Sunday, April 27, 2014

Bacon, Kale, Sweet Potato Eggs Benedict!

The other day I ranted about my love affair with the radio. 
Today I am going to tell you about two even bigger love affairs I have.
Brunch and Eggs. Benedict.
First let me explain my love for Brunch. I don't think there has ever been a more beautiful combination of two words. Breakfast and Lunch. They go together like a beautiful, majestic ball of happiness. 
And now for my love affair with Eggs Benedict.
I have been in love with Eggs Benedict for about a year now (happy anniversary eggs benny). I'm telling you, it's a problem. I don't know what I love more - the hollandaise sauce or the poached egg. I think it may be the poached egg. I could put it on anything - I love the softness of the egg and the gooeyness of the yoke. I could put a poached egg on anything - sandwich, pizza, ANYTHING! Hmm.. poached egg on a pizza. I'll have to try that.
Stay tuned.
Well, eggs benedict is not Paleo... sign.
So I decided to make it Paleo and eliminating the bread and using sweet potatoes instead!
Genius idea! Good thinking Morgan.
For my eggs benedict I combined Sweet Potatoes, Sautéed Kale, Bacon and a Poached Egg topped with Homemade Hollandaise sauce.
1 small Sweet Potato
1 large handful Kale
3 slices bacon
1 egg
2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
For Hollandaise Sauce:
2 egg yolks
1 TBSP lemon
1/4 cup butter (I used clarified butter "ghee")
Pinch of red pepper
 1. Preheat oven to HI broil.
2. While oven is preheating, slice sweet potato. The thinner the slices the quicker they will cook! Lightly grease sweet potato slices with 1 TBSP olive oil.
3. Cook Sweet Potatoes on HI until tender. I flipped mine halfway through.
4. Cook bacon. (I used Trader Joe's fully cooked bacon so all I had to do was pop it in the microwave for about 1 minute and it was cooked!)
5. Place handful of Kale in saucepan on medium heat. Combine with 1 TBSP olive oil and sauté until tender. I added a pinch of garlic powder and onion powder.
6. Poach your egg!
The easiest way to poach an egg:
- In small saucepan place the rim of a mason jar lid in the center.
- Fill saucepan with water to the tip of the lid.
- On high heat bring water in saucepan to a boil.  
- Crack egg in center of lid.
- Remove heat, cover, let cook for 2 minutes.
*If egg white is not cooked thoroughly add heat and cover until cooked.
7. Stack the goodness! I put the Sweet Potatoes, the sautéed Kale, bacon, poached egg and then the hollandaise sauce.
Look how gorgeous this is. Seriously cannot get over how pretty it is! Side note: I just recently started using a super nice Canon camera that my uncle let me borrow for my blog. I am loving it and the pictures are amazing!
After brunch Cabela and I ventured outside because it is such a beautiful day!
On our back patio we have a doggie door! Cabela has never been through a doggie door before - it took about 10 minutes of coaxing him to walk through it but once he got it, it was hilarious!
 A trip outside turned photo-shoot. I apologize that my dog is a model - he just cannot help it.
 Of course we took some time to stop and smell the roses.
 He's just so cute I can't handle it. I guess you could say that along with brunch and eggs benedict I also have a love affair with Cabela. Oh well!
Well that's all for now!
I hope everyone is having a great and restful Sunday!
My restful part is over and now I've got tons of errands to run!
Have a fit and fantastic day!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Happy FITtastic Friday! - An Early Morning Run and A Radio Love Affair

Have you ever have one of those days where the radio just knows the exact mood you're in?
Today was that kind of day.
On the way home, after my workout, the radio was my best friend.
First he played (yes I am assuming the radio is a he... why? I don't know I just picture the radio as a he...)
R.E.S.P.E.C.T. - Winner.
Then he played You're Smiling Face by James Taylor. - Winner. Winner.
THEN he played You're The One That I Want from Grease. - Winner, winner. Chicken Dinner.
Thank you sir radio for making my morning that much better.
Sincerely with Love, your ever listening, bad singer friend, Morgan.  
Before my love affair with the radio occurred I worked out. My jogging class is coming to a close and we are nearing our 'final". So we did a practice trial of the 5K we will be running next week. Because of this we ran a very different route today and I loved it. We ran from LSU's UREC around the Parade Grounds and back. I love getting out and running new routes. It's good for the soul - I think.

After my jogging class I went to the REC to workout some more. This was my first time back in the gym since Spring Break and phew was I feeling it today. It truly amazes me how out of shape you can get in a little over a week.
I worked through it though and did my best - which is what it is all about!

Here's Today's workout:
After my strength workout I did my own version of 8 minute abs.
8 minute Abs:
1. Crunches
2. Alternating Elbow to Knee (right)
3. Alternating Elbow to Knee (left)
4. Push Throughs
5. High Plank
6. Butt lifts
7. Flutter Kicks
8. Cross Legged Crunch
 *do each exercise for 1 minute
I finished up and headed home. That is when my love affair with the radio began (see above). Since I was in such a great mood I decided to make a light and colorful smoothie for a post workout refuel! 
This may have been one of the simplest/easy smoothies I have ever concocted.
Berry Blast Smoothie:
1.5 cups Frozen Berry Medley
1 cup Coconut Water
1/2 TBSP Chia Seeds
*All from Trader Joe's
So easy, so simple and so refreshing!
I decided to whip up one of my favorite side dishes to go with my lunch (which was Turducken).
Side note: we had this over the weekend for Easter. When we told my cousin what it was he couldn't understand the concept of it. He didn't get that it was a Chicken stuffed into a Duck stuffed into a Turkey. He kept asking "How do they find a Turkey who ate a Duck who ate a Chicken? That's gotta be rare!" Still makes me laugh!
Back to the business of these delicious green beans.
Green beans.
I love them. I recently discovered the French Style frozen Green Beans from Trader Joe's! They are so quick and easy that is amazes me. It's even is shorter than microwaving them - plus they taste better when you cook them in the pan.
 This is how I make mine and they are to die for.

I use about 1.5 cups of frozen Green Beans
1 TSP Olive Oil
3-4 TBSP Worcestershire Sauce
Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Garlic Salt to taste.
(I like mine over seasoned so I put a lot. So much, you may judge me...)

This was the deliciousness that was my lunch.
I love Turducken. It's God's gift to mankind. We'll I don't think God made a Chicken stuffed Duck stuffed Turkey. But he did make the Chicken, Duck and Turkey so it's basically the same thing.
Before I headed off to work I wanted to open up a package I had received from AboutTime Protein. This company was gracious enough to send me a HUGE sample of all of their products to try and they have tons of great stuff!
I absolutely cannot wait to try the Birthday Cake flavor Protein Powder and the Watermelon Preworkout! I have seen great reviews and I cannot wait to make mine!
I couldn't help myself and brought one of the bars to work and had half as a snack! I tried the Dark Chocolate Brownie. It was fabulous. The great thing about these bars - that I didn't know until today - is that the ingredients on their bars are very minimal.
The ingredients for the Brownie bar are: Dates, Egg White Protein, Pecans, Cocoa, and Chicory Root Fiber.
It's not everyday that you can actually pronounce every word on an ingredient label!
I am very impressed!
Along with being impressed, I am full! I ate half of the bar as a snack and was completely satisfied!
After work I inadvertently worked on one of my April Goals - catch up with long lost friends. I went to meet up with two of my friends from high school for drinks and ended up hanging out with 6 people from high school I haven't hung out with in forever!

We went to Caliente Mexican Craving a super fun, atmospheric place near LSU. I love this place. I'm actually a regular there, I'm surprised I don't have a dish named after me... yet.
I started off with a mojito and a side of Caliente queso.
Always a fantastic pair.
For my dinner, I couldn't decide what to get so I told the waitress to decide for me. She said her favorite dish was the Pork Street Tacos with the Green Tomatillo Salsa on corn tortillas dinner with a side of black beans. I told her I trusted her and got that. This dish was seriously amazing. It was on a corn tortilla with deliciously seasoned pork and pineapples. I added a lot of the Green Tomatillo Salsa which added such a great spice to it!
And plus look how bright and colorful it is!
On Fridays and Saturdays Caliente has local bands come and play on their outside patio. Today was the perfect day to sit outside, have a few drinks with friends and listen to the band.
The band was amazing tonight. They played fun songs that everyone knew and could sing along with! I think they were called Simple Interest.
Overall I would have to say that today was definitely a FIT and FANTASTIC Friday! Remember to make the most out of your days and spend it with those who matter most to you. Move out of your comfort zone and be spontaneous! I know today I really felt that I did that!
I hope everyone had as great a day!
Have a great weekend!
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 *Disclaimer: The AboutTime products were sent to me as a promotional item for my review. I love the products anyway and was more than happy to promote them on my blog. I received no compensation and my opinions are mine and mine alone.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A Morning Run and A Brownie For Breakfast!

Yes, on Wednesday I had a brownie for breakfast.
Before you question my morals, let me tell you that this was not an ordinary brownie.
This was a Quest Protein Bar Chocolately Brownie...
That's a mouthful, ironic because my mouth was full when I gobbled this thing down (I've got jokes for days yall!)
My morning started off with this adorable apple on my way to my 7:30AM jogging class.
Have you ever seen a cuter apple?
 It's perfect!
Thank you Trader Joe's I knew I loved you for a reason!  
Today's workout was a 2.7 mile run!
After the run I headed home! With Spring Break just ending and having 2 tests, 2 days in a row I was exhausted. When I got home I wanted to try something new with one of my Quest Bars.
Along with my pretty little apple this morning I had half of the Chocolate Brownie flavor bar. I ate it right out of the package, which is amazing, but according to other bloggers you haven't lived unless you try a Quest Bar in the microwave or the oven.. I tried one in the oven over Easter weekend and wanted to try a quicker way. AKA microwave it!
I threw the other half of the bar in the microwave for 20 seconds! When I pulled that puppy out it had expanded into a warm, fluffy BROWNIE.
This is what it looked like right out of the microwave.
And this is the deliciousness that it was when I bit into it.
Seriously, I highly recommend doing this.
I think it would be equally as delicious with any other type of Quest Bar! I know after eating this I was definitely #OnAQuest
This wonderful breakfast brownie packs the punch with its nutrition!
Nutrition for half of bar:
85 Calories, 12g Carbs , 3g Fat, 10g Protein
Have a fit + fantastic day everybody!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Happy FITtastic Friday from Somewhere Down in Texas!

Happy FITtastic Friday Everybody!
Today I am blogging from one of my favorite places in the world.
The Retreat at Artesian Lakes.
A few years ago they changed the name from Chain O' Lakes to The Retreat at Artesian Lakes. which is why the stain glass on the window says Chain O' Lakes.
 No matter the name, I LOVE this place!
We have been coming here since I was in 7th or 8th grade. My Aunt Myra and Uncle Scott surprised us for Christmas and told us they had rented an large cabin for my Mom's entire side of the family to go to for Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend.
I was so excited.
This place had everything; horses, hay rides, canoeing, a swim lake, alligators, raccoons, fishing, hiking, playgrounds, blueberry picking, an amazing restaurant.
After we started coming here 2 times a year, once for Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend (my Paw Paws birthday) and Easter Week, for about 3-4 more years my Aunt Myra and Uncle Scott decided to invest and build their own house. They thought it would be a great place to have so that the entire family could come, get together and relax. It would also be a great place for other big families, like ours, to get together just like we had.
I have so many fond memories here. From flipping each other in the canoes, riding horses with the family and lots and lots of laughs and food, we have done it all here and I cannot imagine my life without this beautiful place.
This also is the place where Peter and I started dating, ever since then he has been coming back with my family two times a year.
My Mom's family is full blooded Italian. With that being said you can probably guess that the food on these trips is always amazing. Our days are planned around the food for the day, like all normal Italian families.
Today I spent my day doing all of my favorite things.
I woke up around 8:15AM to the sounds of loud, Italian family style, yelling and smells of something delicious coming from the kitchen. The way we organize our trip by having each family do a different meal. Breakfast just so happened to be my Aunt Myra's job and she did a waffle bar.
I topped mine with blueberries, chocolate chips and a little bit of syrup - delicious.
The time after breakfast is one of my favorite times of the day. Everyone is so full, slowly slipping into foodtopia that everything and everyone is quiet. Most of my family drifts back upstairs to go back to sleep. I don't like to waste the beautiful morning so I love to sit on the front porch and look out over the lake. Wearing pajamas is a must and you cannot break this law.  
Christmas jammies that is.
A little while later Peter, my cousin Collin and I decided to go on a bike ride to get moving until our next meal.
The sites during the ride were amazing. It always gets me how beautiful this place is even though i have been exploring this place for close to 7 years, now. Wow, I've never calculated that until just now.
I forgot how freeing it is to just ride a bike and not care where you are okay or for how long!
Try it out, I promise you will not regret it.  
 We ended up doing about 4.3 miles total during our bike ride. I used my Nike+ Running App to track us. I love this App. This was my first time using it for biking and it worked great!
 It took us about an hour and a half to bike the 4.3 miles because Collin wanted to stop and go on adventures during the ride. I was more than okay with that!
During our ride we stopped and hiked up a quick trail. A little ways down the rode we checked out an old abandoned house. We decided not to go in because it looked way to creepy to go into. But we checked out the pond that was in the front of the house and looked at the fish. Farther down there was an adorable wishing well but, when you looked inside it was only about 3 feet deep with nothing in it! Disappointing.

After our adventures we went over to see the horses at the stables. 
In middle school I was obsessed with horses. I was that girl in middle school who had everything horse: binders, notebooks, shirts... I think I read Black Beauty 3 times. I was overboard obsessed. At The Retreat at Artesian Lakes they have a horse stable where you can pay to ride the horses around the resort. Of course we had to stop and see them. Per my request.  

After the horses ignored us for about 10 minutes we started biking back towards the cabin but not before Collin begged us to play on the playground. If you deny a small child to play on a playground you my friend are heartless! That was harsh, but come on!
We headed to the playground and I think I had more fun that Collin did!
Plus, seesawing is a GREAT leg workout and swinging is a total body workout!

 I love this picture of Peter and Collin. I have no idea what they were looking at or talking about but I snapped this picture and it turned out adorable.
After our childlike escapades at the park, we headed back towards the cabin just in time for lunch.
Since it is Good Friday, we cannot eat meat. My Aunt Myra, since it was her day to do the food, chose to do a baked potato bar with crawfish tails!
Again, genius!  
I'm not sure what the obsession with "bars" was during this trip... but I'm loving it!
The potatoes were so big I only had half of one.
My potato had sour cream, cheddar cheese, green onions, and a couple crawfish tails! So delicious and so filling.
After Lunch we sat around and let our stomachs digest all the yummy goodness. Meanwhile. We look outside and see this...
Well Hello, Mr. 10 Feet Long Alligators.
Umm...I did not zoom in at all to take this picture, just so you know.
 Peter and I headed out to the "point" to look out over the water. Looking out over the water like that is such a serene feeling that kind of washes all your worries away.
And just look at that Texas sky, just look at it!
After taking a quick nap on the hammock I decided to try out a Quest Bar Recipe I had seen.
I had never tried the Vanilla Almond Crunch flavor before and wanted something sweet but good to hold me over until dinner. I decided to try baking them, apparently people say it is life changing!
It was.
This was such an easy THE easiest recipe ever.
Step 1: Open wrapper
Step 2: Cut bar into 10 even pieces
Step 3: Put in oven on 350F for 4 minutes.
I wish I would have taken a picture of what they looked like when they came out of the oven! They looked exactly like a cookie would made from cookie dough!
The entire bar was 190 calories so each piece was only 19 calories.
They were pretty good sized too!
I brought them around to the family and everyone loved them! They couldn't believe that these "cookies" were from a protein bar.
Quest does tons of 15SecondRecipes with their bars! The are also pretty funny too!
My favorites are the Donuts and the Cookies and Cream Coconut Bark.
Dinner wasn't far behind and I was beyond excited for it!
My Aunt Victoria and Uncle Brett own a Louis DeAngelo's Restaurant in Maurepas, Louisiana. They brought the ingredients to make their amazing Shrimp Alfredo Pasta, cheese bread and an awesome Almond Salad. Everything from DeAngelo's is good but this stuff was amazing.
I added extra crushed red pepper to my pasta because I LOVE red pepper! My cousin Scotty and I enjoyed dinner out on the porch and took in the sunset.
My FITtastic Friday started to wind down after dinner but believe me it did not end here whatsoever.
For about an hour and a half, my family started singing, in unison, songs from Frozen.
Then we started one of my favorite Easter Traditions - the Bunny Cake.
Since I was little my Gran (my Grandma) has had this cake decorating book. The entire book shows you how to make cakes using just 2 round pans. Since I was about 3 we have been making this cake together! If you calculate that all together, that's a lot of Bunny Cakes!
Let me warn you, our cake never turns out to look like this. Little kids are always the main constructors of the cake. Therefore, many jelly beans are thrown at one another, spoons get licked left and right (of course... I would never do that...), and fingers scraping icing off the side so the cake is always a crazy mess but everyone's favorite tradition.   
My cousin Julia and my sister Madison helped during the baking process and the boy cousins helped with the icing and decorating process... thinking back now I have no idea why it wasn't the other way around. You'll understand when you see a picture of the cake...
I love doing things like this with my Gran. She loves doing this every year and loves to see how excited we get about making the cake. She doesn't even look at the recipe anymore. I think she just pulls out the book for our enjoyment!
The cake is pretty easy to make.
1 box of Yellow cake mix evenly distributed to 2 8" round pans.
Bake according to the box.
The icing was powdered sugar, evaporated milk and vanilla extract.
Mix the ingredients for the icing in the mixer and there ya go!
Once the cake is out of the oven you flip them over onto a cutting board.
One pan is used as the face and the other one is used to be the bowtie and the ears.
Cut one circle into 2 eye shaped spheres making a bowtie shape in between the two.
Then ice it and decorate it as you please.
I have to laugh when I look at this cake! It is honestly different every year.  
That's what I think makes this so special. It is a tradition that I hold very near and dear to my heart.  
To say the least my FITtastic Friday was very eventful, which I love.
I love taking a set back from my busy schedule, letting everything go and soaking in the world around me. I have to remind myself to do this more often.
I hope everyone had a FIT and FUN Friday!
I know I did!
 from Somewhere Down in Texas
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*Disclaimer: The Quest Bars were sent to me as a promotional item for me to blog and give my reviews about. I LOVE them anyway and cannot wait to blog more about the products.