Archive | August, 2012

Foodie Penpal Round 2

31 Aug

It’s the end of the month, which means that it is time for ONE thing: Foodie Penpal Reveal!

The Lean Green Bean


This month, I was lucky enough to receive a penpal box from Laura, a blog reader. I was really excited to get some fun stuff from Laura’s city of Minneapolis. My one and only experience with Minneapolis was for a 3 hour layover at the airport. So obviously I basically know nothing. But Laura promised some fun local items, so I was excited to see what she had in store for me!


Unfortunately the box did not really make it in good shape. But there was tissue paper on the inside, which protected all of the goodies!


Along with a sweet note, Laura included a bunch of local snacks, along with some of her favorites!

In the box, she had some local maple chipotle sweet potato chips which I havent tried yet, but I’m SO excited to break in to! She also had some local apricot bourbon BBQ  sauce. I’m so intrigued by this flavor – I’m just trying to figure out exactly how t use it! She also included some local rosemary “flackers”, which are flax seed crackers. How unique! Finally, she included a Cherry Cobbler flavor LaraUber bar, which I immediately ate after receiving my box. SO GOODDDD!

She also sent me a tube of umami paste, which I’m totally excited/intrigued by. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, “umami” means “savory”. So this paste includes a bunch of different savory ingredients, including garlic, anchovy paste, and tomato. Laura stated that she often uses it in stirfrys and other dishes to add a little extra something. I’m definitely going to have to try this! But I’ll be honest, I’m a little nervous!

Thank you again to Laura for her awesome foodie penpal box!


For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Foodie Pen Pal program, run by Lindsay of the Lean Green Bean, here’s a detailed explanation of the program:

-On the 5th of the month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you can choose to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
– Foodie Penpals is open to US, Canadian residents & UK residents. 

Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. So, I’m going to keep two separate lists and match US w/ US and Canada w/ Canada!

I’ve had a great time participating in this program, and I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to connect with other bloggers or blog readers, and who wants to try some new and fun foods!

So tell me: Have you ever tried umami paste? What is the weirdest food you’ve ever cooked with?


Very Important Day

30 Aug

Guys, today starts something very, VERY important. Like, we’re talking stay up all night like it’s Christmas day exciting. Weekend altering, take-over-you-life important.

Nope, it’s not my wedding. Not even the countdown to my wedding (yet).


It’s the start of COLLEGE FOOTBALL!

Yes, I’m completely aware that I’m a dork.

But college football makes me SO happy. It’s one of my favorite parts of the fall. Obviously I have a particular preference for my Hokies, but I really don’t discriminate when it comes to watching. Thursday nights and Saturdays are all about football in my world. I mean, our save the dates were Hokies football tickets! We are totally those people.

(Old school picture alert! This is from when my blog was just a tiny baby!)

Laney, however, is not amused by college football so far. Even though she’s named after Virginia Tech’s football stadium (again, can you see our obsession?) Maybe she’ll be more enthusiastic when the Hokies play.


Now that football season has started, I’m going to apologize in advance for the many football-related posts for the next 5 months. And if you’re a fellow college football fan, let’s be friends. Unless you root for my rival teams. Then we might have to put our friendship on hold until basketball season!

I kid, of course. Sort of.

Anyway, how about some eats and some fitness. That IS what you guys came here to read about, after all.


Today was day 4 in a row at the gym for me, which I’m actually really proud of. Life has been so crazy recently that it’s really messed with my gym schedule. But I really tried to prioritize it this week, even with a lot of late evenings at work, and so far I’ve been able to be successful!

So for today I completed another workout from Tina’s Best Body Bootcamp. I really can’t believe that we’re almost done with week 6! It’s actually gone by incredibly fast!

What I LOVE about bootcamp though is that I never get bored. I’m one of those people that gets easily bored (and thus easily wimps out) when I do the same workout over and over again. While I love Jillian Michaels and her workouts, I really can only use them rarely because I just find the repetition a snooze.

But Tina’s work outs are so different each phase that I really never find myself getting bored. Even the moves are rarely repeated more than once a week; she’s always introducing new and exciting ways to strengthen muscles. She even keeps cardio interesting! The fact that Tina’s workouts have kept me interested for 6 weeks straight is really a testament to her abilities!

I really encourage anyone to check in to her next Bootcamp, because it has been SUCH a great experience!


For some reason I’ve totally been on a bean kick lately, and that continued all day today. I just was craving beans. Refried beans, to be specific.

I know that some people are kind of grossed out by refried beans, but I totally grew up on them and they are one of my favorite things to include with any kind of Mexican  meal. Today was no exception.


I filled a whole wheat tortilla with fat free refried beans (the kind with no funky ingredients. Just beans!), and set it under the broiler for a minute to crisp up. Then I topped it with a sprinkle of cheese and some chunky salsa. Paired with some corn.

So delicious!

Well now I’m off to watch some South Carolina v. Vanderbuilt football! And of course, dream about this Monday when my Hokies play for the first time this season (and of course, I’m going to be there!)



(Old school pic alert – circa 2010 while I was in grad school!)

So tell me: What sports do you love to watch??

WIAW: Repeat Edition

29 Aug

So Pete and Repeat were walking down the street… Pete fell in a hole. Who was left?

So Pete and Repeat were walking…

You get the idea.

(Please tell me that someone else remembers this being the most AWESOME rhyme when you were 8. It went right up there with “This is the song that never ends…” and “This is the the song that gets on everybody’s nerves…”)

So today was another super long day at work. I didn’t even end up leaving the office until after 6. I’m going to be SO happy when the summer is over and things have calmed down a little bit. Although I will say, it sure makes the days go by quickly!

But it is Wednesday, which means I had something to look forward to when I got home! What is that, you ask? Well it’s What I Ate Wednesday, of course!

For anyone not familiar with What I Ate Wednesday, it is an internet-wide phenomena started by Jenn from Peas & Crayons to share and connect over delicious meals. For more details, please check out Jenn’s page, which really explains much more eloquently than I ever could, the purpose and intent behind the original What I Ate Wednesday idea.

So without further ado… What I Ate Wednesday!


This morning was just one of those mornings. My hair wouldn’t cooperate, I changed outfits like 8 times, etc, which meant that I totally had to bring breakfast to go. And then forgot to take a picture. So please forgive this repeat image! Black Cherry Chobani with blueberries, raspberries, and granola. With a cup of usual morning tea.



Lunch was a repeat meal from last night – stirfry with chicken on a bed of quinoa. Simple and delicious.



Sorry to say that dinner was ANOTHER repeat meal…. Pasta with Chris’ mom’s homemade meat sauce with a side of green beans. Looks eerily similar to Monday night’s meal.  Except it was steamed green beans instead of French beans. Ooh, look at me – changing things up! ;-P



About 2 hours after dinner, I was still having kind of a grumbly tummy, so I decided to make a late-night snack. Sometimes you just have to listen to your tummy’s needs! A piece of whole wheat toast with some apple butter. Yum!


So there you have it, What I Ate Wednesday!


With my late evening at work, I really was just not feeling like spending more time away from my poor puppy at the gym. So instead I came home and took her on a run. Considering today was a cardio day with Tina’s Best Body Bootcamp, it kind of worked out perfectly!

I ran about 2 miles with Laney, and then dropped back off at home and ran another 2 on my own. It was a little humid out today and I didn’t want to stress out my poor puppy too much!

One thing I have to say is that I can really feel a change in my running. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been running a lot more often on Tina’s plan, or because of the strength training, but I can definitely tell a huge difference in my running. Previously, 4 miles would have seemed like a very lofty goal. Now I usually have some more juice in the tank (SUCH an awkward phrase, btw) and really could go longer if I let myself.

Even though I know that becoming a better runner wasn’t necessarily the GOAL of Tina’s bootcamp, it definitely has been an added bonus in my opinion!

So there you have it – my day in a nutshell! Now I’m off to watch So You Think You Can Dance.

*spoiler alert….*

I’m so bummed that Will left! He was one of my favorites – such a personality! The cat dance is seriously one of my favorites of the season just because it was so fun!


Now I have to say, my favorites for the top 6 are Whitney and Cyrus. And I’m kind of pulling for Cyrus to win it all – that would just be insane!

So tell me: What did you eat today?

Bonus question: Who are you rooting for this season of SYTYCD?