My New Kitchen Addition

Aside

My new 3 qt. casserole dish from Le Creuset was not only a coincidental find, but a great steal! We happened by a billboard for the Le Creuset outlet on the way home in South Carolina, and boy am I glad we stopped. Outlet prices are not only cheaper, but their sales make the stock even more worthwhile if you’re on a budget but love expensive cookware. We got this beautiful ombré-style dish for $50 in Cerise to match our kitchen. It’s lightweight enough to easily pull out of the oven, but its construction will last longer than our lifetime. I can’t wait to make some vegan mac n’ cheez or a nice veggie casserole in it!

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The Way Stuff Piles

Mmmmm. Topped with garlic croutons: epic.

Cake. Cake, cake, cake. I didn’t know what to expect when I plunged my fork into the soft depths of Panarao’s tiramisu cake, but oh, cake. I’ve never had one like this! It was so interesting to taste a cake that is actually supposed to be another dessert and try to match the flavors, feel the different textures, and re-write the memories of flavors past. The cake was moist, the homemade buttercream was somehow thick, rich, and light at once, and the filling? Yum. They even said we can use the chocolate-covered espresso beans for decoration on the cake. Perfection. We may have a winner! The cake selection from Muscoreil’s was also impressive, but the family feel and great service we got from Tony at Panaro’s really makes them the top contender for us personally. I do highly recommend Muscoreil’s as well, though; they do beautiful work and their white almond raspberry cake was delicious, packed with the perfect balance of sweet & tart. Mmmmm.

And even with all the cake tasting, the cinnamon rolls from Five Points Bakery, and the restaurant meals with my brother this past week, I still lost 1 pound! I know it’s not much, but it also means that I’m still on track. I didn’t have much time to exercise, and all 5 nights of work last week my stomach was growling and begging by 2 AM, but I made good food choices at home and out to eat. Plus, on Sunday, Jonmark and I finally made it to the rock gym!! I not only climbed higher on more difficult courses, but I hung in the air like Spiderman! I didn’t get more than 10 feet off the ground on the inclined walls, but I still made it. Worth being proud of for sure.

Tonight for dinner (lunch)? Potato leek soup. It wasn’t a recipe I made up, really – you can use one of any from Food Network or another site. Mine was delicious, and only 216 calories per serving. It’s a great way to end a chilly winter day, and a perfect low-cal, low-fat meal.

Getting Back

This weekend, Jonmark and I drove home to Pittstown to see my father – and he’s doing great. Stubborn, yes, but great. Seeing him was truly inspiring and a great health boost!!

So many pita chips!

So you may be wondering why I have had nothing to post! Eating home-cooked meals all weekend under the auspices of my father’s diet, I didn’t worry about calories, fat, or salt – my mother always cooks delicious and healthy meals for all of us. And besides a late-night, overflowing bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios, I was a good girl 🙂 And, indeed, I have lost 2 more pounds in a week! So I’m working out and feeling good every day. Another reason for the slight lag in posting? A horrible, crap cold that crept up on me and hit me late Wednesday night after my workout. And it still hasn’t gone! But I did light yoga over the weekend and managed about 25 of 40 minutes for my Hip Hop Abs workout. I realized when my throat began to seize up and I couldn’t breathe through my nose that I had enough exercise…

Banana Muffins!!

Below is my nutrition for yesterday, but it doesn’t include last night’s naughtiness: dinner at Allen Street Hardware. While I quite honestly don’t even want to log the food we ate, it was absolutely delicious. I cannot say enough about this place! Located smack dab in the middle of Allentown, Allen Street Hardware Cafe was once just Allen Street Hardware – and it’s got great beer, great food, and great service! It was absolutely a great pick for a pre-Valentine’s Day excuse for dinner out together. The lighting in ASH is low and romantic, and though there is of course a big bar there, it still feels low-key and not too noisy to prevent intimate conversation. I had a Middle Ages Swallow Wit Belgian White, which was a bit bland and yeasty for my tastes, but was still great with our food. Jonmark had a Porterhouse XXXX Stout, which was super carbonated and flavorful! We began our meal with baked brie peppered with dried fruits, walnuts, and a balsamic reduction – absolutely AMAZING! The crispy toasts abounded and oh, how gooey. Yum. I just love the way that brie gets more mellow as it gets warmer and warmer. I continued my meal with Hardware’s Dr. Pepper-marinated pork loin, sliced thin like deli with an awesome cherry chipotle sauce on a perfectly panini’d panini. It was so unique! And the spice of the sauce offset the sweet cherry and the pork’s marinade, further complimented by greens atop the sandwich and the buttery bread. WOW. This panini gets 5 stars. Jonmark had a MASSIVE and perfectly cooked 12 ounce burger with cheese and sauteed mushrooms and onions. Accompanied by an incredible pickle and crispy homemade fries, his meal was great too! I truly cannot say enough about Allen Street Hardware as a cafe and bar. The waitress is always kind, sweet, and attentive, and the cooks didn’t overcook a single thing, all the way down to Jonmark’s perfectly rare burger. Again, wow. 5 stars. And the even better deal? Tons of food for a very, very affordable price.

Mmmm cupcakes!!

Thankfully, I should be able to fully detox today, as I made low-calorie banana muffins, homemade pita chips, healthier cupcakes, and homemade mayo yesterday in two hours of cooking/baking craziness. Plans to drink a ton of water and get a little sweat on later are in the works as well. Yay!

So, as I said, below is my nutrition for yesterday pre-ASH dinner. Tonight we have two chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting, each under 250 calories!! Recipe up-and-coming tonight or tomorrow 🙂 My plans for today include more wedding planning (!!), more exercise, and lots of homework. Happy Valentine’s Day everyone.

Tuesday Feb 13