Marvelous In My Monday – New Year’s Eve!

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I can’t  believe it’s already New Year’s Eve. The end of 2012. This year seriously flew by in the blink of an eye!

First, I need to say thanks to Katie over at Healthy Diva Eats for hosting this super-fun Monday meetup for all of us healthy living bloggers! I’ve been introduced to some great people this year through our weekly MIMM get togethers! Plus, Katie’s got lots of fun stuff going on over at her site (including a new baby-to-be!!) so make sure to go check her out!

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Okay – here are some of the marvelous things in my life right now…

Marvelous is my awesome and amazing friend and Zumba instructor Eva! This is us at Zumba Master Class back in October!

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She has totally gotten me addicted to this incredibly fun way to torch calories! I have made some new friends, and now I can hardly listen to the radio without choreographing songs in my head! You can check her out over at her blog Committed2Nutrition  – and if you’re local, feel free to join us for some seriously fun workouts!

Marvelous is my love of experimentation with healthy foods. I’ve found so many new things to love this year – especially now that I have to be gluten-free. It hasn’t been easy, but I’m figuring it out little by little – just like everything else! Here are a few of my favorite finds!

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Marvelous is my new cookbook – Practical Paleo!

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I love the way this book is set up – it has a lot of great information, meal plans, and some delicious looking recipes! I am making my first recipe from it as I type… I decided that dinner tonight would be Balsamic Braised Shortribs (YUM!!), so they are simmering away in my slow cooker. They’ve only been in there for an hour, and the house is already starting to smell good! I’m planning on serving them the suggested side from the book – carrots with dates. I’m also going to try making a couple of other things from the book before I have to go back to work on Wednesday so we have some healthy things ready to eat when life gets busy again!

Marvelous is my awesome hubby!

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This is us a couple of weeks ago while visiting my in-laws in Florida. This picture was taken in front of a ginormous Christmas tree at the Grand Floridian hotel at Disney World. My hubby is marvelous for so many reasons… We’ve been together for 19 years now – married for 10 of them. We’ve been through so many ups and downs, but somehow we always seem to make it. We work hard at our relationship – and we don’t take anything for granted. I’m so lucky to have him – and I hope he feels the same about me!

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So…Happy New Year from us to you – here’s to a happy, healthy 2013 for all!

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Thank goodness for slow cookers…

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Today was just one of those days. I left my office a little early to get to an appointment that was about 45 minutes away. I left myself an hour. It wound up taking me closer to 2 hours! Crazy traffic, rainy weather, accidents, and just general wacky driving all around!

I did know that I was going to have a long day, so I decided to break out the slow cooker. It becomes like a member of the family once the weather starts to turn chilly. One of my friends is deathly afraid to use one because she’s scared it will burn her house down. I’ve been using one for many years – even since I was a kid – and have never had that problem! In fact I don’t know how I would ever live without it!

I’ve made all kinds of things in my slow cooker – from oatmeal, to meatloaf, to chili, to mac and cheese! This time, I decided to follow the lead of my awesome friend and Zumba instructor, Eva, and make pork in my slow cooker for the first time. This post is what inspired me in the first place. Of course, knowing me, I had to do things a little bit differently, but it came out sooooooooo good!

I took a whole boneless pork loin and trimmed almost all of the fat off. If you take it all off, besides losing flavor, the meat will be pretty dry. I sprayed the inside of my slow cooker with cooking spray and put the pork loin in.

I then added a large can of peeled tomatoes (I forgot they were whole, so I chopped them), a can of tomato sauce, about 3/4 cup of water.

I sliced an onion and about 5 or 6 cloves of garlic, and chopped up a couple of peppers (what I had in the fridge).

I topped it all off with a mix of salt, pepper, Italian herbs, and this crazy awesome stuff called Sheila and Cosmo’s Italian Seasoning. One of my colleagues and her hubby make and sell this stuff themselves, and it ROCKS!

Then I turned on my slow cooker on low and set it for 8 hours – low and slow! When I got home, the house smelled AMAZING – and this is what was for dinner…

Served up over some cooked rice and voila! Italian pork that knocked our socks off!

Do you use a slow cooker?

What’s your favorite slow cooker meal?