Macaroni Grill at Home + Giveaway

It’s official. Ryan has left on his bachelor party cruise. 

As those of you who follow me on Twitter already know… 

Update on the Cruise Adventure

Since I don’t have the internet on my phone, please enjoy this grainy picture I took of the picture text message I received of my handsomely adorned fiancé. 🙂 

Incoming Alert!

I just about died laughing when I saw that! 

I talked with his cousin who said he basically raided Spencer’s and bought a bunch of bachelorette party gear for them to sport throughout the cruise. I love it! 


With my usual dinner date Bahamas-bound, I was on my own for dinner tonight. 

Well, not quite all alone… 

"What Am I? Chopped Liver?"

Since I did have one guest, I decided to reach into the freezer to make a romantic meal for two. 

Macaroni Grill Basil Parmesan Chicken

I received a sample of the basil parmesan chicken Macaroni Grill frozen meal for two through My Blog Spark a week or so ago, and since I was in the mood for a fast dinner this evening, I figured I’d give this meal a go! 

The pasta dish cooked up within 15 minutes. 

Though it called for the addition of a quarter cup of milk, I substituted a half of a cup of fat-free cottage cheese since I didn’t have any milk on hand. I figured worst case scenario it would turn out cheesier, and that wouldn’t exactly be an awful thing. 😉 

Along with the frozen pasta meal, I also received a large, white ceramic serving bowl to serve the pasta, which I loved! 

Flavorful Dish

Though I’m not huge on frozen dinners, this one tasted really good. The sauce was creamy (apparently the cottage cheese was a good substitute!) and very flavorful. 

Noodles + Veggies + Sauce + Cheese

Bite of Flava!

I definitely ate this meal straight out of the serving bowl. 

Now it’s your turn to give this meal a try. 

One of you will win your own sample of a Macaroni Grill frozen meal!

To enter this giveaway, simply comment below telling me which of the following frozen dinners you’d most like to try: 

  • Basil Parmesan Chicken
  • Roasted Garlic Shrimp Scampi
  • Spicy Italian Sausage Pomodoro
  • Grilled Chicken Florentine

I will randomly select a winner using’s random integer generator and will announce the winner tomorrow evening.  

Good luck! 🙂

Lettuceless Salad

One of my favorite healthy lunchtime meals is a lettuceless salad… also known as a salad sans lettuce.

Lettuceless Salad

I love omitting leafy greens in favor of crunchy, colorful produce to make a non-traditional salad. Who says something must be served on a bed of romaine to be considered a salad anyway?

Today’s no-lettuce salad contained:

Annie's Naturals

I gave my salad a shake, shake, shake to evenly distribute the sweet dressing.

So Check Me Out, Hey!

What a winning combination!

On the side, I also enjoyed a Chocolate Brownie Clif Bar that I received from, a website that features products to “help build a better you.”

Chocolate Brownie Clif Bar

Bite Me!

The bar was chewy, moist, chocolatey and had a slightly crunchy texture that I really enjoyed. Plus, it contained five grams of fiber and 10 grams of protein to keep me full until it is time for my afternoon snack.

Can I just take a minute to be a totally dorky writer and say how much I enjoy the little anecdotes on the back of Clif Bars? I love reading about the founder of the company’s adventures and endeavors.

I think my interest in the content on product packaging stems from my childhood when I would always read the back of cereal boxes. To me, working as the person who creates the content on food packaging would be an awesome job!  (Annnd, if it meant that I had to eat new products all the time  to really understand what I was writing about, well, that’s just icing on the cake. 😉 )

Upcoming Posts

Thank you for your post requests! Stay tuned for upcoming posts about:

  • A sample total-body strength training routine
  • Ab workouts
  • Grocery shopping on a budget
  • How to start working out in the morning
  • Change your mindset so food doesn’t take over your thoughts
  • My healthy food staples
  • Staying positive through an exercise setback

I already have a billion ideas running through my head of what I want to say in these posts. So much to write, so little time. I feel like a nerdy version of Buddy the Elf… “I love to smile write! Smiling Writing’s my favorite!”

Of Possible Interest

Question of the Afternoon

What is your favorite food to include in a salad?

I love including beans, edamame or sweet corn in my salad. I also love fresh fruit in a salad during the summer!

Another ’80s Outfit + Overnight Oats

Thank you for weighing in on Ryan’s ’80s attire decision last night. I’m pretty sure he’s going to go with the popular vote (Option #3), though I think he’s personally a little partial to Option #2.

We actually did a formal ’80s night on the cruise we went on with our friends last year and had a blast! I found a black velvet dress with poofy gold sleeves for only $16. It was hotter than heck to wear, but totally ’80s-tastic!

Oh Yes It's '80s Night, Oh What a Night

Last night two of Ryan’s groomsman arrived at our apartment to spend the night. Our friend Ross even took a minute to model his ’80s attire for you guys!

The Ross-o-Nater

Don’t you just LOVE those glasses?

I’m so excited for these guys. They’re gonna have a blast!


This morning (on very little sleep), Ryan, Ross and I headed to the gym for a quick workout. While Ryan and Ross did manly things like lift weights, I opted for 50 minutes of cardio that included:

  • 10 min. stair master
  • 15 min. adaptive motion trainer
  • 10 min. run
  • 15 min. elliptical

I was sufficiently sweaty at the end!

We finished our workouts with a 20-minute walk with Sadie. She loved all of the extra company!


Breakfast was oh-so-simple thanks to last night’s preparation.

I made myself a big bowl of overnight oats that included:

  • 1 c. Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 c. old fashioned oats
  • sliced strawberries
  • blueberries

Berry Good

Though I still prefer cold oatmeal, this combination was pretty darn tasty!

A Little Bit Closer Nawww

Mushy Gushy

A Mess of a Breakfast

It may look like a mess, but it  tasted deeeelightful.

Of Possible Interest

In case you missed it this morning, click here to check out Caitlin‘s wonderful segment about Operation Beautiful on the Today Show this morning!!! Congrats Caitlin! 😀


I keep an ongoing list of posts I want to write based on emails, comments or tweets I receive from you guys.

Some examples of past reader-inspired posts include:

Please feel free to leave a comment below with any topic requests (or email me at! I will gladly add it to my blog “to do” list! 🙂