Say it with me now.  In through the nose……. out through the mouthhhhhhhh…….

In through the noseeeeeeeee…..

Out through the mouth.


Another tax busy season is (nearly) behind me, and thank the frickin heavens!  Tonight is the first night I’ve come home with nothing URGENT URGENT URGENT to think about in FOR-EV-ER.  It has been a rough few weeks, but the good news is work should be a whole heck of a lot slower until January when the season-who-shall-not-be-named rolls into town once again… bleghhhhhhh….

So to update you on the last few weeks:

ERGONOMICS UPDATE:  My office chair has developed a permanent indentation of my butt due to the extensive quality time we’ve been sharing.

*  OBSESSION UPDATE:  I’ve developed a love for Clif Bars.  You may recall my longstanding obsession with Luna bars.  I dare say Clif bars are now taking the lead.  They leave me feeling fuller longer (quite possibly due to the extra 60 calories they pack) and the Clif bars don’t seem to give me a sugar rush.  Though, I will admit that the Luna Bar flavors are more craveable than Clif’s flavors.  Must be a girl thing.

RESTAURANT UPDATE:  I had a string of crappy meals, which I didn’t think was possible in CLT.  I was sadly wrong.  Two thumbs down to disturbingly grey eggs and unidentifiable breakfast potatoes at Bluprint, incredibly fatty steak at Firebirds, and insane over usage of butter at Cajun Queen.  BLEGH!

TRAVEL UPDATE:  BF and I went to Chimney Rock, NC for a day to hike courtesy of a Living Social deal I snagged a few months back.

We hiked, and climbed, and did our best not to contract poison ivy….


There were beautiful vistas, fancy gaps, and excessive sweating.


We also took impromptu senior year of high school photos:


How ridiculous is that photo???  Makes me giggle every time I look at it!

And since the BF is *cough* afraid of heights *cough* I climbed to the top by my onesie:


Even though it was overcast that day, the view was gorgeous!



WARNING:  Do not look directly at my white legs.  Doing so may cause temporary blindness.


CHEAP ASS UPDATE:  Target has Clif Bars and Luna Bars on sale this week!  They have boxes of 6 and limited flavors in BOXES OF SEVEN for $5!!  HOLLER!

TECH SAVVY UPDATE:  The wireless on my computer died Green with envy

*  NOT-SO-TECH-SAVVY UPDATE:  I spent 45 minutes on the phone trying to fix the computer problem.  This included several rounds of me answering the same exact series of questions over and over.  I think the rep was hoping I’d change my responses.  Think again, Dell.  Think again….Devil

FRIENDS AND FAM UPDATE:  The BF’s mom and pop came to Charlotte.  We showed them the town (through food, naturally).  We also had a make-your-own pizza night at my humble abode:


Mmmmmmm pizzzzzzzzzzaaaaaaaa  *drool*


BEEF CAKE UPDATE:  I upped my squat and tricep weight at Body Pump!  I’m now up to the following (total weight including 2.5lb bar):

Sept 2011 versus June 2011

  • Warm Up = 22.5 lbs      vs      17.5 lbs
  • Squat =       37.5 lbs      vs      22.5 lbs
  • Chest =      27.5 lbs      vs      17.5 lbs
  • Back =        32.5 lbs      vs      22.5 lbs
  • Triceps =    27.5 lbs      vs      12.5 lbs
  • Biceps =     22.5 lbs      vs      17.5 lbs
  • Lunges =     22.5 lbs     vs      12.5 lbs
  • Shoulders = 22.5 lbs     vs      17.5 lbs

My goal over the next two weeks is to bump up my squat and back weight again.  Every time I increase my squat weight I get lower back pains, so I’m going to work really hard on my form.  I’m watching the how-to videos on the Body Pump website as we speak…

RUNNING UPDATE:  I didn’t run for two weeks, and felt like death was upon me when I ran 6 miles Sunday.  But I did it, and I hope to beat my eight-mile record in the next couple of weeks!

*  THE WHY-IT’S-GOOD-TO-DATE-GUYS-WITH-SKILLS-UPDATE:  My IT guy fixed my computer *wink* *wink*

NERD UPDATE:  Shit got serious on my 2012 budget spreadsheet.  Yes, that’s my 2012 annual budget I’m working on, which is something I’ve started every September for the past 7 years.  Every year it gets bigger and better, and with the addition of my new friend the “Indirect Formula” my summary spreadsheet just went to a whole new level of awesomeness.   Be jealous.

So fill me in!  What have you been up to?  What have you cooked?  Where have you been?  What have I missed???  My Google Reader is outta control right now!!


The (not so) Common Market

During my blissful day of unplanned meandering, I wandered over to The Common Market in South End for lunch:


How adorable is that little sandwich guy?  The Common Market is one of those places you’d probably just drive by if you hadn’t heard through the twitter grapevine that they had delicious sandwiches.  It looks, at least from the outside, like a standard convenience store, and it wasn’t until I walked along the side of the building that I realized they have this great secluded courtyard to sit in and enjoy your lunch!


Once inside the Market you can spot newbies <aka ME> who are unsure where to go to order… where to pay…  and frankly what the heck is going on inside this quirky store. There’s STUFF everywhere in the store.  Not just stuff to fill space, but stuff that is interesting and unique and fun to look at and drool over.

If your heart is set on getting a sandwich (as it should be), you can head straight to the back of the store where the deli counter is located.  You order your grub there and then pay at the register at the front of the store.


While waiting for my sandwich, I snooped around the store a bit and noted that you can even dine-in at one of the handful of tables perched right in the middle of the store.

You can crab a bottle of wine (or five) from their extensive wine selection to enjoy with your grub.  Or if beer is your thing, they’ve got quite the selection of high-end bottled beers as well.


The sandwiches don’t come with chips or drinks or any sides, but that is A-O-Kay because the market is chock full of yummies.  The shelves are packed with snacks and chips and TONS of homemade baked goods:


I somehow exercised superb self control and did not snag any of the baked goodies.  Though they had these brownie logs that looked to die for, and that I’ve been dreaming about since!

The Market also has a random hodgepodge of fun gadgets and gizmos and cards and signs for sale and some random gluten-free products on the shelves.  I’ll have to bring my friend Tracy here when she comes to visit!

$6.25 for a sandwich ain’t bad in Charlotte.  Especially when it comes with a compliment stamp:


I went with the Turkey Capri sandwich, which had sundried tomato spread, a slathering of goat cheese, a big handful of baby spinach, and red onion between two hearty slices of 9 grain bread:


The sandwich was FABULOUS.  I think i could eat one of these every day and not get tired of them.  Though they also had a pepperjack turkey panini on the menu that looked quite tasty…

The the funkyness of the market carried out to the courtyard area which was full of random odds and ends, crazy signs, and patrons enjoying the nice weather and even nicer food.


The South End location does wine tastings on Wednesday nights and beer tastings on Thursday nights.   They also have live music on the patio on the weekends.


Sadly, my sandwich came to an end.  Too soon.  But isn’t that always the case with a tasty lunch? DSCF7240

The Common Market South End on Urbanspoon

Ohhh!  Lest we not forget the scratch off giveaway winner!



Yay Nicole!  Email your mailing address to:


10 Calorie Iced Mocha (yes, really).

The other day, I came home to THIS on my doorstep:



This goodie box was sent to me as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program with Godiva Coffee.


It’s the simple things in life, I tell ya.

It’s been so stinkin hot, that I figured I could put the Godiva Chocolate Truffle coffee to good use by making some iced coffee.  Give me iced coffee and a straw and you’ll have yourself an empty glass in approximately 13 seconds.

Early in the morning, I brewed up a big ole pot of the Chocolate Truffle coffee, and proceed to drink 2 glasses of it hot.  I couldn’t get over the strong chocolate smell!  I put the rest of the pot into the fridge to chill out, and it made the whole fridge smell like delicious cocoa.

Later that afternoon, I filled a glass halfway with ice:


Then added 6 ounces of the brewed coffee, plus 1 packet of no-cal sweetener, plus 2 ounces of some fat-free unsweetened vanilla almond milk (the kind I buy is 40 calories a cup).


Isn’t it pretty?


All mixed up:


10 calories to caffeinated joy!


If you are feeling extra sassy, you could even add a squirt of your favorite chocolate syrup to the mix.  Your call my friend. Your call.   😉  


A different kind of taco meat.

Mexican food = my fav.

Ok, maybe it’s second fav (right after Italian)… but it’s pretty high on the things I’d like to eat this very moment list, that is fo sure.

Whenever I make tacos at home, I always go with ground turkey or ground beef and a packet of taco seasoning.  It’s tasty and super duper easy, of course, but it can get a teensy bit boring week after week.

Then I stumbled across this Cooking Light recipe for Chicken and Black Bean Stuffed Burritos.

Enter totally tasty un-boring taco meat:


This was pretty darn easy to pull together, and the meat is tasty and versatile.  Perfect for busy season batch cookin!

All you need to do is combine the following together in a saucepan and bring to a boil:

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

Once it boils, stir in 1/4 cup of sliced green onions and 1 pound of shredded chicken – you could use rotisserie chicken, but I just grilled a large chicken breast up on the George and gave it a good shred using two forks.

And just like that, the meat is done!

I planned to make a burrito, but the tortillas I had at home were teeny tiny so I decided a quesadilla was the way to go:


This is 1/4 of the chicken:


A top a Trader Joe’s Low carb tortilla:


Plus 1/4 cup black beans, 1/4 cup fresh salsa, and 2 tbsp fat-free cheddar cheese:


Then I tossed another tortilla on top, and popped that puppy back on the George.  I let it hang out on the grill until it was crispy and the cheese was melty, then I sliced the quesadilla up and served it up with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt (FABULOUS sour cream substitute):


So yummy!


Stats on the quesadilla:  350 calories, 36g carbs, 7g fat, 42g protein, 17g fiber

The next night, I decided to use up some of the leftover chicken by making a huge arse salad.  I used 4 ounces of the chicken and all the same toppers as I did with the quesadilla and just threw everything a top a bed of mixed greens:


Hello two totally tasty totally healthy dinners that DO NOT taste like cardboard!  I truly believe you can throw ANYTHING on top of lettuce and call it a salad :)

Stats on one giant salad: 275 calories, 19g carbs, 4g fat, 35g protein, 5 fiber

So in summary, this meat was just as easy to cook up as ground meat, but had a TOTALLY different taste.  And it was delish on tacos, quesadillas, salads.  Two thumbs up in my book!



I’ve been doing A LOT of eating lately.  It’s not my fault, really.  How can a gal not fall victim to sensory overload in this food-filled city of Charlotte?  Every street, every corner, every nook and cranny of this beautiful city is buttered with interesting restaurants to try–from fancy schmancy steak and lobster grilles to down-home-country barbecues to fabulous food trucks and every single flavor combination in between.

Let’s just say I’m in glutton heaven, and I’ve made it my personal goal to try each and every restaurant in the city.  I’m dedicated to this cause.

As I try more and more places, I’ve started picking up on some of the soap-operaesque back stories of the local establishments.  One that is particularly intriguing is the story behind The Penguin Drive-In in Plaza Midwood.

DSCF6524 DSCF6523

In the past, the Penguin was just one of those places you had to go.  If you were a true Charlottean (yes, that’s what they call us), you’d been to the Penguin a hundred times and you’d eaten your fair share of their famous fried pickles.  Newbies in town didn’t know what they were missing as they walked right by the Penguin’s dilapidated building and awfully awkward parking.

But then Guy Fieri stopped in at the Penguin for his show Diners, Drive-in, and Dives, and all hell broke loose.  I’ll admit, I love the show, and I love seeing places I’ve visited on TV.  It’s almost like for that millisecond when the image flashes across the screen you are actually a part of something famous.  As if your emotional investment in the place somehow makes you a part owner, and you burst with pride when you see your baby on the big screen.

What, just me?


Anyway, due to some disagreements, two of the four guys who ran the Penguin left to open Pinky’s Westside.  The remaining two owners couldn’t come to an agreement with their landlord, so they were forced to abandon the Penguin.  The landlords of the building then decided to run the Penguin themselves, and the other two guys opened up the Diamond Grill, literally a block away from the Penguin. I think I’ve got that straight…

Interestingly, all three restaurants serve hotdogs and all three have fried pickles on the menu.  The newly-owned Penguin has the “famous Penguin fried pickles,” Pinky’s has “Greg’s pickles,” and the Diamond has “classic fried pickles—the neighborhood’s first and best original recipe.”  Can you smell the rivalry brewing?

Of the three restaurants, I’ve only been to the Penguin so far, which many other Charlotteeans are boycotting in favor of the Diamond.  Let’s hope this post doesn’t get me blacklisted.

The Penguin had a TON on the menu that I wanted strike that NEEDED in my belly.


But as I perused the menu, one item made my heart sing.

The Ma… the Meatloaf Hot Dog. 


Chili. Onion. Slaw.  Seriously?!?!


Let’s make brief note of the MONSTROUS side salad that came along side with a balsamic dressing was to die for.


But really, chili, onions, and coleslaw on a hotdog?!  My world was officially rocked.  Hands down THE BEST hot dog I have ever consumed.


Now that I know the backstory I feel it is my moral foodie obligation to give all three of the brawling restaurants an equal tasting.  I MUST go to the Diamond and to Pinky’s to give their Weiner Wonderlands an equal shot.  Seriously, it says Weiner Wonderland on the menu… get your head out of the gutter already.

Nutritional stats on the hotdog:  1 clogged artery, 1 full belly

Penguin on Urbanspoon