Apology In Order. Plus, Family Cooking, Return to Workouts, and More.

Monday’s Workout:  cycle – strength  WHOHOOOOOO!!!!!!

Yes, I’m back at it.  Went to the Doc this morning and he approved running, cycling, and light weight training.  Still no swimming but I’m just glad to be able to sweat and huff and puff again.  :) It is amazing what we take for granted.  Those of you who work out regularly, you are so lucky to be able to do so.  Count your blessings every day.  Those of you who don’t, think about your bodies and what they need.  Give yourself the gift of exercising regularly and feeling good about doing so.  Your life will change, I promise.

Profuse apologies for the extended hiatus.  It gets really difficult to write about healthy living when you feel like an unproductive blob.  Not only was I unable to work out for the last two weeks, but last week my menu planning was hijacked by an un-named perpetrator and we ended up eating more leftovers than I intended and then scrounging for the last of the food in the fridge.  Not pretty.  Thank goodness for Survivor night and a trip HOME to Charlotte for a visit with the fam.  We were fed like royalty and had a great weekend with beautiful weather.

Let’s just start there.  I won’t bore you with an entire week’s worth of lackluster meals.  Well, there might have been a couple of good ones…I’ll share those.

One night (honestly, I cannot remember what night this was), we had bone-in pork chops with black beans and quinoa and asparagus.  Joe was responsible for this meal and he did a great job.  He used his secret “rib rub” on the chops, sauteed the asparagus in olive oil and a touch of soy sauce, and loosely followed this recipe for the black beans and quinoa.  Joe is one of those gifted people who does not generally follow recipes – he can just throw it together and it comes out beautifully.  That said, he can’t bake.  ;)  I find that in the world of cooking, you usually can do one or the other, and not both.  I enjoy baking and am pretty good at following recipes.  I struggle (less now than before!) with just throwing things together and having it come out amazing.  He is wonderful at it.

Our other note-worthy treat was an incredible pizza.  Brie cheese, Portabella mushrooms, carmelized onions, and prosciutto.  Is your mouth watering?  Check recipe here.  My only regret with this recipe is that I didn’t make my own dough.  I used a store-bought whole wheat pizza dough and it was not really that great.  If you have a recipe for a great pizza dough, please share!!! I have yet to find one I really love.

On to the weekend, which was anything but lackluster meals.  My family is awesome.  We love nothing more than to cook a wonderful meal at home and sit around the dinner table for many hours sharing stories, discussing and solving the world’s problems, and being silly.  Wine may or may not be involved.  ;)  We are traditionally late eaters…our joke is that we must fit in Happy Hour, which always involves equally delicious hors d’ouveres and a beverage of choice.  I think this tradition is at its finest in the summertime…we rarely eat before dark, which can come as late as 9:00 PM.  That’s OK, though, because we are meandering through the “first course” and enjoying every moment of each other’s company.  Our gatherings are not typically low-cal.  ;)  But that’s not what it should be about.  We see each other rarely enough that it’s a celebration, and what fun is a low-calorie celebration???

All of that said, I have a healthy, light dinner to share for our Friday evening meal.  Penne tossed with asparagus and Parmesan (yum!); salad with mixed greens and…apples? (sorry Mom, help me out here, I can’t remember, but it was SO GOOD); and yummy bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping (see adorable little bowl in center of pic).  This meal is so simple and so delicious.  And my parents are really cute sharing kitchen duties – Mom puts the pasta together and Dad tosses it.  Adorable.  They are the epitome of a happy marriage.  I am a lucky girl.  :)

Dessert was a home-made brownie with fudge ripple ice cream.  Perfection in a bowl.  Seriously.

Breakfast Saturday morning was a bowl of Chobani blueberry yogurt and granola.  At least, that’s what I got a picture of.  It was followed by…a grapefruit…and coffee cake…and of course all accompanied by coffee.

Joe, Mom and I took Sadie for a walk after this long, leisurely breakfast.  Dad ran.  I was jealous.

Saturday afternoon brought sunny skies and temps in the upper 60s, so we hit the trails at a great park outside of Charlotte, Latta Plantation.  This is a great place, chock full of activities for the whole family.  There is a Nature Center, the Carolina Raptor Center, and an Equestrian Center, along with numerous trails through the woods and around the lake.  We were lucky enough to be able to borrow my adorable nephews for the afternoon and we all had a ball.  We started with an unpictured barbecue lunch at Lancaster’s.  I had the pulled pork sandwich with slaw and macaroni and cheese.  With a sweet tea, of course.

And then this cuteness followed:

I mean, does it get any more adorable??  I know, I’m biased, but they might be the cutest boys on the planet.  And they are soooo sweet.  OK, enough.  Sorry.

Dinner Saturday night was a grilling affair.  Let me just say a word about my family and grilling.  It is a sacred ritual, an art, the only way to prepare meat.  And they have mastered it.  Put it this way:  my Dad only switched to gas (as opposed to charcoal) within the last three years.  And it was a big deal. But he continues to turn out perfectly cooked, tender, moist cuts of meat.  Saturday night was no exception.

Grilled boneless pork chops with grilled pineapple…

carmelized butternut squash (recipe in sidebar)…

…and this delicious salad featuring spinach, mango, and a warm bacon vinaigrette dressing.  This was one of the best salads I’ve ever had.  Truly.  I would not lie to you.

Now, as if I wasn’t lucky enough to have the best cooks and grillers in my family, we were lucky enough to have added the bonus of one of the best bakers I’m aware of, in the form of my sister-in-law.  She baked this pound cake in honor of my Mom’s upcoming birthday. Can you tell we’re Southern Living subscribers?  ;)

Sunday morning brought more deliciousness:

(Note:  this is my Dad’s plate.  I dug into mine so quickly that I forgot and was then reminded that I needed a picture.)  Praline pecan overnight french toast (Mom, I’m pretty sure I’m gonna need the recipe for that); applewood smoked bacon; and fresh strawberries and blueberries.  I can’t begin to describe the heaven that this entailed.

Sunday afternoon brought 70+ degree temps, sunshine, and a heartbreaking Carolina loss to Dook.  Joe and I hit the road after that and got back to Asheville late enough and with an empty enough fridge and pantry that we ate dinner at Brixx Pizza.  We both ordered Caesar salads, mine with blackened chicken and his with salmon.  And we split a 1/2 price bottle of wine.  It was a great way to wind down a wonderful weekend.

This morning brought a swift return to reality in the form of an alarm clock and an empty fridge.  We were out of all of my breakfast regulars.  So I whipped up a black bean and egg scramble.

I just can’t do a fried egg without some sort of bread to put it on.  So scrambled it was.  A protein-filled breakfast that held me over much later than usual.  Good thing, since I had the world’s most random, pitiful lunch.  I just had to grab whatever was in the pantry, so in the lunchbox was:  an apple with almond butter; Triscuits; and dried figs.  Amazingly enough, the protein in the almond butter and the fiber in the Triscuits and figs held me over through my afternoon workout and until dinner.

Which was another Joe creation:  salmon and sauteed broccoli.  He squeezed some lemon juice on the salmon and sprinkled it with dill, salt, and pepper, then broiled it for 10 minutes.  The broccoli was sauteed in garlic, onion, and olive oil, then steamed briefly in white wine.  Again, another simple and delicious Meal-by-Joe.  No complaints here!  :)

And with that, I am going to wrap it up.  It feels like a long post.  And I really haven’t covered all that has occured in the last week…look for more news in upcoming posts!  Now, I must go catch the Bachelor finale.  Don’t judge – there’s a Charlotte girl in the final running and I really like her, kinda/sorta have a connection to her, and want to see what happens!!  I haven’t really kept up with it for the entire season.  Really.

Glad to be back.  Hope I haven’t bored y’all to death.  I’ll be back soon, I promise.  As always, thanks for reading!  And comments are always welcome!

What fun, food-related traditions does your family have?  How often do you get to see them?

 

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2 Responses to Apology In Order. Plus, Family Cooking, Return to Workouts, and More.

  1. Jen says:

    Where do I even start? All the food looks so amazing!!! Not going to lie, it kind of makes me want to cheat on my 10-day meatless challenge. ;)

    So happy to hear that you’re back in the saddle with workouts!

    • Kat says:

      Thanks, Jen! I laughed when I caught up on your blog and realized we both ate at Brixx this weekend…you in Charlotte and me in Asheville. Too funny. Great minds think alike! :)

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