Is anyone else feeling like this week deserves an extra-special celebration just for getting through to Friday? I don’t know if it’s because of the time change or just an exceptionally crazy time at work, but this week has been rough. I am looking forward to the weekend, even if it is jam-packed. Without further ado, let’s jump into this week’s roundup!
Favorite Fall Recipe: Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Soup
I never really loved squash when I was a kid, but I’ve come around as an adult, and now I look forward to autumn because it means the return of tasty squash-based dishes! Butternut squash soup is one of my favorite fall recipes, but it can be deceivingly high in calories if you add heavy cream to thicken it. FitSugar shared this dairy-free slow cooker recipe earlier this week, and I made it yesterday. It made six 2-cup servings (I love these Ziploc containers for soup – they seal really well so I don’t have to worry about lunch bag leaks, and they hold a perfect 2 cup serving). Each serving comes in under 300 calories. I’ll likely eat the full two cups for a filling lunch, or have half a serving alongside a salad or sandwich. I love the idea of using white beans in place of dairy to cut calories while retaining the richness of the soup! I will say that this recipe, as provided by FitSugar, is a bit on the bland side. I used 4 cups vegetable stock and 2 cups chicken stock which helped, and next time I will bump up the spices – salt alone is not enough! This time around, I’ll likely add salt & pepper, and possibly a bit of hot sauce, to my servings when heating them up to kick up the flavor.
Favorite Fall Resolution: Use the Office Basement Gym!
Earlier this year, my office building opened a new gym in the basement, which is free for all employees to use. It’s a small space and is pretty basic, but does have everything you need to fit in a decent workout. I find that between running, at-home DVDs and my studio classes, I’m getting plenty of cardio, but I could use more weight training in my life. Body Pump has filled that need at home, but I don’t always feel like waking up early to do a DVD. I made a resolution to begin using the work gym more often, and to help with this commitment, a friend and I set up biweekly gym appointments in our Outlook calendar. I love having someone to help keep me accountable, and I’m using this time to focus more on weights and on strength exercises. On Tuesday I tried out these resistance band exercises with mixed results – my legs were so sore the next day but I didn’t love the core or arms offerings, so I’m on the hunt for more types of band exercises to try (please leave recommendations in the comments if you’ve got any that you really love!) And yesterday, I focused on arms. I did Body Pump Pump & Burn at home before work, but that 35-minute DVD focuses on legs, core, and back. I didn’t want to neglect my arms, and this printable workout was perfect. I started with 10lb weights and hope to build up from there!
Favorite Shopping Find: Ebates!
Okay, maybe I am really behind the times here, but a friend recently told me about Ebates and I am totally jazzed about the site. Retailers pay Ebates a fee for referring shoppers to their sites. When you make a purchase, those retailers pay Ebates – and Ebates returns a percentage of that income to you! The homepage features sales and deals, and they also have promotions for double or triple cash back. Earlier this week Nordstrom was 9% back in combination with their clearance sale, so my first Ebates purchase earned me almost $15 cash back! I’m not getting paid to advertise this site, I just think it’s a really smart way to get some money back if you’re already a high volume online shopper. Check it out and sign up today! (Disclaimer – while I’m not being paid for this, the link above is an affiliate link — I do get a bonus if you sign up using my link. Thank you for your support!)
You may have noticed that the title this week changed from “Friday Roundup” to “Friday Favorites.” I’m linking up with Housewife Glamour, Running4Cupcakes and Fitting it All In for their Friday Favorites series! Check her out and click around to some of the other bloggers sharing their favorite things from this week. Have a great weekend!