Salivary Gland

When I arrived home a little early to scoop Sadie up for her appointment at the vet she looked so excited. Even though she’s received several rounds of shots and was spayed at the vet, she still is excited to go… but then again, she’s always excited to go anywhere.

Sadie’s nerves kick in at the vet’s office when we go into the examination room and she is put on the display table. It’s heartbreaking to watch her little tail tuck under her legs. She looks at me with those scared little eyes that clearly say, “Mama, help me!” Gosh, I am the biggest sucker in the world.

Thankfully, today’s appointment went really well. I was immediately comforted when the vet said that the swollen lump was not one of Sadie’s lymphnodes… phew!

Apparently Sadie has a swollen salivary gland. Our vet told us that she should be fine, but to be sure to bring her back in if it gets any bigger. I think all of your warm thoughts helped! 😀

Dog Park

To celebrate Sadie’s healthy state, Ryan and I took her to the dog park for some running, jumping, throwing and catching.

"Try to Catch Me!"

Oh, Hello

Puppy Playtime

Sadie was really feelin’ the other dogs tonight. Normally she just wants to play fetch and run around with us, but today she made the most of her time with her canine playmates.

Miss Sadie

Proud Puppy Parents


After the dog park fun, we came home to make a warm dinner, fit for a chilly evening.

Grilled cheese and soup!

Ryan slurped on beef stew while I elected to enjoy chicken noodle.

Campbell's Chicken Noodle

Chicken Noodle Soup

I’ll be completely honest with ya… this soup was not that great. I finished the whole bowl, but it definitely wasn’t an amazingly delicious bowl of soup. Not a chicken noodle soup I’d buy again.

My grilled cheese, on the other hand, was fantastic!

The Classic Grilled Cheese

Wednesday Night Dinner

I don’t know if it was all the salt in my dinner or what, but I wanted dessert almost immediately after dinner.

I opened up a Healthy Choice fudge bar and it hit the spot!

Fudge Bar

Yummy delish!

Why You Can Work Out for an Hour, But Still Get Winded Walking Up the Stairs

This has always boggled my mind. Why, when I can run or work out for an hour +, do I feel winded walking up a few flights of stairs?

Today I read an article on that broke it down for me:

“Unlike running, stair climbing has a vertical element. The upwards movements make your lower body muscles—quads, hamstrings, and glutes—work harder to lift your body weight against gravity. Common activities such as running, swimming, and biking get your heart rate up, but none of them have the vertical element. Most of your daily activities move you forward instead of up, which is why our bodies aren’t used to fighting gravity.”

Maybe I should go find some hills to run… though that might be difficult to come by in flat-as-a-pancake Orlando. 😉

Epic Battle: Cheeseburger vs. Ice Cream

Disclaimer: If you have issues with feeding animals people food, please do not read the following post. It will haunt your dreams.


In honor of Sadie’s second birthday, Ryan and I decided to put an ongoing question to rest.

Ryan and I have continually discussed a certain situation involving Sadie for a couple months now.

If given equal access to a cheeseburger or a soft serve vanilla cone, which would Sadie pick?


Contender #1

Contender #2

I’m sure you’re thinking “C’mon Julie, she’s a dog! Of course she’ll pick the burger.” Well, Sadie takes after her mama (me) and adores McDonald’s soft serve vanilla cones. She doesn’t waste any time licking… she goes right for the bite and can polish a cone off in no time!

Ryan and I both agreed that she’d pick the cheeseburger first based on smell alone, so we thought we’d make the epic battle interesting. We thought that letting Sadie lick the cone first to get a taste of the sweet deliciousness before giving her free reign to select the food item of choice, might make the battle between the cheeseburger and ice cream a little more interesting.

And so, after ordering a vanilla cone and a plain cheeseburger from McDonald’s, the battle ensued.

Check out the video to see which one came out on top! 😀

(Click here if you cannot see the video above.)


Before all the birthday excitement, Ryan and I enjoyed a simple dinner of homemade butternut squash soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.

The soup was really to easy to make and only used four ingredients:

  • Butternut squash
  • Carrots
  • Onion
  • Chicken broth

Onion + Carrot

Blended Up

Homemade Butternut Squash Soup

Who doesn’t love grilled cheese and soup? It’s a classic!

Grilled Cheese and Soup


Dessert was a soft serve vanilla cone… and no, not the one we got for Sadie. 🙂

‘Cakes, Exchanges & Grilled Cheese

Post-workout I was a little hungry again!

For Christmas I gave Ryan this Canterbury Naturals apple cinnamon pancake mix (the boy loves his ‘cakes) and we decided today was a good day to give ’em a go.  

Cinnamon Apple Pancake Mix

Fluffy Pancakes

Pancakes are so tasty. The only thing better for breakfast might just be a Belgian waffle (with chocolate chips, banana slices and whipped cream, of course 😉 ). We both gave these two thumbs up!

I ate one decent-sized pancake before we headed off to the mall to do some more Christmas exchanges.

After popping in one store, I remembered the Starbucks gift card I received for Christmas chillin’ in my wallet! Instant smile. 😀

Ryan ordered a chai tea latte while I opted for a light mocha frappuccino.

Ryan’s drink came first and when I told him to smile with his yummy drink, the following picture was the result:

Super Suave (or Creepy? 😉 )

Foxy fiance, huh? 😀

When my yummy drink came I was in frappuccino heaven. I think the mocha flavor is my fav.

Lovin' My Mocha Light Frappuccino

After hittin’ up another shop or two, we headed to the grocery store to pick up some food for the weekend before making a lunch fit for a wet and chilly day.

A hot grilled cheese sandwich and a cup of Maryland crab soup was the perfect meal.

Afternoon Lunch

Grilled Cheese

Maryland Crab Soup


Now I’m off to my friend Laurel’s apartment to watch some movies and be lazy. Ryan and I have plans to make a first attempt at gnocci tonight. I hope it’s tasty!  

Enjoy the rest of your first day of 2010!

Cold Day, Hot Dinner

Today marks the coldest day of December in Florida. Brrr!

I’m writing this post in my warm pajamas, socks and slippers, with a hot-bodied dog on my lap. Comfy, cozy!

After work I headed to the mall for some last minute Christmas shopping. How is it possible that I am still not done?

Are you done with your holiday shopping?

As I was running out to my car with several shopping bags in hand, I shivered in the cold breeze. I knew a hot dinner was in store.

Warm-the-Belly Dinner

Warm-the-Belly Dinner

Keeping my promise not to go to the grocery store this week, I assembled a dinner using food we had on hand.

I wanted everything to be hot to warm up my belly, so tonight’s dinner featured a grilled cheese sandwich (on a honey wheat Arnold sandwich thin), Campbell’s Select Harvest caramelized French onion soup and steamed broccoli and carrots.

Grilled Cheese and Steamed Veggies

French Onion

My Bowl

I adore simple dinners. 

I see a nice cup of hot chocolate in my future…

Pantry Scrounging Dinner

Tonight’s dinner was created from staples I always have on hand:

  • frozen veggies
  • soup
  • bread
  • cheese

I knew I wanted to use the box of V8 butternut squash soup that has been haunting me everytime I open my cubbard.

Box of Soup

As indicated by the severely torn box of soup in the above picture, I’ve  clearly never opened a box of soup before. I felt quite ravenous hacking away at the box. Just gimme my soup already! I let Sadie lick it clean and tear it up for good measure when I was done. Who’s the boss now, huh soup box!?

Butternut Squash Soup

Thank you to the readers who gave me suggestions as to what to do to transform my butternut squash soup craving into a meal. I followed your suggestions and decided to pair the soup with the old stand by: a grilled cheese sandwich.

Grilled Cheese

I made mine on a whole wheat Arnold’s sandwich thin and Ryan’s on Publix light wheat bread. His and hers grilled cheeses. 😉

We also split a box of Green Giant Healthy Vision frozen veggies.

Green Giant Healthy Vision Veggies

Grilled Cheese and Veggies

At the dinner table Ryan and  I concluded our dinner was fit for a five year old. 🙂 We loved every last bite. The soup in particular was really, really good. I’m a fan!

Low Calorie Christmas Cookies

Ryan affectionately calls me his little cookie monster because I’ve been known to polish off an embarrassing amount of freshly baked cookies on more than one occasion. They’re just too darn delicious!

I love baking Christmas cookies for Santa (and myself 😉 ). Nerd alert: My sister and I always bake cookies to ‘NSync’s Christmas CD. It’s amazing. There’s just something about that song “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” that makes me wanna sing and dance!

Were you a Backstreet Boys fan or an ‘NSync fan… or just a hater? I definitely preferred ‘NSync. I love my Justin Timberlake (though J.C. was my fav at the time…  I had a soft-spot for Joey, too!) .

Annnyway, in my latest Examiner article, I’ve compiled a list of low calorie Christmas cookie recipes. Click here to check it out!