Archive for February, 2011

February 28, 2011

Muffins in the morning, wedding in the afternoon!

Warm muffins in the morning are some of my favorite things.  It’s such a great way to start a Saturday!  So, that’s what we did.  I recently found a recipe on a Pinch of Yum for some Chocolate Chip Muffins.  They were delightful, simple and fast.  Plus, it made six muffins.  Perfect for two people to start their day right throughout the week.  Here’s what you need!

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 C whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/3 C brown sugar

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup melted/cooled butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 C milk

Create a well in your dry ingredients and add your wet ingredients to them and mix.

**Don’t forget your chocolate chips!  You can add these after your wet ingredients and mix  everything together!

Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes.

After our morning of muffins, we headed about two hours away to a beautiful country wedding.  If you’re looking for some unique reception ideas, keep reading!  🙂

Our friends had their first date at their university library.  So, for their guests to find their table assignments, they set up antique books with a card catalog to find your name on a check out card that had your table number!  Adorable.

The tables were set up beautifully.  Mason jars with fresh flowers, burlap, caramel apples…

The dance floor was outlined with glass jars holding candles to illuminate the tent when the sun went down.  The bride and groom were beaming!  So in love…so full of joy!

The coffee bar was a huge hit!  J and I had their signature drink…cinnamon lattes!

I loved loved loved their homemade paper flowers that decorated their dessert table…what a way to be unique and save money at the same time!

J and I are so thrilled for this super couple and wish them all God’s best!  We were so happy to be a part of their special day!  Congrats T and J!

Question of the day:  What’s your idea of a fun Saturday?

Do you enjoy weddings?  Have you ever been to one that overflowed with creativity?

What’s your favorite kind of muffin?

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February 26, 2011

Here’s to you, Giada!

One of my favorite things about digital cable is the Food Network.  I love sitting down on my lunch break and shutting out my messy kitchen, my bare fridge and my lack of sharp knives.  Oh if Ina and Giada could take a few minutes out of their day and give me a few tips on how to properly cut an onion, one of the first things excellent chefs master. 🙂

My cooking journey started with Lean Cuisines and Hamburger Helper.  I am proud to say I can now follow a recipe and even tweek it to make it my very own.  Tonight, I tried my hand with a new ingredient:  pancetta!  The recipe was  Bacon and Pancetta Potatoes.  Thanks to a recipe by Giada and a couple extra ingredients, I created a real winner. 🙂

Here’s what you need:

  • 4 thick-cut slices bacon, roughly chopped
  • 2 (1/4-inch thick) slices pancetta cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 3 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus extra for seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • frozen peas (as much as you desire)
  • green onions (as much as you desire)

Pancetta!  You can find it in your local deli.

1) Add your pancetta and bacon to a skillet on medium heat.  Let it get crispy, about 10-12 minutes.  When the pancetta and bacon is done, remove from the skillet to paper towels.  (I usually try to get as much grease out as possible.)

2) Peel and cube your potatoes and add it to the skillet with your clove of garlic.  (Cook until potatoes are tender…about 25 minutes.)  Season with 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of pepper.

3) When potatoes are tender, add your peas, green onions, pancetta and bacon.

4) Heat for 5 more mintues and garnish with basil. Then, eat up!

Thanks, Giada for yet another dinner winner! 🙂

Question of the day:  What’s your favorite Food Network show?

February 24, 2011

track workout. pasta cups.

Bonjour bloggers!  Today is a good day.  It’s a fresh start and I love that. Isn’t it amazing what a positive attitude can do?  It’s free, too!  🙂

Yesterday, two dear friends and I hit the track.  I love working out with friends.  It is the extra push to get me out the door.  Here’s what we did…(all at an 8 minute mile pace)

  • 5-10 minute warm up
  • (1) 100 m
  • (1) 200 m
  • (3) 400 m repeats
  • (1) 200 m
  • (1) 100 m
  • Cool down

We also threw in some Biggest Loser training by using the bleachers to jump up on, in between our intervals. Not sure if we were all that big of fans though. 🙂

Now, on to dinner.  I had seen a recipe on “Giada at Home” where they made pasta cups.  So, I decided to make my own version of it with the things I had readily available.

Pasta Cups

  • 1.5 cups of rotini
  • 1 T pesto (that’s all I had–add more if you want!)
  • 4 peppers
  • 1 T red onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 chicken breasts (cooked)
  • mozzarella cheese to garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cooking spray (for the muffin tin)
  • olive oil

1. Cook your noodles.

2. Cut and cook your chicken.

3. Chop up veggies.

4. Drain your noodles and add pesto to your likening.

5. Spray a muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.

6. Add your noodles, veggies, chicken and cheese.

7. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.

8. Enjoy! (Use a dash of salt and pepper for more taste)

Question of the day:  What was for dinner at your house yesterday?

Who or what motivates you to work out?

 

February 23, 2011

Bargains!

Confession, I am a big time bargain shopper.  Although this can be a good quality to have, I think my husband thinks it’s annoying. 🙂  I will pick up a shirt at the mall that’s at least 60% off and decide against the purchase while I’m standing in line to buy it.  However, I will say sometimes my frugality pays off.

(Bargain 1) Last week, I was in Pier One.  I love this place.  It has a candle-scented aroma and so many colors it will make your eyes go googly.  I wanted to find some $5 gifts and while looking around their clearance section, I spotted some absolutely adorable owl salt and pepper shakers.  Guess how much they were?  That’s right…five dollars!  So, I bought them out. 🙂

(Bargain 2) Because I like good deals, I naturally like Ross (dress for less), TJ Maxx, and Marshall’s.  I remember discovering these stores in junior high and I couldn’t believe how awesome they were.  Well, while looking through Ross’s activewear department, I stumbled upon a sleeveless, dri-fit Nike shirt for $8.99!  I love the color, I love how it perfoms, and mostly, I love the price!

Thumbs up to good deals!

(Bargain 3) Finally, I have to share my most favorite bargain of the month:  a Patagonia pullover jacket!  It’s a great time to get your winter goods for next year! 🙂 I found it on the Patagonia website and googled the coat for the best price.  There you have it–a bargain coat! 🙂

It actually is the same coat as my sis-in-law, Brooke!  She has such good taste. 🙂

Well gang, that’s all for now!  Thanks for making this blog adventure so much fun!

Question of the day:  Are you  a bargain shopper?  What’s your favorite bargain find??


 

February 22, 2011

A little bit of everything!

Good morning, sweet things!

Today is a little bit of everything!  I’m so glad that you were able to meet my husband on his guest post.  I can honestly say, he is a bike riding, walking commuter and I’m so proud of him for that!  Saving the environment one commute at a time, right? 🙂

This weekend, I celebrated my friend Carrie’s Bachelorette Party on Sanibel Island, FL.  A serious good time of soaking in the sun.  Granted, I was putting spf 75 on my face! 🙂

Because it was a weekend of relaxation, I didn’t get a chance to work out.  I know what you’re thinking, “C’mon, you’re Little Miss Fitness!  Aren’t you supposed to love exercise and do it 24-7?” The truth is I do love exercise, I do love using the body God gave me to do good things, but I also don’t exercise daily.  I’m currently reading Jillian Michaels, “Master Your Metabolism,” and am loving it so far.  America’s toughest trainer doesn’t even work out everyday! I can’t wait to share more when I’ve read more! 🙂  My favorite health and fitness book thus far!

However, after a weekend off, I did get my butt outdoors in the warm sunshine and did a 3 mile run, accompanied by a 10 minute pilates ab workout.  The pilates 100 got my abs a burnin!  My favorite ab workout ever!  If you have Brighthouse cable and are able to get Exercise on Demand, you can search for it under the 10 minute workouts.  It’s free! ** Please note that if you have any lower back or neck trouble, consult a doctor before performing this exercise.**

I have to admit I’ve been slacking on my grocery list! :/  Sorry about that gang!  I will tell you I’m on a mini home-made pizza kick.  It’s a delicious and easy  pesto pizza.  It’s simple enough to make in a time crunch!  My favorite time crunching meal!  (I will post a list of groceries and meals soon! )

Last but not least, my favorite Today Show news of today was seeing a paralyzed bride get wheelchair accessiblity in her home.  She became paralyzed at her bachelorette party when someone pushed her into a pool.  A complete fluke accident.  You’ll be amazed by her recovery, her story, and most of all her positive attitude and love for and from her fiance. Check it out! 🙂

Now, it’s your turn…tell me some of your fav’s of the day! (Favorite meal, favorite exercise, favorite show, favorite lip gloss, favorite memory…whatever comes to mind!)


 

 

February 20, 2011

Morning Ride

Greetings and Salutations blog world!

My name is J.J. and I’m married to Little Miss Fitness. Today I’m making my first guest appearance on her blog. It feels great, thanks for having me Soo!

This post is about life’s little moments when you’re surprised with a smile and say to yourself, “Wow, I’m having a great day!”  You might have been on the golf course chipping in for birdie, maybe you were clicking into your ski’s on top of  a mountain, or maybe you were riding your bike to work with a new coat on. This past Tuesday my morning commute was a bicycle ride in a 60 degree February fog, and I was definitely thinking about how great of a day I was having.

Passed this building along the way...

To me, owning a bicycle is utterly important. And any kind of bike will do! It’s easy on the environment, the maintenance costs are low, and of course it’s a great way to burn a few calories! I have the luxury of a short commute, which I usually tackle by walking. However, from time to time, I’ll ride my bike to save a few more minutes. On Tuesday, the morning air was crisp and buildings were socked in. The temperature was nice and the roads were super clear. My new Patagonia Slopstyle Hoodie was extremely comfortable (the thumb-holes were a nice touch) and as I reclined back and rode without hands, I smiled and thought, “Wow, I’m having a great day!” I went right to my class, grabbed a sheet of [recycled] paper, and created a quick piece of artwork that symbolized my experience. Hopefully I can pedal some more bicycle art soon!

Copyright J.J. Peterson 2011

Tuesday really was a great day. Some people start their day with a cup o’ joe, maybe the morning paper, a walk with the dog…I started mine with a relaxing, cool ride on my bicycle. Now go do the same!

Thanks for reading! And stop by upperparkart.blogspot.com to see more of my art. 🙂

February 18, 2011

Gimme pizza! p-i-z-z-a!

Do you remember the Mary Kate and Ashley musicals?

The ones about detectives, sleep overs and going to grandma’s? Well, “Gimme Pizza, P-I-Z-Z-A” happened to be one of the songs they sang and when I titled this blog I thought about throwing in an oldie, but a goodie. 🙂

Last night, I had the most delicious home-made pizza.  J and I were craving different dinners, so while he made a turkey burger, I whipped up a pizza with our left overs.

The dough was a pre-made dough from the Publix deli with a pesto sauce, green peppers, red onion, garlic salt, pepperoni from the deli and pepper jack cheese.  It was absolutely delightful.

Tonight, J and I headed to one of my favorite stores, TJ Maxx.  🙂  J was such a trooper following me around until finally, he found a treasure of his own.

A new iPhone case!  It’s the most unique case I’ve ever seen because it’s cork!  I was just as excited as he was…such a cool case!  I love getting a good bargain! When we first got iPhones I wasn’t sure what the obsession was about.  But slowly and surely I got a hang of this technology thing and am loving the benefits of a smart phone.

That’s it for now bloggers…I’m off to read some more of Jillian Michael’s “Master Your Metabolism.”  Oh yea!  I’m loving it!  I can’t wait to share with you when I read more!

Question of the day:  Are you into technology?  Do you use a smart phone?  If so, what’s your favorite app?

 

February 16, 2011

Working it out on the track!

Yesterday, Carrie and I did an awesome track work out.  It was a beautiful day in our neck of the woods, so it was fun to be outside!  I haven’t done a track work out in ages, so it was incredibly refreshing.  I kept asking Carrie, “Isn’t this just so fun?!”

Here’s the FUN workout:

  • 5-10 minutes warm-up (we jogged around my neighborhood and ended at the track)
  • 1 (400 m) at a 8 minute-mile pace
  • 45 second break
  • 1 (400 m) at a 8 minute-mile pace
  • 45 second break
  • 1 (800 m) at a 8 minute-mile pace
  • 2 minute break
  • 1 (800 m) at a 8 minute-mile pace
  • 2 minute break
  • 1 (400 m) at a 8 minute-mile pace
  • 45 second break
  • 1 (400 m) at a 8 minute-mile pace
  • 45 second break
  • Cool-Down

Give or take on the break time and cool-down time, it was about a 40 minute workout.  Perfect for a beautiful afternoon!

After our workout, Carrie and I met up with friends at a local restaraunt, Dexter’s for $1 burger night!  So yummy.  Let me tell you, I was caught up on what’s happening in reality T.V.  We love the Bachelor and were giving all our predicitions.  Oh man, I love these girls–we have so much fun!

After we left, I still had an appetite for something sweet, so we headed over to Menchie’s, a frozen yogurt heaven! 🙂

We tried out the Strawberry Shortcake, which has replaced the Cake Batter for awhile–oh wow–it’s delicious!

Added toppings of our choice….

Voila!  A perfect dessert–so satisyfing.

Blueberries, strawberries, cinnamon/vanilla pretzels, oreos, cheesecake cookie dough!

The lucky girl I am–I get to come home to this guy.  🙂

Question of the day:  What’s your idea of a fun workout?

Do you watch reality T.V?  What show(s) are you hooked on?

February 15, 2011

A stuffed peppers blunder.

Hey my sweet bloggers!

I woke up this morning and decided I was going to ride my bike to work.  So, I did.  Oh my goodness–it was gorgeous.  It felt like a vacation.  Sunshine, cool breeze and the smell of spring.  What a treat to start out the day!

Yesterday, I decided instead of J and I going to fight for a seat at a restaurant, I’d make my own gourmet meal.  I had found a recipe off of Peas and Thank You, and decided to switch it up to make it my own. Don’t get me wrong, it was delicioso, but there was a slight blunder.  We had taken pics on J’s I-Phone and after dinner were going to the mall to fix his I-Phone.  As we were driving home with a new phone in hand I realized we hadn’t saved the pictures!  So, for this post, I’m sorry to say, there are no pics. 😦

Here are the ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 4 bell peppers
  • 1/4 C red onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 C tomato sauce
  • 1/2 C corn
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pepper jack cheese

Chop up your red onion and garlic cloves and add it to your ground chicken (cook thoroughly).

Cut off the tops of your peppers and clean the insides.

Add your tomato sauce, corn, chili powder and s/p to your chicken mixture and spoon it into your peppers.

Top with cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.

Enjoy!

**Things I would change:

  • I’d add some brown rice into the chicken mixture to soak up the tomato sauce  in the peppers.
  • I’d remember to garnish my peppers after they came out of the oven.
  • I’d  save my pictures. 🙂

Wishing you all a wonderful Tuesday!  I’m off to get a cup of coffee!

 

February 14, 2011

Two birds with one stone

Happy Valentine’s, dear bloggers! I thought I’d be festive and wear a pink sweater to work today…but to my surprise…everyone is wearing black and white. 🙂 Are you wearing pink today?

I decided to entitle this post “Two birds with one stone” because don’t you just love when you happily get two things done at once, when you’re not even meaning to! This happened to me yesterday. I was whipping up a quick lunch for J and I and decided to bake some asparagus and add my garlic bread with it; two birds with one stone.

To bake your asparags, just add some olive oil, garlic and salt and pepper–bake on 450 for a few minutes and you’ll have some crispy yumminess.

While that was baking, I quickly washed my fruit and added it to my dishrack; two birds with one stone. Funny, right?! Actually, J’s Mom taught me this. Always wash your fruit before you put it in the fridge because then you save yourself time later. Plus, your dishrack looks super colorful! 🙂

*J wanted me to note our Nalgene water bottles. Not only is it reusable, but it totally is a fun challenge to drink more water throughout the day!!

Finally, our lunch was ready. We defnitely went green–literally.

Spinach and cheese tortellini, pesto and asparagus.

Now, it’s off to work…but before I do…I wanted to send you a quick link of what’s new on Today. This morning, I watched as I ate my yogurt and blueberries and was on my couch with tears in my eyes. One of the Today show correspondents, Jenna Bush Hager, did a Valentine report on if the traditional hand written love letter is kissed away. Her grandparents even shared some of their own love letters written during the time her grandfather was away at war. At the end of the piece, both Jenna, her grandfather (and I) were in tears. 🙂 As her grandfather read one of his old letters aloud to her grandmother, I could see that their love has only grown stronger for one another throughout the years. It was beautiful. It made me want to write a love letter to my sweetheart today. I think I will. 🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Question of the Day: Have you every written or received a handwritten letter?