Happy New Year's Eve!

Happy New Year’s Eve everyone! 

So, what are you all doing for New Year’s Eve? Scott and I are playing in low-key tonight. I’ve actually been sick the last couple of days (tummy troubles – ugh!) but am trying to still have fun tonight. Hope you all have a wonderful time tonight, whatever  you’re doing.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a recap 😉 Be Safe!

Jen

Food Hangover

Is it possible to have a hangover from food? If it is, I’m pretty sure I have one. I think I ate the most food at one meal last night than I have in a very long time! Without further ado, here’s the scoop…

Scott and I met his parents and his brother and sister-in-law at Francesca’s Famiglia, a fantastic, family-owned bistro in the Chicago suburbs (although the original Mia Francesca is in downtown Chicago). Our pre- New Year’s dinner started with a little vino and some bread/oil for dipping…

12.29 White Wine

Only one glass of Chardonnay for me! Next up were the appetizers – crunchy calamari and bruschette topped with mozzarella cheese, basil, plum tomatoes, and prosciutto…

12.29 Bruschette

The prosciutto was a little odd tasting to me but I took it off and ate the rest of it -hmm, hmm good!

The salad course was next. I was actually going to pass on the salad, but everyone else was getting a salad – so, when in Rome…

12.29 dinner salad

I had a simple dinner salad (giving half to Scott who decided to get the minestrone soup) which was mighy tasty with its super fresh ingredients -and HUGE carrots – plus balsamic dressing. 

Now for the main course…decisions, decisions…

12.29 Francesca Menu

I was really wrestling between the spaghetti with sausage and prosciutto or the fusilli. I decided to go on the lighter side, avoiding meat…

12.29 Pasta with capers olives

Talk about HUGE portions! The fusuilli came out in a large bowl and was topped with a light cherry tomato sauce, capers, black olives, and parmesan cheese. Simple, yes, but delicious! I decided to stop half way and save room for dessert. And luckily I did, because they had banana chocolate bread pudding on the menu…

12.29 Banana Bread Pudding

This actually was a smaller dessert than I expected, but it was just right for Scott and I to share. The banana chocolate bread pudding was topped with banana fudge gelato, drizzled with cream anglaise and caramel sauce. Oh my, I could have skipped dinner to eat this whole dessert and would have been content for the rest of night! Everyone at the table split a dessert, including tiramisu and protiferoles made with pistachio gelato…

12.29 Protiferoles

The profiteroles were so cute, I just had to have a taste! Finally, when I thought we had ended our meal, the waiter brought out a complimentary round of limoncellos for the table. Sorry, I took one sip of this very strong vodka drink and completely forgot to take a picture of it!

In true Italian/European fashion, the whole meal took about 3 hours from start to finish. For the most part, I think what I ate was very healthy, it’s just that I ate too much – or at least more than my body is used to.

Ok, now I must find a cure for this possible food hangover – WATER!

Fit Bloggin Bound

Hello to all my blog buddies out there! I just returned from an amazing Italian dinner with my in-laws. I’m so full and completely exhausted from the wine and food. I plan to share all the details with you tomorrow morning, but here’s a preview of how I ended the meal…

12.29 Protiferoles

I just have to say – OMG!!! These protiferoles (cream puffs) were huge! Again, check back tomorrow morning for more details.

Fit Bloggin, March 2010

Before signing off, I must tell you that I just registered for the Fit Bloggin conference in Baltimore! Woo hoo! I am so excited. If you are at all interested in the Social Media-Fitness/health combination, I highly suggest you check it out! If any of you are going, drop me a note. Maybe we can arrange an early morning run (for exercise or just to Starbucks ;-)) or a dinner. March can not come soon enough!

See you all in the AM.

Yoga – No Excuses

Hey There! 

I don’t know what the problem is  – yesterday and today, running has been so HARD! I could barely make it through 4 miles on the treadmill. Spring weather can NOT come soon enough!

After my mediocre run, I replenished with some Kashi Go Lean Crunch…

12.28 Kashi Go Lean Crunch

Then, it was off to my first day of work after 10 days of being off. The day was actually really good. Half the office was still on vacation so it was nice and quiet. I ended up getting a ton of things done. I hope that it’s the same way tomorrow. Plus, when I walked to my desk this morning, there was a cute little Christmas card and a Christmas tree magnet on my desk from a coworker – how sweet!

12.28 Christmas Tree Magnet

About 11 AM, I started getting a snack attack but just wasn’t ready for lunch. Instead, I grabbed a peppermint chocolate Luna bar….

12.28 Luna bar

It tasted sooo good going down, but I think I ate it way too fast because I had stomach cramps for the rest of the day, ugh!

Lunch ended up being leftovers from the other night – a little spinach risotto and mesquite chicken…

12.28 Spinach Risotto

Luckily, my stomach eased up enough to let me eat this, but then it was back to cramping again. Later in the afternoon, I found out some GREAT news! A few months ago, I mentioned on one of my posts that my office was going to offer onsite yoga once a week. Well, our office yoga starts next week – woo hoo!!! I am so excited! My colleague who is arranging the yoga class brought the instructor by my desk to introduce me. How cool is it that I can now practice yoga at least once a week and not even have to leave my office? Now I have no excuse not to practice. Hmm…I think I might have to buy a new yoga mat to celebrate!

Any recommendations on a good yoga mat????

A great thing about the yoga class, aside from it being onsite, is that my company is paying for the majority of the class. Perfect – nearly free yoga! I was so thrilled that my stomach felt a little better. I decided to splurge and have some this….

12.28 Enstrom toffee

Mmmm, melt in your mouth, Enstrom English toffee! This is my absolute favorite toffee and I only have it once a year around the Christmas holiday (good thing too, or else I’d be huge!). If you have never tried this toffee, I highly recommend it. But a word of caution, it is very hard to STOP eating it. I took two small pieces from a gift box that was delivered to our office. But, while walking to the staff lounge, I accidentally dropped one piece on the ground. I contemplated picking it up and eating it anyway (yes, that’s how good it is!), but decided to just throw it away and – what else? – get another piece to replace it!

My commute home was a breeze and I was happy to see that dinner was nearly ready when I arrived. It was a basil chicken stir fry kind of a night…

12.28 chicken stirfry 1

Hmm..so good, and not too spicy, which was good for my tummy…

12.28 chicken stir fry 3

Scott’s parents are taking us and Scott’s brother and sister-in-law out for an early New Year’s dinner tomorrow night. Can’t wait!

Have a great night everyone and see you tomorrow.

Savoring my last day of vacation…

Hey all!

I can’t believe how fast the last 10 days have gone by! In less than two weeks, I was able to give the house a major cleaning, spend some quality time with my sister and her family, and celebrate Christmas. Plus, I managed to accomplish ALL of my goals for the vacation…

  • Wrap 40+ Christmas gifts
  • Sort through my clothes and household items to find items to giveaway
  • Donate items to Goodwill
  • Get to a yoga class
  • Study for personal trainer certification (although I need to study a TON more)

Not too shabby!

So, my last day of “freedom” started out like this….a fast but very challenging 5-mile run on the treadmill. It’s amazing that I can do 6 or 7 miles outside with no problem, yet 4 or 5 on the treadmill is really difficult. After the run, I enjoyed a big, steaming bowl of oats…

12.27 oatmeal

Plus, I had a cup or two of Harney and Sons English Breakfast tea – loose leaf style!

12.27 Harney and Sons English Breakfast

I go back and forth between Harney and Sons English Breakfast and Tazo Awake tea. I just happened to be down to my last Awake tea bag and thought I should save it for my first day back to work – always thinking ahead!

The rest of the day was spent cleaning and studying, including a nearly 3-hour study trip at Barnes and Noble, just for the change in scenery. While I was gone, Scott spent the afternoon making his homemade pasta sauce, which we also enjoyed for dinner…

12.27 Pasta sauce

I admit, I ate way too much of this pasta/sauce combo tonight, plus the AWESOME three-cheese garlic bread. Not to mention…fresh turkey meatballs..

12.27 Turkey meatball

Now, I’m finishing off the night with a little blog reading and cookie eating…

12.27 walnut cookie

Enough from me, gotta run so I can get some decent sleep before work tomorrow!

See you then!

Christmas Goodies

Happy Day After Christmas Everyone!

From the looks of your posts (or lack of them 😉 ) I gather that all of you were doing quite a bit of merry making and rightly so. I, of course, did quite a bit of celebrating myself. Instead of giving you every detail about the last three days, I’ll just give you the highlights starting with Christmas.

I can hardly believe it, but it ended up being 45 degrees and sunny on Christmas morning in Chicago!! I was absolutely thrilled to be able to run outside on Christmas. It felt awesome to breathe in the cool, crisp air, and see the glistening snow in the trees. After my run, I enjoyed a fantastic breakfast – a 3-egg omelette (1 egg and 2 egg whites) courtesy of my egg-loving husband…

12.25 Christmas omelette 2

He put all sorts of goodies in it too, like broccoli, red peppers, mushrooms, spinach, and cheddar cheese – I’m such a lucky girl!

12.25 Christmas omelette

Then it was PRESENT time!! Most of the gifts I gave to Scott came from JCrew, that’s what he likes, so that’s what he gets. In turn, most of MY gifts came from Anthropologie. I LOVE Anthropologie but rarely buy anything there because their items are so expensive. I think that’s why Scott shops there for my birthday and Christmas because he knows that I won’t spend the money on myself.

For starters, I received some cool European-esque dish towels…

12.25 Anthropologie towels

I feel like we go through a ton of dish towels each week so these were a very welcome gift. Next up were some cute little bejeweled hair clips…

12.25 Anthropologie hair pins

He knows me so well and knew that I would fall in love with these little darlings. He also gave me a very trendy cupcake book…

12.25 Anthropologie cupcake book2

Surprisingly, there was no red velvet cupcake recipe to speak of. I find that very odd – how can you do a gourmet cupcake cookbook and NOT include a red velvet cupcake? It is still a very sweet book though! I can’t wait to make some of these cupcakes, especially because I can put them on my brand new Anthropologie plates…

12.25 Anthropologie plate 1

12.25 Anthropologie plate 2

Oh my, was I ever having fun opening these presents! And, last but not least, came my favorite gift of all…

12.25 Anthropologie teacup 1

A new tea cup! Scott knows that I’ve been wanting a new tea cup for work and for home. I kept saying how I needed to find just the right cup, not too big, not too small, and just the right design. I definitely won the lottery with this little cutie!

12.25 Anthropologie teacup 3 The detail around the cup is fantastic – especially the cute little flower by the handle as well as the inside design…

12.25 Anthropologie teacup 2

Ok, how lucky am I to have a guy who can go into Anthropologie and buy frilly things for his wife!

I also received a very pretty top from Anthropologie although it’s too big 🙁 

After presents we hustled over to my in-laws for the rest of the day. We were having so much fun opening presents and eating that I really didn’t take many pictures. But, let’s just say I ate my fair share of dip, cheese, and cookies. I am SO feeling that today too!

Moving on to today….Saturday is normally my day to take off from running. But instead, Scott and I headed to the sledding hill for a little outdoor fun. Unfortunately, I became cold really fast (only went down the hill twice) and had to take a rain check.

I warmed up with some hot Tazo Awake tea and a few little walnut cookies…

12.26 Walnut cookie and Awake Tea

These walnut cookies, courtesy of my Father-in-law, are so yummy! They taste a LOT like mini coffee cakes, so it’s no wonder why I love them!

12.26 Walnut cookie

Lunch was warmed-up turkey chili from the freezer – perfect for a very snowy and cold day…

12.26 Turkey Chili

Then it was time for a much-needed nap. I am usually not the napping sort of gal, but I do love a good nap when I’m on vacation.

Dinner was my own creation tonight – mesquite grilled chicken with spinach risotto and sweet carrots…

12.26 Spinach Risotto 2

The risotto was especially good, although Scott thought it had a little too much spinach it it.

12.26 Spinach Risotto

Now, were eating a little popcorn and watching Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince – another Christmas present.

Ok friends, that’s all for now. I want to want the rest of my movie then it’s off to bed! Have a great night everyone!

Merry Christmas From Running With Cake!

Just wanted to let you all know that I’m thinking about you and hoping you are all having a wonderful Christmas. And, for all of my Jewish foodie friends, Happy Hanukkah (belated)!

I’ll be back soon to fill you in on all of my food, fitness, and family antics, plus a few surprises 😉

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes!

Not Your Hello Kitty Yoga

Happy Christmas Eve²!

I can’t believe Christmas is nearly here – time sure flies when you’re busy. Although Wednesday is usually my day off for running, I decided to do a fast 30 minutes on the treadmill (Yes, my name is Jennifer and I’m a running addict) knowing that I may not run on Friday. About an hour after running, I headed to the gym for a much-needed 60-minute yoga session.

12.23 hello kitty yoga

Don’t let this picture fool you. There was nothing cute and cuddly about this yoga class. I have to admit, this class kicked my A-S today! Of course, I haven’t been to yoga since October, so the a-kickin’ was to be expected. Every pose seemed harder than the next. I had to really concentrate the whole time, when I can usually relax and just go with the flow. The only person that seemed to be having as much trouble was the 60-year old guy next to me – not a good sign on my part. I really think I overdid it between running and then yoga (and barely eating breakfast). I actually felt sick during shavasana but tried to lay there calmly to let the nausea pass. 

Anyway, I did get to show off my new yoga shirt from Lucy…

12.23 Lucy bag

Each year about this time, Lucy comes out with its limited edition Breathe t-shirts. I don’t know why I haven’t seen these shirts until this year, but as soon as I saw them I just had to buy one…

12.23 Lucy breathe shirt 1

Merry Christmas to me! How perfect is this for yoga, running, or really any sport! In addition to having “breathe” written on the front, the shirt sleeves also were creatively detailed. Too bad the shirts only come in white and black, otherwise I think I would have bought more (maybe that’s a blessing to my bank account!).

12.23 Lucy breathe shirt 4

After yoga, I spent the rest of the day wrapping gifts – save for an hour or two getting my hair cut (finally, time to relax!). I think I counted 35 gifts that I wrapped just today! I wrapped about 10 over the weekend, and that doesn’t even count the gifts that I already gave to my family members in Michigan over Thanksgiving. I really think we went way overboard on Christmas this year. Did anyone else overdo it on presents this year?

Gotta run to prepare for all of the festive fun for tomorrow. Have a wonderful night! 


Can't eat just one…

Evening everyone! I had a fabulous lunch with Anne today! It is amazing how fast an hour and a half can fly by when you’re catching up with an old friend. For lunch, we met at Big Bowl, an Asian bistro about 1/2 way between our houses.

12.22 Orange chicken stir fry

I had a house specialty – the crispy orange chicken. I really wanted to love this dish, but unfortunately the chicken was rather chewy – the citrus sauce was really good though.

The rest of the day was spent running holiday errands, including making TWO trips to Goodwill (yes, that is how much stuff I gave away!), a stop at the post office, and then to a few shops at the nearby mall. 

I tried to study but my brain was just not comprehending anything today. I also was distracted by these little green and red devils….

12.22 peanut mms2

I really don’t know why we keep these in the house. They are Scott’s and my biggest weakness when it comes to sweets. OK, could I pick a higher calorie food to be addicted to???? And, you CAN’T eat just ONE! Who would ever eat just ONE M&M anyway – hmm…maybe a stick skinny model from Brazil.

12.22 peanut mms1

When I don’t have them in the house, I don’t think about them. Out of site, out of mind, I guess. But when they are here, they are very hard to pass up. I did fairly well the whole day, but tanked this evening after dinner when I proceeded to have a few handfuls. We all have our vices, don’t we? So, my question to you is, what’s your food vice? Candy, cookies, pizza? What can’t you resist if it’s in the house? I seem to recall that a certain someone loves Oreo cookies, but I’m not naming any names 😉

In addition to no studying, there was also no wrapping in the house today. Ugh…that means all of my wrapping must be done tomorrow!

Ok, I’m off to get some rest before my wrapping marathon. Plus, I’m going to try to get to yoga tomorrow – woo hoo! Trying to stick with Jenna’s challenge!

Night all 😉

Oatmeal Inspiration

Good morning!

Hope your day is off to a good start. I started my day with a fast 4-miler on the treadmill. I opted NOT to run outside today because of all the new fallen snow. Plus, after two 40-minute outdoor runs in a row, my hips are actually starting to hurt.

For breakfast, I was inspired by Kath’s oatmeal and decided to make a bowl of my own…

12.22 oatmeal with walnuts 1

I used about 1/4 cup whole oats combined with about a 1/2 cup of skim milk, then topped it all with bunch of walnuts and a little brown suga-baby – hmm..hmm…good!

12.22 oatmeal with walnuts 2

I ate it while looking out my back windows and enjoying the beautiful winter scene…

12.22 snowy backyard1

So what’s on my agenda for today?

  • Trip to Goodwill to drop off my donations
  • Mucho Christmas wrapping
  • A little more shopping (can I be done already!)
  • A LOT of studying

But, before all of that – I’m meeting my friend Anne for lunch at Big Bowl – it’s going to be a stir-fry kind of a day, whoopie!

Have a good one!