Posts made in March, 2012

march foodie penpals

12

Posted on Mar 30, 2012 in Food

Have you heard of Foodie Penpals? It’s the brainchild of Lindsay over at the Lean Green Bean. Each month, hundreds of bloggers and readers come together to do a massive food gift exchange. Lindsay sends us our matches at the beginning of the month, we head out and spend $15 getting some awesome foodie loot and then send it off to our match. In the mean time, your match is doing the same for you and by the middle of the month, you get an awesome food-filled package in the mail. It’s a pretty sweet deal.

This month, I got an awesome package in the mail from Abby at The Closet Files. She was amazing and worked with me to make sure I got my box before we left on vacation. And she tossed in some great road trip snacks and drinks. Which we definitely used while driving down the interstate.

In my box of goodies was some trail mix, banana chips, a delicious blackberry Izze, a green tea, a single serving Nutella (!) and some incredible coffee!

I was so excited about the coffee that I whipped up a “pot” of French press with it while I packaged up my own Foodie Penpal gift pack. It was some of the best coffee I’ve ever had. Yum!

Thank you so much, Abby! You knocked it out of the park with your selections.

Interested in joining the Foodie Penpal program? Head on over and fill out the form. I highly recommend it!

The Lean Green Bean

Wondering what I sent out? Head on over to Anna’s blog to check out what goodies I picked up for her.

Did you ever have a penpal?

I had a few growing up, but nothing long term. I joined a lot of those international pen pal networks and it was fun to get postcards from all over the world as a kid.

confessions…

14

Posted on Mar 29, 2012 in Lifestyle

1. My laziness is so pervasive that I rarely heat up my lunch at work because it requires a 30 second walk to the microwave and I just cannot be bothered to do that. I eat so much food cold that should probably be heated up. Cold spaghetti really isn’t all that bad, though.

2. I have so many things going on that I haven’t mentioned on here. Big, scary, awesome things. To give you an idea: you are reading the blog of the owner of not one, but two officially registered and licensed companies. That is terrifying. Exciting, but terrifying. I’m an entrepreneur, people! Or something like that. Life is about to get a lot more busy.

3. Sometimes I wish it was possible for neither team to win a sporting event. This is one of those times. I may have said to a co-worker that I hope the stadium implodes. That is taking it too far, but, yeah…GO BUCKEYES! Big Ten, forever, baby.

4. I don’t believe in a lot of the things I’m learning in my food safety class in culinary school. It breaks my heart to have to select “only purchase food in sealed packaging from a manufacturer” and “do not purchase food from vendors that aren’t pre-approved” as the correct answers to a question about how to protect the food supply. I feel like some of the best food on the planet comes from the small-time farmer and is not pre-packaged. But I guess that’s the difference between a home cook and a restaurant chef who is responsible for the well-being of hundreds of people (which I have no desire to ever be, by the way). Side note: reading about foodborne parasites? Not fun.

5. Like everyone else in the history of ever, I’m totally obsessed with the Hunger Games. I went all fangirly when I first read the books a few years ago, and the movie has reignited my obsession. It also helps that Babyface is equally obsessed. On our way home from our (first) viewing of the movie, he said, “I have a celebrity crush on Jennifer Lawerence.” and I said, “Duh, who doesn’t?” Get in line, buddy.

Want more confessions? You can view all of my confessions posts here.

Do you have any confessions to share?

what i ate wednesday: back in the habit

25

Posted on Mar 28, 2012 in Food

My eating while on vacation was, well, vacation-y. I’m a big believer that vacation should be decadent and luxurious and we successfully checked each of those boxes off for every meal we had. We had dessert everyday (more than once a day), we drank a lot of fruity, sugary drinks and we had our fair share of creamy, butter-laden dishes. And it was fantastic. I had crab cake eggs benedict (!). And an entire meal made of just Corona, tortilla chips, queso and guacamole. And no less than five slices of Key lime pie. And at least twelve hundred of these. And I don’t take back a single bite.

Have I mentioned that I love eating?

But, as with all things, that kind of eating had to come to an end. It’s time to get back to the real world. And in the real world, people don’t drink mimosas before breakfast.

Although maybe we should start, it’d make me a much more agreeable co-worker.

So this WIAW is back to the standard. Back to a world without Hollandaise sauce and champagne. It feels good to be back to normal, but I definitely have a bit of a vacation hangover. Especially from the sugar. We definitely rode the sugar train the whole trip, and it’s hard to get my body to agree that we need to step back our sugar intake. My head has been pounding all week and I know it’s a combo of dehydration (alcohol is not hydrating, yo) and sugar withdrawal.

Breakfast

Fage with Cherry while I was making a grocery list for the week. We actually brought quite a bit of food back with us from the trip—one of the bonuses of driving—but we did need to pick up a few staples.

And then a mini Kind bar as we headed out to the grocery store. I LOVE these bars. I’m normally not an energy bar fan, because I have texture/taste issues, but these are more like they just formed trail mix into a bar. Delicious! And I love the mini size. Perfect for snacking.

Lunch

Babyface was craving pizza when we got back from shopping, so I pulled us together some individual flat bread pizzas. Mine was a Flatout Wrap, marinara sauce, some fresh basil leaves and a sprinkle of mozzarella. Delicious! And only 170 calories for the whole pizza. It won’t ever replace my beloved delivery Aver’s, but it satisfies a craving.

On the side, I had a few carrots and cauliflower with this Greek yogurt dip we found while in Florida. It’s so nice to see healthier versions of classics in grocery stores. This stuff was great!

For lunch dessert, I had a Coconut Patty. Gosh, I love these. They are like more delicious Mounds.

Afternoon Snack

Dug in a citrus-y snack after lunch. Blood Orange Chobani and half of a juicy, fresh Florida grapefruit. Yum!

I also made some energy bites for the week, and I of course, had to taste test. Still delicious.

Dinner

We went a little crazypants with the debit card while on vacation, so this week has been deemed “Pantry Dinner” week. We have a ton of staples in our pantry and deep freezer and it’s time to save some cash and use ‘em up. Pulled some spaghetti and sauce out of the pantry and a pound of beef from the freezer and called it dinner. We buy beef in bulk so we always have some local, humanely-raised options waiting for us. On the side, I made a small salad and we had a couple of garlic toasts.

And of course, another Coconut Patty.

Evening Snack

Got a little munchy while watching Mad Men (we are only a few episodes into the first season, no spoilers, please!) and made some air-popped popcorn. I love popcorn with lots of salt and butter, but I’m trying to wean myself off of that and learn to like it naked. I’m getting there.

The Numbers

Yup, I’m back to tracking. Would you believe it if I told you I actually kinda missed it? I guess I crave order, sometimes.

What’s the best thing you ate yesterday?

Spaghetti. It’s always been one of my favorite meals and always will be.

a week in paradise

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Posted on Mar 27, 2012 in Travel

Vacation was awesome. And I mean awesome. A big, huge thank you to all of the lovely and talented guest posters that were able to step in while I was doing this…

And some of this…

And a whole lot of this…

A week on the beach was exactly what we needed. While we’ve taken trips in the past few years, this was the first vacation where Babyface and I both totally shut off from our responsibilities in our entire marriage. It felt so good to not be tethered to my phone or laptop. I was able to take naps on the beach. Drink mimosas for breakfast. And read. I read four books, kids. FOUR! There were even a couple of days where I read an entire book start to finish on the beach. It felt so decadent and amazing.

For the most part, while we were on the beach we did exactly that—stay on the beach. But we did put on real pants a few times and venture out into the not-so-sandy-world. We got out to watch a Blue Jays Spring Training game in Sarasota, which was fun, but neither of us are huge baseball fans. We did really enjoy the hot dogs and beer, though.

One adventure that took us all around the area was our quest to find local seafood. You’d be amazed at how hard it is to find local seafood in the Sarasota area. We were finally able to track down a few places to buy freshly caught fish and shrimp, but the choices were really limited. Even the restaurants in the area flew in the vast majority of their seafood. But what were able to find was incredible!

And of course, we did our fair share of shopping. Babyface and I both get a kick out of kitschy, cheesy souvenir shops, so we spent quite a bit of time going through those. Beyond those shops, there were also some amazing artist co-op stores in the area. We were able to snag some fantastic original pieces from local artists as souvenirs. We did not, however, buy this hat. Dreads work on me, no?

I wish I had more to share with you, but I can honestly say, 90% of our time on vacation was spent on the water. We walked along the beach. We searched for seashells. We got our fill of Vitamin D (and went through SIX bottles of sunscreen). We splashed in the waves. We Babyface boogie boarded.

I think the mark of a great vacation is how you feel at the end. So often, I feel like I need a week’s vacation to recover from my vacation, but this time I feel relaxed and ready to get back into the swing of things. I loved being on the Gulf Coast, but I’m also happy to be home (and SO happy to see Puppyface).

I just wish we could bring the beach with us.

When you go on vacation, do you go off-the-grid? Or do you like to stay connected?

 

light and creamy piña colada

3

Posted on Mar 26, 2012 in Food

So, we’re back.

And I’m trying to pretend we aren’t.

It was an amazing week and I will share recaps of all the awesomeness we had over the past week with you soon, but for now, I’m wallowing in denial. But even that can only last so long. Tomorrow I go back to work and that will be one heck of a wakeup call. Especially considering I haven’t set an alarm clock in almost 10 days.

Insert moan and groan here.

To attempt to starve off reality for a little bit longer, let me share a recipe for my lightened up version of a smooth and creamy piña colada. I pretty much lived on piña coladas and margaritas while on the island, because, well, there is no such thing as a calorie on vacation. But now that I’m back in the land-locked, calorie-counting world, I figured I’d try my hand at a lightened up, less sugar-y and creamy version of my favorite tropical cocktail.

There are a lot of recipes for “skinny” piña coladas out there, and I love them! But most of them are missing the smooth, creamy factor that makes a piña colada so decadent. I used coconut milk to help add some of that to my version.

Happy Monday to you, and happy last day of vacation to me!

Light and Creamy Piña Colada

by Cassie Johnston

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: None

Makes: 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces coconut rum
  • 3 ounces light coconut milk
  • 4 ounces coconut water
  • 3 ounces pineapple juice
  • 2 cups crushed ice
  • 2 maraschino cherries

Instructions

  1. In the carafe of a blender, combine all ingredients minus the cherries. Blend on high until smooth and frothy. Pour into two glasses and garnish with cherries.
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What’s your go to vacation drink?