Monthly Archives: April 2013

(Somewhat) healthy zucchini brownies

04.30.13 Brownie hand

I was craving chocolate Saturday night, but wanted something at least fairly healthy. I remembered finding this recipe for zucchini brownies on Pinterest some time ago, and when I discovered we had most of the ingredients on hand, I decided to give it a try.

04.30.13 Ingredients

So … these aren’t exactly healthy, since the recipe calls for a cup and a half of chocolate chips as well as a cup of sugar. However, swapping applesauce for oil and using whole wheat flour instead of white means these are a tad less unhealthy than standard brownies. I used half regular sugar and half Splenda to cut out a few extra calories. I know, I know, Splenda is evil and it’s going to give me cancer. At least my ass will look good in the hospital gown.

04.30.13 Zucchini brownie

Dave and I both loved these. The cardamom and cinnamon make the flavor more complex than a regular brownie, and the zucchini makes them super moist. I topped mine with a little Arctic Zero (mint chocolate cookie flavor) and it totally hit the spot.

What’s your favorite way to healthify an otherwise unhealthy recipe? My sister told me you can use avocado instead of butter when baking – I definitely want to give that a try soon!

Saturday Morning Walk

04.29.13 Pink flowers 1

The weather this weekend was perfect – highs in the upper 70s – so Dave and I decided to go for a slow stroll around the neighborhood on Saturday morning. We wound up at the hardware store, which was selling all sorts of veggies and blooms. We came home with a hanging flower basket and just a few flower starts – I’m always nervous about planting too soon, as we can sometimes see freezes as late as June. Hopefully the warmer weather is here to stay and our pretty new flowers will make it through the last few freezes of the season!

04.29.13 Flower close up

04.29.13 Hanging Flowers

04.29.13 Dress

04.29.13 Purple flowers

04.29.13 Three Flowers

I fly to Chicago tomorrow morning for work and won’t be back until Saturday. I have some posts scheduled for while I’m gone, and hopefully I’ll be able to check in once or twice. In addition to working like crazy, I hope to carve out some time to explore the city, hopefully head over to the Art Institute, and of course eat some good food. I traveled to Chicago quite often for my last job, but always had to spend my downtime with a big group of people. Let’s just say there was a lot of Chicago-style pizza involved (which is great, but I would like to branch out from Dino’s this time around). All that to say – if there’s something in the city I need to see or do, or if you have restaurant recommendations, please let me know in the comments!

High five for friday

04.26.13 Harry Potter

Every six months or so I decide I need to re-read the Harry Potter series. Basically, I am always reading Harry Potter.

04.26.13 Avocado

I’ve been eating at least half an avocado per day for the last three weeks. Wedesday night, we threw some in a delicious burrito bowl along with blackened tilapia, brown rice, cilantro, pineapple salsa, and a whole bunch of fresh veggies. I’ll post a recipe soon.

04.26.13 May Flowers

I can’t bring myself to throw away the tulips my mom gave me on Easter, because they’re pretty even when they’re dead. Also, every time I look at them I get the Rolling Stones’ “Dead Flowers” stuck in my head, which is never a bad thing.

04.26.13 Camera

Finally no more crappy phone photos!

04.26.13 10 miles

I already used this photo, but I still kind of can’t believe I ran 10 miles without winding up in the cardio unit of the local hospital.
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Blade. Laser. Blazer.

Today I’m doing something new and participating in the Mix and Match Fashion What I Wore to Work linkup:

04.25.13 Outfit Jeans

Jeans: American Eagle (similar), Blazer: JCP, Tee: Target, Wedges: TJ Maxx (similar), Necklace: JCP (similar)

We’re getting ready to leave for a conference at work, and  since I’ll be packing boxes today, I didn’t want to wear anything too fancy. I picked this blazer up at JCPenny last Saturday and have held off on wearing it because I couldn’t decide if the shoulder pads were cute, or making me look like I just stepped out of an episode of Designing Women.


I’ve decided to embrace my inner Delta Burke and just go for it. I’ll be in Chicago for next week’s linkup, so hopefully my outfit will be a little more exciting.

Spicy Thai Noodles and Coconut Brown Rice

04.24.13 Spicy Thai Noodles

It’s only Wednesday, yet this week is kicking my ass. Yesterday around 4 p.m. I texted Dave, “I know I should run after work, but after this day all I want to do is drink.”

By the time I got home, he had all the ingredients for a delicious (and fairly healthy) Thai dinner, which he prepared for me while I sucked it up and went for a run. This is why I like him.

He used this Spicy Thai Noodles recipe that I pinned a while back from A Small Snippet. He subbed olive oil for vegetable oil, and added chicken breast, which he cooked in some of the sauce while the noodles were boiling.

He also made this Brown Coconut Rice with Cilantro from SkinnyTaste. I didn’t get a proper photo of the rice, so here is one from SkinnyTaste (we didn’t top ours with mango):


The good news is that we have a ton of leftovers, so I’m guaranteed a delicious lunch today. Score.

Camera ready

I have been shopping around for a DSLR for some time now, mostly so that the pictures of food in my recipe posts will no longer look like piles of inedible slop. I finally picked one up last night – I went for the Nikon D3100 – and took advantage of the warm spring evening to head outside and play around with it a bit:

04.23.13 Cactus

04.23.13 Whisky

04.23.13 Dandelion

04.23.13 Smoke

10 Miles

Things I liked about my 10-mile run on Sunday:

– The cute elderly man who held out his hand for me to high-five when I ran by.

And that’s it.

Things I did NOT like about my 10-mile run on Sunday:

– Being an idiot and not hydrating properly the day before. And by “not hydrating properly” I mean “not drinking ANY WATER ALL DAY, and following that up with a couple beers at dinner.” I’ve been running long enough that I can’t chalk this up to a newbie mistake. I’m just dumb, apparently.

– Telling myself I’d run 10 miles anyway, and just hydrate using the drinking fountains at the two parks along my route. It was warm and I started feeling lightheaded around 4 miles in, so I sprinted to the first fountain I spotted, even though it was quite a ways away. I bent down for a refreshing drink, only to remember that the city shuts off the water to the fountains in the winter and doesn’t turn it back on until May.

– The geese around the city reservoir. They hissed at me the entire time I ran around the reservoir, and one actually tried to peck my leg when I went by. Sorry I didn’t think to pack a baguette for you in my running shorts, asshole.

– My knees randomly started hurting around mile 8. I’m hoping this won’t become a normal occurrence – they have never bothered me on long runs before. I’m wondering if it’s because I’ve been doing the 30 Day Shred on my non-running days. There’s a lot of jumping/squats/lunges involved with the Shred, and it’s not exactly easy on the knees. I had imagined a more glorious 10-mile victory photo, but since I was unwilling to remove the ice from my knees, this is what I’ve got:

04.22.13 10 miles

Three (.1) more to go, and I’ll officially be a half-marathoner!

High Five for Friday

04.19.13 Hair

1. I’ve been trying out hot rollers this week. They’re kind of a pain, but I’m liking the extra volume.

04.19.13 Marg

2. Margaritas taste better in pretty glasses.

04.19.13 Birchbox

3. My April Birchbox arrived this week. I’ve been waking up with horrific under-eye circles for the last month or so (despite getting enough sleep, which is odd), so I was excited to use the Simple Revitalizing Eye Roll-On. This is one of the best products I’ve received so far.

04.19.13 Salad

4. We’ve been eating leftover tri-tip all week. My go-to lunch was a spinach salad topped with tri-tip, avocado, orange bell pepper and this fantastic roasted garlic ranch dressing from Boa Vista Orchards.

04.19.13 whisky

5. Whiskers on his favorite pillow. If we try to move him, he makes his whole body go limp so it feels like he weighs about 300 lbs. I’ve taken to just jangling the food in his bowl so he thinks I’m feeding him, and he jumps right up. No wonder his favorite pastime is attacking me.

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Things Stressing Me Out Today: Part Two

april 4

It’s time for another round of Things Stressing Me Out Today. Everybody loves a whiner, right?

1. Sending press releases. I LOVE writing press releases – it’s one of my favorite parts of my job. But when it comes time to actually send them to thousands of people, I turn into a total basket case.  Even though I know everything is accurate, because I’ve checked it all. Fifteen times. I usually schedule them at the end of the day to be sent out the next morning, and then I spend all night having nightmares about typos. I need Xanax.

2. Running. Or rather, my running pace. For the last three weeks I’ve been focusing on speed for my runs under 4 miles. However, one of the side effects of my heart condition is exercise intolerance – basically this is when somebody feels levels of pain, fatigue and weakness beyond what would be expected of somebody in his/her physical condition. In me, this usually presents itself in the form of shortness of breath/extreme tachycardia, sometimes as soon as five minutes into my run when I’m obviously not tired. It really sucks to feel like your legs could keep going for 10 miles, yet you can’t breathe. Since the danger of exercise intolerance includes heart failure, it’s really hard to know when to push through those feelings (i.e., figuring out what is “normal” fatigue) and when to take a break. I was complaining about this to a friend recently, and woke up to this ecard in my inbox this morning:


I love my friends. Almost as much as I love Detective Elliot Stabler.

3. I just ate my last Cadbury Creme Egg and realized it will be a whole year until I once again taste that magical blend of high fructose corn syrup and calcium chloride.

I’m rich!


Well, not really. I did win $30 though, and that’s more than I’ve ever won on a scratcher before. Now I have to decide if I want to waste re-invest that $30 in more tickets, or spend it on beer at the Dunsmuir Brewery Friday night. I believe this is what Suze Orman calls creating a spending plan.

Speaking of spending, I kind of went pencil skirt-crazy this month.

04.17.13 Skirts

1. Apt. 9 Lace Pencil Skirt

2. Merona Women’s Tweed Pencil Skirt

3. Merona Women’s Lace Overlay Pencil Skirt

4. Merona Women’s Doubleweave Pencil Skirt

The good news is they were all from Kohl’s/Target, so I’m not out much money. The bad news is that as soon as I bought them, the temperatures plummeted back down to frigid levels. It was 28 degrees this morning. NOT COOL, spring.