Archive for April, 2010

What a way to start the weekend!

–Backtrack to last night–

Nick and I packed up our bags and the car to get on the road and ended up finishing off the fried rice and veggie leftovers for dinner. Yup, right out of the container…and eaten while standing the kitchen, hurrying to get on the road.


I also had a Diet Coke during the trip because, well, sometimes I just want one.


We got to Nick’s parents’ house around 10 pm last night, let the puppies play for a little bit, and then got in bed.

I was up at 6 this morning to get ready for my breakfast date with Bob, my father-in-law (also my sourdough partner in crime and the originator of Bob’s Breakfast –> over easy eggs and syrup over pancakes) .

I’d been hearing about Shank’s Bakery for a while. This is Bob’s normal Friday morning spot and I was excited to finally try it for myself.


It was such a cute place! Tucked into a little corner in downtown Harrisonburg, it would be easy to miss except for the amazing smell of bread and cinnamon coming out each time someone opened the doors 😉


Since we were here eating pretty early, their cases weren’t completely filled – but they were busy baking away in the back.



Our sticky buns (aka, the main reason Bob told me I needed to come here) were still in the oven when we arrived, so we had a little “breakfast appetizer” while we waited for our rolls.


Doesn’t everyone start their Friday morning breakfast off with a german chocolate cupcake?


I need to know this cupcake recipe. It was the best chocolate cupcake I’ve ever had. I’m not sure what all is in the batter, but it was delicious! And that’s not just the icing talking.

And then – our sticky buns came to the table, piping hot.


Yum, yum, yum. I’ve made cinnamon rolls and sticky buns before, but theirs are on a completely different level.


The bottom of the roll was crispy, which I’ve never been able to do with mine. And that sugary, sticky topping was like a slightly-hardened caramel! So good, and such a great contrast to the soft, cinnamon-spiked dough.IMG_9149

Not a bad way to start my Friday 🙂

I’m back at their house watching Maggie while Cindy gets ready and then we’re off for our normal shopping route: Costco, Martin’s, Amish Market. Then it’s back home to cook all afternoon and get ready for the rest of the weekend.

Here we go!


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In a Hurry

I can’t believe today is already half over – I still have so much to do!

The meeting went well this morning, and I just got home and made lunch after taking Maggie out for a potty break.

I loved my lunch so much on Monday, I had to have it again!


Plus, I had leftover beans, lettuce, and avocado that I wanted to eat before we head out for the weekend 😉

I had a big salad with romaine, corn, and avocado.

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Plus some oatbran topped with beans, corn, eggs, and salsa.

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These eggs are so good. I bought them from the market this weekend, and look how pretty they are!

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I love that they’re multicolored 🙂

Alright, it’s back to work for me and then packing before we hit the road.


Do you try to get things done before you leave town (laundry, cleaning, etc) or wait until you get back?

I always WANT to do this stuff before we leave, but I usually just don’t have time! We’ll see how much I get done after work.


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Ask Away

I love these oatmeal pancakes.


They’re so filling but not heavy. Plus, they’re incredibly easy to make.


Today’s pancakes were the usual mix (oats, egg whites, pinch of salt, cinnamon, baking powder) and my toppings were:


Plus coffee, courtesy of Nick.


I’ve got a busy day ahead! It’s my “Friday” since I’m taking tomorrow off, which means I have a lot of non-work stuff to do PLUS put in my 8 hours. I actually have a meeting I have to go in for this morning and then I’ll be back working from home this afternoon.


*I had some questions about the hamburger bun recipe I used this weekend – I used this recipe as the inspiration and made a few changes (i.e., used all whole wheat flour, added in a little ground flax for fun, only 1 Tbsp of butter and 2 Tbsp of sugar).


And I totally forgot I signed up for this! Have more questions? Ask me here!


Thank you, thank you for all the emails about Behind the Blog. I’m SO excited to start posting about all of you 🙂 I’m working on putting together questions, so if you’ve emailed me, I’ll be sending that out soon.

Get ready to spread the blogger love – it’s going to be awesome.


What’s the most ridiculous / embarrassing TV show you watch?

I’m such a sucker for some of the stupidest shows.

Top Model, for one. I even get sucked into their weekend long marathons sometimes, and I’ve usually already seen those episodes! Ridiculous, right?

I also still love these and will watch them anytime I catch them on the tube:

  • Wings
  • Full House
  • Boy Meets World
  • Saved by the Bell (was actually watching it this morning)
  • Perfect Strangers


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Some Kind of Record

Happy Humpday! It’s my Thursday for this week – Nick and I have a fun family weekend planned and I can’t wait!

Lunch today was a strange mix, but I enjoyed it.

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I made us some egg salad last night and mixed that with a massaged-kale salad I put together.

The salad was:

  • baby kale (local from market!)
  • icicle radishes (local!)
  • carrots
  • scallions
  • avocado
  • lemon juice
  • salt, pepper

I put all of that in bowl and massaged it all together, making sure to smoosh that avocado over every piece of kale. It was great! Now I know why so many people make them.

I also had 2 kiwis that I sliced up this morning.

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Since we had some nice spring weather today, we took Maggie to the park after work.

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She did her usual puppy-in-the-park routine:

Run like a bunny.

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Find dead stuff after jumping in the rive.


And she pooped 5 times in less than an hour! That has to be some kind of record, right? She’s crazy. I’m sure you were dying to know that, too. It was just too funny NOT to share.

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Can you find the husband + the puppy?

I love this walk by the river. It’s so green and lush right now. If I could do any activity every day for the rest of my life, it would be walking/hiking around Virginia. It’s so beautiful.


I actually made dinner in less than 30 minutes! Go me. Besides heating up leftovers, I didn’t know it was possible.


I cooked some brown rice ( the 10 minute kind) on the stove while I stir-fried 2 bags of frozen veggies together.

Once the veggies were heated, I added in some TJ’s Soyaki and some regular soy sauce.

As soon as the rice was cooked, I added that and a 1/2 cup of so of leftover corn to the veggies and mixed them all together. Then I scrambled 2 eggs and 1/2 cup egg whites in the rice pan and mixed it all together.



I love these baby corn – they’re my favorite part of the stir-fry mixes. But Nick and I both hate those water chestnuts. We always pick them out 😦

I’m watching ANTM right now. This show is so ridiculous, but I still love it.

I think there may be some popcorn during Idol tonight…and maybe I’ll be able to stay up for Top Chef Masters? We’ll see.


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I saw this list that Melissa reposted and thought it would be fun!

  • Where would you be able to spend hours and be happy? A bookstore or library. Or hiking.
  • What’s your favorite kind of doughnut? Tie! Chocolate cake and maple.
  • Do you have any tattoos or piercings? 5 piercings now (used to have 6). 1 tattoo.
  • What is your favorite movie? Honestly? Tommy Boy, no contest. I know the entire movie by heart.


  • Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone? My mom!
  • Are you still friends with the people you knew in middle school or high school? Yup. Most of my best friends are ones I met in middle or high school.
  • What is the last thing you ate? Oatmeal pancakes with yogurt, strawberries, and a drizzle of agave (aka breakfast this morning)

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  • What did you want to be when you grew up? Teacher, Marine Biologist so I could play with Manatees, Forensic Investigator, Interior Designer…too bad I’m not ANY of those things!
  • Name three things that are close to you right now: Laptop, lunch, Nick.
  • What was your best subject in school? English
  • What is your favorite restaurant? Lately, The Palisades 
  • Any hidden talents? My fingers are double jointed, I can write with both hands, and I can cross just one eye? It’s kinda creepy, I know.
  • What is your middle name? Marie
  • What is your favorite website? Just one? Amazon – I buy way too much stuff! I have 5 new books on the way.
  • How old were you when you had your first kiss? 16
  • Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate
  • What is your favorite girl’s name? Lucy
  • Favorite store? Trader Joe’s, even though I don’t have one here.
  • Would you rather be a rock star or a famous athlete? Neither.
  • Favorite food? Oatmeal
  • What are you wearing right now? My Lucy dress, black wedges


  • What is your favorite animal? Manatees, and Maggie.


  • Did you graduate from college? Yup, twice!
  • What does your last text message say? Sourdough starter yep. Be perfect for bread next weekend.
  • Do you have any nicknames? B, Bray, Cookie

Let’s get to know you! Answer a few of these in the comments OR repost the list on your blog!

And don’t forget to email me if you want to be featured on my Behind the Blog series. I’ll send you some question (maybe similar to this list) for you to answer to post on my blog. It’s a fun way to meet new bloggers!

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Spread the Love

Last night turned into a family dinner-prepping lunch-watching Lost-no computer kind of night 🙂 Nick’s parents were passing through so we ended up having dinner with them on their way – impromptu dinners are fun!

Because the original plan was to make dinner, I didn’t have my camera with me, but I had a great veggie quesadilla with guacamole and black beans on the side. And I changed into pajamas as soon as we got home so I wouldn’t smell like the restaurant all night.

Since we got home later than normal, we just babied Maggie all night until Lost came on 😉 And – I’m not happy how the end of that show is looking right now – anyone else?

Today I’m spreading the blog love!

If you’re anything like me, you read a ridiculous amount of blogs. I’m kind of surprised that reading blogs isn’t my job because I spend so much time doing exactly that.

I love finding new blogs to read from people that have different viewpoints, talents, and interests – it gives me the opportunity it hear about topics I would never research on my own time and really see what other people are thinking about on a daily basis.

Some of my newest favorites that just got added to my Google Reader this week:

While food is the common denominator in most of the blogs I read, the main reason I read is because there’s something about the person that I admire.

Want to know what I love about some of my favorite bloggers?

Mama Pea’s humor – I seriously laugh out loud, at least once, in almost every post. And I just hope my future kids are as cute as Gigi and Lulu.

Rose’s passion for storytelling. This lady is an artist in the true sense of the word and I look forward to each and every post.

Katie’s crazy creations, daily use of chopsticks, and all around blogger-love.

Christie’s ability to find the right words, no matter the topic. She’s incredibly open and honest, and that’s something that I appreciate in this blogging world.

Polly. I know I’ve said this before, but her posts really are like rays of sunshine in my day.

Sophia’s writing, period. And her insane recipes that make me want to lick the screen.

Joe & Betsy’s ability to truly capture moments on film – their pictures are always beautiful and can tell a story all their own.

Allison’s sense of humor…and love for her dogs 🙂 I don’t feel so bad about being crazy dog (and cat) lady now!

Quinn – it seems like she just has such a great balance in her life, doesn’t it? Work, social life, family, friends, hobbies – she’s busy, but you can tell she’s enjoying life 😉

Holly – everything! She’s funny, she’s real, and she’s not afraid to show it.

Angharad. Vanilla Baked French Toast – need I say more? I’m constantly drooling over her recipes.


I obviously read many more blogs than just those listed above, but I have quite a diverse group!

Maybe we all have some things in common, but I’m happy to have found people that share interests or ideas and have such different backgrounds and opinions and passions.

And I think we all need to be featured at some point – to share more about us, why we do what we do, and what we’re like behind the blog.

If YOU want to be featured on Behind the Blog, shoot me an email! I’ll send some questions you can answer and I’ll be posting them so everyone can “meet” you if they haven’t already 🙂


What about you?

What are your favorite blogs and why?

Why do you read blogs?

What keeps bringing you back?


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Coffee Cake and Tea

I know – coffee cake and tea?

Does that even make sense?

I just had to share this vegan coffee cake I made this weekend.


I used this Coffee Cake Recipe and whipped it up Saturday morning after a Nick requested it. We haven’t made coffee cake in years, so it was about time we had it again.


And since we were out of eggs early Saturday morning before I bought groceries, it worked out perfectly.



I’m loving all the vegan baked goods I’ve been making lately – everything has turned out great and it’s nice to know that I can still whip something up even if I’m out of eggs or milk or butter. Plus, clean up is a breeze! And you can eat the dough with no worries 😉


I think the only thing I would change about this recipe is adding a little sugar to the crumble topping – I wanted the topping to be a little crispier. Otherwise, it was great! Nick and I both enjoyed it.


As for the tea, I have a new favorite!

OpenSky hooked me up with Golden Moon Tea and sent me these samples from Golden Moon / TigerWing to try. I’m already obsessed, and I just got them yesterday!

They’re going in my store as soon as I can get them in there.


Just check out these flavors!




Last night, I had a cup of the Calmation TigerWing tea which is a mix green mate, chamomile, lavender, and all natural lavender vanilla cream flavorings. It was the perfect way to end my evening – I already love chamomile tea, but the addition of lavender was outstanding.

This morning, I’m sipping on a cup of the Coconut Kava Cream TigerWing tea. I mean, how could this be bad?


It’s got roasted mate, red roobios, kava root, and all natural coconut cream flavoring.


On top of having a ton of flavor choices, all their teas are organic and a portion of Golden Moon Tea’s net profits are contributed to The Lotus 88 Foundation for Women and Children. They also purchase their tea solely from farmers who engage in fair-trade practices.

But the most important (and exciting) thing that I noticed?


They’re in Virginia!!! I was so ecstatic when I saw that they’re a somewhat-local company. I may need to plan a trip to visit 🙂


I’ve got a hair appointment during my lunch break so I’ll see you for dinner! I’m using up the last of our sourdough in a recipe tonight – it should be good.


What’s your favorite drink to have with breakfast?


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Mm, mm. Dinner hot off the grill is hard to beat.


We were supposed to have burgers last night, but our busy day had us changing plans at the last minute.

The good thing is that I made the buns yesterday, so all we had to do for dinner tonight was cook the burgers and put the salad together.


I have to say… for my first ever batch of homemade buns, they were awesome!

And Nick’s burgers were delicious as always. I’m not sure what he does, but everything that comes off the grill is even better than the last meal.

The secret in this batch of burgers?


We got this sauce from my parents for Christmas and finally broke it out.


The ingredients were actually pretty good – and it was a great addition to the burgers. 


Time to cuddle the puppy and have a cup of tea!


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Double Bowl-ing It

Instead of “double fisting” with 2 drinks with lunch, I’m double bowl-ing it today.


One needs a fork, one needs a spoon.

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PS: Did you know about Sabrina’s “I Love Salad Challenge”? It’s a great way to put your creativity to use and get in the kitchen!

This salad isn’t very “loaded”, but I love the mix of crisp lettuce, creamy avocado, and sweet and crunchy corn. A little lime juice, olive oil, and salt are all you need on this!

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And the main part of lunch is one of my favorite meals now-a-days. Grains, beans, eggs, salsa.

Why is this so good?

Today the base is oatbran, topped with pinto beans and corn. Then I cooked 2 eggs (over easy) with salt, pepper, and ancho chile powder, and topped all that with some spicy salsa.

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I know some people don’t like runny eggs (and I used to be one of ‘em!), but I’m pretty sure a perfectly runny egg can make any dish better.

I know Sophia agrees with me 😉 She’s my egg-lovin’ twin, that girl.

These layered egg dishes are my latest obsession – I just can’t get enough of them!


What’s your latest food obsession?

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Market Fresh



Banana Splits make Mondays better.


And these strawberries were all perfectly ripe. I found the first of the season at the farmer’s market this weekend, and while they were a bit more expensive than those at the grocery store, each and every berry was red, ripe, and juicy.

I think that makes up for the price. I hate when you get berries from the store and all of them are white inside and flavorless.


Oatmeal, fresh fruit, and coffee from our syphon?


Monday may not be so bad.


What did YOU do this weekend? And what are your favorite berries?

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