Then this morning, I added blueberry soy yogurt and fresh blueberries

Blueberry heaven in a blue bowl :)

The weather was gorgeous again, so I knew I had to get out of the house if I wanted to get any studying done. I sipped on an iced cold-pressed coffee with soy while I worked on Nutrition homework at Sati. I wanted a light lunch before meeting with my trainer so I had a small spinach salad with strawberries, slivered almonds and little bit of balsamic vinaigrette. I also had my very first Clif bar- Blueberry Crisp. It was really really good. I ate the whole thing as part of my lunch, but I can see how I would only eat half of it as a snack. 

Training went well, we worked all upper body and core today. I ran for about 20 minutes afterwards to loosen my legs. That's it- no more working out until my race on Saturday which is in, um, less than 48 hours!!!!!! I cannot believe it is almost here. Anyways I had a Very Berry Blast smoothie from Life Cafe that included strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, orange juice, and whey protein.  I like the dairy based ones better, but they make my stomach hurt so I'm trying to avoid them. 

For dinner my mom made ceviche. Whenever I eat ceviche I'm reminded of beach vacations in Mexico. This popular latin dish is a perfect, light, fresh meal for hot summer nights. I ate this with Honey Flaxseed crackers from Trader Joe's.  

Dessert was a cool and creamy scoop of mango sorbet and vanilla soy ice cream. 

Have a great evening :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Long Hump Day!

It's been a long hump day- at least the weekend is almost here! I got up at the crack of dawn for work. Despite having to wake up early, I actually prefer working in the morning. It's a fast shift and I like seeing the "world" wake up. I was hungry right away, but I held off eating breakfast until 7:30ish. If I eat breakfast at 5:30, I'm hungry for lunch at like 10! I sipped on coffee with soy for the first few hours though so that helped my hunger. 

Breakfast was a repeat of yesterday's swiss oats. I love this breakfast! I prepared it last night by combining a serving of oatmeal, 1/2 cup of soymilk, dried cranberries, and walnuts in a bowl. I covered it and set it in the fridge overnight. The cinnamon definitely intensified overnight so it's a good thing I love it. I added berry flavored soy yogurt and sliced bananas to the mix right before I ate it. Once again, this breakfast did not fail and filled me up nicely!

I was done with work at 11 and stopped at the grocery store on my way home to pick up milkfor my mom and some other items for myself. By the time I came home, it was almost noon. I knew I needed to eat something before my workout even though I had no appetite. One of the things I bought at the store was an Amy's Tofu and Spinach wrap. Once I remembered this, I was excited to eat it. Yum! I love Amy's products! I highly recommend this brand for quick meals. 

I met with my trainer at 1 and did an hour long of leg and core strength. He usually stretches me out afterwards for a few minutes, but today was extra long to make sure my legs are loose for Saturday! I came home and read The Memory Keeper's Daughter for a little while. I wasn't hungry at all after my workout, I actually felt sick so I didn't eat anything. It's bad, I know, my body needs fuel to recover, but today I just didn't feel right. I finally got hungry around 4ish. I don't really know what to call this, so I'll say my "third mini meal" of the day. It was the last of my Chickpea-Quinoa-Cashew pilaf with grilled veggies. I'm so sad it's gone now, guess I'll have to make some more. 

My friend (who's getting married in 10 days!!!) and I went for a 2 mile run around the lake. It was nice to catch up before the wedding. 

I'll be back with a dinner update!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Cherry filled Morning, Veggie filled Evening

The first half of my day was filled with cherries. The swiss oats I had for breakfast contained black cherry yogurt. And my lunch was very similar to breakfast. I asked myself what it was that I was craving and this is what I came up with. A bowl of fresh cherries, black cherry soy yogurt, and Kashi Mountain Medley granola (contains dried cherries!). 

This light, cool lunch was just what I was craving in the hot sun. I had to reschedule my training session for tomorrow because of car problems. So I sat outside for 3.5 hours so I could finish the book I was reading. The book I finished, Baby Proof, took me a few months to get through because the first half was kind of boring. Well, the second half picked up and I couldn't set the book down. Now my back and arms are a light shade of red! 

I came in and showered to get ready for work. I started to get hungry around 4, so I made a big salad with grilled veggies to hold me over until dinner.

My sister and I got to work together tonight, so it was fun. Earlier today I made a big batch of quinoa, cooked in vegetable broth, and mixed in grilled veggies, chickpeas, and raw cashews. Since the grilled veggies had a lot of flavor from the marinade, I skipped a dressing. I packed 2 servings for my sister and I to have for dinner.

This dinner was perfect! Sitting in the fridge all day let all of the flavors blend together. I love one bowl meals because they are so satisfying to me with all of the different textures. 

I made a little "apple pie" for dessert while still at work. I love the apples we use for our caramel apple crepes. The apples are cooked with brown sugar, cinnamon, butter, lemon juice, apple cider, and a little bit of flour. They are so delicious and comforting. I especially like to have this dessert during the cold winter nights. Tonight I filled a little cup with the cooked apples, added a little caramel and warmed it up in the microwave. Then I topped the apples with crushed graham crackers. 

I'm about to turn the lights off and go to bed since I have to be up at 5 tomorrow. I am working the opening shift so the good news is I'll be done by 11 am. Night!

Pretty in Pink

As soon as I woke up  this morning I went into the kitchen to prepare breakfast. I combined a serving of oats with 1/2 cup soy milk, walnuts, dried cranberries, and cinnamon, covered the bowl, and set it in the fridge. I had 1/3 of a huge banana before my run. My run felt great, I hope I feel this good on Saturday! I was dreaming of breakfast while running, so I didn't waste time! When I was ready to eat, I mixed half of a 6oz container of black cherry soy yogurt and 1/3 of a sliced banana into the chilled oats mixture.  

My oat mixture turned into a pretty pink color with the addition of the cherry yogurt. I ate the pink mixture in a pink bowl while I sat outside on our deck. This is my new favorite summer breakfast! I'm already craving tomorrow morning's breakfast which will be a repeat of today's!

I'm sipping on iced coffee as I type. It's hard for me to give up coffee, not because of the caffeine, but because I love the taste! I'll take it any way I can, whether it be hot, iced, or cold-pressed. 

It's a stunning day- I'm so thankful I don't have to work until tonight. I plan to read and lay around in the sun for a few hours before heading to the gym to meet with my trainer. I have to go straight to work from the gym so I'll need to prepare snacks and dinner for tonight before I leave. Since I had a later breakfast today, I'm thinking lunch will be something light. Maybe a smoothie? Have a wonderful day :)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Loooong Weekend

What a crazy, busy weekend! I feel like I have been away for a month! Everyday this weekend was filled with some sort of celebration. 

Friday morning I was up bright and early to help my parents with an event. I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but they are in charge of the Silestone market in the Midwest. On Friday they had Candice Olson, from Divine Design, come to their showroom to give a presentation to designers. (Candice is the spokeswoman for Silestone.) Then it was off to the Mall of America where she signed autographs for the public. Basically,it was a big publicity event for Silestone. Friday was also my brother's 21st birthday! Since my parents were having a company dinner, Chris and I went out to dinner with Billy and his girlfriend, Ashley. We went to Rock Bottom Brewery in downtown Minneapolis. 

Here's the birthday boy with his first legal beer.

I had amazing grilled mahi tacos. They were served with coleslaw and a spicy pineapple salsa, with a side of guacamole, beans, and rice. I was stuffed after one taco, but ate 2. I also had a beer.

Chris wanted his chicken fried chicken to be on the blog ;)

I was the sober cab for the night so I stopped drinking after dinner. We headed back towards the Grand Ave. area of St. Paul, where we met up with my brother's friends at Billy's Bar and Grill. I stayed close by the entire night to make sure he didn't get dehydrated or out of control! It was a very long night and I was beyond tired, but my brother had a blast and that's all that matters!

I went to bed at 3 am on Friday, er Saturday morning, and had to be up at 7 am! I finished frosting/decorating the cake for the Silestone showroom's open house and then headed to work for a 7 hour shift. Tired is an understatement for how I felt that night. My brother had friends over for a big Mexican feast. My mom made a delicious assortment of Mexican dishes. I really wish I would have gotten a picture but I was so tired/lazy. For dessert we had the best chocolate cake ever. I usually don't care for cake because I find it bland and dry. I prefer cookies or ice cream. Well, this cake made me love chocolate cake. I used the recipe for Classic Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache frosting from Baking Bites. Everyone raved about it. It was so moist and packed with rich chocolate flavor. This is my new "go-to" chocolate cake. If you are a chocolate fan, you must try this cake! (I am super sad because I thought I took a picture of it but I can't find it.)

Sunday I worked a 7 hour shift at the coffee shop again. The afternoon was incredibly slow so that made the day drag on. After work I went over to Chris' house and had dinner with his family. His mom talked me into having 2 glasses of wine. Yeah, it took a lot of convincing ;) It was a nice, relaxing way to end the busy weekend. 

My eating was all over the place this weekend. It usually was off to a good start and then went downhill. I blame being tired and unprepared for my poor eating habits this weekend. My stomach is pretty upset with me for filling it with more junk than usual. I'm obviously off of the cleanse and I feel disappointed in myself. My body felt so great the last few weeks. 

Today I got back on track for the most part. I started the day off with a hearty bowl of oatmeal made with bananas, strawberries, sliced almonds, and a little coconut. I worked all day again but this time I packed quinoa-chickpea pilaf for lunch. This was super filling and I didn't need a snack until almost 5. I had a big pear and a cherry chocolate Kashi granola bar. When my parents came home from work we went for a walk around the lake. It was such a beautiful evening, although a little on the cool side.  I wasn't too hungry for dinner because I picked on this while my mom prepared dinner:

This grilled veggie platter was leftover from this weekend's events. The vegetables are lightly grilled so they still have a nice crunch to them. You will definitely being seeing a lot of these grilled veggies this week! My dinner plate included grilled veggies and brown rice with a little bit of crusty french bread. Although I was full after dinner, I gave in and had the last small piece of chocolate birthday cake. 

I'm excited to be able to sleep in a little tomorrow morning! My plan is to run an easy 4 miles before breakfast. This is my last real run for the week- the rest of the week I'll just be running 2 miles to keep my legs loose. The half marathon is in 5 days!!!!!! See y'all in the morning!