A Very Tasty Pinterest Fail {Homemade Bread 101}

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EasyItalianBreadRecipe

I had no idea how easy it was to make delicious homemade bread! I imagined a laborious, time-consuming project that had a high risk of failing if not properly executed. (I tend to over-think things, like imagining dramatic results over something as simple and common as a loaf of bread. It didn’t rise! The horror!) In reality, it’s pretty simple. And I found a recipe so fail-proof that -even when I screwed it up- made a tasty loaf of bread.

Growing up, our best meals were always accompanied by a loaf of fresh Italian bread. Don’t get it twisted, my mom didn’t make bread (save for a few unfortunate months when she utilized her then-new bread machine. Eh.). It just didn’t take much to hop down to the grocery store and return a few minutes later with a freshly baked loaf. Well, now that I live in the country, my current location does not allow for such luxuries. I set out to find a way to stock our pantry with fresh, crusty, chewy bread that didn’t include spending almost two hours in the car.

Armed with my new KitchenAid stand mixer (thank you, Santa), I scoured the wonderful world of Pinterest for a bread recipe. I’d tried a few in the past, but was never very impressed with the results. My go-to bread/dinner roll recipe was a loaf of Rhodes frozen white bread with olive oil, sea salt, and rosemary sprinkled on top of it. Yummy for sure, but I hoped I could do better. I finally stumbled across this recipe over at Pass the Sushi, and decided to give it a shot. {Sidenote: how cute is that blog? Thank you Pinterest, for giving me another great blog to enjoy.}

My first loaf turned out great. It was golden and crunchy – but not hard – on the outside, and chewy and perfect on the inside. Mr. B and I devoured it in record time, so I set out to make another. This time, overly confident in my new-found baker skills, I didn’t read the recipe quiiiite as carefully as I should have. I added too much water to the sponge and ended up with a sticky, gooey mess that didn’t exactly have the consistency of bread dough. To compensate, I added more flour. Much to my surprise, it still worked! It made a much larger loaf, which added more fluffy goodness to compliment the crusty edges of each slice.

My whoopsie made a much bigger loaf than I wanted/needed. Like, it overflowed over the edges of the baking sheet. Opps. But, after a little bit of experimenting, I was able to figure out just the right size loaf. So here you go. Step-by-step instructions for a deliciously homemade, crusty, braided Italian bread. You’re welcome.

First, we need to make the sponge starter: In a large bowl combine 2 cups flour, 1 cup water, and 1/4 teaspoon yeast. Cover the bowl with a towel and set in a warm place. Let this rest for about an hour. It will be ready when it has formed lots of bubbles and looks like this:   (The recipe I used said to let the sponge rest 12-16 hours, but that was far too long. It may be because I used quick-rise yeast, but my sponge was ready in about 2-3 hours.)

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When your sponge is good and bubbly (like in the photo above), mix in 3/4 cup water. Mix in 1 1/2 tsp. salt and the rest of the yeast packet (about 2 tsp.). Then add in 3 cups of flour, one cup at a time. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes (3 minutes if you are using a stand mixer), adding the remaining flour as needed to form a smooth, slightly sticky dough.

Roll the ball of dough around in a greased bowl and cover with a clean towel.

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Set in a warm place to rise until doubled in size (about 1-2 hours). (I usually set mine by the fireplace.)

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Once or twice during the rising, fold the sides of the dough into the center and turn the dough over. This helps develop the gluten and distribute the yeast’s food. Divide the dough into three equal parts, rolling each into a thick rope.

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Braid the ropes, pinch the ends together and gently tuck them under the loaf to secure the braid.

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Place the braided loaf on a greased baking sheet and cover loosely with greased plastic wrap (waxed paper works well also). Allow to rise in a warm place about one hour, or until doubled in size.

Beat together 1 egg white and 1 Tbsp. water. Brush the loaf with the egg white mixture.

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Bake at 425 degree for 25-35 minutes until golden brown. Enjoy!

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Our Christmas Festivities Lasted an Entire Week

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While I won’t be disassembling the Christmas tree or packing up the holiday decorations until after the first of the year, it seems the Christmas season is officially over. {sad face.}

This year, our Christmas celebration lasted an entire week. Since we both have multiple, separate families to spend holiday time with, it would be impossible for Mr. B and I to spend quality time with everyone in one or two days.

We started the Sunday before Christmas, with a ham dinner at our house with Mr. B’s mom, grandmother, sister, and future brother-in-law. We spent the evening sitting around eating, drinking, and catching up. Even though they all live nearby, we don’t get together often enough, so it was great to see everyone.

Monday night I ventured back to my hometown for dinner with my dad to spend the night at his house. Christmas Eve morning my dad and I woke up before the sun to head to Pittsburgh’s Strip District. This is one of the coolest parts of Christmas, so it’s totally worth getting up at the asscrack of dawn. We got to Pennsylvania Macaroni Co. around 6 am, and joined about 4 million other folks in the pursuit of fresh Italian goodies for our Christmas feast.

This is the line at the bulk cheese  at PennMac at about 6:30 am on Christmas Eve. It looks crowded and miserable, but in reality everyone is in a great, festive mood.

This is the line at the bulk cheese at PennMac at about 6:30 am on Christmas Eve. It looks crowded and miserable, but in reality everyone is in a festive, friendly mood. AND DO YOU SEE ALL THAT CHEESE?! Happiness. Pure happiness.

After purchasing (for 4 people, mind you) no less than 5.5 pounds of cheese, 2 gallons of olive oil, 4 sticks of Margherita pepperoni, I have no idea how much deli meat, plus some stuffed olives and sundried tomatoes for good measure, we figured we should probably find some breakfast.

You know how they say you shouldn’t go grocery shopping on an empty stomach? That’s some solid advice.

Maybe we’ll try that next year.

Eh. Doubt it.

Anyway, breakfast was ah-mazing. This pretty much sums it up:

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Afterwards, we meandered to the spice store, the pepperoni roll cart (from Sunseri Brothers, naturally, because I couldn’t settle for one that wasn’t bigger than my head. Duh.), the wine shop, the sausage shop, and of course, the bakery for some fresh Italian bread. If you couldn’t already tell, we like food.

We eventually headed home for naps and to meet up with Mr. B, who had to work that morning and wasn’t able to join us on our little shopping excursion. That night my dad made his famous “dad’s spaghetti” for us. It’s not your typical spaghetti, it’s actually penne in olive oil with banana peppers, hot sausage, sundried tomatoes, and broccoli. IT’S DELICIOUS. But it’s also super spicy, so Mr. B had steak.

The rest of the evening was spent drinking, laughing at Joey, and exchanging gifts. My cousin had planned on visiting with us, but she wasn’t able to squeeze us in to her schedule after all. (No worries, I got to spend the entire weekend with her, which is way better than an hour or two.)

Early Christmas morning, Mr. B and I headed back to our house to exchange our gifts. We bummed around the house watching Christmas movies and swearing we’d never eat ever again. Then we took a little nap and ate some leftovers.

Christmas bums.

Christmas bums, enjoying a little snuggle sesh.

Christmas evening we ventured across the farm for dinner with Mr. B’s dad’s family. We ate more and watched the little kids play games. Some how, Mr. B got pulled into a game. I’m not clear on the objective of this particular game, but it involved putting cookies on his head.

Our final Christmas gathering took place last night, when my cousins came up for dinner.

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Nate was here this summer, and Tyler is going to school nearby so we get to see him all the time these days, but I hadn’t seen their sister, Danielle, in about 5 years. She actually spent the weekend with Mr. B and I, and her brothers joined us yesterday. Before they moved across the country, Dani was my little buddy, and I’ve missed her so much.  It was so nice to see her again and spend some quality time with her. She’s not exactly my mini-me anymore (since she’s as tall as me these days), but she’s even cooler than I remembered. Hopefully, it won’t be another five years before I see her again.

Even though I’m sad that it is over, it was a wonderful Christmas. The entire week was filled with fun, food, and lots of love and laughter. I can’t wait to do it all again next year.

How did you spend your holiday? Has anyone else sworn off eating for the rest of forever?

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Cindi’s Pumpkin Rolls

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I have a love/hate relationship with fall. I really, really hate when summer goes away, but I love boots and scarves and warm apple cider…and pumpkin rolls.

My mom makes the most amazing pumpkin rolls. So naturally, I had to get the recipe from her, make a whole pile of pumpkin rolls, and share the awesomeness with you guys.

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Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2/3 c. canned pumpkin
  • 1 t. lemon juice
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 2 t. cinnamon
  • 1 t. ginger
  • 1/2 t. nutmeg
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 3/4 c. flour

Mix dry ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. In medium mixing bowl, beat the eggs on high speed for 5 minutes. Add sugar and beat. Add pumpkin and lemon juice and beat. Mix in dry ingredients and beat until smooth.

Line a jelly roll pan with wax paper, spray with non-stick cooking spray. Pour batter into pan and spread evenly.

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Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, watching to make sure the edges don’t burn.

Spread out a clean kitchen towel and sprinkle liberally with powdered sugar.

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(This gets messy, so if you have a puppy on hand, invite him to clean the spilled powdered sugar off of the floor.)

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When the cake is finished baking, flip it over onto the sugared towel and gently remove wax paper.

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Roll the cake up in the towel, and let cool.

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While the roll is cooling, combine the following ingredients to make the filling:

  • 1 c. powdered sugar
  • 3 oz. cream cheese (softened)
  • 4 T. butter (softened)
  • 1/2 T. vanilla extract

Beat until smooth and fluffy. Try to refrain from eating the filling by the spoonful. (It won’t be easy.)

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Once the roll is cool, gently unroll and spread an even layer of filling on the cake.

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Roll it back up. Wrap in foil and refrigerate to thicken the filling. (Or freeze it, I keep mine in the freezer.)

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Enjoy!

What is your favorite fall treat/recipe?


Chef Chris, The Culinary Rockstar

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My weekend started on Thursday. It was an accident (oops!), but whatever. It was supposed to be a long weekend anyway, right? Happy Labor Day, yo!

Remember how I was all kinds of excited about Savor Pittsburgh because it was going to be an awesome night?

My brother, the Executive Chef/General Manager at Table, was competing in the charity culinary competition. Chris is an amazing chef, who always creates the most ah-mazing dishes, so I was confident there’d be fabulous food. Plus, I love watching him cook. He’s so creative and confident, and he always looks like he’s having a ball. And since my brother used the phrase “all you can drink” when telling me about the event, I was certain it would be a blast.

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I was SO right.

My parents, our buddy Ryan, my BFF Jess and I got all dolled up and headed downtown early Thursday evening. When we arrived, we grabbed a glass of champagne and made a bee-line for Table’s booth.

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Chris and his crew were buzzing away, preparing plates for judging.

 

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This was Chris’s creation:

 

Seared scallops glazed with bourbon-infused teryaki over a wasabi-dusted wonton and fried rice

Seared scallops glazed with bourbon-infused teryaki over a wasabi-dusted wonton and fried rice

After checking in on the little bro, and realizing he was crazy-busy, we set out to explore the rest of the event.

We ate and ate and drank and drank:

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1// Corn custard with shrimp and mango* – delish! Who knew corn custard was a thing?

2// Pico de gallo from Verde Mexican Kitchen and Cantina – the freshest-tasting thing I have ever put in my mouth!

3// Grape leaves and hummus and something pickled that was sooo tasty!*

4// My dad getting a drink at the Tito’s Homemade Vodka display

*I’d love to give the creators of these dishes credit, but my parents just handed me plates, so I have no idea where they came from, or what the pickled goodness was. 

A good time was had by all, but that was just beginning. The real party started when this happened:

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The scallop dish that this kid…

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…and the Table team served won the award for Best Entree!!

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So naturally my dad, aided by his good friends Excitement and Vodka, stole made sure Chris didn’t forget to take the sign from the display table home with him. Obviously, everyone had to pose together with the stolen remembered sign, lest they forget where they work.

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Then we danced,

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and laughed,

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and celebrated,

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and danced some more.

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Then we moved the celebration to the bar, where even more ridiculousness happened.

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But, hey, at least Mom now has some good photos of the kids for this year’s Christmas card.

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Congratulations, Bud! All of your hard work paid off and we couldn’t be prouder!!

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Sami's Shenanigans

Let’s Try Again Tomorrow

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I’m like a little kid on Christmas Eve today.

In just a few hours, I’m making my way downtown for Savor Pittsburgh, an outdoor charity event in the Southside area of the ‘Burgh. There, chefs (including my brother!!) will be competing for “Dish of the Year” while raising money for Magee-Women’s Research Instititute and Foundation.

Sadly, Mr. B isn’t able to join me tonight, but I will be in attendance with my parents and our friend Ryan. Adding to this excitement, I just found out that my BFF, Jess, is joining us. YAY!!!

So, let’s recap: I get to dress up, eat great food, drink yummy booze, spend time with friends and family, help raise money for a great cause and cheer on the little bro while he does his rockstar-chef thing. See why I couldn’t get my head straight long enough to come up with a decent post topic? Sorry about that.

I knew this would be the case, which is why I had every intention of writing a post last night… but then I started messing with my blog design and then, well, the post writing didn’t happen. But look! My post titles are now a color that doesn’t hurt your eyes! That gross brown menu bar is a thing of the past! And I managed to figure out image-mapping enough to make a pretty new – functioning! – header. I was on a such roll last night, that I never did stop and write today’s post. Content, schmontent. I made pretties.

The header was one of the goals on my Thing To Learn list, so I’m stoked I was able to check off my first item so soon. I promise to post all about how I did it very soon, but right now, I have to go get pretty for this evening’s festivities.

Peace out, homies.

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17 in 17

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There are 17 full weeks left in 2013, did you know that? Yep, there are. There isn’t anything overly-significant about that, except that I’m making a list of short-term goals, and the end of the year seems like a good finish line.

See, last week I stumbled across this amazing post over at Kayli Wanders. She created a list of goals for herself, but instead of things she wanted to do, her list was all about things she hopes to learn. That’s totally genius, right? So naturally, I had to borrow the idea.

My goal is to learn 17 new things over the next 17 weeks. What would I like to learn? So glad you asked!

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1// How to make Hollandaise sauce. I hear it’s a little tricky, but I want to master it!

2// How to re-purpose a large piece of furniture. I have a children’s desk that I’m hoping to turn into a wet bar. It’s a lofty goal, I know. It’s been sitting in my basement for months now, it’s time I learn to do something with it!

3// How to polish a copper tea kettle. My grandmother gave me a really cool old tea kettle, but it’s very tarnished. I want to learn how to shine it up so it looks prettier in my kitchen.

4// How to take better photographs indoors. I know indoor/artificial lighting isn’t ideal, but since it’s unavoidable sometimes, I want to learn how to improve my technique.

5// How to play fantasy football. My friend talked me into signing up for my first ever fantasy football tournament, but I have no clue what I’m doing – yet!

6// The basics of dog agility. As I’ve mentioned before, I’d like to learn how to do this with Joey, so it’s on the list.

7// How to create a custom blog header with image mapping. There are a few things I’d like to spruce up around here, and my header is one of them. A few weeks ago, Sarah over at Venus Trapped in Mars posted a tutorial on how to do just that. I book marked it, but I’m making it a goal to actually sit down and learn how to do it. Since her wisdom helped me figure out how to quit being a no-reply blogger, I’m confident that her how-to will have me understanding it in no time.

8// How to install crown molding. We recently gave our spare bathroom a makeover, but it still feels like something is missing, so I’d like to learn how to install crown molding in there. Maybe once I learn how to do it, I can install it in other rooms of our house too.

9// How to make a pretty cat-eye. I can never get it right; my eyes always end up looking uneven. I’m not usually so incompetent with eyeliner, but the cat-eye baffles me. So I’m on a mission learn how to do it properly.

10// How to use manual mode on my DSLR. It intimidates me because I have no idea what I’m doing.

11// How to clean out Sally’s feet. Mr. B always has to do this for me because I’m so afraid I’m going to hurt her with the pick. (It looks sharp!) I need to learn how to do this myself, without hurting my poor horse.

12// How to make – and can – homemade salsa verde. I don’t think making the salsa verde will be hard, but I have no clue how to can anything.

13// How to make homemade laundry detergent – that smells pretty. I’ve made homemade laundry detergent before (it saves a ton of money!), but it doesn’t smell as lovely as the store bought stuff. I’d like to learn how to fix that.

14// How to make blackberry pie from scratch. It’s Mr. B’s favorite, so I’d like to learn how to make it for him.

15// How to make homemade doggie treats. If I’m spoiling Mr. B, I may as well spoil the fur babes too.

16// How to embed Grooveshark into blog posts. I spent hours trying to make this happen last week, and nothing I tried worked. I need to learn how to make it work, so that I don’t have to #backthatazzup with YouTube every week.

17// How to make GIFs. They make me smile every time you awesome ladies use them. I want to learn how to do it too!

Do you ever set short term goals for yourself? Are they ever about things to learn, or are they mostly things to do?

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Lazy Summer Sweet Potatoes

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Last month at the lake, my aunt reawakened my love of sweet potatoes. I don’t like the Thanksgiving version of sweet potatoes – you know, the ones with mini marshmallows – but I love me some sweet potato fries. So for the last month, I’ve been on a serious sweet potato kick.

She baked hers in olive oil (and they were amazing) but I avoid turning on the oven in the summer because it makes the house too hot. Instead, I found another, super-simple way to get my fix. These make a great side dish (like tonight, when I will put them with grilled chicken) or a meal all by themselves (like earlier this week when that was my whole lunch). 

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Here’s how I do it:

First, get yourself a sweet potato. Or however many you want. One feeds two of us if used as a side dish. 

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Slice it up:

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Heat coconut oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat until hot, then throw in your sweet potato slices:

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Sprinkle with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper:

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Fry until golden brown. They should have a slight crunch on the outside but be soft on the inside:

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Blot the excess oil off with a paper towel, and top the hot sweet potato slices with thin slats of butter:

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Let butter melt and toss to coat all the slices. Mr. B prefers to eat his dipped in maple syrup, but I eat mine just as they are in all of their buttery goodness. Enjoy!

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See? Super easy. A perfect, yummy side dish that requires little effort and no hot oven. What is your favorite easy summer dish?

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Why I Don’t Blog About Dieting

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In blogland, there is a lot of talk about diet and exercise and weight loss and nutrition. One of the many things I love about the blog world is that it is a place where people on such a journey can find support, resources, and friends. I’ve always felt left out, like I didn’t have anything to contribute to the conversation. But I think I might have been wrong. I mean, just because I’m not currently trying to change my body doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions on how I treat it. Such as…

I don’t believe in “dieting”. I do, however, believe in changing your diet as part of a healthy lifestyle change. Altering your food consumption habits should not be a temporary thing. If you want to get healthy or lose weight or have more energy or whatever, you need to change the choices you are making. For good. I mean, you want to stay healthy or keep the weight off, don’t you? And I know how difficult it can be to make this change and stick with it. I applaud everyone who takes steps to treat their body better and get more out of life!

I don’t believe in depriving myself of the things I enjoy. When I go out to eat, I order whatever appeals to me on the menu. Sometimes it’s healthy, sometimes it’s not. 

But I do believe in moderation. I don’t eat out often (1-2 times a month). And that rich, calorie-laden meal that I devoured without a second thought or any lingering guilt? Yeah, you won’t find that kind of stuff in my fridge or pantry. Instead, my house is stocked with nutrient-rich foods and very little processed sugar.

I try to eat fresh foods as often as possible. I try to avoid processed or packaged foods. Not all of them and not all the time, but they definitely don’t make up the majority of my diet. I make my own ketchup but sometimes the corn comes out of a can and the mac and cheese comes out of a box. Not always, not often, but it happens.

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I NEVER eat “diet” food. I want my food to have real, fresh ingredients that I can pronounce. The 50 calories that it saves me isn’t worth putting all those chemicals into my body. I want to fuel my body properly, not trick it or poison it. Which also means…

I pay attention to my body’s signals. This was a hard one for me to learn, let me tell you. But figuring it out was so worth it. For example, when I’m craving sweets, turns out, my body is actually in need of the nutrients found in fruit. And when I give my body what it really wants/needs, I’m way more satisfied than if I would have been had I eaten half a bag of Reese’s cups.

I drink a ton of water (and not much else). How much water? I have no idea, I don’t keep track; but it’s a lot. I always have a bottle of water with me. Always. I don’t drink pop (I had a root beer on Wednesday, which was probably my first pop in months), or juice, or milk (except on the occasional bowl of cereal). I do drink coffee. And wine. I love wine.

I eat a lot of protein and veggies, and not a lot of carbs. Do I love pasta and garlic bread? Of course! Like any good Italian girl, I can make – and eat the shit out of – a good carby meal! But do I? Not all the time. Again, moderation. 

I eat all day long, but I don’t eat many big meals. My body needs energy all day long, not just at appointed meal times. I eat when I’m hungry, stop when I’m satisfied. Again, I listen to what my body tells me. Oh, and I also watch my portion size and don’t force myself to “finish my plate”. The starving children in Ethiopia will not benefit in any way from my ignoring my body’s cues when I’ve had enough to eat.

I only use real butter, but I don’t smother everything in it, even though I would LOVE to! I use coconut oil whenever I can. Butter substitutes like margarine? No way! Have you ever seen what that stuff looks like when you leave it out on the counter too long? I don’t even want to know what it would do inside my body.

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Do I think I have fabulous eating habits that everyone should copy? Of course not! I eat too much salt, drink too much alcohol, I adore fried food and cheese, and I’ve been known to eat popcorn or a spoonful of peanut butter for dinner. Do I try to fuel my body properly most of the time? Absolutely! I honestly believe that I have to put good in to get good out – it’s like anything else in life!

Am I happy with my body? For the most part. I’d like to be a little stronger, but I don’t think I need to lose weight or change the shape of my body. I lost about 10-15 lbs about 5 or 6 years ago, and have kept it off. Before that, I did the whole “dieting” thing and guess what? I couldn’t maintain a good weight, had crappy energy levels and was never happy with my body. But since I quit dieting and starting eating the way I do, I’ve been much more comfortable in my clothes, and more importantly, in my own skin. 

There have been so many times in my life that I was so uncomfortable with my body I never would have put a full-body bikini shot on the internet for all the world to see.

There have been so many times in my life that I was so uncomfortable with my body I never would have put a full-body bikini shot on the internet for all the world to see.

But here’s why I feel like I can’t jump into the conversation about nutrition and weight loss: none of this is stuff I really think about. I’ve lived and ate like this for years, so the choices are second-nature to me. It’s not difficult for me; food is no longer a struggle for me. I’m not actively making these choices, it’s just part of…me. Plus, I don’t think about food as much as I listen to my body. My body knows what it needs, all I have to do is pay attention. That, and I don’t own a scale. I judge my weight based on how well my clothes fit and how comfortable I am in my own body. 

I also couldn’t be a fitness blogger, but this post is getting long so we’ll talk about that another day. Spoiler alert: I don’t “work out” either.

What foods do you gravitate towards or away from? Are you trying to lose weight or maintain a weight loss? Do you have any nutrition “rules” that you try to adhere to?

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Random Ramblings

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Hi lovers.

My head is all over the place today, so this blog post will be too. Sorry ’bout that.

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In no particular order, here’s what’s going on in my world:

// I found a wedding dress! I’m very excited, but mostly relieved. It was stressing me out. I was really starting to think I’d never find anything that worked with our venue, wasn’t strapless, and still looked like a wedding dress. But I did and I love it! 

//That’s why I was MIA yesterday, I was dress shopping. My dad came along. It may seem like a weird thing to bring your father along for, but it was great. I’ve always loved shopping with my dad. (My mom came too, but in general she hates shopping and usually ends up annoyed which ends up annoying me. She’s better suited for other tasks.)

//I kind of want to give my wedding dress a name and talk about her like she’s my friend. I’ve been watching too much Bridezillas on Netflix.

//Joey always comes to the back door when he wants me to let him back inside. This makes absolutely no sense because I always let him out through the front door. He’s a weird one.

//I’m really unhappy with Mother Nature. Summer is my absolute favorite time of year. I love the sunshine and the warm weather, but this year, she’s really failing me. It’s been crazy rainy almost all summer, then we had a fun little cold spell, and now we are back to rain and humidity. Not cool, Mother Nature, not cool.

//Have you seen those fried bananas with honey that are circulating around the Pinterest world? I finally tried them and I love them. I am getting plenty of potassium these days.

//Last night, on my way home from my shopping spree, I rounded the bend to our house and found a thick layer of fog rising our hay field and the most beautiful sunset. I stopped to take a picture, but it doesn’t do it justice. 

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So yeah, my brain is just bouncing around today. Mostly about wedding stuff, but not entirely. What’s going on in your world?

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5 Things That Are Making Me Smile Today

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I’m in a blah mood this afternoon. I blame the weather. I was perfectly perky this morning when the sun was out, but since the grey clouds rolled in, I’ve lost my oomph. Maybe I just need a nap. Either way, I’m not dwelling. I’m going to switch my attention to more pleasant things.

So, *drumroll please*, here are 5 little things that are making me happy right now:

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1. My nail polish. (It’s Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in Grey Area) I’d show you a photo of my nails, but I’m a sloppy nail-painter. Just trust me, it’s a great color out of the bottle, too.

2. This cute little fuzz butt. Look, he’s sticking his tongue out in his sleep!

3. Nutella. I don’t get excited about chocolate, like, ever. But Nutella? Yum. Just Yum.

4. My new dryer. It doesn’t fold my clothes and put them away for me, but it’s still pretty awesome.

5. Pennsylvania Macaroni Co. I made a trip to this heavenly shop in Pittsburgh’s Strip District last week and now my fridge is filled with yummy cheeses (fresh asiago and d’affinois) and sun-dried tomatoes and Margharita pepperoni. 

 

Hmm…now that I look at this list I think I know why I’m out of sorts. 2 of my 5 happy makers are edible, and they are the ones that perk me up the most. Seems I’m hungry. So now I’m off to stuff myself full of cheese and other assorted yummies. 

 hangry

 

What are some of the little things that are making you smile today?

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