Monthly Archives: February 2011

Weekend Celebration

Thank you all so much for your birthday wishes for Mister E! My butt is currently on a plane headed back to Seattle and I am, of course, experiencing the post-Mister E blues that I get every time one of our visits comes to an end. Instead of trying to give a detailed recap of this past weekend with the fella, I thought it might be easier to just let the pictures do most of the talking.

First, just let me say that there is a lot of snow in Connecticut! And it was coooold! A lot of people think that because Seattle is so far north, we experience the same winter as the rest of the Northern states, but that’s not the case at all! Seattle usually goes through a very mild winter with high’s staying in the low 40s and only receiving a few inches of snow throughout the season. So although you may expect me to be a seasoned cold weather gal, I’m not. And when the lows are dipping into single digits at night, I turn into a wimp.

This would be Kyle. He’s a dear friend to Mister E and I and he was awesome enough to throw a dinner party in the birthday boy’s honor. He has some serious kitchen skills that I may only hope to learn someday. He’s also not afraid to belt out a lyric or two.

I wish I could tell you the name of everything on my plate, but I’m afraid I can’t remember it all. All I can tell you was that I had no shame in trying to polish my plate clean.

Even though the food was out-of-this-world spectacular, somehow the sweets managed to steal the show.

Other activities for the night besides eating included Catchphrase and piñata bashing. I don’t socialize as much as what I should in Seattle, so I really welcomed such a fun evening spent with friends. And I am so happy that I decided to fly into town for Mister E’s birthday!

I don’t believe in going all out for Valentine’s Day, however, a small token of affection is always appreciated, so Mister E and I will usually exchange a small gift for the holiday. This year he gave me some reading material for my flight home -The Pioneer Woman‘s new book, Black Heels to Tractor Wheels!

However sad I may be to be leaving Mister E, I can’t deny that I’m excited to get back to Prince and normal eating. Overall, my meals during this trip were healthy, but I certainly ate a lot more in terms of quantity than I normally do. And with the birthday celebrations, I definitely consumed more sweets than normal. Green monsters will be very much welcomed back into my life this week!

So since I got to celebrate my Valentine’s Day early, tell me, what are you doing to celebrate? An extravagant evening planned out with your sweetie? A quiet night in with a movie by yourself? Both sound pretty spectacular to me!

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday, Mister E!

There’s not much more that I can say about him that hasn’t already been said. Happy Birthday to the man who’s loved me through the thick and the thin of the past five and a half years.

A Healthy Valentine’s Day Treat

Valentine’s Day is known for its abundance in chocolate and sweets and more chocolate. But you know, there’s only so many caramel truffles that a girl can eat! So this Valentine’s Day, why not show your sweetie that you care by giving something a little lighter (and healthier) but still outrageously delicious?

Last night I made coconut chocolate and pistachio covered apricots. This was inspired from the latest issue of Fitness magazine where they featured dried apricots dipped in dark chocolate and then coated in chopped pistachio nuts. Scrumptious, right? I decided to take things one step further and switched out the dark chocolate for white coconut chocolate (the same one used in this bark).

To make, you’ll need a 3.5 oz bar of white coconut chocolate (I can usually find this at Target), 1/4 cup chopped pistachio nuts, and approximately two dozen dried apricots. In a microwave safe bowl, heat your chocolate in 30 second intervals until melted and stir to make smooth. Dip 2/3 of your apricot in the chocolate and lay on a wax or parchment paper-lined plate. Sprinkle the pistachio nuts on top and place in the fridge for at least a half hour until the chocolate is firm.

Shelling the pistachio nuts and chopping them was a bit of a laborious task, but once that was complete, it only took a few minutes to get all of my apricots covered in chocolate. And eating these chilled, straight out of the fridge was divine! I’ll definitely be making these again as a cool summer treat.

But of course, if you’re still looking for something sweeter, chocolate-ier, and more indulgent, you can never go wrong with brownies.

These would be Mister E’s favorite brownie that he fell in love with when my mother made them. They’re rich, moist, and terribly unhealthy (if you ever want to be scared, read the ingredient list on a brownie mix box), but how can I deny the guy his only request for baked goodies? Seriously, Mister E doesn’t have a sweet tooth at all, so on the rare occasion that I get to bake for him, I’m happy to oblige.

Speaking of Mister E, this Saturday is his birthday! On a very impulsive whim, I decided earlier this week to visit him in Connecticut for the weekend. For the past three years, we’ve either celebrated his birthday before or after the actual date, so I’m very excited to be with him on the actual day! I arrived this morning and have been alternating between eating these apricots and brownies all day. I’m glad I have Mister E to share these special moments with.

Am I Crazy? Maybe.

Alright, it’s time for me to come clean as to why I’m all of a sudden talking about treadmills and workouts on the blog. No, I’m not training for the next Olympics. I am, however, training for a 12K race!!

I guess I should back up a few steps and explain how I came to this decision. I’ve had a desire to get into running ever since last summer but really didn’t have the gumption to follow through on anything. I gave it a whirl here and there, but wasn’t consistent enough to make real progress. At the end of last year, I made it a goal of mine to become more fitness orientated with the intention of finally getting into running.

I’ve been thinking of signing up for a 5K since the beginning of January, but for some reason I just couldn’t find the desire to do it. I know what you’re thinking, “Girl, are you crazy? You’re saying you don’t want to do a 5K, so you signed up for a 12K instead?

Pretty much. It’s hard to explain my rationalization on this one, but it has to do with my mentality of go big or go home. While crossing the finish line and completing a 5K would be a great feeling, it’s something that I could be capable of in a short amount of time (based on my ability to huff and puff my way through almost two miles in Florida). Now a 12K? That’s something I’ve never imagined myself doing. It would be a real challenge and something that I would be incredibly proud of myself for completing.

So, a 12K it is (which is roughly just under 7.5 miles). On April 10th, which is approximately 9 weeks away. I think it should be a fun one since it’s being sponsored by the Seattle Seahawks and I’ll actually have the chance to run inside their training facility!

Now for the important stuff, like how I actually plan to pull this off. Because right now, truthfully, the idea of running more than 7 miles makes me want to go curl up in a corner and cry. I did a good amount of research online to get myself started and found some great resources. Also, finding this 10 week training plan for a half marathon was comforting. Surely if people are training to run 13 miles in 10 weeks, I can certainly train to run 7 in the same amount of time. Most helpful was probably Runner’s World where I signed up for a free account to make a personalized training plan.

Right now, due to the weather and lack of enough daylight hours in the day, I’m doing my training indoors on a treadmill. This makes me a little nervous just for the fact that I believe outdoor running to be more challenging – I don’t believe that I can bust out 3.5 miles on the pavement just because I can do it on a “dreadmill”. For that reason, I’ve been overshooting my mileage target these past few days in hopes of building up my endurance as a way of compensating for the lack of outdoors training. I’ve already noticed the days getting longer though, so I think my days of being confined on the treadmill are numbered. I’m also considering still signing up for a 5K at the end of February / beginning of March just to be able to check that milestone off the list.

Besides the overall fear of just not being able to run seven miles within nine weeks, my other fear is injury. I’m taking extra care to do lots of stretching before and after every workout and pretty much every other chance I get during the day. Besides proper stretching and ensuring that I’m not over doing it during any run or workout, I’m not sure of any other precautions I can take.

Sometime this week I hope to create a separate page devoted to my training where I’ll track my progress and have my training plan in a larger (i.e. more legible) size.

Do you guys have any training tips? I’ll also happily accept any well-wishes that you may have – I have a feeling that I’m going to need it!

Weekend Recap

You know your Monday is going to be rough when it starts off with you stepping in doggie doo-doo (not Prince’s, although I don’t know if that makes it any better or worse). Let’s just pretend like today didn’t happen and forget about the persistent headache and the bazillion emails. Instead, let’s focus on what was a great weekend.

Here are just a couple highlights from Saturday and Sunday:

I can’t get enough of the combination of salsa and eggs, hence, I had it for breakfast both Saturday and Sunday:

In case you missed it, I had an awesome baking session during the Super Bowl. After eating two cookies and satisfying my craving, I set aside another five to have during the week and brought the rest into work for my coworkers today.

If you were wondering, I chose to root for the Packers based on Mister E’s decision to root for the Steelers. Whenever I don’t have a personal preference for a team playing (which happens often), I’ll just go with the opposite of Mister E’s pick. I believe a little competitiveness in a relationship keeps things interesting.

As much as I love green monsters, sometimes it’s much more visually appealing to have a “pretty” drink. My Sunday afternoon smoothie was made up of five strawberries, a banana, 1/2 cup of V8 strawberry-banana juice, and one large scoop of vanilla ice cream.

This was so good that even Prince wanted in on the action. I ended up giving into his puppy eyes and let him have a taste that he very much appreciated.

I briefly made the front page of FoodPress which was a very fun honor.

On Saturday, I busted through the Winsor Pilates for Abs DVD followed up by 30 minutes on the elliptical. During the third quarter of the game on Sunday, I occupied myself by pushing through 3.5 miles on the treadmill at a 10:00 minute pace (plus a .35 mile warm-up and a .25 mile cool-down varying between a 12:00 – 14:00 minute pace for a total of 4.1 miles in 43 minutes). And if you remember, I also worked it out on the treadmill on Friday. Some of you long-term readers may be thinking right now, “Bethany, it’s not like you to work out three times in one month, let alone three days in a row. What gives?” Well, you would be right in thinking that this is out of the norm for me. Check back tomorrow morning to see what exciting things are out on the horizon for me!

I finally watched The Social Network on Saturday. I don’t normally watch too many movies, so it was a lot of fun to just veg out a bit in the afternoon. Snackage during the movie was consumed in the form of parmesan fries. These may look like chips, but trust me, they were fries. To make, I simply sliced up a potato, tossed it in olive oil, salt, and Nature’s Seasons seasoning blend, and placed my slices on a baking sheet. After letting them bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes, I flipped my slices over and sprinkled parmesan cheese on top. After another 10 minutes in the oven, these babies were ready for eating!

So here’s hoping for a better tomorrow. Or more cookies. I’ll take either at this point, just no more doo-doo.

The Ultimate Oatmeal Cookie

What’s a girl to do on a rainy Sunday?

Watch the Super Bowl? Pshhh, what’s that? The correct answer would be: bake cookies!!!

I really wanted chocolate chip cookies, but alas, there is no chocolate to be found in this household. And I’m no fool. I wasn’t about to venture out to the store the morning of game day. I worked with what I had, which just happened to be butterscotch chips, peanut butter, and oats.

The Ultimate Oatmeal Cookie

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 sticks of butter, softened
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1 and 1/2 cups butterscotch chips
  • 1 cup oatmeal

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine both flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together both sugars, butter, and vanilla extract until the mixture is smooth. Beat in maple syrup, peanut butter, and the egg. Slowly add in the flour mixture and continue to mix. By hand, stir in oats and butterscotch chips. Drop batter by the tablespoon onto a greased baking sheet. Bake each batch for 8-10 minutes. Makes approximately two and a half dozen cookies.

Yum! This is just what the doctor ordered for a dreary day.

And don’t worry to all you football fans out there… the Super Bowl was on in the background throughout this entire cookie baking process. Go Pack!

Worth Reading

It’s that time of the week again! Here’s my weekly recap of some of my favorite posts and articles from around the web.

Remember, just click on the title to read the full post and click on the pictures for photo sources (all photos are not my own).

First up, we have…

DIY Camera [Purse] Bag

Allie walks us through, step-by-step, on how she turned a purse that was a thrifty find at Marshalls into a beautiful camera bag that also holds all of her normal purse items. The grand total of this DIY project? Less than $40! I love the idea of spending so little but being able to customize the bag to your own liking. Who wants to carry around a purse plus a separate camera bag? Allie, I love your creativity and especially the print that you picked out for your lining! This will definitely be a project that I plan on tackling sometime in the near future.

Healthier Super Bowl Sunday Seven Layer Dip!

Get ready to rumble with Anne’s fANNEtastic seven layer dip. They healthy part? Substitute plain, nonfat Greek yogurt for your sour cream or mayonnaise. I’ve been making this swap lately with my chili and baked potato, and it’s true! You can’t taste the difference! I wonder though, can you still count this dip as healthy if you eat the whole thing? ;-)

Graduation Fears

I’ve always found Angela’s story of leaving her stressful office job to follow her passion of starting her own bakery to be inspiring. I’m sure many people dream of doing something similar to follow their own dreams and passions. In this post, Angela talks about the self-doubt and uncertainty that she experienced during school and the pressure she felt to choose a career. Truthfully, I experienced the same uncertainty throughout all four years in college while earning my engineering degree. It was scary to not be positive that I was doing what I truly enjoyed. The more time that passed by though, the more pressure I felt to stick with it. I had already taken out a fortune in student loans and needed to make sure I secured a well-paying job after graduation. I wasn’t crazy about my first job after college, which only fueled the fire of self-doubt in me. Thankfully, after a little over a year, a new position came up at work that I was able to transition into that I really enjoy. Even though I can say now that I like my job, there are still times that I wonder how things could have been different had I chosen a different major and career path. Angela’s post is definitely worth reading for any high school or college student or any adult who may be considering a major career switch.

Sweet Potato Cookies with White Chocolate Chips and Cranberries

If the name of these cookies didn’t make you fall out of your seat, then I don’t know what will! You guys know that I like my sweet potato in any form, (remember the pasta, chili, and blondies?) so I’m pretty sure that these cookies will be right up my alley! And I’m pretty sure that these count as healthy since they include a vegetable. Score!

Five Months

So let’s keep this one just between you and me *aka don’t share this with Mister E* but I secretly read a lot of new mommy blogs. It’s a bit of an obsession. I just love reading about all the joys and trials of parenthood and can’t get enough of the cute baby photos. I’m pretty sure that Ashley has the cutest little boy in the history of all little baby boys. I melt at every single one of his pictures and I think I can actually hear my uterus crying out of longing. I love hearing about motherhood from Ashley’s perspective and I can only hope to have a baby someday as sweet as her little man. Just don’t tell Mister E that I said any of this, mkay?

Catch up with previous weeks’ Worth Reading lists here and here.