Weekend Eats & Drinks

Good morning! Our weekend was relatively low-key, but it was filled with some good eats, drinks and restaurant visits so I figured that was worth sharing- enjoy!

Friday

My company always does pizza lunches before big sport games, so last Friday was no exception. I haven’t been in the office to reap the benefits of any of the recent pizza luncheons so it was a nice treat for me this past Friday! I always take a whole plate of salad (if available) and start with that because it ensures I get in some veggies and it helps to subside most of my initial hunger before inhaling 3 pieces of pizza and then feeling sick from stuffing my face with too much pizza!

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I had some gift cards to use at Hopsters so we went there for pizza, salad and drinks for dinner… you know it’s a good day when you have pizza for lunch AND dinner! We got the sausage and arugula pizza and the beet and goat cheese salad- both were fantastic!

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Saturday

After an incredibly hard yoga sculpt class at CorePower (no seriously, it was so hard!!), I met up with my sister and friend Jessi at Loco in Southie for lunch to chat about my bachelorette party. While the margaritas were awesome, I picked the wrong food entrée. The waitress suggested the burrito so I took her suggestion, but it had too many big potatoes and not enough meat… not to mention it was served WITH potatoes. Thankfully my sister shared some of her burger with me which was really good. We ran into one of my friends from work which was such a fun addition to the lunch!

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For dinner, we decided to make some quesadillas. I kept it basic with just peppers and onions and leftover coconut crusted chicken. They were SO good and successfully kicked my Mexican craving that was not satisfied at lunch.

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Oh, and bubbly. Snowy nights most definitely call for bubbly… but then again, I’m not sure what nights DON’T call for bubbly 😉

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Side Note: We finally started to watch Breaking Bad- have any of you watched that show? So far it’s a little intense for my liking, but I’m giving it a shot! We are only 4 episodes in.

Sunday

In traditional Sunday morning fashion, I whipped us up some healthy pancakes first thing. It was another great batch and we think it’s almost time for me to perfect the recipe and share it with all of you! I added raspberries to some of mine and it was a very tasty addition.

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We ended up having RM’s brother and sister-in-law over for the game so I set out some healthy-ish snack food while we waited for the wings to cook. We made two kinds: baked buffalo and then slow cooker honey garlic and I have to say, the buffalo stole the show for most of us! I also made some chocolate chip banana bread bars which were a big hit.

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And that about does it! I hope you all have a great week- and be on the lookout for some exciting news that I’m sharing on Friday!

Questions for you: Where is your favorite pizza place? Did you go out to eat at all this weekend? Where do you go for Mexican food? What did you do for the game?

The Week In Review: Birthday Celebrations, Christmas, Weekending

 

Good morning! It feels good to be back 🙂 Besides one post last week, I decided to take the week to just detach a bit- I had no desire to blog so I figured it was a sign I should take a little break. I’m back today, though, to recap the week! With RM’s bday on the 23rd, Christmas week is always a little crazy and chock full of celebrating (read: indulgent food, lots of dessert and plenty of drinks). Even though I’m off today, I’m excited about getting back on a little bit of a schedule this week… that is, until New Years Eve 😉

Monday- Last week I organized a little holiday celebration for a few of the teams at my office. We went to Kings in Lynnfield and had a blast drinking, bowling and munching on various passed apps.

Tuesday- After work on Tuesday, I went into the city to meet up with my sister and some other people at Back Deck for a drink before they went to the Nutcracker. I had wanted to go, but with it being the day before RM’s bday, it was just too much.

Wednesday- I used a floating holiday on Wednesday which was a nice way to ease into the holiday. Since it was RM’s bday, I told him I would make him whatever he wanted for breakfast. He decided on banana cinnamon French toast- how delicious does this look?! It was 2 pieces of Ezekiel bread, 2 eggs, dash of milk, plenty of cinnamon and sliced bananas that I sautéed in the pan.

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After breakfast, I left the house to let him study for his big broker exam (who schedules a big exam on their birthday?!) and hit up a class at Orangetheory. The first time I went to that studio was over the summer and the class was good, but not crazy hard. This one? Much harder! It was endurance day so we ended up starting the class on the treadmills for nearly a half hour! My base pace was 7 and my pushes were in the 8’s and then sprints in the 9’s and 10’s… I was dying by the end!! The strength session was also more challenging and I was sore the next day. Can’t wait to go back!

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I finished up with shopping and wrapping while RM headed into the city for his test. A few hours after the test started I hopped on the bus to be in the city when he finished so I could take him out to dinner. Luckily, he passed the exam so not only were we celebrating his bday, but also that! It was a very good day and Davio’s did not disappoint!

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Thursday- We took our time getting up on Thursday and eventually went into the city for birthday massages (well, birthday for him) at Exhale Spa. Per usual, the whole experience was wonderful- it’s really the best place to get massages!

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had to rick my “mistletoe & mimosas” T!

After we were finished, we hit the road to head to Maine. I went to Christmas Eve mass with my family and then we prepped for family friends to come over. It was a another successful Christmas Eve party! Good group of friends, plenty of delicious food, lots of bubbly and laughs. I did not take many pictures as I was just having too much fun being present in the night.

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Friday- We woke up later than normal on Christmas morning and found ourselves nearly rushing through presents- oops. We all got lots of great things, but I have to say that my sister’s gift to me was probably my favorite -it was so incredibly thoughtful and I loved that it was wedding themed since up until now, I hadn’t really received anything wedding-related. The ring holder is absolutely perfect, the shirt is so “me” and the book filled with all of the important things so far (“the ring”, “the Date”, “the location”, “not the dress”, “the band”…) nearly made me cry! I can’t wait to fill it up with things throughout the wedding process and then with photos from the big day.

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After presents, we packed up and headed back to MA to do Christmas with RM’s family. I didn’t take any pictures, but his mother and sister made a delicious meal, we had fantastic wine and opened more presents. I loved the sweater and necklace that his mom and sister got me- now it just needs to get cold enough to wear them 😉

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Saturday- I started out the day working on our wedding website and then hit the pavement for a 3.5 mile run, followed by some upper body strength circuits. After a rest day on Christmas and indulgent food for a few days, it felt very good to move!

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After lunch, the post holiday blues started to hit me and I had to laugh as I realized my outfit was coincidentally mirroring my mood.

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I knew I needed to get out of the house so I returned a few things, went to the library to get another book for book club and then decided to grab a glass of vino at Branch Line while waiting for RM to be done with his things for the day. I brought my book in and totally enjoyed sipping my Chardonnay while I read (even if it did seem weird to people who saw me).

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The rest of the night was spent relaxing- we ordered in, I kept reading and was in bed by 10. It was perfect 🙂

Sunday- I decided to get up and make us healthy pancakes. I changed the recipe by adding in another egg and we both agreed they may be the best batch yet!

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The rest of the day was spent being incredibly productive: 2 loads of laundry, changed the sheets on the bed, put away Christmas gifts, cleaning the entire apartment, grocery shopping, meal prepping and blogging. I did get RM to food shop with me and happened to sneak in a bouquet of flowers 😉

 

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Meal prepping isn’t always something I want to do, but once I get going- and especially once I’m done- I’m always SO happy I did it. I still have to make a meatloaf and cook the kale today (and RM has string beans and broccoli he wants to cook- we go through veggies so fast in this house), but knowing the most time consuming part is done is amazing.

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And that about does it! I know this post was long, but hopefully the pictures kept you reading. I can’t believe Christmas has come and gone, but at least we have our wedding to look forward to in the next 6 months or so!

I hope all of you had a fantastic holiday week!

Questions for you: What did you do to celebrate the holiday this year? Do you have to split holidays? Do you have any traditions? Meal prep- love it or hate it? Did you do any shopping after the holiday? Are you taking any time off this week? Any good workouts to share?

Weekending: Birthday Celebrations & Decorating for Christmas

Good morning! I hope you all had a great weekend. Although we did lots of Christmas-y things, it sure didn’t feel like Christmas with 50-60* weather all weekend. I’m not complaining, though, I’m sure we will have freezing temps and snow soon enough!

Before we recap, I want to wish my sister a very happy birthday!!! I hope you have a great day! xo

Friday

I really wasn’t ready to head right home after work on Friday so I texted my friend Jessi to see if she wanted to meet up for a drink on my way home. Lucky for me, she was around and willing to meet up! We met at Assembly Row and puttered through Home Goods before grabbing seats and some vino at the Legal Seafoods bar.

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I stopped at Whole Foods on the way home to get stuff for dinner: quesadillas! We had chicken we needed to eat and I was in no mood for a boring chicken and veggie meal. I feel like Fridays should be fun meals, not boring standard meals.

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We used Ezekiel wraps, chicken thighs I had baked earlier in the week, freshly shredded Gruyere cheese and veggies. I plan on writing these up in a post of their own because they were that good!

Saturday

It was my Saturday to teach and it was fun because there were lots of friends in class! I can tell winter is coming because each week my numbers continue to increase.

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We had a rare Saturday where both RM and I were around with no real plans. He took advantage of it by starting to study for his broker exam and I started to do some decorating. Since we loved the quesadilla’s so much, I offered to make them again for lunch!

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Later in the afternoon I popped over to Target to stock up on some household items… $85 later and multiple things I didn’t “need”. How does that store always do that to me?!

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We decided to get our Christmas Tree later in the afternoon. RM’s family always gets their tree at Russo’s in Watertown so we went there. I was totally impressed! The tree wasn’t cheap, but it just seemed to much healthier than the ones I’ve previously gotten at Home Depot so I didn’t mind spending the money.

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My sister was celebrating her birthday on Saturday night at The Brahmin so RM and I decided to head in a little early and grab some sushi at Red Lantern since it’s right next to The Brahmin. We got bubbly, spicy edamame, avocado salad, a spicy tuna roll and a salmon avocado roll and everything was fantastic!

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Once we got word that my sister was at The Brahmin we headed over. It was such a fun night- I definitely drank more than usual and more than I probably should have, but I don’t go out like that very often so it’s all good. We laughed, we danced and we took birthday shot shots- so much fun!

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RM and I were both craving pizza when we left, but we couldn’t find an open pizza joint so we ended up at Tasty Burger. I had never been and I have to say, although the burger was good, it wasn’t as good as Shake Shack! RM refused to share with me and made me get my own… two bites in and I decided I didn’t want a burger so we ended up taking it home, haha the fries on the other hand? Those were totally hitting the spot!

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Sunday

We slept in (no surprise there) and had a nice lazy morning. I whipped up some healthy pancakes and then went back to Target to get a new tree stand since the one I’ve had for a few years apparently had a big crack in it and leaked all of the water we added to it… so not fun!

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The rest of the day was spent decorating, food shopping and taking a stab at making Rosa’s sauce. I had a few bites and it definitely isn’t as good as hers, but it’s still pretty good!

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It’s been so fun decorating “our home” and getting our first Christmas tree together! We have so much fun living together that I sometimes still feel like we are playing house 🙂

For dinner, we had some paleo slow cooker wings that RM threw together- they were fantastic!

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And that about wraps it up!

Questions for you: Did you do anything fun this weekend? Have you gotten your tree and/or started decorating for Christmas? What’s the best meal you had this weekend? Any fun drinks or Christmas parties?

Holiday Gift Guide for the Foodie, Wine-o, Fashionista & Fitness Lover in Your Life

Good morning! This is the first time I’ve ever done a “holiday gift guide” type of post, but as I was in the shower the other day (TMI?!), I started thinking of all the various products I love- not just fitness related, either. Things the foodie in me loves, things the wine-o in me loves, things the {wannabe} fashionista in me loves… so I think when you combine all of those things you’re bound to find something in this list for someone in your life, right?! Right.  I’ll preface this post by saying this certainly does not cover ALL of the things I love in these categories, I just picked the top 2-5 things I love and use/buy in each category. If I included all of my favorites this post would be veryyyy long 😉 With that said, let’s get to it!

Foodie

  • Tre Olive I wrote all about our experience with Tre Olive in this post, so check that out for the details! High level? By visiting Treolive.com you can purchase lots of various olive oil based products from olive groves in Italy (soaps, olive oil, gift packages, etc.). If you’re looking for more, you can even adopt an olive tree for a season and get multiple tins of olive oil made from the olives your tree grew. Pretty cool, right? If you are interested, you can use the code B2BHoliday to get $10 off and olive tree adoption!

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  • Vitamix RM got a Vitamix a few years ago and it’s one of the best kitchen appliances we have! That thing can literally puree anything- it’s perfect for smoothies, soups, and any other kind of “sauce” that requires blending things together.
  • Cooking class– I always thing this is such a fun gift to give someone, even though I’ve never done it. I have hear great things from classes at Sur La Table, Boston Center for the Arts, Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, etc.

Wine-O/Beer Lover

  • Club W Wines I posted about this a while back, but basically it’s a monthly wine subscription allowing you to pick 3 wines a month based on your preferences. We usually choose all whites, but you can choose all reds or a mix of the two. What we love about this is how easy it is- who doesn’t like having wine delivered to their door?! And, it’s pretty affordable since the wines are only $13 each and if you get people to sign up with your link, you get a free bottle and they get TWO free bottles. Awesome, right?
  • Boston Wine Expo & Seminars For a few years in a row I would get my family tickets to a wine seminar hosted during the Boston Wine Expo in the Seaport District. What I love about doing a seminar vs. the full tasting is that you have a chance to taste a bunch of wines AND learn about them in a fun way. Plus tickets tend to be much less expensive than the full blown event so it’s a great gift! We would always plan a fun lunch after the tasting, too.
  • Brewing beer at HopstersI’ve been to Hopsters a few times recently, not only because it’s so close, but also because it’s so good! I haven’t done a brew there- yet- but I definitely want to check it out! They have various packages ranging in price and end result so they have something to fit everyone’s want/need, plus you can also get a small group of people together and that brings the cost down even more.
  • Tours/Tastings at Lookout Farm Originally just a farm and a place for you to pick apples, pears, peaches, strawberries, etc., Lookout Farm now has a line of their very own hard ciders. What RM and I love about the ciders is they aren’t overly fruity or sweet. They’re very refreshing and super flavorful. My favorite was the Super Berry. Along with being able to taste various ones by getting a flight, you can also take a tour of the brewery and munch on their delicious flatbreads, pretzels and charcuterie boards. If you go, ask for Mark Magno and tell him Monique from B2B sent you- he’s RM’s cousin and an awesome guy!

Fashionistas

  • StitchFix I’ve posted about Stitch Fix a number of times. What I love about it is that you set up an online profile and then a stylist reviews and picks out 5 items to send to you. You get charged $20 for the “fix”, but if you purchase anything from your fix that $20 gets applied to that which is nice. And, if you purchase your whole “fix”, you get 25% off everything. This is a fun gift because there’s nothing better than getting a package full of fun clothes and accessories to try on! You can read my reviews here, here, here, and here.
  • Birchbox My sister gifted me a Birchbox subscription last year and it was so fun to get a new box every month that was filled with all sorts of beauty products I may not otherwise have tried out. It’s a very affordable gift for those who like to try out new hair, makeup and skin products!

Fitness

    • New Balance – New Balance always has super cute active wear that I drool over during the New Balance Girls Night Out events. Sadly, I don’t own much NB gear, but what I do own I love. They sent me some holiday gift guide ideas and since I loved the Women’s 88v1 Trainer ($85) sneakers and these amazing NBWomen Printed Performance Tight ($85)– I totally need these in my life! I loveeee flashy/funky workout pants and these totally fit the bill!
    • Lulu hoodies– It’s no secret that I love Lululemon. Although I’ve been branching out and trying other brands, I’ve still got a major soft spot for Lulu. Lately I’ve been living in my scuba hoodie ($108). It’s just so comfy and great to throw on for your trips to and from the gym and when you’re lounging around the house. Also, fitness instructors get 15% off.
    • Athleta capris- I recently bought my first pair of Athleta “Chaturanga” Capris ($64) and I totally love them. I have to say, they feel like they’re made better than Lulu capris. They’re tight and thick and soft and they keep everything nice and tight when you’re jumping around- always a good thing as an instructor, especially when they give you 30% off!!
    • Fitbit/REM-fit- I try not to obsess too much over tracking everything, but I do love wearing my Fitbit ($60-$250, depending on version) or my Rem-fit activity tracker ($60-$100, depending on the version) just to see how active or inactive I am on any particular day. I find that on days I don’t workout, it’s very hard to meet the 10K steps unless I go for a walk or am not working and running errands or cleaning or something like that. It’s a great way to encourage me to move more and hit my step goal for the day. They both allow you to track all your daily activity, good intake, sleep, etc.
    • Garmin Running Watch-  I’ve had my Garmin for years and it still works great! I love wearing it for runs because it seems to track more accurately than the apps I use on my phone, not to mention it doesn’t use data 😉 They have so many new models ranging from $79-$450, so you’re sure to find the perfect one for whoever you’re buying it for!
    • Studio gift certificates- There are SO MANY amazing fitness studios these days, and not just in and around the Boston area! It seems as though boutique studios focusing on spinning or barre or yoga or bootcamp are popping up everywhere, so a great idea for the fitness lover in your life would be to get them a couple of gift certificates to various studios around where they live. If you’re in the Boston area, you can find a bunch of various studio reviews here. I’ve got reviews for all sorts of fitness classes so there’s sure to be one that fits the bill for the person you’re buying it for!
    • ClassPass Gift Certificate– Expanding upon the Studio Gift cards, if you’re not sure what someone likes, you could always get them a ClassPass gift card ($119) which would allow them to try out classes as LOADS of different studios near them for an entire month! I’ve been thinking about renewing my membership, but since I’m trying to save for our wedding it probably won’t happen until after that.

And now I want everything on this list, not to mention I’ve thought of a million different categories I could’ve included 😉 I hope you are able to find something useful from this list!

Questions for you- Do you tend to get people gift cards or do you like to do real presents? What are you looking for this year?

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for any links or gift guide ideas located in this post, however I was given a Rem-Fit activity tracker which I will be reviewing in a future post. All thoughts and opinions are my own and I’m only sharing products I use and love. Some links are referral links, but if you sign up you will also get a referral link, so it’s a win-win 😉

Weekending: Friendsgiving, SoulCycle, sweetgreens & Taco Night

Good morning! Well, here we are- Thanksgiving is on THURSDAY. Can you believe it?! I have Wednesday-Friday off so last night barely felt like a Sunday night knowing I only had 2 days of work before an extra long weekend 🙂 We had a really great weekend, so let’s get to recapping it!

Friday

I went food shopping on my way home after work on Friday- how exciting, right?! Once I got home and unpacked, RM and I enjoyed a glass of wine while catching up and throwing around options for dinner. We ended up walking to Bertucci’s, but sadly our meal was just OK- the pizza was just not nearly as good as I remembered it being. I hate that!

Saturday

We had a lazy start to our Saturday until it was time for me to go teach at the Y. It was a really fun class and for some reason my energy was off the charts so I hope I didn’t scare any new members away 😉

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After teaching, I showered and headed to Queen Bee Nails to get my nails done. I had a free manicure coupon and decided to upgrade and get a shellac since I wanted nice nails for Friendsgiving, Thanksgiving and dress shopping. I thought this color was very festive for this time of year.

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Once I got home, I got busy in the kitchen. I agreed to bring Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes and homemade cranberry sauce so I had lots of things to make! For the Brussels sprouts I just sautéed them in EVOO and added salt, pepper and 1 clove of chopped garlic. I also added pancetta which adds a great salty & crunchy combination to the dish. Athena left a suggestion on my Five on Friday post for a homemade cranberry sauce, so I checked it out and decided to make it. I loved that it was so easy to throw together! The only things I changed were adding more water, I put all of the orange peels in it and added a little bit of regular and coconut sugar because it was still a bit too tart for my liking (I think I had more cranberries than her recipe called for). It was super tasty!

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In the early afternoon, RM and I got gussied up and headed into the South End to meet up with all of my friends.

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Saturday night out is always more fun with leather pants on 😉

My friend Amy’s brother has an incredible pent house apartment above Boston Chops and graciously let us host our gathering there (he plays hockey in Canada so he wasn’t there anyway).

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We had a blast chatting and drinking wine and eating. The food was incredible- everyone did a really great job with the dishes they were assigned!

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I feel so blessed to have so many wonderful friends in my life- these ladies are the best of the best!

Sunday

Needless to say, I woke up with a bit of a wine headache on Sunday so I had breakfast and then snuggled up on the couch with our new book club book for a while before I went to spin.

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Has anyone read this? I’m only about 100 pages in, but I’m enjoying it so far!

SoulCycle often sends out emails to take complimentary classes, I assume to help boost numbers for some of their lower attendance classes, but generally I can’t take part in them because they’re usually on really off times. This time, though, they had a Sunday 4pm class on the list, but when I called it was already full so they let me take the 11:45am class instead, which actually worked out better. I felt bad for the people next to me as I likely sweat out pure wine 😉 The class was really fun and the instructor, Jeff, had lots of energy! Per usual, I didn’t think the class itself was that hard- I don’t know what it is about the classes there, but I never think they are as hard as they are at other studios. Where I think they do step it up is the party atmosphere, which is what makes the classes so fun!

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After class I went next door to have lunch at sweet green- a little Sunday treat 🙂

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I did a make your own salad with kale, cucumber, broccoli, carrots and spicy quinoa and a side of their butternut squash which was not great- it was so thin and watery! The salad was fantastic, though.

When I got home, RM was snuggled up watching American Sniper so I decided to join him. It was a cold, rainy afternoon so it was a perfect thing to do! After the movie we went to Whole Foods to pick up a few additional staples for the week and for our taco dinner. We had a piece of steak in the freezer so RM took it out and suggested we slice it and put it in tacos. He’s full of good ideas sometimes 😉 To go along with it, I made a super easy salsa (red pepper, tomato, red onion, pineapple, lime juice- everything chopped really small and then throw half of it into a food processor to give it more of a salsa consistency.

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I also made a avocado “sauce” made up of all sorts of random things we had lying around (I didn’t have sour cream or greek yogurt so I had to get creative): 1/2 avocado, 1 scoop of hummus, 1 scoop of goat cheese, salt, pepper, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, ~2 tbsp. EVOO and 1/8-1/4 cup of vegetable broth. Surprisingly, it came out great and was perfect to top the steak with.

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RM cooked the steak in butter and with salt and pepper- so delicious!

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It was a such a yummy Sunday night dinner! We both were pleasantly surprised by how well everything came together- even with using Ezekiel wraps instead of corn tortillas.

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YUM!

And that does it for us- All in all it was a great weekend filled with good food, great friends, fun exercise and lots of relaxation!

Questions for you: What was the best part of your weekend? What did you do? Did you get in any good workouts? Hang out with friends? What are you making for Thanksgiving?