Saturday, September 20, 2008


Carrots N Cake has moved to Please be sure  to update your readers and blogrolls. 

See ya there! 

Friday, September 19, 2008

Unlucky, but Lucky

I thought my pizza-beer lunch would hold me over until dinner with no problem, but my stomach started to grumble around 4:00 pm. I knew dinner wasn't for at least another 3+ hours, so I decided to snack on a Peanut Butter Cookie Larabar. I was excited to try this flavor, mostly because of my love of peanut butter and cookies, but I really wasn't impressed by it. The peanut butter flavor didn't come through as much as I had expected. It was just kind of bland... and now that I've had the Coconut Cream flavor, it's going to be very hard to top!

Wedding Dress Shopping

My sister didn't have much luck at Priscilla. She tried on a couple of nice dresses, but being samples and all, the quality of the dresses was rather poor... basically like a lot of people had already tried them on! Most of the dresses were just handled too much-- and not really worth the money. My sis has plenty of time to find a dress, so she wasn't upset about not having any luck. 

Birthday Dinner

My sister wanted a have a margarita to celebrate her 27th birthday, so we decided to have dinner at the Catcus Club, which is always one of my favorites. Dinner started with chips and salsa. 

Of course, I agreed to have a margarita with my sis. I got mine on the rocks with salt. 

I haven't eaten many veggies lately, so I opted against a Mexican entree, and went with the boring, but healthy, garden salad with creamy balsamic on the side. The salad was fresh, but it was your "standard" garden salad. It had the basics, but nothing fancy.

My mom, however, ordered a wonderful salad! In her salad: greens with sliced apples, gorgonzola, walnuts, and drizzled with a raspberry vinaigrette. Mmmm... much more exciting! I should have gotten what she ordered! 

Tonight, my mom brought a bag of fall goodies for both my sister and me. Inside our bags: 2 apples and a carmel-walnut-covered apple from my mom's work and an eggplant from her garden. I get very excited about food gifts! :)

I cut into my caramel apple within minutes of arriving home. I LOVE caramel apples! They remind me of many good times in my childhood. My mom would always treat my sister and me to one when we went pumpkin picking each autumn. Ah, memories. Anyway, over the course of the evening, I've pretty much peeled all of the carmel off my apple. So good! 

I have my last day of training at Healthworks tomorrow, followed by lots of studying, a possible art show, and dinner with Mal's parents (aka my in-laws!). Another packed Saturday for me! 

P.S. There may be some "issues" with my blog tomorrow morning. I apologize for the inconvenience-- mostly everything should be up and running by Saturday night. 

Penguin Love

Lunch today was fantastic! I have a new favorite! My friend, Blain, and I had some celebrating to do (you guys will see tomorrow!), so we decided to have a leisurely Friday lunch, complete with pizza and beer at Penguin Pizza in Brigham Circle.

"Penguin," as it is better known, is a great little restaurant with a very impressive beer selection. I've been to Penguin a couple of times in the past, but never noticed their wide variety of brews-- they had at least 20 taps and many, many, many bottles to chose from.

As soon as you walk into the restaurant, you notice the plethotra of beer mugs displayed around the bar. Penguin has a "mug club," and rumor has it, if you drink every beer on their list within one year, you are awarded a penguinite mug, a 22.5 oz mug with your name engraved on it that you can drink out of when you visit Penguin. The mugs are hung all around the bar and cover the side wall of the restaurant. I've always wanted to have my very own beer mug at a bar, but I don't think I could ever drink that much beer! (Maybe in college, but not now!)

From the "Penu," Blain and I ordered a large pizza and a couple of beers for lunch.

My beer selection was a Jack's Pumpkin Spice Ale, which was my first pumpkin brew of the fall! Very exciting! :) This beer nailed the pumpkin category! It was nice and smooth with subtle pumpkin and spicy-nutmeg flavors. Deeeelish!

We ordered the Pimento pizza, which was topped with roasted red peppers, sweet red onions, sun-dried tomatoes, broccoli, and goat cheese. Lots of my favs!

The pizza was HUGE! Good thing we were both hungry! We made a good dent in it, but Blain still took 3 pieces home as leftovers!

Penguin's pizza has the best thin crust-- it was mostly crispy, but still had a little chew to it. I loved the slightly garlic-y sauce, and, of course, the toppings, which were fun and creative. Big fan! Lots of Penguin love from me!

Piece #1...

Piece #2 with Parmesan sprinkled on top...

Friday Night

Immediately after work, I am meeting my sister and my mom at Priscilla of Boston, so my sis can check out the annual sample sale. Priscilla is tres expensive, but their wedding dresses are to die for! You never know, my sis could get lucky and find an amazing (yet affordable) gown! It's always fun to look at fancy wedding dresses, so why not see what they have, right? :)

After dress shopping, the three of us are off to dinner to celebrate my sister's birthday, which was yesterday. I'm still not sure where we are going for dinner, but I'm assuming we'll stick to the Copley/Newbury area. Any recommendations?

Depending on how dress shopping and dinner go, I have tentative plans to visit Allston later tonight. My friends want to go to My So Called 90's Night at Common Ground, which is always such a blast, but I have to work bright and early at HW tomorrow (8:00 am), so I'm not sure I want to have a late (and boozy) night. We'll see...

Almost the weekend!!! The countdown has begun!

It Moves Fast

After my morning workout, I usually head to Starbucks for an iced coffee (aka my "reward" for a good sweat session). I'm always a little discouraged when I first see the size of the line (I counted 16 people in front of me this morning!), but I know it moves fast! The Starbucks employees are super efficient and get us in and out in no time! I tried to get a shot of this morning's line-- the cash register is on the left side of the photo and the line wraps around the front of the store. People love their Starbucks!

From start to finish, I waited about 10 minutes for my iced coffee with soy milk. Not a bad wait time considering the length of the line!


So, one packet of instant oatmeal doesn't fill me up, but 2 packets is usually too much. At the grocery store this weekend, I came across Nature's Path Instant Hot Oatmeal, which may have solved my problem. A typical package of instant oatmeal is 40 g, but the Nature's Path is 50 g (210 calories, 4g fat, 4g fiber), which might be just enough to satisfy, but not stuff me. So far the larger packet is holding me over quite well. My only gripe about this kind of oatmeal is the amount of sugar (11 g). It is still less than the Kashi instant oatmeal I was eating, but maybe I'll opt for plain oatmeal next time.

Breakfast: Instant oatmeal with 2 tbsp of peanut butter and a nectarine.


I was watching the news this morning while elliptical-ing away at the gym, and a story came on about how Herhsey's has replaced the cocoa butter in some of their chocolate products with vegetable oil, and because of FDA regulations, they can no longer be legally labeled "milk chocolate."

Some of the Hershey's packages, while basically looking the same, have changed their labels to say "Chocolate Candy," instead of "Milk Chocolate" to comply with this regulation. I would have never noticed if I hadn't seen this news segment.

From the Candy Blog:

"The new version is called Chocolate Candy which is code for chocolate-flavored confection, or candy that contains chocolate but can’t be called chocolate because it has other stuff in it that’s not permitted by the FDA definitions (like more oil than actual chocolate).

The ingredients: Sugar, vegetable oil (palm, shea, sunflower and/or safflower oil), chocolate, nonfat milk, whey, cocoa butter, milk fat, gum arabic, soy lecithin, artificial colors (red 40, yellow 5, blue 2, blue 1, yellow 6), corn syrup, resinous glaze, salt, carnauba wax, pgpr and vanillin.

The old ingredients were:

Milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate, nonfat milk, milk fat, lactose, soy lecithin, PGPR & artificial flavors), sugar, red 40, yellow 5, yellow 6, blue 1 & carnauba wax."

The switch to vegetable oil is rooted in Hershey's desire to cut costs. The CandyBlog discusses this in more detail: Rising Cost of Candy - A Brief Study of Hershey's Prices.

I don't eat Hershey's chocolate all that much, but I'm still surprised and even feeling a little cheated by this change. What do you think about it?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Shepherd's Pie

I can't tell you the last time I've eaten shepherd's pie. Well, it was awhile ago. I was jazzed when Mal suggested making it tonight with ground turkey instead of beef, and I am still shocked that we had a can of corn. (FYI: Shepherd's pie is traditionally ground beef, mashed potatoes, and corn.) 

I have to admit, I've missed this easy-to-make comfort food. I forgot just how much I enjoyed eating it.

My portion... 

Mal and I both had one of those days when you need a beer. Danielle was kind enough to bring a couple of Killian's down for us to enjoy. TGIT! 

Dessert was the same as last night: Puffins and peanut butter chocolate chips. I actually considered eating some of our leftover, stale wedding cake for dessert, but I decided to just toss the rest of it in the garbage. It was in no shape to be eaten. (I hope this was the only time ever, in my entire life, that I throw away cake.)

I was hungry when I got home from work-- probably because my lunch was kind of pathetic. Mal was running late after work, so I made myself a snack of Kashi crackers and a spoonful of balsamic sweet onion jam to hold me over. It was an interesting combination of flavors. 

If you can't tell from my post, my brain is in slow motion tonight. Time to give it a break. Good night! 

Lunch, I Guess

My bad day has turned into a wacky cravings day. I brought a frozen burrito to heat up for lunch today, but when lunchtime rolled around, I wasn't in the mood for it. I wasn't in the mood for anything really, but I was hungry. I decided to dig into my afternoon snack: vanilla Chobani with honey Puffins.

I was satisfied after eating the Chobani and Puffins, but I knew lunch needed to be a little more substantial, so I opted for a sliced apple with 2 tbsp of peanut butter. This is always such a great combo! Am I right!? :)

Just a little while ago, I got a major craving for carbs, specifically a piece of cake or warm French bread with olive oil. Mmmmmm. However, my options were kind of limited being at work and all, so I decided on a pumpkin muffin. My cravings and hunger are all out of wack today, so instead of trying to fight them, I'm just going with the flow! The muffin was delicious and totally worth the splurge! The muffin has a pumpkin spice flavor to it and the top is covered in raisins and walnuts. Very autumn-y! :)

Help Fight Cancer

As you may know, THIS Sunday, I am walking 26.2 miles, which, if you're curious, takes about 8-9 hours, to help the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber fight cancer.

If you would like to make a donation to my team, please follow this link to my fundraising webpage. Any donation big or small is greatly appreciated! :)

Photos from last year's walk

Wrong Side

I woke up on the wrong side of the bed today. When my alarm went off at 5:35 am, I felt complete drained... every ounce of energy was zapped. I instantly decided: "Hell, no!" to the gym. I laid in bed for another 5 minutes before I forced my butt out of bed. I immediately chugged a glass of ice cold water to help me wake up. After about 10 minutes of aimless wandering around our apartment, I finally settled down to study. (I mixed things up again today: study - first; shower, get ready, eat - second.) I was able to fit in about an hour of study time, which included making flashcards and reading about fitness assessments (very cool).

Breakfast this morning was a fantastic (!!!) bowl of oatmeal-oat bran with chopped dates, almonds, and vanilla hemp milk, which made my oat mixture sweet, fluffy, and creamy. I'm starting to believe that hemp milk makes just about everything better!

My mood is slowly improving now that I am sipping delicious coffee (with vanilla soy milk and agave nectar) at work. I'm about 3 sips away from finishing my mug; a second cup is most definitely in my near future.

** Forgot to add: While studying I also munched on a handful of Puffins.

Birthday Girl

Happy 27th Birthday, Sister!!! I hope you have a wonderful day! Can't wait to celebrate with you tomorrow! :)

In case you're wondering, I actually call my sister, "Sister," and not by her first name. We've had weird nicknames for each other for as long as I can remember. She calls me "Peter" (long story). It's funny because a lot of my sister's friends now call me "Peter" and some of my friends call her "Sister." Sister and Peter are almost like our real names now! :)

Siblings on my 28th birthday...

Meal Replacements

Since a lot of us are often on-the-go and like to try new products, I thought I'd share an article I read this morning from Women's Health magazine. They reviewed a bunch of different meal replacement options (bars and drinks/smoothies), some of which, I have never tried.

Health Healthy Meal Replacements

Question of the Day

When you're in a bad mood, what is your "go to" pick me up?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Good Talk

Having a glass of wine with my friend, Pam, tonight was enjoyable, relaxing, and inspiring. We hadn't seen each other since my wedding, so we had tons to talk about (as always). Pam and I first caught up on the usual stuff, but then we realized that we're both making big changes in our lives. It was nice having someone know exactly how I am feeling and what I am thinking and why I am thinking it. Pam was so supportive of my career decision, and she made me feel even more excited about the coming months. We definitely had a good talk! :)

At 6B, I enjoyed a glass of pinot grigio, which wasn't great, but hey, that's what you get for $6.50 in downtown Boston! 

On my commute, I brainstormed a fun idea for dinner, but when I got home, I discovered the key ingredient was missing: cheese! Grrrrr... we didn't have a single shred! I wasn't in the mood to run to the grocery store, so I decided to alter my plan. I had wanted to make a Mexican baked potato with black beans, salsa, jalapenos, and cheese, but instead, I topped my potato with buffalo sauce and sliced deli ham. It was good, but I think my original idea would have been tastier! 

Dinner also included a big salad with creamy Italian drizzled on top. I'm surprised that I am not sick of eating salad for dinner, but having so many fresh veggies in the fridge encourages me to eat them before they spoil. Might as well eat veggies for dinner! 

I thought about baking something delicious for dessert (I have at least 10 different recipes that I want to try), but I was feeling lazy, and threw together a small bowl of honey Puffins and peanut butter chocolate chips. They were so yummy, I went back for a second serving. Mmmmmm. 

I haven't decided if I am going to workout or study in the morning... all I know is that I will be getting up earl-ly! Time for bed!

New Favorite

Lunch was not at all satisfying today. I just wasn't feelin' my salad and pizza combo. I ate the majority of it, but it wasn't exciting. My lackluster lunch left me desiring something more.

My salad was a mix of veggies from home plus leftover Asian Chicken Salad from yesterday. (I snagged a leftover salad at the end of our meeting!) Inside today's salad: romaine, grape tomatoes, green and red peppers, Mandarin oranges, edamame, snap peas, carrots, jalapenos, and marinated chicken. It sounds like an awesome salad, right? Unfortunately, my taste buds did not agree.

Lunch also included a piece of leftover pizza from last night. (Sorry that some of my photos are flipped the wrong way!)

On my way back from a meeting this afternoon, I grabbed a handful of plain M&M's from the department's reception area. It's funny how quickly that can happen!?!

As previously mentioned, lunch did not satisfy. Physically, I probably had enough, but mentally, I wanted something else to eat. I decided to dig into my afternoon snack a little early: a piece of whole wheat bread with peanut butter and banana slices. It was definitely a good food choice; I felt much better after eating it.

Snack Numero Dos

I have plans to meet a friend after work for a drink at 6B. A drink is fine and dandy, but I'd prefer not to eat out tonight (trying to save dinero), so around 4:00 pm, I munched on a Coconut Cream Pie Larabar to hold me over until I get home.

THE COCONUT CREAM PIE FLAVOR IS HEAVENLY!!!!!! It's easily my new favorite!

Career News

Just today, I registered for the Boston NASM Certified Personal Training Workshop! It's a 2-day live workshop in November that focuses on assessment, exercise technique, and program design. I don't think the workship is specifically designed to help me pass the NASM certification exam, but it will definitely help me put the pieces together and it gives me a chance to experience personal training firsthand! Can't wait! :)

Barney Butter Baby

Dave C. was so excited about winning the Barney Butter contest that he decided to finish his Barney Butter Baby poem! His lyrics crack me up!

To the tune of Vanilla Ice's "Ice Ice Baby"

Barney Butter baby (x2)

All right stop open the top and spread it

Tina is back with some brand new snack food

Something that I spread on my bread nightly

And when I'm done, I put the lid on tightly

Will I ever stop, yo I think I might

Read Carrots N Cake its quite a site

To the extreme I eat snacks like a vandal

Spread on the Butter and light up a candle

Eat, then rush to the nearest whole foods

It's pleasing your stomach and fixing your moods

Creamy when I eat a dope bite

Anything less than the best ain't right

Love it or leave it you better lose weight

You better buy Barney Butter CNC don't play

If there was a problem yo I'll clog it

Check out the Butter while Tina blogs it


Barney Butter baby (x4)

Now that the blog is jumping

With the winners checked in and the peeps are writtin'

Quick to the site to the results no faking

I'm dreamin' of Barney B and cant stop shakin'

Cant wait to spread it, so rich and creamy

I went crazy when I heard it was me

A nice free jar with a yellow label

I'm on cloud nine, it's time to get stable

Waitin', of course you know

With my laptop on so CNC can show

The bread is on table waiting with the bagel

Did you stop no I just read more

Kept on reading through the next post

I busted through the blog and I'm heading to the next one

The blog was dead

Yo so I came back to… Carrots N Cake website!

Readers were happy but wishing they had won

CNC lovers thought the contest was real fun

But jealous 'cause I'm out getting mine

Dave C with a jar and its going to taste mighty fine

If there is another game yo I will join it

Check out the blog while Tina coins it

Barney Butter baby

Barney Butter baby (oh-oh)

Barney Butter baby

Yo bloggers let's get out of here

Word to the website

Barney Butter baby so creamy

Barney Butter baby so creamy so creamy (x2)

Barney Butter baby

Kitchen Experiment #515

I really have no clue where I come up with these kitchen experiment ideas. I was craving oatmeal this morning for breakfast, but I didn't want the same old bowl. Instead, I decided to "bread" my sliced nectarine with oatmeal batter. (I know, random.) I used Kath's recipe for an oatmeal pancake with my addition of 1 tbsp of vanilla hemp milk to make the mixture more "battery." I then coated my nectarine slices with the oatmeal pancake batter and cooked them in a skillet. The experiment came out pretty well, but I think next time, I will double the batter recipe. The nectarine slices would have benefited from more oatmeal pancake goodness. This recipe would probably work well with other slice-able fruits-- apples, peaches, etc.

Oatmeal Pankcake Batter

  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1 egg white (or 3 tbsp of liquid egg whites)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp vanilla hemp (or soy) milk
  • Cinnamon to taste
  • Heat skillet and add non-stick cooking spray (or butter, oil, etc.)
  • Slice fruit into 1/4 inch pieces
  • Spread oatmeal pancake batter on one side of fruit and place in skillet, oatmeal side down. Then, spread oatmeal pancake batter on the top side of the fruit while in skillet. (*Add more oatmeal batter if desired, covering the entire piece of fruit.)
  • Top fruit pancakes with maple syrup, almond butter, jam, etc. (optional)
* Double recipe for more batter.

Nectarine slices, coated in oatmeal pancake batter, cooking in skillet...

I also had a few dates and an iced coffee with vanilla soy milk for breakfast.

Eat Breakfast Like a King, Lunch Like a Prince, and Dinner Like a Pauper

I receive comments from readers pretty regularly about the smallish size of my dinners-- I tend to taper my food intake as the day progresses. I figured I should explain this eating habit.

Like the old proverb says, "Eat Breakfast Like a King, Lunch Like a Prince, and Dinner Like a Pauper," I try to eat my larger meals early in the day (i.e. eat breakfast like a king) and my smaller meals in the evening (i.e. dinner like a pauper). This eating pattern makes a lot of sense to me for a number of reasons. The biggest reason is that I often exercise first thing in the morning, so I like to refuel with a big breakfast (600-700 calories) packed with healthy carbs and protein. Following a morning workout, I used to eat a much smaller breakfast, but by lunch, I would be starving. Over time, my body has gotten used to eating most of its calories in the early hours of the day. My lunch is usually a tiny bit smaller than breakfast (500-600 calories) with a good-sized snack in the afternoon (200-300 calories) and, of course, occasional treats (100-300 calories). Eating the majority of my calories in the first part of the day keeps my energy up and my metabolism buzzing along. Dinner is often my smallest meal of the day (400-500 calories), which is usually made up of protein, complex carbs, and lots of veggies. Especially when I am just lounging around the house at night, I don't need lots of calories for energy. I'm also an earlier riser, so it makes sense for me to front-load my caloric-intake because I hit the sack before 10:00 pm and don't need a ton of calories in the later part of the day. Finally, breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, so why not start the day off right with a hearty meal of my favorite foods.

Question of the Day

How do you push/challenge yourself when exercising (mind games, the clock, personal trainer, exercise buddy, etc.)?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Burn Baby Burn

Like I expected, BURN kicked my butt (in a good way)!! The trainer pushed us hard while we worked between running on the treadmill and strength training circuits on the floor. On the treadmill, we frequently changed speeds and inclines for interval training-- at one point, I was running at 9.2 mph on the treadmill, which was a first for me! For the strength training portion, we did a mix of free weights and core/stabilization exercises. By the end of the 50-minute workout, I was pooped and absolutely drenched in sweat! BURN is SUCH a great workout! I'm positive that I will be taking another class very soon! 

When I arrived home, dinner was already made and waiting for me. (Best husband ever!) Mal cooked homemade pizza with green peppers, onions, mozzarella, and sliced deli ham. Delish! 

I also made myself a side salad with romaine, grape tomatoes, carrots, green peppers, and Claire's relish. Lots-o-volume. 

From above...

Sorry that I am short-winded tonight. BURN was tough! I'm looking forward to my bed, an episode of the Hills, and sleeping in tomorrow. I need a little break from super early mornings. 

Sleep well, blog land! 

Meeting Madness

I've had meeting after meeting after meeting today. Meh. Even though I am getting things accomplished at the meetings, it doesn't feel like I am, especially once I return to my desk and see stacks of paper and emails waiting for my attention. It's days like these that I look forward to "running it off!"

I've been eating breakfast earlier than usual since starting my new morning study sessions. Mid-morning, I needed a snack in a bad way! I dug into a Larabar around 10:30.

Lunch was (surprise!) a lunch meeting. There was only one meal option available (Asian Chicken Salad), which was fine by me! In the salad: greens, red peppers, edamame, carrots, snap peas, mandarin oranges, wonton strips, and marinated chicken breast. It was delicious! I ate all of the veggies, but didn't finish the chicken.

The meeting's lunch also included the amazing (but dangerous) freshly baked cookies from the School's cafe. I snagged a big caramel chip cookie with plans to eat half today and save the other half tomorrow. Somehow, I ended up eating the whole, huge thing today. Yowsahs! At least I have a chance to BURN off some of those cookie calories later this evening.

I'm only working an hour at HW tonight, and then afterwards, I am taking a BURN class with the Assistant Fitness Director. I've never tried BURN, so she thought it was the perfect opportunity for me to give it a try. It sounds like a tough workout!

My pre-workout snack: Chobani (plain flavor) with honey Puffins.

Be back later tonight!