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Archive for July, 2012

I’ve been on a bit of a morning-post kick, so I figured I’d follow in line with yesterday’s What I Ate Wednesday!

If you’re not familiar with WIAW, check out Jen’s blog Peas and Crayons to learn more about this awesome blogger concept!

This month’s WIAW is about fun, food AND fitness, so I thought I’d first share this Full Body Circuit Workout that I recently tried from FitSugar. I didn’t stray from their version, so just CLICK HERE to access a printable copy of the workout!

This was a very manageable circuit, and something I’ll go to when I want a bit of strength training but don’t want a total butt-kicking.

Now, I wish I could say that my WIAW was full of festive 4th events and eats, but unfortunately I needed to take the day to really get stuff done, and I stuck to what was in my kitchen.

Nonetheless, everything ended up tasting deeeelicious!

I started the day with a lovely breakfast in bed:

Last of my Great Harvest 9 Grain Bread with butter, almond butter and honey. Plain Chobani with honey, cinnamon and 1/2 sliced banana. I could literally eat this meal 3x day/7 days a week!

After an hour or so of digestion, I did an incline treadmill workout that I came up with on the fly and can’t remember the details of. It was pretty low key but I broke a sweat—exactly what I was looking for!

My knees have taken a little trip to funkytown recently 😦. I can’t pinpoint why they’re hurting all of a sudden, since I don’t run much anymore. Maybe the plyometrics I’ve been doing in my circuit workouts? Must investigate.

I also completed the arms portion of my Monster Strength Workout.

After the gymnasium, I stopped at Walgreens and picked up a few things, including:

This impulse purchase! I love anything with bbq flavor and could not resist buying and snacking on these in the street. UMMM, they’re flipping amazing and addictive!

Another small handful of these kept my hunger at bay till about 12:30, and I knew just what I wanted for lunch!

Homemade Egg Salad: 2 hardboiled eggs, pesto and cottage cheese whipped quickly with an immersion blender. Enjoyed with Wheat Thins! I also snacked on a bunch of baby carrots dipped in balsamic while throwing this together.

Lessert ( lunch/dessert obvi): other 1/2 sliced banana with melted Trader Joe’s Pound Plus 70% chocolate. YUMMMMM.

A few hours later, I headed to a Murray Hill neighborhood Starbucks to catch up with my sweet, amazing friend Audrey whom I hadn’t seen in far, far too long.  Audrey is one of my very best friends, one of the few people who NEVER fails to leave me smiling, and I missed her company dearly.

I figured we’d be there chatting away for a while, so I packed some snacks to munch on!

Baggie of cracknuts a.k.a Blue Diamond Bold Habanjero BBQ Almonds and a slice of my Whole Wheat Peanut Butter and Jelly Banana Bread—I froze a chunk of it the day I baked it, and busted it out last night to thaw. Just as moist and delicious as day 1!

I was so excited to see Audrey that I completely forgot to take a picture of my coffee, which was FREE?!?! Apparently, Starbucks was offering free tall coffees today (only hot, not iced) in celebration of Independence Day. Or maybe it was just this location?

Either way, bonus!

Even more crucial on this HOTTTT summer day was the truly tall free ice water I ordered as well.

Today was a scorcher! No complaints from this peanut bread gallery though; I’d take sweltering over freezing cold any day

Audrey and I stayed at Starbucks for THREE hours—I swear I could chat with that girl till I’m blue in the face and never get sick of listening to her thoughts and opinions.

We parted ways around 5:30 and I headed home to pack (!) and relax for the rest of the evening.Yes, I am dork and am staying in on the 4th of July. Judge me if you like, but I am 100% happy with my decision!

I old-lady gummed some cottage cheese right when I got home :).

Dinner was just as tasty and easy to throw together as the rest of the day’s eats.

Brussel sprouts steamed and tossed in butter, garlic salt and red chili flakes

Large and in charge plate of Goat Cheese, Fig and Rosemary Whole Wheat Pasta, with sliced turkey added for a protein boost. I used up the last of my Figgy creation on this meal :(.

I ended the night with a festive and summery dessert—my 2nd culinary nod to this special holiday!

Breyer’s Vanilla with Fresh Sliced Peaches and crumbled Delta Biscoff Biscuits. Good to the last drop of melty, cinnamony cream!

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my tame 4th of July. And I did celebrate my country, by exercising my freedom to do exactly as I please!

Hope you all managed to stay cool and enjoy your Independence Day as well!

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Happy Fourth of July Y’all!!!

I feel so very thankful to live in this amazing country, particularly for the endless BOUNTY that it supplies to a growing nation of people and the world!

Why do I mention bounty in particular? well, I purposefully left out one VERY exciting part of my wonderful Charleston weekend….

As we were lounging around the house on Saturday afternoon, I heard little Winnie burst through the door, shouting something along the lines of “anyone want to come pick figs with me!?”

Despite my confusion and post-sun haze, I knew I wanted to be a part of whatever was going on. I ran back out the door with Winn and sho’ nuff, she pointed out a FIG tree in our backyard  just dripping with beautiful, ripe figs!

I’m tellin’ you, Charleston is Eden on Earth! I ADORE figs—fresh, dried and cooked into just about anything, and I’m so glad Winn discovered this treasure!

Do I dare?

We got to work filling a large Tupperware container with the purple gems, ignoring a few scratches here and there for our much greater cause.

A few were devoured fresh off the vine, and we couldn’t stop ohhhing and ahhhing at how perfectly sweet, tender and juicy they were.

We tried to enlist a few of the others to try one of our spoils, but they didn’t seem quite as excited :).

Nature’s Candy!

Which only meant more for us!

When we packed up on Sunday, I put a handful in a plastic baggie and prayed they’d made it back to NYC without going bad—I’d conjured up a recipe for them based on my pantry, and couldn’t wait to bring it to life:

WHOLE WHEAT PASTA WITH FIG, GOAT CHEESE AND ROSEMARY “SAUCE”

  • 4.5-5  oz log of goat cheese
  • 4 large fresh figs, stems removed
  • 1/2 tsp finely diced rosemary
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp salt and pepper to taste
  • whole wheat spaghetti

Easy as they come: While your pasta cooks (remember to salt the water generously!), toss first 4 ingredients into your blender or food processor and whir away until creamy. Taste and add S&P accordingly.

When pasta is ready, drain but reserve a bit of the cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot and add as much of your TDF goat cheese sauce as you like. If it’s too thick, drizzle in a bit of the reserved pasta water.

Enjoy!

Farm Beach House to Table!

MANNA FROM HEAVEN!!!

This trio of flavors is right up there with pb&j as one of the best, most natural combinations in the culinary world. It was phenomenal creamy and melted into hot pasta, but you could easily use it as a dip for just about anything…including simply a spoon. Despite the sweetness of the figs, the addition of rosemary and salt easily transitions this to a savory dish.

Feel free to experiment with your favorite fruits and spices—just blend with some goat cheese and I’m not sure how you can go wrong?!

I’m off to honor our country by being a productive, contributing citizen and gettin’ some work/errands done! Tomorrow morning I leave for Nashville and then will drive on to Birmingham with my parents for my BIG BROTHER’S WEDDING!!!

Cannot wait to be there, but first I want to have some things wiped off the to-do list. Have a wonderful Independence day!

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Well, it’s official. I am head-over-heels for Charleston, South Carolina.

Warm in temperature and spirit, aesthetically stunning with a raging and sophisticated foodie culture?

Take me home, country road

I had no choice but to fall truly, madly, deeply!

There’s no question my affection for the town is also colored by the AMAZING time we had celebrating Frances’s bachelorette. One of the bridesmaids went to College of Charleston (jelly beans!), and she offered to organize the weekend!

This lil’ one, named Winn, snagged us a beautiful house right by the beach, and my heart was all a-flutter as soon as I saw the water and palm trees.

The weekend was a blast from its tippy-top down to its toes, and I want to share it all! So I’m gonna try to button my lip as much as possible and let the pics do the talking!

On Friday, I arrived early to Charleston around 11 am, and Winn graciously picked me up from the airport. As soon as we got to the house, we switched into our bathing suits and headed to the beach!

Picture doesn’t do this beach justice; it was so beautiful with pristine, white sand

We spent the afternoon soaking up the glorious rays (SPF was passed around but it was some strong sun), and headed back around 4:30 to shower, relax a bit, and start preparations for the night!

We were still waiting on two members of the bridal party to arrive, and we were all in need of some R&R after the work-week, so we decided to grill out and have Frances’s lingerie shower at the house.

Giant, beautiful zucchini and squash, ready for the coals!

Grillmaster extraordinaire

The SCRUMPTIOUS finished product: Peel n’ Eat Shrimp, brown rice pilaf, marinated chicken, grilled veg and a the Best Salad Ever: mixed greens, gorgonzola, dried cranberries, pears and chopped red onion (eek picked that out), balsamic and olive oil

Awesome trick, courtesy of the Mother of the Groom: Marinate your chicken breasts in Ken’s Lite Caesar Dressing, at least 1/2 hr but preferably overnight. Cook however you like—so unbelievably delicious.

Banana Cream 1-2-3 Cake with Cool Whip and Sliced Strawberries, whipped up by yours truly! Fantastic flavor combo!

We enjoyed all of this along with some yummy Sauvignon Blanc and cold Blue Moons, and then came the Lingerie Shower! Unfortunately, I gotta censor most of my pics, but suffice it to say the bride was a happy camper!

Bride to the right, table o’ marital argument-prevention to the left.

I think she has a new found respect for her bridal party :).

We ended the night with some girly bachelorette games and hit the hay relatively early, exhausted but excited for the day to come!

Whiiiich was pretty much spent in its entirety at the beach!

Every single one of us was in serious need of a vacation, and nothing sounded better than packing some snacks, grabbing our towels and relaxing in the sand.

This giant fresh cantaloupe accompanied us to the beach–we were amazed at how perfectly the melon fit into the container whilst maintaining its form (doesn’t take much)

The blazin’ sun wore us down around 4 pm, and we headed back to the house to begin getting ready for our big night on the town!

Winn was incredible and planned a FABULOUS night for us, which started (AND ended!) with a champagne toast.

At 6 pm a cab took us into the heart of Charleston to a gorgeous hotel rooftop bar overlooking the water.

Old and new friends!

If I wasn’t smitten yet, this breathtaking view SEALED.THE.DEAL.

We spent about an hour here, enjoying the hotel’s specialty martinis and relishing each other’s company.

I gotta feelin’…

Eventually, we left the bar and meandered through the gorgeous streets of Charleston to HUSK RESTAURANT!!!!

I’ve heard drool-worthy and impressive reviews of Husk for years, and I was THRILLED at the opportunity to eat there.

Husk sources ALL of its food from the Southeast, taking care to use the freshest, highest-quality ingredients available. As a result, the menu is always creative and always changing! From the horses mouth (website):

“At Husk there are some rules about what can go on the plate. “If it doesn’t come from the South, it’s not coming through the door,” says [chef and owner] Brock.”

Everything about our experience at Husk was perfection, from the friendly and knowledgeable waitstaff, to the sophisticated but inviting decor and of course, the knock-your-petticoat-off DELICIOUS food!

We ordered a variety of appetizers and entrees, all of which were stunning, but here’s the best of the best (in my opinion):

Freshly baked and buttered Benne Seed rolls, served with SOFT butter (so rare!). Melted in the mouth like cotton candy!

Pimento Cheese Dip with Benton’s Bacon Jam. Hands-down best item and one of the best gol durn things I’ve eaten in a long time!

TX Wagyu Sirloin, German Butterball Potato Puree with Roasted Baby Carrots, Oyster Mushrooms and Marrow Jus. Fall-apart-tender meat, and the jus had been cooked down till it was almost a sweet syrup. This was my favorite entree of the night.

My choice!: Red Grouper from Mark Marhefka, Heirloom Eggplant, Summer Squash and Pole Bean “Sofrito”. Soft, flaky fish and a lick-the-bowl-clean tomato-based SAWCE made for one scrumptious dish.

I think you get the idea?! Husk was everything I expected and MORE Definitely the highlight of the night for this chick!

We opted out of dessert since we had a long night ahead and no one wanted to get too droopy, but fingers crossed I make it back here one day to try the Lemon Espresso: Lemon Curd, Mocha Chocolate Ganache, Graham, Marshmallow Meringue.

At the end of dinner, the star of our show donned her accessories for the night, and we headed out to some downtown Charleston bars!

She managed to rock this Limited Too look. I mean, can you just imagine how stunning she’ll be on the big day?

We ended up visiting two different bars; both of which had some great tunes goin’ on, and we basically danced the night away!

Not only was it so much fun celebrating Frances’s wedding-to-come, but the entire bridal party hit it off and became insta-friends over the weekend.

Truly a wonderful group of impressive women, and I think we all grew more excited to reunite at the wedding with every passing hour!

We worked up a sweat on the dance floor till about 1:30 am, and called it a night with final champagne toast for our Queen Bee.

To lasting love!

We snagged a cab home, fell into bed, and got up early bird special on Sunday to clean and get our butts outta the house by 10 am. I had a 1 pm flight, which gave me just enough time to join the rest of the crew for brunch at the well-known and VERY Southern Charleston Cafe.

Almost everyone’s entree came with an amazing homemade biscuit (they offer whole wheat!) and “Chippers” which are thinly sliced and kettle-cooked potato chips!

A few people went with the signature “Potato Casseroles“:

Dewees Island: turkey, bacon, & cheddar topped with
spicy tomato cream sauce. Holy mountain of food! Looked scrumptious though.

Frances and I both opted for one of the day’s specials and it was SO FLIPPIN’ GOOD!

Black bean cakes with two eggs over medium, fresh avocado, diced tomato, scallions and salsa!

This and several cups of coffee completely hit the spot, and I headed to the airport with a full and happy belly…and heart :).

All in all, this was truly the PERFECT bachelorette weekend. Everyone had a fabulous time—there were activities and options for every personality throughout the weekend, so you could make it a “rager” if you wanted to, or keep it purty low key (one guess for the route I took). It didn’t hurt that I wasn’t alone in my adoration of our selected city—I think everyone was blown away by how marvelous it is!

And most importantly, the bride enjoyed herself and left Charleston even more thrilled for her wedding weekend than ever before, if that were possible!

I snapped a pic of these cocktail napkins on our first night, and carried this motto with me throughout the weekend.

And we really did, y’all!!! Reunion 2013?!

Now take this with you as you head into the day and have a wonderful Tuesday!

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Hiya! I’m back from another wonderful whirlwind weekend, and I have lots of fun pics to share with you guys over the next few days.

However, I want to dedicate a quick post to my most recent Peanut Butter Fingers Book Club read!

Do you like trivia? Are you one of those people who enjoys gathering and sharing statistics, expert opinions and unusual findings? Are you generally a “did you know that ____?!” kind of person?

If so, Drop Dead Healthy is right smack in the middle of your alley.


This information deluge by A.J. Jacobs documents the author’s mission to become the “healthiest man alive”.

Jacobs tackles his subject by researching cutting edge beliefs on one health concern at a time and living out his findings. For example, in his month focusing on The Butt (chapters are titled accordingly :)), Jacobs “declares war on Sedentary Life” and orders a treadmill for his home to experienced the supposed benefits of walking while working.

In his exploration of everything from well-known practices, such as cleanses and acupuncture, to the bizarre and barely explored, such as as barefoot running andlaughter classes“, Jacob runs the gamut of modern modern American “health” beliefs.

Despite being a self-proclaimed healthy-liver, I actually found Drop Dead Healthy a little difficult to get through.

Frankly, I found the sheer volume of information a bit disheartening and frustrating! With each new eccentric theory or health promise came statistics completely debunking or challenging it. Almost every argument had a counterargument—washing your hands is good because it removes germs/washing your hands is bad because then you don’t build up immunities.

Jacobs is a funny guy, and it’s not easy to make any sort of health book entertaining, but the downside is that he focuses a little too much on wacky/off-the-grid topics rather than the more studied and proven. The result is eye-crossing hodgepodge of factoids that’s pretty tough to digest.

For the most part, I enjoyed the book, but did not feel particularly enlightened by Jacobs’ 2-year adventure.

That’s not to say that the book was worthless. Jacobs touches on subjects which were important reminders for me (floss!) and which gave me pause (should I re-evaluate the benefits of high-intensity interval training?).

The book is also punctuated by a few moments of poignant thought, which point to what I ultimately took from itYou can go crazy trying to keep up with the “healthiest” trends, but at the end of the day—you know what you need to do to take care of yourself.

I went into the book with essentially the same tenets of health that I came out with.  And I wouldn’t say that’s a bad thing! In fact, I think it indicates our innate ability to take care of ourselves when we’re communicating with our bodies. A port in the storm of modern information overload.

I want to end with a few of my favorite quotes from the book, to give your minds a quick stir before heading into the week 🙂

1) Jacobs’ guide while writing the book: “What is called for is an exquisite balance between two conflicting needs: the most skeptical scrutiny of all hypotheses that are served up to us and at the same time a great openness to new ideas.”

2) “…we essentially have two selves. Those two selves are often at odds. There’s the present self, that wants that frosted apple strudel Pop-Tart. And the future self, that regrets eating that frosted apple strudel Pop-Tart. The key to making healthy decisions is to respect your future self. Honor him or her. Treat him or her like you would treat a friend or a loved one.”

3) “The problem for Americans is that we’ve Balkanized our lives. We go to the gym for an hour (if we’re dutiful) and then sit for the rest of the day. Movement is sealed into an airtight container.”

4) “The idea is that if you are unduly fixated on eating healthfully, you’ll stress yourself out–so much so that the damage from the stress outweighs any potential benefits of the good food.”

5) “Some level of delusional optimism is healthy. As long as that delusional optimism is balanced with a sensible understanding that we have pathetically little control over our fates. It’s a tricky mix, but a crucial one.”

6) “The point is, you can eat your Brazil nuts, meditate like a champ and run five miles a day, but it won’t help you if you trip on the sidewalk and crack your skull.”

7) “The way we think about danger is illogical. We cannot do risk assessment to save our life…we drive to the store to get “organic veggies”…then check our email at the next red light.”

Pretty nifty, huh?

Before I head to bed, I just gotta give a quick shout out to Delta Airlines giving out BISCOFF COOKIES on flights!

Crumbled into Greek Yogurt with cinnamon. MMMM

LOOOVVEEE these cookies!

Have a great Sunday night everyone!

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