Thursday, June 30, 2011

July Blog Spotlight - Running to the Kitchen

Hiya crew.  We're doing the July blog spotlight a little early so that you have time to try out this muffin recipe that Gina included along with her post.

On that note, say "hi" to Gina from Running to the Kitchen.  I met Gina about 6.5 years ago when she, along with another employee, interviewed me and Jon.  We've all worked together ever since.

She is one of the most energetic, straight-forward (read: blunt), fun people I know.  When Gina sent me an e-mail at work saying that she was thinking about starting a blog, I was ecstatic!  I couldn't wait to read about her workouts (she is an exercise fiend!), steal her delicious recipes (Gina should really be a professional cook), get updated pictures of her adorable puppy (Ginger is a Weimaraner with a personality and a half), and just keep up with her day-to-day (what? this isn't how you keep up with your friends?).  Needless to say, her blog is now one of my all-time favorites and when I only have 5-10 minutes to catch up on blog readings, it is among the first ones I pull up.

I have no doubt you'll love her too!

Who are you?
I’m Gina. I’m 29 and as much as I’d like to ignore the fact that I’m only 10 months from 30, the multiplying gray hairs keep reminding me. I work full time in the business world by day and moonlight as a food and running blogger. I’m a total food fanatic. I like to eat it. I like to cook it. And, I like to bake it. So, I kind of need a way to balance that out so I run.

Why did you start blogging?
I like to talk. Period. No, honestly? I spent waaaay too much time reading other people’s blogs and figured maybe I should channel some of that time and energy into my own! Food and running are my passions. Blogging is a way to share them with people and makes me hate life a little less too since I can’t really figure out how to make eating and running a career that pays well. It’s the perfect outlet.

If you could eat only one thing for the rest of my life, what would it be?
Wow, the million dollar question. I hate questions like this. I’m too indecisive to answer these. I mean, who can really answer this question and feel confident they picked the absolute best option? I’d probably go with pizza. Veggie pizza with sausage. Pizza is a good bang for your buck. You get bread, cheese, and in my case, veggies and meat all in one!

4th of July Muffins

What do you think of when you hear 4th of July? For me, it’s Mrs. Miller’s 1st grade class.

We had a classroom with a divider wall that opened to the 4th grade class next door which had a piano. Every morning after the pledge of allegiance we combined classes and a student of the day got to pick between My Country, ‘Tis of Thee or The Star Spangled Banner. The 4th grade teacher would play it on the piano and the “special” student would sing whichever song he or she picked. Out loud. Alone. We sang the song twice and on the second turn the rest of the class would join in. It was like a mix between American Idol and chorus gone elementary school. Also known as hell for those of us less vocally inclined (I was first chair clarinet later in school, I didn’t even make 2nd grade chorus that’s how bad my voice was. I didn’t even know they cut 2nd graders!)

It was bound to happen even though I tried to avoid it, eventually it was my turn to pick and therefore, sing. My Country, ‘Tis of Thee, for those of you who aren’t so lucky to have those lyrics ingrained in your head, is a simple, basic song. I should’ve stuck with simple. Simple is good. But no, I wanted to be different because 95% of the students picked My Country, ‘Tis of Thee.

I wanted to stand out.

4th grade teacher: “Gina, which song would you like for your special day?”

Me: “The Star Spangled Banner please.”

And so, the music starts. I actually got 3 lines in to “perilous fight” (not even knowing what perilous meant I’m sure) and then went all Christina Aguilera on everyone and skipped to “And the rockets’ red glare..” Ramparts? What ramparts? What the heck are ramparts? Instead of moving on and pretending nothing happened 4th grade teacher stopped the music and called me out! That b$%&^! And, then forced me to start all over again “until I got it right”. “This is our nation’s anthem, you know”. Really? Gee, I wasn’t aware of that. Thank you kind teacher.

This would’ve been bad enough in front of my own class, but can you imagine how uncool I now was in front of the 4th graders? I mean they were like so old and so cool.

I stood out alright.

And so now every time I hear The Star Spangled Banner or think of the 4th of July, that is what I think about. My pathetic 6 year old self trying to stand out. I’ve never once missed the rampart section since.

But, after The Star Spangled Banner, the thing I most associate the 4th of July with is BBQ’ing and I’d place a bet that’s what 90% of you would say too. That’s why I’m not going to talk about BBQ, it’s played out.

Muffins though, I bet that’s not even on your top 25 list.

They will be now, and you’ll be the hero for bringing something sweet to the BBQ besides the ubiquitous watermelon.

These are about as festive as they come with the red (raspberries), white (coconut & macadamia nuts), and blue (blueberries). If you like creamy coconut, you will love these. The addition of coconut milk makes them sweet, creamy and smooth, while the fruit gives them a little tangy kick. Topped with shredded coconut and macadamia nuts that give it a crunchy textured top.


Make them now, thank me later.  

4th of July Muffins 
  (Blueberry, Raspberry, Coconut, Macadamia Nut Muffins) Makes 15 muffins
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup unbleached AP flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup whole macadamia nuts, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
  • chopped macadamia nuts
  • shredded unsweetened coconut
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tin with muffin wrappers or grease well. Mix dry ingredients (first 9) together in a large bowl. Mix wet ingredients (next 6) together in a medium bowl. Pour wet into dry and mix only until combined. Gently fold in blueberries and raspberries so as not to break the fruit. Once combined, spoon mixture into muffin tins. Top with shredded coconut and chopped macadamia nuts and bake for approximately 20 minutes.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Photoshop fun

Father's Day 019

A-Father's Day 019

Changes applied:
Selective color: adjust blue to brighten up the dress
Curves: played with the custom settings until I got the result I wanted
Brightness/Contract: adjusted brightness to lighten it up
Hue/Saturation: adjusted the hue to give Peanut a little more pink in the cheeks

Do you edit your photos?

What do you use?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

New review post - our video monitor

Check out my review post about our video monitor.

I heart presents

Did I ever tell you how much I love presents? I love getting them, I love giving them, I love getting them…


*tap tap* is this mic on?  Jon?  Are you out there? 


Any-who, my birthday is less than a month away and I can’t help but run through my wish list for you peeps.  You know, in case you want to get me presents.


vb diaper bag


I blame Molly and Christine for getting me obsessed with Vera Bradley.  And although I have 2 diaper bags already, my heart longs for this one.



I know you all want to see Peanut through this lens.


wine club


I know you want me to have this so that I can report back on all the awesome new wines I try.  There is a membership through a local store too in case someone wanted to save on shipping costs….anyone?



Because I want to look extra cute while cooking.  And because this is extra cute.  Seriously – can things get any cuter?



Kari, who obviously knows me very well and wants me to be purty, gave me a sampler.  Now I’m addicted!


And a puppy….obviously. 


What’s on your wish list?

Aren’t summer birthdays the best?

Do you love celebrating your birthday or are you pretending that you’re still 25?  Cuz I do both.

Do you realize that I spent an hour browsing baby gifts while making up this list?  I know, I know: welcome to motherhood.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Our weekend recap

This weekend was one of the first weekend where we didn’t have some place to travel or some intricate plans.  As much as I love weekends with plans because they seem to last forever, I always end up extra tired on Monday. 

Random Sunday 003

On Saturday Jon went out to play golf with his buddies so Peanut and I were left to entertain ourselves.

Random Sunday 004

We decided to go hang out at Marshalls where I bought Peanut a new toy (she insisted, I swear) and a couple of plain shirts for me (I have no clothes. True story).

Random Sunday 007

Then we went over to my friends Christine and Joe’s.  They have an adorable 2 year old baby girl and are expecting a baby boy at the end of this summer!  Which, in case you didn’t read into that, means that we get all the cute baby-girl stuff!

Random Sunday 048

We spent a little while hanging out and watching the girls play together (read: Peanut was grabbing everything in her sight and trying to put it in her mouth while Sofia tried to understand how this was a fun game).  Then we had some lunch and dove into the piles of clothes.  By the end of our play-date, Peanut had 3 huge bag-full of practically-new clothes (just for her current size!) and a bag full of shoes for when she starts walking.  Needless to say, I am ecstatic!

Random Sunday 050

By the time we got back, took a nap (Peanut) and vacuumed and made dinner (me), Jon was back from his golf-outing and we spent some time together, ate dinner, and played with Peanut.  After her bedtime, Jon and I plopped our tired butts on the couch, had some wine and brownies and watched Mrs. Doubtfire.

Random Sunday 022

That’s what your Saturday nights are like too, right?

Sunday Peanut and I let Jon sleep in a little bit, then we all showered up, prettied up, and headed out to Church.  This Sunday was the first time that we didn’t bring Peanut to the service with us and left her in the nursery.  Usually she does great at the service, but she’s recently found her voice and is now entertained with screeching at the top of her lungs.  We didn’t think that would be appreciated by the others in the service, so we left P in the nursery.

Random Sunday 028

She did great!  Initially she gave the nursery lady a pout face and a couple of tears, but once the stranger anxiety wore off, she loved hanging out.

Random Sunday 037

After Church, we did some Sunday shopping (Walmart, Big Y) and spent the rest of the day hanging out, playing with our Peanut, and relaxing. 

Random Sunday 046

What did you do this weekend?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Baby food - yams

We’ve tried a few solids with Peanut so far.

First, we did rice cereal.  We just took a spoonful of the rice cereal, mixed it with some breast milk, and gave it to Peanut.

Next we tried some avocado, mashed in a food processor.  She did not like avocado much.

After we learned that the rice cereal clogged Peanut, we stopped it altogether and moved on to pears.  I ended up buying the pear baby food because I was too stressed out about Peanut not pooping for 12 days straight to worry about making her some food.

After a few days with the pears, which Peanut loved, I decided to try my luck with yams. 

pizza and sweet potato 005

In case you’re wondering, yams are like sweet potatoes (I’m still a little unsure about the difference). 

To cook them for the baby, I started with one.  With the oven on 400, I washed and wrapped it in tin foil, then baked it for about 45 minutes.  I read that baking will bring out the flavor.

Once it’s cooked (you can check by poking it with a fork to make sure that it’s soft all the way through), I sliced it into 4 pieces.

pizza and sweet potato 007

Then used a spoon to scoop out the yummy stuff and leave the skin back.

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Then I ground it down in a food processor.

pizza and sweet potato 019

But this didn’t really get it quiet as processed as I wanted it to be, so I added some water and used this handy little guy.

pizza and sweet potato 022

This did the trick!

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To one yam, I added about 1/4 cup of water to make it a little more watery.

pizza and sweet potato 028

Since this made plenty of food for the next couple of weeks, I froze more of it by putting it in the ice-cube tray.

pizza and sweet potato 060

Once it’s frozen, I transferred these to a zip-lock bag and we just pop them out in the evening, warm them up, and Peanut’s home-made food is ready in minutes!

Now, on to the tricky part – the judges.

pizza and sweet potato 029

At first, she wasn’t so sure.

pizza and sweet potato 042

But she quickly came around and loved it!

pizza and sweet potato 046

Next time, pizza.

pizza and sweet potato 058

I’m just kidding – that’s our dinner.

Did you make or buy your baby food?  What was your baby’s favorite?

What are you having for dinner tonight?

What’s the difference between a sweet potato and a yam?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Animal sounds video - outtakes

Because it's the weekend and Jon is off playing golf while Peanut and I are left to entertain ourselves, I decided I would post these two outtake videos for you to laugh at enjoy.

What are you doing this weekend?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

FF - Favorite Posts

Okay peeps - join me here.  Post your 5 favorite posts from your blog and link up!

(there is a Dunkin Donuts bathroom involved)

(this isn't very safe for kiddies)

(the picture says it all)

(we did not invite the bat to our anniversary)

(if I'm not careful, he's going to succeed in stealing Christmas this year)

So what are you waiting for?  Post your own blog FF (and link up below) or leave me a comment with links to your favorite posts (they don't have to be your own!).  I'm dying to read them!

I’m sobbing in the corner right now

Who knew I would be such a sap?



a-5 months 131

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Peanut - 5 Months

Dear Peanut,

a-5 months 015

This month has been one of the most amazing months.  You’re really showing your personality and changing into this little person that we just adore.  You were an absolutely adorable newborn, but this new stage is exciting in its own way.  You are the light of our lives.

a-5 months 064

But I will tell you this, my little darling,

a-5 months 092

taking your monthly pictures is getting harder and harder since you’re just so darn curious in just about everything.

a-5 months 101

And you refuse to sit still.

a-5 months 120

I guess it goes along with all your new skills.

PS- Please stop growing up so quickly.

a-5 months 124

Here’s a recap of our 5th month together:
  • This month Peanut progressed from reaching and grabbing for things to demanding to have things and grabbing everything within her reach.
  • If things are not within her reach, she will screech and squeal until we bring it to her or bring her closer so she can explore.
  • This month brought a slew of new skills from sitting up (she’s barely wobbling any more) to pulling up into a standing position.  If Peanut is holding on to our hands or leaning on something, she can stand up.
  • In the last week or so she’s started to bounce up and down and move her legs as if she’s learning how to walk.
  • Addison is still hot and cold about spending time on her belly – she doesn’t mind it for a few minutes, but will “yell” at us when she’s had enough.  She doesn’t seem to be as keen on rolling over as she used to be, but she’s progressed to extending her arms all the way (rather than just leaning on her forearms) and is even pulling her legs under her like she is trying to crawl.
  • Peanut is now wearing a mix of 0-3 and 3-6 months clothes and just switched over to size 2 diapers.
  • After our sleep training, Addison started sleeping most nights (we still have some rough nights here and there) from 8pm-6am.
  • This month we introduced solids!  So far Peanut’s tried rice cereal, avocado, peaches, and yams.  I’ll have to post about these separately.
  • She’s moved on from sucking her fingers (which she still does) to sucking on her toes (were we all once this flexible?)
  • Peanut’s favorite activities include playing on her playmat, watching us blow bubbles, standing in her exersaucer, watching the dogs roughhouse, and hanging out on the couch with us (I think she thinks it’s really cool to sit on the couch like adults).
  • A couple of weeks ago Addison finally started to “talk.”  She’s always gurgled a little here and there, but generally she is a pretty quiet baby.  Until about 2 weeks ago when she started to express her emotions by screaming in a high pitched voice at the top of her lungs.  In the last week or so she’s progressed to cooing and other adorable baby noises.
  • We’re pretty sure that Addi’s getting the hang of object permanence.  She now looks around and waits when she drops her toy out of her reach or looks for us when we play peek-a-boo.
  • Peanut is still just about the happiest baby and loves exploring new places with us.

peanut 5 mo

Oh my, my little Peanut-butter-face, you sure are growing quickly. *Sniffle sniffle*


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