Tuesday, May 31, 2011


I generally keep an upbeat and positive attitude, even in the face of downers and negativity. I think that also comes across in my blog. It is more upbeat, and bright, but that does not mean that I live a life with no hardships. In fact, I deal with a crap load of crap, but I have learned over the course of my quarter century here on earth that you just have to push through and create your own destiny. Easier said than done, I realize, but I do think it is worth fighting for.

When the man and I moved in and got married, we had both been recently laid off. Despite this fact, we totally enjoyed the process of moving in together and really relished the time we had. Of course I needed a few weeks to get used to living with a boy, but it didn’t take long to fall into a routine.

I soon after received a job offer, and we decided that Chaz would go back to school. And from then on out, it just all seemed too perfect. We would go for walks in the evening, try out different restaurants in the area, putz around our 500 square foot apartment. It was even exciting that Chaz found something to study that he truly enjoyed!

Now life is not meant to remain at a constant perfect. There are too many variables and you just have to jump on and go with the flow. We are kind of in a rut right now. Chaz is about to graduate and has been looking for a job since last October with little movement. He did get a part time gig delivering newspapers but hardly enough of a challenge or way of support. It is really difficult, on both of us, but honestly, it really has been a downer for Chaz. He is not himself with all the worrying and stress, and rightfully so. I hope and pray that something moves in a positive direction. I continue to remain upbeat and positive but it can be hard to do that all the time, and let’s be real, that can sometimes get annoying for the other individual!

So keep us in your thoughts. We are so lucky to have each other and our supportive family and friends...we really could not ask for more...well, maybe a job for Chaz!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Blueberry Brown Sugar Banana Nut Bread Muffins!...


END Post...Just kidding!

There is this great Brown Sugar Banana Nut Bread recipe posted on http://www.danicasdaily.com/ that I absolutely love! And I love it even more in muffin form. A few days ago I decided to add some blueberries to give it some more umph and see if I could rock some extra fruit in the muffin. Verdict: I love them even more! Here is the recipe Danica has posted. I added 5 or 6 blueberries to half the batch...I could see adding even more!

Danica's Brown Sugar Banana Nut Bread

1 cup Golden Brown Sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 large egg
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
4 medium banana, mashed
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp table salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp roasted & roughly chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9×5 pan with nonstick spray.
2. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time. Stir in vanilla and banana.
3. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt until combined. Fold in walnuts until combined.
4. Pour in pan, top with additional 2 Tbsp chopped walnuts and bake 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Want to make Banana Nut Muffins? Follow the instructions above including sprinkle the muffin tops with chopped walnuts. Spray 14 muffin tin cups with nonstick spray and bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.


Makes 14 nice size slices, 5 points+ each

Nutritional information per slice (using caloriecount.com):
233 Calories, 11 g Fat, 4.6 g Sat Fat, 0 g Transfat, 48 mg Cholesterol, 142 mg Sodium, 31.1 g Carbohydrates, 3 g Fiber, 15 g sugar, 5 g Protein

Your pan will be very full with batter before you bake it.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A delightful week...

This week was grand to say the least.

Tuesday I met my bff Laura for dinner at Panera followed by a work out. We hadn't seen each other for about two weeks and we had so much to talk about! We worked out during the Biggest Loser finale which helped me log a 1.5 hour workout! Much needed since I am looking to shed what I call the "Reno lbs"!

Wednesday I headed out to Buffalo to mow my parents yard. I got to take in some great weather, wonderful smells, and a delightful evening in the yard with our family dogs. Michael even talked me into a midnight showing of Hangover II...I have seen better. Example: Hangover I.

Thursday was Mexican food date night which my brother Mike and D. Lo shared in on and I hit the sack soon after, around 8:30 pm....It felt so good to get a full night of sleep!

Last night LeeAnn came over and we had a wonderful summer BBQ, watched some movies, and hit up the thrift store today for some great finds! I am soon off to the Twins game with the D. Lo. Just having a quick snack of blueberry brown sugar banana nut muffins...I will share this bomb recipe tomorrow!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

the ups and the downs...

Life can be rough, and can throw you lemons...luckily, I get this face to cheer me up!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Food Network Italian Wedding Cupcake's!

Yesterday, I had this incredible urge to bake. I needed to bake something pretty, and fun, and yummy, and something I could easily share with others. I searched online for a cupcake recipe. I wanted to make something homemade (like from scratch), but settled on this exotic recipe from Food Network’s Sandra Lee, even if it did use a cake mix to start.

The recipe was for a cake but I adapted it into cupcakes and they turned out perfect! Here is a link to the recipe, but I will lay out my cupcake version for you below! This is not a WW recipe but I did put it in my tracker and it came out to 8p+ (not too bad for a decedent treat!)


Italian Wedding Cake Recipe

1 (18.25-ounce) box white cake mix
1 stick butter, softened
1 1/4 cups buttermilk (I used skim milk and added some lemon juice as we had no buttermilk)
3 egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 cup sweetened flake coconut
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, divided
2 (16-ounce) cans cream cheese frosting

· Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
· Fill cupcake pan with 24 liners: set aside. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, butter, buttermilk, egg whites, and extracts. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping down sides of the bowl as needed. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Fold in crushed pineapple, coconut, and 1 cup pecans. Divide batter into cupcake liners. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until tester inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes then turn out on to wire racks to cool completely.
· In a small bowl, stir together remaining ½ cup pecans and frosting.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

a RoYaL eVeNt...

A few weeks ago, a big historical event occurred. The Prince of Wales, married his longtime girlfriend, and the world watched as they exchanged vows and promised to love each other till death do them part.

For this event, I took it to the extreme, and I did so for a few reasons.

The first is, I have Canadian family who love and adore the royal family. Like I have said, we called my great grandma the Queen Mum, and when Princess Diana passed, my parents had us up at 4 am to watch the funeral. They have just always been a part of my upbringing.

The second reason is kind of a why not. With our world so full of negative news, fighting and wars, why not wake up and focus on a piece of history that is exciting, fun, and downright wonderful. How magical for the world to see two people profess their love, create a foundation for their family, and do so with grace, elegance, fashion, and just the smallest hint of normality.

My mother and I got home the night prior to the wedding and assemble gaudy hats at the table with the D. Lo. It was fun sitting at the dining room table, 3 generations, creating outrageous hates to adorn the following morning.

We went straight to bed as out morning included being to Brit’s Pub in Minneapolis by 4:30…just in time for the 5:00 am nuptials! Of course my mom thought there was no need to get there right at 4 when the doors opened….boy was she wrong!

The two story, large restaurant with banquet rooms and all, was packed to the brim!

We luckily found two empty chairs in front of a large tv, found a cup of coffee to share, and were seated in just enough time!

As Kate Middleton left the hotel she was staying at with her father, the whole restaurant fell silent. You could seriously hear a pin drop. And if you were the one to drop the pin, you were certainly going to be shushed!

The wedding was beautiful and so much fun to watch. Prince Harry was a hoot and I really felt the Royal couple tried to make their wedding as intamite as possible, sneaking in little gestures of their non-royal lives.

After the wedding ended and the craziness subsided, we finally decided to have the brunch that the Pub was hosting. It was delicious and the perfect ending to an early morning wedding! That and of course the special brew of Crispin made just for the occassion! MMM...nothing like a cup of coffee and a pear cider!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

picture love...

I thought I would share some pictures of my medal and new swag. This is the first race I have participated in where there was a medal given at the end! (love this! way more then the crappy cotton t-shirt I received!)

Also thought I would share a picture of my new headbands!

And my new shirt which fits my personality to a T! And, it is not a crappy cotton shirt (like the ones given to the runners of the 5k...fancy that, all the other races where given WAY nicer RUNNING shirts)!

And on my drive home, this little inspirational view greeted me...the road ahead is promising? I think so!

And don't worry, I am not THAT bent out of shape over the crappy cotton t-shirt...I will just have to run further next time to get an ACTUAL running shirt...one that maybe wicks away sweat, not harbors it!

Friday, May 20, 2011


I ran tonight...in the Fargo 5k! And, I PR'd at 35:54...11:10 minute miles...better then I do running on the treadmill!

I learned a few things though. Running fast does no good if you are not trained for it. I was running to keep up with a friend and I ended up getting a nasty side stitch that lasted the rest of the race.

In addition, races at night are just not as nice as morning ones.

That being said, I ran the whole thing, faster then I ever have, and I am motivated to run an even longer race!

Thursday, May 19, 2011


I have been absent for a bit here…I go in spurts. Sometimes I can update daily, and sometimes, I can go a whole week without updating. I have a legit excuse this time however. I was in a cabin, on Lake Tahoe, with no Internet since Saturday, and I took full advantage of it. There are very few moments in our lives these days where we can actually unplug from the cyber world. Being I found myself in one of those moments, I took full advantage of it. Even my cell phone was on the fritz so no readily available Internet access for me! I enjoyed it, but I also really enjoyed catching up on the blogs I read once I fixed my cell phone. I learned a very valuable lesson during this period of cyber disconnect; I am fully addicted to the Internet. Yes, my name is a Adara, and I am addicted to 3G, WIFI, Twitter, Facebook, People.com, gmail, weather.com, and a variety of random blogs.

Our trip was wonderful. Lots of family time. We arrived in Reno on Thursday and pretty much went right to bed to rest up for Laine’s big day! She graduated on Friday and we celebrated with a wonderful lunch, a little shopping, and a gathering at her favorite pizza joint that evening!

Saturday morning I ran a little over 4 miles and was happy I did at least something in the exercise realm while on vacation. Then we headed up to Tahoe City where we were greeted by snow, but beautiful views!

We spent the rest of the days enjoying the cabin just off of Lake Tahoe. We visited Emerald Bay and took some pictures and my favorite adventure was on Tuesday when we headed to winery’s in California! A few of us got a little tipsy but it was quite the adventure!

Last night we got in at 11:45 pm. I think I fell asleep around 1:00am, maybe a bit later, and I am sure tired today! It was hard getting out of bed! But I am at work, catching up. I even made a trip to grab a few WW snacks to get back on track.

Tonight I will do some homework and pack for Fargo-Moorhead where I will be participating in my third 5k. I work tomorrow morning but leave around noon to get up north before the 6:30pm start time. I plan on drinking loads of water tomorrow and stretching throughout the car ride to make sure I am well hydrated and ready to roll once I hit town.

Amidst my lack of updating, I have left you all in the dark about my hoopla surrounding the Royal wedding! I know it is well over two weeks in the past but I am writing up a little something and will post later!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I'm leaving on a jet plane...

Except I so know where this one is going! Reno baby!

First and foremost I am looking forward to some vacation time! I have been saving and saving and saving my vacation hours and now, I plan on blowing them with four days of no work! It will be utterly glorious!

But, more importantly, I am overly excited to see the Durgin clan, get in some good family time, and celebrate Laine's college graduation! Exciting!

This past week has been fun and pretty relaxing. Of course it is always a bit hectic before a trip but I have tried to stay up on my workouts and i was not super strict this week with my food intake, I certainly did not fall of any wagons! In addition almost every night this week I went to bed at 11 or before...unheard of in my book! Something was just pulling me to my bed...maybe my body was just in the mood to be healthy! Who knows! But tonight, I am going to push the envelope a bit...with a good airplane nap in my near future, tonight may be a later evening, but not by much!

Off to pack!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day to strong women I get to call family!...


Ok, so the Banana Muffin Recipe I shared with you earlier, I calculated it again and it came out to 4p+ per muffin. I think people have various point values for two reasons. One, the recipe tracker adds up the points for each individual item and divides it by serving from the point total. I think other people use a calorie counter which totals up the calories and gets a point value from that. I think that is generally 1 or 2 p+ lower but to me, both ways are valid. In addition, I am not really one to fuss over point value! 1 or 2 here and there won’t hurt too bad…just punch it out at the gym!

A recipe I made using the WW recipe calculator, and the recipe on a back of a McCormick Meatloaf seasoning packet, came up with 4p+ Meatloaf Muffins. These little babies are amazing! So delicious! And by using lean turkey, you can get these down to 3p+ Meatloaf muffins! Since I am all about the beef, here is my Meatloaf muffin recipe!

Muffin Pan Meatloaf

PointsPlus™ Value: 4
Servings: 12

Preparation Time: 15 min
Cooking Time: 30 min
Level of Difficulty: Easy


1 packets Meatloaf seasoning, dry mix
1/2 cup(s) fat-free skim milk
2 item(s) egg
1/4 cup(s) Progresso® Bread crumbs Garlic & Herb Breadcrumbs
1/4 cup(s) ketchup
1/4 cup(s) chili sauce
2 pound(s) raw lean ground beef


Mix all ingredients together except the ketchup and chili sauce. Evenly divide the meat into 12 muffins. Mix ketchup and Chili Sauce and evenly spread on top of muffins. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes! Check to ensure they are done. Enjoy!

Friday, May 6, 2011

just do it...

So you want this…really bad! You crave it, you feel it, you dream it. You get urges to just give it all you got. You have the desire, the strength, and the know how. The best part is, nothing can hold you back. Nothing can stop you. You can actually do this! You have all the abilities and resources…now, just do it!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

a break...

there is something so wonderful about the comforts of home...
the smell that engulfs you as you enter...
the colors, sights, and sounds...
the people who know you the best...
the coziness of your bed...
the enjoyment of your hobbies, and being able to let it all hang out...
the memories that your possessions hold...
the photos that adorn your walls...
the food, and nourishment...
the pets and plants...
I hope everyone has these moments of comfort. I wouldn't trade them for anything.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


So I will be honest with you, my dear friends, and by friends I mean family, as most of you are my family. I have not been a very good tracker the last like three weeks. Life got busy, and I got sick, and I would track one day and not the next. Or track in the morning but not at night. I am sure on this journey I will take many little breaks, but I suppose that is part of the adventure. The good news, I kept up a general workout schedule. And I am back in full force!

Yesterday I tracked everything and had a wonderfully delicious day of food! It felt good to be back on track and I made two wonderful recipes that you must try out! One is a 2p+ apple pie cookie and the other is a Chicken tamale bake. And if I have to pick one over the other, pick the Chicken tamale back…I am obsessed with it! In fact, just had it for lunch and reveled over how nummy it is!



My other great find is Blue Diamond Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk…I grabbed the little container that is not refrigerated…it was in the coffee section. Of course you refrigerate once open but one cup is 1p+! And it is so creamy and decedent! ¼ cup is 0 points which is plenty in my coffee! I grabbed vanilla for my coffee and original for cereal! You can get it in the refrigerated section too but that is in bigger sizes. I grabbed the original in the bigger version since I use more on my cereal! I am really loving it! And to go with it I of course brewed some insanely strong coffee and popped in the fridge so in the morning I can make a creamy 0p+ iced coffee! Love it!

So here we go. Another path on my little adventure!


On a sad note, my aunt and her family had to put their sweet dog to sleep this morning. Keep them in your thoughts and prayers. It can be so difficult losing a pet, especially when you make them part of your family. Bailey was with them for 15 years and is technically their first born. She will be missed but for sure never forgotten!