A Night In

Tonight Ryan and I felt like enjoying a night in. 

Sometimes there’s nothing better than a Friday night, curled up on the couch watching Say Yes to the Dress (or flipping back and forth between my wedding TV and Ryan’s basketball games). 

A New Find 

When I got off work today, we ran some errands and I found something awfully special in the check out aisle of one of the stores: 

Strawberry + PB

New strawberried peanut butter M&Ms

My friend Merri told me about these about a week or so ago and I thought I’d never find them! The flavor combination sounds kinda funky, but of course I had to try them! 

M&Ms

The verdict? They were delicious and the flavor definitely leaned toward the peanut butter side more than the strawberry side (which was fine by me!). 

Dinner 

After enjoying two small handfuls of the new M&Ms, it was dinner time! 

I went the lazy girl’s route for dinner tonight and microwaved an Amy’s frozen tofu vegetable lasagna

Amy's Tofu Vegetable Lasagna

Lasagna

The cheese on the top got stuck on the wrapping, but have no fear! I licked it off. 🙂 

Saucy!

Peek-a-Boo

This was one heck of a tasty frozen entree. It was about 10,000 time tastier than the Amy’s enchiladas we had for dinner last week. 

Dessert 

After dinner, Ryan said he was craving some cookie dough. I was in the baking mood so I took it as a sign to make some homemade oatmeal white chocolate chunk cookies. 

I followed a basic recipe for oatmeal cookies (but substituted oil for the shortening) and added chopped white chocolate candy melts. 

White Chocolate Candy Melts

Recipe

Chopped White Chocolate

The dough was sweet and hit the spot! Ryan and I both ate several spoonfuls before I baked a batch of the cookies for approximately 10 minutes.  

Oatmeal Cookie Dough

Freshly Baked Cookies

The Cookie Monster Strikes Again

Nothing smells better than cookies baking in the oven. 

I actually managed to pace myself on the cookie dough and had plenty of room for a decent-sized cookie when they were done baking. Yum!

I’m off to enjoy the company of my lil’ family and rest up for Sadie’s big day at the Doggie Derby tomorrow morning.

G’night!

Unwrap the Love

Today was is of the every-other-Fridays that Ryan has off from work, so I was lucky enough to enjoy his company for a mid-day lunch date!

We went to our favorite lunchtime hot spot, Jimmy John’s, for our usual fare.

Before I could bite into my unwich, I had to “unwrap the love.”

Unwrap the Love

Let me just say there was a lot of love crammed into that unwich!

Lovin' on the Unwich

I stuck with my unwich and Ryan stayed with his staple, the bootlegger club.

Bootlegger Club

Happy Boy

Since it’s Friday, we had to celebrate what’s quickly becoming a tradition: Frozen Yogurt Friday!

FroYo

Our frozen yogurt from Mochi was free today, thanks to our fully-filled punch card! I think Ryan and I may have set a record as to how quickly someone can fill up a punch card!

Today we split a large half cookies ‘n’ cream, half snickerdoodle frozen yogurt, topped with rainbow sprinkles, because they make life better. 😉

I love the sweet stuff!

This Weekend

This weekend will be quite eventful! Though Ryan and I are really excited about our plans to see Straight No Chaser (an awesome a cappella group!) in concert tomorrow night, the main event of the weekend is the 3rd Annual Baldwin Park Doggie Derby!

Sadie is the reigning champ of the Doggie Derby, having beat nearly 100 dogs last year!

With Our Little Champ

Ryan and I learned about the Doggie Derby the day before the big event when we were at the dog park with Sadie. A man approached us and commented on how fast Sadie was as she ran back and forth, playing fetch. He said we should enter her in the Doggie Derby, a charity event where dogs race against each other in a 25-yard dash.

Ready to Run

We signed her up on the morning of the race with low expectations. To get your dog to run toward the finish line, you can throw a ball, squeeze a toy… basically employ any means necessary to get your dog to cross the finish line.

Vizslas are known as “Velcro dogs” and are very attached to their owners. Ryan and I knew using one of us as “bait” at the finish line would be our best strategy. Ryan held Sadie at the start line while I called to her from the finish. When the horn went off, I took off in the other direction and Sadie sprinted her little heart out to catch up to me. The tactic worked like a charm!

Go, Go, Go!

Sadie won her first heat, then the next one, then the next one and so on until she was crowned middleweight champ! We were so excited for our little girl! For the overall victory, Sadie had to beat out the heavyweight champ and the lightweight champ.

She somehow managed to come out on top and we were awarded with a trophy and a goodie basket of dog treats! Sadie was even mentioned in the Orlando newspaper!

Proud Family

Tomorrow Sadie will race to uphold her Doggie Derby champion title.

Have any of your pets ever competed in an event?

We’re hoping Sadie goes all the way tomorrow, or gets eliminated right away because the Doggie Derby is one heck of a long, hot event!

$1 Off Starbucks Ice Cream

Starbucks + ice cream = heaven! Click here for $1.00 off a pint of Starbucks ice cream.

Streamlining Your Morning Routine

One of the questions I seem to receive again and again through this blog is how I get so much done in the morning.

My mornings definitely aren’t laid back and relaxed, but they are productive and energizing.

A typical day for me begins at 5:30 a.m. After throwing on gym clothes, I am out the door within 10 minutes.

Gym Clothes

Luckily, I can walk to my gym and usually begin my workout by 5:45 a.m. Depending on the day, I will work out for an hour to an hour and a half, and am usually home by 7:15 a.m.

Then it’s time to walk the pup! Sadie gets a 20 – 40 minute walk, depending on the day (She gets longer walks on cardio-only days since I’m home earlier).

Once our walk is over, I come home and shower, get dressed and make breakfast. I make my lunch and prep my breakfast in the fridge the night before, so everything comes together quickly.

After breakfast and snapping lots o’ photos for the blog, I’m off to work!

Here’s a summary of my routine:

  • 5:30 a.m. Wake up
  • 5:45 a.m. Arrive at the gym and workout
  • 7:15 a.m. Take Sadie on a walk
  • 7:35 a.m. Shower
  • 7:45 a.m. Get ready
  • 8:05 a.m. Make breakfast and take blog photos
  • 8:25 a.m. Blog
  • 8:45 a.m. Leave for work
  • 8:55 a.m. Arrive at work

On Tuesdays and Thursdays I will often sleep in for an hour and take Sadie on a run, eliminating the need for her morning walk. I get an extra hour of sleep and Sadie gets extra exercise, so everybody wins!

Also, if I’m really hungry after my workout, I may bump breakfast up and eat before my shower.

I definitely have a jam-packed morning, but I don’t feel rushed at all.

I’ve managed to streamline my morning routine by using the following tips:

  • Prep breakfast the night before
  • Pack lunch the night before

Packed Lunch

  • Brainstorm morning blog post while working out
  • Brainstorm what to wear while showering
  • Don’t wash your hair everyday (unless it’s greasy)
  • Keep items you use daily in the same spot to avoid wasting time looking for them (Such as your make up, face wash, lunch bag, water bottle, etc.)
  • Embrace the “natural look” and keep your makeup routine short

Breakfast

This morning my breakfast was yet another ode to Starbucks.

Frappuccino Wannabe

My Frappuccino wannabe smoothie contained:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein power
  • 1 packet Starbucks VIA Ready Brew instant coffee
  • 1 large pinch xanthan gum
  • Cold water
  • 5 ice cubes

Thick smoothies rock my socks! 😀

Smoothie in a Keg

Since my smoothie was poured into a Bubba Keg, which I find quite manly, I had to girly it up with a pink straw. 😉

Pink Straw for a Feminine Touch

Fit for a Lady

I think my body is super-sensitive to caffeine because I feel AWAKE after downing this coffee concoction!

Questions of the Day

What time do you wake up in the morning? What is your morning routine like?

Oh Yes It’s Ladies Night

Tonight I met up with four of my favorite girlfriends for a belated birthday dinner at Season’s 52. (You may read about a couple of my previous meals at Season’s 52 here and here.)

I know I’ve professed my love for this restaurant before, but just in case any of you are new to the blog, Season’s 52 is a restaurant that uses fresh, seasonal ingredients to make the most delicious entrees, all for under 475 calories.

At around 7 p.m., my girlfriends and I met up at my apartment and headed out!

We arrived and were seated immediately in a booth. I love booth seating. I really don’t like sitting in chairs at restaurants. Booths just feel cozier!

Luckily, we got a big ol’ booth for the five of us.

Laurel, Cherayne & Me

Merri & Kaitlyn

We took a while to order because we were too busy chattin’!

Eventually we made up our minds and told our waitress what we wanted.

Guess what I got???

Scallops!

The scallops!

Judging by your comments, I figured my selection would make the majority of you guys happy since that particular dish seemed to call out to you, too!

The scallops were perfectly caramelized on the outside, but soft and flavorful on the inside. The pearl pasta and asparagus were the perfect sides.

I ate every single bite off my plate (except the lemon).

Dessert

You can’t go to Season’s 52 without ordering dessert!

They have the coolest single-size desserts, called mini-indulgences and brought out a big tower of them for us to choose from.

Dessert Tower

 One even had candles in it for me to blow out!

Make a Wish

After I made a wish, I picked the strawberry shortcake indulgence for one reason, and one reason only… whipped cream!

Season's 52 Strawberry Shortcake Mini Indulgence

It was great, but I could’ve used about 10x the amount of whipped cream. 😉

Once we licked our mini indulgences clean (literally), I opened my present from the ladies… a spa gift certificate and a candle that smells like heaven! They did such a great job and are such thoughtful ladies. I love my friends!

Now I’m at home cuddlin’ on the couch with Ryan and Sadie.

I sure wish it was Friday night already!

What to Choose…

This just in: Roasted eggplant in pasta is ah-maze-ing!

I love veggies that pick up the flavors of whatever you throw at them.

The roasted eggplant in my lunchtime noodle bowl really meshed with the cheesy flavors of the Parmesan and Laughing Cow light original Swiss cheese.

Eggplant + Spinach + Noodles + Cheese

Parmesan Cheese

It was a cheesy, creamy noodle bowl with the added nutritional punch of eggplant and steamed spinach.

Lunch

I thought I might miss my beloved marinara sauce when I was throwing all the ingredients together, but the two cheeses were strong and definitely didn’t make me miss my favorite red sauce. I will surely be making this noodle bowl again in the future!

Snack Time

Snack time today was worthy of a mention.

Blueberry Bliss Luna Bar

Blueberry + Oats

The blueberry bliss Luna bar arrived in the goodie bag from Janetha yesterday and I knew it would make the perfect snack around 10:30 this morning.

Blueberry Bliss

The taste actually reminded me a lot of blueberry Nutri-Grain bars, but the texture was different. It was yummy!

Dinner Plans

Tonight I am meeting up with some of my girlfriends at Season’s 52, my favorite restaurant on the planet!

We’re celebrating my birthday since I haven’t seen any of them since I turned the big 2-5.

If it’s available online, I like to check out a restaurant’s menu ahead of time and have a few yummy dishes in mind before I arrive for a meal.

Several dishes are currently calling to me…

Of the following entrees, which would you choose?

  1. Caramelized Sea Scallops grilled and served with roasted asparagus and sundried tomato pearl pasta
  2. Grilled Boneless Rainbow Trout with parsley new potatoes, fresh roasted vegetables and broiled lemon
  3. Spring Market Vegetable Plate with cranberry almond tabbouleh, fennel, plum tomatoes and grilled tofu
  4. Garlic Chicken Flatbread with balsamic red onions, roasted red peppers and Mozzarella cheese

I’m leaning toward the scallops at the moment…

“My Dog Likes To Potty All The Time”

My girl likes to party all the time, party all the time, party all the time…

I had this song in my head on my morning run with Sadie, except I subbed out “girl” for “dog” and “party” for “potty.”

Sadie was a pee machine! I think we stopped at least five times during our 5.14 mile run. (Do you like how I now know the exact distance of my runs? Yay, Garmin!)

Breakfast

I think all of Sadie’s potty breaks made me feel extra thirsty, because I downed two glasses of water right we we got home.

After a lightning-fast shower, I was ready for breakfast!

I couldn’t wait to try the Naturally More peanut butter Janetha sent to me to try.

Naturally More Peanut Butter

After stirring it up, I spread it on a toasted sweet wheat Alternative Bagel.

Holy Deliciousness

PB Topped Bagel

You know I enjoyed a peanut butter finger (or two) in the process…

PBF!

On the side of my peanut butter bagel, I included a handful of roasted peanuts and a bag of Brothers-All-Natural Asian pear crisps.

Roasted Peanuts

Breakfast

Apparently I was in quite the nutty mood! Peanut butter + roasted peanuts = Fantastic breakfast.

Question of the Day

Do you eat food straight out of the container, or always make it a point to serve your food on a plate or in a bowl?

I really try to enjoy my meals on a plate or in a bowl, but a lot of my snacks (like nuts and peanut butter fingers) are enjoyed right outta the bowl, box or jar.

Avoiding the Post-Birthday Blues

This may be the first year of my life where I’ve managed to avoid the post-birthday blues. 

On the day after my birthday (or a big holiday like Christmas), I inevitably feel a little sad that the fun is over! 

But today I felt a little different. 

When I got to work this morning, I had to take down the decorations several coworkers put up for me yesterday, and even that didn’t get me down. 

B-Day Decor

Dare I say I think it might have had something to do with the yoga class I took this morning??? 

The class was so calming and for once I felt rejuvenated when I left, not frustrated or annoyed like I usually do when I leave a yoga class. I think I finally found a winning instructor and a type of yoga (power yoga) that I enjoy. Woohoo! 

Goodie Bag 

I actually felt like my birthday was prolonged a little bit thanks to Janetha, of the fabulous blog Meals & Moves

Apparently I was the 15,000th person to comment on her blog, and she sent me one heck of a goodie bag! 

Goodies!

From Miss Janetha

Among the goodies she sent me was a cute mug that you can write on with chalk! Naturally I had to write her a little message… 

I ❤ Janetha

Sadie really enjoyed the treats Janetha included for her in the goodie bag as well! 

Nom, Nom, Nom

Dinner 

Dinner tonight came together quickly once Ryan set out to grill some eggplant. 

I covered sliced eggplant in balsamic vinegar and Ryan grilled ’em up to include in a eggplant and goat cheese sandwich. 

Dinner

My sandwich included grilled eggplant, light Miracle Whip, goat cheese and spinach. 

On the side we enjoyed roasted broccoli and eggplant, sprinkled with garlic salt. 

Roasted Veggies

Grilled Eggplant Sandwich

Dessert 

Dessert was a bit of the chocolate bar sent to me by Janetha. 

Lindt Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt

Sea Salt + Chocolate

The salty and sweet combination was tasty! It reminded me a bit of the chocolate-covered movie-theater popcorn I love!

Do you prefer salty or sweet foods?

I’m a sweet-lover, no questions asked! I can pass up a bowl of chips without a problem, but put a platter of brownies in front of me and you better watch out!