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.

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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…

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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….

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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…

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!

Hump Day Stress

Hello all and Happy Hump Day! I am having a very stressful day (and a BAD hair day which just adds to the fun). So please excuse me if I’m not my typical cheerful self. Despite being my off day for running, I woke up early to try to get a jump start on the day and that I did. 

Before I left, I ate a quick and healthy breakfast ….

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A super juicy nectarine! They’ve been so good this season – I don’t think I’ve had a bad one yet. I also had a piece of Brownberry Double Fiber bread with a tbsp of MaraNatha all-natural creamy peanut butter.

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For quite a while, this was my go-to breakfast for the work week and on the weekends. It’s simple but healthy because it has tons of fiber, protein, and MUFA! Throw a little fruit and a Daily Wellness shot and you’re all set.

I arrived at work just before 8:30 without making any detours (although Starbuck’s was calling my name). I am in charge of so many projects right now that all seem to have the same deadline – how the hell did that happen?? But, I have to keep reminding myself that many people out there have lost their jobs, so I should just be thankful that I still have one in this economy. 

In keeping with my simple but healthy theme, I ate a 1/2 ham and salami sandwich for lunch, with a side of sweet and crunchy carrots…

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Not very fun, I know, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. Now, I’m thinking about going to Starbuck’s. And, it’s not that I need the caffeine, it’s more that I need a pick-me-up. I hate that I rely on Starbuck’s to put me in a better mood. But I guess it’s less expensive than going on a shopping spree!

Have to get back to work. Have a great afternoon everyone.

The Last Days of Summer…

Morning everyone! Can you believe it’s Labor Day weekend already! I’m a little sad that the summer is over, but I have a great weekend ahead. Here’s what’s on my agenda for the last days of summer…

  • Friday – haircut (which is an event for me)
  • Saturday – Apple picking with the fam
  • Sunday – Outdoor music concert (my “Labor Day weekend show”)
  • Monday – Golf (not me, but the guys) and a BBQ
  • Tuesday – A vacation day for me and hopefully the day I finally see the latest Harry Potter

I want to fit in some magazine reading and a new recipe or two. So much to do, so little time! 

But, before I get into the weekend, let’s talk about today! The weather is just amazing this morning – slightly cool and sunny. It was just perfect for a run.

For breakfast, I was inspired by Tina’s oatmeal this morning and decided to make my own oatmeal creation…


I started with about 1/4 whole oats and added 1/2 cup skim milk. After I microwaved it for 2 minutes, I added a spoonful of MaraNatha all-natural creamy peanut butter, a few walnuts (I’m on a walnut kick if you can’t tell!) and a handful of blueberries. Oh my, this is such a filling combination and full of protein, fiber, and antioxidants. 

I also had a little chopped fruit that I brought home from our staff luncheon yesterday…


Doesn’t that fruit look yummy! Finally, to top off my breakfast, I had a shot of wellness from 

 I have a ton of grocery shopping to do today so I need to hurry up and get ready then head out the door. I also have a haircut appointment at 1:45 – yeah!! I’m dying to try a new style, but I’m such a nervous nellie about my hair. Whatever I decide, I’ll post some pics later – if it turns out well. Otherwise, I’ll be in hiding for a few weeks -ha!

By the way, what’s everyone doing for the long Labor Day weekend? Even though I have a full weekend planned, I really wish I could pull a Jimmy B. and say I was heading up to San Francisco for the Labor Day weekend show… I can never get enough Jimmy!

Ok, now I really have to get going. Have a great morning everyone!

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.

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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!

Thanksgiving in August

Evening everyone. Because it has been raining for most of the day, I didn’t feel at all guilty about deciding to stay home all afternoon. I had a great afternoon catching up on emails and on reading. However, I did make a special trip to the market to prepare for our “Thanksgiving in August” dinner. Confused? Let me explain…

For the last few weeks, my husband has been going on and on about wanting turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy. He gets like this around this time every year – where he craves Thanksgiving dinner in the summer. Well, Thanksgiving is over 3 months away, but I thought I’d humor him…

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For dinner, I went to Fresh Market, a gourmet market near our house, and bought a white wine and herb rotisserie chicken. I paired the fresh white meat chicken with mashed red potatoes and super sweet carrots. I also made a little homemade chicken gravy on the side.

Everything tasted fantastic but the mashed potatoes were especially good. After I boiled them, I added a little butter, a little skim milk, and a bunch of chicken broth to make them really creamy – soo goood!

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My husband, of course, loved the meal, and even offered to make dessert – double chocolate Ghirardelli brownies.

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He also added some walnuts for extra MUFA. These are by far our favorite brownies because they are so full of chocolate. I’ve tried several times to make brownies from scratch, and they either turn out really dry or really mushy. If anyone has a great recipe for brownies, I’d love to get it!

Ok, I’m off to bed now. We’ve got a busy day tomorrow, that all begins with yoga at 8 AM!

Night all!

Catching up on some reading…

Hey there! Boy, do I have a lot of reading to catch up on. This week, I not only received the Full Plate Diet to review, but I also received two of my favorite fitness magazines – Shape and Fitness. And, you all know how I love my magazines!


For today’s breakfast, I had a big bowl of Cheerios Multigrain topped with 1/2 cup blueberries and 2 tbsp walnuts. But, when I went to go pour in my skim milk, I realized that the milk was 6 days past the expiration date – ugh!

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If there’s one thing I hate, it is smelling and tasting sour milk (although I love buttermilk – so I that’s odd). I smelled the milk and it didn’t smell bad but it didn’t smell fresh either. So, not wanting to take any chances, I dumped out the cereal and started over. What a waste of a good bowl of cereal.

Once again, I arrived to work on time at 8:30 AM. This start time is my personal goal and not mandatory due to our awesome flex time option. As Fridays are my day off from work, Thursdays are always jam packed with things to do before the weekend. And, today was no different. I had so many things to do today – review medical studies (because that’s what I do for a living) and also work on a staff training program that I, along with 6 other people, will be implementing in the next few weeks. Luckily, I was able to take a quick break for a snack that I had stashed in my drawer…

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A Nature Valley Oats and Honey granola bar – mildly sweet and tons of crunch!

I didn’t end up eating lunch until after 1:30 PM, because I seriously was not even hungry and I was really engrossed in what I was doing. I made myself leave the building – even though it was raining – to get something to eat.

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I had a simple, but filling bowl of minestrone soup that I picked up from a little Italian cafe near the office. Can you tell I love parmesan cheese? I also had a big diet coke – mainly for the caffeine.

Lunch kept me going through the end of the day which was 5:30 PM for me. But, due to rain and the traffic, I didn’t get home until 6:30 PM. So, I made a quick, healthy meal for dinner….

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It was a sample platter of sorts. I had a grilled Polish sausage, about 1 oz of Tillamook Vermont white cheddar cheese, black grapes from Costco (I didn’t even know there was such a thing as black grapes), grape tomatoes, and a 1/2 of a nectarine.

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These tapas-like dinners are great when you don’t want to make a big meal or you don’t have enough food to make a big meal – ha! Tapas also remind me of Barcelona where my husband and I practically lived on tapas.

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Now, I’m so tired I need to get to bed, but not before reading a few pages!

Take care everyone and see you in the AM.

Rainy Day Blues…

Hey everyone! I am so glad that today was not my day to run because it was pouring down rain when I woke up. Or I should say, when I got out of bed. I actually woke up around 3:30 AM and could not go back to sleep because of the noisy rain and my racing thoughts. If anyone has any recommendations on how to fall back to sleep during these situations (other than my husband’s obvious suggestion), I’d love to hear them.

When I finally got out of bed at 6 AM, I made a cheerful and eye-opening breakfast…

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I mixed 1 carton of Trader Joe’s nonfat Greek Yogurt – vanilla flavor – with 2 chopped strawberries, 1/2 cup blueberries, and 2 tbsp walnuts. After that, I was good to go until lunch! It’s amazing how Greek yogurt can fill you up – and the added MUFA from the walnuts doesn’t hurt either.

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After a series of meetings, I was finally able to get a big chunk of work done – reading, writing, reviewing, etc. I hope I can be as productive this afternoon, although I’m feeling the itch to bolt out of here early.

Lunch was nearly identical to yesterday…

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Low-fat salami and ham with a piece of Swiss cheese on Brownberry Double Fiber bread. Only today, I had it with carrots instead of tomatoes.

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It’s someone’s 30th birthday in the office today and she brought a bunch of bakery treats. I am so wanting a piece of the chocolate coffee cake and the sprinkled butter cookies!

OK, back to work for me!

Blueberries Fight Belly Fat

Good morning everyone! It’s another great day in Chicago land! I had an awesome 4-mile run in the beautiful sunshine and crisp, cool air. After my run, I drank a ton of water while sporting my new Lucy wristband…

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Because I’m on Lucy’s email list, I received an email with a coupon for a free bright pink wristband. How fun! I know, I know, I wasn’t actually wearing the wristband, but I’m not really in to wearing wristbands while I run or exercise. But it does make for a cute water bottle cover. And, it’s great for soaking up all of the condensation from the bottle. 

After my run, I enjoyed a fantastic breakfast…

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I had a cup of Cheerios Multigrain and topped it with 1/2 cup fresh blueberries (yeah- I’ve replenished my Costco supply!) and 2 tbsp chopped walnuts.

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The blueberries are so plump and juicy and full of antioxidants. Plus they have tons of vitamins, including C, A, and E. A recent study out of the University of Michigan (Go Big 10) has even shown that blueberries can help fight belly fat – so how can  you not love this little blue fruit!

OK, enough blueberry babbling for me, gotta get some work done.

Catch you all later!