Amazing Pizza

I don’t say this a lot, but I had some seriously amazing pizza this last week. I’ve never been a huge pizza person (insert surprised gasp here), and now that I am livin’ the gluten-free lifestyle, my pizza consumption has dropped even more.

Last Wednesday we met a group of our friends at a new, local pizza joint. I have been friends with these crazy kids since high school and before, and we were celebrating a visit from a friend who now lives in Maryland. My friend Kali picked out Olive’s Fresh Pizza Bar. Kali and her husband have visited their location in Marine on St. Croix and were excited to hear that they opened up a new spot in White Bear Lake. When we pulled up Justin and I were shocked that we hadn’t noticed it before. They opened just around Thanksgiving!!! But I guess it isn’t all that surprising though since we didn’t take a whole lot of downtown strolls over the extremely cold winter.

I always like to check menus before I go somewhere new so in my usual fashion I spent a little time stalking the restaurant online. After reading some of their Facebook feed I found out that Wednesday night they were debuting their gluten-free crust! JACK POT! I figured I was in for a night of dressing free salad, but it looks like I’d be joining my friends in the pizza consumption.

The set up is a little different than some other restaurants and promotes a casual dining environment for you to enjoy the gourmet woodfire goodness. After catching up for a few minutes, we all scoured the menu a little more and placed our orders at the bar. I ordered the Farmer’s Market on gluten-free crust and Justin ordered Olive’s House Pizza. The others that were ordered, like the Caprese, also looked amazing.

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Farmer’s Market (Gluten Free Crust)

I don’t think anyone realized how big they would be, because we ended up with a ridiculous amount of pizza. My pizza, however, was much smaller but that is typical for gluten-free. It was a perfect size for me though. I gave away a few pieces to some who were intrigued by its lack of gluten, but other than that I devoured the entire thing. It. Was. So. Good. And like I said, I don’t say that often about pizza unless I am referring to Pizza Luce.

However, I have had Pizza Luce’s gluten-free pizza and Olive’s Fresh was better. (I can’t believe I just typed that). I definitely prefer a thinner crust and Olive’s Fresh gave me just that. There was nothing slightly weird about it, which I sometimes find myself saying about GF things, but instead it was a slam dunk of deliciousness.

So, GF or not, CHECK THIS PLACE OUT! Everyone, even the glutenous people, loved every bite. Go, right now, and invite us to join you! 🙂

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Bump Watch

There is quite an obsession, or perhaps just an expectation, for women of prime childbearing years to start a family. I have been married over three years, I am almost 29 years old, and have not started a family. GASP! Sometimes I feel like people around me have put me on, “Bump Watch.”

We see it all over the celeb gossip news channels, and even regular news channels, when a celebrity is suspected to be expecting. Are they or aren ‘t they attempting to hide a baby bump? Did they eat a large burrito or do they have a bun in the oven? Of course it is exciting to speculate because there is nothing more pleasing than your favorite beautiful celebrity to procreate with another beautiful celebrity to make a beautiful celebrity baby. And while I am nothing near a celebrity, I feel like the people around me, bless their hearts, are eagerly awaiting Baby Bradshaw.

Which brings me to a fun little story from yesterday morning. I was attending a meeting that is primarily made up of people two to three generations older than me. I left the house in my new forest green dress from Primp that I picked up the week before, and paired it with a fun, leopard print shoe I found at Target for only $10. I was feeling great about my outfit choice and even Justin commented on it before I left.

While waiting for the meeting to begin I was doing my best to mingle. It doesn’t come naturally to me that early in the morning. An older woman approached me with bright and excited eyes and asked, “Elizabeth…are you expecting?” Dun-dun-duuuunnnn. She asked me with such excitement that I quickly put my hand on my belly and exclaimed, “Ummm… No!” Her excitement quickly turned to embarrassment, and I quickly took my seat feeling all of the confidence I had when I left the house instantly seep out of me.

We were seated at the same table so after the meeting was over, and I had downed my buttery hash browns, I scooted for the door. I immediately called Justin to have him reassure me that I didn’t look pregnant when I left. And of course I texted my mother (not while driving) and she asked me what the cut of my dress was like. When I told her I must not be able to pull off an empire waist she said, “Not when you’ve been married for that long and are almost 30. People are looking for it.”

I spent the rest of my day eating my feelings with my supportive coworkers. One of them was even nice enough to remind me that it was just another thing I have in common with Duchess of Cambridge. I learned that this has probably happened to almost every woman at least once and her life, and because of this experience I will continue to live by this philosophy…

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And on that note, I am probably going to watch Modern Family from the treadmill. And for those people in my life anxiously awaiting Baby Bradshaw, I thank you for thinking it is a good idea for me and Justin to make a mini version of ourselves. That is awfully flattering. But for the near future, please understand that any bulging belly is simply due to a lack of working out and  an over consumption of wine. :0)

Zesty Lime Quinoa Salad

Remember that time in 2011 when I discovered Quinoa? Since I started eating the little protein balls I’ve been experimenting with different foods I can pair it with.

Tonight, I bring to you a new recipe. It was originally found on Pinterest, modified by my co-worker Luana, and then made by me!

Zesty Lime Quinoa Salad

1 Cup Quinoa                                                                                                                                         1 Can Corn (drained)                                                                                                                            1 Can Black Beans (drained and rinsed)                                                                                       Cilantro                                                                                                                                                 Red Pepper                                                                                                                                    Onion                                                                                                                                        Avocado                                                                                                                                          Kraft Zesty Lime Vinaigrette

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Make Quinoa according to the directions on package. Once cooked, place in glass bowl and refrigerate. Once chilled, mix in the rest of the ingredients. Vegetables and vinaigrette can all be added to taste. I like to load mine up with veggies.

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Enjoy!

Vacation Aftermath

It has been almost a week since we arrived home from our first road trip together. We pulled in Monday evening after stopping by my parents house to pick up Selby. She had a lot of fun with Grandma and Grandpa and all reports on her behavior were great. Despite all the fun she had with Grandma and Grandpa, and Auntie Bailey, she was ready to head home the moment we pulled up.

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When we arrived home there were four things on our minds. 1. Save Money 2. Eat Clean 3. Do Laundry 4. Catch up on Work.

We had a fabulous time eating our way through the south but knew we needed to get back on track. That means working out again and not stuffing our bellies full of BBQ and alcohol. (I know, sounds miserable.) We also spent a lot of money and have some things we’d like to purchase this summer so that means less eating out and more saving our monies.

I made a trip to the local grocery store shortly after our arrival home to make sure we had lunches for the rest of the week. I also decided to try a new breakfast recipe to make my mornings a little easier.

Overnight Oats                                                                                                                          

1 Cup Oats                                                                                                                                            1 Cup Milk                                                                                                                                            1 Packet of Chocolate Shakeology

You mix it all together and let it sit in the fridge over night. The next morning it is ready to go! I warmed up my cup of overnight oats, because I like something warm in the morning to help wake me up. I then sprinkled a little PB2 over the top, and added sliced banana. Yumm.

 

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If you aren’t a Shakeology drinker you can add your favorite protein powder to the overnight oats. It is an easy recipe to play around with.

I hope to recap our vacation to Nashville and Louisville this weekend so stay tuned. But first, I must tackle this project!!!

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What is your least favorite thing to come home to after vacation? Mine is definitely the laundry!!

Baked Oatmeal & Egg Muffins

I love finding good recipes on Pinterest. And I love when they actually turn out even more!! A couple of weekends ago I had some girlies over for a Lia Sophia get together. If you are unfamiliar with that, it is basically a jewelry party much like a Tupperware (do they do those anymore?), PartyLite or Pampered Chef.  It was a brunch style get together so I obviously was serving mimosas and turned to Pinterest for some inspiration for food to serve.

This is what I came up with: Baked Oatmeal & Egg Muffins. Both turned out really well, and I have even made them since the party. As usual, I also modified the recipes a little bit as well.

Baked Oatmeal

2 cups whole wheat rolled oats
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1 cup chopped pecans (I used more, because it is tasty.)
1/4 cup raisins
1 cup diced apples (I use less than original recipes. I don’t like baked fruit.)
3 eggs
2 cups fat-free milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup light brown sugar (I’d like to play around with this to see if I can bring the sugar down)
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease an 8 x 8 pan. Soak raisins in a small bowl of hot water while you prepare other ingredients.  Mix together oats, baking powder and salt in a larger bowl.  Stir in apples, pecans and raisins.

Whisk together eggs, milk, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour over dry ingredients and stir together. Transfer to pan and bake for about 1 hour, until golden brown.

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I made mine in a loaf pan. It made for quick and easy breakfasts all week as we sliced off a piece each morning to heat up before leaving for work!

Egg Muffins

1/2 pound Italian seasoned ground turkey                                                                                1/4 cup of chopped green peppers                                                                                               1/4 cup chopped mushrooms                                                                                                          1/4 cup spinach                                                                                                                                1/4 cup chopped onion                                                                                                                    12 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 F. Whip everything together in larger bowl. Spoon egg mixture into greased muffin pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top of muffins and let melt for the last five minutes.

When I add veggies to a recipe like this I never measure. I just load it up! Use as much or as little as you’d like! We also refrigerated a lot of extras and heated them up with our baked oatmeal. Both recipes provided us with a nutritious and protein packed start to our day!

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And done!

This past week my Mom and I both thought we were a bit off.  Which isn’t the way you want to end the challenge. The only good thing about my off weeks these days are they aren’t nearly as bad as they used to be. Which means we are well on our way with this whole lifestyle change.

Last night we arrived and they did the full scan again. I was so excited to find out what my metabolic age changed to after seven weeks of hard work. If you remember from the first week I was quite shocked to find out I was 49!!! They weren’t telling us our overall results right away, because that would be announced at the end. However, I think I commented so much they told me what my age was…currently, 45. Four years off isn’t too bad, right?

While the team at Nutrition Revolution tallied up our stats, we enjoyed a healthy taco bar which consisted of shredded chicken and lots of fresh veggies. Yumm.

Before they announced the winners of the challenge we were all presented with a certificate that showed the percentage of total body weight lost (which is how they determine the winner), total pounds lost, and total inches lost. The top three with the highest percentage of total body weight lost win, as well as the person who lost the most inches. When I received my certificate I knew something was off. It said my total weight lost was 2.4lbs and my total percentage lost, which had to have been the total from the week. And was 4.9% total body weight which is where I was standing last week. Definitely confusing.

Next they crowned the winners. My Mom ended up in 2nd place overall! Yahoo! She didn’t lose any weight that week but was sitting at an impressive 15 pounds lost!!! She took home $180. The 3rd place winner had $120 and the 1st place winner received a total of $300!!! Crazy.

479762_10152661778785151_99563998_nAfter the winners were crowned I inquired about my sheet. It took a bit of time as there was some confusion with my stats, but it was finally worked out that I had lost a total of 9.6lbs overall! Just shy of my 10lb goal, but hey, I am very happy with that. And I was actually the 3rd place winner.

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Man, crowns fit me so well.

Luckily, the original 3rd place winner knew there was something up with my results and hung around to hear the final verdict which was really nice of her. In the end, since she pointed out I was indeed in 3rd place, I split the money with her. So we both walked home with $60. Not too bad considering it cost $35 to join. I love getting my money back…and then some!!!

I will be doing an overall recap of my thoughts about the challenge in an additional post tomorrow. So stay tuned for more!!! Until then, here is our before pic taken the first night of our challenge with our after!

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Little Late

I am a little late on last week’s post. Oops, I have always struggled with punctuality. With that said, let me get to it. As you now know, unless you are a new reader, I joined a weight-loss challenge with my Mom that had us checking in weekly for a weigh-in and coaching.

The week before, which is now two weeks ago, I did not have a great weigh-in. And by not great, I mean I gained a pound. Doh! Although I was bummed it gave me greater motivation to keep at it. Especially since I fell completely off the leader board. Not even in the top five!

As I prepared for the next weigh-in I did something that has definitely got to be in the top three things NOT TO DO if you are participating in a weight-loss challenge… go on a pub crawl! I know, you are thinking I am not that serious about getting back onto the leader board. However, I made sure I had an amazing workout the morning of and watched what I ate (literally stared at it, I swear it helps). Plus, the pub crawl included some physical challenges.

B Team (B stands for Best)
B Team (B stands for Best)

By the time Monday rolled around, I was guzzling water like no other hoping no one would notice the multiple beers I had two days prior. I was less than confident showing up Monday night, but I also knew I made the best choices I could, while still enjoying life and beers.  (yes, I think they go hand in hand.)

My Mom ended up in first place yet again and going passed the 15 pounds lost mark! This put her into 2nd place overall. Go MOM!!!

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I lost a total of two pounds, pub crawl and all, to bring my total of weight lost to seven pounds! Finally, I had a place back in the top 5 and was fifth. Go ME!

My focus for the final week of the challenge was to reach 3rd place and reach the 10 pounds lost mark.

And as I proof read this someone might mistakenly read that title and think this is about to turn into a baby blog. Sorry, not today. Which reminds me, I should really update my Before Baby Bucket List.