Tops is TOPS!

Today has definitely been one of those days that is just “GO GO GO” – from 5:30am this morning, until 9:00pm tonight, when we finally walked in the door.

Nonetheless, despite being super busy, it has been rather productive!

Workout

At 5:05am this morning, my alarm was definitely not on my good side. After the second round of “snoozing” I really debated on skipping my AM workout all together. However, I knew I’d be mad at myself if I didn’t get up (since I really didn’t have a good excuse), so I sucked it up and tumbled out of bed. I had already planned on doing the Rock Hard Total Body Workout on Exercise on Demand…I was wicked excited when I found out it was back on! I can already tell I’m going to be sore tomorrow…LOVE that. 😉

Breakfast

An exact repeat from yesterday…so I’m “recycling” yesterday’s photos. 🙂

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The only difference was that BOTH pieces got the pumpkin cream cheese + PB + banana treatment today. It was absolutely fantastic!

So was my Caramel Macchiato coffee. 😉

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Lunch

Thanks to my enormous “Tuna & Rice” salad from last night, I had plenty of leftovers to incorporate into today’s lunch:

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I took a big ‘ol scoop of leftover salad, along with some leftover roasted veggies, and added a little romaine base for some added bulk. It was just as good the second time around!

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I also enjoyed a nice crisp Gala. It was so sweet and juicy…yummmm. 😛

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After work began my afternoon of errands…one of which included a flu shot. BLECH. Needles really don’t bother me at all, so it’s not that; it’s more the fact that every year I get a flu shot, I always end up getting “sick” with cold-like symptoms from it a few days later. If it wasn’t for my darn asthma, I don’t know if I’d even get one…keeping my fingers crossed for this year! 😯

I started feeling a little sluggish this afternoon, so I decided to stop for a little caffeine pick-me-up. It did nothing for my energy, but it still tasted delish.

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After finishing up some more errands, Jay and I decided to stop for some dinner. We were out in the Schenectady area, which we aren’t usually near, but I was pretty excited because there’s a restaurant out there I’ve been dying to try: Tops American Grill, Bakery, & Bar.

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I thought the inside was so cute! It definitely had a fun, welcoming look to it. And how ‘bout those palm trees? 🙂

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For my dinner, I ended up choosing something totally random: Roast Beef. I can’t even tell you when the last time was that I ordered roast beef. Years, probably.

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What I can tell you though, is that I’m so glad I did. It was delicious! Roast beef, provolone, roasted red peppers, lettuce, & tomato in a garlic and herb wrap. It also came with horseradish mayo, which I got on the side.

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As good as the wrap was, the sweet potato fries were what stole the show on this plate…

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I’m tempted to say that these may be the best sweet potato fries I’ve ever had. As soon as I started eating them, I kept getting this weird taste of “doughnuts” – I mentioned it to Jay, who initially thought I was nuts.

A minute or two later though, and all of a sudden, hubby was on the same page with me! We both agreed that there was definitely a doughnut flavor coming from somewhere inside of these. Incredibly odd? Yes. Gross to some? Maybe. But they were right up my alley.

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As soon as you walk through the doors of Tops, you are face-to-face with a mouth-watering display case of homemade desserts. I had been thinking about that case from the second we sat down, so I knew I was not leaving there without some. I decided to save half of my wrap, so I could indulge in a little big slice of heaven:

Oh chocolate, you are so divine.

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Jay and I split a piece of their Chocolate Mousse Torte

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Which we obviously hated. 😉

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I’m so thankful for the fact that I have the day OFF tomorrow! (Thank you, Veterans!) I’m really in need of some extra zzzz’s tonight, and I have a good amount of housework to catch up on tomorrow too. But for now…it’s time to go start on those zzzz’s! 🙂

Question for the Night:

Have you ever eaten foods that remind you (either taste or smell) of a completely different food?

Dinner at Lanie’s Cafe

It’s always nice to have something to look forward to after a long day of work…especially when it’s on a Monday!

Knowing that I had a nice dinner out planned for this evening definitely seemed to make my Monday go a whole heck of a lot smoother. I think I just may have to plan something like this every Monday. 😉

Before dinner, however, comes lunch…and today’s was simple but super yummy!

I started with a delicious fruit + cottage cheese bowl. Whatcha see there is about 3/4 cup of 1% cottage cheese, a delicious diced pear, and a hefty tablespoon of pumpkin butter. Note to Self: I’m really regretting not buying more of this at Trader Joes this weekend. It’s diminishing quickly. Crap. 😳

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Lunch also included one of my new Spooky S’mores Clif Z Bars. It was just as good as I had hoped, but I actually think Honey Graham is still tops on my list. 😯

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I also included some fresh carrots + grape tomatoes + hommus to round out today’s lunch. Like I said, simple yet satisfying!

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Dinner

Tonight’s special dinner plans brought us to one of my favorite restaurants, Lanie’s Cafe. Jay’s parents had a gift certificate and kindly asked us to join them. 🙂

So I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t distracted all day long trying to decide what I was going to get for dinner tonight. I honestly couldn’t stop thinking about the amazing meal of salad bar + veggie quesadillas from the last time Jay and I visited:

Absolutely delicious right there. So delicious, in fact that I was pretty positive that tonight was going to be a repeat order; however, last minute I totally changed my mind. I don’t know what happened?!?

I started off with a trip to the salad bar. LOVE their salad bar! They have some of the best homemade balsamic vinaigrette. Yummm. 😛

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Then for my dinner, I ordered the Shrimp Ryan: Fresh jumbo shrimp sautéed with artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes and baby spinach, served in homemade scampi sauce with diced roasted red peppers over pasta.

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It was good, but nothing too exciting. I ate all except for one of the shrimp, and most of the veggies. I left most of the pasta behind…looking at my “finished” plate was quite amusing since it appeared as if I hadn’t even made a dent! 😯

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After dinner, Jay and I made a quick stop at The Fresh Market to pick up some coffee since we were completely out this morning! We had planned on just picking up some Breakfast Blend…but that was before we tried one of their samples they were offering…and then we ended up buying this:

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I know, I know! Christmas Blend?!? Seriously Courtney??? I honestly debated the whole purchase for all of about 15 seconds, solely based on the fact that it said Christmas Blend (it’s still Pumpkin Season folks!). However, I absolutely fell in love with the sample I tried. I was hooked.

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And then I saw it packaged with some Caramel Macchiato…and there was no question. I’m psyched! Now I just need to figure out which one to brew for tomorrow morning. 😉

Time to go relax on the couch! Hope everyone had a Magnificent Monday!!

Question for the Evening:

When going out to eat, do you ever scope out menus before going to the restaurant?

Cleaning Out The Veggie Drawer

Since the rest of this week + weekend is pretty much going to consist of meals away from home, I wanted to make a pretty good dent in the veggie drawer for today’s lunch. Nothing is worse than spoiled produce!! 😳

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I made another big mixed veggie salad with romaine lettuce, cukes, grape tomatoes, regular tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, dried cranberries, & reduced-fat feta cheese.

However, after putting it all together, I realized I was missing one very important piece to the nutritional puzzle…PROTEIN! Luckily, after scrounging around some of our cabinets, I came across a package of StarKist Chunk Light Tuna in water.

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These packages are great for packed lunches. No worries about draining any cans, and everything is ready for you as soon as you open the pouch. Heck, you could eat it right out of the pouch if that’s more your style. 😉

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I’m keeping my pouch sealed up right until lunch time, since I don’t want to cause too much “stinky” in the fridge. 😯

I also packed up another delicious honey crisp apple to enjoy with lunch. I still can’t get over just how GOOD these are!!

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I’m sure this will be a nice and filling lunch. Mmmmmmm. 😛

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Tonight, I’m headed to a retirement party with some of my co-workers, complete with dinner & dancing, so I’m sure it’s gonna be a blasty.

If you happen to swing by the blog later this evening, however, you mayyyy just come across another yummy recipe…I’m just sayin’. 😉

Question for the Afternoon:

What’s your favorite source of protein for a salad?

Two Weeks In A Row!

Isn’t this incredible??…

It’s gotta be some kind of a record!”

Name that movie!….

Ahhh, one of my old favorites!! Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls! As cheesy as that movie was, it’s definitely up there in my top 5. No matter WHEN it’s on TV, I’m always so excited to recite every single line of it watch it. So funny! 🙂

But really, speaking of recrods…

I must say, I think I’ve started a record of my own!

This is now 2 weeks in a row that I have strayed from my typical “Monday Usual” 😯 Aren’t you proud of me?? 😉

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Since I consumed zero vegetables on Sunday (well, except for my delicious yogurt + pumpkin combo), I figured it wouldn’t hurt to squeeze in as many of ‘em as I could today. I’d say I did a fairly decent job!

  • Romaine lettuce
  • Cukes
  • Grape Tomatoes
  • Green Pepper
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Corn (still frozen in the photo, but that’s just because I make my lunches the night before!)
  • Roasted Red Pepper
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Feta Cheese

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I also have some Ken’s Light Balsamic Vinaigrette packed up with me to drizzle over the top. Yeah…this lunch is gonna be a winner; not only for the killer salad, BUT because I also have some of THIS:

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I seriously cannot get enough of this bread. It’s just that good. It almost kinda makes me feel bad for this little pear that’ll be joining in on the lunch…

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since it can’t really hold a candle to the rest of today’s contenders. 😉 Ahh well, I’m sure the little guy won’t disappoint!

Right after work today, Jay and I have quite a few errands to run, so dinner is definitely up on the air. I’m sure we’ll probably grab something while we’re out…hopefully we pass by something good!

Question(s) for the Afternoon:

What’s the best meal you’ve had out from a restaurant lately?

LOCALS: Anywhere you’d recommend for dinner in the Clifton Park/Ballston Spa area?!?

Pumpkin Addicts Anonymous?

In honor of it being the official first day of FALL, I saw no other choice but to continue to incorporate some pumpkin into today’s mid-day meal. 🙂 I may be lacking in variety today, but certainly not in flavor!

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My pumpkin-licious bowl includes:

  • 3/4 cup 1% cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup (?) unsweetened applesauce
  • raisins
  • cinnamon
  • pumpkin pie spice

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I’m starting to wonder if they have a group for pumpkin addicts…forget AA, I need PAA: Pumpkin Addicts Anonymous 😉

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On second thought…nahhhhh. I may be obsessed with pumpkin, but I’m darn proud of it! :mrgreen:

A pretty pear is also making a debut with lunch…

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Along with some baby carrots + grape tomatoes with hommus.

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It’s a triple YUM lunch today!!

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My positive thought for this afternoon: We’re officially halfway to Friday!! 😀

Is It Lunchtime Yet?

Ok, well let’s skip right past last night’s terrible and disappointing loss, shall we? I don’t know what was going on with my Jets, but they just could not pull it together. I feel bad for my dad and brother who had to witness first-hand down at the stadium and then drive all the way back home. Bummer.

Ahh well. Let’s proceed to more exciting things…like breakfast!

It was another return of Pumpkin Oats. 😀

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In today’s bowl:

  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1/3 cup vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup PUMPKIN
  • 1 tbsp. ground flaxseed meal
  • Raisins
  • Cinnamon
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice

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I switched things up from the PB route and decided to add some apricot preserves & a small crumbled slice of Cinnamon Date Manna Bread. The Manna Bread was delicious, as always, but I missed my PB. 😳 Lesson learned.

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Enjoyed with some scrumptious mug of Pumpkin Spice coffee, which I obviously already had my hands on. 😉

Lunch

I’m not gonna lie…I have been excited about today’s lunch since I made it last night. 😉

A took a whole wheat Arnold Sandwich Thin and topped it with some leftover Healthified Guacamole, lettuce, tomato, cukes, and roasted red peppers.

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Can you say YUMMMMM?!?! 😛

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I also packed up some baby carrots & a fresh peach.

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This afternoon, be sure to check back for a yummy recipe that may have been featured around here on Sunday! 😉

Question for the Morning:

Finish the sentence…

If I could eat anything I wanted for breakfast this morning, I would have….”

Exactly What I Needed

After a Sunday full of indulgent football party food, nothing appeals more to my appetite than the “Monday Usual”. Boring as it may look, it will never get old. Ever.

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Some plain Oikos Greek yogurt, topped with a drizzle of honey, cinnamon & nutmeg. It makes all the difference in the world.

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Strawberries with another little dusting of cinnamon…because really, when you can ever have too much cinnamon? 😉

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Baby carrots + grape tomatoes. I know they look super appealing in that plastic baggie.

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And look what else I found this weekend at the grocery store…Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Larabars!!!!!! I cannot WAIT to sink my teeth into this baby. 😯

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And finally, here are some answers to some of the great “Ask Me Anything” questions I received from you guys!

What grade do you teach?

5th grade 🙂

What Redken products do you use? Do you use a straightening iron?

Well, here’s all the goods that I’ve acquired over the last couple years. I definitely don’t use them all at the same time, but I like to switch back and forth with a few. For example, one day I might just use the Body Full root lifer, and the next day I’ll use a combination of the Extreme + Align. Very rarely do I use the shine glosses, just because I hate getting my hands all greasy.

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I have a straightening iron and a 2-inch barrel curling iron that I alternate. My hair is naturally straight, so the only reason I’ll use the straightening iron is to smooth out the ends. If I feel like a little more curl & volume, I go with the curling iron.

How do you do red highlights without looking silly?

Yikes, this is a tough one! After talking to my mom a few times about it, I’d say there’s a few things you should consider: your natural hair color, your skin coloring, and the effect that you’re going for. For me, I wanted my color to have more of a red undertone, so my mom mixed a bright shade of red with a couple other shades of brown to neutralize it. I’ve always liked my hair colors better with a subtle effect, not the “WOW” your hair is red/blonde/etc.!”. But as always, just work with your hairdresser! And if you’re in need of one, and live in the Upstate NY area, I know a couple good ones to recommend. 😉

How do you plan on teaching your children to eat healthy when you start a family?

What a great question! Children learn so much about food, behaviors, really EVERYTHING through example. I will want my children to know that eating healthy doesn’t have to be bland or boring, and I’ll show them that. I will want to be a role model for them in the kitchen. They’re certainly not going to see me sitting down to dinner with a Hungryman frozen dinner, or watching TV with a box of Twinkies in my lap. But they will see me preparing healthy, nutritious meals and snacks. There’s always got to be a little wiggle room, so I’m not going to restrict them from many foods. But it will be my goal to get them to enjoy healthy foods and making smart choices, not just eating them because they “have to.” Now, does that mean that they won’t see me indulge in the occasional bowl of ice cream or chocolate chip cookie…probably not. But that’s ok! 🙂