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Monday, September 28, 2009

change is in the air.

i'm up to all kinds of mischief this week.

Friday, September 25, 2009

friday five (+ 5 more): life's short, eat dessert first

dessert... i think it's my favorite word in the entire english language. it's the one thing i look forward to all day. it's the reason i run every day. it's the thing that keeps me sane. here's a list of my all-time favorite dessert recipes in no particular order.

1. chocolate brownie trifle

2. lemon freeze with raspberry sauce

3. 5 minutes in heaven aka chocolate chip bundt cake

4. caramel crack

5. lemonade cake & if you want a little extra pop! make this lemon-y frosting too

6. big, fat, chewy chocolate chip cookies

7. old fashioned bread pudding & vanilla-caramel sauce

8. peanut butter surprise

9. chocolate whipped cream cake

10. chocolate haupia pie

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

happy fall.

the temperature outside may once again be in the three digits,
but it is officially fall. have you broken out the candy corn yet?

Monday, September 21, 2009

chicken pizza packets

chicken pizza packethere's a new spin on tin-foil dinners. ALL of my boys loved it & it was definitely a sneaky way to sneak in some veggies. they gobbled it up so quickly they didn't even realize they were eat zucchini, peppers & tomatoes.

chicken pizza packets
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Tb. olive oil
1 small zucchini chopped into chunks
1 small package of pepperoni (can be used whole, although i like the pieces smaller, so i chop them up)
1 small green pepper, julienned
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. epper
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup+ shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup+ shredded parmesan cheese
(i use an entire bag of the pre-shredded italian cheese mixture, but i like lots of cheese)

1. in a large bowl, combine everything except the tomatoes and cheese.
2. coat four large pieces of heavy-duty foil (about 12in. square) with cooking spray
3. place 1/4 of the chicken mixture in the center of each piece & fold foil round mixture and seal tightly.
4. grill, covered. over medium-hot heat for 15-18 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.
5. carefully open each packet. sprinkle with tomatoes and cheese. seal loosely, grill for 2 more additional minutes (or until cheese is melted).

recipe via taste of home

Friday, September 18, 2009

friday 5: excuses to throw one last bbq

summer is nearly over. i can smell it in the air & there is a distinct color change currently going on. i know, i know, people always say that california doesn't "do" the change of seasons, but i'm to tell you they are all wrong. although our leaves might not change colors as the fall approaches, there is definitely a change of lighting. call me crazy, but i strongly believe that fall in california has it's own look, it's own color of sunshine if you will. a little more amber with that autumn golden glow. anyway, with the days getting shorter, & the kids back in school, before we know it - halloween will be here & summer officially over. i guess now's the time to get in one last bbq, one last summer celebration. so here are five tasty dishes you can serve at your "goodbye summer" celebration...

1. sizzling country ribs & patio beans: so you're getting two for the price of one today. these are two absolute staples at all of our family bbqs. both are my mom's secret recipes (don't tell her i spilled the beans) & are often requested by both friends and family.

2. spinach tortellini salad: delicious & oh! so pretty to look at. plus, it's one of the few salads that you can actually eat the leftovers - no wilting, you gotta love that!

3. corn & black bean salsa: what's a bbq without the chips & dip? this salsa will ensure that all your chips get eaten. but don't worry, when the chips are all gone, you can keep eating the salsa with your fork as a side dish - it's that good, you won't be able to get enough.

4. cheese bread: don't be scared off by the combination of mayonnaise or worcestershire sauce, i promise it's good.... in that fattening, good thing it's the last bbq of summer kinda way.

5. big, fat & chewy chocolate chip cookies: on their own, they are absolute perfection. but pair with some ice cream & some homemade hot fudge? oh la la! perfection!

hope i've inspired you light up the grill at least one more time this summer!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


i had the greatest weekend ever. i spent it with over 100 ladies (& maybe one or two gents) who are creative, inspiring & overall just complete visionaries. i loved getting the opportunity to meet and greet a few new, & several familiar faces. i loved chatting & getting to know new friends. i loved feeling important as i exchanged business cards. & i loved, loved, loved, LOVED getting to meet several of my absolute favorite blog crushes... marie of make & takes, allison of petite elefant, & carrie of this is me journal & this mama makes stuff (okay, you caught me. carrie & are practically bffs from way back when, but i did LOVE getting to spend the weekend with her). but that wasn't all! i also got to spend a little time with the beautiful, creative & awe-inspiring heather bailey. (excuse me for a moment while i pinch myself, i still can't believe i actually got to meet her. & yes, she is absolutely amazing! definitely one of those people you want to hate, but you just can't - she is just sooo incredibly genuine & gosh darn nice!)

make & takes marie, this is me carrie, petite elefant allison, & me
(photo stolen from allison. & allison, you're right...
the close-up, in your face pictures look way better.)

it was so incredible being surrounded by so much "greatness." i felt like a starstruck little kid, visiting disneyland for the very first time. it took everything i had to restrain myself from taking pictures with everyone & asking each one of them for their autograph.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

to infinity & beyond

if you ask my boys what their favorites rides at disneyland are, they will answer: pirates, the ghost house (otherwise known as the haunted mansion) & buzz. although, i'm the first to admit, i don't know who likes buzz more - the kids, or us adults. my hubby & i constantly competing to see who can walk away with the highest score. unfortunately, he wins most of the time. (i think it has something to do with all the video games he played as a kid.) but I'm proud to announce to the world that my losing streak is over (or so I hope, at least).

being the competitive person that i am, i didn't like the fact that i did more losing, than winning during our buzz competitions. so, lately i've been doing some reconnaissance, & i thought i'd pass along a few of the tips & tricks i've picked up...

ever wondered how the scoring works in general?
circle shaped targets are worth 100 per shot
square shaped targets are worth 1,000 per shot
diamond shaped targets are worth 5,000 per shot
triangle shaped targets are worth 10,000 per shot
(so, my super obvious tip is to aim for the triangle & diamond shaped targets... don't waste your time on the circles & squares!)

&, if the targets are light, they're worth even more:
circle shaped targets are worth 500 per shot
square shaped targets are worth 5,000 per shot
diamond shaped targets are worth 10,000 per shot
triangle shaped targets are worth 100,000 per shot

a few of the other "gems" i've picked up are:
* even though i've previously stated that you shouldn't waste your time on circles, often times, if you hit a circle target you can get a higher value target to "appear". for example: the "jack-in-the-box" target... if you hit the target to open it, there's a diamond target on the inside of the box, & after the "jack" pops up there is a triangle target.
* once you've hit a target, keep shooting baby! i used to think that the targets needed time to "reset", but that's not the case. so as long as you have a shoot, keep going for it! (i'm hoping the ride "stops" momentarily next time i'm riding... you can really rack up the points then!)
* & finally, they are a couple of "hidden" targets that can be found on zurg... during the ride you'll actually come across two different zurgs. both times, right below the "z" medallion holding his cape together, you can see a line running down the center of his chest. Just below his cape you'll notice a small circle (it's very dark, very small & very hard to see). aim for that circle - if you hit it you'll get 50,000 points! the first zurg you come across is the easiest because it's much closer, but you can find the "secret" target on BOTH zurgs.

hopefully these tips will help me kick the hubby's butt on our next buzz go round. if you want even more disneyland tips & tricks, feel free to email me ( or, read up HERE.

Friday, September 11, 2009

friday five: my favorite crock-pot meals

my crock pot is one of my absolute best friends. we spend a lot of time together... she's the type of friend that is always making me look good - she's does all the work & i take all the credit. this week i thought i'd share some of my favorite, go-to crock pot recipes!

1. rootbeer bbq beef sandwiches. although THIS recipe is pretty dang good too!
2. zesty crock pot chicken
3. cafe rio style sweet pork salad with creamy cilantro dressing
4. marta's meatballs
5. chicken salsa tacos

have i missed YOUR favorite crock pot recipe? oh please! do share your favorite crock pot go-tos.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

cupcakes worth running 13.1 miles for.

they are some things, that are worth running for, whatever the distance.
the barefoot contessa's coconut cupcakes definitely make that list.

image via food network

barefoot contessa's coconut cupcakes

3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
5 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
14 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut

for the frosting:
1 pound cream cheese at room temperature
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 1/2 pounds confectioners' sugar, sifted

preheat the oven to 325 degrees

in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. with the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.

in a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. in 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. mix until just combined. fold in 7 ounces of coconut.

line a muffin pan with paper liners. fill each liner to the top with batter. bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. remove to a baking rack and cool completely.

meanwhile, make the frosting. in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on low speed, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and almond extracts. add the confectioners' sugar and mix until smooth.

frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with the remaining coconut.

these babies are de-lic-ious! excuse me while i wipe the drool from my chin!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

151 minutes of toe tapping music

(click on image to enlarge)

i spent a lot of time creating the "perfect" running playlist... chock-full of tunes that would get my feet moving & my heart pumping. unfortunately, i was too blonde, or maybe it was too early in the morning, or perhaps i was just a little bit nervous - whatever the case, i couldn't figure out how to work my cool new earphones. that is, until 5 minutes after the race was over, when it occurred to me to check the volume control on the earphones. (did i mention i was blonde?) so, i ended up running sans any musical motivation. but, i received so many inquiries about my 1/2 marathon playlist i decided to make it available to the "masses." you can check it out HERE.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

i lost my virginity this weekend.

early sunday morning, along with about 13,000 people, i laced up my sneakers, loaded up the playlist & hit the pavement running... for my first ever 1/2 marathon. although running 13.1 miles is definitely a daunting task, it's a wee bit easier when you have a friend or two by your side (or at least in the near vicinity).with an "official chip time" of 2 hours, 13 minutes & 15 seconds and a division place of 239 (of 1252 women ages 30-34), i'm feeling pretty good about myself. not bad for a gal 4 months & 4 days post baby, & about two weeks of training. now the question is, what's next?