Taste of St. Louis 2014 #tasteofstlouis

Taste of St. Louis 2014 was this past weekend.  This was the first year that it was located in Chesterfield rather than downtown which made it a lot easier to get to than before.  I actually had never been, but because itz new location, I went this year with my mom and baby William.  For those of you not from St Louis, Taste of STL is a three-day festival featuring food from tons of different restaurants, some of which pass out samples and others where you purchase their food, crafts, music, and various activities.  Itz a family friendly event and there was beautiful weather this year!

We parked fairly close and took a short walk to arrive.  Upon crossing a major street, there was a trolley running back and forth dropping people off so they didn’t have to walk as far with the sun low in the sky.

trolley

I babywore William the whole time which was perfect.  I didn’t have to worry about pushing a stroller through the crowds, and he was able to look around at everything. The weather was perfect for babywearing – not too hot and not too cold.

tasteofstl

William was very content as there was so much to look at!  And several strangers came up to us to take a closer look at William, comment how cute he was, ask how old he was, or just say hi.  People being nice.

watching

look at those chubby cheeks!

Now for the food part, the main event.  While we had samples of many items, here are the highlights:

tasteofstlouis

  • Chicken and Vegetables from Fit Flavors:  Fit Flavors prides themselves on using all natural ingredients, hormone and antibiotic free proteins, and everything is made fresh daily.  They individually package the meals for portion control.  The chicken was juicy and there was a little bite of their dessert “fit turtle” with whey protein, peanut butter, oats, pecans, and a chocolate protein topping.
  • Crispy Meatballs from Basso at the Cheshire:  These included marinara, radicchio agrodolce, and pecorino.  They were flavorful and the sauce was good enough to eat by itself!
  • Dark & Milk Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels from Kakao ChocolateThey said these were their most popular item.  The owner who we spoke to said they buy three different chocolates from all over the world and hand-dip their confections in small batches with all-natural ingredients. Right when I opened our caramels, I dropped them both on the ground… oops.  They kindly gave us another, and we were glad because they were awesome!
  • White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake from Hank’sI’m a dessert girl, and this did not disappoint.  It was served on a chocolate crust which was perfect.  The cheesecake was smooth, creamy, and rich.
  • Cereal Assortment from PostIt was a cereal lover’s dream!  They had many different classic cereals and were passing out trays with small cups of six cereals.  I told you, this was a family friendly event!  Something for everyone.

We also tried Jerk Pork Kabob from The Rice House.  It was messy to eat, but delicious all the same with a little bit of a kick.  There were some samples of burgers and chicken, and we received a couple bottles of Beano’s Wasabi Sandwich Sauce and Smokey Bacon Sandwich Sauce.  The last thing we tried was the Vermont Maple Glazed Jumbo Shrimp from Annie Gunn’s.  Needless to say, we didn’t leave hungry.

After walking around for an hour and a half, William got a little wiggly and I thought he was getting hungry, so I found a semi-private place to try and nurse him.  I turned my back and attempted, but he was so distracted by what was going on behind us that he wouldn’t nurse!  He was wiggling and squirming to get a view of what was going on.  I tried to turn every which way, but there was just too much to see!

not nursing

Silly baby.  Eventually, I wrapped him back up, he slept for the remaining time there, and we headed home.  All in all, it was a fun event with tasty food, and it was a nice evening with my momma and baby!

Does your city host an event like this? What’s the last festival you went to?

Linking up with Katie @ Healthy Diva for Marvelous in my Monday!

Breastfeeding Nutrition

Breastfeeding nutrition is the topic for today.  I’m no expert, but I’ve done my fair share of reading about what to eat for breastfeeding, how to increase supply, etc.  And to say itz worked is an understatement with the oversupply I have!  While itz impossible to pinpoint exactly what has caused my oversupply, I can share a few things that I’m doing that could be contributing to my abundance of milk.

breastfeeding

First, I’m eating.  A LOT.  ALL THE TIME.  Itz really because I’m constantly a starving beast, but I know that breastfeeding is definitely not a time to restrict calories.  I also strongly believe itz not a time to restrict carbohydrates or healthy fats.  I’m not saying you should be eating pizza, cheeseburgers, french fries, and ice cream on a regular basis.  I’m just saying to have a healthy balance of it all.  Moderation is key.

Before I became pregnant, I was definitely conscious of the carbs I ate.  Instead of having sandwiches, I’d opt for salads pretty much all the time.  I never eliminated carbs completely, but I definitely reduced my intake of them.  Now, in the morning especially, I need carbs, starchy carbs, to feel satiated, and I get that from egg sandwiches, oatmeal, or cereal.  Healthy fats are another group where I’m eating plenty, mostly in the forms of nuts, nut butters, and avocados.  And ice cream.  In moderation (most of the time).

Oatmeal is a popular breastfeeding food as many people believe it can help with supply.  I don’t eat it everyday, but I do eat it on a regular basis in overnight oats, hot oatmeal, or in some type of banana bread that I make weekly.

Of course, protein is a must.  Eggs, chicken, and turkey are my favorites.  Eggs in the morning if I have five minutes to make them (on two pieces of toast smothered in jam – the best combination!).  Chicken and turkey are also awesome because they’re so versatile.  Chicken salad, grilled chicken, chicken sandwiches, chicken on salad, chicken wraps, you name it.  There are tons of options with turkey, too.  Ground turkey, deli meat turkey, or baked/oven-roasted turkey.  I do like fish (salmon, in particular) and burgers, but itz just not something I cook on a regular basis.

Some people use brewer’s yeast, teas, and supplements to help with supply.  While many women have had a lot of success with these, I’ve never tried them, so I can’t speak to it, though they may be good options for some.

breastfeeding food

The next topic for breastfeeding nutrition is hydration. DRINK WATER!  I keep a water bottle with me all the time.  I try to finish an entire bottle each time I pump, and then I naturally drink a lot of water while I eat, too.  (I always have.)  If, for some reason, I feel like I’m slacking on the water front, or if I feel dehydrated, or simply want to deliciously flavor my water, then I add Cocogo.

Caffeine is kind of a hot topic in regards to breastfeeding as everyone has their own opinion about it.  I avoided it all throughout my pregnancy and for the first four months of breastfeeding.  This is the first month I’ve added it back in, but in very small doses.  Only one cup per day, if that.  And I mean literally one cup.  Not one mug full because those are often huge.  Like eight ounces or less.  Using flavored creamer is a must.  Sometimes I drink coffee just for the creamer.  But if you’re worried about supply or trying to increase supply, my recommendation would be to avoid caffeine (and alcohol).

Speaking of alcohol, I’ve had an adult beverage just a handful of times in these last five months while breastfeeding.  For me, itz just not worth it.  I don’t like worrying if there will be alcohol in my milk, and pumping and dumping is a lot of work.  Nursing is so much easier than bottle feeding, in my opinion.  I save those adult drinks for very special occasions only and drink in moderation.

cup

Not related to nutrition, but still breastfeeding related: I strongly believe that part of the reason I have such huge oversupply is because I started pumping on day two.  I didn’t want to, but I had to due to some latching issues at the beginning.  Because I was determined to exclusively breastfeed, at the beginning I was pumping about ten times a day.  That’s a lot.  I really think that’s what got my milk going in overdrive, pumping so soon and so often.  William was nursing a million times a day, plus I was pumping ten times.  Once we figured out the whole latching thing, I was able to reduce that number of pumping times and now I pump three times a day, or five times a day when I work.

Since I have so much extra milk, we stock our freezer, my parents’ freezer, and my in-laws’ freezer.  I’ve never used my freezer stash since I only use fresh milk right now, so I’ve had to get rid of some breastmilk in order to make room since all those freezers were overflowing.  I learned about Human Milk 4 Human Babies and have donated over 2,000 ounces so far.  Madeline just wrote a great post on Milk Sharing.  Itz definitely worth the read for ladies with extra breastmilk OR moms who want breastmilk for their babies, but can’t produce enough for whatever reason.

My breastfed baby is very happy with my nutrition choices.

william 4 months

Here are additional useful links and recipes in regards to breastfeeding nutrition:

Breastfeeding Mommas: What do you think is important about breastfeeding nutrition?  Any recipes to share?

Food Overload

We enjoyed a lovely second Rosh Hashanah dinner at my parents’ last night.  Per usual, my mom and dad outdid themselves and had enough food to feed an army.  We all left with stuffed bellies and overflowing to-go boxes.

My mom set a gorgeous table (which I didn’t think to take a picture of until after dinner – genius), served homemade matzo ball soup (delish), and a fabulous buffet for the main course.  There was brisket, salmon, green beans, sweet koogle, kasha shells, and mashed potatoes.  There is no picture of my dessert plate, just the dessert table, because that’s what my dessert consisted of.  I didn’t make a plate; I stood around chatting with family members having a bite of this, a nibble of that, being sure I sampled each and every thing.  Oy vey.  Food overload.

While I am extremely grateful that we left both Rosh Hashanah dinners with boxfuls of leftovers, I am in a bit of a need to refine my eats from the past two nights.  Itz not to say I won’t eat and enjoy these leftovers – I definitely will.  However, my focus will be on portion control.  I ate much larger servings than my typical dinners entail.

What’s my plan?  No crazy diet, juice fast, or any other bizarre fad.  Obviously, I’ll continue working out as I’m training for a half-marathon, but in addition, I’ll up the veggies, use portion control, and drink tons of water with these two magical ingredients:

Option 1) Squeeze half a lemon into a glass of water.  Drink up.

Option 2) Pour 1 tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar into a large glass of water.  Can sweeten with lemon juice or NuNaturals lemon or orange stevia.

Both options have cleansing properties, and make drinking water a little lot more flavorful.  Tosca Reno swears by lemon water, and there numerous benefits of drinking ACV like: promotes digestion, pH balance, and helps remove body sludge toxins (source).  And now just for laughs:

My dad, nephew, and brother sporting their “Fisher Staches” from the St. Louis Rams home opener this past Sunday.  Funny stuff.

What do you do when you’ve had a food overload?  What’s your plan?

Food Hangover

I think I had a hangover yesterday.  A food hangover.  It happened like this:  For Father’s Day, we had plans to eat, eat, and eat again.  I started the day with a mile-run and then a total conditioning class, so at least I did get my workout in.  Then, we went to a buffet brunch where I had quite the spread.  I didn’t eat like total crap, but definitely heavier foods and a larger amount than I am used to.

After brunch, we went to my grandparents’ for swimming and more food.  I grazed on some dips because they were there though I wasn’t quite hungry again yet.  We went swimming and decided it was time to eat again since the food was prepared and Jonny and I did have dinner plans with his side of the family.  My dad grilled hot dogs, hamburgers, and chicken, yet I had a corn on the cob and some of Mama’s famous mostacholi (I couldn’t pass it up!).  Of course, I had a sliver of a peach pie I made, too.

Two hours later, we were showered, cleaned up, and sitting in a restaurant with Jonny’s family.  I had a salad and a couple of pieces of Jonny’s pineapple pizza.  Stuffed.  Uncomfortably so.  Went home, went to bed.

I woke up yesterday morning and ran a mile on the treadmill then walked for an addition 15 at a steep incline.  I felt so tired during summer school and had to fight to keep my eyes open during yoga time when the lights were dimmed and soft music was playing.  I had a snack in between my two classes, and by the time I got home I was starving.  I fixed myself a plate of leftovers and consumed it in no time flat.  I’m not sure if I still truly felt hungry, or if I just felt the need to eat, but I snacked a bit more.  Next, I ran some errands, then went to my parents’ house where I grazed again.

It was the late afternoon when I developed a headache that wouldn’t go away.  I drank some coconut water which usually does the trick if I’m dehydrated, but that didn’t work.  My headache remained, I was tired, and I was cranky.  Totally not hungry for dinner, I played a softball game and returned home around ten o’clock at night.  I did have this little munchkin waiting for me which definitely brightened my mood:

Jonny was there, too.  🙂  I knew I should eat something before bed, since it had been quite a few hours since I had last eaten.  I knew I needed real food.  No more crap, no more junk.  Luckily, I had a new-to-me bar on hand that did the trick.

Barre is a real food bar that uses whole food ingredients to supply energy and nutrition not only to athletes, but everyone.  Julia, one of the creators and a former professional dancer, contacted me asking if I would be interested in trying this new bar.  When I obliged, I was sent three flavors: Pirouette Cinnamon Pecan, Black Swan Chocolate Berry, and Ballerina Spirulina – a Whole Foods exclusive flavor!  The bars’ consistency and texture remind me of LÄRABARS (which is a very good thing!).  They are soft, chewy, and taste great!  I have tried two of the three flavors.  I’m saving Black Swan Chocolate Berry for last because I think it sounds the best (does anyone else do that??).  I’ll let you know how it is once I do indulge.

Another wonderful fact about Barre is that they contribute to a variety of art education programs.  I love when companies do more than just sell their product, and Julie and Aaron of Barre definitely do just that.  Thank you for letting me sample the Barres; they are delicious and a snack I’d like to keep on hand.  You may order online here or find a location near you that sells the bars in stores.

Today, I’m focusing on eating clean – lots of fruits and veggies, no processed junk.  Just real food, lots of water, and back on track with healthy eating.  I’m meeting Diana at the gym after summer school for a quality workout.  I think the wholesome foods, water, and sweat session will help cure this food hangover in no time.  At least I hope it does!

What do you do when you have a food hangover?

PB2 + At Home Circuit Workout

This post will be pretty random, much like my Saturday today.  My post includes a dinner, a review, and a workout.  My day includes a workout, Farmer’s Market, laundry, nail painting session, possibly some pool time, reading (I just started Fifty Shades of Grey), and other assorted errands.

This past Thursday, Jonny and I went over to our friends’ Diana and Andy’s (DiAndy) new apartment.  They cooked dinner for us and did quite a fine job!  We started with some hummus and toasted pita, and then moved on to the main course.

Salmon, asparagus, and kale chips.   The salmon (prepared by Andy) had some sort of brown sugar and barbecue sauce mixture on top and was cooked to perfection!  The kale chips (prepared by Diana) were nice and crispy – very good for Diana’s first time making them.  Good work! 🙂 The asparagus weren’t bad either.  We ended the evening with some dessert of angel food cake, strawberries, blackberries, and cool whip.  Good food, good friends, good fun.

Now let’s talk peanut butter.  I love the stuff and sometimes smear it all over my face eat it multiple times a day.  I don’t, however, love all the calories and fat in packs.  Calories and fat are essential to a daily diet, but peanut butter is definitely loaded with them.  The one and only downfall of peanut butter.  (It doesn’t really make me eat it any less though.)  Now there is something that can take the place of peanut butter: PB2.  The kind souls at PB2 sent me their PB2, Chocolate PB2, and their PB Thins to try out.

PB2 is powdered peanut butter.  They removed 85% of the fat calories.  All you have to do is mix some powder with water and you have a peanut butter-like taste.  It’s definitely not peanut butter, but the flavor is there.  In two tablespoons of PB2, there are 45 calories (compared to the 190 in regular peanut butter).   The crackers were good, too, but I didn’t like how the serving size was in grams.  In 22 grams, there are 100 calories.  That’s great and all (I think), but I have no idea how much 22 grams is.

I have been finding lots of ways to use the PB2 in replacement of regular peanut butter.  I made a snack yesterday that consisted of a caramel rice cake with PB2 on top.

Jonny approved.  Not a filling snack, but definitely a lower calorie snack.  A more balanced snack I made was cottage cheese, chopped apples, and PB2.

Now this was a filling snack with the protein from the cottage cheese, fiber from the apple, and peanut butter flavor to pull it all together.  Last week I made a gigantic pancake and wanted to smother it in peanut butter.

I used PB2 mixed with water and chia seeds and had a wonderfully thick topping!  This was probably my favorite way to use the PB2, but other tasty ways included on top of my toast or in my smoothies/shakes.  PB2 is a great replacement for peanut butter for those who are watching their calories and fat.  I don’t believe that peanut butter is bad for you, just like everything else, it’s fine in moderation.  But PB2 does have a good pb flavor and is preservative-free.

Speaking of moderation, several pieces of my cookie brownie cheesecake were consumed.  It was all balanced out by my daily workouts, so itz all good.  🙂  The other day I didn’t feel like heading to the gym, so I used my basement instead.  I ran a mile on the treadmill (#RWRunStreak), then walked at a 10.0 incline for 20 minutes.  I wasn’t quite ready to be done with my workout, so I threw together a quick circuit.

I liked it.  It wasn’t super hardcore, but it did keep my heart rate up.  After three times through I took a stretching break and decided I had enough energy to pound out two more rounds.  At home workout complete.

Where will your Saturday take you?

3 or 8?

I had a very busy evening last night.  First, I went to get my toesies painted as they were in dire need.  I’d post a pic since I do have pretty feet, but feet in general just weird some people out, so I won’t go there.  🙂  You’re welcome.  After my toes, I stopped by Trader Joe’s to get three items: eggs, marinara sauce, and parmesan cheese (TJ’s has the best!).  However, 3 turned into 8 quite quickly.

I can’t ever walk into Trader Joe’s and get only my intended items!  But then I saw bananas and remembered I wanted some for my pre-race meal this morning.  Then I saw the olive oil and remembered we were out at home.  Ditto for the greek yogurt.  When I spotted the apple cider vinegar, I decided to pick up a bottle for the first time.  Recently, I have been reading all sorts of benefits it can provide, and when Katie posted about it the other day, it sealed the deal.  I’ll let you know what comes of it.  I was headed for the check out line and grabbed a loaf of bread.  So 3… became 8.

Then I came home and began preparing dinner.  I sliced a zucchini and squash and roasted it in the oven at 425 for 25 minutes.  Next, I cooked half a bag of whole wheat pasta.  I sautéed an onion and two green peppers.  When it was time to drain the pasta, I threw some frozen chopped spinach in the strainer and then poured the piping hot water and pasta over it, replicating this fancy new trick.  I mixed everything together, added some garlic, frozen corn, leftover great northern beans, and about half the jar of marinara sauce.  I added a little parmesan to the whole pot then topped our bowls off with it, as well.

Wah-lah!  Dinner was served!  Jonny was a little wary since there was no meat in it (how could it possibly fill him up??), but then he gave his profound review a couple bites in, “This is incredible!”  And when he finished, “I’m stuffed!”  Told ya so.  It was mighty delicious and the best part is that we have leftovers in the fridge.

After dinner, Jonny and I went to watch a few of my students’ play in their softball game.  I love attending my students’ events outside of school because it really helps build our relationship and it’s awesome to see their strengths outside of the classroom. Since I’m running a 5K later this morning, a low-key evening was just what I needed.  The game didn’t start until 8 and it took two hours, so I didn’t go to bed until 11.  That’s late for me regardless, but especially the night before a race!

Today will be a go-go-go day as I’m running my race at 9, dashing home to shower, getting to my best friend’s bridal shower hopefully on time by 11, and then some of us ladies are hittin’ the town this evening.  See you tomorrow and have a great day!  🙂

Can you stick to your grocery shopping list?  Clearly, I can’t.

Foodie PenPals: April

April showers bring… Foodie PenPals!  Today is reveal day: I get to share with you what my foodie penpal sent me and you get to find out what I sent my foodie penpal.  Contain your excitement, please! 😉

The Lean Green Bean

Click on the button above to get involved.  And you really should.  It’s so fun and so easy.  Seriously.  Have I sold you yet?  If not yet, check out what my foodie penpal sent me and what I sent mine and maybe you’ll be convinced.   This month Darlynn at Little Blog Dress sent me my package.  Her goodies were dead on with foods and drinks I love.  Like tea.

When I took the glass teapot out I kept saying, “Cool!  Cool!  This is so cool!”  Jonny confirmed what a dork I am.  I don’t even care though because I was SO stoked to get this teapot.  I do love drinking tea, but can’t commit to buying a teapot that you can use loose tea leaves in.  So this is absolutely perfect!  And Darlynn sent me a few samples of loose tea to try.  Perfecto!  Check out my other goods:

More tea love with the tea honey!  Some mango flavored coconut water which I’m super excited about.  Coconut water is great for replenishing electrolytes after a tough workout (and it helps with curing hangovers, too!).  The scone mix looks very simple which I’m obviously a huge fan of.  All you have to do is add water.  I may and try to add some flavored NuNatural goodness.  And that purple thing?  A homemade drink sleeve!  Darlynn said it was so I didn’t have to use those ugly brown ones most places hand out.  How stylish of me!  Hehe.  Thank you so much for my goodies!

Now onto what I sent my foodie penpal.  I got to create a package for Olivia, a reader.  Olivia was kind enough to write a guest post for me!  Here it is:

Some people may say that I am “obsessed” with food, but I prefer to say that I just really, really love it. I am an avid health/fitness blog reader so when I happened across The Lean Green Bean, I was very excited to say the least. This was my first time being a part of Foodie Pen Pals so I didn’t really know what to expect. What I did know was that I checked my mail everyday religiously because just the thought of being sent yummy food from someone who knows good food made me happy and anxious. The day I received my package I could hardly wait to open it up and see what goodies were inside. Here is what Linz sent me.

I do eat a gluten-free diet because of allergies, but Linz still was able to send me some awesome stuff. Starting from the left:

Unsweetened Shredded Coconut = delicious. I love to put this on top of my oatmeal in the morning and sprinkle some into my fruit smoothies. I’m thinking about roasting some in the oven to add some flavor to it.

TJ’s Wasabi Roasted Seaweed Snacks – I love seaweed and I love spicy things. I like to tear them up and sprinkle them on top of salads. The more ingredients in a salad the better (or at least I think so!!)

TJ’s Salsa Verde– Since I live in Charlottesville, VA we do not have a Trader Joes in town and the closest one is over an hour away in Richmond…it’s almost like Linz knew to get me TJ things 🙂 Even though I worked at Trader Joe’s for 4 years I never had tried the Salsa Verde. I dipped it in some chips, but I can see this being really good in Mexican dishes.

Zico Coconut Water– I am obsessed with anything coconut and Zico is my favorite coconut water brand that is not fresh from the coconut. I think it tastes the closest to the real deal. I enjoyed drinking this yesterday after a long night out on the town! Note: the bottle is actually empty in this picture…I couldn’t wait! (Great for after workouts, too.)

TJ’s Dark Chocolate Bar Caramel With Black Sea Salt– SO unbelievably good. Caution: Before opening, make sure people are there to share with, otherwise you may eat the entire thing.

Honey Sticks­– I can’t wait to put these in iced tea and use as syrup on pancakes. The strawberry sounds especially yummy.

Walnut & Date Kind Bar– I have tried many KIND bars, but never this flavor. I actually thought I didn’t like walnuts, but after this bar I have been converted. So.good.

Ginger Chews– I can’t really explain these candies except they have a lot going on. I brought some with me to my 3.5 hr long Spanish class. They were great to snack on/ distract me.

TJ’s Boysenberry Fruit Bar– This boysenberry flavor sounds really good and I am looking forward to having it with a lunch this week.

All of the food I received will be gone in the very near future and I am so glad that I am now a part of Foodie Pen Pals!

Thanks, Olivia, for that great post!  Now it’s YOUR turn!  If you want to sign up for next month’s foodie penpals, be sure to e-mail Lindsay by May 4th.  She will send out the matches with all the details and your package will be on it’s way before you know it.  Click here for more details on this fun exchange.

Out of the above packages, what would you like to try?  If you do participate in foodie penpals, what was your favorite goodie?

Foodie PenPals: March

Itz the end of March and you know what that means…

Foodie PenPals Reveal Day!  Thanks to Lindsay (great name!) at The Lean Green Bean for organizing this awesome fiesta.  Foodie PenPals is exactly what it sounds like: random people/readers/bloggers becoming penpals and sending each other fun foodie items.  (Click here for more details.)

The Lean Green Bean

This month I sent a package to a reader named Debbie.  We communicated via email a few times and I learned she eats healthy.  I wanted to put together a fun box with hopefully new-to-her items that would stay consistent with her healthy eating habits.  I went to Trader Joe’s for many of the goodies because I know that store varies greatly from state to state.  In her thank you email to me, she was thrilled because it turns out there is NO Trader Joe’s near her.   Yay!  Go me!  (I love when I can be proud of the gifts I give! heh heh)

Jeremy at Stellar Path was my foodie penpal.  I’m not going to lie; when I read that I was going to be getting a package from a guy, I was quite intrigued.  I was so curious as to what he’d send.  Afterall, my last foodie penpal package was ultra girly complete with heart-shaped pink measuring cups!  Shortly after the match ups were sent, I received an email from Jeremy that read, “Are there any dietary restrictions/allergies/food preferences/pertinent info/blood type/shoe size/favorite or hated foods that I need to be aware of?”  Funny guy!  I replied with all of the necessary information and was astonished when I opened the box:

Yeah, that’s right… Jeremy sent me a Louis Vuitton!  Ok maybe not quite the Louis Vuitton that I had hoped for, but this sure had me cracking up!  After Jeremy’s initial email, I answered his questions and also added other pertinent information: I prefer Louis Vuitton handbags versus Gucci.  Just sayin’.  So he made me a Louis Vuitton card.  Hilarious!  Another clue that we would get along just fine in real life was the outside of the package he sent me:

Go green!  A man who recycles – fantastic!  I was already so happy at this point that it didn’t really even matter what was inside the box, but the goods inside were pretty stellar, too.

How can you go wrong with anything chocolate and peanut butter, much less Girl Scout Tagalongs?  And yes, I did photograph them outside because I was totally loving the greenery in our backyard and the beautiful weather.  The remaining items:

Those pita bites were unbelievable!  I’d like to tell you how phenomenal they were to use for dipping, but they were consumed before any dip was brought out.  Jonny and I both thoroughly liked the garlic ‘n chive flavor along with the crunchiness of the bites.  I haven’t tried the Thai Sweet Potato Soup, but I’m excited because I haven’t ever had sweet potato soup of any kind before.

The peanut milk chocolate bar… well… you see I opened it one evening while sitting at my computer and intended on just having a couple of squares.  I even broke off a couple and wrapped the chocolate back up.  And then I opened it again and did the same thing.  And again.  And again.  And before I knew it the whole bar was gone.  Whoops!  So I guess that tells you what I thought of the bar… Larabars?  Oh yes.  Cherry Pie was a new to me flavor and it was as good as it sounds.  Larabars in general are always a hit, but this sweet fruity flavor satiated my snacking appetite as well as my sweet tooth.  Thanks, Jeremy, for that great package!

In my opinion, a major perk of Foodie PenPals is being introduced to new people, new blogs, and new readers.  Jeremy and Debbie, it has been nice to “meet” you!  Be sure to check out this page for a full review of what everyone sent and received.  And if you want to take part in the fun (which you should) next month, head on over to this page and get yourself signed up.  But do it quickly because the next match list goes out on April 5th.  Happy Friday, friends! 🙂

Which do you prefer: Louis Vuitton or Gucci?

Good-Buy

Since our recent home purchase, Jonny and I have been a lot more careful with our money.  We have never been big spenders, but we have always gotten what we wanted without thinking twice.  Well, now we’re thinking twice with every penny we spend.  Plus, I’ve always loved a good deal, but now I just love them even more.  (Just ask Justin.  He always makes fun of me for it.)  Anyway, this past weekend I found quite a few good deals that I was totally excited about.  Like spinach.  Yes, spinach.

$3.88 for a pound of organic baby spinach!  Usually it’s around two dollars for six ounces!  I found this at Sam’s Club and let’s just say it will definitely be making an appearance in my grocery bags on a weekly basis.  I cook spinach every time I make eggs which is 3 – 4 times a week.  Jonny and I both enjoy steamed spinach with dinner or I use it in my lunch.  Call us Popeye, but we go through spinach fast!  Another Sam’s Club deal:

I don’t remember exactly, but I’m pretty sure this was $3.88, too.  It was definitely under four bucks which is a total steal because grocery stores usually sell one pack for three dollars and this included two packs!  Hold your excitement, please.  Jonny takes a sandwich to work everyday for lunch, so we’re always in need of sandwich thins or bread and the Arnold 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Thins are ones we both enjoy.  They freeze well, too, so I pop one package in the freezer and take it out as needed.  My next two buys weren’t as much about the price as they were about the taste.  Still, they can be considered “good-buys” because they were. 🙂

I sure do love me some chocolate milk!  I love it even more knowing how beneficial it can be after a hard workout.  I don’t drink a whole lot of milk plain, but when I use milk, I use a variety (cow’s, almond, soy, flax), so I was willing to give this chocolate soymilk a try.  I was surprised at just how chocolatey and tasty it was!  The protein and vitamins it contains is just an added bonus.  Now, for the star of the show:

You read correctly, friends.  Cookie Butter.  When I first heard of cookie butter I instantly headed to Trader Joe’s.  I was disappointed when I couldn’t find it at first, but each TJ trip I made I scoured the shelves.  And finally… finally… I laid my eyes on the tantalizing jar.  You better believe I took a spoon to that bad boy the second I stepped foot in my house.  Before I even said hello to Jonny or unpacked the groceries or pet Zoey, I dug in.  One spoonful, two spoonfuls, six spoonfuls later I brought a spoonful to Jonny and demanded he open up.  Now that there is just half a jar left, we both decided that this magical item will not be making a weekly appearance in our pantry.  Can you say zero self-control?  🙂  Good thing I made it to the gym this morning!

Week 7 Day 2: Legs

  • Narrow Stance Squats (warm-up): 2 sets of 15 reps (50 pounds)
  • *Superset – Narrow Stance Squats (heavy): 3 sets of 15 reps (70 pounds)
  • *Superset – Standing Calf Raise: 3 sets of 20 reps (70 pounds)
  • *Superset – Leg Press: 4 sets of 8 (150 pounds)
  • *Superset – Seated Calf Raise: 3 sets of 20 reps (120 pounds)
  • Barbell Step-Ups: 4 sets of 8 reps (40 pounds)
  • Walking Barbell ‘Double’ Lunge: 3 sets of 20 reps (40 pounds)
  • Single Leg Barbell Squat: 4 sets of 8 reps (40 pounds)
  • Leg Extensions: 3 sets of 10 reps (60 pounds)

And with that hard leg workout, I’m off to drink some chocolate milk with my breakfast!

Have you ever had cookie butter?  What are some good-buys you’ve found?

Weekend Wrap-Up

It was a fun weekend celebrating 50 Years of Love.  I am completely and totally stuffed as all of the events were centered around food.  Friday night dinner.  Saturday brunch.  Saturday dinner.  Sunday brunch.  Sunday dinner.  Lots of food.

On Saturday, a couple of the girls and I tried to squeeze in a manicure before brunch.  Well, we did, but we ended up being really late.  At least my nails looked good. 🙂  I chose OPI’s Lincoln Park After Dark color.  I bought this color last year and love it during the winter time.  My nails are very short and I think dark colors compliment short nails nicely.  Plus, it was fun to have some girl time at the nail salon.

Speaking of girl time, some of the out-of-towners that came in for the weekend were Jonny’s brother, Robbie, and his girlfriend, Becca.  They live in Arizona so we don’t get to see them as often as we’d like.  The last time they were in was during Thanksgiving.  However, we do have an upcoming trip scheduled for my spring break to visit them!

It’s always nice when all the boys are able to get together for some quality father-son time!  Pictured above: Jack (Jonny’s dad), Robbie (Jonny’s brother), and Jonny.  I think Robbie and Jack look so much alike, whereas Jonny gets his looks from his momma!

Now that the weekend is over, I am ready to get back to a more normal eating and working out routine.  Well, for a few days anyway.  We are going out-of-town on Thursday evening to visit my brother and his girlfriend!  I did actually manage to squeeze in one quick workout session on Saturday, but Sunday I was way too pooped to do anything productive!

Gotta workout to look this good!

My plan for this week will be to lift weights on Monday and Wednesday and do cardio on Tuesday and Thursday.  Lifting weights usually gets put by the wayside for me because I feel like lifting weights takes longer than cardio, so I am reluctant to do them in the morning.  If I get up to workout, it is always cardio.  Although I did do some resistance training exercises on Saturday morning (get er done!), but that was because I wasn’t on a time schedule!

Since I limit myself to lifting weights after school, I am more likely NOT to do them because something always comes up or there are errands to run or dinner to cook.  Hence, the reason I like my morning workouts is because there is nothing that can get in the way besides my own self not waking up.  Maybe I need to change this thinking?  Well, not today because today my plan is to go to the gym after work.  We shall see.

Here’s to a new week of eating clean and indulging in decadent foods a bit less!

When do you workout?  Before or after work?