Wednesday, August 21, 2013

My 5 New Favorite Things Are…

With all this training I’ve stopped doing extras like making huge, complicated dinners (well, I never did that anyway), doing laundry (well, I never did that either – Ken does it and the kids do their own – hate me if you want), and reading lots of books (anytime I sit down to read, I find myself laying down then passing out in a second).

What I have not cut out is caffeine, TV, wine and food - lots of it.  I know there are lots of you who don’t watch TV. I happen to love it – but only for an hour or two starting at 7pm. It is my way of relaxing  and winding down from the day. My two dear and intimate friends, Ken and Wine, are usually there with me as well.

That said, here are a few new favorites I’ve added into my life in recent days.

1. Favorite Sandwich – My mom and I went to Panera today. Please tell me you have had their Grown Up Grilled Cheese. It is a million types of cheeses (including Gruyere – trés fancy) on sourdough bread with bacon. I skipped the bacon (but made up for it later when I took a shower using bacon soap while sipping a bacon martini and putting on bacon lip-gloss <- those items are real by the way, but I don’t really use them. I’m already scared enough about being mauled by a bear).

I substituted tomatoes and avocado for the bacon. And, GOOD LORD. There is nothing ever wrong about cheese, avocado and buttery bread. I offered my mom a bite and she said “No” that she really isn't that into cheese and I thought I might have to put her on a 72-hour hold. But, she clarified that she does love cheese, just not big hunky slices all melted. Hmmm…still confused by that.

Note: Panera now posts calories contents on its menu. If calories freak you out, you might not want this sandwich because I think it was about 870 calories (a Big Mac is only 550!)

I can’t quite bring myself to take pictures of my food, especially in restaurants (I’m not a true blogger I guess), so here is the stock photo:

Big Kid Grilled Cheese at Panera

2. Favorite Series – I cannot remember a time when summer TV has been this bad. We have nothing to watch but House Hunters and Breaking Bad (which I have loved from the first season).

First World Problems – #FWP!!!

I read the book, Orange is the New Black a few years ago and when I heard it was a series through Netflix, I had to watch. Plus, it’s only $7.99 to stream Netflix per month. Double score. I am loving OITNB. Just the right amount of drama and humor for my taste. Sometimes Ken and I don’t like the same shows (I am not sure what his problem is that he’s not into the Bachelorette), but this is one we both like to watch. Triple score.

Netflix Original Orange Is The New Black

3. Favorite Bar (no, not that kind of bar) I’ve always liked Luna Bars, especially the chocolate/coconut one. The other day on my long trail run I tried the carrot cake bar. I know this is not a new flavor, but it was new to me. The mix of cinnamon, walnuts and carrots really reminded me of fall and with 28 g of carbs, 8 g of protein and some sodium/potassium, I thought it was a reasonably substantial and healthy bar (although I’ll still take carrot cake with massive amounts of cream cheese frosting any day. It gets kind of messy on a trail run).

Carrot Cake

4. Favorite Coffee – a few months ago I did review on the Keurig coffeemaker. At that time, I still thought my brewed Mr. Coffee coffee was better. But, that was before I tried Starbucks French Roast K-Cups. I love a really bold, strong, full bodied coffee and this one is the BEST (imho). I’ve started buying it by the case (54 K Cups) off of Amazon. Early in the morning Sam and I share a small pot of coffee. Then I go do whatever workout I have to do and come home (usually a good 3 hours later) and have a large cup of French Roast.

IMAG1945

(Btw, I think my shoulders are getting bigger from all the swimming. If I look tired, I am).

5. Favorite Wine. I love chardonnay. End of story. I am very close minded about it. Do not offer me Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc.

The other night my friend Erika brought over some Posh Pinot Grigio. I snubbed my nose at it (good friend that I am), but then she left the remainder in my fridge and I wasn't about to let it go to waste. This stuff is amazing. Especially for a hot summer day. It is light, crisp and smooth. Plus, it has one of my favorite wine labels of all time. Only bad thing - they do not make chardonnay, which is clearly a felony. I think Posh goes for about $10.99 per bottle, so pretty reasonable.

 

That’s all I got. But, I’d love to hear from you!

Do you have any recent favorites?

What do you think of restaurants posting calories on their menus? Does it motivate you to make different choices than you would otherwise? I think it’s a good idea. While I don’t count calories per se, I think for those trying to lose weight or eat healthier, it might encourage different choices. I don’t think people realize how many calories are in certain foods.

What’s your favorite TV series right now?

SUAR

PS: I was not coerced or bribed or paid to talk about these products. All opinions are MINE.

61 comments:

  1. Now I want a Panera grilled cheese and a bottle of that Posh wine. I thought this was supposed to be a healthy blog. :) I'm a big lover of Cupcake Pinot Grigio.

    My favorite series right now is Newsroom since we didn't get Bachelor Pad this summer.

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  2. I man, do I love me some Panera. I've never had their grilled cheese, but I can only imagine how delicious it is. I will admit, the calorie count does scare me off of that sandwich, but I like the turkey avocado BLT!

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  3. How much are the cases of coffee? I have a Keurig, but I HATE buying the K-cups for it.

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    1. Ugh...well, about $48 for 54 Kcups. But for me it's cheaper than buying coffee out everyday...

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  4. I'm a new follower of your blog, but this post definitely has made me a convert for life! I love cheese (in any form), Chardonnay, strong coffee, Orange is the New Black, and Breaking Bad. I just started watching Breaking Bad because hubby saw all 4 seasons, the 5th one just came out on Netflix, and you're right - TV sucks right now!

    I'm kind of obsessed with Salvatore Principe Chardonnay right now. It has a pretty heart on the label. It's a nice treat with some popcorn at the end of the day!

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    1. Thanks for the new Chard. recommendation. This week I will try some Principe. Where is it from?

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    2. It's from Argentina. Excellent value, like many other wines from Argentina and Chile.

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    3. Yep, Mendoza, Argentina. The label is kind of hard to read, so just look for the pretty heart.

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  5. Since I've watched all the episodes of Breaking Bad on Netflix, I think I will run to Panera and get a grilled cheese and start watching Orange is the New black

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  6. I'm all about restaurants posting calories. It has influenced my choice several times!!!
    Glad to know I'm not the only one enthralled with House Hunters. Why it matters to me what a complete stranger buys? Who knows but it does. Makes about as much sense as watching Love It or List It. :)
    As for wine.....I've just recently become a Chardonnay girl, always been a merlot hoe.

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  7. Have you never tried Kim Crawford Savingnon Blanc? Seriously, it will change your life.

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    1. No, will try tho, based on your recommendation...

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    2. Their chardonnay is pretty tasty too...

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  8. Good news! No need to fear bear mauling anymore. Just ask the bear what it's doing, and he'll take off:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0vrtmtpN_o

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    1. PS - skip the first half. It starts slow. FYI, the guy is filming from a tree stand.

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  9. Breaking Bad is a towering achievement and surely one of the greatest shows in the the history of television.

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  10. I like it when I see a salad that has more calories than a burger (Island's restaurant comes to mind) then I don't feel guilty about having the burger!

    PS You are definitely tired. Your title said 5 things, and I couldn't find the fifth!

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    1. I was puzzled by this as well... till I discovered she had two #4s :)

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    2. Yawn...I am tired. Thanks for the heads up!

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  11. It is state law in Washington now that calories be posted on menus. Can't say it's my favorite, but it does keep me from actually ordering anything from Five Guys....

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  12. My new favorite is Svedka Coconut vodka. Oh, sweet lord. I feel like it's a summer only thing, so I've been doing my part to make summer last.

    It helps with the whole "you shouldn't be running more than 20 mpw" thing I've got going on. :/

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    1. OK that sounds so good it scares me. Should probably wait to introduce that when I am done with IM training...right?

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    2. Oh...one tiny little drink won't *kill* your training. Tasty with pineapple juice and a bit of 7up. :)

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  13. I have a thing for home made piazza....I make a batch of dough and put in a tuperware container in the fridge. I have a stone in the oven but there is no reason to heat up the house when its just as tasty on the BBQ. Roll out the dough and throw it on the grill for a few minutes.... pull it off turn it over and top it....really light sauce the cheese then whatever else you want...my current favorite is clams, garlic, oregano and fresh mozzerella no sauce just some garlic oil on the crust....

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  15. The coffee is often marketed as "premium," and the machines as status symbols for discerning consumers — but aficionados question the quality of the brews. In his book The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee, Blue Bottle founder James Freeman railed against single-serve coffee. In a passage dubbed "A Special Place in Hell: Pod Coffee," he blasted producers for hijacking the trappings of excellence while delivering a craft-less cup. "Pod coffee is bad and wrong," he wrote. "[I]t teases people into an industrially produced product masquerading as handcrafted." After figuring out the brewing ratios and extraction times of two popular pod brewers, he concluded that it's simply impossible for them to make a truly tasty beverage.

    Whether it's delicious or not, single-cup coffee is expensive. In fact, pound-for-pound, it costs consumers far more than the finest artisanal coffee available in the Bay Area. A 24-pack of Folgers Gourmet Selections K-Cup, for example, typically retails for $16.49. The capsules each hold roughly 8 grams of coffee, which means that the 24-pack works out to about $39 a pound. A 24-pack of Starbucks House Blend typically costs $22.49, or about $53 a pound. By contrast, the same Starbucks roast costs just $12 a pound when sold in a single bag. An artisanal bean, like Four Barrel Coffee's Kenya Gatomboya, a shade-grown coffee from a 700-member cooperative, costs $18 for a 12-ounce bag, or about $24 a pound."

    The environmental irresponsibility of single-cup coffee pods is exposed in the cover story of this week's East Bay Express, published today:

    www.eastbayexpress.com/oakland/waste-the-dark-side-of-the-new-coffee-craze/Content?oid=3687220&showFullText=true

    :

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    1. Yes, these are all points I discussed in my original review.

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  16. I just finished the last episode of the first season of Orange is the New Black. I thought it was a really good show, and the theme song has been stuck in my head for weeks! Speaking of Netflix shows - I highly recommend House of Cards if you haven't seen it yet. SO GOOD (though I wasn't a fan of the first episode). I also just finished the first season of Scandal. (I don't usually watch this much TV, I've been knitting baby blankets... please don't judge me!!)

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    1. Love House of Cards....we watched the whole season in a week!

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    2. Love House of Cards....we watched the whole season in a week!

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  17. That sandwich looked awesome, that's my lunch sorted!! Was getting a little concerned with all that talk about kale and quinoa that people had forgotten that a great thing about running ridiculously long distances is that you get to eat cheese toasties and pizza occasionally and don't have to buy into one bit of female guilt rubbish! Oh, and you are never too old for peanut butter and honey sandwiches. . .

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  18. I've been loving listening to Youtube on the elliptical - but not being injured >.<

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  19. Yum, grilled cheese is amazing! Grilled cheese + avocado is the perfect combination.

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  20. Favorite coffee is Peet's hands down but I won't snub my nose at Starbucks if offered. Being from the east coast originally, I SHOULD say Dunkin Donuts (and when I am there, I honestly go) but since Dunkins is not "cool" on the West Coast, I deal with what I have. ha No, Peet's is a great company and brew.

    As for wine, Sangiovese hands down. It's red. It's light-ish and well, it goes with everything (including nothing at all when I too am on the couch with my Mr. Wine).

    Been off the blog scene for a while ... your hair has gotten incredibly long. Looks great!

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  21. You crack me up! We are kindred spirits, although without the crazy running distances and triathlon stuff. I'm just getting started on the half marathons. But definitely with the housework, laundry, tv, falling asleep to arguably good books, and wine!

    My favorite sandwich of all time is this:
    ciabatta, torta, or regular old sourdough (I like the round loaves)
    pesto (Kirkland is great!)
    oven roasted turkey
    vidalia onions
    tomato (had a fresh one from the garden the other day - HEAVEN!)
    sliced pepperoncini
    sliced artichoke hearts
    provalone cheese


    Layer the ingredients on the bread in that order, then grill on an ungreased skillet. (Mine is cast iron) Boy, that goey provalone really binds things together. Mmmm... I want one just thinking about it. I think it comes in at around 570 calories, but all good stuff! And I could probably get by with just eating a half, but why?

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  22. OMG I have seen that cheesy thing at Panera but will not have it until I'm training for an IM!!! But it look amazing! I also love Breaking Bad but have not yet seen the first of the final two episodes!!! I'm dying!!! I also just started reading OITNB and I'm not too thrilled with it. I hope the tv show is better. I AM thrilled with Dexter and I may cry when this final season is over:-(

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  23. Yes, I think it's a great idea for restaurants to post their nutrient facts! Not only will it provide the consumer have the option of making the right choice, I think it also makes the restaurant accountable for what they're serving. I personally don't count calories, I look more at %Fat - I bet that yummy looking grilled cheese as a lot of fat too! I'd probably still share one.

    I started watching 5th season of Breaking Bad on Netflix. <3 Netflix!

    Good job on your training - and yes, you're shoulders are looking massive! :-)

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  24. My favorite thing right now is my Suunto Ambit. I don't watch much TV but I do enjoy NCIS. Happy training!

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  25. I love Luna bars. I don't hear enough people talk about them. I love the Lemon Zest the best. Yes, I rhymed.

    My guilty pleasure is The Little Couple, which is on right now. I'm about to gear up for The Walking Dead. But you are right, this summer has been awful for shows. Nothing on.

    I love all wine, except Merlot.

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    1. I was going to try the Walking Dead too, although it's not my typical kind of show.

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    2. I love the Walking Dead and it is really not my typical kind of show. My husband wanted to watch it and after I watched the first two episodes with my hands over my eyes in certain parts (I don't like gore), I got over it. It is really a show about survival and that is what I find most interesting!

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  26. F*ck you very much for publishing the calorie content of that incredible looking sandwich. I was all set to get it with the tomatoes and avocado, and was thinking how much my wife would love it, until I read the number 870. If I am going to rack up those kind of calories at lunch, I'd rather have something healthy with a few beers on the side.

    And if you like bold, flavorful coffees, I'd recommend Starbucks Sumatra. Its quite excellent.

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  27. That grilled cheese sounds amazing. I will splurge on a really amazing grilled cheese sandwich once in a while even though I know the calorie count is astronomical. Some things are worth it in life! I do love that restaurants are posting calories now - nationwide. I got very used to it living in NYC and I hope it spreads further (like to Denver)!

    My favorite luna bar is the toasted nuts & cranberry - which I couldn't find in NYC for the last few months before we moved and was thrilled to find in Denver - but that carrot cake sounds like one I should try! I have this weird habit of craving really delicious carrot cake on Easter. Strange, I know. Just seems right.

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  28. I love OITNB!! Great show & since we are out of Mad Men, Parks & Rec & Portlandia to watch (or rewatch) it is perfect timing!

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  29. Love Netflix! Other than Big Brother, I generally watch all my shows on there. I recently got hooked on watching the New Girl on Netflix. It is really good, you should check it out. Think I may check out OITHB next.

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  30. My new favorite thing wont be new to you cause you reviewed them! Athleta Queen K tri shorts! I'm in love! I've used them for rides up to 45 miles, and I just did a swim and run in them this morning. So comfortable, no moving around or chaffing. My new go to short for training! Thank you!

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  31. Pandora bbq chicken salad is awesome!!!!! Try it! My hubby and I watched The Killing series on Netflix. Amazing!!! And Homeland!!!! And Downton Abbey. Of course
    Kelly

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    1. I cannot wait to get the 2nd season of Homeland on DVD. I think it comes out in Sept. Another one I have on my Netflix list is The Killing

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  32. I love House Hunters, but lately I've been a little obsesses with the Food Network...especially their shows Chopped, Iron Chef and Bar Rescue. All of this is strange considering I don't cook. I also love Downton Abbey and Biggest Loser. I'm a little ashamed that I've been watching so much tv lately...it needs to stop.

    Also, I just added Orange is the New Black to my Amazon wishlist because it sounds entertaining. Thanks for the recommendation!

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  33. Dexter is my favorite favorite show on TV right now, when that's over, Homeland should be starting. Can't wait.

    I have a couple go to meals I've been cooking, one being a pizza made on top of a portabella mushroom. Gets the pizza craving without overdoing it on calories, which I do count right now.

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  34. I don't mind when restaurants publish calorie information. Although, while stuck for work in Philadelphia for almost a month, we frequented a somewhat high-end steak place because it was in our hotel. They had the calories on their menu - this was a white table cloth, professional wait-staff type place. It was very odd. In that scenario, I could have done without it. I don't want to know that the $100+ dinner I'm about to eat has a bajillion calories in it. In fact, I could have done without the prices as well:)

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    1. I think I would feel the same way. For me, when I go out for a nice, maybe expensive dinner I am getting food that I don't have that often, regardless of calories.

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  35. OITNB is AMAZING!!!! I power watched the whole season in a week and now I am mourning and missing it. :)

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  36. Oh, and try "The Killing" next. Great show! Set in my hometown of Seattle. :)

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  37. That Panera sandwich looks amazing, and I just love your idea of adding avocado - my two all time favorite things! Yum!!

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  38. Boardwalk Empire is a real piece of work! Three seasons down and never a dull moment. Brilliant writing, acting, direction and cinematography. Totally absorbing.

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  39. We have a Keurig too. I stopped buying k-cups once I discovered that you can buy a mini reusable filter for it. Now I just use that. It saves a ton of money! I'm sure you can buy your Starbucks in a large bag of ground coffee.
    And my favorite bar is KIND, every flavor is delicious.
    -Rachel

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  40. Orange is the New Black was a BOOK????!!! OMG...I must get it!! I love the series and Netflix needs to speed up the damn production so Season 2 can be watched!!

    Thanks....hope the training is going well!!!

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