Monthly Archives: July 2010

“skinny bread” muffins and “skinny bread” scuffins!

HeyHeyyy!

So I figured I’d just do a quick little photo recap of some recent events before getting to the yumtastic baking that took place this evening! Please keep in mind…I am quite aware that the quality in my photos is lacking, but it’s not about the quality, now is it? Focus on the content people! Content! 

a little *teaser* of what's to come...browse on for details!

I got a flat tire...

AAA to the rescue! i realized yearly AAA membership for christmas from my mom is actually a pretty stellar gift.

i decided i'm kind of over my daily commute....

...but if i *must* commute, i want to paint my car like this! (yes, an actual car i saw in the parking lot)

we met a cute puppy on our daily work walk.

i ate *epic* cupcakes!

ANNNNNNDDD…… 

i found this bad boy on CLEARANCE for 4 bucks at Marshalls! Balllller

There you have it. My life as of late, in a nutshell. 

This morning, I awoke with gusto knowing that I was heading to my FAVORITE gym class! X-Bike.  Awesome instructors, awesome tunes, kickbutt workout!  Seriously though, what other class can you think of where you get results like this: 

the 30 min class....

45 min class.

Post workout and showering off my stink, I had to take the stinkin car in to get my tire fixed and replaced.  Can I get a whatwhaaaat for free tire repair from Les Schwab!???? When I picked up my car, they said “just remember us for future tire needs, have a good day”. Holllla! I wanted to hug the greasy sweaty man…that’s JUST how much I like a good (or free) deal! 

During said tire repair, the mom and I hit up Marshalls where I scored the ballin deal on the Justin’s.  I swear, that place is a foodies paradise. 

So, I’m sure many of you are avid Oh She Glows readers, no?  If not, check out her blog!  I just love Angela’s blog for healthy recipes… not to mention she just has just such lovely, positive posts! A few days ago,  Miss Oh She Glows  posted a recipe for “Healthy Carrot Cake Power Scuffins“.  Tina over at Carrots’N’Cake made them promptly after.  They looked so, SO delicious…but there was just one little problem; I’m not a huge fan of carrots.   

Switching gears…A few days ago, one of the very nice ladies in my department brought in a bag full of GIGANTIC zucchini fresh from her garden.  This lady is the stereotypical “Grandma/Mom” of the department.  She is the kind of lady that is so sweet you just want to go home and live with her, but is such a spitfire, that she isn’t afraid to tell you when she thinks your hair “looks funny”. I just love her. Anywho, back to the gigantic zucchini. 

I knew I had to do something pretty outstanding with these veggies…but what? 

Remember growing up how your house would just FILL with that fantastic scent of zucchini bread (or as the kid’s in my Mom’s daycare called it, “skinny bread“, which it was FAR from…).  I remember it quite well.  Zucchini bread has always been one of those foods that is sort of a “you can look, but don’t touch” in my book.  I know how much oil, sugar, and flour goes into one of those bad boys…and to me, that all translates into a new pair of jeans for Janna.  No bueno!  The “low-cal” versions just never compare, either. 

Kids, hold onto your hats….here’s where things get serious.  My wheels started turning and I began thinking…”What if I combined the recipe that Miss “Oh She Glows” and Miss “Carrots’N’Cake” made look so delicious, subtract the food that makes me cringe, and add what I have an abundance of on hand…” Viola! An adaptation of Angela’s “Healthy Carrot Cake Power Scuffin”–>Healthy SkinnyBread Power Scuffin. Head spinning yet? 

I followed Angela’s recipe almost to a T, with the substitution of dried cranberries for raisins (also not a big fan of those…) 

Here are the ingredients, and I’ll take you through the process!  Since I knew there would be an abundance of the ‘zuch left over, I also made some “skinny muffins” for my dad!  Hey, I’m working on “favorite kid” status here…last month I made him peanut butter oatmeal cookies that pretty much sealed the deal, but I want to make certain with these muffins! ;0)  

First, the gigantic Zucchini!  

HUGE!

The recipe for my dad’s “skinny bread” muffins was from this book, but can also be found here…..if you dare. “Mom’s Zucchini Bread“. 

“Healthy Carrot Cake Zucchini Bread Power Scuffins” with my adaptations: 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup whole grain spelt flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking power
  • 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
  • 1.5 tsp pumpkin pie spice (OR: 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ginger)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup* (note below)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Chia/flax egg: 1 tbsp ground chia seeds + 3 tbsp water OR 1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp water, mixed and set aside for 5 mins **(i once had a bad chia “egg” experience where i accidently made ~2c of egg….so i went with flax this time! lol)**
  • 1/2 cup regular oats
  • 1 cup shredded or grated carrots (approx 2 medium) zucchini
  • 1/4 cup raisins cranberries
  • 1/4 cup toasted, chopped walnuts
  • Coconut, for garnish

  

Directions: Preheat oven to 350F. In a small bowl, mix the chia/flax egg and set aside. In a large sized bowl whisk together all of the dry ingredients. Using a food processor or grater, process/grate the carrots. In a medium sized bowl mix together the wet ingredients (carrots, vanilla, oil, maple syrup, chia/flax egg). Add wet to dry and mix until just incorporated. Stir in the walnuts and raisins. Scoop mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or greased with oil. Scoop about 1/4 cup for each Scuffin to make 6 large scuffins. Wet hands and shape into a circle if desired. Sprinkle with coconut. Bake for 25 minutes at 350F. 

SOURCE 

**** I have to admit this…. you will see cute little patterns under my bowls in each picture.  It started out as a way to mask our ugly green counters and therefore make pictures more pleasant.. but ended up being quite possibly my best “accident” yet!  Here is my brilliant tip for you all: put down a sheet of fabric (mine was old pillowcases) to do your mixing on.  When you are through, all you have to do is gather the corners, take outside and Shake, and then toss into the washer. Easy peasy clean-up yo!**** 

oh snap! how did that get in here? *sigh* ok, i was watching the season 2 premier whilst baking...you caught me...

 Step 1:  Mix the Flax “egg” and set aside. 

Flax "egg" mixture

Step 2: Whisk together dry ingredients 

dry ingredients whisking away

this could have been disastrous! I originally had the right ingredient in my hand, ready to measure...eeeks!

Step 3:  Grate the carrots zucchini 

no lovely picture of this step…I’m bummed…the bowl ended up being HUGE, and i now have scrambled egg filler for dayyyyys! 

Step 4: Mix the wet ingredients (carrots zuchini, vanilla, oil, maple syrup, flax egg).   

how white trash is this? i lost the cap, and this is my "makeshift" replacement. ghet-to.

Step 5:  Mix wet to dry (I did opposite…whoops!) and mix until just incorporated 

fist pumping away...whoops, i mean mixing away!

Step 6:  Stir in the walnuts and raisins cranberries 

truth time: I accidently added the walnuts and cranberries to the “dry” mix done in step 5. I tend to get ahead of myself… 

Step 7:  Scoop mixture onto a greased baking sheet 

i failed the "spacing things evenly" class.

Step 8:  Sprinkle with coconut and bake for 25 min at 350F. (again, i can’t follow directions and therefore coconut was added AFTER baking) 

Step 9: Take a peek whilst scuffins are baking (ok, I made this one up…i just get TOO anxious!) 

how you doin'....?

Step 9: Take your yumtastic scuffins out of the oven to cool 

sweetbabyjesus

if nothing else, it's a beautiful creation!

Luckily, these bad boys aren’t just “beauty”. They are so very tasty!  I give this recipe adaptation TWO very enthusiastic thumbs up, and can NOT wait to enjoy one before my run tomorrow morning! 

Now, since I know you’re all curious how my “win favorite kid” skinny muffins turned out…a short little picture story for you….=0) Enjoy! 

this looks more like a science project...is it supposed to do that?????

man down! even my measuring cup didn't agree with the amount of sugar this recipe called for...it just snapped mid scoop! boo!

the wet ingredients!

man numero dos down! i guess i didn't realize how strong all the "fist pumping" while jersey shore watching made me!

 

wet, meet dry!

dude, i was making "scuffin's"....not "snooki's"...now scram!

don't act like you're not impressed...

surley i'll win "favorite kid" after this...

now this, my friends, is what i call a "situation". thank goodness for my new handy-dandy cleanup trick!

I hope you enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed making them!  I seriously didn’t realize how much I actually *do* enjoy cooking! 

Do you enjoy baking? What’s your all-time favorite thing to make?  I’m a die-hard cookie fan. hands down. 

ALSO, don’t forget to enter to win some fabulous Popchips coupons in the ‘Poppin post below!

Janna

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This post is ‘Poppin!

It’s Friday! Holllla!

i never said i was perfect! at least i do my eating with gusto! (*note* not consumed all at once!!!!*)

So, I have to admit something… I’ve spent half of each morning this week “getting ready”, which actually meant watching wakeboarding DVDs, and then having a crazy rush to work…yes, you read that right. I’ve been obsessed with these lately, not sure why! Perhaps the cute boys? Mad skillz? Who knows… They’re addicting! I know what you’re asking yourself. “Are you any good at wakeboarding???”. The answer is simple, NO! I *can* wakeboard, clear the wake, but that is about it. I have crazy dreams of being good one day, though!

Enough about that…let’s get to the good stuff!

You know what else is addicting? Popchips! (which, coincidentally, also has cute boys…Mr. Kutcher himself is a new “president of pop culture” with the company). Now if I could just convince him to leave Demi…I could be first lady, and probably have endless amounts of Popchips goodness……..oh, sorry, where was I?

I was recently conversing with the good people of Popchips via email, regarding some of their products. I’ve been a huge fan of Popchips since they broke into the scene in early 2009 (I believe…I actually can’t find the date, but I started enjoying them then!) Incase you don’t know much about these bad boys, a little quote from the Popchips website:

“We don’t fry it (unhealthy). We don’t bake it (undelicious). We take wholesome potatoes, add a little heat and pressure, and pop! It’s a chip. The only thing added is a flavorful blend of seasonings for a snack so delicious and crispy, you won’t even notice it’s (we hesitate to say) healthier. What’s out? More than half the fat of fried potato chips, trans fats, and cholesterol. All gone. For good. What’s popped in? Only what’s natural, tons of delicious, and plenty of crunch.” Source

Basically, healthy, crunchy, yummy snackage. My coworkers and I once purchased a case from Amazon….each. Due to my “loyalty” to the ‘ol chip, they sent me some to try! Woot!

it's once again Christmas in July!

Before I get into the details of the chip, let me just get this clear. The popchips marketing team is stellar! I have been a “fan” of popchips on facebook for quite sometime now. I knew that they *must* have some very witty/fun people in their marketing department, because their status updates often have me giggling in weird places (work, grocery store, etc). As you may have gathered, I’m basically a 12 year old living a 26 year old life. I have a real job, bills, but still laugh at play on words and the occasional every “that’s what she said” joke.

Our e-mail conversing did not disappoint. During one particular email, there was a “chipment” thrown in when referencing the goods being shipped…funny, no? I immediately thought “what a fun company, I want to work for them!”…which I may have thought about Chobani…perhaps it’s just places that give me free food? Don’t go and get any crazy ideas though; I will NOT come mow your lawn, clean your littler box, or watch your children for food. I am not a snacktitute.

I digress.

The chips. Oh crunchy glorious chips. They never do disappoint, do they?

Before my “chipment” arrived, I’d tried the following flavors:

Original

Barbeque

Salt and pepper

Sea salt and vinegar

This “chipment” included the following “new to me” flavors:

Sour cream and Onion

Cheddar

WOW. I don’t know what sort of magician they have working in their production facility, but these honestly taste BETTER than ever to me. New seasonings? New potatoes? What is it yo!?

I’ve always loved popchips, don’t get me wrong…but these taste so much better than I remember! They have the perfect amount of salt, flavor and crunch. My reviews, by chip:

original potato
The perfect plain and simple potato chip. It was just salty enough to hit your savory craving, but didn’t have too much other stuff in the mix! This was and still is one of my favorites for its simplicity.

barbeque potato
while my co-workers give this flavor two enthusiastic thumbs up (if we’re using the thumb scale), I would be more inclined to do one up one sideways. I do like the flavor, don’t get me wrong…but I’m a wimp…and it has some “bite” to it with its tangy BBQ flavor! If that’s your thing though, and you like a good kick in the pants, this is the chip for you!

sour cream & onion potato
oh snap! remember Pringle’s? glorious terrible for you Pringle’s? imagine a healthy (but that doesn’t taste horrible) version of those, and you’ve got yourself some SC&O Popchips my friends. I ate these one night as a pre-teeth brush nightcap, and it was the perfect “light evening snack”! thumb scale: two thumbs up, yo!

cheddar potato
hmmmm. I have mixed emotions on this flavor. you see, I’m not a huge fan of cheese flavored foods. I love cheese, don’t get me wrong…but i don’t typically care for “cheese flavor”. these reminded me a lot of those puffy Cheetos! if you dig those, you’ll probably dig these! thumb scale: one up, one down.

sea salt & vinegar potato
my taste buds didn’t know what to do with this chip! is it savory? is it tangy? is it glorious? yes, yes and yes! this was a fun “surprise for your mouth” kind of snack! it keeps you guessing, that’s for sure! two thumbs up!

salt & pepper potato
whoamama. S&P you’ve always held a near and dear place in my heart…I don’t know what it is about these guys, but they have always been my favorite, and remain my favorite even after trying some of the “new-ish” flavors! I don’t eat meat, but i will use the comparison of peppered jerky (minus the jerky) for these. they have flakes of pepper that give it a nice, subtle kick! LOVE these! two thumbs (if i had more, I’d give more!) up!

Not only did the lovely folks at Popchips give me this box of goodness, they also sent some coupons my way….and then some more! I gave away the original set of coupons to my co-workers, so that they could share in the goodness, but I’m going to be giving the other booklet to one lucky reader! There are some good ones in here, too, like “one free bag” and “buy one get one”. None of that “25 cents off your purchase” nonsense with this company! No-Sir-E!

Head on over to the Popchips website, and take a look at their current product line, and also their production process (ummmm… potatoes, heat pressure and POP, you have a “chip”….? it’s like magic yo!), ingredients and shoot me a comment telling me about your favorite snackage flavor of theirs…or where you like to take your snackage! I recently took a bag to the movies. Holllla. Popcorn/candy temptation defeated! Winner will be selected at random Monday morning (hey, i have to make it bearable somehow!).

HAPPY FRIDAY! Hope it’s ‘Poppin!

Janna

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Coco’N’Oats and The Perfect Pineapple!

I think I may have found the most *perfect* oat combination.  As the title of the post probably gave away, I’ve dubbed them “Coco’N’Oats”. word. If someone has already claimed this name, sorry! =/  I sure thought it was clever. 

What makes these Coco’N’Oats so perfect? Little flakes of sweet goodness, that’s what! This weekend while perusing the baking aisle (typical), I stopped myself in front of the chocolate, peanut butter and butterscotch chips. “nope, too dangerous to have on hand” I told myself.  Then the red plastic of the coconut bag caught my eye… “well, I love all things coconut, maybe I should give this a whirl? Spruce up my food a bit?” 

Friends, if you haven’t already…go purchase yourself some coconut. Now. So far I’ve topped toast, yogurt, green monster and my favorite thus far…OATS! 

Ladies and…..ladies, I give you….Coco’N’Oats!  

i'm not judging your counters, stop judging mine! ;0)

Although it might not be the most beautiful breakfast in all the land (the bowl and spoon *do* help though!), it is mighty tasty!  This little number consists of a very simple ingredient list.  I like to start “new things” with a very simple base, and build from there. Can’t get TOO crazy all at once! ;0) 

I tossed the following into a bowl before heating (yes, blasphemy…I microwave my oats! it’s hard to justify having a camping stove at work though.  Not that I’ve tried or anything….) 

the goods!

  • ½ c Oats
  • ~1/3-1/2 Almond Milk (I can’t use regular milk. My stomach hates me)
  • ½ tbsp chia seeds
  • anddddd 1tbsp coconut

ready to go!

The coconut gets this nice, creamy-like texture, and tastes OUT OF THIS WORLD good! Trust me! 

all up in that bizzzness

Have you ever tried coconut in your oats before!? I don’t know why I waited so long…so good! 

Onto the perfect pineapple (WOW! so much good stuff in ONE post!). So, I’ve been planning to write this whole process for quite sometime now.  I figure, now that since it’s almost not pineapple season anymore, it is the perfect time to post! =X 

My mom is a water aerobics instructor for…how shall I say this nicely…the “elderly” population.  She enjoys bringing healthy snacks for her participants to enjoy after class, and often includes new healthy recipes, or fruit!  After one class, pineapple somehow came up during conversation, and the topic of how difficult and annoying it is to chop was brought up (couldn’t agree more!).  One of the “elderly” ladies said something to the effect of “once I bought a handy-dandy corer from Bel Air, it’s been a cinch!” (ok, I have no clue what she said…but I imagine it was something like that, minus the cinch).  She described to my mom the location of said “corer” in the store, and gave a brief description of how it works.  

My mom purchased one the next time she was at the grocery store, and her (and now my!) life was forever changed.  

whatwhaaat!

 Source 

This little guy, is…. AMAZING.  I did a little searching, and you can actually purchase this online, through Amazon here.  They have fancier options, but this little plastic one does the trick! 

Now that you know of this device, I’ll give a brief demonstration of how it works.  It will probably take you longer to read/look through the pictures than it actually takes to slice your pineapple.  No joke.  It honestly takes approximately 3 minutes from start to finish. 

Necessary Items: 

  • Handy Dandy pineapple corer
  • Cutting Board
  • Knife
  • Pineapple

the goods

Step 1: 

Chop the prickly top off the pineapple, and discard.

Step 2: 

Firmly shove corer into pineapple.

Step 3: 

with constant pressure (otherwise you will get mush), twist corer clockwise into the pineapple.

Step 4: 

just keep twisting, you're almost done!

Step 5: 

phew! done!

Step 6: 

gently pull the corer back out of the pineapple (do over the sink, it can get messy!)

Step 7: 

the inside, which...you can use as a "party glass" if you're feeling wild'n'crazy! just remove the core, and you're good to go!

Step 8: 

Viola! Enjoy!

Trust me when I say this…These two items, “Coco’N’Oats” and “The Perfect Pineapple” will CHANGE YOUR LIFE. You’re welcome. 

What’s your favorite oat ingredient that has “changed your life”!? what about kitchen “tool”!? You now know mine, now tell me yours! 

Janna

***update: i must add, i have mi madre to thank for the mad pineapple demo pics….THANKS MOM!***

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You’re never too old for FUNFETTI!

A little more background into my living situation…

So, I’ve mentioned it before, but I am currently living with my older bachelor brother… He works a ton, and I work/commute so it works out well because if one of us is here, usually the other isn’t.  We basically have a whole house to ourselves.  My brother’s house actually used to be my parents.  Shortly after graduating high school,  it was decided that this house was just too big for a mom and a dog, and had too much yard to take care of with all the kids gone.  My family was going to sell it (which they did) but instead of to a stranger, it was my brother.  I live in the same house I grew up in! Yes, it is a bit strange, but it’s also really comforting, in a way!

So last night (Saturday) I get home fairly late (for an old lady like myself).  It’s well past 10, and I’m ready for BED!  I notice there is quite the commotion going on in the back yard of my neighbors.  We live in such a small neighborhood, and it is really “out in the middle of nowhere”, so this is very atypical to see.  As I get out of my car, I notice not only is there a lot of commotion, but there seems to be some sort of backyard party going on.  I knew that the neighbors recently finished some concrete work (hellllllo 4:30am cement truck wakeup calls!), so I figured they must be having a family backyard BBQ to show off the new area. Wrong.

As I look closer, I am quickly taken back to the college days.  There are red cups lined up in perfect triangular form on either end of a long table…there are bud-light cans strewn about the yard…there is loud music bumping…and no parents in sight. My neighbor’s kids are partying their faces off!

Now I know what you’re thinking… ”so what? Kids do that!”….this I know. But these aren’t just any “kids”.  As I mentioned previously, I grew up in this house…these kids next door doing keg stands and partying their faces off….are kids I used to BABYSIT! BABYSIT, my friends.

I tip-toe and creep my way closer to the side of our yard, to get a better look, all the while saying “say it isn’t so…there is no way those good little boys would be doing this while their parents are gone. No WAY!”. I head inside, still shocked at what I’ve witnessed, but even more so shocked that I’ve become THAT OLD! Old enough for the “kids” I used to baby-sit to be partying their faces off, right before my very eyes.

This morning, I do what any typical 70 year old crotchety old lady 26 year old would do, and make a lap around our block to survey the scene of the party crime.  Beer.cans.everywhere.  At this point, I’m mentally shaking my fist at the boys, who are undoubtedly sleeping their hangover off, cozy in the house I used to play video games and do puzzles in. 

the aftermath….

yes, i took a picture...and yes, next up is purchasing a cane.

 

 I ask again, when did I become SO OLD!?!???

This afternoon I got a hankering for some sweets.  Whats a girl to do!?  Well, I’ll tell you…I pull a PBfingers and make FUNFETTI cookies.  Just because I act like a 70 year old when it comes to “those darn kids!” doesn’t mean I can’t eat like an 8 year old!

The goods. I used "better than eggs", just because i was out of real eggs...tastes fine though!

my handy dandy perfect scooper!

in action!

perfect little scoops!

so simple, yet so tasty!

These came out so light and fluffy!  It is taking every ounce of willpower to not eat 2 dozen! =X  I’ve packed up a plate to take to work…and this serves as my accountability factor. Co-workers, if you don’t get cookies, you can shun me. I will not eat both batches. I repeat, I will NOT eat both batches!

So, have you had an “I am SO OLD moment”!?!  Let me hear it!

Off to clean my dentures,

Janna

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*winner winner* & an “easy peasy pasta salad”!

First off, I want to give a big shout out to all my SF half and full marathoners out there! FP!FP!FP! :0) 

I started today off with a long-ish run on the books that turned into a short-ish walk (4mi  blah).  It was H-O-T out there today! 

pre run...er, walk eats!

This mornings pre-run walk eats included: 

  • 1 plain Chobani 2% 
  • 1/4c crack cracklin oat bran 
  • 1/4 kashi cinnamon shredded wheat 
  • 1/2 tbsp PB 

And now, the moment *I’ve* been anxiously awaiting! The winner of my *First* giveaway, who will receive coupons courtesy of Chobani for TWELVE free 6oz containers of yogurt is…….numero dos, Christine with the following response to fave-flav: pineapple!  I agree, Christine, pineapple is fosho the best!  Congrats!  Please email your mailing address to jkir247@gmail.com, and I’ll get the information to Shari.  

Ok, lets rewind to last night…Here is a little preview of the evenings fast and fresh “easy peasy pasta salad” meal: 

Very "summerey" Orange Muscat

"easy peasy pasta salad"

So, my mom lives in the same town as my brother, and since there aren’t really people here my age (or at least people i would want to hang out with), many-a-weekends are spent with my mom…not that I’m complaining, she is a cool lady! 
 
I went to her house last night so that we could bust open one of the bottles of  wine I purchased a few weeks ago on my wine tasting adventure (which you can read about here, if you would like!). 

sick shirt, eh? haha...am i really 26!?

We tried a Filsinger  “Orange Muscat” from the Danza Del Sol winery.  I liked it, a lot, but the meal we paired it with just didn’t work… I think this would be better suited on it’s own, or maybe as a dessert wine?  It tasted really “fresh”, and had a nice citrus kick (duh, orange in the name should have given that away). If you didn’t read before, my wine taste is VERY sophisticated….;0)

yum!

I called the mom earlier in the day to see if she wanted to have dinner, and we both agreed that a fast, cool, light dinner was just what the evening called for.  I knew I wanted to spend the afternoon out by the pool before heading over, so I didn’t want the fuss of prepping, or grocery shopping.  Due to this, I decided to just “wing it” and toss together a nice and fresh pasta salad!
The goods included in the “easy peasy pasta salad” included the following:
I cooked the pasta pre-pool time, that way it had plenty of  time to cool for the evening dinner.  Once it cooled enough, I tossed it in the dressing, and put it in the refrigerator to chill while I got ready.  When I arrived at the mom’s, we added the above ingredients, and served!  This recipe honestly took probably a total of *maybe* 20 minutes, super easy!  It was SO tasty, and I can’t wait to take some in my work lunch on monday! Some additions that might be fun would be possibly swapping the beans for other types (edamame, garbanzo, etc), maybe the addition of tofu? Lots of possibilities.

the goods!

I love cool & fresh recipes like this during the summer! 
 
What is  your favorite summer recipe/food?  I love anything with garden fresh veggies.  I also LOVE summer fruits! I could eat my body weight in melons, I swear.
  
Hope you all have some fun in the sun today!  I’m pool bound, again! It’s supposed to be 98* today, and I’m still pretty toasty from the run walk!
 
Janna

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“do I have yogurt on my nose?”

TGIF, no?

So, I wanted to get started with the long-awaited Chobani reviews! What, you weren’t sitting on pins and needles waiting for me to post some of these?!?! Yes, this is how I spend Friday nights…stop judging me! I have an early workout tomorrow!

Ok, on with the show….

I’ve given out some yogurts to co-workers, let my brother try some and had some myself. All reviews have been 100% positive, until today.

Today, I’m sitting at work and receive a text from my brother. (BTW, incase you’re a brand new reader, I am temporarily living with my brother…you know, being all “fiscally responsible” and whatnot). Anyway, while I’m slaving away at work, my brother is headed to the lake…fair? Yeah, I didn’t think so either. Ok, back to the text… so, I read the text and it says “I just have one complaint about the Chobani yogurts I’ve been trying”.

Holding back my urge to bust out a “you shut your mouth when you’re talking to me!!!” for possibly speaking ill of what I’ve dubbed in my own life as “heaven in a cup”, I text back with a simple…”okay…what is it?” I sit and wait a good 10 minutes, and finally I get the dreaded text. The text I’m sure I’ll want to disown my brother for. I read it, and see the following:

“Pomegranate is my new favorite, but the design of the cup keeps me from spooning out every last bit, which forces me to use my finger…not good, I’m in public”.

Without trying to be too obvious that I am NOT working, and I am in fact on my phone texting, I try to subdue my L’s which are threatening to become “outword”, full on LOL’s.

Have I mentioned my brother is a hoot?

Although I said that I would never speak ill of these little “heaven in a cup’s”, I do have to agree with him on this. At the risk of looking like a complete glutton, i have had to refrain from licking the container (“do I have yogurt on my nose?”)….but I would be lying if I said that I didn’t pack my “mini” spoons both days I took yogurt in my lunch, in order to achieve maximum scrape-age! ;0)

Our reviews are as follows:

Brother (tried pineapple, plain, and pomegranate):

Favorite: Pomegranate

Likes: That the yogurts are not overly sweet, and have a very natural taste. He also liked the texture, which is a bit more thick than your run-of-the-mill “blue and white container” yogurt. He also asked where he can purchase these, and then told me “I’m going to be all over Target to get some more. That was awesome!!!”

Co-worker numero uno (tried raspberry):

Likes: Texture, tart flavor, nutritional stats. We were both very impressed by the protein!

Here are a few facts about Chobani, and what makes their Greek Yogurt “Greek”, full of health benefits and FLAVOR to the max!

· All natural. No preservatives. No artificial flavors.
· No synthetic growth hormones: No rBST-treated milk.
· Includes 5 live & active cultures, including 3 probiotics.
· Made with real fruit.
· Twice the protein of regular yogurts.
· A good source of bone-building calcium.
· Gluten-Free and Kosher-Certified.
· Safe for people with corn, nut and soy allergies.

**Source**

Co-Worker numero dos (tried blueberry):

Direct quote: “I would definitely buy this!”

Yours Truly, ME (tried vanilla, pineapple and strawberry banana):

Favorite: Pineapple (with vanilla a close second)

Likes:

Vanilla: very smooth and creamy! It felt decadent, almost like a dessert. The scent was so strong, my co-worker could smell it as she walked into my cubicle. I would for SURE purchase this in the future. I have thoughts of adding pumpkin/pumpkin butter that I just can’t shake, so mark my word that this will make a repeat appearance! For my consumption, I added some crushed Kashi shredded wheat (cinnamon!) and a blop of PB. It went from this…..

*before*

To this….

*after*

In about 4 minutes.

Fantastic!

Pineapple: sweetbabyjesus. The real fruit at the bottom was such a nice surprise. I knew it would be there (because it’s Chobani!), but it was still a little bit of a “oh hey, look at you down in there!” moment. I am a texture FREAK, so I typically add a little somethin’ somethin’ to my yog’s in order to achieve more texture…there was no need with this bad boy! It had such a nice sweet flavor. Subtle sweet though, not that fake sweet that a lot of yogurts have! If I was giving grades, an A+ fosho.

Strawberry Banana: I should have saved this one for the brother. I knew going into it that I wasn’t a huge fan of StrawBan in the first place, so take this review with a grain of salt. I didn’t love it. For some reason, I was not digging the strawberry flavor (or chunks) in this one… wtf, right? It was still mighty tasty, and I would probably even try it again… Chobani, it would be stellar if you made a plain banana flavor! Imagine the possibilities!?!?! Crumpled ‘nilla wafers…or blobs of PB…or chocolate chips…PLAIN!

There are still a few flavors left to try, and a few more co-workers I have to supply to. Once again, I would like to thank Chobani, and Shari for ‘hookin a girl UP!

If you haven’t already, check out my giveaway (and leave a comment to enter) for one lucky winner here!

Catch you on the flip side,

Janna

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Christmas In July (**my first giveaway!**)

Well, today started out in typical Janna fashion, totally AAL

I had just purchased a new container of deodorant, and this morning was the first time opening it.  As with any new deodorant, it had that pesky little sticky (really, REALLY sticky, I might add) seal across the top.  Seeing as I basically have zero fingernail length, I did what any normal person lacking nails would do, and used my teeth.  Huge mistake.  The next thing I knew, the pesky sticker thing was somehow attached to my hair. Not good.  In a moment of sheer panic, I yanked it out. Not good^2. I now have a nice section of hair on the left side of my face that is noticeably shorter than the rest.  AAL?

My day started off with a bang, and I just knew it was going to be “one of those days”.  Sure enough, a stressful deadline at work (that is quickly approaching, yet I’m feeling further and further from achieving) had me on edge all day.  Naturally, I did what my Janna brain does in stressful situations, and had froyo for dinner.  Phew, crisis averted.  My day became significantly better in the matter of minutes!

As if froyo wasn’t enough to turn things around, I arrive home to this bad boy sitting on our porch!!! I peeked around looking for signs of Santa, because it surely must be CHRISTMAS IN JULY!!!

merry christmas (in July) to ME!!!!

A few weeks ago, I had contacted Chobani with a general inquiry about any locations in my area that might sell the pineapple flavor I see all over blog-land.  I have been having a heck of a time finding any “fun” flavors in my area, and I longed to join the “cool kids” rank, munching on some pineapple Chobs. All I hoped to gain from this little e-mail was a helpful hint on stores in my area to try.  I was contacted less than a day later by one of their lovely employees (heyheyyyy Shari!) who offered to send me some of the goods I’ve been longing for.  Suhweeeet! 

The package:

i was on the phone and literally giddy with excitement (sorry Craig!)

every single flavor, including TWO pineapple! YAY, thanks Shari!! =0)

how the goods stayed fresh! this, times ~5

Not gonna lie, although I was VERY stoked about receiving these tasty yogurt treats, I was almost as excited about the abundant supply of REUSABLE ice packs that came with it! SCORE!  I pack my lunch for work, daily, so these will be extremely useful!

chillin' out maxin' relaxin' all cool

In the next week or so, you can expect to see some reviews on these wonderful flavors I was sent!  If I wasn’t so full from my post work froyo excursion, I would bust into one of these bad boys right now!  I’ve also informed some co-workers and the brother that they will be helping me taste and review these little containers-of-heaven. They’re as stoked as me! 

My brother is training for his first Iron Man, so we wanted to do a “using yogurt as fuel” type of review, as well!

Now, here is the best part of my Christmas in July surprise….. it’s not just for me!!!!!  The wonderful Shari has given me the opportunity to host a little “Christmas in July” type giveaway, for a very lucky reader!  I explained to Shari that I had actually just started to blog (I was hesitant to accept coupons, because of this) and her response (which I just loved) was “It’s awesome to see how excited you are.  You have to start somewhere and why not start with a big KABOOM with your blog”.  I dig her style! The only restriction (and I’m sorry for any non-US residents I might have out there reading) is that the winner must be a US resident.

So, to get yourself in the running for  TWELVE VIP 6oz Chobani coupons, all I need you to do is check out the Chobani website, and leave me a comment in which you either:

1) tell me your favorite existing Chobani Flavor

2) tell me a flavor you would like to see Chobani make

OR

3) tell me your very own awesome at life moment from the day

Get creative, yo…and make sure to tell all your friends (or not, if you’re stingy like me!) The winner will be picked at random and announced this Sunday!

My answers, incase you would like to know:

1) Since I’ve been unfortunate in trying all flavors, I’d have to go with the tried and trusted strawberry…but I have a feeling all that will change once pineapple hits my lips

2) FOR SURE pumpkin…not sure how greek-pumpkin would taste, but I imagine pretty darn amazing!

3) please see first paragraph of this post! =0)

Merry Christmas (in July) to all!

Janna

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VGCC – Eggplant-Potato Moussaka with Pine Nut Cream

First things first… I’m here to tell you,  Cracklin’ Oat Bran is basically like crack in a box… Sorry brother, for consuming large quantities of your COB after work…and more importantly, sorry stomach for consuming large quantities of COB after work.       

     

Crack in cereal form.

 
VGCC = Veg Girls Can Cook (as explained here, i like acronyms!)
 
Ok, so a  little background on the Veg Girls:

           

I met the two Veg girls (Meredith and Aspen) during my stint in Public Accounting.  Meredith was working there when I started, and Aspen started shortly before I left.  We are all extremely sarcastic, and don’t take life too seriously…and I think that is why we all hit it off!  Meredith would help me out at work when basically no one else there cared, and Aspen…well, we bonded over “the calculator” incident…which deserves a post all in itself…in due time my friends, in due time.  She is also pretty “Awesome At Life” as well!              

The VGCC concept:          

A couple months ago, we were all talking about what a nuisance cooking a big meal was for one person (or in the case of Aspen, two people) and how much goes to waste.  Meredith had the great idea to do weekly/bi-weekly cooking get togethers, where we each pitch in a little, cook a meal together, and then divvy up the leftovers!  We love hanging out, saving money and good food, so this seemed like the perfect idea! I joked that “once I get a blog, i’ll feature our cooking sessions on there!”, and thus VGCC was born! I hope you enjoy reading VGCC as much as we enjoy making it happen! =0)          

All of the recipes we will feature on VGCC (Veggie Girls Can Cook) will likely be vegan.  One of us (Meredith)  is full vegan, I am vegetarian, and the other (Aspen) is a “flexitarian”….and the husband (Aspen’s), well he is a full-fledged meat eater… but tries anything we make, and compliments with a smile (even the disaster of a lentil loaf that was served to him a few weeks ago!).              

trust me when I tell you; the taste was as bad as the presentation. dis-gus-ting.

All of our cooking takes place at Aspen’s…because she has a kitchen large enough for 3 girls (and occasionally the living room furniture, when we choose to do “Yoga Night” in the living room of her house!).  Plus she has the most adorable dogs ever (besides TOBY)! Win!              

one of our living room yoga nights...and Aspen demonstrating the "Pie Eating Warrior" pose.

Diesel and Whiskey!!

Whiskey is a Vizsla, and I’m pretty sure could be Sadie over at Peanut Butter Finger’s twin! Diesel is a Yorkie Rat Terrier cross..  She calls him a “Rat-yo”.              

Yesterday, after some doggie time, we got to work in the kitchen.  I’m not going to lie, I was NOT a huge contributor in last night’s cooking extravaganza. I basically stirred some onions, and took pictures…but I was cooking in spirit!.              

i can stir onions like a champ! (*note to self...talking in pictures makes you look "special"*)

Last night, we cooked “Eggplant-Potato Moussaka with Pine Nut Cream” from Meredith’s  new vegan cookbook, “Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook”.  The recipe was very involved, but like I said…I was basically just a “stand there and look tore up and like I spent the whole day doing exciting accounting all daypretty” contributor.  ***am i the only 26 y/o that found the name of this recipe giggle-worthy? ok, moving on….             

INGREDIENTS:              

Vegetable Layer              

2 lbs. eggplant              

1 lb. zucchini              

3 lbs. russet or baking potatoes              

1/4 c. olive oil              

Sauce              

1/4 c. olive oil              

4 large shallots, sliced thinly              

3 cloves garlic, minced              

1/3 c. vegetable broth or red wine              

Two 15-oz cans crushed tomatoes              

2 t. dried oregano              

1/4 t. ground cinnamon              

1 bay leaf              

Salt              

Pine Nut Cream              

1 lb. silken tofu              

1/2 c. pine nuts, plus additional for garnish              

3 T. lemon juice              

1 t. arrowroot powder              

1 clove garlic              

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg              

Salt, to taste              

White pepper              

1/2 c. dry, fine white breadcrumbs              

DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 400F. Lightly oil three baking sheets or shallow pans.              

Prepare the vegetables:          Wash the eggplant and zucchini, and trim the stems. Scrub and peel the potatoes. Slice the eggplant, zucchini, and potatoes lengthwise into approximately 1/4 inch thick slices. (Make sure the potatoes in particular are sliced thin enough, otherwise they will either take a long time to cook through or be hard.)             

    

Aspen said we would probably get comments about knife safety with this pic...if you have any suggestions, please share! haha

Rub the eggplant slices with a little salt and set aside in a colander in the sink or in a big bowl for about 15 minutes to drain. Briefly rinse with cold water and pat dry with a paper towel.              

lightly salting the eggplant. this helped with the "bitter" taste (i think... i was only half listening)

Place each vegetable on a separate baking sheet. Distribute the 1/4 c. of oil among the three and sprinkle the vegetables with salt (except eggplant). Toss to coat the vegetables on each sheet, making sure each piece is completely coated with oil. Drizzle a little extra oil on the eggplant, as it has a slight tendency to stick. Spread out the vegetables on each sheet; some overlapping is okay. Roast the pans of zucchini and eggplant for 15 minutes, or until tender.              

coating the veggies in oil! action shot...just look at Meredith's hand workin!

Roast the potatoes for about 20 to 22 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned.              

***During this time, we (we meaning they) chopped garlic and shallots for our appetizer pasta dishs sauce, and for the main courses’ base.  I learned what a shallot was, and after i proclaimed with such excitement “they look like mini onions!!!” i was shot down with a harsh…”kind of”.  Anyone else with me here? they resemble small onions on the inside, right???***              

chopping the mini onions...er, shallots.

Take vegetables out of the oven, and allow to cool.              

While the vegetables are cooling (and potatoes are still cooking), prepare the tomato sauce:              

Combine the remaining 1/4 c. olive oil and minced garlic in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan.              

garlic in olive oil

Heat over medium heat and let the garlic sizzle for about 30 seconds, then add the shallots and cook until soft and translucent, 3 to 4 minutes.              

in go the shallots

Add the wine/broth and simmer until slightly reduced, another 3 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, oregano, ground cinnamon, and bay leaf. Partially cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 12 to 14 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce should reduce slightly. Turn off the heat, remove the bay leaf, and adjust the salt.              

garlic, shallots, red wine

              

garlic, shallots, red wine and here the addition of diced tomatoes

              

Make the pine nut cream:              

In a food processor, blend the pine nuts and lemon juice, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, until a creamy paste forms. Add the tofu, garlic, arrowroot, nutmeg, salt, and white pepper. Blend until creamy and smooth.              

pine nuts & lemon juice (and possibly some lemon seeds...shhhhh)

addition of the tofu, garlic, arrowroot, nutmeg, salt, and pepper

Final assembly:              

Lightly oil a 9 x 13 pan and preheat the oven again to 400F, if necessary. Spread 1/4 c of sauce on the pan, then add successive layers in order of eggplant, potatoes, sauce, and half the bread crumbs. Spread all the zucchini on top of this. Top with a final layer each of eggplant, potatoes, sauce, and bread crumbs. Use a rubber spatula to evenly spread the pine nut cream over the entire top layer. Scatter a few pine nuts on top, if desired.              

Layer 1 - Sauce

Layer 2 - Potato

Layer 3 - Zucchini

Layer 4 - Bread Crumbs

Layer 5 - Eggplant

more potato

more sauce

final layer - pine nut cream sauce!

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and a few cracks have formed in the topping.          

*** like i described on the VGCC tab, VGCC nights have lots-o-laughs.  I’ll note a few of the laugh worthy topics, while our dish bakes….          

  • Aspen had just returned from an across the country road trip with her good friend the day before, so she was full of stories of magical places like the “Worlds Largest Truckstop” and gas station’s with hoodlum boys known as the “Harvest Boys”… which the gas station attendant informed Aspen were boys who traveled here from Australia for work and harrassing travelers, apparently.
  • Discussion of the preparation of our desert shed light on the fact that Aspen used a “mortar and pestal” to grind the cloves used in our “vegan pumpkin custard” (because she likes to pretend she is an indian), which we later found out did not work out very well….pretty sure i’m still picking chunks of cloves from my teeth! i kid, i kid…
Whiskey was less than impressed with our antics
****DING**** dinner is done!

HOLLLLLLA!!!!

Allow to cool 10 minutes before slicing and serving.  

           

how is THAT for presentation...mad photog skillz right there! ;0)

IT.WAS.DELICIOUS!
Everything was perfect! So fresh, and it had a nice little “kick” to it!  Meredith and Aspen, fantastic job!
 
After dinner, we enjoyed the desert the ladies prepared before I arrived!  There was vegan chocolate moose, and vegan pumpkin custard (Swoon!).  Both were phenomenal (even with clove chunks…it was like “after” desert, the morning and afternoon after! ;0)
 
The presentation of these were for SURE lacking, though.  Aspen made sure to make a “moose smear” for the blog. lovely!
 

  

dessert!

They sent me on my way, with leftovers!  I was so stoked with how well it turned out, I had my brother take some to work today! I got a text around lunchtime and this recipe was for sure “Brother Approved!”
 
So, there you have it.  Our first “official” VGCC!  We will have these every few weeks, depending on everyone’s work schedules, so stay tuned!
 
Also, I have a few exciting things coming up in the next week or so (including “Christmas in July!”), so keep checking back!
 
‘Til then,
Janna

          

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Sunrider Wine Tour

This post is a little outdated, but I feel like it is something I want to share, as it was such a fun experience!  I didn’t have a blog when it actually occurred, but let’s pretend I did…and that I’m just late posting this! =0)  

A few weeks ago, one of my best friends (since 6th grade!) and I took a little road trip down to Southern  California to visit another one of our best friends.  I’ve known my friend in SoCal since we were wee little tykes in Kindergarten.  The three of us went to the same elementary school, high school (part of the time), and two of us college together.  Although we’ve all “grown up” in a sense, we are still the best of friends and stick together!   

We hit the road early Friday morning, with our sights set on Sunny San Diego/Temecula!  If you live in California, you might know that central-northern CA is basically sweltering all summer long, and SoCal is typically a bit cooler.  We were stoked for that cooler weather.  Around 1.5hours into our 8+hour drive tragedy struck.  The air conditioner stopped working.  STOPPED working in 90+ degree weather. Needless to say, much of the car ride was spent like this:  

hothothot. so flippin hot.

Ok, back to the point of this whole post!  

Being the Northern California gal that I am, I unknowingly figured all the fun wine tours happened up here…boy was I wrong.  My friend had set up for us to participate in a “Jeep Wine Tour”.  From the Sunrider Tour website, “Join us for an unforgettable getaway in Wine Country. On our Full Sevice Wine Safari you will be thrilled sampling up to 24 different Wines. We will guide you and your friends (2-6 passengers per Jeep or groups up to 18 persons) on a safe open air or covered “Fun Jeep” Trek through Scenic Vineyards and show you sights that no other tour can. Our Fun Tour Guides will share their interesting insight on Temecula’s Wine, Wineries and the area’s history.”   

A “Fun Jeep Tour” in which the website tells you to dress casual? WIN!  I don’t mind getting “fancy”, but I am just a more casual laid back girl by nature, so this sounded absolutely perfect.   

In the weeks leading op to our visit, my friend also informed us that these tours do “off-roading”.  I basically brushed that part of the description off, but it quickly becomes part of what I loved so much about the tour.  More on that later.  

The day of our tour, Adam (one of the owner’s of the company!) calls my friend to confirm the address, and let her know he will be there shortly.  This wine tour has pickup areas throughout the town of Temecula, but if you are a resident, they actually pick you up AT your house! Major cool points, if you ask me!  After she gets off the phone, she informs us that she thinks Adam is actually going to be our guide for the day.  Sure enough, less than 15 minutes later, our yellow chariot arrives, Adam as the driver.   

Sweet Ride, Yo!

Now, when I pictured a wine tour/tour guide, I always pictured a stuffy/snooty person in formalwear.  When the jeep pulled up, I was taken aback because this was anything BUT that.  Adam (best.guide.ever.HOLLLLLA!) is wearing casual jeans/button down, military hat, Ray Bans and has a cool guy mustache!  I knew immediately that this was MY kind of tour! We quickly hit the road, our hair blowing in the wind and good tunes blasting (he seriously had the best music mix!).  

hair blowin in the wind!

hitting the road!

Our first stop of the day was “Wiens Family Cellars”.  Now, let this be known;  I am NOT a big fan of reds…so when I read this: “Of all the Temecula wineries, Wiens is known for its quality red wines”, I knew it probably wouldn’t be the place for me.  Luckily, they had a nice variety of whites for as well.  My favorite, hands down (and this is going to show you just how girly/unsophisticated my wine tastes are) was  the Dulce Maria, found on the “desert wine” menu! It was somewhat sweet, and tropical tasting (again with the sophistication!).   

we're professionals.

Our souvenir glasses! They let us keep these!

Wiens Family Cellars

After Wiens, we hit the road for our next stop.  About 3 minutes in, however, I notice we are heading toward a dirt road and he is not turning to stay on the *actual* paved road.  Then, all of a sudden, the “Indiana Jones” music starts playing blasting.  The next thing I know, we are full on off-roading through the dirt roads of Temecula.  My friend was 100% right when she said it was an Off-Roading wine tour.  If you have ever been to Disneyland/Disneyworld, and have ridden the “Indiana Jones” ride, just imagine that, paired with and awesome tour guide, your best friends, and good wine. By far one of the most fun experiences ever!  

post off-roading shot!

I attempted to take a video, unfortunately, I was not recording…bummer!  

Our second location was actually our lunch location, Leonesse Cellars.  First, though, he took us on a tour of the barrel room at Leonesse, and explained the process along with the types of barrels.   

kinda spooky looking!

Did you know, wine price is associate with the barrel price/barrel quality, because that “oak” taste you get is determined by the quality of the barrel? Additionally, “cheaper” wines like “Two Buck Chuck” actually purchase “used” recycled wine barrels, grind up the wood, and actually use the wood chips to make their wine?  The chips are strained out prior to bottling, but this is done to give it a faux “oakey” taste…who’d thought? 

After our barrel room tour, he took us outside to show us the equipment used to store whites.  My memory is failing me (or maybe it was the wine) but I don’t remember a ton about this part.  I know that the holding containers were temperature regulated.  He allowed guests to sample directly from the holding tank, which I thought was pretty neat! So fresh! 

one of the holding containers, and our guide Adam! sweet stache, no?

  

At the beginning of the wine tour, he passed around a menu for Cosi, and we all selected our lunch option.  At the second venue, the nice folks at Cosi actually delivered our order, and we were able to enjoy a nice meal outside! (side note: I loved my sandwich from Cosi, and you would think from my enjoyment I was given some sort of gourmet cuisine! We need one of these in Northern California, PRONTO…and yes, I have done my homework, there are ONLY two CA locations, none of which are less than an 8hr drive. Lol)  Anyway, where was I…. Adam gave us a little background of this vineyard, explaining that it was actually his business partners parent’s vineyard (which I think explains why were able to have lunch delivered, rather than eat the food there).  The other two groups that were with us went inside for their tasting after lunch, but Adam, being the fantastic guide that he was actually brought the wine TO us, out on the patio so we could continue enjoying the views!  We even enjoyed special “wine-club members only” wine from this vineyard! Score! We were able to chat and really savor our tastings, all the while learning about how he got started with the wine tours and answer our questions.   

SO pretty!

Adam explained that he and his business partner (and longtime friend) thought that having vehicles more suitable for the terrain of Temecula, along with a more laid back tour experience was the way to go, and boy is he right!  I can’t even imagine limousines taking the back roads we took to get to some of the wineries! Adam grew up in the area, actually working tractors in the vineyards as a young man.  He is VERY knowledgeable about the agriculture aspect, along with the actual wine.   

He said that in their first month, they had only a scarce amount of bookings, and he actually thought they might have to just cut their losses…but then in the following month, their business grew substantially just by word of mouth!  We really lucked out by having Adam as our guide, as he told us mid-tour that since business has picked up, he has had to do more of the “business” aspect of the tours (insurance meetings, hiring, etc) but that his true passion and enjoyment comes from actually doing the tours. If you do any sort of search for “Sunrider Wine Tours” you will see that the ratings are phenomenal, and it’s obvious why!  He was just so personable, and knowledgeable about the area/vineyards/wine/etc.   

Ok, back to the tour.  After our bellies were full, we headed to our 3rd stop, Danza Del Sol.  This location was under construction, and not very pretty on the eyes…but they had some awesome varieties.  When I walked up, I noticed two road bycyles parked outside, and figured it must have been some of the workers…oh no, it was these folks!  At least they had helmets?  Hehehe  

they're REALLY keeping it real! =0)

We had a very “fresh” pourer (it was her first day, and she looked all of 21), who was VERY generous with our pours! I actually purchased a bottle of the Orange Muscat, and can’t wait to enjoy it!   

Our last stop of the day (and my favorite, as far as service goes!) was Stuart Cellars.  The atmosphere there was just so fun, and our pourer was a little spitfire!  Plus, she gave me chocolate with one of my pours, so how could I NOT like this one best? Hehe.  I also purchased a nice Pino Grigio here, and really lucked out!  When I got to the register, I was told that it was 50% off for the day! SWEET!  

Stuart Cellars

Adam then took us back to my besties, all the while still playing awesome tunes (um, “We Trying To Stay Alive – Wyclef?? yeeeeeah!)  

This was seriously some of the most fun I’ve had in YEARS.  I would recommend this tour to anyone that is looking for a nice laid back day out!  The location is close enough to the Orange County/LA/SD area to make a short day-trip out of it.  While Temecula isn’t the most “poppin” place, it is a very cute little town, and you could even stay the night there at one of the many hotels, and enjoy the tour that way!

I give Sunrider Tours an A+, and our guide, Adam, an A++! 

 

Some of my other favorites from our road trip include the following:

sand

ocean

friends

views

beauty

love

nature

babycakes

perfection

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Superman Abs Challenge – Strong Arm Challenge… (SAC/SAC)

Two posts in one day!?! What am I, an actual real life blogger? sheesh! 

First things first.  I realized today that I never followed up with the finished/after pic of the EPIC cupcake cake I posted about here.  I was going to apologize about the picture quality, but until I become independently wealthy and can afford a really fancy pants camera and photography classes, I think the quality of my pics will remain the same, with sub par iPhone pics. 

Not too shabby for our first decorating attempt!

needless to say, it was a hit!

My day today ended with this: 

ANOTHER "party in my mouth!"/pre-dinner snack

This little gem contained vanilla, pineapple/banana, and original tart froyo topped with coconut and sprinkles. I’m 8. 

In my defense, I left work at 6:00pm and still had an hour drive home…AND this was the temperature when I got into my car. Pleasant, no? 

 

My eats for the day: 

Breakfast 

  • ½ c oats
  • ½ tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/4c almond milk
  • ½ tbsp peanut butter
  • ½ frozen banana (heated with oats).  Call me weird, but this makes them SO creamy!
  • Homemade iced coffee with 1tbsp Chocolate Toffee Creamer

  

*note*: from this point forward, anytime I say “Typical Breakfast”, let it be known that THIS is what I had.  9 times out of 10, this is what I eat for breakfast.  Call me booooooring, but if I had my way, I’d eat this 3 times a day. 

Lunch 

  • Salad that contained the following:
  • Spinach. SO MUCH spinach
  • ¼ c fresh pineapple
  • Two apple slices, chopped up small
  • 1 laughing cow wedge
  • Garden Burger (crumbled up over the bed of spinach)
  • “dressed” with BBQ sauce.  I have a mild obsession with this condiment.

Snacks 

  • Pineapple
  • The remaining apple from my salad
  • Iced Americano from the ‘bux
  • Froyo pictured above

Dinner 

Undecided at this point, but something delicious, this I guarantee. 

Ok, so, back to the point of this post…I’m an acronym freak.  If I can, I will make any and every saying into an acronym.  Just roll with it.  I’m also obsessed with creating “challenges”.   

November of last year, my BMF and I came up with “SAC” challenges, which would span from one significant date to the next.  They typically started on a date I thought was cool (even numbers, numbers divisible by others, etc.  Did you read my “about me”? I’m an accountant nerd, do you expect normal behavior from me, really?) and would go to the significant date of either a holiday, or a race.  We got up to SAC^4 challenge, with slight variations each challenge.  They always included abdominal work (something we both wanted to work on) and mine usually had arms involved, too (another area under construction with me!).  The challenge was doing 16min of work on that area, every other day (so 16min of abs one day, 16 min of arms the next). 

Those competitions sort of took the back burner recently, but two days ago, July 14th (7/14, 14 is divisible by 7…7 is a lucky number and this therefore makes it a good date to start…?  am I really divulging what a weirdo I really am????????) I started a new challenge, and I invite you to join! 

I’ve never had nice abs (my BEST running buddies (who I will refer to as “The Clouds” from here on out), and I would joke and call our abs “stealth abs” meaning they were basically non-existent to the naked eye, but we just KNEW they were in there somewhere…just being stealthy!  When our last challenge ended, my abs were actually starting to show a little definition (crazy, for me), but since then, they have once again become my “stealth abs”. 

What this challenge entails: 

My new challenge (Superman Abs Challenge and Strong Arms Challenge) is this: 

Each day, perform 8 min of some sort of abdominal and 8 min of arm strength work.  My all-time favorite 8 minute workouts to do, and you are encouraged to at least check out (if nothing else, for a good laugh) are these little gems: 

8 min arms 

8 min abs 

It is apparent by the quality of the filming, the music and the clothing that each of the videos was filmed in the early 90’s.  The men are clad in what I like to call “man-o-tards” (man leotards) and the women for sure are ‘sportin the thong leotards over shorts look.  They are nothing short of amazing….But hear me! As silly as they may look at first glance, they really are pretty good for a completely FREE (holllla!) nice, quick little strength workout.  Plus, any video that tells you that you can “use tomata cans” as weights is pretty darn fantastic in my book!!!!! 

So there you have it!  The SAC/SAC has begun, and I invite you to join me on it!  You are of course welcome to do your own variation of workouts, and if 8min on those muscle groups doesn’t work for you, change it up!  I just want some people to challenge their bodies with me here! 

So, let me know if you want to participate, and I’ll periodically check in with you on your thoughts about the challenge, give you opportunities to brag, give opportunities to curse my name for making you watch the man-o-tard videos! =0) 

Are you up for the challenge?  Let me know what you are going to challenge your body with this month (challenge will go until August 14th)!  Get creative!  Keep it real, yo! 

  

Off to put on my thong-o-tard…

 Janna

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