It's Good to be Home...

While it was SO nice to get away for a few days and relax - it was also really nice to get home. There is something about sleeping in your own bed that feels so comforting after a few days away. Not to mention the fact that I missed Oscar and Lucy immensely.

It was great to meet Kevin's family and see a part of the country that I had never seen before. Makes me want to take a drive cross country for a few weeks just to see all of the places I have never been!

Here is an extremely brief recap of our time in Cincinnati:

View from Mount Adams of the Cincinnati skyline. After stopping to take pictures here, we drove over to Krohn's Conservatory. It was beautiful with lots of flowers and plants, but it was so muggy and hot in there that I got nauseous. We didn't stay long.
My place setting at Thanksgiving dinner. Kevin's aunt is so creative! The little turkey is a chocolate covered nutter butter that she made and then decorated. I, of course, ate this before dinner and was double fisted with a bourbon slushie drink and wine. :)
Two places I had to try while I was out in Cincinnati. No pictures of White Castle because I only took one bite of the small little burger - I am not a big burger person and wasn't a fan of these.
Skyline Chili was a different story. Check out all of that cheese. Whoa! It looks messy and it WAS, but in a GOOD way.
Kevin and I went into the city one afternoon to walk around and ended up stopping for a drink at this cute little French Bistro - JeanRo. I got an Irish coffee that was huge and extremely STRONG. I drank most of it and left there with a major buzz.
The drive home on Saturday was a tough one because we hit some traffic and then got locked out of the car after lunch. Somehow the lock got stuck and the keyless entry buttons weren't working. After calling Triple A, and settling in to wait for an hour, we tried the lock one more time and it magically opened. whew!

SUNDAY (11.30.2008)

Despite it being rainy and horrible - Sunday was a great day. Woke up and had one of the cinnamon crumpets from trader joes. I topped mine with homemade apple butter and had sliced bananas on the side. I hadn't photographed my food in so long, that I tried to make the bananas look extra special. These crumpets were delicious. They have the consistency of a pancake, but are lighter and fluffier with lots of holes throughout.
The most exciting thing about Sunday was - joining a gym!!! It has been months since I belonged to a gym and I am so excited. We were able to get 30 days free, so I haven't paid a cent yet!

My workout was 40 mins on the arc trainer and then lifting upper body doing a few ab exercises. It felt great and my hamstring didn't give me any problems!

After a shopping spree at the grocery store, I came home and tried some of these dates. They were a little pricey, but totally worth it.

For dinner, I drizzled some of this sauce (which is THE BEST) over thinly sliced chicken breast and baked them in a 350 degree oven for about 15 mins.
Meanwhile, I sauteed the asian veggies below with PAM and the sauce that came with it. Love trader joes.
After slicing up the chicken, I mixed it with the veggies and voila - a simple and pretty healthy dinner. Can you guess what I want for Christmas?! new bowls!!!!
I had to use up some skim milk, so I made these quick cheesecake flavored pudding pies! Sugar free-Fat free instant version. I figure that I will throw different toppings on these to mix it up.
Now it is back to work for me! Oh and my google reader is overflowing with 335 unread messages, so I am going to try and make my way through - I feel so out of touch and cant wait to read about all of your holidays!

Have a great Monday!



Happy Thanksgiving!

I was able to sneak on my BF's grandma's computer to say Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone is eating lots of good food and enjoying the time with their family and friends.

The 9 hour drive wasnt as bad as I thought it would be. I drove for awhile, watched a movie, and slept. Oh and the Trader Joe snacks really helped get me through. Plan to do some product reviews when I get back into town on Saturday!

I am happy to report that we got up this morning and did a 4 mile run! It was pretty frigid at first and our lungs were burning. I hate when my teeth hurt from the cold! We ran over to the local high school and did 2 miles around the track before turning back. I forgot how boring the track was. My hamstring didn't give me any problems which is great, but we were going pretty slow. I am not trying to rush into anything!

I better get back, but I just have to say that Kevin's grandma was talking about what channels were in HD and how she DVRs her shows. I felt so behind the times. His "meemaw" turns 80 next week.

Good night!




I went a little crazy at Trader Joes today. The problem was that I went there hungry, so everything looked amazing and I HAD to have it all! My goal was to pick up some healthy treats for the 9 hour car ride to Ohio. I came home with snacks for a 2 week road trip.My plan is to use some snack size baggies and portion all of these delectable treats out. Some new products I picked up are:My mom would always buy these crumpets, so I cant wait to have them again, especially in the cinnamon flavor! and these are definitely not for the car ride, but for breakfast before the car ride or maybe a snack tonight. hmm.
Don't need to say much about these cashews - they just look gooooood.I guess I was in the mood for chile flavored stuff today. I tried a small bite of the chile spiced mango when I got home and my first reaction was - this is weird. Hopefully when I try them again - it will taste better!
This trail mix looked like a pretty solid mix of stuff.
I was sold on these mini cinnabons look-alikes as soon as I saw the box - cant wait to try them with some milk. snack tonight? so many choices!

I am off to finish my laundry and get everything packed up for tomorrow. (and have a snack or snacks) Hopefully I will be able to sneak away for some Internet time while I am out in Ohio, but if not - everyone have a wonderful thanksgiving and cant wait to catch up when I return.


On the Road Again...

I am so happy to write that I went for a run last night! It wasn't a long one and I was going very slow, but I got out there and it felt really good. Oscar and I were able to squeeze in a 2 miler before it started to rain.

Starting out, I was worried about my hamstring and definitely favored it a little bit. I could feel some tightness, but there wasn't any pain, so I just made sure not to push it at all. The thing that made me the happiest was that I didn't feel completely out of shape and tired like I thought I would. I guess I didn't lose that much over the 2 weeks!
During my run, I ran by my old personal trainer, who was conducting a boot camp class in the park and it made me want to join up again. I am currently weighing the options of joining back up to a regular gym or doing the personal training gym. There are pros and cons to both. The personal training gym is literally two blocks away. But, I can only do cardio there on the days that I have my appointments - before or after my session. It is also more expensive, but I had great results when I was working out there. With the regular gym - I wouldn't have someone pushing me and it is a few more blocks away, but I could go whenever I wanted, take classes, or swim in the pool. I actually have a 30 day free pass for the regular gym that my company offers and there are locations all over. One close to my house, one close to my work, etc, etc. OK, I think I just made my decision. Merritt - here I come.
This morning's breakfast was "back to the basics" with oatmeal, but I added a few new twists:

  • 1/2 c oatmeal
  • 3/4 c skim milk
  • raisins
  • almonds
  • frozen mangos (thawed)
  • spoonful of chunky peanut butter
  • drizzle of agave nectar
I dug deep in the freezer to find these mangos, but I have to admit that I missed my bananas. The agave nectar was a great sweetener. It was almost like I didnt even taste it, but it somehow made the oatmeal sweeter. I guess it just didnt have the strong flavor of maple syrup.

During my lunch today I am making a trip to Trader Joes to pick up some healthy snacks for the car ride to Cincinnati, OH tomorrow morning. Kevin, his mom, his sister and I are driving there and it should take about 9 hours, so I am going to need a bunch of good stuff. I always find myself extremely snacky on road trips. I am planning to take my laptop, so that I will be able to give updates over the next 3 days!

Tonight after work, I am heading into my dad's gym for a spin class and then some upper body lifting. Cant wait.
Lucy (my kitten) is becoming bolder and braver every day. Last night, she made her way downstairs and was contemplating playing with Oscar. (please excuse the cable wires all over the place. Old house = weird ways to get cable upstairs.)
Oscar likes to shake his stuffed teddy bear around her to try and show her how tough he is.
Watching them interact is better than TV.
Hope everyone has a good day - this is my last day of work before the holiday! yessss. :)



Eating and Drinking and Eating and Drinking (11.22.2008 and 11.23.2008)

First - everyone should head over to Grounded Fitness for the weekly giveaway! Second, my google reader had 203 unread posts, so I am trying to make my way through all your delicious and healthy weekends.

And now back to my weekend of OVER indulgence. I feel like I never stopped eating and drinking. To the point where I don't feel like eating a bite of any leftovers. So if you want to make yourself feel better about your weekend and how healthy you were, please read on.

Turkey Bowl - Saturday, November 22, 2008

I was able to cook two of the four planned dishes for Saturday's Turkey Bowl. Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes and Corn Casserole. I baked both of these on Friday night, thinking I would have time on Saturday to make my pumpkin bars and Cauliflower Gratin. Kevin was in charge of the Turkey and Gravy and both of those things took longer than expected on Saturday morning. I knew we would have enough food, so I figured I would make them on Sunday AM for friendsgiving.

The football game was fun, but FREEZING. I was able to play and my hamstring didn't give me any problems. (YAY!) There was a smaller turn out than last year, which we attributed to the weather and most people being wimps in the cold.

To give you an example of how frozen I really was - when we came back inside, I was moving the turkey to the counter for carving and about a gallon of hot, turkey juices somehow poured out on me. Everyone started coming up to me, asking if I was alright and I had no idea what they were talking about. Here is a picture of some friends and I after the spillage.
I was trying to get all the food ready and not taking photos like I should have, but here is a picture of the table FULL of food. Turkey bowl is not about being martha stewart, as you can see. There was 50 pounds of mashed potatoes and the gravy is being served in a pitcher. Gotta love it.
The corn casserole that I made was a hit and no one had any idea I substituted 0% greek yogurt for the sour cream. There was still a stick of butter in there, but I tried. :)

Some friends brought a huge tray of mac and cheese that was the best any of us have ever tasted. No lie. I am going to get the recipe and post it because it was completely incredible. Someone did manage to snap a picture of this!
The amount of beer consumed by me is unfathomable, but I blame it on playing so many games of beirut (a.k.a. beer pong). This was the main table and there was some intense competition.
I tend to make weird faces when I drink.
We had a blast and didn't get to bed until after 3am - definitely worth the splurge for a yearly event!

Friendsgiving - Sunday, November 23, 2008

After a loooong day/night on Saturday - getting up and making pumpkin bars and the cauliflower gratin was NOT happening. Around 1am, I noticed that one of the pecan pies my sister brought to Turkey Bowl had not been eaten yet. I decided to hide it in the back of the fridge so I could take it to Friendsgiving. I know - "Slacker Suzie" alert.
I headed to Friendsgiving with my sister's pecan pie, a bottle of wine, and a nasty headache. Kevin wasn't up to coming. He just isn't as hard-core as me. What is the solution to a hangover? Just start drinking again. I had a few of these apple cider/champagne "mimosa-type" of drinks. They were great!
Oh and my friend Laura brought a HUGE bottle of wine. See how it is almost empty? She drank it all.
(HAHA - j/k, Laura!)
The appetizer spread included carrots/celery with hummus, cheese/crackers, deviled eggs, peanuts, and bacon pinwheel bites. Of course I sampled them all. A few times.
The Friendsgiving menu was incredible. Perfectly cooked turkey, pan gravy, stuffing, green bean casserole, corn pudding, broccoli/cheese casserole, sweet potatoes w/brown sugar/cinnamon sauce, and rolls w/ butter. What did I decide to eat? A little of all of them. The broccoli/cheese casserole and the sweet potatoes were probably my favs.
After this filling meal, I figured I was already so far over the edge, that I might as well sample one of each of the desserts. Small slice of pecan pie, apple crumb, and pumpkin cheesecake. At this point, I was in a food coma and had lost all brain power. Taking pictures would have been too much work.

My weekend of overindulging caught up with me and the drive home was a difficult one. I had a headache and my pants had to be unbuttoned. Why did I do this to myself!?!

Tonight, I am planning an easy run to warm up my hamstring and try to burn off some of the 100,000 calories I ate and drank this weekend.

I am heading to Cincinnati with my boyfriend's family for Thanksgiving and I know they will have a ton of amazing food, but I don't want to ever feel that full again. Should I take a super-small serving of things and try to eat really slow. I do plan to bring some healthy snacks with me. Help - what do you do to ensure your healthy habits stay consistent through the holidays?



Pumpkin Bars - BSI Submission

Here is my BSI entry for this week - that is hopefully not too late! Lindsay over at For the Love of Oats picked pumpkin as the secret ingredient and I knew I wanted to try and make some sort of bar. I tried to make these a little healthier - especially after all of the food I ate this weekend!

Here is the recipe:


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup crushed pineapple
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 can pumpkin puree (15 oz)
  • 1 cup raisins
Maple Glaze
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Stir first seven ingredients together. Set aside.
  3. Beat pineapple, sugars, eggs together until smooth. Stir in pumpkin and raisins.
  4. Slowly stir in dry ingredients into pumpkin mixture.
  5. Spray 9x13 pan with PAM and then sprinkle with flour.
  6. Pour mixture into pan and spread evenly.
  7. Bake for 40 mins.
  8. Meanwhile, mix maple syrup with confectioners sugar to make glaze.
  9. Drizzle cooled bars with glaze. ENJOY.
As you can tell from the picture, my glaze was really watery because I added some water to thin it out slightly and it was waaay too much. This was my first attempt using whole wheat flour in baking and I think things turned out pretty good. I could definitely taste the healthiness in these bars. They are good and I wont feel guilty about eating them. But, I have to admit that its not a dessert that I will be dreaming about. :)

Enjoy the rest of your weekend. I plan to do a recap of my FULL weekend tomorrow. I am so exhausted that I can barely see anymore. Goodnight!



Poo Smell and Cooking Do Not Work

While I was trying to clean the house, my sweet, sweet dog went outside and went to the bathroom in the backyard. He comes back in and I start smelling something nasty. He has stepped in his own poo and tracked it all through the house. LOVELY.I realize this is a food blog, so this isn't what you are used to reading, but I just had to share because it is funny. And I know my boy didn't mean to do it...so he gets a treat. :)(Please excuse my ratty sweatshirt - it is the most comfortable thing in the world)

The turkey is in the oven, so the poo smell is finally being covered up by that. I made the cheesy scalloped potatoes and corn casserole last night. I substituted 0% greek yogurt for the sour cream in Paula Deen's recipe to try and make the corn a little healthier, but who am I kidding? There's a stick of butter in there and I wouldn't expect anything less from Paula. When it comes to entertaining - I usually just go all out.

Today, I plan to make the Barefoot Contessa's Cauliflower Gratin that Erica recommended. It sounds so good! Oh and I also want to try and make pumpkin bars for my BSI submission. We'll see if I can get it all done! Pictures and recipes will hopefully happen tomorrow!

Have a great Saturday!



Prepping for a BIG weekend and Touchdown!

Tonight, I headed over to my dad's gym for a spin class. The instructor was pretty tough and yelled alot at us. The spin class instructor was also my dad. :) There was only 3 of us in the class and it was a definitely a good 45 min workout. I knew my hamstring was there, so I wasn't trying to really push it on sprints and hovers. I think this worked out well because I didn't have any aching pain after the work out. What I thought was cool was that when I went into the class, I had a headache and felt like my throat was starting to hurt. When I came out - I felt completely fine.

After spin class I headed home and had some frozen pizza for dinner.After pizza, we headed over to a nicer grocery store (Giant) a little ways away and bought a ton of stuff in preparation for Turkey Bowl. I was excited to find the agave nectar that I have been seeing around. Need to figure out how to use it now!Erin's comment from this morning made me think that I should do a before and after of my fridge, since I have been using stuff up/cleaning out in preparation for this weekend. Good idea!

Here is the before shot - lots of room. The fact that I was taking the picture made me wipe down the shelves. This blogging thing really does help me. ;)Oh and the basketball pic is me when I was 10. My parents found it when they were cleaning out some stuff and Kevin thought it should be on the fridge. I was wearing white khaki shorts to play basketball. The epitome of "cool".

Here is the after shot of the filled fridge with our Turkey! I am slightly obsessive about putting away groceries. I make Kevin clear out of the kitchen so I can put things where I want them to be.It is looking like it will be really cold for the football game on Saturday, so I may wimp out. I wouldn't be going full force anyways because of my hamstring. Don't want to make it any worse. SO since nothing like this will probably happen - check out this touchdown pass from last year. Kevin is quarterback (#51) and I am wide receiver (#47) and we had been practicing this for weeks.

Tomorrow is my favorite nephew's 6th Birthday. It is going to be a duckpin bowling party with a bunch of 5 and 6 year olds. I better win.

Also, this Sunday is "Friendsgiving"! My friend from college, Chrissi and her husband, are hosting a Thanksgiving potluck with a few of our friends to get together, eat, and be thankful. Should be FUN. I will be having a FULL weekend. Full of friends, family and thanksgiving food. :)

Off to get some sleep. Took a half day tomorrow to be here while the dishwasher is getting repaired (FINALLY), to finish cleaning, and start cooking. Cant wait.


Popcorn and Recipe Roll Call (11.20.2008)

Last night - Kevin and I took advantage of $12 entree night at Helen's Garden in Canton Square. I forgot my camera and was really mad at myself because my entree was delicious! I ordered the Greek Chicken which was grilled marinated chicken skewers with rice, veggies & tzatziki. The veggies were roasted yellow squash and tomatoes. I ended up mixing everything together and it tasted great. I think I could eat tzatziki sauce on everything.

My eats today aren't exciting enough to feature. Oatmeal, peanut butter and apple butter sandwich, banana, yogurt with grape nuts and a sugar free rice pudding. All great, but pretty standard fare.

I did want to show this new popcorn (new to me anyways) that I tried yesterday afternoon at work. It came in my Baltimore Marathon freebie bag and I have been meaning to pop it up. Smart Balance Light Butter.
I love popcorn and have a hard time fully enjoying most of the healthy ones. Anyways, this stuff tasted like the full fat stuff - in other words...good. Check out the ingredients and nutrition facts at the link above!

This Saturday is my BF's yearly Turkey Bowl event where our friends/families get together to play a co-ed football game and then go back to the house for a thanksgiving potluck meal! Oh and there will be beer - lots of it. We are setting up 2 beer pong/beirut tables - which makes me SO excited because I love that game. I don't care how old I am.

Needless to say - I have been in major clean out mode. Going to be taking a trip to the dump to get rid of alot of junk. I have also been preparing for a pretty big cooking fiasco from Friday afternoon (took a 1/2 day off work) - Saturday. Kevin always cooks the turkey and makes his famous gravy. This year, I am going to make scalloped potatoes, corn casserole, zucchini casserole, and hopefully something with the BSI this week - pumpkin.

Anyone have AMAZING recipes that they want to share?! I am going grocery shopping tonight and am open to suggestions to replace any of the items above!



What a difference a WORKOUT makes! (11.18.2008)

The spin class last night was cancelled, but in all honesty - that was probably better for me, so I didn't feel pressured to push it TOO much. I ended up riding the bike for 45 mins (while catching up on why Madonna and Guy Ritchie split - I am behind the times), lifting upper body for 25 mins, and then doing 10 mins of abs. IT FELT SO GOOD TO DO SOMETHING. I felt a twinge in my hamstring a few times when I tried to push it harder on the bike, so I guess I just need to slowly ease back into it - give it time to heal. I plan to head into the gym on Thursday for another bike/lift/abs session!

My workout completely changed my mood. Yesterday, I felt overwhelmed and stressed with all the things I needed to do and today I feel like I will get it all done. And if I don't, it wont be the end of the world...

It was so nice to come home to a fully prepared dinner, courtesy of Kevin. Coconut crusted tilapia, whole wheat couscous, steamed carrots and broccoli. Notice how he piles up the plates. Yup, I ate it all. I commented about the head of broccoli I was given and he informed me that it was done "Ruth Chris" style. excuuuusee meee, fancy pants. ;)
Since I watch the Biggest Loser, I just have to say that I am so pissed Vicky is still in the game instead of Colleen. Ughh.

Breakfast this morning was one of my favorites - Huevos Rancheros. I mixed 1 egg and 1 egg white with a spoonful of canned green chiles and some black pepper. While the eggs were cooking, I put the corn tortillas in a hot pan (medium heat) to get them nice and grilled, flipping once. (No PAM or oil needed) Sprinkle the corn tortilla with some shredded cheddar, top with egg/chile mixture, drizzle with some cholula hot sauce and voila. My quick and easy version of huevos rancheros.
Enjoy your Wednesday!


Overwhelmed (11.18.2008)

Anyone else feeling overwhelmed? My to-do list is overflowing right now and I feel like there isn't enough time in the day to do everything. Plus, I have been a zombie since Sunday night, when we got home from the football game at 1:30am!!! So, while I had a ton of things to do last night - I barely got anything done. Well, I did finish up the laundry and take Lucy to her vet appt - so that counts for something!

To top everything off - I haven't worked out in over a week!! Besides my daily walks with Oscar, which have helped me stay mostly sane. Ok, enough of all that complaining - let's get back to food!

Over the weekend I ate alot of great stuff, and took pictures of some of it. Here is a sampling of my weekend eats.

Saturday at the Columbia Mall, my sister and I got salads from Bistro Sensations. I went with the greek salad, that came topped with two stuffed grape leaves and a grilled pita. It was a great salad.
Sunday's Lunch was Creamy Tomato Soup - I have been wanting to try this brand of soup and I really enjoyed it - especially knowing it was low-fat, low-sodium, and organic!
I also made some grilled cheese for dipping and put a spoonful of fat free ricotta in the soup. I definitely had enough cheese for the day with this lunch.
Sunday night's football game was alot of fun, except for the fact that they didn't beat Dallas - UGHH. We were freezing in the 40 degree, windy weather and had the most obnoxious Dallas fan sitting next to us. He was getting into fights with everyone around us. Some may find this disgusting, but I love stadium hot dogs - they taste so good! After having an incredible hot dog - we got to see these two Redskins Legends get their Hall of Fame rings. pretty cool.
Breakfast this morning was grape nuts with raisins, dried cranberries, and lots of skim milk.
Snacks today will be a very ripe pear...
and a PB Larabar. yum.
I roasted up a spaghetti squash last night, so lunch today will be that with turkey meatballs and tomato sauce. (my pictures have to be taken before work, so the meatballs are frozen in the picture!)
Getting back to my workouts/runs or lack there of. It has been a little over a week since the marathon and I know that my hamstring still needs time off from running, but I need to start doing something! I don't currently belong to a gym - so I am going to head over to my father's gym after work. It is a little ways away, but I need a good workout, so I plan to get my butt kicked in a spin class and then do some lifting. I'm hoping my hamstring will be ok. I am so excited to sweat - is that weird?



JamFrakas Review

The stars of this post will be my niece and nephew - who are 3 and 5 (almost 6) years old respectively. Jenna dressed to impress in her purple princess dress! :) (I just re-read and realized I am a poet)

I thought this would be a better way to review the JamFrakas since they are targeted for children. This will be their first time tasting all of the flavors, except chocolate chip, which they had tried once before this taste test. Thumbs up and Thumbs Down are the method of judgement we will be using...

So lets see what the kids think! The set-up...
Justin was not a fan of this flavor, but Jenna loved it! I thought strawberry flavor was just OK for my "adult" taste.

Both immediately threw up their thumbs - they loved this flavor and I agree it was better than strawberry!

Peanut Butter was also a hit. So far, Jenna likes them all! A girl after my own heart - not much I wont eat. ;)

Jenna's first thumbs down - she did not enjoy the banana/chocolate! Justin gave it a thumbs up - but his face doesn't show it. ha. This was my FAVORITE flavor - I ate the rest of it!

The first taste was a thumbs up by Jenna and a strong thumbs down by Justin, but after trying it again...

he decided he liked it - chocolate chip was a hit. I thought it was just OK.

My favorites - Banana Chocolate and Apple! I think that these bars are great for kids. Perfect kid-size. Whole Grain. No HFCS.

But for me - I will stick with the regular Larabars - more nuts and sophisticated flavor choices!

Happy Monday all!


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