Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Started off with a semi-late breakfast. I made french toast for my brother and stole a few bites for my Dad and I and I also made him scrambled eggs. My Dad made us egg souffle omelets, an apparent specialty of his I never knew he had. He wanted swiss & I wanted cream cheese, so we compromised and had a little of each + a few cut up vegetarian sausages. It was sooo good! I also made us protein pumpkin pancakes. Ahh, the day had barely started and we already had to make 284494 things to please everyone :-P.

Luckily I had prepped a handful of things the evening before, as my back decided to spasm all day. Honestly, I'm not sure how I managed to stay standing all day. It was pretty bad.

But I pushed through.

Appetizers, anyone?

The spinach dip was made with goat cheese. I'd never made it that way before, so was a bit nervous, but it turned out pretty well.

The dogs got dressed in their party clothes...

Audrey Hep....I mean Bella!

& tuxedo boy himself, Buster!

While Henry hid and Ethan looked on, probably silently laughing...

Unfortunately, my DSLR battery died right as the food finished. And then when I tried to use my backup point and shoot, that battery was dead! Electronics are so rude sometimes.

It didn't help that my iPhone was taking all blurry pictures all of a sudden...

AH well, we do what we have to do...

The feast all strewn about...

I cooked everything except the turkey, so my Dad did the honors of carving it as well...

I couldn't find the Thanksgiving table runner (grr!), so I had to use the spring set up

I'm pretty type A and was getting frustrated that I couldn't find 4 matching glasses, couldn't find the right decorations, etc. but it all still worked out..

Turkey, homemade gravy, mashed sweet potatoes topped with caramelized bananas, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole

Also, unpictured: orange soda cake topped with an orange-cream cheese frosting & my personal fave, pumpkin pie with a ginger cookie crust topped with homemade maple/cinnamon/vanilla whipped cream. I don't like whipped cream, but I could eat a bowl of that.

Nom, nom, nom.



Monday, November 21, 2011

iPhone Test Post

Hey guys. I know. I know. Not even going to say it.

AND when I had a chance to update this weekend our Internet router broke and a replacement won't arrive til Tuesday or Wednesday. I roughly wrote this on my phone via the blogger app, but trying to insert the photos that way was a nitemare/somewhat impossible, so I'm doing a little picture tweaking at the office. Yay for working wifi.

It's pretty random, but I was just trying to clear out the iPhone photos (and have many more similar posts to come)

Without further ado, I present to you...Food Lately. Turn away health foodies, a lot of what you are about to see is junk.

The first 3 pics are from Hannah's in Denton. That was the city I went to college in and tho I commuted, it was one of the few things I miss about Denton! :-p. When my Dad signed up for a seminar in the area I knew I had to tag along to accompany him for lunch!

These used be the best fries eva, especially with their special sauce, buuuuttt they changed the waffle fries and just... Meh. Ok. They still give you a million for only a couple bucks, at least.

I don't really understand why places are famous for certain items and then change them!! What's up with that?

Next up, duck crepes! Ooh yea. The duck was a wee bit overcooked, but still pretty tasty stuff. Not sure if it was worth almost $20 tho. For lunch! And with no sides. It was pretty salty.'s CREPES. People, you know I love my crepes.

And I took this to-go, but panna cotta with berries and, wait for it... balsamic. It works.

Lastly, they had the coolest potted herbs hung above our seats! I was a fan. I wonder if they use the herbs?

Below that is a rarity: food from home! Overnite cocoa oats, in this case. Topped with frozen cherries I let thaw overnite. Plus a gingerbread soy misto. Sup holiday cup?

Lastly (for now), it was a long day at work one evening, but my brother begged my Dad and I to go with him to Purple Cow Diner. He rarely likes to go out, so we begrudgingly agreed. He also insisted I try a milkshake, as he claims they're the best. Good call, Ryan. I almost got an "adult" milkshake with Baileys, but ultimately stuck with nonalchy chocolate peanut butter. It. Was. Awesome. I couldn't finish it, but I sure made myself sick trying!

I also had a black bean garden burger (open faced) with fries.

Ok, I give up for now. Blogger app still needs some work. Humph!


Monday, November 7, 2011

Breakfast Lately

I had a busy day, so here's a quick post. I've had some both conventional and unconventional breakfasts lately, but all have been really tasty. Take a look.

See? Busy Bee. *Gulp* that was what piled up within minutes of walking in the door, and it only kept coming. Luckily, by the end of the day it was all complete. Victory!

Brown rice toast topped with a slice of organic american cheese, egg white puff, & grey poupon with coffee with egg nog! That fruit you see is a pear, but it was a little past its prime and most of it ended up in my dog's belly or in the trash.

Today I had basically the same breakfast, only today I added in hot sauce to the egg white mixture before I nuked it. Great idea! It was awesome.

Bella agrees. But she only got some apple slices, her fave food of all time. (Yeah, she was still in her Halloween pj's, whatev. She's in a pink dress now, no worries)

Protein banana pancakes topped with peanut butter, chocolate almond butter, and a tiny bit of chocolate hazelnut butter. Oh yeah. If that wasn't enough of a delight? More egg nog coffee!!

So glad it's back! And this kind is organic too. Bonus!

Obviously those meals are all pretty normal to start the day out right. I typically tend to eat your standard breakfast food items for....breakfast. But over the weekend, I kept picking lunch items instead, even though it was to break-the-fast. Weird! But tasty, nonetheless.

It was coupon use up time again. First up, Humperdink's.

This was only my second time there. Still not impressed, but this salad was great.

I didn't eat the croutons or tomatoes, but left little else. It consisted of spinach, hard boiled eggs, feta, artichoke hearts, and sundried tomatoes topped with balsamic vinaigrette. Dreamy.

The whole reason I went the salad route instead of going for a veggie omelet was to avoid eggs for a day or two. Oopsie. But I LOVE hardboiled eggs in salad, I couldn't say no!

Funnily, when the waiter asked my Dad if he wanted cream with his coffee and my Dad said yes, he came back with a container of whipped cream. We were both confused and amused, but he decided to give it a try and he liked it. It mixed in easily too. Who woulda thunk it?

The next day we had a Mimi's coup (that ended up not being as good as we thought, but oh well money off is money off...). I started off breakfasty, but that's also where it ended.

Just call me queen of the drinks. I often seem to end up with a trio.

Entree wise, I debated back and forth between the chicken madeira crepes or the shrimp salad. Only, not really, because as I've said before...crepes (almost) always win. Both looked awesome, though. The crepes came with a lil balsamic salad and the crepes themselves were filled with chicken, artichoke hearts, and mushrooms & topped with a creamy sauce. It was good.

I've been getting a lot of stomachaches and also having a lack of appetite lately. I wake up really hungry, eat breakfast, get a stomachache, and feel full for the rest of the day. I try to force myself to eat at nite to keep my metabolism going (and have been making somewhat poor choices when doing so, since nothing sounds good...). Of course, you'd think since nothing sounds good, I'd just eat whatever healthy foods are available, but nope. For some reason it's not working that way. Lame!

Like, for one, fried chicken "fingers." Does putting them on a bed of organic spinach (with light ceasar dressing) make it healthier? Didn't think so... I also slathered the chicken in "special sauce" (lowfat veganise mixed with organic ketchup...also delish, but only faux healthy)

I NEVER make fried food at home. I didn't even know HOW to make fried food before I was 20. I'd never seen it done before I had a roommate. But for some reason I was dying for chicken fingers (something I basically never eat), so instead of ordering out I made my own. Weird.

Hopefully my eating patterns will regulate soon!

I wasn't terribly hungry for dinner again tonite, no surprise there, but my brother wanted subs for dinner, so I got one too. Firehouse Subs! Only my third time trying it, but it was really good. I got the Engineer with a few modifications (smoked turkey, sauteed mushrooms, cheddar, lettuce, tomato, green peppers, onions, and extra spicy mustard on wheat!) + some roasted sweet potato & a pickle spear a la carte.

For dessert I had most of a mug of (honeycrisp!!) apple cider

Shortly after, I prepped tomorrow's breakfast and I can't WAIT. I made it up in my head yesterday, hoping to have it today, but we were out of greek yogurt. I was NOT about to let that happen again, so I popped by the store before I came home this evening. Chocolate overnite chia oats here I come!


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

To Keurig or Not to Keurig?

Do any of you buy the Entertainment Passbook every year?

If you don't know what it is, it's a HUGE book full of coupons for restaurants of all types, from fast food to steak and seafood dinners. Of course, the more casual places outweigh the fancy, but still.

No, they're not sponsoring me, so enough about that-haha ;).

The point of bringing that up? The coupons randomly expire November 1 of each year. For years my Dad and I have been saying we were going to use the Lawry's Prime Rib one for their Sunday brunch, and never did. We always assumed it was a buffet, but upon further investigation, it's not. And although most of the menu isn't even breakfasty, we decided to FINALLY go, the last weekend our coupon was good!

In true Amanda style, I had already been over the online menu, ohh, 10,000 times. At first I really wanted the chicken crepes. If there are crepes on a menu, I'm usually going to order them. It's just a fact. HOWEVER, I noticed they had something called a toad in a hole. It said it included filet mignon medallions and veggies inside of a yorkshire pudding topped with a cabernet wine sauce. Like I said last post, I'm eating WAY too much red meat lately, BUT I've always wanted to try yorkshire pudding and have never seen it offered before! I guess I could have asked for some on the side? But no. I ordered the Toad in the Hole. More on that in a minute.

When we first arrived there was no one at the hostess stand and none of the wait staff stopped to acknowledge us either. Even after a good 5-10 min. My Dad wanted to call the restaurant and tell someone we were there, right in front of them (the phone was behind the seating station), but I begged him not to, lol. Eventually he motioned a bus boy over, who told us to wait a moment. Meanwhile, the hostess came out of the bathroom, sort of apologizing for the wait and took us to our table.

Amazingly, every meal also comes with a basket of bread (sourdough & blueberry muffins) complete with flavored butter, a glass of champagne or a mimosa, and your choice of: fruit with mint and creme freche, their famous spinning salad, or a bowl of mushroom bisque. All for a really reasonable price! (Unless you get the prime rib, then it's their normal price, depending on size,...but you still get the first course and champagne, so not too shabby).

Mmm, champagne. Why waste half the glass filling it with orange juice? ;)

My Dad picked the salad, so I picked the bisque, assuming we'd share. I guess we both liked our own too much, as we barely saved a bite for each other. Oops. Though, funnily enough, I think we'd both consider getting the other's choice next time. I really liked my soup, however it was all blended smooth. I had assumed it would be a creamy base filled with chunky mushrooms.

Usually I pass up the bread basket, not just for health reasons, but because I don't really like most bread. But I do like sourdough and even though I don't particularly care for butter, I've always liked trying flavored butters. So, they won me there.

I'm pretty sure they were regular butter (didn't try to confirm), blueberry, & chive

My plate:

Pretty good, but I'm not sure I'd eat them again if I go back. The muffin was pretty bland and the sourdough flavor wasn't very strong. But the sourdough was probably my favorite, as the texture was quite nice.

My Dad ate (almost) the rest of the bread *shakes head*

I had also ordered coffee, but assumed the waitress forgot (she didn't write out orders down, which always makes me a little nervous!)

I was going to just forget about it, but then she ended up bringing it out right before the meal came.

Love the little pot!

I thought maybe she'd take it off the bill since she forgot it for most of the meal, but no such luck. $3.50! That seems pretty pricey, right? But it was delicious. Very strong, which I love. I drank it completely black and drained the whole pot (not that it was very big).

I also realized shortly after ordering, that I never specified how I wanted my steak cooked (rare!), nor did the waitress ask. I thought that was a little weird, but didn't really care, so long as it didn't come well done.

You can see where this is going. It came well done. LOL. But it was still pretty good, so no worries. It came out looking much different than I anticipated. I had no idea it would be covered with fried onions, for one. Not that I expect a steak "dinner" to be healthy by any means, but this seemed much more decadent than I was anticipating. I pushed most of the onions aside and dug in.

It tasted more like a semi-gourmet beef stew more than anything, also not what I expected. It was good, but between the bread and soup, I took approximately 3 bites and called it good. Don't worry, the rest came home with me. The yorkshire pudding wasn't as exciting as I hoped, but it was good, too. Just tasted like a puff pastry? The roasted potatoes were also pretty great and I was excited to include them in my breakfast the following morning.

I had read online that the Dallas location wasn't as swanky as some of the others and that the service wasn't great, but I found both accounts to be untrue. Not that I've been to the other locations, but still. Our waitress was very friendly and though she didn't check on us excessively, there wasn't any real need. As far as the restaurant goes, my Dad and I were both a little surprised at the small size of the dining room, but my Dad felt it gave it more of an exclusive feeling.

I really liked the plant for some reason, lol.

Overall, we were both pleased (my Dad got the crab cake benedict, which oddly came with no english muffin, the crab served as the "bread," and thought it was pretty good, though not great). For a normal brunch out it's on the pricey side (his meal was $19, mine was $17, and then the coffee), but for what you get it's still a great deal. We would go back and pay full price for a special occasion or celebration OR go just for fun with another discount. Since it is so rich, it's probably plenty to only go when we have a coupon (this year we bought 2 books after a misunderstanding with the vendors), but it's a nice option to have when you feel like being indulgent.

We ran a lot of errands after eating, so we didn't have time to make it to the gym, but clearly I needed to burn some of this off!

I procrastinated and procrastinated, but ultimately ran on the treadmill for half an hour, I think? Well, my usual walk & run, that is.

My initial hesitance:

Followed by almost-acceptance that this was going to happen:

And finally, sweet, sweet, sweaty victory:


I don't remember what I had for dinner, leftovers most likely, but for dessert I tore into a candy bar I forgot I had.

I ordered it along with an iHerb order awhile back and it came a little melted, but tasted oh-so good. If only it had been dark chocolate, but really, when it comes to toffee and chocolate, you can do little wrong!

And last but not least, give me some encouragement or discouragement: re: K cups. Worth getting a Keurig for? Yes? No? Help! I've been wanting one forEVER, but can't make myself take the plunge. I've been thinking about asking for one for Christmas or using a gift card for one now, but I can't decide! I found this at Walmart...

But it was sold out. Ugh. $64 I could get down with. I have found it for $79 elsewhere, but now seeing it for $64 I'm determined to get that price lol. I'm a little sad it doesn't make the iced variety, but for that price, no big thang. Maybe I'll take a 20% off coupon to bed bath and beyond and see what happens?

I've read mixed reviews. Many people LOVE their machines and k-cups, while others say the coffee is crap. Help a sista out.


More Randomness

Pretty much the only at-home meal I have a pic of for the old blog lately.

Baked chia oats with a cut up honey crisp apple topped with raisins, a blob of plain chobani & a drizzle of sunflower seed butter. It made me miss the sunflower seed butter from Newflower (aka Sunflower Market in many other states...another company had copyrighted it here tho so they had to change it...silly), a grocery store we briefly had that closed down. Their blend was so much better.But once I mixed up all the elements of this concoction it was purdy darn good too. The coffee I believe was a mix of all the Godiva blends I own (pumpkin spice, caramel pecan bark or w/e, & chocolate truffle). I like to experiment with mixing coffee flavors, what can I say? I think it had a splash of unsweetened almond milk & prob a lil stevia too. It was pretty good, but that mug is huge and I ended up spilling most of it out. I'm so wasteful.

Boatmeal Close Up:

Friday nite I was gonna go out to dinner, but after much deliberation Chinese takeout was decided upon instead.

I was healthy and ordered shrimp & extra veggies--no rice, but then I stole some of other people's fried rice. Kinda defeats the purpose, but it was tasty! I also tried a lil shrimp in lobster sauce, but mine was the best.

I then glued my ass to my seat and obsessed over my latest love, Pinterest. I tried to figure out some of the hairstyles posted both on their and on a friend's facebook, the top knot. I kindasorta figured it out (for me anyway, Miss Hair Challenged herself), but MAN did it make my five-head look HUGE. I have a slightly larger than normal forehead in real life, but nothing crazy. But in pics it gets SUPER exaggerated, I have no idea how that's possible! That's why I like to have bangs, to hide it in pics. Kinda silly, I know, but it makes me so self-conscious, even tho I know it's not that bad in reality! I keep showing people the difference between the pics & real life and everyone agrees it's not true-to-life and it's bizzaro. My friend said the same thing happens with her nostrils.WEIRD!

Ughh, what's up with that! It's so ridiculous!

LOL I just noticed the dog butt behind me too. Hi, Buster.

Saturday, I had the chiropractor for the first time in 3 weeks. I thought I had been doing pretty good, but she had to adjust EVERYTHING. Multiple times. I'm trying to switch to getting a massage every other week instead of every week to save some money and this was week one of my experiment. So far so good, pretty much. The chiro said altho my body was out of alignment, my muscles were still pretty loose. RARE for me, so she says that's sign of improvement. Baby steps, body. She also thinks my running instead of weight lifting has shifted things around, but it's not a bad sign. Just shows I've been doing different stuff.

The chiro appt was at 11, so kinda awkward timing for breakfast. We ended up eating after the appt, I was soo hung hung! We ate at Corner Bakery since it's cheap (ish) & was close.

I wanted the chilled Swiss oatmeal, as usual, but, as usual, they were out. Nooo. I'll have to start going earlier I guess :(.

I settled for the veggie egg white scramble. It was just OK. At first they brought me the wrong thing that looked way better. The bacon and avocado-filled scramble with raisin toast or something? I hate bacon, but otherwise it looked so good! I didn't eat my toast at all, but would have loved the raisin toast! I'll have to investigate my options next time (or, you know, get there early enough to get what I really want...tho If they always run out I don't understand why they don't just make more oatmeal every day..duh!)

Actually, what I REALLY wanted for breakfast was scrambled eggs (not just egg whites, but yolks too) & a croissant. RANDOM craving,huh? I don't even like scrambled eggs. I should have just listened to that craving and went with it, but couldashouldawoulda. At least mine was healthier...tho I did split my fruit with my Dad & ate half his potatoes. But still purdy healthy.

Ran into Ross nearby after to look for pillows. Suddenly I have an urge to buy more pillows for my bed. Not too long ago I had too many pillows and got rid of some. Not sure where they went, actually. And now I need more. Oops. I only need my one perfect pillow to sleep on, but since I've been lounging more in my bed recently, I need more cushioning to read with! I really want some husband pillows, but haven't found any good ones yet. Bed Bath & Beyond, maybe? So far I've only found some ugly white ones with multicolor peace signs all over, lol. I also want some pretty throw pillows for decoration. I blame pinterest.

They didn't have any decorative pillows I wanted, but I did get 2 standard pillows for $7.99 each. Is that a good deal? I'm not up on my pillow pricing, I guess lol.

So far lookin' cute.

I also got a new lamp later on that afternoon.

I've been eyeing this bad boy for awhile at Tar-Jay, but thought I could find better. Turns out, I can't. Unless I want to spend like $150. I thought this one was $16.99, but it rang up as $19.99. Rude, but still a good deal.

Still can't get away from the black & white love, can I?

Also, during the afternoon, my Mom and I went to a Holiday Bazzaar/Craft Show held at a nearby high school. Growing up, my Mom would drag me to craft show after craft show and it was literally my least favorite thing to do all year. Now, I love going with her! We both look forward to it every year. Last year I don't think we went to any, the first time that happened, and we were so disappointed.

This year was the first year we didn't buy anything....except lunch.

More eggs. I had "veggie quiche" ( ended up having turkey in LOL. Good tho), caesar salad, & buttermilk pie. We forgot to get drinks, oops. It was all pretty good! And, as you can see, they gave us extra quiche 'cause we're so awesome. I left a lil pie crust, but otherwise ate everything else. I had lifted weights just before leaving for the bazaar, (legs only still..stupid shoulder), but immediately felt like I needed to workout again after eating this lol....but... I didn't.

For dinner, my parents and I decided to brave Down Under Pub. My brother was lame and stayed home.We thought it might be crazy for Halloween (they have live bands every nite), but it was the only place we all really wanted to go, so we thought we'd peek in and see and just leave if it was a mad house. We walked in and saw people in costumes, but it was pretty dead. Weird. Maybe since we were there fairly early? Tho last time we ate there on a Saturday around the same time it was crazy. Huh. Anyway, I ordered the chicken avocado salad. It looked kinda crappy, but tasted really good! I had wanted a beer, but decided I'd have one at home instead.

Only, instead of having a beer after at home I changed my mind and had a more kid-friendly option.

I tryyyy not to do dessert AND alcohol, and dessert won out instead.

I had wanted frozen yogurt (because when don't I, amirite?), but it was a wee bit nippy out lol, so I made another last minute change and stopped for s'mores and hot chocolate supplies instead. Yes, I had both, don't judge me! I couldn't pick :).

My friend Molly is to blame for this decision. ;). She texted me a pic of some AWESOME looking smores she was eating, so I was a copy cat (altho hers looked better lol, these were tasty too!). Although, I learned a lesson: never buy the off brand graham crackers, trust me. At least not at Walmart. Usually I think store brands are the same as national brands, but in this case it was more like deliciousness vs. cardboard. Nothing a little dark chocolate and corn syrup (I mean marshmallow) couldn't mask. But still. Never again.

I took the lazy man's method of hot choc & just mixed some chocolate almond milk with some unsweetened almond milk to cut down on the high sugar....but then replaced the sugar I took away by adding marshmallows :-x. I'm kinda shocked the choc almond milk has 22 grams of sugar tho. Yikes. But the unsweetened kind is a little gross. Maybe I'll give it one more chance with some stevia? Just thinking aloud (

While buying supplies for my sugarfest, I ran into this display:

My Mom was in a fender bender recently (not her fault), but even tho it was a fairly minor accident, since she's been in so many, she ended up with a concussion :(. It took like 3 weeks for anyone to realize she had the concussion....Our chiro of all people figured it out (which was then confirmed by my Dad's neurologist colleague/friend). Scary. So now she's threatening to wear a helmet at all times LOL. I sent her this and she told me to pick out a pink one for her. I seriously wasn't sure if she was joking or not :-x. Luckily she was.....for now. But knowing her, we'll see if she changes her mind. If so, expect pictures. Lots of pictures.

Man, with catching up posts it's super hard to keep things properly flowing. I mean, this DID happen after the dessert-eating, however, how do I tie this in properly? Hey guys, I made some dessert and then caught my cats snuggling.

Everybody say awwwwwwwwwwwwww.

Look what else I saw:

Haha, isn't that fun? I'm not a big VW person, but love me some burberry print!