Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Girls in Town!

One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is when my friends come back into town. Two of my best friends, Katelin and Lindsey, were back in Omaha from San Fran and Chi-Town. Combine that with my best friend who lives here, Jean, and it has been an amazing week.

Lindz, Katelin and Me!
We also had to borrow a few boys from the table next to us at La Buvette to take our photo. Yes, were were those annoying girls.

We had an assortment of appetizers, meat and cheese plates, hummus, and hot pressed sandwiches (MY FAVORITE), as well as plenty of yummy wine.

After our night downtown, we headed back to my house to break into my "Three Buck Chuck" wine from Trader Joe's. I'm telling you, this stuff is not bad!

So needless to say, today I have a headache. And I need to pack and clean for tomorrow's road trip to Alliance, and then South Dakota. Jason and I are going skiing over the New Year, and I am so excited to get out of town with him.

I'm also working on an Inspiration Board for 2011. I got the idea from Gina at "The Fitnessista." I am going through a bunch of magazines and cutting out photos, images, and inspirational words that will fuel my resolutions for the New Year.

Here is a preview:

I am excited for the finished product!

I'm off to do some work on my nonprofit project, nurse my hangover away, and gear up for packing, cleaning and BodyPump this evening. More to come later this afternoon!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Cats love (Catnip) Christmas too...

Poor little Ghengis Cat has fallen for the "sauce." Or catnip. My dad got my cats a little stocking with a bunch of new toys, treats and catnip. Below is a video showing just how much Ghengis loves his present!

Too funny!

Here are also a few photos of all the cats at my dad's house...if you think I'm a crazy cat person, consider who raised me that way!!! :)

I just love these little guys! These cats eat better than most children...actually, come to think of it, my cats have more toys that most children!! 

Do you think I have a problem?? :) 

More to come in a bit!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas from the Messy Clem-McClaren House!

Happy Christmas all! Right now I am sitting in my fluffy pink bathrobe that Jason thinks makes me look like a grandma, drinking coffee and watching "Elf."

 I have plans to head down to my dad's house in Palmyra today, but not until I am done cleaning my house and doing some yoga. Yesterday I had a great run, 7.0 miles, in exactly one hour. My speed is getting better! When I do treadmill runs I always mess with the incline and speed to make it as close to running outside as possible. I fueled up for the run with a Christmas Eve breakfast from Jason (English muffin half with peanut butter, one piece of bacon, one egg and cottage cheese) and a juicy clementine. My post run snack was a holiday blend coffee from Crane and a bowl of honey greek yogurt, granola, protein powder, honey and cinnamon!! So yummy! 

Here are a few reasons why I need to clean:

Athena is drowning in a sea of folded and done, but not put away laundry. 

The beds have not been made. 

And I'm not even going to show you the bathrooms. 

However, I did manage to clean the kitchen:

And took a moment to enjoy our pretty ornaments on our lovely and still alive Christmas tree. 

I plan on drinking wine and margaritas, watching America's Funniest Home Videos, and eating sea scallops and tilapia with my dad and brother today. Tomorrow is the big family get together with my grandma and her sister, my aunt and cousins. And Jason too! Have a great Christmas Day everyone!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

No More Cookies After January 1st

I did it again.
More cookies. After all the different batches I have made, I figured I was done. The chocolate tea cookies, the peanut butter cookies, the butterscotch oaties...nope. I found this recipe for "Peanut Butter Pumpkin Dough Balls" on "Carrot's N' Cake," and had to give it a go. Super easy, moist and remarkably tasty.

Peanut Butter Pumpkin Dough Balls
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (I just used equal parts ground ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg).
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips (GENEROUS). 
Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients, roll into balls, slap on greased baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes.

And deliciousness will ensue.

However, I did make up for my two cookies by roasting some of these babies.

Roasted brussel sprouts, onion and sweet potato left over from my sweet potato pancakes. So yummy!

And to finish the night, a sleeping Athena photo!

I am finishing my glass of wine and hitting the sack soon. Today was a workout rest day, the only one I will take this week. BodyPump tomorrow at noon!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sweet Potato Pancakes, Dinner at La Buvette and a Lunar Eclipse

Not a bad Monday all in all.

Yesterday I had a great idea for lunch. I had a great meeting in the Mayor's office in the morning, and had an even better 4 mile run before meeting Jason for a hot apple cider at our favorite local coffee shop. Sweet potato pancakes.

These babies were fantastic! And so simple. I grated half a large sweet potato and combined it with spinach, olive oil and pearl onions. I slapped them on a skillet in a haphazard pancake shape and let them sizzle until they were crispy. Paired with steamed brussel sprouts, broccoli and more onions, this was a fantastic vegetarian meal.

This kept me comfortably full until dinner with girlfriend's at a fabulous downtown french restaurant, La Buvette. This place is my best friend Jean and I's favorite spot, they have great wine and a lovely menu. I chose a baguette with black olives, fresh tomato, caramelized leeks and Gruyere cheese, along with a few glasses or red wine. So delicious, so perfect with three fantastic friends. When I got home, I quickly got into bed to catch a few hours sleep before a rare winter solstice lunar eclipse. This has been the first one in nearly 500 years taking place during the winter. Naturally, the nerd in me got me out of my comfy bed in order to snap a few pics. Now, keep in mind I have a little point and shoot. For better pictures, read :)

These were photos from the very beginning of the eclipse, before the moon turned a lovely shade of red. However, my hands were shaking and the moon looks more like a bouncing basketball. Nevertheless, the color was true to life, so just focus on one circle. THAT was the moon.
Ha! Just picture me out there at 2 a.m., freezing my butt off, chewing out the moon because my hands were shaking. It was a clear night, and a beautiful night sky. Totally worth being exhausted this morning.

Happy Tuesday! More to come later on today.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

French Toast and Tae Bo Sunday

This morning, it was hard to get out of this.

The unmade bed is made to stress how comfortable it is. I mean, seriously you can see my struggle to leave its cozy sheets.

And it's even harder to leave a face like this.

Nevertheless!!! Food and working out prevailed, and I eventually left the warm bedroom and headed to the kitchen.

I had been dreaming about trying a recipe for Kahlua French Toast that I found on one of my favorite blogs, "Itzy's Kitchen." It was amazing, heavenly delicious. Unfortunately, I inhaled three pieces of it so fast I wasn't able to get a picture. The recipe is a must try, and I will stick it in the "Food" Section. Thank you Erica! My kitchen still smells yummy!

Usually, I opt for yoga or Zumba on Sundays. Since my longer run was yesterday, I wanted to do something a little low key, but still fun.

And then I remembered the man with the fantastic colored shorts.

Now, I haven't done TaeBo in YEARS. And I remember being absolutely winded after one of the workouts. I was expecting it to be super easy.

I was out of breath and it was fun! This was a great way to break up my workout routine. Plus I just get a huge kick out of Billy Blank's and his music.

Afterwards, I pulled out a free weights workout from Fitness Magazine called "Right to Bare Arms."

I love this arm workout! Two circuits, and done! I will find this online and stick it in the "Fitness" section. It is short and painfully sweet.

Happy Sunday everyone!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Happy Saturday

Much better.

Please ignore the dirty rug. Today I ran 6.2 miles at the gym and it felt great. MUCH better than yesterday. I think it had a lot to do with my pants. Yesterday I rocked some rather tight sweatpants, which made me feel super tethered. My legs didn't feel free and it was a struggle to run over a 9 minute mile pace. Today though, I wore some leggings and shorts, and it was much easier! I had a banana for a little refuel before I decided to check out this new gem in town:

You should have seen my face. I was beaming the entire time I was in the store. I bought a few things that I have been dying to get ahold of!

Ok, the whey protein powder was not from Trader Joe's, rather Walmart, but I wanted to show my "energy" selection of goods. :) I have read many good things about flaxseed and am anxious to put it in my oatmeal tomorrow.

The wine is only $2.99 a bottle!! I am stocking up for sure next time I go. The bagels are so yummy! I had a half with one slice of the garlic cheese, along with a tangerine and some of my leftover thai veggies from last night.

Today has been fantastic! Jason made breakfast this morning when he came home from work. Eggs, bacon and toast with coffee and juice. Senator Ben Nelson was supposed to speak at UNO, but he had an emergency and was still in Washington. So we decided to go to a great coffee shop, Blue Line, for caramel lattes. The run was great, Trader Joe's exciting, and now I am finishing up dishes and laundry before a quick shower and then work at Dario's for a few hours.

Happy Saturday!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sugar is Not Protein!

Oh boy.

Two days of sugar does not a good run make. I had great intentions to go to the gym and knock out four or five miles. No problem right?

Except for this guy.

Meet my running nemesis, Butterscotch Oatie. He is delicious, roll your eyes in your head good, but awful for endurance. I managed to eek out 3.0 miles, and I called it good.

Lesson learned!

Today was also the holiday party at the Mayor's office. It wasn't just cookies and pie. It was a 30 pound turkey, ham, stuffing, green bean casserole...another Thanksgiving basically.

Oh well. Maybe tomorrow my run will be better. Cross your fingers for 6 strong miles.

Just this good guy for breakfast!


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cookie Wednesday

Dear God.

I have committed the ultimate gym rat sin. I have taken today as my one rest day this week (MISSING BodyPump!) and made cookies. All. Evening. Long.

These were sooo yummy. And of course, I had to have FOUR to make sure they turned out alright. Quality control you know. :)

The two batches I made were Chocolate Tea Biscuits from "It Ain't Meat Babe" and Sweet Potato Oatmeal Raisin from a blog that I can't remember offhand! Sweet potato sounded interesting and I'm all about getting an extra veggie or two in my meal, so I tried it out.

So simple.

1 cup oats, 1/4 cup flour, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup shredded coconut, 1/2 cup raisins, 1 cup mashed sweet potato, and 1/4 cup oil.

Preheat oven to 350 and mix all the ingredients together. Spray baking sheet with oil and portion cookies out (leave them in balls). Bake 20 minutes.

They are savory, wholesome, and perfect for cold winter evenings such as this one.

The chocolate biscuits were really just a last minute impulse. I was browsing through some British films on my computer and noticed "Love Actually." Jennifer from "It Ain't Meat" made some homemade vegan biscuits inspired by Hugh Grant and his tactless "who do you have to screw" comment. :) Mine weren't vegan but they were very good!

1 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup quick cook oats
5 tbsp butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup milk

Mix flour, baking powder and salt together and add oats last. Using fingers, knead the mixture into a course texture. Add milk and sugar. Knead until well mixed and shape into an oval. Wrap in wax paper and leave in fridge for 30 minutes. 
Preheat oven to 375. Using a rolling pin, roll out mixture and use a medium size drinking glass to make several circle shapes in dough. Put on baking sheet with wax paper on top. Bake for 15 minutes. 

For the topping I melted chocolate chips and one spoonful of butter and spread it on top of the biscuits. But I have to say, the plan ones were fantastic as well! It was fun to make some new cookies during a crappy winter night. 

Now for tea and "Love Actually!" :) 

Black Bean and Pineapple Enchiladas

Hello everyone! This morning is a bit overcast and dreary. Blurg. But at least it isn't direly cold out! Today I am at the Center again for the day, breaking up routine a bit with a meeting with the Chamber regarding some new developments in South Omaha. I am really enjoying my Americorps work so far. I have lined up some presentations and speaking opportunities, as well as started interviewing interns for a spring project. It feels great to have a purpose! And of course, my favorite part of the day, BodyPump at 5:30! :)

Last night I had a Listening Project training in the evening that would have made it difficult to get from kickboxing to downtown in time. So I went to a spinning class at 24 Hour Fitness over lunch instead. I LOVE getting my workouts done over the noon hour! Early mornings just aren't my thing, as much as I want them to be, I can't get over my hatred of getting up early. And it was nice to not battle traffic during rush hour. It was a nice change of fitness pace. Since I finished my HyVee Chinese food for lunch before the class, I refuled with a refreshing orange and banana to "offset" my lunch :)

Since I now had a few hours to relax at home before my training, I searched through the blog "Trading Up Downtown" to find some good dinner ideas. And I found it: Black Bean and Pineapple Enchiladas. I normally don't like heavy foods like this, but it sounded sooo good. And it turned out wonderful! I used whole wheat tortillas and was generous with the sauce! I will put the recipe under the "Food" section of my blog. You must try it out!

Back to work!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Guess who finally has a card reader!

And can upload photos more regularly! Clue: she likes to drink wine in the evening after a great day of work. :)

Even though I did not get much sleep last night, I have to say I'm not looking too shabby!

Oh, and now that I have a card reader, I can upload photos right away of my healthy, fantastic, delicious meals.

Or, HyVee Chinese, as I had tonight:

Oh yes, Sesame Chicken and white rice, with a vegetable egg roll, slightly healthier, right??

The terribly delicious and once every six month indulgence gave me the energy to play with this gal:

She was running around so much it was hard to get some good photos of her.

Finishing up a load of laundry, my glass of wine, and going to bed early. Good night everyone!

Christmas Prep

Good Morning all! Today has been chock full of meetings and laughs already, mostly because I shared the following Christmas photos with a few members of the Mayor's office.

As you can see, Ghengis Cat was not thrilled to paticipate in the family photo. Athena, since she is not a cuddler, was mortified at being held for any length of time. Nonetheless, we had a great time and got some nice shots!

This weekend consisted of crappy weather, good veggies and great yoga. I finally got to spend some time with Jason as I feel I haven't seen him all week! Friday we ate at Dario's and watched a National Geographic documentary on "The Science of Evil." Yes, this is an old person's Friday night, for any of you under the age of 90. It was nice to unwind and get to sleep early! Saturday was FRIGID, and we had quite the storm that rolled through. However, I managed to make it to a Bikram yoga class at One Tree Yoga ( that was steamy and felt amazing! It has been awhile since I have taken a Bikram class, so it was a nice change of pace from my normal Saturday running routine. Crappy weather days are great excuses for sleeping in, watching movies, and catching up on housework. It felt nice to be on top of everything!

A few other things we did this weekend:

*Saw "127 Hours." AMAZING, please go see it!
*50 minutes of power yoga on Sunday from Excercise TV (, and I am super sore in my shoulders today so I know it worked!
*Ate LOTS of roasted veggies. Roasted brussel sprouts, garlic and sweet potatoes are my new favorite side dish!

Now I am finishing my cup of coffee and gearing up for a quick 5K run at 24 Hour Fitness before I head to finish the afternoon at The Neighborhood Center. I am going to try going to the gym Monday's and Thursday's during lunch to avoid the awful rush hour traffic in the evenings. More later!