Archive for February, 2010

Bagel, Pasta, Bread

Today was full of carbs! And everything was delicious 🙂


While I was out shopping yesterday, I picked up 2 (Locally made!) whole wheat everything bagels for us to have for breakfast today. Now that we ate them, I’m sad I didn’t buy more!


I had some provolone + scrambled egg on my bagel, and Nick and I split a cara cara orange. I also had some coffee in his new Spain mug 🙂

It was a good start to the day except for one thing: I somehow forgot to wash my hair while I was in the shower! I don’t know what happened – maybe I was still asleep in there? I got my hair wet…I just never picked up my shampoo.

So…that was fun when I was trying to do my hair and wondering why my bangs were being weird or why the rest of my hair just felt strange. By the time I figured out what happened, we had to leave for church so I just pinned my bangs back and headed out.

We had some errands to run after church, so I brought my hat to put on and I’m glad I did – it’s been freezing here today! There’s been little snow flurries all day, and the temps really haven’t gotten out of the 30s at all this weekend.

Our errands were pretty fun, but I felt like we were on a bit of a wild goose chase trying to find  a new collar for Maggie, a good dog bed, and a silicon bread pan (which I still have to go back and buy).

By the time we got home to eat lunch, it was 2 pm and we were both pretty hungry.

I heated up the last of that spicy pasta from the other night and had some romaine + ranch dressing.



Even with the cold weather, we took Maggie up to the park near our house for a while this afternoon. It wouldn’t have been so bad out there but it was much windier at the park than it was at our house.

The good thing is that we walked up to the park and back, so we got in about 2.5 miles of walking today! And Maggie had fun running around and playing fetch, so I’m glad we went and got her out of the house.

The rest of the day has been filled with making 2 new loaves of sourdough (so good!) and finishing laundry.

We just finished eating dinner – leftover chipotle beans and homemade bread!


Nick and Maggie are playing with one of her new toys, and the last load of laundry just finished in the dryer – I’ve got just enough time to fold the laundry and get a snack before Iron Chef! Perfect timing 😉


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Beans and Toast

Well, our timing was off AND the game got postponed, so the Hokie basketball game is on right now! I’ve got to hurry – we’re in the 2nd overtime and it’s a crazy game! 🙂

The inspiration for my dinner tonight came from 101cookbooks.com.

While my pictures may not be as pretty as Heidi’s (I had no natural sunlight to work with!), the dish turned out delicious.


I ended up changing a few things (as usual), but I’m happy to say that this Giant Chipotle White Bean recipe is one of the best bean dishes I’ve made!


My changes:

  • I used 28 oz. of crushed tomatoes
  • I omitted the cheese + breadcrumbs – not sure why…I actually just forgot once I put them in to bake!
  • I added 1 tsp of smoked paprika and 1 tsp of ancho chile powder to the bean/sauce/kale mixture before baking


I served my beans on top of some toasted (homemade) honey wheat bread (topped with olive oil) and a sprinkling of cilantro.


I also had some Magic Hat with dinner – I got a Spring Sampler pack today at the store and tried their Odd Notion Spring ‘10 brew. Pretty good!

And dessert?


I finally made some of Averie’s Peanut Butter Cups!


I decided to make 2 different kinds tonight: creamy pb and crunchy almond butter.



I ended up only using 3 squares of semi-sweet chocolate to make our 4 cups – 2 pb and 2 ab, so we could each have one of each flavor.


We just took them out of the fridge, so I’m about to try them – I’m so excited! It was so easy to make them…and that could be a bad thing 😉


I’ve got to watch the end of this game – it’s nuts!



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Running Wild

I love when I find new fun stuff at the grocery store 🙂 I got some things I’m really excited about! Plus, I’m trying a few new recipes this week, which is always good.

After I got back from getting groceries, Nick and I heated up some leftovers so we could eat fast and get Maggie out to the park.


We had just enough of the potato/broccoli/chicken sausage left for one of us, so I had that (with some extra broccoli thrown in).


That panch poran spice mix in this dish is awesome! It mixed really well with the spicy sausage.

As soon as we were done eating, we loaded Maggie into the car and drove to a park on the other side of the river.

Thankfully, we were the only people there so we could let Maggie off her lead to run around. We played fetch with her for a bit, but Nick and I mostly just laughed at her. She’s so funny when she’s outside – she just goes, nonstop. She smells everything, runs full speed…she just loves it.

I think we were at the park, walking around with her for about an hour? We would have stayed longer, but it’s actually really cold here today! It’s been flurrying off and on all day and is about 30 degrees – plus, it was colder at the park (and windy!) since it’s right on the river.

Once we were all cold and ready to go, we stopped by walmart for a few items and just got home for the day. I’ve got one load of laundry going and there should be a Hokie basketball game on at 4, I think.


She’s pretty happy she got to run around outside today, and we’re happy because she’s totally crashed right now 🙂 Running outside makes her SO tired!


I’ve got to get a snack ready for the basketball game and start working on dinner – it’s a new recipe, and I’m excited to try it!


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Pancake Roll-Ups

I should have seen it coming.


Anytime Katie has a pancake challenge, I’m in! And since this is our first real weekend home from the trip, I had the time and ingredients to get in the kitchen to make them.


For my pancake roll-ups, I made S’mores with sourdough pancakes 🙂


I think these rival everything I made in her last pancake challenge!


I tried a new recipe for sourdough pancakes this morning and took 2 to use as my pancake roll-ups.


I spread 1/2 Tbsp of dark chocolate dreams pb on each pancake, added a dollop of marshmallow fluff, and rolled up!


The sprinkle of graham cracker crumbs brought it all together.

2 s’mores pancakes, 2 cups of coffee, and a cara cara orange? A perfect Saturday morning breakfast 🙂

The new coffee we got at TJ’s is awesome!


I think this is Nick’s new favorite – it’s just as good as their Kona, just a little different.

I’ve got a busy morning ahead! I need to shower and head to town for groceries.

And then an afternoon outing with Maggie 🙂 She needs to run off some energy!!!


What would YOU roll up in a pancake?

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Dinner, Delivered

It’s Friday! 🙂

I’m SO happy it’s the weekend – we don’t have any big plans, but I’m ready for a break from work. It’s so hard going back to the office after a vacation, and this week was really tough for me.

Nick and I had a fun little lunch date in my office today!


I packed the last of our 3-layer hummus, along with some celery, broccoli, and Olive Food Should Taste Good chips.

And since we didn’t have enough leftovers for lunches, I whipped up some egg salad last night.


I don’t know why I don’t make egg salad more often – it’s so good and so easy.

I made a batch for both of us last night with 4 eggs, 1 Tbsp olive oil mayo, 1 Tbsp greek yogurt, smoked paprika, a squirt of dijon, and a spoonful of relish.


I had mine on some of my homemade honey wheat bread with some lettuce, and Nick had his on some of the sourdough from his dad.

We watched this week’s episode of White Collar while we were eating 🙂 Nick slept through it on Tuesday night, so we got him all caught up. Love that show!

And then I went to get some water and I had to face…

the office donuts.


Almost every Friday, someone brings in donuts from the best local donut place, Carol Lee’s.

I love their donuts, but I also don’t need one every week.

Normally, all the donuts are gone by lunchtime, but when the box was still this full at 3:30 today, I was seriously tempted to take one of the chocolate cake donuts (my favorite!). But I know that eating donuts is like eating sugary air – they never fill me up! And all that sugar would just make me crash an hour later.

So, go me! I had this granola bar instead. I’d call that an NSV 🙂


Have you ever heard the term NSV?

It’s something I learned in Weight Watchers – a non-scale victory.

I love the idea of celebrating the things that go well or that we do right instead of focusing on all the negatives.

Those little daily victories add up!

Dinner tonight came together in my head on the way home.

I actually had 2 ideas in mind, and both of those went out the window when I found the package on my porch!


Thanks to Foodbuzz, their Tastemaker Program, and Bertolli, we had an awesome Friday night meal.

I had 2 spicy chicken sausages I needed to use, so I decided to make a pasta using the Arrabbiata Bertolli sauce for an extra spicy kick 😉


I browned the sausages in a little oil and added in some chopped onion and green pepper before adding the sauce.


And I used a cool pasta tip I learned a while back:

Instead of keeping the pasta boiling, just bring your water to a boil –


Drop in your pasta, some salt, and stir it around –


Then take the pot off the heat, put the lid on, and let it sit 8-10 minutes until the pasta is cooked (I usually stir it once or twice, too).


This makes it SO much easier to cook the other part of the meal.

Our electric stove only has one “big” burner, and the smaller ones take way too long to boil water in our big pot, so this lets me cook the pasta and work on the sauce in the big pan.


Once the pasta was cooked, I just drained it and added it to the sauce.


Between the spicy sauce and sausages, this meal was kickin’! It actually cleared up my head for a minute. I guess I need to stick to spicy meals while I have this cold 😉


Maggie’s in the playing mood, so I’m about to practice her tricks with her and then get ready for What Not to Wear.


Happy Friday!

What’s your NSV for today?


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Banana Nut French Toast Recipe

Hi Brandi’s readers! I’m Quinn from My Mantra: Everything in Moderation.


When Brandi first put out a call for guest bloggers, I jumped at the chance. I love the way Brandi truly lives a well-balanced life, something I think we all strive to do every day. But, sometimes we all like to indulge every now and then, don’t we? I think the key to creative and mindful eating is to take indulgent foods and make them healthy. And it’s one of my favorite challenges J

French toast is one of those indulgences. I know Brandi knows how to do French toast. She certainly nailed it with her Nature’s Pride winning submission at this fall’s FoodBuzz Festival!


My version of French toast melds French toast and decadent breakfast breads. I give you my healthy Banana Nut French Toast.


3 egg whites

Dash of banana extract

Dash of cinnamon

1 tsp maple syrup

2 pieces of bread

In a bowl, combine the egg whites, banana extract, cinnamon and maple syrup. Coat each side of your bread in the mixture and put in a greased pan on the stove on medium heat. Cook for about 2-3 min on each side.

Here’s mine cooking:


Once done, add a bit more maple syrup (about another teaspoon, or to taste), a dusting of cinnamon, and fruit if wanted. I added half a cut up banana to mine. Yum!



The banana extract really makes this French toast. Its flavor is so strong, you definitely don’t need much. This is a great fill ‘er up breakfast to get you going – and feels indulgent!

Thanks Brandi for giving me the opportunity to be a part of your blog world! And Brandi, I hope you have a FABULOUS trip with loads of balanced indulgences 🙂


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The Cold Returns

Not only are we getting more snow, I started getting another head cold yesterday 😦

As the day went on, it was harder to breathe and my head just felt stopped up. I really hope it’s just a fluke day-long thing, because that last cold I had lasted for almost 2 weeks!

Between feeling bad last night and having some computer issues, I never got back on to blog.

But my snack + dinner were good!


I snacked on a honey Oikos with some of my new favorite trail mix yesterday afternoon while working, and dinner was easy.


We heated up the potato + broccoli leftovers and had that with some whole wheat naan from Trader Joe’s that we slathered in hummus 🙂


I love those naan breads – we always eat them so fast. I should just buy more than 1 package when I go next time. Does anyone know if they freeze well?

I went to bed before Burn Notice came on…I just couldn’t stay up any longer. I couldn’t breathe well and my head was just throbbing. I was so out last night that I never even knew when Nick came to bed! Good thing I got some extra rest.

And thank goodness it’s Friday!

I woke up with my throat hurting a little, but it doesn’t seem too bad yet.

At least I was excited for breakfast!


This is my new favorite trail mix from TJ’s. It has all kinds of good stuff:

  • dried apples
  • almonds
  • sunflower seeds
  • peanuts
  • raisins
  • craisins
  • chocolate covered raisins
  • chocolate chips
  • etc


I made some banana oatmeal and added a full 1/4 cup of the trail mix.

  • 1/2 cup oats, 1 cup water, pinch salt
  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup trail mix


Whenever I use trail mix in my oatmeal, I always mix in about 1/2 of what I’m using and save the rest for the top. Especially if there’s chocolate in the mix because I want all that melty chocolate on top 🙂

Coffee is being brewed!


Gotta jet!


What’s your favorite trail mix? Do you make your own mix?

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Sunny + Snow

We got more snow last night!

By the time we got up this morning, we had about 3 inches of new snow, so all the grass I could finally see in the yard is now covered again.

At least I had some natural light this morning with my breakfast!


It may be snowing, but spring is coming – slowly.


I had a big bowl of apple oatmeal this morning and that new TJ’s almond butter made it even better.

  • 1/2 cup oats, 1 cup water, pinch salt
  • cinnamon
  • 1 apple, diced and cooked in the microwave for 1 minute with extra cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp craisins
  • 1 Tbsp TJ’s almond butter


A big bowl of oatmeal and some new coffee from TJ’s was perfect this morning. It’s not terribly cold outside (even with the snow), but seeing the snowflakes falling outside made me want a hot breakfast and lots of coffee.

–work, work, work–

Lunch today might be the biggest salad I’ve ever made.



Yup, that’s 8 cups of lettuce! Definitely getting in my veggies today 😉

Before we came home last weekend, I ran by Costco near Nick’s parents and bought a 6-pack of romaine. Since we have so much lettuce now, I decided to just use a whole heart in my salad today, but I didn’t realize it would be so much!


The rest of my salad was just random stuff I found in the fridge.

  • 1 romaine heart
  • broccoli
  • carrots
  • scallions
  • 2 hard boiled eggs
  • 1 Tbsp ranch dressing

It is a tasty salad, but I can’t WAIT for tomatoes to be in season again. I miss them on my salads, and the ones in the grocery store just aren’t good.


For some crunch on the side, I opened my last bag of these veggies chips I got from Nick’s mom a while ago.


I really like ‘em – the texture reminds me of Munchos (just not as greasy), which I used to LOVE and eat all the time.


Time for a puppy walk, then back to work!


What are your favorite chips?

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The second day of our trip included a morning in Madrid and traveling to Toledo that afternoon.

After eating a small breakfast at the hostel, we walked over to the Prado Museum.

On top of it just being the biggest museum I’d ever visited, they had a huge collection of Velazquez paintings, rooms full of sculptures, and a really neat still life exhibition.

Obviously, I couldn’t take pictures in the museum, but it was a fun activity. It had been a while since I’d visited one and I’m really happy I got to go and indulge my love of art.


After leaving the museum and getting our bags, we headed to the train station in Madrid to catch our 30 minute train to Toledo.

This train station was crazy! They had this rain-forest type thing in the middle of it and there were birds flying through the building.

IMG_7926 IMG_2221


We got off the train in Toledo and had a short walk to the entrance in the city walls, but it was worth every minute.






Toledo does stretch further than the original city walls, but I’ve never visited something like this. The old city walls that used to protect it from intruders are still standing.



Every part of Toledo was beautiful.

I found myself holding my breath a few times while walking through the city, just hoping that I didn’t miss anything.

THIS is what I thought of when I thought of Spain.



And not even a mile into the main part of the city, we found another old city gate + tower! And the door was open, so we headed up 🙂




And this was the staircase! We all had to duck to get through there with our backpacks on – and I’m not very tall (5’5”), so you can imagine how tight it was in there.


But the steep and narrow staircase was worth it – the view from the top was one high point from our trip to Toledo.





After coming down from the tower, we walked through the city to find our hostel for the night.


The streets were so narrow; it was hard to believe the people actually drive cars down the roads.


The week we were in Spain also happened to be Carnival, so there were big parties outside each night and lots of people walking around in costumes.



Girls trying to read maps is always funny 😉


We found our hostel, dropped our stuff off and headed back out to explore!

We tried to find this place that Tiff and James had eaten at before, but we never did.

One thing we did find?


This view.

I’ll tell you one reason I loved Toledo so much: This city took my breath away more than once.

This view popped up out of nowhere. We were walking down a street lined with houses and it just opened  up to this.

Call me dorky, but I honestly had tears in my eyes – and that was only the first time that happened to me in Toledo. I just wasn’t expecting to see this, and (as pretty as it looks in the picture) it was so much more beautiful in person.



After posing for pictures in front of the view, we went looking for dinner. Luckily, most places with outdoor seating had heaters by the tables, so we sat and enjoyed a pizza dinner together out on the plaza while listening to the Carnival parade going by.








After demolishing 3 pizzas, we (of course) went in search of dessert before heading back to the hostel.




I know you may not like this picture, Mom, but I love it 🙂 Especially since you can see James making a funny face in the background.







We took my parents back to the hostel after this and then us youngins headed back out for a while. We ended up at an outdoor concert in another plaza – all these families and groups were dressed up in costumes and dancing! It was fun to watch, so we hung out there for a little while before heading back to bed.

After this 1/2 day in Toledo, I wasn’t sure it could get any better – but it did.


Up next!

Day 2 in Toledo, Another Teary – Eyed Moment, and Snow in Sequellamos


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Bite of Spice

I love having different spices in the house.


I actually won this in a BSI prize package last year, but haven’t used it in a while.

As soon as I saw this recipe for Broccoli and Sweet Potato Bhaji on Spice’s website, I knew I had to make it.


I’m so glad I won this spice mix from her – it’s so different than everything else I have in the cabinet.


I did make a few changes to her recipe based on what I had in the house.

I guess I forgot to buy sweet potatoes, but regular russets worked beautifully in the dish.

  • Russet potatoes instead of sweet potatoes
  • About 3-4 cups of potatoes and broccoli instead of 2
  • 1 whole small onion
  • 2 spicy chicken sausages!


I love the spice mix! It smelled amazing in the house while the spices were cooking.


The chicken sausage was definitely not a traditional part of the dish, but I knew Nick would want some meat so I added it in to make it more of a one-pot wonder. The spicy chicken sausage added a little more kick to the vegetables – I liked it!

I also had some celery and TJ’s hummus on the side.

I’ve got to get working on more Spain posts! They take SO long to put together, but are so much fun 🙂


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