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Filtering by Category: lunch

injury advice?


Good evening!  How was everybody's day?  I was in total detox mode after the last two days filled with cookies and fried chicken!  I woke up knowing that I wanted needed to eat completely healthfully to get back on track.  I even managed to resist the temptation of pizza when my hubb went out to get his lunch.  :) The day was started off right with my favorite muffins and a cup of hot tea. Breakfast:  toasted ezekiel cinnamon raisin muffin with 1 tbsp natural peanut butter and apple slices. 090121-b12 Morning Snack:  oikos - blueberry flavor, leftover from the snack I never ate on Monday. Lunch:  a big ol' salad.   090121-l2 This delight contained:
  • spinach
  • celery
  • cucumber
  • broccoli
  • red bell pepper
  • hearts of palm
  • strawberries
  • garbonzo beans
  • poppyseed dressing
090121-l1 Afternoon Snack:  a perfect tangelo and a Clif Nectar Cacao, dark chocolate raspberry flavor.  I enjoyed the bar before my evening run and the tangelo after. 090121-s2 090121-s Exercise:  a 3-1/2 mile run with my dear friend Kelly.  This was a much more enjoyable run than last night's because (1) I had company to chit chat with and (2) we went at 5pm and still had daylight!!!  Yay for longer days!!!  :)  Thank you all for your supportive comments on last night's post, you have no idea how much it helps to know that I have a whole community of people cheering me on!  I really think that I could learn to love running in the right conditions. A little daylight, a slightly warmer temperature and good company make all the difference!!!  :) However, I need a little injury help/advice.  I'm starting to feel my tendonitis flare up again.  I'm embarrassed to show you what my feet look like in the winter time, but I wanted to show all you runners out there where it hurts and see if you have any advice for me.   090121-foot Have any of you had pain there before?  It hurts the most when I've been sitting for awhile, and get up to walk.  Almost like its seized up and can't stretch back out.  It started bothering me on Monday, I'm sure taking last week off then going for a long run Saturday and an intense yoga class on Sunday flared it up.  I took Monday off running, but went again last night.  My foot hurt all day, but I really wanted to get my run in tonight.  I know, naughty.  I am committed to taking tomorrow and Friday off though, in preparation for my long run on Saturday.  So my question is, do I ice it or heat it?  I'm going to do my own research tonight on the 'net, but I was hoping some of you might have some personal, tried and true advice for me. Back to food... Tonight the hubb and I were called for emergency babysitting duty for friends.  The change of plans has thrown our evening and my super healthy tofu and swiss chard dinner off track, as I only had time for a quick carry-out decision.  I chose Chipotle because it had been awhile, and I felt that I could make a relatively healthy and quick choice. Dinner:  Chipotle burrito bowl with rice, black beans, grilled chicken, tomato salsa, lettuce and guacamole.  I also had a couple of chips.  :) 090121-d1 We're still with the kiddos...the 2-year old is fast asleep and my hubb is giving the baby a bottle after he woke up fussing.  Too cute.  Looks like it will be an all-nighter for us, although I'll probably leave at some point to go back to our house and take care of our pups.  In the meantime, I'm watching Lost and knitting a baby sweater for a friend.  :) G'night!
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there will be cookies


I didn't have a food blog in the summer of 2008, so I feel like I missed out on the David Leite's  Chocolate Chip Cookie fun that I've read about in the archives of a few of my favorite blogs, like Orangette and The Kitchen Sink.  Now, I love a good chocolate chip cookie.  Who doesn't?  But I've seen plenty of recipes out there claiming to make the best chocolate chip cookies ever, so I was skeptical that this one would be any different from all the rest.  I was intrigued, however, by the large amount of chocolate in the recipe...1-1/4 pounds for only 18 cookies!  That, my friends, is a lot of chocolate.  Also, the recipe called for the sprinkling of sea salt on the tops of the cookies just before baking...hmmm.  I am a big fan of sea salt caramels, so this seemed like a touch that would agree with me nicely. 090119-cookie-1 Typically I would take a recipe like this and try to healthify it, using natural sweeteners and substitutes for the refined sugar, oil and white flours.  But it had been awhile since I'd made a full-fat, high-cal decadent cookie, and this seemed just the recipe to indulge on.  And it helped to know that I would be sharing the 18 resulting cookies with 12 friends and co-workers tomorrow during the inauguration ceremony.  I followed David Leite's instructions almost completely, but did have to make two substitutions.  The first was to use ghirardelli chocolate bars chopped into 1/2" pieces instead of chocolate disks.  The second was to replace the cake flour.  I scoured the shelves on the baking aisle at Whole Foods and found no such flour.  I decided to substitute the whole wheat pastry flour I had at home and hope for the best. 090119-cookie-2 A warning:  the dough requires 24 hours of refrigeration before baking.  I made the dough last night and of course sampled it, which made me all the more excited to come home from work tonight to bake the cookies.  Its kind of nice, the phasing of the recipe.  You get all of the mess out of the way the first night and are left with the simple pleasure of balling dough and pulling perfectly golden cookies from the oven the second night. 090119-cookie-3 090119-cookie-4 These cookies are worth the 24-hour wait and the extensive blogger hype.  Totally worth it.  They are perfectly crisp around their golden edges, soft and chewy in their centers.  The sea salt adds an unexpected depth that heightens the flavor of the chocolate while at the same time reducing its richness...a quality that makes it even easier to finish the entire 5" mammoth cookie all at once.  In case you missed the link above, here is the recipe and the article it accompanied. So tomorrow, as we welcome our new president and toast the changes to come with a group of friends, there will be cookies.   I can't think of a better way to celebrate. 090119-cookie-5 Here's a recap of my other eats for the day, although who wants to read about them now that I've introduced cookies to the mix?!?  Especially when its a day full of repeats...  Breakfast:  the standard oat bowl.  I know, I know.  But I love it and its very filling and that's good enough for me. 090119-b11
  • 1/2 cup oats, 1 cup water, pinch of salt, dribble of vanilla, sprinkle of cinnamon
  • 1 mashed ripe banana
  • 1 tsp ground flax seeds
  • 1 dried fig, chopped
  • 1 tbsp natural peanut butter
Lunch:  leftover veggie soup, 3 Back To Nature Multigrain Flax flatbreads, 2 tbsp hummus. 090119-l11 Snacks:  my Oikos is back!!!!!  1 blueberry Oikos and a tangelo.  Sadly, I didn't actually eat the Oikos 'cause I just wasn't hungry enough.  The tangelo was excellent though. 090119-s11 Dinner:  leftover veggie soup with some bulgur added to it and a hearty oat biscuit.  So good, and this is the last of it.  :) 090119-d1 090119-d2 Dessert:  a cookie.  Of course.  :) And I'm off.  Have a great Tuesday, everybody!  Happy Inauguration!!!
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the way food should taste


Last night the hubb and I indulged ourselves with a decadent dinner at a local French tapas restaurant, Zinc.  We'd never been before, but heard from a friend that their food was delicious and we should really try it out.  We weren't disappointed.  We ordered 4 small dishes to share, along with 2 desserts (we were at a French restaurant...who can resist?!?).  The first to come out was a roasted beet salad.  Beautiful roasted beets tossed with gorgonzola and red onion in a tasty French vinaegrette over baby mesclun greens.  Delicious for sure, but easy enough to replicate at home.  Second up was the Endive Gratin, perfectly ripe endives smothered in a bechamel sauce and baked.  Good in concept, not remarkable in reality.  Third, Grouper with a Lemon Caper Beurre  Thats all I have to say about that.  And forth, Croque Madame.  At this point in the meal I almost melted under the table.  Yum.  For dessert, a Lavender Crème Brûlée and a Poached Pear filled with Mascarpone and smothered with Chocolate Sauce. Does anybody else hear angel's singing?!?  Both desserts were delicious, and I was excited to try the crème brûlée because I've been thinking about incorporating lavender into some of my baked goods.  It was lovely and subtle...just like lavender.  :)   Our personal favorite was absolutely the Croque Madame.  While thoroughly enjoying his cheesey, eggy, hammy, doughy dish, the hubb looked at me and said "why don't we cook like this at home more often?".  To which I replied "because its not very good for you, all the cheese, cream etc."  to which he nodded and said "yes but, its the way food should taste!".  :)   I woke up this morning still on a high from our decadent meal and feeling inspired to make crêpes for breakfast.   090118-b1 I received this little crêpe pan, along with a crêpe-making lesson, from my stepfather for Christmas many years ago.  Surprisingly, it hadn't been used in a few years and I decided that this was the morning to take it out of retirement. 090118-b2 Crêpes are really quite easy to make and can be filled with either savory or sweet combinations.  We chose sweet this morning.  I'm inspired now to make one of my dinner crêpe recipes soon though...  I used this Alton Brown recipe for the batter. Breakfast: 2 french crêpes filled with PB & Co Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter and beautiful sliced strawberries. 090118-b4 090118-b5 After my lovely french breakfast I went to my favorite Vinyasa Yoga class at Studio 206.  Class was fabulous as usual, and I left feeling all gushy and dreamy.  :) Lunch:  the last of the leftover roasted squash + potatoes on bulgur, along with 3 Back to Nature Multigrain Flax flatbread crackers. 090118-l1 The Back To Nature crackers are REALLY tasty...this was my first time trying them and I'll be buying them again. For dinner tonight we went over to our friend Amy's house where she had whipped up a fabulous pot roast.  We brought some homemade veggie soup (similar to this post) that my hubb made along with some hearty oat biscuits that I made.  At the end of the evening we traded leftovers so that we'll all have some variety instead of eating the same thing for days.  It worked out quite well! Dinner:  1 small bowl of pot roast, 1 small bowl of veggie soup, 2 hearty oat biscuits. 090118-d3 I used Erica's recipe for the hearty oat biscuits, but made a few modifications. Hearty Oat Biscuits Ingredients:
  • 2 cups of rolled oats
  • 2 cups of white whole wheat flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • I'll add 1/2 tsp salt next time too
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cups soymilk
  1. Preheat oven to 450*.
  2. Grind oats in food processor.  Add the flour and baking powder and pulse for 10 seconds.
  3. In separate bowl, dissolve the honey in the vegetable oil.  Add the milk and whisk to combine.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet and stir with a fork until a soft dough forms.
  5. Drop biscuits on a greased cookie sheet.  You should get 8-10 palm-sized biscuits.
  6. Bake for 15-18 minutes.
090118-d2 090118-d1 This recipe is really great and so fast to whip up.  Like I mentioned above, next time I will add a bit of salt.  I also think that adding rosemary or chives would be really tasty, and maybe a bit of sharp cheese.   Alrighty, I'm exhausted and have to work tomorrow.  :(  So sad.  I hope you all had a fabulous weekend!
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baby, its COLD outside!


Whew!  I have a bit of catch-up to do!  :)  I wish I could say that my lack of post last night was the result of a rowdy night out on the town, but sadly I just fell asleep while watching a movie with my hubb.  I'm feeling old.  :)  Is anybody else totally beat by Friday night?  I'm happy to go out Saturday or even Sunday nights, but Fridays?  Pop a movie in the dvd player and give me a bowl of popcorn and I am a happy girl.  I am thrilled to say that I got a whopping 12 hours of sleep last night!!!  We had the alarm set for 7am to meet the training group for a long run, but when I checked the temperature at that early hour and realized how cold it still was I made a snap decision to go for a later run (with much encouragement from my hubb!).   When we finally rolled out of bed around 10am, I fixed myself a light pre-run breakfast.  I'm going to be experimenting with some of your wonderful suggestions after last weekend's run so that I will be ready with my best fuel for the 10-miler race on April 4th. Breakfast:  1/2 sliced banana and a piece of whole wheat toast with 1 tbsp natural peanut butter and a drizzle of honey. 090117-b1 My hubb and I ran 5 (ridiculously hilly) miles today!!!  I tell you what, I really paid for not running all week.  It was tough!!!  But I finished, and that's all that matters!  My hubb was so sweet and stayed with me the whole way, slowing down to wait for me on several occasions.  There is no way that I would have finished if he hadn't been just ahead of me encouraging me to keep going.  For the first 2 miles I was miserable.  I had layered myself with Under Armor Cold Gear, a fleece vest, windbreaker, gloves, ear warmers and SmartWool socks, but I was still frozen.  My toes and lips were numb and my lungs burned from the 18* (felt like 7*) air.  The whole time I was thinking "why am I doing this?  i don't like to run!  this is crazy!".  But after 2 miles I got in the groove and realized I had to keep going because I would just get colder if I stopped to walk.  I finally warmed up, my toes gained feeling again, but my lips stayed frozen.  When we finally finished I couldn't talk right, it felt like I'd been numbed for a dental procedure or something.  Quite funny.  :)  I don't think I could have chosen a hillier route...what was I thinking?  But, it makes me even prouder to have finished because not only did we increase our distance from last week but we added a ton of hills in as well.  We rock!  :) My breakfast fuel held me over really well.  No tummy growling this week.  But when we got back I was ready for lunch. Lunch:  leftover roasted potatoes + squash (recipe below...SO good) on top of leftover bulgur and fresh spinach.  Also, a side of 1/2 cup Fage 0% and strawberries, which my hubb helped me finish. 090117-l1 090117-l2 This combo was SO tasty.  The spinach wilted a bit when I microwaved the bowl to heat up the squash and 'taters, making it more flavorful and the perfect consistency with the rest of the dish. 090117-l3 So a quick recap of yesterday is in order.  I'll try to keep it brief, but definitely hold out for the simple Roasted Squash + Potatoes at the bottom because it is a winner! Breakfast:  same as thursday, a toasted Ezekiel Cinn Raisin Muffin with 1 tbsp natural peanut butter, cranberry ketchup and apple slices.  Such a good, filling breakfast.  My second favorite, the first being oats.  :) 090116-d3 Lunch:  leftover stuffed acorn squash filling with roasted garlic hummus and fresh spinach wrapped up in a 8" whole wheat tortilla.  A side of extra hummus, 1/2 a red bell pepper and a carrot finished it off. 090116-l1 Snack:  My office had our weekly wine and cheese "yay its friday!" celebration, so I had more cheese, crackers, and wine than I probably should have.  :) It was "use up stuff in the fridge before we shop tomorrow" night, and it turned out SO well!  We had leftover baked chicken breast, an acorn squash, some red potatoes that were growing eyes, and a lot of fresh produce to use up.  I knew I wanted to make something with the squash and potatoes, and dreamed up this simple combo while at work. Rosemary Roasted Butternut Squash + Potatoes Ingredients:
  • one small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced into 1" cubes
  • 6-8 small red potatoes, bad spots peeled but remainder of skin left on, diced into 1" cubes
  • 1/2 an onion, diced into 1" pieces
  • 3 tbsp butter (yes, butter.  the hubb convinced me and i'm so glad he did) cut into 3 pieces
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • one sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnut pieces
Combine everything but the walnuts in a baking dish, with the rosemary buried in the center.  Roast on 375* for 45 minutes.  Put walnuts on a cookie sheet, place in oven on rack underneath roasting veggies, turn oven temperature up to 400* and continue to roast for an additional 10 minutes.  You may want to toss the walnuts at the 5 minute mark, just watch them so that they don't burn.  Remove rosemary and serve immediately, with walnuts sprinkled on the top. 090116-d1 090116-d2 I can't tell you enough how good this was!  Please, please, please try it!  :) The rest of dinner consisted of a HUGE salad and 1/2 a chicken breast seasoned with Chef Paul's Poultry Magic. 090116-d4 The salad contained:
  • fresh spinach
  • broccoli
  • red bell pepper
  • hearts of palm
  • celery
  • strawberries
  • blood orange pieces
  • creamy poppyseed dressing
YUM!!! 090116-d5 Its no wonder I passed out shortly after consuming this feast... Allison asked me yesterday to explain the difference between a blood orange and a regular orange.  Here goes! 090116-d6 The blood orange is one of my favorite winter fruits.  I look forward to it every winter similarly to how I look forward to currants at the end of fall and peaches in the summer.  It bas beautiful crimson flesh and a distinctive taste that is somewhere between an orange and a grapefruit.  It is tart, leaves a dry feeling on your tongue like the grapefruit but has a sweet finish like an orange.  You see them most often made into dressings, gelato/sorbet and drinks.  If you haven't tried one, go for it!!!  They are just coming into season so should be hitting your grocery stores any week now. And now I'm off for some grocery shopping with my hubb.  I hope you all are having a fabulous Saturday!
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birthday blondies


Friday is my dear friend Beth's birthday.  Beth and I met the summer before I started graduate school when she was an intern at the architecture firm I had been working for.  We became fast friends because we shared many interests:  design, food, running, yoga.  We swapped recipes and design ideas for two years before she moved to Philadelphia to take a job with a fabulous firm.  I miss her.  She was the person who first introduced me to brussels sprouts and kale, both of which I now can't live without. She also introduced me to figs.  I owe her many thanks for bringing dried figs into my life. These fig almond blondies are for Beth.  Happy birthday dear friend. brownies-1 brownies-2 090114-blondies-1 This recipe comes from VeggieGirl.  I said last night that Jen @ Running With Food can cook...well, VeggieGirl can bake!!!  This is the second blondie recipe I've tried of hers, and it is definitely a winner in my household.  I will be holding both her Fig Almond Blondie and her Pear Pistachio Ginger Blondie recipes near and dear for a long time. Fig Almond Blondies adapted slightly from VeggieGirl's Fig Almond Blondie recipe makes 16 blondies Ingredients:
  • 6oz plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 cup turbinado sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp blackstrap molasses
  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour (next time I will try whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 10 dried Turkish figs, chopped
  • soymilk, as needed
  1. Preheat oven to 350* and spray 8x8 cooking pan with oil
  2. In a large bowl, mix the yogurt, applesauce, sugar, vanilla and molasses together.
  3. In the same bowl, add the flour, baking soda, almonds and figs.  As the mixture combines it will thicken, add a splash of soymilk as needed to help mix.  Don't add too much!!!
  4. Spread batter into greased 8x8 pan and smooth the top.
  5. Bake for 32-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Remove pan from oven and place on wire rack to cool. Allow to cool completely before cutting.
090114-s21 A quick recap of today's eats so far... Breakfast:  Oats!  I'm so in love with my normal combo, I just can't get enough!  This morning I stepped it up an extra notch by adding dried figs.  Yum!  The fig seeds added perfect little bits of crunch. 090114-b1 Lunch:  Leftovers!  I know I promised another wrap, but when I opened the fridge this morning and saw a perfect lunch-sized portion of leftover pot pie and collard greens, I couldn't resist. 090114-l1 Snack:  1/2 cup Fage 0% and 5 lovely strawberries.  I have to say, I'm really loving the Fage.  Its making me miss my Oikos less and less each day... 090114-s1 Tonight the hubb and I are going over to our friend Amy's house for dinner, which is why I'm posting a bit early.  I'm making a quick lasagna recipe that I'm really excited to try and can't wait to share the results with you tomorrow! Be sure to check out Oh She Glows for a fabulous Honest Foods Giveaway! Have a great night!  :)
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food on the table


Oh, I'm glad today is over.  Things are slooooooowwwww in landscape design world right now.  It seems that with a faltering economy there aren't a whole lot of people who want to throw money at creating beautiful outdoor spaces.  I guess they are more worried about keeping food on the table, etc.  And because things are slow in the office, that's what I spend significant amounts of my day thinking about too, food on the table.  Not that I'm worried about my job security, although I probably should be, I just like to think about food.  On my table.  And what fun new recipe I'm going to try that will get said food onto said table. But before I jump to the dinner recipe I thought about all day and then crafted when I got home, lets start with breakfast. Breakfast:  Oats!  And Vanilla Honey Chamomile Tea.  This was a typical bowl of oats that I l.o.v.e. I'm in a bit of a rut with my oats, but I don't mind at all.  :)
  • 1/2 cup oats, 1 cup water, pinch of salt, splash of vanilla and sprinkling of cinnamon
  • 1 small mashed banana
  • 1 tsp ground flax seeds
  • 1 spoonful of natural peanut butter (I used up all of my almond butter!  But must thin out other condiments before replacing...)
090113-b1 Lunch:  Veggie Wrap with
  • 2 tbsp roasted garlic hummus
  • 1/2 cup of roasted spaghetti squash
  • red bell pepper
  • baby spinach
090113-l1 This combo was FABULOUS!  I will definitely be repeating tomorrow...sorry in advance!  I also had a navel orange (the one whose zest graced my bread last night) with 1/2 cup of Fage 0%. 090113-l2 Snacks:  C'mon...did you expect any different?  How could I resist this bread?!?  I nibbled on 2 slices throughout the day.  I think this is my favorite bread that I've made so far on the blog. Fav-or-ite. 090113-s2 Last week I saw this recipe for Chicken Pot Pie with Cornmeal Crust on Running With Food.  I love Jen's blog because not only is her photography gorgeous and her writing entertaining...the girl can cook!  Her recipes are the kind of down-home, simple comfort food that we crave regularly in our household. After freezing for most of the day at my drafty desk in a slightly boring job (these days anyway), comfort food was exactly what I needed. Dinner:  Chicken Pot Pie with Cornmeal Crust [recipe here] with a side of Collard Greens, and a glass of cabernet. 090113-d2 090113-d1 The pot pie recipe is deliciously easy and I followed it nearly to a tee.  One step that Jen forgot to mention is when to cook the chicken.  I chopped it up and tossed it in the saucepan with the veggies to sauté for 5-7 minutes before adding the Cream of Mushroom soup mixture.  I also added fresh parsley to the filling.  After the filling simmered for about 10 minutes, I added one tablespoon of cornstarch (dissolved in 2 tbsp cold water) to help the mixture to thicken up a bit. 090113-d3 I dropped dollops of cornmeal batter across the top of the filling to make "biscuits", and baked the dish for 20 minutes at 425*. 090113-d5 090113-d7 While the pot pie was baking, I quickly prepared the collard greens by removing the stems and rinsing the leaves.  I then sautéed some garlic in olive oil in a big soup pan. Once the garlic was fragrant, I added the damp collards to the pot and covered it.  I let the collards steam for 5-7 minutes on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. 090113-d4 090113-d8 Dinner was EXCELLENT!!!  This pot pie recipe is definitely a keeper.  I was hoping to be able to try Jen's stuffed acorn squash recipe with the leftover pot pie, but there isn't much left!!!  My hubb REALLY liked it.  :) I hope you've all had a great day and evening!  I was able to do a little baking tonight for a friend's birthday, which I will share with you tomorrow.  Not my own recipe, but VeggieGirl's Fig Blondies!  They are sure to be a hit, the last VeggieGirl recipe I tried was amazing.  Goodnight!
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i owe you...


...a post.  But instead of telling you about my sunday eats (which were unhealthy, eaten in the car, in ikea or out of a dominoes box) I decided to break up today's food journal posts.  Since I missed out on all of my baking plans this weekend (a trip to Ikea and the resulting piles of boxes, plastic wrap, tiny allen wrenches and discarded old furniture will do that to you...) I'm hoping to play a little catch-up tonight and tomorrow night.  Which means lots of pictures of baked goods are coming.  Yum.   Thank you all for the sweet congratulatory comments on Saturday's post!!!  I am so lucky to be part of such a supportive network of people, it really means a lot to me that you all are cheering me on.  :) Breakfast:  toasted Ezekiel Cinnamon Raisin Muffin with 1 tbsp almond butter, sliced apple and 1 tbsp cranberry ketchup. 090112-b1 I'll give you a preview of what I'll be eating for lunch and my snack today.  I pack my food in the morning and take all of my photos before work, which is why I always have the same background in my shots.  I like the consistency, and it allows me to avoid awkward questions from my boss and co-worker.  They just don't need to know about the blog.  Not yet anyway. Lunch:  baked sweet potato with 1/2 cup of corn and 1/4 cup of edamame...and a good sprinkle of sea salt. 090112-l1 Snack:  1/2 cup of Fage 0% and 4 beautiful strawberries. 090112-s1 Last week I read this article by Mark Bittman of The New York Times about what common pantry items to ditch in 2009.  I found it very interesting and thought you all might as well.  He suggests replacing pre-packaged, preservative-full items with their natural counterparts...sounds right up our foodie alleys, doesn't it?   A couple of examples: OUT:  packaged bread crumbs or croutons IN:  make your own by chopping up bread and placing in a low-heat oven until brown and crispy.  Mark claims they will keep for a long time! OUT:  aerosol oil IN:  good olive oil in a hand-pumped sprayer OUT:  old spices - they're only good for one year!!!  (looks like I have some cleaning-out to do...!) IN:  fresh spices - if you take a whiff of your spice jar and get dust or a musty smell instead, toss it! OUT:  canned beans IN:  dried beans.  Cook up a pound over the weekend to use all week long.  They taste better, are more economical and take up less space in your pantry. There are so many other great suggestions...check out the article! I hope you all have a fabulous day, I'll be back tonight.  :)
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5 MILES!!!


That's right bloggies, this morning the hubb and I joined the training group for a 5 MILE RUN!!!  We're halfway to reaching our goal of running the Charlottesville 10-Miler on April 4th.  I can't believe that in the last 12 weeks we've gone from 0 miles to 5 miles...WOOHOO!!! We started off with a slow 1/2 mile warm-up jog on the track, then did 4-1/2 miles on relatively flat Charlottesville roads.  There were gradual ups and downs the whole way, and two steep hills, one at the beginning and one at the end.  They were nothing compared to the actual race which has MANY steep fact, the Charlottesville 10-Miler is known as one of the hilliest, most challenging races in the country!  Yikes. I began the run with a sweet foursome of ladies while my hubb joined a faster group of guys.  The ladies were pacing a bit slower than I typically do, about 11 minutes.  I pulled ahead after the first 1-1/2 miles and finished the last 3-1/2 miles at my typical 10-minute pace.  I felt great for most of the run, with just a little bit of knee soreness.  But I never felt like I needed to quit.  Never.  All-in-all it was a great run, and left me totally pumped to continue my training for the next 12 weeks until the 10-miler on April 4th!!! We received Phase 2 of our training program today so I will get it posted in the next couple of days on my training program page. Before my run I ate 1/2 a banana. This is my typical fuel before a long run, but I know I'm going to need more now that I'm at the 5-mile mark.  How do you other runners out there fuel before a long run??? 090110-b1 After my run I was famished!!!  My tummy was growling at me for the last mile.  I knew I had to eat as soon as I got home... Breakfast:  1 cup of Flax Plus Pumpkin Raisin Crunch with 1/2 banana and 1 cup of soy milk. 090110-b2 The hubb and I had a great day running some errands and meeting friends for lunch.  I won't bore you with details, but the day included mattress testing and lunch at a Brazilian Churrascaria, Ipanema Grill. If you've never been to a churrascaria before...GO!!!  Its sooooo fun.  The big chain one is Texas de Brazil, which we've also been to (in Orlando).  I mainly ate off of the salad bar, which is huge and AMAZING, but I also had a small piece of bacon-wrapped chicken and a small sausage. Lunch was so big and filling that we completely skipped dinner! And, on the way home from Richmond (about an hour drive) the hubb and I talked about rearranging our house.  And when we got home, we proceeded to COMPLETELY tear it apart.  We like immediate results...  :)  So, tomorrow we'll be going to Ikea to pick up a few things and try to put our newly organized and arranged house back together.  So fun!!!  Here's a shot of our poor architecture books displaced in our dining room... 090110-books And this isn't even close to all of the books we own... So, my big plans for grocery shopping and baking today were postponed until tomorrow, hopefully.  :) I hope you all are having a fabulous weekend...I'll be back tomorrow!
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a little queasy


Happy Friday!  I hope you all had a great end to your week.  I'm still not feeling so great.  Its a good thing I piddled around with this post while at work today, otherwise you'd probably just see a series of photos with no explanation!  I came home from work and laid down for an hour, which helped, but I'm looking forward to going to bed shortly.  I'm sorry my eats have been a little blah these last couple of days... For breakfast this morning the hubb and I met our good friend Amy for our Friday morning tradition at Blue Grass Grill.  I've raved about this Charlottesville spot before, and I'll rave again.  They have the most amazing breakfast options, and this morning's was my favorite.  Sadly, I have no pictures, so I'll try to describe with the best of my foodie lingo. Breakfast:  Imagine this...a bed of perfectly roasted potato hashbrowns topped with spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, feta and mozzarella cheeses.  Stick the whole dish in the oven and broil until the cheese is perfectly melted, bubbly and browned in a couple of spots.  Oh. my. goodness.  I ate the whole thing.  I also ate 1/2 of the perfect honey wheat biscuit that comes as a side, with blackberry preserves.  It was definitely an indulgent breakfast.  There were healthier options, like the veggie egg white omelet without cheese that I had last time we were there, but I just could not say no to this skillet. Luckily, lunch was nice and healthy.  Remember this spaghetti squash from last night?  I thought about using him in our Mexican Dip, but was vetoed by the hubb.  So instead, 1/2 the squash went into a pyrex container with a mish mash of other eats to make my lunch today. 090108-d11 Lunch:  Roasted spaghetti squash, steamed broccoli and leftover lentil salad (the last of it!). 090109-l11 Even though I had a big breakfast this morning, when the clock struck 12:30 my body was ready to eat. This is a big pyrex container, 8" x 6" x 2".  That's 1/2 a spaghetti squash, 1 cup of lentil salad and 1 broccoli floret.  Apparently I wasn't as hungry as I thought because I only ate about 1/2 the contents. I thought about having the rest as an afternoon snack (or second lunch) but just wasn't feeling it.  My tum's been a bit iffy today, perhaps all of the cheese last night and this morning?  You'd think I'd learn...but I love my cheese too much. Afternoon Snack:  Cashew Cookie Larabar. 090106-s21 This was my first experience with the cashew cookie flavor.  The taste was great, but it was drier than other Larabar flavors I've tried...more crumbly.  Has anybody else tried this bar?  Was mine a textural dud?  The peanut butter cookie flavor I had last week was SO much better, much softer and more cookie-like. For dinner I was planning on making Tofu Veggie Masala, but the last thing I wanted to do when I got home was cook.  When I woke up from my nap, my hubb had ordered the perfect dinner to help my sore throat and queasy tummy...Egg Drop Soup. Dinner:  Egg Drop Soup with some crunchy noodles and an Egg Roll.  It wasn't my egg drop soup, but it still hit the spot.  :) 090109-d1 I'm feeling better than I was earlier, but I'm going to head to bed so that I can get a good night's sleep before my 5 MILE RUN tomorrow!!!  I can't believe that tomorrow morning I will be at the halfway point in my 10-miler training!!!  WooHoo!!!
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running low...


Good evening!  Thank you all for the sweet comments today!  I am feeling much better after a good night's sleep.  I'm very happy that tomorrow is Friday and I'll be able to take it easy this weekend and catch up on some shut-eye.  This whole 5-day workweek thing is killing me!   :) Along with the end of the week comes the end of our grocery supply.  This end of the week is especially difficult because we actually grocery shopped last Wednesday, but instead of shopping for 1-1/2 weeks we did our normal week's worth of groceries so now...we're running quite low.  :) I dug some Ezekiel bread out of the freezer to make some toast for breakfast.  I have no idea how long it had been there, but apparently it was too long.  The toast was packed up to take to work with me this morning because I was running a little late, 1 piece smeared with almond butter the other with cranberry ketchup090108-b2 When I bit in, I was hit with an intense freezer-burn flavor and had a really tough time chewing the old bread.  Into the trash it went, and off I was to a cafe' down the street for some oatmeal.  What a waste of almond butter and cran ketchup (if you want the recipe shoot me an email, its straight from a cookbook so I can't post it). Breakfast:  a cup of oatmeal with cinnamon, brown sugar, golden raisins and chopped apple. Morning Snack:  a grapefruit that was supposed to be part of breakfast, but my oatmeal was pretty filling. 090108-b1 Leftovers for lunch make me pretty happy, especially when the leftovers are Thai!!!  Thank you all for the great suggestions of places to find good Thai recipes.  I have a feeling you'll be seeing some experimentation on the blog.  I'm especially excited about Ellen's suggestion to check out Chez Pim for a great Pad Thai tutorial.  Thank you Ellen!!! Lunch:  tofu scallion soup with bean sprouts and extra rice noodles, spring rolls with spicy pineapple sauce.  Delish. 090108-l1 090108-l2 Mid-Afternoon Snack: 1/4 cup of mixed nuts and dried fruit (cherries and figs, my favorites!!!).  My hubb also brought me a few fries from his lunch, 'cause he knows what I like.  :) 090108-s1 The hubb and I went for a run after work tonight...2-3/4 miles.  I kept up with my love as best I could which resulted in a speedier than normal run for me.  There were also hills.  I've discovered that you can't go further than 2 miles in Charlottesville without hitting a decent hill.  When we got home I stretched for a long time, I even did a few Vinyasa flows.  My hips have been really tight (maybe because of all the hills?!?) so I spent extra time with poses that would help to release some tension.  Hmmmmmmm....I feel so much better!  :) For dinner tonight I wanted to make some kind of cheesy, veggie-ful casserole thing.  I wasn't sure where it was going, but I thought that this spaghetti squash might be a good start. 090108-d1 The hubb disagreed (don't worry, I'll try it eventually) so the squash was delegated to fill my belly at lunch tomorrow.  I love getting the next day's lunch packed the night before, it makes my mornings so much easier!  I'll save the picture of my packed lunch for tomorrow's post though...  :) Instead, we went with our classic mexican dip night.  This is now a once-a-month favorite of ours, and typically corresponds with new episodes of Grey's Anatomy.  We used to eat it at least once-a-week...I think we've come very far.  I even went so far as to dip raw veggies into the cheesy goodness rather than tortilla chips...yay me! Dinner:  mexican dip with one whole carrot and 1/2 a cucumber.  I caved in and had a few blue corn tortilla chips too, but not NEARLY as many as I would have had if I hadn't chopped up some veggies. 090108-d2 This dip included:
  • spanish rice
  • one can of diced tomatoes
  • one can of black beans, mashed and mixed with taco seasoning
  • salsa
  • corn
  • orange bell pepper
  • cheddar / monterrey jack shredded cheese
It was TASTY!!!  What's your favorite t.v. / movie night dinner? TGIF!  Anybody have any big weekend plans?  I'm planning on experimenting with some baking recipes, and my new mixer!!!  WooHoo!  :)
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sleepy girl


Hello lovelies!  Tonight's post will be a short one, I'm not feelin' so hot.  Actually, I'm really tired, and a hot bath is loudly calling my name...  :)  The hubb and I haven't been sleeping well lately, we are in desperate need of a new mattress.  That, coupled with my very hilly 3-1/2 mile run this afternoon has left me sleepy and ready for some down time! Breakfast:  A repeat of Monday...oats!  With some vanilla, cinnamon, one small, ripe, mashed banana, ground flax seeds and a spoonful of almond butter. 090107-b1 Lunch:  More lentil salad, this time layered with spinach on the bottom and feta on the top...tasty!  On the side, 1/2 a whole wheat pita and a large pear. 090107-l1 Snacks:  Clems and Stoneyfield Yogurt.  I only ate one clem, after my run.   090107-s1 Dinner:  Take-out Thai!!!!  Yay!  My fave.  I picked the tofu scallion soup with bean sprouts, and ordered some rice noodles on the side to throw on top.  The broth was absolutely amazing!  I really need to start cooking Thai food... 090107-d1 I also had a small pile of the hubb's tofu pad thai and a few veggie spring rolls dipped in their amazing spicy pineapple sauce. 090107-d2 Does anybody have a good resource for Thai recipes?  I'm looking for a book, or website, or chef I should watch out for... Before rushing off to the bath I must write about my run.  I'm so excited to be past the 3-mile mark and getting in 30+ minute running workouts multiple times a week!  While at dinner with our friends last weekend, Kelly and I chatted about starting to run together again occasionally.  She was my first running partner in Charlottesville, we trained for the 2006 Women's 4-Miler together.  We're both designers (she's actually a registered architect) and our offices are right next door to each other downtown.  We decided to pick at least one night a week (Wednesdays!) to leave work a little early and get in a good 3+ mile run together before darkness falls.  Tonight Kelly picked our 3-1/2 mile route and it was HILLY!  So great though, I feel like we got a great workout in, along with fabulous conversation. And now I'm off to the bathtub to sooth my tired body.  Goodnight!  :)
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figs. also, some kale.


I was a little slow this morning, both mentally and physically.  The snooze button on my alarm was pressed for a full 45 minutes before I finally crawled out of bed.  I knew the weather was supposed to be cold and dreary today so I'll blame my lack of motivation on that. When I puttered out to the kitchen to work on prepping today's eats I had nary a clue as to what I would fix.  As I shuffled things around on the top shelf of my fridge, I accidentally knocked a small container of Fage to the floor.  After picking it up and discovering the crack that had formed in the bottom of the container, I realized that breakfast was solved. Breakfast:  one 6oz cup of 0% Fage, 1/2  a pink lady apple, 1/4 cup of homemade granola from my lovely friend Beth and a drizzle of cranberry ketchup. 090106-b1 Perfect combination.  I truly loved this breakfast.  Have I mentioned that the CK is good on EVERYTHING? I know you're probably sick of reading about it, but I've got just over one jar left to finish up before it goes bad so I'll happily continue to experiment over the next week.  In fact, this morning I made my hubb a brie, apple, spinach and cranberry ketchup sandwich on honey wheat bread.  He LOVED it, as did I when he brought over a bite for me to taste. After solving my breakfast and the hubb's lunch, I was at a bit of a loss thinking about what I wanted for lunch.  I thought about more meatball soup, but decided I should give it a rest and add some variety back into my meals and my blog.  There are a couple of sweet potatoes on the counter that I thought about baking, but didn't have time.  Same with the spaghetti squash.  I finally settled on a bag of dried french lentils in the pantry that I've been meaning to make a salad with for quite some time.  It seemed that I had enough time to quickly simmer them soft, but I wasn't altogether sure since it had been awhile since I'd made them.   I brought 1 cup of french lentils to a boil in 2 cups of chicken broth, reduced the heat and simmered for 40 minutes, 10 minutes longer than I had anticipated which resulted in a very rushed salad prep.  They are still slightly crunchy, which I like.  I'm not a big fan of lentils when they turn to mush. 090106-l1 Tossed with chopped bell pepper, cucumber, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and creole mustard, this simple salad turned out pretty well.  I'll be experimenting more though because I've had many better lentil salads at restaurants around town. Lunch:  Lentil Salad with 1/2 a whole wheat pita and a pear.  I meant to sprinkle some crumbled feta on top of the salad, but in my rush I forgot.  Maybe tomorrow. 090106-l2 For snacks I brought:  2 clementines and an Iced Gingerbread Clif Bar, I only ate one of the clems. 090106-s1 This was my first experience with any of the holiday-flavored Clif Bars.  I know, I'm way behind.  I wasn't sure what to expect as I've read many mixed reviews about them, so I was very pleasantly surprised when I nibbled on the bar a bit before lunch.  It was quite tasty!  I saved the rest for an afternoon snack and enjoyed it immensely.  Looks like I'm in for a hunt around town before they are all gone for another year.  Now if I could only remember where I found them... I also had two more dark chocolate covered potato chips.  Yes, I said potato chips.  I don't know why they don't show the dark chocolate option on the website, but I definitely prefer dark to milk chocolate these days.  I wish the chocolate was a little thinner so you could taste a bit more of the salted potato chip, but they are delicious all the same. During my lunch break I perused the last couple of days of the NY Times Dining + Wine section on the web.  I came across this recipe and couldn't stop thinking about it.  I'll blame it on the rain again. So, I hopped in the car with my hubb for a couple of late-lunchtime errands and purchased 4 chicken thighs, some dried figs, honey and lemons.  Also, some kale.  I've been craving greens since I couldn't find them for our New Years Day lucky dinner. Dinner:  Broiled Chicken with Honey Fig Sauce, sautéed kale and roasted garlic rice. 090106-d4 I discovered a new love for dried figs. 090106-d5 They are perfectly sweet and soft, and the seeds provide a wonderfully satisfying crunch.  Love. 090106-d9 The chicken is broiled in the oven until the outside is delicately crispy and the inside still moist.  The figs are simmered with honey, white wine and spices until a thick glaze forms, then drizzled over the chicken.  Paired with one of my longtime favorites, sautéed kale, this meal was a sure winner. 090106-d2 We sautéed the kale in olive oil with some garlic, salt and pepper until the leaves wilted slightly and turned bright green. 090106-d6 Before serving, we squeezed a bit of lemon juice across the kale.  Perfect. 090106-d8 The hubb and I were pretty happy with the results.  If we make the chicken recipe again we will make a few changes...
  • Use ground coriander instead of whole, and cut amount accordingly
  • Omit lemon juice from fig glaze
  • Lessen honey, perhaps substitute a bit more wine?  :)
At any rate, I'm a very happy girl after eating this simple gourmet meal.  Especially since we paired it with one of my new favorite wines, a local white that we used in the glaze as well. 090106-d7 And now, its bedtime after another long post.  I hope you've all had a pleasant day, and that tomorrow brings better weather for those of us that have been plagued with rain and cold for the last 24 hours. Good night!  :)
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kashi coupon winners!


Good evening!  I have a couple of winners of the Kashi TLC Cereal Bars contest!  My hubb picked two random numbers for me between 1 and 22 (the number of comments on the post).  The lucky numbers are 6 and 13, making Carolinebee and Becca A. the winners!!!  Congrats ladies!  Email me your addresses and I'll get the coupons in the mail to you ASAP. So how did everybody adjust to the first day back to work?  It was a pretty long day for me, mentally and in reality.  I get to work at 8:30 am and today didn't get out until 7:15pm without leaving the office for lunch or errands.  I hate being stuck inside for almost 11 hours!!!  To be honest, the last hour was spent reading blogs as I was just waiting for my hubb to finish up in his office so that we could ride home together.  But still, it was a long day.   We did manage to go out for a run once we got home and changed, which I'm very happy about.  The weather is supposed to turn nasty here for the next couple of days with lots of rain and ice, so the chances of getting out for a road run tomorrow or Wednesday are pretty slim.  We just did 2-1/2 miles tonight, but I picked up my pace to keep up with my hubb so got a good workout in.  He probably slowed down a little for me too...shhh.  :) My eats today were tasty, but probably a bit boring for you... Breakfast: A bowl of oats!  Mornings that include oats are my favorites...unless they include pancakes.  :) 090105-b1 This delicious bowl contained:
  • 1/2 cup Irish oats, 1 cup water, pinch of salt, 1/4 tsp vanilla, sprinkle of cinnamon
  • 1 very ripe mashed banana
  • 1 tsp ground flax seeds
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
Breakfast was earlier than normal because I had a dentist appointment before work, so I knew that I needed something hardy to hold me over 'till my normal lunch time.  This bowl of oats almost did the trick, keeping me satisfied for 4 hours.  I had a small handful of mixed nuts to hold me over the last hour. Lunch:  Leftover Mexican Meatball Soup and roasted veggies. 090105-l1 I thawed out a loaf of Pumpkin Cranberry Bread that I made last month to take to our friends this weekend in appreciation of them having us over for dinner, but forgot it in our rush out the door.  So, instead, I sliced it up and brought some in for my co-workers. 090105-s1 Snacks:  One slice of Pumpkin Cranberry Bread with 1 tbsp almond butter and two clementines. 090105-s2 And I may have had a couple of dark chocolate covered potato chips...but I don't have any pictures to prove it.  :)   I just love coming home to leftovers!  I know you all are probably getting tired of seeing this soup on the blog, but I am definitely not getting tired of eating it.  Its just so delicious!  And it was especially helpful tonight to have dinner ready to go for us with minimal prep since we didn't get home from our run and stretch until about 8:30. Dinner:  Another bowl of Mexican Meatball Soup and a lovely salad. 090105-d2 My salad consisted of:
  • spinach
  • broccoli
  • red bell pepper
  • celery
  • 1-1/2 clementines
  • cranberry ketchup [this stuff is great on everything!!! email me if you want the recipe]
090105-d3 And for dessert:  three Nairns Stem Ginger Wheat-Free Biscuits.  I LOVE these cookies/biscuits.  I'm pretty sad that my Whole Foods stopped stocking them on the shelves, but I dug around in my pantry and found one last little package.  2 cookies have just 80 calories, they are perfectly crunchy and have just enough gingery flavor.  The Roughcut Oatcakes are really tasty too... 090105-d4 Alrighty, shower and bed time for this little lady.  After my long run Saturday, intense yoga yesterday and speedy run tonight, this foodie's body is t.i.r.e.d.  Have a great night and day tomorrow!
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mexican meatball soup + kashi coupons!


I've had such a wonderful, relaxing weekend!  It was just what I needed after a week of traveling and holidays.  I hope that you all feel refreshed and ready to get back to work / school! We had a fantastic time with our friends last night.  Dinner was amazing, roasted chicken breast with onions, garlic and carrots, a side of steamed broccoli and savory grits.  All accompanied by two glasses of cabernet and finished with a medley of cheesecakes that we all sampled.  I was so disappointed that in my rush to get out of our house yesterday I forgot to grab my camera, so I have no evidence of our fabulous eats.  After dinner we just hung out and chatted for a few hours, but had a little break in the middle to play Rockband!!!  So so so fun!  :)  I'm REALLY disappointed that I don't have pictures of that! I was awakened early this morning by one of our pups, and after dealing with her was unable to get back to sleep.  So I got up and made myself a pre-breakfast snack (the hubb had big plans for an egg breakfast and I didn't want to ruin it for him). Snack:  1 cornmeal muffin spread with cranberry "ketchup", 1 clementine and a cup of green tea. 090104-b3 After being up for a couple of hours it became clear that the hubb still wasn't ready to roll out of bed so I decided to go ahead and have breakfast without him. Breakfast:  A 6oz cup of 0% Fage topped with 1/4 cup TJ's pumpkin spice granola and a sliced banana. 090104-b2 Ahhhhhh...Greek Yogurt, how I missed thee.  I still prefer Oikos because it is organic, but until they work out their manufacturing problem and get it back on my Whole Food's shelves the Fage will suit me just fine.  Plus...its cheaper!  :) Sadly, my hubb emerged from the bedroom just after I finished my breakfast.  I snagged a cup of coffee and a piece of his bacon while sitting with him through his meal. 090104-b1 At lunchtime I went to my favorite 75-minute Vinyasa Yoga class at Studio 206.  It had been three weeks since I'd been and it felt great to be back.  Man oh man, Hilary kicked my bootie!  It was a wonderful, intense class that had me drenched by the end.  I was worried that I would be too sore from my run yesterday but the yoga really helped to loosen me up.  I love the combination of running and yoga and what it does for me both mentally and physically. My hubb picked me up at 2pm and I was ravenous so I helped him finish the french fries he'd picked up while running errands.  Once home I made myself a quick, late lunch before heading out into the yard to plant some bulbs. Lunch:  1/2 an almond butter and sour cherry preserves sandwich on whole wheat bread and a sliced pear. 090104-l1 I planted 150 spring bulbs in hard Virginia clay for 2+ hours this afternoon.  I really hope that they come up, they should have gone in the ground a month ago but I just never got around to planting them. The bulbs I planted two years ago are already peaking up above the mulch, so we'll see what happens with my newbies.  The yard work was another workout in itself...2+ hours digging in hard Virginia clay will leave you t.i.r.e.d. Snack:  I was starving again when I came in just before dark (its been such a snack-filled day!) so I grabbed this Kashi Cereal Bar sample I got in the mail the other day. 090104-s1 I've seen these on the my grocery store's shelves but they are kinda pricey so I haven't picked any up yet. It was pretty good...reminded me of a Fig Newton or Nutrigrain bar.  The blackberry filling was quite tasty, and the texture of the bar was nice and soft. 090104-s2 090104-s3 It only contains 110 calories, but just 2g of protein so I know it wouldn't stick with me long for breakfast.  But as an afternoon snack I think it could be very satisfying.   Along with the sample I received a stack of coupons that I'm supposed to share with friends... Would anybody like a couple of Kashi Cereal Bar $2.00 off coupons?  I can send two coupons to two separate people. Leave me a comment if you're interested by 8pm tomorrrow (Monday) and I'll have my magic number generator (a.k.a. my hubb) pick a random number.  I'll announce the winners on tomorrow night's post. For dinner tonight the hubb and I made Mexican Meatball Soup.  I first saw this recipe on Kristin's blog, The Kitchen Sink.  If you haven't checked out her blog yet you really should.  She makes beautiful meals and baked goods and has absolutely gorgeous photography. 090104-d7 The recipe is originally from Bon Appetit.  Kristin made a few changes, and I made a few more.  This soup is delicious and hearty.  The hubb and I enjoyed it VERY much.  There is just one change that I will make the next time this meal meets our table and I've indicated it below.  Warning:  This soup requires a LARGE pot.  I started it in my standard soup pot and had to transfer everything to a large stock pot when the meatballs went in to prevent it from overflowing.   Mexican Meatball Soup inspired by The Kitchen Sink, originally from Bon Appetit Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1-1/2 medium onions, chopped, divided
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced, divided
  • 2 small bay leaves 
  • 2 quarts beef broth 
  • 1 quart chicken broth 
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice 
  • 1/2 cup chunky tomato salsa (medium-hot) [next time we will omit the salsa and instead spice the soup up with some ancho chili powder, to taste]
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
  • 1 pound lean ground beef 
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 8 tablespoons yellow cornmeal 
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp buttermilk 
  • 1 large egg 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 
  • 1/2 cup long-grain brown rice
  1. Start the brown rice on the stovetop.  Follow directions on package and let cook for 20 minutes, then remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Heat oil on medium heat in LARGE pot.  Add one of the chopped onions, 2 garlic cloves and bay leaves; sauté 5 minutes.
  3. Add broths, tomatoes with juices, salsa [or ancho chili powder] and 1/4 cup cilantro; bring to boil. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. 
  4. Meanwhile, combine ground beef, ground sausage, cornmeal, buttermilk, egg, salt, pepper, cumin, then remaining 1/2 onion, 2 garlic cloves and 1/4 cup cilantro in medium bowl. Mix well.
  5. Shape meat mixture by generous tablespoonfuls into 1 to 1-1/4 inch balls. 
  6. Add rice and meatballs to soup and bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until rice and meatballs are tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
broth simmering broth simmering meatballs forming meatballs forming 090104-d2 We used more meat than the original recipe called for so we of course had a few extra meatballs.  The hubb took care of these by pan-frying them in a little olive oil. 090104-d4 Dinner:  A bowl of Mexican Meatball Soup with 7 meatballs, a side of roasted veggies (carrot, brussels and broccoli), two additional pan-fried meatballs and a cornmeal muffin. 090104-d5 The soup is soooooooo filling.  I am still completely stuffed and oh so happy.  :) 090104-d6 Whew!  That was a long post.  I was planning to bake tonight but don't know if I have it in me.  The bathtub and a book may be calling my name instead... Have a great night!  :)
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applesauce pancakes


Happy Saturday everybody!  I hope you're all enjoying a relaxing weekend recovering after all the holiday festivities.  We got all of our Christmas decorations put away and did chores around the house this afternoon, I'm finally feeling like life is returning to normal.  I like having a routine!  :) This morning I woke up craving one of my favorite breakfasts, Applesauce Pancakes.  They are a much healthier version of the traditional pancake, but they take a little more effort to make so they seldom make an appearance on our table.  Not that they are difficult, just more difficult than opening up a box of Dr. Oetker's Organic Pancake Mix and adding egg and milk... Breakfast:  3 Applesauce Pancakes topped with 1-1/2 clementines and cranberry ketchup and 1/2 a pink lady apple (I found them at Whole Foods!) 090103-b1 090103-b2 Here's the recipe...the original came out of a cookbook from the hubb's nana, but I've modified it so much over the last few years that I think I can call this one mine now. Applesauce Pancakes makes about 1 dozen "silver dollar" pancakes Ingredients:
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp turbinado sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1-1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 tsp orange zest, grated
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten
  • 2 egg whites
  1. Sift together dry ingredients in large mixing bowl.
  2. Blend applesauce, orange zest, vanilla and egg yolks in separate bowl, then add to dry mix.
  3. Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry, then fold into batter.
  4. Ladle batter onto a lightly oiled hot griddle, to desired pancake size.
  5. Cook until small bubbles form throughout, then turn to brown the other side.
  "stiff" egg whites going into batter "stiff" egg whites going into batter Breakfast was really late today because the hubb and I slept in.  :)  This afternoon we went for our 4-mile training was AWESOME!!!  I was so worried because our running has been so sporadic with prepping for the holidays then being out of town for a week...we'd really gotten off of our training schedule.  I mapped out a 4-mile loop for us that took us through our neighborhood, past the university, down Main Street and back to our house so it was nice and interesting for most of the way. Oh how I missed the variety of my familiar C'ville runs!!!  And, I am SO PROUD of my hubb!  He set a Personal Distance Record for himself today!!!  Yay Hubb!!!  :) Tonight we are going over to some friends' house for an early dinner, and since my breakfast was so late I decided on a light lunch after my run. Lunch:  Salad with romaine, spinach, red bell pepp, broccoli, roasted garlic hummus, 1/2 tsp of grapeseed oil and 1 tsp balsamic vinegar. 090103-l1 And a Clif chocolate chip ZBar...cause I felt like a little "dessert".  :) 090103-l2 Alrighty bloggies, I'm off for some good food and good company.  I hope you all have a fantastic evening!  :)
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back to the grind for just one day


Can every work week be just one day long?  It was strange to get up this morning at 6am after two weeks of sleeping until 8am, but I managed.  Did anyone else have to work today?  I felt like I was the only one, even my one co-worker called in sick.  My boss was nice enough to tell me to go home at 4pm (we normally leave the office at 6pm), so I was able to run a few errands before picking up my hubb and heading home.  One of my errands involved an exciting new purchase which I am sure I will post about this weekend so you'll just have to wait...  :) Breakfast:  3/4 cup Flax Plus Pumpkin Raisin Crunch cereal from Nature's Path with 3/4 cup Hemp Milk and 1/2 a banana sliced.  On the side, the other 1/2 banana with 1 tbsp almond butter. 081231-s1 I'm ready to use up this cereal.  Its good, but it has more calories per serving than I typically look for in a cereal and doesn't keep me full for very long.  I'm getting close...  The hemp milk is really good.  It is thinner than soymilk, and has a slightly sweeter flavor.  I still think that I prefer soymilk but the hemp is nice to keep around because it doesn't have to be refrigerated before opening.  Its my back-up milk. 090102-b11 Lunch:  Leftover black-eyed peas on brown rice and the last of the roasted veggies. 090102-l1 Mmmm.  Warm and satisfying.  Have I mentioned that my office is freezing?  Actually, we blast the heat, but I sit right by the really old and poorly-insulated windows that let every 35* draft in.  So one side of me sits in a sauna all day while the other side of me turns into an ice cube.  Its miserable, but my boss is working on getting the windows replaced so I'm trying to be a good sport.  There are some days when I never take off my wool winter coat and scarf all day long... Snacks:  I spread 2 clementines and a peanut butter cookie Larabar throughout the day.  I also had 3 brazil nuts and 2 mugs of Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride tea (to try and thaw myself out). 090102-s2 Oh. My. Goodness.  Now I know why you all have been raving about the PB Cookie Larabars!!!  I couldn't find this particular flavor for the longest time, but while searching for some gifts the week before Christmas I happened to run into a store I don't visit often and found this beauty on their shelf.  It was amazing!!!  The only ingredients?  Dates and peanuts.  I'm in love.  I had every intention of eating just 1/2 the bar but couldn't stop once I started.  These could be really dangerous...luckily they are good for me! 090102-s1 Dinner:  Another bowl of black-eyed peas on brown rice.  Shockingly I haven't tired of these yet! Don't be surprised if you see a repeat tomorrow, but after that I'm freezing the remainder.  They'll make a great lunch in a couple of weeks. 090102-d21 I also made a big salad with romaine, spinach, cucumber, yellow bell pepp, green olives and feta cheese.  I added a glob of roasted garlic hummus on the side because it sounded tasty, and drizzled the salad with 1/2 tsp grapeseed oil and 1 tsp moscatel wine vinegar. 090102-d1 Dessert:  Our dear friend Kelly, whose husband Steve was the guest of honor at the New Years Eve Surprise Birthday Party we unfortunately had to miss, brought us a plate of leftover birthday cake today!  My biggest weakness in the whole culinary world is cake.  I LOVE CAKE.  Who doesn't?  Cake tops cookies, pies, brownies and ice cream on my list of favorite sweets.   090102-d3 I started off with just the 3 bites you see missing in the photo above.  I promptly put the plastic wrap back on the cake, slid it to the back of the kitchen counter and turned off the kitchen light as I went to the living room to join my hubb for some Friday night t.v. watchin'.  I thought I was safe.  Then, the hubb disappears to the kitchen and comes back with the plate of cake and a fork.  I was powerless to stop him from handing me the fork after every third bite of his.  I just can't help it.  We did scrape off most of the icing because it was too thick and sweet, so I feel slightly better about the whole thing.  But now I have mega motivation to get out the door tomorrow for a run.  :P Exercise:  Before dinner tonight I pulled out my favorite yoga DVD for 30 minutes of intense stretching.  I wouldn't call it a power yoga session because I wasn't sweating, but I was definitely working my whole body and feel so much better now for it.  It had been two weeks since my last yoga practice and I was really feeling the need to get back into it.  Afterwards I did 10 minutes of ab work in various positions.   Tomorrow is a long run day and I feel stretched and ready to go.  I'm nervous because my longest run in the last 3 weeks was 2-1/2 miles while in Florida.  Eek!  I didn't realize it had been that long since our 3-1/4 mile run.  Now I'm really nervous.  We were supposed to run a 5k on New Years Day but weren't up for it after all the traveling and dog sickness etc.  I think I'm going to plan on a 4 mile run tomorrow, a 4-1/2 mile run mid-week, along with a couple more shorter runs and then hopefully be back on track for the 5 mile run scheduled for next weekend.  Scary! Alrighty, I have a date with my hubb and a movie.  Anybody have any exciting plans for this weekend or are you all just recovering from the holidays like we are?
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on the right foot...


I started the first day of 2009 right...with a bowl of oats.  I've missed my oats these past few weeks as I've been cleaning out the fridge, freezer and pantry. Breakfast:  1 cup prepared rolled oats, a splash of hemp milk, a dash of vanilla, a small handful of raisins and 1/2 an apple sprinkled with cinnamon and turbinado sugar.  On the side a piece of whole wheat bread smeared with 1 tbsp almond butter and a drizzle of cranberry "ketchup". 090101-b1 The hubb and I lazed around the house most of today, it was lovely.  I caught up on some blogs, but not nearly as many as I need to!  Maybe tonight I can finish up...  Before going out for some errands today I made a quick lunch to keep me from stopping for something I would regret. Lunch:  A big ol' salad with romaine, spinach, yellow bell pepp, cucumber, dried cranberries, some crumbled feta cheese and light ranch dressing.  090101-l1 On the side, a Stoneyfield Farm yogurt.  I can't wait for my Oikos to return to the shelves!!!  I did pick up some Fage yesterday but want to finish up the last couple Stoneyfields I already had in the fridge before they go bad. 090101-l2 Snack:  One of our errands today included a stop at Target.  I was feeling light-headed and a little nauseous so I picked up a Luna Peanut Butter Cookie bar.  It tasted ok, but did help me feel much better. Has anyone else ever heard that eating black-eyed peas on New Years Day will bring good luck in the upcoming year?  I can't remember when or where I heard this, but yesterday as I was making our grocery list I thought that black-eyed peas sounded like a fantastic idea.  Who can't use a little extra luck in the new year?!? Dinner:  Black-Eyed Peas on brown rice, maple roasted beets, carrots and brussels sprouts and oil-free cornmeal muffins.  Say goodbye to my lovely tree...I think this post will be its last appearance.  :( 090101-d7 I soaked about 1 pound of dried black-eyed peas in water for about 4 hours this afternoon.  After rinsing the peas, I returned them to a large stock pot and covered them with 8 cups of chicken stock (about 1" of stock over the peas). I added
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 ham steaks, chopped
  • salt + pepper
brought to a boil, and let simmer for about 30 minutes. At this point, to my surprise, the peas were done! I wasn't ready for them yet so just kept them on low heat on the stove.  If you don't have the hours to soak ahead of time, you could skip the soaking step and just cook the peas on the stovetop for 2 hours. 090101-d4 090101-d8 For the roasted veggies, I chopped
  • 1 large carrot
  • 3 small beets
  • about a dozen brussels sprouts
and drizzled them with about 1 tbsp of olive oil.  They went into the oven on 400* for 30 minutes.  I pulled them out and drizzled maple syrup across the veggies, tossed them, and stuck them back in the oven for an additional 10 minutes. 090101-d5 They weren't quite as maple-glazed as I would have liked for them to be...I'll add more syrup next time. The Oil-Free Cornmeal Muffins are a recipe I adapted from one of my favorite baking books, Sweet & Natural Baking by Mani Niall.  I was looking for a quick corn muffin recipe because corn bread and black-eyed peas belong together.  This one did not disappoint, I loved it! 090101-d1 090101-d2 The muffins don't crumble like traditional cornbread, but they are wonderfully flavored and very moist. I will definitely be making them again! 090101-d3 I enjoyed my muffin with a bit of Earth Balance spread. 090101-d6 Oil-Free Cornmeal Muffins [adapted from Sweet & Natural Baking by Mani Niall] makes 8 muffins Ingredients:
  • 1-1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 tbsp turbinado sugar
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350*.  Spray a muffin tin with nonstick spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift the flour, cornmeal, turbinado sugar, baking soda and salt together. Make a well in the center.
  3. In another medium bowl, whisk the agave nectar, buttermilk and eggs together.  Pour into well and stir with a wooden spoon just until combined.
  4. Spoon the batter evenly into 8 of the muffin cups.  Bake until the tops spring back when pressed lightly, about 18 minutes.  Cool for 2 minutes, run a knife around the inside of the cups to release the muffins and remove them from cups.
Now I'm off to finish straightening up our house, put away Christmas and get ready for work tomorrow. Blech.  I can't believe I have to work tomorrow!  I really can't complain because I've had most of the last two weeks off, but its difficult to get motivated to go in for just one day before the weekend...   I hope you all have a lovely evening!
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end of the holidays...


...and back to reality.   The hubb and I head back to Virginia tomorrow (sniff sniff) and enjoyed the last of our meals with my family today.  The food and company have been fabulous, but I think we're going to need a week of detox to recover from all of the decadent foods we've been consuming!  Today wasn't too bad, but I did manage to fit 3 pieces of Pumpkin Ooey Gooey Butter Cake in. Here's today's eats... Breakfast:  Another fabulous smoothie, this one heavy on the pineapple, and a piece of the pumpkin ooey gooey butter cake. 081229-b1 081229-b2 Lunch:  My momma and I went to Olive Garden while our hubbs were out fishing.  Olive Garden is a tradition for us...we loaded up on the all you can eat salad, soup and breadsticks, my fave!  We also had calamari to start.  It was a fantastic lunch!  :) Snack:  Another piece of pumpkin ooey gooey butter cake (unbelievable, I know). Exercise:  I went for a run this evening!  It was so much more pleasant at 5pm than at 9am...we had a great breeze coming off the ocean and the sun was set behind the trees and houses.  I only did about 2-1/2 miles running with some walking warm-up and cool-down.  I'm REALLY proud of myself...I ran 4 times while on vacation and am planning a run tomorrow morning before we get on the road. Last year at Christmas, even though I was training for the 10-miler then too, I only managed to run once on our week-long vacation.  Yay for progress!!!  :) Dinner:  The hubb and I brought my stepfather sausages from our favorite farmer in Virginia, Babes in the Wood.  We grilled them up and had leftover Indian potatoes and cauliflower, cranberries, and a huge salad. 081229-d2 081229-d1 I had 1/2 a hot italian link and 1/2 a bratwurst link.  We also had some homemade nectarine preserves on top of the sausage after I took this picture, which was very tasty.  My stepfather gave me a jar to take home to Virginia so you'll be seeing it prominently featured I'm sure... 081229-d3 Dessert:  Another piece of pumpkin ooey gooey butter cake (they are tiny pieces, but this is really getting embarassing...). After dinner my stepfather taught me how to can preserves!!!  I'm so excited, I want to be able to can this summer when we get our garden going again.  Tonight we made the cranberry "ketchup"  I made last week (email me if you want the recipe) so that he could teach me his methods. cran-11 cran-2 cran-3 cran-4 So I'll be on the road a good part of tomorrow and Wednesday.  We've decided to get a hotel on the way back to break up the trip a bit (yay!) so depending on internet availability I may or may not have a Tuesday evening post.  Rest assured, the eats won't be all that interesting as we hit Subway on our way up the east coast...  :)  I am going to be thinking about some resolutions during the long car ride so stay tuned for some breathtaking, soul-defining thoughts when I'm back in VA......kidding.  :)  What are you all thinking about for New Year's Resolutions?
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another holiday feast...


My family had another feast today.  Its what we do...we feast.  Actually, we normally only officially feast twice over the holidays, but this year we were lucky enough to fit in three family feasts.  I think this is the last of 2008, although we still have a few days left in the year so we may try to slip another in...!  Before I get to this afternoon's amazing eats let me recap the day... Breakfast:  7 Fruit Smoothie a la my stepfather.  It was really tasty, and I can't even remember the fruits he told me he put in it... 081228-b1 The hubb and I went for a run after our smoothies.  We were a little late getting out the door this morning and it was a bit warmer, a bit more humid and a LOT sunnier!  I forgot how big the sky is in Florida and how brightly the sun shines.  In Charlottesville we have narrow, hilly streets and tall trees that pretty much block the sun on our morning and evening runs.  This morning we were squinting the whole time, our route was straight, flat and just wasn't fun.  We were supposed to run 4 miles for the training program and we only did about 3 miles total, with some walking in the middle.  I've decided that as nice as it is to not have to bundle up for my Florida runs I do miss the hills, variety and shade of Virginia... Lunch:  A hodge-podge of green bean casserole, sliced turkey, cranberries, carrots and citrus.  It was just what I needed to hold me over until our 3pm feast. 081228-l2 I also munched on a few crackers with Asiago Cheese spread while my lunch was was really tasty. 081228-l1 Afternoon Feast #3:  We had a variety of wonderful foods... Fried Squash Cakes - These are a family favorite that my grandfather makes...they are to-die-for.  I don't know how to make them and I'm not going to ask because I don't want to know.  I'd make them ALL the time... 081228-d5 081228-d7 Steaks, for those who like that kind of thing...(not me!!!). 081228-d2 Ribs, for those who like that kind of thing...(me me me!!!). 081228-d6 A huge salad (yay!!!). 081228-d1 Roasted Veggies (double yay!!!). 081228-d4 We also had a yummy Indian dish with potatoes and cauliflower...I can't remember its proper name but it was so good.  Here's my plate with two ribs, a pile of salad, potatoes + cauliflower, roasted veggies and a few squash cakes.  Also, a glass of vino.  Sadly I did not get a picture of the fabulous chianti we had after I finished this glass, so so so good. 081228-d8 And my trio of desserts...Coconut Mango White Chocolate Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce, Pumpkin Ooey Gooey Butter Cake [recipe to come - but from Paula Deen] and the blurry glob in the front is Chocolate Mousse [recipe to come]. 081228-d Oh, and my cousin's birthday is coming up so of course we had cake... 081228-d10 Aaaahhhhh....I will definitely be running tomorrow. Finally, here is the hubb, the "kids" and I in our annual holiday photo in front of my momma's house...I just can't resist 'cause the kids are so cute!!!  :) 081228-us Alrighty, time for bed.  I can't wait to catch up with all of your blogs!  I've been so absent, my google reader is getting more and more full...scary!  Thanks for continuing to read mine and for putting up with my inconsistent posting this last week!  :)
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more merriness...


We have been going non-stop ever since we left Charlottesville early Tuesday morning!  Its been great to catch up with friends and family, and I think we'll have a couple of days to relax now before heading back north.  I saw on the weather this morning that Charlottesville has reached 60*, so I'm happy that we'll be heading home to a little warmth and won't have too big of a shock when we leave this lovely Florida weather! Yesterday the hubb and I went to my hometown to visit with my Daddy and stepfamily.  I always love to catch up with them because they are so full of energy and good cheer.  Definitely a busy household!  But first, we again took advantage of the Florida warmth and went for a run in the morning.  Just a couple of miles because we've had some time off, but it was still great to get out on the road and stretch our legs.  Breakfast:  Bananas Foster Oatmeal.  Soooooooooooo good.  Another flavor of New Orleans that is a favorite.  My stepfather sauteed bananas in butter and brown sugar then poured them over our rolled oats flavored with vanilla extract.  On the side I had some sliced citrus. 081226-b1 081226-b2 Lunch:  My daddy took us to my favorite Mexican / Cuban restaurant, El Leoncito.  I had 1/2 of a Cuban sandwich with black beans and sweet plantains on the side, along with a margarita on the rocks.  I've missed that combo! Snack:  A latte from my daddy's new espresso machine...fancy! 081226-s1 We also shared a couple of great glasses of wine while waiting for the sun to set so that we could check out my dad's fabulous Christmas lights display.  I have to dad's lights are the best I've ever seen.  He wins the neighborhood contest every year that he is eligible (only every other year).  These pictures don't even do them justice, but they'll give you an idea.  He had hundreds of visitors on Christmas Eve walking through his yard to see all of the details... 081226-lights-2 081226-lights-3 081226-lights-4 081226-lights After seeing the lights we went over to my step-grandparents' house for some chili and Christmas carol singing.  Sadly, all of the pictures were taken on my stepsisters' and dad's cameras so I have none to post right now.  :( Today my Momma and I had a spa day!  We got up early for some breakfast... Breakfast:  Egg white omelet with sauteed veggies and a biscuit with homemade tangerine preserves.  I was craving veggies since I hadn't had any in a couple of days... 081227-b1 Then we went to Essentials Day Spa for massages, facials, manicures, pedicures and a shampoo/style.  It was so lovely!!!  They served us lunch and wine...I had a mixed greens salad (more veggies!!!) with feta, tomatoes and walnuts and two (yes two!) glasses of chardonnay.  Let me just say...I feel amazing! Snack:  I broke into the Coconut Mango White Chocolate Bread Pudding [recipe to come]...hey, I'm on vacation, right?!?  Argh...I'm going to gain 10 pounds on this trip, I just know it.  Luckily its been a relatively light day and we're going for sushi tonight...  :) 081227-s1 Alright lovelies, I'm hoping to have some recipe posts up tonight and tomorrow.  Its so hard to get behind the computer when you're around family!  Have a fabulous weekend!  :)
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