Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Recipe – BLT Ranch Pizza

A few weeks ago I was in serious pizza mode…I think we had it three times in two weeks.  I love experimenting with different toppings, though, and everything I have tried making has turned out pretty tasty.  My favorite kind was the BLT Ranch Pizza, which I adapted from Babble.  It has just the right amount of ranch dressing, plenty of veggies, some turkey bacon for protein and just a little cheese for some extra flavor.  This is a low-cal meal and I’m stuffed after two slices - I swear the size of my stomach is shrinking every day!

A couple tips…I have found that using a large cookie sheet is the best way to get a pizza nice and crispy very fast.  I only have to bake the pizza for 10 minutes before the dough turns golden brown.  After it’s baked, I cut the pizza into 9 squares.  In the recipe below, I mention using oregano and basil for some spices, but I actually use Wildtree’s Perfect Pizza Sauce Seasoning which I highly recommend.

BLT Pizza


  • 1 package of store-bought whole wheat dough
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons light ranch dressing
  • 1/2 tablespoon oregano
  • 1/2 tablespoon basil
  • 20-30 grape tomatoes, sliced in halves (or quarters if you can!)
  • 3 slices turkey bacon, cut in small 1/2” sections
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
  • 1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese
  • olive oil flavored non-stick spray
  • large cookie sheet

Let’s Get Cooking!

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.  Spray cookie sheet generously with non-stick spray.
  2. Roll out the dough on a flat surface, using flour to make it non-sticky.  Stretch the dough out enough so that it covers the entire cookie sheet and then carefully place on top of the sheet.
  3. Sprinkle a little cornmeal on the edges of the dough.  Fold over the edges of the dough slightly to create a small crust. 
  4. Using the back of a spoon, spread the ranch dressing evenly in a thin layer over the entire dough, except for the crust.  Sprinkle the oregano and basil over the dressing.
  5. Evenly distribute the tomato pieces, cheese, and turkey bacon on top.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes or until dough is golden brown and crispy.  The turkey bacon should be cooked through by this point.
  7. Top with lettuce before serving.  Enjoy!


Sharing at: Someday Crafts, I Heart Naptime, Tatertots & Jello


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Third Month - Losing It!

I technically should have weighed myself and did this post yesterday since I’m tracking months by the 27th, but this is close enough.  I weighed in this AM and I’ve stayed consistent since Saturday so I am making it official…I’ve lost 20.6 pounds since 3/27!  20 down…20 down!!!  I really can’t believe that number, but it feels SO good to write. 

I was looking at my old pictures to see if the difference is that noticeable…so here’s a pic from our trip to Florida last December.  It was probably when I was at my heaviest as it was right before the holidays:

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And here’s a pic taken a couple weeks ago:


I know I’ve lost some weight, but it definitely doesn’t feel like a whole twenty pounds.  I can see that my cheeks are no longer super chubby and my chest is looking smaller (which is a good thing!), but I don’t see much else other than those differences in the pictures.  Though, I have noticed a lot of other changes this past month.  Lots of positives:

  • My favorite pair of jeans fit and they look good – no muffin top whatsoever :)
  • Last fall I bought a new pair of jeans that were just a little too tight…they were supposed to be my motivation to get in shape by the winter.  Well, it took much longer, but those jeans finally fit and I love them.
  • I am comfortable wearing shorts again…no need to wear stretchy skirts every day.
  • I went to Dress Barn last week to stock up on dresses for the weddings this summer and tried on everything in my normal size and they all zipped with no problem.  And one dress I bought a size down from what I normally wear.
  • I can run at 5.5 mph for almost an entire song on my Gym playlist…I’m slowly building up my endurance but it’s really amazing how much longer I can run now and not feel like I’m going to collapse on the treadmill.
  • I have lost 8.2 pounds since 5/27, so I managed to get back to losing an average of 2 pounds a week again.

So here’s all my stats:

  • Started 3/27 w/counting calories on
  • 4/27 - Down 9.8 pounds
  • 5/27 - Down another 2.6 pounds, 12.4 total
  • 6/27 – Down another 8.2 pounds, 20.6 total

Some adjustments I have made:

  • I started using “light” or “reduced fat” ingredients in my cooking instead of “fat-free”.  I’m trying to cut back on all the fake sugar and fat-free products are just loaded with them.  While light ingredients have slightly more calories, they typically don’t have all the added sugar so I’ve adjusted my recipes.
  • I sometimes take a day off on the weekends and don’t track calories, especially when we have gone to a BBQ or friend’s for the day, but I’ve managed to stay on track and not overindulge.
  • I love love love the Bolthouse Farm salad dressings – they are made with yogurt so they’re naturally healthy, and they’re very creamy so I like them better than normal dressings.  I also eat Bolthouse’s carrot chips – for some reason, I like them better than baby carrots.


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Things I need to work on for next month:

  • I need to work more on weightlifting and toning.  I’m doing well with cardio but I need to start firming up!
  • Continue with drinking more water at work.
  • Keep eating fruit in the AM with my oatmeal at work – I’ve been slacking with this lately.
  • Get used to eating Greek yogurt…I hate it alone but I’m trying to sneak it into smoothies since it’s much more nutritious than the Light N’ Fit yogurts I was previously eating.
  • I have decided to increase my weight loss goal to 35 pounds total (was originally 30)…let’s see how I do for next month!


Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday Musings

“I will stand by you
I will help you through
When you’ve done all you can do
And you can’t cope
I will dry your eyes
I will fight your fight
I will hold you tight
And I won't let go”

- “I Won’t Let Go” by Rascal Flatts



Saturday, June 25, 2011

Thursday, June 23, 2011

It’s almost Friday…let’s have a drink!

Haven’t done one of these posts in awhile, but that’s because we haven’t tried a lot of new drinks lately.  However, when I was going through my recent pictures on my camera today, I realized I forgot about these extremely tasty margaritas we had at Guac-N-Roll when we stayed in York Beach, ME for Memorial Day weekend. 

I started with a watermelon margarita…yes…WATERMELON!  Watermelon is the best kind of fruit in my opinion, and I’ve been eating it like crazy for the past month – it’s probably one of my favorite summer things.  I went to Trader Joe’s to pick up a few things today and just had to buy some of their watermelon spears which are oh-so-easy to eat at work since they’re pre-cut for you. Anyways, when I saw the Wa-Wa-Watermelon Margarita on Guac-N-Roll’s menu, I knew I had to try it. 

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It did not disappoint, and I was glad it wasn’t too sweet.  Longhorn’s Steakhouse used to have a watermelon margarita and it was sickly sweet, so the Guac-N-Roll’s version was much better.  It also seems like an easy recipe we could try at home.  Tequila, triple sec, watermelon puree and fresh lime.  Though, I would like to find another substitute for triple sec after researching how horrible it is for you…ugh moving on…

Hubby decided to try the Sour Patch Margarita.  This one includes citrus tequila, melon liqueur, lime, triple sec, and surprise – Sour Patch Kids!  Yes, there were a few of those cute little candies floating around in the drink:

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I also had a Blackberry-Booyah Margarita, and while that was flavorful, I’ve had similar ones at other Mexican restaurants so it wasn’t that original.  One I want to try next time is their cucumber-flavored margarita – very different if you ask me!  If you are ever around York, I definitely recommend checking out the Guac-N-Roll.  The food was fresh, the portions were pretty generous, and the service was pretty fast.  While the drinks were a little pricey, they were fairly strong and they had some pretty unique flavors to offer :) 

Happy Friday!


Wine-Themed Poems for a Bridal Shower

One of my co-worker’s bridal showers was last weekend and the invitation was wine-themed, so another co-worker thought we could do a special presentation that would go with the theme.  The idea is to give a basket containing several bottles of wine, each with a specific poem that relates to a milestone during the first year or two of marriage.  The 6 poems we used were titled “Wedding Night”, “First Fight”, “First Anniversary”, “First Dinner Party”, “First Christmas Eve”, and “First Baby”.  I’m not sure of the original poem source, as my co-worker has seen this idea at a couple other showers she’s been to previously, but I did a quick Google search and this site gives all of the poems -  I think with a little tweaking, you may be able to change this to champagne bottles if the bride is not a wine fan.  If you are feeling creative and can write poetry, some other ideas would be to write a “First New Year’s” or “First Thanksgiving” poem if there are more than 6 participants. 

I was in charge of making tags with the poems for each bottle.  They ended up being a little bigger than I would have liked, but in order for the poem to be easily visible, I had to make sure the font sizes were at least 14 or 16.  This was an easy project since I just used scrap paper, ribbon, and some stickers I already had on hand.   The bride can save the tags for the future in a scrapbook after they drink all these bottles :)   Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of the entire basket set up, but here are the bottles lined up:

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I had the “First Anniversary” poem, so I purchased a Sparkling Spanish Wine so they could enjoy a little bubbly the anniversary night.  We each read our poems after the bride finished opening gifts and it made for a very touching presentation - it had everyone in tears, especially after the First Baby poem was read.  And speaking of the shower…all the details were so elegant and went very well with the theme.  They even had a tasting where you could sample wines from a local winery.  Check out these centerpieces:

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And there were so many other beautiful details, like wine corks in mason jars were hung around the edge of the tent.  The bride’s chair was surrounded by barrels and lots of bunches of grapes (I heard that one of the bridesmaids works at a department store and they were able to use the barrels from a previous store display).  I feel like all of these ideas would be very fitting for a summer or fall wedding.

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Sigh…love anything wedding related!   Sharing at: Someday Crafts, Paisley Passions, Tatertots & Jello, I Heart Naptime 


Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Yesterday my grandpa passed away.  It was sudden since he wasn’t ill, and I still don’t think it’s completely hit me yet.  I’m sure I’ll be a wreck at his memorial services next week, though.  Eventually I’d like to write a longer and meaningful memorial sort of post for him and my grandma, but I think it will take some time before I can do that.

Thinking of you both every day…

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Inspiration – Summer Desserts

When warm weather finally comes in New England, there’s something that many of us look forward to….Dairy Queen opens for the season!  The only thing I ever order at Dairy Queen is the “twist” soft serve dipped in their their chocolate shell.  Sooooooo good.  And it so happens that one of the food blogs I check every so often posted a recipe for homemade chocolate shell ice cream topping.  How amazing does this look from Handle the Heat?

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Now I just need to find some coconut oil – guess I will be taking a trip to Whole Foods during a lunch break this week!


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father’s Day!


picture courtesy of Clare Norton Photography 



Weekly Menu 6/20/11-6/26/11


Monday 6/20 – Western Omelet Potato Skins (trying recipe from

Tuesday 6/21 – Mexican Tortilla Pizza (trying recipe from Honey, What’s Cooking?)

Wednesday 6/22 - Southwestern Chicken Salad

Thursday 6/23 - Nutella & Fresh Fruit Crepes (trying recipe from Handle the Heat)

Friday 6/24 – Lighter Baked Mac & Cheese (trying recipe from – never made it a couple weeks ago!

Saturday 6/25 – Chicken Burgers from Trader Joe’s

Sunday 6/26 – Grilled Chicken w/Pomegranate BBQ Sauce, Roasted Potatoes & Veggies


Sharing at: I Heart Naptime 


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Inspiration – Unique Cake Base

Love this idea for a beautiful cake stand:

 image source

The base is made of small, individual square vases with some flowers inside each one.  It’s gorgeous and doesn't take away too much from the cake.  It also would be good to tie in if using fresh flowers as a topper on the cake.  Pretty, pretty, pretty!


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Weekly Menu from 6/13/11 –6/19/11


Monday 6/13 – Creamy Chicken Salad (trying recipe from My Recipes/Cooking Light)

Tuesday 6/14 – Stuffed French Toast Sundaes (trying recipe from Yummy, Yummy in my Tummy)

Wednesday 6/15 – hosting a dinner party!  Creamy Chicken Taquitos & Hawaiian Pizzas on English Muffins

Thursday 6/16 – Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Chicken on Ciabatta Bread

Friday 6/17 – Honey Mustard Chicken Quesadillas

Saturday 6/18 – BBQ/Pool Party at a friend’s (will be making Strawberry Trifles on Sticks)

Sunday 6/19 – Turkey Kabobs (trying recipe from


Sharing at:

I Heart Naptime


Friday, June 10, 2011

A Maine Wedding: Setting Up & a Little Meltdown

So much for trying to get wedding recaps done before the first anniversary…again, WHAT HAPPENED TO MAY?!  Anyways…after leaving the Portsmouth Spa, we headed back to York Harbor with making a quick pit-stop at Hannaford’s for some deli sandwiches for the girls.  Once we arrived at the inn, my mom came out to greet me in the parking lot to warn me that the on-site restaurant, our reception venue, wasn’t vacuumed yet from the wedding the night before and things were a “little” messy.  But apparently the inn coordinator and staff had everything under control.  I took a deep breath, went in, ignored the floors and mess, and started to set up the tables since the cloths were clean at least.  Somehow we managed to unpack all of this…


and turn it into this…


and this in just 60 minutes!settingup3

The first tables were the ones our guests would see when they walked in.  This is where we put the starfish escort cards, room map, card box, and instructions on how to sign our wedding certificate, which was at the very end on an easel stand.  We has 13 tables to decorate with a jam at each setting, centerpieces, and table names and menus for each table. The restaurant included some long, rectangular tables that seated between 10-12 people and round tables that seated 10 people each.

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Bridesmaid J started to arrange my DIY drink umbrellas in a couple white pails.


Just a little nervous :)  Me w/my planning sheets


Even though it was stressful having to set things up, looking back, I’m glad I was there physically to see everything and my vision come together.  It was arranged exactly how I wanted it and that made me happy :)  And I don’t care what anyone says about all my lists and crazy OCD-ness, my organization skills definitely helped in getting things set up quickly.

Once we were done setting up, it was a little after 2.  The ceremony was schedule to start at 4:15.  My florist, videographer and photographer were all with me at this point, and we were waiting to go to the suite where I would be getting ready.  Long story short, there was some serious miscommunication on the inn’s end and the owners forgot that  they promised us the suite would be ready by 2pm that day.  When Hubby checked in, they informed him the room wasn’t clean and wouldn’t be for at least 45 minutes.  Sista MOH and Groomsman D were trying to keep me in the restaurant and distracted, while the staff tried to clean the room ASAP.  I eventually found out what was really going on and just decided to walk over to the suite, since it was close to 3pm at that point and I needed to start getting ready.  We interrupted the owner and an employee vacuuming and politely asked them leave since we didn’t care about the room being totally cleaned at that point.  Sista MOH had some words with the owner, as the owner was completely rude about the situation and embarrassed me in front of the vendors.  I do have to give credit to the employee, since she at least apologized a few times and said she felt so bad about things not being cleaned in time.  It’s too bad the owner didn’t show the same professionalism. 

I know of all the things that could have possibly gone wrong, this was not a huge deal in the long run, but at the time it totally put me on edge an hour before I was was supposed to walk down the aisle.  Luckily my vendors were all AMAZING in helping me to move on and focus on getting pretty :)  On a side note…this is what the ceremony chairs looked like until about an hour before the ceremony started:


Lovely.  Don’t worry, they got set up in time!   At least that view was worth all the disorganization.  Next up, time to put on the dress!


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Recipe Review – Sloppy Joes

I was going through all my pictures saved on my computer last night (to find a picture of Sista to put on the sidebar since she lives in Our Little Casita now :P ) and I came across some food ones that I never posted reviews on from a couple months ago!  So it’s time to catch up…first up, Skinny Sloppy Joes.  This recipe came from and it did not disappoint. 


Though I didn’t add in mushrooms or garlic like the recipe called for , some peppers and carrots did sneak into the sauce mixture.  The biggest change I made to the recipe was using ground turkey instead of lean ground beef.  Hubby and I both thought it was still very flavorful and there’s nothing I could think of needing to be changed for the next time we make this.  I may consider adding in some zucchini for added nutritional benefits, since you really cannot taste the minced veggies at all when mixed in with the tomato sauce.  I would give the recipe an overall 7/10 – they were good, but probably not in our top 10 of all time favorite meals.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Cuteness – Sesame Street Fruit Snacks

Ohhh Sesame Street…the memories :)  Random fact…I named one of my family’s first cats after Grover on Sesame Street.  Anyways, I saw these featured on a couple different blogs and thought they were adorable.  I used to babysit two little girls when I was in college, and if I still watched them, I would totally be making these:

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Go over to Kitchen Fun with My Three Sons for a tutorial on how to make Bert & Ernie.  I still can’t believe how much they look alike to the characters on the show!


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Weekly Menu 6/6/11 –6/12/11


Monday 6/6 – BLT Ranch Pizza (trying recipe from Babble)

Tuesday 6/7 - Chicken Parm Lettuce Wraps

Wednesday 6/8– Homemade Hamburger Helper

Thursday 6/9 - Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken & Bacon Quesadillas

Friday 6/10 – Orange Chicken from Trader Joe’s

Saturday 6/11 - Lighter Baked Mac & Cheese – trying recipe from

Sunday 6/12 – Lasagna Roll-Ups


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I Heart Naptime


Second Month – Losing It!

Where did May go?????  I remember feeling like this last year since things were crazy right before the wedding, then the wedding happened and then we were off to Mexico for a week.  It was like May came and went in a week instead of 4 and that feeling has continued this year.  I love that we were able to go away to celebrate our anniversary, and I would hope to continue the tradition each year, but we may need to cut down and just do an extended weekend trip since I love the month of May and miss it!

Anyways, I should have done this post back on 5/27 since I started my weight loss plan on March 27th, but things have been busy and I really have been so unmotivated lately.  Work has a lot to do with it, but I will leave it at that.

To recap my second month of “Losing It”, let’s just say that going to an all-inclusive resort for a week will completely blow any weight loss goals you have.  Mudslide?  Sure!  Strawberry margarita?  Yes, please!  Desserts after EVERY single meal?  Why not!  I wouldn’t say I totally overindulged this time, but it was definitely a lot more food and calories than I was used to eating.  Since we knew what we were in for before we left, Hubby and I agreed that we would bring gym clothes with us and try to work out at least a couple times.  We ended up going to the gym once…but that was because we also went snorkeling (we did a TON of swimming) and walked around Tulum two other days of the trip, so overall I guess we had 3 decent work-outs.

Unfortunately the exercise didn’t seem to help, because I knew I had already gained a few pounds when the dress I wanted to wear the last night was not fitting like it did the week prior when I tried it on.  Before we left, it fit perfectly and I needed no help zipping it up.  In Mexico, the thing took 10 minutes to get into and once it was finally on, I felt so uncomfortable and changed immediately into something else.  It was frustrating because I remember feeling proud of myself when I tried it on at home and it fit well again, like it had 2 summers ago.

Once we got back home, I was disgusted with the scale.  In the week away, I put on the same amount of weight that it took me 2.5 weeks to lose.  Luckily it did come off pretty quickly once I started counting calories again, but I still didn’t end up losing much for my second month.  On 5/27, I was down another 2.6 pounds since 4/27, or 12.4 total since 3/27.  It’s been a very up and down past two weeks and I have a feeling it’s going to take a lot longer to lose these last 15 pounds.  Memorial Day weekend did not help me getting back into the swing of cutting back - BBQ’s, summer side dishes, ice cream, beers, and summer drinks do not help when you’re try to eat small, healthy portions. 

Trying to end this on a positive note…I have been drinking more water and seltzer during the day at work, so that’s an improvement.  And my favorite pair of jeans almost fit.  I could actually wear them comfortably now, but I think if I lose just another few pounds, they will look even better.  Goals for next month – I HAVE to get back on the treadmill and do it at least 3 times a week.  I also need to continue eating more fruits and veggies.  I’ve been better with it the past couple weeks but there are still some days where I don’t eat any fruits or veggies.