A Bowl of Clouds

Hi There. 

Well, so much for trying my new Yogi Bedtime tea. I ended up not being able to fall asleep until after midnight last night and then woke up at 5 AM and couldn’t fall back to sleep! I swear that tea bag had a shot of caffeine in it!

After laying in bed for an hour trying to fall asleep, I debated on whether I should just get up and go for a run, although it  was technically my rest day. I opted to not run thinking that my body my stage a revolt. 

For breakfast, I made a bowl of fluffy clouds – aka Trader Joe’s organic nonfat Greek yogurt in vanilla flavor, topped with Kashi Go Lean cereal and…

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A spoonful of MaraNatha all-natural creamy peanut butter. When you mix it all up, it looks like a bowl of fluffy, peanut buttery clouds…

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After a fun-filled morning at work, I grabbed a quick lunch at my desk…

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A cup of chicken and dumpling soup with extra pepper. This soup really hit the spot today because it was really chilly outside and even colder by my desk! I’m not kidding either, I have to have my little space heater on in JULY because it’s so cold in my area. 

I jetted out of work around 5:20 PM and, after a long 50-minute commute with a headache the entire way, I finally made it home. Scott had a very simple and healthy dinner ready for us when I arrived. However, because of my headache, I took some Tylenol and laid down for about 30 minutes. Then, after feeling a little better, it was time for some dinner…

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We had grilled chicken – which I proceeded to drench in Famous Dave’s BBQ sauce! – mashed potatoes, and steamed broccoli. Ah, I love home-cooked meals, especially when I don’t have to do the cooking!

Now I’m relaxing, listening to some Bach on Scott’s iphone. I’m also enjoying a little treat that my husband so nicely drove out to get especially for me…

9.30 dessert

A huge chocolate chunk cookie from Barnes and Noble – sooo good! We split the cookie tonight because there was no way I was going to eat all of it myself. We used to consume these cookies like they were going out of style a few years back. I think we single-handedly kept that B&N cafe in business with how much we bought there.

I’m headed to bed in a few minutes to see if I can’t shake this headache for good. Tomorrow’s my running day, so I hope I sleep better.

Have a great night everyone!

Taking Food Pictures In Odd Company

Hola Chicas! Sorry I’ve been out of pocket all day. I’ve been bogged down at work and couldn’t break away to post. 

Because it’s staying dark later in the morning, I am faced with the problem of needing to run at the same time – around 6:15 AM – but having it be pretty dark when I run. Obviously, this happens every year in the Fall/Winter. So, to accommodate this seasonal change, I run on the treadmill for 10-15 minutes. Then, when it’s just light enough for me to see, I jump off, put on my windbreaker and go outside for the rest of my run. This also helps me ease into treadmill season – late November until the end of February – which I dread every year.

So after my 4-mile indoor/outdoor run this morning, I quickly got ready and grabbed a small bowl of cereal for refueling…

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The bowl was a mix of Multigrain Cheerios (3/4 cup) and 1/4 cup of Cascadian Farm dark chocolate almond granola. It was filling, but I wish we would have had a little fruit for me to add. I also had day 29 of my Daily Wellness Shot from Zola. I can’t believe that tomorrow is the last day of the challenge – that went by fast!

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Immediately when I arrived at work, I became so engrossed in my projects that I didn’t eat anything until lunch. I ended up going to lunch with a coworker and my boss. We all walked up to a nearby Italian cafe because it was beautiful outside. I did NOT take pictures of what I ate – how weird would that look if I took pictures of my food with my boss sitting right there! I wonder what excuse I could give in this situation – here are a few good ones..

Top 5 excuses that I can give to my boss for constantly taking pictures of what I eat…

  1. I am taking a photography class that requires me to take artsy photos of my food
  2. I’m coming down with amnesia and want to remember what I ate
  3. If I end up getting food poisoning, I need documentation
  4. My parents like to see what I eat every day
  5. I’ve entered a local “biggest loser” contest and must show proof of what I ate

Question – Have any of you ever run into this situation where you hesitate to take photos of what you eat because of who you are with? What do you do in these situations?

I did have a lovely bowl of tomato basil soup with a dollop of basil pesto on top. It was really rich and creamy – just delicious! 

The rest of the afternoon was spent in meetings and doing more writing. I think I’m getting carpel tunnel from all of the typing. 

Scott is at class, so I made a very easy, no cook dinner..

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…a 1/2 salami, ham, and Swiss cheese sandwich topped with Mezzetta hot and sweet peppers, all on double-fiber Brownberry bread. I was surprisingly full after I ate this – partially due to the huge amount of ice cold water I chugged while eating.

Now, I’m enjoying some of my new Yogi tea!!

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This tea is awesome!! It has such a yummy and slightly citrusy taste. Since this is my first time drinking it, I’m not sure if it actually “promotes restful sleep”, but I sure hope it does!

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I love that this tea has all sorts of organic ingredients, like chamomile, spearmint, and English Lavender (ooh, how European!).

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I am enjoying my tea with a bit of homemade blueberry cake – courtesy of my baker-in-law father-in-law.

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He really does make some great baked goods, especially around the holidays. And, this blueberry cake was fantastic. Pretty dense and very moist, with just the right amount of blueberries.

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I have to finish up a few things for work before I head to bed. So, have a great night everyone!

Fairy Tales Come True…

When I arrived home from work today, this is what was waiting for me…

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I married quite the romantic!

Along with the very (prince) charming card, I received a gift certificate to make my very own purse at 1154 Lill! If you’ve never heard  of 1154 Lill they are a chain of small boutiques where you can design your own purse, handbags, wallets, etc. They have boutiques in Chicago, Boston, Kansas City, and Philly. I made a purse at the Chicago location a few years ago and had so much fun designing it. Although, I nearly had an anxiety attack trying to choose my fabric – they have so many to choose from! It took me nearly 3 hours to design, but it was well worth it because now I have an original purse to show off. And, soon I will have two – thanks honey! 

Aside from the beautiful card and purse, I came home to a wonderfully homecooked batch of chicken and dumpling soup!

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This is one of my absolute favorite soups to eat! The dumplings, when you make them right, turn out like little fluffy clouds that float on top of the soup. So yummy!

I am so ready to just veg out tonight. See you all in the AM!

A Walk Down Memory Lane

Hey Ladies!

It was a very windy morning today – gusts up to 40-50 mph, so I decided to run on the treadmill. I ran a very fast 4 miles – 32 minutes flat!! Yippee! I just wish I could keep up that speed for 10 miles – he he!

Breakfast was a quick bowl of Kashi Go Lean cereal mixed with Cascadian Farm dark chocolate almond granola…

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Then, on the way to work, I stopped at a drive thru Starbucks to pick up a warm, but skinny vanilla latte..hmm..

OK, now onto the good stuff!!

Happy Anniversary – I love you Scott!

Eight years ago today Scott and I were married on the North side of Chicago in an old Catholic church. It was a small wedding/reception, attended by less than 90 people, but it was beautiful!

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Two days after the wedding, we jetted off to Maui for our 10-day honeymoon in Wailea at the Four Seasons – the best hotel/resort I have ever stayed at!

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In 8 years, we’ve traveled all around the US, have cruised to the Caribbean, and have spent time in Europe. So, where are we headed next?

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We’re going to Disney World! That’s right, in the Spring, we’re going back to the place where it all started. We met in Disney World in college so the Mouse is quite magical and nostalgic for us. I get sappy just thinking about it!

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So, here’s to 8 years of adventures and many more adventures to come!

Food and Football – A Perfect Sunday

Hello Girls! Wow – what a beautiful day it was here! It was about 72 degrees and sunny – just perfect! 

Well, in honor of my 8th wedding anniversary, I thought I’d give you a preview of the anniversary photos for tomorrow’s post….

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This is Scott and I while on a cruise a couple years ago. You might not be able to tell, but we were quite tipsy from all of the wine! Believe it or not, I ran 5 days on our 7 day cruise – even in choppy waters! As for my husband, I don’t think Scott saw the inside of the fitness center at all that week – he he! Ahh..good times! Stay tuned for more pics tomorrow….

Now, onto today…

I was out the door by 7:30 AM to go for a fast 6 mile run – it took me just over 48 minutes – yeah! I love when I have really good runs, they usually put me in a great mood for the rest of the day.

I did have a 1/2 Luna bar just prior to my run which I think helped with my endurance and speed immensely…

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This Luna bar was pretty tasty with a great peanut butter flavor. It only has 3 g of fiber though which is not terribly high for a power bar. After my workout, I was running late to make 9:30 Mass, so I ate the other 1/2 of my Luna bar in the car. I was so glad that I did because Mass ended up being nearly 25 minutes longer than expected. I think I would have passed out if I wouldn’t have eaten ahead of time!

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After church, we headed back home for an hour or so then it was back out to lunch at Go Roma. Between work and home, I eat at this place WAY too much – but it’s so good and convenient – not to mention relatively healthy.

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I had the vegetarian panini with spinach, red peppers, tomatoes, onions, and goat cheese. It was quite good, although I stopped eating about 3/4 of the way so I wouldn’t get too full.

The rest of the day consisted of cleaning (outside and inside) and watching the Chicago Bears beat the Seattle Seahawks! Scott was very happy of course.

For dinner, Scott made his awesome turkey tacos with all the fixins…

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I only had two soft tacos – full of lettuce, meat, salsa, cheese, and guacamole – and I was pretty full by the end.

Now, I’m off to do a little light reading and then to bed. I have another early and jam-packed Monday planned, that starts with a 5 mile run!

Night all!

All Shopped Out

Evening everyone! Don’t know about you but I had a wonderful day, eating, shopping, and eating some more!

Scott and I started our day with 45 minute power walk – it was a great way for us to catch up and unwind after a stressful week. We didn’t get back until about 10:30, so we just grabbed a quick breakfast and headed out the door…

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I had 1/2 a peanut butter sandwich made with MaraNatha all-natural creamy PB and Brownberry whole wheat bread. We had a ton of errands to run, so I just ate it in the car. 

First up was a trip to the eye doctor so I could pick up a comp pair of contacts. I’m on my last pair and they wouldn’t let me reorder unless I came in (and paid for) another eye exam, which will happen next week. Next was a stop at my hair salon to pick up some styling products, then it was off to lunch!

Keeping with our anniversary celebration, we dined at a very cool steakhouse called Wildfire. We’ve eaten there before and have always had great food and service – today was no exception!

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We started with a simple side salad – but really, this salad was not simple at all. It had mixed greens, carrots, tomatoes, cucs, eggs, and artichoke hearts, all with a red wine vinaigrette dressing – fantastic! I’m really glad we split the salad, otherwise, I might not have been able to eat my entree which was a HUGE turkey burger….

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This burger was crazy messy with white cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, and lettuce, and tomato. There was no way in the world I was going to be able to pick this baby up gracefully, so I cut it right in half. This burger was outstanding! I really would have eaten the WHOLE thing but I stopped at 1/2 because I didn’t want to stuff myself – having the super yummy fries didn’t help either 😉 

Stopping when I was content enabled me to enjoy one of my favorite desserts – banana cream pie!

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Can you believe this is only a 1/2 piece of pie? That’s all I wanted so that’s what they gave me. I absolutely adore banana creme pie but I rarely see it on menus these days. So, when I do see it, I jump at the chance to eat it. The pie was the perfect ending to a perfect meal in perfect company of course!

By this time, we were both ready to roll out of the restaurant (the pie really put me over the edge), so we headed out to do a little shopping. Today, we were in search of birthday presents for 3 different people which took us to Target, Toys R US, and the mall. Thank heavens too, because all of that walking really helped work off the food from lunch.

Nearly 7 hours later, we were finally hungry enough to actually eat more food. We opted to not go out to dinner – I’m not one for eating two big meals in a day. Instead, we warmed up some of our homemade pasta sauce…

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This really is one of our favorite meals to make. Even though we ate dinner at home, we tried to make it a little different by using our fine china that we received from our wedding. I think this is only the second time we used it in 8 years!

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The red pasta sauce was a great contrast to the white china with silver trim – very chic for a dinner at home! After our stomachs were full once more, we headed out to finish our shopping for the day. Then finally, we ended up at Barnes and Noble. I nearly always buy something at B&N when I go there, whether it’s a book, magazine, or a Starbucks drink. Well, tonight we didn’t buy anything! I think I was all shopped out by the time I got there and didn’t have the energy (or money) to buy anything else.

I have an early date with my running shoes tomorrow morning, so let me say goodnight to you all!

Tapas Anniversary

Morning Girls!

Did you miss me last night? If feels weird not posting in the evening – like I’m forgetting something. If you were all wondering why I didn’t post last night it was because I was out to dinner with my husband celebrating our anniversary! 

My husband and I love tapas restaurants. A few years ago we traveled to Barcelona and had authentic tapas which were just amazing! So last night, we decided to try a new tapas restaurants called Emilio’s Tapas. The whole restaurant was Spanish-themed, including these little windows on the outside…

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Seriously, if you’ve ever been to Spain, this is just how the windows look! 

For dinner, we started with a complimentary appetizer…

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I don’t remember the exact name of the dish but it consisted of two pieces of crusty bread topped with a ham and veggie pate.  

While we were eating our very tasty appetizer, we also had some lovely Spanish cocktails. I ordered white wine sangria – LOVE this stuff!

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In keeping with tapas tradition, we ordered our tapas in “courses”, or two by two. We started with tapas frias (cold tapas) first…9.25 dinner3

We had a small plate of pollo al caserio (chicken from a small village?), which was cold chicken stuffed stuffed with mozzarella cheese serve with roasted bell peppers. This dish was so good I could have ordered it again!

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Then came another Spanish specialty – dates wrapped in bacon! I can’t recall ever having a date before tonight but if I was ever going to have one again it would be wrapped in bacon – 🙂 The combination of the savory bacon mixed with the sweet, plump dates was perfect – as well as the red pepper aioli sauce for dipping!

After that, ’twas a Mediterranean salad for me. This was not the best Mediterranean salad I’ve had, but I haven’t had a salad in like 10 days so it was very nice to eat lettuce again. I really don’t know why I haven’t eaten much salad – could be that it’s so much trouble to make! The salad last night had shredded lettuce (not a big fan), hearts of palm (Love!), onions, cherry tomatoes, and feta cheese. It probably sounds good to most people and it did taste fine, I’ve just tasted better. The presentation was also a little blah.

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Anyway, my husband proceeded to order and eat by  himself, two more dishes – the gambos a la plancha (shrimp cooked in a skillet) and the lamb with Spanish potatoes. Because I don’t eat seafood or lamb, I just kept enjoying my drink while he ate.

We opted to not get dessert there but came home and had ice cream, mostly to save money but also so that we could watch our favorite show – Psych!

I woke up this morning at 7:50 AM – this is sooo late for me even on the weekend! There was no way I was getting to the 8 AM yoga class and besides, I was feeling a little queasy. I’m not sure if it was something I ate or the fact that I had very little food last night to soak up the alcohol that I drank 🙁

Now, we’re off and running again – this time to do a little shopping.

See you all later!

Bear Naked Goodies!

Running With Cake Fact: I used to work at Disney World (Magic Kingdom) on the College Program and that’s where I met my husband. Anyone want to guess where I worked?

Hey All!

It’s my day off today as usual and I’ve spent it running errands and cleaning the house! The fun just never ends 🙂

This morning I ran a very relaxing 4 miles. It was a typical “fall” morning, with leaves beginning to fall off the trees and a cool, crisp breeze in the air. I left the house around 7:30 AM which is prime school bus time in my area. I must have seen a half dozen school buses in a matter of 15 minutes.

After my run, I enjoyed a nice, leisurely breakfast. I forgot to mention last night that yesterday, while I was at work, I received a sample of Bear Naked’s new banana nut cereal! Yeah- I love goodies!

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The cereal is 100 percent all natural and is made with banana chips, oats, dried apples, and walnuts – everything I LOVE! The cereal itself kind of reminded me of Kashi cereal, only with a little more sweetness and not as crunchy. Instead of just eating this as plain cereal, I decided to add it to some Trader Joe’s nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt.

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See it laying on my yogurt – all nice and crispy? Just before I took the plunge, I had a revelation – I should really add peanut butter to this, I thought! And, so I did! I added 1 tbsp of MaraNatha all natural creamy peanut butter right on top.

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Oh my, this was just about perfection! The taste of bananas, chocolate, oats, and the yogurt were fantastic! And the mixture was so thick and creamy – like a little bowl of goopy heaven…

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I washed everything down with Day 25 of Zola’s Daily Wellness shot. Only 5 more days and I will have completed my challenge!

After running a few errands, it was time for a quick lunch. I grilled a homemade turkey-vegetable burger..

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A few weeks ago, I took a 1/2 pound of ground turkey and mixed it with a bunch of finely chopped veggies, like carrots, onions, and peppers. I froze 4 very nice size patties from the bunch. Even though I slightly over grilled the burger, it was awesome – so full of flavor.

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I paired the burger with a side of all-natural tortilla chips and Frontera salsa – so spicy and yummy!

Tonight, Scott and I are headed out to dinner to start our anniversary weekend celebration! As of September 28, we will have been married for 8 years – I can hardly believe it! Since our anniversary falls on a Monday, we thought we’d celebrate the whole weekend before our big day. 

For those of you who do not know me, Scott and I met while working at Disney World in Orlando on the College Program. He also proposed to me at the Magic Kingdom right when the fireworks were going off – he’s such a Disney romantic. Ahh, so many fun memories!

All right, see you all tonight – or maybe tomorrow morning 😉

Breakfast and Life On the Go…

Hello All! Sorry I’ve been MIA all day. It’s been one crazy day! I started with a 4-mile run. It was so foggy out this morning that by the time I got home my hair and face were drenched as if it was raining!

I was really behind schedule after my run, so I had a breakfast on-the-go, which I hardly ever do. Luckily, some smart person out there was thinking of me and all the other over-booked women out there and invented a portable and healthy breakfast in a bar!

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I had another one of my LUNA bars – this time chocolate raspberry. This bar had a great flavor but it was probably a little too much powerbar for me for breakfast. I really prefer it as a pre-run snack. 

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I was really dragging on my way to work, so I stopped off at Starbucks. No, my old Starbucks did not reopen. I stopped at one of those mini Starbucks inside a grocery store. I was really debating on getting a skinny vanilla latte and a mocha frap….guess what I went with –

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Hmmm..sooo goood! I drank some of it right when I arrived at work, but then I had to run to a meeting at 9 AM. I usually don’t take anything but water into meetings, but I ended up being in back-t0-back meetings from 9 AM – 12:30 PM!! Oh my gosh – how do they expect me to get any work done? On a break, I ran back over to my desk and grabbed my mostly melted frap and took it back into the meeting. I’m really glad I did because it kept me alert through all of the meetings.

After the meetings, I ate some leftover stir-fry because I didn’t have time to get out for lunch…

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The stir fry was good but I could have eaten a LOT more than what I brought.

Oddly enough, by the time I got home from work, I wasn’t really that hungry. Scott was at class again tonight so I just threw together a very quick and simple dinner…

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A 1/2 peanut butter and jelly sandwich, with a side of Cape Cod chips and a nectarine – healthy and satisfying…

  • Protein – √
  • Whole Grains – √
  • MUFA – √
  • Fruit – √
  • Fats – √

I probably could have whipped together something a little more exciting if I had more energy. But at least I’ve graduated from cereal!

Ok, time to say goodnight Gracie!

Williams Sonoma French Weeknight Dinner

Evening girls! I just returned from my first Williams Sonoma cooking class! It was more of a scaled down cooking show really…

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where the Chef stood behind the counter/stove and prepared a variety of dishes while giving us step by step instructions. There were about 10 people in the class, sitting in chairs in front of the stove, 3 men and the rest women. I was one of the youngest people there!

Tonight’s themed menu was French Weeknight Dinners and included:

  • Citrus marinated olives
  • Lentil, bacon, and frisee salad
  • Pan-seared chicken with mustard sauce
  • Apple tart

I asked the chef what made the dishes “French” and she said that olives, lentils, mustard, and anything with puffed pastry (like the tart) are all considered French. 

First up, were the marinated olives, which were quite tasty, although I would do the recipe with all green olives. I can’t divulge the recipe for copyright reasons but you can find the recipe in Williams Sonoma – The Weeknight Cook.

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Next, was the lentil, bacon, an frisee salad…

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This salad was fantastic! It was made with brown lentils, carrots, and celery (among other things) and placed over mixed greens (the chef chose not to put it over frisee like the recipe called for because she said it was too bitter).

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The chicken was cooked at the same time as the salad. It was thinly pounded (or bought thinly slice) and then pan-seared in butter. The mustard sauce was then made from all of the drippings and spooned over the chicken. Again, I can’t give you the recipe but this chicken dish was amazing – especially if you like mustard flavor!! Everyone in the class was raving about the chicken.

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I think both the salad and the chicken recipes are keepers! If you want to try them, the lentil salad can be found in Williams Sonoma’s Food Made Fast, Salad and the chicken dish in The Weeknight Cook.

While we were watching the demonstration, we were encouraged to sample WS’s many varieties of sea salts. I didn’t know there were so many varieties! I tasted the Pink Sea Salt – loved the color and the taste!

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I liked it so much I even sprinkled a little over my chicken and salad.

Finally, the apple tart – I am kind of appled out these days between all of the apple cake, apple pie, and apple slices I’ve had the last few weeks. So, apple tart was not high on my list to sample tonight. It was made with puff pastry, apples, and sugar – no more, no less. This recipe was very simple, easy to prepare, and tasted light and fluffy. I thought it was tasty, but I still prefer something chocolate for dessert.

After eating a modified three-course meal, I was pretty full at the end of class. There was even food left over if people wanted more, but no one seemed to want to indulge too much at 8 PM and with everyone else watching.

I have to admit, it was pretty cool and quite relaxing watching someone else cook. And, just taking a cooking class is very different than my usual forms of entertainment and self-indulgence. I would definitely recommend the WS’s classes if you’re interested in trying something new and fun. 

Ok, all, I have a very early morning run planned for tomorrow so I must get to bed.

Night all!