Archives for October 2009

A Food Blogger's Nightmare

In the food blooger/health blogger world, having camera issues can mean major headaches. But, to lose your camera completely, well that is a nightmare. And today, I am living that nightmare.

My husband spent the whole day with “the boys”, hiking, pizza eating, movie-watching, etc. He asked to take the camera and I obliged. Bad move. Somewhere along the way, our $600 camera was lost. I won’t get into the details or my frustration with the situation. However, I wanted to let you all know of my dilemma so that you would understand why I may have not-so-pretty photos or missing photos completely. In the meantime, I will be using my husband’s iphone to take photos. The photos on his built-in camera are not too bad, but no where near real camera quality.

So now, as you can imagine, I need to invest in a new camera, preferably one that takes awesome close-ups. If you have any recommendations, please shoot them my way!

Sorry ladies, that’s all I’ve got tonight. Just not in the mood to write anything else. I’m sure you can relate on some level.

It's 3 AM, But I'm Not Lonely

Happy Friday everyone!

I’m watching Psych right now and loving it! I really should go to bed since I only got about 4 1/2 hours of sleep last night. I woke up at 3 AM and just couldn’t go to back to sleep. I actually started thinking of that song by Matchbox 20 – It’s 3 AM. But, I wasn’t lonely just anxiety-ridden.

I got up around 4 AM and actually worked for a few hours. How dedicated is that? Breakfast was another cereal bowl, but this time with a new cereal…

10.9 breakfast

I received a free sample of Total blueberry pomegranate in the mail so I threw that into the mix with Cheerios multi-grain and Kashi Go Lean. I topped the cereal with a bunch of walnuts for some extra MUFA and crunch. The Total cereal sure smelled good when I poured it into the bowl – very fruity. It added a little bit more sweetness to my normal cereal mix, which was surely welcome. But I really don’t think it was anything extraordinary, but then again, I’ve never been a big Total fan.

Scott and I opted for lunch at Portillos today – a Chicago hot dog/Italian beef favorite. I ordered the all-beef hot dog with everything…10.9 lunch

Really messy, but awesome! I did NOT eat the pickle right on the hot dog, but I left it on for the picture to give you the full effect. If you ever want to see a crazy place at lunchtime, just go to Portillos – it’s nuts! There were so many people in the restaurant that we almost didn’t find a seat.

Dinner was leftover soup…

10.9 dinner1

With a side of Mac and cheese…

10.9 dinner3

Now, I really need to get to bed, as I’m sure you can all understand. I hope I will be able to finally get some sleep and shake this headache that I’ve head all day.

Night everyone!

The "Good" Jeans

Hello All!

As many of you know, when it’s someone’s birthday in our office, it’s customary to bring in a treat for the entire office. Many people go the easy route and buy donuts or coffee cakes from the grocery store. While others will bring in huge platters of sweets and other goodies. Well, I looked on our interoffice calendar for next week and there are 6 birthdays! You all know what that means – food overload! I’ll try to snap a few covert photos whenever possible.

This morning, I was able to get out for my run and finish just before the rain started – perfect timing!

Breakfast was cereal bowl trifecta…

10.8 breakfast

A mix of Cheerios multi-grain, Kashi Go Lean, and Nature Valley nut lover’s granola (a sample received from the company). Crunch, crunch!

Next up was deciding what to wear. Now, during the months of October – December, we are allowed to wear jeans on any day of the week (I think they feel sorry for us because we’re so crazy busy preparing for our big shindig at the end of October!). The catch is, unless it is a Friday (when we are normally allowed to wear jeans), we have to pay a $1 which goes toward our Foundation. Money isn’t the problem. I just never seem to have a good pair of jeans available to wear! And this morning, that’s just what happened. I woke up thinking that I would just wear jeans, pay the buck and be done with it. Not much thought or effort, etc. But I realized that I didn’t have my “good” jeans ready to wear (I really only have one pair of Gap jeans that I like enough to wear to work). They are not fancy, they just fit really well and don’t have that faded/worn look that probably would not be acceptable to wear to work.

So I went back to the closet for 20 minutes trying to figure out an alternate outfit. Because of this extra time spent on outfit hunting, I didn’t arrive at work until 9:15 AM!!! Yikes! Has this happened to anyone else…where you’re late to work because of a clothes dilemma? What is your go-to brand of jeans? I’m asking because I’d like to invest in a few new pairs.

Anyway, I settled on brown pants and a burnt orange v-neck sweater – very fall-ish, I thought. 

Work was very productive and went by super fast. If it weren’t for the handful of people who kept bugging interrupting me with unnecessary issues, I would have been even more productive. I need to put a sign on my cube that says please save all unnecessary questions or issues until after Nov. 6! But, I’m sure that would appear rude and not very team-oriented.

Lunch happened to be leftovers once more….

10.8 lunch

My favorite sausage-leek pasta dish sprinkled with a few red pepper flakes for extra kick!

Around 6:45 PM, I arrived home to an empty house, which wasn’t so bad because it was quiet and it smelled completely like chicken soup! Scott (who was home sick for most of the day) made homemade chicken noodle soup for himself and kept it warming up on the stove for me. So thoughtful, even when he’s sick. The soup must have helped him feel a little better since he did end up going to class tonight.

10.8 dinner

After my hearty bowl of soup, I indulged in… more cake? No, I did NOT have cake! There was actually one little piece left in the cake dome and I thought about eating it to put it out of it’s lonely misery, but I walked away. Instead, I had a date with Edy’s…

10.8 dessert

I mixed a scoop of Edy’s chocolate with a scoop of Edy’s spumoni. So good! Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE cake! But, a girl can only have cake so many days in a row. It’s really that old saying – too much of a good thing….and so on.

I have a little more work to do tonight, so gotta run. But, I think I can smell a loaf of pumpkin bread in my near future!

Have a great night ladies!

Cake Denial

Hi everyone!

I am so excited! I arrived home today to find a HUGE package of goodies – all food samples for me to try. I won’t reveal what products they are just yet – I need to arrange a really cool picture displaying my new bounty!

Today was a no-run Wednesday, so I promptly got up around 6:30, ate some breakfast, and was at work at 8:30 (yippee, I was early!). Before leaving the house, I had a light breakfast – a super ripe and juicy nectarine…

10.7 breakfast

I just wasn’t very hungry (that happens when I don’t run) but I knew I needed to eat something. 

Work was very productive again today. Thankfully, my projects are beginning to wind down. But, it really is just the calm before the storm, so to speak. Because, in about 3 weeks, everything culminates at our big meeting in San Diego. I will be traveling and working for 7 days straight – working 12-15 hour days. Although some people at the office may not agree, I really do have fun at the meeting. I find all of the hustle and bustle exciting and energizing.

I’m a little worried about my posts for that week though, because of the long days. Also, I’m still not sure how I’m going to take pictures of all my meals – and we usually have GREAT meals/dinners at these meetings – very high class. I promise I will try to sneak in a few good photos!

Around 1:30 PM, I thought it was about time to grab lunch. I called ahead to Go Roma to check out their soup du jour – it was cream of chicken with wild rice. Sold!

10.7 lunch

Oh, this soup is fantastic! But I really felt like I was eating 1,000 calories because it was so rich and creamy. That definitely kept me full for the rest of the day!

Dinner was a superb meal of chicken tacos prepared by Scott The Chef/Computer guy – aka my husband.

10.7 dinner2

He actually made me chicken tacos while he had the steak variety, because I don’t eat beef. good that I actually had two full tacos! As you can see, I made the first one and completely forgot to put lettuce on it – so here  is my taco re-do….

10.7 dinner3

To finish off the meal, I had a little taste of chocolate that someone gave to me at work…

10.7 chocolate

This was a Lake Champlain maple crunch chocolate made in Vermont. Don’t you just love the cool fall design? It’s so Vermont-ish too.

OK, I wasn’t going to mention this, but my conscience got the best of me. After the chocolate, I had another piece of chocolate cake with Breyer’s vanilla bean ice cream. No photo though because I’m in cake denial. Part of me thought that if I did not have a photo of it that there would be no proof that I ate it. I’m sure you’ve all been there!

Ok, enough blabbering for tonight. See you all on Thursday!

Take the Cake….Out of My House!

Evening chicas! I first want to give a shout out and a huge CONGRATULATIONS to all of our fellow female food bloggers who received FoodBuzz Blog Award nominations. Good luck to all the nominees!

Today was such a productive day! Really, I felt like I was flying through project after project and putting out fires along the way. 

This morning, I was on treadmill about 6:30 to run for about 15 minutes before heading outside. It had just rained about 2 hours before so the ground was still wet and the air had that wet Autumn leaf smell that I love. I only ran about 4 miles total – it was all I could do today because I was running late for work.

After my run, I grabbed a simple breakfast…

10.6 breakfast

A high fiber English muffin with all-natural creamy peanut butter.

Somehow, even after waking up at 6 AM I still didn’t get to work until after 9 AM. I really have to streamline my morning routine.

About mid-morning, I became a little hungry and went to my granola bar stash in my drawer. I tried the Market Pantry high fiber peanut butter and oats granola bar.

10.6 snack

I was excited to try this bar because I love “high fiber” foods. But, after one bite, I knew this bar was not for me. I did not like this bar at ALL. It’s hard to even tell you what I didn’t like about it because after just one bite, I grimaced and threw it away. I’m glad I didn’t waste 140 calories on that one!

So, it was on to lunch! I was so hungry by the time I stopped for lunch that I ate it so fast and I didn’t stop to take a photo (oops!). But rest assured, it was the same thing that I had for dinner last night – sausage and pasta with leeks. Nothing like leftovers!

Dinner ended up being more leftovers – turkey chili!

10.6 dinner1

I had it with a size of elbow noodles, topped with white cheddar cheese – yummy!

The chili was pretty filling, but I still went for another piece of chocolate cake to finish off the night…

10.6 dessert

This cake is sooo good! But, I would be extremely relieved if I came home tomorrow and it was all gone. Please take this cake out of the house!

Now, I’m watching reruns of The Office and contemplating whether or not I should do more work. I think not – I see my new Shape and Fitness magazines staring at me just begging to be read!

Take care all and see you tomorrow!

The End of Gourmet

Hi Girls! If you haven’t already heard, Gourmet magazine is no more! That’s really too bad – it was such a reliable foodie magazine. I only hope that the other foodie mags don’t follow suit.

Well, our foodie lives must go on….

Today was a very busy day! I arrived at work around 9:30 AM (that’s really late for me as you know) and didn’t get up from my desk until near 12 PM! I swear I could feel a blood clot forming in my leg. I am so happy to be home right now and doing something away from the office.

Before heading to work, I ran about four miles outside. It’s getting so chilly in the morning these days, but as long as it doesn’t drop below about 30 degrees, I’m solid. After the brisk run, I munched on some cereal…

10.5 breakfast1

I changed things up a little and had Cheerios multi-grain mixed with Kashi Go Lean. Plus, I topped it with 1/3 banana and a handful of walnuts!! I absolutely love walnuts. I love their crunch and that they’re packed with nutrition.10.5 breakfast2

Speaking of walnuts, next week is the Annual Walnut Harvest Celebration in northern California. I so wish I could go and enjoy all of the walnut-based recipes! If you want to learn more about walnuts and related recipes the California Walnut Board has a great Web site with a ton of information.

On my way to work, I stopped off to get a Starbucks Mocha frap. I’m getting kind of burned out on these, I think it’s time to switch my drink to the skinny vanilla latte again.

After working nonstop for 4 1/2 hours, I finally ran out to get some lunch…

10.5 lunch

I went to Go Roma near the office for a little minestrone soup! Hmmm,,.it was really good on a chilly day.

For dinner, Scott made a dish that I usually make – my sausage-leek dish...

10.5 dinner

The dish was exceptionally flavorful tonight. Hmmm…maybe Scott should cook it from now on 😉

After dinner, dessert was calling my name in the form of a green-frosted cake!

10.5 cake

Oh my, how I love devil’s food chocolate cake – or really any kind of cake.

I have a little more work to do tonight so I’ve gotta run for now girls. It’s going to be like this from now until mid-November, but I’m used to it by now.

Have a great night!

White Cheddar Fix

Hello everyone. I had good intentions of writing a long, fun post tonight to start the week on a high note. However, I’ve had a pretty rough day. Last night, I worked from 9 PM to 1 AM and didn’t get to sleep until 1:30 AM. Work was related to my big meeting coming up at the end of the month. If I don’t get these projects done, there’s no one else who can do it – so the pressure is on!

After going to bed at 1:30 AM, I ended up waking up at 6:30 AM and, because of the powers that be, I could not go back to sleep no matter how hard I tried. So, the whole day I felt tired, sluggish, and still sick from the week prior.

Anyway, enough bellyaching (literally!). I got up and lounged for a little bit before lacing up my shoes and heading out for a very cool 5 mile run. I really wanted to run 6 or 7 miles but was only running on about 50% of my normal energy level.

After running, I had a little breakfast that Scott made for me..

10.4 breakfast

He made me a two-egg omelette (1 egg and 1 egg white) that included all-natural, nitrate-free bacon, green peppers, white cheddar cheese. Thanks honey!

Next we spent the day cleaning the house for a birthday party we were hosting. So all day it was clean, cook, clean, cook, and so on. In between, I had a little lunch…

10.4 lunch

A 1/2 low-fat salami and ham sandwich with white cheddar cheese with dijon mustard, all on 1 piece of Brownberry double fiber bread. As you can see, I also had some awesome BBQ chips and a couple pickles – because one pickle just isn’t enough!

When our guests arrived, we had a few appetizers – like white cheddar cheese (can you tell I love this stuff! I’ve eaten it three times already today!) and crackers, followed by spinach and artichoke dip…

10.4 appetizer2

The spinach and artichoke dip was from Trader Joe’s and was fantastic! It tasted as good as any restaurant-style dip. I highly recommend it. I definitely ate way too much of it though. That’s probably why I don’t feel the greatest right now – ugh!

For dinner, we started with a salad made from red leaf lettuce, carrots, cucs, peppers, and MORE white cheddar cheese. OK, I’m beginning to think I eat way too much white cheddar cheese! But after tonight, I think I’ve had my fix for a while.

10.4 dinner2

My husband made dinner (of course!) which was his awesome partially grilled, partially slow-cooked BBQ pork loin. He served it with some homemade mac and cheese (it’s a great recipe, but I’m really too tired to write it now), and some of his homemade apple sauce. All so good! Although it strangely reminded me of Cracker Barrel – just kidding Scott!

10.4 dinner3

After singing to the birthday girl, we all had a little dessert – devil’s food chocolate cake with butter cream frosting and vanilla bean ice cream…

10.4 dessert

No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you. The frosting is green!! The b-day girl wanted a green cake and who am I to argue with the b-day girl. It was really nothing a little blue and yellow food dye couldn’t handle!

Guess what I have to do now? More work – blah! But then again, that’s why I’m getting paid right?

See you all tomorrow!

Workplace Yoga!

Hello out there!

I’ve had a great Saturday so far today, although I didn’t make it to yoga class. I’m beginning to think I should just cancel my membership at the gym because I only keep it for yoga classes. Yet, I can’t seem to get my rear end out of bed in time to go! However – good news! My work announced that, starting in November, we will actually have yoga classes brought to us onsite!!! How awesome is that? So, it will be about $60 for 6 classes (one hour per week) and my company with subsidize at least 50% of it. Plus, it will be held during our lunch hour – now if that isn’t motivation to attend class, I don’t know what is!

Instead of yoga, hubby and I went to the mall (seems like we’ve been doing a lot of that lately) to do a little shopping. However, before heading out, I fueled up on another cereal bowl…

10.3 breakfast1

This was a little different than yesterday. I mixed Multi-grain Cheerios, Kashi Go Lean (mostly for the fiber), and the rest of Bear Naked banana nut cereal – extra crunchy goodness!

10.3 breakfast2

Our mall trip was specifically to pick up some last-minute birthday presents for a party we’re going to tomorrow. But, I was also side-tracked at looking at clothes and shoes – such a girl thing, ya know? I was also excited to hear that on Tuesday, Macy’s starts its Clinique bonus time. I’ve been waiting for this because I need to stock up on a few essentials before my big San Diego trip at the end of the month.

For lunch, we opted for Americanized-Thai/Asian food at Big Bowl. This restaurant reminds me of a PF Changs or even a little of Wagamana in England (also in Boston). They serve Thai-Chinese food with an American flair. I’ve had some pretty scary Thai and Chinese food in my day so I stayed away from it for a LONG time. Then, after moving to Chicago a few years ago, I tried Big Bowl and have loved Thai food ever since.

Before ordering our main course, we started with some of the best chicken egg rolls I’ve ever eaten…

10.3 lunch2

If you ever have the opportunity to eat here, you must try these!

Next, my husband and I split the make-your-own stir-fry bar..

10.3 lunch1

Which has all sorts of yummy and locally grown fresh produce – like carrots, snap peas, broccoli, etc, plus standard Asian selections like water chestnuts and baby corn. You basically tell your server what meat you want (we chose the crunchy chicken), the sauce (we ordered spicy kung pao), if you want rice or noodles (we chose brown rice), and then you fill up a big red bowl (hence the name Big Bowl) with all the veggies you can fit in the bowl. You put the bowl, along with your order receipt, at the order station, and a few minutes later, your fully cooked meal comes out.

10.3 lunch3

Hmmm, so yummy! And you really can easily split one order of the stir-fry bar between two people. Sometimes, we even have leftovers!

Now I need to be heads down working for the rest of the afternoon – although it’s going to be tough because I’m really easily distracted right now.

See ya all later!

Nature Valley Goodies

Evening everyone! I was actually able to run this morning – yes! It was a little rough at first because of a some tightness in my chest. But I made it through 4 very strong miles!

Prior to my run, I grabbed a quick snack…

10.2 prerun1

I had 1/2 of my new Nature Valley granola bar. It was very chewy and had a great cranberry and pomegranate flavor.

10.2 prerun2

After my run, I made a cereal mix of Multi-grain Cheerios, Kashi Go Lean, and another NEW product…10.2 breakfast1

Nature Valley’s Nut Lovers granola clusters. These little clusters had such an awesome nut (cashew!!!) flavor that I could have eaten them straight out of the bag.

10.2 breakfast2

But instead, I smashed them up a bit and put them on top of my cereal.

10.2 breakfast3

10.2 breakfast4

Although the new granola clusters had a great flavor, they are very low in fiber (1 g) and high in calories – 150 calories for a very small bag. This would definitely deter me from actually buying them, although I wouldn’t turn down a sample!

This afternoon I attended a retirement lunch for our CEO at his country/golf club. The event started with an open bar and a few passed appetizers. I only one small piece of a chicken quesadilla, which honestly was NOT very good. But I did order one of these..

10.2 lunch1

An apple martini! Whoa – this is SO uncharacteristic for me in so many ways. First, I very rarely drink. Second, if I do drink, it is usually wine. And third, if I do drink, it is typically in the evening with dinner not at noon! But, when I saw another coworker order this electric green drink I couldn’t resist! I only drank a few sips of it though – it was way too sweet and had too much alcohol in it for my taste.

Lunch started with a strawberry and mandarin orange salad with sliced almonds topped with raspberry vinaigrette – very tangy and tasty! 

10.2 lunch2

Next came a family-style meal that included two of our CEO’s favorites – lamb chops and white fish. Unfortunately, I do not like either of these, so I went with the third option – eggplant parmesan.

10.2 lunch3

I also had some awesome red-skinned mashed potatoes, rice pilaf, and mixed veggies. The potatoes were, by far, the best thing that I ate. Dessert was a trio of ice creams (very small scoops), including chocolate, coffee, and vanilla. Sorry – no photo – people at my table were beginning to really stare at me taking photos of my food by this time so I thought it best not to push it.

The rest of the afternoon was spent around the house, working and lounging. It was pretty cold and rainy here the whole day. And, because I’ve been sick, I really didn’t feel like venturing out of the house after the party.

For dinner, my husband made turkey chili, another one of my favorite dishes…

10.2 dinner

It was a little spicier than normal, but that’s probably a good thing because of my cold.

After dinner, my husband and I ran a few errands, then he so nicely made me a homemade chocolate milkshake…

10.2 dessert

This is seriously nothing fancy – just Edy’s chocolate ice cream and milk blended together. But it tasted so incredibly good!

I’m debating whether or not I should do a little work before I go to bed or if I should just relax and watch NUMBERS with my husband. I’m leaving toward the latter 🙂

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…

10.1 pie1

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…

10.1 lunch1

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.

10.1 lunch2

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!