It’s All About the Smell

The smell of food is one of my favorite things about making a meal.

Smelling something baking in the oven or grilling in the backyard gives me a sense of comfort and happiness. I love how a simple whiff of a neighbor’s burgers on the grill can make you instantly want to pop over and have a BBQ!

The smell of my lunch today was delicious and prompted several people to ask me what I was making as it cooked in the break room.

What caused the heavenly sent, you may be wondering?

MorningStar Farms Pizza Burgers

Pizza burgers!

These babies smell so good. Luckily they taste pretty good, too!

I incorporated a MorningStar Farms tomato and basil pizza burger into my lunch by placing it on top of a steamed veggie salad with marinara sauce and ricotta cheese.

Veggies + Marinara + Ricotta

Pizza Burger = Yum

These pizza burgers used to be my go-to snack at work. I ate them so much that I eventually got sick of them! I always seem to do that with new foods I love!

What is your favorite food smell?

To me, there’s nothing that smells better than chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven… Though cinnamon rolls do come close!

Wine or Bread

Work, work, work!

Today has been quite the busy day at the office! I usually have a lot of work to do, but it typically involves a lot of writing, which I love, so it doesn’t feel so daunting. Today, however, I am doing a lot of number crunching because I am putting together a quarterly review for my department. Phew!

Needless to say my mind and belly were ready for a break around lunchtime.

I was pretty pumped for my lunch today.

Last night as we were making dinner, I cooked spaghetti squash to use in my mid-day meal.

Spaghetti Squash Bowl

To the big bowl ‘o’ squash, I added zucchini, portobello mushrooms, cauliflower, marinara sauce and ricotta cheese (Yes, I am obsessed).

Hump Day Lunch

I stirred everything up and wolfed this down like it was cool.

Wine Vs. Bread

Yesterday I read a little excerpt on FitSugar.com that included diet dos and don’ts from the Countess LuAnn de Lesseps from the Real Housewives of New York (which I’ve never actually seen).

She offers this advice to party goers:

“If you eat the bread, skip the wine. If you drink the wine, skip the bread. It’s one or the other. I personally choose the wine.”

I choose to take the stance that you can enjoy both, but if I had to choose one – fresh, crusty bread or a glass of wine, I’d definitely pick the bread. I ❤ food (and carbs!).

However, if the bread was stale and nothin’ special, I’d go for a glass of Relax Riesling. Yum.

Now I ask you…

If you had to choose between wine or bread, which would you pick?

Wedding Cake & Finding Nemo

Last night our friend Dru came over to our new apartment and told us a story about a wedding he attended this past weekend. Apparently the cake fell over. Yikes!

I think this story made me fall asleep with wedding cake on the brain because I had one straaaange dream.

I dreamt that I left all the wedding cake details up to Ryan. Then, on our big day, I walked into the reception room to look at the cake and he ordered a Finding Nemo cake! Ah!

Hi Nemo!

What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen happen at a wedding?

Oddly enough, I wasn’t the least bit upset about the Nemo cake in my dream.

When I told Ryan about my dream this morning, his response was, “Well, did it taste good?”

Run, Run, Run

After dreaming eventful dreams, I woke up ready to run with the pups!

I took Sadie on a 50 minute run. The weather outside was a little chilly at first, but ended up being the perfect running temperature.

Sadie, yet again, made me feel extremely unathletic this morning. When we returned from our 50 minute run, I let her out back and this is what occurred:

Running Machine

She never stops. It’s insane.

Breakfast

I was cravin’ a cinnamony breakfast this morning, so I prepared an apple cinnamon ricotta wrap featuring a huge Pink Lady apple.

Apple + Cinnamon + Ricotta

Wrap Filling

Not even half of the apple was featured in the above pictures (it was in my belly by then). Yay for apples the size of my face!

Open-Faced Wrap

Wrap it Up

This breakfast hit the spot!

Rewards of Running

Before going to sleep last night, in the back of my mind I thought I’d wake up and go for a morning run with Sadie.

Going to bed with a plan for my Saturday morning workout is a tactic that really works well for me because I tend to want to lounge around on weekend mornings and put off my workout. I know I should workout right away because I always feel better when I get some exercise in first thing in the morning. 

I had a little extra motivation this morning because I was anxious to try out a new sports bra I was sent to review by Breeze Comfort. (I will post a full review soon!)  

Pink/Black Mountain View Breeze Comfort Sports Bra

Me and My Running Buddy

I promise I am in the pictures above. It might be hard to see me because of my iridescent skin.

After Ryan took these picture he said, “Wow! Am I as pale as you!?”

Grrr. I sent Sadie to attack him instantly and then turned the camera on him to show him that his skin is white as well (though not quite as white as mine, I’ll admit).

My He-Man Pale Boy

Please excuse our sleepy looking faces. It’s not natural to take pictures 10 minutes after you roll out of bed at  7 a.m. 🙂

The Run

My run with Sadie was great! It was a complete 180 from our short run together on Thursday when my legs felt like rocks.

This whole run felt like a breeze and the weather was gorgeous. We ran about 6.25 miles at a nice, easy pace.

Sadie succeeded in making me feel instantly unathletic when she grabbed a stick to run and jump around with for the first half of our fifth mile. Where does this dog get her energy!?

Once we arrived home, my tummy wanted food!

Rewards of Running

When I work out, I often think about what I want to eat when I get home.

After a nice, long run, I knew I wanted a special breakfast for a post-run reward.

A little over a month ago, I made ricotta-stuffed French toast and Ryan and I fell in love with the creation! This morning I thought I’d try another variation: Raspberry ricotta stuffed French toast!

I began by soaking an Arnold sandwich thin in a mixture of egg whites and cinnamon before letting the French toast cook on the griddle.

Cinnamon French Toast

While the French toast was cooking, I made the raspberry-ricotta filling by combining ricotta cheese, cinnamon and thawed frozen raspberries.

Raspberries

Raspberry Ricotta Filling

Soon my French toast was ready to be stuffed!

Open-Faced French Toast

Stuffed

Of course I added a lil’ syrup and several dashes of nutmeg (love this spice) before digging in.

Eat Me!

Drooooooling...

Dig In!

This running reward was the perfect way to start the day after a sweaty run! I even liked this version better than the original ricotta stuffed French toast.

Moving Continues

This weekend is the final weekend of our big move!

Though all the furniture is in our new place, we still have a few car-loads worth of stuff in the old place as well as the “final clean” (ahhhhhhh!) to accomplish within the next two days.

Boxes

Better get to it!

Hope you’re enjoying your weekend so far! 😀

Pete’s Pasta

Last Saturday night we enjoyed some of the best pasta at our friends’ Pete and Merri’s apartment when we were carboloading for Sunday’s 5k race.

I’ve had red sauce many times, but I never thought to add a big dollop of ricotta cheese on top until Pete suggested it. I have a feeling this little creation will be a staple in my future pasta dishes.

The ricotta cheese makes the red sauce creamier and thicker… All good things!

Ricotta + Parmesan

Cheesy Pasta Bowl

I added ricotta and Parmesan cheese on top of a noodle bowl with tomato basil marinara sauce and freshly steamed broccoli.

Noodle Bowl

After dinner and a trip to the dog park with Sadie, Ryan and I headed off to Target to pick up some essentials for our new place. We also nabbed a couple of sweet treats to enjoy when we got home.

Peanut Butter M&Ms

Why are peanut butter M&Ms so delicious?

Why can’t vegetables taste like candy? The world would be a much happier place. 🙂

Candy is Good

We’re both feeling super tired tonight and will probably be huge dorks and hit the hay abnormally early after watching a movie. I also may do a lil’ baking… Sounds like a great night to me!

Cinnamon Apple Ricotta Rollup

Warm apples with cinnamon must be one of the best comfort food combos out there.

This morning I incorporated apples, cinnamon and ricotta cheese into a delicious roll up.

I started by preparing a whole wheat tortilla French toast-style and dipped it in a mixture of one egg with cinnamon before cooking it on the griddle.

French Toast Tortilla

I then added more cinnamon to about a quarter of a cup of Sorrento ricotta cheese to use as filling in the roll up.

Sorrento Ricotta Cheese

After microwaving half of an apple (the other half went directly into my mouth), I placed the warm apple slices on top of the French toast tortilla to complete the roll up.

Cinnamon Apple Ricotta Roll Up

I enjoyed my roll up with a hot mug of sugar cookie sleigh ride tea. So good!

Wednesday's Breakfast

Of course I actually rolled this up to eat it, but those pictures weren’t very attractive. You guys are a smart bunch though and I’m sure you can picture it. 🙂

Workout

It’s chilly outside today!!! I was half hoping to skip my usual cardio after BodyPump today to take Sadie on an extra long walk, but the cold temperatures nixed that idea!

Instead I stuck with my typical Wednesday BodyPump class, followed by 25 minutes of light cardio on the elliptical while reading Orlando Magazine. I love local magazines because they always have a great list of upcoming events in the area. I saw quite a few that caught my eye!

Attune Bar Giveaway Winner

Using Random.org’s random integer generator, Katie is the winner of the Attune chocolate probiotic wellness bar giveaway!

Katie said, “Almond milk chocolate, definitely. Hershey’s with almonds is my favorite candy bar so maybe this would be a healthier replacement?!

Congrats Katie! Please email me (pbfingers@gmail.com) with your mailing address to receive your 14 day supply of these delicious bars.

Ask Me Anything

I’ll be posting my answers to your final Ask Me Anything questions later today. If you have something you’d like to ask, please click here to submit an anonymous question before noon today. Thank yooou! 🙂

Last Laugh

Cute

Cute x2

Second Place Dress

This morning I took a little extra time to make myself a weekend breakfast on a weekday!

Certain meals I typically save for weekends because they take longer to prepare, but today I was craving my ricotta stuffed French toast from Saturday morning and had to give my body what it wanted.

I dunked a whole wheat sandwich thin into two egg whites mixed with cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice and placed the two bread slices on the griddle to cook.

Spices

Sadie devoured the egg yolks and was a happy camper.

Toasty

While the French toast was cooking, I stirred cinnamon into ricotta cheese and spread the mixture on one half of the sandwich thin when it was done cooking.

Cinnamon Ricotta Filling

I then placed the other sandwich thin on top of the ricotta mixture and doused the stuffed French toast in syrup.

Smothered in Syrup

Sliced Up

This breakfast was oh-so-good! Sometimes the extra effort is sooo worth it!

Workout

My workout today was nothin’ special, but still good. I took my typical 5:45 a.m. BodyPump class and followed it up with 25 minutes on the elliptical with the lastest issue of Fitness magazine.

The issue featured two different half marathon training plans, one for beginners and one for intermediate/advanced athletes. I flagged these plans to reference when I begin training for the Chicago half marathon in June. I really like the simplicity of these plans… That’s also what I liked best about the Hal Higdon training plan I followed when I ran my first half. It’s like a “Running a Half Marathon for Dummies” plan. 😀

Bridesmaid Dresses

Thank you to all of you for your comments on my post about the three bridesmaid dresses I like. So far, my bridesmaids seem to like the third one the best, with the exception of my sister (who will also be my maid of honor) who really likes the first one (that one is actually my favorite, too). I may look into having my sister wear the first one and the other girls in the third one if I like the way they look in person. We’ll see!

I loved all the different points you guys brought up to consider as well:

  • Spaghetti straps are often not flattering on certain body types
  • Printed patterns may look strange in pictures (My dresses will be all one color: champagne)
  • Everyone in the same dress is less distracting in pictures
  • Choosing multiples dress styles in the same color allows bridesmaids to feel more confident in the dress they select

It’ll be a fun decision!

Second Place Dress

When I previously went dress shopping, I told you guys that I was between two wedding dresses: one simple, classic dress, and one dress with more of a “WOW” factor. Well, I went with the romantic and classic dress, so I figured I could share pictures of the BIG dress with you now.

This is not the dress I selected, but I absolutely love it. I didn’t like the color though and would have ordered it in ivory, not the coffee color it’s pictured in below. This dress is a Justin Alexander gown which I would have ordered in this color.

The dress I actually picked is pretty much the exact opposite of this dress. It’s so weird how my top two dresses were so different!

Second Place Dress

The Back (Clamped In!)

Justin Alexander Dress

Bodice

Do you like simple wedding dresses or dresses with a big WOW-factor?

I honestly love both types of dresses! I think I am more of a simple person though and ultimately felt more comfortable in a more simple dress. 🙂