7 Links: Welcome New Readers Edition

Greetings all, and a wonderful Sunday to you!  At this very moment, I’m writing from the deck of my shore house in Ocean City, New Jersey (my favorite place on the planet.)  I left the Healthy Living Summit yesterday about an hour or so after the sessions ended because, although I wanted to spend time with the new people that I met, I don’t get to see my family too often (as I live in Durham, NC and they all live outside of Philly).  From reading the tweets and posts from these new beautiful bloggers and bloggettes, I missed out on some mischief making, but the opportunity to sip rum & coke with mom and dad and cuddle on the couch watching CSI with my siblings (and the always-gorgeous Horatio Caine was clearly too good to pass up.

Pierce me with those eyes, Lt. Caine... (click image for Source)

Though I was nominated chosen picked for this whole “7 Links” meme a while back by a fellow blogger or two, I figured I’d hold off for a little because it seemed like the perfect way to introduce new readers to myself in a fun, organized fashion.  And also, sometimes, I’m a lazy bum.  But mostly it was because of how appropriate it is for new readers.

For the ease of access, feel free to check out my “About Me” to glean some background info.  And on that note, I’m going to dive right into things.

  1. My Most Beautiful Post

    Football, Football, Football (Oh, and Friday.)

    A Sea of Carolina Blue

    Maybe it’s because I’m romantically involved with my alma mater, UNC. Or maybe it’s because I think tailgating is the most wonderful Autumn pastime of all.  But whatever it is, this post fills my heart with joy and makes my heart beat a little faster when I read it.  If you love college football (or college sports… or any sports), you might think this is lovely as well.  If you don’t, here’s a post on my best friend’s wedding that ought to tide you over: The 61 Hour Whirlwind Wedding Weekend: Picture and the Ceremony.  Don’t say I never gave you nothing….

  2. My Most Popular Post

    New Belgium Tour de Fat, Meet: DURHAM!

    Beer Education: So hot right now

    During a hot summer day this year, I was able to dress up like a champagne bottle and volunteer for the New Belgium Tour de Fat in downtown Durham, North Carolina (the closest city to me).  Being a HUGE craft beer fan (obviously, with a name like “food, sweat, and beers“) I jumped at the chance to volunteer.  I helped bring beer tokens to the masses, got to participate in a mini beer-du-cation class with some of the brewers from New Belgium, and realized that retronasal tasting is a real term (though most folks use it regarding  retronasal wine tasting).  I think this post was especially popular in the Durham, NC area.  But beer fans far and wide are welcome to continue enjoying it.

  3. My Most Controversial Post

    Women and Chick Beer vs. Craft Beer: A Response

    The Infamous "Chick Beer" that sparked the discussion

    While I can’t say this post was incredibly controversial, the topic certainly was, and the discussion was the most enjoyable to read in the comments section. I also brought discussion about this topic.  As I mentioned before, though I just attended a Healthy Living Summit, my passion is also craft beer and this whole topic of women being “catered to” in the craft beer world with weak flavored, low carbonated beers really got me fired up.  Apparently, I was not the only one that cared about it, because I still hear this topic discussed.  It’s a pretty interesting read, if you care about beer, but also if you’re interested in marketing techniques targeting females.

  4. My Most Helpful Post

    Eating Good in the Neighborhood (Pool)

    Poolside with my buddy, Claire

    In the summertime, on the weekends, if I’m not at the shore/beach, I like to be at the pool.  I think this post provided a lot of good advice (and it was a pretty popular one, so clearly others were interested.)  However, I also liked my post on Lunchbox Variety and mixing up your sammies.  Eating healthy on pool weekends AND mixing up my lunches are both challenges for me, so hopefully these posts helped folks in similar situations.

  5. A Post Whose Success Surprised Me

    No Pants Wednesday

    I. Hate. Pants.

    I guess I’m not SUPER surprised that people love the idea of No Pants Wednesday.  But when I shared with everyone the fact that the reason I go home every day for lunch, I never thought they’d get so fired up about me hating pants.

    Then again, who really likes to wear pants?

    If you do, I don’t mean offense…. I just think you should give No Pants Wednesday a chance.

  6. A Post I Didn’t Think Got the Attention It Deserved

    Wisdom Teeth: Be GONE!

    So Very Loopy.

    This is a tough one, because honestly, I never think to myself “this post DESERVES so much attention.” Who am I to expect any attention from anyone?  (other than awesome.)

    But really, if you want a laugh, check out the pictures on that post. For some reason, when I was loopy on pain medication, I was SO intense about the nurses taking pictures of every step of the way.  And I demanded to keep my teeth (not unlike my new buddy, Jessica and her pillow of baby teeth.)  Now, not only am I the weirdo who was a total bossy brat at the dental surgeon’s office and documented every step of her wisdom teeth removal, but I’m the creep with four bleached wisdom teeth in a shot glass in my apartment.

    Be careful if we ever do shots at chez moi… no one wants a shot of tooth.

  7. Post I’m Most Proud Of

    Wake-Up Call

    Namaste.

    This post was both a reminder to myself of all the progress I made (I have lost 40-45 lbs since March 2010 with the help of Weight Watchers, exercise like Zumba and Body Pump , and support from family/friends, as well as a reminder that sometimes, all you need to change your entire life is a little wake-up call.  It sums up my progress, it talks about how my thinking about food and health changed over the past year and a half, and it has a cute shot of me sleeping (in case you’re into that kinda thing.)

    This weekend, I realized that even though I never really have experienced the hardships of disordered eating that many of my peers dealt with, I had my own interesting set of circumstances that others might benefit from.  No one becomes who they are in the exact same way, and though my story feels unique, I am sure I’m not the only one who slowly put on weight until they were living an unhealthy lifestyle without even realizing it, and then decided to change things up.

So there you have it.  Some funny posts. Some poignant posts. Some food posts. Some beer posts.

Read up, learn about me, comment, email me, follow me on Twitter, and let’s get this party started.

Now, I’m back to hanging out with this stud:

Princess of the Jersey Shore

Isn’t he handsome?

 

Should I Throw the Kitchen Sink In, Too?

Hey there, ladies and gents!

This time tomorrow, I’ll probably be enjoying a beer before my flight to the Healthy Living Summit at the beautiful sufficient Raleigh-Durham airport.  I’m hoping to eat something small before I get to the airport, mostly to save room for a small Wawa hoagie when Krissie from PhillyNerdGirl picks me up (you know…. if we have time.)  I did, however, manage to get through most of my crazy to-do list from yesterday (and there’s still time to weigh in on my dress selection!!)

It won’t be nearly the caliber of my lunch today, though.

Everything but the kitchen sink!

This wanna-be wrap-turned-taco really was just my way to use up all the random foods that I had in the fridge.  Last tortilla in the bag, last two slices of buffalo chicken, some spinach artichoke hummus, last pieces of muenster, last bits of tomato and bell pepper, a giant handful of spinach? Sounds like lunch to me.  I contemplated tossing in my sink, but decided I already have plenty of iron in my diet.

Also on the menu: a few carrots wrapped in that last slice of muenster (random but tasty), a bite (or five) of my Chocolate Crack: S’mores Style, leftover steamed asian veggies from lunch two or three days ago, really, I’m just trying to clear house.

My bag(s) are almost entirely packed!

Victoria's Secret bags = gift bags, free with purchase. Voila.

I’ve grabbed a few magazines for the plane ride, and I’m now adding last touches to my luggage.

  • Jewelry
  • Snacks
  • A flask? Is that classless?  God, I never remember, I just know that it’s a snake-print flask from Pier 1, and I never get to use it. Maybe, like Will Smith with cigars, I’ll just bring an empty flask and try to become known as that “bad girl” at the HLS cocktail party. OR I could bring it to the NEXT LEVEL and bring it to the breakfast.  Not really. But it would be funny. (Or tacky. or both.)
  • Business cards (WHAT?! Yeah, I’m a pro like that.)

I’ll shoot you straight, I had no idea what to wear during the sessions on Saturday, so I think I tried on every possible combination of what’s in my bag.  And I still don’t know. But I’m sure the beau appreciated my fashion show.

Too much going on today, I can hardly think straight!

I’m off to rush back to work so that I can leave a little earlier and pack up the rest of my life.

What are you up to today?  Starting your weekend a little early?

If you’re in the RDU area, meet me at Rockfish in Durham for a drink from 6-7 OR at Busy Bee Cafe in Raleigh from 7:30-??

PS I almost just walked out the door still wearing my apron.  Nice.  Talk about frazzled, right?

Smooth move.

 

No Rest for the Wicked (and sweaty and tired!)

Hello friends!!

It’s Hump Day, I know, but it feels like it’s at least Thursday.  And tomorrow (the REAL Thursday) will be jammed to the brim with work, the gym (hopefully), glass night at Rockfish (and a SWEET beer all the way from Belgium’s own Palm Breweries, and then North Carolina Girls’ Pint Out invading Busy Bee Cafe in Raleigh (I plan on drinking the heck out of a Dogfish Head Namaste!)

So tonight, as I was eating my snack:

Mottled Avocado and Wheat Thins

I put together a quick little to-do list.

I don't think I've ever had "cook crack" on a to-do list before....

As you can see, much to do tonight!!

I squeezed in a quick ab class and 20 minutes on the elliptical, the last 5 at a SUPER high resistance.  It felt like I was running through mud.

Work it, girl.

Now, I’m focusing on more important things….

Decisions, Decisions...

Any favorite dresses?  Still trying to choose for the HLS Cocktail Party….

Back to running around in an apron, packing, cleaning, and wishing for more time in the day (just not in the workday!)

What My Pandora Stations Say About Me!

Hey there, all, and Happy No Pants Wednesday!! Hope you’re celebrating in style.

I'm sort of cheating with a dress and leggings. So sue me.

Today’s lunch was…. identical to yesterday’s.

Surprise, Surprise

I’ll be frank: repetitive lunches are sometimes necessary when you’re trying to clear out a fridge full of produce and eggs. I wanna leave the beau with the bare minimum for his weekend of manliness (you know…. beer, meat, and cheese.)  All his favorites.

Last night, on #fitblog, the questions were all about music. The music you work out to, the music you’re embarrassed about, and all that jazz.  And it got me thinking about my (many) Pandora stations that I’ve made over the years.  For a little glimpse into my inner workings, I present:

What (Most of) My Pandora Stations Say About Me!

  1. Britney Spears Station

    Rah Rah, ooh lala !

    Deep down inside, I’ll ALWAYS love whatever the Pop Princess du Jour is.  It was all the finest ladies in the past: the Spice Girls, Britney, Xtina, Beyonce, Cher (never), Mandy, and (most recently) the Mother Monster herself.  Something about powerful rockstar ladies always gets me hype.

  2. Wicked (original Broadway cast)

    Belting out the National Anthem with the besty

    When I was younger, I’d sing at any chance I had.  Choir, showers, volleyball tournaments.  Once, I sang the National Anthem at the Baltimore Convention Center. It was the most exhiliarating experience I had in my days of yore. To this day, I still sing, though I tend to keep it in the shower. But this station is full of Disney songs, Wicked songs, other Broadway musical songs.  I’ll catch myself listening in the grocery store and accidentally bursting into song.  Or, you know, not so accidentally. Everyone deserves a little show now and then.

  3. Today’s Hip Hop and Rap

    I'm a little bit gangster, myself.

    I’ll admit, I was the proud owner of my share of Eminem CDs. And sometimes I garble together words really fast to pretend like I rap. But truly, this station is SUCH a great one to power through strength training, or a particularly tough elliptical run. It’s like Dr. Dre is right there with me, pushing me further and faster.  That’d just be…. the coolest.

  4. Party in the USA

    Back it Up!

    I’ll admit, nothing makes me wanna dance more than my pop music.  And, for any of you that are going to the Healthy Living Summit this weekend, if you’re lucky, I’ll break out some sweet dance moves.  And by “sweet dance moves”, I mostly mean “watch out for the flailing giantess…. she’s trying to Dougie.”

    You’ve been warned.

  5. Sigur Ros

    Good night, Jojo

    Looking for sleepytime music? Look no further. Sigur Ros is my relaxation station. Explosions in the Sky, instrumental jams, words that I don’t understand.  I use it to relax, and once in college, I ended up falling asleep my teacher’s office waiting for her.  Thanks a lot, Sigur.

  6. I Told You So – Keith Urban

    The Dirty South

    When you date a boy who attends college in Mississippi, and you drive there several times…. You either learn to love country music, or you stop listening to the radio on the 12 hour drive down.

    Just call me a country girl.

What are your favorite Pandora stations?

What do they say about you?

Demand and Dinner

Good evening folks, I hope none of you are still as sweaty and gross as I am.  But if you are…. I salute you.

After my lunchtime post where I showed you my advanced icing techniques, my ankle actually started to feel a little better. I spent the day in a long meeting, taking care of business, and then tidied up my desk to show off for the new employee tomorrow.

This might be the most normal it has ever looked.

If you take a closer look, you’ll notice a McCormick’s Italian Herb blend, a toy dog wearing a fruit hat, and my iPhone got a text! A rare opportunity to look at my life, behind the scenes. Cherish it, y’all.

After work, with my ankle feeling up to snuff, I hit up Zumba (considering my favorite instructor was there, I had to do it.)  I’m glad I did, as I rocked it out.

Woo, baby.

I specifically remember the track where my HR reached 180 because, in the midst of panting, I glanced over at the watch and was like WHOAH! My ankle’s feeling a little sore now, but during the class I actually felt pretty decent.  It was a packed class, lots of total newbies, but everyone handled their business and rocked it out.  The energy was awesome, the music was perfect, and we even did an all-arm track to Carry Out by Justin Timberlake.  I’m sore, but in the best way possible.

Following the gym, I received word from the beau that he was going to be late for dinner, so I made the executive decision to go shopping.

In case you didn’t get the message, my 24th Birthday is Next Wednesday, August 24. That’s right, one week and one day away.  Feel free to shower me with sexy presents like beer and sports bras and Norts (Nike shorts, for the folks who aren’t familiar) and all the like.  Or packages, or tweets, or email love.  Or just buy me a cocktail and compliment the tiara I’ll be wearing on my big day and, more than likely, the night of the HLS cocktail party.  I’m needy like that.

Now that we all are on the same page for what I was shopping for, you might understand that Nordstrom Rack was at the top of my list.  Since my feet are huge (size 12-13), any store that carries my size is somewhere I frequent.  And today, I finally got lucky.

Sam Edelman, you've done good.

I’ve been looking for a pair of sandals with this single long strap.  Though these weren’t the silver I hoped for, the gems and spikes on the back…. I felt like Lady Gaga when I put them on.  And then I found my birthday dress.  Which just so happened to have little white streaks in it. The price was a little steep, and there was a gem missing, so I asked the man at the front if there was another one, or if I could get a discount.  I couldn’t get a discount, and he almost wouldn’t sell them to me….  and then he told me they were the only size 12 Sam Edelman sandals of this style AT ANY NORDSTROM RACK IN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY!!!!!

I left, one pair of shoes richer (and a few more bucks than I wanted to be poorer…. but they were shaved about halfway from their original pricetag…. I’ll chalk it up as a win.)

With my birthday outfit success warming my heart, and my zumba class rumbling my tummy…. I headed home for dinner with the beau.

It was clean, it was fast, and it. was. tasty.

Grilled chicken covered in Frank's Red Hot and Laughing Cow Blue Cheese, steamed veggies, and a Diet Cherry Pepsi

Sweet Moments Caramel Delights

Now, it’s time to finish The Adjustment Bureau, shower, and sleep, sweetly and hopefully for a long time.  So. So. tired.

Do you get yourself birthday presents?  How about special birthday outfits?

I pretty much always do.  And rest assured, I’ll be rocking a tiara that day…. hard.

Minding My Peas and Qs

Good afternoon y’all, hope you’re enjoying this glorious summer day!

For a Tuesday in the middle of the August, the weather couldn’t have been nicer. It was crisp, it was cool, and I must say…. I think love was in the air.  In fact, I actually caught two little lovebirds in the act!

Sweet, sweet mothra love.

These two lovebugs (literally) were sitting on my car all morning.  And I’ll be honest, if this is what Moth-Sex looks like…  I’m not too impressed.  Gross.

Before work, I hit up the Teet for the tail end of super ultra mega hyper coupon week and picked up some serious cereal goodness.

Stocked and Loaded!

Yeah, a few of my new favorite cereal were on sale, AND I had a coupon, and so three boxes = about $5, slightly more than what would normally cost for a single box.  Love it.

While at work, I was thinking about heading to Zumba later today, and I figured I’d ice my ankle a little bit, as it’s still been bothering me.  At the office, though, my first aid supplies are running rather thin so I made due.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present:

Ice Pack made of Frozen peas, and held to my ankle with bubble wrap

If they had a competition for the MacGyver of Doctors, I’d win, hands down.

When I got home for lunch, all I could think about was yesterday’s Good Karma Omelet and, since everyone loves good karma, I whipped another (remarkably similar looking) one.

1 egg white, 1 egg, green pepper, spinach, roma tomato, buffalo chicken, and muenster cheese

But I also paired it with a little something extra.

Buff Chick Rollups and Carrots

I rolled up some lunch meat and cheese, added some carrots and Sabra Hummus (Spinach artichoke), and chomped away.

Dessert was a salty one:

Nature's Place Salted Sunflower Seeds!

Since I’ve been inhaling these puppies all throughout ABC Family’s new “hit to be”, The Lying Game I think it’s time to pack the gym bag and head back to the office.

Do you think that moths make sweet, sexy moth love? Or they just got stuck that way?

What’s the most creative “makeshift” bandage/brace/etc you’ve ever made?

Molto Bene: A Tale of Triumph

Good evening, Ragazzi!! (I’m not an expert, but I’m gonna pretend I’m certain that means boys and girls)

Monday’s been a long day for me.  I hit the office early and running and stuck around late to clock in some extra time (as I’ll be doing all week).  I hate hate hate taking vacation time if I think I can make it up during the week and, since I’ll be taking about a half-day on Friday for my travels to the Healthy Living Summit (I’d stop linking, but it’s addictive), I’ll be trying to earn about an hour extra each day. Then, voila! guilt free time off on Friday to schmooze with all the friends and blends-to-be (P.S. since I don’t even think I mentioned it, this one time I did a Guest Post for Alexa of Simple Eats a while back about how I make friends in new places… there’s even a picture of me and Jason Segel so check it out.)

At work, for a snack, I enjoyed some strawberries, an Adora Calcium disk, and some seeds. It was just like a tasty bird food mix up.

Paired with a side of Coke Zero

Now that I’m done shamelessly promoting myself (which is needed since I’m the only one who ever read/commented on my own guest post) and my snacks, it’s time to get to the meat of the day.  Or, in this case, the meatBALLS.

To get there, though, we have to go back.  Old school….

One time, for one month, I lived in Florence, Italy, home of MichaelangeloAmerigo Vespucci, Acqua al Due (which fed me the greatest steak of my life), and (more recently), my twin, Snookie.

Only one? Come on, Jordan!

That's my goal... Only I'd never ever smoke a cigarette. YUCK! (click for Source)

Italy was a glorious place to live, even just for a month.  Only all… we ever…. ate… was pasta.

Pasta and Nutella

Pasta with veggies, pasta with sauce, pasta with prawns, pasta with pepperoni, pasta with meat…..

By the end of the month, I was so sick of pasta I never wanted to see it again.  And honestly, since then, it very rarely has.  Unless I felt obliged to eat it due to being at someone’s home (as a guest), I avoided it like the plague.  But tonight, after saving my poor little basil plant , I was inspired.  It helped that sauce and pasta was on sale too….

I purchased a package of Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Spaghetti at the store (sticking with the whole grains, though not too low carb…)

Snagged picture, click for the Source!

I also snagged some turkey meatballs from Harris Teeter and some sauce I already had on hand…

In a little sauce-pan, I sauteed some spinach and green peppers, several leaves from that dear basil plant, then added the sauce, and some tomatoes.  Once the pasta was sufficiently done (I like it tender, not a bit al dente), I threw it in a big ol’ bowl with about 3-5 of the turkey meatballs, and covered it in a few sprinkles of reduced fat mozzarella cheese, OODLES of crushed red pepper and dried oregano, and gobbled it up like I hadn’t eaten pasta in years (when it may have actually been a year.)

Pas-TASTIC!

Loved the effect the basil had, and how hearty the meal tasted even though I went with less-pasta and much more veggies. Pasta made a triumphant return in my life, and (if I always make it this veggie laden) I foresee it becoming a repeat offender.

Even though I was, for the most part, full, I wanted to chase it down with a tiny sweet treat….

Pillsbury Sweet Moments Brownie Bites in Cocoa Caramel Obsession

There were 12 of these tiny nibblets in a package, and I limited Ry and myself to 2 each (so we could feasibly repeat this 2 more nights!)

I’m gonna shoot you straight, as tiny as they were, they tasted like tiny gooey bites of sweet, delicious sin. I could EASILY have wolfed all 12 of them down, but the 2 that I enjoyed were a perfect 120 calorie way to end my night on a sweet note.

I forgot to take a shot of their size, but luckily someone else did that for me (see Finding Inspiration in Food’s review for a finger comparison!)  I love caramel mixed with chocolate, and anything that combines them in an itty bitty bite is even more enjoyable.  I found these at Harris Teeter for $2.50 and had a $1/off coupon so it was a bargain.  You can get your own coupon at the Pillsbury site (just make sure you have a printer ready!)

All in all, this has been a top notch Monday, as far as Mondays go…. and in due time (3.5-ish days…. but who’s counting?) I’ll be on a plane headed North!

Do you like pasta?  If so, how do you like it (shape, sauce, cooking style, veggies or meat)?

What’s your favorite weeknight “dessert” that doesn’t kill the calorie intake but satisfies your sweet tooth?

Good Karma Omelet

Good afternoon, friends and neighbors!!

It was rough to go back to work today after a wonderful weekend.  In case you missed anything:

I’ll admit, I spent lots of time at home this weekend, being a little homebody.  That’s because the next two weekends will be spent on planes, trains, and automobiles (literally), heading to the Healthy Living Summit in Philadelphia (I fly in at 3:15!! And already have a double welcome wagon of Krissie and Ali!!  Then, the next weekend, I fly BACK to Philly for my cousin’s bridal shower.

Oh yeah, and on Wednesday, August 24th, 2011, I TURN 24!!

I promise to be less Birthdayzilla this year...

In the meantime, I’ve got a busy week ahead of me.  Lots of work, workouts, and a low-carb diet for the week that I’m trying out as I’ve been feeling fairly full and bloaty all weekend (due primarily to MANY carby snacks of fried goodies, too many Wheat Thins to count, Heath bar pancakes drenched in syrup (heavenly), a few too many cheddar biscuit samples at A Southern Season, and (of course) tacos and chips galore.

Oi vay.

Time to cut back a little (though I’ll still enjoy my Fiber One 80 calorie cereal I just started enjoying for breakfast).

Today, when I came home for lunch, I spotted a sad, sad sight.

PLANTTTTTT!!

My poor basil plant took a tumble overnight, probably due to the Noah’s Ark-like downpour all evening….  Well, I flipped it right up, gave it some water, and I think got some good karma because then I did something I don’t think I’ve successfully done since I moved to this apartment.

The Perfect Omelet Flip!!

Well, what happened next will be known as the Good Karma Omelet.

  • 1 egg white, 1 egg base
  • 1 handful of spinach, sauteed
  • 1/5 of a green pepper, also sauteed
  • 5 pieces of turkey pepperoni, sliced into thirds
  • 1 slice of provolone cheese, melted

Slather that bad boy in Frank’s Red Hot, and you’ll taste all that good karma just filling up your belly.

For dessert, I enjoyed a fresh peach from my beau’s boss’ field!

Fresh and ripe and great to the last drop!!

I am sensing great things for the rest of the day.  My plant is upright, my belly is full (but not with many carbs), and True Blood, like that peach, was good to the last drop.

Ha, vampire joke.  Get it?

Good.  For tolerating that silliness, here’s a sexy Eric and Sookie moment to enjoy.

Sexy, can I? (click on image for Source)

Are you going to the Healthy Living Summit?

How did you earn some good karma today?

Six Pack Sunday: Snacktime!

Hey hey you party people!

Glad you enjoyed my recipe for that Chocolate Crack (and lemme tell you, despite some judging malfeasance, everyone at the picnic loved it too).

It’s been a pretty snuggly weekend, with a total of three naps and very little leaving the house, which I loved…. but that’ll change oh-so-soon with next weekend being the Healthy Living Summit in Philly and the weekend after being a wine-tasting themed bridal shower for my cousin in OCNJ!  But enough about the future, here are the six silly things that I’ve enjoyed or thought about this week.  For your viewing pleasure.

  1. So that’s why they call them navel oranges.

    Wow. Definitely an Inny.

    If that’s not a belly button on a fruit, I don’t know what is.

  2. I demand a revote!

    Gimme a break!

    Now, I know I may be biased…. but of the 5 desserts pictured here, mine didn’t even PLACE! (there were 1-3rd places with gift cards!)  I’ll admit, the cool whip thing on the left was delicious and full of cake and berries…. but the one on the far right…. HAWAIIAN CAKE?! COME ON!!  I gave them all a fair try.

    A nice sampler platter of the competition's goodies.

    Admittedly, I’m a bit sour grapes, so my mind may have played tricks on me, but I’m pretty sure the carrot cake was poison.

    Luckily, the judging didn’t prevent people from eating the heck out of the crack. HA!

  3.  #WTF

    AND a personalized note to boot!

    Have any of you tweeted #WTF when you finish a box of Wheat Thins @crunchiscalling?  If you DO you have a chance to have a brand new box sent to you!!  And they even hand-write the note!!  How nice is that?

    And I can’t promise that I’ll send you boxes of Wheat Thins, but you should follow @foodsweatnbeers on twitter too for live, minute-by-minute updates on what I’m doing.  Doesn’t that just sound great?!

  4. A Blogger Meetup!!

    UNC girls!!

    I met up with Allison, author of Happy Tales, at the UNC School of Public Health.  It was my first ever healthy living blogger meetup, a virtual dress rehearsal for the Healthy Living Summit in LESS than a week (ahhh!)  It was great to finally meet someone IRL who I’ve read all about.  It’s like I already knew her.  Wonderful to meet, chat about HLS and our mutual love of dogs named Happy, and enjoy the company while spending some time on UNC campus again. It just reminded me how excited I am for Football Season!!

  5. Another WTF.  This time, chocolate bar style.

    Oh, it isn't?!

    Read a little about this Yorkie candy bar.  And apparently it’s not for girls. So if you’re trying to eat it, and you’re a lady….

    DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT!

  6. North Carolina’s Girls’ Pint Outchapter is making it happen!!

    Sweet Swag

    I had a fantastic meeting with the some of the finest Craft Beer Ladies in the Triangle tonight to discuss future plans for NC GPO…  Things are going to get awesome, very very soon.  Check out @NCGirlsPintOut on Twitter!!  Our next event’s going to be this Thursday(!!!!) at Busy Bee Cafe in Raleigh and I’m beyond pumped.  Also in the plans…. two of my favorite words, combined into one event: KEGS & EGGS!!

    Nothing’s set in stone, yet, but I’ll be working my booty off to get it set.  Perhaps a tailgating event.  That’s just my dream come true.  Dream big, right Jordan?

Those are the little bits of goings on, and now I’m off to enjoy my froyo and a sweet episode of Mad Men. Yup, this is the first time we’ve ever watched it. And yup, I’m addicted.

Get inside of my belly.

Good night, friends, and best of luck waking up for Monday’s meandering.

Chocolate Crack: S’mores Style

All I could think about when I was making these was the incredibly quotable flick, Mean Girls.

Crack. (click on image for Source)

But I’ll be honest, this crack would definitely crack Regina George.  And Gretchen Weiners.

After our amazing dinner date at Mellow Mushroom last night, we figured it was time to whip up some dessert.  While I used a few different recipes online to remind me how to make this, I also used years of watching my mom make these delicious desserts.  I’ve heard it called all sorts of different names. Sugar Bark. Chocolate Crack. Salty Sweet. Crackle. But whatever you call it, it’s addictive.  And too easy to make.  If you need an easy-to-make food for a crowd you’re trying to please, GO FOR IT!

What you need is:

  • Aluminum foil
  • a tall pan (some people call them jelly roll pans? But I’ve never even seen a jelly roll, so I just called it the tall pan.)
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 sleeve of salted saltines (like, 40-50 saltine crackers)
  • 1 12 oz package of semi-sweet chocolate, dark chocolate, I bet even white chocolate would work
  • Vanilla extract
  • Some baby marshmallows

Step 1

My saltines were not green. But my lighting was awful, as these were being made at 10 pm.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line your so called “Jelly roll” pan with the saltine crackers (pack tight, no spaces) and make SURE you don’t have more than one solid row of crackers.  If there’s space on the edges, break the saltines to fit the gaps. And then, eat the extra saltine bits. Yum.

Step 2

Butter me up.

Take the butter. Put it in a medium sauce pan. Melt it at a medium heat. Don’t burn it. Easiest step ever.

Step 3

Looking sweet

Add the cup of dark brown sugar and a dash of vanilla extract (about a teaspoon, maybe a teensy bit more, we just eyed it) to the melted butter in the pan. Stir it at a medium heat until the mixture is a uniform rich brown.  This will look divine, smell like warm caramel, and you may be tempted to eat it straight from here. Don’t, you’ll burn your mouth and ruin your dessert.

Step 4

(no picture, sorry, so here’s a picture of a jelly roll)

That's a lot of pan for a little jelly roll. (Click image for Source)

Pour the butter sugar vanilla mixture on the crackers, and toss that in the (preheated) oven.  Watch it carefully, and when the mixture starts to bubble, take it out.

Step 5

Chocolatey goodness

Sprinkle the chocolate on top of the bubbling sugar crackers.  You can let the heat melt it, but I like to take a spatula and spread the chocolate for a more even coating.

Step 6

Rockiest road = marshmallows

We forgot to get the marshmallows, but had marshmallow fluff, so we plopped it all around.  However, I always recommend using marshmallows, and sprinkling them around. The fluff’s hard to work with (but, if you’re into getting more on the spoon and your fingers…. by all means.)  Put the pan in the fridge and wait it out.  I’d say at least 2-3 hours, or overnight.

Step 7

Get it OUT OF MY HOUSE!

After refrigerating for a few hours (or overnight, just to be safe), crack the bark up (the foil normally comes off very easily but sometimes you have to pull a bit) into little bite sized treats.  Try a piece. Then get it as far away from you as possible lest you eat the entire thing.
Voila!  I promise, this will go so fast at your next potluck you’ll wonder if you accidentally forgot to bring something.

Ok, now that I’m salivating over crack, I better eat some legitimate breakfast food. A girl can’t live on chocolate, sugar, butter, and saltines alone.

But she can certainly try.