Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Baking Day

One day last week, I didn't get called in to sub, so I took advantage of the time to get a ton of work and errands done around the house. Most importantly, I made cookies.

I used one can of pumpkin to make two batches of cookies and a loaf of pumpkin bread. And everything still tasted plenty pumpkin-y, so that one can really went a long way! I even mixed things up for the cookies and made a few varieties:
  • pumpkin chocolate chip
  • pumpkin white chocolate chip <--If I had made this batch first, they all would have been this variation, because it is SOOOOOOO tasty!
  • pumpkin chocolate chip with pecans

Here's the recipe for the cookies (from An Organic Wife), and here's the recipe for the pumpkin bread (from 100 Days of Real Food). I can always rely on these two sites for simple, classic recipes with a wholesome twist.

Unfortunately, I haven't had much of a chance to devour these cookies. I know, it's so unlike me! Usually baked goods last about three days in this house, but we've been rather busy. Terry and I also went out to dinner on Monday night at a classic LA restaurant, El Cholo, which was a fun date night. Terry is leaving once again for a LOOOOONG work trip, and I'm soaking up as much time with him as possible before he goes. Scout and I miss him when he's gone. (Actually, while I do think Scout misses him, I think Scout also loves the extra attention he gets from me during these nights. Somehow I tend to spoil him just a little bit more when Terry's gone.)

The workouts around here have been sporadic, at best. To be fair, we did walk eleven miles the other day, but I feel like we're still struggling to get back into a normal workout routine--especially strength training--ever since we got back from Europe. Which was approximately 18 days ago. We're winners.

So tonight, it all changes! I hit the gym for an upper body workout and some intervals. And actually, this morning I woke up a little early so I squeezed in about 20 minutes of core work to start the day on a healthy note. And here's tonight's workout: 15 exercises, 15 reps, and you're done!

Some notes:
  • You can see a pattern here: Two exercises working a particular body part (shoulders, triceps, biceps, chest, back), then a full-body exercise that emphasizes that muscle group.
  • To lighten up this workout, you can reduce the number of reps, use a light weight, or omit every third exercise (the full-body ones).
  • To challenge yourself more, increase the weight, and/or complete as many exercises as possible on a stability ball or on one leg. The added balance challenge increases how much your body has to work, and you'll incorporate your core. 
For the intervals, I did three minutes running, one minute walking, total of 5 rounds (20 minutes, plus warm up and cool down). The entire workout, including strength, took 50 minutes, and it felt fantastic to get back to my usual! Now we just have to continue tomorrow, and the next day, and the next...

Alright, enough shenanigans. Let's get to the fun of WIAW!

Breakfast: two pretty small slices of pumpkin bread, one of which was toasted and topped with peanut butter. Looking back, I probably should have gone with some eggs and toast and brought the pumpkin bread to school as a snack, because now I'm realizing that my snacks and lunch are less than exciting.

Recycled photo. Just imagine the peanut butter.

Morning snack: a banana and some crackers. See what I mean about the boring snacks?

Lunch: Leftover Greek quinoa salad from Saturday's football party. Delicious, but the tomatoes are just about done and I have a TON leftover still in the fridge. I'm seriously considering picking out the tomatoes in there and chopping up some fresh ones for the rest of the week. Is that weird?

Afternoon snack: half an apple and a small bowl of cereal, plus a little bit of cheese

Dinner: Remember yesterday when I mentioned all those tomatoes and the impending marinara sauce? Turns out, I also had a pound of ground turkey, so I whipped up some turkey bolognese. I browned the turkey and sauteed it with 1/2 a chopped onion and some minced garlic, then set it all aside. Then I sauteed the rest of the chopped onion in the same pan with some olive oil and garlic, added about 3/4 cup of red wine to scrape up the browned bits, and let it reduce just a bit. I processed five tomatoes to a pulpy soup texture and threw those in and brought it all to a boil with salt, pepper, oregano, Italian seasoning, basil, and red pepper flakes. I left the whole pot to simmer (without the meat) for about 30 minutes, and then I added the meat back in and let the flavors come together.

I was worried the sauce wouldn't thicken because I didn't have any tomato sauce, but I think letting the wine reduce helped get the right consistency. I also made it two days before actually serving it, which is my favorite way to let all those flavors marry and become united as one in holy matrimony.

Tonight I served the sauce over whole wheat spaghetti with roasted asparagus and a small Caesar salad. So simple, so delicious!

And I'll bet you can guess what we ate for dessert. (Hint: It's at the top of this page!)

Have a wonderful Thursday!


  1. Pumpkin mixed with ANYTHING tastes good. Seriously, never met a gross combo. And yes, that even means I love pumpkin and... Fish. LOL!

    Happy Thursday to you too! I bet you ate Pumpkin White Chocolate Chip Cookies for dessert! :D

  2. Greek quinoa salad looks amazing! I'm gonna have to make something like that.

  3. Yum! Those recipes look wonderful, and I definitely am going to try that Quinoa salad soon!

  4. I love pumpkin season! I'll have to check out those two sites for clean recipes. All looks tasty!