sunday morning pancakes

I almost never make pancakes.  I like pancakes but I’m almost always hungry again an hour after I eat them.  This morning, I woke up craving pancakes.  I blame Alexa from Simple Eats because I read her post featuring pancakes shortly before going to bed.  They looked so delicious that I just couldn’t shake the idea!

Thankfully I had a box of pancake mix in the cupboard.  I got it off the clearance shelf at Target a few weeks ago.  Chocolate Raspberry pancakes.  How could I resist?

The pancakes turned out just as delicious as I was hoping.  There are chunks of chocolate and white chocolate in them and they gave the batter the perfect amount of sweetness.  Although the copious amounts of blueberry syrup I topped them with didn’t hurt either.

If you live buy a Target, you should run there to see if they still have a box of these on the shelf.  They were so, so good.  I even talked Todd into trying them – he hates fruit and I just overheard him say, “Hey, not bad.” – pretty high praise from him for anything containing raspberries and soaked with blueberry flavored syrup.

Thanks for the inspiration, Alexa!

Now I have more relaxing and long weekending to do.  I love three day weekends!

Do you enjoy flavored pancakes or just the classic variety?

How are you kicking off summer this weekend?

bake, brunch, pack

This morning I woke up and thought, I’m allowed to eat ice cream again – yay!  Naturally, the only way to celebrate that was by eating ice cream for breakfast.

There were fresh berries and the waffle was whole grain plus, I opted for frozen yogurt so it was a semi-balanced breakfast, right?  Okay, I’m not fooling anyone.  This wasn’t the healthiest start to the day but it sure was delicious.

Actually, before I even had breakfast I mixed up the dough for Toffee Studded Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies a la Lauren from Keep it Sweet.

Here’s the recipe:

1/2 lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

a pinch of salt

3 cups of quick or old-fashioned dry oatmeal

1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chunks (I like lots of chocolate so I went to 1 1/2 cups per Lauren’s suggestion)

1/2 cup toffee bits

Directions:

Mix together flours, cinnamon and baking soda.  Set aside.


In large bowl, beat together butter and sugars until creamy.

Beat in eggs and vanilla. 

Make sure to scrape sides of bowl and mix some more.

With mixer on low, carefully add in flour mixture.  

Once all ingredients are well-combined, stir in oats.

Stir in chocolate chunks and toffee bits until well-mixed.

Now, refrigerate your cookie dough for 2 hours or overnight.  This is necessary to avoid flat cookies.

Once you are ready to bake, pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. 

Drop heaping tablespoons of dough about 2 inches apart on baking sheets.

Bake in oven for 8-10 minutes or until centers of cookies appear cooked and edges are light golden brown.


These bad boys are delicious!  I love the chunks of chocolate, they always taste so much more substantial than chocolate chips.  If these are decadent enough for you, Lauren also has a recipe for a sandwich version of these cookies with peanut butter frosting.  Sounds pretty tasty, no?

While these cookies were chilling in the fridge, I went to meet my parents for an Easter brunch.

We had a long leisurely meal which was really nice.  I don’t have a meal alone with my parents that often and it was really good to just chat with them.

After brunch my mom came over to help me with packing for the move.  She’s a good person to have around when you need to get things done.  We worked for a few hours and made a lot of progress.  You should see the pile of boxes that are ready to move – not to mention the 3 or 4 trash bags and 3 or 4 more full of donations.  It feels so good to get rid of so many things that I don’t need anymore!

Also, Todd was home by the time I got there so he filled me in on all of his bachelor party shenanigans.  It sounds like they had a great time and it made me really excited for my bachelorette party next weekend in Chicago.

All in all this was a really nice, laid back but productive weekend.  Now only 8 more work days until I’m off for the wedding!  It couldn’t be here soon enough.  I’m ready to be a missus.

P.S.  You have to try Jess’s Hobo Margaritas.  I made one last night and it was so yummy!  I even bought festive cups to drink them out of, delish!

Hope you all had an amazing weekend!

How was your Easter?

Did you celebrate with family today?

hello, chia!

Over the past month or so I’ve been reading blogs a lot more than I ever had before.  For whatever reason, I never knew how many great food and healthy lifestyle blogs there were out there and it’s been so fun to start getting into that world.  One thing that a lot these blogs have been talkin about is chia seeds.  When I first read about them I had no idea what they were.  As I read more blogs, chia seeds kept showing up and I learned about their high fiber, protein and Omega-3 content.

So, last week I was order old fashioned rock candy sticks for the candy bar we’re having at the wedding and I needed to spend a few dollars more in order to quialify for a discount.  After browsing the site for a few minutes, I saw they sold chia seeds and I immediately added a pound to my shopping cart. 

They arrived yesterday and let me tell you, a pound of chia seeds is a lot of seeds!

I had to try them for breakfast this morning so I prepared a bagel thing with peanut butter, sprinkled on some chia seeds then topped the whole thing with a few blueberries.

The chia seeds didn’t taste like anything at all.  If getting Omega-3s, protein and fiber can be this easy, I’m in.

Fun fact: The other day, I read on Peanut Butter Fingers that the chia seeds you eat are the same seeds used to grow Chia Pets!

I’d say that chia seeds are definitely going to keep popping up in my meals and I’ll probably try baking them into some things too.

Do you eat chia seeds?

Does anyone know what the difference between white and black chia seeds is?

up and at ’em

I’ve been toying with the idea of doing morning workouts, especially since I’ve been too busy to work out this week.  Sad, I know.  Fortunately, this week is looking much better.  I got up this morning and made myself a little breakfast of an English muffin with peanut better and blueberries, one of my favorite combos.

Really, any breakfast carb with peanut and some kind of fruit on top is a great way to start the day.

Now, I’m off to yoga for the first time in six days.  I can’t wait to stretch this body out!  And look, it’s still morning!  It’s not 6:00am but morning is morning, right?

When do you prefer to exercise?

Do you eat before you do?

lovely saturday

This morning I was the guest of honor at a brunch shower thrown by some of Todd’s mom’s friends.  She has many friends who have been in her life for a long time and it was so sweet of them to throw the shower.  We had a great time getting to know each other over brunch and the brunch was delicious to boot.

Fruit salad, egg casserole, yogurt with fresh berries and granola, scones and baked french toast made for a perfect brunch.

After breakfast we shared some stories and then opened gifts.  Once again, I’m blown away by everyone’s generosity.  It’s really been amazing.

(My mom and I at the shower)

It was a really lovely way to kick off my Saturday.

After the shower, I drove to Portland, MI to meet up with my friend, Jess and have a snack with her and deliver her bridesmaid’s dress.  Jessica lives in Eaton Rapids which is about an hour and a half away so we don’t get to see each other as much as we’d like.  It’s always great to catch up and hear about her life and her sweet son, Owen.  He’s such a cutie!

(Jess and I as bridesmaids at our friend, Sarah’s wedding)

After chatting for awhile we headed back to our respective homes.  She’s attending my Chicago bachelorette party in two weeks and I’m so glad that she (and all of the other girls) are making the trip for it.

This was a very busy week for me, I didn’t make it home before 9:00pm any night and right now, I am sitting.  And relaxing.  I was going to cook dinner but I think I’ll just eat hummus and crackers for dinner, because I can.  All in all, a lovely Saturday.

How are you spending your weekend?

big morning

What a big morning I’ve had so far!  Normally I get ready and go to work and that’s that.  This morning I had a doctor’s appointment and found out that I am still healthy, expected but always a relief.

After my appointment I swung by the cafe inside the building where my doctor’s office is and bought this delicious looking salad for lunch.

I can’t wait to eat it for lunch, look at all of those strawberries and walnuts!  After that my tummy was rumbling a bit, an early bowl of cereal can only keep my belly full for so long so I went to the Wealthy Street Bakery.

 

The sales clerk talked me into buying a Chocolate Pecan Breakfast Cookie.  He claimed it was healthy and when I questioned that he told me that it’s full or protein, fiber and fat free.  Sold!

After that I caught up with my mom who is on spring break in Florida.  Color me jealous.  With the wedding only a month from today we had a lot to chat about!

Now I’m at work waiting to punch in. Not a bad Thursday morning, I could get used to coming in late.

What are you favorite breakfast treats?

What time do you go into work or class?

morning smoothie and spicy ketchup

I went into work late today because I’m helping cover for a co-worker who has this week off.  Going into work late means sleeping in and still having a little extra time this morning.  Since I had some extra time, I decided to make a smoothie for breakfast, something I never have time for.  I mixed together plain yogurt, fresh pineapple, strawberries, a touch of honey, some brown sugar, ice and few tablespoons of steel cut oatmeal for texture. 

I wouldn’t recommend using the steel cut oats in a smoothie, it added a weird texture to it and most of it just fell to the bottom anyways.  Despite my oatmeal snafu, the smoothie was delicious!

I paired it with half of an English muffin topped with peanut butter and off to work I went.  What a great breakfast!  I wish I could get to work at 10:30 every day but…leaving at 7:00 isn’t the most fun.  Maybe my boss would approve 6 or 7 hour work days – I wish.

I’m enjoying a Spicy Black Bean Burger for lunch and it’s slathered with Chipotle Lime Ketchup.  I love this combo!  We were out so Todd quick whipped up a little portion of ketchup for me, isn’t he sweet?

Tonight is yoga and maybe a chocolate chip cookie again, if I’m lucky.  Hasta luego!

What did you have for breakfast today?

Have you check out my last post?  I need fashion help!

mom’s chicago birthday celebration

Yesterday after my sister and I finished our Fly Yoga class, we met my parents at Greek Islands Restaurant in Greektown for my mom’s birthday lunch.  We started out lunch with a flaming cheese appetizer.

Not a bad way to kick off a celebration!  We had our lunch and then the server brought out a piece of baklava, complete with a birthday candle and two of the waiters sang “Happy Birthday” to her, it was very sweet.

We went to have manicures and pedicures after lunch.  Even my dad had a pedicure, and loved it I might add.  We had them done at Pinky Nail Salon and they did such a great job.  I got not one but two shoulder massages and, as an added bonus, a Sex and the City marathon was playing on E! while we were there.  My toes are a greenish-turquoise and my fingers are lavender, I look just like an Easter egg and love it.  Spring is almost here, I just know it!

After our nails were dry (mostly) we headed to State Street for some shopping.  I found the most adorable dress for our rehearsal dinner at Macy’s.  I can’t wait to debut it in 40 days.  Man, it is getting so close, I can’t wait!

After a long afternoon of shopping we went to Bella Notte, an adorable little Italian restaurant just down the street from my sister’s apartment.  Holy cow, the food was to die for.  Here’s my dinner plate:

I felt like someone should roll me back to Em’s apartment.  We were definitely indulging but, you have to do that every once in a while, right?  My jeans were fitting a little tighter in the morning but I still managed to scarf down part of my mom’s birthday fruit arrangement even before heading out to brunch.

 

We had already eaten all of the chocolate-covered pineapple…

We ate brunch at Crepe Crave in Wicker Park.  Ohmygoodness, the our crepes were so delicious!  My sister and I split a savory crepe with eggs and turkey but I was most excited about the ricotta and raspberry crepe topped with Nutella.  Yum!

I need not describe how great this tasted.  My mom ordered a peanut butter, banana and Nutella crepe that was to die for as well, such a good brunch!  By the way, check out this row of Nutella.

Uh, yeah.  Who wouldn’t be a fan of any place that stocks that much Nutella.

My parents left after brunch and Emily and I did some more shopping in Wicker Park.  It was such a great weekend, I love Chicago and I love spending time with my family.  The only thing missing was Todd but we just had dinner from Qdoba and now he’s sitting next to me and letting me watch the Real Housewives of Orange County.  Not a bad little Sunday night.

I hope you all had a great weekend too!

What was your favorite thing you ate this weekend?

Do you feel guilty after a weekend of pigging out?

 

 

three things

Three things for this morning.

1) Yesterday morning while I was doing this:

(Todd is getting mighty sneaky with that camera.)

Todd was making me this for breakfast:

Yum!  I love English muffins and topped with peanut butter and banana, it’s the perfect meal to grab and go on the way to work.  I’m so lucky that he’s willing to help me out in the morning.  I tend to either be really calm and done getting ready quite early or running around like a crazy person.  Yesterday was a running around like a crazy person day since I was packing up those last-minute items for my Chicago trip.

Todd snapped these photos for me.  He’s getting used to having to wait a second to eat so I can get a shot of our meal.  Thanks, Todd for a wonderful breakfast!

2) I made it to Chicago safe and sound.  My sister and I had a reservation for dinner at Hot Chocolate.  On the way there one of Em’s heels broke!

What a bummer, they were cute shoes!  Em attempted to break the other heel saying, “I need a new pair of flats anyway.” but the other heel wouldn’t budge.  She just took it like a champ, kept on walking and barely even hobbled the whole way to the restaurant.  I’ve never had a heel break before I doubt I’d be able to pull off one heel so gracefully.

3) I was so looking forward to eat at Hot Chocolate.  I love eating at new restaurants and this place had a dessert menu to die for.  We started the meal out with an order of soft pretzels.  They brought out big nuggets with (very) spicy mustard and cheese fondue.  I loved the size of the nuggets.  Each one was 2-3 bites and perfect for dipping in the cheese.  I’m going to have to try making nuggets that size next time Todd and I attempt homemade pretzels.

Dinner was pretty good but dessert was great.  Em and I were “on vacation” so we each ordered our own dessert, I had the “Thoughts on a Peanut Butter Cup”, Em had a “Dreamsicle” and then we split a vanilla bean hot chocolate.

Peanut butter mousse, housemade peanut butter cups, concord grape reduction, yes please.

Orange sorbet, meringue, vanilla bean milk shake, such a creative combination, yum!

And then there was the hot chocolate…

That was the sweetest thing I have ever put into my body.  Em and I both immediately hit a sugar high and by the time we got home, mine had worn off and I fell asleep immediately.  We had a movie in and I’m not confident I even made it through the title screen.

So far this Chicago weekend if off to a great start.  Time to get ready for our Fly Yoga class, I’m so excited to try it!

What is the sweetest “little thing” that your significant other does for you?

What is the most decadent dessert you’ve ever had?

waking up in the dark

I had a hard time getting out of bed this morning (what’s new? ha.) and when I finally rolled out of bed, i tried to turn on the bathroom light only to discvoer that our power was out.  At our house that means that not only the electricity is cut off but the heat and water as well, it’s such a pain!  I let work know that I would be a bit late and attempted to get dressed in the dark. 

Le struggle. (If it sounds French, you know it’s serious.)

Getting ready for work can be a struggle for me anyways but take away my light, shower, hair straightner and access to the fridge and I am a complete mess.

Since I didn’t get a chance to eat anything at home, I ran to grab a smoothie a Happy Heart smoothie (green tea, pomegranate juice, strawberries, raspberries and yogurt but they were out of pomegrantate juice) here at work.  It was my first time ordering a smoothie from work and it was quite good!  Definitely a nice way to ease into the work day.

 

Look at all of that whipped cream on top!  I would normally say no but on a day like today, a girl needs a little something to get her through the morning.

Thankfully I got a text from Todd around noon saying that the first estimate for when our power would be restored of 8:30pm tomorrow was way off and the power was back on, yay!

What’s your favorite morning pick-me-up?