oatmeal chocolate chip birthday cakes!!! – bday post

this year, my birthday fell on a monday. YIPPEEEEE :?

so Sonny started celebrating early (like i had hoped).  immediately after church service, we went to get our rings cleaned.

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i promise we’re only in our thirties. lol.  Chiso saw us placing our hands strategically on the display case for this pic and wanted part of the action.

over time, i have come to the realization that i’m a hint thrower.  what a lucky guy Sonny is.  rarely does one go over his head though, i gotta give it to him.  i forwarded him a Ruggles Green brunch email i received a few weeks earlier, you know, randomly.  high-five, Sonny.  high-five.

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so that was our next stop.  only the Heights location serves breakfast / brunch in Houston, and i had been eager to check it out for months.  i chose the delish crab & avocado omelette and Sonny played it safe with the breakfast plate (sausage, pancakes, eggs, potatoes).  Chiso handled up on his turkey sausage, scrambled eggs, and pancakes too.  we love us some eggs.

the next day, my actual birthday, Sonny got up and rushed off to work like normal, so i hit the gym early, like normal.

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but not before making this gorgeous stack of oatmeal pancakes! with the start of my cooking classes, blogging took a small backseat. obvi. but i believe i have a routine going now with my schedule. *crosses fingers, toes, and eyes*.  here’s that recipe:

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Pancakes 

the stuff: (source)

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup dry rolled oats
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (add more if needed- you be the thickness judge)
  • 2 packets granulated stevia
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar or honey (optional)
  • dash of sea salt
  • 1 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • handful of dark chocolate chips

do this:

  1. mix all ingredients except chocolate chips together in a large mixing bowl.
  2. if ya need more almond milk at this point, add it a tbsp at a time.
  3. heat your griddle or cast iron / no-stick skillet to medium heat and coat with no-stick cooking spray.
  4. spoon the cakes onto your cooking device as large or as small as you’d like them.  when bubbles start to form on top, check the bottom of the cake to see how brown it is first before flipping.
  5. you’re looking for a golden brown color (bout 2-4 minutes).
  6. eat’em up. sprinkles are optional but mandatory if it’s your birthday.

or, you can do blueberries instead of chocolate chips!

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 back to the birthday festivities.

little did i know that Sonny went right down the street to his mom’s house to hide out.

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i took a Barbell Strength class and worked my back a little more on my own in addition to some steady-state cardio on the elliptical. suddenly, i got a ‘lunch?’ text from Sonny, so i said ‘screw this!’ and sped home to get cleaned up.

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 i opened the door and walked right into .. Sonny!?, fit gifts, and cake.

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and a birthday song serenade from my boys!

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 just one small piece before lunch.

   Sonny shocked our palettes and drove us to an Indian inspired restaurant in Upper Kirby called Ponidicheri.  he didn’t know it was ‘meatless monday’ though lol. tasty  nonetheless and i appreciate the experience.

20140407_134832_1i got the Saag Paneer Omelette, Barley Salad, a piece of gluten-free, millet Roti, and one of their fresh, housemade juices, the Hari.

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 Sonny got an omelette too.  They didn’t really have a kids menu, but the guy taking orders suggested this concoction.  can you guess which two Chiso ate? yep, the fries and the Elephant Cookie.

i got a birthday nap back at home (YAAAAAY for daytime sleep) and we went back out for dinner that evening.  i was actually still full from lunch but went anyway just cause it was my bday and already on the agenda.

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my cups runneth over :shock: ! literally and figuratively.  we concluded the evening with Italian food and Neapolitan gelato from Sapore Ristorante, right in our own backyard.  which was awesome cause i had to be up at 4:15am  to teach my class the next day.

i feel like i’m at the age where i forget what i’m even turning and that my birthday is even coming up.  thankful to God for another year though, no doubt, and for Sonny’s impeccable planning skills year after year.

THANK YOU to my family and friends for the calls, texts, cards, gifts, and birthday wishes!!!!!!

and thank you for reading.

le

birthday steak

august 6th is a pretty important day.  it’s Sonny’s birthday!  he received love from his entire family all day long, which is how it should be!

his first gift (and two of his most favorite things) came from Chiso:

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oreos and gummy bears.  oh and a card.

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we found Chiso upstairs knocked OUT the night before and Sonny snagged this gem of a pic.

early morning balloons from his youngest sister, lunch with his little brother, gifts and love from his mom, and his other sister watched Chiso for us while we went out to play!

i got my private date later in the evening for dinner.  I took Sonny to the infamous Eddy V’s baby! all the reviews i scoured through were SPOT ON.  we had a fab time and the staff worked super hard to make his day special. i mean really! we HIGHLY recommend Eddy V’s for outstanding food and exceptional service, especially for special occasions.

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just happy to be on this man’s arm!  we started out with two appetizers:

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a gorgeous plate of shrimp and pork pot stickers. spicy shrimp and pork in a light soy broth. yeah, it was as delectable as it looks.

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and i tried the Fuji apple salad complete with green beans, baby beets, candied walnuts, maytag blue cheese, ginger orange vinaigrette. crisp and sweet.

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for my entrée, North Atlantic Lemon Sole!  parmesan crust with tomato and herb salad, lemon garlic butter on tha side.

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speaking of sides, crab fried rice? whoa. sugar snap peas with shiitake mushrooms & onions,  sautéed garlic spinach, and a hunk of sourdough bread.

all al la carte, all al la delicious.

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this thing needed its own drum roll after weighing in @ a whopping 22 oz of USDA Prime Ribeye.  my goodness.

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it’s the only way to do it on ya birthday- BIG.

next, time for something sweet.

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which one did we pick? the closest thing to a brownie cause that what Sonny always gets.  the Hot Godiva Chocolate Cake!  and yall, we have NOTHING to show for it cause both of our phones died RIGHT AFTER THE PIC ABOVE.  no kidding. this cake was the highlight of the evening!!!! pissed was not even the word.  however, thank God for Google cause that’s exactly what i did.

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boom.  hot chocolate cake, creamy, cold vanilla bean ice cream…….. :shock:

WORTH EVERY BITE.

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we love you Papa, happy birthday! 

thanks for reading!

Q: what is your favorite thing to order at Eddy V’s?  i read all about that truffle mac and cheese but i’ll save it for next time ;)

le

he’s on a horse + crunchy almond butter brown rice crispy treats

happy mothers day!! i mean, wait… wrong sunday. ah well, i was honored and grateful to participate in my very 2nd MD.

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this is one of my fave pics of two of my fave people.  7 day old Chiso and his new Granny.

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Sonny treated the special ladies in his life (l to r: our moms and i) to a SCRUMPTIOUS dinner at Capital Grille.  excuse the crappy pic- ALL of our phone batteries were too low to use the flash, smh. 4 outta 4. what are the odds…. so our waiter used the restaurant’s digital camera and even printed us all hard copies. what a nice touch to our special date!

IMG_20130512_211500yes, yes, yes, and yes.  lobster mac n’ cheese, my mom’s pan seared chilean sea bass with citrus and pea tendrils, creamed spinach, and of course i got the salmon which had green beans and onions on the side.  everything was cooked and flavored to peeeeerfection.

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so beautiful and true.  i love when my own little family can all sit down and eat a meal together, but  i definitely miss eating at home with my ‘rents…. i often find myself reminiscing about my childhood memories when hanging out with Chiso.

anyway, that creamed spinach and mac n cheese had my tummy upset with me until about wednesday!  i’ve been keeping my dairy consumption super low, but i went HAM that afternoon. i had to.

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however these guys helped me forget aaaall about my tummy troubles! i love, love, LOVE receiving health and fitness gear for any occasion! do you even need a reason?! thanks hubby!

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so that was last weekend.  THIS weekend, i had been to the gym all week and didn’t want to go anywhere near one saturday morning. i stepped outside instead! Chiso and i had some birthday parties to attend, so i ran to Walgreens (yes, last minute as always) to get some cards.  Walgreens is about 3 miles away, so i ran there and back. literally.  it’s always great to switch things up a bit.

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 one of our events for the day was Rilee’s 1 1/2 birthday fun fest!  this was our first 1 1/2 party and i thought it was the coolest idea ever.  i love when people do their own thing!  Kudos to Tinnell and Marcus.

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Chiso had THE time of his lil’ life lol.  he went from the bounce house, to the petting zoo, to stuffing his face with James Coney Island hotdogs and fries nonstop from start to finish.

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and he even got to experience his first pony ride!

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sooo about the ebook!!!!! the sweetest girl in entire world, Ogechi, came over to proofread it for me again.  i claimed May for the book’s completion date and i’m sticking to that. for one of the books anyway;)   i posted about the sweet snack above on IG- they are crunchy almond butter brown rice crispy treats and taste DARN GOOD. see for yourself!  i made some of them for us to snack on, yum.

crunchy almond butter brown rice crispy treats

the stuff: 

  • 1/4 cup brown rice syrup
  • 1/4 cup crunchy almond butter or cashew butter
  • 1 tbsp Enjoy Life dairy-free dark chocolate chips or plain dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp Walden Farms Pancake Syrup
  • 2 cups gluten-free crispy brown rice

do this:

in a medium pot, set your burner to medium heat.

add brown rice syrup, vanilla, Walden Farms syrup, and almond butter together and stir until well combined.

shut off the fire and add in your cereal.

mix well and transfer to a pan that has been sprayed with no stick cooking spray (rectangle, circle, square, don’t matter) and press the cereal flat into an even layer.

refrigerate for at least an hour so it can firm up before you cut it in squares.

gluten-free and dairy-free treat!  as always, sprinkles are optional but you gotta have’em.

makes: 10 bars. serving size: 1 bar. 79 cals – 1g fat – 66mg sodium – 18g carbs – 9g sugar – 1g protein.

it wasn’t as crowded as expected for our Mothers day date this year.  just curious, where did you celebrate ? (celebrate = eat) answer below!

le

family + fitness + food = birthday trifection

what a difference a year makes.  i feel like i have finally LIVED these past 12 months and it only took me 30 years!  i have been spending more time focusing on my passion (fitness, creating and cooking healthier recipes, blogging, etc.) and it has opened up so many doors and avenues beyond my small, limited imagination.  i’ve crossed a few things off my bucket list and i have so many more to tackle.  however like all things in life, i’m simply striving for progress, not perfection.  i am content, appreciative, and so hopeful for what the future holds!  i thank God for another year that wasn’t promised, and i’ll walk right behind Him into 31 and all it has to offer!   Sonny put a little something together for lil ol’ me for my bday this year and it was … everything. what was it? those 3 simple f’s up there.

*****

i started my saturday morning off how i normally do-

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with a GREAT early morning workout!  i had way too many cartons of 98 cent strawberries (from HEB) on my island and i planned on incorporating them into our breakfast somehow.20130406_124056

so i diiiiiid. strawberry shortcakes came to mind!  i don’t normally eat whipped cream for breakfast lol but hey, the occasion called for it.  recipe is coming right up- had to do a little tweaking first.  i was given specific instructions to be ready to go by 5pm later that day and to ‘do something with myself’. IMG_20130406_173333

i did my best to make my bun as neat as possible. :lol:  so i’ve said in the past i don’t like shopping for clothes… i should clarify that i don’t like shopping ALL DAY LONG for clothes. i love Urban Outfitters cause 9 times outta 10 i find the cutest thing on the sale rack within minutes. UO keeps my shopping bug alive and kicking cause i almost stepped on it and killed it.  it’s become my go to store for a quick, cute outfit or top! i found this black lacy number for 10 whole dollars. what?  i thought it was clearly a mistake. i was too through after that awesome find! i even did my nails for the first time in a really, really long time. aaaaand i went to get some eyelash extensions done!!! watch out nah!  it was fun to get a little glam.

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 back pose!

we dropped off our Stank Tank with our ‘rents and headed to a private dinner at Tango & Malbec South American Cuisine.

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Mr. Impeccable Taste himself;)

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straight to the meal!

aaaaah, the lovely bread bowl.  it was filled with real, fried potato chips, bread sticks, and sourdough bread. so hard to resist this thing at any restaurant.  if it wasn’t for Sonny, i’d tell them to not even bring it to our table.

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our appetizers were Lamb Lolichops and El Calamar (grilled calamari steak) and they were both and cooked and seasoned perfectly.

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before we tore it up, we snapped a pic!

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my lil appetizer plate. to be honest, the lamb was too rare for me..i don’t do the bloody meat thing, so i gave it to Sonny.

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i decided on the Trout topped with mushrooms and carmelized onions for my entrée.   i told myself no salmon and no chicken breast!!! i knew Sonny would order some type of steak so i planned to just get a piece of his.

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i also had some old, faithful asparagus on the side.

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there it is- Como En El’s the name!  Sonny’s dish was a combo of  beef tenderloin, pork ribs, lamb chops, flank steak sausage and black sausage.  the ‘protein platter’!

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as we dined, a couple waltzed to music – very nice touch!  i enjoyed our dinner and it didn’t end there- complimentary dessert was on the way.

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hey i know her! i devoured that tres leches cake and received a little something i wasn’t expecting at all…

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a quality camera to take my blogging pics with! i’ve been using my cell for ALL of them as our previous Casio bit the dust a couple months ago.  it was right on time.

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we ended the evening with more dessert- self serve fro-yo!  apparently dancing was on the agenda  but after that meal our night was a WRAP.

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thanks, Polar! April 7th was the big day.

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first thing i did was thank God, then went to make me some birthday pancakes!  chocolate peanut butter banana pancakes with chocolate sprinkles.

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chocolate peanut butter banana pancakes

the stuff:

  • half a banana
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp chocolate PB2
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 packet stevia (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp butter extract
  • more PB2 for topping

do this:

whip this all up in your blender or food processor, then cook them up like cakes in your skillet.  3-4 minutes on medium heat for each side.  top with more PB2 and sprinkles! they are optional too:)

for the entire stack:

pbpancakestats

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i topped mine with more strawberries, and it tasted like a big peanut butter and jelly sammich. omg, YUMMINESS!!!

  i didn’t get a sub for my class…no need. i had some gifts to give out too- the gift of sweat.

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and i did so with new workout gear, whoop, whoop! that is ALWAYS appreciated, no matter what the occasion! i’ve been #upgraded!

afterwards, we got ready to go take some professional family pictures, and eat some lunch.

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lunch where? where else!?!?!? yep, RG.

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the weather was perrrrrfect, so we found a great table outside.  if you have a little one of age then you know an ipad or any electronic device works wonders to keep their little minds occupied until the food arrives.

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we tried the hi-protein hemp empanadas for the first time and WOW. i will definitely be remaking this at home! i LOVED the sweet and savory flavor combo.  seasoned ground beef, raisins, cilantro, mozzeralla and cheddar cheeses all stuffed inside a hemp and wheat flour pocket.  and yeah, they are fried… you’ve been warned!

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before pizza,

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after pizza.

i know exactly where he gets his hunger attitude from. :roll:

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this kids loves some cheese pizza, so of course we ordered him one along with…

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 grilled fish tacos on corn tortillas! Sonny’s was super spicy,

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mine was not.

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oh and i got some butternut squash too.  it’s the LITTLE THINGS that made my birthday so special and memorable!

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clearly the pizza had Chiso’s undivided attention until it was gone.

there was a lambo car show going on at the same time in City Centre so it was definitely alive:

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from newer models, 
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to classics.  

#justlooking

very last thing….. more, YES, more fro-yo!

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from Red Mango.

and that’s a wrap! thank you so much for reading!

i’m back on track with more EXCITING product reviews, and more GIVEAWAYS!!!!

i’m THRILLED about some of the products i’ll be featuring shortly that YOU will be able to enjoy yourself as well!!! stay tuned :)

le

pizza pizza

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a doorstep package is so awesome to wake up to!!!! especially when you’ve been anticipating it’s arrival.  what is it? oooh just my next product review.  and it’s food this time *pistol fingers*

we had a crazy weekend and hit up three 30th birthday parties for our friends.  30 is a huge milestone and we were honored to have been invited to help celebrate with each of them!

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Friday night party #1 was for Nichola *whistles*

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2nd Friday night party was for Evelyn- that dress was as hot as the woman in it!!

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and finally, we ended our saturday evening with Melanie-  just flawless!

all three of them brought 30 in RIGHT and in their own way-  THAT is how you do it!

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hanging on this guy’s arm always makes for a fun night.  i follow @chalenejohnson on IG and she has motivated me tremendously concerning the importance of keeping family in the forefront in the midst of taking care of myself, and i encourage you to do the same!  i don’t take our date nights for granted and really cherish and enjoy my toddler-less time with Sonny. felt like we were back in college with all this partying for a sec, oh boy!

but back to saturday morning- it began with maple almond butter banana burgers for Chiso and i.  fun to make, fun to eat.

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he goes crazy for these things!  all flavors of Justin’s nut butters work, especially the chocolate hazelnut and chocolate almond butter. yummers.

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we followed up breakfast with a visit to the gym.  i got sweaty on the elliptical with some fat burning cardio, shot some hoops with Chiso, and we got up outta there.

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you should know by now what we did next!!  it’s a saturday ritual, come on now.  just a short trip this time though:

  • sara lee 45 calories and delightful whole wheat bread
  • unsweetened apple sauce
  • fresh blackberries (on sale)
  • fresh strawberries (on sale)
  • sweet potatoes
  • grapefruit
  • bananas
  • frozen tilapia
  • wheat bran
  • oat bran
  • red bell peppers (on sale)
  • Walden Farms pancake syrup

Q: how do i get started with cleaner eating?

A: very popular question as of late, but the answer is simple.  in the grocery store!!  buy and keep the right stuff (wholesome, fresh, natural, no-low processed foods)  in your fridge so you’ll always be prepared to make nutritious, healthy meals.  check out my ‘the right stuff’ section for some of the brands and items i purchase and use daily.

we usually do the family thing on Sundays;  Sonny went to a house party recently and would not stop raving about the incredible slice of pizza he had eaten!  i needed to see what all the hype was about, so we made it  a date.

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if you’re a Houstonian, i’m sure you’ve either passed this place or been here yourself several times.  and hey, they are on Instagram too-  they commented on the pic i IG’ed earlier, how cool! check’em out: @starpizza

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we ordered 1 slice of whole wheat cheese pizza for Chi and he went to TOWN on it.

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i was impressed by the super wide range of toppings, and was relieved to see that you could order single slices instead of being forced into buying a whole pizza.  it’s the little things.

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i got a slice of whole wheat, thin crust, zucchini, grilled chicken, and pineapple with plenty of hot, melty, gooey, mozzarella cheese.  no words besides insanely delicious.

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and then that monstrosity hit the table.  that is a WORK OF ART.

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half salsa verde, half supreme deep. dish. pizza. :shock:  if you haven’t been yet, i bet you’re going now.  night!

le

triple f

family, food, and fun.

 that sums up the holidays for me.  my annual company Christmas party went down last weekend at my boss’s home.

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he and his wife ALWAYS throw down, always. i didn’t even get a pic of the buffet table:( but just know that i made 4 trips to it.  these snacks and desserts were on the kitchen island.

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homemade chocolate and vanilla cake balls :shock:  so rich and decadent.

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posin’ by the tree with Sonny.

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my lovely homie & co-worker, Monica, makes THE best vegan pumpkin pie i have ever tasted and i’ll love her forever for sharing the recipe!  you should make it for Christmas- i know i am.  thank you, Monicaaaaa

Monica’s Vegan Pumpkin Pie

the stuff:

  • 10 oz silken tofu
  • 1 can pure pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup maple sugar*
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla

do this:

MIX! then pour into your pie pan and cook for 45-50 min on 350 deg. keep an eye on it as cooking times and temps vary per oven. you can even go crustless with this- it’s up to you.  and no, nobody will EVER know there’s tofu in there long as you zip your lips :shock:

for 1/8 slice:

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gotta love those stats!  i added a layer of cool whip and crumbled a few sheets of graham cracker on top after the pie was done. did NOT miss the crust one bit.  i’ll take pics when i make it again for Christmas.

*tip per Monica: you can switch our your sweeteners and do granulated stevia, honey, agave nectar, etc…you choose your favorite one.  just convert your amounts and adjust your nutritional stats accordingly.

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this man clearly took advantage of his off-season diet :lol:

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fast forward.  who had a Chiso-less date night recently? we diiiiiiid!  i had seen this mexican restaurant countless times and finally paid Diego’s Cantina a visit.  why does my hand look SO BIG?

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they seated us by this big bay window and even though it was night time, the view of the lake behind us was excellent.  just across the water was the hospital where Chiso was born.  we just can’t escape him. LOL.

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as if we hadn’t already eaten like 3 baskets of chips and salsa, Sonny ordered nachos for our appetizer :roll:

nachos mayas: crisp corn tortillas topped with refried black beans, creamy lump crabmeat, mozzarella, jalapeños, served with guacamole, sour cream and pico de gallo. mucho points for presentation!  yummy? YES.

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Sonny got the lamb chops:  grilled marinated lamb rib chops with queso oaxaca topped with tomato and chili guajillo sauce served with nopales, onions and grilled corn.

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and i got the mahi mahi.  when the waitress came over to check on us, she gave my plate a puzzled look and said ‘wow, it looks so different without the sauce!’  i’m guessing it’s normally submerged in it *shrugs*.  anyway, the sauce tasted like lime garlic butter and was fantastic.  however, i want to be in control of how much goes on my plate, please and thank you!  per the menu: grilled mahi filet marinated in garlic and butter on a bed of grilled vegetables and sautéed spinach, served with a pineapple papaya avocado pico-de-gallo with wine butter sauce drizzled on top.

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mine came with a side, so i got the sweet potato mash.  they added raisins to  it which was new to me.  a good new.

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then we ended the night at our fro-yo spot….it’s only right.

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my usual sugar-free vanilla and chocolate fro yo with sprinkles, chocolate chips, and whipped cream.

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what, more sweets? yep! our last date of the weekend was @ Brios for  my cousin Kandice’s birthday dinner. Sprinkles cupcakes were in the building. yesssssssssssssssss.

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cupcakes make me dance too :lol: HAPPY BIRTHDAY my love!
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red. velvet.

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family foto of the evening with my boys.

gumbo and bbq tilapia recipes are headed your way!  nite.

le

runnin the streets

i went out this past weekend!!! ok not out out, but it was to a private dinner celebrating my dear friend turning 30.  it was held at Perry’s Steakhouse – one of my faaaaaaave places for a magnificent dining experience!  always great service, and the food…well, look:

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i kept it clean and enjoyed the grilled salmon (sauce on the side) and kept the sautéed spinach that accompanied it.  i reeeeeally wanted to sub it for the butternut squash puree, but our waitress quoted me some ungodly price for that small change and i declined.  anyway, i made sure i altered my macros to fit this meal in- it was delectable.  i’m glad i got my sauce on the side cause i put a little on my fork and it tasted like straight flavored butter!!

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my friends were so sweet- they snapped pics of their plates for me :lol:   that was steak topped with crab with steamed asparagus spears on the side.

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here we have pecan crusted red snapper and broccollini florets.

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this is totally what i would normally order!!  surf and turf, YUM.  lobster tail, fillet mignon, and asparagus spears.

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quick pic before we got busy!  the birthday girl is in the upper right corner:) i’m honored to have been apart of her celebration.

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so this is from yesterday’s workout which means this post was supposed to go out yesterday too. 
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i’d love to have my competition abs/core back!  i took this pic immediately after my class- 1 hour of  HIIT and some core work at the end.

Q: what’s the best type of cardio? HIIT or steady state?

A: BOTH.  incorporate both types into your weekly routine.  i do HIIT once or twice a week, and steady state either early in the morning, or after my weights session.  switching up the days you do either one will keep your body from plateauing and constantly  burning fat.

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i sped home to my breakfast- scrambled eggs this time with fat-free feta, dried parsely, and reduced sugar ketchup,

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aaaand a bowl of cinnamon oats made with unsweetened almond milk and topped with bananas, more cinnamon, walden farms syrup, and raw, unsweetened coconut flakes.

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i bought a crap load of kale at HEB so i’ve been incorporating it into my dishes these past few days! we have here:

ground turkey and egg white kale wraps lol

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for another lunch or dinner i had a bowl of torn, raw, kale, roasted sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and lean ground turkey.

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but this recipe right here is my fave so far.  grilled smokehouse maple shrimp and kale tacos!

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with fat-free feta cheese and homemade guacamole.

(1 avocado + half a roma tomato + liquid aminos)

the shrimp was marinated in liquid aminos and smokehouse maple seasoning.

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i’m head over heels in love with sautéed kale. oh and those are La Tortilla Factory white-wheat soft wraps.

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i posted this on IG the other day- Trader Joe’s cranberry apple butter.  i went in looking to replace my fig butter but happily left with this instead after i didn’t see any.

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it tastes just like the traditional canned, jellied, cranberry sauce, but fresher and more tart. i’m cool with it! 20 cals, 4g sugar, 5 carbs for 1 tbsp. i do believe it has the lowest calorie and sugar count of all the butters.  i missed it on Thanksgiving, but i will definitely be eating some with my Christmas dressing this year!

20121202_174444which means after 30 years of this stuff, i have no more use for it.  those stats are outta line for only 1/4 cup serving…i can eat the whole can by myself with my plate.  too high in sugar and has high fructose corn syrup at that. no thank you.

got great news and events coming up for 2013 that  i’ll be sharing very soon!

which apple butter is your favorite?

le

my boo is thirty two

i dropped the boy off with his grandparents before Sonny came home from his saturday afternoon workout and surprised him with a weekend birthday getaway.  i told him to go pack an overnight bag and to make it snappy.  s/n, is my husband the only man who packs his own iron from home???? *crickets* we then hit the streets of our city, downtown H-town! (that would be Houston.)

i always assume Sonny knows every detail to my ‘surprises’, which means my track record with them is awful.  however this time- success.  we checked into the Hilton America’s downtown and right away, i made sure Sonny was on time for his much-needed pedi appointment in the hotel spa.

lemon water, sir? the spa was up on the 24th floor and the city views were a really nice touch.

there was also some trail mix for snacking.

oooh just taking a look around…

what’s funny is that i now see the Four Seasons Hotel in the background which is where we spent our very 1st anniversary getting a couples massages!!  that was also the weekend of Hurricane Ike.  yeah, we had to postpone most of our celebrations that year cause of the storm. it happens.

bless her heart and hands :shock:

another view overlooking the Toyota Center.

i headed back down to the room to make sure we had the proper necessities-  a fridge and a microwave. of course i didn’t ask if those things came with the room cause i’m a horrible planner, remember!  my training diet is still in effect, so please forgive me and believe me when i say i’m glad it wasn’t my birthday!!! isn’t that horrible!?  i would have wanted a cheat nibble, cheat snack, cheat meal, cheat ANYTHING…. but i just couldn’t do it.

waiting for the elevator, and yes, the tummy was OUT that day, bay-bay!!

i did remember to ask for a great view- our room overlooked Discovery Green Park and Minute Maid Stadium below.

and nope, no microwave or fridge in the room, but they were both complementary, awesome.  i brought my seasonings, mustard, cinnamon, low sodium soy sauce, everythang.  while i was down there i warmed up/ate my next meal as Sonny finished up.

i picked up the in-room menu because, well, reading menus like actual books is fun.  just wanted to see all the goodies i would not be devouring!!!!!! :roll:

anyway, mission accomplished!

 toes done with slippers to match.

next, you know we checked out the gym-  wouldn’t mind knocking out some cardio with a view like that!  unfortunately, that was our 1st and last trip up there for the weekend lol.

so, Sonny’s #1 priority on vaca or a getaway is to SIT DOWN somewhere.  don’t even get me started on the time we went to Vegas and he was NOT cool with walking up and down the strip like i planned. it was also July and 117 deg outside. but i didn’t care.  i like to run the streets and take advantage of the free time and do all the things we don’t usually get to see and do! however, it’s not my birthday.  so, i kept the activities and walking to a minimum.

we explored the massive hotel a bit before making our way to catch the Metrorail.

i’ll follow him anywhere.  i’ll give him a hard time first though and i’m working on that!!! but i really will. i mean it.

shot of our highly recommended hotel.

tickets bought.

.

what’s up on that Metrorail workout? seems to be working for that guy.

he even incorporated some lower body moves too.

 we rode the Metrorail to the museum district and walked around Herman Park and talked.  the simplest things make life so …simple.

my birthday boy!!!

i really had plans to go watch the free Shakespear play @ Miller Outdoor Theater that was being put on by our alma mater’s theater department.  so, we walked up the infamous Herman Park Hill and took a peek.

  however we had no blanket, no snacks, no nothin, so walking and talking sufficed.

back to downtown we go.

what’s next? dinnerrrrrr (if you wanna call it that)

snappin’ pics before heading downstairs.

ready for great company and convo!

i had a plethora of tea flavors to choose from. *sarcasm*

while Sonny devoured his fried onion ring topped salad, yummy!!

looked and smelled DELICIOUS.  field greens, dried cherries, oregon bleu cheese, balsamic vinaigrette all nestled under those fried rings.

we ended the evening with movies and QT- Sonny wouldn’t have wanted it any other way!!

the next morning. we ordered room service and ate our egg whites in style.

 with a side of 6 dollar *SIDE-EYE* grapes.  the bday boy wanted grapes and he got them.

this was only a teaser as we are UBER ready to celebrate 5 years of blessed married folk life next month.  it will be a much-needed break for us both that can’t come quick enough!! until then, happy 32, boo.

le

Chiso is ONE!!!!!!

who’s Chiso? our son! his full name is Munachiso which means ‘God and I are accompanying each other’.

however he’s not getting another party until he’s 5.  joking:)  i really did have fun and tried to be as creative as possible. i had no idea how i was going to pull this off ‘alone’, and i was completely intimidated from the jump.  all i knew was that i wanted it to look and be amazing…  just had no clue how to do that and it literally haunted me.  yes. a party for a 1 yr old sometimes kept me up at night.

first things first- a gigantic THANK YOU to my vendors: God, my mom and aunt Hazel, Parchment by Dami jvincentphotography,  Yongs Bakery, Etsy.com,  Oriental Trading, Hobby Lobby, Walmart, Party City, Pinterest, and good ol’ Google.  a heartfelt thank you to all who joined us on Chiso’s big day. read on!

*invitations*

let’s give it up for Dami!! *whistles* all bias aside, these 3-D invitations are incredibly cool and original.  after filling her in on my theme, i sat back and let her do her thing like i knew she would.  i was uber pleased and got so much great, positive feedback on these puppies.  look!

she used 3 different safari animals for the front cover.

inside the invite:

she then wrapped each one in giraffe printed ribbon paper and tied it with raffia.

she is simply excellent at what she does.  Parchment by Dami - you NEED her.

*decor*

my etsy.com and oriental trading stuff  (water labels, cupcake wrappers, cupcake toppers, banners, etc.) arrived two weeks before party time and guess what- i started setting up two weeks before party time. yes, i did.  Sonny hit me with the ‘are you really about to have the house lookin’ crazy for the next two weeks’ face when he got home from work that day.

*themed table*

here is a really, really rough draft shot of the table.  ground zero.  rock bottom.  no direction whatsoever.  i.e. ‘now what?’

this was a true PROCESS!  trial and error at it’s finest.  however, i was pretty satisfied with the end result.

proud moment: putting on the finishing touches about 30 min. before go time.  Sonny told me i could do it myself and i gave him so much crap about purposely not helping me.  darn you Sonny and your reverse psychology!!!! seriously though, thank you.  we’re still not friends.

the french fries were in the oven at this point- that’s the only thing missing (see the empty shot glasses on the right).  here are a few close-ups though:

jungle animal plates. apparently these have been at Walmart for forever.  never knew!  they were perfect though.

party agua.

mothers cookies. i happened to walk right by them in Walmart and the word safari caught my eye. or was it jungle? idk,  but they were shaped like wild animals. delicious, sweet, crispy wild animals.

fast food fries. kids love fries.

i made sure to have something for everybody. the little bitty babies and the toddlers munched on Gerber Graduate snacks and goldfish.

skewered rainbow fruit.

cupcakes from Yong’s Bakery.  some were buttercream cake/icing and some were chocolate by special request;)  my zebra cakes would NOT stay put…they kept sliding down the skewers cause they were too heavy.  the show must go on!

 i saw 50 bajillion cupcake toppers on etsy.com and went with these.

remember these from our super bowl party?  buffalo chicken bites (or poppers) were in the house and back by popular demand.  i only used Captain Crunch cereal this time though, no Corn Flakes.  the sweetness just works better.

mini pizzas- kids love pizza.

veggie shots! i hope people had as much fun eating these as i did making them.  i did half humus and half ranch for dipping and used a combo of sugar snap peas, carrots, and red/yellow bell pepper.  ignore that ‘happy easter’ egg plate back there, hahahahaha

side shot.

there was more stuff in the kitchen- the adult food, (shrimp fried rice and grilled chicken wings courtesy of my dear mother-in-law:), drinks and snacks.

‘diabetes in a cup’, smh. also known as, Jungle Juice.  no idea where my tent card went though, oh well.

kettle corn! i made the holders from zebra and giraffe printed scrap-book paper from hobby lobby.  i then wrapped this big styrofoam box that our sprinklers came in with dressing paper and poked holes in it so they would stand on their own.

thanks for the idea, Dami- she is overflowing with them!!

who knows or cares where this recipe originated, but kudos to Pinterest for these cake batter rice krispy treats. too sweet for anybody’s good but you just can’t stop eating them, grrrrrrrrrr

‘thanks for going wild with me!’

-Chiso

jungle sucker favors.almost cut up my debit card after visiting etsy.com.  yes, everything MUST  match!!! try not to get crazy though.  promise me.

activities for the kids… blank jungle animal masks to color and wear,  bubble sticks,  and frisbees.

we also had a ‘spiderman’ *side-eye* moonwalk outside.

 ‘what…is…this…place…..’

 (i had to change Chiso’s clothes cause things got a little crazy after the smash cake part)

speaking of smash cake- that’s the moment  i we were all waiting for!!!!

i’ll say it again- this is the BEST buttercream cake/icing combo on this earth.  waiting for someone to prove me wrong!  unfortunately i accept all challenges.

Chiso loved the cake and threw a small fit once we took it away.

one last family shot and this is the best we could do! you parents know how it can be…they never smile or look right when ya need them too;)

remember we headed out to Austin the next day, so i packed up the last of his cake so we he could enjoy some on his actual bday!

can we count this as a ‘preggo’ post? i haven’t done one in a while LOL.

hope you enjoyed reading as much as i enjoyed sharing.

le

beniwho?

heeeeeeeey.  how’s your weekend so far?  great i hope!  this is one of the first weekends i haven’t had a training or a run of some sort in a while and i REALLY enjoyed it. when i wasn’t sleeping, i was either working out, eating, or  spending time with my extended families.  i even got in some turbo kick practice- it’s coming along pretty darn good!  there is actually a need for it at my gym right now, so the sooner i get up to speed, the better.  i’d love to start teaching it on my own as well- that’s the plan. anyhoo,

my fam celebrated my cousin Kristy’s 27th birthday with a nice dinner, and also my grandmother’s 85th birthday with a big family party! had LOTS of cake and cupcakes this weekend.  lots.

my mom-in-law came over and gave me another okra soup lesson.  my husband could not have been happier!  no, like, forreal.  he was all up in the kitchen and in the way and everything.  i get the hint, boo.  i too miss my mom’s cooking- wish i could have it waaaaaaaay more often than i do.

i have soooo much more to learn concerning the Nigerian dishes!  i plan to sit down and write this recipe out though cause she totally went from memory, naturally.  don’t worry, it’ll get it’s very own post soon enough.  guess what Sonny is having for lunch tomorrow AND tuesday??:)

 i normally don’t cook on friday nights, but i so wanted to make some chicken fried rice and i couldn’t wait any longer.  we know how Benihana makes it, but this is how i do!

le’s fit ‘fried’ rice

the stuff:

  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1 cup chopped sugar snap peas
  • 2 stalks green onion
  • 1 small chopped yellow onion
  • 1/2 – 3/4th cup liquid egg whites  (or 3 real egg whites)
  • 2 grilled/baked chopped chicken breasts
  • low sodium soy sauce  to taste
  • i can’t believe it’s not butter spray butter (optional)
  • ground black pepper to taste

do this:

collect all your veggies…

and get to choppin’.

 looks great. not too big, but you don’t have to dice them too fine, either.

cook your chicken (45-55 min in a 350 deg oven),

then chop it into chunks. ( i seasoned mine first with ranch dressing mix).

what a workout.

spray your pan with no-stick cooking spray.  throw in the onions and cook them until they are translucent.  then, add your veggies and cook them for about 2-3 min. the carrots will have plenty of time to soften, and the other stuff won’t overcook.  that’s what i was scared of, but it was totally fine.  add in your eggs and scramble them (yes, in the same pan). finally,  throw in everything else;  the rice, and the chicken.   mix and toss it all together and sprinkle in some soy sauce (the less the better..it’s still alotta sodium) and give it a couple (ok a lot) of sprays of butter.  after about 5 min on low heat, it’s a wrap.

so good!

 it’s gonna be a GREAT week. g-nite!

le