Family


I think one of the best parts of being a part of the ‘blogworld’, specifically the food blogworld, is the inspiration you find at every turn.

I am motivated by the other women whose blogs I read.  Sometimes what they share terrifies me.  Other times what they share make me a better person. A better, happier version of me.  While I never aim to be them, I do try to emulate all the good I see in their lives.

Too often though, I fail to let these women know how much they inspire me.  For the record, if you see my comments on your blog, even when they’re random and nonsensical, I am inspired by you.  At times the comments are themselves short because I feel broken or touched by something written.  Forgive me for not letting enough of you know how incredible I think you are.

That being said, I was inspired in a different way today, and not by a food blogger, but by a food blogger’s husband.

Yeah, sometimes guys are ok. Sometimes. (I mean not the ones in around me at the moment but apparently there are some out there :P).

Tina’s husband, Mal, ordered the best looking sandwich ever yesterday.  Since I’m not heading to BeanTown anytime soon (:() I decided to try my hand at it on my own.

*sigh*

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I want to marry this sandwich.

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I was going to skip the mayo but added a light layer and am so glad I did. The avocado was ripe and perfect.

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The onions just warmed enough after a quick browning.  Okay, truth, I walked away for a second and came back to them like this… but I’m so glad because they were perfect.  I cooked them because I didn’t have red onion like the original, and I don’t care for white/yellow onions when raw.

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The cheese melted just so- I popped on top of the egg just as I turned off the stove.  It was on just long enough to melt while I grabbed my spatula to place it on the bread.  The egg just fried to perfection (in organic whipped butter of course).

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The toast, just lightly done, since I can’t stand dark toast!

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The perfect sandwich.  Seriously, we’re picking out China patterns. I want something demure and simple but Mr. Fancy Pants wants some wild pattern 😉

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I saw The Proposal last night with one of my co-workers.  We had so much fun.  The movie was cute and admittedly, I’m not a big movie person so my standards are low.  If I can pay attention for 90+ minutes then I consider it a hit.  I just would wait for it to come out on DVD and rent it though since it wasn’t really movie theater worthy (only movies with lots of special effects are in my opinion).

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I had to stick up for my parents yesterday.  Let me rephrase that.  I felt that I needed to stick up for them.  I’ll be the first to admit that I let people “overuse” me at times.  I’ll also be the first to stop others from doing the same to my parents. Their “friends” like to stop by unannounced and take over their house with their (bratty) kids.  Hey, my parents work, my dad gets up at 3am, my mom has health issues, and hey I want them to be around to play with my (bratty) kids not waste their energy on someone else’s.  So, I said what I had to say, politely, in an email.  Got a phone call. Got lied to. Got insulted.  Remained cool although I just wanted to say “Helloooooooo, lady. No one likes you. That’s why no one actually invites you over.” I refrained.  They said something about my mama, then hung up.  Thankfully, my mom’s attitude is relief mixed with amusement over their stupidity.

All in all.  It was a good lesson to us both.  Sometimes we fight to preserve friendships that aren’t very healthy for us because we think the other person needs us more.  Come to find out they didn’t really care that much and were just users to begin with.  Good times.

But seriously, it’s a huge weight off my shoulders because I wanted to say something four or five years ago but let it go too long.  Now they won’t be a problem.  And if they do show up.  Well, then someone’s flying up to Buffalo to handle some business!

It’s also pretty nice to stick up for the people who’ve stuck up for me forever.

Oh, and since I don’t believe that anyone could ever be too distracted to say goodbye.

I’ll say goodbye for now. I have a list of baking projects I want to tackle which may commence tonight!

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I’m back in DC/MD no :/  I miss my family already, but I do seriously love my place.  I’m definitely conflicted, but I’m glad that I have such supportive people around me who will back me whether or not I stay in MD or move back to NY.

Just to clear something up from my last post, I’m completely okay with being single and childless, for now… afterall, I’m only 22, I’m not exactly ancient yet 😉  What I meant is that, since I am those things, I can go work in Africa during the summers teaching English without worrying about how that will affect too many other people’s lives.  You know what I mean?

Anyway… I’m so late because Thursday was my baby bro’s birthday… I would put up a picture but I don’t really have any handy at the moment… Based on the number of girls who called/texted/facebooked/showed up at the door to wish him a ‘Happy Birthday’, I’m guessing he looks ‘ok’ 😀

That morning, I was craving something cool and simple.

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Enter the greek yogurt + banana + honey combination.  There was maybe half a teaspoon of honey drizzled over the top, mainly because no more would come out of the container lol.  It wasn’t cold enough, so after a few bites I popped it in the fridge for five minutes then it was perfect.

Afterward, my dad, brother and I went to the happiest place on Earth Apple Store.  I got a new Macbook.  Now, my dad has my old one and I think we’re both pretty happy.  I think my favorite thing about the new Macbook is that the keyboard just feels so fabulous.  I know that’s so weird- of all the upgrades I’m loving the keyboard the best 😳  Someone said, oh “you got a new computer for Joel’s birthday!?”  Lol.

After the store trip, we visited my aunt and cousins who live near the mall.  It was actually really nice to see them even though it’s (sadly) a rare occurence.

By the time we got home I was ready to eat everything in sight.

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Instead, I made a leftovers wrap.  I took chicken, spaghetti squash and green beans from Wednesday night’s dinner, threw on some feta cheese, popped it in the micro and had a fabulous lunch.  If dinner’s good, leftover wraps can be really fabulous.

Then I went on a baking mission.

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Chocolate Banana Oatmeal Cups inspired by Roni’s recipe on Green Lite Bites. I made various changes, so I made a recipe page for them.

My mom loved them, my dad didn’t try them, my brother hated them.  One of them is picky discerning, the other doesn’t like anything if he hear’s it’s healthy, and the other one is my mom and has to say they’re good 😉  I personally loved them, and since they’re such an easy project and make a great portable, healthy snack I say go for it!  Let me know if you try it too!  I liked them so much I had two!

Then I had dinner

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Fresh from the backyard asparagus, soaked in salt water, then dressed in a little EVOO, and grilled to perfection. Yum yum yum.  I thought it was silly to waste the time soaking them in the salt water, but it really kicks up the flavor.  I will definitely do this from now on.  Then I had one two hotdogs.  Here’s the problem… these are Sahlen’s hotdogs aka the ‘Official Hotdog of the Buffalo Bills.’  I mean come one, look at what they’ve done for the quality of football played by that team- not one, not two, but four Superbowls lost.  Jk… I love the Bills, loses and all, I’m no ‘fair-weather’ fan.  These hotdogs are just fabulous.  No other hotdogs compare, and they’re only available in certain states.  Just like restaurant pizza, they’ve been added to the list of ‘only eat in NYS’ foods!

Then, I baked some more- yes yes yes.

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Chocolate Chip Cookies– some regular, some with Macadamia Nuts.  I used my special recipe (most of which is in my head) but subbed some white flour with whole wheat flour, about 1/3 of what the recipe calls for.  Joel and his friends didn’t know that I’d done that.  One of his friend’s said “these are the best cookies that I’ve ever put in my mouth.”  Two others just said they were amazing.  My dad said that although he could tell there was a difference and they weren’t quite the extravagant affair they usually are, he still managed to eat all the ones he packed for work without sharing as he’d planned!  I will say that he is actually discerning and pays enough attention to notice changes, but he’s also the one who handed me the container with the WW flour in it- so who really knows.  Obviously, my mom and I loved them.  Apparently, the four dozen I made on Thursday have dwindled down to 10 cookies!

Yesterday was traveling day.  I had a breakfast sandwich from Tim Horton’s that my bro got me (Thanks Joel) but the picture is on my new cell phone and I’m not going to wrestle with it to get it on the computer, lol.

Lunch was much needed after an hour delay on the flight, followed by the “we’re not going to serve anything due to turbulence” announcement (there really was none).  So at 3pm when I landed in Baltimore, I was starved and I practically ran to the McDs in the terminal.

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I was in a hungry daze (seriously my stomach was hurting) so I ordered something that sounded healthy.  Grilled Chicken Club.  I forgot club meant mayo and bacon. It tasted great and I guess it’s okay… but I forgot that I wanted to boycott McDonald’s since seeing Supersize Me a few weeks ago (I’m late, I know).

Dinner was also from a restaurant which kind of bother’s me…

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It was good though, grilled chicken over greek salad with warm pita bread.  I got it from a restaurant aptly titled The Greek Place. They have a great menu, good prices, and give great portions.  All their food is fresh and high quality, not to mention the service is fantastic.  It was really satisfying!

Today, I starting a new PT job tonight.  Wonder what it could be… stay tuned

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My beautiful Dominicana GF-blog sister Amy gave me this beautiful award (but not as beautiful as she is)….

Run to her blog it’s gorgeous, she has the cutest daughter, AND dance videos.  Therefore I must throw this award right back at her 🙂

There are so many beautiful blogs that I read, and I could never pick among the rest so I’ll just redirect you to my blog roll, you can’t go wrong there 😉

Now, I have some strange pictures because there are some gaps 😳

Tuesday, I made my “little” brother breakfast, guess what? he’s turning 20 today.

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My dad says he wanted his “big” sister to take care of him, so I obliged and made all of his requests, pancakes, eggs and turkey bacon. (I’m guessing he didn’t really want it to be turkey bacon but that’s what we had!)….

The rest of the day, I literally ate out of the fridge.  What a bad habit I have, and I only do it here, at home.  Just reverted back to that 😦  Then I went out to dinner with my best friend here.  It was nice to catch up in a form other than text message!

I started my day with more fridge eating… oh well… and skipped lunch in favor of a really long nap.  It was so hot today.  Definitely, not a Buffalo norm!

For dinner, my family all made contributions.

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My dad’s marinade on the chicken, my brother picked the green beans out at the store (big contribution, right?), my mom cooked it all, and I made the dressing and stuff that went into the spaghetti squash.  The other day, I made a dressing with 1 part EVOO, 2 parts lemon juice, basil and oregano and a bit of garlic salt.  I tossed half of the spaghetti squash (a large one), about two tablespoons of the dressing, and feta cheese.  It was a fabulous dinner.  Definitely had seconds thirds of the spaghetti squash… all the pleasure, none of the guilt

My mom and I have been planning to have a guacamole date this week and since I’m leaving Friday afternoon, we picked today.

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Yummy yummy guac, with hint of lime tortilla chips.  Everyone had some chips, only mom and I had guac (the boys are picky discerning).  Doesn’t the guac look gross?  Tasted fab though.

Then we watched some reality TV and the Philanthropist…. I’m loving this show, but that’s just because the topics/scenes/etc. touch my heart.  Makes me want to go work for Unicef one summer, teaching… I really need to do that, especially since I’m (basically) single (unmarried) and childless… Gotta work on that one!

Oh, no exercise… still waiting for the ankle to fully heal!

My Macbook is still at the Apple store- In the past two years I’ve had the display replaced once, and the hard drive twice (losing everything in the process), now they’re fixing the right shift key, the ethernet port and the case!  Eeek! Thank goodness for AppleCare!

Friday

As soon as I got up, I got some major work done, including a quiz and a test.  I didn’t stop to eat breakfast which was a mistake but my “brunch” made up for it.

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Two tortillas stuffed with lettuce, tomato, cucumbers, feta and a little raspberry walnut (I think) vinaigrette.  Fab!

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Since I was still hungry, I had a yogurt in my favorite flavor too!

Much, much, much later I made dinner-

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A frittata stuffed with feta, asparagus and a little carmelized onion.  Delicious.  There may or may not have been some french fries eaten later in the evening but they were camera shy 🙂

Friday was fab, in that I got to use these.

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Ahhhh! New shoes!

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I really used these fab Nike running shoes and went for a quick 2 mile run.

Later in the day, I mowed the lawn on the riding lawnmower (ob-v) and did some weeding.  I felt so farmer-ish… living outside of the city is so weird!

Ooo, and I played badmiton with my dad, and fell and twisted my ankle.  Totally worth it because I actually hit the birdie for once.  Thankfully, I’m practically pain free now!

Saturday.

I had a rush rush breakfast of ww pancakes then said goodbye to my computer, visited some people in the city, shop shop shopped with my dad and pretty much had a blast.

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Since we were out, I only managed a snack in the car instead of lunch.

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For dinner, I had rice and beans and eggplant parmesan.  They don’t neccessarily go together but it’s not like I can choose between the two.

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Sunday and Monday

I didn’t take any pictures 😳 The days were fabulous though… lots of Dad-isms and friend times.

Operation Beautiful:

I left two notes this weekend!

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Check out Caitlin‘s fab site for the other one 🙂

I think I’ve been forgetting that school deadlines don’t cease to exist just because I’m on vacay 😳  I’ve *tried* to get back on track today, and surely tomorrow will be another day full of reading and writing… Good times!

Last night, I made dinner for my mom and I…

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Kale chips + chickpea burgers. They were nothing to write home about.  I mean they were good but the recipe needs major tweaking.  My mom gave the meal an A+ but she was on the phone and not focused on eating, plus she’s my mom ya know.

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I did make this heart for the resident homegirl.  The ketchup really made the burgers shine, it was really a texture issue for me, not a flavor one.

Afterward I made a huge bowl of fruit- honeydew, pineapple and strawberries.  I ate about half of this!  Twas fabulous!

This morning I woke up at 8:30.  I got to work and did some reading and quiz taking until 10 and finally had breakfast.

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It was a hot mess but a delicious one!  Vanilla yogurt‘s under there with honeydew, strawberries and Pbu.  Let me just say, that lovely, curly headed Emily is a genious.  Peanut buttery goodness that covers every bite without a million calories worth of PB on your spoon.  Yum.  I sweetened mine with a hint of honey and it was perfection!

Much later, after not enough reading and too much blog surfing, I had  a quick lunch.

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Grilled cheese, adult carrots and fruit.  Yummy.  There’s nothing like plastic cheese to take you back to elementary school!

I went shopping with my mamasita and got so much stuff I can’t wait to show you!  Totally tops the thermometer I got at the outlets 😛 Before we left, I had a blueberry waffle.

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While out, we stopped at Panera.

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Can you believe I’d never been to Panera?  There’s one literally three blocks away from my place, and still never… I got a 1/2 Mediterranean Veggie sandwich and a 1/2 Greek Salad.  Yum.  I picked both for one reason, and one reason only, feta cheese.  My favorite!  My mother may have created a monster though because now I really want to try their other salads, sandwiches and soups.

She got her usual:

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1/2 tuna and 1/2 black bean soup.

Now, I’m curled up in bed, and I need to put the Macbook down, and pick up one of the many books I need to be reading…. But first… There are some fabulous giveways that I must share!

Melissa from For the Love of Health is giving away some great stuff, including a pink headband.
Melinda from Fit and Fabulous is giving away healthy-food coupons. If you’ve really wanted to try something but haven’t been willing to shell out the major $ some healthy items go for, then this is one for you!
Michelle from Lucky Tastebuds is having the mother of all giveways with things that will make your tastebuds quite lucky.  There’s even some ab-tastic Jay Robb in there *sigh*

Hmm, Melissa, Melinda & Michelle that’s cute. I’ve just discovered these ladies blogs and it’s worth the trip over there just to see their yummy eats and read their fabulous insights!

… And so we have!

Oh man, I’ve been so M.I.A. lately because my parents are in town.  It’s so fun to have them here… but along with family stuff (my grandma’s in town too) and school work, I’ve crawled into bed much too late for much else 😳

Anyway, Let’s start at the very beginning

Friday

Of course, I had juice again for breakfast- but this time it was plain ole apple juice.

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Umm, why was this less tasty then my version with celery?  It was still pretty good though.

I didn’t want to waste the pulp, so I used it to make something fiber-ful

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I used some chocolate protein powder, organic skim and water to make a very thick smoothie.  I ended up needing a spoon to enjoy it.  It was fabulous until I started chewwing on a stem… remind me to actually core the apple when I’m going to use the pulp from my juicer.  K?

Anyway, it was the 5th grader’s graduation later in the day so I ate the school catered lunch but it was eaten in bites while hugging and talking to my kids.  While I work with prekindergarten-ers.  All the kids at my school are my kids, and it was especially sad because they’re my “first” class.  I don’t even want to think about how many tears I’ll be shedding when my ’08/09 pre-k class graduates from the school 😥  I ate a turkey sandwich, lots of fruit, some kettle chips and shared a piece of carrot cake with a colleague.  I grabbed a chocolate chip cookie and ended up making that my dinner because I was so tired when I got home that I crashed!

Saturday

I woke up and vegged a bit and counted the minutes till my mami and daddy got in.  I finally had breakfast around noon.

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Cereal mix of course- Heritage Os, Clifford Crunch and PB Puffins. With more skim of course.

Then my parents finally got in and I took my mom to a special place she hadn’t been to yet.

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Whole Foods!  She got organic quinoa, couscous and rice milk.  She loved the hot bar, and she said she’d love to live near one so she could treat herself weekly.  I’m thinking you need to hook up with her Gliding Calm 😉

I had dinner with the family but was starving by then and pictures were not in the cards.  We had Kentucky Grilled Chicken.  I had half a biscuit and some coleslaw on the side.

Later, I had this beautifulness.

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Mmmm, Cold Oven Pound Cake made fresh by my grandma, using her mother’s recipe.  Perfection.

Sunday

We went to church but before  I hung out with my buddies at breakfast.

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Mickey and Minnie were made because I’m a child and refuse to make pancakes that aren’t shaped in some sort of way.  Lol.  I didn’t make the mix but it was sitting on the counter by the griddle ready to go as needed.  Yum yum yum!

After church, we went to a family friend’s house for lunch.  The family just moved from my parents area of NY to my area of MD, which is sad for my family but great for me!  The food was fab but the camera was in my dad’s car.  Bad Blogger Alert!

There was of course more homemade desserts had.

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A small slice of sweet potato pie and a not so small slice of pound cake.  It’s called pound cake because you gain a pound for every slice you eat.  Haha.

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Dinner was a small lamb chop and a salad. I had two platefuls of salad and added a smidge (less than half a Tbsp. total) of ranch dressing.

It was of course a fabulous day because I got to spend it with my family!

Monday

We got up at the crack of dawn so I could take my parents to school.  They got to meet the adults (meh) but none of the kids showed up 😥  I was sad but glad I grabbed them all for hugs on Friday.  After a boring few hours we went to my place to drop some things off and headed to my aunts (where we’re staying for the weekend).

Before school, I had something simple because my stomach was nervous and sad all at once.

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PB and honey on toast.

I had a small slice of cheese pizza that was in the back of my freezer at home, and snacked on a Kashi bar and a SF lime jello throughout the day.

I also had a small glass of Pinot Grigio

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Then we had the best, biggest dinner ever.

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There was corn on the cob, potatoes, asparagus, brisket, chicken and collards.
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I tried some of everything.  Half a potato (split with mom), a wing, a breast, and some veg.

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Then I had my corn which was FABULOUS!  Mmmmmmmmm.

Then I had seconds of asparagus, collards and some brisket (it’s spicy and fab also).  The chicken was made in my dad’s special marinade (surely featured later this week when I’m home in NY) and was the best ever.

There were more pies made today, and I did have a thin slice of cake earlier.

I know I’ve eaten a lot of desserts but really I haven’t eaten a lot as in too much.  I haven’t overdone it, even with cake slices because they were all thin, even the ‘large’ slice was about a half a slice in terms of what you’d traditionally serve (IMO).  Along with the fact, that I plan to keep it simple and hit my parents treadmill and their fabulous neighborhoods soon enough!

I know I haven’t been reading/commenting but I start at the top of my reader and those of you in the Ws have been neglected.  My bad!

My dad wanted to be featured on the blog, so of course I’ll oblige.

This is my dad’s dessert.

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This is my dad.

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Kinda makes you wish you were a boy, huh?


I’m an Hernandez not a Gonzales mis amores!  It is so late.  Why am I wide awake?

I’ll just do a quick recap which stinks since I just got THIS

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A Breville Juice Fountain Plus.  I had a Bloomindales gift certificate from my 21st birthday (yes from March ’08) and my mother graciously offered to pay the difference so now I have this beautiful thing to make me happy on a daily basis!

I took a little of this.

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Got a little of this.

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And drank all of that.  It was fabulous.  Mmmmm.  Now I need ideas for the pulp.  I know baking is one but doesn’t that mean that you have to carefully choose what you’re mixing?  I was thinking about taking the pulp and making a smoothie out of it with almond milk so I’ll get all those fabulous nutrients coursing through me, followed by fiber and healthy protein… I dunno.  We shall see.

Along with my juice, I made a fabulous breakfast- hot and satisfying but faster than oatmeal?

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Breakfast couscous of course!  I just simmered some organic skim, honey and cinnamon in a pot.  Threw in some couscous.  Covered it as I took apart my juicer to be washed and voila!  It smelled amazing.  On top I put dried apricots, dried cherries and slivered almonds.  Yum Yum Yum!

I had a lunch ready for today but was heading to the library to check out a book, only to discover it didn’t open till right when my lunch break ended.  Great.  I was dreading my packed lunch so I decided to save it (it’s just a frozen meal) and get what I really wanted.

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Yummy, Turkey, Provolone, Lettuce, Tomato & a little mayo.  I used to load up on veggies which is fabulous and wise but lately, I just want to taste tukey + cheese and little else.  On the side I had Baked! Lays, sour cream and onion of course!

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I came home and got into a groove and didn’t want to pause… so I kept moving with all my boundless energy and cleaned up my place a bit.  It’s looking pretty good!  I took a break around 8:00 to eat dinner.

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Pretty simple- chunky tomato soup with White Cheddar Artisan crackers on the side.

I’m happy to report that I am still happy.  I find myself very content and I know it has a lot to do with regaining control over my eating habits.  Now I just need to commit to hitting the gym more regularly and we’ll be all set.

I’ve also decided that I will only have two kinds of days: Good or Great.  I get to decide how my day will begin and how it will end.  The parts in the middle are sometimes out of my control but they will not define the entire day.  I will make wise, healthy decisions so that I define each and every day.

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