Weekend Funk & Fun in the Snow

Happy Mondayyyyy, my friends! I’m sure it’s going to be a quick/fun/exciting/hectic/ exhausting week for many of us, so here’s to gearing up to face it all head on.

I’ve got just two work days on the agenda this week, then I’m off on a little mini Christmas vacay, which I am so looking forward to. Hard to believe the week is already here! Thankfully, with the exception of two more quick gifts I have to pick up today, I am done with my shopping and about 85% done with my wrapping. Woop! I spent a couple of hours out braving the mall yesterday and did some (good) damage, so I’m really looking forward to giving all of our gifts to loved ones soon.

So I really don’t have a ton to share about the weekend with you all today. It was a good one, but I felt in somewhat of a funk. It quite possibly could have just been the PMS talking, but I was feeling a little…blah. I’ve been working on snapping myself out of my funk and, lucky girl I am, even got some pretty flowers from my hubby on Saturday to cheer me up.

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Aren’t they so pretty and festive?

I got in a couple of good, quick workouts on both Saturday and Sunday, which felt really nice since I had taken all but Monday of last week off after getting sick. I also took a page from Chelsey and Ashley’s book and hung up all of our Christmas cards using some twine and clothes pins.

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We don’t have a ton of extra room in our house, so any way I can utilize the space that we do have is a-okay in my book!

Jay and I (okay, mostly Jay) cooked up a couple of good, simple dinners this weekend, too. On Saturday, we had grilled chicken, mashed sweet potatoes, and green beans.

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And on Sunday, we had Chicken Parm Burgers (sans buns, only because we didn’t have any) and side salads.

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On Sunday, I also took care of the grocery shopping and some other shopping for Christmas Eve (we’re hosting the family!) and later that afternoon, we decided to take Lucas out to play in the snow! It’s probably only going to last another day or two (it’s supposed to rain all Christmas Eve…how festive, right?), so I figured we might as well take advantage.

At first, he wasn’t quite sure what to think of it. He refused mittens so, of course, any time he fell or bent down to touch the snow and his hands got cold…well, he didn’t love it. So then we finally got the mittens on his hands and, well, he didn’t love that either…

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Then I showed him that he can actually eat the snow (as long as it isn’t yellow Winking smile), and then it was an entirely different ball game.

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So we walked around the backyard, picking up snow and eating it every few steps. He was having a ball!

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As I type this up on Sunday evening, I still have some other blog work to do AND a cookie tray to make up for Jay to bring to work tomorrow (along with a few for me to eat too, of course), so I’m signing off for now!

Hope you all have a great week ahead, and I’m sure I’ll check in with you again soon. Smile

Why Did I Wait So Long?

Seriously? Why did I wait so long to try out this amazingly delicious combination that is a fried egg + smashed avocado?

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I cooked this little gem up yesterday afternoon for my lunch and wow. Just…wow. I added a little salt, pepper, and garlic powder to my smashed avocado, fried up the egg, and served it on a toasted whole wheat sandwich thin. According to Instagram, I’m pretty late to the game on this one, since so many of you were raving about it already. I’m excited to try it out with some of the other ingredients you guys were telling me about too. Yum, yum!

Another yummy from yesterday came in the form of a delicious apple cider donut.

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Last Friday, I mentioned that we were going to be going apple picking for Fall Festival but unfortunately, our little clan never made it to the apple orchard. Lucas had decided that day that he wanted to nap for basically forever (3 hours his first nap, 2-1/2 his second) and he wound up napping right though apple picking. We debated on waking him up, but since his naps are so rare, I knew he must have needed the sleep so we let it slide.

Luckily, my gal Sarah picked up some cider donuts for me (I had been waiting so long for them!) and I’ve been enjoying one every now and then this week. Just a quick, 15 seconds in the microwave and it’s just like it was fresh baked.

My last yummy from yesterday? Dinner. And when I tell you I could eat a meal like this basically everyday of my life, I’m not even kidding.

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I marinated some chicken cutlets during the afternoon and we grilled them up along with some baked sweet potatoes, and a couple big ol’ tossed salads. So much color and variety…I love it!

This morning, I’m heading out for a few hours solo, to give Lucas a little one-on-one time with his new babysitter. I feel like I have a gazillion different emotions about that all, but I’ll get to that in another post. For now, it’s time for me to scoot!

Happy Thursday, friends! Smile

All It Took Was One Time

Apparently, all it took was the one time for Lucas to feel comfortable peeing on his mama…

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Because he was at it again last night (the white is a random paint stain).

*edited to add…and again this morning. Winking smile

We had Lucas’s newborn photos done at the house and let me first just say that newborn photos are no joke. First you have to get them to sleep (not just a little asleep…sound asleep!), then you have to try to move/pose them while sleeping. Naked. And, inevitably, he’s bound to “let loose.” Not only did he pee on me, but he really did a number (of both the 1 and 2 variety) on a poor football blanket we had. Oy vey!

After about three hours we finished the session and I cannot WAIT to see how they all turn out. Our photographer, Cara Olsen, did post a teaser pic on Facebook today which I shared on the STSL page, so feel free to check it out. Little man is looking more and more like his dad…little stinker.

While we were outside working on getting the photos, Jay and I both smelled neighbors of ours grilling and it smelled sooo good. Apparently, that was all Jay needed because by the time the photos were done, he told me that he defrosted and marinated chicken and wound up making us a whole dinner while I took care of feeding and changing Lucas.

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We had Italian marinated grilled chicken, brown rice, and some veggies. It was really, such a simple meal, but I cannot tell you good it tasted. Not only was I starving, but it’s been a long time since we just had a simple, grilled meal. I’m so thankful for a husband who will cook when he wants. Smile

Lucas was pretty wiped after his photos so he slept a majority of the evening while Jay and I hung out. Once again, Cody continued to keep his curious self around…

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His little sniffer was working like crazy and he must have stood there for a good five minutes just intently watching him. And then he went and cuddled with Jay. Too cute.

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A couple hours after dinner (actually more like an hour and a half) I was still legitimately hungry (not just feeling like I wanted to eat) so I threw together a mug of cereal with almond milk and snacked on that while watching The Bachelorette.

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I didn’t watch the whole season, but I did wind up getting sucked in to the last few weeks. What can I say…that Chris Harrison reels me right in every. single. time. with his whole “traumatic ending” previews.

After a decent night of sleep for my little man, the two of us have been up and at it this morning. I actually started writing this post about an hour and a half ago while he was napping…and now, after feeding and a double diaper change (because, of course, he poops again before I can even get the new one strapped up) we’re enjoying some tummy time.

Later this week, I’m planning on putting together a post about Lucas’s birth story (hello, 18 hours of labor!) so be on the lookout. In the meantime, I’m going back to chill with my boy while he’s still awake. Smile

Are My Plants Done?

A little yoga to kick start my Tuesday morning? Don’t mind if I do!

I’m starting to get a little bored with the yoga DVD’s that I already own, so I decided to flip on the Sportskool Exercise channel and see if they had anything to offer. Much to my surprise, they actually had about a dozen different yoga videos to choose from – score!

The first one I attempted was a Vinyasa Flow video, but I only lasted about five minutes before calling it quits. Borrrrring. My next video, however, called “Metal Yoga,” was anything but. The instructor used wrist and ankle weights, but since I don’t own any of those, I just went without. Honestly though, I don’t know if I would have been able to do it with the weights because this video was challenging!

The only downside to my yoga practice today (look at me sounding all yoga-like) was some lingering shoulder pain I was experiencing. Not quite sure what’s up with that. Either way, still a great yoga session.

Last Night’s Dinner

Rewind a bit to last night’s dinner. Talk about deeeeeelish.

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I marinated some chicken earlier in the day, so Jay cooked that up on the grill while I took care of the rest of dinner. On Sunday, Jay ended up making a last-minute homemade marinara sauce, and since there was some leftover, I wanted to pair it the chicken.

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So I cooked up some brown rice, topped it with the chicken (it’s under there, I swear), marinated artichoke hearts, the marinara sauce, a little mozzarella cheese, a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette, and some fresh basil…from the garden. Winking smile

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Jay said it reminded him a lot of a healthier chicken parm, which I could see a little, but it was just overall amazing.

On the side, we had some sautéed zucchini and yellow squash since, ya know, we have quite a bunch of it.

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But speaking of which…I noticed that my plants are pretty much empty right now. There are some flowers, but no zucchini or squash…this doesn’t mean my plants are done, does it?? Do they come in phases? I’ll be so disappointed if my zucchini crop is done…I have more baking to do!

Breakfast

After getting my yoga on this morning, my body temp was up there, so I needed something cold to cool me down. Cereal combo + iced coffee is where it’s at.

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I even made extra…juuuust in case I want another cup later on. Winking smile

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Today’s cereal combo included:

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I loaded the bowl up with berries so this thing was huuuuge.

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The Special K cereal by the way? Awesome. x100

Random Question for the Morning (kind of like when we did the Would You Rathers!):

Who would you most like to be stuck in an elevator with?

Meals and Laughs on Mother’s Day

Today has been such a nice day!

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I just love being able to spend time with family…

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and have plenty of good laughs with mom.

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Too funny. ;)

Earlier today, Jay and I headed over to my in-laws’ house for a delicious, al fresco lunch.

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We’re experiencing another beautiful day here in Upstate NY, so I think we’re all taking advantage as much as possible before the rain rolls in again tomorrow.

For lunch, Jay actually prepared a big tossed salad AND a pasta salad to bring over.

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I’ll tell ya…I was quite impressed. The guy can definitely work his way around a kitchen. ;)

For lunch, i enjoyed a little bit of each salad and an open-faced grilled chicken sandwich.

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The chicken was delicious and grilled to perfection

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For dessert, my father in-law had made his first-ever attempt at banana bread and was excited to share with us all.

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Since I knew I still had a full dinner + more dessert ahead of me, I kept my serving to just half of a slice, but it was really, really good.

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After hanging out on the porch for a few hours, we said our goodbyes and headed over to my parents’ house for dinner.

Originally, mom was planning on grilling out but ended up making a last-minute decision and went with lasagna. I would have enjoyed some more grilled goodness, but you know I’ll never turn down mom’s Italian.

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This particular batch of mom’s lasagna was top notch. If I hadn’t still been somewhat full from lunch, I most likely would have had another piece. It was that good.

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I offered to take care of dessert, so this morning I put together a delicious, healthy strawberry angel food cake trifle.

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It was a hit with everyone, thank goodness. :)

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Today has definitely been a great, great day. I’m so lucky to have such awesome family and such an amazing mom.

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Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! :)

Hope everyone else had a wonderful day, whether you’re a mom or not!

An Easter Recap

Good morning! How’s everyone doing after the nice holiday weekend?

Did anyone else wake up this morning with a bit of an Easter candy coma…?

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Actually, I’m pretty sure that mine is more of a sugar coma in general, thanks to some delicious desserts yesterday…but first let’s get you caught up on the rest of the weekend:

Easter Sunday Recap

Jay and I began our Easter by heading over to his Aunt’s house for brunch. As soon as we got there, we were greeted with some delicious tequila-spiked margaritas that were just as tasty as I had remembered them from last year.

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Talk about some great post-workout fuel for yesterday’s treadmill workout. HA!

Shortly after we arrived, brunch was ready to go…and man oh man did it include quite a spread.

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I made sure to fill my plate with a little bit of everything, which included French toast casserole, a sausage and egg casserole, asparagus tart, and some some fresh mixed fruit.

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I most definitely went back for some seconds of that French toast. It’s SO good. It actually reminds me quite a bit of my healthified baked french toast casserole.

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After brunch there was also dessert (of course), which is when the sweets marathon officially started for the day. I ended up having a homemade cupcake (not by me),

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and a piece of toffee amaretto cheesecake, which was my contribution for the day. This scrumptious little thing came together in no time, thanks to a sugar-free amaretto cheesecake mix that I had from when Jay and I attended that craft show back in November.

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All I did was add some light cream cheese and whipped topping to the mix, mixed in some toffee Heath Bar bits, poured it into a pre-made graham cracker shell, and topped it off with more toffee bits. It’s incredible.

Shortly after brunch, we headed on over to my parents’ house for the rest of the afternoon. Unfortunately, something wasn’t sitting right in my stomach after brunch so I laid low for a majority of the afternoon and didn’t have much desire to dig into my Easter basket.

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I’m so glad mom and dad the Easter bunny still remembers my Easter basket. Smile

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That makes me a very happy camper.

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The rest of the afternoon was spent hanging around and just sort of relaxing with the rest of the crew.

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I would also like to take a second to point out the fact that my brother does indeed own more than one shirt…despite the fact that he wore this same polo last Easter AND this past Thanksgiving. He actually told me before I took a picture of him that he wanted to change his shirt because he didn’t want everyone thinking he only owned one. Now, I’m sure none of you would have even noticed…BUT, I took it upon my sisterly duty to make you aware. Winking smile

After a few hours, we all dug in to an early dinner.

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Easter dinner at mom and dad’s house this year was pretty simple, due to the fact that they both had to get up suuuuper early this morning for a week-long trip to Jamaica. Yes, Jamaica. I am super jealous of them.

Just some grilled chicken, oven roasted potatoes, corn, and green beans.

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More like a summertime gathering than anything else, which was perfectly fine by me!

Shortly after dinner, it was time for dessert #2 for the day. Meg brought a dozen of these adorable cupcakes,

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and I contributed…another cheesecake! This one was a white chocolate raspberry Oreo cheesecake, which I knew would be a hit with my fam.

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Made the same way as the other cheesecake, just with a white chocolate raspberry mix, on a chocolate crust, with lots of crushed Oreos mixed in.

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I enjoyed a piece of cheesecake along with a carrot cake cupcake and both were thoroughly devoured.

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Add a few generous helpings of Easter candy on top of that (after my tummy finally settled) and now you know why a sugar coma was happening this morning. Oooof. Extra sweets and all, it was a really nice day with family. Smile

*****

Breakfast

No surprise here, but there was zero desire for any sweets this morning, so I rolled omelet-style.

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Today’s creation was a spinach and feta egg white omelet, made with 1/2 cup egg whites, about 3 cups(!) of sautéed spinach, and 2 tbsp feta cheese.

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On the side, I had half of a whole wheat English muffin + PB.

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Delicious and filling!

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Now I’ve got a lot to try and catch up on from the weekend before heading back to work this afternoon (I already completed an early morning shift). Hope everyone is off to a great start today!

Question for the Morning:

How was your holiday weekend? Any fun highlights and/or good eats?

Switch It Up

Alright…who watched The Bachelor last night? Anyone?

Don’t worry – I won’t mention any details, since I know that some of you guys like to DVR things, but I will just say this…those two are totally meant for each other.

Okay, moving on!

Last Night’s Dinner

With the gorgeous weather we’ve been having the past few days, Jay and I can’t help but want to use the grill. So last night, we fired it up again.

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The Italian-marinated grilled chicken was definitely the highlight, especially since I totally cheaped out on the rest of the meal with canned vegetables (gasp!) and a box of long grain and wild rice.

Note to self: time to stock up on some more frozen veggies that Jay actually likes too.

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For dessert, we both finished up the last of the White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake Batter Bars, and all I can say is thank goodness they’re gone.

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I could not be controlled around them, which is actually a whole other situation, but I’ll save that for another time…

Breakfast

I needed a bit of a change this morning, so I decided to switch it up a bit from the typical egg scramble and oatmeal today after noticing that my cereal stash really could use a bit of a dent in it.

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In an effort to make my cereal more satiating, I combined it into a scrumptious yogurt bowl, filled with plain Chobani mixed with cinnamon, strawberries, blueberries, Kashi Go Lean, and Special K Protein Plus.

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Yep, it’s the same combo as last week. And it’s just as yummy. Winking smile

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I had been planning on getting my bootcamp workout in nice and early this morning, but wouldn’t ya know that I ended up snoozing through my alarm for a whole flippin’ hour. Apparently I was exhausted?

So now I have a 50-minute cardio session to tackle once this breakfast digests, and I’m really not all that pumped for it today. My legs are actually pretty sore from yesterday’s workout, so we’ll have to see how this goes. I’m thinking I may attempt this workout again?

Wish me luck!

Question for the Morning:

When’s the last time you “switched things up?” Was it a workout? A meal? A lifestyle change?

Grill Master + Mind Reader

I’m seriously pondering the idea of whether or not Jay is an actual mind reader. Or maybe we just have some weird, married couple’s ESP thing going on. Either way, here’s why.

This afternoon, after posting the Pumpkin Black Bean Soup recipe, a few of you mentioned the idea of pumpkin beer.

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I saw this first comment from Krissie, and I thought, “Okay, pumpkin beer sounds pretty good right about now.”

Then, I saw the comment from Kim that only furthered my quickly developing desire for pumpkin beer.

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That was it. Now I couldn’t wait for pumpkin beer…and I wanted one in a bad way.

Then this evening rolls around and Jay comes home from work. But Jay does not come home from work empty handed.

Jay comes home with this…

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And as if he wasn’t already the man of my dreams, he has now officially reached that status. Seriously.

When I first saw the Blue Point Brewing Company label, I actually thought he was toting my favorite blueberry beer, which would have been fantastic. But oh no. He had gone and picked up some of their Pumpkin Ale.

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I am a happy, happy girl. Smile

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Shortly after he got home, we got to work on dinner which we kept super duper simple tonight. This morning, I took some out some chicken from the freezer that we had previously marinated and frozen. Then, while the grill master worked his magic out on the grill, I took care of the rest.

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I cooked up a small can (yes, a can) of diced carrots and steamed them in the mirco with some Garlic Gold. I also cooked a couple servings of instant brown rice (yep, I told you tonight was simple!) which I topped with some leftover homemade pico de gallo.

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My sides were okay, for being what they were, but Jay’s chicken turned out fantastic. I’m telling you, he works wonders on that grill.

He’s a grill master AND a mind reader?!? Holy cow, I’m one lucky gal. Winking smile

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Simple and satisfying. Just further proof that healthy and delicious doesn’t have to be difficult.

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Whether or not the beer is “healthy?” Welllll…I don’t really care. Winking smile

*****

Get your fist pumps in the air, ladies and gents…

It’s Jersey Shore night! High five (<—close enough to a fist pump?)

(hopefully I stay awake long enough to watch…)

Questions for the Evening:

What time do you usually head to bed on weeknights?

What time do you typically wake up on weekdays?

I’ll Always Be Proud To Call Him Dad

Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

Today, I had the pleasure of spending a good portion of my afternoon with the “Big Guy.” Since it was such a beautiful day, we spent a good amount of time outdoors either by the pool or playing ladder ball.

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Jay was my partner, and umm…let’s just say I may be in the market for a new one.

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Actually, I think I may have found a new partner. But no hard feelings, mmkay Jay? Winking smile

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Shortly after, we got the grill fired up and got ready for some dinner.

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I had to laugh, because after looking back on last year’s Father’s Day, I realized that we had the exact same meal. Hey, I guess we’re creatures of habit, right?

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For dinner, I had some of mom’s amazing pasta salad, corn on the cob (which was pretty good for being so early in the season),

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and half of a large piece of grilled chicken which I topped with some sautéed peppers and onions…hence making this piece of chicken absolutely delicious.

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We all ate dinner out on the patio while watching the cutie Irishman, Rory McIlroy, win the US Open. It was so exciting to see such a young, humble player win!

Not long after the win, dessert was brought out…

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Oh Strawberry Angel Pie…how I adore you.

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Knowing full well what happened the last time I encountered this stuff, I made sure to have mom portion out my piece and keep the rest out of reach. I can’t be controlled.

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But luckily, mom did a good job of keeping my portion closer to that of a human being, rather than a small army of them. So along with the pie, I also nabbed a mini fudge fancy cookie. I picked up a package of them early from Bella Napoli, since I know they’re one of my dad’s favorites.

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I can’t blame him…they are pretty amazing.

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*********

It was a great day spent with family and, of course, the man of the hour. I’m so thankful for my dad for so many reasons…

Not only has he been the most amazing father a girl could really, really ever ask for. But he’s also taught me some of the super-duper important things in life.

Like how to bargain shop at the grocery store.

Or how to get the most out of clipping coupons on a Sunday morning.

He’s taught me how to keep my crap organized.

And how to heckle the other team at softball games.

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He’s a pretty awesome guy, and I’ll always be proud to call him Dad.

Happy Father’s Day, Big Guy! Smile

Our First Kitchen Table Dinner Guests

Yay for dinner guests!! Especially when it’s Mom & Dad!

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This morning, I called up the ‘rents to see what they had planned for dinner and whether or not they wanted to come and help us figure out if we could seat four people at our new kitchen table. Luckily, they were free…

And better yet, we can seat four people at the table. It’s a tight squeeze, but it works.

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And lucky me even got to sit across from this all night…

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My dad sure is a character, and I can guarantee he didn’t think I’d put this picture up. Mwaaahahaha. Winking smile

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Tonight’s dinner is not going to look a whole lot different from what you’ve been seeing lately. Sorry…but the grill is now in mid-season form and will continue to be getting quite a workout.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…there’s nothing like grilling when the weather warms up! Smile

Especially when hubby works his magic and makes some of the most amazing grilled chicken I’ve ever had. Not kidding.

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His secret? Bread dipping seasoning blends. They’re soooo full of flavor, so he likes to mix those, along with some EVOO + water when marinating. We often use this blend of spices, which has proven to be quite versatile. It’s our absolute favorite.

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Seeing as it’s so versatile, I also decided to take a stab at the bread dipping seasoning methods today when making a batch of oven roasted potatoes

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I just quartered up a bag of Tasteful Selections potatoes, drizzled them with some Tuscan Blend seasoning and a little EVOO, and roasted them in a 425 degree F oven for about 45-50 minutes. Perfection.

And since I happened to notice a lone sweet potato that’s been waiting to be eaten, I decided to cut him up into some fries and baked those as well.

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These potatoes all probably turned out to be one of my best batches yet, and I’m going to tell you my secret

Soak the cut potatoes in water! After cutting both batches of my potatoes today, I put them in a big bowl of water and let them sit for probably 3-4 hours. I saw them talk about it on the Food Network once, and I’ll agree that it definitely helped add a little extra crispness to them, without drying them out. They were super duper.

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To round out the meal, I also made a big veggie salad, which was good…but I was all about the potatoes today. Smile

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When my mom asked if there was anything she could bring over for dinner tonight, there was one thing that immediately popped into my head…

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Strawberry Angel Pie!

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Jay gave it a quick sniff test, and then we were good to go.

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So I threw caution to the wind and practically dove head first into the bowl. Apparently, I had no concept of portion size or self control with dessert tonight.

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Because what you see there? Yep…you can go ahead and double that. Let’s just say, the bowl was completely empty by the time I was done with it.

Whew! I guess it’s a good thing it was angel food cake and strawberries, rather than chocolate and cookies, right? Winking smile

******

I just realized that the MTV Movie Awards are actually on tonight, so I’m planning on throwing on some cozies and planting myself on the couch to watch ‘em. I better get a move on though…my favorite part is all the red carpet fashion!

Question for the Evening:

What is one dessert you really lack self control with?

Mine would be this dessert…and ice cream. Always ice cream.