Thursday, February 28, 2013

february favorites

I can't believe today is the last day of February. February is (one of) my favorite months! I am biased because it is my birthday month, but in my mind it's also such a cute month because it is the shortest month.

March is another story. Not one of my favorites. It's actually pretty low on the totem pole, if not the bottom. My friend, Jenn, over at WithLuck, is trying to help me get past my dread of the month by focusing on the good: daylight savings arrives and then the start of spring (let's hope the weather gets the memo), which means free Ritas. (The first day of spring is actually Jenn's birthday, too!!)

So with the end of a month comes some of my favorite things from this month.

My birthday!
Getting older isn't always the best but I did not mind my birthday this year at all. My husband and I both took the day off from work and he made it very, very special. 

First valentine's day with my husband. Even though hubby had class until late, we still had a very enjoyable and special weekend together.

My new toy aka Ninja blender. One of my birthday gifts from my husband was my ninja blender and I absolutely love it! I am pureeing as many things as I can get my hands on.

Which brings me to - soup.
I made a potato leak soup this month and it was delicious. I only made a little (only one leak to use up from a failed cauliflower soup) and  I wish I made more - it was gone after one night.

Despite being injured for almost a week, I managed to get my stride back (for the most part) and got in some good runs this month. Here's hoping they continue and only get better as the days get longer and warmer!

And finally the Yoga Challenge - I have been trying my best to get some yoga in every day. How is everyone doing with trying to incorporate some yoga into their daily (or weekly) lives?

What are some of your favorite things from this past month?!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


This week has been so, so busy. I can't wait for this weekend - I finally have two full days off. I can't wait to get back into my regular routine, if only for just a weekend.

I have some travel for work coming up soon so I'm trying to enjoy being home while I can.

That rant over... it's time for another what I ate Wednesday!!

Breakfast was cheerios - obviously I did not take a picture

I kind of broke lunch down to spread out over the course of the afternoon
I started with a smoothie in my blender bottle (love this thing!). This has milk, splash of orange juice, raspberry greek yogurt, some mango and raspberry puree I made, maca powder and chia seeds

Later I had half a peanut butter and banana sandwich

Followed by the other half of my banana

And some homemade granola bar

Dinner was baked pasta with peppers and "sausage" with some bread

And my favorite ending to my day, a glass of pink milk

happy eating!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

liebster award

I received a Liebster Award from Alissa at iAManRD
Alissa's blogs is one of the first blogs I started following when I started my own blog almost two months ago! So I am so happy to have been nominated by her. Thanks, Alissa!!!

There are a couple of rules with the Liebster Award.

1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog and link back to the
blogger who presented this award to you.

2. Answer the 11 questions from the nominator, list 11 random facts about yourself and create 11 questions for your nominees.

3. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 11 other blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed and leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been chosen.

4. Copy and Paste the blog award on your blog

These are my 11 Questions from Alissa:

1)   Why did you start blogging?
I began reading blogs probably about 4 years ago. Ironically, just like Alissa, one of the first blogs I began reading daily was EatLiveRun. I began reading about Jenna and her recipes because, at the time, she was a vegetarian and a runner (like myself). From there I found other blogs I just loved and adored. It wasn't until recently that I thought maybe I could share some of my ideas and recipes. Now I understand how blogging can easily be a full-time job.

2)   What is your favorite food?
I love a lot of foods - and I go through phases of love of foods.
My favorite kinds foods are soups and Mexican food, however. They never get old!

3)   What is your greatest achievement in life thus far?
Hmmm.... well I'm proud of myself for all the education I have received. Can getting married to a wonderful man be considered an achievement? I'm proud of the life we have built together, thus far, and excited for what the future holds.

4)   Describe your perfect date.
I'm a simple gal. My favorite date nights with my husband are when he makes me a wonderful dinner, we put all electronic devices away, sit and eat together. Maybe then watch a movie with some popcorn, cuddled up together on the couch. 

5)   If you could go anyplace in the world on vacation where would it be and why?
Hawaii. Absolutely Hawaii. My husband wants to go to Hawaii in the absolute worst way. I have a terrible, terrible fear of flying. You see the problem? If I could get there, somehow, and not experience the flight I would love to do it for him.

6)   What is the last book you read?
I am currently in the middle of reading two books at the moment. The last books I read in it's entirety were the Hunger Games Trilogy. I loved those books so much that anything else I went to pick up to read did not compare to Katniss and Peeta. Now I am actually reading informative books rather than a pleasure read.

7)   Favorite TV shows that you watch every week?
My husband and I currently are watching The Americans, The Following, Modern Family, The Middle, Parks & Recreation, Worst Cooks in America and Top Chef (season finale Wednesday!).

8)   Name a blog or two that has inspired you.
Eatliverun since it was the first blog I have ever began reading. It has definitely changed since I started reading it but I am still a follower! I also really love DailyGarnish. I enjoy seeing where Emily has taken her blog since she had her son.

9)   If you had a $1000 shopping spree, what store would you go to?
Is it bad that my first instinct is to say Wegmans? I'd probably want to split it for food and then clothes - maybe some place like Ann Taylor or Banana Republic - get some good, key wardrobe pieces. 

10) What is your hidden talent?
I can form my tongue into 3-rings/loops. Is that the proper way to describe it?

11) Favorite quote or life motto?
"You're allowed to do nothing"
I always feel like I need to be doing something

11 Random Facts About Myself:
1. Might not be so random, but I am a strict vegetarian.

2. I never miss a night of flossing. I have to floss - it's part of my nighttime routine.

3. I don't like wearing "real clothes" in my house. I am more of a pajamas and sweats person at home, unless company is coming over. Then I'll put on real clothes for you.

4. I hate the dentist. Hate hate hate going to the dentist. We don't have a good history. Surprising since I floss so much, right?

5. I love pillows and sleep on 3 at night.

6. Starting July until the end of the year, I have an unhealthy obsession with QVC (Christmas shopping anyone?)

7. I love classic rock music and it wasn't until I was in 6th grade that I discovered that everyone didn't know and list to The Who (Hendrix, Zeppelin, Floyd, CSNY, Fleetwood Mac, you get the picture)

8. I have an extreme sweet tooth and love all kinds of candy and baked goods. This could have something to do with my hatred of the dentist.

9. My ringtone is currently "You Can Call me Al" by Paul Simon

10. I hate odd numbers so all these lists are "11" long instead of "12" irks me...

11. If you haven't guessed, I have slight OCD...
and I love Chevy Chase (ha...12 facts)

11 Questions For My Nominees:
1. (Obligatory) Why did you start blogging?
2. What is your go-to movie to watch?
3. What dinner do you prepare when you can't think of anything to prepare?
4. What do you miss most about being a kid?
5. What was the last movie, TV show or book that made you cry or tear up?
6. What’s the best/worst gift you’ve ever given/received?
7. What chore do you absolutely hate doing?
8. If you could witness any event past, present or future, what would it be and why?
9. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
10. What is one food that you will not eat?
11. Who is the one person that helped to make you who you are today?

My Nominees - (I'm doing 12 because I like even numbers):
1. WithLuck
2. Chaotic Domestic
3. DeirdreRiordanHall
4. House by Hoff
5. Life Alaskan Style
6. Life on Food
7. limitedspaceorganizing
8. Sweet Caroline's Corner
9. Townsend House
10. Snack Therapy
11. Honor, Courage, Commitment
12. put a bow on it

Friday, February 22, 2013

butternut squash mac n cheese

I recently did a guest post for my friend Jenn over at WithLuck. If you haven't checked out her blog by now, you should.
I work with Jenn and she had to travel to Texas for a week and I was so happy to do a post for her! It basically was my first official post of getting my name out into the blog world (hard to believe it's been almost a month ago)!

I hope you enjoy this recipe - we sure did!

I wanted to share a delicious recipe that isn't a usual, healthy dish but also incorporates some of my favorite things in a meal: comfort, vegetables, warmth..... and cheese.

I love cheese.

This butternut squash mac n cheese delivers. Don't be nervous about the butternut squash. It adds a creaminess to the dish instead of having to add heavy cream, butter, egg and large quantities of cheese, making the dish a lot healthier and a lot more nutritious. Also, isn't butternut squash just one of the cutest vegetables out there. Look at these guys...

Creamy butternut squash

For this recipe, you will only need one small butternut squash (~1lb). I picked up the two for only $1 and used the leftovers to make a roasted vegetable soup. Everything else you probably already have on hand and, overall, is a simple, easy, healthy dinner to put together.

Butternut Squash Mac N Cheese
Serves 6

Butternut squash, about 3c cubed
1c vegetable broth (or chicken broth if you prefer)
1.5c low-fat or non-fat milk
1lb pasta, cooked
2c shredded low-fat cheese, divided (I used a mixture of sharp cheddar, monterey jack and muenster cheeses)
1/8c breadcrumbs
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Start by peeling the butternut squash and cutting into cubes, about 3 cups.
  • Combine broth, milk and butternut squash in a pan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Simmer on medium-low heat until squash is fork tender.
  • Meanwhile, boil water (don't forget to add salt!) and cook pasta according to package instructions. Cook the pasta to right before al dente as the pasta will cook a bit more in the oven, about 7 minutes. When finished, drain and set aside.
  • When squash is fork tender you can either mash the squash in the pan or transfer to a food processor (like I did) and puree mixture until smooth. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.
  • Return puree back to pan (if needed) and add cheese, reserving 1/4c, mixing until cheese has melted. Mix pasta into mixture and transfer to an oven safe dish. If your dish is not non-stick, spray with non-stick spray.
  • Combine remaining 1/4c cheese and breadcrumbs in a small bowl and sprinkle over the top of pasta.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 30-40 minutes, until top is browned. 
Nutritional Information (per serving): 343 calories, 4g fat, 3.5g fiber, 19g protein, 55g carbs

My husband loves baked macaroni and cheese and I'm glad I can provide him with a healthy alternative. Of course, we had to finish the meal with something sweet so I baked up a batch of our favorite chocolate chip cookies.

What's a dish you love that you try to tweak to make a bit healthier? Or what's a splurge dish you prepare?


Don't forget to link up what you're eating and also...


Thursday, February 21, 2013

wedding place card holder

Today is my first link up to saw it, pinned it, did it

The first thing I wanted to share was something I created months ago - it is actually one of the first things I ever re-created from Pinterest and it was for my wedding!

The place cards I got for our wedding weren't bi-fold so we had to come up with another way to display them. We tossed around a few ideas and ultimately ended up going with a display board - but how to make it pretty. Fit in with our wedding. And inexpensive. Had to be inexpensive.

I found some different kinds of boards on pinterest but never actually repinned an exact board. I knew I wanted to put upholstery nails in it resulting in a border. That was about it.

So my husband and I set out to Hobby Lobby and began looking at fabrics. I ended up getting burlap but orange burlap to make it pop and a bit more fun!

The boards weren't difficult to make. We ended up getting two cork boards to display all our place cards so we could reuse them in our house later (instead of one giant one). I basically laid out the burlap (doubled up so you couldn't see through it), laid the board in the middle and cut a larger rectangle so I had extra material to reach the back. I hot glued the burlap to the back of the cork board very, very well. I then made a border with the upholstery nails (found at Lowe's). This was a bit annoying just because I had to measure out the distance between them and from the edges to make them even (as even as possible).
We loved the end result!

We used just regular, silver push pins to place the name card holders onto the actual cork board (you can see some sticking out above). There were two of these side-by-side.
I can't wait to find a place in our house to hang them up!

The final cost breakdown:
2 cork boards     $12.00
burlap                     8.46
upholstery nails     5.51
Total:                  $25.97
which is only $12.98 per board! plus we have an extra bag of upholstery nails and extra burlap material for another project so it's actually even less

This is a great idea to make inexpensive boards for someone's home office or in a child's room to display photos, cards etc.

What was one of the first things you were inspired by Pinterest to create?
Is there anything on Pinterest you've been wanting to recreate but haven't yet?

Linking up to Keep Calm & Carry On and Beautiful Mess

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

how pinteresting

hey everyone! don't forget to link up for how pinteresting.

Here are some helpful and funny pins I found this past week.

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

That's a basket made out of plastic bags!

Monday, February 18, 2013

happy monday

happy Monday, everyone!

I had a pretty busy weekend - I had work again yesterday, so I kind of had to cram all my usual weekend stuff into Saturday which left little downtime. I prepared my meals for the week (I hope to post soon on my meal planning) and had to do some domestic chores and grocery shopping. Plus I got to fit in a gym session! My knees seem to be better ::knock on wood::

Today marks the first official day of the Yoga Challenge! Did anyone do any form of yoga? Plan to? I will be doing some yoga when I get home from work.

Yesterday also marked the return of one of my favorite shows - Worst Cooks in America on Food Network. Does anyone watch this show? I absolutely love it!! I haven't gotten a chance to actually see the first episode. I had to DVR it but am just happy it's back.

Sorry for such a short post. I will try to do better this week. Like I said, not much downtime.

So, tell me, how was everyone's weekend? Do anything fun or exciting?

Linking up for Yolo Monday 

Friday, February 15, 2013

fitness friday

happy friday!
This week felt like an eternity... basically because it was a 6 day work week (1 of 3 for February) so I am poooped

To make it even worse, I had not one, but two injuries this week that kind of prevented me from getting in my usual workout sessions (so far).
But taking care of ourselves isn't just about good nutrition and working out. It's about listening to our bodies.

My body said rest, ice, elevate, heal.

I am glad it was this week and not next week because next week I am starting my 4 week Yoga Challenge!

Starting Monday I will be doing some form of daily yoga until March 17th. Any takers want to participate in this yoga challenge with me?!
It could be anything: hour long, 20 min, 5 min bedtime yoga, you could just sit in child's pose if that's what your body and mind need that day!

I am realistic - I know I won't have time to do an hour yoga session each day. Not if I want to do other forms of exercise. But I will give my body a healthy dose of yoga. Some days will be more intense. Some days will be used for pure relaxation. It helps calm me. Center me. Relax me. And what a perfect season - Lent - to set time aside each day.

Won't you join me?

Has anyone ever done a yoga challenge before? Does anyone practice yoga?

Don't forget to link up for fitness friday!

Enjoy your weekend!!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

happy valentine's day

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

We are not huge Valentine's Day people in my house. I'll do all the heart stuff (read below) but we don't shower each other with gifts. We celebrate but never make a big deal out of it (we just spoil each other year round).

This is our first Valentine's Day as a married couple, however, so we wanted to make it a little more special. I do realize that I am beyond belief blessed to have my husband in my life, the luckiest gal ever, and I thank God daily for bringing us together... hence our constant spoiling of each other year round.

Unfortunately, my husband has class until 10pm tonight ::womp womp:: so our celebration is put on hold until the weekend. I forsee lots of heart shaped foods (pancakes), we already consumed boxed heart candy and heart shaped junior mints prior to V-day (due to Lent) and a nice dinner... maaaybe some flowers.

I hope everyone enjoys their Valentine's Day!

What does everyone do for Valentine's Day?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Hello everyone!
This is my first official WIAW of actually sharing what I ate... so without further adieu...

I failed right off the bat - breakfast was a bowl of Cheerios with 1/2 banana in it. I was in a rush to get to work (shock) and completely forgot to take a photo

lunch was half a pb&j and greek yogurt

snacked on some honeydew

and some of these guys

work was way too hectic in the afternoon so I missed my afternoon snack (womp womp)

dinner was a delicious soup

and some ice cream and part of a paczki for dessert with a glass of milk
This wasn't the most typical day in my life of food just because it was fat tuesday so I am excited to do another official WIAW next week. 
Can't wait to see what everyone else is eating - don't forget to link up to WIAW

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

fat tuesday

Today is Mardi Gras, which is french for Fat Tuesday

Today marks the day before the Lenten season begins

Now, I have talked with some people on what they believe the reason to be behind why we fast and why we don't eat meat and I have heard some different opinions, so this is just my opinion.

During Lent, believers give up a certain luxury as a form of penance. Lent is said to last 40 days (though if you count it out on a calendar it is over 40 days unless you don't count Sundays and depending on which day you consider Lent to end (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, etc.)) to reflect the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert and was tempted... like we will be tempted.
One is also supposed to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday only consuming two very small meals.

We also are not to eat meat on Fridays.

By giving up a luxury and not consuming meat on Fridays, it is a way to take a step back, remember why you are doing it and focus on something else... something greater.

I have heard that years upon years ago EVERY Friday was a day of fasting to always remember. Now it is just 6 Fridays out of the year.

Yet, many will still complain that they have nothing to eat.... and really that is not the purpose.
So as participants of the Lenten season, let's try to remember why we are doing what we are doing and not focus on what we cannot have:

“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you."
Matthew 6:16-18

Sooo to lighten this post up a bit I will show you I am spending my Fat Tuesday.
With this guy. Meet Paczki (basically a polish doughnut)

Also joining the party...

And maybe some cookies...

I am giving up all sweets for Lent (if you couldn't tell). With my major sweet tooth, not having any baked goods or candy will be a daily reminder for me.

Does anyone else participate in Lent? If so, what do you take from it? What do you give up/participate in?

For something incredibly fun be sure to check out the girl in the red shoes giveaway

Friday, February 8, 2013

baked french fries

To say we love french fries in our house would be an understatement
Buying french fries from a fast food place is not the healthiest thing
Buying bags of frozen french fries can end up costing a lot

A bag of french fries can run about $3.50 (depending on brand)
A 5lb bag of potatoes is only $1.99  - that's a lot of french fries!!

So to satisfy our taste buds, wallet and waist line, we started making our own.

please ignore the dog nose in the corner...

Homemade Baked French Fries 
serves 4-5

4-5 russet potatoes (or more/less depending on how many people you are serving)
Olive oil, extra virgin
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Paprika, light sprinkle

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Cut potatoes into french fry shape
  • Put in a bowl and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and paprika
  • Place a cooling rack on a sheet pan and place the seasoned fries on the cooling rack (we enjoy cooking them this way to get the heat all around the potatoes and evenly cooked/crisped)
  • Bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes, until cooked and golden
I will not lie. My husband is the french fry maker in our house. They are so easy to make and so delicious. Next time you have a french fry craving, considering slicing up some potatoes before cutting open a bag.

Any french fry fans out there?

Linking up to Fitness Friday!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Today is my birthday!!!
I am giving myself the day to sit and relax but do check out my pinterest post from yesterday that I linked up to and I am linking up to WIAW! and Random Wednesday
Creating Community

nothing like balloons...

...a homemade carrot cake...

...and my birthday plate (yes, I have a birthday plate)
What special things do you guys like to do on your birthdays??
I live by the motto "I get to because it's my birthday" or "I'm not doing ___ cause it's my birthday"

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


Here are some fun pins I have encountered this past week.
How cute are those tin can organizers? And the hubs and I were just discussing how we can organize our one utility drawer - a must for us to do!
Linking up for Pinterest Wednesday

Source: via Sarah on

Monday, February 4, 2013

superbowl recap

Follow my blog with Bloglovin
Before discussing the fun we all had last night, let's stop for a moment and thank Phil.
Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog, did not see his shadow. This means it will be an early spring. Let's hope this holds some truth because these freezing temperatures are getting to be a bit much (though I did buy a new hat this weekend)

Anyways.... on to the Superbowl highlights.
How great was last night's game?? It was so close! I love games like last nights even more so when I don't have a team invested in it.

Not gonna lie - I sorta forgot to take photos in all of the excitement but here is what I managed..

Pizza, 7 layer dip with guacamole, tostitos, homemade French fries

Italian sub

not shown: dip and veggies, buffalo chicken pizza, roasted red pepper chips and ice cream cake... Major oops here. Sorry guys!

Now the commercials:

The m&m "I will do anything for love" made me chuckle
I'm a big Amy Poehler fan so I enjoyed her appearance on Best Buy
Also huge Big Bang Theory fan - oh, Leonard, cup outside your pants?
The Budweiser commercial with the Clydesdale horse, not going to lie, I cried...

What did you end up eating?
What were your favorite commercials of the night? Any you strongly disliked?

Linking up for YOLOMONDAYs

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