New Cooking Channel Live

Did you know the new Cooking Channel went LIVE today!? I have the day off from work so I think I’m gonna take a little break from blogging for the day to check it out:

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Click here to check out the Cooking Channel Marathon line-up!

Time to step away from the keyboard and give my fingers a rest – to give my mind a boost of new ideas. This blogger is taking an inspiration-gathering break! See you Tuesday (hopefully with some yummy ideas)!

PS You can still find me on Facebook and Twitter!

Maiden Grilling Voyage

Happy Sunday! I can’t believe how fast this weekend flew by!

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Check out these dahlias from my yard.

Oopsie! Forgot to change my light meter. The photo looks pretty neat, though, so I thought I’d share.

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Ah…much better! I’ve placed these two little blooms in a mini vase in my sunroom so I can see their beauty all day.

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Hubby and Bailey let me sleep in this morning (yay!) but when I got up, I whipped up some french toast using some Great Harvest cinnamon chip WW bread and local, cage-free eggs.

I also made some of Dreena’s Celestial Cream sauce and cut up an orange on the side.

***

I spent most of the day just trying to clean and organize. Man, I’m starting to see the benefit of buying a move-in-ready / new house…there’s always so much to do! But, I’m still happy with our housing choice. Though there’s lots of work, we really love our house and are having fun making it just the way we like.

Anywho, still lots of work to do before our house is housewarming party ready, but we’re making our way. As for the housewarming…I’m thinking fiesta or luau themed!! Wouldn’t that be FUN?

***

Did you guess what hubby and I bought yesterday?!

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We got a GRILL!

Since hubby and I couldn’t really afford to go anywhere for our anniversary, we figured we should at least get something cool for the house. We took our new grill (need to come up with a cool name for it) out on her maiden voyage tonight!

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While our food grilled away, hubby and I snacked on some toasted bread slices with some spinach / artichoke dip, which we picked up at the market yesterday.

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This stuff is made locally!

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We also enjoyed some homemade sangria! I was going to try out one of the recipes you guys suggested but I didn’t have triple sec or peach schnapps in the house and the liquor stores were closed. Boo!

So, I did a play on a couple different recipes:

Chic Rum Sangria

Ingredients:

  • 1 standard-sized bottle of red wine (I used Barefoot cabernet sauvignon)
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup spiced rum (I used Captain Morgan)
  • 3-4 tbsp agave nectar
  • ginger ale – just a pour in each cup to top the sangria
  • 1 sliced lemon
  • 1 sliced lime
  • 1 sliced orange

Directions:

  • Pour bottle of wine into a pitcher.
  • Add OJ, sliced fruit (reserve a couple slices for garnish if you’d like), rum, and agave.
  • Stir to combine.
  • Place in fridge to cool and let flavors combine. (I was in a rush so I only let mine sit about 15 minutes)
  • Add ice to serving cups. Pour sangria over ice, leaving space for ginger ale. Add about 3-4 tbsp of ginger ale (to taste). Add garnish. Serve and enjoy!

NOTE: It may be best to get your ingredients cool before concocting your sangria but I just bought all the stuff tonight and didn’t have time to cool it and I thought it tasted pretty good.

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So what would we cook for our first grilled dinner?

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Shrimp skewers with zucchini, squash, and onion – all seasoned with EVOO and Chef of the Future – Not Your Average Cajun Seasoning (*) – now available in my OpenSky shop! The seasoning is nice and subtle. I find you have to be a bit heavy handed with it if you really want to taste it, but since most seasonings are overpowering, this was a nice change of pace. I liked how the seasoning salt made it easy to flavor dinner. I just drizzled the skewers with EVOO and then sprinkled on the seasoning. Grill. Done-zo! No marinating, no multiple ingredients…easy-peesy.

Ooh, and the shrimp, zucchini and squash are all LOCAL. Go local! :)

PS please excuse the slightly blurry photos – the lighting was actually really low (almost dusk).

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We had wild rice on the side.

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And even Bailey got to hang out with us during our celebratory dinner.

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And since we’re still sort of in celebrate-anniversary mode, we hit up local bakery Amelie’s French Bakery for a sweet post-dinner treat.

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We had a great view of the city skyline from our window seat.

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Hubby and I each picked out a sweet and split some decaf coffee.

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I got the twice-baked croissant.

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Hubby got the pecan sticky bun. We traded a bite of each other’s dessert. I think I liked his more. That chewy, gooey topping was so good!

Any grilling tips for us newbie grillers?? :)

Luscious Market Saturday

After a quick breakfast of my new fave toast combo

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(WW cinnamon chip bread with White Chocolate Wonder PB)…

Hubby and I headed straight to the farmer’s market this morning in search of delicious, local eats.

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There was a man there letting people pet a live chicken! (I did not pet the chicken)

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Hubby ended up getting a hot sticky bun for breakfast at the Crumbs New York Style Baked Goods stand.

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I was more interested in the veggies. There were tons of beautiful, brightly colored goodies there today! Dare I say the selection was luscious? Yippee!

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We got some beautiful organic kale, pesticide free zucchini, squash, jalapeno, spinach, local honey and homemade spinach and artichoke dip.

We also got (not pictured) some local shrimp and grass fed ground beef.

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Plus…since we’re sort of celebrating our anniversary this weekend, we picked out a beautiful bouquet of flowers. I was immediately drawn to this bouquet because of those gorgeous poppies! I love poppies!

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The flowers are gorgeous and make me wish I had more time to plan/start my cutting garden….one day, right?

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I also tested out the last flavor of the Lighter Living bars (*) today – Apricot Coconut Probiotic Bar.

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The bar looked just like the others. I kind of wish the bars looked different, but the important thing is that they really do taste like their names suggest. This one was very apricot-y but I didn’t taste the coconut as much. Still, it had that same Larabar-esque texture and I like how the size is nice and snack-sized at around 140 calories.

***
Hubby and I went out for a major shopping trip this afternoon.

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While we were out, we made a quick stop at the grocery store where I met this nice man – Kizito Wademi – President of Slammin’ Good Greens. He was at a local grocery store passing out samples of his very-tasty collard greens. They are Vegetarian and vegan and the ingredient list is nice and short and totally readable. I think Mr. Pollan would approve. :)

I picked up a jar of his collards and will be blogging more about them when I have the chance to enjoy them with dinner. Oh and Mr. Wademi’s web site is currently being built and will be available in about a week. I’ll let you guys know when it goes live.

Anywho, our shopping trip was complete when we made a HUGE purchase. One we’ve been wanting for years now! So excited! :)

Can you guess what hubby and I bought? My Facebook friends have already made some great guesses!

Dressing for Confidence

I totally hit up Great Harvest yesterday with full intentions of chowing down on my delicious, carbalicious eats.

On my bill:

  • whole wheat rolls (b/c they’re so much better than biscuits!)
  • whole wheat cinnamon chip (b/c it’s freakin delicious…and semi-healthy)

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I couldn’t wait for breakfast this morning – scrambles with green pepper, onion, parsley on my GH WW rolls (re-heated in the oven for that fresh-baked taste). Plus coffee.

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Been feeling sluggish all week. Not sure why I didn’t think of it sooner, but I prescribed myself a tall everything juice (too many veggies to name, but it’s a nice assortment).

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Our parents love us. We got an e-card from hubby’s mom and a card from my fam for our 2 year anniversary. Love the little birdie sticker they put on the envelope!

Thank you family!

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Bailey’s been one cuddly puppy today. Not sure if corgis are natural cuddlers or if I just taught him that. :lol:

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After getting some fresh lettuce, I made a big salad with a micro-baked sweet potato (bit of real butter and dash of brown sugar).

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Lookie what I found on sale at the grocery store! White Chocolate Wonderful! I’ve been wanting to try this stuff for like years! Not like 10 years, but maybe at least 2. I was leaning towards getting more dark chocolate dreams for the cocoa (it’s good for you!), but I figured I could always add some unsweetened cocoa powder.

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Nutrition.

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I knew the WCW would be awesome on my cinnamon chip bread. Yuuum! I also added chia seeds. Not quite what I’d classify as Power Toast, but delicious nonetheless!

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See the cinnamon chips and the ooey gooey, melty PB? Nooooommmmmmmm!

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It was so good, I had another slice.

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I made hubby and myself smoothies later.

I’m always jealous his is prettier because his goes naked while mine usually gets at least a half scoop of Vega Health Optimizer.

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Today, our smoothies had:

  • Frozen mixed organic berries
  • banana
  • OJ
  • ice cubes
  • water

On top: granola and pepitas.

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Post-work, I donned my DIY-cut zumba tank top for a special 90 minute zumba class. I led Let Me Think About It again and it was…per the usual…AWESOME!

Such a fun class…it almost didn’t feel like it was 50% longer!

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Check out my happy bunny sweat band. He’s saying “kiss my a$$” basically. :lol:

My cut tops and wrist bands make me feel like a rock star on stage! I’m finding this is very important because you have to at least pretend like you’re the shiznit when you’re in front of class. No one wants to see a wimpy, non-confident zumba instructor. They want someone bursting with energy and confidence! Dressing the part always helps get me in the outgoing instructor frame of mind.

I think the whole dressing-up thing comes from my skating background. I always wanted to look like my idols. If Michelle Kwan practiced in black leggings with a black leotard, then I wanted to practice in black leggings with a black leotard. I remember I used to have a warm-up pre-skating-session that I heard MK did, so I did it religiously! When my mom’s friend went to China, I begged her to get me a good luck charm with a red string so I could wear the same type of necklace that Michelle wore. She got one for me and I didn’t take it for yeeeears! All these things always made me want to skate better and practice harder. Amazing how simple things like certain tops and stuff make you feel more professional or confident.

I came home and practiced some of my zumba dances and a couple songs I’m trying to choreograph (sorry, mum’s the word!). All in all I ended up doing about 2 hours of cardio tonight. Needless to say, post-workout I was RAVENOUS!

I wanted to eat EVERYTHING!

I settled on dinner.

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I made a quick chicken stir fry:

  • chicken
  • broccoli
  • green pepper
  • onion
  • soy sauce
  • peanut oil
  • sesame seeds
  • rice

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Seconds.

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Dessert #1 – a vegan chocolate chip cookie from the other night. Plus some 1% organic milk.

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Dessert #2 – an organic gala apple.

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Did I mention I got new zumbawear today? Can’t wait to share! Squeeee! :)

Hubby and I have a MAJOR shopping trip planned for tomorrow. Guess I’d better get some rest! I think I’m going to need it!

Do you wear anything that makes you feel more confident (in general or in a particular setting)?

Fond Farewell Eats

Sooo sleepy this week! *yawns*

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I had a cozy MUG of coconut-cocoa-date oatmeal with some coffee.

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I’ve been craving veggies and had a big salad planned but my healthy lunch was a fail! THe lettuce was growing a bit of white, fuzzy stuff (never a good sign!) and the avocado that I just bought on Sunday was full of icky brown spots. Yuck!

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I didn’t have much time in between phone conferences to think about food so I just had a Helen’s frozen meal (tofu/broccoli/mac and cheese) and some beautiful cherry tomatoes.

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These are the best cherry tomatoes I’ve ever gotten from the grocery store, but I really can’t wait till mine are ready to pick and eat!

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I also had a vegan chocolate chip cookie (re-heated in the oven for that fresh-baked taste).

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Water was a must! Are you remembering to hydrate?

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I decided to work about 45 minutes on my patio for some fresh air. It was really pretty outside but a bit too warm to stay out the whole time. Not to mention chirping birds aren’t exactly appropriate on phone conferences. :lol:

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I used my iPhone for some background music.

I’m currently listening to my fave zumba songs over and over to get familiar with the music. This should help me as I train to be a zumba instructor!

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I decided to try another Lighter Living probiotic bar (*) – Lemon Poppyseed this time.

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Ingredients.

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I knew the first ingredient was dates but still expected to see a lemon-yellow bar with tiny black poppyseeds. The bar actually looked like the other one I tried but it really did taste like lemon poppyseed! I liked the flavor a lot. So far, I’m really enjoying these bars.

***

Post work I had plans to meet up with a group of co-workers for a farewell for one who is leaving our team. Their last day was today :(

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My co-workers selected Vivace – a semi new place in town.

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I was really impressed with their cocktail list – they had some unusual drinks – many made with house-made ingredients like limoncello or grenadine.

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My co-workers ordered a meat and cheese platter to snack on.

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I’m not a big meat/cheese plate kind of girl, but I did try a piece of smoked mozzarella over some fresh bread. It was really good. The mozzarella was a little more tender than others I’ve tried. I wonder if they m ake that in-house, too?

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We enjoyed drinks and chit-chatting before getting to dinner.

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Later on I ordered some food. I started with a Caesar salad sans anchovies.

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I had another piece of bread with some white bean dip.

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For my entree, I had a small size of the scallop risotto. I saved half the plate for hubby to eat for dinner (and I also saved room in my stomach for dessert!)

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I was immediately drawn to the Warm Semolina & Olive Oil cake, which reminded me of the Olive Oil cake dessert that I saw Giada make once and that I’ve been itching to try ever since!

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The cake was served with candied ginger and a pistachio “pesto”. I thought the size was a bit small for $7, but I really liked the flavors and enjoyed dipping bites into the various sauces/flavors.

Overall, I really liked Vivace. I thought the menu had a nice selection, I liked how many items were house-made, and I also liked how they have vegetarian and gluten-free menus (saw them online but not in person – you must have to ask for them). Also, I thought the staff was very friendly and attentive. Nice work Vivace!

It was a bittersweet night for me because I really enjoyed hanging out with my co-workers but will also really miss the one who’s leaving. Best of luck to you MJ!

Food TV’s Web Site

Guess what debuted last night?! The new web site for Food TV’s new channel – Cooking Channel! My friend’s friends worked on this site so I found out it is now LIVE! Click here to check it out!

TCL Recipes on the Web

Check out these The Chic Life recipes being cooked out in the blogosphere:

Thanks for trying out my recipes guys! I hope you liked them! :)

***

Btw, I missed tonight’s last EVER Flash Forward! Eek! Good thing hubby recorded it. I can’t believe the show is over…and I can’t wait to catch up on the last episode!

How do you bid adieu to your favorite co-workers? Or, what is the favorite thing someone has done for you when you left a job?

Adult-y Lunch + Garden Growth

Happy Hump Day everyone!

Thank you so much for the fabulous sangria recipes you left in comments on yesterday’s post! I also heard on twitter that this sangria posted by Rhodey Girl is pretty fantabulous!

I had phone conferences till 7pm tonight so I’m going to try to make this post snappy so I can possibly work in some much needed me-time.

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I broke into a new Barney Butter today, which I promptly slapped on some Power Toast with coffee this morning.

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Breakfast #2 = a local donut.

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I got a little dressed up to have…

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…an adulty business lunch.

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I got the soup and salad combo with Tomato Bisque.

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I had a bite of hubby’s turkey club. Best club sandwich ever. There was no ham and they added avocado. FABULOUS!

***

I scoped out my yard/garden for updates…

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Purple basil is looking much better now that I’ve moved it out in the yard!

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Baby green zebra tomato.

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My other tomato plants are getting so big I’m having to tie them up!

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I also almost cloned another corgi simply by grooming him! Stellar!

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Tea and toast

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Plus pear = snack time.

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Hubby and I got PF Changs take out for dinner. I wanted to cook but slacked off last minute.

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Brown rice, Moo Goo Gai Pan, spicy green beans.

I enjoyed dinner whilst catching up on last night’s Glee! Ooh la Lady Gaga! I loved it!

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I baked cookies.

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Which I’m about to enjoy now with a wee bit of organic milk over a DVR’ed Cold Case. I need some relaxing gel-out time.

Btw, how it it almost June already!? The year is halfway over!!! Gah!

What are you guys planning to do for Memorial Day? Any fun activities or eats planned?

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