commit to stay fit [and some updates]

Hello friends. I don’t think I even need to apologize for my MIA status ( even thought I am so sorry ) but I feel like you are all use to it. I don’t even know where time is going because seriously, it’s almost Thanksgiving. Before I know it, it will be Christmas, my birthday, the New Year and then my mind will explode.

So what have I been up too? Lot’s and nothing new all at the same time. If that is even possible. Things are still busy with the new business, it’s a slow month, but I know that is just part of the business and there will be ups and downs. I actually came across this neat info graphic and even though so simple, so true. Sometimes we need little reminders like this, so we don’t freak out and just want to quit.

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Oh so true.

However, on that note, I am still loving being an online fitness coach. It seriously is just so rewarding helping others on their health journey’s and being able to be a part of it. I also know the holiday’s are a time where we all kind of struggle with maintaining a clean diet and keep up with our fitness. I myself am no exception. Especially when treats like these pop up at the clinic.

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I mean who can say no to the most adorable paw print cookies? This girl can’t. So what I am really trying to focus on is giving myself permission to enjoy these treats and not let myself feel guilty afterwards. I don’t want to say I am a believer in the 80/20 rule, but I am a believer that it is OK to have a cookie once in a while. I eat healthy the rest of the day, so 1 cookie will NOT undo all my progress and effort I have put in. It’s almost like I eat clean and keep my fitness up the rest of the time so I CAN eat these treats guilt free. I know on Thanksgiving I will not be restricting and will fully enjoy myself because I know I will get right back on track the next day. (ok so at Matt’s parents we always have cinnamon rolls for breakfast the next morning, so maybe the next next day 😉 I mean I can’t break tradition…)

But before we get ahead of ourselves and pretend it’s already Thanksgiving (I want time to go as slow as possible these days) let’s take a look at what happened last week.

Again, everything and nothing all at the same time.

Meals have been super simple lately. But that doesn’t mean not delicious.

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Deli turkey, 1/2 avocado and veggies and hummus. Simple, but delicious and satisfying. And I think I’ve said this before, but sprinkling sea salt on your avocado… life changing.

Speaking of sprinkling things, on a recent trip to Trader Joe’s I fell trap to the must try all the new things. I swear I walk into that place needing 1 thing and 10 things end up in my cart. Well it’s not completely my fault (at least that’s what I tell myself). For example, I had this guy in my hand and the worker informed me 1. it was good 2. it was limited time and 3. it was flying off the shelf. Ma’am you are wonderful at your job, because this landed in my cart to try.

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(if anyone is interested in trying this, the coffee flavor is very strong. not a bad thing, but just an FYI)

More random fun things:

Free Wine

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My boss gave me a bottle of wine as a thank you for doing so well when I covered for a co-worker when she was out on maternity leave. (side note: i totally know a client gave him this wine, and he didn’t try to pretend like he bought it for me or anything, but i kind of laughed.)

Puppy Sitting

I’ve posted before about this dog…goodness I love her…Matt won’t let me have her. But my co-worker let me puppy sit her again. When I was bringing her back to work with me, I didn’t have enough hands to carry her.

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Sometimes you just have to improvise and carry dogs in your sweatshirt.

She loved it, don’t let that face fool you.

And now it’s Sunday and Matt and I are doing all our traditional things. He’s being a trooper since he has been sick all week (how i haven’t gotten sick is beside me) but we have managed to make it to our biscuits and gravy breakfast

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And we’re now out watching the football game and working.  This is actually something new that we started doing (the working part, not the watching football) because for both of us we are somehow more productive when we are out of the house.

So this post probably would have taken me all day to write and finally post and now I think I will actually get it posted within the hour that I started.

Mind blowing, I know.

So loves, with that being said I am actually going to try and watch the game, even though it continues to be painful to watch the Colts play this season.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

On a last note I did want to say if anyone is interested, I will be holding a 30 day Wellness, Fitness and Gratitude challenge starting Nov. 30. The group will not only be a great accountability group to keep you on track with your fitnes program during the holiday’s, but I will also be providing helpful tips and recipes to stay healthy during the holiday’s. As I said so many of us stress about gaining weight, but there are so many things we can do to make sure we stay on track during this time.  Leave a comment below if you are interested or feel free to e-mail me at debbiequirkbbc@gmail.com for more information!

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 Are you ready for the holiday’s?

What do you stress over the most during this time?

Have you started Christmas shopping? I really need to get on this!

no cow bars & other foodie finds

Hey loves, long time no talk huh?

I think it can go without saying that my life has been a bit crazy lately.

Two months today until my wedding!

I can’t believe it!

I feel like I am uneasily calm about the whole thing, but I’m pretty sure we have all things on track.

-fingers crossed-

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Even though things have been insanely busy ( and a bit boring ) I do have a few fun things to share with you.

Including some fun foodie finds!

I use to have such a bar obsession, then I think I realized I was eating some pretty crappy bars and just stopped altogether, but now with my crazy mornings at work, I rely once again on bars for a quick little snack and boost. But I didn’t want to go back to crappy bars again.

That led me to doing some research and trying to find higher quality bars made with real natural ingredients.
I stumbled upon D’s NaturalsNo Cow Bars.

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Did I mention I’m a sucker for good packaging? I love when companies but effort into not just shoving their products in any ole box.

 Upon opening the pretty little box I was welcomed with some delicious looking bars.

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So as mentioned I was looking for a non-junk bar. And I think these fit the bill.

They have no artificial ingredients, are dairy, soy and gluten free and have no added sugar.

Sounds pretty good to me!

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These bars have a soft texture which I love and were pretty tasty. I thought like my beloved Quest Bars these might be good warmed up, but I am sad to report, not so much. But as I mentioned these bars are pretty soft as is, so they really don’t need it.

Other random fun foodie finds?

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Health-Ade Kombucha.

I found this at my Whole Foods, it’s a bubbly kombucha with really neat flavors. I decided to try the Pink Lady Apple first and it was really tasty. Love me some bubbles!

What I love is this company still only uses the three simple ingredients of brewing: tea, sugar and water. It’s organic and made in small batches and they only brew certain flavors when the ingredients are in season. How cool is that?

I’m excited to try more flavors of these!

Another new to me item that I finally tried..

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The beet hummus from Trader Joes.

Another item I had been seeing all over Instagram and finally caved in and bought.  It is really good, I would say you definitely need to like beets (which I do), but it’s a nice switch up in flavors.

I have found that I have been relying on pre-packaged items and eating out a lot lately. By time I am done with work, I just have no desire to cook. So a few dinners out may have been happening as well.

But foods out are more interesting anyways right?

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Because when a co-worker asks me out for happy hour, how can I say no to wine and pizza?

I mean just look at that cheese.

Then I had pizza again, just in a slightly different form.

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Mini english muffin pizza’s! These tasted just as good as they look.

And another new to me fad that I’m sure isn’t new to most of you…

You know when you see a bunch of people do something on Instagram? And you think, that just can’t be as good as they claim.

Well. Sometimes it is.

So let’s make it clear I am a huge lover of avocado. I eat it by the spoonful. I had been seeing people post on Instagram how they sprinkle it with salt. I just couldn’t imagine it making that big of a difference.

Well loves, it does.

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I smashed half an avocado on a Rudi’s Organic Spelt English Muffin and decided to sprinkle a little salt on it.

Total game changer. And I now don’t think I will be able to go back.

So thank you Instagram. Thank you.

Well loves, I know it was a short update and I hope to be back soon with more goodies for you.

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Teaser:

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Check back for a full review on Nicole’s Naturals gluten free waffle and pancake mix and a giveaway.

Until then my loves.

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Have you tried any new products lately?

What are some foodie fads you recently tried?

chocolate chip pumpkin bread

This post has been long in the making.

A couple weeks ago I teased you with multiple pictures of my first ever pumpkin bread! I will admit I am not the best baker. I am that person that doesn’t measure, throws in random ingredients, mixes it all together and just hopes for the best. Now when you’re cooking, not a big deal, but baking? One miss measurement of a flour, too many eggs, not enough liquid:flour ratio can instantly ruin a baked good. Which is why most of my baking results may not look pretty due to not rising, rising then falling flat, or straight out remaining mush, they usually taste decent. And I am not one to waste, so I typically just cover whatever it is in peanut butter and call it good. Because really, peanut butter makes everything better.

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Case in point, my failed attempt at a green plantain waffle. It’s ok, the drippy peanut butter made it allll better.

But I am happy to say that when attempting my first true pumpkin bread I decided to take a very safe route and actually follow a recipe. Well ok, I won’t lie, I did kind of combine two, but it was because I wanted to use certain ingredients over others and we all have our personal preferences.  But other then that, this non measuring girl actually measured her ingredients and restrained as much as she could to not just add in random things.

It paid off.

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My house smelled amazing as the pumpkin bread aroma filled the air. It took all of my will power to not immediately try a chunk when this came out of the oven, but I let it cool before breaking off a small slice for Matt and I to sample. We  both instantly had expressions of “oh my gosh this is so good” on our faces.  I then quickly cut off another small slice.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

(Based on this recipe)

Ingredients

– 2 cups whole wheat flour
– 1 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
– 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
– 1/4 cup coconut oil*
– 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
– 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
– 3 large eggs
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1 cup canned pure (unsweetened) pumpkin
– 1 cup chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life mini chips)

* could use 1/2 cup butter – softened

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Directions

– Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

– Mix together flour, baking soda, baking power, spices and salt in a medium bowl until well sifted.

– In a large bowl beat together with an electric mixer sugar and oil, adding in eggs one at a time. Add in pumpkin and vanilla and continue to beat together scraping down sides as needed.

– Add in dry ingredients, mixing until well blended, but do not over mix. Fold in chocolate chips – saving some to sprinkle on top.

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– Pour batter into a greased 9×5 loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove bread from oven, place on rack to cool for 15 minutes (the hardest part). After 15 minutes remove loaf from pan and allow to cool for a few more minutes before slicing.

Sometimes I think it’s a little self torturous to bake, I mean the heavenly smells that baking creates and the inability to immediately devour your delicious creation is just plain mean.

But alas, after proper cooling time you are free to dig in.

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This bread was so moist (i hate that word, but this bread deserves it) and with the melty chocolate chips inside was pure heaven in my mouth. This bread was so good that Matt almost got mad at me when I said I was going to take half the loaf to work with me.  He never gets that way with my baking. It’s not that my baking is bad, but usually he will offer to take leftovers to his work as well. Maybe that was just a subtle hint that was my baking was bad.

I was nice and left him a few slices which that same night he had for dessert.

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Cool Whip on pumpkin bread is pretty amazing by the way.

I did manage to take some of the loaf to work with me and it must have been meant to be because a client had brought me a present that day.  I had been raving about the pumpkin butter from Trader Joes and even though unknowingly to her, I already had my stash at home, she had brought me some!

And if you even had to guess, yes the pumpkin butter was epic with the pumpkin bread.

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And maybe my previous baking was bad, because this loaf lasted probably a whole 15 minutes in the clinic. (i had to wait longer for it to cool!)

So I guess my main point is you need to make this bread. You will thank me. Your significant others will thank me. And if you’re nice enough to share or have any left overs, your co-workers will thank me.

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What was the last thing you baked?

snapshots and highlights

Hello loves!

I hope you all are having a relaxing weekend. I’m sure I sound like a broken record when I say how they seem too short, but it seems like my weekends are a broken weekend as well!

Time seems to be flying and I can’t believe July is almost over, however with the crazy heat we have been having here in Phoenix, I am welcoming August with the hopes that summer will soon be gone. Because seriously, record breaking 116 degree days are getting pretty old pretty quick.

Life other than work has been pretty mundane, but I figured I would give you guys a few snapshots into what has been going on lately.

Something not so new is I have been on a huge sushi kick lately. I swear I never get sick of the stuff!

It started with a dinner out with a friend.

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I love a good classic rainbow roll and we found a sushi spot that just always hits the spot and their rolls are huge, so one roll (plus sashimi and a seaweed salad) fills me up. This girl can eat.

But having good sushi always does one thing to me.

Makes me want more.

So bad that I even settle for grocery store sushi.

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Not once.

But twice.

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Then Friday when you would think I had enough sushi.

No. I asked made Matt meet me at Whole Foods for dinner.

With one thing in mind.

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More sushi.

Last time we went they were out of my favorite roll, which made me super sad, however it did give me the opportunity to discover that they had an amazing sesame glazed tofu that was a pretty tasty substitute.

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The sauce was so amazing that I asked for extra on the side.

Tofu never looks super appetizing, but goodness, this tasted amazing.

More repetitive eats from the week have been amazing salads I have been making lately for lunches.

I use to always have some sort of sandwich for lunch, but in trying to cut some wheat/gluten from my diet I started making salads.  So I didn’t want to admit this, but I really think I was having some sort of reaction to wheat because once I started having salads (making sure to always include a protein and healthy fats) I noticed such a change in my energy level. I use to get the typical 3pm crash, but I noticed I don’t anymore and that I still have plenty of energy. Dun dun dunnn. I loved my sandwiches so even though I welcomed the fact that I no longer had that crash, I was sad to give up my sandwiches. Well, I kind of take that back, I don’t miss them all that much.

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Huge salad with a base of Cruciferous Crunch mix from Trader Joes topped with tons of veggies, pecans and avocado for my healthy fats. For my protein I usually have chicken or turkey on the side. I’m not completely sure if it’s the increased amounts of protein and fat or lack of wheat/gluten that is helping with the energy, but regardless the combination seems to be working for me. And although not completely gone, my bloating has gone down dramatically.

So those have been some highlights on what’s been going on. Sushi, sushi, sushi and a salad. Seriously, that’s my life.

I also have some breakfast highlights to share with you as well, but we’ll save those for another day.

Enjoy your weekend loves.

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Do you get the 3pm crash?

Is there a type of food you crave and could eat endlessly?

 

all things guacamole

FRIDAY.

Luvs. I am exhausted. This week has been extremely long and tiring, and even though my weekend will be busy I am excited for it.

This weekend I am embarrassed excited to announce I will be a sci-fi nerd and will be attending the Phoenix Comicon. I’m not going to lie, I am basically going just to see Nathan Fillion and Bruce Campbell.  And if I happen to run into John Barrowman, I won’t be upset about it.

But you’re not here to listen to my sci-fi babble, you’re here for #strangebutgood eats.

Let’s all thank Laura for giving us the chance to share what may seem strange to others, but seem completely normal to us.

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Sprint 2 the Table

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This weeks theme seemed to be all things guacamole.

I can’t seem to get enough of the stuff. But this girl can’t be boring and do the whole normal chips and guacamole thing.

Nope. I add it to random, and maybe even strange combinations.

We all know my love for plantains. I can’t get enough of them.

It started with plantain bread.

Then sweet plantain chips.

Next was BBQ plantain chips.

And now I took it one step further.

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Ingredients:

– 1 large green plantain – peeled and cut in half length wise

– 2-3 tbsp guacamole

– 2-3 tbsp salsa of choice ( I used a spicy peach salsa)

– BBQ spices of choice (I use paprika, cayenne, and chili powder)

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Directions:

– Cut plantain in half length wise.

– Sprinkle with BBQ seasonings of choice.

– Bake in oven at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes, flipping half way through.

– Once plantains are cooked top with guacamole and salsa.

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I loved the sweet and spicy flavors with this. And since I used a sweet/spicy salsa it made it that much better.

This pretty much sparked the guacamole obsession.

Which then sparked another obsession.

I would call them quesadilla’s, but really it’s just random things thrown into a tortilla and cooked on a skillet.

So whatever those are called. I’m hooked.

It started out kind of normal.

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Ingredients:

– 1 tortilla (I used Flatout Bread Multi Grain with Flax)

– 1 packet of tuna

– Taco seasonings (this time I used a pre-made mix)

– Onion and red/yellow bell peppers

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 Directions:

– Saute onions and bell peppers in a large skillet until onions are translucent – about 5 minutes.

– Add tuna and taco seasonings and cook for another 2-3 minutes – until warm.

– Remove filling from skillet and spray with cooking spray or drizzle with oil.

– When heated place tortilla on skillet and place fillings in tortilla. Fold over and cook on both sides until crispy.

I again served this with guacamole and salsa.

I couldn’t get enough.

Then when the craving didn’t subside, I made another, but even more EPIC.

(pun intended)

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This may look like just another random throw anything in a tortilla dish, and it kind of is, but with an amazing ingredient that just took it over the top.

Remember these?

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I loved these EPIC Bars so much that I placed another order for them as soon as I ran out of my samples.  And that says a lot for how good they were.

So while I was pondering over how to continue my guacamole/quesadilla obsession, I had a genius idea.

Add the EPIC bar as part of my fillings.

And it was seriously EPIC.

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With the added addition of Trader Joes spicy black bean dip, cream cheese and nutritional yeast (and don’t forget the guac) this was by far one of the most amazing quesadilla’s to date.

So yes loves. Lot’s of #stangebutgood combinations. But when they taste this good. Who’s to say what’s really strange and what’s just plain delicious.

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What are your current obsessions?

Do you ever just throw random things in a tortilla? What’s your strangest combination?

all things mini

Happy Wednesday my loves!

And by happy Wednesday I really mean is it Friday yet? That’s basically how I feel every Wednesday.

But since it’s only Wednesday I guess it’s only right to share some eats I’ve been enjoying lately for What I Ate Wednesday. It’s been awhile since I’ve participated as we all know how unmotivated and unproductive I have been lately. And the fact that 1/2 of my meals have been eaten out, there really hasn’t been much to share.

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As I was looking through pictures for my past eats I kind of noticed a funny trend. I actually usually have the problem of not knowing what I have a taste for because I usually have a taste for everything. Something sweet, savory, salty, spicy… you name it. Sometimes I’ll go as far as to put it all on one plate.

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Peanut butter chicken, coconut cinnamon roasted kabocha topped with a maple whipped cottage cheese, and brussel sprouts with mustard. Really, those three things should not be on the same plate.

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Raw carrots, oven roasted broccoli and cauliflower (with ketchup for dipping) and an english muffin with chocolate coconut butter on one half and chocolate peanut butter and blueberry jam on the other… again another pretty questionable combination. But such is the life of one indecisive eater.

With all that being said, I have found a lot of my meals tend to be a bunch of mini portions. Whenever I find recipes I am always looking for ways to scale it down. My past eats have been no different.

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It started with my wanting to switch up my breakfast and finding a fun recipe for apple protein mini cakes.

I topped mine with my favorite protein frosting ever using Growing Naturals vanilla pea protein.

Dinners have been very mini as well.

We had some left over grass fed beef so I made good use of it. Mini style.

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A mini burger with home made fries.

(don’t worry way more fries were consumed then what is pictured)

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With a mini pita pizza.

Made with Trader Joes whole wheat mini pita’s, Trader Joes organic pizza sauce, nutritional yeast and left over grass fed hamburger crumbles.

And then on the side…

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 BBQ parsnip chips topped with guacamole.

I’m pretty much convinced that guacamole makes everything better.

So maybe not a complete dinner theme, but it works in satisfying all my cravings…all at once.

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Do you mix and match your cravings during meals?

What’s the oddest combination you’ve had at a meal?

cinnamon pumpkin apple quesadilla

Haaaappppy Friday my loves.

Don’t ask why the extra chipper mood. I have no idea, but I’m going with it, because who doesn’t like to be happy?

Grumpy people.

But who can be grumpy when it’s Friday?

I guess grumpy people could be..

But anyways. Enough rambling. It’s Friday. Yay!

You know what happens on Friday?

#strangebutgood happens on Friday.

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Sprint 2 the Table

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Another reason to not be grumpy.

Because Laura gives us the chance to share some of our strange eats, which I love because it only gives me inspiration to create even stranger things.

This strange but good creation is an oldie but a goodie and I can’t believe it has been so long since I’ve made one of these bad boys.

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I use to be the queen of stuffing the most random things in a tortilla. But this one was one of my favorites.

Cinnamon Pumpkin Apple Quesadilla

(serves 1)

Ingredients:

– 1 tortilla (I used Ezekiel Brown Rice Tortillas)

– 1/2 cup pure pumpkin

– 1/2 thinly sliced apple

– cinnamon to taste

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Directions:

– Mix pumpkin and cinnamon and spread mixture on tortilla

– On half of tortilla layer apple slices

– Sprinkle more cinnamon on apples if desired

– Spray skillet with cooking spray and place tortilla on skillet

– Allow tortilla to get crispy then fold over

– Cut into triangles

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It’s almost dessert-esque, but can still be paired with a fresh salad for a dinner option. I dipped my quesadilla in Trader Joes pineapple salsa which gave it that sweet/savory combo. One of my favorites!

Other #strangebutgood things I’ve tossed in a tortilla?

Pumpkin + Pear

Pumpkin + Hummus

Chocolate Protein Pumpkin

I mean really the combinations are endless, you can put anything in a tortilla and call it a quesadilla.

So until my next strange concoction, have a great weekend loves!

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What’s the strangest thing you’ve made into a quesadilla/wrap?

april foodie pen pal reveal

MAY!

Goodness. This year is flying by!

I’ll skip my ramblings because every time a new month comes and go it just blows my mind, so let’s get straight to the fun stuff of a new month and that is Foodie Pen Pals! I can’t believe I’ve been participating in this for almost two years, but it is something that I really enjoy doing! So if you haven’t tried it yet, I highly recommend heading over to Lindsay’s site and getting the details on it.

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The Lean Green Bean
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I was paired up with Katie this month and from her first e-mail I was pretty excited, because she just seemed so sweet and really excited about the program like I am.

Sometimes I get specific with my foodie pen pals on my likes and dislikes, but in talking with her, I pretty much told her to get me whatever she wanted because she seemed to have access to some pretty fun stuff.

Here is what she sent me.

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Quaker Popped Chips – Sour Cream and Onion, Sweet Potato Tortilla Chips, two types of salsa’s and I believe her own Snack Mix combination.

This chip/dip loving girl was happy. But it didn’t end there. She sent me something else that got me even more excited.

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Four different types of beers!

We both expressed our love for a good adult beverage and I was pleasantly surprised to see the assortment of beers she sent me.

Ironically the Timber Beast was my favorite and I say ironically because Matt and I joked that the guy on the label resembled him.

Yes I am dating a bearded lumberjack of a man – and he makes a dang good beer!

There was also one more special treat that I had to quickly get photographed separately, because upon arrival of the package a certain someone was requesting to eat one of the contents immediately.

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Katie also sent two chocolate cakes and Matt pretty much claimed those as his the moment he saw them.

We also had a little puppy guest who was trying to get her paws on them as well.

Matt didn’t share.

The first thing I dove into however was the snack mix. I love it because it has a sweet and spicy aspect to it having dried cranberries (or maybe cherries?), walnuts and wasabi peas. An interesting mix, but it works.

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I was nicer than Matt however and shared.

Katie sent me over a picture of her goodies once they arrived. She also told me that the home made dog treats I sent her got her and her husbands parents dogs approval! Yay!

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Katie had told me that she liked a wide variety of items and also loved sauces and items that could be added to meals. I sent her a local salsa, curry sauce, dried julienne tomatoes, Trader Joes Caramel Popcorn, a local beer and since it was Easter I felt it was necessary to include a chocolate bunny!

Overall a great Foodie Pen Pal month, thanks Katie!

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Is this year flying by for you?