Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Food and Wine?

One way to see which Charleston restaurants are best? 
Check Open Table for those without any available reservations... 
I'm second guessing our Basil plan before the Shovels and Ropes show Saturday night.   
Can I get a little crowd control please!

And as for the wine... I (regrettably) picked this up while killing time in the Rite Aid last night.  Charleston Blueberry Wine? 
I'll let you know how it is, but I'm not holding my breath. 
 I'm just a sucker for 50% off!
Are you attending any of the Charleston Food and Wine events this weekend?
We are having our own Food and Wine fest tonight: shrimp on the grill and seasoned butter beans.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Random and Rainy Monday

 My parents found some hardwood flooring at Habitat for Humanity over the weekend for a killer price and they were able to put it on hold for me.  We ended up buying it and I'm so thrilled to be on the road to "No Carpet Land".  Three cheers for my parents!!

Last Thursday I made breakfast for dinner.  We had eggs, turkey bacon, and biscuits.  Of course I had to pile everything onto the biscuits and add a slice of cheese- breakfast sammies are one of my favorite things on Earth!  I was so incredible satisfied with this dinner.  I used Fat Free pepper jack singles, which add the perfect kick to any sandwich, I highly recommend them, though they directly contradict my efforts to reduce processed foods.  I really have been doing better, but sometimes I'm so weak!
I like this dress a lot, it's funky.  I just wish it had a bit of a waist.  I'm a curvy girl and I think this might box me up.  I know I could add a belt, but belts just feel so...overdone (on dresses I mean).  I have been thinking about this dress for a while, maybe I should pull the trigger.   
Saturday night I swung by our neighborhood video store and picked up a special treat.  My absolute FAVORITE candy of all time: Snow Caps.  I rented The Perks of Being a Wallflower (book is better) and totally indulged in deliciousness.  I need to think of an upcoming occasion and I am bound to whip up a double chocolate cake and sprinkle these all over the top. Heaven.

And last,  this lipstick is awesome.  It's from Maybelline's Color Sensational Vivids line, it's called Pink Pop.  It stays on for hours and is the sweetest shade of pink (not neon).  I love this stuff.

Well, that's all I have for ya today.  Stay dry and cozy my friends!

Friday, February 22, 2013

chocolate covered banana chips & a video you MUST watch

A few weeks ago we were browsing around Earth Fare and I came across Carob covered banana chips in the bulk food section.  I couldn't help myself, I had to try, so I snuck one and my mind was blown.  WOW, how tasty! And for around $10.00 a pound they better be!  I thought to myself, why buy when it's so easy to make.  I mentioned before that I had some left over almond bark* from Christmas baking, and I couldn't think of a better way to use it.
The process is so simple:
Melt the chocolate
Coat the banana chips (once you get in the groove this moves pretty fast)
Let them harden (freezing will speed this up)
Wouldn't these be such a special hostess/anytime gift with some clever packaging? 

*Note: Almond bark tastes more like milk chocolate than dark.  I would prefer a dark chocolate coating for the chips.

And now, for this:

This video is truly beautiful.   and you MUST watch it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

to DYE for

I've always coveted hair with unexpected color thrown in.   However, I've held positions that do not allow anything out of the ordinary to happen on my head.  In a dream world I would try something crazy, if only for a little while. Here are a few "Hair Candy" ideas I found and love from Pinterest.
 minus the roots on this one:
& this one is my fave:
 But for now, I'll just continue to play with copper highlights, and blonde streaks.  That's about as crazy as I'll go...

Friday, February 15, 2013

Bloomin' Basil Bread!

Oh boy, do I have a recipe for you today!
This bread was recommended by my bff, Pinterest.
Let's just jump right in!
You want to first buy a round loaf of bread.  I bought the Artisan Italian from Harris Teeter.  It's great on it's own, but I'm about to pimp this bread up!
 You want to cut the bread in a grid pattern, but be sure not to slice completely.  You want it to still be attached to the bottom crust.
 Then you spread pesto with your butter knife as if you are buttering the bread, both laterally and horizontally... This is a good basic pesto recipe to follow, and I also like Classico's version in a pinch.
 THEN you want to stuff the seams with cheese! Use about a cup and a half of mozzarella.
 This is how your bread will look before you bake at 400' covered in foil for about 15 minutes.  Then you open the foil and bake until the top is golden and bubbling with this:
Enjoy this delicious pull apart bread as an appetizer or a side to light meal...
the cheese/spice/sauce variations are endless!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Oh Snaps!

A few pics from the past few weeks...
 Out with friends and family...
We really scored at the Annual Silent Auction for Our Lady of Mercy Outreach
 We won: A Dooney and Bourke satchel, champagne & st. germain(saving for Vday cocktails), some polarized Costas, and a small framed piece of Charleston art named "Looking North on Meeting" for GET THIS: $70.00
 I made a simple stir fry with shirataki tofu noodles.  And for 20 calories it wasn't bad at all.  K wasn't too enthused but I had to give it a shot!
 Homemade apple chips.  The verdict: lots of work for such a little snack.  No wonder apple chips are so pricey!!
Now this is one tasty brew, so very smooth!  Picked this up at Wal-mart last Friday...
And this funky diffuser for $2.00.  I like the little pumpkin :)

What are you up to?  Any fun events or funky purchases?  Give it to me!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Healthy Living Survey & Challenge

Hey Hey, Thanks Christina for the survey...
It really got me thinking, answering these questions (especially # 9).  It has, in part, inspired me to challenge my cooking and eating routine, which I'll share after the post... 
Here goes:

1. What did you eat for breakfast?
A yoplait Greek peach.

2. How much water do you drink a day?
About 40 oz.  There is certainly room for improvement here!

3. What is your current favorite workout?
Body Combat class, no doubt!  I love all of the Les Mills classes.  I'm also looking into a Barre class next time I spot a groupon.

4. How many calories do you eat daily?
When I'm trying to cut back, around 1400/1500; for maintenance around 1900.

5. Favorite healthy snacks:
frozen yogurt, salsa, light string cheese

6. What do you usually eat for lunch?
Typically a handful of nuts, an apple, cheese and crackers.  I'm an "eat small snacks through out the work day" kind of gal.  A little something every hour or so is what keeps me going.  I do not take lunch breaks.

7. What is your favorite body part to strength train?
 My legs and abs.

8. What is your least favorite body part to strength train?
 shoulders and back.

9. What are your ‘bad’ food cravings? **
((Is it a bad sign that this was my favorite question to answer??))
Fried onion rings, anything topped with bacon and cheese, buttery breads, gourmet chocolates and fresh whipped cream.  Anything indulgent and absolutely decadent.

10. Do you take vitamins or supplements?
No, though I am very open to recommendations!

11. How often do you eat out?
Twice a week at the most, this is both a diet and financial commitment.

12. Do you eat fast food?
Chic-fil-a, and the occasional (maybe once a quarter) Taco Bell fourth meal (I know, I know) or Bojangle's breakfast biscuit.

13. Who is your biggest supporter?
K, my family, friends... I feel surrounded by support.

14. Do you have a gym membership?
Team Golds!

15. How many hours of sleep do you get a night?
9, oh sleep is my favorite :)

16. Do you have a ‘cheat’ day?
Definitely, I'm a big believer in the 80-20 rule.

17. Do you drink alcohol?
Yes, I love white wine, amber beers, and tequila. straight up.

18. Do you have a workout buddy?
Yes and no.  Several friends belong to Golds and we frequent the same classes, which I love!, but we rarely coordinate unless planning to grab coffee or something after...

19. What is the best thing that has changed about your life since committing to a Healthy Lifestyle?
"I feel better, I look better, and I’m more confident."  no change from Christina's answer here.

20. What is the last healthy thing you did? Used skim milk in my coffee instead of half and half this's all about little adjustments for me. 

**Focusing on my cravings, well it really got me thinking.  As I've mentioned before, I try hard to cook balanced meals but I'm also a creature of comfort.  I'm not into citrus flavors or vinaigrettes- I like buttery, creamy, cheesy.  And if I'm being honest, I rely too much on processed foods: boxed mac&cheese, rice-a-roni, jarred pasta sauces.  I'm not horrible with this, but most of my weeknight meals consist of one pre-packaged element.  So, this brings me to my challenge.  I want to perfect some of my favorite side dishes without using processed or packaged items.  I want to make stove top mac n cheese without a powder or packet!  I want to use tomatoes and spices for spaghetti, not Prego!
This is my challenge: Create the dishes I love that come in a box, without the box.  Essentially I will  Think Outside of the Box.
My goal with this is to reduce some of the cravings that I have for such unhealthy food.  I know that these cravings are due in some way to eating processed foods.  For instance, if I grab a a Boberry biscuit on a Saturday morning,  I will most certainly crave more junk throughout the day.  However, when I start my day with fresh fruit or oatmeal, I find it much easier to stay on track.  I know that I will resort to these kinds of foods on occasion, and I won't ever feel bad about it, but I want to make the effort to try to make it more the exception than the rule!  Perhaps this will help my "bad" foods become just a little less bad...  We'll see :)

Friday, February 8, 2013

In the mood for love...

Ya know, Valentine's Day isn't a big deal in our house.  I'm not "anti Vday" or anything, I love romance and love any excuse for more of it.  But the pressure for men to buy flowers and jewelry and candy, it's silly.  All I need is love!
That being said, here are a few recent purchases that have me feeling lovely...
 I sat on my black heart glasses sometime last year so I scooped these up for a few bucks at Claire's.  Adorable.
I really like the longer length of this nightgown by Jones New York, I picked it up at Belk on clearance last week. 

 This almond bark is left over from Christmas baking, I think I'll use it for dipping fruits for a sweet dessert next Thursday.
And this is already chilling in our fridge, we won it in a Silent Auction a couple weeks ago (more on that soon).
What has you in the mood for love?  Any special Vday plans?

Oh, and TGIF!  I am finally returning to the land of the living, but will still be taking it easy this weekend. 
Hope you have a great one!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Springtime Wishes

Springtime Wishes
Just a few things that have caught my eye recently that make me think of Spring.  We are nearly there, though I do aim to enjoy every bit of "winter" we may get.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Bubble Tea

Friends, I am sick sick sick, barely able to think let alone type.  The most enjoyable moments of the past few days in bed have been whenever it involves ice-cream or frozen yogurt, soothing my throat and sinuses, or when I'm in the shower & soak so long I actually don't feel sick. I wish that someone was available to fly up to NYC and bring me back some of my favorite: bubble tea. 

From Wiki:
Bubble tea, also known as pearl milk tea, boba milk tea, or boba is a Taiwanese tea-based drink invented in tea shops in Taichung, Taiwan, during the 1980s.[1] Most bubble tea recipes contain a tea base mixed with fruit or milk. Ice-blended versions are usually mixed with fruit or syrup, resulting in a slushy consistency. Most bubble teas come with small chewy tapioca balls (粉圓, fěnyuán), commonly called "pearls" (珍珠, zhēnzhū) or "boba" (波霸, bōbà).[2]

(on canal,and bowery)

My favorite flavor is Tarot (which is actually a sweet potato), but almond is delicious as well.   Unfortunately, Charleston has not jumped on the bubble tea train yet...though you can buy a semi-bubbly milkshake type version downtown at Caviar and Bananas.  Someone, take me to Chinatown, or atleast take away this cold. or both.

Friday, February 1, 2013


There is no confusion this week, today is Friday and I am a happy girl.  What up February!
Here are some thoughts for today:

This is an interesting image that was attached to article on CNN yesterday.  Sometimes it feels like things are changing and moving so fast, I'm actually comforted by the notion that things maybe haven't really changed all that much.
 I want to make my own Apple Chips this weekend!  I'm not going to be adding any sugar, so wish me luck.  From what I've read I simply plan to slice (sliver) and bake at 200' for 90 minutes or so.  Any tips?
Hey hey hot pink jeans!  Someone give me style advice here, I'm thinking a nuetral (nude) top, or stripes.  I'm not into neon but my Valentines heart took hold of me when I saw these on sale.

Ok and last, who else watches Dual Survival?? 
It's on Discovery, Tuesdays at 9 pm.  Essentially it features two survivalists, each from opposite backgrounds, trying to work together to make it out of challenging wilderness scenarios.  Great dynamics!
I was anxious to see who would replace Dave this season and so far I'm liking Joe, but not 100% sold.   

That's all I've got, Happy Weekend to you!