Shake What Yo Mama Gave Ya

After work we made Sadie smile!

Smiley Girl

Trips to the dog park are her favorite afternoon activity.

When we round the corner to pull into the parking lot at the dog park, she practically hyperventilates because she’s so excited.

Lion in the Grass

She knows she’s about to enjoy an hour of fetching, sniffing, swimming and exploring.

I’m not gonna lie, I get a little excited, too. ūüėČ

Adoring Dog

Happy Sadie

"Just Trrrrry To Get It..."

The lake took precedence for Sadie this evening, and we threw ball after ball into the water for her to retrieve.

BAAAAALLLLLLLL!

After each romp in the lake, Sadie took a minute to shake what her mama gave her.

Shake, Shake, Shake

Sadie shakes even when there’s no water on her. I’m not kidding when I say she probably shakes 30+ times a day.

Our trip to the park lasted for about an hour until our tummies told us it was  time for dinner.

Dinner

Since trips to the dog park usually last longer than a post-work walk with Sadie, we wanted to keep dinner quick and opted for Monterey Pasta Company spinach ricotta ravioli with steamed broccoli, marinara sauce and Parmesan cheese.

Bowl o' Tastiness

Pasta + Broc + Parm

I stirred everything up to distribute the sauce among the pasta poofs and the broccoli.

Thursday Night Dinner

Easy and¬†delicious. That’s all I ask. ūüėČ

Now I’m off to see if I can download all the stuff from my computer to an external hard drive. I am terrified of losing everything and my lap top is being very finicky lately.

(I should also mention that I am beyond thrilled that LeBron will be making his decision in less than 15 minutes. Hallelujah! Now I can have 75 percent of my conversations with Ryan back! ūüėČ )

New Kicks

After work today I swung by Track Shack, a local running store, to pick up some new running shoes. 

Track Shack

My Mizuno Wave Riders have seen better days and have started to give me blisters, so I wanted to pick up some new kicks before I get too far into my half marathon training plan. 

I chatted with a sales guy for quite a while and he examined my old running shoes and told me that the blisters on my left foot were probably occurring because I don’t tie my shoes tight enough, and my foot was likely moving around too much when I ran. I literally slip my running shoes on and off and keep the laces very loose, so this made total sense to me.¬†

I wore Mizuno Wave Riders during my first half marathon and loved them. Once they were worn out (see below photo), I bought my current pair. 

My First "Real" Running Shoes

Now that my current shoes are biting the dust, I decided to stick with this (unattractive) shoe for a third time since it’s proven to be a good shoe in my past runs. 

My New Kicks

I felt like quite a goof running around the store testing out different shoes in my dress and sneakers, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do! 

I think I made the right choice in sticking with the shoes that have carried me through numerous runs since 2007, but this time around I’ll be sure to tie my laces a little tighter. ūüėČ Blisters be gone!¬†

Dog Park 

After my pit-stop at Track Shack, I headed home to meet up with Ryan and Sadie for a trip to the dog park! 

En Route to the Dog Park

Though it was more than 90 degrees outside, it felt surprisingly temperate at the park underneath the trees. There was also a nice breeze that kept us cool.  

Doggie Heaven

 Sadie had a blast playing fetch and sniffing up a storm. 

Sadie Smiles

Go, Go, Go

Happy Girl

Eventually our grumblin’ tummies told us it was time to head home for dinner.¬†

Dinner 

Tonight was a pasta kind of night! 

For some reason my body was craving doughy, carby¬†pasta poofs and Monterey Pasta Company’s spinach and ricotta ravioli fit the bill perfectly.¬†

Since one serving of the ravioli is not enough to fill me up, I made sure to beef up the pasta with steamed broccoli for the sake of satiety. I suppose the added nutrition from the cruciferous veggie doesn’t hurt either. ūüėȬ†

Ravioli on a Bed of Broccoli

Ravioli + Broccoli

I topped my ravioli and broccoli bowl with marinara sauce and Parmesan cheese and dug in! 

Ready to Eat

Parmesan Cheese Makes Everything Better

Stirred Up

Tasty, tasty. 

Question of the Evening 

Of the following three pasta dishes, which is your favorite: ravioli, lasagna or simple noodles with sauce?  

I was gonna answer this question myself but I just can’t. I love them all.

Ravioli Obsession Explained

My obsession with ravioli: Are you sick of it yet?

Ravioli Sandwich

I don’t know what it is that I love so much about those lil’ pasta squares stuffed with all different kinds of goodness.

Today I had a ravioli sandwich, made on a whole wheat Nature’s Own sandwich round with the leftover ravioli from Sunday night’s dinner and a Laughing Cow light original Swiss cheese wedge.

Lunch Time!

On the side I enjoyed steamed broccoli, sprinkled with garlic salt.

Broc

Dessert was a cup of Mott’s natural applesauce.

Applesauce

I love when my lunch includes whole grains, veggies and fruit. The trifecta! ūüėČ

A Deeper Look into My Ravioli Obsession

I know my obsession with ravioli may seem a little strange, but to be honest, it’s something I’m a little proud of because it took me a while to feel comfortable eating certain foods, especially those rich in carbohydrates.

When I first graduated college and entered the “real world,” I had the desire to eat healthy, mainly because I did not want to gain weight. I thought that avoiding carb-heavy foods like pasta and bread was the best way to prevent unwanted gains.

Now, my mindset has changed. I eat healthy for my health (imagine that!), not for my weight.

I eat carbs like there’s no tomorrow and I love every doughy bite. With my new approach, my weight has not increased. Eating foods rich in whole grains, like whole wheat pasta, honey wheat bread, barley, and oatmeal in place of Lean Cuisines and Lean Pockets did not cause me to gain weight.

When I started eating for my health, and began incorporating healthy carbohydrates, more fruits and vegetables and healthy fats into my daily diet, I actually unintentionally dropped a couple of pounds. I must say losing weight was not my goal when I began waving goodbye to packaged so-called “health food” and began welcoming fresh produce and whole grains into my diet. I wanted to fuel my body with real food and feel happy eating all different kinds of foods‚Ķ carbs, fats, and more!

In my opinion, no food should be completely off limits. Sure, some foods should be reserved for a special treat every now and then, but banished forever? Nah.

So, while my obsession with ravioli may seem a little odd on the surface, know that with each bite of a cheese-filled pasta poof, I’m waving goodbye to my old, misguided mindset.

Question of the Afternoon

Have you ever viewed certain foods or food groups as “off limits?”

Yeehaw

Guess whose book signing I attended after work today?

If you guessed The Pioneer Woman judging by my post title, you are correct!

The Pioneer Woman Book Signing

In case you’re in the dark about the fabulousness of The Pioneer Woman, she is the author of an amazing blog and a fantastic cookbook.

I drove to the Barnes and Noble near my apartment after work, and arrived just before 6 p.m. when the book signing was supposed to start.

When I realized the entire second floor of the store was closed off for the signing and the long line continued on the first floor my heart sank a little. So many people turned up to see Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman herself.

Long Liiiiine

Since I didn’t want to be there for hours, I stayed to listen to her speak and didn’t wait what would have¬†easily been 2+ hours¬†to get my book signed.¬†Ree answered a lot of questions from the audience and was funny, personable and fun to listen to. I wish I could have met her face-to-face! Stupid long lines…

Dinner

After my little field trip, I headed home to get started on dinner while Ryan was out walking Sadie.

Ever since I received the huge box of pasta to sample from Monterey Pasta Company¬†last week, the spinach & cheese ravioli has been callin’ my name from the fridge.

Ravioli Makes Me Smile

Monterey Pasta Company Ravioli

Since I love colorful pasta, I knew from the start I’d probably be a fan of these green ravioli¬†poofs.

Each little poof was stuffed to the brim with spinach and cheese. The flavor was savory and cheesy.

I included steamed broccoli in my ravioli bowl to add a little more color and nutrition to the dish.

Dinner Time

My Bowl

Of course I topped everything with marinara sauce.

Stirred Up

Dinner = Delish!

Questions of the Night

Have you ever been to a book signing? Whose book signing would you like to attend?

There and Back, There and Back

Today has been marked by many different trips to and from our hotel room.

There and back, there and back!

Breakfast

Our first adventure lead us downstairs for the complimentary breakfast offered by our hotel.

Let me just say there were sliiiim pickings. ūüėČ

Apple Oatmeal

Thankfully they had some oatmeal on hand (I got the last bowl), so I sliced up an apple, added a bit of honey and made myself apple oats.

I ate the rest of the apple and a small muffin on the side.

Apple

Cheesy Muffin

While we sat around after eating, I also nibbled on a small bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios.

Honey Nut Cheerios

First Errand

Our first trip away from the hotel lead me and my sister to a bridal shop about 10 minutes away.

Bridesmaid Dresses

Unfortunately they didn’t have the dress I wanted to see in stock, but my sister was a good sport and tried on a couple of dresses just for fun.

I thought a long, yellow dress looked especially pretty on her. Very How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. ūüėÄ

My Model

We didn’t see anything that really called to us and headed home.

I think our visit to that bridal shop reaffirmed my love for the bridesmaid dress¬†I found with my mom and sister back in April. I’m thinkin’ that’ll be the one! ūüėÄ

Lunch

We headed back to the hotel room for a quick lunch of ravioli with marinara and Parmesan cheese.

Ravioli

The Buitoni all-natural marinara sauce we used was really tasty! It tasted like homemade pasta sauce and we all practically licked out bowls clean.

For dessert I had a chocolate Jello mousse cup.

Jello Mousse Cup

These things are seriously rich and taste way more legit than a snack pack.

Errand Number Two

Our second errand took us to a print shop where we attempted to have my save the dates printed off. Apparently they couldn’t print on paper that wasn’t the standard 8 1/2 x 11 size, so we headed to another place.

Unfortunately our luck didn’t get much better. When we saw the proof, there was a big line from the printer cross the middle of the save the date. Needless to say, we high-tailed it outta there!

After stopping at the grocery store to get some items for my mom and some snacks, we returned to the room to enjoy some  freshly sliced watermelon.

Slicin' the Melon

Check out all the pretty flowers my mama got! ūüėÄ

Don’t flowers just make you want to smile?

Today my sister and I were talking about how happy it makes us when we see a man buying flowers. We know he’s about to make someone’s day a little brighter! We saw quite a few guys buying flowers today and I’m sure there will be some happy moms tomorrow. ūüôā

What are  your favorite kind of flowers?