In retrospect, it’s kind of shocking. I mean, I’d heard of Nutella and seen a commercial or two, but I couldn’t wrap my mind around slathering chocolate on bread. Don’t get me wrong, I love chocolate and I can eat my weight in baguettes, no problem, but a chocolate sandwich just seemed gross and, frankly, un-American. To me, eating such an insane combination felt like cheating on good ole peanut butter and jelly. When I confessed my big secret–that I’d never EVER tried Nutella–my friend Vanessa, appalled and concerned, bestowed upon me a tub of Nutella the size of a baby walrus.
That day, I had my first Nutella experience: baked stuffed bananas loaded with peanut butter, chocolate chips, and a dollop of Nutella. It only took one bite to realize I’d been robbing myself of intense palate pleasure for the better part of three decades. Since that moment, I’ve been making up for lost time and searching for things to slather with the unworldly chocolate hazelnut spread. For the record, I checked the ingredients list and chocolate-candy-crack isn’t listed—just hazelnuts, skim milk, sugar, and cocoa. Nutella doesn’t even have artificial flavors or preservatives.
It tastes too good to be true.
I haven’t cooked a thing in the last six months. That’s not true. I have cooked my weekly batch of oatmeal and my one-whole-egg-plus-three-egg-whites scramble every morning. I’ve also cooked at least fifty English muffins slathered in peanut butter and sliced bananas, and cooked a bazillion or so no-cook salads for lunch. But, I haven’t done any REAL cooking lately simply because I’ve been swamped with work (and life) and because it was just way too friggin hot this summer to bother with anything involving the oven. As I sit here eating my late night peanut butter toast that I slaved over a hot toaster for, it dawned on me that just because I’m not cooking doesn’t mean we can’t talk food!
A month or so ago, my mom came to visit, and since I was under the weather she cooked me one of those peanut butter and banana English muffins I mentioned earlier. My whole life, I’ve been making this little snack with strategically placed slices of banana perched atop the muffin halves, so you can imagine how baffled I was when my mom appeared with this:
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
* 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….
* 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!!
HAPPY HUMP DAY!
AND HAPPY WEIGH-IN WEDNESDAY!
ANNNND HAPPY WHAT-I-ATE-WEDNESDAY!
Today was such a particularly packed Wednesday, I think I’ll rename it Whew Wednesday
The day started off with a handful of Barbara’s Peanut Butter Puffins:
I affectionately call this the Cereal of the Gods. It really is THAT good. I also hear Barbara’s now makes chocolate peanut butter puffins. Don’t worry. I’ve added finding the new cereal to the weekend to-do list.
After I popped the puffins, I headed out for my interval run (which consisted of a short 2-interval series of 1 minute walking and 9 minutes running).
Post run, it was time for eggs and bacon … sprouted 7 grain bread. Mmmmmmm
These are the eggs I make pretty much every day. I call them my fake out dippy eggs because it’s actually a 3 egg white scramble topped off with 1 dippy egg.
When you poke the yolk it oozes down over the egg whites and tastes just as darn good as a plate full of dippy eggs.
After the eggs, I headed to work (insert 2 hours of number crunching here) and around 10am it was time for Breakfast #2!
Overnight oats, my friends. Overnight.Oats. Yes, I STILL love and adore them. Yes, I STILL eat them every day.
(insert two additional hours of number crunching here)
2+2 = Lunch time.
Today’s lunch consisted of some leftover ground turkey taco meat that I threw onto a bed of lettuce along with some tomato, onion, black beans and corn:
If you are looking for a tasty side dish for Mexican food, try out this recipe for Corn and Black Bean Salad. I made it over the weekend, and it was super tasty and SUPER simple.
Afternoon snack consisted of an un-pictured apple and some cocoa roast almonds….
After work, I headed to Dandelion Market for happy hour with some coworkers:
The Dandelion Market is a tapas restaurant that serves up a variety of intriguing small plates. The atmosphere in the restaurant was rustic, yet chic. Dimly lit and extremely cozy.
I’d of felt equally comfortable sipping a cup of coffee in a chair in the corner as I did sipping a glass of cabernet at a table near the window.
Tonight I had the pleasure of sampling two of the tapas. First was the pepperoni flatbread. Isn’t it beautiful?
Don’t be fooled. This was not your typical peperoni pizza. This flatbread had cured peperoni, ricotta salada, a rustic tomato sauce, and BASIL. It was light and delicious, and honestly I think I could have ate three of them. The basil was the perfect finishing touch.
I also sampled the grilled steak skewers:
The steak was cooked PERFECTLY medium rare and was incredibly juicy. But what REALLY made the dish was the sweet and spicy honey soy marinade that came along side:
Coming from a lady who puts A-1 Steak Sauce on EVERY steak that goes in her mouth, you KNOW it must have been amazing if I devoured the entire plate without even pausing.
After dinner, I headed to TCBY for some froyo with the Charlotte Food Bloggers! Now, truth be told I am an ice cream snob. I worked at the world’s most fantastic locally owned and operated creamery throughout all of high school and college (biased much?), and during these years I had the opportunity to taste, sample, and create some of the most outrageously delicious ice cream concoctions.
So, frozen yogurt? Meh. Doesn’t really do it for me. Which is odd, given that this town is littered with Fro Yo joints. What DOES do it for me though is the crazy assortment of toppings all these frozen yogurt places have.
Here’s my combo of the evening:
PB and Cake batter froyo…. with a little cookie dough, some heath bar, a little brownie, mochis, Peanut Butter drizzly drizz, and some blueberries for good measure.
Let’s focus on what’s really important here:
Who’s with me?
Yesterday was a fully-loaded Saturday. I had a wedding shower and a housewarming party to go to, and I felt a tinge of tiredness all throughout the day. So when I got home around 11pm I was really looking forward to hitting the hay. I layed down, closed my eyes, deep breath in, deep breath out…. Deep breath in, deep breath out…. and then my eyes opened and I laid on my back looking up at the ceiling. I was wide awake. Completely, 100%, ready-to-go awake.
I contemplated watching TV at first, but then decided to put my newly found energy into getting some work cranked out. So I sat typing away on my laptop until 3:30am when I decided it was time to pull the plug.
Needless to say, I was less than enthusiastic about waking up this morning. 9:30 am rolled around (which is about 2-3 hours later than I usually sleep on weekends)… and suddenly a glimmer of excitement washed over me. I remembered the amazing overnight oats I had prepared the night before. Now I was more than amped to get up and tackle my interval training. All I had to do was keep visualizing the cool creamy oats….
Check this out:
These are not your ordinary overnight oats. This jar of JIF had about 2 tbsp of peanut butter left in it, so I mixed up my usual overnight oats in the jar and left them to hang out in the fridge overnight. This morning, I topped the oats off with some blueberries and strawberries:
I COULD NOT WAIT to dive in to these:
Worth waking up for: