I’ll take every Monday off please.

I had such a great day off yesterday.  I was able to sleep in a bit and enjoy my coffee and half an egg bagel while I blogged before heading to my Mom’s house.

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I mainly ate the egg with cheese – the bagel was bought last week and sat in my car for a day before I remembered to bring it in.  It was pretty stale. Sad smile

I went to my Mom’s house to pick her up for lunch.  We tried to get a picture together, but my head was so big in all the pictures – it just made us laugh!

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We headed to Oak Park to wait for my daughter Hannah to get there on the L.  My Mom and I had time to thrift at a consignment store.  My Mom always thinks I look good in hats – I don’t think so though.

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I am not the biggest fan of consignment shops because I still think the merchandise is overpriced.  Check out this t-shirt – it was $99!

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Hannah texted she was a couple stops away, so we met her at the exit.

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Then we headed to Scratch in Forest Park.  Super cute place, the server was excellent. 

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My Mom said her friends said not to miss the macaroni and cheese – we split a small for our appetizer.  I can’t imagine what the large would look like!

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Super creamy with a crunchy bread crumb topping.  It’s hard for me to ever pass up a macaroni and cheese though!

And after all my drooling for the past several days for the Fire Burger, it did not disappoint!

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Here’s the deal though.  the toppings made this burger – the cherry peppers, roasted jalapeno and poblano with the spicy cheese sauce – to die for.  The more I thought about it though, the burger part was . . . just okay.  The server said that they make their own burger mix with brisket and beef – mine was supposed to be a spicy Italian sausage patty, but it tasted just like a regular burger.  She said because of the type of meat they use, you can’t order to temp – she explained that the burgers are cooked to medium – medium/well, but will still be juicy.  Mine wasn’t that juicy.

That being said – the toppings were wonderful – I had salt and pepper chips on the side instead of fries.  What was amazeballs though?  The mustard!

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I don’t know if you can see in my basket, but the mustard was very vinegary and peppery.  I’ve decided I need to make this mustard at home, I have no idea how yet, but that may be a football Sunday project for me. Open-mouthed smile

We then dropped my twin sister off back at work – wish you could have stayed out with us!

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My boob looks really big in that picture – ha!

I texted Tony my meal and these were his comments – made me laugh Open-mouthed smile

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He wouldn’t have touched either thing I got with a ten foot pole.

Then we headed towards downtown LaGrange – a couple thrift stores and some cute shops – it’s really a nice downtown area.  I know where to go now if I need any glassware!  Most of them were priced .85 cents, which seemed a bit odd to me.

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I almost bought these twin dolls – one for me and one for my sister – why do they have mustaches though?

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And Skippy, there were so many snowmen – I kept thinking of you!

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And Shelley – I am kicking myself for not buying this yard for you – only .25 cents a skein (spelling?) – but I know nothing about yarn and it could have been all crap.

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And Rhonda, totally thought of you when I saw these cast iron door stoppers – a bit pricey at $75 though!  (p.s.  I miss your blogging and recipes!)

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We went into a children’s store and they had bins and bins of tiny things – not even sure what they were for?  The bin of babies was kind of creepy.

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And before we knew it, it was time for Hannah to get back on the train to go home – it was great seeing you and thanks for taking the day off to spend it with Nana on her birthday!

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It’s getting darker earlier these days – by the time I drove home and I got dinner started, it was already dark at 7:15.  Makes for interesting grilling!  I grilled up two chicken breasts and added some of the copycat Rudy’s bbq sauce.  And I heated up some of the leftover risotto – quick and easy dinner!

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The Monday night football game was a blow out, so Tony only watched the first half.  Lori, you must be happy about last nights game!   Then we caught up on some stuff from the DVR – Ray Donovan is getting so good!

So if you guys could just talk to my bosses for me and tell them I’d like to take every Monday off, I would appreciate it!

I am looking forward to getting back into my workout and eating routine – it’s been off for the last few days and I need to reign it back in.  (is it rein or reign?  Helen, you would know the answer to that one I think!)

Thanks for the compliments on the new layout – I do like that the comments are at the end of the post so you don’t have to scroll up.  It’s just a basic form so I’ll be working on a new header, etc. in the next several days. 

Alright, time to get my gym bag packed and my food together – make it a great day!

Busy Weekend!

Saturday was my nephew and his wife’s wedding celebration.  I am not calling it a reception per se because it was just a big party at Izzy’s parents house.  They move all of the furniture out of their living room and had long tables – seriously enough seating for about 80 people.

I put on make up and did my hair for the second Saturday in a row!  I think that may be a record. Open-mouthed smile

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We started out by hanging outside, but it was chilly – luckily they had those tall standing space heaters which helped.

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Tony with his family – I didn’t notice his Mom wasn’t looking at the camera – oops!  Tony’s sister, grand nephew and his parents.

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I sipped on a few glasses of Pinot grigio:

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Dinner ended up being served about an hour and a half later than they had planned.  The fire that was cooking the roasting pig went out, but it was worth the wait.  Probably the best roast pig I’ve had – moist and juicy!

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They also had the hugest Weber grill I’ve ever seen.  I kind of want one.  The chef nearly burned himself!

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Pork BBQ Sandwich, cole slaw, some fruit and Tony grabbed me a slice of corn bread – I love any kind of corn bread and this one was super good.  He’s always thinking of me! Open-mouthed smile

Bob and Izzy have a friend that brought his baby – he was so cute!  Izzy and Bob are going to be parents in February – they already know they are having a boy, so I especially like this picture:

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This baby though?  He’s only FOUR MONTHS OLD and weighs 24 pounds!

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I got to hold him for a while – it’s been a long time since I held a baby – well, almost toddler in this case.  The setting was gorgeous and it was a fun night.  We left just as the music turned to dance club music – yep we are getting old! Open-mouthed smile

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Then yesterday was Tony’s birthday!!  Football Sunday AND a birthday?  He was in heaven.  I bought him a long john donut for breakfast (he normally doesn’t eat anything) because Tony’s family was coming over for an early Sunday supper.  My SIL marinated some pork, and I made spring time risotto, macaroni and cheese and my PIL brought some crusty bread.

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And then Tony’s favorite cake – carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.  I had already declared this insulin worthy!

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I had a sliver.  I actually like that there isn’t a lot of frosting, I am not a frosting person at all.  If I get served cake with tons of frosting I usually scrape most of it off.

After Tony’s family left and Tony was engrossed in football, I laid down on the couch and got all comfy.  I was under my cozy throw, my eyes kept wanting to shut.  I am the QUEEN of naps.

But, I didn’t work out Friday or Saturday, and I knew I had to get my butt in gear, otherwise that two day string of not working out could easily morph into two weeks!  So I got up and did 40 minutes of Insanity.  It felt good to sweat!  I knew napping wasn’t going to get me the body I want.

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I completely forgot to make the wedge salads for our earlier dinner, so I made them for our supper.  Tony LOVES a wedge salad – iceberg lettuce being his favorite.  I added some bacon, good blue cheese dressing and croutons.

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I love all kinds of different greens in my salad, but I have to admit, this was pretty tasty.  And since we were watching the Bears game last night, we had football food – chili dogs!

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Yep, mine has 1/4 cup of no bean chili (Chilli Man brand) and mustard and Frank’s hot sauce.  So good.  Luckily the Bears won so that made Tony’s day – they are 3-0 on the year!

And today is another busy day!  I have today off because it’s my Mom’s 73rd birthday today.  I am picking up my Mom and headed to Oak Park where my daughter will meet up at my sisters office and we are going out to lunch in Forest Park.

You guys – I’ve been dreaming about this burger I am going to have for days now. As soon as my Mom picked out the restaurant I’ve been dreaming about their FIRE BURGER.  Seriously, if I were to create my own spicy burger, this is what I would come up with.

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homemade spicy Italian sausage patty, pepper jack cheese, fire roasted jalapeños, oven roasted poblano peppers, topped with a fiery ranchero-sriracha sauce and garnished with French fried cherry peppers, served on potato bun.

Seriously, just reading that sentence again is making my mouth water!  And why have I never thought of making french fried cherry peppers?  Of course, since I have set the bar so high with this burger it will probably just be okay.  But I hope it’s amazing!

Alright, time to jump in the shower and get on with the day.  So happy I am not headed to work today!

Question of the Day:  What’s the best burger you’ve ever had?

You Never Know

So guess what – I didn’t have a muffin or sausage casserole for breakfast yesterday!  I had about 20 minutes left before I had to leave, and I thought “I think I have time to make Nicole’s banana bread pancakes!”

I of course modified to what I had on hand.  I started to follow her recipe and my batter was super thick – as in if I tried to scoop out some to drop in my pan I turned my measuring cup upside down and that batter wasn’t going anywhere.  So I upped the milk to 3/4 cup and added a container of Chobani honey yogurt.  I also subbed in pecans because I didn’t have any walnuts.

Banana Bread Pancakes

  • adapted from Nicole at Prevention RD

Makes 10 pancakes (1/3 cup measure size)

  • each pancake: 150 calories, 1.9 fat, 29 carbs, 1.5 fiber and 4.5 protein
  • B+ grade on calorie count


  • 2 cups white flour (Nicole used whole wheat)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder (I added that)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 large bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 cup skim milk (upped from 2/3)
  • 1 container of Chobani honey yougurt
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans (Nicole used 1/3 cup walnuts

I am a lazy baker, so I mix my dry ingredients first, then add the wet ingredients on top of the dry ingredients and mix until combined.  I like to let my pancake batter sit for 15 minutes, but there was no time yesterday.  Right now the batter is sitting on the counter and I’ll cook the rest of them off for breakfasts next week.

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They look plain, but they were very good – I liked the chunks of banana and the crunch from the pecans.  On the side I had some Canadian bacon.

I was able to leave work early yesterday to go to the Wedding dinner for my nephew and his wife.  So no lunch workout – so yesterday was a rest day for me.  I knew I would be eating an early dinner so I brought leftover chicken noodles soup that I froze – I’ve never tried to freeze soups with noodles because I thought the nooodles would taste like ass reheated after being frozen.

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Guess what?  The noodles were delicious!  And I used chicken from one I grilled so I could still taste the smokiness from the grill.

I swung by home, picked up Tony and we were off to the restaurant.  The lighting was horrible in the restaurant but I plan to get a ton of pictures tonight at their reception.  The bride and me – her name is Izzy.  I put this picture on Instagram last night and Stacie said “Izzy and Bizzy!”  Love it.

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We started out with saganaki – how can you go wrong with warm cheese and pita bread?!

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I had a burger – with extra pickles and pickled jalapenos.  I love when a restaurant isn’t afraid to make a medium rare burger – sadly it had no seasoning at all.

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Don’t panic – I immediately got rid of the red onions!  Whew.

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My other nephew Chris sat next to me – Tony wouldn’t take a picture with me – ha!!

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And then we finished off the meal with a strawberry cake with cream cheese frosting.  FYI, this was insulin worthy!

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Then we went back to my SIL’s house and hung out for a while.  We go to the reception tonight at Izzy’s parents house and then they drive back home to Tennessee tomorrow. Open-mouthed smile

Today is my step-son’s 24th birthday!!  I met him when he was 10, almost 11 so I am so proud of the man he has become.  I put this on Facebook this morning – the big picture was from a vacation in Door County – I think he was 16?

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I wanted to put pictures when he was younger but I could not figure out how to hook up the scanner to the computer – our printer is an all-in-one and it kept saying I didn’t have a USB plugged in – gah, I don’t even know what that is.  So I scammed some pictures off Facebook!  His wife Lizz (wow, Lizz, Izzy and Biz!) is surprising him with something today – one year it was zip lining, last year I think was the sky diving.  We’ll found out later today.

I have to give a shout out to blog reader Peggy – I hadn’t checked Facebook pretty much all day yesterday.  Her husband has diabetes, and at his last appointment his A1C was 8.7 – anything over 7 is not good.  (Still haven’t gotten my results in the mail yet – grrrr).

Anyway, at that point in May their doctor wanted him to start taking insulin and he asked for just 3 more months to get his act together.  They stuck with low carbs, cut out added sugars, started exercising.  Tried to figure another way if one thing didn’t work.  Their dedication and perseverance paid off – not only did he lose 17 pounds, but his A1C this last time?  5.5!

Peggy put this on Facebook and it nearly made me cry – you never know how something you say or do can effect another person:

Beth Hills Velatini BIZ!!! (www.mybizzykitchen.com for those of you who haven’t checked her out, you should). YOU, ma’am, have NO IDEA how you have inspired me and help me better understand this illness. That for each one it is different, what works for one may not for another. I don’t think you will ever know how much you have done for us!!! Thank you is never enough!!

Just – wow.  I am so happy I could help in any small way – hugs to you and B and keep up the great work!

And on that note, I have to get my ass in gear – still need to make a carrot cake for Tony’s birthday tomorrow! Open-mouthed smile  Make it a great day!


To my nephew Bob and his soon to be wife today, Izzy!  I’ve had the pleasure to know them together since probably 2007?

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Sadly, I know I have much better pictures of them, but after a 10 minute search, I had to give up.  I so do not organize my photos well (that may be a good Sunday football project this fall!).

Izzy and Bob are standing to the right of Tony.  They are getting married at a JP this afternoon and we’ll be meeting them for dinner out tonight, and then going to Izzy’s parents house tomorrow night for a reception.  CONGRATULATIONS!

Round 4 of my breakfast yesterday – muffin and the last of my breakfast casserole, that I can never remember to take a picture of!

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Yesterday was Day 4 of my 12 week strength training.  As I was driving to the gym I thought “let’s just try 15 pound dumbbells today!”

Um, no – that lasted all of four reps of the dumbbell press, and I quickly moved down to 12.5 – and on the last sets of some had to drop the weight down to 10.  Turns out I don’t have many shoulder muscles!

  • Seated Dumbbell Press: 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Standing Dumbbell Straight-Arm Front Delt Raise to a “T” (up and open): 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Side Lateral Raises: 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Seated Bent Over Rear Delt Fly: 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Exercise Ball Crunches: 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Air Bike: 3 sets of 12 reps

That set took me 30 minutes.

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When I was done doing the air bikes, I realized that the only time my muffin top doesn’t bother me is when it sinks in while I am lying down – ha!

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Back at the office I had the last of the Cincinnati chili (about 3/4 cup) and a turkey wrap with some strawberries.  These strawberries are probably some of the best I’ve had all year.

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When I got home from work, Tony was outside chatting with our neighbor.  I plugged in my phone because it was D.E.A.D.  I didn’t have it plugged in while I was updating the OS.  I love it!  Yep, we’ll ignore the fact that I still have 53 unread emails – I’ll catch up one of these days!

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So I missed the text message from my SIL that my PIL were picking up the rental car and headed to her house!  So I quickly made a plate of nachos for dinner – not the healthiest alternative, but it was tasty and quick!

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Tony wasn’t feeling all that great, so he stayed home to rest while I went to spend a couple hours with Jeff Tony’s family (nice catch ladies!).  It was fun to catch up.  My SIL’s dog finally has warmed up to me, although so did not want to take a picture with me – I love tiny dogs!  I have no idea why my face is so red in this pic, but it makes me laugh. Open-mouthed smile

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By the time I got home it was quarter to 10 and I still hadn’t done Insanity!  So I quickly ditched that idea.  I still had garbage to take out and my kitchen floor desperately needed cleaning so I spend the 45 minutes that I would have spent doing Insanity, doing chores instead – I kept moving though! Open-mouthed smile

Stats for the Day:

  • 30 minutes shoulders and abs at lunch
  • 1427 calories, 157 carbs, 83 protein, 54 fat and 19 fiber
  • 33% of calories from fat, 22% from protein and 43 from carbs
  • Calorie Count Grade for the Day: B

I am hoping work isn’t too busy so I can cut out early to meet Jeff’s family for the celebratory dinner.  And I have Monday off for my Mom’s 73rd birthday – so happy 3 day weekend to me!

Another gloomy day today, but the sun is supposed to shine all weekend and be in the 60s – perfect!

Question of the Day:  Did you upgrade your iPhone – any cool new tricks you discovered you might like to share in the comments?

Make it a great day!

Rudy’s BBQ Chichen Legs

I love not having to think about breakfast this week – day 3 yesterday of a muffin on my way to work and a slice of the breakfast casserole mid morning.

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I’ve been storing the muffins in a ziploc bag so they stay fresher longer.  Just 20 seconds in the microwave and it tastes just like it came out of the oven.

I wore a new necklace yesterday – I bought this charm at the flea market over the summer and it got buried in my jewelry box and I just found it over the weekend.

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That was my workout mantra yesterday – it was legs and calves.  Um, I definitely have more leg muscles than arm muscles – my lowest weight was 40 pounds on the calf raises and I was able to do 100 pounds on the leg press.

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The only exercise I couldn’t do was the wide stance barbell squat:


I have absolutely no shoulder flexibility at all, and after just 4 squats my left shoulder was hurting too much, so I just used 10 pounds dumb bells in each hand and did my squats with those.

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That set took me about 25 minutes – I am really loving these strength days at lunch – makes me feel like a gym rat. Open-mouthed smile

For lunch I had leftover Cincinnati chili over spaghetti squash and baby spinach.  It’s funny I hardly ever think of spaghetti squash in the warm months, but as soon as the temps start to drop it ends up in my grocery cart.

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I bought chicken legs over the weekend – it wasn’t until I took this picture that I saw that they spelled it CHICHEN!

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I ended up grilling them on our gas grill – our thought was to sit outside and use the Weber, but there were storms all around us, so we didn’t chance it.  I used our tried and true method of cooking the chicken on a rack above a cast iron skillet – the fat drips in the pan and there are no flare ups, but you still get that smokey flavor.

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While the chicken grilled, I made another batch of Austin’s Rudy’s BBQ sauce.  You guys have to try this bbq sauce – it takes minutes to put together, and last night I only let it simmer for 20 minutes and it was perfect.

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The other secret to perfect bbq chicken is to not put the sauce on until the last few minutes – otherwise it will burn with the sugars in the sauce.  I finish them off on the grill so they get some char marks.

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Ready for my tummy! 

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This was a five napkin dinner – so good!  Jenn, I wish you liked meat on the bone because this would be an inexpensive dinner for your family – do your kids like meat off the bone, or is it just you that hates it?

Last night was cardio recovery, which I like to call my yoga night.  It’s slow muscle movements, LOTS of stretching and I am completely relaxed after the 30 minutes.  My Zen picture:

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Stats for the Day:

  • 20 minute Insanity abs before work
  • 25 minutes legs/calves at lunch
  • 30 minutes Cardio recovery after dinner


  • 1658 calories, 108 carbs, 139 protein, 77 fat and 26 fiber
  • 41% of calories from fat, 33% from protein and 25% from carbs
  • Calorie Count Grade: B

My parents in law are coming into town tonight.  My nephew is getting married this weekend.  AND it’s Tony’s birthday on Sunday!   I think I haven’t seen my PIL since last summer?  I can’t remember!  It will be nice to see them – my MIL is an awesome cook too – she’s the one who showed me hot to make risotto – and knowing my distain for onions, subbed in green apple and I’ve added that to my risotto ever since.

Another rainy morning, but I guess I have to get this show on the road – make it a great day!