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Hi! Guess what?

Monday is ovah!

I know I said I like Mondays. But I also like seeing them end. 🙂 SO, today was MLK Junior day, an important holiday we should all honor. But I didn’t have it off work, so I decided to take a half day and MAKE myself have it off! I wanted to go shopping and get some stuff settled in my new place, so that’s exactly what I did.

I met my sister for lunch at the mall and we got paninis at Frulatti:

This was awesome! It was turkey, melted provolone, and tomatoes (I ditched the sauce it came with, which was mayo-y and looked kind of suspicious). I thought about ordering a smoothie, but—fun fact—the smoothies there have upwards of 350 calories! So basically, sugar in a cup. If I was going to have sugar in a cup at lunch, I would definitely go for Dairi Queen. 🙂

Anyway, sorry for the sugar rant. I also had Harvest Cheddar Sun Chips:


And this cookie. Ok, for some reason, this cookie makes me laugh out loud every time I look at it. Seriously, it’s weird, I need to stop. But doesn’t it look like, I don’t know, some kind of little forest creature? Maybe it’s just me:


Maybe like a squirrel burrowing down for the winter. Or a little mole. Ok, I’m done. It’s just got a very strange shape to it.

After work, I visited the gym and discovered that I was NOT feeling it. Oh no, I hate that. I turned up my music until it was hurting my ears, but Hannah Montana can only motivate so much. I need some new, upbeat running songs. Any suggestions??

After my run, during which I plodded along, pathetically glancing at the clock every 3 minutes or so, I headed home to contemplate dinner. Even though I wasn’t super excited to be at the gym, when I got home, I was glad I went. You never regret a workout!

I went to the grocery store today, and you know how when you come home from grocery shopping, you want to eat little bites of everything because you’re so excited about all the new food? I usually have one hand in the Cheez-Its (which I bought some of today) before I even get out of my car. Grocery shopping is pretty much the highlight of my week. If you think this is sad, you may be right. 🙂

Anyway, at dinner, all the brand new boxes in the pantry were calling my name. Tonight marks the return of my absolute fave granola (BearNaked) and I dumped some in a bowl with honey nut cereal (I don’t know what kind!), bananas, and milk:


And called it dinner. I got a little excited with the milk and used too much. And yes, I totally slurped it up at the end.

Dessert involved some of the sweetest strawberries I’ve ever had! They were SO good. But they were even better dipped in my best bud, the almond butter:

I’m full.

Guess what else I bought at the grocery store?! My total favorite magazine (I know I said this before, but it beats Glamour, honest):

People StyleWatch! Kim Kardashian is going to tell me what to buy for spring, and I can’t wait. Every late January or so,  I get REALLY impatient to buy spring clothes, accessories, etc, even though I won’t be able to wear them for about 4 more months, because Indiana is stupid.

If you want, I will report back on what is hot and what is not for 2010. 🙂

Have a great night! See you bright and early!

Fun With U-Hauls

Gooood morning! Hope you had a great weekend! Mine consisted of moving stuff, eating, drinking beer, and more eating. Saturday morning was consumed with tons of this:

My big, strong, handsome moving boys! They totally knew their way around a U-HAUL :).

I had to fuel for the morning with a skinny vanilla latte and an egg white, tomato, and spinach burrito from Starby’s:



That gave me plenty of energy for several strenuous hours of standing in the middle of my new living room, directing them where to put heavy things.

At the end of the day, we dug into the only acceptable moving meal—pizza and beer!



The only thing I did more of this weekend than move stuff was eat pizza. I’m a teeny bit embarrassed to share, but, why not: I ate pizza for dinner Friday night, for lunch on Saturday, AND for dinner on Saturday.

At least Saturday at lunch I tried to stick the veggie kind. That counts for something, no?

There was also a battle of cookies going on this weekend. Remember my fabulous Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies I made on Friday for my movers? Well, my mom totally one-upped me with these:


She brought chocolate peanut butter no-bake cookies, and they were pretty much inhaled the minute the boys spotted them. How do Moms do that?!

At the end of the day, were stuffed full of pizza and totally exhausted. Even Riley, who did absolutely nothing helpful, but did stand around looking confused, was one pooped puppy:


It’s hard work discovering that your food and water bowl has been moved and you have to find entirely new places to take care of business.

Overall, moving was a total success! I was shocked by how fast we got done, with minimal dents in the furniture and not too many sore musles. And check out my beautiful new picture from IKEA:


I’ve never been to Paris, but this picture hanging above my couch is my inspiration to save up enough money to go! If you hadn’t noticed, I might have a tiny IKEA obsession. Just a little one.

Sunday was filled with hanging pictures, decorating, and arranging—my fave part of moving! As promised, my unhealthy streak continued full steam ahead with lunch on Sunday. We ended up at Champp’s (I manage to end up back there a LOT :))—and started with a crab bread appetizer:


Look at that great little chunk of crab! It was SO good. We happily continued with more cheesey goodness:



Spinach and artichoke dip + a Cuban sandwich! 

At least it wasn’t pizza. 🙂

Last night was spent lazing around and watching City of God. Have you seen that movie? It’s actually really good, if sad. I was kind of proud of myself for watching a whole movie in subtitles. 🙂

This morning when I got up, I decided to start the week off with a healthy breakfast…a much-need change after Pizza Fest 2010. Whole wheat, flax seed waffles with almond butter and strawberry jam did the trick:

Along with a clementine (I think these things are mating and having babies in my fridge):


A refreshing, healthy breakfast. 🙂

Tonight my plans include more packing and heading to the gym! Weekends are the best, but sometimes it’s kind of nice to settle back into the routine.

Do you dread Mondays? Or do you enjoy them?

Have a great day!

Moving Day!

Happy weekend!

Just a quick post to let you know I’ll be back soon with updates/recaps of all my exciting (unhealthy) weekend eats. A girl works up an attetite directing the moving of her heavy furniture…which I’ll be doing ALL day!! Wish me luck!

Be back soon!

Good morning!! Sorry for the lack of postage last night. I was busy drinking this to make packing more fun (works every time):

And making these!

These are Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies, which are every bit as amazing as they sound! They’re my grandma’s recipe, and nobody makes a meaner chocolate chip cookie than a grandma. You know?

The recipe is actually from this cookbook:

My grandpa died of cancer when I was in high school, and all of the recipes in this book are from my family members, with all of the proceeds going to the American Cancer Society. It’s a lovely book that I use over and over again. 🙂

The secret ingredient in these yummy little cookies is vanilla pudding, which gives them a perfect consistency and an unbelievable sweet taste. Behold said secret ingredient:

To make Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies:

Ingredients:

—2 1/4 cups flour
—1 tsp. baking soda
—1/2 cup margarine
—1/2 cup shortening
—1/4 cup granulate sugar
—3/4 cup light brown sugar
—1 package instant vanilla pudding (I used French Vanilla)
—1 tsp vanilla
—2 eggs
–12 oz chocolate chips (I used peanut butter/choco chip swirl because I felt like it :))
—1 cup chopped nuts

Mix flour with baking soda in medium bowl. Combine margarine, shortening, sugars, pudding mix and vanilla in a larger mixing bowl. Beat until smooth and creamy. Beat in eggs. Gradually add flour, then stir in chips and nuts. Batter will be stiff. Bake at 375 for 8 to 10 minutes. Makes about 7 dozen.

The batter! Mmmm.

The truly amazing vanilla my mom brought me from her trip to Mexico (cooking ingredients from Mexico! This made me REALLy excited; I’m a dork):


I mixed all the ingredients together and baked!


This little guy was apparently not a very smart cookie (heh, heh), because he completely lost his way to the cooling rack and jumped in my tummy instead:


I may or may not have had multiple mouthfuls of raw dough as well. If you don’t eat the dough, what’s the point of making cookies? 🙂

These cookies are SO good! I make them often, hence the mix-in of the peanut butter/chocolate swirl chips for a new twist:


I brought a container of the cookies into work today, which I will probably snack on all morning. And all afternoon. And perhaps this evening.

Speaking of snacking, last night I came home from working out (I just ran a little over 2 miles) and immediately munched on veggies and hummus, so dinner was fairly light:

A baked swiss + cheddar + marinara sandwich on sprouted rye bread.

Preassembly:


Dessert was, obviously, copious amounts of cookie dough + cookies.

Breakfast this morning was one of my fave Friday breakfasts (meaning I didn’t make it—these awesome peeps did!):


I have a teeny weeny obsession with Einstein’s. Their coffee, their bagels, their pizza bagels—I could eat it every day (I don’t). My favorite is this:


A Good Grains bagel with reduced fat cream cheese. Not the healthiest of breakfasts, but not as bad as, say, McDonald’s (sorry, Mickey D’s—you know I speak the truth). Mmmm, bagels.

Now that I’m hungry again from looking at all of these food pics, I’ll switch topics to…Fun Fashion Friday!

Another column that made its my way to my blog last week. Since shopping occupies an embarrassing chunk of my weekend hours, I figured some of you would probably be interested too!

So here’s some of my fave links this week for your perusing pleasure!

1. Shopittome.com—this website it awesome! For those of us who have a fairly strict budget (me! me!) it’s perfect because all you do is sign up, and they send you alerts when clothes, accessories, etc go on sale. Everything from Juicy to Free People to Victoria’s Secret—they have a HUGE range of stores! You can even sign up with your size for more specific results.

2. The Sartoialist—my friend passed this along to me, and it’s so great! This website is basically for inspiration when you’re in a fashion rut—this guy just started randomly photographing people on the streets of NYC (where else?) that he thought looked fabulous. So you can totally steal their ideas, and no one will ever know, unless they read the website. Eh, it’s a chance I’m willing to take.

3. Glamour.com—my favorite magazine returns to the blog! Their fashion section is ridiculously fun. Take, for example, this article, which explains how a women can burn up to 48,000 calories a year shopping. Seriously, can find a better excuse for retail therapy? I think not. 🙂

Hope these provide some inspiration for the fiscally challenged (such as myself). Happy shopping, and have a great Friday!

Good morning! It’s almost the weekend—-weeee!

This weekend will be extra fun (or extra NOT fun, depending on how you look at it) b/c I’m moving! Not far, just to a bigger apartment with a pretty lake view. 🙂

It will be a labor-intensive weekend, b/c I am not hiring movers (that’s what boyfriends are for) so I plan on supervising, beer in hand, while Dave and my guy friends do all the work.

Haha, I’m kidding. Kind of.

Anyway, I started carbo-loading already in anticipation of the physical activity (or maybe I was just craving carbs):


I threw a bunch of stuff in a bowl for lack of any better ideas. Fat-free plain yogurt, half a banana, granola, Puffins, organic blueberries, and the ever-present big blob of almond butter. Mmmm!

Lots of whole grain goodness!


Normally I’m not a huge fan of blueberries, but they are so good for you (and they make things pretty). I used these from Trader Joe’s, and they’re actually fairly sweet:


Lunch will be another Amy’s frozen entree—although I’m starting to feel my resolve to make my meals all week waver. Be prepared to see some unhealthy food items jump into my posts tomorrow. 🙂 In my opinion, that’s what the weekend is all about. 🙂 But as far as frozen lunches go, you can’t beat Amy’s for taste and nutrition! Case in point:


These meals are restaurant quality, I swear. I’ve had this meal before, and it’s pretty much the best black beans I’ve ever eaten (even better than Chichi’s! Remember Chichi’s? But since I’m not a huge fan of Mexican food, I used to go there and order a hot dog, and my mom would shake her head in dismay.)

Anyway, I digress:


A big cheesey blob of black beans, plus more cheese + tortillas with tofu and spices:


Yum.

So since I”m still excited about my run yesterday, I thought I would give you the best three running tips I’ve ever received. I definitely still consider myself a beginner, so tips are SO helpful and important.

I started seriously trying to run back in the spring, but after about 6 weeks of doing too much, too fast (I basically went from no physical activity to running 10-12 miles a week—I don’t know what I was thinking) I got a nasty stress fracture in my foot. It was SO frustrating b/c I was beginning to see improvement, and then I had to stay off of it for eight long weeks. It still twinges sometimes when I run.

Which brings me to:

#1: Don’t overdo it! I’m living proof. At the beginning, it feels so good to just be doing something, and your body becomes kind of addicted, and you just can’t wait to run. But you have to build up your endurance slowly. For tips on this, see this page to learn the Galloway method of running.

#2: Regulate your breathing. A friend told me this, and it’s the single most important thing that’s helped my endurance. I used to just huff and puff and draw in all the air I could and figured that was good enough. But now I breathe in slowly and steadily through my nose, and exhale through my mouth. It makes a HUGE difference.

#3: Relax your shoulders and arms. As you run, concentrate on letting your arms move loosely at your sides, as opposed to tensing up your shoulders—that uses up all your precious energy! As an added bonus, it gives you something to focus on as you run, which makes the time go faster.

What are your best running tips?

By the way, that Banana Bread LaraBar from yesterday was AWESOME!! Tasted just like banana bread. Try it. 🙂

Hi!

You know those nights when you work out, feel very fitness-y and strong, and then you come home and stuff yourself for no apparent reason? That was me tonight.

Eh, it happens.

But my run tonight was awesome and fun, which can be kind of an elusive thing, so when it happens I get really excited!

I headed to the gym after work and did 3 miles in 30:05, with some extra walking thrown in a at the end. Still not “fast,” but good for me!  That time includes 5 minutes of warm-up walking, so I felt good about it—I started at about a 9:40 pace and climbed up to 9:10ish and pretty much stayed there.

Unfortunately, I got really concerned in the middle about my shorts falling off. They were new, which I was totally attributing the fun-ness of the run to, but they don’t fit exactly right and I just got paranoid about it. I was quite relieved to get off of the treadmill and adjust them to less dangerous ground.

Anyway, I came home starving and began pulling random things out of my fridge to snack on, considered a spoonful of catchup, and reluctantly put it back. I made dinner ASAP:


A baked turkey and hummus sandwich on a whole wheat Arnolds Thin with Laughing Cow + cheddar cheese, sweet potato fries, and ketchup for dipping (much better than eating it by the spoonful, no?).

It was so good! I love sweet potato fries but usually don’t have the patience to make them. So after my close call of turning a condiment into a snack, I munched on more sensible crackers and hummus while I baked the fries. First I sliced up a huge sweet potato, then tossed it in extra virgin olive oil and a few shakes of seasoned salt:

Then I baked them at 425 for 23 minutes, turning once in the middle. They got all bubbly and crisp (Dave would refer to them as burnt):


Yum! I sprinkled on a generous amount of salt before I ate them. And I dipped my turkey and swiss in this:


Remember when I said this stuff freaked me out? Besides the fact that it’s from IKEA, which is a little strange, I’m over that and love to eat it with sandwiches! Kind of like cranberry sauce with turkey.

Don’t judge me on dessert here:


Nope, I didn’t make anything with these. Just ate them straight out of the bag.

Well, I guess the rest of my night will consist of more American Idol (really, what DOES Simon do to make those white t-shirts look so hot?) and finishing up this month’s issue of my absolute fave magazine:


Reading fashion and beauty magazines is one of my top 5 favorite activities in life, hands-down. Throw in a pair of warm slippers and Riley’s head on my leg and you can’t beat it. 🙂

Before I head out, I wanted to share that I was thinking a lot today about something. The earthquake in Haiti is a tragedy of such magnitude that it really does stop you in your tracks. It just makes me want to do everything I can to embrace every moment, because life truly is a blessing and a gift.

A friend of mine said not long ago that if you have your health, you have everything. That is an absolute truth, in my opinion. I’m making a conscious effort to truly embrace each moment and not take them for granted.

If you’d like to make a donation to the relief efforts in Haiti but aren’t sure where to do so, click here to visit the Red Cross website.

Good morning! I’m enjoying a lovely breakfast as I type. But first:

Thoughts on American Idol:

1. Ok. So honestly, how many of these people are paid actors because the real contestants were too boring? Andrew Whatever has way too nice of a jawline to just be some out-of-work musician.

2. I just don’t really trust/like Kara. I feel like she is hungry at all times and needs to just eat a cookie before the auditions.

3. Speaking of cookies, did anyone else notice the insane amount of Wendy’s commericals? I started really craving chicken nuggets around 8:45. I finally had to get up and get a plate of cheese and crackers.

4. Ryan Seacrest…you’re lucky you were born cute.

I could go on about this, but the point is, that show has some flaws. However, I am not a producer and would not know how to be and therefore should probably just shut up. I did enjoy it and will be parking in front of myself in front of the TV for the full two hours again tonight.

On to breakfast: a Green Monster + half a whole wheat bagel with reduced sugar strawberry jam!

Green Monsters are super popular in the blogging world–it’s a smoothie made with fruit, spinach, almond butter, milk, oats, ice, etc. You can customize it, but I used this recipe from Kristin’s blog. Before you gag, you MUST give it a chance. You can’t taste the oats or spinach at all–it basically tastes like cool, creamy, drinkable almond butter. Therefore, it’s the best.thing.ever.

You blend all ingredients except the ice and banana first, then add the other two, then continue to blend to icy perfection.


Frozen, chopped banana:


Green monsters are the perfect summer breakfast—light and refreshing— but I was craving one today, even though it’s 18 degrees outside (EW.) So you’ll probably be seeing them a lot when it gets warmer. PS, it’s in a beer glass because I was out of clean glasses. Who doesn’t need a little beer glass action in their life before 8:00am?

And here’s the strawberry preserves I used on my bagel:

On to lunch:


A piece of leftover Spicy Cheddar Cornbread, a little baby clementine, and a banana bread LaraBar! I’ve never had this flavor before and I have high hopes:


I’ll report back on how it tastes :).

So, who’s ready for Change the World Wednesday?? Last week, I introduced this column with Children International, and now I’d like to present another nonprofit organization that I think deserves our help:

Heigl’s Hounds of Hope!

This organazation was founded by Katherine Heigl from Grey’s Anatomy and her mom in memory of Katherine’s brother Jason, who was killed in a car accident when he was 15 and was passionate about animals. The mission statement:

The focus of the Foundation is to increase awareness of inhumane treatment of animals, support non-prot rescue efforts, assist homeless shelter animals with rescue and medical treatment, fund and encourage free spay/neuter clinics, place rescue dogs and cats in loving homes, and educate the public about the horrors of puppy mills and dog ghting.

I know there are many, many animal lovers out there who agree with me that this is a great cause. For more information on getting involved and donating, visit the website. And for a little visual persuasion, the cutest doggy in the world asking for your help:


Yeah, it’s Riley again. Sorry for the blur, he does not enjoy standing still long enough to get his picture taken. He’d rather be eating the camera.

Have a great day!