November Foodie Penpal Reveal

Hello, and TGIF!  You guys have NO idea how happy I am that this week is OVER.  I’m going to leave you guys with my November Foodie Penpal Reveal, then I am off to NYC for the weekend to visit one of my besties.  I’m super pumped to not sit at a computer at all, not even one time, the entire weekend.  YAY!

Foodie Penpal

Here’s how Foodie Penpals works, in case anyone is interested!

–> On the 5th of the month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email.  It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.

–> You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail.

–> On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!

–> The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items, or even homemade treats!  The spending limit is $15.  The box must also include something written.  This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe… use your imagination!

–> You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)

–> Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers.  If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you can choose to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received.  If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.

–> Foodie Penpals is open to US, Canadian residents & UK residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only.

If this sounds fun to you, just CLICK HERE and fill out the form to participate!  Remember anyone can participate whether you are a blogger or not, which is one of my favorite parts of this program. 

Foodie Penpals:  November Goodies

Jacquie from The Sweeter Side of Mommyhood had me this month, and she sent me the following things:

Biscuit Sticks
Pocky chocolate cream covered biscuit sticks to be exact.  I haven’t broken into these bad boys yet, but they are packed and ready to eat in case I need a snack on the drive to New York.

Foodie Penpal:  Pocky biscuit sticks

Fun Colored Pasta
In her card, Jacquie wrote “the pasta was just so beautifully colored… so why not?”  I agree!!  I can’t remember the last time I ate a non-wheat pasta, so I can’t wait to make something beautiful and delicious!

Foodie Penpal: Don Bruno pasta

Sea Snax
Not going to lie, this one I was very skeptical about.  A vegan seaweed snack?  I had one, and I still can’t decide how I feel about it.  The packaging says they are “strangely addictive,” which I think is the perfect description.  They definitely have a very strange taste.  But in a weirdly decent way?  I can’t decide yet.  I’m not ready to commit to them!

Foodie Penpal:  Sea Snax

GoGo Squeez Applesauce
I was pumped when I saw these!  I’ve wanted to try them for a while now because people rave about them.  Jacqui says they are her favorite healthy snack to grab when on the go.

Foodie Penpal:  GoGoSqueez Applesauce

…from a spaghetti squash!  And sprinkled with Italian herbs and salt.  I know I will like these too.  They are also packed for the road!

Foodie Penpal:  Seeds

Thank you, Jacqui, for the fun food this month!

Which of the items above would you want to try the most?

Alright, I’m off!  Have a great weekend, friends!

Entertaining + Mom’s Birthday Dinner

Tim and I love entertaining, and I think we make a great team when we host people at our apartment.  This may seem like a shocker, but I get everything organized ahead of time in terms of planning, logistics, and lots of to do lists.  Most of the time we’ll go grocery shopping together, but if it’s an especially busy or rushed week we’ll decide who has more time to go pick up any necessary food or supplies.  In terms of appetizers and munchies, we usually will set out the usual cheese and crackers, veggies and hummus, chips and salsa, etc. but sometimes we’ll make a dip or get fancy depending on who has a good idea for something new to make.

As far as the meal itself goes, Tim is definitely the master chef in the kitchen.  I could do it, but Tim likes it more and is a better cook than I am.  And it’s okay because while he makes sure everything is timed right, I play hostess extraordinaire.  I greet everyone at the door, take their coats, make sure everyone has a drink, is comfortable, clean up after Tim in the kitchen as he cooks so there isn’t a huge mess later, yadda yadda yadda.  Plus, I usually have baked up a storm prior to everyone arriving anyways.

It works out well.

Last weekend we had some family over for my mom’s birthday.

It wasn’t anything big, just my parents, brother, aunt, and uncle.  Uncle Jimmy brought over some fun wine.  Tim and I set out the “usual appetizers” as I mentioned above, plus some grapes and a pumpkin cheese ball, courtesy of Stonewall Kitchen.  I promise the crackers weren’t sitting out for a couple of months.

On our dinner menu:

Spinach, Feta, and Tomato Stuffed Pork Tenderloin:

Greek Style Green Beans:

Seasoned brown rice:

Teropita (fancy Greek word for cheese pie), made by Auntie Tina!  Hers are the best!

My dad brought over a salad too, so all in all, here was our display:

After dinner, my mom opened her presents.  I only took one picture here, of my parents and my mom’s bottle of ketchup.

Yes, that’s right, I said ketchup.  Aka, my dad’s gag gift about my mom’s age.  Heinz’s 57 varieties… get it?  Sorry mom, now all F&F readers know how old you are.

Finally, I set out many desserts.  The “main” dessert was chocolate chip oatmeal cupcakes with a cinnamon sugar chocolate chip frosting.  They may not look like it, but these seriously are hands down the best cupcakes I’ve baked to date.  I’ll post the recipe soon, I promise.

I also set out soooo many leftovers from Thanksgiving and from my co-worker Lauren’s baby shower that afternoon.  We had mini pecan pie phyllo tarts, mini maple walnut cupcakes, and apple blondies with brown sugar frosting.  And grapes.  I tried to have at least one healthy option on the table.  Oooof.

Was an entertaining success, if I do say so myself.  Hope you had a nice birthday, mom!

Do you like to entertain?  Why or why not?  If so, do you have a “system?”

I am stepping AWAY from my computer, blogging, and Y work for the rest of the night.  Have a good one, friends!

Bodyweight Bootcamp

Let’s discuss how almost thirty people showed up to my “Turkey Trim & Tone” class at 9am on Thanksgiving morning to SWEAT and truly EARN their holiday feasts.  Burpees on Thanksgiving?  What?

Let’s also talk about what a dork I am for how excited I got when I came up with the alliterative name for a holiday themed group exercise class.  It’s the little things, people, it’s the little things.

And.  Let’s ALSO discuss how much I love themes.  Themed parties, themed gifts, you name it, and most of all themed workout playlists and themed holiday group ex classes.  However, with the exception of Adam Sandler’s Thanksgiving song, there are literally zero Thanksgiving songs out there.  And running with a “thankful” playlist was going to be a real stretch, so I decided to just play a “Music Idols” playlist instead.

My “theme” ended up being more about the workout itself.  Although my class name was “Turkey Trim & Tone,” I’m calling this workout “Bodyweight Bootcamp” because all the exercises were done without weights.  And this may be cheesy, but I am THANKFUL for my body being strong enough to do what it does week in and week out.  I encourage you to all take a second and think about that.  It’s pretty powerful.

That being said, you seriously don’t need any equipment at all (maybe a mat? but the floor or a comfy sweatshirt would do) to bang this bad boy out.  It’s a good one to tuck away for holiday season when you don’t have time to get to the gym but are looking for something to make you sweat in the comfort of your own home.  And while you’re doing it, instead of cursing me in your head (you know you do it), stop and appreciate your body and what it lets you do instead.

For me, exercising is not only important, but necessary for balancing out any of my indulgences, especially around the holidays.  Sure I know that my morning workout probably didn’t burn as many calories as I consumed later in the day, but I know it certainly helped offset those extra desserts a bit.  And I just felt so much better throughout the day.

This workout was a great way to kick-start Thanksgiving Day — doing what I love, with people I seriously can’t get enough of, in my happy place.  Thank you to everyone to came to class, you all rock, and you are why I do what I do!

Who worked out on Thanksgiving Day?  Whether it be a class, a turkey trot, sneaking in some walks during the day, an at home workout — whatever — leave a comment telling me all about it!  Were you proud of yourself?  Did you feel better about your choices that day because of it?  What’s your favorite body-weight exercise?