Carrot and Cucumber Salad

Carrot Salad (1 of 2)

Ah summer salads. Cool, crisp and delicious. Especially this carrot and cucumber salad. This will make even the staunchest carrot haters love it. Take my neighbor, she hates raw carrots but had a huge helping of this salad. And loved it. The key is to serve it nice and cold. Really, really cold.

 

It’s especially delicious with hot dogs, brats and smoked meat. We had friends over last night and served it with all those steaming meats. A little salad, some chips and dip (like my Avocado Dip from last week).

 

This one happens to vegan and gluten free too. Pretty hand for Summer Entertaining.

 

Carrot and Cucumber Salad
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: Serves 6
Ingredients
  • 1 bag shredded carrots
  • 1 cucumber, julienned
  • Salt/Pepper
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Dash of ground red pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced chives
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl combine carrot and cucumber.
  2. Whisk together olive oil, lemon zest and juice, salt/pepper. cumin, red pepper. garlic, Dijon mustard.
  3. Pour over carrot and cucumber mixture about an hour before serving.
  4. Top with sunflower seeds and chives.

 

Carrot Salad (2 of 2) Carrot Salad (1 of 2)

Fitness Friday: Daily Burn, Vida and a Giveaway

Friday! The sun is shining and it’s supposed to be an amazing 80 degrees today. Ah summer in Minnesota, the only reason people live here. Besides being a fantastic week of weather (minus a few thunderstorms) it was also a fantastic week of workouts.

 

I’ve said it a thousand times and will keep saying it. Working out keeps me sane! I do my best to make time for it.

 

Workouts:

Sunday: Cardio and Weights: Daily Burn and Tone It Up Kettlebell Routine

Monday: Off

Tuesday: Cardio and Weights: Daily Burn and Tone it Up Mermaid

Wednesday: Cardio and Weights, at the gym and it felt great!

Thursday: Cardio and Weights, at the gym again

Friday: Off

Saturday: Trying a barre class for the first time!

 

Along with DailyBurn I have been loving Vida. It works in conjunction with DailyBurn and you get personalized feedback. And you can try a month free. Just use code: VIDADAILYBURN It’s available on the App Store and Google Play. Check it out!

 

And because I am having such a fantastic week I wanted to give even more. I’ll send one person the Manduka Go Steady 2.0 in Green (sorry, that’s the color I got to give away)

 

 

 

 

Here are the color samples, it’s the second one.

 

 

 

 

Just leave a comment with your favorite fitness accessory and I’ll pick a winner next Friday.

 

 

 

Summer Sippers

The official start of summer will be here in just a few days and I am ready for the barage of company we will be having soon! Our pool is open, Scott is working hard on our new patio/pool bar/fire pit area and I like to have the fridge stocked with beer, wine and a few Summer Sippers (i.e. fruity, fun drinks)

 

Parrot Bay Margaritas with Coconut Water

 

These are in a can (so nice for the pool area) and aren’t too sweet. Sometimes you just want a fun, girly drink and these are it. So delicious! And for ready made they actually tasted pretty darn good.

 

 

 

And when you need more than just a can, check out Sanda Lee Cocktail Time. A lot of people make fun of her but I truly admire the business woman she is and how she has built an incredibly successful company. These happen to taste really good too! andra Lee Cocktail Time™ Margaritas in Key Lime and Strawberry are infused with real key limes and strawberries, pure cane sugar, premium blue agave silver tequila, triple sec liqueur and other natural flavors. This versatile ready-to-serve margarita is gluten-free and virtually guilt-free with fewer than 150 calories per 4 oz serving.

 

 

 

 

Oliver Winery

 

Oliver is in Indiana and they are known for their sweeter style wines. While it’s not always my favorite type of wine they are great to make Sangria with! And they even have their own Sangria too. It’s delicious. They even use grapes that are unique to Indiana. I love learning about the hearty grapes that were developed to grow in colder climates.

 

Sangria ClassicSoft White

 

Soft RoséSoft Red

 

 

The soft red make an awesome martini!

 

Mix 1 ounce vodka, 8 ounces wine, Juice of half a lime in a shaker with ice.

Shake and serve chilled.

 

 

These were all samples but I have already purchased more of the Parrot Bay Margaritas with Coconut Water for out by the pool!

 

Wine Wednesday Naked Wines

Montaria (2 of 2)

Ahhh wine. One of my favorite things to talk about! Especially when you find a new place to order an introductory case for under $100. 12 more bottles to stock my shelves. With how much we entertain we go through wine like crazy. Both red and white all year long.

 

Have you heard of Naked Wines? It’s all about supporting smaller vineyards and trying some really unique wines. We got our shipment last week, and they even shipped it to a FedExOffice near our house and I just stopped one my way home to pick it up. So easy! (It’s an invite link above, but you can get $100 off your first case so it comes to up about $60! Check it out)

 

The first wine I tried was the Montaria is a Vinho Tinto,  a red blend for Portugal with 40% Alicante Bouschet, 30% Trincaderia and 30% Aragonez. It normally retails for $20 (if you are Naked Wines Angel you can get it for $10) and I really enjoyed this. I had one glass on Friday, one on Saturday and one on Sunday and used a bit for a marinade. So good! And it made me think of our trip to Portugal too.

 

If you’ve never had a Portuguese red before, it’s a big, bold but about the same consistency as Pinot Noir.  I LOVE it and go out of my way to search these types of reds out. And the cute little puppy  paw on the bottle is too hard to resist!

 

Montaria (2 of 2)

Avocado, Bean and Pea Dip

Avocado Pea Dip (3 of 3)

From May to September if its nice out you can bet we have people over. Either in the pool, sitting by it or enjoying some grilled meat, beer or wine. We always have snacks out before the meal to make sure everyone has a full belly.

 

One of my go to appetizers is chips (like Food Should Taste Good or Way Better Snacks), veggies and a delicious dip. And this dip is perfect for those. A mix of avocado, white beans, peas, olive oil and spices. It’s addicting! I could eat this dip with so many things.

 

Avocado, Bean and Pea Dip
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
  • 1 can cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 tablespoons Herb Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 large ripe peeled avocado
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves
Instructions
  1. Combine peas, beans, olive oil, lemon juice, and cumin mixture in the bowl of a food processor or Vitamix, process until smooth. Add avocado; pulse until combined. Top with cilantro.

Avocado Pea Dip (1 of 3)

Avocado Pea Dip (3 of 3)

Do It Yourself Sea Salt Spray

DIY Sea Salt Spray (2 of 2)

I will admit to not being much of a craft doer,  but occasionally I will try a do it yourself project if it will save me time and money.This DIY Sea Salt Spray is perfect for those who aren’t huge craft or project lovers. It takes less than 5 minutes and helps you get those loose waves that are so popular right now.

 

You won’t be seeing a lengthy tutorial on how to get those waves from me. I am horrible at anything hair related! I am decent a blowing out my hair, putting it in a ponytail or bun and now I can actually do those beach waves. But even that took a little perfecting.

 

The most important part is having sea salt spray, staring with styled, dry hair and having a curling wand. I read so many reviews and opted for one that is around $25. I didn’t need to spend $100 plus on one. This Remington one does the trick and it came with a heat safe glove. Especially if you are klutz like me and burn yourself every time you try to do your hair.

 

Important tip #2, hold the wand with the skinny end point down and wrap your hair AWAY from your face. Not towards. You don’t want 1998 prom curls. If you are looking for a good tutorial check out this one from Tone It Up. A much better explanation than I could give.

 

 

T|Studio Pink Silk Slim Wand

The key part to doing this is a Sea Salt spray but if you look to buy one they are usually $20 and you can make your own for less than $2. Seriously. This bottle was 0.98 cents at Target, you need 1 tbsp of sea salt, coconut oil and hair gel. Things you probably have at home. And hot water. I just let me faucet run for about 30 seconds to get the hottest water I could out of the tap.

 

Pour it all in a bottle and shake it. Really really shake it. And you are good for a few weeks! It’s really that easy.

DIY Sea Salt Spray

DIY Sea Salt Spray (2 of 2)

 

 

A great example of how these beach waves look. I have very fine blonde hair and it gives a ton of body and actually makes it look like I have more hair than I do. We were out for Scott’s birthday Friday night and I got so many compliments.

 

 

Beach Waves

Thursday Thoughts Summer Essentials

Ah summer. Long sunny days, time outside, grilling, the pool. The list could go on and on. I love this time of year! But with that time of year comes a few things to be super proactive about:

 

  1. Sunscreen
  2. Bug repellent
  3. Layering for cool mornings and hot afternoons

 

I’ve found a few new sunscreens this year. As a very pale blonde it’s super important that I wear sunscreen. Same for my husband, who isn’t as pale as me but works outside all day and has already had skin cancer multiple times.

 

Neutrogena CoolDry Sport is awesome. It’s sweat and water resistant for 80 minutes. I love the spray for quick application! (This was a sample sent and we’ve already purchased two more bottles)

 

CoolDry Sport Sunscreen Spray Broad Spectrum SPF 70

 

If you are looking for an organic version the Block Island Organics is awesome. SPF30 and NO PARABENS, SULFATES, PETROCHEMICALS, PHTHALATES, DYES OR ARTIFICIAL FRAGRANCES. VEGAN FORMULA. GLUTEN FREE. NO ANIMAL TESTING. MADE IN USA. I would call that a win! (This was a sample too)

 

 

Natural Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 - 3.4 fl oz - Made with Organic and Natural Ingredients

 

 

As for bug repellent, I have yet to find a natural version that works. It’s unfortunate but we have a huge lot and tons of trees which means lots and lots of bugs. And since I learned the mosquitoes love people who have do intense workouts and tend to run warmer. Yes, that is me. And I get huge reactions from bites too. One thing that I have found to help is paw paw ointment. It’s made from paw paw (papaya) and really does help with bug bites. It’s an Australian product but you can find it on Amazon. 

 

 

Layering. I feel like it’s a must when you live in MN. Between cool mornings and needed to cover up from the bugs too. Little fact about those nasty mosquitoes, they like dark clothing. So I went in search of some lighter colored jackets to cover up with. Thank goodness for the Lucy clearance racks. I got 2 lighter colored jackets (light blue and yellow) for $60. Love deals like that! Hatha jacket for the win! Check your local Lucy store or outlets for really good prices.

 

 

Wine Wednesday: Buena Vista Winery (Sonoma)

Sonoma (24 of 91)

When we left Ravenswood on our Girls Trip to Sonoma they suggested we had to Buena Vista Winery for their incredible views. That was a great suggestion! Being on of California’s 1st wineries Buena Vista is beautiful. You feel like you have been transported to another time and another country.

 

Long beautifully manicured drive way, gorgeous landscaping, a vintage brick building… I could go on and on. Their wines were pretty tasty but we loved their sparkling. We got a bottle to share and sit outside on a picnic table. To plan the rest of our day and just enjoy warm temperatures and sunshine.

 

Sonoma (24 of 91)

Sonoma (28 of 91) Sonoma (35 of 91) Sonoma (34 of 91) Sonoma (36 of 91) Sonoma (38 of 91) Sonoma (39 of 91)

Ginger Soy Pork Chops

Soy Ginger Pork Chops (1 of 4)

It’s grilling season! No need to turn on the oven or heat up the house when I can open up the patio door and turn the grill on. Scott is usually the grill master but I made these pork chops last night when he was working late. I got dinner out of it, lunch today and he will have at least 2 meals out of it too.

 

These ginger soy pork chops only need about 30 minutes in the marinade to get great flavor, of course you can do longer but it was a Monday night and I didn’t want to spend too long waiting for dinner to be ready to cook. And the great thing about these chops is they only take 3-4 minutes a side to cook. That’s quick and easy.

 

When I marinate I pour everything into a big resealable plastic bag and set it on a plate in the fridge, easy clean up and even easier to take out to the grill. The combination of soy sauce, Bragg’s aminos, ginger, lime juice, red pepper flakes and canola oil are perfect.

 

Ginger Soy Pork Chops
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 6 bone in, thin cut pork chops
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup Bragg's Aminos
  • 1 inch chunk of ginger
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
Instructions
  1. In a large resealable plastic bag pour all the ingredients. Add in meat and let marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Grill 3-4 minutes per side

 

 

 

Soy Ginger Pork Chops (1 of 4) Soy Ginger Pork Chops (2 of 4) Soy Ginger Pork Chops (3 of 4) Soy Ginger Pork Chops (4 of 4)

Meal Plan Monday

Weekly Grocery List

Now that warmer weather is here (it’s supposed to be 90 tomorrow, unseasonably warm for June!) the amount of time that I want to spend in the kitchen drops dramatically. The oven becomes neglected and the grill becomes our main method of cooking. Summer is just a busy time for us. Scott works crazy hours and I feel like we are always on the go.

 

When that happens it could be easy to eat out more or stop meal planning, and that does happen occasionally but with a focus on healthy eating I still do make meal planning a priority. Here is what a typically week looks like:

 

  • Saturday or Sunday I find 3 to 4 recipes that will work for the week
  • I head to Aldi (I will keep singing the praises of Aldi, awesome prices and so many organic options)
  • Pick up weekly staples and the items I need for those 3 to 4 recipes
  • Sunday night we usually make a larger dinner and I use those leftovers for a lunch or two
  • I chop up a few days of fruits/vegetables for snacks

 

This weeks meals:

Sunday: We made grilled turkey tenderloins, kale salad and grilled asparagus

Monday: Soy Marinated Pork Chops on the grill, salad (recipe coming soon). While the pork is grilling I will also cook up some chicken breasts for lunches during the week or dinner tomorrow night.

Tuesday: Leftovers or something quick

Wednesday: Tex Mex Quinoa Bake (recipe coming soon)

Thursday: Mahi Mahi and salad

Friday: Usually we end up with something quick or going out to dinner

 

I have a list that I buy at Aldi pretty much every week. On average we are about $100 a week for the two of us (although Henry gets some of those veggies). Some weeks we average a bit higher due to more meat, buying special items or stocking up on things like paper towels, laundry detergent etc. I print a few of these and just keep it on the fridge and grab it when I head to Aldi. Since it’s pretty much the same thing every week (minus specialty ingredients for recipes) I am in and out in about 20 minutes. This week I did a Trader Joe’s run (I got a few kinds of fish, some fancy cheese, smoked salmon, salami and wine) and Aldi. We spent about $130 between the two and ended up cooking dinner for 6 last night and still managed to have a little leftover turkey.

 

The more I plan and prep in advance the healthier we eat! If I have healthy options in the fridge I will reach for them. A big container of berries will only last a day or two with us using them for snacks or in smoothies. Another big time saver for me is to make my lunch for the next day while I am cleaning up from dinner, putting leftovers in a container and making a salad and having it all stocked and ready in the fridge for the next day. Since I leave the house by 5:15 Tuesday-Thursday having everything ready to go saves me so much time.

 

Weekly Grocery List