How to Spend a Weekend in Austin

One of my favorite things to do when I have friends visiting from out of town is showcase the best food in Austin. Last year when my best friend Jackie visited, we had fantastic burgers at Javelina on Rainey Street, saw a movie at the Alamo Drafthouse, enjoyed a bacon Bloody Mary brunch at Frank, and explored downtown restaurants on the Austin Eats Food Tour. After packing our schedule pretty full in 2013, I knew I’d have my work cut out for me while she was in town this year.

Torchy’s Tacos

Torchy’s sets the bar pretty damn high when it comes to tacos. I’ve talked about their Secret Menu before, but the regular menu has a ton of great options as well. If spicy food is your cup of tea, you’ll love the Brushfire. Or go for the Independent if you’re a vegetarian. There’s really something for everyone. In my book, their Green Chile Queso is tied with Kerbey Lane’s for the best in town. Their guac is pretty killer too. They opened a new location just around the corner from my house so we had lunch there on Friday.

Torchy's Tacos are Damn Good

Torchy's Tacos

Roaring Fork

Brad and I hit up up the happy hour here fairly regularly. They have a solid beer list for a high-end restaurant, delicious apps, and it’s one of the only places I know that has HH on the weekend. If you’re stuck on what to order, the Kettle of Green Chile Pork is a great choice.  Since it’s only one block from 6th Street, it works as the perfect spot to stop before a night out. I didn’t take a single picture because my other best friend from NJ, Ashley, happened to be in town for a conference and joined us for the night. We were too busy downing dirty martinis and catching up to pull out a phone or camera. There was a quick stop at Maggie Mae’s for a drink before our reservation at the next bar and the three of us jumped in a photo together for the first time since 2010.


Midnight Cowboy

This is the first bar I’ve ever been to where reservations are encouraged. It’s hidden on 6th Street and you need to use an apartment-style buzzer for Harry Craddock at the door to be let in. The host will ask for your name and then usher you quickly inside. The bar is dark and lined with plush leather booths, definitely a change of pace from the normal bars on 6th. There’s a two-drink minimum per person, so you’ll be feeling nice and toasty when you head out of there. Our favorites of the night were the Rusty Peach and Byrrh Cocktail: both whiskey drinks, both strong and perfectly balanced. They discourage pretty much all photography in there but I snuck a shot of the bar cart while our server made our drinks tableside. And one of our first round of drinks. [with a flash. pretty sure I got yelled at for that. can’t take me anywhere!]



Turkey Creek Trail

The next morning required a fair amount of coffee before we made our way out to Turkey Creek for a hike. The trail isn’t as lush and green as usual since it’s “winter” here in Austin, but it’s still one of our favorite spots to escape the city and get a few miles in. The dogs love the 3 mile loop too since it’s off-leash and they have free reign of the area.



After dropping Ashley off at the airport to head back to snow-covered NJ, we had an early dinner at Chuy’s. The North Austin location has horrible parking, which keeps us from eating there as often as we’d like – and at Brick House next door. Having dinner at 4:30 meant up front parking and actually sitting down without a wait. Pretty sure that’s never happened to us. Chips & salsa [request the creamy jalapeno – necessity!] hit the table and we ordered beer, margaritas, burritos, fajitas. You know, all the basics.


Texas Stars Game

Fun fact: we’ve never been at a game that ended in a win for the Stars. The venue is less than five minutes from our house and the tickets are really cheap, so we try to make it to a few games every season. But seriously, it would be awesome if they could come out on top for once. For the record, they’re currently in first place. Obviously we’re just bad luck. Brad sprung for center ice seats and we had a great view!



I bought us each two hockey pucks for the “Chuck a Puck” contest. Sadly we didn’t come even remotely close to hitting the target. Another fun fact: this was my first hockey game sans beer. The margaritas from dinner held me over and I didn’t want to be too hungover to drink at brunch the next morning. <— LOL


This restaurant has been on my Explore Austin list for awhile and I was excited to finally check it out. We arrived a little late [their brunch is known for long waits] but managed to snag the last table inside. Gah, this menu. Man, I could probably eat brunch for every single meal of the day. Especially if it meant each meal came with $2 mimosas… We went back and forth on so many items and eventually decided on three dishes to share. Except we ended up keeping our own meals, so that didn’t exactly work out. The food was fantastic! Jackie ordered a pork belly and butternut squash frittata, Brad had banana-stuffed french toast with blackberry compote, and I went with the brisket hash with poached eggs and hollandaise. And then we ordered dessert, beignets with cappuccino sauce.



Austin Beer Works

We could hardly breathe after brunch so we did a few laps around the Domain in attempt to burn some calories before hitting the brewery. Austin Beer Works does tours every Saturday & Sunday from 1-6pm and for $10 they give you a pint glass to keep + 3 full-sized samples. We chatted with the bartender, who was super knowledgeable and helped us decide on what brews to try. They weren’t stingy with samples so you had the opportunity to try a few before committing to the full pint.

Austin Beer Works Beer List

I’ve always been a big stout lover [my fave is Independence Brewery’s Convict Hill] so the three beers I chose were a bit on the darker side: Black IPA, Black Thunder, and Sputnik. My favorite sips stolen from Jackie and Brad were Fire Eagle and Battle Axe. They even had a beer with glitter in it, Mr. Sparkle. Austin Beer Works had a more personal vibe to it than Independence and I loved being able to learn so much about the different beers they offer.


How Do You Roll?

And last but not least, HDYR. They’ve been around for several years and were recently featured on Shark Tank. They’re a fast-casual sushi restaurant known for their made-to-order custom rolls. I’m one of those pain in the ass people that changes every sushi roll because there’s something in it I don’t like, so this place is basically made for me. We’re definitely going back in March after the dining-out ban has been lifted.

How Do You Roll



We started with dumplings and then ordered the Funky Fresh Chicken Roll, Crazy Cajun Roll, and 3 Alarm Spicy Tuna Bowl. The wait was a little longer than expected, especially since we were one of two tables in the entire place but the food was well worth it. Everything was fresh and delicious.




So yeah, if you have any vacation days you need to burn, come visit me in Austin. And bring your best spandex pants – you’re gonna need ‘em.

Tuesday Things

1. My ‘Explore Austin’ project has been getting some love. While friends were in town a couple weeks ago, we hit some of the bars and restaurants I’ve been dying to try over the past few years. I don’t want to go into too much detail since the post tomorrow covers all the good stuff, but my new favorite thing to do is visit breweries. Definitely need to add a few to the list, like Adelbert’s, 512, and Circle Brewing. And after Cely’s review of the Austin Brew Bus, let’s go ahead and put that on the list too. For March, obviously – my wallet is zipped tight this month.


2. In my opinion, iceberg lettuce is the worst lettuce ever. My go-to greens are either romaine or a spinach-arugula mix. Iceberg only appears in the house when there’s a BBQ and I need some cheap toppings for burgers. After having people over for the Super Bowl, I had a giant chunk of the ‘berg leftover and no idea what to do with it except throw it away. Then the light bulb came on: wedge salads. I’ll rant and rave about iceberg being a sad excuse for ‘greens’ but put a wedge salad in front of me and I’ll eat my words. And that salad. If you’re good at drawing conclusions, I bet you can guess what was for dinner last night.


3. Speaking of Super Bowl Sunday, Jeanette came by and brought Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate PB Cups with her. She very quickly became everyone’s favorite person. Brad wanted to know why we never have them in the house. I wasted no time letting him know it was because he can’t be trusted around anything dessert-related. Then I felt bad [even though my statement was true – he agreed!] and headed to TJ’s yesterday to pick up some PB cups for him.


And the Cocoa Swirl Cookie Butter. And managed to grab one of the last two containers of Coconut Body Butter, which they are alwayyyys out of. Also, a few other unpictured purchases were the Roasted Tomato & Red Pepper soup, aged gorgonzola, and a bag of blood oranges. Typical TJ’s story: go in for one thing, walk out with 12. TJ’s & Target are basically the same.

4. Our adorable little puppy has been more of a little menace than usual lately. After our Houston trip [where she was crated for most of the weekend] she went on a destructive tear throughout the house, leaving a softball-sized hole in our comforter and an even bigger hole in another quilt that we ended up tossing. She’s a nightmare while unsupervised during the 2 hour period between when Brad leaves for work and I get up, so we started crating her again until she can be trusted. She sleeps in bed with us every night from 10pm – 4am and never budges. So when I woke up at 2am early this morning and didn’t see her curled up at my feet, I knew we were in trouble.


RIP pillow, you will be missed.

5. This is probably counterproductive, but at the end of January I ordered a bunch of new kitchen toys to help make cooking more fun throughout the month of February. I replaced quite a few of my spoons/spatulas with Tovolo utensils – and I am in LOVE. They’re much easier to clean than the normal plastic ones and they’re super pretty too (<— important) I also bought these soup bowls, giant coffee mugs [100% against Brad’s will “we already have enough mugs!”], and a pizza wheel. Joseph Joseph has the coolest stuff: this spatula is ginormous & perfect for flippin’ pancakes and this scoop colander is great to use instead of your giant colander when cooking a smaller portion of shells or elbows. I own both of them but purchased awhile back. Big ol’ stamp of approval from this girl. OH! And a new knife block because half of our knives are missing and/or need serious sharpening. 10 years and many a dishwasher cycle put some serious wear on them.

Chicago Cutlery Knife Block

So yes, I spent money to save money. They’re INVESTMENTS. At least that’s what I’m telling myself.

Counting My Pennies

In the fall of last year, Brad and I were saving for our road trip to Florida and on a serious mission to keep our spending limited. Only the necessities were purchased and we ate A LOT of chili and spaghetti. Like, A LOT. It was cheap and large batches lasted us for several days. Between the cross-country trip and the week following it, I spent more time in restaurants than I did in my own kitchen. Shortly after that was our visit to Houston and then a 3-day weekend spent dining in fantastic restaurants all around Austin. Mint was pinging my email incessantly, sending warnings that I had exceeded my Food & Dining budget for January. 


I’ve been loosely participating in this 12×30 challenge, ie. photos were taken every day in January, but not all made it on social media. February is a “No Spend Challenge” but I’m modifying it to only apply to food. This month will be sans happy hours, coffee runs, and lunches at Whole Foods Express next to the office. No ordering a pizza when I’m not in the mood to cook. Hopefully this will help get us back on track money-wise and eliminate the dependency on restaurants. It should also help me feel really sad about missing out on Dunkin’ Donuts for an entire month.

I’m also thinking of jumping on Mint’s #28DaysofSaving challenge on Instagram because hey, who doesn’t love free money? Probably won’t post on Insta because I don’t do that anyway – not planning on spamming people. But there’s a handful of days I have ideas for so it’s time to get creative and try to win $50!


Suppose I should go ahead and throw the disclaimer out there: NO, I am not partnered with Mint on this promotion or affiliated with them in any way, shape or form. I use their site to track spending on food, gas, and running crap. It’s a nice eye-opening experience at the end of each month [and year] to see how much you’re really shelling out on running shoes and “quick & cheap” lunches out. Anyway, Feedly recently recommended their blog to me [probably because I subscribe to And Then We Saved + Our Freaking Budget] and it’s full of helpful money saving tips. This post is where I learned about #28DaysofSaving.

Now, who wants to volunteer to buy me Dunkin’ Donuts this month?

Where the Magical Cookie Butter Lives

Trader Joe's Rollingwood

I’ve been listening to everyone rave about Trader Joe’s over the past few years but never quite understood the hype until one opened in Austin in September. I went on opening day like an idiot and walked out with a reusable TJ’s grocery bag (Austin banned plastic bags earlier this year) full of Syrah-soaked cheese, Chili-Lime Chicken Burgers, and the wildly sought after Speculoos Cookie Butter. That stuff is equal parts delicious and dangerous. If you’re confident in your willpower, purchasing cookie butter should be no problem. But if you’re not? Plan on sneaking a spoonful (or 12) every time you’re within 5 feet of it.

Trader Joes Rollingwood

I made another trip last week and here’s what I picked up:

Basil only $1.99 – and it’s a plant! Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Soup perfect with grilled cheese;
Fresh Ciabatta Bread; Charles Shaw “Two-Buck Chuck” Cabernet; Cranberry Apple Butter


Frozen Fire-Roasted Veggies; Chile-Lime Chicken Burgers buy these – SO GOOD! I like them with pepper jack cheese + avocado (or guac); Chicken Fried Rice; Chicken & Vegetable Dumplings; Prosciutto Perline Pasta toss with arugula + cherry tomatoes, drizzle with good quality EVOO + pesto


Burrata ohmygod BURRATA. Make your caprese salads with this and you’ll never go back to regular mozzarella; Havarti Cheese with Dill pretty underwhelming, in my opinion;
Chocolate Cheddar Cheese WEIRD. Definitely wasn’t expecting to like this as much as I did. After you get over the fact there’s chocolate in your cheese, it’s pretty damn good.


Build Your Own 6-Pack I mean, it’s hard to go wrong here. You can pick up a variety of regulars or be adventurous with some new brews. I opted for a mix of the two.



A few other unpictured favorites are the pumpkin waffles, fresh garlic & herb pizza dough, red pepper jelly (awesome on biscuits or coconut shrimp), and spinach tortellini. Much to my wallet’s dismay, I haven’t been disappointed with a single Trader Joe’s item yet.

Do you have a Trader Joe’s near you? What are your favorite items?

Tuesday Things

Caution: 100% randomness lies ahead. You’ve been warned.

I ordered a new Erin Condren planner. Surprisingly I actually used the 2012-13 one for the entire year, which NEVER happens when it comes to planners. Pre-EC I’d buy three or four generic ones a year and then toss them in our office after a month. Erin Condren is the BEST. What’s not the best is the wait time between order and delivery. But I guess it’s a small price to pay for a personalized planner. Sometimes I don’t understand how I became such a nerd.

I’m no longer a FitFluential Ambassador. To be honest, this was a long time coming. I truly appreciated the opportunity but in the end it just wasn’t for me. That’s all I’ll say about that.

Summer running is the freakin’ devil. Last summer I dealt with the heat by running after 9pm when the temperature was only 90 degrees but because Brad’s alarm goes off at 3:45, we can’t run that late anymore. We’ve also been having the dogs run with us and (unsurprisingly) they’re heavily panting with side-tongue pretty much a quarter-mile in. Ugh. Fall, I’m ready for you.

Texas Summer

The secret menu at Torchy’s Tacos is not to be missed. Last weekend when Paula was in town we made a trip to Torchy’s for dinner. I hadn’t been since they unveiled the secret menu so ordering items from it was a necessity.

Torchy's Secret Menu

On the left is the Ace of Spades, which is jalapeno sausage and grilled brisket topped with a fried egg, green chile queso, cotija cheese, sour cream, more cheese (!!) and Diablo sauce. This one was REALLY good. If I knew it was going to be bigger than their normal tacos I probably would have only ordered one. And then Paula wouldn’t have yelled at me for not finishing my dinner.

On the right is the Trailer Park Hillbilly Style which is fried chicken, chorizo, chopped bacon, green chiles, queso and poblano ranch. I’m a sucker for an amazing ranch so this one was the big winner for me.

Watching the bats from a cruise is much better than watching from the bridge. Austin is home to the largest urban bat colony in North America. FREAKY. Almost every night between March and October roughly one million bats leave their home under the Congress Bridge at dusk in search of food. I’ve seen them several times from the bridge, but Paula, Brad and I decided to take a cruise out on Lady Bird Lake to watch them last weekend.

Congress Bridge Sunset

The cruise was only ten bucks and worth every penny. Added perk: BYOB! We packed a cooler full of beer and headed out on a cruise around the lake.

I made a dent in one of my 2013 goals, which was to revamp the office. I spent a good portion of Saturday locked in the office organizing like a mad woman. Back in February we bought a bigger bed for the master bedroom and a few things had to be moved into the office. And when we’re cleaning the living + dining rooms, a lot of things get put into the office and we just shut the door. Suffice it to say, that room is damn mess. Well, WAS. Turns out there is actually a floor in there. Who knew!

I’m really loving this Solemate Portable Speaker.

Solemate Portable Speaker (2)

Brad and I pretty much cleaned the entire house on Saturday and this speaker moved with us from the patio to the office to the garage. We played music from our phones using the Bluetooth but you can also connect it to your laptop or iPod. It was nice to bring it from room to outside without having to worry about it being plugged in! You can also answer phone calls or chat via Skype through the speaker, although I haven’t tested that part out yet. The sound is great and the battery life would have lasted our entire cleaning spree if it wasn’t for that hot mess in the office.

Solemate Portable Speaker

Disclaimer: I received the Solemate Portable Speaker from Jabra in exchange for reviewing their product. All opinions are my own. And my opinion is that this thing rocks. Literally.

The puppy is getting way too big, way too fast.

At the rate she’s going, I should be able to ride her like a pony around the backyard next month.

Grocery Shopping like a Nerd

Inspired by Tiffany’s post last week, I thought I’d share my OCD grocery shopping and meal planning tactics.

Meal Planning

(from top left: Shakshouka, Strawberry Balsamic Pizza, Curried Cauliflower and Chickpeas
with Grains
, Smoky Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos, White Pizza Lasagna,
Zucchini Cakes, and Double Bean Quesadillas)

Every Wednesday our ads for HEB (local grocery store) and Sprouts Farmer’s Market come in the mail. I sit down and comb each page of the ads, making a list of everything on sale.


Then I make a list of everything in our pantry and fridge. I try to choose recipes where a majority of the ingredients are already in our kitchen since it’s more cost effective.


Next I hop on the internet machine and hunt down some recipes. Lately I’ve become borderline obsessed with Jessica from How Sweet Eats and many of the meals on our list this week are straight from her archives. Melissa raved about a Curried Cauliflower and Chickpea recipe she made recently so that made it’s way onto the list as well. I try to have between 5-7 meals planned out; this will get us through about a week and a half since most recipes have plenty of leftovers.

Then I make ANOTHER LIST with all of the meals on the left and their respective ingredients on the right.


From this list, I make my final grocery list which has HEB on one side and Sprouts on the other. Each side is also divided up by aisle. Yes, I have issues. But you’d be surprised how fast I can get in and out of a grocery store. So don’t judge.


Sprouts is at about the halfway mark in my commute so I’ll stop there on Friday on my way home from work. Once I get home and put the groceries away, Brad and I head to HEB for Round 2. Shopping on Friday night around 6pm preserves your sanity considering most of the city is out having happy hour cocktails or kicking off date night. We’re home no later than 7 and then the weekend can officially begin!

Tell me your best grocery shopping and/or meal planning tip.

LDW Wrap-up & September Changes

I’d be hard pressed to think of a long weekend that was more relaxing than this one. It consisted of a ton of cooking, three coffee-fueled trips to the dog park, adult beverages, and sleeping in. Sounds terrible, right?

Here’s an Instagram tour of the weekend:

Caprese Spaghetti Squash

Bo and American Mastiff

Bo Dolphin

3 Olives Loopy

Beer and Wine

The final meal of the weekend was inspired by a recipe from The Wannabe Foodie: Butternut Squash Mac n Cheese. Because I have a realllyyyy hard time following directions, I revamped the recipe as follows:

  • 1 container DePasquales fresh pasta (or 1 box gemelli) 1 box Ancient Harvest Quinoa Veggie Curls
  • 1 cup butternut squash puree pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons fat free half and half
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth vegetable broth
  • 1 heaping tablespoon 1/3 fat cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese smoked gouda
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup onions, sliced thinly leeks, thinly sliced
  • 1 glove garlic, sliced thinly or grated
  • 1 large crispy apple, grated
  • 4 tablespoons crumbled bacon
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage fresh basil
  • freshly grated Fontina for garnish

Did you think I was exaggerating when I said “revamped”?

I knew I’d end up omitting the bacon so I wanted to add something to enhance the flavor of the dish a little. The smoked gouda was perfect for that. I think it would definitely be better with bacon BUT if you’re a vegetarian, this recipe is still a homerun. Make it. You won’t regret it. I’ll be happily eating leftovers all week.

Pumpkin Quinoa Pasta with Smoked Gouda and Apples

So back to that whole vegetarian thing. Yesterday I mentioned we were embarking on a meat-free journey for the month of September. I’m trying to broaden our horizons when it comes to meals so this will force me to try a few new (to me) things, like spaghetti squash. Cooking is something I’m really passionate about and I think this month will really push me outside my comfort zone and get a little creative.

I used to be a vegetarian so this isn’t a “see if I can last a month without bacon” challenge. I know I can do it, and physically (and mentally) feel better when following a plant-based diet. I’d like to get back to that point. Brad is joining me for the month, but may not stick to it 100%. If he wants meat, he says he’ll cook it himself. And once that calendar flips over to October 1st I’m sure he’ll go running back to his carnivorous ways. As for me? I wouldn’t be surprised if I remained an ovo-lacto. We shall see.

Are you a vegetarian? If no, have you followed a plant-based diet in the past?

Link to your favorite vegetarian recipes below!  {please&thankyou}

Dinner with Chobani at EVOO

While in Cambridge last weekend I had the opportunity to attend an event at EVOO hosted by Chobani. Ashley, Kristin and I met up in our room for a glass of wine and then caught a cab to Kendall Square for dinner.

photo credit: caitlin



Chef Peter McCarthy put together a special menu for us, incorporating Chobani into every course.


While chatting excitedly over the menu, we ordered a round of cocktails and snacked on spiced nuts & cheeses. After much deliberation I strayed from my usual wine order and went with the Lemon Basil Mojito.


I liked this combination much better than the traditional lime and mint mojito.

First Course was Heirloom Tomatoes, Yogurt Gelee, Spearmint, Basil, EVOO, and Coarse Salt. Caprese Salad is one of my favorites so once this dish was set down in front of me I knew I’d love it. Although I was skeptical at first, the texture of the yogurt gelee was very similar to fresh mozzarella. The salt also brought out the sweetness of the heirloom tomatoes. This one was a winner.


Second Course was Lobster-Vanilla Yogurt Succotash. I loved the presentation of this dish. The subtle hint of vanilla paired perfectly with the lobster, complementing the fresh crisp vegetables.


The Main Course was Seared Yogurt & Spice Sous Vide Lamb Loin with Crisp Eggplant and Raita. A little back story: I went vegetarian for a year in 2009. I started eating meat again in 2010 but lamb was one thing (along with veal) which I just couldn’t imagine eating again. I figured if anything, I would at least try it.

The lamb loin was very tender and the raita flavorful. The two components worked really well together, rather than the raita simply being a condiment for the lamb. The fried eggplant was a nice touch – I definitely wouldn’t have minded an extra piece. Or two!


Dessert was a Nectarine-Basil Crisp with Frozen Berry Yogurt. This was hands-down my favorite of the night. The contrast of the cold strawberry yogurt and warm crisp was incredible. You could have heard a pin drop during this course – everyone was too busy enjoying their food to talk!


Overall the dinner was absolutely phenomenal. The flavor in each course was spot on and Chobani never overpowered the dish. Chef Peter McCarthy came out afterwards to discuss his menu a little and it was interesting to hear the thought process for each dish.


We snapped a few photos after dinner and then hopped in a cab to drag our full, happy selves back to the Hyatt.


Emily of Chobani, me, Ashley, and Kristin


Awesome meal, amazing bloggers, great company!

Huge thanks to Emily, Amy, and Ashley of Chobani for giving me the opportunity to attend this wonderful dinner and EVOO for hosting. I felt truly honored to be a part of it. If I had to describe dinner in only three words…

Nothing but good.

And the award goes to…

Beautiful Blogger Award

On Friday afternoon I was nominated by the fabulous Running Bun for the Beautiful Blogger Award! If you don’t already read Ashley’s blog, I seriously recommend you subscribe or add her to your reader. Immediately if not sooner! She is freakin’ hilarious, inspirational, and fast as hell. She pretty much rocks and I love her – you will too!! Thanks so much Ashley for nominating me!

Here are the rules:

  • Copy the Beautiful Blogger Award logo and place it in your post.
  • Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  • Tell 7 things about yourself.
  • Nominate 7 other bloggers for the Beautiful Blogger Award, and comment on their blogs to let them know.

My Seven Things

1. I’ve seen every single episode of Friends AT LEAST five times each. I own every season on DVD (except for seasons 1 & 2 … which are on VHS – remember those?!) but will still watch every time it’s on TV. If you know what Bamboozled, Unagi, and “I’m an EIGHT?!” means, we can be BFFs.

2. I never put my purse on the floor because of the superstition that it will make me lose money. I’ll eat an entire meal with my purse in my lap or sit on the edge of my chair with the purse behind me. If I don’t have a carry-on with me on the plane to set it down on, I will hold my purse in my lap for the entire flight. It will never touch the floor. EVER. Who knows if its true or not, but I don’t want to test it out.

3. I’m fluent in sarcasm. Really ridiculously good at it. Enough said.

4. I have two younger sisters, and somehow I’m the shortest. Not sure how that happened.



5. I was a vegetarian for a year in 2009. While waiting for a flight out of the Atlantic City airport, I came across and purchased Skinny Bitch. By the time I returned home to Florida, my mind was made up: I was done eating meat. I lasted one year. I blame Texas and it’s abundance of steaks. And bacon. And other deliciousness.

6. I used to have black hair.


Jersey Fresh

And really blonde hair.



And probably every color in between.




7. I have no interest in getting married. Okay, that’s not entirely true – maybe SOMEDAY. But for right now? Completely content with the way things are. Brad and I have been together for seven years (minus one year, 2008, when he first moved to Texas) and I operate on this principle: if it ain’t broke? don’t fix it! I don’t need a ring or a wedding or a piece of paper that says I’m married to solidify the fact we’re in a committed relationship. We’re happy, don’t fight, and love each other to death – I mean, how much more do you need?


Annnnd now for the nominations! A few of my favorite beautiful bloggers 🙂

  Amanda from Running on Waffles
  Paula from Eat Watch Run
  Michelle from Crazy Running Legs
  Melissa from Hungry Healthy Happy
  Courtney from C is for Courtney
  Chelsea from Masher 52
  Carly from Carly Bananas

Hope everyone enjoyed getting to know a little bit more about me & thanks again Ashley for the Beautiful Blogger Award nomination!

A PR Attempt

Sunday morning I found myself rested and wide awake at 7am, thanks to the magnesium I’ve been taking every night before bed – holy deep sleep! After catching up on blogs and Twitter, I decided to take advantage of an early start on the day. On Saturday I had given the house a deep clean and came across a Starbucks card with some money still on it so I made trip out to grab us some iced coffees.

We’ve cut way back on coffee, as in we don’t even keep it in the house anymore, but it’s nice to have every once in awhile. I’ve been loving this So Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer lately.

Coconut Milk Creamer

The consistency is nearly identical to that of regular flavored coffee creamer but with less fat, calories and sugar. A small splash of it in iced coffee is delicious.

Once back at the house I got to work on our meals for the week:

It was just after 8am when the pots and pans hit the stove. I had a secret {lofty} goal to be finished with cooking and cleanup before noon. Whipping up breakfast would need to happen at some point too, adding another obstacle in my way. But the thought of breaking my, ahem, Sunday Cooking PR time was very appealing.

I’ve made the chili countless times but this time added more beans (garbanzo rather than cannellini), used fat-free sour cream and fat-free half & half.

White Turkey Chili

The Green Chile Corn Muffins are simply a box of cornbread mix

Honey Cornbread

with one cup of reduced-fat cheddar cheese and one can of fire-roasted diced green chiles added in.

Green Chile Corn Muffins

The crock-pot pulled pork is another Eat Live Run recipe and honestly one of the easiest recipes ever. Season pork, brown in a pan, and then add to a crock-pot with diced onions and BBQ sauce. After 6-8 hours of simmering, the pork is so tender it falls apart on its own. Perfect and amazing.

Crockpot Pulled Pork

This macaroni salad from Skinnytaste far exceeded my expectations! I didn’t think it would be very creamy but it tasted every bit as good as any full-fat mayo-laden macaroni salad you’d find at a 4th of July BBQ. The recipe yields 16 cups so unless you’re bringing it to share with a party, I’d recommending halving it.

Macaroni Salad

The egg salad recipe was made up on the fly: hard-boiled eggs (shocking ingredient, no?) less than a tablespoon of reduced-fat olive oil mayo, a few teaspoons of Dijon mustard, cayenne pepper and S&P to taste.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering if I nailed that PR:

Cooking PR

Now I need to work on a goal for next week…