Category Archives: tea

Not really Fall

If you asked about weather preferences, I would be the first to exclaim that I am totally a warm weather person! I hate being cold, so cold that no matter how many blankets you throw on or cups of tea you drink, you can’t shake that shiver.

But this year, it’s just been HOT. We hit the 90’s in June and hardly looked back. While that is okay for the Summer months, here we are getting ready to celebrate the first day of Fall and it’s going to be 96 degrees.

So as much as I love Summer and dread Winter, I need a happy medium!

Even though Fall has yet to really arrive, I’ve been getting a head start on my favorite Fall flavors.

001I actually found this tea on our trip to Brown County back in July, I’ve been saving it for a while! 🙂

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I also found some Pumpkin Spice coffee at one of my new favorite places in the world (haha): World Market!

Pumpkin spice coffee!

Sadly, even though I’ve been enjoying my pumpkin beverages, I have yet to actually make anything with “real” pumpkin. But it’s still early. Heck it’s not even really Fall yet.

Side note: has anyone been able to find Libby’s pumpkin anywhere? I’m still on the hunt. Whole Foods brand organic pumpkin just isn’t the same 😦

Obsessed with tea

Ever since I decided to cut back on caffeine, I have fallen in love with tea again.

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I still drink one caffeinated cup of tea per day in the morning but the rest is pretty much decaf. I also drink decaf coffee when I have it. The transition was surprisingly easy.

I was able to use up most of the tea I had at home, so it was time to buy some new ones! Unfortunately (fortunately?) I have loved most of them!

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I tried this one while I was at the Louisville Vegetarian Club meeting and immediately went out and bought some afterwards 🙂

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I had a really awesome cup of Hot Cinnamon Spice tea at Barnes & Noble a couple of weeks ago and this was the closest thing I could find to it at the store.

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It’s pretty good, but I’m definitely going to have to hit up B&N and just buy some of theirs. It’s literally like drinking a Hot Tamale (the candy). Josh might even like it!

Jasmine is one of my favorites (that I drink caffeinated) and I got this HUGE box of organic Jasmine green tea (100 bags) for $5! It should last me a while 😉

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As if those were not enough, I ended up with three more boxes over the past couple of weeks!


I loved the mango but the Lemon Ginger is just a bit too gingery for me. I’m hoping it’ll grow on me but if not, I’ll be passing it on to someone else.

I also got myself a new “Hot Pot” for work because our “community” hot water pitcher kept walking away and I hate heating up water in the microwave, it’s so not the same.

This thing works great. Best $12.99 I’ve spent in a while! 🙂

What is your favorite tea?

My first frittata

For girl’s night potluck this week, I had the main course. I wanted to try a new recipe and I was definitely feeling like a breakfast dish.

Only this time, instead of baked oatmeal, I was feeling more like something savory. I decided to bust out my copy of Vegan Planet and make a frittata!

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I was shocked at how easy this was to make. I decided to use vegetables I already had on hand and thanks to Lindsay, I learned I could substitute corn starch for arrowroot.

In the mix: asparagus, red onion, red and green peppers.

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I was a little unsure about using tofu in a dish like this. I wasn’t sure how it would look or taste.

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When I poured the mixture on top of the veggies, I was getting nervous.

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But when it came out of the oven, it sort of looked like eggs and the consistency was quite similar.

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The only problem was the veggies sort of “fell out” so it got a little messy 😉

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But I have to say, it tasted pretty good. It didn’t taste like eggs, more like baked tofu, but I liked it!

And because the ingredients were so simple and fresh, the calories were pretty low in this dish.

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For dessert, I had some strawberries that were pretty good. I’m so looking forward to Spring and Summer fruits.

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We also enjoyed a bottle of Beringer Pinot Grigio.

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I had a glass with some bread that arrived later (this Meijer fresh baked bread is vegan and totally delicious).

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I also had a cup of Plantation Mint and another piece of bread (and another that went unpictured)!

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Everything was so good and I was really pleased with how my first “frittata” turned out.

I do think I will try it again and I’m also ready to tackle a tofu scramble that sounds really good 🙂

What dish have you made that you were unsure about, but it turned out good?

Tea happy!

I have really been getting into drinking tea again lately and I’ve picked up a few new kinds recently, plus I’ve been trading with my friend Kim as well!

This was my first time ever trying Rooibos tea. The first time I had it, I wasn’t sure what to think, it just didn’t have much of a distinctive flavor to me. But I tried it again today and it’s growing on me (which is good since I have an entire box). And it is red tea, which is a nice variation from my usual greens and blacks.


This is one that Kim gave me and I have long been a fan of Bigelow teas and this one did not disappoint. I tasted the caramel more than vanilla but it was a perfect compliment to those pancakes I had on Saturday 🙂


This was one of the best green teas I’ve ever had. I don’t buy the Tazo very often because it is rather expensive (or I’m cheap, ha ha) so I’m thankful to Kim for passing this one on to me. I’m not very good at describing teas so I’ll take this one straight from the site: “China Green Tips is a fresh and lively tea with a light, creamy, vegetative taste balanced with a lingering sweet, smooth finish.” I couldn’t have said it better!

I was so excited when I saw that the Yogi teas were on sale for $2.99 at Kroger! This one jumped out at me first because who doesn’t need stress relief? This tea has a very rich flavor and isn’t too sweet or fruity, which is what I expected for some reason. I also love the little messages that come on each string, this one said “Mantras you shouldn’t say: I don’t know; I’m not ready; I can’t do it.”

I’m usually not a big fan of fruity teas but this Pomegranate Raspberry green tea (from Stash) was just mildly fruity and not too sweet, which is why I think I liked it so much. I just realized that I don’t have a bad review to give about tea, at least not the ones I’ve tried recently. Hmm…not necessarily a bad thing!

Do you like tea? Tell me your favorites!

My throat hurts

For breakfast this morning, I broke out some Great Harvest bread that I bought on Saturday. This one is vegan 🙂

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I toasted up two slices with pumpkin butter and peanut butter. Plus an apple on the side for some fruitiness.

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On the way to work, Mom treated me to a soy chai tea latte, which really hit the spot on my still, very sore and achy throat. If it doesn’t clear up by Wednesday, I am going to the doctor!

Mid morning I snacked on some more plantain chips, love these things.

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Good thing I only bought one bag 😉

For lunch, I had some leftover spaghetti squash from Saturday. It was really good again today! I’m so glad I finally tried it.

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Speaking of spaghetti squash check out my latest Examiner article: Swap your spaghetti for squash

I sipped on some hot tea during class today which also seemed to soothe my throat. Class was also interesting today as we learned more about weight training!

I snacked on some mixed nuts later in the afternoon.

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When I got home, I immediately knew what I was going to make for dinner. EGGPLANT!

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I sliced up a medium eggplant, then put some hemp milk and corn meal in separate bowls, dipping each piece of eggplant in the milk then meal.

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Then I cooked them in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Voila!

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On the side I made some couscous, which I have been craving for a while!

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I’m a simple girl. This plain couscous was AWESOME. All together now…

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I really enjoyed my dinner 🙂 The eggplant slices came out kind of crunchy like chips!

After I ate, I did a lot of housework that sort of got left by the wayside this weekend while I wasn’t feeling good and out of town yesterday. I decided to use that as my activity! But I do have a work out scheduled for tomorrow, depending on how I feel.

For a snack a little while ago, I had some Honey Sunshine Kashi cereal with hemp milk. I’m getting used to the hemp milk and I was pleased to see it contains Omega 3’s.

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I may or may not have had some blood orange Dots too 😉 Ahh, my throat is so sore. I’m off to gargle some salt water and go to bed!

Good night 🙂

p.s. Don’t forget to enter my amazing coupon giveaway before this Friday!

Day 9, Pt. 2: Books and new tea

Friday’s breakfast was so good that I didn’t need a snack until almost 11! And thus continued the day I was a peanut butter monster 🙂

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Before…

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After!

For lunch, I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a side of broccoli. Not the most exciting lunch but it managed to fill me up that day even though I usually have trouble with PB&J being enough.

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Just before 2, Farrah cancelled our workout so I knew I would be on my own to exercise! I decided to just push it back to the end of the day.

She also brought up an interesting point to me. She said she wanted to get back into a regular running program and do less strength training because she is feeling “puffy” and isn’t fitting into her jeans as well right now as she’d like to.

I told her I have the opposite problem! When I run more, I tend to plateau or gain weight because I eat more because my appetite is out of control. And I absolutely love strength training because it makes me feel stronger, fitter and it has done more for my body than hours upon hours of cardio ever has.

This just goes to show you: WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT. Find what works for you and don’t be afraid to do it, even if it means a few less workouts with a buddy 😉

Before leaving work, I snacked on a carrot and some more PB!

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Then I hit the gym! It was a nasty rainy day, so I jumped on the treadmill and did a quasi-speed work run/walk. It went something like this:

  • 0:00-5:00 Walk/warm up (3.0-3.8 mph)
  • 5:00-10:00 Jog at 5.0 mph
  • 10:00-13:00 Run at 5.5 mph
  • 13:00-14:00 Sprint at 6.0 mph
  • 14:00-15:00 Recover at 5.0 mph
  • 15:00-18:00 Run at 5.7 mph
  • 18:00-19:00 Sprint at 6.5 mph
  • 19:00-20:00 Recover at 5.0 mph
  • 20:00-23:00 Run at 5.8 mph
  • 23:00-24:00 Sprint at 7.0 mph
  • 24:00-25:00 Recover, walking at 3.8
  • 25:00-28:00 Run at 5.9 mph
  • 28:00-29:00 Sprint at 7.5 mph
  • 29:00-31:00 Recover walk 3.8 mph
  • 31:00-35:00 Run at 6.0 mph, decreasing gradually to 5.5
  • 35:00-40:00 Cool down, walk at 3.5 decreasing gradually to 2.5

Total workout: 3.25 miles in 40:00

Phew, I was a hot sweaty mess afterwards and thankfully I stretched for a long time afterwards because I feel great today, no soreness!

At the gym, I also got the chance to post my FIRST Operation Beautiful note 🙂

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I had so much fun that I quickly threw another one inside of the locker I used.

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I really got a kick out of doing this and I can’t wait to post another one. I have to say, it’s kind of addicting! It made my day and I hope someone else’s too 🙂

Dinner was a weird throw it together meal. I was going to make oatmeal, but Josh graciously donated his potato that he hadn’t eaten yet so I went with it.

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Baked potato with S+P, hot sauce and organic ketchup with a side of mixed veggies. I know it doesn’t look like much but that potato was huge and definitely filled me up.

Afterwards, Court and I went to Barnes and Noble where I got to check out Alicia Silverstone’s new book “The Kind Diet.” I did not purchase the book (yet) but I did take some notes.

Alicia eats a vegan diet (no meat, dairy, etc.) but she’s also very aware of other things like the dangers of white sugar, HFCS, being too dependent on caffeine, etc. Her approach is neat because it basically, gradually advises you to free yourself of anything in your diet that might be harmful to your body, mind or spirit.

You also have two options with the book: You can “flirt” with the Kind Diet or you can go full blown. She also discusses all the benefits of the diet including your health, the environment, animal welfare, etc.

There are some really great recipes in there too. I’m going to put it on my “Wish List” for sure 🙂

At B&N cafe, I got to try a new tea! This one was called African Autumn and I loved it. It was a little on the fruity side but not overwhelmingly so. It is also a red tea if you couldn’t tell.

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When I got home, I was hungry again, so I had something I’m apparently not tired of yet even though I thought I was 😉

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I have so much more to share with you guys but I’m going to have to call it a night and catch you guys up tomorrow.

Hope you had an amazing weekend!

Day 5 : Back to “normal”

Check out Ms. Jessica’s giveaway of Tropical Traditions coconut oil!

Today was Monday, which meant back to work and the start of a new week! But it is also the first day that I have felt back to “normal” after being sick a little over a week ago and then having my period right after.

Since both can mess with your appetite, cravings, etc. I am glad they are both outta here 🙂

Breakfast this morning was pumpkin oats. I used the last of my pumpkin can so I won’t be having these for a while. They were good but I still can’t figure out what’s missing. Perhaps my tastes have changed?

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This bowl contained 1/3 cup oats (cooked with water), 1/3 cup pumpkin, a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice and some Skippy Natural PB.

Mid-morning, I enjoyed some new tea the in-laws gave me:

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And some mixed nuts to snack on.

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For lunch, I had some leftover black beans and barley, which I wasn’t too thrilled about at first, but I found some salsa in the fridge which I think gave it the perfect touch. I ended up really enjoying it!

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I got back to Exercise Science class after missing last week, so that was good to get caught up. I’m really enjoying everything I am learning in this class but I’m starting to think I won’t be able to stick through getting another 4 year degree (I already have 2).

So I’m thinking after this semester I may just get my personal training certification and then go back to school later if time (and money) permits. I really want to get to work!

After class, we had a baby shower for a co-worker who is so cute it’s ridiculous. I’m so happy for her. There was also some good food. I just snacked on some tortilla chips and salsa (plus more chips).

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I knew I had to get a run in sometime today and it was going to have to be after work. Luckily, I hopped on Twitter and saw a few others who had either gone for runs or needed to. So that inspired me to get it done!

I did one of my favorite paths near my neighborhood with no time in mind. After I was done, I came back in and looked it all up on Map My Run.

It says I did 2.85 miles in 25 minutes! That’s an average of 8:46/mile! Holy smokes. I’m not sure how accurate that is but I’ll take it.

My time also isn’t exact. I left the house at 6:03 p.m. and reached the front door again at 6:28. So it’s a guesstimate. I even walked for a few minutes including a warm up and cool down so I was quite impressed with that.

I do think I am getting faster, as my 1-mile runs with Farrah have proven. I texted her after this run to tell her I wanted to go fast again tomorrow but she wisely told me to wait and see how I feel tomorrow. Ha ha.

After the run, I did lots of stretching including pigeon pose to keep my hips from getting tight and lots of downward facing dogs. I love yoga.

For dinner, I made some baked tofu which I am now confident in keeping in my diet for the time being. Thanks again to those of you who commented on my soy question in a previous post. I really appreciate the feedback.

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I’ve decided I’m a big fan of mixed veggies. It’s just the right combo of starchy and green. I think I just like mixes in general instead of just having one veggie on the side.

I’m currently watching “Dancing with the Stars” hoping my man Chuck Liddell makes in another week!

I also snacked on this and perhaps a bit more PB 🙂

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I think I will have some tea and call it a night soon. Hope you had a great Monday!

R & R

Hello! I hope wherever you are that you are having a great day. It’s rather rainy and cloudy here, perfect day to stay in the house catching up on rest and relaxation!

I’m rather sore today so exercise of any kind is the furthest thing from my mind 😉

Last night for dinner, we went to the Cheesecake Factory to celebrate our friend Beth’s birthday. I started off with a couple pieces of bread (no butter) because I was hungry by the time we got there!

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For my dinner, I ordered the Fresh Vegetable Salad with no cheese. It came with Asparagus, Green Beans, Tomato, Cucumber, Roasted Beets, Apple, Edamame, Radicchio, Romaine with Pomegranate Vinaigrette.

This was an “appetizer salad” but man it was huge!

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Here is a pic of me and some friends at dinner, including the birthday girl on the right 🙂 I look like I have something coming out of my head, no? Check out the huge salad bowl!

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I ate the whole thing 🙂 It was delicious and I wasn’t too full when we left either. Lots of friends ordered some amazing looking cheesecake, but I am just not a fan, even before I stopped eating dairy.

We had another birthday party to get to, but I managed to stop at Starbucks to pick up a tall soy pumpkin spice latte! This is only my second one so I think I am doing okay at moderation!

While hanging out with friends and watching the UFC (which was so disappointing-yet another guy I like lost) I snacked on some tortilla chips.

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I was proud of myself for passing up dessert at the restaurant and not eating any birthday cake either. But honestly, I did not want it and the pumpkin spice latte helped too I’m sure!

I also had some peppermint tea before bed. It’s my favorite!

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This morning, I woke up and made some hot cereal with peanut butter and sliced pears.

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Now that I’ve had a day or two to think about it…I do prefer almond butter! I never thought I’d say that in my life. But MaraNatha did it for me. I’ve heard Barney Butter is good too but I can’t afford it (the one place in town I can find it has it selling for $9 a jar)!

I drank some coffee with Almond Breeze and a second cup black. I got a bit hungry at the end of Sunday School and I forgot to bring a snack so I had a blueberry muffin to hold me over.

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I have no idea if it contained dairy but I’m almost sure it did. Oh well.

For lunch, Josh, Mom, Dad and I went to Zaytun’s Mediterranean Grill, which was so exciting to me as this is my favorite type of food. This was my third time visiting, as I have been once with my friend Aleta and another time with Mom.

I ordered a vegetarian platter that came with hummus, Baba Ghanouj and falafel. Doesn’t get much better than this!

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I ate all the hummus (with 4 pita slices) and 2.5 of the falafel balls (I made Mom try some). Josh got this really huge meaty gyro, which he said was okay. I was proud of him for trying it though. He’s just not as into it as me 😉

When we got home, I ran a couple of quick errands and then had a piece of organic dark chocolate for a snack.

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I’m doing my best to stay off my feet today but I think it’s time to switch the laundry around so I’d better at least do that, ha ha. Hope you have a great afternoon, be back later with dinner!

Take me to Santa Fe

Happy Monday blog peeps!

It was a good day…went by fast and I got a lot accomplished. Plus some good eats too 🙂 Have I mentioned before that I don’t mind Mondays, ha ha.

I drove to work today since I was meeting friends for dinner so I parked in the same lot and walked just over a mile into work. Great way to start a beautiful day!

Breakfast this morning was the 5 grain cereal I told you about last week, topped with some blueberries and almond butter. I’m going through this AB too fast, I may have to slow down a bit before it’s all gone!

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I drank some coffee with non-dairy (supposedly right) creamer which must’ve kept me full because I completely skipped over a morning snack. But I still took my 15 minute break walk!

For lunch, I had another vegan Kashi meal. I’ve had this one before and I still like it, but Mayan Harvest Bake is still my fave 😉

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I need some recipes stat. Gotta stop relying on these convenience foods. But they are okay once in a while.

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After lunch, I enjoyed some English Breakfast tea with a piece of real dark chocolate. And a calcium supplement!

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I had class today and once again, I started nodding off. I don’t know what this is but I’m trying to figure it out so I can fix it. I think the room is just too warm, rather than it being something I’m eating 😉

I ended up eating both of my snacks over the course of the afternoon.

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The last of my popcorn!

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And my last mini Larabar 😦

After work I walked the 1+ mile back to my car and got ready to meet my friends for dinner, which I also walked too (just 5 minutes from the car). We went to this little place right near work that we heard had cheap Mexican food that was better than Q’Doba.

Santa Fe Mexican Grill

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And I mean it’s a small place 🙂

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We all shared some of the chips and salsa.

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The chips were good but not the best I’ve ever had. But I had a good portion of them with some salsa.

For my entree, I had a Vegetal (veggie) burrito Mexican style.

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It contained guacamole, beans, rice, onion and cilantro. I asked for no cheese 🙂

The burrito was so good! The guac was tasty and the thing was just stuffed with goodness. I love having beans and rice together. It was huge when it came out to the table so I cut it in half to keep me from eating it all. It worked too!

I can’t wait to have the leftovers. My bill? A whopping $5.30! I left a good tip since the food was so cheap.

When I got home, I enjoyed some more tea and another piece of dark chocolate.

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Just FYI, I don’t count a piece of dark chocolate as “dessert” as you know I’ve limited that to just one day a week (Wednesday most of the time).

To me, desserts are things like cookies, cupcakes, ice cream, etc. Things that need to be kept in moderation for sure, in my case.

I’m excited that on the day I chose to take the vegan thing easy, I did it…rather easily! I think. Not sure about that creamer earlier today, haha.

Hope you all had a great day! It’s time for me to catch some z’s.

Later y’all!

p.s. RIP Patrick Swayze 😦

Full of pizza

Happy Friday evening to ya! I don’t think I have blogged this much consecutively in forever. It helps being out of town and away from usual distractions. And having wi-fi at the hotel…

Anyway, before we headed out for dinner I snacked on some popcorn.

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Then we walked around the hotel for a bit to find where everything was. I’ve managed to avoid sodas so far, quite proud of myself. It helps not having vending machines, which annoyed me at first but I’m glad now, ha.

We had a great dinner at Gino’s East tonight!

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This is the suburban location in Schaumburg, IL. We learned that each location is actually a franchise so they don’t necessarily have all the same things as the downtown location that Josh saw on the Travel Channel a while back.

The inside of the place was pretty cool, lots of writing and spray paint on the wall. Lots of names of people who have visited I’m guessing? They were not very busy either, for a Friday night especially.

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The menu was quite extensive but we knew we’d be getting pizza since it’s Chicago and a pizza place. Duh!

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Josh ordered some garlic bread to get us started…

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I just had one because it looked too good not to try.

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I also got a mini salad, which I promptly picked the cheese and croutons off of. I had fat free Italian dressing on the side.

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Courtney and I shared the Vegetarian pizza on thin crust. It looked quite large but somehow…somehow we finished it all!

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Holy dairy overload. I think I will try a cheeseless pizza soon.

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It was pretty good though. It had mushrooms, green peppers, yellow squash, tomato, asparagus, and normally eggplant but Courtney is not a fan so we left it off.

So not vegan but I’m thinking that I’ll use September as experiment and be more “serious” come October. That’s my story anyway.

Josh got a small regular crust pizza with pepperoni and mushrooms. I tried to get a pic of the whole pie but the guy served him a piece right away 😉

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Josh took that one himself! I was proud. He said he enjoyed the spiciness of the tomatoes but he also added some red pepper because nothing is too hot for this guy. He ate the whole thing!

We had a very good waiter and our experience was quite pleasant. If you are a pizza lover, like my husband, I highly recommend it.

After dinner, we did some sight seeing. We tried to go see a movie but tickets were $11! I have never paid that much to see a movie and I wouldn’t be starting now.

It was a pretty theatre though.

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Leggoland!

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That’s Josh trying to see if it comes apart. Haha.

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We also went past a Jamba Juice but after looking at their menu, I wasn’t too impressed. We don’t have those at home and I was hoping for a special treat but everything sounded way to sugary for my tastes. Oh well.

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Then Josh discovered a GameWorks. Uh oh.

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When we finally got back to the hotel, I had some tea to settle my stomach (pizza has expanded I think) and warm me up a bit since I got kind of chilly outside.

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Well, I’ve got an early morning tomorrow. We are going to be waiting in line outside of Soldier Field ALL DAY for U2 tomorrow. My friend Courtney is a major fan and she has waiting all day on more than one occasion for me before to see Goo Goo Dolls so I owe her one.

Plus, it is going to be an amazing show. I’m sure I will have plenty of pictures to share. Good night!