Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

I took an entire week off from blogging to process our race and to try and wind down from the excitement of it all! I also took five days off from the gym directly following the race. That was partially due to other commitments I had, like preparing the treats for my co-worker’s big bridal shower on Wednesday of last week! It really was a fun party. We decorated our conference room with a banner, confetti, the LL Bean monogrammed bags we had made up for their honeymoon with their initials on them, and of course, lots of food and drinks! We had mimosas, mimosa Jell-O shots, fruit dip (made with cream cheese and fluff by my other co-worker, so good), and all of the food I prepared.

I whipped up some guacamole to go with chips and dip, some milk chocolate dipped bacon with brown sugar and caramel drizzled over it, and mimosa-champagne cupcakes with a fondant owl for the platter. The shower’s honoree loves mimosas, bacon, guacamole, and owls! I tinted edible fondant balls I got at Michael’s with purple Wilton dye because her wedding color was purple. I had to use ziploc bags to keep from getting the dye on my hands while I kneaded the fondant, and it didn’t come out perfectly smooth (I recommended she didn’t try to eat the owl – the fondant didn’t taste very good), but I thought it was a good jumping off point!

(Recipes: guacamole – subbed bottled lime juice for fresh in an equivalent amount, and used red onion chopped very small. Chocolate Bacon Bites – I used maple bacon, which I baked in the oven until it started to smoke out my house and then finished in the microwave. I found milk chocolate candy melts at the grocery store, completely forgot the shortening without ill effects, and sprinkled brown sugar on some pieces and drizzled jar butterscotch caramel on other pieces. Mimosa Cupcakes – I used an inexpensive Brut sparkling wine, a carton of pulp-free orange juice, and I was about 1/2 cup short of cream cheese due to not buying enough, which made the frosting a bit weird, but it came out okay! I tined the frosting with purple Wilton dye and topped it with some lovely little owl flags I found in a set with the coordinating cupcake liners at iParty! Fondant Owl Tutorial – I just used little fondant molding balls from Michaels and tinted the “feathers” purple)!

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I did do some healthier cooking, I promise! I whipped up a baked egg white omelet using leftover vegetarian chili and some egg whites mixed up and baked into a casserole of sorts! It was hearty and healthy and Dan loved it!

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I also made some Vegan Banana-Apple Bread with some old bananas I had! I used whole wheat pastry flour, unsweetened applesauce, a Braeburn apple, and I cut the pieces really small and brought it into the office, where it was devoured and complimented, much to my delight!

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I whipped up vegan banana “ice cream” another night! I took about two frozen sliced bananas I had in my freezer, mixed them with a splash of unsweetened almond milk, some cinnamon, and about a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder, and mixed in my Ninja! The result was creamy and kind of amazing!

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We do Greek yogurt pancakes so frequently that I decided to find a waffle variation so I could use my Mickey Mouse waffle maker (my grandmother bought it for my wedding; it’s just like the one she had when I was a kid)! I was successful in this recipe and topping with fresh fruit!

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Dan and I went to see my family and go to a baby shower down in Connecticut last weekend, too! My very first college roommate (ten years ago we lived together, can you believe that?!) is having a baby girl at the end of next month. Her mother spoiled us with mimosas, amazing baked French toast, fritatas, spinach pinwheels and an AMAZING dessert spread with cupcakes, cookies, cake pops, and delicious lemon sugar cookies. I was in heaven. Suffice it to say the diet died for that day!

(My gift – the baby Magic Bullet! How could I resist helping her make her own baby food?)

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Dan and I had Pinkberry on the drive down, which is my FAVORITE frozen yogurt. I got the plain, in a small, and topped it with fresh fruit and just a few mini chocolate chips. Delish! We visited an ice cream place that I went to frequently growing up and I indulged in their only sugar-free option, which was a very tasty chocolate chip black raspberry. I got them to give me the toddler size, too! We had really good salads at another local place one day for lunch, and I managed to have a healthy, low-fat chicken taco from a Mexican chain for one of our dinners by asking the cashier for their nutrition information!

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An indulgent weekend for sure, but it didn’t me any damage weight-wise because I kept my portions in check! Finally, one more recipe worth mentioning was our spinach-citrus kidney bean salad dinner from earlier this week (recipe here. I used dark red kidney beans, a grating of light Jarlsberg (because that’s what we had), and yellow mustard. It was really tangy and tasty and made two HUGE portions for us!

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Tonight, I whipped up some roasted vegetable lavash wraps with a garlic-spinach sauce (based upon this recipe for our dinner. I swapped zucchini for cucumber, yellow squash for some frozen butternut cubes, red onion for the regular, a whole red bell pepper instead of half, and multigrain lavash wraps for the burrito/pita things it calls for. I only made 1/3 of the recipe so it would make enough for just the two of us. I cut the oil the veggies needed to roast in back to just 1 tbsp. and it worked just fine. Instead of light mayonnaise for the spinach sauce, I used an equal amount of plain, non-fat Fage Greek yogurt. The result was a hit with both Dan and myself and I’ll definitely be making it again on a night when I’ve got the time to oven roast veggies and run the food processor! I got out of work early tonight and didn’t go to the gym due to a stomach ache so I had time!

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Speaking of the gym, I did a mile without stopping one night, a two-hour workout with my vegan runner friend another night (worked in some elliptical time for the first time in a while, too), and another night I did 1.7 miles at a slower speed without stopping, and then another half mile after a brief rest (totaling about half of my workout running). I’m not sure we’re going to be able to do the 5ks we were looking into for next weekend (the weather has not been conducive to Dan practicing, and I’ve been having some pains in my leg that indicate I might need to take it easy), but we’re going to keep active and hopefully do another one at some point in the near future!

Happy Memorial Day weekend! I’ll be looking for a healthy dessert to have on Monday if we end up visiting my in-laws! That and cleaning my whole apartment will make for quite an exciting weekend. Hope everyone remembers the real reason we celebrate this holiday and takes some time to reflect on the sacrifices that were made so that we CAN celebrate it. Have a wonderful holiday!

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