Farewell Cookout

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Ever feel like you couldn’t jam-pack more awesomeness into a single day? I’ve been having a lot of those lately thanks to my friends! Today was wonderful and full of positive energy!

And now…we have dinner…

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…with all these fabulous people: (top row) Kath, (middle row) Michelle, Emily, Moi, Jen, Katie, (lower row) Caitlin, Kelly

It’s like a blogger sorority! :lol: jk

Michelle & Ben hosted a farewell party for Kath and Matt and Emily and Casey.

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Best part of hanging out with food bloggers – all the healthy eats! Lots of veggies.

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Black bean burgers (with toothpicks marking the Kath-safe aka onion-free burgers).

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Special made Great Harvest buns.

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More veggies for toppings.

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Lots of chips and dips. I nibbled on these a bit over the night.

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Got to hang out with Michelle’s adorable pup – Cooper!

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After much chit-chatting, dinner was ready!

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I poured myself a little of this Bordeaux.

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I had a fabulous black bean burger with onions (lettuce, tomato, ketchup), plus grilled veggies, orzo salad, cucumber salad and corn. Everything was sooo good! We tried asking Michelle for her recipe, but she said she just threw some stuff together. :lol:

And then it was time for dessert!

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Katie’s vegan cupcakes with a vegan cream cheese frosting.

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Kath found a PB cookie Larabar at Earthfare and was kind enough to split it up so we could all taste it. It was delish!

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I brought the rest of my Green Monster muffins (the dry batch). I still need to try out another version of the recipe to see if I can correct the texture.

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Yay dessert!

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I had a cupcake and half a muffin. Yummers!

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Gonna miss these guys. *sniff*

Going to miss Emily + Casey too of course, but we have more with them. Kath and Matt are leaving NEXT WEEK!

***
Big thanks to Ben and Michelle for the wonderful party and eats!

When was the last time you had a day you thought was especially awesome? Tell me about it. :)

Vegan Ice Cream + New Breakfast Bowls

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After all the adventure earlier today, I decided to try out a kitchen experiment

Homemade Vegan Ice Cream

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Vegan ice cream!

I was inspired to try Mama Pea’s Cookies & Cream vegan ice cream – click here for recipe.

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I have an ice cream machine that requires the bowl to be frozen pre-ice-cream-making, so I got that prepped and placed in the freezer earlier this week.

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So, today I simply had to gather my ingredients and mix some stuff together. Gosh, ice cream is easy!

Xantham Gum

I think hubby nearly passed out when I asked him to get the Xantham Gum and he saw it was $12.99! I know that we only need a little bit at a time, but $13 is a lot at one time.

I considered omitting the xanthan gum, but I read online that it was best to use it (unless you had an allergy or something) because it helps ice cream stay creamy instead of getting icy.

I also learned (from my google search) that Xanthan Gum is a thickener commonly used in sauces and dressings and gluten free baking. You may have even noticed on the ingredient list of products you buy, if you read them.

Bottom line, I decided that we needed it, and now we have enough to make batches and batches and batches of ice cream! :lol:

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My ice cream machine was a cinch to put together and then I just had to turn it on and start adding my ice cream mixture.

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The machine ran for roughly 20 minutes before I checked it for consistency. It looked like it was close to being done (it seemed pretty well thickened to me at least) and I considered adding the cup of crushed chocolate cookies at this point…till I realized my 1 quart ice cream maker was TOO FULL! Doh!

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So, I just let the machine run an extra 5 minutes, then turned the machine off and poured it into a mixing bowl. I mixed the ice cream and cookie pieces by hand.

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Totally got to lick the spatula…to check the flavor of course! ;)

I placed my ice cream in the freezer to thicken up while I worked on some other stuff around the house.

Shopping Spree

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Check out my latest shopping spree goodies! My new breakfast bowls! Ok, they’re “cups” but I got them more for eating purposes than drinking.

I bought these glasses from Crate + Barrel today for breakfasts and snacks.

I strategically selected each of these glasses for size, shape and usability.

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The smaller mug will be for my mini ice cream and yogurt parfait snacks. At 4 ounces, this means it will be the perfect 1/2 cup snack size.

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The larger cups are going to be for full-sized breakfast parfaits or if I’m especially craving a large portion of ice cream, etc. At 9 ounces, this cup is really better for a cup-ish worth of yogurt and granola and fruit, or even a smoothie, but we’ll see.

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I also picked up these snazzy mini spoons. They’ll be perfect for eating from my small glassware or as condiment spoons when we’re entertaining. I love the pattern on the silver spoon.

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I also got this bowl for morning oatmeal. No size reasoning on this one, I just liked the size and shape. :)

Lunchtime Eats

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While my ice cream thickened up, I whipped up a quick lunch: breaded halibut, steamed broccoli and toasted Whole Grain Goodness with a wee bit of real butter.

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I picked up this Honest Ade – Pomegranate Blue from the race earlier. (What? Other spectators were getting it too!) It had a great flavor and I liked how it was “just a tad sweet.”

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After lunch I dove straight into my homemade vegan ice cream!

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Decorated with 2 cookies.

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Loved it! The recipe was super easy and the flavor was great. Thanks Mama Pea!

Reader question – Have you tried coconut milk ice cream before (homemade or store-bought)? What did you think?

Race Envy

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When I found out a bunch of my local friends were signing up for a race in town, I decided to go support them as a spectator and as their official photographer. ;)

Why didn’t I run? Well…as most of you know, I’m not really into running. I’ve considered doing Couch to 5K before, but never actually started it up.

And another confession: I’m afraid I won’t be able to finish a race…of any length! Not a 5K, 10K…who knows? I’m worried I’ll tucker out…or be the last one. Eek! Races are scary to me.

Not to mention thanks to my injury last year, I’m also slightly concerned I may hurt myself if I push myself too hard.

Reading all the running blogs makes me wish I was a runner, but I’ve never actually tried it out because of FEAR! :(

Anywho, today I was more than happy to offer my moral support and photography skillz. :)

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Everyone was geared up in their Operation Beautiful signs Caitlin and I made the other night.

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I paired up with Matt to take photos and cheer everyone on.

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We waited at the start and next thing we know…they were OFF!

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We got pictures of almost everyone. Here’s Casey – the first to pass us.

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Jen + Jeff

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Kath + Caitlin

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Michelle

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Kelly

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Emily

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Matt and I held signs of encouragement for the runners. We got great response to our signs and lots of smiles! :)

So glad I was at the race today to share my support and take lots of photos!!

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After checking stats and getting snacks, we headed back to Caitlin’s place for brunch.

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We got to hang out with Maggie and James.

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They set up their tailgate tent.

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Eats

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I had a bagel with some peanut free nuttzo and some mocha naturally nutty, plus a bar that Emily and Casey made (I believe they’re posting their recipe soon) and some fruit salad.

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Guess who saved me some of his pecan sticky bun when I got home? Hubby did! So sweet of him. It was really tasty. He picked it up when he went to the farmers market all by himself! I’m so proud. :) I don’t think he’d ever been to a farmer’s market before meeting me and now he’s off and shopping their on his own. Too cool!

***

As for the race, if reading running blogs and hearing all the stories of the 5Ks, marathons and other running events didn’t make me wish I was a runner, today surely did!

I’m big on doing things that scare you. I think it’s true what doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger so I always like to tackle things that terrify me. Even zumba scared me when I first started! I have a feeling I may be signing up for a 5K or something in the next year-ish. Who knows?

First, I’ll try running with the girls tomorrow. Eeks! I’m scared! lol

Any first time running tips for me?

Pizzalicious

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Hiyas from the Chic house!

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My basil plants are finally growing back after being attached by slugs. I managed to harvest both some green and purple basil leaves. Woohoo!

I used them in lunch today.

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Leftover cooked pasta = pasta salad lunch.

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I added chopped spinach, cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, basil…

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…plus a balsamic vinaigrette.

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Plus toasted pine nuts on top. Yum!

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Guess what I got today?

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My zumba instructor gear! I got my sign in sheets, class cards, and all that fun junk.

My first class starts next Tuesday! Can’t wait! :)

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Lookie what I tried for a pre-workout snack today! A carrot cake Larabar (*)!

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The bar looked just like the others and had a similar texture. I liked the chewy bites of what I presumed to be carrots.

I thought the flavor was not quite as spot-on as some others they have. It didn’t quite taste like carrot cake to me. It had a lot of spice and just didn’t remind me as much of the flavor as some others do. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed the bar, I just didn’t think it tasted like “carrot cake.”

***

Post work I was so excited to go back to ZUMBA! It had been almost a week. I expected it to be a bit rough since I hadn’t done it in awhile and it was but I pushed through and felt amazing and strong afterwards!

I worked up a real appetite for dinner tonight!

***

We had plans to go out to Brixx with Kath + Matt tonight. We have a lot of events planned with them since it’s their last weekend in town! :(

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I started with a sampler – 420, Starhill Love, spaten, hoppyyum (that’s the best I can remember the names…lol).

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Hubby and I split bruschetta over conversation with Kath and Michelle.

Also chatted with Kelly, but I forgot to get photos of everyone tonight!

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Hubby and I also split a pizza – 1/2 BBQ Chicken and 1/2 Chicken Caprese on a whole wheat crust.

Both flavors were really good but I still love the BBQ chicken the best.

Post dinner we went in search of dessert.

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I got a single scoop of half baked froyo. Woohoo, they actually let me have a kid’s size this time!

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Post dinner, I hit up Ben + Jerry’s with Katie, Stew, Rachel, and hubby.

Such fun! :)

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Lookie what else came in today! My business cards!!

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The front.

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The back. Look familiar? I just ate this cherry almond french toast recently!

You likey? :)

Remember to check out my OpenSky coupons (click) for discounts on organic body butter, Galaxy Granola and other goodies!

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