WOW: A New Workout Time

Oh, my dear readers…. I got the BEST news about a week ago.

You probably remember that I changed jobs about 6 months ago, and I’m very lucky to work for a fantastic company.  That same company made the decision about a week ago to change my job responsibilities DRASTICALLY.  And, as part of this shift, they are changing where I work on a daily basis.

Changing where I work??  Why the heck does that matter?

When you commute in Denver traffic to the Denver Tech Center on a daily basis… you get VERY excited when you hear that you don’t have to do this every single day.

It was just a matter of time before I went Michael Douglas on someone.

I know that Denver is not like LA or Atlanta (not nearly as bad.)  However, if you live in Denver, the LAST place you want to commute daily is the Denver Tech Center.  EVERYONE works there, and they all take the same interstates to get there.  It’s adorable once you arrive, but quite the bear to get to.

Now, I’ll still make trips to our office from time to time, but more often than not, my new office will be fairly close to home.  Saying goodbye to the two plus extra hours I’ve spent in my car for the past 6 months does not break my heart.  Think of what I can do with those extra two hours!!

How I Plan to Spend the Morning Hour

I have always thought it would be amazing to have the option to workout in the morning.  When I was leaving my house at 6:30am, working out in the morning was completely impossible.  Afterall, my gym doesn’t even open until 5:00am.  Now, however, working out in the morning is TOTALLY a possibility!  I worked out on Tuesday morning (my first day on the new job) and I plan on doing it moving forward!  If I’m at the gym by 6:15am, I can be home by 7:15am and ready to work by 8:00am.  That’s PERFECT!

I’ll still get to see sunrise in Denver, but the skyline won’t be in the backdrop.  Instead, I’ll see a view of the mountains (which I can see from my gym.)  I’m definitely okay with that.

ALSO… I’ve never mentioned it here, but I am NOT a morning person.  So, let’s also pause for a moment to consider that waking up an hour later and getting those morning endorphins will also make me MUCH more pleasant.  Maybe that was my boss’ real goal in re-designing our department??

How to Spend the Afternoon Hour

Wait a second, when I get home from work… I don’t have to rush to the gym because I already did it??  That’s the best ever!  Instead, I can do whatever I’d like.  Keep up with my DVR, experiment with new recipes, run errands, enjoy an evening with friends, do laundry, write more blog posts, take classes I’ve been thinking about taking… I mean, the list of options are ENDLESS.  The great news is that the time is MINE.

I don’t really plan to sit in a grassy field like this… but it’s my hour and I’ll do what I want to…

I’m also not opposed to doing an extra workout in the evening.  I always have that struggle between cardio and yoga… which one to do.  If I do cardio in the morning, the afternoon is wide open for yoga (or a second walk at the gym!)  There’s also a few classes that traffic always keeps me from (i.e. 6:00pm Zumba on Mondays, and 5:30pm Yoga on Wednesdays.)  These are all possibilities now!

Let’s pause to talk about steps for a moment.  I am also REALLY excited about bringing more steps to the table on a daily basis!  As many of you know, I’m an avid Fitbit fan and I love to talk about how it helps me with my daily fitness goals.  Over the past 6 months since working at my new company, my steps have been EMBARRASSING.  Walking out of the office at the end of the day with less than 3000 steps can be a little disappointing.  And, many many steps from my goal.

Those days are over, my friends.  Yesterday, I clocked about 6,000 steps from the workday alone.  Uh-Mazing!

Even though I’ve been given the gift of time, I always remember this as well….

There’s always time to get it done.  Always.  I’m just thankful to have a little more flexibility in choosing when exactly I do it moving forward…

Do you workout in the morning or the afternoon?  Any tips for morning workouts for extra energy throughout the day?

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Fig-Prosciutto Pizza with White Truffle Oil

Today’s recipe is one of those recipes that I am incredibly proud to say I made.  Warning… this recipe is a SPLURGE, but one that just might be worth every single bite.

It’s one of those recipes that was SO flavorful, and SO decadent.  If you didn’t know I made it, you could very possibly think that you were at a pizza kitchen somewhere… tasting a new flavor combination for the first time.

Now, if you’ve read NTTC for any length of time, you know by now that I love pizza.  I love Jenny Craig pizzas, Lean Cuisine French Bread pizzas.  I have an affection for pizzas made with Flatout Bread.  In the end, there are not too many pizzas that I don’t love.

When I went to see the show I Love You, You’re Perfect Now Change a few months back, one of my friends ordered a Fig-Proscuitto Pizza that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about.  When I was planning my menu for my time in Virginia, I added a version of this pizza to our menu.

What makes Fig-Prosciutto Pizza so ridiculously delicious? 

I think it’s that combination of sweet (fig) and salty (prosciutto)… and then that OUTSTANDING umami that the truffle oil brings to the table.

What is Umami, you ask?

It’s often times called the “fifth” taste.  We all know sweet, sour, bitter, and salty… but umami is like their long-lost cousin from out of town that people don’t talk about as much.  It’s flavor is not as easy to detect, but its one of richness, fullness, and complexity and makes food taste more delicious.  Some have even described it as meaty and savory.  Whatever umami tastes like to you… to know it is to love it.

Umami is often found in fish, shellfish, fermented and aged products (i.e. parmesan cheese, soy sauce) and in vegetables (i.e. mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach.)

Where can you buy Truffle Oil?

I actually had a little trouble finding truffle oil in Virginia, and ended up spotting it at TJ Maxx after a whirlwind grocery store sweep.  I’m sure Wegman’s, Whole Foods, and SuperTarget all carry the oil… but that day in September, TJ’s was the place to find it.

To me, there is something magical about Truffle Oil, and I know it’s because it brings home the umami.  If you’ve never had truffle oil before, I’m hoping that you try it on this dish.  You’re in for a treat.  I tiny bit is all you need…

Fig-Prosciutto Pizza

Inspired by Osteria Marco and Pioneer Woman

INGREDIENTS

1 package pizza dough

Olive Oil

4 Tablespoons Fig Spread or Jam

1/4 cup dried figs, sliced

Kosher Salt To Taste

12 ounces, weight Fresh Mozzarella, sliced thin

6 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto

1 bunch arugula, washed and rinsed

Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste

1/2 cup Shaved Parmesan

White Truffle Oil

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

2.  Cook your prosciutto in the microwave until crispy.  Note:  I cooked mine between paper towels and crumbled it in a small bowl.

3.  Oil a pizza pan with olive oil.  Roll out  pizza dough as thinly as possible. Arrange on the pan.

4.  Drizzle pizza dough lightly with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt. Spread fig spread (or jam) all over the surface of the dough.

5.  Add sliced figs and prosciutto to the pizza.

 

6.  Next, add your fresh mozzarella.

7.  Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until crust is golden and cheese is bubbly.

8.  Remove from oven.  Just before serving, sprinkle on arugula and Parmesan shavings.

9.  Lastly, before you serve your pizza, drizzle lightly with truffle oil.  Cut into wedges or squares and serve immediately!

When I made this initially, it was the full fat version during vacation.  My next challenge will be to lighten it up.  If you have the ability to splurge, certainly TRY this pizza… you will LOVE it!

ENJOY!

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Healthy Beef Cookbook Winner Announced

I know you guys were VERY excited about the @BEEFforDinner prize pack giveaway I ran last week.  So many of you entered to win…. But there could be only one lucky winner.

Congratulations to Angela F. who is our winner!

I was excited to read that Angela was our winner, especially as she left such a great comment on NTTC last week! 

Be sure to check back in with us on how the new beef recipes are turning out!  I’m always looking for recipe recommendations (and we now have the same cookbook!)  Expect yours to arrive this week!

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Pumpkin Carving Party

A few weeks ago, I got an invitation to my VERY FIRST Pumpkin Carving Party!

Yes, I am 30-ish years old, and I really can’t EVER remember carving a pumpkin.  When I was little, I was too young to use the knife to cut the pumpkins.  And, believe it or not, this girl’s childhood pumpkin carving adventures came way before they started putting out all these fancy childsafe kits.  We may have carved some in college at some fraternity mixer of sorts…. but I’m sure I let the guys carve.

When LaDawn invited me to come over for Pumpkin Carving, I was immediately excited!  Reading the invite… I got a little concerned when I saw the very last line.

No Kits??  What the heck!

For an amateur like myself, I wasn’t really sure how I would do carving freestyle.  So, I did what any girl would do… I hit PINTEREST!  Thankfully, I found a few things… and quickly decided that I would DECORATE instead of carve my pumpkin.

How cute was this one, afterall?
(Source)

And, this one I thought was so fun… definitely wanted to do this!
(Source)

So, I emailed my party hosts and cleared my “decorating” idea… and headed to the store to get supplies.  I thought I’d get supplies for both and just get creative.

The party began with a beautiful lunch at noon.  Such delicious treats they made for us, barbecue sliders, a delicious pear and blue cheese salad, jalapeno poppers, and homemade cupcakes!  Yum-O!

She even found a lovely selection of wines that fit the Halloween theme:  Spellbound Cabernet, Vampire Pinot Noir, and Hob Nob Cab.  PERFECT!

This was my first time visiting LaDawn’s home, and there was something I was looking forward to even more than the Halloween cupcakes:  Her newly renovated CLOSET ROOM!!!!

LaDawn just recently worked with Closet Factory to transform one of her spare bedrooms into a CLOSET.  Oh, yes…. You heard me right.  She has a room that is now a closet (a la Carrie Bradshaw.)

I told LaDawn today that I REALLY want to have a room like this one day… and that I will.  I think though to convert my guest room today might frighten away potential suitors… and I just can’t have that!  Very quickly they’ll understand that I NEED this, but let’s not scare them off too soon….

After our fabulous lunch and after I drooled (twice) over the amazing closet room, it was pumpkin carving time!

Everyone brought their own pumpkins, and mine is pictured at about 11 o’clock in the picture.  It was without stem.  Not sure why, but it had the best shape at the store… just no stem.

We all set up our stations and the carving/decorating began!

I started off by taping off my pumpkin… harder than it looks!

LaDawn dug right in… and was awfully smiley with knife in hand!

Deb was also carving, and I caught her scooping out the guts!

While everyone was busily carving, I spent my time taping off the pumpkin’s chevron stripes and painting.  Now, I was PRETTY sure there was going to be some paint seepage.  You can just tell.  Still, I didn’t let it concern me….

When I pulled off the tape, it looked a little like a hot mess…. but I had a secret weapon in my bag.

So, I used the gold thumbtacks to cover where the paint bled under the tape!  BRILLIANT!  Dana joked that I was bedazzling my pumpkin… and it kind of looked like I did in the end!

In the end, we had some gorgeous pumpkins… here’s a few of my favorites!

The Cyclops

The Angry Robot Pumpkin

The Husker Pumpkin

The Pink Pumpkin
(Pink Pumpkins are very hard to carve, FYI)

And, last but not least…. the Chevron-Thumbtack Pumpkin!

Pictured with my Third Place Trophy… a bottle of Vampire Pinot Noir!

If you are looking for fun decorating ideas, definitely check out Pinterest (and the links I included above.)  There are so many clever people out there doing AWESOME pumpkins…

Are you getting into the Halloween Spirit this year?  How did you carve your pumpkin?

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AWP-DO