Tuesday, June 25, 2013

a story about lemons

It all started when my dad came to visit for a few days.

burgers and custard at BURGERFI

That's when I decided I was going to show him my new city the best way I know how.
Which is obviously to eat my way through it.

seafood at Norman's Landing

And boy, did we eat.

brunch at Flying Biscuit Cafe

This is only three of the seven times we dined out.

That's right.

What I forgot to mention is that I am going on vacation in a week.
Actually, more like three days.

And I have to fit into a bikini.

Let the panic ensue.

So I started doing research.

Don't get me wrong.
I'm not expecting to be a size 2 in a mere three days.

But after dining out for days, I figured it couldn't hurt to take this pre-vacation week to fill my diet with fruits, veggies, yogurt, and hummus.
No fried or processed foods in sight over here.
No breads either.
Not for the week, at least.

But what about hydration?

I could not bring myself to do another 2 Day Detox.
Sorry, Arden's Garden, I like food too much to put myself through that again anytime soon.

And then I found it.

Did you know hot water with lemon had a ton of great health benefits?

For example:

*It boosts your immune system - Lemons have a ton of Vitamin C, known to stimulate and strengthen the immune system.

*Natural diuretic - Hot water with lemon increases urination, which can help with UTIs and get rid of bloat.  {Bikini tip of the year!}

*Flushes out toxins - Lemons aid in ridding your system of toxins, which can reduce acne, make skin appear brighter and healthier, and help the body burn excess fat quicker.  Reason number 500 to cut down on non-organic food and add some lemon into your diet!

*Aids in weight loss - Lemons help fight hunger cravings, making this the perfect drink to sip at your desk during the inevitable 2:00 slump.  Anyone?  Just me?

These are just a few of the health benefits hot lemon water offers.
I tried to narrow it down to a few of my favorites so as not to bombard you with a novel's worth of info.

Although that might be a novel I could write and/or read.

After reading all of that, how could I not run to Costco and buy a five pound bag of lemons?
I mean, I basically had to.
My bikini depends on it!

{And lets be honest, the leftovers can go in the tequila sangria I'm making at the beach next week...}

To make your own hot lemon water, add the juice of half a lemon to a cup of boiling water, stir, and enjoy!

Is anyone else as relieved as me to hear there's a way to kill bloat before heading to the beach?

Lemons for the win!

Monday, June 17, 2013

sticky s'more popcorn balls

I don't know about you, but I'm in a rut.

Like clockwork, this happens every year mid-summer.
I get the travel bug and start feeling sorry for myself.

Why must I go to work 40 hours a week?  Why can't I live near a beach?  Why can't I be one of those bloggers that spends their days/weeks traveling, discovering new foods, and attempting to recreate said foods in their own kitchens at home?

This is the conversation I have with myself every year.

{You don't have to say it...I realize it's first world problems all over the place in here.}

Seriously though, being an adult is so overrated.

In a perfect world I'd stop paying bills and spend all my money eating cheese and drinking wine in Paris and/or learning how to make the perfect pizza in Italy.

In a perfect world.

But since {unfortunately} I live in the real world, I'll just take a deep breath and do what every self-respecting woman does when she's feeling low...

Eat chocolate.

recipe via my new obsession, The Chew

Things you'll need:

6 cups popped popcorn {I used a little over 1/2 cup of kernels and it was the perfect amount}
1 10.5-oz. bag mini marshmallows 
3-4 tbsp light butter
2 cups Golden Grahams cereal
1 3.9-oz packet of instant chocolate pudding

***Note: Make sure your instant chocolate pudding is 3.9 ounces! The sugar free packets at my store were only half that, so you can either get two of those or one of the regular!


Pop six cups of popcorn.
To do this, I used a little over 1/2 a cup of Trader Joe's organic kernels, 2-3 tbsp vegetable oil, and a dash of sea salt.
Heat slowly over medium heat until first kernel pops.
Cover quickly and move the pot back and forth over the heat until popping ceases.
Pour popcorn in a bowl and set aside.

In a large pot, melt butter and add bag of mini marshmallows.
Slowly heat on low and stir until marshmallows are melted and smooth.

Add packet of chocolate pudding mix.
Stir until completely incorporated.

Add popcorn and graham cracker cereal to the pot, and slowly stir to incorporate.
Be careful not to crush the popcorn too much!

Spray a little cooking spray on your hands, and form the balls.
Put them in fridge for 20-30 minutes to cool.
Serve and enjoy!

I found them to be a little too stiff after 30 minutes in the fridge, so I stored them in a Tupperware container on the counter.
At room temperature they are chewy and delicious!
And coincidentally taste a lot like a s'more...if s'mores had popcorn in them.

I made these on a particularly stormy Friday night, and Joe and I ate them curled up on the couch watching Warm Bodies.
The perfect movie night snack!

Side note: Warm Bodies was actually really good.  We love us a good zombie movie.

What do you do when you're in a rut?

Please tell me I'm not the only one that thinks chocolate is the answer.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

let's talk lunch

Today we're talking lunch.

As much as I love dining out, I really hate wasting it on lunch.

Don't get me wrong.
I love the occasional weekday lunch date with Joe, or lunching on the weekend with friends.

But let's be honest.
As a woman that works at a desk all day, eating out for lunch everyday is just not realistic if I want to look decent in a bathing suit this summer.
Point blank.

So, lately I've been exploring my options and trying to come up with delicious things to eat that won't pack on the pounds right before beach season.

This week's experiment: chipotle chicken salad.

It had me at 'chiptole.'

recipe adapted via
Things you'll need:

For salad:

1 1/2 heads romaine lettuce
2 chicken breasts, diced and grilled
sea salt, chili powder, paprika, and cayenne {to taste, for seasoning chicken}
1 can sweet corn, no salt added, drained and rinsed
1 can organic black beans, drained and rinsed
1 roma tomato, diced {or cherry tomatoes, cut in half}
1 avocado, diced

For dressing:

2/3 cup light sour cream
1/3 cup fresh chopped cilantro
2-4 chopped chipotle chiles, canned in adobo sauce {the more you use, the spicier it'll be!}
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
juice of one small lime
1/4 tsp sea salt

Dice chicken and season with chili powder, paprika, sea salt, and cayenne.
Cook in a skillet for 5-8 minutes, until cooked thoroughly.
Combine chicken and salad ingredients in a large bowl.
Stir all dressing ingredients together {I did it all the container the sour cream came in - easy!}.
If you're serving immediately, pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.
I sealed the salad and the dressing in their own airtight containers so that I could take a portion for lunch the rest of the week.

So easy, right?!

And this dressing is so good, ya'll.
I really want to make burgers or tacos this weekend and slather them in it.
Don't be surprised if I do, just sayin.

If you're interested in the nutritional info {which I definitely am}, feel free to head over here and check it out.

249 calories for 2 1/2 cups of salad?
Are you serious?

Your welcome, bikini.

What have you been up to lately?
I feel like I've had barely any time to gather my thoughts and blog lately!

Not that I mind being busy.
Bring on the summer fun.

Last weekend I finally got the mojito I had been craving for the last three months.
About time!

Totally worth the wait.

My dear friend, Kayla, and her boyfriend kept me company while Joe was working and took me to my first Braves game of the season.
Now it officially feels like summer.

The Braves won {and I got excited about baseball for the first time ever, ha}, and afterwards there was a RUN DMC concert on the field!
We couldn't hear too well from our seats, but it was amazing seeing Turner Field in the dark!

These two continue to kill me with their cuteness.

I attempted my first salmon dish.
The sauce was on point and will be shared here in the coming future...
As soon as I can figure out how to properly make salmon without overcooking it to the point that it's impossible to take a photo of the inside without being embarrassed.

Baby steps, people.

image via

And finally, my friends and I decided to start our book club back up.
I am so excited about this, mostly because I am horrible at choosing what to read on my own.
This is our first book choice - opinions?
If anyone has read it, please share your thoughts with me!

Tonight, J and I are headed to The Fox Theater to hop in a time machine that will take us back to our high school days.

Also known as: we're going to see The Postal Service.

I'll be back soon to tell the tale of how Ben Gibbard and I became the best of friends...
Since obviously that is going to happen.