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Good morning all!

Yesterday was one of those absolutely picture-perfect, must-be-outdoors kind of summer days! I think this view pretty much sums it up!

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I spent the day outside tidying up my gardens, playing tennis with Ben (and losing miserably,) grilling some perfect steaks (my camera ate the pictures!!) and ended the day with seeing Inglorious Bastards.

Oh boy… Hands down, goriest movie I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Like, picture the goriest movie you’ve ever seen and then multiply it by 10. Nay, 100. Aside from the gore – Quentin Tarantino once again delivered a quirky, unique movie that I really enjoyed. I actually feel twisted saying I enjoyed it because of the gore, but again, aside from the gore – it was awesome!

This morning I woke up sore as H – thanks tennis! – and hobbled to the grocery store, where $51.75 bought me all of THIS:

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We’ve got the fresh stuff:

  • Pineapple
  • Broccoli
  • Bananas (btw, thanks to a couple of commentors, I now know that bananas last longer when you don’t keep them in a bunch!)
  • Cantaloupe
  • Watermelon
  • Potatoes
  • Salad
  • Blueberries
  • Peaches
  • Mushrooms
  • Green Apples
  • Celery
  • Lemon
  • Onion
  • Asparagus
  • Zucchini
  • Braeburn Apples

And other/husband stuff:

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  • Eggs
  • Yogurt
  • Cascadian Farms Cinnamon Crunch – aka organic Cinnamon Toast Crunch!! (thanks Lauren for the rec!!)
  • Wild Rice
  • Skim Milk
  • American Cheese slices
  • Brat & hot dog buns
  • Whole Wheat English Muffins
  • Cheddar Cheese slices
  • Turkey slices
  • Hot Dogs

All for $51.75! I’m telling you – buy in-season and on sale, and you will never go wrong! The most exciting purchase of the day was the Cascadian Farms Cinnamon Crunch, which was on sale, plus I had a $1.00 off coupon. Yes!

Not part of the total bill was a Starby’s Lite Caramel Frappuccino, which I treated myself to after grocery shopping. Which I also sucked down before I even got home! I can’t help myself with frozen, blended beverages…they go down so quick! 😀

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After I got all my groceries put away, I munched on some of the Cascadian Farms Cinnamon Crunch cereal. For a cinnamon-sugar addict like myself, this is a TREAT!

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Here are the nutrition labels for Cinnamon Toast Crunch vs Cascadian Farms Cinnamon Crunch.

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As you can see, the nutritional stats stats aren’t too different, except for the ingredient list. Cascadian Farms is all organic, where Cinnamon Toast Crunch is not. This is probably more than you ever wanted or cared to know about cinnamon-sugar flavored cereal, I just thought it was interesting!

So ANYWAYS – I nibbled on a small bowl when I got home 🙂

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Just amazing 🙂

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Ben and I are heading off to my parent’s house in a couple hours for lunch, then the rest of the day is completely open!

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How much is your typical grocery bill?

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DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS IS?!

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That’s my neighbor’s tree leaves turning colors! FALL IS COMING! Wow. This sight literally made me come to a screeching halt as I drove up the street today. Unbelievable…the summer has passed in the blink of an eye…

It’s pretty fitting that I saw this Fall sight today, as there is a briskness in the air right now – I even have a hoodie on! Warming comfort food was calling my name, so I hit the proverbial “easy button” and made some Mac & Cheese 🙂

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Have you ever had Annie’s brand macaroni & cheese? It’s made with organic pasta, real cheese and no additives or preservatives – sweet! A bunch of varieties were on super sale at the grocery store last week so I got boxes of classic, white cheddar and Real Aged Cheddar.

I knew I couldn’t very well eat just mac & cheese for dinner, so when the pasta had about 2 minutes left to cook, I threw some broccoli florets into the boiling water to cook.

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8 minutes from the moment I put the shells into the boiling water, dinner was ready!

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Ok, LOVE Annie’s Mac & Cheese! This tasted so real, if you know what I mean. There were no artificial-tasting flavors at all.

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Now I’m going to be honest, Velveeta Shells & Cheese holds a very special place in my heart, but I usually feel pretty icky after eating it. That was definitely not the case tonight. This is super light with just the perfect amount of sauce.

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I will definitely be purchasing more of these mac & cheese varieties. I’ve also tried Annie’s Bunny Graham’s…omg…soooo friggin’ good! What other Annie’s brand foods do you like?

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So maybe you’re wondering what the heck my post title means? Well, TROUBLE is spelled CBBWAB as in: “Chocolate Banana Bread With Almond Butter!” I am not kidding you guys…this combo is like crack!  I can’t stop eating it and had another slice for my after dinner dessert. 8) You should really make this recipe – you know you’ve got some bananas on your countertop right now!!

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Like a delicious peanut butter cup in bread form 🙂

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I savored every sweet bite!

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Well good news, I took tomorrow off of work! I foresee 50% lounging, 20% exercising, 20% errand running and 10% cleaning in the forecast…it’s going to be great! Have a great night – tomorrow’s FRIDAY!

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How often do you eat “boxed” products? Frozen meals, mac & cheese, canned soups, rice mixes, etc.

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Anyone need any spinach?

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Seriously, Costco makes me smile so wide. I stopped by after work tonight and picked this bag up – which is bigger than my torso in case you were wondering – for $3.97!! A regular sized bag at my grocery store is $2.99! Who do they think they are?! I see copious amounts of salads, Green Monsters and general good health in my future. I love spinach! 

After my Costco run, I came home to start dinner. We’re back on the 101 Simple Salad Challenge, my friends! Tonight: #89: Asian Peanut & Mango Noodles.

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The recipe calls for rice noodles, but fettuccini was $.99 at the store this weekend and you know my bargain warrior ways…

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I cooked up some of the pasta and threw in some chopped up broccoli crowns when it had about 2 minutes left. Meanwhile, I chopped up some zesty toppings which included: Mango, Carrot Matchsticks, Green Onions & Peanuts.

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After draining my pasta and broccoli, I drizzled on my sauce – which was made up of:

  • Juice from half a lime
  • Spoonful of almond butter (this was hard to part with)
  • Dash of rice vinegar
  • Spoonful of chili sauce
  • Dash of sesame oil

After tossing the pasta to coat, I added all of my glorious toppings…

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Ohmylanta – the mixture of textures and flavors in this dish were spectacular! It came together so quickly and was SO satisfying. How on earth could it not be though? It’s got mango in it! Mango is culinary gold in my opinion 🙂 Asian Peanut & Mango Noodles gets two thumbs up from this girl!!

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Oh you guys, check out these cookies I made last night: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies – aka Puppy Chow Cookies!!

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Trust me, they are every bit as delectable as they look!

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It’s a peanut butter cookie, coated in a chocolate-peanut butter coating, then rolled in powdered sugar. Aka: naughty, coated in naughtier, rolled in naughtiest! Sinful…muwahahaha!

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The recipe calls for a cookie mix – which the inner scratch-baker in me died a little after using – but I quickly got over it…these are amazing!!

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Well, I’ve actually got MORE cookies in my future – I’m working on another cookie order tonight! Have a great night everyone!

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Do you prefer cooking or baking?

I’ve mentioned before that I actually got into cooking after baking my brains out for several years, so baking definitely has a special place in my heart. But, I obviously love cooking too…mmmm too hard – not even going to answer my own question 🙂

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Good morning everyone!

Well I stayed true to my word yesterday and had probably the laziest Saturday I’ve had in recent memory. I actually started to feel like a giant bum so I made myself get out of the house to go grocery shopping and also made a stop at Best Buy (Season 1 & 2 of Weeds on sale!). The highlight of my day though, is when my parents came over to bring me a Puff Pillow from the Farmer’s Market! YESSSS!!

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You can read all about these babies in past posts here and here.  They are pretty much the greatest things on earth!

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Flaky pastry topped with rock sugar and filled with sweet Bavarian cream. Oh my!

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I seriously vegged the rest of the day. To be fair, the heat index was 104, so nobody was doing a whole lot of anything around here. Ben and I watched Finding Nemo on tv (best movie ever!!) and went to bed at 10. Super!

Now, today is vastly different than yesterday. I got up early, swept the front porch, weeded a part of my garden, moved and fed my tomato plants and had breakfast. All before 9!

Here’s said breakfast: Blueberry Cheesecake Fat-Free Yogurt, Cantaloupe & a WildBlueberry PURE Bar.

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Who doesn’t like cheesecake in the morning?

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The last of my juicy cantaloupe 😦 No worries, I got a melon of a different variety to tide me over for this coming week!

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And a delectable, chewy PURE Bar.

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Those are giant blueberry hunks…’nuff said.

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So the plan for the rest of the day is to drive down to Iowa City (about 2 hours away) to surprise Ben’s Mom for her birthday! She’s up there moving Ben’s little brother back to college, so we’re going to surprise her there since we weren’t able to celebrate her birthday when it actually happened on Friday. Kind of a long and complicated story, but the jist of it is – we’re road tripping today!

I love going to Iowa City – it’s the home of the University of Iowa and the Iowa Hawkeyes, GO HAWKS! I love being in college towns and especially walking through college campuses. It brings back so many wonderful memories of my days spent in college. Ahhh, things were so simple back then, weren’t they?? Actually, let’s be real, exams and papers were a huge pain in the A and I’m really glad I don’t have to do them anymore. BUT, there’s no denying that college as a whole, was the best time of my life!

Magazines are packed:

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We’re off!

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What college did you go to/are currently going to?

I went to the University of Northern Iowa – GO PANTHERS!

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Good evenin’ everyone 🙂 Well, I found something to do with my wide-open Sunday…Ben and I went shopping!

I started with a cool beverage: a Lite Caramel Frappuccino from Starbucks. I figured since I ordered a lite that it wouldn’t come with whip cream, but it did – and I guess I didn’t mind too much 😉 The caramel drizzle was to die for too. Don’t worry, I licked the lid to make sure I got it all 🙂

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Frappy makes me happy!

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While shopping around a home store, I stumbled on Halloween decorations. Halloween decorations?! It’s August 2nd! Holiday prep starts earlier and earlier each year, doesn’t it?

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Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, so I actually got semi giddy to see all this cute stuff!

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Do you deck your home out for the Holidays? I give my home a “fall” decorating theme starting in October, then move to “Christmasy” type stuff in December, then a “winter” theme after that – snowflakes, snowmen, etc. I don’t get too nutty, but it’s fun to have a little seasonal decor around!

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And look at these Christmas tree ornaments! They’re marshmallow s’more men!

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So adorable 🙂

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We didn’t end up buying anything – which is good for the wallet, but had fun window shopping – which is good for the soul 🙂 Oh, then we went to Costco and feasted on samples. That is good for the stomach!

For dinner tonight we headed down to Ben’s parents house for a grill out. On the menu:

  • Fresh rolls
  • Green beans
  • Ribeye steaks
  • Corn on the cob

Here’s Ben, our grill master!

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Some delectable rib-eyes – tender and juicy as can be!

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For dessert, we continued the Girl Scout ice cream cake tradition and had Thin Mint Ice Cream Cake. Omg…

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This was JUST like eating Thin Mints out of the freezer – which is my FAVE way to eat them!

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Alrighty everyone – I am stuffed, tired and getting up early in the morning to RUN. I have taken a week long hiatus from running and am more than ready hit the road. In fact, I can’t wait!

Oh also, tune in tomorrow morning, because I have a SU-PURE-B announcement to make! Have a great rest of your evening!

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Day 2 in Las Vegas started with some flamingo watching at The Flamingo 🙂 Ben and I got up early to explore our hotel and stumbled upon a whole lagoon type area filled with flamingos, exotic birds, ducks, turtles and fish…it was practically a zoo!

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Photo op 🙂

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While continuing our hotel exploration, I stopped to get a breakfast bar at one of the many gift shops. I saw this baby and snatched it right up. Ummm Vanilla Yogurt bar with 11g of protein? Sign me up!

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This was crunchy, sweet and creamy, so delish. Plus, I was stuffed – yes, stuffed – for a really long time! I had never even heard of these bars before, but they are awesome! 

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After that we headed to the pool to wait for the rest of the crew to get up and at ‘em. Ben and I are early vacation risers…well I should say, I’m an early vacation riser and being the excellent husband that he is, Ben now is too 🙂

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After sunning ourselves for the duration of the morning, we headed to Margaritaville, which was attached to our hotel, for lunch. Honestly, a lot of times places like this are kind of just “meh” but our meals here were SO good!

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Mmmm, I got a giant plate of nachos 🙂 When in Rome…

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These were homemade tortilla chips, piled high with chili, 3 kinds of cheese, tomatoes, guacamole, sour cream and HEAPS of jalapenos! They tasted just as good as the look and I shared with the whole table 🙂

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This is Matt. I told Matt I’d give him $2 to eat a GIANT glob of sour cream. He almost did but decided at the last minute that it probably wasn’t in his best interests. I agreed.

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Our lunchtime view of Caesar’s Palace (I’m obsessed!)

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We felt like a good long walk was in order after lunch, so we strolled down to The Venetian hotel after we were done eating. The Venetian is famous for having an Italy inspired canal running through the middle of the hotel, that you can take gondola rides on!

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For dinner on Day 2, we headed to a hole in the wall…literally. Self-proclaimed “Hole in the Wall” Battista’s Italian Restaurant” is where we dined!

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This place is SO awesome – the menus are on the wall and each meal comes with soup or salad, REAL garlic bread studded with roasted garlic cloves, an after dinner cappuccino (the best cappuccino I’ve ever had – don’t worry I have the recipe!!!!) and FREE white and red house wine!

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Ben and I split the Seafood Fettuccini. This was fresh fettuccini, giant scallops, tender mahi-mahi and mouth-watering shrimp. All in a homemade red sauce – to die for!

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Oh – Battista’s resident accordian player. FABULOUS!

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After dinner we all hopped in a limo and headed down to Old Vegas. Think Freemont Street, Golden Nugget, Binion’s and 4 Queens. Old Vegas definitely doesn’t have the glamorous feeling that the Bellagio, etc. has, but is perfectly “authentic” – I just loved it!

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We have a winner! It wasn’t me though…

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The boys played many rounds of craps and black jack in Old Vegas 🙂

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Don’t worry – I got it on some of that Black Jack action too!

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The street that a lot of the old vegas casinos are on – Freemont Street – is covered by an overhead canopy type covering that they play light shows on. Aren’t these cool??

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Pose!

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Ben got artsy and took these – he’s a great photographer!

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Day 2 in Vegas was so much fun and just like Day 1, we did SO much in just one day!! I miss it already… Day 3 re-cap coming soon! 😀

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