TV Without TV? Yes!

Hey guys! Happy Thanksgiving!!!

I hope you’re having a wonderful time with your families out there and that Turkey Trot attire is all ready to perform, and Turkey is ready to go into that oven!

I am here today to talk about something different than my usual post subjects, but I hope you enjoy it. Before we dive in though, I wanted to THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for another great year with Lean Lena. If it wasn’t for you, this blog wouldn’t have existed. It would have been stuck somewhere between a food journal and an exercise log.

THANK YOU for your ever inspiring comments, your support and dedication in making me a better blogger and making Lean Lena a better resource for indoor cycling instructors, TRX coaches and yoga enthusiasts.

TV without TV Continue Reading

Five On Friday: Kitties, Skiing, Bread Making and More

Hey guys! Happy Friday!

Today’s post is a list of 5 totally random Things I Like/Things That Happened.

Not sure how that goes into my regular blogging schedule ๐Ÿ™‚ I guess it doesn’t – just gonna be babbling here today ๐Ÿ™‚ Ready?Continue Reading

Mezzetta Memories: Salami Pasta Salad Recipe

Hey guys! Happy Tasty Tuesday to you ๐Ÿ™‚

Today, I’m cooking with Mezzettaย as part of the Mezzetta Memories campaign.

mezetta memories

With another bigย holiday upon us, it’s time to start thinking about the holiday menu already!

Together with Mezzettaย I’m sharing my family traditions when it comes to holiday cooking.Continue Reading

30 Days Active Challenge: Week 4 Recap

Hey-hey my fit friends! It’s Hump Day and that means what?

Correct! Time for another 30 Days Active Challenge recap.

The past week was hectic and busy-busy-busy with both mine and my husband’s birthdays – I feel like all I ate was cake all week ๐Ÿ™‚

But yes, I did have this challenge I put myself through on my mind all the time and even on the days when I didn’t have an “official” workout, I tried to stay active or eat extra healthy.

So here’s what happened last week:

{WEDNESDAY}ย  was my birthday, so official workout didn’t really happen. I had a wonderful birthday celebration both at work and at home.

My awesome husband took me out to Rock Bass Grill for dinner where I had the 2nd best crab cakes in my life!

crab cakes

Guess what I got for my birthday? ๐Ÿ™‚

garmin forerunner

Yep, I’m married to the BEST guy in the world, you know? ๐Ÿ™‚

Exercise on Wednesday: walk-walk-walk!

{THURSDAY}

We had a yoga class at work over lunch time. I love those classes! It’s like somebody pushes your reset button in the middle of the day and you come back to your desk all balanced and calm.

Then somebody pisses you off again, but that has nothing to do with yoga ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway. After work on Thursday I needed to go to CVS. So instead of driving a few blocks like I usually do, I walked there.

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{FRIDAY}

There was so much cake on Wednesday at work, and then dinner at the restaurant….so we didn’t get to my birthday cake at home until Friday ๐Ÿ™‚

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No official workout, but lots of activities and walking that day.

{SATURDAY}

On Saturday I finally got a chance to try an indoor cycling class with a recently hired instructor at our Y. She teaches in the mornings on weekdays, which of course I can’t make because I work.

So I was pretty excited to see her name on the Saturday rotation class schedule this past week. I signed up and bam! I was there at 8:00 AM on Saturday.

Here’s my blurry “Pilot” at the end of the class ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s blurry because taking a picture while still pedaling is not the best idea in the world ๐Ÿ™‚

30 days active

The class was good, just a couple “funky” moves and that’s it ๐Ÿ™‚ I still got an awesome workout, which was nice – just being able to concentrate on your own effort without having to guide anybody else. ๐Ÿ™‚

After the class, hubby and I took a long walk to Cole’s bicycle shop where I almost agreed to buy a $1200 road bike… Crazy woman ๐Ÿ™‚

That didn’t happen, though. $1200 is waaaaaaay over the budget I was planning for my first road bike. So…we’ll keep looking ๐Ÿ™‚ I got fitted though and tried several bikes which was A LOT of fun!

Here’s the bike I was trying out on Saturday – Trek Lexa SLX:

$1200 is a good price for this bike. Just not good for my budget ๐Ÿ™ (sigh)

Good steps that day!

30 days active

{SUNDAY}

No official exercise on Sunday. Hubby and I had something planned which ended up taking up most of our day (More on that this coming Tasty Tuesday).

So…steps, steps, steps.

{MONDAY} Cycling

Monday was my husband’s birthday. As I usually teach indoor cycling on Mondays, and he wanted to come to my class this week, I designed a riding profile just for my him – with the happy birthday song in the beginning and some of his most favorite songs throughout.

My class is called “Road Trip”. So I announced this past Monday class as a “Rocky Road Trip” because most of the songs in the class were rock ๐Ÿ™‚ If you would like to see the latest class playlist, check out this page here.

30 days active

Good burn and fun class. My birthday boy was happy with the ride ๐Ÿ™‚

We then got home and celebrated his birthday with his favorite coffee chocolate chip ice cream pie, and gave him a special birthday present he requested.

{TUESDAY}

Steps-steps-steps. No official workout.

Healthy choice of the day:

smoothie

Watermelon, strawberry, mint and cottage cheese smoothie

And that was it, my friends.

I am not particularly happy with the past week for a few reasons: I didn’t run once (my knee was being funny pretty much all week), I had too much cake, I had too many days with no official workout. I did stay active every day, I did what I could when I could. I guess it’s the most important thing, but somehow it doesn’t feel like it’s enough…

Ok, so today is Wednesday and it is the beginning of the final week of the challenge. I’m gonna make it count!

Stay tuned for the next week’s recap and more!

Lean Lena

This post has been shared on: Work Out Wednesday Link Up, The Hump Day Blog Hop

Friday Favorites: Random Selection of Things I Like

TGIF, friends!!! Finally this busy week is over – time to relax and get ready for the weekend!

As always, I am sharing my five Friday favorites with you today. This time it’s just really random – from all categories and possible kinds of things ๐Ÿ™‚ Are you ready? Here we go.

{ONE} The Beverly Hillbillies

We’ve been loving this show! It’s SO funny! They made 9 seasons that originally broadcasted from 1962 to 1971. We found some DVD’s at Wal-Mart and then I ordered more online.

We watch a couple episodes every night. When we ran out of DVD’s to watch – my family folk was going through some serious withdrawal, so I had to order more seasons from Amazon. ๐Ÿ™‚

I personally think that Granny (Irene Ryan) is the best personality that ever existed on American Television.

Irene Ryan

Image Source

If you ever come across this show – watch it. It is super funny and is one of my favorites for sure!

{TWO} Mermaid Bicycle Dress by CWG Clothing

I ordered me that dress for $30 at the CWG Clothing Etsy store! Love the design and the fabric. Definitely check them out! They have beautiful designs there.

{THREE} 4MyCycle Mini Bike Pump

If you are riding outdoors – this is a “must have”. Unfortunately, we learnt that the hard way during our Race Ride Run Ramble event this spring when my husband had to pump the rear tire on his bike every 10 minutes, and we didn’t have a mini pump with us. Fortunately, a volunteer riding by let us borrow his pump, otherwise we’d have to walk to the finish line.

So. This one is definitely going on my “to buy” list!

{FOUR} Tommy Hilfiger Women’s Classic Red and Navy Reversible Watch

Love Tommy. Love the combination of red and navy blue. Reversible? How awesome is that?

I know I have more watches than there are days in a week, but a girl can wish, right? ๐Ÿ™‚

{FIVE} High Polished Stainless Steel Triple Multi Color Band Ring

I have a weakness for multi-color rings ๐Ÿ™‚ Ok, just rings in general, too ๐Ÿ™‚ This one is just so gorgeous! and guess what? It’s only $2.99 on Amazon ๐Ÿ™‚

And those are my Friday favorites, guys!

Do share: what are the things you’re loving lately?

Have a great weekend, and stay fit, my friends!

Lean Lena
This post has been shared on:

Fitting It All Inย , Carolina Charm, Lauren Elizabeth, Northeast Bloggers Network, Calm. Healthy. Sexy, Mamas Blog Central

S’more S’mores: 5 Recipes You Will Want to Make

Hey guys! Happy Tasty Tuesday! I hope you had a nice weekend.

As usual – we’re partying today and celebrating all the tasty stuff in our lives ๐Ÿ™‚ Be sure to hop over to Meranda’s blogย to check out what’s cooking over in her part of the cyber space, and check out the party participants in the linkup below. Hey, got something to add to the party? Link it up!

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We went camping on Saturday. I. Love. Camping.

When I was a kid we’d go camping every summer for a week. We’d tent by the lake, swim, cook food over the camp fire and go fishing. I looked forward to it so much every summer! And that’s where my ability to start a camp fire came from, as well as my addiction to poking it with a stick all the time ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

camping

Thankfully, my husband loves camping, too – so we try to make time and go camping every spring/early summer as a family.

One thing I discovered about camping when I moved to the US was S’mores (I know, right?). Oh. My. God. How come I didn’t know this goodness existed for the first 30 years of my life???

camping

Anyway, no one can take that from me now – I love me some s’mores! ๐Ÿ™‚ And because I love them so much – that got me thinking about ways to bring s’mores into my life any day I want – not just when we go camping. Check out what I found!

s'mores

Yeah, that’s my hand holding on to that S’more for dear life ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway, back to the recipes! Click on the recipe name below to view the original recipe on it’s creator’s blog. Some of the recipes are quick and easy to make, others – more complicated and sophisticated. But one thing I can tell you for sure – those 5 will bring the camp fire favorite to your table any time you want it!

{ONE} No Bake S’mores Pie by Brown Eyed Baker

This pie looks mouth watering good, and according to the Brown Eyed Baker you only need 20 minutes to put it together! It doesn’t get any better, does it? ๐Ÿ™‚

{TWO} 5 Minute Chocolate Fudge S’mores Mug Cake by How Sweet It Isย 

For all of you mug cake AND s’mores lovers out there. You’re welcome ๐Ÿ™‚

{THREE} S’mores Stuffed French Toast by BS’ in the Kitchen

For this one, Bob over at BS’ in the Kitchen even has a video showing you how to make them!

{FOUR} S’mores Whoopie Pies by My Baking Addiction

Mmm….mmm…mmm… Right after I’m done with this post, I am going to look for a whoopee pie pan online so I can make these!

ย {FIVE}ย  S’mores Fudge by the Novice Chef

Fudge AND s’mores? Yes, please!

And that’s how your get s’more s’mores, guysย ๐Ÿ™‚

Do share: Camping – yey or ney? Tent or cabin? Can you start a camp fire?

Take care, friends! And don’t forget to link up your tasty posts below.

Lean Lena

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Tasty Tuesday – Five Dinner Ideas for Five Weeknights

Hey guys! Happy Tasty Tuesday!

Every Tuesday Meranda and I host a link up party for you where you can add your links to tasty posts at the end of my post! How fun is that? Don’t forget to check out other links in the party.

Tasty Tuesday 2000x2000

Let’s party!!!

Today I have my favorite weeknight dinner ideas for you. Weeknights are my weak spot – just like every busy mom’s/wife’s in the world, I guess. Throw in the workout schedule (I am not a morning workout person) and you got no time left for cooking. Not cooking is not an option – we cook meals every night in my family and rarely go out – for no reason other than liking homemade food.

That’s where the meal prep and the easy quick healthy recipes come in! Below are the most frequently cooked type of meals in my family. That’s just in terms of the type of food we like – not all of the recipes below have been tried yet. ๐Ÿ™‚

{ONE}ย Pork Chops Stuffed with Spinach and Feta

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I found this recipe in Cooking Light. I am subscribed to the paper magazine, but I found this one online as I was looking for a new way to cook pork chops, which we likeย and make a lot!

I haven’t tried it yet, but according to the recipe they come together pretty quickly. You can also stuff them when you have time and freeze/refrigerate for later.

{TWO} Fried Rice

We eat a lot of rice. I usually buy jasmine rice and we go through a whole pack in a few weeks. The beauty of this recipe is that you can add pretty much anything to it = utilizing those leftovers ๐Ÿ™‚ Got chicken, shrimp, fish, or pork leftover? Got veggies? There – you got yourself an easy and delicious dinner.

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This recipe post also has some tips on how to make perfect rice if you’re just cooking it as a side dish.

{THREE} Beef Enchiladas

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Super easy to make and you can prep the filling in advance, too and even freeze it.

Here is a great recipe from McCormickย for beef enchiladas, which is pretty close to what we usually do. Not the healthiest option, by they come together quickly and my husband makes them – that’s a good enough reason for me to eat them ๐Ÿ™‚

{FOUR} Pasta

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This is my all time favorite. I am a huge fan of pasta and I would eat it every day if I could ๐Ÿ™‚ It is one of many reasons I go to the gym so much ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

Check out some of my pasta recipes!

{FIVE} Scallops

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We usually have scallops when kids are gone ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s kind of our secret food between me and my husband. I have no idea why and when it started, but every time we plan meals for the week we plan on having scallops when the kids are not around for dinner ๐Ÿ™‚ I know. We’re horrible people ๐Ÿ™‚

If you’re intimidated by cooking scallops – don’t be. They are extremely easy to cook and will only take minutes!

Check out this great article with tips on how to cook scallops perfectly and give them a try! They won’t disappoint you.

And there you have it, my friends – five ideas – one for each weeknight dinner ๐Ÿ™‚

Enjoy it and don’t forget to link up below to tell us what delicious meals you’ve had lately.

Take care and eat well.

Lena


Weekend Cooking Spree

Hey guys! How was your weekend?

Mine was busy!

The weather was just gorgeous here this weekend, but sadly, I didn’t get to do much outside.

On Saturday morning hubby and I headed out to the Y to take Jim’s indoor cycling class. It was so nice out that I decided to take my new Vibram Five Fingers for a walk.

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Love-love-love them!

Since my Spinningยฎ instructor training I noticed that my workout attitude and the overall “feeling” at a cycling class has changed dramatically! For some reason I was always going for the speed – thinking that if I go faster, it will be better for me, I will burn more calories and all that crap. Well, that all has changed now. I am doing speed work, too but generally try to apply more resistance on the wheel than I used to and focus more on my heart rate rather than the RPM.

Taking the training also changed my entire perspective on what a bike set up should be – I have my saddle a lot higher now and I’ve noticed that it is making it much easier on my knees – a lot less cracking! ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, with that in mind, I went pretty close to my usual distance on Saturday but burnt the number of calories I haven’t burnt in a cycling class in a long time.

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I did take a nice two-hour nap on Saturday after this class + yoga. I just had to! It was the best nap of my life ๐Ÿ™‚

When I woke up from my nap, it turned out the youngest had gone for a sleepover, so suddenly me and hubby had the evening to ourselves. We headed out for dinner to a Chinese place, and then decided to do some wandering around TJ Maxx. Well, I never leave that store without a score (yep, I rhymed that on purpose!)

Got me some yoga socks :)

Got me some yoga socks ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve been eyeing those for a while, but they just cost some ridiculous money it seems like. These were $3.something a pair so I got them and will give them a try this Wednesday!

On Saturday I also managed to squeeze in some meal prep into my day somewhere between the two workouts and the nap.

Homemade hummus, quinoa, water infused with cucumber and frozen mint leaves

Homemade hummus, quinoa, water infused with cucumber and frozen mint leaves

Did you notice I got my water infusing water bottles that I mentioned here? ๐Ÿ™‚ I just love the one with the orange cap except for one thing – it had a huge sticker on the front. Being an OCD driven woman, I took it off and now it’s sticky. Some Googone will have to be applied – and that’s just too many motions for something I want to get in the mail and simply enjoy. If you don’t have an OCD, you will do just that without Googone – enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

The one with the red lid and bottom – I haven’t quite figured it out yetย – the infuser part comes out through the bottom, if you don’t put the bottom lid back on tightly – it leeks. It’ll take me a while to make friends with this one ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway! On Sunday morning we slept in and hubby made me an awesome brunch.

crispy bacon, poached eggs, potatoes and English muffin

crispy bacon, poached eggs, potatoes and English muffin

And then it started…My cooking bug was obviously up and full force this weekend. I just couldn’t stop cooking!

I did my lunch prep for the week:

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Cut up some bananas to freeze for my smoothies:

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Made some more infused water (oranges and tangerines):

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Made these super awesome breakfast corn muffins with cheese and ham:

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By the time I was done with my meal prep, it was time to make dinner. So I threw together this chicken with veggies.

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And yes, those are pecan bars you see in the background – I made them, too. What? The oven was warm anyway ๐Ÿ™‚

Tell me: what fun stuff did you do this weekend?

And as always – stay fit!

#MNBChallenge, Week 3 Recap – Believe

Hey, guys! Happy Saturday!

How is your weekend going? I hope you are getting a lot of active rest and relaxation!

I am here today to tell you about last week’s happenings of the Move, Nourish, Believe Challenge. If you missed the previous recaps, you can find them here and here.

The past week was about the spiritual aspect of the challenge, which I struggled with the most, and which I think was the most important part of the challenge just because of that.

It is easy to comply with challenges like “eat this, eat that”, or “workout this/that way” for me…Unfortunately, it is not so easy to stop and think, and believe….

I’ve been struggling in the past couple of weeks with my overall motivation (or rather the lack thereof)…I hardly exercised at all and noticed that I started cutting myself a little slack here and there with my food choices. That is not good. Week 3 of the challenge made me stop, thinkย and reconsider. And smell the roses. And realize that whatever is going on with my motivation is ok, and I need to go through this and bounce back. And I am bouncing back ๐Ÿ™‚

So, here’s what happened during Week 3 of the MNB Challenge.

{MONDAY} Spoil Yourself!

Now that is an awesome start to any week, isn’t it? I did spoil myself with an at-home manicure.

here's all my gear!

here’s all my gear!

and the final result of spoiling myself

and the final result of spoiling myself

{TUESDAY} 5 Mindful Minutes

On Tuesday we were supposed to meditate for at least 5 minutes.

I am generally not a good meditation person. That is something I am struggling with in yoga – relaxation and meditation. ‘Cos, you know….I’m far better at buzzing around at the speed of light and it is hard for me to stop. Not that I can’t, I just enjoy my own rhythm.

Anyway, challenge is to challenge yourself, so I did.

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My peaceful place underneath the family pictures in the living room ๐Ÿ™‚

{WEDNESDAY} Be Happy.

On Wednesday we needed to share our happy place picture. That one took me a while to choose from – I have so many happy places (luckily)! after a thorough selection process this picture was dug out of the cyberspace.

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This was take quite a long time ago, and it is of me sitting on top of a cliff in a nature park just outside the city of Krasnoyarsk, Russia, overlooking the beautiful Yenisei River.

That picture made me remember that I am the happiest when I can be alone with nature. Just for a few minutes, to get out of the everyday routine and just sit there looking at the water off of top of a cliff. Perfect!

{THURSDAY} Thankful Thursday.

On Thursday we needed to think and show what we were thankful for.

I am a very lucky woman. I have a wonderful family and friends, I have a good life, everybody I love is in good health and happy. I have a ton of things to be thankful for.

However, none of that would be possible for me if it wasn’t for my mom and dad. They were my answer to the Thankful Thursday challenge – if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have been where I am right now.

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{FRIDAY} #1

On Friday, we had to give a shout out to our number one supporter and motivator.

You all know this guy very well ๐Ÿ™‚

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Best “Yes!” I ever said was to him. He’s always been my number one fan, my number one supporter and partner in crime, my best friend and the love of my life!

And that is how we believed this past week!

I can’t believe this challenge is over… It was so much fun to be part of it! Thank you Fit Approach and Lorna Jane for the wonderful 3 weeks of moving, nourishing and believing!

Five on Friday

Hey guys! Happy Friday!

As usual, here is the Five on Friday postย – five things, events, adventures, foods, etc.. that I am loving/enjoying lately.

{{ONE}} Trip to get our wedding rings.

I dug this picture out from that trip and it made me feel so good!

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We went to Frederick, MD to get our wedding rings and stopped at a Starbucks on the way. We were still unmarried, happy and full of goof like above ๐Ÿ™‚ Now – the only thing that’s changed is the “unmarried” part. Yep, still full of goof ๐Ÿ™‚

It was a great trip on a beautiful September day that I will always remember with warmth in my heart.

{{TWO}} Healthy Living Blogs Tea Swap

Yeah, I participate in a lot of swaps… But I can’t help myself – it is so much fun and I get to meet new people!

The idea behind this one is so simple and so fun – you get a name and an address of a person and you send them 2-3 teabags of your favorite tea. You then receive tea from somebody else on the swap in return. So – you get to meet 2 people.

Here’s what I got from Mindy atย Just A One Girl Revolution

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I sent my tea package to Jessica at Fit & Fab Yogi. I haven’t heard back from her, but I hope the tea made it to her and she enjoyed it.

If you are interested in participating, keep an eye on the Healthy Living Blogs website for the new round of the program to start

{{THREE}} Meal Prep

I love it. Simply love it.

I usually get my “cooking bug” all active on the weekends anyway so why not put it to a good use and prep some meals for the coming week? Exactly – no reason why not.

Last week's salad prep for hubby and me

Last week’s salad prep for hubby and me

Things I usually make:

  • Quinoa
  • Hardboiled eggs
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Beet roots (boiled/steamed)
  • Chicken breast (baked, grilled, fried)
  • Wheat berries
  • Roasted nuts

These are the ingredients to throw together a great salad to take to work for a healthy lunch! And it saves you time on the weeknights when you are tired and oh so tempted to grab some comfort food for lunch or go out.

Seriously,  who wouldn't want this for lunch, right?

Seriously, who wouldn’t want this for lunch, right?

{{FOUR}} Single Serve Blender

I got this baby for Christmas from my husband and I am absolutely loving it!

Neither of my family membersย is a big fan of smoothies, so the single serve is just perfect! It has travel cup, too – so it is super easy to just make one serving, detach the cap and drink on the way to work.

Look what goodness I have made so far:

cherry-banana goodness

cherry-banana goodness

If you think that making a smoothie is a rocket science – it really is not. Check out this cheat sheet for making smoothies that I am using, curtsey of Super Skinny Me.

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ย {{FIVE}} Polar Loop

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I know I have more gadgets than I can handle already…But this is something to wish for ๐Ÿ™‚ Love the way it looks and what it does!

Maybe…maybe if I am a good girl, Santa will bring it for me next year ๐Ÿ˜‰

Check out the features and prices:

Awesome, right?

Now – your turn!

Share your Five on Friday with me.

 

Five on Friday or I Am Back

Hey, guys! Long time no post, huh?

I know…I know… Time to catch up and get back to my blog!

Today I am back with Five on Friday, which pretty much sums up what I have been up to while I wasn’t here with you. So, here we go!

{{ONE}} Christmas!

Where I come from, New Year is a lot bigger celebration than Christmas, and Christmas is celebrated on a different date, too (January 7). However, I came to love this wonderful holiday since I moved to the US. I love seeing smiles on people’s faces, giving and receiving presents and, of course, eating all the yummy things being cooked around this time of year!

We had a beautiful Christmas tree with a lot of presents under it!

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And the kitty who thought those were all his gifts:

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I got a great present (one of many)!

Braun Single Serve Blender!

Braun Single Serve Blender!

Oh, now you just wait until I start blending those wonderful smoothies and sharing recipes with you ๐Ÿ™‚

{{TWO}} Christmas Food – That’s Right, a Separate One for This!

Don’t you love Christmas for all the wonderful foods that bring back the memories of childhood, and make you feel safe and happy? I do! And since I am not American, I brought a little bit of my home to this year’s Christmas table.

Russian potato salad - "Olivye"

Russian potato salad – “Olivye”

 

Crepes stuffed with cottage cheese and raisins

Crepes stuffed with cottage cheese and raisins

Oh, and of course we had to make cookies to honor the American traditions!

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By the way, did you know the story of the Peanut Butter Blossoms? Check it out here!

We also had a beautiful center piece for the Christmas table that I brought back from my company’s Christmas Party:

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{{THREE}} The Evil Stepmother Speaks

A little over 2 years ago I became a wife to a wonderful man, and a step-mother to 2 great kids. As great as they are, it wasn’t all cakes and flowers between us. The kids struggled with getting used to having me in their life full time, having to share their daddy with me, finding a place for me in the new family paradigm, adjusting to the changes I brought into the family….Throw in the adjustment due to being newly weds who had never lived together before and you got a pretty “explosive” mix there. I was blessed with great kids who were trying their hardest to adjust, be nice and loving.ย ย With the most wonderful husband, who has been my shoulder to cry on, my biggest supporter and The Man of the family. With an understanding and kind ex-wife who stayed out of the way when it came to our house vs. her house, our life and our decisions. Who has been my silent supporter all the way for the sake of her kids’ happiness.

Even with all that – we have had and are still having issues, difficulties, tension and disagreements, which are bound to happen in any step-family.

Having no friends around to vent to, what do you do? Right, you get online and Google the “happy step-family”. So I did.

I am very happy to have found Barb Goldberg’s blog that I read as a book – cover to cover. I am thankful for the feeling of not being alone on this anymore that reading her blog gave me. (And for oh so many “Thank God, I thought I was crazy” relief sighs that I took while reading her blog).

I don’t agree with everything she writes about. Not everything she writes about applies to me and my situation, but I can certainly relate to a lot of what she is saying. Thank you, Barb, for the hope you gave me with your blog posts! They are so inspiring and motivating!

{{FOUR}} Dr. Kevin Leman and the Birth Order Factor

To continue educating myself on the subject mentioned above, I grabbed my Nook and started looking for books to read to find answers to the questions I have about stepfamilies and step parenting.

I stumbled upon Dr. Kevin Leman’s works on birth order and how it effects the relationships in families. I downloaded his book “Living in a step family without getting stepped on”, and even though the book is mostly about blended families where both spouses have kids from previous marriages, I found it to be a great resource to understanding how the whole family dynamics works, and where the issues come from. Great read!

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{{FIVE}}ย  Back to Working Out

For the past month (oh my God…was it really THAT long?) my exercise has been very sporadic…2 weeks in Russia where all I did was walking from dinner table to dinner table, then Christmas with all the cookies and other delicious foods and practically no activity! It is time to get back on track here!

I did go to my regular Monday spin class!

I did go to my regular Monday spin class!

Tonight – yoga, and my usual Saturday Double tomorrow with my hubby joining me for the spin class part of it. How exciting is that?

And that concludes my Five on Friday post!

Your turn!

 

Five on Friday

Hey guys! I’m back with Five on Friday!

{{ONE}} I will never get tired of saying this – I am so glad I said that “Yes” to the most wonderful guy in the world! This past week has been an emotional roller coaster, and I am so lucky to have my husband who supports me, worries about me, talks to me, holds me and loves me every step of the way.

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{{TWO}} Fall and Soups.

Yes, those two come together for me personally. I love the whole mind set change when it comes to fall cooking.

Crockpot Chili

Crockpot Chili

Chicken Pho

Chicken Pho

{{THREE}} My new Philips Performance Earphones.

Finally got those! Can’t believe it took me so long to stop this frustration with the regular ear buds falling out of my ears while working out.

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{{FOUR}} My very own Shellac manicure “factory”.

The whole set purchased a while ago on Amazonย has paid for itself a long time ago. Love doing my own nails!

The Miracle Factory

The Miracle Factory

 

Ready "product"

Ready “product”

ย {{FIVE}} Everybody. Everyday. Fitness Challenge at work.

This is something my company does every year and it’s the first time I participate in it. All the participants are part of the teams and the goal is to be active every day, and log the number of minutes of activity planned vs. actual. The logs are then submitted to team captains,ย who log them into a neat program for the whole team. It is a 6 weeks challenge and my performance this week sucks ๐Ÿ™‚ Mostly because I’ve been sick for the past couple weeks…

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Your turn!

Weekend Fun and Split Peas and Kale Soup Recipe

Happy Monday, guys!

I hope you had a great weekend and are ready for the new week.

We had a fun and relaxing weekend. I finally caught up on my sleep – 12 hrs on Saturday, totally blowing the Saturday workout this time, but that was what my body needed me to do, so I listened to it.

Friday night was celebrated in our family by going to the recently opened Sweet Frog!

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Love that place! It is a self-serve so it is easier to control your portion size (or not control it), they have TONS of toppings to choose from, and the place is just so bright and cheerful!

We got some serious goodness there!

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After that we stopped at the Spirit Halloween to look for Carmen’s costume and had some fun with hats ๐Ÿ™‚

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and masks…

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After another trip to a similar store, C’s costume was complete! (that was pretty easy).

On an unrelated subject:

I feel like switching things around a little here on the blog. So. No Motivation Monday today ๐Ÿ™‚

Since the soup season is in “full force”, this time let’s make some Split Peas and Kale Soup in a crock pot!

This is one of my most favorite soups of all times! I made it on Sunday and just love having all those leftovers for lunches during the week.

You don’t have to make it in a crock pot – if you make it on the stove top, just boil the meat a little first to get some nice stock, then add other ingredients and boil until all the vegies are cooked through. I would add potatoes first since they take the longest to cook through.

Split Pea and Kale Soup

Split Pea and Kale Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 cup split peas
  • 9 cups water (divided 2+7)
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 purple onion, chopped
  • 1 cup kale, chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes, cubed
  • Green onions, chopped
  • 1 smoked turkey drumstick (or any other smoked meat), deboned, cubed
  • Fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Before you start, add peas and 2 cups of water to the crock pot so they soak a little.
  2. Take the skin off the turkey drumstick and cut up in 1in cubes
  3. Add turkey and chopped onions to the crock pot
  4. Finely chop the kale and add to the pot
  5. Chop and add green onions, carrots and potatoes
  6. Chop fresh parsley and add to the pot
  7. Add the remaining water and spices to the pot and mix well
  8. Cook on HIGH for a couple hours, then switch to LOW and cook for another 5-6 hours.
  9. Enjoy!
http://leanlena.com/weekend-fun-and-split-peas-and-kale-soup-recipe/

 

 

 

NYC Adventures – October 2013

 

Hey, guys! I hope you are having a great weekend!

I had a fun-fun weekend in NYC with my husband as part of our 2nd Wedding Anniversary celebration last week. As always – NYC was fun, bright, and full of life!Continue Reading

Five on Friday

Hello, myย friends! How have you been this week?

Hope you’re doing well on this beautiful day!

Today I am sharing the things I’m loving lately/great things happening in my life/exciting newsย – Five on Friday.

Ready?

{{ONE}} Our 2nd Wedding Anniversary and Trip to NYC!

I will post the trip recap some time this week. This One of Five is about this awesome guy I met years ago and married 2 years ago – best “YES” I ever said!

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He is my best friend, my one and only and I am SO lucky to have such a wonderful man by my side!

{{TWO}} Mantra Bands!

Aren’t they awesome?

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My Mantra Band

I found these online and I was obsessed ever since. Head over to the Mantra Band and order your own to help you stay motivated on your fitness or any other journey!

Sept 30 spinning

See how it motivated me? ๐Ÿ™‚

{{THREE}} My latest kitchen gadget – crock pot!

My new crock pot

My new crock pot

Now this is a blessing for a family of 4 where both mom and dad work full time. I’m sure you know, but I just love saying it – throw the ingredients in, turn on, leave for work, come back to a delicious hot meal – that is what a crock pot is and I can’t believe it took me so long to get one.

Look at these wonderful things you can make in a crock pot:

Home made crock pot split pea soup

Home made crock pot split pea soup

Home made crock pot chili

Home made crock pot chili

if you add too much water to it like I did - you get soup instead of the stew, which is not too bad either

if you add too much water to it like I did – you get soup instead of the stew, which is not too bad either

{{FOUR}} My upcoming trip to Russia in November!!!

Super excited about it! I haven’t seen my family and friends for 2 long years!!!!

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Got tickets in my pocket – leaving on November 27 and coming back on December 11. 2 weeks with my dearest ones! CAN’T WAIT!

{{FIVE}} Overnight Oats

Gotta love those! Easy and quick breakfast for week days. Just combine oats, almond milk and chia/flax seeds in a jar and refrigerate!

Take out of the fridge in the morning, heat up, add fruit, nuts, etc.. and your healthy breakfast is ready!

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Your turn!