Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How did it get to be so late? This evening was really productive, but I feel like I got home and then the next time I looked at the clock it was 10:30. Sheesh.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Celebrations

It's Memorial Day and despite the fact the it's been in the upper-90s everyday for the last week and a half it's the official start of summer. This is the weekend when everyone migrates to the beach or a family bar-b-que or anywhere else to escape the heat. It's a fun and celbratory weekend that previews all that summer has to offer. But, behind all the cocktails, food, fun, sun, and summery-ness there is the actual reason we celbrate Memorial Day. So thank you to the servicemen who have given everything to serve and protect our country. Thank you to the families who have send their loved ones into battle. Thank you.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Busch Gardens

I went to Busch Gardens for the first time in a bazillion years today. It was a looong day, but a lot of fun:
-We rode Cheetah Hunt, the new roller coaster that just opened earlier the week.
- I rode Sheikra for the first time
- We got stuck on first incline on Montu for about a half hour (I have not decided if this was awesome or terrifying.)
- We saw some animals; including cheetahs, lions, and giraffes (the giraffes are my favorite).

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Black-Eyed Peas and Tomatoes

I can't believe it's almost June. Seriously y'all wasn't it just New Years? I guess time really does just zoom on by while you're living life. I feel like I haven't really been a blogger that long, so it's funny to look through my files and think how long ago it was. I cooked this way back when I first start the blog (which accounts for the crap photo) with every intention of featuring it as part of 'Meatless Monday', but that never really got off the ground. So here's a hearty, spicy, yum-tastic meal that's perfect for a balmy summer night.
Black-Eyed Peas and Tomatoes
Adapted from A Little Bit Crunchy A Little Bit Rock n' Roll

2 Tablespoons I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Light
1/2 medium onion , diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoons crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 Cans black-eyed peas (15oz each), rinsed and drained
2 quarts vegetable stock
28 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
3 Tablespoons tomato paste
salt and pepper
Cornbread, one batch of your favorite recipe

1. In a large pot heat the butter and add the onion and a pinch of salt.  Cook until translucent. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, thyme and bay leaves and cook for another minute.
2. Add the black-eyed peas, broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook until the mixture is hot throughout and the beans are tender.  
3. Add more broth if needed, but you want this to be the consistency of a thick stew.
4. If the beans are two liquidy, remove the lid to allow some of the liquid to evaporate.
5. Serve beans over crumbled cornbread.

Serves: 4 WW P+: 6 (for beans only)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Zero Dark Thirty

I'm getting up at zero-dark-thirty tomorrow morning. I'm meeting some friends at 8am (on my day off) to go running. I realize this isn't actually that early, but it's earlier than I would usually be up on a Saturday morning. The point of this is that I'm having a relaxed, boring night tonight.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Ready to Run

Thursday nights is the local pub run. It's a 5k-ish run that takes place at Wiregrass Mall. The run is followed by pizza and beer at The Brass Tap. After an evening like that, I'm definitely ready to get some sleep.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Easiest Chocolate Cupcakes

I love chocolate. I love cake. I especially love peanut butter; as in I will sit down with a jar and a spoon and eat peanut butter. So when BFFMandy asked for Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting for her birthday, I knew exactly what I would make. This cake starts with a mix and could not be simpler. I know that cake mix gets a bad rap, but let's just be honest for a minute...sometimes I just don't have time to make scratch cake in the middle of the week (unless I want to be up till 1AM...but that's another cupcake and another story); and these cupcakes freaking ROCK!

Easiest Chocolate Cupcakes
Adapted from The Cake Mix Doctor
1 Chocolate Cake Mix ( 18.25 Oz) (no pudding in the mix or other add-ins please!)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup buttermilk
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line your cupcake pans with liners; this recipe makes approximately 30 cupcakes. 
2. Empty the contents of the cake mix into a large mixing bowl. Add eggs, butter, buttermilk, and vanilla. Beat with a mixer on low for 30 seconds, then on medium for a minute and thirty seconds. 
3. Use a medium ice cream scoop to fill the prepared cupcake liners three-quarters full. 
4. Bake according to package directions; approximately 20-25 minutes. 
5. Let cupcakes cool completely before frosting. 

Side Note: I placed a miniature Reese's Cup in the center of each cupcake before baking.
Side Note 2: Try this with any cake mix, it's super easy, quick, and tasty. 

Peanut Butter Frosting
Adapted from Food.com
1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened. 
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk (I used unsweetened Almond Milk in the cupcakes pictured above)
Pinch of table salt

1. In a medium bowl, beat butter and peanut butter with a mixer on medium until smooth and creamy. 
2. Add salt, beat an additional 30 seconds.
3. Add powdered sugar, beat on low speed until mixture is totally combined. 
4. Add vanilla extract and milk. Beat on low until combined, about 15 seconds. 
5. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then increase mixer speed to high and beat until frosting is light and fluffy. This may take several minutes.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tuesday: Weight Watchers Day

Starting Weight: 247.4
Weight Last Week: 223.2
Weight This Week: 223.2

No change this week. I actually expected a gain; related to all the junk I ate over the weekend. So I'm pretty happy with the maintain.
On a side note, I finally got a memory card reader and uploaded a bazillion pictures...including stuff I forgot I made. I'm excited.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Looking for...

The cord to my camera is still missing -grumble-. Which is really disappointing because I've got tons of recipes and food to share. I guess I'll go to Best Buy and see about getting a memory card reader until I find the damn cord. -grumble-

Sunday, May 22, 2011


I forgot to blog last night...well technically I didn't forget, I just fell asleep before I did it. At like 10 o' clock with the TV on and my book open. I woke up at around 5AM and thought I was awfully lucky that I didn't over sleep for work. Then I realized it was Sunday and went back to sleep.
On a brighter note I walk/ran 4miles this afternoon...It was ridiculously HOT. Like 100 degrees out. I will now stick to running inside or later in the evening.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Girl's Night

I'm slowly falling asleep. Dinner at my friend Sasha's house was so much fun; I had red caviar for the first time (it tasted sort of likes overly  salty overtly smoked fish. Also had Russian Salad (?), bruschetta, mac and cheese, and hummingbird cake.


Night Owl

I'm up super late tonight. I've been baking Hummingbird Cupcakes; they smell yummy, like banana and cinnamon. I will regret this tomorrow because I have to leave the house early to pick-up my car from the repair shop.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Keep Your Head Up

I've been having kind of a difficult time lately. Things haven't been going well and I've been feeling sort of down. I heard this song on Pandora today though and it was something I really needed.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tuesday: Weight Watchers Day

Starting Weight: 247.4
Weight Last Week: 225.8
Weight This Week: 223.2

I lost 2.6 pounds this week! The more exciting part of this is that I've lost 10% of my starting weight!! This is a big deal in WW world and it brings my grand total loss to 24.2. Now I have to work on setting new goals, both short-term and overall.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Yay Monday!

I made raviooooli for dinner tonight. From scratch...sort of... and it was awesome! Also, I misplaced my camera cord again, It was down on the kitchen counter and now I don't know...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Really, Publix? Really?

I love Publix. In general I think it's the best grocery store on the face of the planet. I do have one complaint (other than the lack of grain products); what the heck is up with the fresh herbs, Publix? Why do you insist on only selling fresh herbs in GIGANTIC bunches. I always always always have to buy like three times more than I need, because recipes only ever call for one or two tablespoons of something and then I have like two cups left. This is a serious fail, Publix. I'm just saying.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

I was up crazy early today. Earlier than for work even. A 5k, a baseball game, and a concert all jammed into one day. I'm exhausted. There will be real posts later this week; including food (cause I finally foubd my camera cord.)

Friday, May 13, 2011


Just a few random things to wrap up the week:
- Blogger totally spazzed out yesterday; I think I get a pass for not posting since the whole site crashed.
- I went to the movies tonight with the lovely ladies from my book club. We saw Something Borrowed, it was cute. It's been years since I read the book so I can actually sort of appreciate the changes they made to the story.
- My first 5k is tomorrow. It's super early; I'm sort of sad that I won't get to sleep in, but whatever.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011


I had sort of a rough morning. I was driving my car to the repair shop (after a minor incident where I backed into someone while leaving my house last Friday) and someone totally sideswiped/t-boned me. There was some pretty serious damage to both my driver's side front and rear doors and and AND she had the nerve to act like her hitting me was my fault. People suck!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tuesday: Weight Watchers Day

Starting Weight: 247.4
Weight Last Week: 225.2
Weight This Week: 225.8

After last weeks emotional crap binge-fest, I was pleasantly surprised that I only gained .6 this week. I'm not really sure what that's a testament to, but I'll take it (and hope the real gain won't catch up next week.) I'm back on plan though and gearing up for my first 5K on Saturday. I'll probably run/walk versus just running. We'll see how it goes.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Dear 16-year-old Me

I saw this video a few weeks ago on one of the blogs I read. Since May is National Skin Cancer Awareness Month, I thought now would be a good time to share it with you. This video is touching and poignant and funny and sad.

That's it for tonight...just the video.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

For My Mom...

It's hard to find the words to talk about how ridiculously awesome my mom is, both a person and as a mom.
My Parents Engagement Photo, Circa 1980
She was my Girl Scout leader, multiplication tables teacher, and Halloween costume sewer.
She's my shopping partner, fellow book lover, shoe aficionado, and coffee connoisseur.
My mom has mended ripped hems, skinned knees, and broken hearts.
She told me I had to go back to school when I was on the edge of giving up.

Little Me, Mom, and YoungerBrother; Circa 1991
She taught me about our family tree and (along with my super-awesome Dad) taught me about the world.
She drove me to music lessons, sports practice, youth group, and a gazillion other activites all after a long day of work. I took that for granted then...I find it amazing now. 
She made sure I knew how took cook at least one breakfast, lunch, and dinner before I left for college; she also taught me to cook over a campfire, a propane stove, and an overturned coffee can.
My taught me to be stronger, smart, independent, and compassionate.

Mom, YoungerBrother, Me, Dad, BFFMandy; Alaska 2009
This is just a (super) small assortment of the things my mom has done for me over the years. Some of them are huge and some are small, but all of them made me who I am today. My mother is a wonderful person and I am glad that I will have her as a guidebook if I am  someday blessed to be a parent.   Thank you Mom for all you've done and all you continue to do. I love you so much.
Happy Mother's Day.

Sugar High

 I have pretty much avoided processed sugar since the start of the year, I think I had an actual sugar high tonight. To cap off my week of emotional binge eating, I went to this new-ish Cajun-style/New Orleans-themed restaurant for dinner. The food was excellent, but we had beignets for dessert. HOLYFREAKINGCRAP! I never realized how good those suckers could be; my only experience was at Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans as a teenager...and I basically remember cold greasy pieces of dough (washed down with bitter coffee. But the beignets we had tonight we hot from the fryer and covered in powdered sugar; I truly had a totally wired, eye popping out of my head, sugar rush. Tomorrow I will be back on my healthy eating plan...hopefully.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Happy Friday!!

This was an especially rough week. I'm glad it's over and that I'm home with my family.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cinco de Mayo

I learned something new today. Cinco de Mayo is not actually the celebration of Mexican Independence; it is the celebration of the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla during the French invasion of Mexico in 1862. But have a shot of tequila anyway.

Side Note: Mexico's actual Independence Day is celebrated on September 16.
So there's your mini history lesson for today.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

No Words

I'd like to say I'm at a loss for words, but that would simply be a lie. I'm frustrated and angry and hurt and sad. I put my faith and trust in the wrong people and only got foul words and half-truths in return.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tuesday: Weight Watchers Day

Starting Weight: 247.4
Weight Last Week: 229.4
Weight This Week: 225.2

I lost 4.2 pounds this week and that brings my total loss to just over 22 pounds.  Sometimes I think in the grand scheme of how much I have to lose 22 pounds doesn't seem like a lot, but then I think about it in the size of a Thanksgiving turkey and I'm stunned that I was carrying all of that around on my body.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Irish Soda Bread

I remember my mom baking a lot when my brother and I were kids. Our house was always filled with good food and the smell of something fantastic in the oven. My memories of Irish soda bread are genreally tied to St. Patrick's Day, corned beef, and colcannon.  But this bread in the oven reminds me so much of home, it smells warm and sweet and just slightly of caraway. And seriously...it's super easy.
Sorry for the blurry picture. This was in the middle of the St. Patty's day carnage. 
Irish Soda Bread
½ cup sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoons salt
3 cups raisins
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1¼ cups buttermilk
1 cup sour cream

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch round cast iron skillet or a 9-inch round baking or cake pan.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, raisins, and caraway seeds. 
3. In a small bowl, blend eggs, buttermilk, and sour cream. 
4. Stir the liquid mixture into the flour mixture just until the flour is moistened. Knead dough in bowl about 10 to 12 strokes. Dough will be sticky. 
5. Place the dough in the prepared skillet or pan and pat down. Cut a 4x¾ inch deep slit in the top of the bread.
6. Bake in an oven preheated to 350F for 65 to 75 minutes. The bread will be golden brown and it will sound hollow-ish when tapped. Let cool and turn bread out onto a wire rack. 

And that it, six easy steps to super-fabulous soda bread. 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Reading up a Storm

I started reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins today. I'm about halfway through, because I can't put it down. It's interesting and engaging and I want to know what happens next! So as much as I want to write something profound tonight (like I ever actually do that), I'm going back to reading.

Saturday Fun

Today was both fun and productive. I spent the majority of the day cleaning, straightening, and decluttering. Then this evening I went to a potluck/girl's night at a friend's house. It was fun to relax, chat, eat, and have a glass of wine with the girls.

Also, I know it's after midnight, but I'm counting this as my post for Saturday because I ahven't been to sleep yet.