Sunday, October 21, 2012

Nursery Tour

As promised, here's a look at our now complete nursery!
Let's start with an overall look at the whole room. Pretty typical, right? Crib, bouncy chair, dresser/changing table and glider with ottoman.  We decided to do an Owl and Birds theme with Yellow and Gray colors, and pops of light blue.
Getting more specific, above is our crib. We got it from Target after seeing great ratings for it on Consumer Reports. It's the Graco Charleston Classic Convertible Crib. It's also stocked with bedding from the Land of Nod, Not a Peep Collection. I loved that bedding the minute I saw it, and it inspired the whole room.  I'm so grateful for my friends Joleen and Wendy who gave us the crib sheets, and Ben's co-worker and my friend Angie who gave us the crib skirt (and also hosted an amazing shower that she posted about on her blog here).
We ended up getting the Swirl Branch Wall Decal that I blogged about previously from Janey Mac on Etsy and I absolutely love it! Ben did a great job putting it up above the crib, and he put one of the little birds above the closet as well.
The dresser I previously wrote about was actually sold out when we went to Ikea, and there was NO way I was going back to that place (it was a mad house to get there in traffic, and then only being able to go there on a Saturday, the store was nuts as well), so we got this Birkeland six drawer dresser instead, and I actually like it a lot better.

The lamp on the dresser is one we had around the house from Pottery Barn and used to use in the living room, and the changing pad cover is also from Land of Nod's Not a Peep collection.

My friend Christina gave us this Sleep Sheep, noise machine/stuffed animal from Pottery Barn Kids, saying her daughter loves it. I love the items we've been receiving from experienced parents. The sheep will go great with the Dr. Karp, Happiest Baby on the Block sleep philosophy we're going to try and follow.

For easy access to diapers, wipes, etc and for storage all over the room, we have these Gingham Storage Bins from Land of Nod for toys, books and many other things.
Inside the drawers, my organization freak comes out. These drawer organizers were right by the dressers at Ikea, talk about great marketing! I have things organized by size, long sleeve/short sleeve, hats, bibs, socks. etc. I know it won't stay perfect once the baby arrives, but it will help things. People told us (some of them quite rudely!) that no one would gift us clothes because of not knowing our baby's gender ahead of time; how false was that. We have been really lucky and are totally stocked on 0-3 month clothes and many 3-6 month clothes as well.
This was one item I insisted on, a nice glider, and specifically this one from Pottery Barn Kids. It's technically my "push gift" because I told Ben I would use it more than any piece of jewelery or gift he would get me, and we shouldn't waste money on something superficial (although, a little gift when I come home from the hospital would be nice. ;)

The pillow I received in a gift from my friends Molly, Jenna, Sarah and Nina, and I think it will be great to have around for feedings, and because it's beautiful and matches the room perfectly.
We also have these very cute Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls that Ben's grandmother made for him when his mom was expecting. They are SO cute, and I'm glad that our baby can now have them as well. (And there's that bird I mentioned earlier!)

I hope you liked the little nursery tour. Now that all is settled we just sit... and wait...for baby!

Pin It

Thursday, October 18, 2012

VitaCake Giveaway

OK, I lied, the post AFTER this will be a nursery tour. This one is a giveaway I keep meaning to do from the great people at Vitalicious.

They have volunteered to give one of my readers a case of their 50 Calorie VitaCakes and have them delivered right to your doorstep!

I wish I could say I've eaten them, but they're not gluten free, so I couldn't try these beauties. =( I did used to love their VitaTops, especially the chocolate flavors, before I was gluten free.

Also, my husband, friends and coworkers all loved the VitaCakes when I handed them around for them to try with the samples Vitalicious gave me.

I had one co-worker who kept saying, "Can I have just one more of those??" Glad he liked them!

Anyway, if you would like to enter to win a case of these VitaCakes, here's how:
1. Be an official follower of this blog
2. Tweet about this giveaway mentioning me (@AlexaTC) and Vitalicious (@vitamuffin)
3. Leave a comment saying why you want these delicious cakes!

Leave a separate comment for each entry (so up to three total).

All entries must be received by Sunday, October 21, 2011 at 11:59 p.m. eastern, and once I announce a winner they have 48 hours to e-mail me their mailing info to:

** Open to US Residents Only.. Vitalicious provided me with a case of samples of Vitacakes to try, but did not compensate me in any other way for this post.

UPDATE: The random winner is #3, Emily at A Nutritionist Eats. Congratulations Emily!
Pin It

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What I've been cooking, baking and eating (and not eating)

I've been in total, make it, and freeze it mode as we prep for Baby's arrival. Maybe because nearly everything else is done, birthing class and infant CPR are both complete, drawers are full of washed clothes, car seats are in place. So now, we wait...

Lucky for me, I've been busy at work to keep my mind off the impending event (most of the time, sometimes I just can't avoid thinking about it when I feel like my abdomen is a big ball of pressure) and then my weekends fill up fast as I try enjoy our last few weeks as a family of two (plus Cooper).

Recipes I've been making to freeze include:
Apple Crisp (Can't find the recipe anymore online, I'll write another post with it soon, it's so easy and delicious!)
Chicken Enchiladas
Three Bean Chili
Quinoa Chicken Chili
Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

I also recently made these (you could freeze them, but they're probably best fresh) Cheesy Chicken Crunchers.

Oh. My. Goodness. These were delicious, like an adult version of chicken tenders, and my husband who has a taste for simpler foods (he's a mac and cheese, burger & fries, steak & potatoes, etc. lover more than anything) loved them as well.

Last night, I also made these simple baked apples from Healthy Tipping Point. They were great with a scoop of ice cream last night, and on my oatmeal this morning. 

People keep asking me if I've had particular cravings during this pregnancy, and I guess I can't pinpoint many. What made me take a pregnancy test in the first place was wanting to eat Mexican food everyday for about seven days straight and realizing after about the fifth day that that was a little odd. During my first trimester, I was sick with nausea and throwing up for about eight weeks straight, and my food choices were little. During that time I did crave Edy's Slow Churned Rocky Road Ice Cream and Ore Ida Tater Tots (we were going through at least two bags a week for awhile) because they were one of the few things, besides Rice Chex and Crackers as well, that sat well in my stomach.

The one thing I have not been able to stand this entire pregnancy is ground beef. During the first trimester, it was any meat all together, but now it's just ground beef. The smell and taste of it leave me gauging.

I cannot WAIT to eat certain foods again. Specifically soft cheeses. I know some are comfortable eating them if they're pasteurized, but I just was too paranoid.  So, I'll be having some goat cheese pasta and brie with jam, along with a glass of wine or a cold beer as soon as I can.

After this weekend, the final touches of nursery should be done, so in my next post I'll give you a little tour with links to the products we purchased. Stay Tuned!

Pin It

Monday, September 24, 2012

End of September Thoughts

I have a million things racing through my brain, so here's a random post for you all that lists them.
  1. Recipes. I'm in total cook and bake mode. Some of the items being frozen for when Baby Cush arrives to enjoy, some being scarfed down immediately. My next recipes on the list: Iowa Girl Eats Starbucks Imitation Pumpkin Scones, Confessions of a Gluten Free Mom Muffins, and my Chicken Enchiladas and Cottage Cheese Pancakes. I'm now noticing that three out of those four are breakfast pastries.
  2. Packing my hospital bag. After our tour yesterday it's top of mind. So far I have: two outfits for baby, including hat and socks, swaddle blanket, miracle blanket, last blanket my grandma knitted (I came home from the hospital in one she knitted), basic toiletries, tooth brush for Ben, change of clothes for Ben, extra blanket for me, bathrobe, two changes of clothes for me (both comfortable and oversized), medications recommended by friends (and just in case other clueless first time moms read this, I'll tell them too, Tylenol and Stool Softener, don't act all grossed out, it's reality). I also have a few things to pick up to add, like I want to find some really great gluten free shampoo to treat myself with after the birth, tennis balls for back massaging during labor, a birthing ball and nursing bras. Oh, and snacks for Ben as well.
  3. Our nursery. It's nearly finished, and I put a sneak peak on twitter (@AlexaTC) if you want to check there. Still a few things to get to make it complete, but I just love it! There were some changes to the original plan I blogged about previously, but overall it's the vision I've had since about ten weeks. 
  4. Finding a gluten free pumpkin beer. Is there one? Google hasn't helped me much, one possibly in Michigan? Post Delivery I want to have a few of my favorite beverages I've been missing, like sweet wines (I have a bottle from Northern Vineyards I bought in June put away to toast with after birth), a Moscow Mule, and a Gluten Free Pumpkin Beer. Of course I'll have like half a glass of any of these and probably be tipsy. 
  5. My great and generous friends and family. We've had one great shower here in DC, have another one coming this weekend and my friends from afar have participated in a virtual shower that's had a package on my door step nearly everyday for the past two weeks. I'll leave you with a few pictures of some of the great items we've received! (BTW, I am not some weirdo who takes pictures of all of their gifts, part of the virtual shower was taking pictures of them and posting them to the evite).

Pin It

Thursday, August 2, 2012

For the Love of Etsy

Lately, Etsy has had quite the great finds for me. I love this website, because I am not crafty, but these people are, and they make cute things, at a more affordable price, and I love them.

I've found these that I think will be a great way to decorate the baby's room for our owl and bird theme, and you can order them in various colors. We also won't have to commit to painting something on as well, as these are easily removable.

Once I have the room set up and can see where these would go on the wall, I'll order either one or both of them.

I was also in love with this completely over priced J Crew Bubble necklace, but there's no way I would spend $150 for what's basically costume jewelery.

Well, wouldn't you know it, found nearly the exact same necklace on Etsy for $18! $24, with shipping; a fraction of the J Crew price.

 J Crew Version

Etsy Version

I found the perfect bridesmaid jewelery on Etsy. I've bought holiday gifts on there. It's so great to find such personalized items, that you know are handmade, and be able to get them at an affordable price.

And payment is easy and secure as well.

Also, a recipe I forgot to note in my last post I tried recently and LOVE. I'll surely be making them again. These, Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Pin It

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Welcome to August

The month of July has been a whirlwind. From a trip to LA for work, to a train ride to Connecticut for a family wedding, and a visit from my parents, it was one thing after another and I've loved this summer, especially since its our last summer of truly being carefree

And now that August has hit, we're packing up our apartment and moving in ten days; I can't wait! We decided to ditch our two bedroom apartment and are renting a bigger townhome for at least the next two years. I can't wait to have a garage, a little backyard, a deck with a grill, and two family room areas.

Since I can't do much as actually moving things, I've been packing like crazy (thank goodness for my parent's visit and all of their help) and plan to be the delegater at the new house when the movers are bringing stuff in, telling them exactly where things go.

Once we are moved in, we can also finally start working on the baby's room!! At nearly 28 weeks, I'm more than ready to start nesting and creating our child's room. I'll for sure provide photo tours of the baby's room.

This weekend we're going to purchase a dresser from Ikea and order the glider from Pottery Barn Kids.

We've been registering for everything under the sun (registered at Target, Land of Nod and PB Kids) so that we can at least complete the registries with the 10% off. I can't wait to really start nesting and getting things ready for Baby Cush. If my growing belly didn't already make things very real, having a room prepared for it's arrival sure will.

To avoid the comments, yes, you can prepare a room when you don't know your child's gender! I find it laughable the people who think you can't put together your baby's room if you don't know their gender. Before 1990ish, most couples didn't know their baby's gender at all and they survived. And, I'm personally not a huge fan of gender specific decorating. We don't do it as adults, why do kids need do it? I love the bedding we picked out from Land of Nod that's yellow and gray and would have picked the same one had we known our baby's gender. 

So excited about this bedding and the birds & owls theme!

I had to share some recipes I tried over the last month that I recommend for all. Of course I made them gluten free (ask me if you have questions as to how), but seriously, check these out!

Pin It

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Gluten Free at Panera

 For my gluten free readers out there, I wanted to let you all know that I got an updated Gluten Free list from Panera that I had to share. Now, I know many of you think, "how can you do gluten free at a place called Panera BREAD??" But, you can. 

Tell them about your allergy, order gluten free things, and frankly, I've never had an issue there.

I was mainly wondering about their cream cheeses, as I recently bought some gluten free bagels that need some good shmear, and I got more than enough of an answer. Below is what Panera wrote back to me:

Dear Alexa,

Thank you for contacting Panera Bread. I have included below a list (including cream cheese) of our menu items that do not contain gluten-containing ingredients. However, because we bake fresh bread daily in our bakery-cafes and bread is core to our menu, we simply cannot ensure that there has been no contact between these items, or any other menu items, and gluten.

Not all of the items listed are currently on our menu and some new menu items have not yet been evaluated for the purposes of inclusion on this list. However, you can find complete ingredients listings for current menu items on our website. (When you choose a menu item in our online Nutrition Calculator, click on the "ingredients" link for ingredients information for that item.)

Please note that nutritional information on our website is updated periodically. New products may be available in our bakery-cafes before a periodic update of this site. In addition, some menu items may be available only on a regional, test or seasonal basis. Nutritional information about these menu items is available at the participating bakery-cafes. Tests of new recipes of existing products may be conducted from time to time in certain markets. These new recipes may contain different/additional ingredients, including allergens, as compared to the original version. For the most update-to-date information, please call or visit your nearest bakery-cafe to speak with a manager.

Thank you again for contacting us. We appreciate your business and value your comments.


Customer Comment Coordinator


**Although we try to meet your special requirements, we cannot ensure that these items have not come into contact with gluten in our bakery-café.
** Gorgonzola and bleu cheeses are commonly made with mold incubated on wheat. Some may choose to avoid these cheeses for this reason and you may substitute another cheese if you prefer. Items containing these ingredients are indicated below with (G) or (BC).
Salads: (including the salad dressing) (source of modified food starch is corn)
• Greek Salad
• Caesar Salad (without croutons)
• Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad (without croutons)
• Asian Sesame Chicken Salad (without Won Ton noodles)
• Classic Cafe Salad
• Fuji Apple Chicken Salad & Roasted Turkey Fuji Apple Salad (G)
• Chopped Chicken Cobb Salad & Chopped Chicken Cobb with Avocado Salad (G)
• BBQ Chopped Chicken Salad
• Seasonal Fruit Cups
• Chopped Steak & Blue Cheese (without crispy onions) (BC)
• Thai Chopped Chicken Salad (without wontons, vinaigrette, and peanut sauce)
• Strawberry Poppyseed & Chicken Salad

Salad Dressings:

• Balsamic Vinaigrette
• Caesar
• Greek/Herb Vinaigrette
• Asian Sesame Vinaigrette
• White Balsamic Fuji Apple Vinaigrette
• BBQ Ranch
• BBQ Sauce
• Cabernet Sauce
• Blue Cheese Vinaigrette
• Light Buttermilk Ranch
• Fat Free Poppyseed Dressing


• Low Fat Vegetarian Black Bean
• Creamy Tomato (without croutons)
• Low Fat Chicken Tortilla with or without the tortilla strips
• Vegetarian Summer Corn Chowder


• Coffee- all varieties
• Juice, both apple and orange
• Lemonade
• Milk
• Soda, fountain and bottled
• Brewed Tea, tea bags, Chai Tea (hot & iced) and green tea
• All lattes, espresso drinks & Frozen beverages
• Low-Fat Smoothies
• Hot Chocolate


• All Cream Cheese Spread flavors


• Panera Bread Potato Chips
• All meats (including roast beef, ham, turkey, roasted turkey, salami, bacon, ABF citrus pepper chicken, smoked chicken, Salmon [seasonal], Lobster [select areas only], all natural sausage patty).
• All cheeses (see gorgonzola and blue cheese reference above)

Pin It

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Back with a little extra baggage

Hello loyal readers. I've taken a hiatus that wasn't planned, it just happened. I've enjoyed a breath of fresh air, and am ready to connect with you all again on the interwebs.

The biggest reason the hiatus started was because, I found out I was pregnant! I didn't know how to write about running, when running has become impossible for me while pregnant, or healthy eating, both of which I normally write about on here, when I could barely keep down anything for eight weeks and was living on crackers, ice cream and ginger ale.

But now that I'm at 21 weeks (due Nov. 1) and the morning sickness has subsided, I'm ready to blog again.

I also wasn't sure how I would handle parenthood on the interwebs because so many people are judgmental of other moms online, and frankly, I could give a crap what anyone else thinks of how I'm going to parent. If I want someone's advice, I'll ask for it.

That said, I also had to think about my baby's exposure on the internet. I chose to have a presence on the web, not them, therefore, I want to keep them somewhat anonymous, as it wasn't their choice to have an outspoken mother. Sure, there may be random pictures, or a mention of their name (still trying to decide if I will tell their real name on here once they are born, or give a little nick name to maintain anonymity like some people do, like Liz and her "baby goat."

Anyway, I'm still trying to be healthy now. Taking walks, doing  yoga, eating healthy (ish), but still enjoying what my body is craving. So, although a big focus of this blog will become my pregnancy and prepping for baby, as that's the biggest part of my life right now, it will also still be me, being me, as I've never wanted to be a person who loses their entire identity in their child.

Also, I won't be posting "bump" pics. There may be pictures of me on here that relate to posts where I happen to be pregnant, but unless you're putting pictures up of the progress of your bloated vs. unbloated abdomen, you don't need to see mine. Plus, besides parents, grandparents, close friends, etc, who really freaking cares how my stomach area looks? When women put pictures like that up, I want to say, "oh, you got wide in the middle while you were pregnant?! What a concept!"

Anyway, glad to be back!

Pin It

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Year

Leap Year comes but once every four years, and every time it does, I can't help but feel bad for the people born on this day. I think it would suck to only have a proper birthday to celebrate once every four years.

This year, companies are diving into leap year sales apparently. Random deals like Buy one get one free drinks at Caribou Coffee, and my husband's personal favorite, a free Spicy Chicken Sandwich from Chick Fil A.


I was sad to watch the season finale of my favorite show on TV last night, "Parenthood." I love this show and am so sad that NBC made it's season so short, especially after it already took the whole month of December off.

I'll use the extra TV time to catch up on the "The Good Wife," as my DVR kept messing it up due to football in the fall, so I need to start the season over from scratch, now to find those early episodes... any suggestions?

Also, the random winner (thanks to of the Chobani give away is...

#16 Meredith M

Send me an e-mail at with your contact information by March 7 and we'll have a case of Chobani sent your way.

Pin It

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Foodie Pen Pals

This month I decided to participate in Foodie Pen Pals after hearing about it on Mellissa's blog. It sounded like a fun idea. Send a package full of surprise treats to someone you're randomly matched with, and receive one in return from another random match!

I felt bad signing up at first because I knew my gluten allergy would limit things, but my Foodie Pen Pan Jacqueline did great!

The goods

She sent me a full package full of gluten free goodies, most of which I've never tried before, and have been really enjoying. She also went over the $15 limit and included a bottle of her personal favorite bourbon. She had asked me in our initial e-mails if I liked bourbon (yes!) and said being that she's from Kentucky she had to integrate it in the package.

She also included some treats for Cooper, Chicken Jerky sticks that are made in the USA (we only feed Cooper American made dog treats) from Trader Joes. Cooper is very picky about treats, but he loves them! He doesn't get a whole stick, but we break off a couple pieces for him, and he goes nuts when he smells them.

Enjoy getting mail that's not bills? Want a Foodie Pen Pal? Email and get on the list for next month.

Also, today is the last day to enter the Chobani give away and have a free case delivered to your door step!

Pin It

Thursday, February 23, 2012

New Chobani Flavors Give Away

As I've stated before, I'm a huge fan of Greek yogurt. I love it's creamy thickness, I love it with cereal, and I love it's versatility to be used with cooking.

Recently, my favorite Greek yogurt brand Chobani put out some new flavors, and now you have a chance to try all of them!

First let me tell you, of the three new flavors: Blood Orange, Apple Cinnamon and Passion Fruit, and all three are delicious!

Apple Cinnamon has become my absolute favorite of all the Chobani flavors! It's like Apple Pie Ala Mode. I love to open it up, stir it around, then freeze it and eat it a few hours later, it makes me eat it slower and enjoy each bite. Sometimes I think Greek yogurt of any flavor is too bitter to eat solo, but the Apple Cinnamon is not in my opinion.

I'd be doing you a disservice if I didn't tell you about the new Chobani Champions flavors (the kid version of Chobani as well), including the new Chocolate Vanilla flavor. It is absolutely wonderful and feels like a treat more than a yogurt.

The good people at Chobani have said they'll give one reader a prize package will include a case of the new flavors 12 cups total with four of each of each flavor- 0% Blood Orange, 0% Apple Cinnamon & 2% Passion Fruit.

Here's how you can win:
  1. Leave a comment telling me your favorite yogurt flavor
  2. Tweet about the give away and leave a comment with your twitter name saying you did
  3. Post the giveaway on your blog and leave a comment with the link

Leave a separate comment for each for increased chances to win.

All comments must be received by Tuesday, February 28, 2012 at 11:00 p.m. Eastern time in order to be eligible to win. The winner must contact me via e-mail to claim their prize by Wednesday March 7, 2012 at 12:00 p.m. Eastern or a new winner will be chosen.

*Chobani provided me with a case of the new flavors to try, but did not compensate me in any other way for this post.

Pin It

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Chicken Enchiladas

As promised, here is my recipe for Chicken Enchiladas.

You'll need:
  • Two Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • Packet of Taco Seasoning
  • Can of Fat Free Refried Beans
  • 8 Tortillas
  • Regular Size Jar of Enchilada Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Sharp Cheddar
I usually bake up my chicken the night before, seasoning it with the taco seasoning pack, and baking at 400 degrees for 30 minutes to be a step ahead for dinner the next night.

Once chicken breast is done, I shred it with a fork (careful if you're doing it fresh from the oven and it's hot!) and then spread the refried beans on to each tortilla, then fill it with a portion of the shredded chicken. It should look something like this:

Then, fold up the filled tortillas and line them up in a baking dish, fold side down. Once in the dish, pour entire bottle of enchilada sauce evenly on top, then top with shredded sharp cheddar. For the sauce, I like the Ortega brand in Medium, it gives it a perfect kick. Yes, I know that sauce has corn syrup in it, no, I don't care.

Ready to bake!

Then, bake the dish at 350 degrees for 25 minutes and voila! Easy, and delicious! Each enchilada has five points if you're counting Weight Watchers Points when I use small, corn tortillas. Ben is always advocating for more cheese, but I think the half cup is the perfect amount for me.

I usually enjoy one enchilada in a sitting with two tablespoons of light sour cream (I do NOT do fat free dairy products besides milk, gross). This is a great six point, end of the day meal.

Thanks to these awesome baking dishes from Crate and Barrel we received from our friends Chris and Sarina as wedding gifts, I always freeze two of the enchiladas in the small dish and make them for a quick dinner for one if I need something in the future. They bake up just great after being frozen.

Tomorrow I'll be doing an awesome give away, that I'm really excited about, so be sure to check back then!

Pin It

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday Recipe Work Ahead

Sundays have become the days that I plan ahead meals, and make ahead what I can for the week to help Ben and I eat healthier during the week. I don't know why I haven't done this sooner, even if I can do part of a meal Sunday nights, it makes cooking during the week so much easier.

For instance, tonight I'll be making a lightened up version of The Pioneer Woman's Corn Chowder and baking seasoned chicken for my Chicken Enchiladas (I'll provide this recipe at a later date, it's easy and delicious!).

I'm also planning to make this Hawaiian Curried Chicken with Pineapple Salsa.

I mainly wrote this post to tell you all about an awesome give away I'll have coming up in the next week. I'll give you a clue, it's a great company for eating healthy, with great flavor, and I've done a give away with them previously, but now there are new flavors! Stay Tuned!

Pin It

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Red Hot Buffalo Chicken Burgers

For my Valentine's Day lunch at work, I enjoyed leftovers from the night before. Homemade sweet potato fries, and a buffalo chicken burger inspired by ones I've seen in the case at Whole Foods, but can't buy because they're made with bread crumbs.

Yes, those are Chick Fil A ketchup packets

The easy recipe is as follows:

One Pound Ground Chicken Breast
1/3 Cup Blue Cheese Crumbles
1/3 Cup Gluten Free (or regular) bread crumbs
1/8 Cup Original Franks Red Hot Sauce
1 Egg White
Mix together, form into patties and bake for 20-25 minutes at 400

You can add more red hot sauce if you like it spicier, but you'll probably want to add more breadcrumbs then so the burgers aren't too soggy. You could also add red pepper flakes for more kick!

For my weight watcher friends, this recipe made five burgers for me, and each burger was worth five points.

Also, I'm sure excited/grossed out by Jack in the Box's latest creation, the Bacon Shake!

Now, if you ask my husband, you'll know that I've had the idea of bacon ice cream treats for months. I've suggested crumbling bacon into an M&M McFlurry, or putting it on top of a hot caramel sundae, so you're welcome Jack in the Box.

The nutrition facts on this are obviously daunting. 773 calories and 40 grams of fat in a regular 16 ounce size. And, to boot, it's not even real bacon, it's bacon syrup they use to flavor it!

Either way, when I'm near a Jack in the Box, I'm trying it, and I'll report back. I doubt it will be as good as if real crunchy bacon were whipped up in the shake, but I'll take a few sips (which will probably turn into three extra pounds that week, whatever) and let you know!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Real Cold And WW Update

So, this weekend it actually got for real cold in DC. Not the wimpy cold natives of this area think is cold, but biting wind, and bone chilling cold cold. I went into Whole Foods Saturday afternoon, I came out 20 minutes later and there was wind whipping and snow swirling around like a snow globe, holy crap!

For the next two days, the temperatures were in the 20's and wind chills in the teens. Not crazy cold, but definitely not comfortable to be out in for long periods of time.

Luckily, I got in my run Saturday morning, I did a nice four miles to take it a bit easy.

Sunday night, I had made a nail appointment with a groupon for a place in DC to get another Gel Manicure (I wrote about those previously) so I took the metro in, and had some delays due to track work that were quite cold as I sat waiting on the plank for the next train to come at outdoor stations.

Updated Nails!

Thankfully, my nails looked great though! And I still love that I live in a place now that I can get pretty much anywhere by a reliable (most of the time) transit system seven days a week.

Weight Watchers has been going great. Last Friday I weighed in and was shocked to see 148.8 pounds, 1.2 pounds lost last week! I was shocked because I didn't feel like last week was as good as it could of been, but when I think about how I was eating before, it was much better than I would have ever done on my own.

I credit a lot of how Weight Watchers is going to changing up my breakfast. I've been having a more protein filled breakfast, rather than just cereal and milk or cereal with yogurt, and it's helping me feel more satisfied.

Someone likes protein filled breakfasts too

I usually always have egg whites with some sort of low fat cheese, and either turkey bacon, chicken sausage or a slice of gluten free bread to go with it. It takes more time to put together, and I get up about ten minutes earlier because of it, but it's completely worth it.

The breakfast is usually four points maximum, and tastes great! Plus, it helps me not start my day on a carb high, which will inevitably lead to my blood sugar dropping and super cravings and hunger just a few hours later.

I do still always eat a bowl of cereal the mornings before I run, because I know that that's what sits best with my body for running. I feel the carbs serve me better those mornings, and that is also usually only one morning a week, as I run after work during the week most times.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Why I decided to join Weight Watchers

For this being a blog that focuses quite often on healthy living, and my progress in that category, there's something about this I haven't shared with you all yet.

Let's start in the spring of 2011, during this time my body just felt really blah. When I was diagnosed with celiac in March, it helped with this feeling. I didn't feel as bloated, or agitated by certain foods, and I thought all my problems were solved with this. I wasn't as fatigued as I had often complained about, and thought all my problems with how my body was feeling would be solved.


With the madness of this summer and back and forth trips to DC, other work trips, packing up our condo and ultimately moving, my body still didn't feel right. Sure, I wasn't feeling awful like I did when I was eating gluten, but I wasn't feeling great. My clothes were not fitting well, my runs felt harder and more exhausting to complete, and I hated the way I was feeling, and the way I looked in certain outfits.

In September I went to the doctor and was weighted in just got 158 pounds, and I was in shock. Could I really be at that weight? What was I doing? I exercise, I eat right---or, did I?

I mean, of course I didn't eat great when I was moving, or when I lived in a hotel for two weeks, or before our kitchen was being unpacked, but I eat well otherwise, of course I do!

Denial is a powerful tool, and let me tell you, I was in denial about my habits. They weren't just that month in transition, it had taken months for me to get here. And as in denial as I was, the proof was staring back at me everyday in the mirror.

Now to be fair, I have to tell you, I'm not in the gifted and talented group when it comes to genetics as far as being able to eat what I want, and not have it show on my body. And if you are, I hate you, leave my blog immediately (I kid...sort of).

I have the same genetic make up that a few other members of my family were blessed --I mean cursed,with (I blame the German genes for this one) and age wasn't helping. You know in Big Daddy when Adam Sandler said that he used to be able to eat whatever he wanted, but as he got older if he ate a milk shake his ass would then jiggle for a week? Yeah, that.

When Ben and I got married in June 2010, I was fluctuating between 140 pounds, and 143, it was a very happy weight for me, so seeing this 158 (and sometimes plus) killed me. I was especially upset when I saw that this puts me in the "overweight" BMI area for my height of 5'6". I knew I had to do something.

So, I started tracking my food again like I did before our wedding, it was eye opening, I really wasn't making that great of choices. I splurged too often on "treats," and was eating A LOT. I always had the justification, if it's good for you, it's OK to eat a lot of, right? WRONG AGAIN.

By Thanksgiving I had lost two pounds and was sitting steady at 156 pounds. During the holidays I did my best not splurge, but lost interest in tracking my food (I was using My Fitness Pal App on my iPhone) and decided that if I wanted to make a change I HAD to do it now, I couldn't go down this slippery slope of being content with having a few extra pounds.

So, on the day after Christmas, I joined Weight Watchers online, and from the moment I started, it's proved as a great tool. As of last Friday, my last weigh in day, I was down to 151 pounds, five pounds lost in 31 days. My clothes feel good, my runs feel great (when you're lugging around less weight, it really does make a difference), and my body feels better when I'm feeding it better choices.

I don't know how I forget this when I'm making poor choices, but it's so true to say,

Fit and Healthy feels better than anything can taste.

Weight Watchers online does take some work, but it's not super hard. I can easily enter recipes and determine points, and I love the way the points plus program encourages me to eat more real food like fruits, vegetables, and lean meats.

Do I still splurge? Heck yes, I have to live. This weekend I had the most delectable Red Velvet cupcake from Sprinkles in Georgetown (they put a DOME of frosting on cupcakes there, for a sugar freak like me, it's heaven). The difference between now and then is, that's a once a week splurge, not a three or four times a week splurge.

The points tracking has made me realize the times I eat out of habit, not hunger (dessert after dinner each night especially) and how a few extra bites each day can lead to extra pounds over a few months, and that with patience and persistence, you can get back to a healthier place.

This experience has also proved to me that because I drew the short straw for not so naturally skinny genetics, that this has to be a life long process. I can't let my guard down, and I have to be OK with that. As much as it sometimes feels so unfair sometimes to not be able to eat sugar and french fries whenever the craving comes my way, things could be a lot worse in life.

I'm signed up for Weight Watchers through March 26, and I plan to continue it another three months after that for continued accountability.

For my five pound reward, I got a massage last Friday, and my next reward will be when I hit 145, eleven pounds lost, and I'll let myself FINALLY get a pair of Wunder Unders from Lululemon!

These pants are super comfortable and have been said to make your legs and rear look great. hey, at 145 pounds, plus the cost of these pants, my ass better look dynamite!

I can't promise updates all the time, but I'll keep you updated on my progress as I reach these milestones, my ultimate goal--138!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Houston Adventure

The last few weeks have a been a whirlwind in my life. The holidays came and went, January started with great weather, then fell into an icy mess this weekend.

Over MLK weekend, Ben and I visited Houston, Texas where he lived before he and I met. It was my first time in Texas, and his first time back since leaving there in the fall of 2006.

Ben enjoyed his favorite thing about Texas...

Tex Mex!

Ben loves the restaurant Pappasitos there, and I have to admit, it was great, and they did Gluten Free well. Another great gluten free restaurant in Houston was Goode Company Barbecue. Both restaurants let you try the native flavor of the area, without having to worry about getting glutenized.

And I enjoyed my favorite frozen yogurt shop ever...


There was a Yogurtland right next to our hotel in Maui on our honeymoon, and I literally went there everyday. Not the healthiest, but it was our honeymoon, so I lived large. Now, I don't let myself have self-serve frozen yogurt too often, (although my favorite treat here is getting it from Josie's) because I find it hard to control myself with the toppings, even if I get a small dish. We don't have Yogurtland in Virginia, so I let myself go NUTS at this, and boy, was it worth it!

I also got to experience that everything really IS bigger in Texas. For example:

Because those mini flags on a car aren't enough apparently

We had a great time in Houston, staying with Ben's friends Heather and Tom and their daughter Emma. Ben hit up some of his favorite places to hang out (and most did involve more Tex Mex!) and I got to see some real Texas Two-Stepping when we were out on Saturday night. I was totally impressed by the way men there lead women across the dance floor, and were into the dancing, rather than just swaying back and forth reluctantly like middle school boys.

Our last night in town we stayed at the Westin Galleria. I looove Westin's (as you can tell from my last trip to Minneapolis when I stayed there as well), and highly recommend this location also for it's central location, and being connected to the Galleria Mall.

Now, I'm completely focused on training for my half-marathon, I ran this weekend on ice and slush, with a light snow falling, and my legs have ached ever since from gripping my toes trying not to slip for most of the run.

This week, my plan is to rest today, and hopefully get in the pool, do some strength training and some speed training Wednesday night. Wish me luck!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Weekend Meal Planning

Hola friends! What a great weekend it has been. Yesterday, it was close to 60 degrees, and I started the day off right, heading out for a long run. I ran to the trail that's near our house. I thought it was two miles away, turns out, it was 2.75 miles away, oops!

Really, it didn't matter though, because I had such an amazing run! I planned to do between seven and eight miles for my half training and ended up doing nine miles. Partly because of my poor planning, and partly because I just couldn't turn around on the trail when I was planning to, I was just feeling too great! And even today, my hips are a bit tight, but I still feel great, and plan on strength training tonight, along with a short swim, to keep things hopefully on this upswing.

Post Run Happiness

I was wearing the Lululemon shirt that I had blogged about on my Christmas list. I bought it with a gift card Ben gave me for Christmas to Lululemon, and it worked great! If you can still find this shirt on any clearance racks (it was the last one on the clearance rack at the store near my house last week), I highly recommend it either for winter layers or spring/fall weather days like yesterday.

I also found the perfect new thing to listen to during my run, How I Met Your Mother Podcasts with the cast. They are great! Highly recommend them if you love that show.

Planning my meals for the week, I had to share with you all the great recipes I have planned. Ben and I did a major grocery run today, and I'm going to make a couple of these today, so they're easy to pop in the microwave or oven for dinners this week.

Meals include:

Also, my winner for my Rudi's Giveaway never contacted me, so I picked a new one. That winner is...


Lindsey, e-mail me at with your mailing address by Tuesday, January 10 at 11:00 p.m. Eastern to claim your prize!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year!

I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday season and a great New Years!

Ben and I started Christmas Eve off by going to see his beloved Vikings take on the Redskins here in D.C.

Sunny Vikings Game

The Vikings won, but running back Adrian Peterson torn his ACL and damaged his MCL, putting a damper on celebrations.

In other news, my Packers are 15-1 going into the playoffs. =) hehehehe

I spent a few days last week in Minnesota and had a great time seeing so many friends, as it's the first time I've been back there (minus a connection at MSP in October) since we moved. My friend Cindy picked me up from the airport last Tuesday night and it seemed surreal, I was back! I felt a wave of anxiety and excitement as I realized I had roughly 72 hours to see so many people, and was about to get blasted by cold I hadn't felt in a long time (and it actually wasn't that bad!)

Jen was nice enough to let me stay at her place a couple of the nights I was there and let me use her car during the day while she worked.

The gracious hostess and I!

It was so nice to stay at her place, catch up with her make dinner (since I ate out most other meals) and see other girlfriends (like Jen H and of course Cindy who came over to laugh, eat and have fun with us).

By far the best part of my trip, was being able to run one of the Chain of Lakes. Minnesota is the Land of 10,000 Lakes and that is really the biggest thing I miss there. The lakes were beautiful and easy to run, always had clear paths, and of course I loved the friends I ran with. I ran the 2.75 miles of Lake of Isles with a few gals and loved every minute of it. The conversation flowed, my feet felt light, and breath felt wonderful even though I thought I would have a hard time running in 30ish degree temperatures for the first time since last winter. I wish I would have taken a picture, because that run reminded me again why I love running so much, and why I keep doing it.

I was able to meet up with other friends as well and some gluten free, and delicious restaurants in the area. There are definitely more gluten free choices here in the DC area, but the ones I've come to love in Minneapolis were great to revisit, including: Cooper, Pizza Luce, Bonfire, Bank, and Highland Grille.

Annette, Annie and I after enjoying a wonderful meal at Cooper

I spent one great night in the Westin in Downtown Minneapolis. If you're ever staying in the Twin Cities, I highly recommend this hotel. Great location with skyway connections, the Westin Heavenly Bed that feels like a sleeping on a pillow, great service, and Bank restaurant in the lobby that's delicious.

Huge and comfortable room at the Westin!

I also was able to see many college friends and met up with my parents at Mall of America for lunch and of course shopping one day!

Last but not least, the random winner of the Rudi's Swag Bag giveaway is...

Erin Slocum!

Erin, e-mail me your contact information