Pie in the Sky

Hi Girls! Sorry I’ve only been posting in the evening for the past few days. I forgot to mention earlier this week that not only am I crazy busy at work but I am also SICK! I’ve had a bad cough for about 2 weeks and this morning I woke up and my chest hurt so bad I could not even RUN! That really says that I’m sick because I can usually run through just about anything – a headache, a cramp, leg pain, etc. But, when your chest feels like someone is squeezing it to the max, it’s probably time to take a day off. But, being the stubborn Polish girl that I am, I walk for 45 minutes instead. My chest still hurt when I walked, just not as bad.

For breakfast, I made a quick PB sandwich with MaraNatha all-natural creamy PB…

10.1 breakfast

Not fancy, but still adequate, nutritious and portable!

Of course, when I arrived at work, there were still more temptations around every corner. There were THREE coworker birthdays today so the sweets were plentiful! We started with a full table of Panera coffee cakes, followed by sweet breads from Costco. Then, when everyone was pretty full on that, another coworker brought out the PIES…

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There were 8 Baker’s Square pies in all – I can’t believe someone spent all this money on pies for work! Because I was feeling achy all over I was not easily swayed to have a piece. But, then I saw the holy grail of pies! The banana cream pie – bottom left!

As I mentioned in my anniversary post last weekend, banana cream pie is probably my favorite pie EVER, yet it seems to be the most elusive pie EVER. Whenever I go to Baker’s Square, they always say it’s “out of season” and when I ask them when IS it in season, they say that it varies. Could you be more vague? As a result, whenever I am presented with banana cream pie, I nearly always take a slice. Today, I took a slice but immediately put in the fridge to take home. I didn’t want to spoil a good piece of pie by eating it when I felt crappy. And, I still hadn’t eaten lunch.

And speaking of lunch….it was slim pickins’ today. I was running late as usual this morning and didn’t make anything to take. And, I was too busy to go out for lunch today. Luckily, we had our second staff training session today and I specifically ordered a veggie tray for us to snack on…

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I had a bunch of little bell peppers (they are so sweet and yummy!), tomatoes, and carrots with a little veggie dip. I also scoured through the staff fridge and found a TJ’s Greek yogurt I left in there from last week.

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I added some of Bear Naked’s new banana nut cereal to the mix as well as a little vanilla pound cake. This was incredible, but probably too much like  dessert to eat for lunch – he he!

I was feeling incredibly achy and feverish later in the afternoon but I stuck it out until 4 PM. I felt a little better once the Tylenol kicked in, but after 4 hours, I felt bad again and took more.

I really didn’t have the energy to make dinner when I arrived home. I just heated up whatever I could find in the fridge, which happened to be leftover tacos…

10.1 dinner

They ended up making a very nice taco salad.

Tomorrow is my day off, but I’m actually headed back into work – or I should say near work. Our CEO is retiring so we are having an all staff retirement party for him at his country club. Free food and drinks? How could I miss that? I just hope I feel well enough to go and to partake in the festivities. Don’t know if I’ll be able to take pictures…could be a very awkward situation if I do.

Anyway, I’m outta here. Gotta rest up tonight so that I can actually run in the AM.

BTW – the pie is still sitting in my fridge at home. I swear it’s mocking me because I don’t feel well enough to eat it.

Night all!

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…

9.30 lunch

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…

9.30 dinner

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!

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!

9.25 Bear Naked

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 😉

Peachy Keen and Nectarines

Hello All!

I mentioned in Flavors of the Fall that I am a Big Ten Football fan. Monique asked who I cheer for…well, I grew up near Ann Arbor so Michigan is near and dear to my heart. But, my husband and his brother (and all their friends) went to Illinois and are pure Illini fans. It’s really hard to choose so I like both – which most Big Ten fans will deny to the grave – but I am actually quite proud of this choice!

Now, onto my day…

I had a super productive day – how about you? I basically wrote ALL day long but I really cranked out some good pieces. And, I’m sure you’re all wanting to know about the pastries in the staff lounge – I did not have ANY of those pastries from this morning. I only ventured into the lounge twice – once for my lunch and another time to get more water. So, crisis and pastries averted!

For lunch, I had some leftover minestrone soup…

9.22 lunch

Ahh, a great light lunch for the first day of Autumn! But, it also may have been a little too light. Around 4 PM, it started to wear off and I was so wanting a snack. I didn’t bring one and was trying to avoid the lounge and pastries at all costs. Luckily, my boss brought in some cool organic treats from Trader Joe’s (sorry, no photo). I had a couple chocolate-covered raspberry sticks and was set until dinner.

Speaking of dinner, hubby was teaching again so I made a simple dinner tonight…

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It consisted of a 1/2 salami and white cheddar cheese sandwich on 12-grain Brownberry bread, with some Cape Cod crispies on the side. I also threw is a really ripe and juicy nectarine…

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I used to be a peach kind of a girl, but now I fancy the sister fruit – the nectarine! I really can’t tell the difference in taste too much. But, we buy nectarines now because my husband has an aversion to the peach fuzzies!

A couple hours later, I wanted a little something sweet, so I whipped up a little somethin’ somethin’….

9.22 dessert

I had a 1/2 cup of Breyer’s all natural vanilla bean ice cream, topped with chocolate chips and a dab of MaraNatha all-natural creamy PB! Hmm – Hmmm good! Scott and I used to make Cold Stone runs way too often. Then I realized that all I really wanted was vanilla ice cream with some chocolate chips. We save so much money now by just eating ice cream (and other treats) at home. But, you do have to have self control with goodies in the house and my husband needs a little help with that – he he!

Before I sign off for the night, I have to ask – Are you a peach kind of a girl or do you prefer nectarines? 

Have a peachy keen night everyone!

Flavors of the Fall

Evening everyone! With the official start of fall just a day and a half away, I thought I’d do a little fall decorating this afternoon.

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This made me wonder – Fall is my favorite time of year, but what was my favorite thing about the Fall? Well, there are so many things that I love about the Fall that it’s hard to choose just one thing – so, I made a list!

Jen’s 10 Fall Faves:

  1. Watching the leaves changing colors
  2. Changing my signature Spring/Summer drink – a Starbucks Frap – to a Starbucks skinny vanilla latte
  3. Wearing my Fall sweaters and Gap jeans
  4. Listening to my Fall transition music – James Taylor’s Greatest Hits
  5. Cheering for Big Ten Football
  6. Running in much cooler weather
  7. Picking pumpkins and gourds
  8. Eating fresh cider donuts from the cider mill
  9. Watching Fall classics like It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown
  10. Finally being able to put up Fall decorations!

So, my question to you is – what is your favorite thing about the Fall?

Scott’s parents came over this afternoon and stayed for dinner. And, an amazing dinner it was!

We started out with some multigrain crackers and white cheddar cheese… 

9.20 cheese

And with it, we had some vino…

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I don’t drink very often, but when I do, it’s usually wine. Tonight, my father-in-law brought a new wine over from Trader Joe’s…

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This was a very different type of wine than I’d ever had. It was a mixture of several different kinds of wine…

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As you can see, it was such an unusual wine that I had to try a glass. It was pretty smooth and had a good flavor, especially for being on the less expensive side of wines.

For dinner, we had my husband’s famous minestrone soup! He makes a huge batch of the soup about once a season and it’s usually when we have people over for dinner. I have not received the ok from my husband on whether or not I can reveal his secret recipe, but I can tell you that it requires a ton of vegetables!

9.20 minestrone

Along with our very warm and tasty soup, we had fresh 12-grain bread for dipping…

9.20 bread

We dipped the bread in our soup and in olive oil mixed with balsamic vinegar with added spices and parmesan cheese..

9.20 oil

The balsamic vinegar was actually from Gourmè Mist. A few weeks ago, the company had sent me several samples of their olive oil and vinegar misters to try. I am happy to report that the balsamic vinegar mister was fantastic!

9.20 gourmet mist

It had a great flavor, was easy to use, and the mister was a very clever way of adding just a hint of balsamic taste to the dipping oil. Can’t wait to try this on a salad!

For dessert, my father-in-law made homemade “apple slices”, which is a cross between an apple pie and apple strudel…

9.20 apple slices

This was my first time having this dish and it was so yummy! We paired it with Breyer’s Vanilla Bean ice cream – ok, can this get any better?

9.20 dessert

After that fabulous dessert, I am happy to report that dinner (and the food) had finally ended. I seriously don’t think I could eat anymore and I only had one bowl of soup!

I have an early day tomorrow, so I’m ready to turn in for the night.

Have a great night everyone!

Why Don't I Eat Belgian Chocolate More Often?

Evening everyone!

My cough/cold is in full swing. I sound like I have a smoker’s cough and I haven’t smoked a day in my life! I would take something, but research shows cough meds don’t work. Guess it’s just tea with lemon and honey for me tonight.

This afternoon went by really fast again. I looked up at the clock and it said 1:15 PM and I still hadn’t eaten lunch. So, I heated up my leftover veggie pizza in the office toaster oven. I was hoping the pizza would be – well…toasty, but it turned out soggy. I hate soggy pizza! I thought only microwaves turned leftover pizza soggy.

9.15 lunch

Because that was the only thing I brought for lunch, I threw some parmesan cheese on it, hoping to make it less soggy, and ate it. It wasn’t as bad as I thought.

The afternoon flew by and around 4 PM I broke for a quick yogurt snack..

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I had a small cup of Trader Joe’s nonfat pomegranate Greek yogurt. I added a few chopped nuts on top for extra MUFA and extra crunch.

My commute was longer than usual. So, it was nearly 55 minutes of me sitting in the car  – alone with the little treats that my friend brought me from Europe. I didn’t have ANY in the car. But immediately when I came home, I tried one of the Belgian chocolates…

9.15 snack2

See the building on the chocolate? That is the belfry from the most notable building in Bruges, a little medieval city in Belgium. It was so cute, I almost didn’t want to eat it. But, of course, I DID. And, it tasted so good! I thought it would be just a solid piece of chocolate but it had truffle filling with a few nuts. Amazing! Then I started thinking…why don’t I eat Belgian chocolates more often? It’s supposed to be one of the best chocolates in the world and who am I to argue with that legacy?

Scott is at class tonight so I made a 1/2 PB&J sandwich on 12-grain Brownberry bread. I was honestly thinking about peanut butter and jelly the whole way home. I had a choice of several other things for dinner, but I stuck with my craving.

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I also had a few watermelon chunks and low-fat Cape Cod potato chips. Not too big, not too small – just right.

Since I already had my chocolate, truffled-filled dessert, I’m set for the night.

It’s my day off for running tomorrow – woo hoo! That means I get to sleep in a little. I’m glad too because I actually have to do more work tonight!

Signing off now – good night Gracie!

Lions, and Tigers, and Dinosaurs, Oh My!

Hey all, this is going to be a drive by post because we are heading out to the zoo in a few minutes.

I arrived at yoga class with 10 minutes to spare and received the LAST yoga card (cards they hand out to make sure they do not go over 20 people). I was so happy to get in! But, even with their nifty card system, there were somehow two extra people, just like last time. Sounds like they need a new system.

Yoga was very HOT again this morning because of all of the people combined with the heat being on full blast. Savasana was extra relaxing today. The music was just right, the temperature had evened out, and I really felt calm. During savasana, our yogini also does something really cool. She goes around to each student, one by one, and gives them a very quick neck/head massage with this wonderful smelling lavender cream. I love the smell!

For breakfast, I had a quick cup of Trader Joe’s blueberry nonfat Greek yogurt topped with a few sliced almonds for extra MUFA!

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Plus, I had my daily shot of wellness from Zola…

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After breakfast, I got ready than ran to Target and the grocery store. I made awesome time at both stores and ended up only being gone for 1 hour and 15 minutes. 

Scott and I made sandwiches for lunch so that we could avoid eating at the zoo. I’m not against zoo food, but I’d really rather eat my own food and save money.

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I made my 1/2 sandwich using double fiber Brownberry bread. I added a few slices of deli ham and low-fat salami, plus a little cheddar cheese and a bunch of red leaf lettuce. On the side were a couple of handfuls of Cape Cod low-fat chips and a crunchy pickle.

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Now that our tummies are happy, we are headed to the zoo to see the dinosaur exhibit before it ends. After the zoo, I’m going to try to convince Scott to make a side trip to Red Mango froyo – we’ve never had it and there’s a store not too far from the zoo. I say it’s fate and we should not tempt fate.

Alright, we’re off to the zoo. Lions, and Tigers, and Dinosaurs, here we come!

Pork – The Other White Meat

Happy Friday everyone! I’m so glad that the weekend is here and I’m sure you are too. I only stayed at work until 3 PM today. I was getting a little stir crazy. Plus, my body and mind still think I’m supposed to be off on Fridays.

When I arrived home I was happy to find that my husband had gone to Costco and Trader Joe’s to buy a bunch of things we were out of – including olive oil! I can’t believe we actually ran out of olive oil since we usually have stash of it somewhere.

Before dinner, I made us a little appetizer plate of white and orange cheddar cheese, black grapes, and mulit-grain crackers….

9.11 cheese

I indulged a little too much in this department. I guess I was hungrier than I thought because I just kept eating those crackers! By the time dinner was ready, I really wasn’t that hungry (this is why mom used to tell me, “no eating snacks before dinner!”)

For dinner, my husband made one of his own creations –  roasted potatoes, fresh off the grill…

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He peeled and sliced 4 red skin potatoes, divided the slices and put them in foil, then layered the slices with onions and butter. Then he sprinkled salt and pepper all over them, covered them with foild, and threw them on grill for 40 minutes or until they were crunchy. I remember the first time I had these potatoes – I just couldn’t get enough.

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With our potatoes, we also enjoyed grilled boneless pork loin chop and steamed carrots. My hubby can be such a healthy cook when he wants to be. I NEVER used to eat pork (aside from Easter ham) until I started dating my husband. I just didn’t like the taste. And it’s not that I love the taste now, but pork is a nice change from chicken and turkey, which I have most days of the week.

Now, my husband is making homemade, fresh-from-the-stove popcorn in a “popcorn” pot he’s had, what looks like, his whole life. It smells great but I really don’t want to have a lump of popcorn sitting in my stomach when I go to bed. Instead, I opted for something on the creamy side…

9.11 dessert

I had a scoop of Breyers all-natural vanilla bean ice cream topped with 2 tbsp semi-sweet chocolate chips, and about 1 tbsp sliced almonds. This was just enough to satisfy my dessert fix for the night.

I’m going to try to make it to 8 AM yoga tomorrow and I need to get there EARLY. The 8 AM Saturday class is a drop-in class, so if you don’t get there early, you don’t get a spot. I missed last week because of apple picking so I don’t want to miss two weeks in a row.

Have a great night everyone!

My Favorite Starbucks is Closing!

Hey everyone! I’m doing much better today, although I am getting sick which is never fun. I’m still stressed over all the work I have to do, but today everything just seems more manageable. 

I started my day with a quick 4-mile run. I didn’t want to push myself too much due to being sick. I felt a little winded during and after running, probably because it’s getting harder for me to breath.

9.10 breakfast

Breakfast was a big yogurt bowl made with a carton of Trader Joe’s vanilla nonfat Greek yogurt, mixed with watermelon chunks and 1/4 of a nectarine. I topped it with the last of my chopped walnuts. I love this creamy, crunchy texture! I also had a shot of Zola’s Daily Wellness. The juice shot claims to help boost your immune system (ie. help you from getting sick). Maybe it just wasn’t strong enough to fight off the bug that I have.

As I headed to work, I heard Starbucks calling my name. I arrived at my usual store and found out that they are closing as of September 13! I was in shock as I walked out of the store holding what could be the last mocha frap I buy from that Starbucks. Boo hoo.

On a more positive note… since it was really the only convenient Starbucks on the way to work, this may be a great opportunity to reduce my Starbucks purchases. I’m sure my husband would be thrilled!

My morning at work was full of meetings, to-do lists, and tons of writing/work. There’s a seminar being held onsite at our office this week so there are twice as many people as normal stuffed into the staff lounge, to which I’m pretty annoyed. Luckily a coworker offered to pick up Potbelly for everyone and I quickly jumped at the offer!

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I enjoyed a super tangy turkey and provolone sandwich on whole-grain – skinny, with tomatoes, lettuce, brown mustard, extra pickles, and HOT peppers. Oh my, I haven’t had Potbelly in sooo long and it tasted awesome! I really had to stop myself from NOT inhaling this. And, it was all under 300 calories – bonus.

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Now that my tummy is pleasingly satisfied, I’m am back to work once more. I have a conference call in a few minutes, then it’s the first of two business reports that I have to draft. The fun never ends around here!

Have a great afternoon everyone!

Oh, What a Beautiful Day

I had such an awesome and very tiring day! I began with a morning run, but this was not like my typical Sunday morning run. I ran for over 50 minutes and logged just over 6 miles. It’s such a great feeling knowing that I’m running faster and increasing my pace.

I usually don’t eat anything before I run (there are pros and cons to this) but I decided to eat something today. I knew I wanted to elevate my performance and would probably need some extra calories to help.

9.6 luna bar

I ate 1/2 of a LUNA bar for women – the caramel nut brownie flavor. It has 9g of protein and 4g of fiber – perfect for a prerun snack. The bar itself was mighty tasty with a nice chocolate flavor.

9.6 luna bar2

I then laced up my shoes and headed out the door. I made a deal with my legs that if they were too tired to run a full 45 minutes then we could stop at 35 or 40. But, at 40 minutes, my legs and whole body felt great so I went past 50 minutes – hooray! The only reason why I didn’t run longer was because we had a TON of things to do today and I really couldn’t spend anymore time running. 

Immediately after my run, I did some stretching and a 15-minute ab workout (what I do after each run). By this time, I was so completely ravenous that I ate the second 1/2 of the LUNA bar followed by a big bowl of mixed cereal.

9.6 breakfast1

Cheerios Multigrain and Kashi Go Lean Crunch with flaxseed and blueberries, to be exact. On the side, I had a little shot of wellness from Zola..

9.6 breakfast2

Before heading out this evening, we had a huge list of things to accomplish:

  • Clean the house, including the basement
  • Grocery store run
  • Eat lunch
  • Laundry
  • Make food for event: fried chicken, pasta salad, brownies
  • Write blog post
  • Pack car for event

Whew, I’m tired just thinking about all of the things we did today! Lunch was nothing too fancy because there just wasn’t enough time for fancy…

9.6 lunch2

I had my leftover Mediterranean salad from yesterday and also a Vienna Beef all-natural, nitrate-free hot dog with a few Mezzetta peppers on top. And of course, low-fat Cape Cod chips were on the menu!

By 4:30 PM, the food was ready and the car was packed to go to our final outdoor music event of the summer. We went to listen to a local orchestra play the music of Rogers and Hammerstein. If they don’t sound familiar to you, R&H did the scores for such musicals as The King and I, Carousel, The Sound of Music, Oklahoma, and South Pacific. The vocalists, accompanied by the orchestra, sang several songs from each musical, but I only recognized a handful:

  • Title song – Sound of Music
  • Getting to Know You – The King and I
  • Some Enchanted Evening – South Pacific
  • Overture – South Pacific
  • Oh, What a Beautiful Morning – Oklahoma

In fact, there were so many songs that my husband and I didn’t know (and we both like musicals so that’s saying a lot) that he dubbed this the night of obscure Rogers and Hammerstein songs.

For our picnic-style dinner, we started with white cheddar cheese and crackers – I had more than my share of these…

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We then feasted on homemade fried chicken, courtesy of my husband using his mother’s recipe. We also had homemade pasta salad made with a ton of fresh veggies and Trader Joe’s organic tricolored pasta.

9.6 dinner2

I did eat a few other things, but by this time in the evening it was so dark that my pictures were not turning out very well, even with the flash. I had a few chunks of juicy watermelon, a couple small but delicious chocolate chip cookies that my father-in-law brought from Panera, and a big cup of lemony frozen yogurt. I was so cold after I was finished eating the yogurt that I was shivering!

I am home now and am sooo ready to go to bed. We have a busy day again tomorrow. The guys are NOT going golfing as planned but we are headed to an early Labor Day dinner at my in-laws

See you in the AM All!