Who Has the Best Veggie Burger?

Afternoon everyone! I didn’t get to bed until after midnight! I was sucked into watching V for Vendetta – one of Scott’s favorite movies. I’ve never had an interest in seeing it, but I caught the last half of it last night and decided to watch the rest of it. Pretty dark movie, but still entertaining and thought-provoking.

Because of my late night, I chose not to set my alarm for yoga. I wanted to see if I would wake up naturally, and early enough to make it there on time. Well, I didn’t get out of bed until 7:30 AM, which was probably plenty of time to make it to 8 AM yoga if I rushed out the door. But I really didn’t feel like rushing to yoga.

Instead, I opted for a nice leisurely breakfast. I have been eating so much cereal lately that I just had to have something different today. I’m out of Greek yogurt, so homemade oatmeal it was!

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And so yummy it was too! I used a 1/2 cup of raw oats, combined with 1 cup of skim milk, topped with 2 strawberries and a dollop of MaraNatha creamy peanut butter.

After breakfast, Scott and I took a long walk in a forest preserve – something we used to do quite a bit before our schedules got so crazy.

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The whole trail loop is about 2 miles long and we ended up doing 1 1/2 loops for a total of 45 minutes. It was an absolutely gorgeous morning outside, just cool enough for a brisk walk. I’m really looking forward to walking this route when the leaves are in full color.

After our walk, we headed home to get ready for our lunch date. I was in the mood for a chicken sandwich and french fries (a girl can’t always eat healthy!), so we headed to Red Robin. That place can be dangerous because of the bottomless french fries, but I do like their sandwiches. Today, instead of my usual chicken, I ordered the Garden Burger with fresh tomatoes, lettuce, and pickles…

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And, of course, it came with french fries.

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I’m usually a turkey burger or chicken sandwich kind of a girl. But, I’m really starting to like veggie/garden burgers more and more. However, I really haven’t eaten that many to really know which brand is best. 

So, my question to you all is this – what would you say is the best brand of veggie/garden burger out there?

Ideally, I’d like something that is not overly processed, all-natural, etc. as well as easy to make with a delicious taste. I’d love to hear your thoughts!!

After our very filling lunch, we’re relaxing until we head out to a late summer party tonight. One of our girlfriends is moving to Brazil on October 1 and her family is throwing her a going-away party. As of now, she only plans to be gone for a year – but you never know! I’m looking forward to the party because I know there will be a ton of fun people there, as well as great food and maybe a bonfire!

Must get back to relaxing, so I’ll see you all tonight!

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….

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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…

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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!

Sweet Smell of Apple Cake Success

Evening everyone! Well, I am very happy to report that my first-ever homemade apple cake turned out great! Other than slightly over baking it, it was very moist on the inside and has a super yummy apple cinnamon and sugar flavor!

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After an hour of baking, I let it cool for about 10 minutes and cut into it just to see what the inside look like. I was skeptical at first because the crust looked so thick and bland. But after cutting into it, I could see the very cake-like texture and was quite pleased with myself. 

Then, we were off to see Harry Potter in IMAX. I love this movie! It was incredible how much they were able to include from the book (although they did leave quite a bit of the unnecessary story lines out). I even became teary-eyed in a few parts. That was the first time I’d every gotten choked up at a Harry Potter movie – ha!

After the movie, I went shopping for a few hours as part of my last hurrah for vacation. I went to Lucy to see if the store had any good sales. The sales girl convinced me to try on one of their petite size new Hatha yoga pants. They looked fantastic! But, then I looked at the price tag – $88! I love yoga and Lucy, but $88 on yoga pants? I think I’ll pass.

Scott was teaching again tonight so I made a few leftovers for dinner…

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I had homemade fried chicken, veggies that I picked from the pasta salad, and some freshly-made Trader Joe’s white cheddar shells and cheese. I really love mac and cheese, and Trader Joe’s has one of the best all-natural, organic boxed mac and cheese that I’ve tried.

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Then, for the BIG finnish… Apple Cake!

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Ahhh, so yummy! Not exactly like my mom’s famous recipe (in our family it’s famous!), but it was truly very good. I took one small piece, dusted it with powdered sugar and added one small scoop of Breyer’s natural vanilla ice cream. A practically perfect September dessert!

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As for this recipe, I can’t take all of the credit. The Betters Homes and Gardens cookbook did help me quite a bit. I took the BH&G recipe and modified it slightly to make my own version of the cake, ie. used walnuts instead of pecans, used nutmeg instead of allspice, etc. Not bad for my first time!

Now, I’m off to bed. It’s going to be hard going to work tomorrow after being gone for 5 days!

Have a great night all!

Free Week of Yoga During National Yoga Month

Hey there. I’ve had such a long day. It seemed like it was never going to end. It doesn’t help that it was 72 degrees and sunny outside and I wasn’t able to get out for lunch. I kept hearing people say how gorgeous it was outside, so I decided to leave work earlier than planned.

Seeing as September is National Yoga Month, I headed to an outdoor mall near my house to check out the new yoga and running lines at Lucy and the Gap.


Me, in my most comfortable yoga pose and clothes!

Lucy had a bunch of brand new yoga and running gear – in fact they were just putting out some cool new t-shirts when I arrived. Lucy gear at full price is way too expensive for my budget so I have to wait for things to go on sale – I’m sure more than one of you can relate. On the other hand, the Gap had hardly anything on display, except for yoga pants, which was a big disappointment. Maybe I just need to go to their new affiliate store Athleta to fill my yoga and running gear needs.

On another note, both Lucy and Athleta have online communities that you can participate in by adding comments to a blog or attending events, etc. Way cool!

And, if you’re interested in trying yoga during National Yoga Month, check out Yogamonth.org. They have a promotion running right now where you can attend a free week of yoga classes in September at a studio near your house. You just fill out the form and it brings up all of the participating studios near your zip code.

Well, after my short and fruitless shopping excursion, I picked up dinner at Noodles cafe and headed home.

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I had a cup of tomato basil soup to which I added a bunch of fresh crumbled feta cheese. I’ve never had Noodle’s tomato basil soup before but I could have sworn this looked, smelled, and even tasted like tomato sauce and NOT tomato basil soup. I’m almost wondering if they gave me a scoop of their marinara sauce and not the soup! It was ok enough to eat though, but not what I expected. I also made a little homemade hummus bread…

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I took two very small pieces of leftover ciabatta bread and spread about 2 tbsp of red pepper hummus on top, then sprinkled the bread with fresh crumbled feta. The hummus bread was great alone and also for dipping in the soup!

There were too many rice krispy treats left from last night’s dessert, so I thought I’d have a couple more to help us get rid of them faster – he he!

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I even added a dollop of MaraNatha all-natural creamy peanut butter to give my krispy a little protein and MUFA kick. The only thing that would have made this simple dessert better is melted chocolate. Hmmm….maybe tomorrow!

I’m off to do a little magazine reading and then, hopefully, hitting the sack early tonight.

Take care everyone and see you in the AM!

Almost like "Hot" Yoga

Good morning friends! It’s another unseasonably cool and crisp day outside. I actually had to wear a jacket to yoga this morning. Yoga was fantastic today! The yogini really took her time with the class. She was also very patient when 24 people showed up to a class that is supposed to be maxed at 20. But, in true yoga fashion, we all just picked up our mats and moved as close as we could to one another without getting into each other’s personal space. With the extra bodies in the room, it was VERY hot – almost like bikram yoga, which I am not used to. People were actually sweating, which I almost never see. But we managed.

After yoga, I tried out a new organic health drink that was sent to me in the mail….

Zola Energy Smoothie

The makers of Zola drinks sent me a big box of juices, smoothies, and a juice-shot drink.  The juices and smoothies are made from a Brazilian recipe and contain superfruits like Acai berry. 

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I had an Tropical Blend Energy Smoothie made with Caja Fruit, Acai, and a bunch of different kinds of fruit purees and juices, like pear, apple, and pineapple. It even has green tea in it.

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I usually shy away from fruit smoothies and juices because they can be loaded with calories and even fat. This smoothie is 125 calories a serving and has 2 g Fiber – not bad for a smoothie drink. The drink itself has a great flavor, although is not as thick as a typical smoothie.

8.29 Zola Energy

Would I buy this smoothie at the store? Yes, I would definitely buy the juice, particularly for the great flavor and the fact that it is loaded with healthy ingredients. But, because I’m not really a juice drinker, I think I would save this drink for times when I needed an extra boost of energy or vitamins, like when I feel a cold coming on.

Aside from the juice, I also made a small bowl of Strawberry-peanut butter oatmeal…

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I started with 1/4 cup whole oats mixed with 1/2 cup skim milk. After I microwaved that for 2 minutes, I added 2 strawberries, 2 tbsp of walnuts, and dollop of MaraNatha all-natural creamy peanut butter. Hmm…so good..

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I think we’re now headed out to do a little site-seeing downtown or maybe just do a little shopping. 

Have a great afternoon everyone!

A Pepper Trifecta and Stevia Review

Hey Everyone! It is an absolutely beautiful day here in Chicago! It’s about 70 degrees and sunny. The exceptionally cool weather really helped my long run this morning. I was able to do 6 miles (that’s long for me!) with no problem. I think I am ready for summer to be over – bring on the Fall!

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For breakfast, I had the new Oikos Greek yogurt I picked up from Whole Foods – it was strawberry flavor. It was a first for me and it was just yummy with a tablespoon or two of walnuts (for extra MUFA) sprinkled on top.

8.20 OIkos-strawberry

I also tried a new product that was sent to me in the mail – Stevia In the Raw 100% natural sweetener.


I actually tried it a few weeks ago in homemade lemonade and thought there was a weird after taste to it. My husband just raved about it in his homemade iced tea, so I thought I’d give it another try in my hot tea this morning.

Tea with stevia

I brewed Harney and Sons whole leaf English Breakfast tea and added 1/2 a stevia packet. I’m sorry to report that the sweetener still has a weird taste and after taste that I just can’t get used to. I haven’t given up on it completely though – I may try using stevia as a replacement to sugar during baking. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.

After breakfast, I was just lounging around the house, checking emails, etc. I put on my comfy yoga pants from the Gap (my new favorite pants) and my brand new running/yoga shirt from LUCY.


The shirt really describes how my life goes on most days – I’m up and running with the sun!

Lunch was leftovers – the other 1/2 of the chicken sandwich/burger that I ordered from Red Robin on Friday…

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I paired it with some fresh grilled red, green, and yellow bell peppers and grape tomatoes…

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A perfect pepper trifecta!

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Finally, I had a few Cape Cod low-fat potato chips. My husband and I love Cape Cod chips because they are made from all-natural ingredients and have an awesome flavor.

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As you can see, they are made with potatoes, oil, and salt – can’t get any more natural than that!

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Now, we’re both relaxing on our deck before heading off to our nephew’s birthday party.

See you all tonight everyone.

Eggs – They're what's for breakfast

Good morning everyone! I had a great yoga class this morning. I have to admit though, the class was rough because I had missed two weeks in a row. I wasn’t as flexible as I had been in the past and I found myself looking at the clock wanting it to be over. Not a good sign. But, by the end of class I was feeling quite refreshed and was very glad that I decided to go.

When I arrived home, I was so happy to find a beautiful omelette waiting for me…

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My husband made me a 3-egg omelette (1 egg and 2 egg whites) with red peppers, broccoli, and white cheddar cheese – so yum!

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Eggs are a welcome change for breakfast since I don’t eat them very often. However, I am trying to eat them more because they are considered a superfood for runners. Contrary to popular belief, eggs, when  eaten in moderation (1 egg a day) account for less than 1 percent of the risk of heart disease in men and women. They are also loaded with protein and vitamins.

After a protein-packed breakfast, my husband and I are heading out to a local Renaissance Festival. I’m so excited because this is my first ever Renaissance Festival.

See you tonight!

Energizing Apple-Nut Oatmeal

Hello everyone! My day started with a 60-minute session of yoga at my local studio. It was fantastic! I’m so glad that our regular yogini is back. She really makes us work but also takes her time with us. 

After class, I made a little breakfast…some apple-nut oatmeal!


Here’s what it included:

Energizing Apple-Nut Oatmeal

  • 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats (not the quick cook kind)
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 shredded red delicious apple
  • 2 tbsp walnuts
  • 1 heaping tbsp all-natural creamy peanut butter

Cook the oats as directed on the package or combine the oats and milk and microwave on high for 2-3 minutes. Add shredded apple and walnuts and top with peanut butter. Stir until peanut butter is melted and blended into the oatmeal. Enjoy!


My Energizing Apple-Nut Oatmeal was fantastic and so filling for just 1/4 cup oats! It really is amazing all of the things you can add to plain oatmeal and have the flavor change dramatically. It’s also great for a post-run or post-yoga workout because it gives me a ton of energy with the nuts and peanut butter added it. I may try it as a pre-run snack to see if it makes me run faster or longer – ha!

With my oatmeal, I also sipped on some Tazo Refresh herbal tea…


It’s really just a fancy blend of peppermint tea, but it is good nonetheless.

After breakfast, hubby and I ran out to do some errands – one of which was going to Costco. What a zoo it was there! You would have thought they were giving something away – aside from the samples. Thankfully, we were able to get in and out in record time. It seems that everyone wanted to browse and not actually stand in line.

We headed home to make some lunch. Sandwiches are usually a weekend lunch staple in the RWC household, but today we made burgers. I had a t-burger and hubby had a regular beef burger.


I only had about 2/3 of a turkey burger, topped with lettuce and white cheddar cheese, on a 100-calorie Thomas’ multi-grain English muffin. I also threw in a few grape tomatoes as a side.


Now, after a filling lunch, I’m off to Barnes and Noble again to finish a few work-related projects.

Can’t wait for tonight – we’re making homemade split-pea soup!

Catch ya later all!

Nuts and Bowls

Hello All. Hope you had a wonderful day. My day was crazy busy with meetings. I also sat in our office library for about 4 hours reviewing more video footage for a tribute video I’m working on.

Even though I was heads down for most of the day, I did take a break for lunch. I had planned on going out to eat but I honestly was not very hungry. I decided not to waste my money and calories on restaurant food when I knew I really wouldn’t enjoy it. Instead, I had another yogurt-fruit bowl.

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My yogurt bowl was made with a base of Trader Joe’s Organic Greek Yogurt in vanilla flavor. I just want to clarify that I do not eat organic food because it’s better tasting or better for you (more on this topic in another post). I try to choose foods that are all-natural (organic food falls into this category) and sometimes organic is the only choice at the time.

To my yogurt, I added a ton of chopped walnuts (great source of omega 3’s!), a few flakes of coconut, dried pineapple and bananas, and a handful of fresh blueberries (love those antioxidants). It was awesome and looked very cool in the new bowl I scored from the concert a few days ago. The bowl even came with a matching spoon.

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And that my friends was the only thing I ate for the rest of the time I was at work. That’s how filling it was! 

When I finally arrived home from work around 6:30 PM, I still wasn’t that hungry. I made a simple and small taco salad bowl. I threw in a a bunch of lettuce, some turkey taco meat from Monday’s dinner, cheddar cheese, and grape tomatoes.

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It was just ho-hum, but satisfying. But, now that my stomach has settled a little, I’m off to do some yoga.

Night everyone!