Rain Ain’t So Bad

Maybe it’s because I was born in April (April showers bring May flowers, after all), but I’ve never minded rainy weather. Something about the pitter patter of rain drops on a rooftop and the cloudy skies make me feel comfortable and relaxed. 

Plus, whenever it rains, I get to sing my “Ducks Like Rain” song to Ryan.

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Ducks like rain,

Ducks like rain,

Ducks like to widdle wobble in the rain

Quack, quack, quack, quack, quack…

(Anyone else know that song? If you’re in the mood to learn this totally fun and 100 percent obnoxious song to sing when it’s rainy outside, click here! )

Though I like the rain, little Miss Sadie does not. When it’s raining outside that means she can’t do any of this…

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… and that makes her very frustrated, so she puts all of her energy into annoying me and Ryan. It’s a treat! 😀

Dinner

Since we couldn’t take Sadie on a walk after work today, we enjoyed an early dinner. I prepared broiled salmon and roasted Brussels sprouts (Yes, they actually were Brussels sprouts this time… Great catch last night to quite a few of you!), while Ryan chased Sadie around the apartment.

I really need to take a video of Ryan when he messes with Sadie. They both run circles around this one wall, trying to sneak up on each other. It’s hilarious and Sadie’s getting pretty good at it!

Within 15 minutes our dinner was ready for eatin’.

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The fish looks burnt, but it was just really crispy on the top. The fish itself was really tender and moist.

Before broiling the salmon, I seasoned it with a spice blend we received from Ryan’s dad a while ago.

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The spiced added a nice sweet flavor to the savory salmon.

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Now I’m off to make myself a mug of hot chocolate and do some wedding-related tasks. These wedding to-dos seem to keep piling up! I guess that’s what happens when you’re just about a month out from the big day!

Question of the Evening

Do you like rain?

Sadie: A Future Pig?

Look what I found at PetSmart when I took Sadie to get her nails clipped after work today…

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Doggie Halloween costumes!

I wanted to wait to purchase Sadie’s Halloween costume with Ryan, but I have a feeling this one may be the winner:

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Not only is the costume pink and totally adorable, but Sadie actually has a thing for pigs. Her first toy was a stuffed pig and her grandmas have added to her pig collection.

Puppy Sadie flash back… 

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She was the cutest lil’ puppy in the world!

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Unfortunately for Sadie, this particular trip to PetSmart was not all fun and games.

We had business to attend to.

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Sadie’s nails were in desperate need of clipping. Nail clipping and Sadie simply do not mix.

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Get me outta here!!!

Luckily, we can turn her over to the people at PetSmart and within 10 minutes we have our dog back sans talons.

While I waited for Sadie, I visited the other animals and had to pry myself away from the kittens. They were so stinkin’ cute!

I thought Sadie would be done sooner than she was, so I wasted time creating this Where’s Waldo picture for you guys:

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Where’s Julie?

Okay, so I wasn’t exactly well camouflaged… 😉

Eventually Sadie was done and in a much better mood! She wanted to sniff and explore, so we spent some time wandering around the store before stopping by the puppy training class to say hello.

Sadie actually graduated from the puppy training class at PetSmart about two and a half years ago.

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She’s a good little shaker. 😀

Dinner

With clipped nails and wagging tails (Sadie, not me), we headed home to get crackin’ in the kitchen.

On the menu this evening was Hormel peppercorn pork tenderloin with roasted Brussels sprouts and zucchini.

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Ryan picked up the pork at the grocery store yesterday and we both thought it had a ton of potential. It smelled fantastic as it was cooking in the oven.

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Unfortunately the end result was way too salty for me. I ate my portion, but wouldn’t buy this tenderloin again.

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At least the veggies were great! Ya can’t go wrong with simple roasted vegetables.

I’m off to polish off the second half of yet another cookie from my bridal shower. These things are the JAM!

Sleep well tonight, friends!

I Don’t Like Manicures

I decided something today.

I do not like manicures.

Sure I think the end result is pretty, but I inevitably smudge at least one nail on the way home which frustrates me way too much.

Today I had an appointment for a manicure and the entire process took almost two hours.

I even made a point to ask how long a manicure would take when I made my appointment because Ryan’s mom and her boyfriend were coming into town and I wanted to be done by the time they arrived. The woman assured me it would take no longer than 25 minutes. I waited 40 minutes before the manicure even began.

What is this? A doctor’s office?

(Okay, I know I sound like a mega-brat right now, but I was really frustrated!)

The long wait gave me ample time to choose my nail polish color.

I actually flip-flopped back and forth between three different colors since I had so much time to think about it, but inevitably I chose OPI’s Pinking of You.

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One hour and 45 minutes later, my flippin’ fingers were painted and I was super irritated. I’m not lying when I say I had three nails that were only pained 3/4 of the way down. It looked like I let a six-year-old paint my nails.

I left the salon, smudged a nail when I was trying to start my car and arrived back at our apartment in a huff. I felt like some uppity version of Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde complaining to Ryan about my experience but luckily he didn’t think I was too ridiculous. 🙂

Dinner

Fortunately I had some good company in Ryan, his mom and her boyfriend to make me forget about my not-so-fun manicure experience almost immediately.

They’re in town for the weekend because Ryan’s mom will be joining me for my bridal shower tomorrow. (YAY!)

The four of us had plans to enjoy dinner and headed to Maitland to eat at Antonio’s, a nice Italian cafe and deli.

The inside of Antonio’s is really neat. The restaurant is essentially located in the middle of a gourmet deli and you enjoy your meal surrounded by jars of olives and marinara sauce and packages of pasta.

To begin, we were served fresh bread.

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I had three slices. It was warm, crusty and delicious.

For my entree, I ordered a create-your-own-pizza topped with loads of veggies.

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I ate all but two slices… and then ate one more when we got home. 😉

Dessert

Even though we were all feeling fairly full, we still had room for dessert and headed to Jeremiah’s Italian Ice for a cold treat.

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Ryan and I split a medium cookies ‘n’ cream gelati with vanilla soft serve.

It was fantastic, as always. Jeremiah’s is the jam.

Ryan’s mom and her boyfriend shared a strawberry gelati with vanilla soft serve and gave it good reviews as well.

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I’m pretty pooped and hope to get into bed a little early tonight. I know tomorrow will be a big day with my bridal shower kicking off at 11 a.m.!

Hope you’re having a good weekend! 😀

Spaghetti of the Squash Variety

Spaghetti for dinner!

No, not noodles… Squash!

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I purchased a giant spaghetti squash a couple of weeks ago and it has been waiting patiently for me to use it to create a delicious dinner.

Tonight was the night!

After prepping the squash, I set it in the oven and let it bake away while messing with Sadie. Sometimes she is just so fun to terrorize. 😉

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I think she thoroughly enjoyed dancing and twirling to Bonnie Raitt.

“Let’s give ‘em somethin’ to talk abooooout!”

After 40 minutes in the oven, the squash was ready for noodleizing. (You may read about how I prep spaghetti squash here.)

Once I had a bowl full of squash noodles, I topped them with Newman’s Own Sockarooni pasta sauce and a bucket load of Parmesan cheese.

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Newman’s Own pasta sauce was buy one, get one free at my local grocery store so I nabbed two jars. Ryan selected the Sockarooni flavor that we used tonight and it is a winner! Loads of flava!

Sadie clearly wanted to sample it as well…

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Though my bowl of spaghetti squash was quite large, I still wanted a little somethin’ somethin’ when I was done eating, so I popped open a cup of Chobani strawberry banana Greek yogurt to enjoy while I blog away.

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Now I’m off for an evening stroll with Ryan and Miss Sadie.

Enjoy your night!

Meatball Madness

Things got a little meaty tonight after our evening walk with Sadie.

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I tackled my first attempt at homemade meatballs!

To make the meatballs, I combined the following:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 1 tsp. rosemary
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. fresh whole wheat breadcrumbs

To make the fresh whole wheat bread crumbs, I pulsated 1.5 whole wheat Arnold sandwich thins in the food processor, which yielded one cup of bread crumbs.

I added the crumbs to the bowl with the meat and spices and combined everything using my hands. I then rolled the meaty mixture into little balls.

I dropped the meatballs on a cooking sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray and placed them in my 400-degree oven for 15 minutes until they were firm and cooked through.

I topped roasted asparagus with several meatballs and a helping of marinara sauce before digging in.

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Pretty darn delicious!

Thank goodness I had a tasty dinner to enjoy this evening because my night also included something not-so-fun.

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Let me just say that washing a big-ass comforter and then hanging it up to dry (wet comforters are heavy!) is a huge pain in the tookus. The front of my t-shirt was soaked by the time I got that big thing over that little bar to dry out.

I think I earned my dessert tonight.

I’m off to eat some chocolate!

Taco Pasta

I told you a pasta craving was sparked after lunch today! 😀

Tonight’s dinner included fettuccine noodles, but *shockingly* marinara sauce did not make an appearance.

Before I left for work, I prepared taco-seasoned chicken in the crock pot which made our apartment smell amazing when I walked through the door this afternoon.

I used the chicken to create taco pasta!

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I made the pasta by combining the following:

I added the cheese to the noodles right when they were done cooking, so the cheese melted and coated all of the noodles perfectly.

The addition of the chicken made the dish take on a Mexican flava that was delicious!

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This was a great twist on my normal noodle bowls which almost always feature marinara sauce and Parmesan cheese.

YUM!

Rollin’ In

Look what have started rollin’ in…

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Wedding RSVP cards!

We got a bunch in the mail today… and so far every single one is a YES!

I’m off to sort the RSVP cards in a mini filing box that my mom gave to me before doing some dishes.

Why do dishes seem to accumulate so quickly?

Fitnessista’s Welcome Dinner at Season’s 52

What are a group of bloggers to do when they hear that a wonderful blogger is moving to the area?

Host a “Welcome to Orlando” dinner, naturally!

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When I got word of Gina, aka The Fitnessista’s, plans to move to Orlando from Valdosta, I was immediately excited and knew it would be a great chance for area bloggers to get together and warmly welcome her to our wonderful city.

Luckily, a bunch of fantastic bloggers were more than happy to welcome Gina and we all decided to meet at Season’s 52 to enjoy dinner and drinks last night.

The gang included (from left to right above):

Gina had the hook up at the restaurant and was able to snag us the chef’s table.

While we were waiting for our table, we enjoyed complimentary glasses of sparkling wine.

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I’m always down for a little bit o’ bubbly! 😉

After we were seated, the chef greeted us and described the amuse-bouche he created for our table.

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It was salmon served on a delicious pineapple mango salsa. Loved it! I would definitely order a much larger portion of this little sample as a meal if it was offered on the menu.

Following the amuse-bouche, our server brought out a bunch of appetizers for us to sample.

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Spicy Chipotle Shrimp Flatbread

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Edamame with Green Tea Salt

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Housemade Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli

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Grilled Artichoke Flatbread

Every single appetizer was fantastic, though my favorites were the goat cheese ravioli and the chipotle shrimp flatbread.

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I had two pieces of the shrimp flatbread, one piece of the artichoke flatbread, a large spoonful of the goat cheese ravioli and lots and lots of edamame.

Delish!

Since our dinner wasn’t until 9 p.m. I ate a little something with Ryan before arriving, so I wasn’t too hungry after my pre-dinner snack and the appetizers. When it was time to order our entrees, I opted for the chipotle grilled prawns with tomatillo salsa verde and fresh guacamole appetizer as my main meal.

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It was so, so good!

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The shrimp were perfectly seasoned and the guacamole was a tasty relief from the heat of the dish.

Then it was time for the best part of any meal…

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Dessert!

Season’s 52 offers a variety of mini dessert shots, and we decided it was best to taste them all and shared the whole spread… with one exception…

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The fresh fruit!

And we call ourselves healthy living bloggers… 😉

Fresh fruit is fantastic, but when choosing between a dessert shot of fresh fruit or carrot cake, rocky road mousse or pecan pie, there’s no competition!

Possibly my favorite part about Season’s 52 is that the restaurant concentrates on creating fresh, healthy meals. Everything on their menu has 475 calories or less which is a neat concept when you think about all the restaurants that have 1,000 + calorie dishes hidden on their menu. It takes the guessing game out of the equation.

We all agreed that our meal was delicious!

I really enjoyed chatting with these wonderful bloggers. I had a great time talking about blogging, food, fashion, Orlando and more. These are some fun girls! 😀 I can’t wait to get together again soon.

Today

It’s about time for a good workout at the gym.

Ryan and I also have plans for a date later today, which I’m awfully excited about.

See ya later, friends!