Pumpkin Roll + Hotel Gym Heaven

Exercise while traveling is always a little tough, but I’ve utilized the wonderful gym at my hotel for a few treadmill and weight sessions. Some of my favorite places to find new, fun workouts are from other fitness bloggers that I follow. This morning I took a treadmill workout from PBFingers website, and it definitely got my heart rate up and left me lookin’ like a sweaty mess.

The treadmill run I followed went like this

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If you’re in need of inspiration for cardio, strength, or circuit workouts, I highly recommend PBFingers blog for that!

This lovely spread awaited me after I finished my run and weights workout…

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If you can’t tell, the stuff at the end of the table is a tray of cool cloths with cucumber slices. Am I in heaven?

While I have really enjoyed this week, I’m so excited to go back home and spend the weekend with friends and family.

Now for the good stuff…

A couple of weeks ago I saw a picture of a delicious and impressive looking dessert in a magazine, and mentioned to Derek’s mom how mouth-watering and pretty the dish looked, thinking this recipe was probably way out of my league, ability wise. You can imagine how excited I was when she told me she used to make pumpkin rolls every year, and would be glad to bake one with me one day soon. Since we’ve all been busy the past couple of weeks, we jumped at the opportunity of having a day without many plans on Saturday, and she invited me over to create this delectable treat!

Pumpkin Roll

For the Roll:

Beat 3 eggs on high for 5 minutes.  Add 1 cup of sugar gradually

Stir in 2/3 cups of canned pumpkin, and 1 tsp lemon juice.

Add to the mixture:

¾ cup flour

1 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. ginger

½ tsp nutmeg

½ tsp salt

Pour pumpkin batter into a 13×20 pan that has been heavily greased and floured. Top with ½ cup of chopped pecans, and bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.

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Prepare a kitchen towel with powdered sugar. Turn the baked sheet of pumpkin upside down onto towel and roll up and cool approximately 15 minutes in the fridge.

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For the Filling: Beat 1 cup powdered sugar, 6 oz. cream cheese, 4 tbsp. butter and ½ tsp. vanilla until smooth and creamy.

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Remove roll from’ fridge. Unroll onto flat surgace, and spread on filling. Re-roll and return to fridge to cool. Prior to serving, remove and slice!

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Not only was this dessert seasonal and mouth-wateringly delicious, I think it presents itself as a pretty impressive looking treat as well.

Happy Friday and happy fall, y’all!

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I Made Friends + Light Cajun Chicken Pasta

Hi, friends ! How goes it? I hope everyone is recovering from the Monday blues! My Monday was an easy one, and for that I am thankful! My day of training got out unexpectedly early, and I was able to head to the gym for a nice sweat sesh after work. My original plan for the week was to take Monday off after my 8 mile run on Sunday, but how could I pass up working out after finishing my day at 4:30 p.m.? I just couldn’t.

I completed the following interval run and weight session before calling it quits.

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(Repeat 3 times)

After the gym, some new work friends from North Carolina and Tennessee invited me to dinner and to hang for the night. One of my favorite parts about training is meeting people from all over the U.S., and staying in contact throughout our careers. We had a great night at Ormsby’s in Atlanta – a tavern with delicious food and drinks. I had a killer cup of sweet chili, along with an arugula salad loaded with beets.

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I loaded up on sleep and am ready to rock and roll today, but not until I share this new recipe with you all!

Last week after a trip to the farmer’s market, I returned with arms full of fresh peppers, onions, and scallions (all for under $5 – benefits of eliminating the middle man aka Publix). I wanted to incorporate all the veggies, as well as some chicken breasts I had on hand, into a filling and nutrient-rich meal. I haven’t incorporated pasta into my meals lately, and I thought this meal would be a good time to do it. I came up with a healthy spicy Cajun chicken pasta recipe, that came together like this.

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Ingredients: (Serves 4-6)

  • 1 box uncooked whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1 pound chicken breast, cut into strips
  • 1-2 tsp Cajun seasoning (or to taste)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium green pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup fat free low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 3 tbsp light cream cheese
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • salt to taste
  • Cooking Spray

Directions:

Cook pasta  in a very deep pot according to package instructions, strain and set aside.

In a large sauté pan prepared with cooking spray, cook chicken breasts for 6-8 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from pan and set aside.

Meanwhile, combine onion, bell pepper strips, garlic clove, Cajun seasoning, pepper and olive oil in a large bowl. Coat vegetables completely.  Saute onions and peppers over high heat on stove for 8-10 minutes, until vegetables have softened.

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Reduce heat to low, and add in tomatoes, 1 cup chicken broth, 1/3 cup almond milk, and 3 tbsp light cream cheese. Cook for 2 minutes more.

Add chicken strips and pepper and onion mixture to the pot of pasta, and stir to combine. Top with chopped scallions and serve immediately.

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Like always, keep smiling and enjoy this recipe if you try it!

Photo Share 10/14

Well hello there, fellow party people! How goes it? I hope everyone had a fun filled weekend and I hope you are all ready for a fantastic week ahead. My weekend was certainly fun, as it was filled with plenty o’ time with the Weatherly clan. D-Man left town this weekend to head to his old stompin’ grounds, Auburn Universtiy, and spend the weekend with his family. And while I missed my partner in crime (especially during my boring 5 mile run on Saturday), it was nice to have 3 days to spend with my family. And in true Monday fashion, I’ll continue with my tradition of re-capping my weekend through photos:

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins. I made a couple batches of these late Friday evening and they are almost all gone. Don’t be alarmed, I had plenty of help in the consumption of said muffins.pumpkin3

Once I started baking, I just couldnt stop. Banana Walnut Bread was next on tap, and baking this made our house smell so incredibly delicious. I’ll share both recipes with you shortly!

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Bodypump. I try to attend classes at my gym on the weekend as regularly as possible, since my schedule is a little less flexible during the work week. I made it to a Bodypump and Bodyflow class this weekend – thank you Les Mills, you are a genius.

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My parents and I all had serious cravings for sushi on Friday evening, and these rolls hit. the. spot.

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Do not go out of town and come back empty handed. Perhaps Derek learned this the hard way, perhaps not. Pish posh that’s all in the past, and this time he most certainly did not come back empty handed. I can’t wait to use these preserves and butters! Anyone have ideas what I should do with them?

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Not only did I get to hang out with my parents this weekend, but my nephews Andrew and Fuller, and Fuller’s sweet girlfriend Emily came to town. On Saturday night we all got together at our aunt and uncle’s home and grilled out some delicious burgers. Football may or may not have been involved.

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Do I have the sweetest Maid of Honor, or what? My best friend and maid of honor, Megan, left me this sweet surprise that I came home to this weekend. How adorable is that note pad?!

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It has been far too long since I’ve spent a couple hours in a nail salon, inhaling beautiful fumes and having my paws painted. My mom treated me this Saturday, and I chose You Don’t Know Jacques! by OPI, which seems great for fall!

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That’s all, folks! I hope you guys have a marvelous Monday!

Photo Share 7/28

Long time no talk, friends! I hope you all had a phenomenal weekend. Mine was filled with family, friends, and great food. Not much more a girl can ask for!

photo-112Lunching with friends @ Piquant

image-213Celebrating my nephew’s birthday @ Bern’s Steakhouse

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image-211Post-dinner treats @ the Dessert Room

image-216Sunday Fuel @ Buddy Brew

image-215Evening with friends
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I have some recipes to share with you this coming week, and my FINAL cpa exam is in 3 days. Out of the 3 CPA exams I’ve taken thus far, I received the best score on the most recent, which happens to be the one I took 3 days after starting this blog. I hope blogging is my good luck charm and I can pull another passing score on this last one! Pray/cross your fingers/rub a bald head for good luck for me!

Gym Shopping? + The Best Fish I Ever Did Eat

I’m gym-shopping, of sorts. I don’t really need to join a gym, as my exercise of choice is running, and I’m able to do that outside or on our home treadmill. I also have free weights in the right sizes, and I could get by with just what I have! However, I really enjoy group fitness, and don’t love the idea of bouncing around from one studio to the next for different class types (barre, yoga, Les Miles classes etc.). The gym I tried out yesterday (and will continue to try out for the next week or so on a guest pass) was GREAT. They offer 90 fitness classes a week – including barre, yoga, pilates, boot camps, zumba, cycling etc. Just what I’m looking for! However, I arrived in the middle of a class time, so I wasn’t able to join in. Instead, I hopped on a treadmill, ran 3.5 miles at an 8:30 pace, and then completed the following upper body workout 3 times through:

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I’m excited to keep going back to this new-to-me gym and hope to attend some group fitness classes this week! After my workout, I returned home and had a big ole bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. Nothing special, but I snapped a pic anyways!

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And then comes another awkward “outfit of the day” selfie that I HAD to share with y’all cause I’m super proud of my $15 shoe purchase. Yes, you heard it, those bad boys were $15 on clearance at my local Target!photo-104Top: Francesca’s Boutique; Denim: Zara; Shoes: Target

After work, I was so excited to go to Derek’s family’s house for dinner! His sister, Davis, arrived home from Auburn yesterday after taking her LAST college exam ever! I’m SO jealous, and I can’t wait to be in her shoes in a little under a month. Derek’s mom prepared literally the best salmon I think I’ve had in my entire life. photo-106

I’m not sure of the exact recipe, but I know it was marinated in sesame oil, soy sauce, and some other ingredients, and cooked on a cedar plank. I’ll make sure to ask for the recipe soon!

Happy Hump Day, Everyone!

Staying Cool

So right after I posted on the blog this morning, I popped on over to FitSugar for some light morning reading. If you read my post today, you might remember I was complaining about how hot it is outside and how it makes running such a chore. Well lo and behold, fitsugar is once again to the rescue with some tips on how to stay cool this summer!

Wear Your Water: 3 Ways to Stay Cool on Hot Summer Runs

High temps coupled with high humidity can make it pretty unbearable for your workouts. It’s not only uncomfortable, but overheating could lead to cramping or even heatstroke. Here are some ways you can use the power of water to keep cool.

  • Wet head: Before heading out, take a quick cold shower to cool down your skin. Soak your hair, leave it dripping wet, and stick it in a tight bun. As you run, the wind will feel amazing on your cool head. If your hair is short, sport a wet bandana instead. Bring along a bottle of water and periodically pour some on your head to keep up the cooling effects.
  • Ice sock: Many athletes such as Olympic marathoner Deena Kastor wear an ice vest before competing. It lowers their body temperature, and in turn increases their endurance when exercising in the heat. You can get the same effects throughout your entire workout with an ice sock. Use an old piece of pantyhose (because it’s stretchy and lightweight) and fill it with ice cubes using a funnel until it’s about six inches long. Knot the open end and stick it in your sports bra between your shoulder blades. No doubt, it’ll feel shockingly cold at first, but once you start running and heating up, as the ice melts, it’ll feel so good dripping down your back.
  • Frozen towel: Keeping your neck cool will also prevent heat exhaustion and one way to do it is with a frozen towel. Soak a thin, lightweight hand towel, ring out the excess water and lay it flat in your freezer for at least an hour. Right before you’re ready to head out, wrap the towel around your neck and secure it with safety pins. Granted, it’s not the most attractive accessory, but it sure will keep you cool.
Source: Thinkstock

Wheatgrass Wednesdays & Veggie Chicken and Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Wednesday morning was a rushed one – I spent half my allotted getting-ready time snuggling with Louie instead. How could I resist such a face? 979541_4921910921356_2108495714_n

Before heading out the door to work, I made some scrambled eggs and salsa for my parents and I, and ate it in under 30 seconds – not the best way to eat a plate of eggs, but I knew I had a long day ahead of me and wanted a hearty breakfast. After a typical day of work and class, I met up with Derek for some mid-week workout fun. We headed to the gym, and I completed the following interval run.

40 minute interval run

I intended to do the leg workout from week 3 of Fitnessista’s Summer Shape Up, but the gym was PACKED and it was getting late – I had some wheat grass calling my name and a feisty dinner to make. Instead I wrapped up my gym-time, and finished at home with 8 minutes of planks.

Wheatgrass Wednesdays

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I try to stop by Xtreme Juice, Tampa’s best smoothie joint, more than once a week, but no matter what I always try to make it for Wheatgrass Wednesdays. Every Wednesday, XJ does a $1 single shot and a $2 double shot of wheat grass – how can you beat that?! While there hasn’t been extensive research on the benefits of wheatgrass, it’s known for it’s heavy concentration of nutrients and vitamins, and I’ll take what I can get!

 (I love XJ’s indoor grass mat for Wheatgrass Wednesdays)

Wheatgrass Shoes

After our Wheatgrass date ended, we ventured home and I got started on dinner. We had some leftover baked chicken and various vegetables in the kitchen, and I wanted to incorporate them all into one fun dish. I decided to go with a Chicken, Veggie, and Quinoa Stuffed Green Pepper!chopped veggies

Veggie Chicken and Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients

2 lean chicken breasts, baked or grilled

1 small squash, chopped

1 small zucchini, chopped

1 vine ripe tomato, chopped

1/2 yellow onion, chopped

1 garlic glove, minced

1/4 cup dry quinoa

2 large green peppers

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste

red pepper flakes, to taste

sharp shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

Prepare chicken to your liking. When cooked through, chop and set aside. Preheat oven to 250°

Cut the top of the green peppers out and remove the seeds from inside.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a bowl, and cook quinoa according to instructions (2 parts water to 1 part quinoa). Cook quinoa over low heat, covered, for 15 minutes.

In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add in chopped onions, and cook for 5 minutes before adding in squash, zucchini, and garlic. Cook for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Finally, add in the tomatoes, chicken, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Reduce heat to low for 5 more minutes, until quinoa is finished cooking. Add quinoa to vegetable and chicken mixture. Place peppers on a baking dish, and stuff chicken and vegetable mixture into the peppers. Top with shredded cheddar cheese and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is bubbly!

Chopped Veggies cooked

Stuffed Pepper

The peppers were stuffed to the brim and bursting with flavorful goodness. I’ll definitely make this one again 😉

Does anyone else love a shot of wheatgrass?

Any recipes for stuffed peppers or tomatoes you want to share?