New Girl

I’m a planner. I like to have a plan. A schedule. To know what’s coming up. On weekends, I’m better at rolling with the punches, but during the week, I’m all about the regimen.

Run. Blog. Work. Dinner . . . blog?

I never want to put myself in a box and say, “I have to blog twice a day!” Or even once a day for that matter.

Typically, I’ll do a morning post and an evening post. But now that I’m back in Michigan, and I have actual people to hang out with and talk to, I feel like I have less to say on the blog.

Anyway, my point is that I think I’m going to try being a “once-a-day’er” for a while. Or maybe not even every day. I enjoy blogging, and I want it to continue to be something I enjoy—a hobby, not an obligation. That’s why I’ve never put ads on my blog or switched it over from a wordpress site. It’s not that I think anyone that does that is doing something wrong; it’s just that it’s not for me.

*And if you read all that, thank you for listening while I noodled that out. Winking smile

So let’s begin today with a little rewind to last night. In an effort to convert my dad family to my veggie ways,  I made Cheesy Stuffed Eggplant for dinner.


This isn’t the first appearance of this dish on the ol’ blog. When I visited family friends in Charlotte back in April, we had this for dinner.

Dare I say it was better than I remembered?


The eggplant is so meaty that you really don’t miss the meat! Even my dad who is perpetually asking, “Where’s the meat?” proclaimed that he would eat it regularly!


I think the trick is the combo of the meaty eggplant with walnuts and bulgur wheat. They come together to give the dish a lot of bulk, while fresh basil, zucchini and tomatoes keep it light. Healthy, filling and delish! Even though it’s a bit labor intensive (scooping out the eggplant, boiling it, broiling it, chopping the veggies, etc.) I’m keeping this recipe in the rotation for sure! None of the steps were hard, and it was totally worth the effort!

You might also notice that those pictures were taken outside! Yep, it was nice enough for a late September dinner on the deck! Yahoo!


We sat outside until it got dark, chatting and enjoying the outdoors while we had the chance.

After dinner, I caught Zooey Deschanel’s new show, New Girl.


Did anyone else see it???? I was LOL’ing all over the place. Seriously. Knee slapping and all that, too. Loved it! I’m glad I DVR’ed it because I’ll probably watch it again today. So freaking hilarious! Perhaps because it felt somewhat true to life for me??? Winking smile

This morning, I cashed in a Groupon I bought a couple of weeks ago to a gym in town. I haven’t had a gym membership in at least 2 years. It was only $10 for a 2 month membership, so it’s a steal of a deal. Why not, right?

Since SmartCoach had speedwork on the agenda today, I figured it was a good day to try out their treadmills.


I like it that the training plan just tells me what to do. Much better than having to dream it up on my own. The mile repeats? Well, they were hard. I kept telling myself—it’s only 8 minutes—but I still struggled through them. I did it, though, and that’s what counts! My workout ended up looking like this:

Distance Pace
1 mile 6.0
1 mile 7.5
.5 mile 5.5
1 mile 7.5
.5 mile 5.0
1 mile 7.5
.5 mile 4.5
.5 mile 6.0
Total 6 miles 56:00

Good enough for me! Truth be told, I was a sweaty mess when I finally hopped off the treadmill. It was pretty much disgusting. I toweled off in the locker room, but I had that oh-so-attractive can’t stop sweating thing going on. HOT.

Zooey-Deschanel in public

Yeah, might have to cut that out if I don’t want to be single forever . . .

Did you watch New Girl?

What’s your favorite meat-free meal?

Do you like following a workout training plan or would you rather just do whatever you feel up to?


The blog world seems to be having a collective orgasm over the return of pumpkin to our grocery store shelves. A pump-gasm? An or-pumpkin?

All I know is that everyone seems to be all hot and bothered by the fact that pumpkin is back in our lives.

Don’t get me wrong, I love me some pumpkin, but I suppose I’m just flirting with it right now rather than having a full on love affair.

That said, I do enjoy the deliciousness that is pumpkin, and given that it’s decorative gourd season, motherf*@#ers, I’ve been enjoying my fair share.

One of the things to love about pumpkin is that it can be sweet or savory, which to me is some kind of paradox in the food universe. I mean, how can something that is the cornerstone of Thanksgiving dessert also become soup and enchiladas? It’s a mystery, my friends. A mystery.

pumpkin identity crisis

In an effort to embrace the versatile gourd, I’ve incorporated pumpkin into several meals and snacks lately. Wanna see? Wanna see?

First, we have the sweet.


That’d be your typical pumpkin smoothie in a bowl: vanilla protein powder, coconut milk, pumpkin, cinnamon, frozen banana, and ice cubes for extra thickness.


Cool, creamy, and seasonally scrumptious.

Then, I had an unexpectedly savory experience with pumpkin.


A toasty English muffin with pumpkin and crunchy roasted almond butter with flaxseeds from Trader Joes (<—un.freaking.believable).


I thought it would be sweet because of the almond butter, but the pumpkin somehow took it to a (very delicious) savory place. Magically delicious!

And you know I couldn’t go pumpkin without going in the oatmeal direction.


I mix the pumpkin into the milk while it’s heating on the stove, along with cinnamon, a little sugar because savory oats just sound gross to me, and some vanilla.


Topped with melty almond butter, the pumpkin makes these oats get pillowy soft and creamy. Mmmm mmmm good.

So now that I’ve ripped off my pumpkin descriptions from Lucky Charms and Campbell’s soup, I need to know how you’re having your way with pumpkin this fall. Are you into it? Or is it overrated?

Pirates Part 2

This afternoon, the rain went from drizzly to steady to torrential. It was too nasty to even leave the house to get to the gym, so I was stuck with my nemesis.

Surprisingly, the 5 mile run flew by, and I didn’t feel that 1.5 incline at all. I think the slower speed helped quite a bit. As well as the distraction from these lovely ladies.


Please tell me you watch Food Network on the treadmill, too. It really does make the time go by!

Afterward, I finished up with some dreaded weight training the form of an arms and chest workout that loosely resembled what I do on the Jackie Warner DVD. But instead of Jackie, Ina was on the TV.


I feel as though I need to work out merely from watching her—today’s episode was butter, butter, and more butter! And she kept saying the word that shall not be named.

I almost threw up.

Anyway, I loathed the weight lifting, as usual, but I did it. Those of you who love strength training, what do you like about it? I need to find something. Ugh.


Given that it’s National Talk Like a Pirate Day, my dad was all about resurrecting the pirate sauce from a couple weeks ago. In fact, he was so into the day, he sent my mom this text on his way home:

Arrrg. I’m settin me sails towar me home port ye saucy wench. Me and me parrot are lookin fer a tankard of ale when we make the harbor. Arrrrg!!!

I half expected him to walk in the door with a peg leg and an eye patch. Rolling on the floor laughing

Nope, just the usual dad.


And yep, that’s his standard pose: pouring wine. Smile

With our pirate dinner, we had an amazing bottle of Truchard Zinfandel. Check out the dark color on that cork!


Gorgeous! It was peppery and rich, perfect for sipping!


I’m really nice so I saved you a sip.


You’re welcome.

To switch things up a tiny bit tonight, we marinated a gorgeous pork tenderloin instead of chicken in our pirate sauce, then followed the same protocol of reducing the marinade down into a sauce for the meat.





Kinda hard not to love this recipe, but we all agreed we liked it with the chicken a little better. Not that it was bad by any means, but the Bourbon Brown Sugar Pork Tenderloin has a special place in our hearts. The marinade did make the pork really tender, though. Again, I highly recommend this recipe! I think it’s made it’s way into staple status in our house!

Served up with fresh farm stand tomatoes and corn.


Gotta get while the gettin’s good!


The corn has been soooooooo good this year! I’ll be sad when it’s gone. Sad smile

But, I am looking forward to fall comfort food—chili, pot roast, and acorn squash! YUM!

What are your fall favorites?

And, for the love of God, someone please tell me how to like lifting weights!!!

Oatmeal Toffee Bars

I don’t know what it’s doing where you are, but it is pouring down rain here in Michigan this Monday morning. When I went to bed last night, I was really hoping the rain would hold off until after my run this morning, but no such luck. I’ve decided to postpone my scheduled 5 miler in hopes that it will clear up for a little bit later, but it’s not looking so good.


Nice day, huh?

Maaaybe I’ll be able to get out in that little window around 1 where it’s supposed to be just cloudy rather than raining. I hate it when I want to run and the weather is uncooperative! I will say, though, that since I started taking my iron supplements, I have felt 110% better on my runs. I actually have energy!


My very charming “Gentle Iron” with the “non-constipating” disclaimer is doing its job quite nicely. I should have started taking it months ago, but my stubbornness prevented it. stubborn

I’m my own worst enemy.

At any rate, you might think I’m completely devoid of blogging material this morning due to my lack of run, but you’d be wrong!


Because last night, I did a little baking project! And it’s healthy! And vegan!

But really tasty. I promise. Even my dad thought so, and healthy isn’t typically his first choice. (I didn’t even mention the vegan part—that would be pushing it. Winking smile)

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve posted a new recipe, and even longer since I’ve come up with a new baked good, so I was pretty excited about how these came out. They’re kind of granola-bar-esque, but they could pass for dessert and they’re really pretty good for you (if you don’t eat 4 . . . Embarrassed smile)

Oatmeal Toffee Bars

Makes 9 bars


1/4 c. Smart Balance Light

1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce

3/4 c. brown sugar

1 T. ground flaxseed

1/2 tsp. vanilla

3/4 c. whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. salt

1 1/2 c. old-fashioned oats (not instant)

1/2 c. toffee bits

1/4 c. chopped walnuts (optional)

How To

  1. Preheat oven to 350* and spray a 9X9 pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Cream together Smart Balance, applesauce, and sugar. Add flaxseed and vanilla and mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder and soda, cinnamon and salt. Add to butter and sugar mixture, beating until fully incorporated.
  4. Mix in oats, then toffee and walnuts.
  5. Press mixture into pan, and bake 30-35 minutes.


I feel it’s my duty to tell you that if you do, in fact, eat 4 of these right out of the oven, you may wake up during the night with a ridiculous stomach ache. But if you eat a reasonable portion—like, only 2 bars or something—you’ll be fine. AKA, don’t be like me. Winking smile


Honestly, though, these are SO good! Chewy and dense—and the toffee makes the edge pieces extra delish! You’ve got to try them!!!

Dare I say, you could even eat them for breakfast???


Mmmm mmmm mmmm! Happy food dance! Open-mouthed smile

Bentos & Biebs

I’m having a pretty fantastic weekend! How about you???

Yesterday started out with my first long run of my half marathon training plan. I was supposed to do 13 miles, but since I haven’t run further than 8 since July, I decided that 10 was a nice compromise. The weather was absolutely perfect—mid 50s and breezy—and I killed it. When I got home, I was super pumped—and probably super annoying. I kept saying, “Teeeeennnn miiiillllesssssssss!” in my best Oprah voice.

Oprah Final Season

I looked pretty much like that, too. Minus the gold microphone. But if I had one, you know I would have been using it.

Then I made a phone call to the total buzz-kill company that is PODS. Back in August when I first got my POD, the service was fantastic. Everyone was really friendly, helpful and accommodating.


Yesterday? Not that much. I was told that I’d be able to get my POD delivered to my new home in Michigan whenever I wanted, I just had to call ahead 5 days in advance so that they could ship it to me. No problem, right? So I call yesterday to set up the delivery, and they informed me that I had been mis-informed by the first person I spoke with and it would be at least 10 days before I could get my stuff.

Not cool, people. Not cool.

Plus, the girl I spoke with kept saying she was sorry in a way that said, “I’m saying sorry but really I don’t give a $h*t!” Well, thanks. So I asked to speak to someone else, who was equally unhelpful. This then resulted in a nasty email saying how frustrated and disappointed I was with the service. They agreed to give me a small discount, but it doesn’t really make up for the fact that now I have to wait to move for an extra week while the PODS folks get their act together. Harumph!!!

Thank you for letting me rant. Open-mouthed smile

In other news, this means that I did find a place to live! Yep, I’m taking the 80s condo that needs a little TLC.


Expect a workout video in the near future. Winking smile

I’m really excited about the place and the landlords have been pretty accommodating to all of my requests, so I think it’ll be fun making it my own. YAY!

Even though the PODS thing brought me down a bit, I wasn’t about to let it ruin my runner’s high completely! I went to lunch with my parents at our favorite diner in town for the best chicken Greek salad in the world—extra beets for me, please!


With the pillowy-est pita bread on the side and tzatziki sauce for dipping!


Then we made a quick trip to Ikea (well as quick as you can do at Ikea . . .) for some decorating ideas. I love going there, but it’s totally overwhelming. I’ve decided my plan of attack has to be one room at a time or else I’m never going to get anything done!

It was at this point that Mom and I both realized that our attire was seriously shameful. I was wearing my favorite jeans that, truth be told, are on their last legs, and an old top that was so stretched out and icky that it needed to go straight into the trash. Mom’s jeans were ok, but her top was in pretty much the same situation. And she was wearing a belt that I had in high school.

Please note that I pointed this out to her a couple of weeks ago and yet she continues to wear the belt . . . Winking smile Love you, Mom!

So obviously we had to go to the mall to replace all of these dowdy clothes. Even though I just ordered some jeans from Express, I found these babies on sale at American Eagle for $30. Can’t pass up that kind of deal!


I also found a couple of cute tops at Loft, which I have to say look cuter on me than these models.


And no, I’m not trying to be all, “Hey, I’m sooooo cute!” or anything. I just don’t think these pictures do them justice.

At this point, we were exhausted and starving because shopping is sooooooooo taxing (or maybe it was the 10 miler in the morning), so we grabbed sushi at a tiny local place that I absolutely adore.


The guys are right there making it in front of you, and everything is really fresh.

We shared a giant Asahi beer while we waited for our grub.


I promise you, it really was giant. But then, so was the glass, so perhaps you can use the little soy sauce teapot in the background as a point of reference.

Miso soup and ginger salad to start.


I know I say this every time I have sushi, but I want to bathe in ginger dressing. I want to drink it. Oh my heavens. I need to figure out how to make that at home. I could seriously eat it every day!

For dinner, Dad had a giant sushi platter.



And Mom and I got bento boxes filled with tons of goodies!


Mine was a Spicy Tofu box with Spicy Tofu (duh), tempura veggies and shrimp, pork gyoza, and California rolls, plus sticky rice and seaweed salad. I didn’t finish, but I put an impressive dent in it.

Happily full, we came home to put on some jams and watch this.


Laugh if you will, but I am totally drinking the Biebs Kool-Aid. For a mega-child star who should probably be really screwed up, he’s actually a really down to earth, well-rounded kid. I was entertained the entire 105 minutes. Excellent rental. Plus, you know you sing along when he comes on the radio.

And I was like

Baby baby baby


Like baby baby baby


Loves it!

Phew, this was a super long post for me! If you made it this far, congrats! Open-mouthed smile

What are you up to this weekend?

Did you have a great workout? Get stellar customer service? Eat yummy food? Watch an awesome movie about Justin Bieber?!?!

Friday Favs

I love all the Friday Favorites posts, so I thought I’d do a little version of my own today! Without further ado, here are my favorites for this week! Open-mouthed smile

Boca Java Coffee


I order my coffee from Boca Java, an online retailer that roasts your coffee to order and ships it right to your home. They have the best flavored coffees—including that Maple Bacon Morning!—and I love the convenience of having it delivered every 8 weeks. Yum!

Magic Hat #9


I don’t know if it’s the cooler weather or what, but this rich IPA is speaking to me . . . Mmmm . . .

Stenciled Walls





This appeals to the Type-A in me like you wouldn’t believe.

Twice Baked Butternut Squash


As soon as I feel brave enough to cut open a butternut squash again, I am definitely making this. Fall on a plate, ya know?

Red Hair, Red Lip, Blue <3


Someday I will rock a red lip. Or not. But so pretty here, don’t you think?

New Jeans


I had a little online shopping spree last night. What can I say? Dark flares speak to me.

Cool quotes


Kelly posted this a while back, and I just love it. Maybe I’ll make it into a print for my home office when I get my new place?

Do you like the Friday Favorites posts around the blog world?

What are your favs this Friday??