Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Take Me to Myrtle...

I need to move. Seriously. I know I've said it for ages, but this past weekend's neighborhood-scouting trip to Myrtle Beach cemented it for me. I'm just not meant to live here in New Hampshire.

I'm meant to live somewhere where I can walk on the beach daily, even if it is after work. Seriously, I'd be in much better shape - Aaron and I walked 9 miles on Monday!



Somewhere where I can play a quick 9 holes of golf on a whim and not pay a fortune so that the grounds of the course can be kept in half-way decent condition because of the damage done by harsh New England winters.



Somewhere I can be outside in a t-shirt in January and not get frostbite. Though the guy behind me in this picture probably thought I was insane for being in a t-shirt, but whatever, it was 58* in January!



Take me to Myrtle.


Saturday, January 10, 2015

eMeals: Meal Planning Made Simple - and cheap!

Note: This is a sponsored post. I am an eMeals affiliate and as such, I receive a complimentary annual subscription to eMeals meal planning service. That said, I really am watching football and my house smells delicious thanks to the crockpot full of chili made from an eMeals recipe. 

Who's ready for some FOOTBALL?! I sure am - I've been looking forward to this game all week. We've got some friends dropping by to watch with us and I've got the chili going in the crockpot, courtesy of eMeals and the chili recipe they sent me earlier this week! I know you’ve heard me talk about eMeals before, but their new Budget Friendly meal plan is pretty awesome so I wanted to mention it again - and since it's a new year and I'm trying to eat at home more, what better time to share with you!?!

photo credit: eMeals
Smokey Chili
 
1 lb ground beef
1 (9.6-oz) pkg ground pork sausage
1 cup chopped onion
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 cups homemade chicken broth
2 (15-oz) cans tomato sauce
1 (15.5-oz) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-oz) can corn, drained
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp liquid smoke
 
Cook ground beef, sausage, onion and bell pepper in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until meat is browned and crumbly; drain. Stir in broth and all remaining ingredients; bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


The just-introduced "Budget Friendly" plan from eMeals stretches the savings they already provided by helping families put dinner on the table for an average of $85 a week—all without sacrificing flavor, variety, nutrition or the cooperation of picky eaters (like my husband!).
 
eMeals’ tips for making homemade broths and other “convenience foods” jump-start meals, add flavor and extra savings. And the weekly grocery list saves you time and trips to the grocery store by keeping your pantry well-stocked.
 
For as little as $5 a month, you get seven menus delivered to your email inbox and the eMeals mobile app every week, along with recipes and a grocery list covering all seven dinners. And if you're like me and trying to save some cash after the holidays, eMeals lets you try before you buy. Simply go to www.emeals.com/meal-plans/budget-friendly, then click “Try Us” to sign up for 14 days ’ worth of Budget Friendly menus and shopping lists for free! What a deal! 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Wait, what? Who's this? Yep, it's me...

I know... it's been awhile. Seriously, nearly 4.5 months. The latter half of 2014 was kind of a bust for me fitness/healthwise. My ass has expanded, my pants barely fit (even my "fat" pants), I ended the year with the flu and guys, I just feel gross. And not for nothing, I know exactly why and how.

This fat ass is brought to you by dining out too much, quite a few adult beverages, a lack of movement and a lack of interest. I don't know where my motivation went, but pretty much after Reach the Beach (which I just realized I never even posted about), I was just all set with working out.

I didn't feel like running anymore, an activity that previously brought a bit of calm to my otherwise hectic day. I didn't feel like going to Barre anymore, even though I was so good about going in August... and that's that. It's not that I don't know how. I know exactly what got me here.

But here we are in 2015. 

Sure, call it hokey. Call it contrived. But it's a new year, and I think that my motivation is coming back. Maybe my motivation is fitting into my jeans, or maybe I'm sick of feeling gross. Either way, I'm glad it's back, because frankly, it's about damned time. My goals, at least for the beginning part of 2015 are as follows - eat at home more, work out more, move more. But let's quantify that.

Eating at home at least 4 days a week. That sounds pretty bad when I say it out loud, because that's still dining out 3x a week. That's how bad it's been guys, so this will be good for the waistline and the wallet if it sticks. Meal planning will be crucial here, and I'm all signed up with eMeals again to assist in that regard. More to come on that later.

Working out at least 4x a week. I started a 'couch to half' training plan in preparation for a 10 mile race I'm signed up for, so that will be a start. But I also plan to hit up some classes at my local gym and get my strength training on.

Moving more... well, I just bought a step tracker (the Jawbone Up24, more to come on that later too) and it has already told me to get off my fat ass twice today thanks to my sedentary job and it's 'idle alarm.' My goal is 7500 steps a day at minimum.

What are your goals for the new year? How are you setting yourself up to achieve them? 


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Open House at Barre Life NH - featuring Lululemon!

Good afternoon lovelies! What a gorgeous day!!! It's definitely one of those days (again, it feels like fall) that makes me want to go for a hike or something. Instead, I forced myself to get into my workout clothes and took a Bikini Barre class at Barre Life NH before work - such is life when you have to work for a living, you can't just go for a hike whenever you feel like it. Highly overrated.

I've been going to Barre Life NH three times a week for about a month now, as my schedule allows and guys, I'm loving it (which is good, since apparently I'm famous - check out my pic on the front page of the Union Leader below). Britni is great and no two classes have been the same, which keeps it fresh and interesting... and painful (in a good way). My legs felt like jello after this morning's 45 minute class, even after a month. Awesome.


Even though Barre Life NH has been open since June, Britni just announced that their GRAND OPENING CELEBRATION will take place on Wednesday, September 3rd from 4-6pm. Lululemon is coming to the event and putting on a trunk show (you can see the fall line AND buy clothing, so bring your plastic ladies!) and there will be tons of giveaways and discounts to Barre Life NH and other local businesses!




Following the trunk show and barre demonstrations, there will be a full class offered at 6pm - space is limited so if you're interested, be sure to sign up on the website (or through the app).

Barre Life NH, LLC
944 Elm St
Manchester NH

Check out Barre Life on Instagram!
Like Barre Life on Facebook!


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Whole Foods Market NOW OPEN IN NASHUA NH!

Good morning lovelies! It's a BEAUTIFUL fall day here in New Hampshire. Yes, I said fall. Yes, I realize it's still summer, but I had to wear a sweatshirt to drink my coffee on the deck this morning and well, it feels like fall to me. Thankfully, it will feel like summer again by this afternoon according to my local forecast.

I've got some super exciting news to share with you all! Well, super exciting if you're anything like me and have a thing for local craft beers and cheeses... the very first WHOLE FOODS MARKET in New Hampshire opens this morning on Amherst Street in Nashua! I was fortunate enough to participate in a pre-opening blogger event and got a behind-the-scenes look at the store and what they have to offer! There is a ton of stuff going on for their grand opening celebration today, so if you find yourself in the area, definitely check it out!


I know what you're thinking... Janine, WFM sells way more than local craft beers and cheeses. Well yes, but if you've read this blog for any length of time past a minute or two, you know those are what I'm most excited about. What's more, apparently Whole Foods Market Nashua is pretty excited about those two things too, because where most WFM's have a dedicated culinary demonstration area, WFM Nashua has a pub.



That's right, a 32-tap pub right there in the store. What's pretty cool is that many of the tap offerings are locally sourced within 100 miles of the store - word on the street is, in honor of their grand opening, Maine Beer Company has supplied not one, but TWO KEGS of their damned-near-impossible-to-get-your-hands-on craft brew, LUNCH. Boom.


What's more, the pub is located just around the corner from a huge cheese display, again with tons of local offerings. And guys, I'm pretty sure the only way I could be a bigger cheese-head is if I were from Wisconsin, so take it from me, this is awesome.



Pretty fantastic if you ask me. But I know you're probably interested in what else WFM Nashua has to offer (though I'm content with just the beer & cheese). Well, there's the famed organic produce section, grass-fed meats and a selection of seafood that I would say is the best I've seen outside of a fish market.


There's also their "Whole Body" selection, which boasts natural & organic skin, hair and body care products. Personally, I stick to my Ava Anderson products for the most part, but if I do buy body care products in the store, I look for items ranked between 0-2 from the Environmental Working Group (a non-profit organization that ranks personal care & home cleaning products based on toxicity) to ensure I'm minimizing the amount of toxins I put on my body.


I did notice quite a few items that although are "natural," are not ranked very well on the EWG in this section of the store but they did also have a decent selection of 0-2 items - just be sure to do your research before buying, even at WFM!

One thing that really stood out to me at WFM over some other local grocery stores was the amount of bulk food offerings they had - dried fruit, nuts, grains, flours, candy (of course), you name it. They even had protein powders in bulk - great for smoothies, especially if you have certain dietary restrictions around proteins - if you're into that sort of thing.


If you haven't been to a WFM before (I hadn't), definitely make a point to check the new location out - I don't know that I'd shop there on a regular basis (it's about a 35 min drive for me), but they definitely offer quite a few things that other stores simply don't - and I don't just mean the pub!

Whole Foods Market Nashua
255 Amherst Street
Nashua, NH 03063
Open 8am - 10pm daily. 


*Disclosure: I was invited to a pre-opening blogger event for Whole Foods Market Nashua. I received a goody-bag full of samples, but was not otherwise compensated for this post. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

RACE REPORT: Sandown Olde Home Day 5 Miler

Monday... already? Seriously, where does the weekend go? This weekend was super busy (seems to be our usual these days), jam-packed with friends, family & fun. Friday night we grabbed a bite to eat with Nate & Cait, then watched Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead over some Trader Joe's "Two $3.49 Buck Chuck." Then we were up bright and early to head to Sandown for the Olde Home Day 5 Miler!

source
The race benefits Sandown Youth Programs and is known for its challenging, hilly course. Growing up in Sandown, I've been hearing about (and successfully avoiding) this race for basically my entire life. Until this year when mom asked me to run it with her. I've been running my fair share of hills in my neighborhood lately, so I figured what the heck. For the $20 registration fee, if nothing else, we would get a nice tech shirt and a run in.


We arrived about 20 minutes prior to the 9:00am start to pick up our bibs at the Sandown Fire House. There were no lines, because apparently the field of runners was tiny this year due to a Grand Prix Race that was taking place on Sunday. I guess all of the local running clubs that usually make an appearance in Sandown were saving their legs for the Grand Prix event, because there were a whopping 58 people who ran the 5 Miler. This was the first year that a 5k was offered (it started at the same time and was an up-and-back along the first part of the 5 mile route), and there were 41 runners in that event - so under 100 total. Yikes.

There was no start mat at this race, so our official times are 'gun time' - we started up the first hill (1 of 13) and quickly settled into a rhythm. It was a nice course, a big loop through some shaded neighborhoods. The shade was a blessing, since the temperatures rose quite a bit between start and finish. I was aiming for around a 10:00/mile pace given the hills and the quantity of cheap wine consumed the previous evening.


Even with a few walking water breaks, we crossed the finish with a 'gun time' of 00:49:30 for the 5 miles, which put mom second in her division and me fourth in my division! Given that we didn't start right at the front of the pack at the gun, I'd estimate our 'net time' around 00:49:18. All in all, a nice course, not nearly as bad as everyone made it out to be in terms of the hills (though my calves are pretty tight today) and definitely one I'd consider doing again next year!



Friday, August 8, 2014

A Sweet Friday Treat!

Happy Friday y'all! It has been one helluva week guys. If I weren't so darned busy this weekend, I'd say I was super glad the week was over! Now, of course this weekend's activities are much more fun than the shit week at work I've had, so I'm still super glad the week is over - I just wish I could relax this weekend.


Instead of sleeping in and then spending the day in my hammock, I'm getting up at the @$$-crack of dawn tomorrow to run an extremely hilly 5 mile race with mom, then off to a family party at my in-laws' house, then a bridal shower on Sunday. And then it's Monday again. I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

Instead of dwelling on how tired I am/will be, I wanted to share with you some deliciously sweet treat recipes that eMeals sent my way this week! If your remaining summer weekends are as packed as mine are with family gatherings, bbqs and other such food-related activities, take note - these would be awesome to bring to a family reunion!

Organic Coconut Blueberry Popsicle
  • 1 1/2 cup organic coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup Greek vanilla yogurt
  • 3 Tablespoons honey
  • 2 Tablespoons organic shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup organic blueberries
In a glass mixing bowl, mix together coconut milk, honey, shredded coconut, and greek yogurt until well combined. Choose your favorite popsicle mold and fill until half inch from the top. Add blueberries into mixture by pushing them down into the mold, spreading them throughout the popsicle. Fill the remainder of the popsicle mold. Freeze overnight.
source: eMeals.com
Mixed Fruit Popsicles
  • 1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
  • 1 peach, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 2 cups Vita Coco coconut water (great brand to use because it's sweet)
Combine all fruit in a mixing bowl and place in your favorite popsicle mold. Pour enough coconut water in each mold to just cover the fruit. Freeze overnight.
(Suggestion: taste your coconut water and see if it's sweet enough prior to pouring into mold. If not, in a separate mixing bowl add coconut water and your favorite sweetener to taste. Then add to popsicle mold to cover fruit.
source: eMeals.com
Chocolate Nutella Popsicles
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate milk
  • 1/2 cup hazelnut spread
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix the chocolate milk and hazelnut spread together until well blended. Choose your favorite popsicle mold and fill to the rim and freeze overnight.
source: eMeals.com
Easy peasy and oh-so-yummy! Speaking of easy peasy, I know I've talked about eMeals before on this blog (a super easy meal planning subscription service that provides not only recipes but shopping lists for all the ingredients for the week), so I won't go on and on, but they're offering a back-to-school special of 20% off to my readers on any of their meal planning subscriptions with code 'SCHOOL', so I wanted to share! You can also download their handy 'Back To School Recipe Guide' HERE. Enjoy!