Prep Day Sunday: 3 Bean Veggie Chili

I went to bed suuuper early last night. 10:30pm. I think this is late for some people, but it’s pretty early for me. It was awesome!

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I forgot to mention yesterday that sweet Jessica gave all the food bloggers treats at last night’s bloggie get-together at Guglhupf’s: Ellie Krieger’s Energy Bars. Jessica and I are both big Ellie fans! :)

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I ended up waking up before hubby’s mom, so I snacked on one of Jessica’s bars for a pre-breakfast while I worked on last night’s blog post. The bar was so tasty…I loved it! Thanks Jessica!

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A bit later, we had breakfast: an egg and cheese sandwich, hash brown, and OJ.

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Hubby and I went out to his aunt and uncle’s house to look at some of their old furniture. We swung by Whole Foods so I could get a veggie juice.

I got 4 veggie juice ingredients: apple, carrot, beet, and ginger.

I SO need a juicer! I grew up juicing thanks to health-food Dad, but I haven’t had a juicer of my own since…well…never. I only had juices with Dad.

I tweeted asking for recommendations and the big-time winner was Breville – specifically the Breville juicer plus. It’s on sale on Amazon for $150, but that’s still a big ticket item and one I’m not sure we can get with all the house stuff going on.

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We looked at the furniture but only came home with a night stand. The night stand has a neat story, though…hubby’s uncle purchased the night stand from hubby’s Dad.

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We got back to hubby’s mom’s house and had lunch: a nice veggie/bean soup with some toast.

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I think the toast was topped with eggs and veggies, but I can’t remember exactly.

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We road-tripped it home, checking the radio and twitter for updates on the Canada vs USA Olympic hockey game. I wish we wouldn’t have been in commute because it sounds like it was an amazing game. Congrats to Canada for winning!

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Hubby and I hit up Earthfare for groceries for the week and for dinner.

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I got the veggie burger and sweet potato fries. I couldn’t quite finish it all, but hubby helped.

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Sunday Prep Day: 3 Bean Veggie Chili

As you may remember from last week, I’m going to start using Sundays to officially prep for the work week ahead. I’m working on devising a schedule I can share with you guys, but for now, I’ll just share what I’m making.

I asked hubby if he had any preferences for lunch this week and he suggested chili. So, I decided to do a play on Ellie Krieger’s 3 Bean and Beef Chili and just made it without the beef (since I gave up meat for Lent).

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Bell pepper, organic onion, organic baby carrots.

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Organic kidney beans, organic pinto beans, organic small red beans (because they were out of black beans) and organic fire-roasted tomatoes.

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While the veggie chili cooked…

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I cleared out my spice rack. I guess this is bad to say, but several of my spices had expired! :shock: I tossed the expired spices, but kept the glass containers.

Spice/Herb Tidbit: Some grocery stores sell spices and herbs in bags, which is much cheaper than buying the stuff already bottled. So if you have a glass bottle, keep it, wash it out, and re-use it. It’s green and will save you money, too.

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Since I was multi-tasking it, the chili was done very quickly. I packed up 2 small containers to take to work and one large one for hubby to nosh on, since he works from home and doesn’t need his chili individually packed.

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Goodies to Review

I had a package waiting for me when I got home…

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Inside – the nicest sampler box I’ve seen – from Bertolli.

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This was my Foodbuzz Tastemaker sample of Bertolli’s two new sauces, Four Cheese Rosa and /Arrabbiata, which I’ll be sampling and reviewing later.

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The box even came with some recipes – 3 for each of the sauces. I saw a couple that sounded really good, but I’m not sure if I’ll try their recipes or just wing-it and make something up. We’ll see!

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Updates

You guys have been asking some really good questions on my Formspring! I wish I had the time to sit down and answer them all, but I don’t have a lot of time. And since I don’t want to half-way answer your questions, I’m trying to take my time and provide solid and detailed answers. Many questions require, IMO, a page or a post, so I’ll continue working on those.

In the meantime, check out the new Zumba page I made! I’ll be doing a Zumba 101 follow-up for those interested in checking Zumba out.

Have a great week everyone!

Reader question: What’s your favorite thing about Monday?

Durham Bloggies at Guglhupf

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I managed to catch some steam in a photo from my coffee at breakfast Saturday.

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We made Bailey sit off to the side so he didn’t inch up while we ate.

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I had some stuffed yellow bell pepper casserole, mini hash browns and coffee cake.

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Plus some Stonyfield Oikos in honey with a slice of peach.

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I went out shopping with hubby’s mom and picked up some stuff at TJ Maxx: garden tools (I  hope to put these to good use soon!)

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A vegetable peeler and some Mrs. Meyer’s stain remover.

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Surprisingly, there were some good food items there: an honest foods bar, a Yogi raw fruit & nut bar, and some The Ginger People Crystallized Ginger Bits (going to bake some cookies with these…yum!).

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But by far my best find was the one I almost didn’t get. I spotted this on one of those stands near the checkout as I was waiting in line and snatched it up. It’s so pretty and I LOVE the color!

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Shopping fuel = whole foods juice. I got the one with (I think) tangerine, mango, and pineapple. It was so good. Drinks like these make me wonder why companies feel the need to put extra sugar in drinks. This was SO sweet and all natural.

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The dogs are, of course, having a blast. I’m having my blast in the form of shopping and a bloggie get-together!

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I got ready for dinner and put on my fave (ok only, but I still love it) sweater dress. Can you tell I’m in hubby’s childhood bedroom? :lol:

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I paired the sweater dress with some of my fave slouchy boots and some tights.

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Ready to go!

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Just as the sun was setting, I set out to meet up with some Durham food bloggers for a bloggie outing.

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We headed out to Guglhupf, a local bakery and cafe that recently started serving dinner.

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I loved the interior of the restaurant – so elegant and fun. Nice ambient lighting.

I scoped out the dessert tray while I waited for the table in front of me to be seated. The tray was right by the front entrance, so I got a great preview. Then, it was on to the table…

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I started with a glass of the Anton Bauer: Gruner Veltliner “Gmork” 2008. I thought it was interesting that the flavors included “sweet peas”.

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Our waiter let us select a slice of bread from a large bread basket from 3 options.

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I chose a piece of their house-made rye with some whipped butter on the side.

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For my entree, I selected a “Small Plate”: alsation potato-leek torte: sliced potatoes layered with leeks, fresh herbs, and cave-aged gruyere paired with a petite green salad. $8

Some of the regular entrees looked really good, too, but I was determined to save room for dessert.

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I kind of expected a mini torte (like a 6” round or something), but it came out in slice form, which was just fine with me. I like my tortes in all shapes and sizes. :)

The potatoes were the perfect texture – soft but not too soft. The overall flavor was nice and I especially liked the lightly crispy top layer.

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The greens were a nice mix with a light vinaigrette style dressing.

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Me and 3 others at the table ordered a side of brussel sprouts. Gotta love eating with food bloggers – we have such similar tastes! So nice to have friends who appreciate brussel sprouts.

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The restaurant peeled the leaves off the brussel sprouts and sauteed them in oil, then finished them with butter. They were quite tasty cooked this way, though I usually just roast mine. I’ll have to try cooking brussel sprouts a la Guglhupf sometime soon.

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Food bloggers in action.

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Our waiter snapped a group shot for us. From left and around to right: Kelly of Whole Belly, Jessica of Johnstone’s Vin Blanc, Allie of Live Laugh Eat, Caroline of The Broccoli Hut, Seth, Margaret, and moi.

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After we finished our entrees, our waiter brought out the dessert tray. Ooh la la! There were five delicious desserts on display, any of which I’m sure I would have loved.

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Margaret got the croissant bread pudding, which had a really elegant description that I can’t remember. She shared a bite with me so I can say it’s definitely delicious.

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Jessica got the dessert I almost ordered: chocolate torte with homemade marshmallows, kumquats, and candied nuts. Jessica also let me try a bite and boy was this stuff rich! Delicious, but rich. The waiter described this one as almost like candy, and he was so right. I loved the combination of flavors, though.

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I ordered the apple tart. A rustic crust filled with diced apples, topped with candied pecans and served with a cinnamon ice cream. The tart was sooo delicious. I was super happy I saved room for dessert, because I was able to enjoy every bit of this – ok, minus 2 bites, which I shared with Jessica and Margaret in exchange for samples of theirs.

It’s no wonder Guglhupf has won awards. I loved everything about this place: the ambiance, the food, and the service. The mood was cozy and intimate, there were tons of great, fresh food options, and our server was extremely knowledgeable and helpful.

I also had a great time seeing Jessica again and meeting some new food bloggers in person! :mrgreen:

Food Rules Fail

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I had an early day Friday. I had to travel about an hour and a half away for work (with plans of being picked up my hubby at the end of the day to road trip it to his mom’s house), so I packed my stuff Thursday night. I made sure to pick out an outfit Thursday night so I wouldn’t have to think in the morning when I was still super-sleepy.

I was up at 5:30am, had a cup of coffee, got ready, was out the door around 6:15am and caught a ride with a co-worker around 6:30am

I like traveling for work, but my only gripe is not being able to control my food as well. Typically, I have healthy snacks and what not at my house and at the office. I suppose I could have packed these with me, but I didn’t. I brought a slice of Great Harvest honey whole wheat with me to eat in the car, but never quite got  around to eating it. I wasn’t all that hungry…I think I was too sleepy. lol

They had bagels and coffee at the meeting when we got there around 8:30am (had bad traffic – passed TWO wrecks!). I grabbed a yummy blueberry bagel with some honey walnut spread, which I applied lightly. Besides being healthier, I go light on cream cheese because the idea of a bunch of creamy goop on my bagel kind of weirds me out. :lol: I just like a light schmear of cream cheese toppings. Anywho, though I still love my bagel breakfasts, they don’t keep me full at all. I think because they’re typically not whole grain based and don’t really provide a lot of (any?) protein. I usually feel a bit like I’m eating air. Tasty air…but air.

Shortly after our meeting started, someone brought in a box of Krispy Kremes. I had to have one. They just melt in your mouth.

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Lunch didn’t turn out so hot. I was hoping to go out to lunch with some co-workers but most already had plans or had to work through lunch. Luckily, the office had a cafe upstairs. Since I gave up meat for Lent, I didn’t have a lot of options. My choices were basically things I couldn’t or didn’t want to eat: hamburgers, chicken fingers, french fries, chips, cookies, sodas.

I tried to order an egg sandwich (for protein) but when the guy gave me a look like “you don’t want to eat that” and then basically said “you don’t want to eat that” and then showed me a yellow disc of “egg”, which he pulled out of the freezer, I quickly changed my mind. I ended up having to eat stuff I normally try to avoid.

I ended up getting some salad from the salad bar (this was the saving grace of the cafe – yay for fresh veggies!), a yogurt (not my fave brand, but I wanted some protein), and a bottled water. I remembered I had some Great Harvest bread with me, and I was SO glad to have it for lunch. That bread was a life-saver!

The salad was good, but the yogurt was waaaay too sweet! Much sweeter than I remembered. I must be used to Greek yogurt now that I’ve been eating it so frequently. I was reminded why I like plain yogurts – so I can control my own sweetener – type and amount.

I had my Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual book with me, so I took a break from my laptop to start reading it. The book was very easy to read and the rules were really straightforward and short. I’ll try to do an official review later, but the book made for a nice lunch read.

Though lunch wasn’t exactly what I’d call a normal lunch for me, I thought I’d see how it lined up with Food Rules.

First, the yogurt…

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Food Rules Fail #1 – the ingredient list failed a number of the rules, including:

  • #3 Avoid food products containing ingredients that no ordinary human would keep in the pantry
  • #4 Avoid food products that contain high-fructose corn syrup
  • #5 Avoid foods that have some form of sugar (or sweetener) in the top three ingredients

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Food Rules Fail #2 – the packaging failed a couple rules, including:

  • #8 – Avoid food products that make health claims
  • #9 – Avoid food products with the wordoid “lite” or the terms “low-fat” or “nonfat” in their names.

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Food Rules Fail #3 – the salad dressing didn’t do much better, failing at a couple rules also, including:

  • #6 – Avoid food products that contain 5 or more ingredients
  • #7 – Avoid food products containing ingredients that a third-grader cannot pronounce.

The salad and Great Harvest bread both passed.

I thought it was really interesting comparing the Food Rules to my actual food. I remembered why I don’t buy a lot of the products and foods that I used to get before I started reading food product labels. In fact, Michael Pollan’s suggestions line up really well with food tips my Dad has passed on to me and how I’ve been eating lately anyways. Michael and my dad would get along famously! :mrgreen:

I felt pretty full after lunch but I knew it wouldn’t last long since I had very little protein (though at least I got some whole grains in thanks to Great Harvest). In a couple hours, I was hungry again, so I had a leftover bagel from breakfast with a light spreading of hazelnut topping. It was delicious (esp that hazelnut spread – yum!), but not very filling.

I tweeted about how the other bagels left from breakfast were calling my name and Heather tweeted back suggesting I try to beat Mark’s 4 bagels in a day record. It was tempting, but I held back. :)

Soon enough, the work day was over. I said goodbyes to some co-workers before taking off. I haven’t seen some of these guys in months, so it was nice working with them face-to-face again, instead of just over the phone. Plus, I met some really nice people in the office – they have an amazing group of people there! Such positive vibes!

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As I was leaving work, I saw this old tower. It looked pretty photogenic, so I snapped a shot.

The work day ended and hubby came by my out-of-town office to pick me up on his way to visit his Mom.

I was pretty hungry when hubby picked me up, so we pit-stopped at Starbucks and split a spinach feta wrap (protein…finally!). I also got a kid’s soy hot chocolate – adult temp – no whip. I was so glad to get some more food before sitting out the rest of the car ride.

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Hubby’s mom had dinner ready for us when we got there, starting with a salad.

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Sundried tilapia, shrimp/scallop scampi, broccoli, and rice. I ate almost everything but the rice, because I filled up before I could get to it. I tried to tackle the most nutritious foods first since I felt like most of my eats earlier in the day had been lacking: broccoli (can’t get enough veggies, right?), shrimp and tilapia (protein!).

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I split a piece of garlic bread w/ hubby.

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Plus, a couple small bites of brownie for dessert.

Lesson learned today: always be prepared. Next time I travel, I’ll be sure to pack a couple food/snack options with me…just in case.

Reader Question: Have you ever been somewhere without a lot of food options? What did you eat?

Preparing for Departure

I was feeling oatmeal this morning, but…

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I couldn’t resist this fresh-baked loaf of Great Harvest Honey Whole Wheat hubby picked up yesterday (ok it’s like a day old, but it’s pretty darn fresh!)

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I ended up with toast with real butter, a fried cage free egg and half an organic orange.

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With nice, hot coffee of course.

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Bailey was looking so cute today. I had to take some photos.

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Hot tulsi tea (no sweetener) in Chai Masala.

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I was on phone conferences during lunch, so I just grabbed some random stuff.

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An Amy’s veggie burger and some pretzels (because I was craving something salty).

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Edamame

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Great Harvest toast with Earthfare Organic Pomegranate jelly and chia seeds.

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I took care of some giveaway packages (been procrastinating on these…not gonna lie. Sorry! Things have just been so crazy around here lately!). While I still need to officially announce winners, I’ve got a few packages packed up and ready to drop off for delivery. yay! :D

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I snacked on one of Julie’s Chai Tea Scones while I worked on my bloggie projects.

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Salad for dinner – baby romaine, sunflower seeds, Drew’s Rosemary Balsamic dressing.

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Pizza for dinner! I had 1 1/2 slices of cheese with bell pepper and red onion and 1 slice of cheese.

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Hubby even picked up some panna cotta gelato for dessert. Yum yum!

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I have to work an hour-ish away from town and be there at 8am, so it’s going to be an early morning for me. Eek! Did I mention I still have to pack? :? Yup, the bad news is that I have to commute nearly 2 hours tomorrow. The good news is that it’s on the way to see hubby’s mom. We’re visiting her this weekend and I’ve got a bloggie meet-up planned, too! Fun fun!

I have several posts and pages in the work, and I finally completed one this week…

Check out my new Plateware page (click to view)!

By the way, since ladies figure skating is on tonight, I thought I’d mention…did you guys know I used to ice skate? Yep…here’s proof. Ok, rusty proof, but still…lol



So, the figure skating fan in me cannot pry myself away from the TV. Though I have to be up far earlier than normal, I can’t stop watching. Gah! :lol:

What are you up to this weekend?

Dinner with Kelsey!!!!!

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Today was pretty gloomy both weather and work-wise. :(

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I cheered the weather up with a yummy breakfast – POWER TOAST and Earthfare coffee!

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Toppings:

  • Barney Butter (love how creamy this gets as it warms through on the hot toast)
  • Sliced almonds (almonds on almonds…I know…not very interesting, but good for texture)
  • chia seeds (because chia seeds rock)

Kept it simple today.

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Wonder what Bailey’s looking at?!

Work was super stressful today. I can’t really go into details but today was a challenging day.

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I took a 10 minute break to grab lunch out. I felt a little guilty considering how well I’ve been doing eating in for lunch, but I do still like to splurge. I just try to keep it to once or twice out a week (leaning towards once).

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Lunch: whole wheat tortilla wrap, black beans, egg white, red peppers, mushrooms (can you believe I didn’t take them out!? I am determined to like these one day!), cheese, and sauce (I forgot what kind of sauce…sorry!)

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I also got a detox iced tea sans sweetener. I saved the bar for a future snack.

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Later that day…

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I had some Tulsi tea (anti-stress…kick in please!) and a blueberry almond bar. Dee-lish! So-so good!

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Plus a mini kit kat.

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I needed some brain relaxation after my long day, so I took a visit to see Kelsey at her work – Cafe Central !!! Kelsey’s blog, Bites + Bowls, is so upbeat and fun, it makes me want to use lots of exclamation marks with her name. :lol:

PS Scuse the blurry photos but I brought my ninja camera, and I can’t get the quick shutter speeds like I can with my DSLR.

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I knew I had to visit Kelsey when I saw the most-delicious looking tea latte on her blog (click for photo).

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Froooothy!

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Tea time!

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Holla!

I was only planning to stay for tea, but I was having such a good time, I stayed for snacks and dinner. It was really nice to veg out and relax, which I have a hard time doing when I’m at work or even home sometimes where my to-dos are calling.

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I got to sample Cafe Central’s new homemade chips and queso. Omg…addicting! I will be ordering some of this next time fo sho!

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Seconds on tea.

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Kelsey and I split some sweet potato/black bean spring rolls.

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They were served in a creamy sauce with bits of tomato. I loved the tender sweet potato and bean filling paired with the crispy wrapper.

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Food bloggers in action!

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While I was at the bar, I met the super cool manager (I think General Manager?) Bob. He recommended the night’s special…

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crab cake salad!

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I told Bob about how I gave up meat for Lent, so instead of the bacon dressing, he suggested the white balsamic homemade dressing (all the dressings there are homemade). It was soo good – perfectly sweet but not too sweet.

I loved the greens, too. I think I tasted some peppery arugula in the mix with some marinated tomatoes and of course, a delicious crispy-on-the-outside-tender-on-the-inside crab cake.

I think I found a new favorite place in town. I can’t believe I haven’t been to Cafe Central before! CC is like my type of Cheers – a chill atmosphere, friendly people, and great food (99% homemade). Look for more visits here in the near future. :D

And, if you’re in the area, go visit Kelsey for the best tea latte. Yummers! And if you don’t like tea, you can visit Kelsey anyways because she rocks and will take great care of you. ;)

Kelsey – thank you so much for taking care of me tonight and cheering me up. I had a blast and will be back soon!

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Bailey wanted to share some of his tricks with you guys. I’m planning to do a video soon, but here are some photos for now from tonight:

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Sit

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Lay down

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Play dead

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Sit up

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Stand.

Good boy!

Tidbits

You guys are asking some really good questions on my Formspring page! I love them! I want to give really good answers for all of them, so apologies for not answering immediately, but I want to think on them. In the meantime, feel free to keep asking by visiting my Formspring page.

If you haven’t voted, check out my poll. I’m looking for feedback to make sure that I’m giving my readers what you guys want most. So far, my “eats” is the most popular! Go here to vote (click). You can also send in requests to my email at thechiclife at gmail dot com.

And, lastly, have you seen my Best Posts page yet? I’ve tried to group some of my favorite posts here with lots of tidbits and ideas – from healthy eating to budgets.

Reader question: Do you have a favorite local restaurant/bar where you hang out? What’s it’s name, and what is it about the place that makes you love it?

Handling Mistakes at Work

Today started off good but then quickly not-so-good.

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I think a good, healthy breakfast is the perfect way to start the day, because I kick things off feeling energized and nourished.

In today’s bowl: rolled oats, 1/2 milk, 1/2 water, flaxseed, chia seed, sliced banana and unsweetened organic coconut sprinkled on top.

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Things took a turn for the worse when, whilst in my car at 9:15am, I got a phone call from a co-worker who reminded me that I was supposed to be on a phone conference for work, running a LiveMeeting at 9:00am. Big-DOH! I felt like an a$$. :oops:

I hauled it to the office and got on the meeting as soon as possible and wrapped up as best possible, but wow…that was so unprofessional.

But, you know…everyone makes mistakes. The best thing you can do with mistakes is learn from them.

Here are my tips for handling mistakes at work:

  1. Take responsibility – acknowledge the mistake
  2. Don’t make excuses – no one wants to hear them anyways
  3. Apologize – call or email the person you let down/offended/whatever and apologize
  4. Learn – figure out where things went wrong
  5. Apply – don’t let it happen again – use your new knowledge the smart way

Today, I acknowledged that I was late for today’s meeting. I didn’t make excuses by blaming traffic. I emailed my co-worker to apologize for being late to today’s meeting. I learned that I need to pay better attention to my schedule and probably get to work earlier. Im hoping to be more aware of my calendar and work on going to bed and waking up earlier so this doesn’t happen again. :)

And you know what my co-worker emailed back? “It happens to the best of us :-)” (yes with a smiley). I am lucky to have an understanding co-worker who helped ease my embarrassment.

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In shocking news, I broke away from my cubicle to take a real lunch break with some co-workers. I got a combo with 2 slices of pizza, 3 garlic knots (with marinara), and a coke.

I ended up eating 1 1/2 slices of pizza, 2 garlic knots, and half the coke. It was too much food and I had plans for an early dinner.

And what did I do with those leftovers?

I traded them in for a treat!

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Sweet hubby felt bad about my morning starting off so rough and brought me a cupcake, so I gave him my leftovers. Fair deal, right? Ok, just sweet hubby then. <3

I normally like to pair indulgent treats with healthy meals to help them balance out, but I wasn’t going to sweat it today. I enjoyed every bite of this delicious vanilla cupcake with chocolate icing. Mmm…

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I actually forgot about my lunch plans and packed some soup for lunch today. This worked out well because I was able to eat my “lunch” for dinner at my desk, before photography class.

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I had leftover roasted tomato + black bean soup and 10 kashi honey sesame crackers.

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Then, it was photography class time!!! I can’t believe I only have one class left. :cry:

Tonight we learned about composition.

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I brought a Luna Cookie in Peanut Butter Chocolate. It reminded me a lot of a Clif ZBar both in texture and taste. I like ZBars, so I was good with the flavor/texture. I also liked that the calories were under 200 – this is hard to find sometimes. It seems easy to find a meal bar but not so easy to find a snack bar < 200 calories.

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We got a fun homework assignment so I’m hoping for good weather this weekend so I can have some photography fun!

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Hubby gave Bailey a bone earlier in the day and said since Bailey got a treat, I got one (see cupcake above).

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I couldn’t believe the bone was still intact by the time I got home.

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Hubby said Bailey was carrying the bone around like his baby.

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He’s so silly sometimes! :lol:

Over and Out

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