Saturday, August 27, 2011

My week in review!

Hello my friends! I'm back for a quick couple posts. My first week of work at my new job went fabulous. I really think I am going to love it there. After a couple days of training for the job, I got to start actual personal training clients on Wednesday. Yay! I will be personal training about 60% of the time there and the other 40% of the time I will be working on new fitness programs for Capital One, teaching/being in charge of the aerobics classes (woohoo!!!), teaching ab classes, and many many many other tasks. This job is LOTS more than just personal training, but I love it and it makes the 8 hours of the day go by fast.

It has been VERY tough trying to balance a full work day and then come home to try and study. I have been exhausted when I get home from work, so have been trying to go for a quick walk/run to clear my mind, eat/cook something, then get to studyin. I have done an OK job with it, I think. I feel myself getting stressed with this load, but trying to breathe and tell myself that I can do it! Weekends will be precious time for me to study; however, as you know the Hoffman's, we are go-go-goers. Last weekend we were in DC visiting my two brothers, my sweet little nephew, and my sister and brother in law. We had a GREAT time!!!!! (We really need to get up there more often and take advantage of the big city) This weekend we are in Raleigh and staying with my mother and father in law. It is my niece's 2nd birthday TODAY and my nephew's 7th birthday tomorrow. We are having a joint birthday party for them this afternoon. We are excited to be here for the celebrations. :)

Yes, we had a crazy earthquake this past week. I was at work (thankfully on the first floor) and everything was shaking. It was crazy, but I thought it was kind of exciting. haha. The loud speaker came on and everyone had to evacuate the building. At Cap. One that is TONNSSS of people, it was craaaazy. But, they handled it well. We had to wait outside for almost an hour so that they could check the buildings. It wasn't bad because it was a beautiful day outside. :) Now, the hurricane is coming our way. Oh my! I think it has lost some strength, so I doubt things will be too bad around us.

On to the eats...

Sunday afternoon we got home from DC and I wanted to make a yummy/healthy dinner for the hubs and I. My fabulous "go-to" blog for recipes is How Sweet It Is. She NEVER fails to disappoint with her recipes. Always amazing. I have shared many with you before, and will share many in the future. Sunday night I made these BBQ Chicken Quesadillas. Yum.Yum and more yum. Only difference I made with the recipe is that I used soy cheese instead of regular cheese.

Monday I threw some chicken in the crock pot along with some spices. When I got home from work Monday evening, right away dinner was served. I LOVE CROCK POTS!!!! I will post the recipe soon.

We worked on the leftovers for a few days and then Thursday night I made this amazing Crunchy Honey Chicken. Knock your socks off amazing. I tell you, I love this woman and her recipes.

I better run...enjoy your weekend everyone! Be safe!

*Sorry for no pictures, I forgot to bring my camera to Raleigh and hadn't uploaded pics onto the computer yet. oops!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Back to School!

I feel like I'm going back to college.

My study books came Tuesday and since then I've been a studyin' fool. My new job starts Monday and so between work and study, study, study I won't have a life in the near future. ugh. But, I am very excited about my new job...I just gotta pass this exam with flying colors and all will be right in the world.

My big exam is September 29th, so after then I should hopefully have my life back. If you are wondering, I am studying for my ACE personal trainer's certification. I have a different personal trainer's certification, but Capital One only allows a certain few and ACE is one of them. ACE is a certification I have always wanted to get, but always knew it would be a tough one for me to pass. I am a HORRIBLE test taker and was so happy when college was over so that I didn't have to take another test again. Well, I was wrong...a few tests have been taken since college! ACE is one of the top trainer's certifications one can get, it is full of anatomy, physiology, nutrition, exercise plans, etc. Very difficult pretty much sums it up. Please say lots and lots of prayers for me.

On a fun note, look what I found today on a quick little shopping trip!

I am in LOVE with this mirror!!!!! Looks perfect in our "fireplace room". Our couch is being delivered Labor Day weekend and I can't wait. I have a feeling this may be one of my top favorite rooms in our house when I'm done with the decorating.

To sum everything up, I will be doing VERY little blogging between now and the end of September. I will try to keep you all updated on good recipes, life goings-ons and how the new j.o.b. is. I highly doubt I will be in the kitchen much...perhaps the hubs will cook for me???? ;) I love cooking/baking so this will be hard...also between working 8 hours a day then putting in a few hours of studying will leave me very little time to exercise. big UGH on that one. I have to keep telling myself that this will only last a month...

I can do it. I can do it. I can do it!

*Do you have a difficult time taking tests? If so, what do you do to overcome this? Good luck to all of those going back to school!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Peanutbuttery Tofu and Veggie Stir Fry

I am a peanut butter addict. It's a problem. It's not just peanut butter, it's almond butter, sunflower butter, etc. 95% of the time I eat natural nut butters hence the NO sodium, MUCH less sugar, and NO nasty ingredients. I guess my addiction could be much, much worse. ;)

I had some tofu on hand and was craving a tofu stir fry. Seriously, this is one of my most favorite dishes I make. TONS of fresh veggies paired with little bites of tofu covered in a light peanut sauce served over brown rice. Perfection. Even the hubs likes this...score.

Peanutbuttery Tofu and Veggie Stir Fry:


1 yellow onion, chopped
1 package sliced mushrooms
1 red pepper, chopped
a large bunch of fresh broccoli, chopped
Firm Tofu
1 T. olive oil


-Heat 1 T. olive oil over medium heat. Once pan is warmed up add onions. Let the onions cook for about 10 minutes or until they are getting on the softer side. After about 10 mins., add mushrooms. Let both cook together for a few mins. Once mushrooms are getting softer add in red pepper and broccoli. Stir fry all of this together for about 10 minutes.

-Make peanut sauce:

1/4 heaping cup peanut butter
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
3 tbsp water

Dump all four ingredients, plus water, into a bowl and whisk to combines!

-After sauce is made, pour over veggies. Stir together.
-Add tofu to veggies and peanut sauce.
-Cover pan and simmer for about 5 minutes. Sauce will slightly thicken and you are ready to eat!

*Serve over brown rice. Enjoy!

(I apologize for the poor picture quality, lately we have been so hungry and just ready to eat instead of fussing with picture taking!)

Oh and after our dinner of this PB goodness, we had leftover peanut butter pie...told you I was a PB addict....

***Do you love nut butters? If so, what is your favorite kind?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Peanut Butter Pie for those I love

Happy Monday, ya'll! This is my last "quiet" week until back to working full time. I have lots to do on my "to-do" list this week to get prepared, but I am excited. The hubs and I had a great weekend. We started off the weekend with a delicious dinner out. Saturday and Sunday the hubs worked outside on fixing/adding fencing to our backyard. He didn't finish the fence this weekend, but made great head way!

We can't wait until the fence is all fixed so that we can let the pups out in the yard and not worry about them running into the street. Last night we both worked on the fence until the sun went down. We were then starving and I ran in to cook dinner. The hubs put the pork tenderloin on the grill and I threw together a salad, a mixture of green beans and black beans and some brown rice. I wasn't overly in love with the pork tenderloin marinade that I did. It was too salty for my liking and well, I just wasn't "wowed" with the recipe so I won't be sharing it. We scarfed down our meal and felt much better after we had food in our bellies.

After dinner and cleaning up we plopped ourselves on the couch and watched two shows of Breaking Bad (3rd season). We also had Peanut Butter Pie. It was so yummy! This is a recipe I've had forever, but rarely make it. Not sure why I always forget about it as it is sooo good. When you cut it, it is a little pudding like---so not very pretty for a picture. Hense, no slice pics. :)

Peanut Butter Pie


1, 8 oz. pkg. low-fat cream cheese
3/4 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup. creamy peanut butter
2 T. skim milk
1, 8 oz. pkg. fat-free cool whip
1, 9" graham cracker crust
fudge topping


In a large mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add peanut butter and milk. Beat until smooth and creamy. Fold the cool whip into peanut butter mixture. Pour into pie crust. Put hot fudge topping in microwave bowl and heat until soft. Drizzle over pie. Refrigerate. Indulge.

This pie is in dedication of Mikey and Jennifer. It is also for all of those very near and dear to my heart. Life is oh so precious...I love you all.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Peachy Overnight Oats

Yesterday morning I woke up to a growling stomach and overnight oats! Yum! I had a peach that needed to be used, so I cut it up and put it in my oats. The best part about my overnight oats? I used my sunflower butter jar that I had just emptied out. I put the oats in there, that way I could get some of the sunflower butter left in the jar with each spoonful of oats. It doesn't get much better than this...sooooooooo good! Friday night before I went to bed, I mixed about 1/2 cups of oats, 1 T. chia seeds, cinnamon and about 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk in the sunflower butter jar. Saturday morning I added the chopped peach, then easy and so healthy.

The hubs has been fixing our fence all weekend. It is a rainy day here, so not sure how much more he'll work on it today. We are SO happy to see rain though!!!! It hasn't rained in Richmond in a LONG time and we really need it. Last night we went to Richmond's Jazz Festival with my parents and my brother and his friend who were in town visiting. We had a great time!!! Today will be a relaxing day of cleaning, Body Pump with my Mom, then watching some Breaking Bad with the hubs. We just got season 3 in the mail and I can't WAIT to watch it! I also have a pork tenderloin marinading for our dinner tonight...recipe to come soon.

Have you seen Breaking Bad???!! When the hubs first started this series, I really thought that I wouldn't like it...well now, I'm hooked.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Peanut Butter Pie for Mikey

I will be making a Peanut Butter Pie this weekend. A food blogger, Jennifer lost her husband unexpectantly last week to a massive heart attack. I am sorry to be the barer of bad/sad news, but there you go. Mikey's favorite dessert was Peanut Butter pie. Jennifer told the blog world in her most recent post that "For those asking what they can do to help my healing process, make a peanut butter pie this Friday and share it with someone you love. Then hug them like there's no tomorrow because today is the only guarantee we can count on."

I just came back from a delicious "special treat" dinner with my sweet husband. We went to Bonvenu and it was delicious. Not my most favorite restaurant in Richmond, but it was yummy. We had planned to go to Zeus Gallery a favorite of ours, but we didn't have a reservation and it was booked. No fear, we decided to try something new! We shared fried calamari for an appetizer and a bottle of white wine. I had a shrimp and grits type dish and he had a pork tenderloin dish. Did I mention this was a special treat night? We rarely go out for these types of splurges/meals! We were enjoying a night out just the two of us and a little celebration of my new job. We had a great time. Then, I came home and read all of these posts about the peanut butter pie. Tears. So sad. Life is so, so, SO very precious. Tell those around you that you love them, be happy, give hugs, count your blessings, take care of your body, live every day and every moment to the fullest. Life is too short. Don't take life and love for granted...

Now, I have a heavy heart. Heavy for a person I don't know. I am counting my blessings tonight.

Be on the lookout for my PB Pie recipe soon...

Can chocolate help your workout?

Happy Friday! Wanted to share with you this awesome article I just read from the NY Times. More the reason for me to eat more chocolate!!!! (just kidding) Here's another interesting article for your weekend reads. The title of this article is: "Why your brain is made for movement."

Fitness Friday!!! What are you doing today on your feet? Is it a nice short or long run...a calming the house? Please share! I'm off to try another super short run then my favorite class ever...Body Pump. Man, I know my brain is made for movement...although I think my brain is made for movement times 100. My husband would agree.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Simply Southern Tomato Pie

Last night the hubs was out of town for work and my Mom and I had a women's group meeting to go to. My neighbor brought over MORE tomatoes from his garden, so our kitchen was bursting with tomatoes. I knew just what I was going to make...Tomato Pie. I invited my Mom over for a girly dinner before our was fabulous. Tomato Pie is a very Southern dish but OH SO GOOD. It's only this good with fresh hand picked tomatoes...I can't imagine it being very good in the dead of winter when they aren't in season, yucky. We had a vegetarian supper (hense no hubby around) including Tomato Pie, edamame, fresh corn on the cob, corn bread muffins and hummus with cut up red bell pepper. It was SUCH a delicious and healthy meal! Love it!

I made the Tomato Pie without a pie crust. I would typically use a pie crust, but I didn't have time to make my own and I didn't feel like buying an already made store bought one with tons of nasty ingredients in it. Although no crust was involved it was still AHHHHHMAAZZZING. The dish was a little runny from the juice of the tomatoes, but no big deal...they were slurpped up as best as possible because it was just too good to let anything go to waste.


Tomato Pie


3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
5 large tomatoes, sliced
6 fresh basil leaves, chopped
Pepper to taste
1 Vidalia onion, sliced
3/4 cup low-fat mayo
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese (I used soy cheese)
1/2 cup shredded Monterery Jack Cheese (again, I used soy cheese)


Preheat over to 350 degrees. Layer the parmesan cheese, tomatoes, basil, pepper and onion.

Combine the mayo, cheddar cheese and monterey jack cheese in a bowl and mix well. Spread over the layers.

Bake for 40-45 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

**I just had some leftovers for lunch...holy goodness in my belly.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Even more exciting news then yesterday

It's been a very good week here so far! Yesterday I accepted a position at Capital One here in Richmond. Capital One has a HUGE corporate office's gigantic. They call it the Capital One campus, because, well it really is a campus. It has a huge food court, fitness facility, full size gym (as in basketball gym), sand volleyball courts, a lake, etc. It's got it all. Pretty awesome if you ask me. Anyways, I have been interviewing for the job and yesterday everything went through and I got the offer letter. :) Yippee!!! I will be working at their fitness center as a Fitness Consultant/Personal Trainer. The job is 40 hours a week with benefits and I am super excited about this. My current training job is barely part time (with no benefits what so ever), so I find myself babysitting or trying to do other odd jobs to make more $$$. If you know me, it's very hard for me to sit still, so working just a few hours a week has been killing me. I'm sure getting back into the routine of working 40 hours a week will kill me too, but what doesn't kill you makes you stronger...right?! ;)

I have a strong feeling that my blogging will be put on the back burner once I start my new job. Capital One also wants me to get another (yes, another---can we say qualified??? phew) personal trainer's certification, so I will be studying like a crazy fool for that as well. My first day is Monday, August 22nd and my big exam is Thursday, September 29th. Working, studying, hanging out with my husband and our pups, and cooking when I can (prob. very little of this) will take priority over blogging for the next month or so.

I am very, very excited about this opportunity. I have always said that I would love to work for a large company in their fitness center, and I'm finally there! It is definetly a step up in my career and I couldn't be more excited about it. Thank you to my husband and all of my family and friends for their huge support throughout my career decisions. I decided to become a trainer a little over a year ago and pursued my passion. This is what I love. It's always been a dream of mine. It makes me so happy to help others work towards their health wants and needs and to also model the importance of a healthy lifestyle. Helping just one person a day makes me feel so good.

*What's your passion in life? What is your dream job?

On the cooking front, or I guess I should say baking front...I made the fabulous Angela's Almond Butter Rice Crispy Treats. They are delish. A great treat but so natural and not all that horrible for you. Really helps calm my crazy sweet tooth! I love Angela's blog, I swear I want to make EVERYTHING she has on it. yummmmmmmmmmeeeeee.

Here is my adapted version:

Yield: 12 squares


1/2 cup chunky almond butter
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
3.5 cups Rice Crispy's Cereal
Chocolate drizzle: 1/2 cup chocolate chips, 1 tbsp almond butter, pinch salt

Shredded coconut, to garnish (I didn't do this as the hubs and I aren't huge coconut fans)


1. Prepare an 8 inch by 8 inch square pan, by lining it with parchment paper on both sides.

2. In a large pot over low-medium heat, add the syrup, butter, almond butter, and salt. Stir well until combined and heated through. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.

3. Stir in 3.5 cups of rice crisp cereal until thoroughly combined.

4. Scoop into pan and spread evenly. Press down with fingers or roll flat with pastry roller (or your fingers). Place in freezer to set for 5 minutes while you make the chocolate glaze.

5. In a microwave safe bowl, add the chocolate chips. Microwave for about 60 seconds, stirring after 30 seconds. Be careful not to burn. Stir in the almond butter and pinch of salt.

6. Remove pan from freezer and drizzle or spread with melted chocolate mixture. Sprinkle with coconut and place in the freezer until firm, about 15 minutes. Slice into squares. Bars will hold their shape quite well at room temperature, but you can store in the fridge to ensure the chocolate stays solid.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Exciting News and Sweet Grilled Peaches

I ran this morning for the first time in over four months!!! Hip, hip, HORRAY!!! I last saw my physical therapist about 2 weeks ago and at that time she didn't give me the clear to start running again. But, I have recently felt great so decided to see if I could give it a little go this morning. I did it! I am so excited. This really makes me so so happy. I have missed running SO much since my injury and I can't wait to get back to the good ole days of running. Perfect timing for beautiful Fall weather in our near future. I only ran one mile and it was more like a very slow job than a run (or some could say a very fast walk). I ran at 5.1 MPH (slow as I turtle, I know), with a 0.5 incline, one mile took me 13 minutes. It was a VERY slow run, but none-the-less, I did it. There was no way I could have run faster as my muscle is still healing and I want to take it very easy in the beginning. I will continue to do a mile very slowly for a few weeks and build up from there. Can we get another, hip, hip, HORRAY?! :)

The other night we had my parents over for dinner, I made Sweet Grilled Peaches for dessert. This was a perfect hot summer night dessert! SOOOO delicious and melted in your mouth. I have grilled pineapple, but never peaches. I'm telling you, you must do this ASAP. It is amazing.

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 peaches, unpeeled, halved and pitted
1/3 cup white baking chocolate, finely chopped

Heat grill to medium-high. Whisk together butter, brown sugar and cinnamon until well blended. Add peach halves and toss to coat.

Lightly oil grill grates to prevent sticking. Place peaches, cut side down on grill. Grill until slightly charred about 2 minutes. Using tongs turn peaches over carefully. Divide chopped chocolate among peach cavities and drizzle with remaining butter mixture from bowl. Grill until chocolate just begins to melt and peaches are charred, about 2 minutes.

To serve, top with vanilla ice cream or light Butter Pecan.

Mmmm, mmm...GOOD!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sweet and Sour Chicken Skewers

Happy Saturday, everyone! I am so happy that the weekend is here. It is nice to have a quiet, relaxing morning to lounge around. It was a very busy week, so it's been fabulous to slowly enjoy my breakfast (not in the car like usual on the way to training), slowly sip my coffee and catch up on computer things. Ahhh, love this :)

Last night we had my parents over for dinner. Although they live in Richmond, we hadn't seen them in quite some time. They were out of the country on a cruise (can we say jealous?!) and have just been their normal crazy busy selves. I wanted to do something on the grill and found this recipe from my Women's Health magazine. Perfect. Everyone enjoyed the skewers and I will def. be making them again. I served the skewers with brown rice and fresh green beans. Delish.

Sweet and Sour Chicken Skewers
(serves 4)


2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size chunks
3 medium zucchini, cut into large chunks
3 cups large pineapple chunks
1 T. maple syrup
2 medium red onions, cut into large chunks
2 red bell peppers, cut into large chunks
about 10 wooden skewers, soaked in cold water for about 20 mins.
6 T. ketchup
1 T. low-sodium soy sauce
2 T. rice wine vinegar
2 tsp. sriracha hot sauce


1. Preheat grill to medium-high. Thread chicken, veggies, and fruit onto skewers, alternating chicken, zucchini, pineapple, onion, and red pepper. Season with salt and pepper.

2. In a mixing bowl, stir together maple syrup, ketchup, soy sauce, vinegar and sriracha. Set aside half the glaze in a separate container; brush the rest onto the skewered food.
3. Grill until lightly charred and chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Then use a clean brush to coat with extra sauce.

(I didn't take a picture of the final product, or for that matter----I didn't take any other pictures of this meal. ugh. I was too busy with entertaining and catching up with the rents! Sorry)

YUM! Enjoy!

*We had grilled peaches for dessert...ahhhmaaazing...stay tuned for the recipe ;)

Was a lovely night! Today we have a nice relaxing little Saturday planned...actually no real plans today which is nice. We are having dinner with friends tonight so that should be fun. Heading to the gym soon then who knows. Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Spinach Orzo Salad with Basil/Lemon Dressing

Made this for dinner last night and it was fabulous! I got the recipe from a good friend who is a great cook. The changes I made are in italics. I added chicken sausage for added protein since I made this for the main course. I served the pasta with fresh corn. Yum-o!

3 cups baby spinach, washed, stems removed (I was too lazy to remove the stems and it was fine)
1 to 1.5 cups of orzo pasta (I used whole wheat)
1/2 cup chopped grape tomatoes or 1/3 cup finely chopped red bell peppers.......kind of a kitchen sink kind of thing...any chopped veggie really! (I used red bell pepper)
toasted pine nuts (about 1/4 cup)
grated parmesan (about 1/2 cup)

2 t. minced garlic
2 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 T white wine vinegar
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1 T. chiffonade of basil (I used basil leaves I had in our garden)
2 t. fresh, black pepper

Rinse spinach and remove long stems. Cook orzo according to pkg. directions and drain. Put spinach in bottom of pot that orzo just came out of, dump the orzo back on top of the spinach, cover with lid until wilted. Throw in a T. of EVOO, stir. Add chopped tomatoes and/or red bell peppers, cheese and stir. Pour dressing over the salad, top with pine nuts, toss well and serve warm. SO GOOD!

*Are you looking for more info. about weight training and it's benefits from my post below? Go here. :)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Happy August!

Whoa, hold on, how is it August already??? WHERE in the world has this summer gone or for that sake, this year??? Craziness I tell you. It's actually a beautiful day here in Richmond. The high is only 95 degrees here today...I love some temps in the 90's after too many 100+ degree days (and yes, we have more coming).

I didn't have any early morning trainings today, so started my day off with Body Pump. Man oh man how I love me some Body Pump.

Source here

I am a cardio queen, but I have also always loved weights. I believe this love came from my Mom. She has always been such an amazing healthy role model in my life and I need to thank her for this. Although she works her BUTT off with a hard full time job, she always finds time to exercise. She has always lifted weights and I tell you, it really pays off. She is one beautiful woman! She has taught me the importance of healthy living since a wee little thing, and I know that is now why I am a personal trainer and have a passion towards leading a healthy lifestyle today.

Tonight on the menu for dinner is a good friend's, Spinach Orzo Salad with Basil, Lemon dressing. I am going to use whole wheat orzo and add some chicken sausage for added protein. Yum, I can't wait to see how this turns out. Recipe will be posted later!

I have a hankering for making something sweet, but healthy sweet for dessert. Any suggestions???!!!

*Do you have a healthy role model in your life you can thank? Or, just any role model?