Valanni

After waking with a much better mind set, it was time for date night!

I did the girlie things such as nail polish, makeup, and jewelry and awaited the arrival of my date.

WP_002775

Right before Barry drove up to the house, the storm hit and it started pouring!

My date arrived in uniform (he likes to show it off). I lucked out with a dress I found at Kmart for $15!! Score!

WP_002776

The other day, Barry suggested we make reservations at a nice restaurant and go out for dinner. After some googling, we came across Valanni. And after seeing the Brussels sprouts on the menu, I was sold!

After being picked up, we battled the rain to arrive at our destination. (FYI: Valanni does not have a parking lot, so street or lot is the best bet). We almost missed the place! It looks like small cafe from the outside, but upon entering we were greeted by a smiling hostess and a rather chic looking room.

WP_002783

Funny fact: Barry said it was nicest bathroom he ever used. “I think that bathroom costs more than my house!” is actually how he described it!

We began our meal with Lobster & Crab Mac & Cheese and the Crispy Brussel Sprouts. The mac was “too die for,” says Barry! I must admit, I am always paranoid about getting mac and cheese from a restaurant, but I needed to try this, and oh my gosh, it was delicious! The three cheese blend made it creamy and thick, and there were chunks of crab  and lobster evenly and heavy distributed within. The sprouts were not what I had expected. When I roast them, I typically cut them in half and roast, but you can tell time went into this dish. The brussel sprout leaves were individually separated, coated with balsamic, and roasted. The leave are served in a bowl, sprinkled with chopped almonds and cubes of granny smith apples! The flavor combination of tart and savory was a definite winner! I can’t wait to try my hand at this!

WP_002780 WP_002781

We decided, since everything sounded amazing, to opt for a tapas- style meal. We then ordered the Seared Pork Tenderloin and the “Fiery” Potatoes. The pork was the epitome of the word “tender!” It was cooked to juice perfection and topped with a delicious mango relish, that complimented the savory seasoning on the meat. The potatoes were not as impressive as we had hoped, though still tasty. The potatoes, I believe, were coated in paprika and deep fried. I looked forward to the chipotle-horseradish aioli, the most in this dish. We wished it was hotter, spice wise.

WP_002782

Deciding on the dishes to try was difficult. After Barry’s  first bite of our second course, he suggested coming back once a month for a date night until we tried everything on the menu! HAHA Deal!

Cool part of the night: Barry had ordered a Yuengling. The waiter told us that the gentleman in the pink shirt at the bar had bought it for him. (This restaurant is located in the an area of South Philly known as the Gayborhood. After commenting on how Barry was lucky hes cute and can get free drinks, the gentleman left the bar section, shook Barry’s hand and thanked him for serving in the military! What an awesome story!)

Yay! Date Night! Stay tuned for our next adventure at Valanni!WP_002790

Check out the dessert menu! Oh my gosh, someone hide that bread pudding because it sounds so heavenly, I might not share it with Barry!

Advertisements

Fruit is NOT the Enemy

Yesterday morning began with some competition: me whooping Barry’s butt in his favorite game: Phase 10!

WP_002763

He looks so defeated, doesn’t he? HAHAH

Its okay, though, because we followed this the brunch of champions: froyo from Yogurt City!

I  know I’ve been on a froyo kick, but its just so good, and I choose healthier options such as sugar free yogurt and lots of fruits!

WP_002764

Can you guess which cup is mine and which one is Barry’s?

The remainder of the day was filled with some personal stressors and I tended to crackers. Some how, I’m not sure how exactly, but by 4pm, I had eaten my normal allotment of calories… I was confused, already frustrated, and took it out on myself with purging. I felt crippled, again, by this disorder. As a curled into a ball in my bed, I called Barry, crying hysterically out of frustration. I felt bad putting him in that situation. I mean, what can he say? But it meant a lot to know he was there to listen. Talking to him on my way into night shift helped to mellow me out and set me up for a good night.

It turned out it was Associate Appreciation Day at the hospital and they treated us with a BBQ-esque lunch. I headed down to the caf to find burgers, wraps, and the like, along with salads and fruit.

WP_002766 WP_002767

I avoided the salads for the most part, except for the cabbage salad, which I want to see if I can make, and grabbed some fruit. After eating this, I felt guilt.

WP_002768

Why? I started back with smart choices at my next meal. There is no reason to feel guilt over fruit! I kept myself busy at work, and proceeded to have a fruit powered shift.

After a long and completely exhausted  2 hour staff meeting, lots of coffee, and half a French cruller later, I finally got some sleep!

After a brief nap, I woke up, showered, and got ready for date night. I was in a much better mind set after a good night of eating and self control.

Fitness Goals

“50 push ups.”

Thats what I woke up to this morning. The great thing about having a boyfriend in the military, is that you both want to stay in shape. He has two personal fitness goals: work on his pushups and run 2 mile in under 14 minutes.

While my personal fitness goals are no where near as as Barry’s, my fitness goals are to tone and to run a 5K. I am really happy that I have someone to help me achieve my goals, while I can help him achieve his.

What are your personal fitness goals?

We were supposed to be on the road rather early this morning so we decided on protein shakes. Hes a chocolate peanut butter affinity, like I do, so I made him a super chocolatey PB cup shake, with a banana thrown in. The same went for myself, although spinach was in mine, as well. After our cups of coffee, we headed to dads work to drop off the left over blueberry pancakes from yesterday. He was very appreciative.

WP_002744

WP_002745After some time in the car, Barrys inner man set in, and we made a pit stop to Burger King. We continued our drive for another hour or so, as I stared out my window, watching farmers, and animals, and beautiful scenes, almost from a picture. After a final pit stop, we finally arrived at a hidden little house, with cats, chickens, and deer in the front yard. We arrived in Reading, where I was introduced to Barry’s grandmother. She was so welcoming. It may have helped that we came bearing sweets from a local shop called Sweet Street.

Barry mentioned this place last night, and after checking out their website, I needed to check this place out! We were greeted with three boxes, each containing a free sample. I immediately went for the cube of blondie, followed by the big apple pie. We picked up a slice of blueberry cheesecake for the boyfriend, a slice a snickers pie for his Pops (grandfather), a slice of triple chocolate cheesecake (which almost put Barry into a sugar coma), and a slice of the caramel apple pie (which was spectacular.)

WP_002746 WP_002747 WP_002748

Barry’s grandmother was so funny, as she sat down with a fork and took a bite out of each one! Thats my kind of taste testing!

WP_002757 WP_002758

She insisted Barry and his mom show me around, so I went out back with two bananas and fed the deer. Yes, I fed deer! It was so cool! I never thought I’d be able to do that! They even licked my hands~ Deer Kisses!

WP_002754 WP_002755 WP_002756

We spent some time socializing before we heard some thunder, and decided to skidaddle before the storm hit.

We finally arrived home, with a growling stomach, I might add. Since dad wasn’t too keen on trying my Kashi Mediteranean pizza. Check this out: “spinach, fire-roasted red onions and sweet red peppers, four signature cheeses including feta and a zesty roasted red pepper sauce on our wood-fired crust made with whole grains…Made with our signature blend of 7 Whole Grains & Sesame with flaxseed.”

WP_002761

Flaxseed crust? Feta? Spinach? Peppers, onions, and tomatoes? Sound delicious right? WRONG! I was so disappointed! I added some extra spinach when I realized how little there actually was. After the first bite, Barry and I tried to season up this circle of cardboard with garlic, red pepper flakes, even BBQ sauce! Nothing helped! I really hate to give bad reviews and I am always a fan of Kashi, but this was just no good.

Tempted by Tempeh

This morning, since it was Barry’s first morning back, it was a blueberry pancake morning. The special guest star? Bar Harbor Wild Blueberry Preserves!

WP_002738

I was pretty excited when I find these easy to make complete Easy Packs by Hungry Jack. Its the perfect size for a few people and they had Blueberry Wheat! Even better. Not having blueberries in the house, I warmed up a few tablespoons of the preserves and drizzled the newly formed syrup over the poured batter. Aside from the last three pancakes getting a little toasty, they were a hit. Barry, being the blueberry king that he is, doused his plate with blueberry syrup, as well. To finish the meal with some protein, eggs. Over easy for me and medium for him.

WP_002736 WP_002737

We kicked off his first day back with a date at the shooting range, followed by a ton of errands! I introduced Barry to Wholefoods today! I love when I take people there for the first time. Its like they are little kids! Barry fell in love with bakery, as most people do. He wanted to buy one of everything! He left with a brownie cheesecake muffin and a cookies n cream cupcake. I was a good girl. We all know how I get around sweets…

WP_002742

Its so funny! He’s already planning our next trip to Wholefoods, including having lunch there. He was in love the meats department. I don’t think he believed me when I told him how beautiful the meats were. He would up spending a few bucks on meats, as well.

After continuing with errands, we headed home. I read in a magazine that the calcium in frozen yogurt helps relieve cramps. Best excuse ever to take your boyfriend out for froyo!

Barry definitely has a sweet tooth for similar tastes as myself… Chocolate and peanut butter. He opted for the cheesecake froyo at Yogurt City topped with chocolate, caramel, Reese cups, chocolate jimmies, blueberries and bananas. I went with the no sugar added strawberry yogurt topped with kiwi, mango, strawberries, and sliced almonds! I do believe I am developing quite a skill for froyo perfection!

WP_002739

We headed back to the house after about 5 hours of being out while at Wholefoods, we picked up a tempeh that I have never seen before: Fakin Bacon smoky tempeh by Lightlife. While cooking it, the kitchen actually did begin to smell like bacon. I also roasted some bell peppers, sliced baby carrots, onion, tomato, and cauliflower seasoned with garlic and basil. Topping a bed of spinach, I think this was the healthiest meal Barry had had in a long time! Plus, he had never had tempeh before. ( We all know I’m addicted to the stuff.) I always enjoy a roasted veggie and tempeh salad drizzled with BBQ sauce, and today was no different. Also, while at Wholefoods, we picked up Annie’s Organic Hot Chipotle BBQ sauce, since we both have a love for sweet and spicy. It had much more of a kick than either one of us expected, and our lips were tingling a good while after eating our salads. I can’t wait to BBQ some chicken breast with this stuff!

????????????????? WP_002741

We wrapped up our evening with oreos and PB, and some hockey. It was a nice day spent with the boyfriend. Tomorrow… road trip.

New Special K and Skinnygirl

On my way home last night, I stopped by 7Eleven and I found new Special K Products! When I got home, I had to look them up! It turns out, theres a whole new line of products called “Nourish!” There are three new bars in Cranberry Almond, Dark Chocolate Nut, and Lemon Twist. I picked up the cranberry and lemon. The lemon reminded me of the Luna Lemon Zest (one of my favorites) bar: zesty and refreshing! In addition to the three bars, there are three hot cereals! Thats right, hot cereals! I cannot wait to try these: Cinnamon Raisin Pecan, Cranberry Almond, and Maple Brown Sugar Crunch!

WP_002731

I forgot to mention one of the coolest things about this line: its made with quinoa, not to mention barley, wheat, and oats! Yeah, so that means more protein, more nutrition, more fiber, more filling, and more staying power!

I also stumbled across a bar with the Skinnygirl label on it. Wait a second! Skinnygirl makes drinks, not bars! Well guess what! There are four 180 calorie bars: Banana Oatmeal Dark Chocolate, Dark Chocolate Multi-Grain Pretzel, Coco-Nut with Peanut Butter and Greek Yogurt Blueberry Crisp with Probiotics. I’m dying to try them all! Apparently, VitaminShoppe is starting to carry them. I do believe my local VS will be receiving a visit from me soon.

7Eleven had the Banana Oatmeal Dark Chocolate. I could totally see myself eating this for breakfast! I loved how strong the banana taste is!

WP_002723

Keep me updated if you try any of these new fabulous products!

In Bloom

I tried my best to stay in bed for as long as possible. I still felt body conscious and was trying to avoid breakfast. After getting some sense to myself, I excitedly took out my new shake mix that arrived in the mail yesterday: Herbalife Cafe Latte.

Frank’s Chocolate Walnana Latte shake consisted of:

a banana

1 scoop chocolate protein mix

1 scoop of cafe latte protein mix

a dollop of walnut butter

water

ice

Since I’ve been digging the peanut butter scene lately, I made a PB Cafe:

1 scoop cafe latte

1 Tbsp Chocolate PB2

1 Tbsp Torani sugar free Irish Cream

1/4 tsp xanthum

water

ice

WP_002729

After trying to tidy up around the house, body hating set it in. I am was so frustrated! I curled up in a ball and allowed fatigue to overwhelm me. Talking things out with my mom and taking a shower helped a bit. Still sleepy, I made a caramel iced coffee. (Thank you, Torani, for your sugar free goodness!)

WP_002734

I prepared my dinner, still being body conscious, and went with my classic stand-by: eggs! I love the simplicity, healthfulness, and ease of tossing some veggies and salsa in a tubberware and microwaving it! And its always delicious! Tonight, I must say, really hit the spot!

WP_002730 WP_002735

My energy level picked up after my bit of protein and veggies, and although I was asked to work overtime tonight, I can’t wait to head home, and head to bed!

PS. One thing that really made me smile today was walking outside to see my lilies had bloomed!

??????????

Berry Muddy

Based off of my Black and Muddy recipe, I started the day with a Berry Muddy Shake:

frozen mixed berries

1/2 pkt Nature’s Plus Spirutein Cappuccino protein powder

2 Tbsp Chocolate PB2

1 Tbsp sugar free Torani Raspberry

Franks consisted of both vanilla and chocolate protein powder, bananas, and blueberry preserves.

WP_002720

That Berry Muddy is pretty dark, huh? And VERY peanut buttery!

The rest of that day, was once again, a lazy one. I randomly snacked on things like pickles, crackers, and cantaloupe until it was time to head to work. I couldn’t quite figure out if I was hungry or not today, but I kept the snacking in check and drank plenty of water!

I arrived to work to find I was assigned to work at the desk tonight. As the clerk, it was a relatively uneventful evening and I could not wait to curl back up in bed!

Since I was feeling quite bloated today, (I drank a TON of water), I opted for a guilt-free soup, although I’m sure the sodium content did not help with the bloating issue. I refer to it as guilt-free because I can eat the whole can of soup for a measly 100 calories! Thank you, Progresso French Onion!

WP_002721

For a snack to hold me over, I brought half a large cucumber! I love cucumber! Especially during the summer. They are so crisp and refreshing,and oh so guilt-free! I tried an interesting combination, I will admit. I had a small pack of strawberry preserves, and dipped a slice of cucumber in it. I was surprised with the refreshing, moist, and mildly sweet treat. (I’ve warned you many times… I’m a weird one.)

To finish my night, a Special Dark Chocolate Hershey Miniture and some nutella and Suzies!

Another good eating day! Thank you blog world! You make my mind right!

I’ve always wanted to try making homemade French Onion soup! I love making soup! What are some of your favorite soups to make?

Berri Yummy

This morning began with my Copy Cat Shake! I love this one! But I must admit, it was a rather clumsy morning. When I initially transfered my shake into my travel bottle, I spilled quite a bit onto the counter. Then, once I got into the car, I tipped the bottle over and some spilled onto the floor. And smart me, I don’t have floor mats. Despite trying to clean it up, I’m so nervous that the next time I walk in my car, I’ll be choked by the stench of sour dairy products.

WP_002722

I have felt bloated all day! Seriously uncomfortable! I keep looking at my belly thinking What the heck is going on? Where did that come from? You look pregnant!

This gets frustrting, especially since I’ve been happy with my eating last last two days. When I arrived home, after todays events, I wanted something sweet. Not because I was necessarily hungry, but just because. I allowed myself two Nutter Butter cookie sandwiches. This quickly spiraled, not terribly, into pretzel sticks and nutella. Although it was not an earth-shattering binge, it was one of which should not happened. (And I’m sure all that salt did not help the bloate feeling.)

Anyway, todays events began around 830 with a drive to the funeral home. I attended the viewing and as I went down the line of daughters, my emotions were harder to hold back. “He loved you! He always wanted to best for you,” said his oldest daughter. That was it! The waterworks started. We headed over the church, were the euologies were presented but the 3 daughters, and some of the grandchildren. When the beautiful ceromony ended, I reunited with my grieving family in front of church. As I hugged my cousin, he grabbed me tight and began to cry. He is one of those people, who I can not see cry. As soon as I see a tear in his eye, I started crying… it never fails. The burial consisted of a bagpipper and a 21 gun solute.

We finished the afternoon at the luncheon. I didn’t feel it was appropriate to photgraph my food here, concidereing the circumstances. I filled my plate with loads of fruits and vegetables. The grilled chicken breast and roast beef were tops! I ket going back for more. I treated myself with a cookie and order three cups of coffee. Yes, three! Not because I was THAT tired but because the mugs were so tiny! It held maybe three ounce of coffee!

Feeling full and bloated, I was worried about my eating the rest of the day. After snacking on some rice cakes and nutella, I made a roasted cauliflower salad on spinach with some sliced honey ham.

WP_002725

Shortly after, I recieved an interesting phone call from a friend from high school asking to help him with a film project. He is curently filming a trailer to get funding for a company to start production on an independent film. Our society is obsessed with zombies. I just don’t get it. Nonetheless, I played a mourner at a funeral (of all days to play a mourner), who at one point is killed and eated by a zombie. I can not wait for the screen shots to come back so I can share them with you! Its hilarious to think about some of the shots he got! It took my mind off how much body hating I was doing and it was a fun time.

After filming with some high school friends, Mags and I went out for froyo.

WP_002726

I hadn’t had frozen yogurt in the longest time! I did not have any last summer because I was “sick.” The two of us used to go out every week for froyo back in the day. I made very smart decisions at BerriYummy! I grabbed a shot of no sugar added vanilla froyo and topped it with sliced almonds, strawberries, raspberries and mangos, and, I’ll admit, a sprinkle of crushed butterfinger! Spectacular! A winning combination! (Mags went with the chocolate cravings).

 

After departing, I headed home and went to pretzel town.

Summer Flavors

This morning began with my stomach feeling well and an excitement to utilize some fresh fruit from the fridge! I made Frank a Berry Colada Smoothie

frozen mixed berries

OIKOS Toasted Coconut Vanilla Greek yogurt

2 Tbsp Torani sugar free coconut syrup

Me? I grabbed some cantaloupe from the refrigerator for a Peach-Loupe Shake:

cantaloupe

1 scoop Vanilla protein powder

1/2 cup Bai 5 Panama Peach

3g (1 serving) sugar free Peach jello mix

xanthum and guar

water

ice

Image

It was so filling and refreshing! 

Frank went with me to run some errands. Beauty was in need of dog food and Walmart is the ONLY place I can find Dannon Light and Fit Greek Blends Toasted Coconut Vanilla! They only had 2 left, which I quickly snatched up! Its so hard to find the Greek Blends

Once we arrived home, I made a batch of tuna fish, which Frank really enjoyed! He loved the Greek yogurt, cucumber, and dill combination. He ate it on wheat saltines, while I served mine on Suzies Corn, Quinoa, and Sesame Puffed ThinCakes

Image

The remainder of my day was a pretty lazy one. I just kept counting down until Zumba! Thank goodness it was a 6pm, and not a 7pm, class tonight. I made a cup of coffee around 3pm in the hopes it was give me a boost. No luck. An afternoon nap, maybe? I usually refuse naps because  I’m notorious for not sleeping later that night. I attempted a nap, but it just didn’t help.

It was definitely the sleepiest Zumba class I’ve ever done! Half way through class, my belly was growling. I drank water but I guess it was legit hunger. I walked in the house after class around 715pm to Frank grilling BBQ pork chops and homemade brown pilaf with sun-dried tomatoes, corn, and capers! Heavenly! 

Image

I Skyped with Barry a bit and I’m looking forward to relaxing in bed the rest of the night. 

This sleepy head is signing off! 

What do you do when you need to get motivated for a workout? Nap? Coffee? 5 Hour Energy? Music?

Sometimes You Feel Like A Nut

Despite attending Zumba last night, which always exhausts me the next morning, I had no problem rising with the sun when I was asked to pick up a 12 hour day shift for today, which I gladly excepted. I took this opportunity to try the new SmartOnes oatmeal! The Peaches and Cream was delicious! I am so used to Peaches n’ Cream oatmeal being soooooo sweet! This was perfect! Between this, a banana, and a mug of coffee, I was satisfied until lunch.

WP_002702

Lunch was refreshing and crunchy: strips of cucumbers and baby carrots with a bit of fat free dressing. I just love crudites!

WP_002703

Work went well and I kept busy. My eating was fantastic and I was so proud of myself. Dinner was my favorite Lean Cuisine, Chicken Marsala. I just love the risotto and adding the extra mushrooms makes this dish fantastic!

WP_002704

When I got home around 730pm, I was getting hungry again. I ate a bunch of cantaloupe. That wasn’t quite satisfying to my taste buds, so nibbling followed. Surprisingly, what did the trick was a can of almonds I found.

Come on… you know it wouldn’t be that simple… dipped in nutella, of course!

WP_002705

 

“Sometimes you feel like a nut!” Get it? Almonds, hazelnuts, nutella????

Although I ate more than I wanted to when I came home, the day over all, was good eating day!