Squeezing Pears and Roasting Potatoes

Hi there!

Today was an absolutely beautiful day in Chicago! When I headed out around 10 AM for my 5-mile run, it was already 52 degrees and sunny! I hope we have many more days like this throughout the fall/winter season. 

After my run, I grabbed another LUNA bar to recharge…

11.22 Luna Bar

I do not eat LUNA bars or any granola/power bars for breakfast on a regular basis. Although they are very nutritious – full of protein and fiber – I really don’t feel like they fill me up enough at breakfast. But, like yesterday, today was another day of running a crazy amount of errands, so LUNA always comes in handy when you’re in a hurry to get out the door. 

My day was full of shopping, which let me back to Target – yet again – to get Christmas tree lights. It never fails, no matter how careful we are with our lights, we always end up buying new ones because the old ones don’t work.

I also stopped at Trader Joe’s. OMG, you would have thought they were giving turkeys away! I go to Trader Joe’s about once a week and I have NEVER seen it so busy. In fact, my regular grocery store, which I went to after TJ’s, was not 1/2 as busy as Trader Joe’s. It’s the holiday craziness starting already.

I headed back home for lunch, which ended up being another yummy sandwich…

11.22 salami sandwich

But I also enjoyed one of the fresh pears I bought at the grocery store. I must have really been on my squeezing game because I picked a perfectly ripe pear and it was so juicy and delicious…

11.22 Pears

I even picked up a few more when I went back to the grocery store today. Hmm, I’m thinking a pear crisp might be in my near future…

11.22 salami sandwich 2

After picking up a few things at Harry and David and Barnes and Noble (I really should own stock in that store!), it was time to head home to put up the tree and lights…

11.22 Santa Train 1

I even put out one of my favorite Christmas decorations, the Santa Train, as I call it. This is by far the best impulse purchases I’ve ever made – and it was at Costco! It’s a beautiful and very detail 4-part wooden train filled with old-fashioned toys – that are real toys!

11.22 Santa Train 2

11.22 Santa Train 3

That is one thing that I’ve come to learn about Costco – If you see something you really like, buy it, because it may not be there the next time you go.

Scott was working most of the day trying to finish project before Thanksgiving. So, I volunteered to make us dinner – and it wasn’t just reservations or take-out!!

11.22 Turkey burger

I whipped up some burgers on our indoor grill – turkey for me and buffalo for Scott. I also made some awesome oven roasted potatoes. These were super easy to make. Here’s how:

Easiest Oven-Roasted Potatoes

  • 4 medium red-skinned potatoes, washed and cut into cubes/chunks
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt/pepper to taste.
  • Mix the oil with the potatoes in a bowl and add salt and pepper. Spread potatoes on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven that’s been preheated. Take out tray and flip potatoes over. Return to oven for 10 minutes. Broil for 3-5 minutes if needed – then enjoy! 

For variety, I have added rosemary, Italian seasonings, and or parmesan cheese to the potatoes prior to cooking. It just gives them a little extra flavor.

    11.22 Oven roasted potatoes  

    Now,  I must be off. I have a ton of wrapping to do before Thanksgiving – when my side of the family exchanges our Christmas presents.

    Have a great night everyone!

So, I was called into the Principal's Office….

**Don’t forget about the first ever Running With Cake giveaway! You may just snag yourself a huge bounty of goodies!**

It’s funny how your day can start off normal, with everything going along smoothly, then WHAM! A huge pile of bricks is dropped right on your head. Well, not actually, but that’s kind of how I felt today.

I had a perfectly lovely run this morning, bouncing along to my Christmas music and wondering what I was going to have for breakfast.

11.16 Greek Yogurt with walnuts

Ahh, Trader Joe’s Greek yogurt with walnuts – a super energizing breakfast. Followed by a steaming cup of Tazo Awake tea..

11.16 Tazo Awake Tea

Everything was still normal at this point. Little did I know, I would need this mighty breakfast to get me through a pretty stressful afternoon.

Next up, lunch – another incredibly yummy salad…

11.16 Chicken Salad

All was still well as I crunched along to a sound of my fresh veggies and chicken.

Then – the bomb was dropped right on my desk…

Stress reduction: www.flickr.com/photos/56661936@N00/1483037699

I was called into the “principal’s” office, aka our new CEO, for a little chat. That chat turned into a 45 minute conversation about changes that were soon to come in our office. My role in all of this is to help craft tactful messages about these changes so that he can then relay these changes to the staff. The pressure’s ON! Stay calm!

Focus: www.flickr.com/photos/56387066@N00/1810357551

Well, I guess it really did not go down in that dramatic of fashion, but still the messages will be very challenging to draft and convey. And, I can guarantee that some in the office are NOT going to like these messages. One change will really hit home with me – I can’t say now, but I’ll share details later.

Still, even with the challenge ahead, I am absolutely thrilled that he approached me to help him. I’m hoping that speaks quite a bit about my ability to do my job and do it well. 

After my exciting afternoon, I arrived home around 6:30 PM to a full made zesty turkey taco dinner. We started with a bit of guacamole of course…

11.16 Guacamole

11.16 Turkey tacos 2

Turkey tacos or even beef tacos are so easy to make and you don’t even need a boxed mix (sorry Mom, not everything needs to come from a box). You can just buy the taco seasoning spice, follow the directions on the bottle, add a few veggies while browning the meat, and presto – semi-instant turkey tacos!

11.16 Turkey tacos 1

Not bad for a Monday night! But wait, that’s not all…

As you all know, I’ve been on a red velvet cupcake kick for the last few weeks. So, Scott so graciously volunteered to run out to Barnes and Noble to pick up a cupcake for me.

11.16 Red velvet cupcake 2

Not only did he come back with the awesome cupcake, but he also came back with a JCrew bag – full of goodies for him though. Hmm, come to think of it, I could use a little retail therapy right now!

11.16 Red Velvet Cupcake 3

Alright my fellow bloggies, I have a big day ahead of me tomorrow, so I’m off to bed.

Peace, love, and red velvet cupcakes to all!

Explorer's Bounty Tea and First Giveaway

This afternoon, I was in deep thought looking out our back window when I noticed this scene…

11.13 spider web trees

A spiderweb of trees in our backyard! It was amazing and kind of creepy all at the same time.

Earlier in the day, I went for a cold run for which I had to bundle up in layer after layer. After the run, I thought I’d give Greek yogurt another try after my spoil-sport yogurt yesterday…

11.13 Greek Yogurt with peanut butter 2

I mixed Trader Joe’s vanilla Greek yogurt with a handful of walnuts and a dollop of all-natural peanut butter..11.13 Greek Yogurt with peanut butter 1

When you mix it all together it’s like peanut butter fluff with a whole lot of crunch! I also enjoyed some super yummy tea..

11.13 Explorers Bounty Tea

About a month ago, the nice folks at Explorer’s Bounty sent me a big package with a bunch of all-natural organic goodies, like chocolate covered nuts and puffed fruit. I did end up tasting several of the products and was not a huge fan of the food. Don’t get me wrong, the products were not horrible, I’m just not a puffed fruit eater and am not a lover of organic chocolate. But, if you are, you’re in luck.

Running With Cake is hosting its FIRST EVER GIVEAWAY!! I have several unopened packages of Explorer’s Bounty products, including puffed fruit, crackers, and chocolate-covered macadamia nuts. To enter my giveaway, please do the following:

  • Visit the Explorer’s Bounty site to check out their story and products, AND
  • If you have a blog, mention the Running With Cake giveaway on your blog, AND
  • Leave a comment on this RWC post letting me know your favorite organic chocolate brand (any brand) and what you like about it (I’m hoping to find one that I actually like!)

Please have all entries to me by 9 PM Eastern on Tuesday, November 17. Then I will pick a winner randomly and announce the winner to all. OK, ready, set GO!

Although I didn’t care for Explorer’s Bounty organic food, I LOVE their tea!!

11.13 Explorers Bounty Tea 2

They sent several types of herbal tea for me to try and today I gave the Green Tea a whirl. Let me tell ya, I am not a big green tea drinker (although Scott loves green tea) but this tea was great! I liked it so much I almost made another cup. I even gave Scott a taste and he said – “yeah, it’s good” – that says a lot for him since he’s super particular about his teas. What I really liked about it was the light flavor – even after steeping it for over 5 minutes. I think that’s why I haven’t liked most green teas in the past because they are too strong tasting to me. I am definitely looking forward to trying the of my tea samples – yum yum!

11.13 Explorers Bounty Tea 3

After breakfast, instead of doing the early Christmas shopping that I intended to do this morning, I ended up not leaving the house until 11:30 AM to run to Costco and the grocery store.

Scott was working at home today, so when I arrived home from shopping we made some sandwiches for lunch…

11.13 Sandwich with tricolor peppers

I love little bell peppers! They are a) convenient because you don’t have to cut them up to take them to work, b) they are sweet, and c) they are so darn colorful and cute!.

11.13 Tricolor peppers

All three reasons were enough for me to buy a jumbo size bag at Costco. I just hope I can eat them all before they go bad! By the way, Costco was rockin’ the samples today – from sausage, to cake, to mozzarella cheese, I could have made a meal out of everything they were having. I wasn’t really in the mood for snacks luckily because I probably saved at few hundred calories.

It was my turn to make dinner tonight. Scott often says that whenever it is my turn to make dinner I always decide that we should go out to eat. Well, I really attempted to make dinner tonight. I even went to defrost chicken and realized that we were on our last 2 chicken breasts. I was really weighing the option of defrosting chicken and not having any for the rest of the week or going out to eat. You all know where this is headed…

11.13 TGIF spinach dip

Yes, we ended up at Friday’s, where we had the obligatory spinach and artichoke dip. I used to love Friday’s but now have a more luke warm feeling towards the restaurant. As for my entree…

11.13 TGIF Mediterranean Salad

I’m just not having luck with foods these days, especially Mediterranean/Greek salads from restaurants. Tonight, although my salad looked good, after a few bites I realized that it was completely loaded with dressing, so much that it was soggy. Yuck! I really dislike eating my salad when all I can taste is dressing – no matter how good the dressing is. I ended up eating about 1/4 the salad then pushing it aside. I left Friday’s a little perturbed and hungry. I’m having serious thoughts of eating a big bowl of Kashi right now.

Remember to enter the Explorer’s Bounty giveaway by 9 PM Eastern Tuesday!

Have a great night everyone!

Bad, Bad, Yogurt

Evening Chicas!

I had an awesome run this morning, although it was cold, cold, COLD! I went from running in 55 degree weather to 35 degree weather this morning! I’m trying to run outside as long as my body (and mind) will let me, because I’m dreading going back on the treadmill for the season. Does anyone else feel this way?

I was running late as usual, so I decided to eat breakfast at work. I remembered I had a Trader Joe’s vanilla Greek yogurt at work, so I took a few walnuts from home to stir in. When I actually looked at the date on the yogurt it said November 5. Hmm…I know you can usually eat yogurt a few days past the expiration, but I thought I’d get a second opinion from a coworker. She replied, “it’s yogurt, it’s already cultured so it won’t be bad.”

11.12 Greek yogurt walnuts

After smelling it, I added my walnuts and took a few bites. I realized that it was not a smart move. It was indeed cultured yogurt – a little too cultured for me – and I consider myself a very cultured person – he he! Bad, Bad, yogurt.

I threw it out – walnuts and all (goodbye $2.50) and starting trolling the halls looking for a second breakfast. My choices were very limited, either leftover Halloween candy or a questionable bag of crackers. But then, I saw this…

11.12 Nonnis biscotti

And Nonni’s Biscotti it was! I very rarely eat biscotti which is kind of strange since I’m a big fan of the big CRUNCH. This lovely came from a brand new container a vendor sent to our office – just in time too!

11.12 Nonnis biscotti2

Seeing as it was biscotti, I figured I should have something warm to go with it – enter Tazo Awake Tea…

11.12 Tazo Awake Tea

I just so happened to have one stashed in my desk. I proceeded to drink a HUGE mug of tea and crunch away on my breakfast…

11.12 Tazo Awake Tea 3

Work is picking up a bit, but not so much that I couldn’t meet my favorite guy out for lunch today. We made a last-minute date at Go Roma. I had a lovely pairing – soup and sammie…

11.12 Butternut squash - veggie panini

I haven’t had butternut squash soup in forever and today was the first time I had it at this restaurant. Fantastic! Very rich and creamy with a smooth texture.

11.12 Butternut Squash Soup

My 1/2 veggie panini with spinach, red peppers, and goat cheese also was well-worth the money. Yes, I ate the French fries. All of them.

11.12 veggie pannini

With such a big lunch, it was no snacking for me this afternoon. I wasn’t even interested. When dinner rolled around at 6:30 PM, I had regained my appetite but really didn’t feel like cooking anything challenging. So, it was warmed up pasta sauce with homemade turkey meat balls….

11.12 Pasta and Meat Sauce

11.12 turkey meatball

This is such a comforting dish, I was ready to curl up on the couch and take a nap after I ate.

I am getting very, very sleep, so I checking out for tonight. I have the day off tomorrow so I’m planning to do a little pre-Thanksgiving Christmas shopping – ho ho! If anyone knows of any good deals, please send the info my way.

Have a great night!

Outdoor Grilling in November – In Chicago!!

Hi All!

It felt awesome sleeping in this morning! I didn’t get up until 7 AM. I’m sure I’ll get a reality check on Monday when I go back to work.

Today started with a big bowl of Kashi Go Lean Crunch – I’m making up for lost Kashi from last week – he he!

11.7 breakfast

After a morning of more cleaning and shopping in 70 degree weather, Scott cooked up some burgers on the grill for us…

11.7 lunch

I can’t believe that it was 70 degrees out day!!! It’s like I never left San Diego!

In addition to the burger, I also made myself a small spinach salad with…

  • 2 cups of baby spinach
  • 1 chopped carrot
  • 1 tbs Mezzetta jarred red peppers
  • 10 grape tomatoes
  • white cheddar cheese

And I topped it all with a little EVOO and balsamic vinegar.

Later in the day I ran to Trader Joe’s to pick up a few things for dinner tonight. While in San Diego, I picked up the latest issue of Every Day With Ray. It has so many fabulous recipes, including the one I tried tonight…

11.7 dinner recipe

Sorry about the fuzzy photo. Scott thought it would be a good idea to at least show you what the recipe looked like but you can actually get the full recipe on Rachel Ray’s site.

The main ingredients of the recipe are chicken and store-bought gnocchi which I so conveniently purchased at TJ’s. Surprisingly, Trader Joe’s only had one type of gnocchi and it wasn’t even whole wheat. The actual recipe was super easy, although be very careful when simmering the sauce, my first attempt boiled over!

11.7 dinner2

My second try went much better, especially because I watched it much more closely. And now, the final product…

11.7 dinner4

This seriously looks just like the photo – which means I done good! And, not only did the photo turn out well, but the dish tasted awesome! However, I would NOT eat this dish on a regular basis. Between the gnocchi and the cream sauce, this dish was very heavy and I’m sure not very low in calories either!

11.7 dinner5

I just finished watching (or glancing at) the Fantastic Four on FX. This is the first time I’ve really seen Jessica Alba act. I’ve heard so many good things about her so was surprised that her acting skills in this movie were less than great.

We are in for another 70 degree day in Chicago tomorrow – can’t wait! We’re still debating on what we’ll do to enjoy the weather, but I guess you’ll all find out tomorrow!

Have a great night!

Too Much Anxiety and Too Little Sleep

Hello All!

How did your day go? I woke up at 3:30 AM and could NOT go back to sleep. Ugh – I hate that! I think it’s anxiety related to my trip/meeting. So, as you might have guessed, too much anxiety and too little sleep = no running this morning. The alarm went off at 6 AM and after having only 5 hours of sleep, I decided to stay in bed for an extra hour.

Breakfast was a quick cereal bowl – only Kashi Go Lean Crunch this time…

10.27 breakfast

Then I was out the door so fast I left a trail of dust behind me. 

I was busy, busy, busy all day today. I was dealing with my projects but also helping my boss with his. All in a day’s work!

Lunch was pasta and sauce leftovers….

10.27 lunch

I swear I can never get tired of this meal! It is so amazing. I only wish I had a meatball to go with it!

After work, I attempted to call Disney’s Dining reservations line to make our lunch/dinner reservations for our trip in the spring. I had to call 10 times just to get through. They had been having problems with their system all day apparently. So then I waited for 25 minutes on hold – on my cell phone no less – but there was NO chance of me hanging up for fear of not being able to get through again. It’s kind of like calling for concert or baseball tickets. After being on hold, I spent about 30 minutes making all of my reservations. Whew! That was rough. Although we had planned out where we wanted to eat, making actual reservations was a little dicey when we weren’t sure what park we wanted to visit on what day. But, after nearly an hour of cell phone minutes, I have 12 reservations to get me started!

Dinner was on my own tonight so I threw together a very yummy and flavorful grilled chicken salad…

10.27 dinner

For my salad I included

  • 3 cups of red leaf lettuce
  • Shaved carrots
  • White cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 grilled chicken breast

And I topped it all off with a little olive oil and Trader Joe’s Balsamic Vinegar. This was JUST what I needed tonight. Something light, yet pleasing to my tastebuds.

I’m off to do a little more work. I will hopefully have time to blog more and comment on all of your other blogs after next week.

Take care and have a great night!

Orzo Risotto Improv

Hey there!

Well my headache from last night has continued through today, although I have had intermittent headache-free spells. I did take over-the-counter sinus medication last night. It really helped me sleep, despite being the daytime kind.

Getting a good night sleep really helped me with my run this morning. It was a gorgeous morning for a run as well, so I ran about 5 miles and felt GREAT! Only problem was that it has rained the past few days so when I ran through the grass, my shoes were a completely soggy mess! No worries though because tomorrow I’m heading out to buy new running shoes – yeah!

I was nearly starving when I returned from my run, so I made an awesome breakfast…

10.25 breakfast

Nothing like a huge bowl of homemade oats to curb the appetite! I added a little brown sugar, sliced almonds, and of course, all-natural creamy peanut butter. I mixed it all together which promptly turned my oatmeal into a giant gooey, but very yummy, mess in a bowl.

I ran out to Target soon after breakfast to pick up more medicine and a few essentials for my upcoming trip. Then I stopped to take a walk in the park (rather a forest preserve) which was just lovely with all of the trees at their peak color.

Lunch was similar to yesterday…a simple and fairly small salami and ham sandwich, but this time I used the three-cheese bread that we bought yesterday.

10.25 lunch

Oh my, high quality bakery bread makes all the difference in a sandwich!

I spent the afternoon doing MORE shopping for my big meeting. I still haven’t found any new clothes to my liking, but my frustration was replaced with excitement as I purchased a few new pieces of jewelry! Bling, bling!

Scott and I decided to stay in for dinner tonight. I offered to make risotto to go with the mesquite chicken he was making. Come to find out, we had no aborio rice! Ugh! But, never fear, we had orzo, so I improvised.

10.25 dinner2

I boiled the orzo according to directions but added a cube of bouillon to the water. After it was cooked, I drained it and added sauteed red peppers, onions, shaved carrots, and baby spinach. Top this with parmesan cheese and it’s good to go!

Almost forgot to mention that, while we were cooking, Scott and I polished off a box of Trader Joe’s spinach and artichoke dip…

10.25 dinner1

This is fantastic dip, as I mentioned before, and way cheaper than anything you could buy in a restaurant.

I still have a bunch of things to get done tonight so I will say my goodbyes now!

Have a great Sunday evening!

Dessert For Breakfast

Leave it to my office to serve dessert for breakfast. I arrived at work this morning, expecting a nice breakfast spread. So I was not surprised to see the standard bagels and lox and fresh fruit. But we also had two huge chocolate bundt cakes that were masked as coffee cakes. You’ve all heard the saying, call a spade a spade. Well, if your breakfast has chocolate, sugar, butter, flour, and frosting, just call it what it is – DESSERT!

10.21 breakfast1

You can see the cakes at the FAR back/top of the picture.

When I arrived to the buffet, I immediately skipped over the bagels/bread and moved right to the fruit. The fruit was fantastic – I haven’t tasted honeydew that good in a very long time. I really should have filled my plate up with fruit and stopped there. Next in line was a mystery dish, that a coworker told me had egg, pasta, and blueberries in it – are you serious? Ok, I had to try it just because it was so strange.

10.21 breakfast2

As for the mystery dish, after one bite, I did not care to see how that story ended. Now, onto the cake! I took a relatively small piece of the chocolate chip bundt cake. It was not as dense as I imagined it to be – kind of like a hefty croissant only shaped like a cake. Next on the breakfast menu were the obligatory cheese blintzes with blueberry and strawberry toppings. I’ve tasted these dandies before and did not care for them in the slightest, so it was bye bye blintzes.

Our kick-off meeting went very well. It even ended a tad early, which we were all grateful for. But, immediately after that meeting, I had another “meeting” to stuff welcome bags for all staff going to San Diego. We stuffed the bags with survival items like mini lint rollers, gum, hand sanitizer, granola bars, etc. In the past, our VIP’s have always received a little something when they checked into our meeting. I thought it was about time for the staff to receive a little something too. Sorry, I didn’t take a picture of the bag but I’ll try to do that in San Diego next week so I can show you all the goodies I received!

For lunch, I made a quick trip to Go Roma for one of my fave soups – chicken and wild rice!

10.21 lunch

I really should have walked the 10 minutes to the restaurant instead of driving. It was 67 degrees and B-eautiful! I was really pressed for time so driving seemed the best option. 

Well, on top of our breakfast, and all of our welcome bag treats, our organization also treated the staff to gourmet cookies for an afternoon snack…

10.21 cookies

The cookies were the prepackaged kind (which I’m not a huge fan of) from Cheryl & Co. They came in several varieties, including pumpkin with cinnamon icing, double chocolate with chocolate icing, and a sugar cookie shaped like a pumpkin with orange icing. As you can see from above, I grabbed one of each – just for taste-testing purposes of course. I had a taste of both the pumpkin and the sugar cookies – oh my, I can NOT have the cookies in the house! They were so moist, sweet, and they nearly melted in my mouth. These did not taste like the prepackaged cookies that I remember – but then again, they are gourmet.

For dinner, Scott and I warmed up some Trader Joe’s spinach and artichoke dip – hmmm, this is outstanding!! I think I have mentioned this dip before but seriously, you don’t know what you’re missing.

10.21 dinner1

We also heated up some of the homemade minestrone soup Scott made a few weeks ago. Unlike pasta sauce, this soup actually seems to lose some of its flavor after freezing. It’s still good (especially when loaded with parmesan cheese!), just not as good as the day you make it.

10.21 dinner2

After dinner, I went out shopping again for about an hour and still didn’t find anything. I keep going back to all my old favorites – JCrew, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, etc. I have this image in my head that if I go to those stores enough the perfect piece will suddenly appear on the sale rack. Wishful thinking I’m sure.

OK, it’s getting late and I must call it a night. Have a good evening everyone!

Cursing the Chex-Mix

Hello All! Thank you all so much for all your sweet and concerned comments about my lost camera. I am liking the new one – the Canon SD 980 IS, however, I may have my sights set on an even better one!! Hopefully, I’ll have more details about that in the coming weeks. But, let’s just say that one camera is NOT enough for this household!

After my split run (2 miles on the t’mill and 2 miles outside) I came home and enjoyed a bowlful of fluffy goodness…

10.12 breakfast1

Today I tried Chobani’s fat free vanilla Greek yogurt topped with walnuts for extra crunch and MUFA. This yogurt was pretty tasty, but I still prefer Trader Joe’s Greek yogurt to most.

I arrived at work about 9:15 AM, Starbuck’s skinny vanilla latte in hand, and promptly got down to business. For nearly 4 hours straight I barely left my cube. I was so entrenched in work that I didn’t even feel like eating lunch – just wasn’t hungry. Instead, I munched on some homemade chex-mix, full of chex cereal, mixed nuts, and pretzels (what, not chocolate?), that was found in our staff lounge. I have a very strong feeling I should have eaten lunch, because around 4 PM I was cursing that chex-mix big time – ugh! Please note that I do NOT normally skip lunch completely. It’s only on these very rare occasions when I’m just not hungry that I do actually forgo a lunchtime meal. I do not recommended it at all, because most of the time, I will end up eating junk or over eating later in the day.

Anyway, now it’s on to dinner with Scott, which is always event. Tonight, I came home to a very clean house (thank you!) and a huge pot of potato soup!

10.12 dinner1

Hmmm….sooo good on a cold day! I will have to admit, I do like my version of the potato soup a tad better. I think it may have to do with the carrots and leeks that I add – they give my soup a ton of flavor. But this version is still quite tasty.

10.12 dinner2

While we were waiting for the soup to finish cooking, I decided to finally break into the Trader Joe’s pumpkin bread…

10.12 pumpkin bread1

I simply followed the recipe on the box, only I added about a cup of chopped walnuts right on top…

10.12 pumpkin bread2

The smell of this batter was just heavenly! It’s amazing what certain food scents can conjure up in your mind. I felt like it should be Thanksgiving or at least November.

About an hour later, the sweet bread was finally puffed and fluffed and ready for me to take out of the oven…

10.12 pumpkin bread3

Next came the taste test….

10.12 pumpkin bread4

This bread was really good, although I felt like there was something missing. I can’t put my finger on it just yet, but I can assure you that if it just had a little something more, it would have been fantastic. Scott, on the other hand, liked it “enough to have a second piece”. I think I’ll try homemade next time….

I am completely spent for the night. Have a great evening and see you all tomorrow!

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!