Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Last night was pretty much a repeat of the night before. It didn't rain but the weather was still pretty cold and dreary; like Jane Eyre kind of weather. So, I decided to make another Hot Toddy but I used Jameson Whiskey instead since I used up the rest of the Gentleman's Jack the previous night.

It was just as delicious and was very smooth. =)

During my second date with Hot Toddy, I decided to make pumpkin overnight oats since I apparently have an overstock of pureed pumpkin. During Thanksgiving time, I bought a pumpkin and made some homemade pureed pumpkin for the first time. Since I'm the only pumpkin lover in my house, I knew there was no way I could finish this whole batch by myself quickly enough due to its very short shelf life. So, I stored my batch in little containers, froze them, and defrosted each container for at least 24 hours prior to using them. Although making pureed pumpkin was a huge pain and a lot of work, I was really sad when I was down to my last container. Last week, I was in the mood for pumpkin but there was none in the house. I was really regretting not stocking up when it was dirt cheap, but in the end I decided to splurge a bit and bought a can of Libby's anyway. Well, I wish I had done some more investigative work to en I came home from Big Bear last Sunday, I noticed that my mom did some cleaning in the fridge/freezer and spotted 2 jars of my homemade pureed pumpkin. D'oh!! I should have really given the freezer a more thorough search. And on top of that, I still have 1/2 can of Libby's left, so I will definitely be making several pumpkin-related dishes for awhile. Currently researching chocolate pumpkin and peanut butter pumpkin and pumpkin anything recipes right now. I kind of feel like Bubba Gump except my obsession will be with pumpkin instead of shrimp. =)

Ok so,back to my pumpkin overnight oats. I combined 1/3 cup of old fashioned oats, 1/3 cup of pureed pumpkin, 1/3 cup of nonfat plain yogurt, 1/3 cup of unsweetened vanilla soy milk, and 1/2 tsp of pumpkin spice, a dash of ground cinnamon, and 1 tbsp of chia/flax/hemp seed mix. I gave it a good ol' stir and let it hangout in the fridge for the night.

In the morning, I stirred everything once more and then topped it off with 1 tbsp of pumpkin butter, 1 tbsp of Sun Harvest peanut butter, 1 tsp of Coconut Manna, and a handful of Nuts About Granola - Lover's Combo as well as cacao nibs.

This morning's coffee was provided by 85 C Bakery Cafe. I recently found out that they open at 7 am and had my heart set on these delicious egg tarts as a snack for later today. Sadly, they didn't have any available yet, so I settled on maple brick bread and a pork sung bun. I also ordered a nonfat vanilla latte but they ran out of nonfat milk so 2% milk it was. So it looks like 85 C is batting 0 - 2 today.

In other exciting news, tomorrow is National Peanut Butter Lover's Day and I am definitely a PB lover. Soooo, I have been researching for a recipe online that has both pb and chocolate because in my opinion those two ingredients go hand in hand. =)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Salad Spin

Sometime between drinking a few Hot Toddy and watching the Voice, I managed to put together today's lunch. I had an orange and wrinkled kiwi on my kitchen counter that were looking kind of sad, so I decided on a fruit salad. I usually eat my fruit without any seasoning or topping but I was in the mood for something more exciting. I know that some people like to drizzle fresh lemon juice on top of their fruit but I am not a fan of that. And since a bottle of Madagascar vanilla bean paste was still on my counter from when I made my Hot Toddy, I thought I would give it a try. I also added cacao nibs (which I just realized I have been calling bits this whole time!) just for the heck of it. =)

Fruit Salad Ingredients

1 kiwi -sliced
1 orange -sliced
2 dried prunes -sliced
1/2 tsp - vanilla bean paste
Handful - cacao nibs

After cutting the fruit and prunes, I poured the vanilla bean paste on top. I stirred the ingredients together, sprinkled cacao nibs on top, and let it sit overnight.

Here it is the night before:
Here it is in the morning:

Up close and personal shot:

I'm loving the vanilla bean specks. High quality vanilla bean paste totally makes a difference

I really like this fruit salad and plan on making it again in the future. It's light, sweet, refreshing, and most importantly, low-maintenance in the prepping department. Yummilicious!

Warm and Fuzzy Inside and Out

Yesterday's downpour and super chilly weather left me cold inside and out. As a result, I was craving for something warm and soothing to get my circulation movin'. Work slowed down a bit towards the tail end of my day, which gave me plenty of time to think of a drink that would hit the spot. After conducting a mental inventory of what alcohol I have stocked up at home, I remembered that I had an almost empty bottle of Gentleman's Jack in the pantry. I usually mix this with coke or drink it on the rocks but those two variations are not suitable for this North Pole kind of weather. So, I decided this was a perfect time for a glass of Hot Toddy but I did make some changes to the traditional version. The ingredients of a Hot Toddy usually include cloves but I left it out since I don't have any and I wasn't going to make any grocery stops in this rain. Also, I chose to use Madagascar Vanilla Bean Paste in place of honey because I was looking for something sweet but with a bit more flavor. And most recipes usually call for 1 oz of whiskey but I used up the remaining amount in the bottle since there wasn't much left anyway. So, instead of 1 oz I ended up using 2.5 shots., which is fine since I like my drinks strong. =)

Hot Toddy

1 cup of hot water
2.5 shots of whiskey
1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
1/2 lemon - squeezed
1 slice of lemon 

Served with a bit of chocolate

The drink definitely rejuvenated my circulation and left me feeling warm and fuzzy inside and out. Great way to end the night. =)

Monday, February 27, 2012


My weekend at Big Bear was fun but it would have been more fun if there was snow. During my entire time there with my cousins, it was warm for mountain standards and very little snow. Of course, they are supposed to receive a giant dump of it today. Major bummer. So, my cousins and I passed the time with lots of drinking and eating. My sister and I decided on a spur of the moment wine tasting and some random hikes around Big Bear Lake, which was nice. But after two weekends in a row of over eating, over drinking, and under exercising, it is definitely detox time. My body is feeling really sluggish and gross and is more than happy to welcome back fruits, veggies, and other healthy ingredients.
This morning, I awoke to rainy looking clouds and a bit of drizzle. To me, this is perfect hot chocolate weather, but at the same time, the last thing I wanted was a heavy chocolate drink for breakfast. I wanted yogurt and fruit but that wasn't an option since I finished the last of my yogurt on Friday. But after rummaging through the fridge, I found an 8 oz carton of Horizon Organic Milk which just so happened to be chocolate flavored! I also remembered that I had some Mexican Hot Chocolate flavored granola from Nuts About Granola left, so I decided to make hot cocoa oatmeal.
For the oatmeal itself, I used 1/3 cup of rolled oats, 1/2 cup of chocolate milk, 1 tsp of Navitas cacao powder, 1/2 cup of water, 1/2 banana - sliced. When it was done, I added some hemp seed, ground flaxseed, and chia seed.
As for toppings, I sprinkled some of the mexican hot chocolate granola, the remaining half of my banana, and 2 tbsp of Better 'n Peanut Butter. It was healthy, delicious, and a perfect way to start my detoxing.


Friday, February 24, 2012

Grab and Go

Today is going to be a jam-packed, grab and go kind of day. This morning, I woke up before the sun did at 4:30 am and dashed off to the gym for my Friday morning workout per usual. I ran 4 miles but my endorphins didn't kick in until halfway through. Maybe because I have been slacking on exercise this week? Afterwards, I hopped, skipped, and jumped to the group exercise room for 45 min of kickboxing before leaving to get all squeaky clean for work. (BTW - Bill, I tried looking for you on my way out but I didn't see you? So, HI via blog post and hopefully I'll see you next Saturday at UCI Marketplace). I usually work from 8:30 - 5:00 pm but I had to go in a bit earlier today since I am leaving for Big Bear at 1 pm. Luckily for me, there was a jar of peanut butter that was in perfect condition for overnight oats in a jar. My regular stock of ingredients for my almost daily oatmeal is either low or out of stock, so a few substitutions had to be made. No milk meant using a mixture of heavy whipping cream and water,  not enough yogurt meant going a bit heavier on the incorporation of chia seeds, sliced banana, and cacao bits (don't know if that helped with the thickening process but figured it wouldn't hurt. You can never have too much chocolate, ya know what I mean? =0]). Since I was in a rush this morning, I didn't have time to make coffee at home and decided to make a quick pit stop at Starbucks. However, I apparently got there when everyone else and their moms were there too because the line was LONG. So, what was supposed to be quick pit stop turned into a 10 minute ordeal =/. I did, however, luck out in the traffic department though because the freeway was pretty empty.

As soon as I got to work, I was finally able to drink my coffee. I had one scalding hot sip on the freeway, which ended up burning my throat and tongue. Insanely hot coffee = prickly, sand paper tongue. No bueno. In the meantime, I finisheed preparing my breakfast.

I  jazzed up my overnight oats with some toppings - cacao bits, 1/4 pack of  Nuts About Granola Chocolate Mint Cookie granola, and a blob of TJ's Fig Butter (which is hiding underneath the gran and bits).

Cacao bits on top of the chocolate gran. =)

Dericious. Just what I needed to tackle the day and get-a-movin' for an exciting weekend at Big Bear. Just gotta double check that I packed all my necessities before I leave and then I'm off!

Packing List
- Alcohol (wine, chocolate stout, whiskey)
- Food
- Chocolate
- Clothes
- Alcohol Oh wait, I already put that on the list. =)
- Taste buds that have been affected by burnin' hot coffee?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Running on Empty

For the past month or so, I have been taking a Contracts/Torts class at a local community college every Wednesday from 7 - 9:50 pm. Because the class is almost 3 hours long, the professor usually gives us a the option of taking a 10 minute break or powering the through and leaving early. I am alway for skipping the break if it means getting out early but apparently my fellow classmates don't feel the same way. I know that studies have shown that our attention span only lasts for 20 minutes or something but I seriously don't understand why you would rather choose taking a break over leaving early?! Last night, we were supposed to get out early since there wasn't much material to cover but people were being way too chatty cathy and groaning about no break. So, we didn't end up actually getting out early, which really annoyed me since I was my energy level was running on empty and my attention span officially checked out like 5 minutes into class.  GRRRRRRR!!!!
When class ended and I finally got home, I quickly prepared today's lunch (Wild Squirrel Pretzel Pizzaz PB & TJ's Fig Butter on some stale bread and a neopolitan tangerine) and sadly realized there was only half a cup of milk left. I usually make oatmeal for my sister and I but obviously this was not going to be enough milk for the both of us. Since my sister's job is much more demanding than mine and her life is more hectic than mine, I decided that she deserves to have a better breakfast. So, I made overnight oats for her and would have a parfait for breakfast.

This morning, as I was putting together my parfait, I was rummaging through the kitchen cabinets for a cup/bowl to use. I found this Minnie Mouse cup that I purchased a few weeks ago at Downtown Disney but I haven't gotten the chance to use it just yet. So, I decided this would be a perfect opportunity to give it a whirl.

Love the spoon. It's just darlin' and provides the perfect serving size for every bite. =)

Today's Featured Ingredients:
1 cup - Wallaby Nonfat Plain Yogurt
3/4 cup - Nature's Path Heritage Flakes
1/4 cup - crushed walnuts
1/2 - medium banana, sliced
1 tbsp - TJ's Fig Butter
1 tsp - hemp seeds
Generous sprinkle of Navitas cacao bits

Cuppa coffee X 4 (you know you're tired when you make 2 pots of coffee)

I usually don't care for parfaits because it doesn't keep me full as long as oatmeal does, so I made sure to bring extra snacks just in case. I also noticed that we'll have jusssttt enough yogurt for overnight oats for the both of us tomorrow morning. Since we don't have any milk, I'll have to come up with an alternative liquid otherwise we'll both be having parfaits. Coffee? Chocolate Shop's Chocolate Strawberry wine??

Tomorrow is a half-day for me at work because I'm heading to Big Bear with my sister and cousins. Hopefully, we won't return too late on Sunday or else we'll having nothing but dry cereal, cacao bits, and granola for breakfast.

**I think my stomach just growled, which means it's snack time. Maybe it will give me a boost of energy too because I'm still running on empty. Must re-energize for this weekend since it will be filled with lots of driving, walking, hiking, and sight-seeing.   =)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Breakfast Date

Last night, I didn't make it to the gym. I was debating all day of whether or not I should go and when I arrived home from work I finally decided I was just not feeling it. The only 24 Hour Fitness that offers kickboxing at night is on the other side of town and yesterday I wasn't up to dealing with rush hour, the hassle of finding a parking spot, and driving a 30 min round trip for a 1 hour class. So, I changed into some comfy clothes, heated up leftovers for dinner, flipped through read this week's chapter for my class, forced myself to make overnight oats, and went to bed far too early.

This morning's cold breakfast actually worked out because the weather is FINALLY warming up and the southern California weather that I love oh so much has returned; at least for now. For the past few months, Mr. Sun and Mr. Cloud/Rain have been playing ping pong, which is wreaking havoc in my closet and my immune system. One day, it can be a nice and sunny 80 degrees while the next day it can be a horribly blustery and rainy 68 degrees. But it looks like today, Mr. Sun won the ping pong weather match. =)


clearClear. High of 79F. Winds less than 5 mph.

This morning's breakfast is sort of special because it involves a date.

Or shall I say, 2 dates

Chaperoned by cacao bits

A banana
And granola

 Now, if you will excuse me, I must go. I have a very important breakfast date with some dates. =)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Every time I take a vacation, even a mini one, I feel like I need a vacation to recover from my vacation. And this time is no different. After spending the weekend in Vegas and using my day off yesterday to run errands and take care of some necessary business, I am exhausted. This morning, I woke up bright and early and stumbled to make some desperately needed coffee while I was making pumpkin oatmeal. This marked my first real breakfast since Friday and I couldn't wait to dig into some good ol' oatmeal. I definitely wanted something warm and hearty, so I opted to use Irish oats instead of rolled oats this morning.


1/4 cup - Irish Oats
1/2 cup - TJ's unsweetened vanilla soymilk
1/2 cup - water
1/4 cup - Libby's Pumpkin Puree
1 tsp - TJ's pumpkin spice
1/4 tsp - ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp - ground flaxseed
1/2 tsp - hemp seed


1/4 cup - Nature's Harvest granola
1/8 cup - Navitas cacao bits
1/2 - medium banana
My souvenir cup that just happened to be 5% off. Sweet!

This oatmeal definitely hit the spot, especially with the addition of the pumpkin. It definitely made me wish that I had hoarded more pumpkin during Thanksgiving time. Oh well. However, I was still sleepy despite drinking 3 cups of coffee. I'm so tired that I'm debating whether or not I should go to the gym tonight. Although, I probably should since I didn't workout over the weekend and I won't be going to the gym this weekend either since I'll be heading to Big Bear with my cousins. I guess I'll just have to rely on some chocolate for energy and a sugar high. =)

Vegas Trip Part 2

After another longggg 3 hour drive, we had finally arrived at Valley of Fire where we drove around and checked out a few of the trails.
 We saw a lot of cool petroglyphs here; also called pictographs.

After 2 hours of sightseeing, the sun had set and it was time leave since that is when the park closes. So, we were on our merry way to our hotel - Loews Lake Las Vegas Resort. This hotel was definitely fancy schmancy that had really nice pools, cabanas, a golf course, bars/restaurants, spas, and an amazing view.

As soon as we had arrived, we were exhausted and desperately needed a few drinks and some sides so we could drink some more =)




After a hearty breakfast of a pack of quick oats I brought from home and coffee from my first ever Keurig machine and Emeril coffee provided by the hotel, it was time to roam around the grounds of the resort.

And before I knew it, it was time for us to leave so that we would have enough time to go to First Food and Bar at the Palazzo, which was named as one of the best places for brunch. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures because my camera battery died but I found some courtesy of Google. My mom, sister, and I shared the Frito Pie Fajitas, Chicken & Waffles, and  Hand Cut Beef Carpaccio. I also ordered the bottomless strawberry mimosa. I think I had 5 or 6? I lost count but I was definitely feeling good afterwards. Overall, the food was amazing! It was unique and delicious. My only complaint is that the place was really understaffed, which resulted in a really long wait for everything.

After brunch, we headed back to the car to make for our last stop at Red Rock Canyon before returning home. But before we left the Palazzo, we got a little side tracked at a chocolate shop where I picked up some goodies.