Thursday, 30 December 2010

Granite City

My dear cousin, Jenni, lives in Alaska.  I had the wonderful blessing of traveling to see her walk for her Master's in Juneau several years ago, and really can't wait to go back!  : )  Meanwhile, I look forward to her visits home, such as this month for Christmas.  

Today I met her, her mom (Aunt Judy), Aunt Nancy & Uncle Gene (y'all know them from the Key West guest-posts!) for lunch at Granite City.  I adore GC, but don't get to eat there very often.  Their Cheddar Ale soup is, in a word, amazing!  

Today I tried something new, called The Overhill.  It's a simple, delicious sandwich made with turkey, bacon & tomato, and some sort of flavored mayonnaise.  Are you a fan of delicious flavor?  LOL  (And if you know where that quote is from, please tell me, because I can hear it in my head, but can't remember who's saying it!)  Loved also the pickle, but the cole slaw was not my favorite.  

Uncle Gene chose the 3 Cheese Ravioli, which I have had before and enjoyed.  

Aunt Nancy's Bedda Chedda burger, well-done, was quite beautifully put together, as well.

Aunt Judy had a lovely salad of some sort, whose name escapes me.

And finally, we have Jenni's scrumptious Chicken Caesar Chalupa.  I'm thinking of ordering one all for me during our next visit!  

Aside from the food, it's just nice to hang out with family & share stories & laughter!  : )  Until next time - who's your favorite family member to hang out with during a meal?  Or are you also blessed with many relatives you can hang out with?  I hope you are!!  : )  

Friday, 24 December 2010

Corn Cakes

Tonight, Mom & I braved the Christmas Eve snow to partake in something new at Applebee's.  We got stuck in the parking lot, and some very kind & helpful wait staff came out to push us into a parking spot.  Thanks, again, Applebee's wait staff!  : )  

Mom had one of my favorite salads, the spinach shrimp salad w/ warm dressing.  Mmm!  

I had a delicious new dish, called ... erm... Oh dear.  I didn't write it down, and it's not on their online menu?  So, I don't know what it was called!  But it was yummy, and kinda spicy.  Corn cakes on the bottom, grilled chicken breast, topped w/ ham & cheese, bacon, and a sweet bbq sauce, with a spicy corn salad thingy on the side.  *laugh*  Wow, what a great food blogger I am today?!  

Anyway, I ate half & brought the other half home, so mom & I could split a blondie for dessert.  Also yummy!  : ) 

Until next time - what did you enjoy for eats this Christmas Eve?  Do you have a traditional family meal?  Do you eat out?  Do share, and Happy Christmas Eve!!   

Saturday, 18 December 2010


I called Mom to see if she wanted to go to Osaka for lunch & she did.  : )  We sat in the bar area because neither of us really wanted the "show" of the hibachi.  It's an awesome show, but we just wanted to chat & have a quiet lunch.  : )  

I decided to order something new, because even tho I love the Philadelphia roll, it's what I've ordered the past two times I was there.  So, today I ordered the lunch special which allowed me to try three new rolls!  What a deal!  *bounce*  I ordered the Tuna Avocado, Alaskan, and Crab Asparagus.  The presentation was amaaazingly cute!

I liked the Tuna & Alaskan, but wasn't that fond of the Crab Asparagus.  I think I might not like asparagus as much as I think I do?  Not sure, but at any rate, it was a super nice lunch, and only cost me $5!  (Note: this is because Mom bought lunch & I took care of the tip.  Lucky server, too, since it was a $20 meal!  Hee!) 

Until next time, what's your favorite sushi roll?  : )  

Thursday, 25 November 2010


This year, Mom, Phil & I chose to have Thanksgiving dinner at Golden Corral.  This way, none of us had to cook or deal w/ the clean up that is associated w/ making all that delicious food!  : )  We did have to wait in line for 20 minutes or 1/2 an hour - well, Phil waited in line for us.  Mom & I hung out off to the side, away from the crowd!  Also, that made it easier for other ppl to get in line.

The plate above is mine.  Turkey & stuffing & green bean casserole were had, in the Traditional Fare category.  Then I had some cottage cheese, cantaloupe, bourbon street chicken, and oh yes, carrots.  Everything was SCRUMPTIOUS!  For dessert I had some bread pudding (not pictured) and a small brownie.  Yummy!

The next plate is Phil's.  As you can see, he started out slow, w/ some green bean casserole, stuffing, and he also chose to start with ham instead of turkey.  Everyone always thinks of Thanksgiving as a turkey holiday, but plenty of ppl still prefer ham.  (Phil had some turkey on his 2nd trip through the buffet line, don't worry!)

And finally, we have the complete traditionalist.  Mom had freshly carved turkey, mashed taters & gravy, stuffing, a roll... she shared 1/2 her roll since I hadn't gotten one.  mmmmm!

Everything was marvelous, as Golden Corral usually is.  I liked the set up & everything, as well as the food.

Until next time... How was YOUR Thanksgiving?  Did you have turkey or ham?  Any sweet potatoes?  I didn't see any on the line, but I'm sure I just missed them.  Even w/ all the great food I DID get to try, I'm saddened by the lack of yams/sp's!

Ah, well!  TTFN!

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Tastefully Simple - And A Giveaway!

Hello, fellow foodies!  : )  Today I have a special post, kind of a promotional post, for Tastefully Simple.  

I first heard of TS in my early 20's.  Some friends of my parents were consultants, and I decided to have them come make food & do a party for my birthday.  It was lots of fun, and the food was amazing!  And so easy to make!  I unfortunately lost touch with that couple, but was recently brought back into contact w/ the business via a friend from work.  She is now my exclusive TS consultant.  And she has recently started a website, making it even easier for you, dear readers, to try out some TASTEFUL and SIMPLE treats, too!

You can order whatever you'd like, and it'll ship right to your door!  How super easy is that?  Also, every week in November, you can enter to win some fabulous freebies!  : )  

Now, you probably want to hear about the products, right?  Of course you do!  You can go over there & see them for yourself, but I can give you the inside scoop on some of the wonderfulness.  : )  

First of all, the crowd favorite and possibly most well-known TS offering - Bountiful Beer Bread.  You can use any carbonated beverage, and each will give the bread a unique taste - but no matter what you use, it will be delicious!  I've tasted it with beer, Mt. Dew, and Coke, and I can't say I have a favorite because they were all equally good.  This makes an excellent Christmas gift, too - as a matter of fact, I'm sending one to my friend, Debi, along w/ her other presents!  

Next, perfect for all those holiday parties that you have to bring something for, but don't want to really MAKE anything - Tastefully Simple dip mixes are amazing!  My favorite currently is the Creamy Crab Cheeseball - you mix it w/ cream cheese & it tastes just like the inside of my favorite, crab ragoon.  Mmmm!  I actually have some of this mix in my pantry that I think I'll make this weekend.  : )  Also in my pantry, which I use not only to make dips but also as seasoning in soups, pasta dishes, and casseroles - Spinach & Herb Dip Mix.  I also enjoy the Bacon Bacon and Garlic Garlic!  

Bret is currently enjoying the Oh My! Chai - mix w/ hot water & voila!  You have a perfectly TASTEFUL blend of black tea & spices.  It's also great iced - but make sure to actually heat it up & mix it first, because just like hot cocoa mix, it doesn't dissolve well in cold water alone!  : )  Speaking of hot cocoa mix, there is a lovely Butterscotch Kisses Cocoa... Ohhhh!  

Have I tempted you with all of this deliciousness yet?  Please visit the link above & take a look at the beautiful pictures that go along with my wonderful reviews.  ; )  To tempt you even more - For the first reader to place an order via Lola's website and leave a comment to that effect, I will send you a little gift from the site, up to a $10 value.  That means, you can order some beer bread and I'll send you some Oh My! Chai to try for free!  Or whatever you'd like to try for free.  : )  

This offer is valid until there's a winner - so get over there & place your order!  As soon as I confirm it w/ Lola, I'll send you your giftee!  : )  

Until next time... 

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

P.F. Chang's - Chicago

Across the parking lot from Weber Grill was the architecturally interesting P.F. Chang's.  I'd been wanting to try it ever since April mentioned it.  It's one of her favorite restaurants!  Of course, we don't have one around here, so when I saw it so close, I told Mom we should take a look.  

I texted April for food suggestions... and then didn't listen to her.  BAD CARRIE.  The appetizers we got were delicious, but now I'm wondering about the lettuce wraps.  I let the lettuce turn me off w/o even seeing about them... Sorry, April.  I'll be better next time.  : )  

So, since I didn't listen to April, below is a list of what we did have.  

More addictive than potato chips

Crunchy wonton filled with rock crab meat and served with a side of spicy plum sauce

Stir-fried mixed vegetables, crispy silken tofu and peanuts in a vegetarian coconut curry sauce

(Only with chicken instead of tofu *grin*)

Semi-crisp egg noodles stir-fried with vegetables and served with a combination of beef, pork, chicken and shrimp

(Only with tofu instead of all that stuff *laugh*)

As I said, the appetizers were delish!  The green beans were almost as good as Texas Roadhouse's fried pickle chips, but the sauce served w/ them was too spicy for me & mom.  They needed some Ranch to make them truly wonderful.  : ) 

I LOVED the crab wontons!  The plumby sauce they're served w/ was good, too.  Mom was not a fan, tho.  They were too "crabby" for her.  Heh.  That's what I liked about them!  : ) 

I wanted the coconut curry vegetables because it reminded me of Thai.  : )  It was ... well, I suppose it was good.  But at this point it'd gotten dark outside, and - IDK if this is a chain thing, or if it was just this particular restaurant - it was getting all moody & dark in the restaurant.  I've complained of the same thing at Outback Steakhouse.  I want to SEE my food.  I want to SEE the person I'm talking to.  I don't want to have to strain to see either.  So, I truly think the poor lighting dampened my experience enough that I didn't really enjoy my curry.  

Mom didn't really enjoy her noodles, either, and it may have been the lighting.  Or not.  I tried them, and thought they were good, tho.  Actually, wouldn't have minded having leftovers when home, but I forgot to bring them in when Mom dropped me off, and I'm sure Phil's eaten them by now!  (We packed them in ice in the cooler for the trip home.  Rah!)

So, there ya go.  My take on 4 dishes from the Chang's.  Next time - should there be a next time - I'll try the lettuce wraps, sans lettuce.  : )  

Until then, have you eaten here?  What did you think?  What did you like/not like about it?  Do share!  : )  

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Weber Grill - Chicago

This weekend, my mom & I visited some Chicago suburbs for a Halloween getaway.  Our rule for food was - nowhere that we could eat at home.  (We made 1 exception - Starbucks on Sunday.  : )  )

Friday afternoon after we checked in to our gorgeous hotel (Staybridge Suites), we ate a late lunch/early dinner at Weber Grill.  I'd wanted to eat there ever since I saw one many years ago in a different area of the City.  First of all, the outside has this awesome huge grill!  

Once inside, the atmosphere is beautiful.

And then, the food.  DELICIOUS!  Fancy, but still good portions.  Our waiter, Ryan, was on the ball.  We ordered water - normally we order it w/ lemon, but for some reason we didn't that day.  He actually offered it - and then brought a whole plate of lemon wedges for us!  : )  

To start, he brought out these amazing pretzel rolls, served w/ butter and cheese, and they're all made fresh on-site.  They were even more delicious than the honey rolls at Texas Roadhouse.  Really!  I know it sounds crazy, but really!!  

Mom had a BBQ sampler, which included onion rings, beer can chicken tenders, ribs, and steak.  She gave me a sample of her sampler, and it was oh so amazing!  Also, Ryan brought out hot towels for her AND a silver bowl to put in the skewers & bones.  NEAT!  

I had a chicken capressi unwrapped, which came w/ pita wedges, pesto chicken, and tomatoes & mozerella w/ basil.  Mouthwatering!  It also came w/ a side of the creamiest cole slaw.  MMM!  

And, since we filled up on pretzel rolls, we had quite enough to take back to the hotel for dinner!  Oh, also, Ryan sent us home w/ a whole bag of extra rolls (8!) and cheese spread.  He really was an above & beyond waiter, and deserves an award or a raise or something!!  

I highly recommend this restaurant, and hope that I get to go again to try something else!  : )  

Until next time - have you been to a Weber Grill?  Did you enjoy the grilled smokey flavor as much as we did?  

Tuesday, 26 October 2010


I'm not the biggest cinnamon fan.  A little goes a long way in my book!  Cinnamon rolls?  Cinnamon coffees?  Not so much my thing.  But after hearing that cinnamon can lower bad cholesterol, and most importantly "Several studies suggest that cinnamon may have a regulatory effect on blood sugar, making it especially beneficial for people with type 2 Diabetes,"  I've begun making a conscious effort to find things to which I can add a bit of the spice.

Tonight, I added it to my pasta sauce.  Just a touch, just a bit.  I started out with Chunky Mushroom & Green Pepper Ragu.  I added the bit of cinnamon, a touch of milk, a pat of butter, sprinkle of salt, quite a bit of pepper and A LOT of basil.  I may have also added some oregano, I'm not sure now... I added a little cinnamon to the bowtie pasta after it was cooked, as well.  The combination of cinnamon & basil was interestingly delicious!

I ate the finished product without taking a picture.  Bad food blogger!  But it pretty much looked like bowtie pasta w/ tomato sauce.  Heh.  : )

Until next time... What "new" spice have you started using more of lately?

Saturday, 16 October 2010


Today I did not follow my meal plan.  Not intentionally, but I didn't get up until late, and then I had some shopping to do, so I picked up a cheeseburger for breakfast, then had a delicious Healthy Choice for lunch, then ... COOKOUT at Aunt Nancy & Uncle Gene's.  : )  

The HC lunch was good, but the flavor was not quite what I was expecting.  Might have been the rosemary, might have been the pearl onions I picked out of the dish.  I bought 2 because I thought I would REALLY like it (having sweet potatoes in it & all), but I'm not sure I'll get it again after that.  

By not sticking to my meal plan I don't mean to imply that I over-indulged at the cookout.  I actually think I made pretty good choices there.  It was just that all my meals were sort of in a 6 hour timespan instead of spread more through the day like they normally are.

There was lots of delicious food, and I sampled a bit of most offerings.  I didn't have a bun with my hotdog, saving those carb choices for Aunt Sharon's rice dish, some chips w/ Mom's taco dip, small portions of the apple crisp & Jell-O/pretzel desserts, a little of Johnna's pasta salad, some scalloped corn(bread), and 2 small cookies (scraped off the frosting).  

Cousin Kitty made two chilis, one with beans and one without.  I forgot to try it, but I the talk around the bonfire was that both were delicious!  : )  

The most important part of any family gathering is, of course, family time.  I'm very grateful to have been placed in such a loving and AWESOME family!  A loving and awesome family who cooks.  heh!  

Until next time, what's your favorite cookout food?  Do you go straight to the grilled hotdogs, or are you more of a bonfired marshmallow?  BTW, say marshmallow outloud a few times.  It's fun!  : ) 

Monday, 11 October 2010

New Design

What do you think of the new design?  I found it over at April Showers.  It's one of several free templates offered at A Blog To Brag About.  You get to customize your hair & eye color, which I think is way cute!  The only thing I don't like is that I can't figure out how to get my Navigation bar to show up on top of the template instead of behind it!  If anyone is good w/ html code & knows how I can do that, it'd be great!  (Edit - there was an explanation of how to do it on the A Blog To Brag About comments.  Yay!!)  

Today's been a tough day for my menu.  I'm out of yogurt, which is my normal breakfast.  Thankfully, God provides!  I had a bagel & cream cheese in the fridge at work from last week, and Marty brought me 1/2 a banana.  Voila!  Breakfast!  : )  I'd forgotten to bring a lunch, but I had one in the freezer at work from last week.  Voila!  Lunch!  *laugh*  Then for dinner... well, I'm still in my "I'm seriously craving pumpkin curry" phase, so nothing really sounded good.  I ended up making ramen & adding an egg for protein & veggies for ... well, veggies.  lol  It was good, even, but ... Ya know!  I did add in some pasta sauce, which made it a bit more flavorful, at least.  

Maybe tomorrow I'll have something more exciting to report, but I wouldn't count on it til Thursday's curry!  ; )  

Until next time... Seriously, what do you think of the new design?  Thumbs up or down?  I'd love to know!   

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Pumpkiny Goodness

I had one of these for breakfast this morning.  

The packaging isn't nearly so adorable anymore, but I couldn't find a Google image of the inside of a pumpkin pie.  Inside of a fruit pie?  Yes.  Inside of something called a Hawaiian pie?  Yes.  *grumble*  Anyway!  It's fall, even if the temperature outside (currently 80 degrees) feels like summer, and I am in the mood for some PUMPKIN!!!  

I want some Pumpkin Curry.  Why didn't I stop at the bank yesterday for cash?  Or have an ATM card for that bank?  lol  Ah well, I can be patient... (Stop laughing!)  : )  I have some pumpkin puree that I am trying to find a recipe for - well, there are lots of recipes, but they all involve other ingredients I do not have on hand.  And my desire to not go to the grocery store is winning over my desire to make that soup today.  Heh.  

Speaking of the grocery store - next time I'm there I need to look for these:

Who knew there were pumpkin pie PopTarts?!  They look uber-appealing now that I have a toaster!  And are the perfect amount of carbs for breakfast... Of course, not very much nutritional value, but that's what the Yoplait Light yogurt is for!  : )  

I also have some Pumpkin Bread from Tastefully Simple.  I'm holding off on making it until I have better carb self-control.  Right now I'm struggling w/ it - everything I like (including FRUIT) is a carb!  I know, I know, I was all excited about how I can eat as much spinach as I'd like... And that's great, except that I don't currently have any spinach.  I do have other veggies to munch on, but my tastebuds just keep screaming, "Potatoes!  Rice!  Noodles!" at me, over & over again.  Basically, I WANT CARBS!  

Or pumpkin curry.  With rice.  ; )  

Until next time - what're you craving that you're trying to be good about & reduce?  Do share!  

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Green Giant Healthy Heart Frozen Veggies

From the Green Giant website (and packaging): 
Healthy Heart - The soluble fiber in Healthy Heart can help naturally lower cholesterol to help promote heart health*. Your heart will skip a beat over this tasty blend: Pearled barley, sugars snap peas and julienne carrots in an herb infused extra virgin olive oil sauce.

This was a definite keeper and will be purchased again!  I'd never really had buckwheat before, that I know of, but it was quite tastey.  I did unfortunately forget that peas are actually a carb, tho.  Whoops!  I haven't had the Immunity Blend there in the back, but I'm not so sure about it.  Sometimes I like cauliflower & sometimes i reallllly do not!  *laugh*  

Now, it's time to watch a marathon of Hell's Kitchen.  My tummy is full of veg, so hopefully the good food (haha!) won't make me hungry.  Until next time - what's your favorite vegetable?  I'm not sure about mine, but I'm thinking garden tomatoes might be it.  I need to find some more of those!  : )  

Thursday, 7 October 2010

At the OK Corral...It's Golden! (Or is that the other way around?)

I truly love buffets!  You can have something different every time - or 2nds of the same thing, it's up to  you!  Sometimes it's hard to eat "correctly" or "healthfully" at a buffet, but it can be done.  It's all about portion control and making the right choices - and for me, keeping in mind that I only get 3 carbs for dinner!

I had two plates, a bite of cupcake, a bite of brownie, and a chocolate chip cookie, but I'm fairly confident that I was w/in my 3 carbs because of the portion sizes.  Eating out is always going to be kinda a toss up, or at least for awhile until I can gauge carb content in random portions!

Plate #1: 3 cheese tortellini, sweet potatoes, carrots, devilled egg, cottage cheese, stir fry beef & mushroom, green beans, and meatloaf.

Plate #2: Cheddar biscuit, cantelope, noodles (I didn't actually eat more than a bite of those, ew), more sweet potatoes, cole slaw, more cottage cheese, a sweet potato & apple thing that I didn't eat all of, either.  Mom also gave me some of her steak, not pictured.

Anthony's dessert plate.  I hate a bite of the brownie.  He liked the tuxedo one.  

Leyton's cupcake was delicious!  I had 2 bites, no frosting (I'm not really a fan of frosting...).  And, also, isn't he cute biting into it?  : )  

This is not even appealing to me, but Anthony was proud of his concoction!  

Good times had by all!  : )  

Until next time - where's your favorite buffet?  

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Healthy Choice Frozen Meals Part II

Today was my 2nd "Let's learn about living with Diabetes" class, and the Healthy Choice Steamers were brought up as a good source for a balanced meal.  Hooray!

After work, it was once again grocery day (I get groceries a lot, depending on what's needed when).  I picked up a few more Steamers to try.  When I got home, I nuked the Lemon Garlic Chicken and Shrimp.

I like everything that's in it (except the onions, but they were thankfully all on top & I scraped them out) - pasta, chicken, broccoli, shrimp, lemon, garlic... And yet, this was not my favorite dish, and I don't think I'll get it again.  There was too much of something and not enough of something else, but I can't explain what either thing was!  

So, what I've learned today is - Healthy Choice meals are good, balanced portions.  I like a lot of them.  I do not like this one.  

Until next time...What's something you ate that you thought you would love, but turned out to be not that keen on?  Do share!  : )  

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Weight Watchers Giant Latte Bars

I love coffee ice cream.  My favorite is Haagen Dazs, and the WW Giant Latte Bars are comparable, flavor wise.  Calorie and fat wise, the WW bars are way better, tho!  They are only 90 calories, compared to 1/2 a cup of the HD, which has 270 calories.  55mg sodium compared to 70mg, 1g fat compared to 18g.  It's the little things, the little changes, that have to make a difference, right?  

These are a good size, very satisfying for that ice cream craving.  And at only 21g of carbs, they are the perfect evening snack.  

Until next time... What's your perfect evening snack?  

Friday, 1 October 2010

Healthy (?) Choice Frozen Meals

Why hello there!  Welcome back!  I know, it's been so long since my last post.  (This is a joke, no need to look at the fact that I posted earlier & wonder what I'm talking about...LOL)

This week I'd been talking to a friend of mine about healthy, portion controlled options for dinners.  It is kind of difficult for me to cook for one person, and when I make things like normal, I'm never quite sure if I'm eating 1 serving or 2 before I put leftovers in the fridge!  So, Tricia suggested the Healthy Choice frozen meals, saying they were pretty good, and seemed fairly healthy, as their name implies.  

So, on my last grocery journey, I picked up a few different varieties.  Last night for dinner I had the Chicken Pesto Classico.  

Tonight I tried the Garlic Herb Shrimp, and it, too, was pretty filling.  Surprising, really, considering its small size!  I enjoyed the asparagus quite a lot.  

Now, both of these had a lot of sodium, but the carbs, fats, and other things were good.  I think I'll talk to my nutritionalist about them at my next class.  What's the trade off?  How much sodium am I supposed to be ingesting as a BP patient?  I mean, my doctor has made mention that, "No salt is good," when I said I was changing to sea salt rather than regular table salt.  So, if no salt is good... how am I supposed to eat??  Guess I'll find  Anyway, something I really like about these meals - aside from the flavor and portions, which were quite good - is the Dietary Exchange information on the labels.  I knew that the chicken dish was going to count for 2 carbs, while the shrimp dish only counted for 1.  I'm allowed 2-3 carbs per meal, but am unsure if I'm supposed to have AT LEAST 2-3 or ... More things to ask at next week's class!  

In the meantime, I have a couple more meals to try this weekend.  Will let you know how it goes!  : )  

Until next time, what are some of your recommendations for portion controlled frozen meals from the grocer's?  Do share!  

I found it on the site... and it looks SO GOOD!  I am seriously looking for this on grocery day next week!