Monday, March 19, 2012

Weight loss rewind

Remember a few months ago when I said I planned to lose a substantial amount of weight by the time I turned 30?

Yeah, I'm not doing so well on that front. It's my fault because I let life get in the way of cooking and eating healthy foods, but not anymore.

This morning, I started a diet rewind. I am going back to the healthy eating that had me shedding pounds quickly. I haven't made terrible choices lately with food, but the ones I have made certainly weren't great.

I started with a shake this morning by Yoplait, adding in a banana and a container of black cherry Greek yogurt. So far, I'm not hungry by 9:30 like I usually am, but I'm still sipping on this super thick shake. Next time, maybe only half a container of Greek yogurt.

I have a Bistro salad from WalMart for lunch and 6 strawberries for an afternoon snack. In retrospect, I wish I would have also brought a couple pieces of string cheese to go with the strawberries. Maybe I can convince my husband to bring those by on his way to work.

Otherwise, I'm going to start weaning off the soda. I had been having two Diet Dr Peppers each day, but I'm going to try to get off the pop completely. I am trying cold turkey, but we'll see how tired I am this afternoon before I make that final decision.

What are your great diet suggestions? I will get bored quickly, so I'd love recipes and recommendations for great foods/drinks that you enjoy, but that also fit a new healthy lifestyle I am trying to re-embrace.

On the working out front, I'm getting back to the YMCA to start walking again. I won't be able to go in the morning with my new work hours, but I plan to go each afternoon after work, time permitting, and then take a class or two if I can handle it. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A mid-week meeting at the Lake

I had a mid-week meeting at Lake of the Ozark's earlier this week. The nicest two days of the year, so far, were spent at Camden on the Lake, which was an amazing resort.

I have so much to blog about regarding this trip. The room, the food, the lunch the next day ... all, and I mean ALL, are blog-worthy.

We'll start with the room. Camden on the Lake is the newest Resort at Lake of the Ozarks. It sits right on the shoreline, and houses H Toads. It is in the same cove as Shady Gators.

A quick rate search on their website shows off-season (current) rooms costing between $149 and $216 per night. If you go for a conference, the rates are likely to be considerably cheaper. Mine was.

Now to the good stuff, my lakeside grand suite truly was lakeside. From my balcony, it almost felt as if I was on top of the water. It overlooked most of the cove and in the distance you can see Shady Gators. This photo makes it look pretty far away. It wasn't. Most could probably park a boat at the hotel and swim their way to Shady Gators without being out of breath.

The room itself was split into two rooms. A hallway separated the two. The linens were soft and the down-filled (or down-like filled) pillows put me to sleep in no time. A television is mounted to the wall over a dresser, and the room holds a sitting chair, desk and two side tables.

As an aside, I know many who hate hotel beds, but when you're staying at a hotel like this one, it's like heaven. I seriously felt like I was floating and the pillows made it even better. I can't tell you enough that the extra money one pays for a hotel with a nice bed is totally worth it.

Now that we've talked about the bedroom, let's talk about the fact that this room had a tv in the bathroom, a fireplace and a kitchenette where I could have made any dish that didn't require an oven.

On to the food!

H. Toads has a limited selection, but I didn't hear anyone say a bad word about anything they ate the entire conference.

For lunch, I had a southwest chicken wrap that was flavorful and filling. The wrap was southwest cream cheese, chicken, lettuce and other veggies in a herb tortilla. My dining mate had their shrimp salad with a crab cake. She raved about it, as did a dining partner during dinner. Both said it was filling and delicious. I, as many of you know, don't eat anything that ever lived in water, but if I did, I'm sure I would have loved it, too.

For dinner, I had the pasta primavera pictured here. It was good, but I definitely prefer a cream sauce over a garlic butter sauce. I need a little bit of substance beyond butter. It also had mushrooms in it after specifically asking for no mushrooms. It was, however, light and flavorful, which was needed on a day when it was 85 outside, even as the sun was setting. The chicken was cooked perfectly, as were the vegetables and pasta. And the garlic bread was completely divine.

My real highlight of the conference, though, was lunch before I came back to Jefferson City. It was a chance for great conversation with a good friend, and great food in a place I least would have expected it.

Sadly, I took no photos of Wobbly Boots or the food I ate, but all of it was delicious. So delicious that I brought the leftovers home for my husband so he could experience this wonderful food.

Collin suggested we start with a wings appetizer. The wings had Wobbly Boots homemade sauce, tasting almost like a chipotle bbq. They are smoked, rather than baked or fried, which made the meat fall off the bone.

They are, however, messy, which led to a lovely mess on my shirt I was wearing for work. Or maybe I caused the mess. Either way, bbq sauce on silk ... never coming out.

I had the brisket meat on a bun sandwhich. The brisket was tender, juicy and seasoned well. Again, a homemade seasoning if one is to believe the menu. I paired it with the mac and cheese, which was OK, but heavy on the cheddar. I prefer a milder cheese for my mac and cheese.

The real star of the meal, though, was the sweet potato fries. I had never had sweet potato fries, and I didn't order them, but Collin did, so I stole a couple. It was suggested that I dip them in honey mustard. THAT was the best suggestion of the day. Sweet potato fries will be my go-to anywhere I can get a side of honey mustard now.

All in all, a good conference with great company and great accommodations.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Restaurant Review - Prison Brews

I'm taking a page out of my sister's playbook today in my blog post.

There are a ton of great local restaurants in Mid-Missouri and I am going to start writing reviews of them.

This weekend, Rob, A and I went to Prison Brews in Jefferson City. I've been several times, but usually only for a drink or two ... never really for a full menu.

When we were deciding where to get lunch on our way home, I used my handy Yelp app to help me decide where we should go. I am fairly limited with Rob's undying hatred for Mexican food (when all I want sometimes is El Jimmys!) so I knew I had to find some place to accommodate both of us as well as have a decent atmosphere that would keep A entertained.

And I don't know how the weather was where you were this weekend, but here in Mid-Missouri, Saturday was gorgeous! In fact, the right side of my face got a little bit of sun during this lunch outing!

When we got there, they offered to seat us inside or out, and because it was so nice, we opted for outside. After they seated us, I wasn't sure we made the right choice because A couldn't see the Kindle Fire or the iPhone and seemed to be bored. He doesn't appreciate a nice day out like us adults if he can't run around and play in it! While the waitress was taking our drink orders, Alex made the comment that he wanted to color, which we have an APP for on the Kindle. I told him he couldn't because we couldn't see the screen outside. He wasn't particularly happy about that statement, but didn't throw the tantrum I thought he would, and in that moment, I was glad we were outside with the laid back diners.

When our server brought our drinks, though, she earned a place in our hearts. She brought a coloring book and crayons for A! He proceeded to color happily and tell everyone around us what he was coloring and that he was hungry. We were, too, and despite getting our order in after a group of six women sitting nearby who were seated after us, our order came very quickly. We were impressed.

Rob had a beer brat with the sweet potato fries. He raved for the rest of the weekend about those damn fries. I wish he raved about my cooking for days like that! He said the brat was also very good.

I had a bacon cheeseburger with cheddar cheese. It was divine. The meat was spiced just right and it had that nice grill char on it. I had regular fries, which had been seasoned with course sea salt and garlic. To be honest, I am clearly still raving about them today, so I shouldn't judge Rob for raving for two days.

Alex couldn't decide between corndogs and a cheeseburger (though I'm not always sure he understands the difference between the two) so we asked him as the waitress was taking our order. In that moment, he wanted a cheeseburger, so that's what we got him. It came with tater tots and applesauce. He seemed pleased with the choice. He ate all the applesauce, about half the tater tots and at least half the cheeseburger. That was the shocking one. He rarely eats the main part of the meal -- so much to the point that I have considered only giving him one dish at a time to make him eat more of the good stuff.

Rob also ordered a sweet tea with his lunch. He said it was good and not too sweet, which is why I usually get half sweet/half unsweetened when I get sweet tea.

I also had Prison Brew's micro-brew Honey Wheat. A lot of people say it tastes a lot like Blue Moon, and like Blue Moon, it is served with an orange slice. I think it's better than Blue Moon and one of Prison Brew's greatest asset along with the great atmosphere and creative dish names with it's proximity to the former prison (which is almost just across the intersection from the restaurant).

There many other dishes I wanted to try and if I were a true restaurant reviewer, I would have tried four or five other dishes on the menu. I didn't need to, though, to recommend everyone I know going to Prison Brews for any excuse for a good meal and a great beer. There's a reason this restaurant was named best small business in Jefferson City last year!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Pinterest project!

Just saying the word Pinterest makes me smile these days. I've found and pinned so many amazing recipes and projects, I won't ever get them done!

I am, however, doing a pinterest project for my new office at work. In fact, with enough leftover fabric, I may be doing a couple of pinterest projects to tie my new office together.

I purchased a white bookshelf from Target last week. It's not an expensive bookshelf, or anything exciting but it looks something like this. Before I put the thing together, which will undoubtedly take me half an evening, I plan to purchase an amazing fabric that fits my personality so well.

You can find the fabric on this ETSY site. I've requested three yards for a listing, but haven't heard back yet. 
Three yards of the fabric should be enough for the shelving unit, plus enough for a lamp shade for a desk lamp. I have a huge painting of the Eiffel Tower my sister brought me from Paris a few years ago, and I will likely hang that in the office as well.

I love the pinks and oranges in this fabric so much. It just fits my personality perfectly.

Once I have the fabric on the bookshelf and the thing put together I will put some picture frames and books along with other things on it to get it a bit more colorful in this office.

Anyway, that's really all for now. It had been awhile since I blogged, and since I am getting ready to do a Pinterest project, I wanted to share my excitement with all of you!