Tuesday, March 8, 2011

House Hunting and Road Trip Eats

Well hi! It's been awhile, I know. The past few days have flown by and I haven't had much food/health related content to share with you, aside from two great workoutsThe major time hog? House hunting! Justin and I have been seriously looking at houses the past few days.  It's exciting and unnerving at the same time. On one hand, it's such a thrill to think that we are finally going to have our a space to call our own and to make it completely ours. On the other hand, it's a daunting responsibility; we are actually going to have to pay for, fix up and maintain this place. I'm definitely more excited that apprehensive, it's just that all of these emotions are hitting me all at once. I'm sure many of you know what I mean.

I need a new house!

Surprisingly, the house that we are most seriously considering is one that I hated when we looked at it online. It's pretty small and dated, but it's a very charming space and I think it could be perfect for the two of us and PB. It needs a lot of cosmetic work, but luckily Justin, his family and friends and my Dad are all very handy. The best feature, in my opinion, is that the entire kitchen needs to be re-done.  Which means that I would have the opportunity to create my dream kitchen! (Within reason, of course). I'll share the details as the process moves along.

Also, today is 7 months until our wedding! Eek! So much to do!

Today I drove back to Ohio from Philly. The trip is tedious but luckily a simple drive. So I thought I would share with you my "road trip eats". I tried to keep them healthy and filling so that I wouldn't be tempted by Cinnabon and venti Frappucinos!

Driving=not so much fun

I wanted to make sure to get lots of protein from my breakfast so that I would stay full until I had the opportunity to stop and eat lunch.  I had a Chobani fat free greek yogurt with some cheesecake flavored Jello pudding mix stirred in and topped it with some frozen blueberries.  This treat is one of my favorite breakfast/snack options. Though the picture shows a banana, I decided to save that for lunch and had a small palmful of nuts instead. Yum! This meal had lots of staying power.


Oftentimes when I am driving back and forth from Ohio to Philly, I find that I don't want to sit down at a rest stop and eat lunch. I would rather have something that I can eat while driving so that I don't waste time. Today was one of those days, so I stopped at Wawa for the makings of a healthy and portable lunch.

I picked up some baby carrots (which didn't last until lunch/picture time), a Kashi GoLean bar, two hardboiled eggs (I only ate the whites), a banana and a string cheese. I spread the contents of the meal out over the drive, since I find that boredom in the car leads to hunger! I didn't wind up eating the string cheese because I just wasn't hungry for it. 

Once I came home I had some fresh strawberries, a few almonds and the tops of the last two Peanut Butter Surprise cookies. I actually hate when I pick at things like that and plan to try to nix that habit over the course of Lent this year (more on that tomorrow).

I was really hungry by the time dinner rolled around and totally forgot to take any pictures! I made some spaghetti squash with meatballs and marinara.  I also had a couple of the ravioli that my parents were eating.  A salad was also served on the side.  I just recently started eating spaghetti squash and I really enjoy it.  I'm thinking the leftovers might make their way into some kind of sweet application tomorrow.

Ok, the rest of the night will be spent catching up with my mom and dad and talking to Justin about house-related things.  Stay tuned tomorrow- I have an idea for a cool Lent project (or New Year's resolution renewal, if you don't observe Lent).  Have a great night!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Day In The Life...

Being that this little blog of mine is still a baby, I feel like I'm not 100% sure of what it will be when it's all grown up.  My vision is that it will be a hybrid of my two favorite types of blogs: cooking and baking blogs that share well executed recipes and techniques, and healthy living blogs that document the daily lives, meals and workout habits of the blogger.  Ultimately, I want to show how I maintain a healthy lifestyle while becoming an accomplished cook. 

I've been debating whether or not I want to share my daily meals with you. I think the best way to decide will be to give it a try.  So I took pictures of all of my meals and most of my snacks yesterday, and will share them with you today. Here goes!


Breakfast was a combination of something old, something new and something blue...All I needed was something borrowed and it could have been a bridal breakfast! I started with an old favorite, Greek Yogurt Mousse, an idea I got from Julie: a plain, non-fat Chobani mixed with a little bit of cheesecake flavored Jello pudding mix. SO delish. I topped it with some frozen blueberries and my something new- Chia seeds. I picked some up the other day after seeing lots of other bloggers try them.  They were very good- I really enjoyed the crunchy texture they added to my yogurt.


I was surprisingly sore after Thursdays abs and yoga workout.  I didn't think the abs video was that tough while I was doing it, but my core was in serious pain today. So I decided to forego my initial plan of more intense cardio and did the Jillian Michaels Six Week Six Pack Level 1 workout that was OnDemand.  It was a decent workout- the second circuit repeating the moves was definitely more challenging because it was at double speed.  I would have liked for it to be a little more vigorous overall.  I generally love Jillian Michaels' workouts, so I think I would like level two much better.


I had some Chinese takeout Thursday night, so I reheated some of what was left.  I had steamed chicken and vegetables with about 1/2 cup of brown rice and a little brown sauce, which I ordered on the side and put on myself.  I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of veggies in the mix- there were carrots, snow peas, zucchini, asparagus, mushrooms and onions.  I finished it off with an apple (not pictured), which was a bit of a disappointment- lots of brown spots and very little flavor.  Is it time for summer produce yet?!

Dessert was much more enjoyable :-)

I haven't mentioned this yet, but I am currently counting Weight Watcher's points in an effort to lose a few of the winter pounds that have crept up on me.  About 4-5 years ago, I lost over 30 pounds while loosely following the program. It works for me because it's pretty flexible and I can typically work in whatever foods I want as long as I'm smart about it. However, one food that I do stay away from because of its high point value is peanut butter.  It's a bit sad, because I love peanut butter, but I have serious portion control issues with it. Enter this guy:

I bought a couple of these at the store the other day and I love them! Perfect portion control.  I may or may not have eaten it straight out of the packet.

A little later I had a handful of dried cranberries because I was craving something sweet.

Justin and I decided it was time to try something new last night. He'd always wanted to try The Bay Pony Inn, so we made reservations and headed out.  I enjoyed a glass of Pinot Grigio and a piece of bread while Justin enjoyed some clam chowder. For my entree I ordered the scallop and spinach salad.

The scallops were cooked to perfection but, to be honest, the salad felt like it was lacking something, especially for the price.  It was begging for some goat cheese and toasted almonds.  Luckily I ordered a side of sweet potato fries, which more than compensated for anything the salad was lacking. Am I the only one incapable of passing up sweet potato fries???

I ate about half at the restaurant and the other half when we got home for a late night snack.

After dinner we headed out to Hotel Fiesole for a couple of drinks.  I LOVE this place and am thinking it would be a nice place for us to stay on our wedding night!

We ended the night at Joe's Spring Mount Hotel, a little bar up the street from Justin's parents' house.

Clearly this was taken in the fall
 Justin and I both love this bar. He actually plays the song "I Love This Bar" on the jukebox every time we go in. We are getting married at a church right up the street and the owners have been gracious enough to allow us to take some wedding party pictures on the front porch.  I think it will be tres cute.

We met up with Justin's friend Chris and hung out for a little while.

Cute Couple!

Then we came home, hung out with this little knucklehead and called it a night! 

So there you are, a day in my life!

Happy Saturday!

I'm Asking: What are your plans for the weekend?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

If It Pleases and Sparkles...

I'm not a big South Park fan, but Justin loves it, so I watch it frequently.  Usually I just tolerate it and fall asleep, but last night's episode spoke to me.  The girls in the class formed a very official List Making Committee, and in order for a motion to be considered by the committee, it had to "please and sparkle" with the members.  If it did, they would approve it by responding "sunshine!".  I think it's a brilliant way to determine whether or not something is acceptable.

So, one thing that pleases and sparkles with me??  This guy! 

We've been engaged since Christmas but I still spend a good 15-20 minutes a day gazing at its' beauty.  Sunshine!

Something else that pleases and sparkles? Peanut butter.  And chocolate. And marshmallows and candy. So it should be no surprise that these Peanut Butter Suprise Cookies get a "Sunshine!" vote from me.  I'm pretty sure they'll gain your approval, as well. 

There are a couple of things you should know about this recipe.  One, they are insanely adorable and delicious. Two, the original recipe states that you will get 24 cookies with a little bit of dough leftover.  I easily get 36 out of one recipe. So, plan ahead if you only have two mini muffin pans, like me.  I doubled the recipe and baked them in several batches, making sure to let the cookies cool completely before removing them from the tins.  Once they were all baked, I then made the ganache and drizzled it over all of the cookies at once, then topped with mini M&M's. They take a little time but are so worth it.

Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies

2 cups creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
36 Reese's mini peanut butter cups, unwrapped
Mini marshmallows
Mini M&M's candy
2/3 cup bittersweet chocolate (chips or chopped)
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp sugar
2Tbsp water


1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Put peanut butter, brown and white sugars, and eggs into bowl of stand mixer. Mix until well combined.
3. Spray mini mufin tins with nonstick spray. 
4. Divide cookie dough among the wells in the muffin tins.  Make an indentation with your fingers, allowing space in the center of each dough ball for a peanut butter cup.
5. Bake for 13-15 minutes, until the tops of the cookies are set and slightly brown. Remove from oven.
6. Place a peanut butter cup in each cookie, pressing down so the top is even with the pan.
7. Top each cookie with 3-4 marshmallows.
8. Return cookies to the oven for 2-3 minutes, until the marshmallows are puffy. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
9. Once cookies are cooled, remove from muffin tins and place on baking sheet lined with wax paper. 
10. Prepare the ganache: Put chocolate in a bowl. Bring the cream, sugar and water to a boil. Pour cream mixture over chocolate and allow to sit for 30 seconds.  Stir the mixture until chocolate is melted and ganache is smooth.  Allow to sit for a few minutes to thicken up.
11. Drizzle ganache over each cookie.  Top each cookie with mini M&M's.

Makes approx. 36 cookies

Source: Annie's Eats

I'm asking: What pleases and sparkles with you??? Springtime? Chocolate? Broccoli?