Chocolate Chip Banana Bread!

Even though I eat half a banana almost every day for breakfast, I never seem to be able to eat the whole bunch before the get overly ripe…making them perfect for banana bread!

I am usually a “by-the-recipe” kind of girl, but I’ve decided to trust my instincts and see what I can come up with.  In the process I broke a pepper shaker.  Huge mess. 😦

…this was after I vacuumed up most of the pepper and glass.

First I mixed a 1/2 cup of butter and a cup of sugar (splenda actually).  Note to others and self: sticks of butter in silver colored wrapping will most likely spark in the microwave (aluminum perhaps–its been a long day!).  The butter also won’t soften…lesson learned.

Then I mashed up too very ripe bananas in a bowl and added about a teaspoon of lemon juice.  I also sprinkled a little bit of cinnamon and nutmeg in the bowl. 

I blended two eggs in to the sugar/butter mixture.  Then I added a splash of vanilla and a scoop of Peanut Butter & Co. White Chocolate PB.

In another bowl, I mixed a cup of flour, a cup of whole wheat flour, about 3 teaspoons of baking powder, and a little bit of salt.

I added the flour mixture to the rest of the ingredients and then stirred in a half bag of chocolate chips.  Yummm…I may or may not have licked the spoon and the bowl 😀

The mixture seemed pretty thick, but I went ahead and put it in a loaf pan.  It is currently in the oven at 375…I’ll let you all know how it turns out!

Do you all stick strictly to recipes?  What kinds of ingredients do you swap in or out?

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Emerald City

I searched all over Raleigh today to find a dress for our engagement party on Saturday.  I didn’t really need a new dress, but I really wanted one :).  Most of the stores had their fall clothes out, and there were tons of gorgeous sweaters but not very many dresses.  Because our party falls on the first official weekend of fall (and it is still above 90 degrees),  I wanted to find something that would be comfortable but not too summery.

I am in love with the dress that I found!  It is silk and emerald green, and it has an amazing back (that you can still wear a normal bra with!).  I actually tried on the same one in blue earlier in the day, but that store didn’t have my size.  The emerald green was even better because I already have so many blue dresses.  Obviously it was fate (although A might disagree).

Here is the front:

And the back:

I am always hesitant to buy silk, anything with embellishments or any other items of clothing that I could easily destroy.  I decided to do a little bit of research on how to take care of silk garments.

  • Dry cleaning is usually recommended for silk garments, but make sure that your dry cleaner knows to how to clean silk and that it needs to be separate from other rougher garments
  • Handwashing is another method for washing silk.  Use a very mild detergent like Woolite or baby shampoo and maintain a lukewarm water temperature.  Rinse with cool water.
  • Only machine wash if the machine has a special setting for silk.
  • Stains can often be treated in water with a few tablespoons of white vinegar.  For grease stains, sprinkly the area with talcum powder and lay the stained part of the garment on a paper towel until you can get it to a dry cleaner.  (Sounds like first aid to me!)
  • To dry silk, roll it up in a towel and press out the excess water.  Hang fine silk to dry and lay heavier silks flat while they dry.
  • Silk should only be ironed when damp.  Add moisture with a damp cloth and use a low iron setting without steam on the reverse side of the garment.

**I am just going to try to keep all of my silk very clean!  (I should probably find a dry cleaner that I trust too since they call me “Messy Jessie”) 😀

I was so busy running around today (and my pb oats kept my so full!) that I never really got hungry for lunch.  So, I had a pumpkin spice latte.  It was perfect and very fall-like on this 90 degree day.

Thank you, I did “enjoy,” Starbucks barista.  (Please ignore the gum!)

Ofcourse by about 3 o’clock I was very hungry.  Luckily I had a cashew cookie Larabar with me!

My family went out to dinner tonight at one of our usual places to celebrate my cousins birthday.  My family loves food and loves to eat.

We started off with fried pickle chips.  So good, but so greasy.

I had a spinach salad with bacon and warm bacon poppyseed dressing for my meal.  I get it every single time.  It’s so good that I don’t even want to try anything else.

Yup, I definitely won.

We usually get dessert too, but the restaurant was almost completely out of all of their desserts (the nerve!).  So I came home and finished off the bag of m&m’s we had.  My tummy doesn’t feel too good, but I was ultimately doing us a favor, right?! (Hmm, guess I probably should have just gotten rid of them!)  Now I am going to go bake some bread while I wait for A to get home.

Are you all able to keep sweets in the house?  (I usually just end up eating them all, but it can be very hard to resist buying them!)

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Productivity, Schmoductivity

It is 9:30 am, and I am still sitting in bed.  Sitting, but still in bed.  It never ceases to amaze me how I can spend hours on my computer without actually doing anything.  And I have lots to do today.  So I need to get productive.

I did not do my early morning workout today because I am pretty sore from the last few days.  (I have worked out 3 mornings in a row!!)  My obliques are so sore from the “6 pack abs” video that I did yesterday from Exercise TV on demand (the video that I thought was cheesy and dumb, oops).  I’m not usually sore in my obliques though, so I am enjoying the feeling!! I did get up and walk the dogs this morning…trying to get them some more exercise too!

I think that they have the right idea now though…

They love when Mom is being lazy :).

I started off the morning with a cup of coffee in my “let it snow” mug (I really do not like cold weather or snow, by the way).

Which I enjoyed while I updated my calendar and to-do list.  Then I decided to get creative with my oats this morning.  I started with this:

And I ended up with all of this:

And came up with my delicious breakfast:

I used:

  • 1/3 cup of oats
  • 1/3 cup of sweetened vanilla almond milk
  • half of a banana, mashed up
  • a sprinkle of bare naked fit vanilla granola
  • a scoop of white chocolate wonderful peanut butter

I cleaned my bowl 🙂

I have spent so time over the last few years counting calories that it really is a habit.  I made a concious effort this morning to use all of the ingredients in moderation because I want to be less obsessive over calories.  I am still aware of the calories, but I am trying hard to trust my body to tell me when I’ve had enough (while remembering appropriate serving sizes).

Ok, well its time to get productive… I need to:

  • Go to the UPS Store
  • Write a paper
  • Read several articles
  • Buy some new makeup (which I have been putting off because it is so expensive! But the drugstore stuff just isn’t cutting it anymore.)
  • Order a cake for Saturday
  • Pick up a prescription
  • Pick up the house
  • Do my Stats homework
  • And get something for my cousin for his birthday (which is today…and I have to pick him up from school at 2:30!)
  • Try to get a workout in!

So I better get moving! Hope you all have a great day 😀

Do you all count calories? How do you moderate portion sizes?

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Freaky Eaters

If you have not watched the show Freaky Eaters on TLC, please do.  First of all there is a nutritionist on the show named “Dr. JJ Virgin.”  Yes, I am 23 years old, and I giggle every time they say her name.  The people featured on the show have “addictions” to different foods.  I have seen “Addicted to Sugar,” which I think is probably actually possible (although the lady ate candy bars all day long and she was not obese), but tonight we watched “Addicted to Fries” and “Addicted to Pizza.”  I cannot comprehend how someone can eat only fries, only fries three times a day.  I feel the same way about the pizza.  No one on the show is extremely overweight, but how do they not get sick of that food? It gives me chills to think about.

We had a great dinner (thanks to A’s grilling skills), but I was so distracted by the show that I forgot to take a picture of my dinner until I was all done.  We had ribeyes with A’s special seasoning that he swears he can’t recreate (so many different things in it) and grilled tomatoes and onions that we brushed with olive oil, seasoned and wrapped in foil.  We also each had a glass of Prosecco (my new fave…thanks mom!) on the back deck while the food was on the grill.  I know it’s early, but fall is easily my favorite season.

So here is my plate after the meal (I’m a little bit picky about any fat on meat)…

And I was still a little bit full from all of the m&m’s that I ate this afternoon.  And here is A’s plate…

Chefs should definitely like their own cooking 😀

After dinner we played a little bit of wii golf and then parked our butts back on the couch.  We are working on the whole “eating-at-the-table-and-watching-less-tv” thing, but we are most definitely a work in progress :).  Now to start the homework that I’ve been putting off all day…yuck. 

Kali wants to help me…she’s such a sweetie-pie.

Has any one seen the show Freaky Eaters?  I am very interested to hear other opinions about the show…

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Serious Sweet Tooth

I love chocolate.  So much.  Toooo much. (As I write this I am sitting here munching from a bag of m&ms that is waaay too big.)

I could take or leave most any food, but not sweets.  Cakes, cookies, pies, icecream…I don’t like to keep anything of the “dessert” nature in our house because I will find it. And I will eat it. All of it.

I had class this morning at 9.  Well, I thought I had class then, but there was a note on the door of my classroom that said my professor was out sick.  Frustrating, but I had to meet with a group in an hour, so I wasn’t too upset.  (And I didn’t read the story that I was supposed to for class, so it was probably a good thing)

And I worked out this morning! Go Jessie…3 days in a row!!  Mornings are definitely the time that I am most likely to work out.  I recently discovered Exercise TV on demand.  Its like having a schmorgas board of gym classes to choose from each morning.  Today I did “10lb slimdown blast” and “6 pack abs.”  The abs video was a little bit cheesy (and I was kind of disappointed that I didn’t get to lay down the whole time), but I like the 10lb Slimdown videos with Chris Freytag.  She’s motivating and energetic but not annoying.

By the time I finished working out I was definitely hungry.  I considered oatmeal, but I couldn’t resist peanut butter and banana on toast again.  It just goes so well with my coffee.

I started out with some of this delicious whole wheat bread from the Fresh Market…

   And I added some of this…

Delicious.  And I ended up with a fantastic breakfast.

…I usually put a little bit more banana on my toast, but the half left over from yesterday was pretty pathetic.  Coffee was perfect, as usual (thank you keurig).

I had an apple pie flavored Larabar for a midmorning snack, so I wasn’t hungry until about 1 this afternoon.   For lunch I had ceasar salad with shredded chicken (leftovers from last night) in a whole wheat pita and some carrots and hummus.

Please excuse my paper plate 🙂 I snuck a few extra carrots too.

Then this afternoon I got in to these…

I really should not allow bags like this in my house (they are leftovers from a party).  So much for that morning workout… :/

Do you have any foods that you consider a weakness?

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Welcome! My name is Jessie… I am 23, born and raised in North Carolina, and I am trying to finish up school while making a little bit of money and planning a wedding.  I am also committing myself, my fiance and our two dogs (they’re going to do more walking :)) to a healthier lifestyle.

Over the last few years I’ve taken up an interest in health and fitness, but my goals revolved around weight-loss and attaining the “perfect body.”  (What  is the perfect body anyway?!) Since I was 15, I have gone through too many cycles of weight loss and gain too count.  (I definitely did not go about it in the healthiest ways, but more on that later.)   Now that I am getting married and hoping to start a family in a few years, I want to make being fit and healthy an important part of our lives.  I want to live a very long and healthy and happy life with A, my fiance, and our kids, and I want us to be able to model good habits for our future children.

I have finally realized that being healthy and fit is not about dieting or restricting.  I’ve learned that I have to stop listening to that voice in my head telling me that I am “too fat” and “not good enough.”  I’ve stopped weighing myself daily and letting the number on the scale determine my mood for the day.  I am determined to enjoy every single day; and, to do that, I want to feel the best that I possibly can every day.

I realized that we needed to make a change when A and I started to make a habit of getting home from work each day and laying on the couch while we ate for four hours until we went to bed.  And even though we were getting plenty of sleep (we are almost always in bed by 9:30), we were both exhausted every evening.  I was also having trouble sleeping and going to the bathroom (I know, TMI, sorry).  I could honestly picture us in a few years, still sitting on the couch, eating, watching TV, and too tired and grumpy to play with our kids.  (Our family WILL sit down to dinner at the table together.)

So, we have still been sitting on the couch watching TV and eating dinner (working on that!), but it really is an adjustment to go from living by yourself to living with your significant other–mainly in eating patterns!  I’ve really taken an interest in cooking over the last few months too, but, except for dinner, I was eating mostly Lean Cuisines, candy (at work), FiberOne bars, and Zone bars.  My stomach was bloated all the time, and I had no energy to work out (I literally didn’t work out for 2 or 3 months).  I finally came to the realization that I wasn’t eating real FOOD, and I was eating almost no fruits or vegetables.  I think it really hit me when I thought my hair was starting to fall out…I blamed that on a lack of nutrients, and then I found out that several people I knew were very sick.  In reality my hair was just parted in my ponytail funny (yes, I am slightly a hypochondriac), but I decided that we HAD to start eating better and being more active.  I had also heard A say, “I’m fat” a few too many times (he is not the least bit fat), but our habits needed to change.

I am going to chronicle our food and fitness lifestyle makeover (and probably a few other things too).  I am going to cook and learn to slow-down and enjoy real food.  I am also going to stop looking at working out as “chore”…I am so blessed to be able to be active, and we need to take an active approach to our health. 

Have you had any health “wake-up” calls?

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