Thursday, March 31, 2011

It Started With a Kiss

Hey All,

It's "the Boy". Oh, I know what you are thinking , "I thought that we had heard the last of him"...

Well its never been quite that easy for Steph and I to be away from each other since the first time we looked at each other with different eyes.

It all began some time ago, just after our first kiss, which really had a lot of build-up to it, because we had known each other for a long time before it happened. Both of us met and became friends while we were both involved in long term relationships. It was always playful, but platonic. Everytime we would go out with a bunch of people, we would naturally gravitate towards each other and end up talking to each other as if no one else was even there. This went on for quite a while and we ended up growing pretty close to each other. Eventually we both had found ourselves in the very unexpected position of both being out of our relationships and had decided to go out for a few drinks (it was really kind of a date but I was too scared to actually say the word date). It had been a very long time since I had actually been on a date and was understandably nervous (even though we had known each other for a long time, I was afraid of saying or doing something stupid and messing up).

I picked Steph up and we went for a few drinks, like we had done plenty of times before, except now it was different. We ended up talking about some old stuff and some new and I thought that the night was going well until she asked me why I was so nervous. That threw me off a little because I liked to think of myself as calm, cool, and collected. Before I could think of something suave to reply, I blurted out "are you going to let me kiss u later?" Well knowing how sensitive Steph is, I shouldn't have been surprised when she just laughed at me and then replied "of course". I was a little embarrassed, but also excited. I decided that we needed to finish our drinks and get out of there as soon as possible because the butterflies in my stomach had only multiplied after her answer.

Just my luck, as we finish our drinks and get up to leave, the waitress brings us another. We are about to tell her that we didnt order it and were planning to leave when she informs us that a guy at the bar had bought the house a round (it sounds more generous than it was, there were 6 people in there including us). I do love a free drink (maybe its the Irish in me) but damn, this definitely took the grand prize for the bad timing award. So we settled back down and began to drink our beers (me practically chugging it so I can get Steph out of there). We wave over a thanks to the gentleman, which he takes as an invite to come and join us. Of course, he then orders us another round for us while telling us what a great couple we make and how wonderful he thinks it is that we can't take our eyes off each other (oh yeah, drunk guy alone in a bar, he definitely must be an excellent judge of relationships). At this point the waitress comes over to deliver us yet another round and joins into the discussion to reaffirm what our new friend was saying (of course, I trusted her judgement even more as she goes on to tell us about all 3 of her ex-husbands). At this point, all I can think about how long I have been waiting to kiss Steph, and I literally can't focus on anything else. Finally, we got a break when our friend goes to the bathroom, so I grab Steph's hand while hurrying for the exit.

We finally get back to the car and I almost go to grab her and kiss her then but chicken out and just open the door for her. As I'm driving her back, I keep thinking about how I'm going to kiss her when we finally get back to her place. I put the car in park and we sit there for a few minutes of awkwardness, all the while unsure if I am supposed to just lean over and kiss her. Steph must have sensed that I was struggling, so she invites me in. Once in the apartment, I am starting to doubt myself and getting so nervous that I am starting to shake a little (gotta love that Steph had no intention of bailing me out and making it easier on me, in fact I can tell that she is loving every second of this because she knows how nervous I am). So finally after pretending to look at her movie collection for as long as I can take it, I decide I am just going to throw caution to the wind and just make my move. Well, I greatly misjudged the distance between us because she had taken a step away while I was deciding to just man up and make her mine :) After the first step to where I expected her to be, I stumbled a little since I was off balance from leaning further than expected and was terrified of falling and making an even bigger idiot of myself, when she kind of caught me. Well I didn't pause to say anything stupid (clearly I am a guy and anything I tried to say would not have come out as cool as it sounded in my mind :)... ), so I just grabbed her and kissed her....

I won't go so far as to say there were fireworks (mostly because it just sounds corny) though she says it was more like a bomb went off...but there honestly was some type of crazy electricity in that kiss. It was unlike anything I have ever felt before. After that kiss, I knew that there would never be anyone else that I could ever feel like that with and that this girl was an absolute keeper.

We have had alot of issues to deal with and are working towards getting past them because what we have is strong and real. But I have have already rambled on much longer than I expected, so I will have to save the rest for another day...

All I know is that Steph is finally coming back from Washington DC on Friday and you can bet that I will be at the airport waiting to just grab her and let her know how much I missed her and that she is the most beautiful girl in the world.

On a side note, Steph asked me if I would go to the supermarket on Saturday to restock the apartment. Typically, I would just stay home and try to sneak in a few minutes of sports but for some strange reason I feel compelled to go and will definitely accompany her in the melon section.... :)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

New Years Resolutions: Where Are They Now?

Happy ten things day! Since it is almost the end of the 1st quarter of 2011, I thought I would revisit my new year's resolutions and give you a little update to where I'm at.

1. Save more money. Fail. I have not managed to save any money, but on the bright side, I have set a goal of being debt free by the end of this year. I am on the right track to do that and am making fantastic progress so far.

2. I will stop being a time nazi. Fail. I still get really really antsy when waiting for someone, and still find myself getting irritated when they are even a minute late. Case in point, during my dinner party a few weeks ago, I had thought Danielle was going to arrive at 5:30, but she didn't get there until almost first comment to her when she walked in the door..."you're late!!!!!!"

3. Bake less, cook more. Win! I have definitely been cooking more than I have been baking, but I can't deny my baking bug when it strikes me.

4. I resolve to stop resolving to give up coffee. Win! I have not said ONCE this year that I am going to give up coffee. I did just resolve to stop spending so much on Starbucks and start drinking the free coffee at work instead though.

5. Eat a more varied diet. Win! I have been trying to incorporate new and foreign fruits and veggies into my diet and at changing up the foods in my usual dishes to get a wider variety of nutrients in my diet.

6. Be better about strength training consistently. Fail. I have no idea why this is so hard for me. I can easily talk myself out of a strength workout, saying to myself "oh you don't need it" but when it comes to cardio I say "NO! You MUST work out." I wish I had that same kind of determination with strength training. I really have to work on this one.

7. I will not wait until the "GET GAS NOW!" light comes on in my car. Win! I have not let my car get below E since the beginning of the year. Mostly because she is very sick and needs her transmission rebuilt, so I haven't been driving her very much.

8. I will try to watch more adult TV programming. Fail. My DVR is still full with almost all teenager shows, which the exception of Grey's Anatomy and Survivor. I have really tried to get myself into some other shows with no success (The Event, Blue Bloods). I can't help myself.

9. I will stop buying bottles of OPI nail polish. Win! I have not bought a single bottle of nail polish this year. Instead, I have been trying to salvage some of my older polishes and considering them "new."

10. I will stop at just one cookie. This one is a huge gigantic FAIL. I still have yet to eat only one cookie at one time. NO self control.

How are you doing on your New Year's resolutions? Win or fail?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Few Updates

Flowers are blooming in DC this week! Hopefully they will be blooming in Boston when I get home on Friday!

And now for some updates...

Remember when I said I was going to give up dairy? Well, what I really meant was, I'm going to give up eating yogurt everyday, but I'm still going to have cream in my coffee, feta in my omelet, and the occasional quesadilla. Yeah, I'm a failure. Almost every morning for breakfast since I have been in DC, I have had an egg white omelet with spinach, peppers, tomatoes, and feta:

With a side of fruit (the toast on the side I only have on the weekends)

The conclusion so far is that I'm probably not going to cut ALL dairy out of my life, but I do need to cut down significantly. I have noticed a definite improvement as far as the gas situation goes (yes TMI, I know), but it's still too early to tell the effect reducing dairy will have on my skin, but I'm hoping for a definite improvement there too.

Now onto the training update! As you all know, I'm training to run the half marathon portion of Boston's Run to Remember on May 29th. I am about half way through my training at this point and am in my "happy place" where the long runs are 6-7 miles. I still have had no issues (knock on wood) as far as injuries or tightness anywhere thusfar (a huge improvement from my last half when plantar fascitis attacked me like a rabid animal). It has been so tough to run while I am here in DC because I no longer have a garmin and the fitness center in the hotel has no AC, and I am a wuss in the heat. Freezing temperatures, sure! Above 70? You're out of your mind. My goal for the half is to finish around 2:20. I am a slow runner so this is a reasonable goal for me. It will be a PR if I can finish in 2:30 or less, but I really want to strive for the 2:20. So far I feel good about my chances even though my training has been a little out of whack while I have been in DC.

And last but not y'all remember The Break Up? It wasn't pretty, but when it came down to it, it wasn't worth losing what I consider to be the love of my life (insert cheesy theme music here). The boy is back, and he will be making his debut on the blog later this week or early next week with his very own guest post.

Thursday I will have a restaurant review for you guys from Agora Restaurant in Dupont Circle, but I will warn you that it contains copious amounts of dairy!

What's new in your life?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Bloggers Invade DC

No, it wasn't just me invading DC.

Apparently the DC National Marathon was a huge draw for food bloggers this year. A ton of bloggers from all over the country came to race in the marathon and half marathon portion of the race. My original plan was to go in and spectate, but due to some unforseen circumstances that kept me awake until 5am (more on that later this week) I obviously opted for a few extra hours of sleep. Congratulations to everyone who ran and PR'ed!!!

After the race, all of us bloggers packed ourselves into the backroom of Northside Social in Arlington. It is a super cute wine and coffee bar. I went with the usual riesling (I'm much more a beer girl than a wine girl).

It was so nice to meet the girls whose blogs I read everyday. It's funny meeting bloggers in real life because you know so much about them already from reading their blog. There was about 40 other bloggers there and we PACKED the back room. I was busy chatting it up with everyone, so I didn't take as many pictures as I would have liked, but did get one with two of my absolute favorites: Kelly from My Verbal Vomit and Kacy from Low and Behold:

I also snapped a photo with Brittney from Life In a Holding Pattern, who was just as sweet in person as she is on her blog:

I also finally met (but did not get pictures with unfortunately) Tina from Carrots n Cake (who I live about 20 minutes from back in Boston funny enough), Nicole from the Yuppie Yogini, Beth from Beth's Journey, Mindy from Just a One Girl Revolution, Victoria from the District Chocoholic, Chase from the Chase Project, Beth from SwimBikeRunDC (who totally ROCKED the half marathon btw), Caitlin from Healthy Tipping Point, and Emily from Daily Garnish (and her husband Casey), just to name a few! Like I said, there were a lot of people there!

The party wound down by 8, but I headed upstairs with Kacy, her SIL (who posts on Kacy's blog), and Kelly to continue our gabbing. I had another glass of wine (you think you know where this is headed, but no, I stopped at 2). I love these instances where you can discuss the "stuff that doesn't go on the blog." You other bloggers know what I'm talking about! We wrapped up and headed our seperate ways around 9 (early night for me, I'm an old lady).

I was supposed to get back to the metro station by 10 in order for the hotel to send a shuttle for me. Well, I arrived at 10:02 and they wouldn't come get me. WTF is that?? 2 minutes late?? So I ended up taking a cab, which I can expense, but still, it was the principal. Couple that with the fitness center with no AC and horrible pillows and this may be one of the worst hotels I have stayed at. If I wasn't spending so much time here over the next six months, I would reveal the hotel, but I don't want them spitting in my room service or giving me dirty sheets, so I will refrain.

Anyone else run any races this past weekend? Have any coming up?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

And finally the other recipe I promised from my dinner party last week...the carrot cake cupcakes!

*From this recipe from Ina Garten

Ingredients for the cupcakes:

2 cups of sugar
1 1/3 cups of vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
2 cups flour
2 tsps cinnamon
2 tsps baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups grated carrots
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350. Beat sugar, oil, and vanilla together until smooth.

Add one egg at a time, mixing in between.

Combine dry ingredients (except for the carrots, raisins, and walnuts). Add half of the dry mixture to the wet and mix well.

Add the rest and mix well. Fold in the carrots, raisins, and walnuts.

Grease a muffin pan and fill each 3/4 of the way full.

Bake at 350 for 40 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean).

While the cupcakes are cooling, make your frosting!

Ingredients for frosting:

3/4 pound cream cheese
1 stick of unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 lb powdered sugar
2 tbsps milk
2 tsps cinnamon
2 tsps nutmeg

Beat the cream cheese, butter, milk, and vanilla until smooth.

Add in the powdered sugar a little at a time, beating until smooth.

Take a little taste test with your finger. You know, just to make sure it's right.

Frost your cupcakes. Sprinkle your cupcakes with additional walnuts if desired.

What is your favorite kind of cupcake?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Emotional Eating

Hey guys! Today I have a great guest post from one of my favorite bloggers (and good friend) Miss Melissa. If you don't already read her blog, seriously, do you live under a ROCK? Because she's kind of awesome. So without further ado...


Hi there! My name is Melissa and I write the blog, I’m very grateful to Stephanie for giving me the opportunity to guest post while she’s away hooking up with politicians in D.C.

Like Stephanie, I’ve had my share of cookie battles. I have a long history of disordered and emotional eating. I'm so grateful and happy that I'm no longer in a place where I do that. Sure, I indulge now and then, but that's normal. As a teen, I turned to food for comfort and love that I wasn't getting in other relationships in my life. I had friends, but was often very lonely. My parents weren't home very often (working) and when they were, they were too tired to spend any real, quality time with me. My father holed himself up in his bedroom and rarely came out to talk to me. My sister and I were never close because we simply don't have a lot in common. We both twirled baton and while I hated it, she loved it. I picked it up as a hobby as a way to get closer to her and because it seemed like it was what I was supposed to do. I never really enjoyed it and the fact that it didn't bring my sister and I closer, only made me dislike it more. I excelled in school, but it didn't seem to matter to my parents for some reason. My good grades didn't seem to impress them as much as winning a twirling trophy did.

My weight was a constant problem with my mother and my baton coach. I had to wear skintight costumes and they were always reminding me that I didn't look good in them and needed to lose weight. All my friends were other twirlers and I was embarassed to talk to them about my problems. Food was always there though. It tasted good and a bite of a cookie made all my problems go away. They say that nothing tastes as good as thin feels, but I disagree. After a long day at school, twirling practice and then being lectured about your weight by either your mother or baton coach, a bite of cake tastes better than anything. There would be times when I would get control of my emotional eating and lose a few pounds. My mother would be so proud and my coach would notice too, but a few pounds never seemed to be enough. I felt like nothing I did was ever enough for anyone. Food was my solace. It didn't judge me and it felt so good to eat something forbidden. In college, I excelled in my studies and made a lot of new friends. Weight was never an issue. What a relief! I felt free from being judged and was surrounded by people that liked me just how I was. Eventually I stopped turning to food for comfort and ate to fuel myself. I was ready to lose the last few pounds, but did it on my terms. I researched and found a diet plan I could live with and the weight melted off. I know quite a few people suffer from emotional eating, here are some tips that helped me gain control and confront the issues I was hiding from:

1. Find food-free ways to socialize. This was very helpful to me. I used to plan binges on days I knew I'd be going out with a friend for dinner. I would stuff myself with pizza and ice cream. It wasn't about spending time with my friend, it was about the food. That's just sad. Now when I spend time with friends, we get our nails done, go to the movies (bringing our own snacks), or go for a walk. It's about the friends now :)

2. Keep tempting foods out of the house. I know this can be a tough one. Especially if you have kids, but it's worth making the effort. You can't binge on ice cream if it's not in your freezer. Plus, it'll make ordering dessert that much more of a treat when you're out if you aren't eating it at home all the time.

3. Find Ways To Cope. When you're emotional eating, you're not eating because you're hungry. You're eating because you're unable to cope with your feelings. In my case, I was lonely and had a terrible body image. Finding friends and enjoying life again saved me. As an adult, it's not always that easy to make new friends or find that sort of outlet. There are sites like that have different meetups for people interested in all different hobbies. If you're reading this and live in MA, come to a healthy living meetup! If you really need someone to talk to, reach out to a family member you trust or look for a local support group. Sometimes all you need is someone to listen to your frustrations.

I hope some of you can use these tips to cope with emotional eating. It's a frustrating problem, but you can beat it!

Have you or do you suffer from emotional eating? What are some tips you can share?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My List of Grievances

It's ten things Wednesday! (This would sound so much better if it rhymed, so I get a fail for alliteration). Semi-inspired by my good friend Melissa's Three Things Thursday, I thought I would make a list of my own of things that are really getting to me lately.

Yes, I am not so secretly an angry person.

1. People who talk on their cell phone on the bus. Or in the supermarket. Or really anwhere in my general vicinity.

2. The cost of concert/play/art show/musical tickets. Most shows of Mary Poppins are going for $150 a ticket. Who HAS that kind of money? How are poor people like me ever supposed to get cultured when tickets are a car payment?

3. The 5 dollar footlong Subway commercials. Please. Make. It. Stop.

4. People who leave their phone on vibrate. The bzzzzzz sound really gets to me. Especially if it's every 5 seconds. If you're seriously that popular, just keep checking your phone and turn the vibrate off.

5. Daylight savings time. I love that it's light out later now, but seriously, for the first few days I feel like I have jet lag. It's only an hour, but for some reason it makes me feel like a zombie, minus the whole eating-people thing.

6. Can I ask you a question? Can you do me a favor? Can I get your opinion? Just come out with what you want. Don't waste my time with extra questions. I don't know why, but this really bugs me.

7. Line straddlers. You know these people. There are 2 lanes open at the store and they stand in the middle of the two so that they can hop in the line of whichever one is going faster, thus leaving you in the slower lane.

8. Automated system outerspace. Every company has an automated phone system now, so when you actually have an issue and have to call, their number selections never match your exact issue. You have to press 15 numbers to finally get to the crux of the problem, which then transfers you to a customer service representative. Why didn't I just get a customer service representative to begin with?

9. Not enough or too much of the bread or an appetizer at a restaurant. If four people go out to dinner, there should be four pieces of bread brought to the table, not three or five. This just creates awkward situations, because everyone wants that extra slice of bread. Same goes for appetizers. If there are two people, bring out two arancini, or four. Never three. I don't know why restaurants do this.

10. Airlines. It's not enough that I pay astronomical prices to fly, but then you have to charge me $25 to check a bag?? To add insult to injury, many airlines don't even offer snacks anymore. (JetBlue, you are the exception, I love you and fly you whenever I can...xoxoxo). Not only are snacks not offered, but when I order a diet coke as my in-flight beverage, give me the whole CAN. Why must you be so cheap???

What's really bugging you lately? Get it off your chest!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Workout DVDs - Jackie vs. Jillian

I typically don't like to work out at home. For some reason, I can just never motivate myself to pop in a DVD and go to town. That being said, I own a few fitness DVDs, and just purchased a new one to add to my collection. The reason for purchasing my newest fitness DVD was inspired by this article in Fitness magazine last month.

My collection started with these gems:

Yes, that's 8 minute abs you spy and Billy Blanks' Tae Bo! Classics I tell you! They never get old. I still have the Billy Bands that went with that Tae Bo DVD somewhere. I haven't used that DVD in years but one of these days I may have to bust it out just for posterity. Billy is so intense.

I've been looking for a good strength DVD to do at home because the gym that I go to now is really small, but it's in a large town and clearly a lot of people go to that gym, so it gets extremely crowded. And I hate being crowded, especially when I'm doing weights. I like Jillian's 30 Day Shred, but I was looking for something a little bit longer and more difficult.

Enter Jackie Warner.

I love Jackie Warner. Her and Jillian have been having a tug of war with my effections the last year or so. I would like my body to look more like Jillian's than Jackie's (Jackie is a little too cut and masculine looking for my liking) but I like Jackie's tough workouts.

After reading reviews about this DVD, I decided to give it a shot. I did what I always do and do what I call a "dry run" of the DVD first...which basically means I pop the DVD in and sit on the couch eating popcorn while I watch the fitness gurus get their sweat on. I think of it as prep work. So I know what I'm getting into. Let me tell you folks, it always LOOKS so much easier when you're not actually doing it.

I have now done Jackie's 40 minute program twice in the last week and I have been so sore for days after, which is an indication to me that it was a kickass workout. She has the same format as Jillian's 30 Day Shred, there are circuits that target a specific body part and then you do another body part and so on. Many of the moves are the same, but there are a few that are different, and Jackie's ab routine is much more comprehensive than Jillian's.

Overall, I have to say that I really like Jackie's DVD better. I absolutely adore Jillian and will of course continue to buy every book that she puts out and will cry when she's not on Biggest Loser anymore, but Jackie has definitely elbowed her way in to my fitness routine.

What fitness DVDs do you use? Or do you prefer to strength train at the gym? Also, Jackie or Jillian?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Worst Run of My Life

Hi from DC!

I am double posting today because I just HAD to tell you guys about the worst run of my life.

There is a gym in my hotel. With nice treadmills with TVs on them. A water cooler in the corner. Fresh towels. Pretty much the makings of an excellent hotel gym.

But wait. There is no AC.

And everything is PACKED in there.

I had ran on the treadmill down there the last time I was in DC, but it was only a couple of miles and I was alone.

Tonight, I was not alone. There was three other people in the gym with me.

I started out feeling great, I had 6 miles to go and was not super jazzed about having to do it on a treadmill, but I can adapt.

Typically, I start to sweat around the mile marker, just a light misting we'll call it. Well, tonight, I was DRIPPING by 0.5 miles. By 1 mile I felt like I was going to pass out. At 1.25 miles, I stopped for some water and ended up swilling all 16 ounces of my water. I got back on and ran another 0.35 miles and stopped to walk.

The rest my friends, was alternating between running, feeling on the verge of death, and walking, feeling like a total failure.

I got 4.5 miles in 60 minutes. Yes, that's 13 something a mile. I haven't run that slow since I was a newbie. Granted, when I was running, I was running 10:30 minute miles, but there was a LOT of walking.

I completely soaked through my shirt and ended up consuming 32 ounces of water. For 4.5 miles. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that it had to be about 80ish degrees in the gym between the body heat of the three of us and no ventilation whatsoever.

Tomorrow I am going to squeeze out 6 miles running outside, up and down the little strip that my hotel is on. I may have to go back and forth 20 times, but I will not attempt running more than 2 miles in the hotel gym again.

Talk about a self esteem killer.

Let's Talk About Shoes

Running shoes that is. I might have a slight shoe purchasing problem.

Up until a year and a half ago, I was very brand loyal to Mizuno. Old Mizunos:

The problem was that when I was training for my first half marathon, I started getting pain pretty much up and down my legs, knees, etc. I started to get this problem when my shoes would hit about 200 miles on them. So basically, it was the breaking down of the cushioning in the shoe that was causing me discomfort.

I went to a speciality running store near my old apartment and wanted to get fitted for new shoes. I told the salesperson my issue, that I was only getting 200 miles out of my shoe and I was looking for something more durable (because let's face it, running shoes aren't cheap, especially if you have to buy them every 3 months). After doing a gait analysis on me, the salesguy told me that I overpronated and that I needed a stability shoe and that was my problem. Well ok, let's get me some of those stability shoes then! Insert new Asics:

The very first time I ran more than a few miles in them, I could feel them rubbing the arches of my feet. I ended up with the biggest blisters I ever had in my life. Not only that, but they also rubbed the back of my heel. I regretted not sticking with old faithful. So chocking the Asics up as a loss, I started using them as cross training shoes only and went out and bought another pair of Mizunos:

For whatever reason, the sizing in these was severely off (I have always worn the same size Mizunos so did not bother trying these on) and they turned out to be too small for me, which I discovered after running in them and getting pain in my squished toes. So these too, became cross training shoes only.

That is percisely when I decided to try something completely different. Why not just purchase the next size up in the Mizunos you ask? Vanity. The same reason women who are a size 10 squeeze into a size 8. I can't deal with the thought that my feet have grown.

So I went to Dick's Sporting Goods and tried on about 100 different pairs of shoes and finally settled on these:

Friends, I am a convert. Why I had never tried Brooks in the first place, I will never know. I am currently training for my second half marathon and have had absolutely ZERO problems with these (knock on wood). Not a blister, no knee pain, nothing.

What sneakers do you run or workout in? Are you brand loyal?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Eggplant Manicotti

Hi readers! As promised, here is the recipe for the eggplant manicotti that I made for my dinner party on Wednesday.


1lb ricotta cheese
1 cup asiago cheese
1/4 cup of parmesan
1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 bag of spinach (fresh, only 1/2 cup if you're using frozen)
3 eggs
2 medium unpeeled eggplants, cut into 1/3 inch thick slices
1 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Jar of marinara (I'm too lazy to make my own)


2 hours ahead, drain the liquid out of the ricotta, let stand to drain.

Preheat the oven to 350. Wilt the spinach on medium heat (takes about 2-3 minutes) with 1 tbsp of olive oil. If you are using frozen spinach, drain and press the spinach well to get out all of the moisture.

Crack and scramble eggs in a bowl. Put the bread crumbs in a separate bowl.

Hire a helper to cut up the eggplant for you ;)

Dip the eggplant slices first in the egg, then in the breadcrumbs and place in a fry pan over medium eat, browning on each side (about 3-4 minutes on each side).

While those are cooking, mix the ricotta, garlic and the asiago with the wilted spinach. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Spread a thin layer of sauce in a 13x9 pan. Once the eggplant slices are finished, place 2 tbsps of the cheese mixture onto the narrow end and roll the eggplant up, placing seam side down into the baking dish.

Pour the remaining sauce over the eggplant manicottis. Sprinkle mozzarella on top.

Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

*Note: If you want to make this a healthier recipe, instead of breading and frying the eggplant, bake in the oven with salt at 350 for about 12 minutes.

Have you ever cooked with eggplant? What is your favorite recipe?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Hostess with the Mostest

Hey guys! So yesterday was weigh in day as you know, here are the results:

Starting weight: XXX
Week 1: -1.2
Week 2: +0.2
Week 3: -1.0
Total lost: -2.0

So clearly, when I'm being good, I lose a pound a week. I would like to be losing 2, but I think if I work out anymore or restrict my food any more than I do, I might go crazy. Plus I'm training for a half marathon.

Speaking of the half marathon, I pulled a calf muscle Tuesday night in a non-running related incident. It really really really hurt. Therefore, my scheduled 4 easy miles for Tuesday got pushed back to Friday. I plan to do the 2 mile loop around my house twice. I have speedwork tonight, so I'm hoping things go well. I'm going to do a lot of stretching of my calf before and after. I may take my 2 miles off the calendar for Saturday and just rest. Injuries scare me.

Aside from my weigh in and calf trouble, last night was a first for me. It was my first time hosting a dinner party!

I invited my lovely friends Danielle, Kristen, and Emily over for a delicious dinner, some wine, and gossip.

For appetizers, I made up some caprese skewers (cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and kalamata olives) and set out some buffalo chicken dip (supplied by Danielle).

Oh and of course there was wine.

Dinner was eggplant manicotti (recipe coming tomorrow) that was AMAZING.

For dessert, I made carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting (recipe to be posted next week).

We had a great time catching up and enjoying all of the delicious food. And of course I had to take a drunken self portrait, because that's how I roll. I may have had 3-4 glasses of wine. On a random Wednesday night. I'm a champ.

Have you ever hosted a dinner party?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My Kitchen Gadget Wish List

These are all the things that I have been fantasizing about to outfit my kitchen. Some I haven't bought just because they are expensive, but others just because they aren't something I necessarily would use very often and just haven't gotten around to buying them.

1. Stand Mixer - How much easier this would make my life! Right now I just use a hand mixer and let me tell you, it's amazing that I don't have carpel tunnel in my wrist by now.

2. Garlic Press - I just buy minced garlic in a jar, but if I had one of these I might be more inclined to use fresh garlic!

3. Dehydrator - I have wanted one of these for a very long time (I have had a few stints trying to go raw) and think it would make a fantastic addition to my kitchen.

4. Juicer - I love the idea of juicing, but unfrotunately any of the good juicers are really expensive.

5. Donut pan - I don't need an excuse to make donuts, which is why I haven't bought one of these yet.

6. A pretty cake plate - This will most likely be my next purchase, just so I have somewhere to store all my delicious baked goods and a pretty place to photograph them for the blog.

7. Keurig coffee maker - You all know I have a Starbucks addiction. If I had one of these at home, maybe I wouldn't waste so much money buying Starbucks.

8. A waffle maker - I love waffles and order them out whenever I can because I don't have a waffle maker at home. It would be so great to have so that I can have waffles whenever I want!

9. Soda Stream Soda Maker - This may be the coolest thing ever. Make your own soda? Yes please. I have an addiction to all things fizzy as well so it would be so much more inexpensive and economical to make my own soda.

10. Cuisinart Griddler - This would be perfect for pancakes and grilled cheeses. Right now I just use a skillet for those things, but my skillet has little ridges, which don't make the prettiest pancakes. I could use a griddler.

What kitchen gadgets do you own and love? What gadgets do you wish you had?