A Weekend Full Of Food And Fun

What an adventurous weekend I had in both the fun and food I was able to experience.Saturday I had plans with a friend to hit up a festival and a flee market both at two separate spots here in the area.

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One ended up being a bit of a flop and one ended up being a big garage sale. So needless to say we were done with both adventures in an hour and half. And at least 30 minutes of this time was spent eating breakfast from a BBQ food truck since our sandwiches were too messy to walk and enjoy at the same time.

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She had a bacon,egg, and cheese croissant and I had a pulled pork sandwich with a poached egg on top with cheese. Mine was good but super messy.

Then, since we both did not want to return home yet….it was only 9:45 in the morning after all…we decided to head to Appleton to hit up World Market an Penzey’s Spices. I love both these stores.

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We also hit up a new boutique back in DePere and found some very unique things. I however, bought nothing. I love knick knacks and stuff to decorate my home but at the same time I hate to dust. So the more I buy the more things I need to dust. Although, it was fun looking around.

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The highlight of our day ended up being lunch. I have been trying to get her here for some time but as usual, life always kept getting in the way. However, this time we made it and wow it was amazing. It’s a deli type restaurant where they serve sandwiches, soups, chips and usually a pasta/grain salad of sorts. Although, in my opinion, the sandwiches are so large that nothing extra is really needed.

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We both had the “Late Night” which is their version of a reuben sandwich. Only this one has pickled red cabbage with cranberries mixed in. It is so absolutely wonderful words can’t describe.

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And then Sunday arrived and I should have gotten out of bed as I did Saturday before anything else got in the way and went to the gym. However, this did not happen. I was tired, bed was warm, and my husband offered to make my favorite breakfast if I stayed home and skipped the gym. That was all I needed to hear and I happily stayed home.

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After breakfast we quickly did some chores and were on the road and headed to the river for a 4 hour float once again. The last time we did this it was so relaxing and refreshing. So we had to get it in one more time before the river turns too chilly for my liking. And without a doubt this time was just as wonderful as the last…..so relaxing!!!

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Recent Random Thoughts

Hi, how is your week going? Mine is good….and almost over, yeh!!! Just a few more hours to go.

With no great workouts to share with you all since I am mostly just walking area trails and riding my bike giving my body time to heal, I thought I would share some random things today. My brain is often like a never ending trail to nowhere and sharing it sometimes helps relieve some of the “pressure” shall we say.

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I’ve been up to a lot but at the same time not so much….is that possible? Makes no sense I know but that is how I feel lately. Summer has not been what I thought it would be and now we are into August and we all know what that means….it’s almost over! It’s weird to think my mind still runs on the school calendar when my son has not been in grade school for years already. How do us moms break out of this and just take every day as it is….I haven’t figured that out quite yet but I am working on it? Which is why, as of the end of August, I consider summer over. However, I know in my mind we have plenty of nice days left in September and even some in October but ultimately it comes to an end so quickly.

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Speaking of September and October, I do believe I have over booked all our weekends once again for these two months. Fall is the best time in my opinion to hike, camp, explore the area and enjoy harvest time. Bugs are dying down some, colors start to appear, veggies are plenty, and it’s cooler so camping and hiking are much more pleasurable. Now I just have to find a way to tell my husband I only left him two weekends for hunting in the fall months….he may not like this very much!

Anyhow, let me tell about some treasures I have found lately. First, I must give a big shout out to Fresh Thyme Farmers Market here in our area. We have fell in love with their meat department and if you know me, that is saying A LOT! I am not a meat lover but my husband is. I have a hard time buying it, preparing it and eating it but my attitude has changed a bit since this store has opened. We are loving their meats.

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I have also found an essential oil room freshener that I love and does not cost an arm and a leg. (I paid $7) I hate chemical fresheners and don’t want the overwhelming smell of a plug in oil freshener since I don’t want the aroma all the time. Which makes this spray perfect and I can use it when I wish and not gag when I spray it in my home like the chemical fresheners cause me to do. I know it says it can be used as a body mist also but I have not gone this route…I strictly use it for our home and vehicles.

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Once again I am attempting to grow my green thumb and I am going to try and grow a prickly pear plant or two. We fell in love with this fruit in Arizona and I recently kept the seeds from one we purchased here in WI. I would bet it’s not going to grow and if it does it may not survive but I have to give it a try. Here’s hoping for a touch of the southwest in good old Green Bay. On the flip side, if I do not succeed at growing one myself I can always plan another trip for fresh fruit. I know none of my family would object to returning to this area.

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Speaking of vacations, we are inching our way closer to our next one and I cannot wait to step foot on the A.T.( Appalachian Trail) once again. Back in January 2017 I made this dream come true and finally got to log some miles on the A.T. with my husband and son. Our next trip will bring us back to the A.T. only in a different state and I plan to log even more miles and hopefully make more wonderful memories. However, this time it will be just the two of us since our son recently started his new job and is not bale to join us for this adventure.

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That shall be it for today. Enjoy your weekend…..that’s my plan.

 

 

 

Sometimes In Life We Must Learn To Be Comfortable Being Uncomfortable.

Can you believe July is almost over with? Sad but true…summer is quickly coming to an end. I still have not taken my SUP out on the water since I am still suffering from a sore stomach muscle(hopefully). And kayaking for us has been very minimal this summer. It’s funny to see how we have changed over the past few years. We used to whitewater kayak every single weekend. Have we now grown up? No, I would not call it that so much. I would say life has just changed dynamics and time and logistics plays a big part in what we do now. River kayaking takes two vehicles, a nice day, and many of our kayaking companions were younger and have since all gone off to college or are in the pursuit of life as it should be. Do I miss river kayaking? Yes, at times. However, I do have my doubts I could still do it with the changes I have experienced since having abdominal surgery in Jan. 2016. I do not have much strength in my core at all and typically suffer for days when I paddle a calm lake. I highly doubt I could fight current in a river much less add some rapids on top of it.

Sometimes in life, we must learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable. I have come to terms with what I have been left with after this surgery. Well…. for the most part. It’s not like I had a choice in this whole matter but it has changed me quite a bit. It seems like my whole life is a matter of, I used to do that and now I do this instead. I am thankful for the fun I can still have and don’t dwell on the things I can no longer do. I’ve learned to be thankful for each day and to make the most of the moments of fun I do have. It saddens me to see people I know always thriving for long range plans and missing out on what’s right in front of them at this time. I have learned the importance of NOW, not later, since who really knows if later will ever come.

On that note, here is what my week was like for exercise with a very sore stomach muscle. So sore that I sought out a medical opinion mid week. Which if you know me, medical opinions mean very little but sometimes it is needed. At least the doc and I agree at this point to give it a bit longer…time will tell what comes next.

Saturday: 3.25 mile hike on the UWGB loop

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Sunday: 3.7 mile hike on the Terrell’s Island breakwater trail

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Monday: 3.0 mile rail trail walk…I saw my first albino squirrel today

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Tuesday: rest….visit to the doc for my stomach pain made me cancel exercise tonight

Wednesday: legs workout in our home gym and 1.5 mile solo trail walk (I had a time limitation tonight…so I had to be quick)

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Thursday: 30 minute recumbent bike in our home gym and legs workout

Friday: rest

That should do it for me this week. Have a great weekend everyone!

 

Fast And Easy Summertime Meals

Isn’t it too bad that we still need to eat in the summer months? Who really wants to spend time in the kitchen when the sun is shining? Maybe some of you but for me, cooking in the summer months is a waste of good summer time sunshine. And the way I fix this is making simple, fast, and affordable meals that I can easily throw together in half and hour or less.

For me, soup would always be the answer but since neither my son or husband will eat soup in the summer months I find I need to get a bit more creative. So what do I do, I make salads or stuff veggies with almost anything. And depending on what I have in the house at the time it usually is never the same salad twice. Very much like soup…you can throw anything into a bowl, top it with some type of dressing, and call it a salad.

Today I thought I would share with you some of our favorite summer time meals as of lately. These are not recipes by any means, just some ideas to inspire you to get creative and maybe step out of that box and take a risk. Your may find your family will enjoy it as much as you enjoy not slaving over a hot stove or oven on a beautiful sunny summer day.

In a half hour or less I have prepared:

quinoa and kale salad with a homemade dressing, kalamata olives, and feta cheese

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stuffed poblano peppers

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tuna pasta salad with fresh dill

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BLT salad

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smoked salmon salad with orzo, dill vinaigrette, feta, olives, and asparagus

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seven layer salad paired with shrimp po boy sandwiches

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black bean burger salad

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chicken salad for topping salads or making sandwiches

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stuffed zucchinis

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Looks good doesn’t it? I can assure you they are all very easy and fast or I would not have made them. As I said, it’s pretty much what I had in the house at the time, so of course, I did not write down any recipes and we may never see any of these again for that simple reason. However, if you see something you like go ahead and ask, I may be able to recall what I did and share it with you.

 

 

Just Couldn’t Get It In Gear This Week

This week was strange having the holiday on a Tuesday. For me it’s much like having two Mondays and let’s face it, no one really likes a Monday. Although, we all make the best of what life dishes out and that is exactly what I did.

After our big hike Saturday I had originally planned on a gym visit Sunday. That is until I woke up and my legs/ankles told me this was not going to happen. So I simply took the entire day off from exercise which is something I never do. Even on my rest days I still find myself doing something active whether that be chasing after kids while playing in the yard, walking to the park or even doing yoga stretches to loosen up. Rest days for me typically are not great, I feel miserable when I stop moving but I know everyone needs a rest day and that is exactly what I did Sunday. All day I rested….I even laid in bed for two hours Sunday afternoon and watched a movie. It has been years since I have seen an entire movie.

Anyhow, here is what a holiday week of exercise turned out to be for me. Clearly, I just could not seem to get it in gear all week long. I would bet we all have these moments and I can only hope next week is a bit better.

Saturday: BIG HIKE…..read about it here if you missed it….9.7 miles whoo hoo!!!

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Sunday: rest day

Monday: morning weights in our home gym, 1.5 mile trail walk

Tuesday: 5 hrs.of kayak paddling…..wonderful, sunny hours;-)

If you missed it read about it here

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Wednesday: 30 minute recumbent bike in our home gym

Thursday: 2.5 mile steamy trail walk…..this was the hottest day all week

Friday: morning weights in our home gym

It seems the first half of the week I rested my sore ankles from the long hike Saturday. And then after paddling for five hours Tuesday I needed to rest my shoulders and arms and did not lift many weights. Although, remember, I do lift kids every day, all day for my job so really I was not resting my upper body much.

 

I Am Not One To Back Down From A Challenge

I am not one to ever back down from a challenge but let me tell you….sometimes this bites me in the butt and it bites hard!!!!

Friday mid day I received an email from my husband saying….”Let’s try doing three laps of the trail we chose to do our training on for vacation. What do you think?” I then answered back….”why now, I thought we would work our way up to three laps the month before we leave for vacation.” He then emailed back,” come on, do you think we can’t do it?” Enough said…that sounded like a challenge and he knew darn well I would not let that go.

(*NOTE: the longest trail we plan to hike on vacation is listed at between 7.7 to 8.3 miles long with mountain elevations)

Saturday morning we woke, had a hearty breakfast, packed our picnic lunch, packed our backpacks as if we would be hiking a long trail just like on vacation, and hit the trail by 8:30 a.m..

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Lap one was fairly easy as I expected it would be. Here is us at the end of lap one…3.25 miles done.

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Lap two was good, not too hard, legs still felt good, and the heat of the day was just starting. We definitely needed another coating of bug spray and some lunch though. Us at the end of lap two, 6.45 miles complete.

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So as we would and plan to on the trail, we stopped and had a picnic lunch on the nearby lawn next to the trail head.

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Recoated with bug spray, we then started the last lap. This one was a bit different since we knew in our head it would be the final lap. And no doubt it was harder, the hills seemed to multiply, and every corner we rounded that we thought was our last was actually not the last. This was the only lap we saw wildlife larger than a chipmunk on.

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And we even came across a berry bush that next time may be ripe enough to offer us a snack mid hike.

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We were a hot, sweaty mess when we were done….here we are at the end of three laps. In approximately four hours with a half hour of that being a break for lunch, we completed three laps for a total of 9.68 miles and ironically my body felt pretty darn good at that moment.

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That is until I arrived home and removed my boots….OH MY GOODNESS DID MY ANKLES HURT!!!!The remainder of my day was spent getting my legs and ankles iced, rubbed, or elevated with compression socks on.

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Needless to say, I tossed and turned all night between fireworks going off in our neighborhood and with my very sore legs throughout the night. Which meant I was very tired on Sunday. I can’t say I regret accepting this challenge he proposed but next time I will think a bit harder about what else I wish to do before excepting this type of challenge again. Since all I really got accomplished on Sunday was throwing together a quick dinner and one fast trip to the store for a few items.

After all this I will say I am proud of us since clearly we still got it. We may be slower and ache a bit more than before but we can still pull almost 10 miles off with little effort and this makes me very happy.

 

 

 

Food Can Be Your Medicine Or Your Poison…..You Choose

This is a reader request update:

The statement that food can be your medicine or your poison has become so true in our home. As I wrote about in the past few weeks(here and here) you can only imagine how hard it has been revamping everything we eat to not contain artificial sweetener and make my husband ill.

Take a look through my pantry and you will see cans, bottles, and packages marked with a big NO on the item…meaning it contains some kind of artificial sweetener he cannot eat. There are very few items left in my home but making this mistake will cause him illness for at least a day or two afterwards. I am slowly but surely getting rid of the items or using them up in meals he is not home to eat…since making two separate meals is not something I care to do for us as a family. I look at it as….we are all getting a bit healthier and not consuming something that was made in a lab or a test tube or where ever they come up with this poison.

Now, I know there are a few of you that have contacted me either through comments or through email wanting to know specifics of what foods all contain artificial sweetener. And some have even asked what a days worth of food looks like for my husband. First, I cannot answer the question of what foods all contain this. There are literally so many its impossible to list them all. You will just have to do what we did….make a list and read the labels. Second, I did document what my husband eats in two days for all of you. Although, I seriously don’t know how this will help anyone since we all have different likes and dislikes but it’s what many of you asked for so here is a glance into two days of food for my husband. Everything is artificial sweetener free.

DAY 1:

Breakfast: bagel with whipped cream cheese and fresh fruit (for this meal we needed to change our originally used cream cheese and the bagels we normally bought)

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Lunch: homemade chicken salad on toast with lettuce, broccoli with ranch dipping cup(bottled ranch has sweetener, dipping cups do not…figure that one out???)

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Snack: peanut butter and apples

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Dinner: stuffed zucchini boats with spices, ground turkey, mushrooms, garlic, onions, and organic canned tomatoes. Milk(not shown)

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Day 2:

Breakfast: two hard boiled eggs and a banana

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Snack: plain coconut water smoothie with blended strawberries and vanilla yogurt(yogurt is a big sweetened item…watch the label closely)

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Lunch: BLT pasta salad(recipe here)

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Dinner: sauteed shrimp on a hoagie roll (sweetener free), with homemade seven layer salad. Milk

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Since this all took place, I also make our meals when we go on an outing. Here is a great example of a recent meal while kayaking. We each had a homemade chicken salad hoagie, cheese chunks, fresh strawberries/kiwi, two hard boiled eggs. Lara bars were for extra snacks if we ended up staying too long and got hungry on the ride home.

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You may wonder why always homemade chicken salad for our sandwiches. Let me tell you, I for one, do not eat lunch meat since our first trip ever to Zion National Park and our guides told us how long it will last in our backpacks with out refrigeration in the dessert heat. I swore right then and there to never eat lunch meat again! This is just one of the many things I learned on that trip from two of the best guides. Anyhow, almost, if not all, lunch meat I find in the grocery store contains sweetener…so it’s easier for me just to whip up a quick batch of chicken salad for our sandwiches.

For snacks he has come to like pretzels, some ice creams are ok, and some crackers which he loves. We also found some chocolate candy that he is enjoying and recently were surprised to come across some of his favorite types of candy made in an organic variety. Which, as I told you in the past, just because it says organic don’t always mean it does not contain artificial sweetener(crazy I know) so he did not get his hopes to high until we read the label and all was good. He then bought one of every variety and was thrilled to have his precious candy again. What a sweet tooth he has….let me tell you.

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Drinks are also a big thing we needed to change in our house. He is a peach tea lover and the original peach tea we bought had all artificial sweetener in it. So now we buy a different brand and all is good again. He has also tried organic Gatorade for our hot and very active days…he says its different but good. I have since ordered an artificial sweetener free electrolyte drink mix that has not arrived yet for him to try. Hopefully it tastes ok since it’s much cheaper than the organic Gatorade.

So this is what a normal two days now looks like for my husband. A fairly healthy diet with no artificial sugar what so ever in any of these items. The hardest part was ridding our house of what we already had. Now it’s just a matter of remembering to read labels on anything new. Holidays may be tough when they come around but for the most part we are the hosts so I prepare most of the food anyhow.  For now it’s one day at a time and each day he feels better and better.

I am pretty proud of him for sticking to this since he has never really been a label reader. Although, he says he can easily cheat and eat something if he wants but nothing is worth going back to the way he used to feel. So as of today he has not looked back even once.