SweetBerries Love Affair

After work today, Ryan, Sadie and I piled into his car for a weekend trip to Sarasota to visit Ryan’s family.

Packed Up!

We made great time and walked into a house that smelled delicious!

Within 10 minutes of arriving we sat down to a delicious dinner of salmon, orzo pasta, spinach and watermelon.

Orzo

Watermelon

My Plate

I enjoyed a bit of everything (I added the orzo to my plate once I finished the salmon) and seriously dominated the watermelon. My belly was stuffed! I think I reserved myself watermelon 4+ times. Love it!

Dessert

After hanging out in the backyard for an hour or so, we were ready for dessert. We had to take a trip to SweetBerries, a local restaurant that serves the best frozen custard.

SweetBerries

Every time Ryan and I come to Sarasota we have to make a trip to SweetBerries. It’s a delicious little gem! We may or may not be in love with it. 😉

I ordered a small Hawaiian custard that included pineapple, banana and lots of sweetened coconut.

Hawaiian Custard

We are in desperate need of a frozen custard place in Orlando. This stuff is so thick and creamy. It’s ridiculously delicious.

I’m off to hang out with the gang before hittin’ the hay. I have an early-morning run planned with my friend Merri so I hope to be in bed by 11 p.m. tonight!

See ya in the mornin’!

From Cardio Queen to Strength-Training Machine

Well look who it is!!!

Mah Date!

This afternoon Ryan met me downtown for a lunch date at Jimmy John’s, followed by dessert at Mochi.

I love lunch dates! They help break up the monotony of the work day and I get to enjoy lunch away from my desk which is a treat.

As usual, I ordered a turkey unwich for my meal while Ryan stuck to his beloved bootlegger club.

Unwich

Bootlegger Club

Though I adore Jimmy John’s, this is the second visit in a row where they’ve messed up my order. :/ Last time they added peppers to my unwich (too spicy for me!) and this time they forgot to include the turkey! Luckily they remade my sandwich both times, but I’m beginning to feel like I should write my order down for them!

After inhaling our main meals, it was time for some frozen yogurt.

Mochi, here we come!!!

We knew we’d be making a stop for the cold ‘n’ creamy dessert when I heard that Mochi had red velvet soft serve (*my favorite*) on tap.

The Best

Red Velvet + Sprinkles + Chocolate Caramels

I’m convinced I could eat my body weight in this stuff.

Though we stuck to the red velvet flavor, we both really enjoyed our free samples of the Lovers flavor, a new combination of strawberry + mango.

Lovers!

Of course we had to take a picture with my lover in front of the lovers sign. (This was actually Ryan’s idea. He’s becoming a blog genius. 😉 )

Krema & Crazy Richards Peanut Butter Giveaway Winners

Congratulations to the following winners of the Krema & Crazy Richards peanut butter giveaway:

  • coffeeismycarrot: “My favorite use for PB is a good ole PB&J. Classic! Or smeared on a banana…or on oatmeal. I can’t choose!”
  • Angela: Peanut butter blondies! Everyone goes for the pb and chocolate combo, but pb and vanilla is where its at. Just use half peanut butter in the recipe and add some peanut butter chips. So so good. But peanut butter is good every way.”
  • Wheeda: “I love peanut butter! Any way is good for me …but usually it’s on celery or on a piece of whole wheat toast with a little honey drizzled on top. Yum!”

Please email me at pbfingers@gmail.com with your mailing address so you can receive your two jars of pb ASAP! 🙂

***

Now, onto some fun fitness talk!

From Cardio Queen to Strength-Training Machine

I used to be a cardio queen.

During my first two years of college, my weekly workouts looked like this:

  • M: 50 min. elliptical
  • Tu: Spinning class
  • W: 20 min. run, 20 min. swim
  • Th: Kickboxing class
  • F: 50 min. elliptical
  • Sa: Spinning class
  • Su: Off

Do you see something missing? Um, yes. How ’bout some weights? Maybe a little strength training?

My former-self thought “strength training is for boys.” Taking a peek into the weight room at my university’s gym only reaffirmed that prejudice.

Big, beefy guys dominated the squat racks. The five pound weights on the free-weight rack seemed to be collecting dust since the manly men who were busy flexing in front of the mirror wouldn’t dare touch such “girly weights.”

As my interest in health and fitness grew, I began to read more and more about the importance of strength training. I knew in my heart I was missing something by only incorporating cardio into my workout regimen, but I’m a creature of habit and felt apprehensive about changing my routine.

Eventually I decided to suck it up and add some weights to my workouts. I am now a firm believer that weight training (coupled with healthy eating!) is what can truly form and shape your body into the toned and athletic look many women strive to achieve.

  • Will someone mistake me for the Hulk?

If you are a cardio queen and have not included weights in your workout because you think you’ll begin to look manly and overly buff, please abandon that thought immediately. Cross my fingers, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye, you won’t look like the Hulk by incorporating weight training into your routine. I strength-train three times a week and I feel strong, but I don’t think anyone would mistake me for Arnold (Lord, I hope not).

  • How do I begin to incorporate strength training into my routine?

I’m no expert (at all!!!), but here’s what worked for me:

  • Take a group exercise class that focuses on strength training to learn basic moves and proper form. (You know I love BodyPump!)
  • Start out slow! Select a body part or two to focus on (like back and biceps) and complete three sets of 15 repetitions at a weight that feels challenging.
  • Do the strength training workout that’s right for you. I love total-body strength training (training all of my muscles during one workout), but many people prefer splitting up strength training into multiple workouts.
  • Don’t be afraid of heavy weights. Once you begin to progress in your strength-training routine, don’t be afraid to reach for heavier weights to continue to challenge your muscles.
  • Print out sample workouts to bring with you to the gym so you don’t feel lost or intimidated.

For examples of some of my total-body strength training workouts, click here and here. You may also enjoy this article about strength training for beginners from Fitness magazine.

Questions of the Afternoon

  • Do you incorporate strength training into your workout routine?
  • How many times do you strength train during the week?

If You’re a Texture Freak…

Puh-lease make yourself a barley breakfast bowl STAT!

Strawberry Barley Breakfast Bowl

(Just FYI, STAT stands for statim, which is Latin for immediately. Who knew Peanut Butter Fingers was so educational!?)

I cooked the barley for this breakfast bowl last night by letting it simmer in boiling water for about 20 minutes on the stove top. I then immediately stuck the hot grains in the fridge.

I also added several frozen strawberries on top of the barley in the fridge to thaw out overnight.

This morning I scooped a cup of Dannon Greek yogurt over the fruit and barley to round out the bowl.

Breakfast is Served

My barley bowl was enjoyed with a tumbler full of my gym’s free Barnie’s cinnamon butter cookie coffee. This stuff is like dessert in a cup. Fantastic!

Dig In!

Sadie was sulking as I was taking these pictures…

"Yo, Woman, How 'Bout Some Barley Fo' Me?"

…So I had to shower her with lots of puppy love (and give her a doggie treat) to get back in her good graces.

I Love My Dog

I almost fell over after snapping this picture. Sadie seemed to enjoy my stumbling and jumped on me again. More puppy love ensued. 😀

Late Night Snack

When I am done blogging after dinner I may have a snack before bed. This snack is usually a peanut butter finger, a handful of nuts, yogurt or something relatively light.

Not last night!

Last night we brought out the big guns.

Orville Redenbacher's Caramel Pop Corn

My mom brought me and Ryan a bag of this deliciousness when she was visiting on Tuesday.

Orville Redenbacher’s caramel popcorn (the kind that comes with a huge pouch of caramel to melt over the popcorn) is so hard to find. My family used to enjoy it all the time when when lived in Illinois but we haven’t seen it in Florida grocery stores in years. I was super excited when she brought me a bag to enjoy!

Ryan and I downed the entire bag in less than five minutes while watching So You Think You Can Dance (glad so many of you are fans of this show too!!!).

Caramel Popcorn

I’ll be honest, I think the popcorn-eating ratio was 80% me, 20% Ryan. 😀

Questions of the Day

  • Are you a late-night snacker or is the kitchen closed once dinner is over?
  • What late-night snacks do you typically enjoy?