Wednesday, February 29, 2012

WIAW #9

WIAW!

I tried to do better with the veggies this time around, even if it was just small amounts. For breakfast I threw some chopped up turkey dog, mushrooms and tomatoes into scrambled egg and dumped it on a toasted bagel thin. It was pretty good for a random concoction! Side of chili sauce.
I prepped some strawberries for snacking and came across this interestingly warped one!
I was visiting my parents around lunch time, so I made a curry chicken salad sandwich on an english muffin. It was so good I made my own batch of the curry chicken Monday night. This has celery, craisins, nuts, chicken and a mango chutney in the mix, so still a bit veggie!
My mom makes an awesome spinach and artichoke dip, so I had to stick around to much on some before heading home. It's pretty much just artichokes, spinach, some parm and low fat mayo.
I had a veggie loaded dinner with red cabbage, roasted squash, brussels sprouts and potatoes. I had a wedge of naan bread and a squirt of ketchup (not pictured) to go with it. I love how colorful this is!
This was definitely more on par with "Love Your Veggies"! Have you been lovin' your veggies? Don't forget to check out Jenn @ Peas and Crayons and visit the other WIAW participants!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Weekend Trip to ATX

I woke up bright and early two Saturday's ago, packed up my car and hit the road with some peanut butter puffins and a cherry coke zero. The weather was miserable, cold and rainy, but despite that I made pretty good time getting to Austin. Well, more like the surrounding suburbs where my friends live, but still. I like when journeys go fast. Since I have an uncooperative stereo system, I buckled my party cube into the seat next to me and set my iPhone to my "Sorry For Party Rockin'" and "Adele" playlists.
A*D and I exchanged gifts when I got there and she gave me a Hello Kitty cupcake maker and utensils! Pretty awesome, can't wait to try it out!
I was pretty hungry, so we went to Chili's before heading to the movie theater. I'm pretty sure our waiter was high. Either that, or super mellow. It was interesting, for sure. After food we rushed over to the Cinemark (in torrential rain!) to see One for the Money. I just recently read the book, but I went in not expecting it to be exactly like the book, so I wasn't upset when things were different. I really enjoyed the movie. I'm actually thinking I want to see it again, if it's still playing! Since I recieved the Keurig machine for my birthday I have been needed some new travel coffee mugs so we drove up to the Round Rock outlet mall where I bought a Tinkerbell mug from the Disney Store. It's super cute!

After relaxing and resting for a few hours, A*D and I left her apartment for our 8:30 reservation at the Vince Young Steakhouse downtown.
Parking sucks downtown, so we valeted which was awesome. The inside was pretty cool, with one framed picture of VY at the Rose Bowl National Championship game and a longhorn decorated in pennies.
It wasn't that busy, but I guess we had missed the dinner rush. There were alot of "bro-dates" going on, which was amusing.
A*D with her menu
The restaurant had a jazz-type band playing throughout the night, then when they went to take a break Notorious BIG was playing, which cracked me up. Keepin' it classy ;-)
Proof we were there :)
I already posted the food over on my WIAW #8 - ATX edition, so I won't repost the pics. . . except this one. The chocolate Forever Young cake with the sparkler in it.
A*D saw it coming because she was facing the direction of the kitchen, but I didn't see it or hear it, then all of a sudden there was FIRE! next to me, so I screamed! It scared the crap outta me with all the jumping sparkles. A tad embarrassing, but the delicious cake made up for it. And it was free because of my birthday!
Waiting for the valet after yummy dinner
The next day I went to yoga with Stacy and we tried to go to Smoothie King so I could get some nutrients, but the place didn't open until 11 on Sunday and it was 10:20am =(. So we decided to hit the Jamba Juice on campus instead since I had wanted to go and have a little walk around and see what had changed, and shop at the Co-op on Guadalupe. There is a Co-op shop near me in Dallas, but it's not the same as shopping in Austin!
I see you, tower in the distance!
We had to take a detour due to the Austin marathon. . . which went on forever. We had to drive from MLK all the way back to 51st street to get around them!
After the 30-40 min detour, we finally made it and I got the smoothie I'd been craving. Aloha, pineapple!
We took our smoothies and headed off to campus. It was so familiar, crossing the drag, walking up the west mall past the FAC toward the tower. We headed around the back to the turtle pond. Yay turtles!
I really like the turtle pond area. It's pretty and relaxing and the turtles are so cute!
We caught one trying to escape!
I love, love, love this tower. I love it even more when it's orange =)
As we made our loop of the tower we came across a group of people with a Chinese New Year Dragon, even though it was past new year. We watched them for a bit, and paused on the main mall as I snapped away.
Main mall facing the tower.
Main mall facing away from the tower, Capitol building in the distance.
This has to be my favorite picture I took of campus. I actually took heed of some photography advice and made the focus item off center. I love how you can see the trees and the roofs of the dorms and then behind the tower looms. And the lovely blue sky. I loved it so much I made it my computer desktop and my facebook cover photo.

After our loops around campus, Stacy and I went back to the Co-op so I could do some shopping! She probably saved me a whole lot of money, since she's quite the saver and bargin shopper and I hemmorhage money 24/7. She found a cute shirt for me about 50% off, and a UT santa hat also 50% off that I'm going to give to my dad next Christmas. I picked up a new travel coffee mug and we picked out a really nice hardback book, "Longhorn Football: an illustrated history" (he loved it, btw). We picked up the car and drove around to the stadium.

I still miss being here every weekend, five years later.
Hook 'Em Horns!!
So after stalking the stadium and taking a BUNCH of pictures, I hopped back into the car with Stacy and we headed home. We made a pit stop at Sushi Nini after first trying to go to Beluga which didn't open until 3pm and it was about 230p. Yes, two times in one day we tried to go somewhere and it wasn't open yet. We're just ahead of our time ;-)

Stacy dropped me off at A*D's and I just hopped right into my car with my purchased and the awesome bottle of Moscato that Stacy gave me for my birthday (aaahh, can't wait to pop that baby open!) and I headed off to see Laura's new house! I haven't seen Laura in years and I miss her bunches. She is my first friend at UT that I made all by myself. We met in International Advertising class and have been friends ever since. She has the most lovely little house. I'm so glad I got to stop by! We talked pretty much non stop for over an hour, then I had to head back to A*D's to change for dinner (Laura came too, she just met us there).

I changed, Stacy met A*D and I at the apartment and we headed off for our Tex-Mex and Mexican Martini fiesta! I know already posted this next picture but it's just so beautiful. We were on the way to Trudy's and I was just staring out the window, taking it all in.
I already posted my food pics, so won't repost them here. Here's Laura and I, post dinner. I was totally tipsy =)
Stacy and I! Do I look red in the face?
Dinner was awesome. Both Laura and A*D had to work in the morning, so we headed home after dinner. A*D kicked me out of her apartment at 715am the next morning, and I went straight to CFA for some chikin mini's and a coke. My basic hangover cure. Two Mexican Martini's pretty much knocked me on my butt. But I was a trooper and went to yoga with Stacy, again, with a hangover. Not surpsingly I felt better after. Yoga is a good cure all! I grabbed a quick coffee with Stacy before heading off on a beer search for my brother (beer only sold in Travis County) and then I started the long drive home. I had such an awesome time and I can't wait to see these lovely ladies again. I'm so glad we're friends =)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Friday Fun Facts - Saturday Edition

  • This is the Saturday edition because I came home after work last night and fell asleep for about 13 hours. Guess I was tired.
  • We went to the gym this morning, so it was good to get that out of the way.
  • I came over to my parents to give my dad his birthday present. I bought him a nice large hardback book of Longhorn Football. Bought in ATX - makes it official!
  • I finally sorted my pics from last weekend, so they'll go up soon. 
  • I might have to do some work tomorrow, which is a bummer. 
  • I'm still hoping to see This Means War. Maybe tomorrows matinee?
  • I'm now on #13 of the Stephanie Plum novels. I'm still liking them, although I can see where people got tired of the plot kinda being repetitive. 
  • I'm attempting to give up chocolate, dessert-y type items and fast food for Lent. I don't think the fast food will be much of a problem. Chocolate on the other hand. . . 
I can't think of anything else going on - just been working and reading =) Hope everyone has a super weekend. I feel so relaxed and rested after my marathon sleep last night!!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Lent

I usually give up chocolate for Lent. I'm going to make a confession. I'm doing really badly at this. I used to be able to give it up and stick to it. Now, I can barely go a day and I let myself cave. Where is my willpower?
I also gave up eating fast food. So no, Chick Fil A biscuits, no chicken sandwiches, no In and Out Animal Style. Now this I've been able to stick to, and I'm pretty proud of myself. I drive past CFA everyday on the way to work and In and Out on the way home (different routes) and I'll get a slight craving, but I ignore it and keep on truckin' to work/home. I think this is a good way to wean myself off of this greasy, fatty, un-nutritional food!

I'll keep fighting the chocolate. Starting tomorrow ;-)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

I made a chocolate chip bundt cake for a "bake-off" at work this past week. This is a family recipe that my momma got from her aunt many years ago. It's in no way shape or form healthy, so of course it's very delicious!

Start by greasing and flouring a bundt pan. Mine is silicon, hence the blue. 
I used 6 oz of semi-sweet chocolate chips and a 4oz bar of bittersweet chocolate that I grated by hand. It hurt. But it's worth it. I find using the semi-sweet and bittersweet is better than milk chocolate because it's not overwhelmingly rich.
Look, grated chocolate!
Dry ingredients in a bowl: one box of yellow cake mix and a 3oz box of vanilla pudding.
Add in 4 eggs, 1/2 cup of oil and 1 cup of water.
Beat.
Look at my whisk in action. Yes, it does take talent to whisk and take a picture at the same time.
Go, whisk, go!
Fold in the chocolate a little bit at a time - do not stir, because you'll take the air out of the beaten mixture.
Into the oven for one hour at 350 degrees.
I checked it after one hour with a chop stick in a crack to make sure it came out clean. If it doesn't, bake a little longer, but don't burn it!
I have NEVER had one of these cakes come out so cleanly without any chunks missing. I was so proud!
Please excuse my shadow.
Pretty, pretty cake!
Dust with confectioners sugar.
I did this the night before and it soaked into the cake overnight, so perhaps hold off on this stage until ready to serve.
See all the flecks of chocolate! So pretty! It got rave reviews all around!
  
This is one of my favorite cakes to make and it's always a hit. This is also about as "homemade" and "from scratch" as I get! Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

WIAW #8 - ATX Edition

It's Wednesday, which means it's time for WIAW!
Now, I realize it's love your veggies month, but I went out of town this weekend (which isn't an excuse, but. . .) so the veggies are somewhat lacking. Here are some highlights of some of the meals I ate while visiting Austin!

Saturday night I went to the Vince Young Steakhouse with my friend A*D. We started with drinks - I got a Burnt orange-tini.
It literally had a burnt orange floating in it, all caramelly and pretty looking!
Next up were appetizers - I ordered a cripsy crabcake. It was the perfect size for one person and was totally melt in your mouth delicious. It came with a jalapeno aioli, which was not too spicy for me!
The bread basket came with these little mini corn muffins, and some thinly sliced sourdough. I spread a thin layer of the garlic butter onto the delicious corn muffin. Oh, so tasty.
We both ordered the 8oz filet minon. It was pretty much cooked to perfection, as ordered. I love steak!
We ordered a side of bacon mac and cheese to share, who can resist mac and cheese?! And most people tend to love bacon too, so it's a winner all around! Totally creamy and cheese and delicious.
After I finished my martini I ordered a glass of pinot (they were out of the Moscato. Sad panda).
Can you tell I love Instagram?! Our yummy free dessert! Forever Young chocolate cake. It came with a sparkler because we said we were celebrating my belated birthday. True story, really.
This was so rich and chocolatey, we couldn't even finish the whole piece! A tragedy, I know. Chocolate should never go to waste! :-/
Stacy and I had Jamba Juice for breakfast on Sunday. I had the Aloha pineapple and it was delicious. So delicious I forgot to take a pic. Oh well, onto lunch! A rainbow roll! Simple and not too heavy, considering the dinner's I ate!
Emma loves sushi!
I had dinner with three girlfriends at Trudy's Tex-Mex. We started with queso. This is how Texas does queso ;-)
Their signature drink is a Mexican Martini. I didn't get a picture of the glass, but they give you a shaker full of the deliciousness! And I had two. Then they cut you off.
Three out of the four of us ordered the stuffed avocado. It's a breaded avocado that's stuffed with spicy chicken and cheese. It comes in a suiza sauce and with the usual rice and beans. It was incredible. I can't believe I never ordered this before!
So, those are the highlights from my delicious meals this weekend. What have you been eating? I hope it was yummy! Visit Jenn at Peas and Crayons to see what everyone else has been eating!

PS. Back on the veggie wagon this week =)