Busy in the Kitchen and Gym

My kitchen has been a very busy place lately.  I’m waiting for my oven and dishwasher to go on strike.  And for certain family members who have lectured me to “clean as I go” (you know who you are) I can proudly say that there’s been some progress.  Where to begin!

How about with my latest read:

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It’s a little difficult to describe this book but the main character, Rose, can taste the feelings of the people who cooked and prepared the food.  I’m a few chapters away from finishing it and let me tell you, it is not a predictable read.  I highly recommend it!

Every night, as I settled into this book, it made me crave lemon cake.  Like a lot.  And I really like lemon baked goods.  So I finally broke down and made extra lemony lemon cupcakes.

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On a recent visit to Crate and Barrel, I picked up these adorable cupcake papers.  I’d been saving them for a “special occasion” and as far as I was considered, lemon cupcakes fit the bill.

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These are delicious and fluffy.  And yes, it involved a box mix.  I have no shame.  It was incredibly simple and sometimes, simple is best.

Extra Lemony Lemon Cupcakes
(adapted from allrecipes.com)

1 (18.25 oz) yellow cake mix
1 (3.4 oz) package instant lemon pudding mix
1 c. water
3/4 c. lemon juice (for less lemon flavor, add less juice and more water)
3 egg whites

3/4 c. nonfat milk
1 (1 oz.) package sugar free vanilla pudding mix
1 (8 oz.) tub whipped topping, thawed (Sara, this is for you 😉 )

1. Preheat oven to 350*F.  Spray your pan or add your cupcake papers.

2. In a large bowl, mix together cake mix and pudding mix.  Pour in water, lemon juice and egg whites.  Beat on low for 1 minute, then on high for 4 minutes.  Pour batter into prepared pan.
**Side note, don’t forget to remove the spatula before you turn on the mixer or cake will fly!  I’m lucky that I didn’t ruin my Kitchen Aid**

3. Bake for 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Cool completely.

4. For “frosting” beat milk and pudding mix on low for 2 minutes, then add whipped topping.  Yum!
Makes about 24 (assuming you don’t “taste” the batter or splatter it all over your kitchen!)

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I also made Irish soda muffins a la Can You Stay For Dinner.

*Warning!  Raw turkey coming up next!*

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Successfully roasted a turkey breast for the first time.

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And used the leftovers for a turkey pot pie.  Take THAT Marie Calendars.

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Have you made How Sweet It Is baked parmesan spaghetti?  You won’t regret it.  I recommend a side of beets.  Beets go with everything.  I really need to find my baby picture where I am devouring beets.

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I made shrimp and grits.  My husband told me that was weird.  I sparked the great grits debate on Facebook. In the words of my Alabama cousin, “it’s a regional delicacy”.  Then he asked where one buys grits in Idaho.  Apparently, the good grits come from Mississippi.  In case you’re wondering.

After a long hiatus, salads are back in my life.  Well, two specific salads:

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Strawberry. Plus spinach, walnuts, feta, dried cranberries and Annie’s raspberry vinaigrette.  I’ve never eaten the exact same salad so many days in a row before this.

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Greek courtesy of Pioneer Woman.

Like the title says, I’ve been busy in the gym.  Regular exercise keeps me sane, literally I am happier, eat healthier and handle stress better.  Sometimes, it can be hard to break back into a routine or I’ll get bored.  Luckily, fellow blogger Linzi has been attending some classes at the gym with me.  It’s helped me be accountable as well as motivated to try out classes on my own.  In case you’re wondering, I’m still using stickers to track my progress.  It’s working.  More on that next week. 🙂

I’m starting to realize that planning my week ahead of time makes it a lot easier not to procrastinate and keep variety going so I don’t get bored.

Sunday: rest
Monday: went to pilates
Tuesday: went for my first 3 mi. walk/run of the year with Hunter
Wednesday and Thursday: rest
Friday: Body Pump
Saturday: another 3 mi. walk/run with Hunter and Linzi!

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Hunter was thrilled to get to go (car ride! new people!) was pooped afterward.  What a champ.

I thought that running the day after body pump would be brutal, but it actually felt good to stretch those muscles!



Do you prefer running alone or with other people?  I could go either way.


How do you avoid boredom or keeping an exercise schedule?



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The Last of Hawaii and a Winner!

Whoops, where did last week go?  I took a hiatus.  My to do list was 2 miles long.  I’m proud to say that I cleaned our entire 3 car garage, and our office is starting to look more like an office and less like a room with a desk buried beneath stuff.  😉

Somewhere along the way I left out that we went to a fun sailing/snorkeling adventure.  Check our their website for gorgeous slideshows.  Now sure how I forgot it, but it might have something to do with my husband accidentally losing our waterproof camera in the ocean.  Oops.  It was a lot of fun, though!  We saw lots of fish, spinner dolphins and a huge turtle that swam right by us!  If you ever have a chance to go snorkeling, I highly recommend it!

On our last day (Valentine’s day) we drove up the North Shore of Hawaii which is more like what people think of when they think of Hawaii.  No more busy Waikiki, just open ocean and gorgeous green everywhere.

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I got slightly bored on the 30 minute drive.

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We spent the morning playing at the beach for a while and buying shrimp from a truck popular with the locals.  Unfortunately, I found the shrimp to be a little tough and dry.

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However, while we were browsing some tourist stands, we ran into a girl who had served an LDS mission in Texas the same time as Jeremy– over 10 years ago!  Small world!

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We also visited the LDS visitor center and temple.

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I couldn’t get over the hibiscus flowers everywhere!

The rest of our day was spent at the Polynesian Cultural Center.  If you do one thing in Ohau, I’d recommend this.  It is well worth the money and supports college students from the Polynesian islands by giving them job to work at the center.

There was SO much to see.  I felt like we saw maybe half.  It was really cool.

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We took a canoe tour around the park.

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Here is our canoe.  We sat at the front, woohoo!

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Here is our tour guide– from Fiji.

Then we watched a show on the water representing each of the Polynesian islands:

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Hawaii

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New Zealand–Aotearoa in the native language (the only Polynesian island with 4 seasons)

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Samoa (the two guys on the back pushed each other into the water– I don’t think that was part of the show!)

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Fiji

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Tonga

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Tahiti

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Easter Island (Rapa Nui)

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Saw a super cool palm tree.

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We watched a Tongan comedian.  He did this cool trick to get the coconut water out of the coconut by smashing it in a bunch of long grass and then wringing out the grass.

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Ate the largest snow cone ever.

Then it was time for the LUAU.

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Roasted pig.

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Royal Family

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Large pina colada smoothie.

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Tiny dancers.

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More dancers.

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Feed me!  Purple potatoes, fish, roasted pig, salad, chicken rice noodles, pineapple, potato salad, sweet potato and kale. Heaven!

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Finale!

Goodbye Hawaii. 😦

Okaaay, time to announce the winner!  I was SO excited because 1) I just figured out how to “print screen” on my mac and 2) It was finally time to pick one lucky winner!

**drumroll please**

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Jess!! from A Taste of Confidence

Please email your mailing address to meg(dot)bailey(at)rocketmail(dot)com.  Congrats girl!

Don’t worry, I have some more fun giveaways coming up soon! 🙂

Happy 100th Post!

Well, well, well… this is my 100th post!  

I hope you like my updated blog.  I’ve had fun tweaking it the last few days and it’s finally complete!

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What better way to celebrate than with some of my favorites…. and perhaps a giveaway??

Favorite breakfast as of late:

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spinach, green pepper, feta and mushroom omelet with salsa and toast with apricot pineapple preserves.

Favorite pet:

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Ok, this is really just an excuse to post a picture of Hunter.

Favorite comfort food:

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LOVE yellow curry!!  This has chicken, potatoes, carrots, tomatoes and onions.  I could eat this every single night.  I really wish I could make this dish but am a little afraid to try to recreate it.

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I get it with a cucumber salad and “golden bags” basically crab and cheese deef fried in wontons, with sweet chili sauce.

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*drool*

I have been on a 3 going on 4 year quest: you see, ever since Jeremy and I got married I have tried and failed to make chocolate chip cookies that don’t go pancake flat.

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I’ve finally succeded.  Finally.

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Eat, Live, Run’s favorite recipe.  It’s easy to see why!!

After waiting a long time, I finally tried spinning!  This is my new favorite class, upsetting BodyPump.  It’s so much fun!  Despite a sore hiney for a few days afterwards.  *Ow*

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At least I’m used to the same sensation from dirtbiking.  I miss it.  When’s spring?

Anyways, I recently discovered another local blogger Linzi and it turns out we go to the same gym so I decided to join in on this stationary bike riding madness!  Thanks for getting crazy with me, Linzi!!

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Nice and schweaty!  Can’t wait until next Monday to go again! 🙂

Speaking of muscle soreness, I have a secret weapon.  And I’m not only going to tell you what it is, I’m giving it away!  I’ve been using these for over a year now and they are a welcome relief to sore muscles.

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Muscle Soak Bath Salts
Epsom salts infused with essential oils Eucalyptus and Peppermint.  Soothe and revive tired and aching muscles to bring your stiff, overworked body back to life.  


One lucky reader will win a 16 oz. jar of the muscle soak salts from San Francisco Bath Salt Company!  If you’re in the San Francisco area, they also have a flagship store at Pier 39!


This giveaway is 100% funded by me as a special thank you for just coming along for the ride of my blog!  I just love this company and their products. 


Here’s up to three ways to enter:
     -Leave a comment telling me what your favorite workout or comfort food is.
     -Mention the giveaway on your blog
     -Follow me on twitter and leave me a comment!

I’ll draw a winner April 14th.  Good luck everyone!  🙂

Hawaii: Day 3.

Next up on our busy to do list was to visit Hickam AFB (air force base) to pick up some discounted tickets for snorkeling and the polynesian cultural center (PCC).  

I don’t have many pictures from the actual base, because photography is largely forbidden.  After picking up our tickets, we went to the actual Pearl Harbor base (since we both had military ID for them to let us in) and looked around at the navy ships and submarines.  I even saw some Canadian naval ships!

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Here’s a picture I borrowed of the HCMS Vancouver. (source)

We spend the next hour driving out to Pearl Harbor… only to discover my not-so-great Google maps on my iPhone had directed us to the wrong side of the harbor!  Oops.  We had to laugh, because really, what else could we do?

Late in the afternoon, we finally found the Pearl Harbor we were looking for (embarrassingly enough, it was right next to Hickam AFB).

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Unfortunately, we’d missed the last tour for the day.  We got up to the ticket counter and she said “the last tour was at 4:00 so that means…” and we got our hopes up “…you missed it by 40 minutes”.  Jeez, thanks for the useful information lady.  😡

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But we still toured the USS Bowfin (nicknamed the Pear Harbor avenger) which was a lot of fun.  They gave us headsets with MP3 players that would explain about different parts of the submarine.  This one was quite small compared to some of the ones today, I suppose.

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I could hardly believe how small everything was.  Being only 5’4″ I don’t know how a bunch of full grown men could manage in there!

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There was a tour guide in there and she was ushering us around the engine room taking a million pictures for us!
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Dive! Dive! Dive!

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Here’s the “Christmas tree” all the lights on this have to be green before the sub can dive.  If there is one red light, some part of the sub was not ready for the dive.

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The anchors were HUGE.  There was one on each side of the USS Bowfin.

Next, we visited the museum for the USS Bowfin.  There was so much to see!

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An old school navy uniform.

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The “first” submarines were these little one person capsules and they’d paddle up to an enemy ship and literally drill a hole into the ship!  This was incredibly funny to me!

I loved all the 40’s era artifacts!
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I LOVE the smashed pennies.

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Everywhere we went, I couldn’t get over the palm trees!  Those don’t exist in Idaho!  If you look really closely, you can see the darker green rows and rows of birds of paradise on the right side.

After coming back to our hotel and cleaning up, we went to the Prince Hotel for a very fancy buffet.

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I felt bad wasting food but pretty much could only eat a bite or two of each thing since there was so much!  My eyes are always bigger than my stomach!

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Of course there was room for dessert.  I chose a fruit tart and key lime pie.

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Reliving all these Hawaii pictures is so fun!  I don’t know what I’ll do when the recaps are over.  Another vacation maybe?  Just kidding. (kind of)

Recently, Nicole gave me the Versatile Blogger Award.  She is such a doll!

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I’m supposed to tell you 7 random things about myself… easy enough because I’m pretty random!

1. I canNOT wear mismatched socks.  It would drive me crazy!
2. I’m a big list maker and sometimes I’ll write down things I’ve already done so I can see how much I’ve accomplished.
3. My all time favorite movie is The Little Princess, the one with Shirley Temple.  I can (and have) watch it over and over.
4. I don’t particularly care for nuts or nut butter.
5. I HATE lunges (but do them anyways) but I LOVE squats.
6. I recently read a book called House Rules by Jodi Picoult.  I’d highly recommend it.
7. I am fairly certain I could eat Thai food everyday.  Unfortunately, I’m convinced I’m too white to make it right.

I’m also supposed to pass this on, but truly all of your blogs are so wonderful, I’d hate to leave anyone out, so consider yourself tagged!

Tell me, what’s one random thing about you?


I’m looking for a new read, any good book recommendations?