Breakfast in the Cube

And now a line from one of my favorite Christmas movies in honor of its 20th anniversary…

Clark: Can I refill your egg nog for you? Get you something to eat? Drive you out to the middle of nowhere and leave you for dead?

Eddie: No, I’m doin’ just fine, Clark.

If you’re not sure what movie this is from, keep reading to find out 😉

******************************************************************************************************

Hello There! It never fails, the Monday after a long weekend seems to go by sooo SLOW! And, although it was the so-called Cyber Monday, I had absolutely no desire to shop online. With 80 percent of my holiday shopping complete, I am just about shopped out! I can’t believe I just wrote that.

My morning began with a fast and super sweaty treadmill run. I probably could have toughed out the cold 30 degrees but it was still too dark at 6:15 AM for me to run outside. 

I had a cubicle breakfast today – complete with a cup of creamy Trader Joe’s vanilla Greek yogurt with walnuts…

11.30 Trader Joe Greek  yogurt

Funny thing about walnuts – I used to hate them when I was a kid and pecans too. But as an adult, I just can’t get enough of them. Good thing they are full of MUFA and are super good for you! Along with my yogurt, I had some hot and steamy Tazo Awake tea…

11.30 Tazo Awake Tea

I’m not a big fan of eating breakfast at my desk, but sometimes it just needs to be done. I don’t mind eating lunch at my desk, although I do prefer eating out of the office. I’m usually playing catch up at lunchtime so it’s just more convenient to eat in the cube – just like today…

11.30 split pea soup 

I had some very thick and tasty split pea soup leftover from Saturday night. It was perfect for a chilly afternoon. Later in the day, I desperately needed a chocolate fix and I just so happened to have a few homemade chocolate-log cookies courtesy of my father-in-law..

11.30 chocolate log cookies

Unfortunately, I do not have the recipe for these festive babies, but I know that they are supposed to resemble logs with moss growing on them – hence the name chocolate-log cookies. My F-I-L makes them every year around Thanksgiving and Christmas and then distributes them among the family. How wonderful is that – a husband who cooks and a father-in-law who bakes!

I arrived home pretty late from work so I was in a rush to make dinner. I am so glad that I remembered to take chicken out of the freezer – it makes it so much easier to decide what to have for dinner when your chicken is ready to go. I drizzled some olive oil over the chicken then doused it with a mesquite rub and grilled it on the indoor grill. I’m tellin’ ya, having an indoor grill is pretty sweet in the winter!

11.30 mesquite chicken

I also made some awesome mashed sweet potatoes by steaming the potatoes, mashing them, and adding a bit of warmed milk, brown sugar, and butter. So easy and incredible!

11.30 mashed sweet potatoes

The rest of the night will be spent studying for my personal training certification. I have a feeling that this certification process is going to be consuming quite a bit of my free time in the next few months.

By the way, if anyone is interested in trying an super awesome Dutch cheese, try Beemster Classic cheese – the taste is a mix of parmesan, asiago, and cheddar – so yum! To learn more, read my review!

By the way, the movie mentioned above is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – I can’t believe it’s been around for 20 years!

Have a great night!

Trimming the Tree

Hi Everyone! Hope you all had a lovely Sunday! Today was a day of all things holiday for us, including trimming the Christmas tree.

My day started with a 5 mile run on the treadmill. I was actually all dressed and ready to go outside when it started to downpour. I was really disappointed because today was supposed to be the warmest day of the week at 50 degrees. The rest of the week, the Chicago Tribune is reporting SNOW!! I shouldn’t be so surprised, after all, Tuesday is December 1!

Breakfast was a warm and sweet bowl of homemade oats – plain oatmeal topped with brown sugar and crunchy walnuts…

11.29 Oatmeal 1

11.29 Oatmeal 2

As you can see, I was playing with the macro setting and focus on my camera. Both of these photos turned out well, each with a slightly different look.

Seeing as today was the first day of Advent, Scott and I headed to 9:30 mass after breakfast. The service was very nice although the church wasn’t as decorated as I thought it would. I’m sure they’ll add more decorations later.

For lunch, we made our typical Sunday fare of sandwiches, but this time we made them with Boar’s Head salami, turkey, and ham – this was one classy and expensive sandwich!

11.29 Boarshead sandwich 2

11.29 Boarshead sandwich 1

Although we put up our tree last weekend, the rest of the day was spent decorating the outside of the house as well as decorating the tree. Last night, we bought a bunch of plain green wreaths from Hobby Lobby and some wide red ribbon. I stayed up until around midnight making bows and then attaching them to the wreaths…

11.29 Christmas Wreath

Not too bad for a first time! Next year, I think I’ll buy wider ribbon to make it stand out a little more when you’re looking at the house from the street.

Dinner was Scott’s homemade chicken soup with dumplings…

11.29 Chicken dumpling soup 2

Although he and I have made this soup MANY times, the dumplings are very tricky. You have to cook them just right or else they turn out very firm instead of soft and fluffy like they did today – nice job Scott!

11.29 Chicken dumpling soup

After dinner, we pulled out the rest of the Christmas decorations and tree ornaments and went to town! Since Scott and I have been married, we have been doing a sort of Victorian theme for our Christmas tree with lots of burgundy, gold, and pink ornaments. I have this dream that I will one day have a truly authentic Victorian (or Dickens-style) Christmas – complete with roast pig by the fireplace, cranberries strung on the tree, and hot mulled wassail brewing on the stove, all while listening to carolers at my door. I know, it’s a little over the top, but that’s why it’s a dream.

I must admit, I am partial to plain jane ornaments, like snowflakes and bulbs, yet two of my favorite ornaments are anything but plain…

11.29 Ornaments

Because I absolutely LOVE hot tea – and actually collect tea cups and teapots –  I couldn’t pass up these two little cuties! I bought them a few years back on a quick trip to Bronner’s Christmas store in Frankenmuth, MI. Seriously, if you think you can go into Bronner’s and NOT come out with something, you’re crazy! They have sooo much to choose from and you can find just about any themed ornaments or decorations there – although I would have loved to find a little Harney and Sons tea tin ornament to put on my tree 😉

OK bloggies – I’m off to study. I finally received my personal training prep books and I need to do some major reading in advance before my class starts in two weeks!

Catch ya all tomorrow!

Thanksgiving Meals On Wheels

A Quick Thanksgiving Recap

Hello Everyone! Hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving! I had a fantastic holiday, eating great food and spending time with my family in Michigan. Thanks to my cousin Dave, we were able to have one of our family’s “old fashioned” Thanksgivings with 19 people there. We had all of the standards – turkey, ham, potatoes, stuffing, carrots, sweet potatoes, and French fries. Well, fries are a standard at our holiday events – don’t ask 😉 One of my favorite things about seeing my family is listening to all of the odd things they say. Here is a new classic:

  • Jen: Mom, do you have a tray I can put these cookies on? I think they’d look better on a tray, don’t you?
  • Mom: I have yams. 
  • Jen: (Pause and strange look) Okay.
  • Mom: You like yams don’t you?

Meals on Wheels

Earlier in the morning on Thanksgiving, my father, older sister, and I volunteered to deliver meals to the elderly. It was such a fulfilling, yet sad experience. Some of the seniors were very cheerful about the holiday, while others seemed depressed. Yet, all of them seemed very excited and grateful to have us delivering their meals – for many of the seniors, we would be the only people they would see all day. Sad. Seeing them made me very thankful that I still have my youth, health, and all of my family with me.

Back to Normal

Today was back to business as usual – however usual it can be during the holiday season. Because I already ran 5 days this week, today was my day off. It was VERY nice to sleep in a little! Breakfast was a crunchy bowl of Honeynut Cheerios with walnuts…

11.28 Cheerios1

11.28 Cheerios 2

Shortly after breakfast, Scott and I ventured to Costco. We made it there about 45 minutes after they opened so the warehouse crowd had not hit its massive level yet. I was so incredibly tempted by the baked goods today. They had several sweets that I had not seen in the store previously, including little red velvet cupcakes and a pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting – you can see why I was so tempted!

For lunch, we ate at Chicago’s own Portillo’s. However, I didn’t exactly eat Portilo’s. I stopped at Corner Bakery ahead of time and grabbed a Mediterranean salad, then ate it with Scott at Portillo’s while he enjoyed his beef sandwich…

11.28 Mediterranean Salad

It is a little strange bringing outside food into a restaurant, but you gotta do what you gotta do when you’re trying to eat healthy.

The afternoon brought more holiday shopping with trips to Hobby Lobby, Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Barnes and Noble, and Target. It is amazing how much money we spend around the holidays and not even on gifts!

Dinner was homemade split pea soup, compliments of Scott and the Williams Sonoma Soup cookbook.

11.28 Split Pea Soup 1

Each time we make this, and we’ve made it quite a few times, I am amazed at how easy this recipe is and how awesome the soup tastes! It is seriously as good or better than any split pea soup I’ve ever tasted.

11.28 Split Pea Soup 2

It especially tastes good topped with crunchy croutons or paired with crusty French bread for dipping…

11.28 Fresh bread

For the most part, we follow the recipe in the book. Although instead of bacon, we typically cook the soup with a ham bone. I’ve made it with bacon before and it makes the soup taste very salty. Thankfully, we saved the ham bone from Thanksgiving and drove it back to Chicago with us – hey, anything for split pea soup! And really, can  you think of a better way to get the most use out of a leftover ham bone than to make soup?

11.28 Split Pea recipe

Another difference is that we add in more chicken or vegetable broth at the end, as needed. For some reason, this time we had to add at least 3 cups of extra broth – the juice just seemed to keep evaporating! At one point, the soup was so extremely thick that it was similar to the consistency of stew. The extra broth definitely helped :-).

11.28 Split Pea Soup Recipe 2

Now, it’s time to get to work making wreath bows for the outside of our house. I have never made a wreath bow (they are typically much larger/wider than gifts bows), so this should be interesting.

Have a great night everyone!

A Few of My Favorite Things…

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! I recently came across this survey from Jolene at Everyday Foodie. So, instead of a typical post about health, food, and fitness, I thought I’d give you a little insight into a few Running With Cake favorites.

Running With Cake Favorites

Favorite food to crunch – Kashi Go Lean Cereal and granola

Favorite comfort food – Macaroni and cheese

Favorite picnic lunch – Mediterranean pasta salad

Best summer snack – Fresh fruit with yogurt dip

Favorite winter snack – Hot chocolate

Food that reminds me of the ocean – Goldfish crackers

Most likely to eat for lunch – Minestrone Soup

Least likely to eat for lunch – Tuna fish

Food that makes me gag – Calamari – and pretty much any seafood

Food tradition I love – My father-in-law’s chocolate log cookies at Christmas

Soup or salad  Baked potato soup and a Mediterranean salad

Favorite breakfast food – Oatmeal with peanut butter and walnuts

Favorite ethnic cuisine – Italian and Greek

Favorite vegan ice cream flavor – There’s vegan ice cream?

Favorite type of chocolate – See’s chocolate

Favorite beverage – Diet coke, water, white wine

Smooth or crunchy peanut butter – Smooth

Enjoy!

'Twas The Night Before Thanksgiving…

And all through the night, people were chatting and plenty of food was in sight. That is exactly how my evening has been!

Hi All and Happy Thanksgiving Eve! I need to make this a pretty quick post. I’m with the fam now and need to spend some quality time chatting and preparing food – I’m sure you all understand!

This morning started with a fast 4 mile run – on the treadmill because it was raining 🙁 Breakfast was a combo of some juicy sweet pears…

11.25 Pears

Plus a small bowl of Cheerios and walnuts….

11.25 Cheerios with walnuts

11.25 Cheerios with walnuts 2

Then we packed up and headed to my parents for the day. On the way, I snacked on my first Chocolate Peppermint LUNA bar which was totally yummy!

11.25 LUNA bar

It tasted very similar to the Girl Scout Thin Mint cookie – a very fresh and cool taste!

We had a pit-stop lunch at Panera which included a hearty bowl of potato soup. It completely hit the spot on this very cold and rainy day.

Dinner was a Scott specialty – homemade pasta sauce with some crusty garlic bread…

11.25 Pasta

We brought a bunch of Scott’s famous pasta sauce to my parents – enough for about 11 people to eat. Maybe this will become our Thanksgiving Eve tradition!

Tomorrow, we’ll be heading to my cousin’s house for a traditional Thanksgiving meal with a Polish twist – we’re having all of the typical things – turkey, ham, and sides, but we’re also having kielbasa (Polish sausage). We’re so Polish!

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Starbucks is open tomorrow! We’ll see 😉

Have a great night all!

The Five C's of Running

Hello Everyone! 

This morning, I did a couple miles on the old treadmill (which has NEVER had any clothes hanging on it – thank you very much!) then jumped off, threw on a running jacket, and headed outside for the remaining 2 1/2 miles. After my run, I did a few stretches and a 15-minute ab workout. I used to be a really hardcore runner, thinking that anything less than 6-7 miles was not worth my time. But after overtraining for a 1/2 marathon, I cut back quite bit and found that my body and I were much happier. This got me thinking…why have I been running for over 10 years and why do I keep running? The answers are simple  and can be explained in just five words – control, convenience, cost, calories, and challenge.

Running With Cake: The Five C’s of Running

  1. Control Factor: Running makes me feel strong and in control. If I can run for miles and miles, I feel like I can do anything.
  2. Convenience: You can do it anywhere/anytime. 
  3. Cost: For the most part, all you need are good running shoes and running clothes.
  4. Calories: Running is a HUGE calorie burning exercise – need I say more!
  5. Challenge: Distance running can be grueling at times, but it’s the utter satisfaction of finishing a race or achieving a personal record that makes it all worth it!

And the question is…Why do you run? If you don’t run, what is keeping you from starting?

By the way, overtraining is one of the most frequent mistakes made by runners. If you’re curious about the other common running mistakes, check out this Quiz from Women’s Health magazine which lists the top 11 running mistakes. I took the quiz, applying it to my current running style, and scored 100%. 

As for the rest of my day…Breakfast was a big bowl of Honeynut Cheerios with a handful of walnuts – gotta love that MUFA crunch!

11.24 Honeynut Cheerios

I only worked a 1/2 day today because I had a ton of errands to run before heading out tomorrow for our Thanksgiving feast! I am seriously amazed at how efficient I was between 1-5:30 PM. In just 4 1/2 hours, I managed to go to:

  • Go to Hobby Lobby
  • Do Laundry
  • Make 3 1/2 dozen chocolate chip cookies
  • Tidy up the house
  • Put away the Fall decorations
  • Go to Kohl’s
  • Go to Crate and Barrel

And somewhere in that marathon of errands, I managed to eat a bit of lunch…

11.24 Salami and Ham Sandwich

A salami, ham, and cheddar cheese sandwich – the RWC standard these days, particularly when I don’t feel like cooking.

Dinner was a tad more exciting – Italian sausage on our indoor grill. We invested in Italian sausage a few weeks back – I say invested because we bought it at Costco, where the food (and everything else)  comes in huge quantities, which causes you to invest a lot of time in eating it. To accompany the sausage, we had some very creamy Trader Joe’s shells and white cheddar cheese (aka. fancy mac & cheese) along with grilled bell peppers and onions.

11.24 Trader Joe's Macaroni and Cheese

Scott actually made the shells and cheese using the exact recipe on the box. I assured him that a standard box of mac & cheese is not difficult and that you don’t need to follow the recipe exactly. But, he’s a stickler for following recipes – most of the time 😉

11.24 Grilled Italian Sausage and Peppers

Hey, how did that Go Roma business card get in the picture?? I think it wanted its 15-minutes of fame – but don’t we all?

Thank you to all of you who voted for your favorite foodie magazine. As promised, the magazine with the most votes would become the new Running With Cake subscription. And the winner is…Cooking Light magazine! Fine Cooking also was mentioned by more than one person, but Cooking Light seem to be the food blogger favorite. I plan to subscribe in the next two weeks, so that I can avoid getting a duplicate of the December issue that I plan to purchase tomorrow 🙂

OK ladies and gents, I’m off to bed. I need to get bright and early to get in a run before we leave.

Enjoy your evening and your Wednesday!

Who Has the Biggest Bowl?

Hello everyone! I am super tired right now because I stayed up until 12:30 AM to wrap Christmas presents (exchanged on Thanksgiving) and then woke up at 6 AM! Somehow before we went to bed, our alarm clock radio was turned up full blast. So when the radio alarm went off this morning I woke up to a blaring opera! I don’t think I’ve ever jumped out of bed so fast – it was pretty funny, now that I think about it. But it definitely was not amusing at the time.

I think the shock of the music may have given my body a jolt as well because I had a fantastic run this morning! Despite being a bit chilly outside at 6:30 AM (40 degrees), my body seemed to be in supercharge mode. I ran nearly 5 miles in 40 minutes and felt like I could run even more!  Typically, I do not run more than 4 miles on weekdays just because I don’t have the time.

I ended up eating my breakfast at work, which worked out just fine…

11.23 Greek Yogurt with walnuts

My Trader Joe’s Greek vanilla yogurt with walnuts kept me full until lunch. I also had a humungo cup of Tazo Awake tea love goin’ on today…

11.23 Tazo Awake Tea

My boss returned to the office today after being gone for nearly 10 days in Seoul, Korea on business. He was thoughtful enough to bring a little something back for everyone on our team (5 women). He gave me a very cute little orange purse..

11.23 Korea purse

I love the color and the soft, shiny texture. Because it is on the small and dainty side, I think I will end up using it as a jewelry carrier when I travel, rather than for a purse.

I didn’t end up eating lunch until 2 PM due to an unplanned meeting. I was sooo hungry by the time I ate my cream of chicken and wild rice soup…

11.23 Cream of Chicken with wild rice soup

It was Scott’s turn to make dinner tonight but he pulled one of my tricks and decided we should just go out to eat instead. We ended up at our favorite Asian bistro Big Bowl. We ordered our traditional crispy chicken egg rolls, which I promptly ate so fast I nearly forgot to take a picture. I was reminded by Scott only after I had already taken a bite – he he!

11.23 Big Bowl Chicken Egg Roll 

Next up, we split the make-your-own stir fry bar where we chose crispy chicken in a kung pao sauce over brown rice. We also added a bunch of fresh veggies from the stir-fry bar…

11.23 Big Bowl Stir Fry 1

Scott and I have this unspoken competition about who can fit the most veggies in the bowl. It’s all about how BIG the bowl (or the veggies in it) can get. To give him proper credit, Scott is a very good stacker and somehow manages to get twice the amount of veggies stuffed in the bowl than I think most people can. However, when he chooses the veggies, he usually choose the ones HE wants even though they are for us to share. He nearly always leaves out my favorites – mini corns, water chestnuts, and bamboo shoots. So today, I took over the “big bowl”, and grabbed all of my favorites and stuffed them in. I didn’t do too bad of a job as you can see above! Aside from my three favorites, I also added:

  • Mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • Zucchini 
  • Red and Green Peppers
  • Shredded Carrots
  • Pea Pods
  • Broccoli 

Tomorrow is my last day in the office until Monday – woo hoo! Plus, I’m thinking of only working a 1/2 day so that I can run a few more errands related to my Thanksgiving family dinner.

By the way, any of you who still want to vote for your favorite foodie magazine, you have until tomorrow at 9 PM Eastern. Right now, Cooking Light is in the lead!

Have a great night everyone!

Squeezing Pears and Roasting Potatoes

Hi there!

Today was an absolutely beautiful day in Chicago! When I headed out around 10 AM for my 5-mile run, it was already 52 degrees and sunny! I hope we have many more days like this throughout the fall/winter season. 

After my run, I grabbed another LUNA bar to recharge…

11.22 Luna Bar

I do not eat LUNA bars or any granola/power bars for breakfast on a regular basis. Although they are very nutritious – full of protein and fiber – I really don’t feel like they fill me up enough at breakfast. But, like yesterday, today was another day of running a crazy amount of errands, so LUNA always comes in handy when you’re in a hurry to get out the door. 

My day was full of shopping, which let me back to Target – yet again – to get Christmas tree lights. It never fails, no matter how careful we are with our lights, we always end up buying new ones because the old ones don’t work.

I also stopped at Trader Joe’s. OMG, you would have thought they were giving turkeys away! I go to Trader Joe’s about once a week and I have NEVER seen it so busy. In fact, my regular grocery store, which I went to after TJ’s, was not 1/2 as busy as Trader Joe’s. It’s the holiday craziness starting already.

I headed back home for lunch, which ended up being another yummy sandwich…

11.22 salami sandwich

But I also enjoyed one of the fresh pears I bought at the grocery store. I must have really been on my squeezing game because I picked a perfectly ripe pear and it was so juicy and delicious…

11.22 Pears

I even picked up a few more when I went back to the grocery store today. Hmm, I’m thinking a pear crisp might be in my near future…

11.22 salami sandwich 2

After picking up a few things at Harry and David and Barnes and Noble (I really should own stock in that store!), it was time to head home to put up the tree and lights…

11.22 Santa Train 1

I even put out one of my favorite Christmas decorations, the Santa Train, as I call it. This is by far the best impulse purchases I’ve ever made – and it was at Costco! It’s a beautiful and very detail 4-part wooden train filled with old-fashioned toys – that are real toys!

11.22 Santa Train 2

11.22 Santa Train 3

That is one thing that I’ve come to learn about Costco – If you see something you really like, buy it, because it may not be there the next time you go.

Scott was working most of the day trying to finish project before Thanksgiving. So, I volunteered to make us dinner – and it wasn’t just reservations or take-out!!

11.22 Turkey burger

I whipped up some burgers on our indoor grill – turkey for me and buffalo for Scott. I also made some awesome oven roasted potatoes. These were super easy to make. Here’s how:

Easiest Oven-Roasted Potatoes

  • 4 medium red-skinned potatoes, washed and cut into cubes/chunks
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt/pepper to taste.
  • Mix the oil with the potatoes in a bowl and add salt and pepper. Spread potatoes on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven that’s been preheated. Take out tray and flip potatoes over. Return to oven for 10 minutes. Broil for 3-5 minutes if needed – then enjoy! 

For variety, I have added rosemary, Italian seasonings, and or parmesan cheese to the potatoes prior to cooking. It just gives them a little extra flavor.

    11.22 Oven roasted potatoes  

    Now,  I must be off. I have a ton of wrapping to do before Thanksgiving – when my side of the family exchanges our Christmas presents.

    Have a great night everyone!

Bacon Makes Everything Taste Better

Hi Everyone! 

Last night, I watched Rachel Ray’s Vacation on the Food Network. She was reviewing some of the hot spots in Philadelphia. I was sooo excited to see that she actually visited two of the VERY places I went to last year at my company’s annual meeting! She reviewed Amada tapas restaurant and Naked Chocolate Cafe, both of which were awesome! I am very proud to say that I found these two places on my own before even seeing the show – so I guess great minds think alike. Maybe it’s a sign that I should subscribe to her magazine 😉

This morning, Scott and I had to rush out the door to run errands, so there was no time for a sit-down breakfast. And so it was LUNA to the rescue…

11.21 LUNA bar

Lunch was at our fave Italian cafe where I promptly ordered my signature veggie pizza…

11.21 Veggie Pizza 2

It was loaded with mushrooms, spinach, red peppers, pesto, and topped with goat cheese, all on a wheat crust – fantastic!

11.21 Veggie pizza 1

Next up, was a little Christmas shopping. In just two hours, I managed to get to:

  • Crate and Barrel – Looking for cool wine glasses on sale for $2.95 – but they were all out 🙁
  • Bath and Body Works – I don’t shop here much because I prefer L’Occitane or Crabtree and Evelyn but BBW was having some great sales.
  • Harry and David – Looking for a foodie gift for my big sis.
  • Barnes and Noble – Hmm, no real reason to go here other than to pick up a mocha frap!
  • Fresh Market – Ahh, rotisserie chicken for dinner!

For dinner, I decided to try my hand at making brussel sprouts. Shauna’h suggested a great recipe from a friend, although I did not have all of the ingredients to make it. So, it was my own creation tonight – which usually makes Scott a little leery.

11.21 Brussel Sprouts

But for these, I fried some all-natural hickory smoked bacon in a pan until crisp. Then I removed the bacon and added steamed brussel sprouts (about 25 sprouts cut in 1/2). Then I sauteed the sprouts in a little more oil and the bacon drippings until they were slightly brown. Of course, I thought they were awesome. On the other hand, Scott remarked that he would probably not eat these again without the bacon. I guess bacon really does make every taste better.

One word of caution, if you do make this recipe, be very careful when pouring the sprouts in the bacon grease or you will wind up with grease burns…

11.21 arm burn

Not fun, especially since now they have progressed to tiny blisters – ouch! It was my own dumb fault though!

Aside from sprouts, I also tried my hand at making mashed sweet potatoes for the first time. I know, I know…how could I have gotten this far in life without making mashed sweet potatoes? Well, let’s just say we did not eat them very often growing up and when I did, we usually had the canned version.

11.21 sweet potatoes 1

For this bright orange and very festive dish, I followed the very easy recipe on Martha Stewart’s site. Seriously, this was SO easy. The hardest part was chopping the sweet potatoes -they are definitely not as easy to chop as white potatoes. Again, this dish was mighty tasty – I’m going to pat myself on the back for this one for sure!

11.21 Roast chicken and sweet potatoes

The side dishes all came together quite nicely with the white wine rotisserie chicken I bought from Fresh Market. Although, I swear these chickens are getting smaller and smaller. They’re almost like a cornish hen now. Scott and I used to be able to split one with leftovers for another full dinner. Now, we’re lucky if we have leftovers. And it’s NOT that we are eating more either!

11.21 roast chicken and brussel sprouts

11.21 roast chickena nd sweet potatoes 2

I paired this all with a nice Robert Mondavi Chardonnay I purchased at Costco last week. Fancy, fancy.

I think this made up for last night’s sandwich dinner, don’t you think?

OK, gotta run. I have a ton of pre-Thanksgiving cleaning to get to tonight! See you all on Sunday!

How Do You Make Brussel Sprouts Taste Good?

Hey there! So what happens when you work 10 hour days Monday-Thursday?  You spend your Fridays running all of the errands that you would have during the week. Yes, that is exactly what I did today, I ran errands for practically the entire day.

After an awesome outdoor 4-mile run, I chomped on a hearty bowl of Honeynut Cheerios…

11.20 Cheerios

I really want to get some new dishes to jazz up my food pictures. But quite honestly, I have so much dishware that it’s hard to justify spending money to buy more. And I really don’t have much more space to put it.

Post-breakfast, it was off to:

  • Post Office – To Mail out Christy’s giveaway – yeah! I just hope the chocolate withstands the warmer Florida temps!
  • Target – LUNA bars and a birthday present
  • Grocery Store – Bread and milk

I went to my usual grocery store to pick up our favorite La Brea three-cheese bread, but realized that all they had was the pre-sliced kind. I prefer to slice my own as needed – I think it stays fresher that way. Well, one of the workers offered to bake me a fresh loaf right then and there! Woo hoo – jackpot!

But of course, since I had to wait an extra 20 minutes for the bread to bake, I spent more time at the store than I intended. As a result, I ended up buying more groceries than I had planned. Case in point – I bought brussel sprouts.

11.20 brussel sprouts

Now, I know many of you buy and cook brussel sprouts on a regular basis. Well, I have never bought or cooked brussel sprouts EVER and have only eaten them once in my entire life! However, after seeing a bunch of your posts featuring these little green cabbages, I decided to give them a try. I actually recall seeing a Tyler Florence show where he roasted brussel spouts and they looked fantastic. I’m not quite sure if that’s because Tyler made them or if it was because bacon was involved. Maybe it’s a little of both.

So, how do you make brussel sprouts taste good? If you have the answer to that question (such as in the form of a great recipe), please let me know! 

For lunch, Scott and I had minestrone soup with some of that fresh three-cheese bakery bread I mentioned before…

11.20 Minestrone

The soup was good, but the bread was outstanding! I admit that I had more than one piece 😉 On a side note – Bread is one of my vices, along with peanut M&M’s.

Later in the day, it was more errands for me, including a fruitless stop at Old Navy. Whenever I go into Old Navy, I have these high hopes of finding some great shirt or sweater – but that just never happens. Oh well, I guess it’s back to the Gap and JCrew for me.

Tonight was my turn to cook again, but you all have figured out by now that when it’s my turn to cook I make every effort to NOT cook. So tonight was sandwich night at the Running With Cake household…

11.20 Salami and Ham sandwich 1

The salami and ham sandwiches were a little fancier because of the freshly-made cheese bread. Who am I kidding – it’s still just a sandwich. But I did have a few mini bell peppers for some added vitamin C…

11.20 Salami and ham sandwich 2

And now, on to the best part of my day… dessert!

11.20 chocolate peanut butter ice cream

Scott made a run up to our local Oberweis dairy to pick up two quarts of ice cream – mint chocolate chip for him and chocolate peanut butter for me. Yum!

I have another busy day planned for tomorrow, between Christmas shopping and wrapping, so I’m going to sign off for the night. 

Every your Friday evening!