My Bizzy Kitchen Goes on Vacation!

Well the day is finally here!  Come 5:00 today, Hannah and Jacob will pick me up and we’ll start on our road trip to Virginia.  Jacob’s Mom is going to be staying at our house to watch the dogs.  Thanks Val!  But it got me thinking.  I don’t have keys to my house.  I know Tony had one on his key ring, but I know I’ve put his keys someplace where I wouldn’t lose them, and well, I’ve “temporarily” misplaced them!   You may be asking “Biz, you don’t lock your house?” and the answer is well. . .no.  Usually someone was always home.  If Tony was away, I’d be home, if we were both away Hannah would be home.  I do have a dead bolt on the inside of the house to lock at knight, I just can’t unlock it from the outside.  I thought Val might appreciate being able to lock the door from both sides!

So I saw that you can find keyless entry locks so that you just enter a passcode and no one needs a key, they just need to have the password.  I asked Jacob if his grandpa, who is handy, could install one and he said he probably could.  Jacob texted me while at Home Depot and we picked out one that would work, only it didn’t work with the type of door I had, so he returned it and got another one.  Now here is something that I am very proud of – Jacob installed it all by himself!  It took him three hours, but it works perfectly, and now we can actually lock our door.  Thanks Jacob!

6.25.15 009

And yes, I know I need to power wash my back door – it’s on the list of things to do this summer.

So I will be taking a blog break and won’t post again until July 8!  I think my longest blog break since I started this blog in September 2008 – if someone would have told me I would still be blogging near seven years later, five days a week, I would have doubted that I would have stuck with it this long, but I actually love it.  When Tony was sick it was my way of being social while he was sleeping, or we had quiet nights at home and he’d fall asleep by 7 p.m. on a Friday night. 

I will, however, be keeping up with the 101 Days of Summer Challengers via email and Facebook while I am gone.  These are such a strong group of women!  I had to post this to my blog because this post by my blog friend Errign really struck a cord with so many of the challengers:

So, I logged on this morning intending to post about my breakfast & run today because that’s my preferred way to check in, but I couldn’t stop thinking about all of the posts I’ve been reading on here lately. I see so many beautiful, strong, powerful women who are making healthy choices for themselves EVERY DAY, and then getting so down about a small slip up. Life isn’t perfect, I’m not perfect, you’re not perfect. Being healthy isn’t about judging yourself, comparing yourself to others, or making yourself feel bad about making a choice that isn’t the norm for you. Having one “bad” meal or missing a workout isn’t going to ruin everything for you, but letting your negative thoughts get in the way of your healthy choices just might.

You are all SO inspiring. You get up and move when it’s hot or raining and when you’re tired, sad or lonely. You make healthy choices 90% of the time – why bring yourself down over that 10%? You know what I did last night? I went out with friends and I ate cheese fries and buffalo tenders for dinner. Did I feel guilty? No, because I know that one meal isn’t my norm, and is not going to make me gain 10 pounds. I ate it, I liked it, I had zero regrets or misgivings, and I got up this morning and got into my normal routine of exercise and breakfast. I honestly didn’t even think about it, because it wasn’t a big deal. I am, just like all of you, healthy, empowered and strong, and I think that life is for living, not for feeling guilty. So, today, I challenge all of you to focus on the positive things that you did today, and share them on this post tonight/whenever you get a chance. Hugs – have a great day!

Thank you Errign for clarifying that this is lifestyle – the operative word being “life” and that life is not perfect.  It involves treats, and cheese and wine on occasion.  And there is nothing wrong that.  I am happy to say that I’ve been able to arrange a lunch with Errign while I am on vacation – she’s not working at the moment so her weekdays are pretty open and we’ve “known” each other since about January of 2009?!  Now she’s happily married with a baby on the way.  Super bummed my schedule didn’t permit me to meet up with Rachel and Dave, or my dear friend Janine (Skippy Mom).  But we will meet one day – promise!

So while I will be on Instagram (are you following me?!! My Bizzy Kitchen – duh), and keeping in the loop on emails and Facebook, the blog will be on vacation.  So while I won’t be posting any recipes or delicious food here for a while, go ahead and check out what my friends are making!

Courtney had me at this super summery roasted shrimp with garlic and lemon.  I could seriously slice up a bagette and call this dinner!


You know how I could eat Mexican just about every day, and this Mexican goddess dressing is screaming my name!  Thanks Ashley – can’t wait to try this with my family next week on vacation!


I am all over savory breakfasts vs. sweet ones – this Breakfast Fried Rice screams me – can’t wait to make this Jessica! (1)

Alright – time to double check my packing list and get this show on the road – “see” you when I get back!  Have a wonderful 4th of July!

Vacation Mode

Over the weekend I found these new to me wraps. 

6.24.15 003

They don’t feel quite like a flour tortilla or a corn tortilla, but I thought shit – for 50 calories and 6 grams of fiber per wrap, I’d make a breakfast panini out of them.

6.24.15 006

The verdict?  Just okay in the panini – they didn’t crispy up like flour tortilla so, just the edges were kind of crispy, but the rest was chewy.  I think I’ll use them like a regular wrap with the rest of them.

Still super busy at work and I even contemplated working through lunch yesterday.  But then I saw how some of my 101 Days of Summer Challengers are posting positive things they are doing on our Facebook group page and email string, and I just put on my shoes and got out there.  Across the street from our office are thousands of these “weeds” but don’t they look pretty?

6.24.15 007

I ended up getting in 2.5 miles before heading back to my desk – I always have to keep in mind #wycwyc!

6.24.15 015

Have you tried Bush’s Beans latest bean flavor Sweet Heat?  OMG, so spicy flavorful good.  But 1/2 cup serving is 170 calories and doesn’t look like much.  So I decided to heat up A WHOLE can of green beans and tossed the baked beans with that and had a side of reheated Greek Chicken – so filling and delicious and this took me a long time to eat – the whole plate is 390 calories!

After work Hannah and I ran a bunch of errands to get ready for our vacation.  My Aunt has a Keurig so we went to Aldi and stocked up on k-cups, went to Wal-mart to get a few things.  We were walking in the back of the store by the frozen pizzas, and well, this stopped me in my tracks.

6.24.15 023

1/4 of the pizza was a serving for 290 calories – not too bad!  So we came home and heated it up.  The verdict?  It was spicy, but it was still a fucking frozen pizza and as I was eating it, I was thinking to myself I could have made one of my no rise pizza doughs in a minute and made a much better pizza.  Worse than that?  I ate 1/2 the pizza!  It wasn’t even that great.  It was like I was already in vacation mode and didn’t give a shit.  But that stopped me in my tracks even more.  What exactly should vacation mode mean to me?  I need to switch the focus off of food, although food will be front and center all of next week, to focus on the family members I will be seeing, the change to read some books I downloaded on my kindle, float in the river.  I can’t start out the vacation thinking it’s one long giant buffet table at Vegas.  I won’t have my next WI until July 8, and I need to stay at 169 or see a loss.  So THAT’S my vacation mode – still getting my 10k steps in a day, spending time with family and basically dominating at all the board games.  Charlie, you’ve been warned.

Open-mouthed smile

So while I was eating that third slice of shitty frozen pizza, I canned my salsa!  I was lucky enough to be given this deluxe electronic canner from Ball.

6.24.15 020

This is truly worth the $300 price tag.  I used to have a giant canning pot – but to heat the water to a boil because I had to have water an inch over the tops of the jars, it would take forever to come to a boil, and the whole kitchen would be sopping wet with the steam.  No more!  Simply add 48 ounces of water in the pot.  Add your clean jars, sans the lids, and hit pre-heat and they heat the jars for 12 minutes.  Take the jars out, fill the jars with salsa, wipe the rim, and gently put on the lids and rings, close the lid and press the salsa button and 40 minutes later your jars are canned.  I can only fit 4 pint jars in at a time, but once that 40 minutes is up, I just hit reset, and start with the second batch of pre-heating the jars.  I ended up with 10 pint jars of salsa – plenty to bring on vacation.

This is totally off track, but if you love pickles as much as I do – you’ll try this.  My brother or Mom brings me Fickle Pickles from Texas.  They are so good – different from any other pickle I’ve ever eaten.  Well, when I eat all the pickles and am left with the brine – I simply add more cucumbers!  This time I added some fresh dill from the farmers market, and cut up about 4 Kirby cucumbers and in a few days you’ve got crisp pickles!

6.24.15 021

I did end up getting all my steps in yesterday too – I think I am on day 10 or 11 of having 10k or more!

6.24.15 027

The stretching felt so good before work yesterday, going to do the same this morning.  TWO WORK DAYS LEFT before our road trip begins!  Woop!

Make it a great day!  Question of the Day:  How do you treat vacations?  Just eat whatever and make it up when you get back?  Do you decide which meal you may splurge and keep on track?  Curious!


I just couldn’t think of a title, but guys, I’ve been bizzy at work – like all day busy and it reminds me of the old days.  Even though I know it will go back to boring when I finish this project, I love the feeling that I am actually contributing to the firm other than making people food, hot coffee drinks and emptying out the dishwasher!

It was a glorious morning.  I was up at 6:30 and out of the house by 6:45!  I was only going to do 2 miles when I realized that I time to squeeze in an extra mile.  Um, do you think my first mile I was still a bit sleepy?!  Actually, that first mile is almost all uphill – it’s a slow incline but a pretty big incline from beginning to end before getting on to flatter ground.  Check out my third mile time – I actually jogged a bit of it!

6.23.15 014

I had my spinach/cheese/egg white microwaved egg topped with homemade salsa, some diced potatoes and the best watermelon I’ve had all summer.  Wish I could eat buckets of it – but it really spikes my blood sugar all by itself.

My co-worker forgot her gym shoes, but said she’d be fine in flip flops.  She was, but it’s hard to walk that fast but three miles is still three miles no matter how long it took us – we did end up picking up the pace thorugh!

6.23.15 028

Lunch was just leftover pot stickers.  Not as good as the night before because the crispy bottom goes away, but I ended up putting them on a paper plate with a tablespoon of water, putting another paper plate on top and then kind of re-steamed them in the microwave – still tasty though!

6.23.15 016

I took this picture near the window in the kitchen and when I put it on my desk, I stepped away for a moment and when I came back my boss said “why didn’t you tell me you were going to order Chinese food, I would have ordered some!”  Yes, my pot stickers do look and taste restaurant worthy, but after working with me for ten years she should know by now how my fucking lunches look, no?!  She is a Lean Cuisine lunch eater and the other day I took her dish out of the microwave and I’d be hard pressed if that Lean Cuisine was more than five bites of food.  Crazeballs.

I had pre-vacation errands to run after work!  Pick up contacts – check.  Pick up insulin – check.  Go to the thrift store for more shorts – double check!  Here is how I pack when going on a trip.  I make triple sure that I have all the things that would be a pain in the ass to replace while on vacation – medication/contacts/power cords, etc.  Once I know I have those things packed I pretty much figure if I need anything else I can buy it on the road.  You’ll know that when I went to college I just used hefty garbage bags to throw my shit in and just stuffed them in the back of my parents car.  My sister packed for college like she was going to not be home in four years at all!

I did pick up this t-shirt because it was only $1 – screams me!

6.23.15 022

Hannah was working last night so I made a dinner only Jacob and I would love.  I would call this plate “50 shades of khaki” because it is all one color, but the flavor was good – sauerkraut, twice baked potato, corn on the cob and pork chops.  Jacob loves pork as much as I do – yeah!  After one bite I told him “Hey Jacob, ya know what?  Pigs taste good!”  He must think I am completely nuts – but in a good way!

6.23.15 023

So check out my steps – even without my after work workout!

6.23.15 027

And I have read the messages on my app, but for some reason it keeps telling me I have 28 friend notifications.  I may have to google that to reset it.

A couple more link love shout outs today!  My friend Shauna was one of the other cooking finalists in the Extended Stay America cooking contest I did last year.  She blogs at Have Yourself a Time and has the most genius way of making FIVE MINUTE guacamole that I am sorry I didn’t think of it a long time ago.  Mom, you’ll love this method!  My Mom just recently started liking guacamole.  I don’t think she even tried it until she was 70!  Check out her method here.

My friend Nicole, who I have yet to meet in real life but we keep meaning to meet one way or another when she is back in the Chicago area, made a delicious tomato and mozzarella salad of ricotta toast. RICOTTA TOAST!  How could I have not had ricotta toast before in my life?  Screams summer, and truth be told, I could have that with a glass of wine and call it dinner.

It may be stormy later today, and while I should head out this morning to get my walk in, I am a bit stiff so have opted to do 30 minutes of Classical Stretch before work.  I will hit the gym at lunch if the weather doesn’t permit walking outside.  Only THREE more days of work before vacation!  But who’s counting?!

Make it a great day!

Simple Delicious Biscuits

I am getting really excited about my vacation next week.  We eat a lot, talk a lot, porch a lot, float a lot.  I love it when my brother and I go at the same time too because it’s usually the longest period of time I get to spend with him all year.  Eight days!  Basically we are a family that loves to cook, so there is no doubt there is going to be some good food.  And my Aunt Martha makes the best pimento cheese!  I’ve seen her make it, but just like her Chex Mix that she makes every year, it doesn’t taste the same as hers when I make it.

So we mostly deal with breakfast as a catchall, since people get up at all different times.  I decided I was going to try to get my biscuit recipe down pat and to make them as quick as possible.  Since we are driving I am definitely bringing my Baking Steel!  Okay, I just went on their website to grab the link for you guys – I didn’t know they had a Baking Steel GRIDDLE! Gah, I need to have that too.   Oh snap, I just saw the price tag – $195!  Okay, if I win the lottery I’ll get one of those!

So I decided not to cut out my biscuits this time because the second roll of biscuits never turn out as good as the first ones.  So after I made the dough, I shaped it into a square and stuck it on a cookie sheet in the freezer until the oven was up to temperature.  That way you get an extra flaky, buttery crust because the butter is super cold when it hits the hot Baking Steel.  I just cut them into 9 squares – each square comes in at 161 calories, 6 fat, 23 carbs, 4 protein – not too bad!

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspooon salt
  • 4 tablespoons of frozen butter, shredded*
  • 1 cup 2% milk mixed with 1 tablespoon vinegar (to make mock buttermilk)
  • 2 teaspoons melted butter for when they come out of the oven (the above stats don’t include this – optional!)

Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together.  With a cheese grater, grate the butter right into the flour and toss to coat.  Pour the milk/vinegar mixture and mix with your hands until combined.  I put my dough on floured parchment paper to shape into a square.  I let the dough rest in the freezer for 10 minutes, then cut them into 9 pieces and baked at 450 for 15 minutes.

6.21.15 131

Jacob is going crazy over them.  I think he ate four of them yesterday.  He made a breakfast sandwich to take to work, then ate three when he got home with some butter and honey.

I ended up cutting one in half and making two open faced egg white, ham, spinach and pepper jack cheese sammies with strawberries and blueberries on the side.  I ate one half, ate the fruit, and realized I was full and didn’t eat the second half – hooray for listening to my body when it was telling me I was full and I actually paid attention!

6.22.15 014

Our weather was a hot mess yesterday.  Rainy, a bit stormy and steamy!  I ended up hitting the gym instead of walking and when I left my blood sugar was 220 – nice!  Sadly, at the 2 mile mark, I could feel my blood sugar dropping and when I got back to the office, it was 66.  By the time I finished putting my lunch together it had dropped down to 44 – gah!  So I didn’t take any insulin at lunch because I knew I was going to the gym after work.  I ate the Chobani blood orange yogurt with blueberries first to get my blood sugar up, then ate my sammie.

6.22.15 023

I found that Joseph’s Bakery pita bread in front of the deli at Walmart – each pita is only 60 calories and 10 grams of cabs and its soft and delish!

I am still busy at work, so I am happy my last week before vacation will go by fast at work.  Before I knew it, it was time to head back to the gym.  I had chest on the menu, then I did 1 mile on the treadmill and realized I’d lost my fitbit – dammit!  Luckily I found it at the end of the treadmill.  I had already cancelled the workout I was on after a mile, and decided to change it up and did 5 miles on the exercise bike – that got me really sweaty!  Um, turns out biking doesn’t count your steps – boo!  Are my eyebrows on fleek or what?!

6.22.15 031

So my non-meat eating daughter will eat my pork potstickers.  You just never know with that girl.  These were delicious even though I thought they could have been spicier.   So simple too – just a bit time consuming to put the potstickers together – but it’s worth it because not only did I feed the three of us last night, I have leftovers already cooked for my lunch tomorrow, and I froze the rest on a cookie sheet for 30 minutes, so they won’t stick together in the ziploc bag for a quick weeknight dinner in the future.  This is enough for 60 potstickers:

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 cups coleslaw mix
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha

Mix together and put a small teaspoon into each potsticker, dip your finger in water and go all around the potsticker wrapper and then crimp to seal.  I did 30 to cook, and made another 30 to freeze.  I heated up 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and sprayed my pan with Pam.  Cook flat side down for 2-3 minutes, or until the bottom gets browned and then add 1/2 a cup of water and put a lid on to cook the rest of the wonton wrapper and the pork filling.  The pork is raw by the way when you fill it.

6.22.15 033


6.22.15 008

I sauteed some zucchini on the side and picked up brown rice for $2 at my local Chinese restaurant because I forgot to bake some over the weekend.  I could literally eat these every day and never get sick of them.  Hannah and Jacob both gave these two big thumbs up.

So I got my steps in, even though I think I was cheated with not getting any steps with my 5 mile bike ride.  And I need to change my weight on my app!

6.22.15 043

I have a couple shout outs today!  101 Days of Summer Challenger Aimee did a 25k trail run over the weekend and kicked some serious booty!  Since it was her first one, she had no expectations, didn’t have a Garmin or anything, just enjoyed each and every step of it – so proud of you Aimee!  You can check out her recap here.

My blog friend Ally made an overnight peanut butter chocolate swirled oatmeal that looks amazeballs.  Bake it off on a Sunday and you’ll have breakfast all week.

I bought a bunch of broccoli at the farmers market over the weekend, how delicious does this broccoli with peanut sauce sound?

Alright, off to get some steps in before work – make it a great day!

East Meets West Carolina BBQ Sauce

This was an emotional weekend for me.  It all started on Friday night.  It was the perfect grilling night – sit outside night.  I think it was easier for me to get through the winter without Tony because all we did was watch t.v. in the winter time.  But come summer?  We’d sit outside every change we had.  So this time of year is turning out really hard for me to get through without Tony.   I still had a nice weekend though – but it was an emotional roller coaster – sadness and happiness throughout the weekend.  I know in time the happiness will outshine the sadness, but it’s still just so hard to believe he’s not here.

Friday night I stopped at Wal-mart on my way home from work to get my eyebrows threaded.  It hurts like a mother fucker, but the pain is over in 3 minutes.  Not gonna lie that I do count those three minutes to figure out when I am almost done!  Of course I wanted Party Pizza Friday – Tony isn’t here to complain about having pizza every Friday – and even though Jacob is not a fan of pizza all that much, he tolerates it.  Basically because Hannah and I tell him he has to – ha!

So I was at the deli getting some pepperoni, when my eyes wandered and I saw premade pizza dough.  Huh.  $.98 cents a ball.  Done.  I threw three in my basket.  As I was driving home Hannah texted me and said “Jacob hopes you’ll make your deep dish pizza!”  Fudge.  I hadn’t made my Lou Malnati’s deep dish dough ahead of time – it’s a simple dough, but it takes time to let it sit in the fridge.  But as I was driving home I thought, why not just spread the softened butter right on the Wal-mart dough, then stick it in the freezer to get the butter cold for 10 minutes before building the pizza.

PicMonkey Collage - pizza

The verdict?  The kids LOVED the deep dish pizza.  By chilling the dough with the butter it had a nice buttery crust – almost as good as the one that takes more time!  My pizza?  Thin crust on my Baking Steel – I did sauteed mushrooms, yellow peppers and pepperoni, then topped it with a bit of mozzarella and goat cheese.  When it came out of the oven, I chopped up some farmers market romaine lettuce tossed in a bit of fig balsamic vinegar.  So good!

I restrained to two slices of my pizza, only to later on eat 1/3 of a bag of baked Cheetos that I had planned on taking to a picnic on Saturday.  It was mindless emotional eating, and the next day figured I’d eaten 350+ calories for the amount of Cheetos I ate.  When will I learn that eating shit isn’t going to bring my husband back?  Gah.

So Saturday I got up and deemed it a new day and got my ass out on a 2 mile walk.  I do feel that if you start off on a positive note for the day that you tend to have a more positive day.  If you eat a shit ton of donuts for breakfast you are more likely to say “fuck it” and eat like crap the next day. 

6.21.15 041

When I got back I packed my lunch to meet up with one of Hannah’s friends.  She’s a single Mom.  Same age as Hannah and has a 3 1/2 year old son.  She put together a single mom’s Father’s Day picnic because basically single Mom’s have the role of both parent.  I get it.  I was a single Mom for 8 years, but I was lucky enough that my parents let me and Hannah live with them for the first 5 years of Hannah’s life.  Let’s just say Mel doesn’t have the family support that I had, so I was more than happy to go.  Even though I could have been everyone’s Mom who showed up!  Another girl was 22 and had a 5 year old, a couple other girls were under 24 and had a 4 year old and an 8 month old. 

I remember working in a law firm in Chicago when Hannah was little.  One of my attorney’s had his first child and was complaining about how tired he was.  Well, he and his wife had a live in nanny to take care of their son because of their careers, and I kind of lost it on him.  I said “you don’t understand what it’s like to be a single parent – it’s always your turn.  Your turn to change the diaper, your turn to give the bath, your turn to read stories before bed, etc.”   He never complained about it after that since it was 3 adults to 1 kid!

6.21.15 044

I spent a couple hours at this preserve in Libertyville – about a 45 minute drive from my house.  I brought a big bag of popcorn so the kids could feed them to the carp in the water – only to read a sign upon leaving that said “please do not feed the wildlife.”  Oops!  It was actually really fun to be around little kids – but I am not ready to be a grandparent just yet.

6.21.15 108

While I was at the park, I had a pork tenderloin cooking low and slow in my Dutch oven.  I made a rookie mistake though.  Normally I use a pork shoulder to make pulled pork, but I had a tenderloin roast in the freezer.  I ended up overcooking it a bit, but the BBQ sauce more than made up for the slightly dry pork.  My Grandfather was from the eastern side of North Carolina and he made THE BEST pulled pork I’ve ever eaten.  My Aunt Martha is the only one that has recreated it almost to the way I remember it, and I’ve watched her make it and it doesn’t taste the same.  Well eastern Carolina sauce is vinegary – no tomato sauce at all.  But I love my copycat Rudy’s BBQ sauce, so I decided to come up with an East Meets West Carolina BBQ sauce –and its amazeballs. 

  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon ground mustard
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon water

Put everything but the corn starch and water in a pot and bring to a boil.  Once it boils, reduce to a simmer and mix the corn starch and water together and add that to the BBQ sauce and mix for 1 minute.  Just simmer for five or so minutes longer and you’ll see the BBQ sauce start to thicken up.  Don’t worry if it seems a bit thin, because it will continue to thicken up as it cools.

6.21.15 114

OMG.  The perfect balance of sweet, little bit of heat (if it weren’t for Hannah I would have added more cayenne) and that tang from the vinegar.  I am making a few more batches to can to bring to my Aunt’s river house next week – I think everyone will love this.  I sent that picture above to my brother and his response was “it looks tomato-ish?”   While I agree that there is no tomato in East Carolina BBQ sauce, I love the addition of ketchup to this BBQ sauce – so it’s kind of a bbq sauce if East Carolina BBQ and West Carolina BBQ sauce had a baby. Open-mouthed smile

Sunday morning I woke up at 8:00 and decided that was too early to get up on a Sunday.  I grabbed my phone.  A nice breeze was blowing in, and I went to Facebook and saw that my step-son Joe posted this:

6.21.15 124

The tears started flowing and didn’t stop for several minutes.   I felt sorry for Joe that his Dad wasn’t here.  I felt sorry for myself that MY Dad wasn’t here to celebrate with and then I had to stop myself and be thankful for the years that I got with both Tony and my Dad.  They never met because my Dad passed away nearly 17 years ago.  I think they would have gotten along though!  There were several characteristics of Tony that reminded me of my Dad, which is probably why I married him!

I have more recipes to share later this week.  I was Bizzy in my Kitchen yesterday.  It’s funny though that Jacob still doesn’t understand my mass cooking Sundays.  I made seven batches of my Baja Fresh salsa, two batches of a new salsa that I think I love even more than my Baja Fresh salsa – a dried pasilla pepper salsa with tomatillos – so smoky flavorful.  I am canning these to take to the river house next week.

6.21.15 162

And I made biscuits.  I have perfected my biscuit recipe so that these are ready from start to finish in just over 15 minutes.  We will be having quite a crowd at my Aunt’s house so I plan on making lots of biscuits for breakfasts or sandwiches for lunch.  My Baking Steel makes the most amazing crust on these biscuits!  And each one comes in at 161 calories – not too bad!  Leaves more calories for cheese and bacon.

6.21.15 131

So all day I ended up making:

  • 7 batches of my Baja Fresh salsa
  • 2 batches of the dried pasilla pepper salsa (recipe to come later this week)
  • 8 grilled chicken legs for Jacob during the week
  • Greek marinated grilled chicken for lunches for me during the week
  • 2 batches of biscuits
  • marinated flank steak for dinner last night (leftovers too!)

By the time I finished it was 5:30, and we ate a late lunch so I knew we wouldn’t eat dinner until around 7, and for a split second I thought “I think I’ll just call this a rest day.”  I really only had about 2200 steps until 5:30!  But I knew I had all my 101 Day of Summer Challengers routing me on – we talk about how it’s all about choices – and instead of pouring a glass of wine and watching t.v., I got out there and got my 10k steps in.

6.21.15 175

So while it was a sad and happy weekend, I smiled widely when I was at the Farmers Market and saw this heart shaped potato front and center.

6.21.15 142

I think it’s just a gentle reminder that Tony is always with me.  When I saw that I smiled.

So even with my roller coaster emotions and my not as stellar eating as I could have had, I am still down 1.2 for the week!  So I am down 4.4 pounds in the last two weeks!

6.21.15 001

I am actually skipping my morning walk this morning and opting for Classical Stretch on my DVR to start my week.  I really need to stretch more and it is a nice way to start the day and the work week.  My last week of work until I go on vacation!  Cannot wait!

Make it a great day!

Chobani Blueberry Pancakes

Just as I was about to go on a walk yesterday morning it started to rain.  Gah.  I thought for a half a second that I could go back to bed for another 30 minutes, but I decided that I wouldn’t melt.  I still was going to take a shower before work so what was the big deal?  It’s wasn’t a thunderstorm, just rain.  I actually really enjoyed it.  My neighborhood is really hilly and it took me nearly 17 minutes to walk that first mile.  On the second mile though I decided to run parts back home.  Hannah and I used to do this thing when we took walks.  We’d pick out a street sign and then say “okay – run from that street sign until the fourth driveway.”  It might have only been 1/8 of a mile runs, but we tended to run them pretty fast since they were short.

So my second mile was just over 13 minutes – nice!  The boob shot is just a gift from me to you today. Open-mouthed smile

6.18 009

Long time readers know that I don’t typically like sweet breakfasts probably because I can’t add cheese to them!  But I had some blueberries I needed to use up and made some Chobani blueberry pancakes.  This time I didn’t add any sugar at all – I figured the blueberries and the sugar free pancake syrup would be enough, and it was.


  • 1/2 cup Plain Chobani yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg white (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup blueberries


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together egg white, Chobani and milk.
  2. Add yogurt mixture to flour mixture and use a wooden spoon to combine lightly.  I made the pancake batter before my walk so it sat for 30 minutes to get nice and fluffy.
  3. Heat a nonstick skilled over medium heat. Lightly coat with cooking spray and pour about ¼ cup of batter onto pan for each pancake.  Add the blueberries to the pancake. Cook until edges set and bubbles appear on surface, about 2 minutes. Flip to cook the other side.  Eat!

6.18 010

By adding the blueberries to the pancake and not the batter – it keeps the blueberries in place.  So good!  Best part is that each pancake is 121 calories and 20 grams of carbs.  My syrup was 1/4 cup sugar free pancake syrup mixed with 1 teaspoon of almond butter.  And why have I never thought to cook sausages on my panini maker??  Super crunchy – love.

6.18 016

I walked with my co-worker at lunch and we took a different route and didn’t realize that after our turn around point of 1.5 miles that it was very uphill.  It felt good on the back of our legs, but our times really showed the incline.

6.18 040

You all know I love my taco salads but this is probably the freshest one I’ve ever made – all the ingredients except the beef, cheese and avocado were from the farmers market – romaine lettuce, carrots, radishes, cucumbers and cilantro.  My dressing was a tablespoon of ranch dressing with Tapatio hot sauce.

6.18 017

I was having dinner with one of my co-workers (Hi J!) and our topic of discussion yesterday with the 101 Days of Summer Challenge was choices.  We are bombarded with dozens of choices through the course of a day and the more good choices we make the sooner we’ll reach our goals.  That’s all fine, but life is too short not to have some wine and pizza – and that’s just what we got.  But the best part is that between the two of us we only at 1/2 of each thing we ordered – so really I ate 1/4 of a 10 inch pizza and one pesto crostini with mozzarella and proscuitto and enjoyed a couple glasses of Sauvignon Blanc.

6.18 041

Life is about balance and I think I did really well with my choices.  The old me would have plowed through that whole pizza by myself!  I like to call it a “controlled indulgence.”

The drive home was gorgeous too – can’t have too many pictures of sunsets!

6.18 037

And I got my steps in:

6.18 039

Hannah is so funny about Rummy – she’ll buy her clothes to dress her up and we laughed our asses off last night at this outfit – cargo shorts and a shirt that says “hug me!”

6.18 049

6.18 051

I think that looks says “please help me Grandma!”  Fran, I am sure you don’t dress up Bella either!

I slept in a bit this morning, so no morning walk, but I have 15 minutes to do some stretching which I need to remind myself to do more often.  But I’ll get my lunch time walk in and hit the gym after work, or take a long walk after dinner tonight – I am loving that the sun doesn’t set until around 8:30!

Happy Friday – make it a great day!

I Puffy Heart Danskin Clothes

Want to know how to use up leftover steak?  Make a breakfast steak, egg, spinach and cheese panini quesadilla!  This was so filling guys, and for good reason.  With the avocado on the side, breakfast came in at 631 calories, 29 cat, 51 carbs, 3.8 fiber and 38 grams of protein – this kept me full for so long.  Through my workout at lunch and I didn’t even eat lunch until nearly 2 p.m.!

6.17.15 004

The flour tortilla gest super crunchy and just that little bit of guac was amazing.

6.17.15 007

So it was rainy again yesterday so I ended up going to the gym.  The day before I tried to beat each mile that I walked, which is difficult when you don’t have a treadmill to pace yourself.  I did my first mile at 4.0 mph, then the second at 4.2 and then the third 1.1 mile at 4.4 mph – which is a 13:38 minute mile pace!  I literally couldn’t walk any faster if I tried.

PicMonkey Collage - treadmill

So that shirt that I picked up for .99 cents at the thrift store –it’s Danskin brand and I love how long it is and it’s super soft.  Hannah happened to give me a pair of capri pants that she bought that were too short on her – she’s only a couple inches taller than me, but it makes a difference.  At first I didn’t want to wear these out in public because they are Danskin Now Fitted capri’s.  I thought these would look too tight walking around the gym, but here’s the thing – they are awesome!  A problem I have I blame on my muffin top – I like to have pants that are high enough so if I am walking or running, my muffin top doesn’t bounce up and down – but there are a lot of pants out there that start to roll down if I do any type of movement and these don’t budge.  It was like I was walking naked I never felt them! Best part?  Wal-mart sells them for $9.99.  That’s Hannah’s favorite store by the way.

I had to pick up birthday treats for the office since everyone was going to be in yesterday afternoon – a couple days late for the birthday people, but better late than never!  So while I was at Mariano’s I picked up one of my favorite things for lunch – the fried chicken tender salad.  I put the picture on Instagram and it instantly made me happy and sad at the same time – happy because I knew it was going to taste better than any hospital salad I ever ate, and sad because that was my signature salad that I got when Tony was in the hospital.   Most of the hospital food was either gross looking or tasted like ass, so I knew I could always depend on the chicken fingers added to the salad bar.  I’d give anything to spend the weekend in the hospital if Tony were still here and not complain one second I was there because I’d be there with him.

6.17.15 016

So I normally get Mariano’s tiny desserts and get an assortment, but sometimes people take one look, think it’s too many calories and no one eats the treats.  So I decided since I was in charge, I would buy what I would eat!  Angel food cake with fresh strawberries, blueberries, whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate sauce.  Big winner – tastes like the perfect summer dessert and just that touch of chocolate brought it all together.  In case you were wondering, this was insulin worthy!

6.17.15 019

I’ve been looking for a tiny set of speakers for my kitchen when I am cooking or just sitting in the family room off the kitchen to listen to my music off my iPhone. The speakers on my desktop are not very loud and every once in a while I like to listen to my music on the louds side.  I was surprisingly all alone for a few hours last night as both Hannah and Jacob was at work.  For some reason on the drive home I was thinking about where I could look for speakers when I saw Tuesday Morning out of the corner of my eye.  I figured it was worth a shot – they have such an eclectic array of things in that place.

6.17.15 025

Wouldn’t you know that I found that!  And for $6.99 no less!  The sound is pretty great considering the price tag.  So while I cleaned the kitchen and worked on dinner, I jammed to my tunes all by myself.  It was awesome.  I may have also bought this for my dining room!  I knew if I didn’t buy it, it would be gone the next time I went so I picked it up.

6.17.15 022

I ended up thawing the last of my 30 minute bolognese and added some grilled Italian sausage that I grilled up on Sunday.  Can’t remember if I mentioned it before, but when you grill meat that you are going to use later in the week for something else, always cook it 3/4 of the way through.  I sliced the sausage thin and let it finish cooking in the bolognese as it heated up.  Simple quick dinner for one!

6.17.15 028

I ended up not going to the gym after work since I knew I’d have the house to myself.  It’s weird because even though Jacob and Hannah work, it seems that one of them is always around – not that it’s a bad thing, but sometimes it’s nice to have the house to myself.

I still got my steps in and them some!

6.17.15 033

I have plans to go out after work with one of my co-workers at the same place we had our firms Anniversary dinner – we most likely will just get some wine and apps – check out the menu!

I am off to get my walk in before work – make it a great day!