Dessert at Disney World

Hello all! Well, despite only getting about 6 hours of sleep, I woke up at 6:15 AM for my morning run at Disney World! Believe me, if there’s anywhere you’re motivated to run that early, it’s Disney World. Besides, I wanted to get my run in before the conference started at 8 AM. I ended up going only about 4 miles, due to time constraints.

I won’t bog you down with details of the conference, but I will say that Disney puts on an awesome “show” for business professionals. And, the food is amazing!!! Seriously, I’ve wanted to take pictures of everything, but it does really seem strange to take photos of food when everyone is standing around me. I’m going to attempt to take a few photos on the sly tomorrow.

However, I did get some pics of my fabulous dessert at Citrico’s, a Mediterranean-themed restaurant in the Grand Floridian resort…

This was a banana chocolate lava cake – sooo good, but definitely pushed me from the “I’m slightly full” stage to the “I’m stuffed” stage – totally regretting eating it now. And yes, that dark swirly, crown looking thing was made out of chocolate – and I did try a bite or two! Our server also gave us each a little bag of biscotti to take home as a “gift”. I scored two – yeah!

Heading to bed now. Have to be up and at ’em by 6:15 Am again for that brisk morning run to the Magic Kingdom!

Have a great night!

Back in the World

Hey all! Well I’m here in sunny Florida again on a business trip. It’s so hard being at Disney World without Scott and the kids – it’s like  a part of me is missing. I tried to overcome my sadness by indulging in a flaky French pastry from Epcot…

Note to self – do not drown sorrows in high-calorie French pastries. The pastry didn’t really improve my mood, but it sure tasted good! After my treat, I walked around the world for over 2 hours! I really needed that too since I did not have time to run this morning. Too bad I forgot my Gruve 🙁

That’s all I have time for tonight. My meeting starts bright and early tomorrow morning (7:30 AM!) and I’m hoping to get up and run around the world (Disney World of course) before the day starts.

Speaking of running, check out my very first blog post on Bookieboo, where you can learn about the ongoing debate of running vs. walking.

Have a great night!

POM Wonderful Care Package

Hey All! As you may have noticed, I’ve been slightly increasing the distance of my early morning runs. On Friday and Sunday, I did a 10K on each day – Friday in 50 minutes and Sunday in 48 minutes! This morning, I ran 5.5 miles in 42 minutes. I just can’t seem to slow down – he he! I’m trying to recruit some of my friends to run the Chicago Rock and Roll Half Marathon – so far, no takers 🙁

Although I’ve been loving these fast and furious runs, my legs are not very happy. My hips and calves are very sore. It’s been ages since I’ve been sore from running – I almost forgot what it felt like!

When I arrived home from work today, I had two surprises waiting for me. Surprise #1 – a care package from POM, special delivery from Fitbloggin – yeah!

The great folks at POM sent Scott and I 8 bottles of pure pomegranate juice. I never really tried pomegranate juice until Fitbloggin, but I’m so glad that I did (mmm…memories of POM martinis!). After Baltimore, I ended up getting the flavored POM juices at the store and loved them – so did the kids. Just wish they didn’t have so many calories in them 🙁

Surprise #2 – Scott stopped off at a bakery on his way home from class and bought me French macarons…

I have honestly never had macarons that were so huge! They were easily 4 inches in diameter, which is very uncharacteristic of a French macaron. But they were delicious!

Tonight is a packing night because I’m headed out to Orlando early Wednesday morning. I’m going to have 4 days of sun and warm weather – kind of. I will mostly be attending a conference indoors, but will have a day or so to roam around Disney. If you all remember, my last trip to Disney in early March ended up being a very cold trip. It only got above 70 degrees on one day while we were there. At least this time, I can pack lighter clothes because the weather is supposed to be in the 80s!

Alright, must get to bed. I’m hoping to do an easy 3-4 miles tomorrow to give my legs a break. Night all.

Practice Self-Indulgence with Self-Control

At 5′ 1”, I really have to watch what I eat. If I have a so called “bad week” of overeating or eating mostly foods that are high in fat and calories, then it really shows on the scale. But, this doesn’t mean that I do not indulge in the foods that I like. I eat plenty of things that are “not good for me” – ice cream, cupcakes, frozen drinks, french fries, etc. Of course I don’t eat like this every day, but when I do, I try to exercise what I call the self-indulgence-self-method.

Remember Spiderman? With great power comes great responsibility. Well, I believe that if you want to engage in great self-indulgence you must also exercise great self-control. Point blank – I plan ahead to eat self-indulgent foods and then I eat them in moderation. So the next time you’re wanting to indulge, consider the following principles of self-indulgence-self-control method…

4 Principles of the Self-Indulgence-Self-Control Method

Daily Compensation – If I know I’m going to overindulge at some point in the day or week, ie. drinks with friends or a dessert reception at work, then I compensate throughout the day and/or week by eating fewer calories and/or going for an extra run. Eating fewer calories or burning extra calories helps to compensate for those extra calories I’m taking in.

Rule of 1/3’s – When I do order something completely indulgence, like lemon cream cake or fried chicken, I try to eat 1/3-1/2 of what I really want to eat (the eyes are bigger than your stomach syndrome). If I’m at a restaurant, I will box up the rest and take it home. Or if I’m already at home, I’ll save the rest for my lunch or a treat the next day. This way, I can get a taste of the great food I want (self-indulgence) only I’m eating less of it (self-control) and fewer calories to boot.

Try a lighter option – Although I don’t do this often, I occasionally try to eat a lower calorie version of the food I really want, such as low-calorie ice cream, chips, or a muffin. However, a word of caution, many low-fat and low-calorie products are full of artificial ingredients. They also may not be as filling or tasty as the full-fat or full-calorie version, which could leave us hungry and unsatisfied. Also, because we are in the mindset that the food is low-fat or low-calorie, we may think we can eat more of the food, ie. a whole bag of low-fat chips. This mindset may actually cause us to consume more calories than what we would have eating with the normal version.

Challenge Yourself – When I think I want something indulgent, I try to challenge myself to:

  1. Wait 30 minutes before eating it – sometimes after I wait, I end up not eating it after all, which means I probably never wanted it in the first place.
  2. Drink 4 8oz glasses of water beforehand – because sometimes when we think we’re hungry, we’re really thirsty.
  3. Eat something healthy right before I eat my indulgence food. By eating a banana or a few almonds before eating my indulgence food, I’m less likely to overindulge.

So, these are the principles that I follow to eat what I want and still lose weight. What’s your go-to tip for eating your indulgent food but still staying on track with your weight loss/maintenance?

Yogurt Sundae

Hello Everyone! Hope you all had a wonderful and relaxing Sunday. After my typical Sunday morning run, I made a super yummy yogurt parfait for breakfast…

I layered the parfait with the following awesome ingredients…

  • 5.3 ounces of Trader Joe’s nonfat Greek yogurt, vanilla
  • 1/4 cup Galaxy Vanilla Almond Granola
  • 1/8 cup blueberries
  • 1 huge strawberry, chopped

My own Greek Yogurt “Sundae”. This was, by far, the best breakfast I’ve had in a long time.

And, if you can believe it, the whole parfait added up to less than 300 calories – now that’s a great breakfast!

Scott and I took the kids to church at 11 AM then headed to Jason’s Deli for lunch. It really wasn’t too exciting, but I did snag a couple of Dr. Kracker flatbreads for a snack at work tomorrow – he he!

After lunch, I headed back out shopping. I am trying to find something fun to wear for Fitbloggin. There’s been a little chatter about going out dancing, which sounds really fun. Unfortunately, my dancing days post-kids are few and far between and my fun, party girl close have taken a hit because of this. I shopped for more than 2 hours at Gap, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, etc. and only found one thing that I remotely liked.

Is it just me or is anyone else having a hard time finding cute clothes for Fitbloggin and Spring in general??

For dinner ….it was taco night at the RWC house tonight.

Scott makes fantastic turkey tacos – really juicy and just the right amount of spice. He makes it all from memory too. As you can see, I had my fair share of the taco fiesta…

After letting my stomach settle, I hopped on the treadmill again for a fast 2-mile run. I had to shorten my morning workout a bit due to church so I wanted to make up for the lost time tonight. I used to do double workouts/runs quite often – mostly in the few months post-pregnancy. I love how strong the fast bursts of exercise make me feel. However, I stopped doing them so often because running in the evening tends to make it difficult for me to fall asleep.

Anyway, post evening run, I enjoyed a little sweet treat…

Double chocolate Ghirardelli brownies. I cooked them a tad too long, but they were still ooey and gooey!

Time to plan my wardrobe for the week and for Fitbloggin! Have a great night!

Random Grocery Trip

Hey All,

I just got back from a totally random trip to Fresh Market. When I say random, I mean the opposite of having a list and plan. You know what this means – danger, danger Will Robinson.

My trip ended with the following grocery items:

  • A French baguette – it was still warm and so soft!
  • A red plum – I have never had a plum before, that I know of anyway, so I thought I’d give it a whirl.
  • Two dates – I really have no idea why I bought these. I’ve never had a fresh date before. I’m not even sure how you eat them.
  • Four bakery cookies – This was really what I went to the store for…toffee and chocolate cookies!
  • A green pepper – I assumed we needed one for my pasta primavera dish I’m making tomorrow. I had pepper remorse for this one small pepper cost $1.65! Yikes – no more random pepper shopping.
  • Bonne Maman Raspberry Preserves – Thought it might go well with the French baguette. Besides, I’ve heard great things about this jam and wanted to try it.

So I went into the store intending to buy about $2 worth of cookies and came out with $12 worth of random items. Has this ever happened to anyone else?

Anyway, my day started with an awesome run outside – yes, outside! Can you believe it? It was nearly 50 degrees at 6:15 AM this morning – that’s pretty mild for March weather in Chi-town. After my run, I refueled with more Kashi and blueberries…

I also stopped at the ‘Buck to pick up a skinny ‘nilla latte – hmm..hmm. good. The great thing about lattes is that even when they get cold, you can warm them up in the microwave for 30 seconds and they taste all steamy and creamy again :-).

Lunch was a cup of minestrone soup from Go Roma with a small bread stick…

I love soup. I swear I could eat it every day. Maybe I should move to Belgium where eating soup every day is the social norm. A few hours after lunch, I snacked on a Luna sunrise bar then headed out the door to enjoy the last hour of sunshine in Chicago.

For dinner, I threw together a salad using leftover greens from our fajita dinner, plus added some parmesan baked chicken and shredded cheddar…

This was just filling enough to make a solid dinner – one that saved room for a chocolate toffee cookie – oh yeah!

Alright, enough randomness for one night. See you tomorrow!

Desserts and Dreams, Disney Style

Hey All! As most of you know, I was at Disney World all last week on vacation. Scott and I have been to Disney several times together – after all , we met at Disney while working there so it’s kind of nostalgic for us. On most of our previous trips, we’ve stayed at Disney’s “deluxe” resorts, but this time, we decided to give one of Disney’s moderate resorts a try. We stayed at the moderate for less than 24 hours, then – by a strange twist of fate, we found ourselves staying at Disney’s flagship resort – the Grand Floridian – for the remainder of our stay.

The Grand Floridan is a Victorian-themed hotel (think My Fair Lady or Mary Poppins) with beautiful landscaping and an amazing lobby. Upgrading resorts took us from a room of 315 sq ft. to a room of 460 sq ft with a balcony and view of Cinderella’s Castle. As you can imagine, from the time we checked into our “new” room, we had the most amazing and magical time – a dream come true.

Even though the weather was in the 60s practically the entire time, we made it to the parks 5 of the 7 days we were there. The kids loved exploring the parks, riding the rides, and meeting all of the characters…

I loved all of those things as well, but I also loved being pampered by the hotel and, specifically, the amazing housekeeping staff. It was so nice to come back to a relaxing, luxurious room every night, not to mention a few Belgian chocolates on the pillow…

As I mentioned in a previous post, we decided to try the Disney Dining Plan for the first time. I wasn’t super thrilled with the plan – to put it bluntly – no one really goes to Disney for the food. And, coming from Chicago – a city of amazing food – Disney has never really impressed me with its culinary offerings. However, I enjoyed the daily desserts that were included on our plan – 2 desserts a day to be exact!

Instead of giving you a long review of ALL of the food I ate while on vacation (no entrees really stand out), I’m going to take you through some of the wonderful desserts that crossed my path and my lips 🙂

Early on in on in our stay, we ate at Le Cellier in Epcot where I ordered the maple creme brule – it was fabulous, and that is saying a LOT coming from a person who doesn’t really like creme brule. Next up, the kids and I split a giant cupcake (it’s not vacation without a cupcake!) made of chocolate cake and frosted with creamy white frosting coated with crushed butterfingers…

Again, this dessert/snack was fantastic, although I had major cupcake remorse after eating it!

Finally, on our last night there, we ate at Le Cellier again at which point I ordered the s’mores dessert, which was a concoction of graham cracker and chocolate cookies that sandwiched vanilla ice cream, all topped with two candy-covered marshmallows. OMG – I can’t believe I ate this whole thing!!

For those of you who are wondering, I did run four days while I was there and walked a TON of course. Somehow, I still managed to gain two pounds – can’t imagine how 😉

Now, it’s back on track for the next two weeks – Fitbloggin here we come!

Engrossed in the World

Hey everyone! Just a quick note to let you all know that I have not dropped off the face of the Earth. In fact, I’ve actually been engrossed in the world – Disney World that is! I won’t give all the details of my culinary adventures in Mouseland now, but take a look at what I’ve been enjoying for the last week…

Yes, it DID taste as good as it looks! This was by far, the best dessert I had all week – and believe me, I had several to compare this to.

OK, off to bed for me = stay tuned for more pics in the next few posts.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Good…

I just finished my dessert for the evening – a kid’s size chocolate ice cream with Heath bar from Cold Stone Cremery…

It was VERY small, we’re talking a 1/2 cup at the most. But it was sooo good! Just enough to keep me satisfied. 

The Bad…Chicago’s Earthquake

So, about 4 AM Central this morning, an earthquake rocked Chicagoland. It was a small earthquake – only 3.8 on the scale. To my knowledge it didn’t cause any damage or panic in the streets. Did I feel it? Yes. It woke me up from a dead sleep. Was I scared? No. It wasn’t that bad – more of an odd feeling, like you’re not sure what’s going on. The bed and windows were shaking. I thought it was a slow plow outside the house. But  then I realized I didn’t hear the scraping of the snow and didn’t see any truck lights. When the bed stopped shaking after about 10 seconds, I contemplated waking Scott up to proclaim that we had just experienced an earthquake. I decided against it and went back to bed.

It’s rather strange though. Although I heard it all over the news on my drive to work, NO ONE at work said anything about it. Like it never happened. Strange.

The Ugly…

I received a note from my younger brother today. He moved to Orlando about a month ago to start his new job as a physical therapy assistant. I haven’t seen him since Thanksgiving so we’ve been emailing back and forth about my trip to Orlando in a few weeks. Yesterday, I asked him how the weather was at Disney World and he replied…

It is cold at night. During the day, you will need something to cover your arms. When the sun goes down, you will need some type of pants. The water parks do not open unless the temp is in the high 60s.

I was sooo bummed when I read this!! I wanted to go to Orlando to get away from the cold, but it appears that the cold will be following me on vacation. I know that the whole country is experiencing colder than normal temps, but for some reason I always think of Florida as being immune to the cold weather. Like even when it’s 70 degrees, it still feels hot. Hmm…not so much.

Oh please, please, please Mother Nature, Old Man Winter, and whoever else will listen, PLEASE give me at least a few 75 degree, sunny days on my vacation!

Snack-free Saturdays

Hello everyone!

As most of you know, Saturday is a “no run” day for me. Sometimes I do yoga, but most of the time, Saturdays just end up being a rest day for me. Although I’m still active on Saturdays – running errands, etc. – I definitely don’t burn as many calories as I do when it is a running day. So today, I thought I would try to institute a no-snacking Saturday. Honestly, I have been trying to cut back on snacks altogether, but when I’m also trying to keep to 1,600 calories a day (and not cutting back on my runs) I find that having a snack once or twice a day is almost a must. But on days when I’m not running, I really have no reason to snack, other than the typical excuses, like boredom, habit, etc.

So today, on my first no-snacking Saturday, I started off with a sweet beginning…

I was really in the mood for a pastry of some sort for breakfast. So early this morning, I ran up to Deerfield’s bakery – a local favorite – to peruse their daily breakfast goods. They have so much to choose from that it was hard to decide. What I love about Deerfield’s, aside from the variety of pastries they have, is the fact that they have small bites or mini-size items of donuts, danishes, etc. This way, you can get a few small things to try, instead of buying one big coffee cake. I opted for a mini Cherry danish, which was only about 3/4 the size of a computer mouse…

I savored every bite with a bit of Fairmont Breakfast tea (from a stay at the Fairmont a while back). Ahh…so yummy. After I was finished eating, I realized that I had broken one of my rules of breakfast – to always include protein. I debated on whether to have some Greek yogurt or a spoonful of peanut butter but I really wasn’t hungry. And, I’m really trying to only eat when I’m hungry. So – no protein. 

Lunch was simple – a 1/2 salami an Swiss sandwich on rye with some steamed carrots and a few Reduced Fat Cape Cod chips…

Surprisingly, after having such a small breakfast, this light lunch kept me full all the day to dinner. I guess I really am shrinking my stomach!

For dinner, we opted for On the Border. We haven’t been there in soooo long, but decided to give it a try again since we had a gift card.

After having a dozen tortilla chips and some salsa, Scott and I split the chicken fajitas…

I had two small to medium fajitas, which was just perfect. The fajita meat was really good, better than many fajita chicken meat I’ve had – but Scott’s chicken fajitas are still the best. Hmm…can’t wait for summer grilling season!

When we arrived home, we got the kids in bed, then I cooked an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie for dessert…

Ok, this really wasn’t just ONE cookie – can you tell by the shadow? I actually had 3 very small cookies…

Yeah for me! I did it – I actually got through whole Saturday without snacking! Now, we’ll see if this has any impact on the scale tomorrow 😉

Have a great night everyone.