Strawberry Love Bread & Dairy Free Alfredo

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Check out the Valentine I received this morning from the DOUGHBOY himself!

How sweet, right? 🙂

Yesterday Jason had to work, so I was up way earlier than normal for a weekend day. I decided to use my time “wisely” and bake some treats. I had a ton of lovely strawberries in the fridge, so I decided to make a Strawberry Bread.

Looks delicious, right? And it turned out pretty well for a first attempt!

Strawberry-Cornmeal Bread

¾ cup flour

¾ cup cornmeal

3 TBSP sugar(see note* below!)

½ tsp salt

1 ½ tsp baking soda

1 egg

1 banana, mashed

1 cup soy milk (or any milk)

2 cups sliced strawberries

(I also intended to add some vanilla but I forgot!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients in one bowl, mix wet in another. Add wet to dry and stir until combined. Fold in sliced strawberries. Pour into greased bread pan (or you could try muffins instead) and bake for 40-45 minutes (or until toothpick comes out clean!)

*This bread had great texture – however, I thought it lacked sweetness. I was hoping the banana and strawberries would be sweet enough, but if I make this again I will add more sugar. I also think using blueberries (in addition to the strawberries or alone) would taste wonderful, and would perhaps add the right amount of sweetness. Jason, on the other hand loved this bread — he didn’t think it lacked sweetness at all.

I’m bringing most of the loaf to work today, hopefully it is a hit with my coworkers!

After I was done baking, I went to visit Jason at work. His work is almost an hour drive away, so by the time I got there, it was time for lunch! We went to The Old Markey Deli which had a great lunch/sandwich menu.

I went with the bowl of chili:

Which was so filling and delicious. Jason had the turkey/swiss sandwich which had avocado, sprouts, roasted red peppers and a garlic mayo spread on top:

And the whole meal cost about $10! You can’t beat that.

After I got home I decided to plan out dinner and figure out what I’m going to make for Valentine’s Dinner (or if we should go out!). Since I wanted to use my new Nutritional Yeast, I went to Angela’s blog and found a recipe for Vegan Alfredo. I think I have mentioned before, I am not even close to being a Vegan, but I appreciate their recipes so much because not only are they usually very creative, they also don’t use dairy products!

Jason and I prefer to eat dairy free (digestive issues…enough said!) although we seem to be able to tolerate some dairy: butter and swiss, provolone, and mozzarella cheeses all seem to work well for us. Cheddar cheese? Problems. Ice cream? Cottage cheese? Yogurt? No way.

Back to the Alfredo!

Click here for Angela’s recipe. I omitted the tahini (didn’t have any!) but otherwise followed the recipe 100%!

This was rich, creamy and so delicious! The sauce contains raw cashews + other ingredients and I was worried that my Magic Bullet would not be able to grind the cashews – but it worked out well! The sauce tasted like Alfredo! Jason loved it as well and I will definitely make this again!

*What are your plans for Valentine’s Day?

*Are you an Alfredo or Mac and Cheese fan? Do you make it as a side dish or is it the main star? As I made this, I thought of my dad making us Mac and Cheese when we were kids. He would add chopped hot dogs and a can of peas/carrots/lima beans. YUCK!!!

Enjoy your day!

~Holly

Roasted Tomato Grilled Cheese

Hi Friends 🙂

Earlier this week someone posted a recipe for tomato soup – please let me know if you know who I’m talking about. Reading “tomato soup” inspired last night’s dinner.

I was thinking of grilled cheese with tomato soup – or tomato soup with really crusty bread. Then I thought of a recipe I saw on this show months and months ago:

When Jason and I were marathon training earlier this year, we would often go to the gym and run on the treadmills. When we starting training (January) it was way too cold to run outside (not to mention kind of unsafe with the ice, etc). Luckily our gym has little tvs hooked up to the treadmills 🙂

I liked to do my long runs on Saturdays over the lunch hour. The gym was slow then and usually Bravo had a America’s Next Top Model Marathon on – that made 16 miles just fly by! But one day I caught 5 Ingredient Fix and the meal looked amazing.

Roasted Tomato-Bread Soup

Basically you roast a bunch of tomatoes, add a canned of crushed tomatoes, basil and chunks of sourdough bread. It sounded great but I was worried the bread would taste mushy. And I don’t like mushy bread.

So I changed my mind and went back to tomato soup and grilled cheese – only I wasn’t going to make soup.

Roasted Tomato Grilled Cheese

Cut and deseed 3-4 vine ripened tomatoes:

Chop into bitesize pieces and combine in a bowl with ½ sweet onion, chopped and mix with 1 TBSP of garlic infused olive oil:

If you don’t have Garlic Gold, just use regular olive oil and maybe throw some chopped garlic in the bowl as well. Toss to mix well and spread out on a baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

 Meanwhile, take 2 slices of bread (I used a small loaf of French bread) and top with a slice of cheese. I used this:

When your tomatoes are ready, take them out of the oven and pop your bread/cheese under the broiler for a few minutes until the cheese melts. Top bread/cheese with tomato mixture and serve:

I’m not one to toot my own horn, but this tasted really good. It was grilled cheese + tomato soup without the soup. I bet it would taste good with some roasted peppers added, and maybe throwing some turkey or ham on the bread as well.

*What is your favorite comfort food?

*What are your plans for the weekend?

Pumpkin Tofu

So, will you believe me if I say I’ve never prepared tofu? I’ve eaten it in restaurants, but I’ve never bought some and eaten it at home?

Well, its true, but for some reason this past weekend I picked up some tofu. I remember seeing a Pumpkin Honey Tofu recipe on Averie’s blog and I knew that would be a good one. Averie’s recipes have never let me down!

I didn’t have pumpkin butter so I used canned pumpkin instead and I didn’t use as much honey as the recipe called for, but the marinade tasted sweet enough for me!

I have nothing to compare this to, since I eat tofu maybe once per year, but this tasted pretty good! Next time I will let the tofu sit in the marinade overnight — I wish the flavor was throughout the tofu instead of just on the outside. It was almost cake-like and the pumpkin and honey flavor was nice! Jason ate a few pieces and could not figure out what it was — he asked “this isn’t bread, I don’t think, so what am I eating?”

I bought more Fall things for the house:

I love foaming soaps from B & B Works – and doesn’t Creamy Pumpkin just sound amazing? Yum.

**

Thanks for the suggestions on the Spaghetti Squash yesterday:

Sorry I had to throw the little beaded pumpkins in there! I’ve got dinner planned for tonight and I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

**

Questions:

1. Going back to my Jenny Craig post yesterday, there were a few comments about eating “real food” and not having to diet. But is it really that simple? Do you think that one could easily overeat on “real foods”? I for one have little to no control when I eat nut butters – which is why I limit the amount I eat per day. It isn’t about deprivation, it is about knowing myself and keeping myself in check. I need to keep my portions in check, which is what the JC program is supposed to do – teach you portion sizes. So is using processed foods to help you learn portions sizes such a bad thing?

2. What is your favorite scent? It could be a perfume, lotion, shampoo, spice, candle, etc. I love vanilla myself, it just brings a sense of home whenever I smell it – in cooking or in a candle or lotion. My favorite perfume is Flowerbomb – I just love the fresh, crisp smell. For shampoos I like coconut even though I hate the flavor of coconut.

3.  What is your favorite way to prepare tofu? And if you don’t have a tofu press, what do you use? I had my tofu covered in paper towels underneath my spaghetti squash — it worked pretty well!

Have a happy hump day!

Holly

Pumpkin Banana Bread

Hi Friends 🙂

TGIF!!!

Let’s just get to the good stuff, hmm?

I was at work yesterday just thinking about something to bake. I like to bring in something homebaked on Fridays to work and I also like to send something with Jason as well. To be honest I don’t know if Jason actually shares any of the treats or if he just keeps them to himself. 🙂 Either way, it doesn’t matter, because I cannot have treats like this at home:

Too dangerous!

I found the recipe here and I substituted a few things, so here is what I ended up using:

Pumpkin Banana Bread

1 mashed banana
1 cup Libby’s pumpkin
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
1 egg + 2 whites
1 cup oat flour
1 cup spelt flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1/3 cup sugar
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a loaf pan with non-stick spray (or butter). Combine wet ingredients in one bowl, combine dry ingredients in another, and then mix together. Pour batter into loaf pan and bake for 1 hour. (I also sprinkled 2-3 tbsp of pecan pieces on top before baking)

I’ll pack up half for me to bring to work and half for Jason to bring to work. And no, there isn’t any chicken in this recipe either 🙂

I wouldn’t call this recipe “mine” by any means, I only substituted a few things. But, when do you call a recipe “your own”? Do you have to change a certain number of ingredients? Or do you have to completely wing it to call it your own?

I forgot to mention yesterday that I received a very special package in the mail:

MACAROONS! Thank you Megan! They are so adorable:

Questions:

1. Any fun plans for the weekend? We have more Craigslist buyers coming on Saturday to pick stuff up, but other that we have no real plans (yes!!!). Hopefully we will go out to dinner on Friday or Saturday night and maybe go see a movie. Any suggestions?

2. What was your favorite animal as a child? Is it still your favorite animal? When I was younger I really liked pigs, cows, walruses and frogs. I don’t really know why. But I have quite a few pig stuffed animals (that I still have) and here is one of my favorite things:

I named him Mr. Dump years and years ago – and I still have him! I think I bought him at a garage sale. He may have only cost 50 cents but I don’t think I could ever get rid of him.

***Check out Katie’s giveaway: VEGGIE ICE CREAM!***

Enjoy your Friday!

Holly

No Scrubs

Good Morning 🙂
 
Happy Saturday, finally!!!
 
Last night my mom came over to watch a movie with me. We decided to watch:

It was pretty good! Denzel hardly ever disappoints. John Travolta is kind of annoying, but I don’t like him much anyway. It wasn’t a hang-on-the-edge-of-your-seat kind of movie, but it definitely had a good story that moved nicely and was easy to follow.
 
I made Crockpot Chili and it tasted so good. Its been kind of chilly here in MN!

Chilly and Chili make me think of the other Chilli:

TLC: Chilli, T-Boz, Lisa “Left-Eye” I couldn’t decide if I should name this post “No Scrubs” or “Waterfalls”. I hope I made the right choice 🙂

The recipe is super easy, and you could make it without beef/add more veggies if you choose to not eat meat:
 
Crockpot Chili
 
1 lb ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 cans kidney beans, drained
2 cups V8 juice, or tomato juice
1/3 cup brown sugar (or less if you prefer)
¼ tsp black pepper
½ tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
 
Instructions:
 
Brown beef with onion in large skillet. Drain, then stir in brown sugar. Combine with all other ingredients in crockpot. Set to high for 2 hours, stirring every ½ hour or so.
 
I’ve also made this by cooking it on low for 4-5 hours. Turns out great either way!

 I had my chili in my new Pier 1 mug:
 
I had a great time Mom! 🙂

Questions:

1. What are your plans for the weekend?

2. What is your earliest childhood memory? Can you remember things from when you were super young? My earliest memories were MAYBE from when I was 4 or 5? I don’t remember much when I was very young. I do remember that our backyard had these huge cotton trees and my sister Leah and I would go out and pick up all the cotton and make these big huge cotton balls. We had a huge backyard and loved to be outside.

3. What are your favorite stores to buy clothes? Work, casual or dressed up. I am the ultimate boring dresser: solid v-neck with a skirt for work or solid v-neck with jeans when I’m not at work! I wish I was kidding, but I’m not…I need cheap clothes, but I want them to look nice. Does that even exist?

***Check out Averie’s Giveaway: Zevia!

Enjoy your weekend!

Holly

Posted in Dinner, Recipe. Tags: . 19 Comments »

Winner Winner Beet Lunch

Good Morning!

First I’ll announce the winner of the Raw Crunch Bar giveaway!

And the winner is  The Empty Nut Jar! You left the 35th comment! Please email me at couchpotatoathlete@gmail.com with your name and address and I’ll get those Raw Crunch Bars shipped ASAP!

I got in a great workout last night, I did some FBB strength training and some TurboFire HIIT – I love when I feel my blood pumping!

Katie’s post really influenced my decision to do more strength/weight training. I love cardio, but I really want to be STRONG. Thanks Katie for the push in the right direction!

I made a really simple lunch today. My sister L made it for me when she was visiting last week. We picked out some lovely beets at the Farmers Market. I boiled them up, let them cool a bit and then peeled and sliced them. My hands didn’t get too pink from the beets:

I added some goat cheese and dressed the salad with this:

Who could not love Paul Newman dressing? Ok, who could not love anything with Paul Newman’s face on it? Then I sprinkled the salad with some walnuts, and ta da:

I’m going to add this to a bed of greens, but it looks so purty on its own!

Speaking of purty, check out what I got in the mail:

I’m pretty sure there will be a giveaway involved with this as well. Maybe Saturday?

I’m working on a series of posts about budgeting, specifically budgeting for food and meals. I’d like to use you all as research 🙂
1. About how much do you spend on food/restaurants each week? Is this just for you or for you + spouse/sig other/roommates/etc?
2. What dietary needs do you have? (example: we are a dairy free household)
3. Do you plan meals/snacks ahead of time or do you decide each day what to eat?
4. What is your favorite meal to make at home?

Have a great day!

Holly

Garlic Taters

Good Morning,

I decided to take Sunday off of blogging. My sister L, niece F and nephew H left today. It is so sad not having them here! Just when I was getting used to their sleeping and eating schedules and living here all week – they have to go back to Oklahoma. The only upside to them leaving is the lack of cheerios all over kitchen floor…

Thanks for the comments on Sat and Sun about getting rid of an all-or-nothing attitude. I hope to one day have the “gray” attitude some of you talked about. I really like Tina’s attitude about a healthy balance – some days I see her having donuts for breakfast, but then balancing that with a nice big veggie filled lunch and dinner. For me, if I start the day with donuts for breakfast, I’ll end up with a bagel/cream cheese for lunch and McDonalds for dinner! That is not a balanced day!

With my sister here last week, she did some cooking for us. 🙂 It is always nice to have someone else cook, dontcha think? On Sunday morning she made these wonderful roasted fingerling potatoes that we picked up at the Farmers Market on Saturday.

She started by roasting a head of garlic Saturday night, and letting the garlic cool in the fridge overnight. Then, on Sunday morning she washed and sliced the potatoes, rubbed them with oil and sprinkled them with salt and pepper. While the potatoes roasted in the oven, she mashed the roasted garlic and mixed it with a stick of butter. (Paula Deen would be so proud!) After the potatoes were done roasting, she put dabs of the garlic butter all over the potatoes, then put them back in the oven. When the butter is melted, the potatoes are done.

Fabulous.

What made the potatoes so great (in addition to having someone else make them for me) was the oil. It wasn’t just any-plain-ole-oil – it was Garlic Gold Oil. The folks at Garlic Gold were kind enough to send me some Garlic Gold products to test out. I got some original Garlic Gold:

Garlic Gold Oil, Garlic Gold Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette:

And 4 different crispy, crunchy Garlic Gold Nuggets. Regular, Parmesan, Italian Herb and Sea Salt.

These products are all organic and the possibilities are endless! I can see myself using these products almost every day. They would work great with roasted veggies, salads (according to the packaging they are a great alternative to bacon bits!), pasta, pizza, fish filets, chicken breasts, making garlic bread, anything. I used the Garlic Gold Oil and Parmesan Nuggets on my Kale Chips:

These products will be added to my Opensky shop (which should be finally opening soon, I will keep you posted!)

 My workouts have been all over the place today. For some reason TurboFire didn’t sound good to me, so I did 2 new workouts from Women’s Health magazine: a kettlebell workout (that I did with a 10 lb. dumbbell instead) and a short yoga routine. It felt great to do something different. This week my focus turns to running – I need to prepare for my 10 mile run in October, but for some reason I bought this at Target today:

I am a sucker for Billy Blanks dvds! I find his dvds to be so motivating because he seems to know just what to say to make me push myself even harder. He really seems like he cares!

Questions:

Have you tried Garlic Gold? What did you think?

Do you do all the cooking in your house? Or do you have you roommate/spouse/sig other/parent who takes care of the cooking?

What was the highlight of your weekend?

Guest Post: Healthy, Filling Foods

Good Morning!

Thank you so much for all the advice on vacations — I am so excited to look into these places to figure out the best place for us to visit! And I will certainly post a longer version of my random facts — hopefully including a video of my taser experience!

Since I’m a little busy with my family visiting, I thought I’d ask my friend Wendy from Seriously Sassy to write a guest post for me! Be sure to check out her blog and leave her a comment letting her know that you came from here!

********************

Dearest Couch Potato Athlete, thank you for allowing me to be a guest blogger for you, my new friend. I am tickled pink!

You KNOW the feeling. You’ve eaten a meal, you’ve eaten a snack….but you’re still SO hungry.
I’m assuming most of Holly’s blog readers already understand that the more processed, carb-loaded, empty calorie foods you eat, the hungrier you get. But what are we healthy eating devotees supposed to do on those days when all that nutritious fare we’ve enjoyed is simply leaving us….hungry for more?
I’ve been doing a bit of research on HEALTHY, FILLING FOODS and this is what I’ve found.
* POTATOES are delicious and filling!
Remember that all potatoes are not created equal.  Obviously fries are not nearly as filling (or nutritious) as a baked potato with a little Earth Balance and pepper.
* OATMEAL – the farmer’s best friend
True story: A lot of European farmers start their morning with a bowl of oatmeal because they need their bellies to be filled and satisfied for several hours at a time. An Egg McMuffin would have them running back to the farmhouse in half an hour for more food. And there are so many wonderful things you can add to your bowl of oatmeal – cinnamon, a little maple syrup, fresh fruit, dried cranberries.  Some bloggers I know even love adding a scoop of almond butter. Yum!
* ORANGES AND APPLES are packed with fiber
We know that fiber takes up a lot of room in your stomach. Get this: You can eat two apples or oranges for the same amount of calories as a banana. So if you’re trying to fill your belly, the round fruit is what you should reach for. (But ohhhhh, how I adore my bananers!)
* AIR-POPPED POPCORN – the hunger-filling trick that keeps on working
This trick has been well known for ever and ever, but it bears repeating. You don’t even need butter to make it yummy. I, personally, love the clean, simple taste of plain popcorn but why not try adding cinnamon, dry dressing mix, or garlic powder for a flavorful treat?
* WALNUTS – satisfy hunger AND protect your ticker!
These crunchy nuts are full of protein (without saturated fat) and healthy omega 3s.  Almonds and sunflower seeds are fabulous belly-satisfying snacks, too.  I just finished a little bowl of pomegranate Greek yogurt, a handful of dried cranberries and chopped walnuts. Perfect!
* RAW VEGGIES – the more organic, the better!
Raw veggies contain more vitamins and nutrients than cooked ones, and also seem to be more filling because of their water content. If plain raw veggies don’t float your boat, dip them into some light ranch or French dressing or in salsa. (Mmmmm, have you ever made your own fresh salsa? I’d dip just about ANYTHING in that stuff!)
KEEP IN MIND: Often when we feel hungry, we are really just thirsty.
If you know you’ve eaten enough but are still hungry, try drinking a glass of ice water with some fresh lemon or lime squeezed into it. Wait ten minutes or so and if you’re still hungry, grab a hunger-busting bite from this list!
Let me leave you with a recipe for a little snack I devised a few couple weeks in the lab that I call my kitchen. Do you ever have those moments when you just need a little bit of chocolate – and if it’s WARM chocolate then it’s even better?  Me too. My gift to you:
WENDY’S “I NEED CHOCOLATE” MINI CAKE

2 Tbs oats
2 Tbs natural applesauce
1 tsp water
About 12 chocolate chips
Blob of almond butter
1 tsp flour
In small bowl, stir together oats, applesauce, water, chocolate chips and almond butter.
Microwave for 25 seconds.  Stir in flour and nuke for 60 seconds.
Out comes a mini chocolate cake just for you! You could add a bit of ground flax or a blobette of Greek yogurt.  Enjoy!
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Thanks Wendy! I’ll be back in the morning with a new post. Have a great day!  
Holly
Posted in Food, Recipe. Tags: . 21 Comments »

10 Things & 2 Treats

Good Morning!

First of all, sorry I have not had a chance to comment on many blogs this week – I have family in town staying with us. But next week I will be back 100% commenting and posting. Thanks for understanding!

Last week Michelle challenged me to write 10 random things about myself. Here they are:

10 Random Things About Me

1. I can wiggle my ears.
2. I’ve worn glasses since the 2nd grade. My first pair was purple with pink diamonds in the corners.
3. I got my first cell phone in 2007. Yep, I lived that long without one!
4. I am terrified of swimming in lakes, the ocean and most swimming pools. When I took swimming lessons as a child, I would throw myself on the floor, kick, scream, anything to avoid jumping into the deep end. I was terrified! (and still am sometimes!)
5. I got kicked out of a basketball game in the 6th grade for bad sportsmanship. The ref called me for traveling (I think) and I got mad and pounded the ball in the court and it bounced all over the place. I stomped around and got kicked out.
6. I’ve been tazed. Yes, with a real tazer by a real police officer. I was a volunteer for a demonstration. Maybe I’ll post the video in the future 🙂
7. When I was young I wanted to own a B & B. I still do, most days.
8. My first job was scooping up poop at a petting zoo. The owner would scream at kids, parents and his employees. I didn’t last long there. The worst was llama poop. Don’t ask.
9. My favorite meal is a Big Mac, french fries and coke. Yes, this is true.
10. I always straighten the ketchup, mustard, salt/pepper shakers at restaurants. It is a habit and one that J likes to point out often. 🙂

I took the day off of work yesterday to go swimming (in a 4 foot pool, so not scary for me!) with my sister L, niece F and nephew H. It was so much fun!. They live in Oklahoma and are up here in Minnesota for the rest of the week. I love having those kids around.

Last night I was busy making little treats: Pecan Babies.  (treat #1!)I took Megan’s idea and made some with almonds – Almond Babies!!! (treat #2!!!) The basic idea is to mimic the Larabar flavor – with dates, nuts and sea salt. They turned out great! Thanks Megan for the idea:

Pecans and dates being ground up in the bullet:

They kept sticking to the outside of the cup, so I kept scraping them down and grinding them more:

Finally I flattened the dough out on a plate:

I threw them in the fridge to harden overnight, and then I rolled them into balls:

They turned out a little crumbly (I will add less nuts next time). But they were still delicious! You can’t go wrong with only a few ingredients — and the flavor was exactly like the Pecan Pie Larabars!

Question:

What is your favorite easy dessert/snack to make? These babies were super easy and tasted delicious. I also love HEAB‘s protein ice cream. 🙂

Tell me a random fact about yourself!

Have a good one!

Holly

Okra Fries & Dream Vacations

Good Morning! 🙂

Thanks for all the lovely ideas for preparing okra. It seems the majority of people would roast okra or make okra fries. I looked online and found a recipe to follow. You can find it *here*.

First I washed and dried my okra, then cut off the tops and cut the okra into 4 thin slices.

Okra is pretty cute, with the little white seeds inside. Then I mixed the spices and canola oil in a large bowl and then tossed in the okra. Once the oven was preheated, I laid the okra on a prepared baking sheet and sprinkled on a little more sea salt:

Ok, into the oven they go. The recipe claimed that okra burns really easily, and that 8-10 minutes is enough time. It wasn’t. My okra “fries” were slimy and limp. So I baked them for a few more minutes. Still slimy and limp. Finally they ended up baking for 20 minutes total, so I took them out, thinking they would “crisp” up eventually.

Nope. Still slimy and limp. Gross texture and gross taste. Where did I go wrong? The recipe’s picture looked so good: crispy and crunchy baked okra fries. I’ll try again. Maybe I’ll try roasting them whole next time?

Ok, now a fun topic. What is your dream vacation? J and I have decided to take a trip next Spring. We’ve never taken an actual vacation together. Sure, we’ve traveled before, but it was for work or to visit family/friends. I want to take a vacation where it is just us! Some ideas:

An all inclusive resort I loved all of Gina’s posts about her honeymoon trip. I would love to go to a place like this, with white sand and turquoise water, good food and good drinks. 🙂

A cruise – where? What cruise line? I have no idea about these things, have any of you taken a cruise? Any tips on what to look for?

Washington DC J has never been here and I’ve been here twice. I think he would love to see the memorials, monuments, museums and all of the history. This would be a fun trip, but maybe not as romantic as the others 🙂

Disney World Neither of us have been here before, and I’ve always wanted to! We would definitely need tips on where to stay, which parks are the best, etc.

(Although I’d love to go to Europe one day, I think we want to stay in the US or close by in the Caribbean – at least for this vacation)

We have plenty of time to plan and prepare, but I’m excited and want to get it all ready NOW. Any suggestions, tips, ideas are welcome. Bring them on!

Plans:
Swim with the kiddos (2 nieces and my nephew!)
Run a few miles
Relax
Make Pecan Pie Babies and maybe some other treats
Read a little OB before bed

Questions:

Any idea where I went wrong with the okra? Should I just roast it whole?

What are your suggestions for our dream vacation?