Monthly Archives: December 2008

Welcome Back!

I have taken some time off from writing due to the holidays, and I am sure you have probably been busy wrapping, stuffing, unwrapping, entertaining and cleaning up.  

We spent several amazing days in St. Louis with Richard’s side of the family and enjoyed 60 degree weather, which was a nice change of pace from the teens we experienced in Chicago. 

One fun Christmas gift I received was an old school Better Homes and Garden cookbook. 


My goal is to make something from each tab listed, which would total about 12 new recipes.  After a quick glance, I quickly realized that making some of these recipes verbatim was not going to happen.  


My book came from the 1970’s in which apparently a frosted ribbon loaf was a “perfect ladies luncheon choice.”  As a note, ribbon loaf consists of egg salad, ham salad, and a layer of tomatoes in between bread and frosted with cream cheese. 

So I will hopefully be able to put a healthy twist on some old favorites. 

I hope you got some unique gifts this holiday season!  Does anyone else use a Better Homes and Garden Cookbook?  Are the more recent ones healthier?


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Giving Thanks

I just read this article in the Chicago Tribune (although I believe it was originally printed in the LA Times) about a 16 year old California girl living in her SUV with her mom and trying to battle cancer.

Taken from Chicago Tribune

Taken from Chicago Tribune

As you read the article, I hope you remember how much you may have to be thankful for this year.  While I know, after reading the reader comments about the article, you may disagree with decisions the mother has made, I think the heart of the story will resonate with many of us.  Click here to read the column I am speaking of.

What are you thankful for this year?  I am thankful for:

  • supportive, loving family
  • supportive, loving boyfriend
  • readers of this blog!
  • my job
  • my health
  • my education (an odd thing to be thankful for, but I will always be in debt to my amazing teachers!)
  • the health of my friends and family
  • my renewed interest in health and fitness

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Shopping Deals

I am still incorporating the moves from Jillian Michael’s on Self Magazine’s website.  Ugh, I am sore!  I was just wondering if anyone else has found any helpful online tools that they take to the gym or incorporate into their workout?

Is anyone else still Christmas/holiday shopping?  If so, I have found some good deals.  Ann Taylor Loft has a buy one get one free sale right now.  If you are shopping online the checkout code is: FREE4U.  Also, New York and Company has everything 50%.

I think one more trip to Target tonight and I am done!  Good luck everyone!


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Shop ’til I drop

First of all, did you know that your body could burn up to 150 calories per hour while shopping?  That is a fun little fact!


I just finished a majority of my Christmas shopping, and I have to say that I have been pretty good this year.  I normally buy for anyone and everyone, and don’t necessarily receive the same thoughtfulness in return. 

I know I am not the only one who has had to do this but, I cut back and I am proud of that.  It takes a lot for me to say “no,” so cutting back is a big deal for me! 

Are you cutting back, and if so, how much?

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OOoo Girl/Boy!

Early morning work-outs usually aren’t my bag, but today I decided to start my morning off right with some cardio and weight lifting.  I didn’t schlep to the gym, but I did check out Self Magazine’s online videos, and found an interesting one from Jillian Michaels.  Click here to see what I am talking about!

I hear people absolutely rave about her Complete Body Work out DVD’s, so I figured why not give this free video a whirl! 

She details about 5-7 moves that target pretty much every area of your upper and lower body while also engaging your core.  I definitely worked up a sweat and my arms feel like noodles (soon to be muscular noodles!). 

I do have to say I would feel self-conscience doing some of these move at the gym, most notably the exercise ball plank.


Something about throwing my tush up in the air isn’t necessarily how I want to draw attention to myself. 

My favorite move in the video is definitely the reverse squat.  Oooooo girl, I felt that one!

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Biggest Loser Winner!

I love the Biggest Loser!  It is so inspirational to watch and gives me the motivation to do those extra five minutes of cardio or an extra set of sit-ups!

I am even more excited that Michelle won last night.  Look at how adorable she and her mom are!


I am so happy that Michelle won and not Vicky!  Ugh Vicky! Vicky who was by far, excuse the language, the biggest bitch in Biggest Loser history! She simply did not deserve to win.  Feel free to debate me on this, but I will be a hard person to persuade.

I also want to point out how fine Amy looks (on the left)!  Get it girl!


She and her mom look great, and I hope they keep it up.  I was always a secret Amy fan. Granted, she let Vicky and Heba take advantage of her, but I am glad she finished so well.  Keep it off Amy!


Finally, as my co-worker pointed out, the biggest loser may very well be Stacey (pictured above).  She was voted off the first week, and check her out now!


She did all of this at home!  Now, Stacey truly shows me that I can do it on my own too.

Pictures from


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Round 2: Me Against the Oven

I attempted to make the delicious egg nog pound cake two nights ago, and my devilish, fickle, horrible oven ruined my cake!  

My oven requires constant attention.  It is much like a small child.  If you don’t check on what’s cooking every ten minutes or so, it will throw a temper tantrum and burn your delicacies to a crisp!

My oven is brown and retro, yet not matter how much I hate it, there is a certain image that always makes me smile when I go to cook or bake.  Let’s take a look at it:


Let’s take a look at the variety of images we have here.  I think the image that makes me chuckle the most is the fish and citrus fruit (I imagine it to be a lemon).  Why on earth would Autocrat (what is Autocrat?!) put a slimy fish on their stove?! Additionally, if someone can tell me what the contraption is with the handle and barrel, I will give you a high five. 

So I finally stuck it to my oven last night and ended up making a delicious egg nog pound cake!


If you want to try out the cake, I will list the recipe below:

3 cups sifted flour

2 cups granulated sugar

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking powder

2 Tbsp. dark rum

1 tsp. vanilla extract 

1 cup egg nog

1 stick unsalted butter

3 eggs lightly beaten

Rum Glaze:

2 Tbsp. rum

2 Tbsp. water

3/4 cup granulated sugar


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a tube cake pan (angel food cake pan), or bundt pan.  Sift dry ingredients together on wax paper.  Set aside.
  2. Beat butter and then add sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs slowly and beat well. 
  3. Add flour and egg nog alternating and ending with flour.  Pour flour into bowl and then add egg nog.  Repeat this three more times ending with flour. 
  4. Pour mixture into pan. Cook 50-65 minutes. 
  5. Mix up glaze and brush on immediately!  Enjoy!

I received a TON of compliments on this when I brought it to work so I hope it goes as well for you as it did for me…the second time around!

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