Nut Butter

The Houseguest

I have a houseguest, my dears.

I didn’t even know this was a movie until I googled.

No, my houseguest is not Sinbad – nor anyone resembling Sinbad, for that matter. 

My houseguest is a lady.  A powerful workhorse who does not shy away from intense physical labor yet who also accomplishes such labor with a certain grace and efficient facility.  While a bit hefty, she’s beautiful in her own way – sleek and stately, she is not given to frills but radiates a simple, handsome femininity. 

Would you like to meet her?  Of course you would.  So, without further ado, let me introduce you to my new friend, Vitamix.

Isn’t she lovely?

I call her Vi.

She is on loan from my very generous Auntie.  I have agreed to offer shelter to Vi for a fortnight but, given how amazing our relationship has been thus far,  I’m already thinking that I may prefer her as a permanent roommate.  I cannot be certain with whom Vi’s loyalties lie, but I have already begun working on the ransom note in anticipation of her departure.

You see, Vi has already catered to many of my whims and desires.  She has made me delightful nut butter in less time than it takes to say “I love nut butter.”  If Vi lived with me, I would never need to purchase nut butters again – sorry Justin.  She has also aided in my making Chocolate Covered Katie’s de-freakin’-licious Deep Dish Cookie Pie and I plan to use her services to help create various Thanksgiving concoctions.  All of this and Vi has been my houseguest for just a couple of days.  I have only scraped the surface of Vi’s potential – we have a world of possibilities to explore together.  Our time with each other has been short but I’m already thinking, “Vi, whatever will I do without you?”

Stay tuned, my friends, Vi and I have much to show you. 

Have you ever had the pleasure of owning/using a Vitamix?

What are your favorite Vitamix recipes?  And will you share them with me?

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Categories: Culinary Experiments, Kitchen Gadgets, Nut Butter | 2 Comments

Frankenpost: A Halloween Hybrid

I think Sandy started a trend.

Much as she combined tropical storm with nor’easter with hurricane with general sh*t storm, today’s post is a bit of a hybrid.  Not only is it WIAW but today also happens to be October Foodie Pen Pals Reveal Day.  Oh yeah, and it’s Halloween to boot.

There is some crazy a** sh*t goin’ on.  So, without further ado…

What I Ate Wednesday

…meet Foodie Pen Pals.

Let’s hear if for What I Ate Wednesday Foodie Pen Pals!

While it’s a little scary – though fitting – that this Frankenpost should occur on Halloween, the treats that I received from Jessie were anything but.  Jessie is a super cute, self-described “fitness nut” who blogs over at jessielovestorun.  She’s living in Kuwait right now with her husband which means that I lucked out in the Foodie Pen Pal department!  Just look at all the fantastic goodies she sent me.  🙂

Jessie didn’t send the pumpkin, it’s just photo-bombing this pic.

In her initial email to me, Jessie asked if I’d like to try some of the super spicy products ubiquitous to her local shops.  Um…yes, please!  And folks, I was SO not disappointed!

First to go – and to go so quickly that the bag didn’t even make the above photo – were these:

Beans, beans the magical fruit…well, you know the rest…

I served these delightfully spicy, “crispy-licious” bean chips with hummus at a get-together I had a couple of weekends ago.  Well, it wasn’t long before the four adults at this get-together were fighting over the crumbs left in the bottom of the bag.  In our gotta-get-more-Beanfields zeal, we may have even embarrassed ourselves in front of the 1-year-old that also attended our shin-dig.  Hey, maturity goes out the window when delicious food is involved.  Am I right or am I right?  🙂

I nearly peed my pants when I was opening Jessie’s package and discovered these lurking at the bottom:

I think they were scared of their impending demise because they were hiding in the depths of the Priority Mail Box.

OMG!  How did she know?!?!  I blow through about 10 packets of Justin’s peanut and almond butter every week.  Following the Beanfields, these pouches were next to bite the proverbial bullet.

I sent the Hot & Spicy Pringles with The Man to his weekly Sunday-Guys-Watching-Football-Afternoon but not before sampling a few myself.

Arabic is so pretty.

Whoa, boy!  Them chips is spicy!  But insanely delicious :).

I can’t wait to try the sesame rice cakes, curry sauce, and Very Hot Cajun Sauce – the latter of which I think would be amazing drizzled on a Roasted Vegetable Pizza that happens to be chillaxing in my freezer as we speak – tonight’s dinner, perhaps?

The foodie surprises that Jessie so kindly sent my way are all amazing but my favorite parts of her package were the cute little notes she put on each item:

She also has insanely neat handwriting, wouldn’t ya say?

Super thoughtful and adds that little something extra.  I might be stealing this idea for future Foodie Pen Pal packages of my own.  🙂

More of Jessie’s insanely neat handwriting. I may be able to steal her ideas but my chicken scratch will never be this visually appealing.

Jessie, thank you so much for all of the wonderful goodies – they were the perfect subjects for this What I Ate Wednesday Foodie Pen Pals Frankenpost!

Here’s the Foodie Pen Pal info if you want to jump on the bandwagon and be sure to check out WIAW too!

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal! 
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month. 
-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. 

If you’re interested in participating for November, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.

You must submit your information by November 4th as pairings will be emailed on November 5th!

Categories: Foodie Pen Pals, Nut Butter, What I Ate Wednesday | 15 Comments

Easy Pleasy

I love to entertain.  All forms of entertaining – cocktail parties, snack-y and drink-y get-togethers, dinner parties, the ol’ song and dance…

Let me entertain you…

I love it all.  I love it even more when I save myself some time and effort and make things easy.

Um…alright…given the above picture, I understand how you might misinterpret the above statement.  Keep it clean people.  I was talking about recipes, easy recipes.  Recipes that are a cinch to prep and execute and leave me more time to entertain my guests.  And I’ve got two of ’em to share with you right now cause it’s time for another addition of…

What I Ate Wednesday Easy Dinner Party!

This past Saturday night The Man and I had his sister and her boyfriend over for dinner.  This was the first time I met Sister and BF so I was a tad bit nervous…to say the least.  Not only did I have to wow them with my sparkling personality (and hope that they accepted my innate nuttiness), I also had to razzle dazzle them with my culinary prowess.

Easy recipes were most defintely called for.

For dinner I fell back on a tried and true salmon dish that has served me quite well over the years.  The original idea came from a family that I used to nanny for and it’s such an easy dinner to throw together that I almost feel “recipe” is too strong a word – it’s more of a “recip-ease.”  Yes, I just now invented that word.  OOO, I like it.  I shall add it to my lexicon.

Maple-Orange Salmon

Salmon

Orange Juice

Maple Syrup

Notice there are no measurements listed.  This is why: you use however much salmon you need given the number of people you’re cooking for (1/2 lb. per person is the standard).  You place the salmon in an appropriately sized baking dish and then you glug on the orange juice and maple syrup.  Just eye-ball it.  You want enough in there that the salmon is taking a nice little bath but you don’t want to drown the poor fish.  I usually do equal amounts of orange juice and maple syrup but you should adjust according to your taste.  I’ve used various different brands over the years but this time I used this juice…

I do not enjoy pulp.

…and this syrup.

A purchase from The Big E.

After you douse the fish, pop it back in the fridge and let it marinate for about 20 minutes to a half hour – you don’t want to let it go too much longer than that cause the orange juice will start to “cook” the fish (a la ceviche) and make it too dry/tough.  Then you just wing that pan into the oven (at 350-ish degrees) and bake it according to how big/how much fish ya got.  Et voila.  Easy.  Delicious.

The Man and I paired the salmon with a garden salad and Israeli couscous (mixed with sauteed red onions, baked-sauteed sugar pumpkin, and bouquet garni) and dinner was done.  I think they liked it.  Also, I forgot to take pictures.  Now it is gone.  Ah, well, moving on…

Dessert was a bit more of a challenge for a couple of reasons.  Not only is BF on a low-carb diet but I also wanted to try to accomodate my no-sugar thang.  I did a quick google search for low-carb, low-sugar dessert recipes and came up with this which I further tweaked to come up with this:

Low-Guilt Peanut Butter Cookies (I know, not a creative title but the best I could come up with at the mome…)

1 cup peanut butter, such as…

Don’t worry, this is the non-recalled one.

1/2 cup Truvia (or 1 cup Splenda or regular granulated sugar)

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

Trader Joe’s Organic Maple Sugar for rolling

Just mix the peanut butter, Truvia, egg, and vanilla together (seems unlikely but it will form a dough).  Roll into balls.  Roll those balls in some maple sugar.  Place on a cookie sheet and press balls down with a fork (to make a cross-hatch pattern).  Then bake those babies at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.  Et voila…again.  Easy.  Delicious.

Alas, I didn’t have a photo shoot for these cookies, either.  I was distracted that night, folks.  But I do have this somewhat fuzzy photo with the cookies lurking behind various beverages:

The remainder of the cookies on that plate were gone by the end of the night.

All in all, a successful evening.  Good company (I hope they thought the same of me) and good, easy food.  Sometimes simpler is better.  🙂

Yes, that is my beer. I drank beer. I like Blue Moon. Can you believe it? Who am I?

What did you eat Wednesday?

Categories: Cookies, Nut Butter, Trader Joe's, What I Ate Wednesday | 10 Comments

I’m a Consume-ah…

…but I don’t have a tume-ah!

I must have a subconscious “thing” for Arnie…this is the second time I’ve referenced him…hmm…

It’s time for another What I Ate Wednesday, folks!

In snapping photos for this week’s edition, I realized that I was takin’ pictures of lots of products.  Rather than pretending that I cook every single night from unprocessed, fresh ingredients, I decided to just “go with it” and introduce you all to the pre-packaged products that I love.  Don’t you worry, I still ate plenty of fruit and veg but those can be the subject of another post because today’s topic is WIAW: Shameless Product Placement!

My morning coffee usually comes from a bag of pre-ground Starbucks Sumatra or DDs French Vanilla or something cheap and flavored from Ocean State Job Lot or a mix of the above.  Lately, though, I’ve been relishing this blend from Trader Joe’s:

Fall has fallen…into my kitchen.

Deliciously spicy and aromatic, it’s a great way to start a crisp fall morning and goes very well with my current nut butter of choice from Target:

The prominently featured expiration date sorta screws up the photogenic quality of the tub…ah, well.

My daily snack attacks are usually satisfied by one of these from Whole Foods:

Top-notch snack stash.

I’ve already posted about my love of Primal Jerky and Biena Roasted Chick Peas but they bear re-mentioning cause they are that good. 

I’ve been trying to be better about my sugar consumption lately and I have cut back quite a bit but there is no resisting an individually wrapped Halloween Peep:

He has no idea he’s this close to losing that pretty little head of his.

When lunchtime hits, I reach for my go-to yogurt.  I’ve been wanting to try Dannon Light & Fit Greek Yogurt since reading about it on Caitlin’s blog but I wasn’t able to find it until last week.  My local grocery store finally wised up and started carrying it:

When I was little I used to call strawberries “strawbalooboos.”

I really enjoy this but don’t forget that I’m a sweet-a-holic.  It tastes just like the regular Dannon Light & Fit, just a little bit thicker.  If you’re going into one of these thinking that you’re about to enjoy a deliciously tangy greek yogurt, walk away cause it’ll probably be too sweet for you.

My daily dinner salad is traditionally accompanied by some form of protein.  Sometimes it’s an egg (hard-boiled, scrambled, poached –  I’m not picky), sometimes chicken or turkey, sometimes beans.  Last night, however, protein came in the form of these

Sorry for the glare but look at how the shiny spot is placed directly above the “Mo”…it’s almost like a little sun shining on the logo. Appropriate – though unintentional – no?

…and this:

Have you ever actually seen a laughing cow…like, for reals? Are cows even capable of laughing?

I also scooped up some delicious leftover watermelon salsa that I made for a party last weekend…

Watermelon, black beans, onion, jalapenos, etc. = YUM.

…with these perfect salsa scoopers:

Salty, crispy, and addictive.

I capped off the evening with my customary cinnamon-sprinkled cottage cheese – Hood is the best, by far: 

This stuff blows the competition outta the whey.

Even better when served in the mini-pint glass from Brew Fest:

I told you all I was gonna use it for this…didn’t believe me, huh?

That’s it, dear readers – the product wh*re’s version of What I Ate Wednesday. 🙂

What are your “go-to” pre-packaged foods?

What did you eat Wednesday?

Categories: Candy, Cottage Cheese, Nut Butter, protein, Sweet Tooth, Trader Joe's, What I Ate Wednesday, Whole Foods | 12 Comments

A Girl Can Dream…

Happy Friday!  Happy Last Day of the Month!  Happy Foodie Pen Pals Reveal!

Wait a minute.

Scratch that last one.

There will be no reveal today.

Cue “Sad Face” –  much better than an emoticon.

Unfortunately, my Foodie Pen Pal package did not arrive in time for me to post about it.

**But you can go here to check out what I sent Krysty!**

Ah, well, life goes on…

Oblah Dee, Oblah Dah.

…and rather than let this post go completely to waste, I’ve decided to let you all (and my future Foodie Pen Pals) in on what my Dream Foodie Pen Pal Package would contain.  Here goes…

First of all, there would most definitely be nut butters

Preferably Justin’s.

…I also LOVE me some trail mix….

Emerald is good but I’m an equal opportunity trail mix lover.

jerky of any kind is amazing…

I am not vegan but this stuff is so good it sort makes me question my omnivore-ness.

…and any kind of crunchy, snacky, chippy thing is always a delight.

The Cheesy Jalapeno flavor is The Bomb.

However, I hope to never receive chocolate…

Don’t break me off a piece of that.

…or coconut…

I got nothin’…

…cause, call me crazy, but I don’t like those things.

Anywho, regardless of the fact that I did not receive my package on time, Foodie Pen Pals is still an awesome program.  Here are the deets in case you’re interested…and you should be…cause it’s cool.

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.

-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!

-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!

-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)

-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.

-Foodie Penpals is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa.

-Click here for more info.

Categories: Foodie Pen Pals, Nut Butter | 17 Comments

I’ve got a secret…

I am super dupes excited, you guys! 

I bet you can’t guess why…

It’s not because today is another edition of What I Ate Wednesday

…though that is reason enough for excitement, in and of itself.

It’s not because when I was a house guest this past weekend I discovered some of the most glorious peanut butter ever lurking in the back of one of my host’s kitchen cabinets.

Yum-tastic peanut butter + cutie patooter plate + mini spatula = Happy Michelle.

Though this was particularly pleasing because when you are a house guest you can’t always rely on your host having exactly what you enjoy most in the world just hanging out in the back of one of their cabinets.

It’s not because when getting my fix of refined sugar for the day…

I’m loving this retro-fied Instagram treatment…along with the equally retro-fied design of the Stop & Shop marshmallow bag.

…I noticed this on the back of the bag:

Hmmm…

Not like this is something I’ve ever had cause to be concerned about.

Um. Hello. I didn’t hear you coming. Yeah. Want one?

It’s not because I enjoyed the same exact lunch that I’ve had every single work day for the past three years…

I don’t think I could ever be vegan cause dairy products are sorta like God’s gift…to me.

…though there is comfort in consistency.

And it’s not because I just discovered how delicious cottage cheese is when doused in cinnamon and eaten straight from the carton.

I know I’m late to the “Cinnamon on Cottage Cheese” Party. I like to think I’m fashionably late. Just look at that spoon for evidence – that spoon is fashionable.

No, dear readers, none of the items listed above is why I am so flippin’ excited.  Rather, I am elated over what I made for dinner last night.  In fact, I was so darn impressed with my skillz that I literally gave myself a little pat on the back after tasting my creation.  I even interrupted a text-versation I was having with a friend of mine – while simultaneously creating my masterpiece – to text-claim “O.M.G.  I am good!  This stuff is awesome!”

I bet you’re all waiting out there in cyberspace, glued to your desktops with bated breath, on tenterhooks for the revelation of my succulent stroke of culinary genius!

Well…this is where the secret mentioned in the title of this post comes in.  Call me an evil genius…

You get a prize if you know who this is.

…because I am going to make you all wait until tomorrow to find out what’s got me so pepped up.  However, I am not entirely insensitive, I will give you one hint as to the gloriousness that is coming your way:

Little ball of sunshine.

So, tune in tomorrow, ladies and gents.  Same time, same place.  Your taste buds will rejoice.  🙂

Categories: Candy, Cottage Cheese, Nut Butter, Sweet Tooth, What I Ate Wednesday | 6 Comments

When life gives you pistachios…

If you’ve been following me lately, you’ll know that my love of nut butters has recently been amped up a notch thanks to the generosity of Gal A and her gift of Nutty Butters.

In fact, I’ve been so enthralled with the concept of home-made nut butters that I decided it was high time to give it a try myself.  However, never one to go with the crowd…

Those jeans are all kinds of awesome.

…I decided to try a more out of the ordinary nut: pistachios.  It’s not like I haven’t heard of pistachio butter before – they sell it at Whole Foods – but I haven’t seen too many home-made versions floatin’ around the ol’ blog-o-sphere.  So, equipped with a bag of pre-roasted and salted nuts and The Magic Bullet, I set to work.

Things started off well…

The shelling (or is it de-shelling?) process took me nearly a half hour and resulted in a blister on my left thumb. If you decide to undertake this process yourself, well…Godspeed.

…and then quickly devolved.  It was after I loaded the innocent looking nuts into the equally innocent looking Magic Bullet that all hell broke loose.  The initial, somewhat hopeful pulsing of the nuts was soon followed by much smacking of the Bullet, mild cursing, and maybe some tears.  There was noise and there was smoke (I think I burned out the motor on that damn Bullet) but, alas, there was no pistachio butter.  Instead, I ended up with a sort of dry nut paste.

Epic.  Fail.

Now this particular kitchen kerfluffle (I feel “catastrophe” is too strong a word) was due to many factors: odd nut choice, bad appliance choice (shoulda gone with a food processor), and an inexperienced (at least in the fine art of crafting nut butters) chef.  Rationally, I know this but, emotionally, I feel like a loser.  This post was supposed to be about making nut butter – and how Fun! Easy! Enjoyable! it is – and now it has to be about a big fat flop.

But that might be a good thing…

I’m not known to take failure very well.  If I’m going to do something, I want to do it well.  I don’t always have to be the best but I want to rank somewhere up there in the top 15%. 

Birthday gift from Mom. The woman knows me well.

You’d think that this fear of failure would keep me from trying new activities that I can’t be sure I’ll excel at.  You’d be logical to think that, but you’d be wrong.  As we saw from those jeans up there, I’m not one to follow trends – I’m also not very logical – so, rather than shying away from attempting new things because I might fail at them, I dive head first into experimentation regardless of the possibility of a misstep.  Sure, I might throw a temper tantrum when those endeavors don’t go my way, but gosh darn it, it only makes me want to try harder the next time.

Why?  Well, because you never know when a defeat might lead to a victory.

Epic failure? More like iconic success.

Mistakes happen.  Things don’t always go according to plan.  We can’t forget that old adage: When life gives you lemons, go and make yourself some refreshing lemonade. 

In this particular case, life gave me pistachios.  While I was not able to make pistachio butter, my attempt did offer me a reason to write about the importance of embracing blunders.  And don’t think I forgot about that nut paste.  I have another culinary adventure planned.  I may fail again but I won’t know unless I try.  🙂

Have you ever let fear of failure dissuade you from trying something new?

Have you ever turned an “accident” into a “happy accident?”

Categories: Culinary Experiments, Kitchen Gadgets, Nut Butter, Whole Foods | 2 Comments

Guilt-Free Girl Time

Alright, loyal readers.  You all have been so very patient and now the time has arrived.  The wait is finally over.  I will now reveal…

…What I Ate Girls’ Weekend!

However, before I delve into this WIAW post, there is something I feel compelled to tell you: I was a bad healthy living blogger this past weekend.  Not only did I totally drop the ball on the whole picture-taking thang, I also sort of failed to live up to healthy living standards.

Now, while forgetting to take pictures really was a crime – there was so much good food that you all won’t ever get to see – I will use the term “fail” very lightly when describing the latter shortcoming I have listed above.  It is true that I over did it in many respects this past weekend (too much sugar, too much alcohol, too much sittin’ around and soakin’ up the sun) but I would like to argue that that sort of occasional indulgence is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. 

I am one of the first to say that it is extraordinarily important for us to be conscious of what we put into our bodies and how much exercise we get.  However, to live a life of restriction and, gosh forbid, guilt is the furthest from healthy you can get.  Rather, on those occasions when one does go a little overboard…

Classic American Cinema.

…it is important to keep things in perspective.  When you watch it 80% of the time, the 20% that you “fail” shouldn’t weigh on your conscience.  Did you enjoy yourself?  Yes?  Are you ready to get back on the boat?  Yes?  Good.  Then you’re golden.  Go ahead, say it: “I am golden!”

These ladies always enjoyed themselves. Cheesecake, anyone?

And with that affirmation, let us dive in…

Girls’ Weekend was a bit of a revelation this year in that my gals and I discovered our mutual love of nut butters.

This is only a sampling of the nut butters we brought with us. Note: we were only away for three days. Overkill? Obsession? You decide.

The absolute best part of this nut butter overload was that Gal A (not to be confused with Gal C or Gal R – they will come into play later on) brought four jars of The Smart Kitchen Sarah’s Nutty Butter with her – Cookie Dough, Lemon Bar, Chai (Nut), and Oatmeal Raisin Cookie.  Guys and gals, I’ve been wanting to try Sarah’s Nutty Butter, in all of its various incarnations, for ages!  I was so excited that I screamed like a pre-teen at a Bieber concert when Gal A revealed her contribution to our stash.  I had read so many phenomenal reviews that I knew this stuff was going to blow my mind.  And, after tasting it for myself, I can confirm: this stuff is goo-OOO-oood.  Go click that link a few sentences up and buy some.

Needless to say, paired with Gal C’s delightful braided raisin bread, Nutty Butter was the star of breakfast every single morning of Girls’ Weekend.

Thank goodness I was able to take a couple of jars home. I’m not yet ready for this good thing to end.

There was a lot of various snacking throughout each day of Girls’ Weekend along with Nalgenes of iced coffee…

Bliss.

…because spending time with your Besties can be exhausting…in a good way of course. 🙂

We didn’t really focus on a lunch per se because the nibbles and caffeine were really just there to get us through to Happy Hour – my favorite time of day at any Girls’ Weekend.  Chex Mix is always a staple when us gals get together…

I always fish around for the “salty bits” – the ones covered in that addictive Chex seasoning – and Gal R always calls me on it.

…but Gal C went above and beyond this year with her home-made contributions.  We feasted on mushroom pate, ginger miso hummus, toasted baguettes with bacon chive cheese spread, and blueberry corn salad.  I probably don’t need to mention that there was also wine, champagne, and, of course, more Nutty Butter…

Oh you know I dug into that Nutty Butter with a spoon – who needs bread when Nutty Butter tastes like sparkles and sunshine?

At some point in the late afternoon/early evening Happy Hour morphed into Dinner Time and of course there were more drinks.  We enjoyed everything from wicked strong Rum Runners…

These drinks didn’t last long…nor did we once we finished them.

…to fancy-schmancy mixed drinks…

Asking me to remember the names of these drinks would be asking too much.

…to wine drunk out of plastic cups.

Oh yeah, this is how we roll. We classy.

Unfortunately, I do not have any photos of the amazing meals we enjoyed.  I will, however, say that if you’re ever on The Cape in the vicinity of P-Town/Truro/Wellfleet you must stop off at The Boatslip for amazing Rum Runners and the best Tea Dance you’ve ever been to, Bubala’s By the Bay for excellent fish dishes, and Moby Dick’s for delicious steamed lobstah and an unbeatable atmosphere (it’s BYOB – hence the wine in plastic cups).

Alas, it was a superbly fantastic time but Girls’ Weekend has officially ended and now it is time for me to get back on the boat.  Lemme put away the booze and bring on the cottage cheese and 10 mile runs!  I shall say, with much gusto and only a touch of facetiousness: “Until next year, All Aboard, my healthy living lifestyle!”

What did you eat Wednesday?

Categories: Friends, Nut Butter, What I Ate Wednesday | 8 Comments

Two Cents Tuesday: Wake-Up Call

I’m sorry, dear readers.  I’ve been MIA lately.  My absence has been due to a combination of this…

Thank you, Sarah!

…this…

You’re getting jealous, aren’t you?

…and this.

I’d say I’m the least attractive one in this photo…wouldn’t you agree?

This past weekend was my gals’ and my annual Girl’s Weekend.  A beach, copious amounts of alcohol, and excellent company are all we need to have a good time.  This year, seeing as we were in P-Town, a few drag queens were icing on our proverbial cake.

While yum-tastic snackies were also an essential part of our time together – as is typical of any Girls’ Weekend – you’ll have to wait until tomorrow’s WIAW post for specifics because today it’s time for Two Cents Tuesday!

TCT#3: How do you recover from too much fun?

Typical of any Girls’ Weekend, this year’s was too much fun for its my own good.  Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade the amazing time I had for anything but it only makes it that much harder to get back to reality.

How do I wake up at 6:00am when I’ve been able to sleep in for the past four days?  How do I haul my tush into an office building when I’ve been relaxing on the beach?  How do I go back to salad and cottage cheese when I’ve been feasting on lobstah and smores made with home-made marshmallows (thank you to the Domestic Goddess herself)?

I know time will help dull the pain of transition as will jumping feet first back into my routine but I’m thinking that I also may need a good slap in the face from a trusted friend or family member.

While I review applications for those wanting to slap some sense into me and as I try to get back to life, back to reality…

One of those songs that gets stuck in your head.

…I will turn things over to you: How do you recover from too much fun?

What are your two cents?

Categories: Friends, Nut Butter, Two Cents Tuesday | 2 Comments

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Truer words were never spoken, my dear readers.

I’ve spent the last couple of days feelin’ annoyingly shi**y.  Not in a funk but just ick-tastic enough that it’s put a damper on things.  If you read yesterday’s post, you’ll know that I’ve also not been able to squeeze in much physical activity during the past few days either.  Whelp, therein lies the source of the shi*…

Things started to turn around yesterday afternoon when I killed the Static Five-Minute Plank Challenge.  Feelin’ pretty impressed with myself, I then went for a run and that was all it took – the blues were gone, the slight sniffle that had been developing over the course of the day disappeared, and I slept better than I have in the last three nights.

All this only confirmed what I already suspected.  I’m addicted to running, guys and gals.  Just a couple of days sans run and I start to feel withdrawal symptoms.  I’ve been good about fitting in other kinds of exercise when I’m too busy to run and I’ve been really good about cross-training and building my upper body strength…

Those shoulders are coming along nicely, no?

…but nothing quite does it for me like a good ol’ run.  Exhaustion, sweat, endorphins, serenity.  Yup, running is the only drug I need – well except for the occasional glass (or two, or three…who am I kidding, sometimes I need the whole bottle) of wine.

I may be addicted, but it’s a healthy addiction and if it keeps me sane then fair enough, right? 

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

I can also apply this adage to the foods that I eat.  I’ve stuck to pretty much the same basic diet for the past eight years or so.  What can I say, people?  I’m a creature of habit.  Far from being boring, this routine cuisine has served me quite well – it’s nutritious enough to keep me energized and healthy while also offering enough “wiggle room” and indulgences to keep me happy.  Again, I must say…

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

So, my darlings, this week’s edition of What I Ate Wednesday shall be renamed What I Eat Always.

Mornings always start out with coffee.  Must.  Have.  Coffee.  Just one cup, mind you – and no caffeine after 10:00am – but I’ve gotta have that one cup.  Oh, and if you’ve ever lived with me, you know that you probably shouldn’t talk to me before I’ve had that cup.  Fair warning…

Say hello to my little friend.

Breakfast typically starts with fruit – an orange, a peach, some grapes, a pear – I’m not picky.

Little friend #2.

There’s only one fruit that has not ever made an appearance in my breakfast – or any other part of my diet, for that matter: an avocado.  Ew.  They taste like how sweat smells.  And the texture?  **gag**  Don’t even get me started.

Anywho, breakfast continues with an english muffin or toast – there’s usually a variety of spreads involved, one of which is always a nut butter of some kind – …

Sometimes the nut butter doesn’t make it to the muffin…

…and a handful of vitamins.

Cocktail includes: multi, fish oil, B-complex, MSM, calcium, and a pro-biotic.

I haven’t hidden the fact that I have a sweet tooth – mid-morning usually involves some sort of candy.

I go for the classics.

Lunch is a relatively staid affair – not very exciting but it does the trick.

You know what they say about an apple a day?

Throughout the day there are many refillings of this…

Green is my favorite color.

…because we all know how important it is to stay hydrated.

On days I’m not enjoying a glass of vino, dinner is preceded and/or accompanied by a glass of seltzer mixed with one of these…

I told you I had a sweet tooth…

…and drunk out of this…

Ahhh…

Quick sidenote: The glass is from Nashoba Valley Winery – good wine, worth a visit.

Dinner is usually centered around a HUGE salad.

Big Bowl of Friends.

This one included iceberg, romaine, cherry tomatoes, celery, red onions, some olives, a crumbled up Morning Star Farms Garden Veggie Patty, and a generous dusting of nutritional yeast.

I keep my nooch in a tiny little tupperware – you know my love of tupperware.

With a random gathering of crackers on the side…

Yes, those are animal crackers – a lion and a bear, maybe? No, I am not five-years-old.

…and a cup o’ pudding or cottage cheese concoction – two slightly melt-y Pumped Up Strawberry Cheesecake Bites and a spoonful or two of Friendship Whipped Cottage Cheese – for dessert…

Doesn’t look like much but it tastes delightful. In other news: cute spoon, huh?

…dinner is complete…except for the mango that’ll come into play when I realize I want just a little something extra to tide me over till morning.  🙂

The lovely cashier at my local grocery store – who sees me nearly every week – once told me that I have a mango fetish. She is correct.

And that about does it.  A day in the life of Michelle’s belly.  🙂

Do you have a “standard” diet?

What foods are staples in your culinary repertoire?

Do you have a particular form of exercise that you just can’t do without?

Categories: Candy, Cottage Cheese, Nut Butter, Runner's High, Running, Salad, Sweet Tooth, What I Ate Wednesday | 7 Comments

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