Wednesday, December 26, 2012

2012 Wrap-Up!

2012 is definitely one for the books. I've had so many life-enhancing experiences this year - my head is still spinning. I'm hoping 2013 will slow down for me just a bit (as it should since I'm more settled) so I can focus on my plot to take over the world. It's going to be epic! Epic I tell you!
Here's a little end of the year survey that I've doing the past few years, its a fun way to say adios!
Image courtesy of Google

1. What did you do in 2012 that you'd never done before?
I left the only place Ive ever called home and moved 1,000 miles away to Chicago

Photo by SleevedintheCity
2. Did you keep your New Years resolutions? Will you any for 2013?
I did actually, I told myself I was going to lose weight this year and I did. Im making my next years resolutions as we speak!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes! A few people actually - I cant wait until I visit Texas to squeeze baby cheeks!
4. Did anyone close to you die?
 Not anyone close but I had some close friends lose people they loved.
5. What countries did you visit?
Does Missouri count? Then no.
6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
A greater support system and more denero.
7. What dates in 2012 will remain etched upon your memory and why?
01/17/12 - Moved to Chicago
08/20/12 - VSG Surgery
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Definitely taking the leap of faith to move so far away from home, it gave me the courage to make other leaps in my life!
9. What was your biggest failure?
I didn't have any failures in 2012. I had some learning experiences.
10. Did you suffer injury or illness?
I got sick twice, once in January and in December.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
Smaller underwear, 3 sizes smaller to be exact!
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
All the people who support and encourage me.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
All the people who don't believe in themselves enough to make better choices.
14. Where did most of your money go?
Bills. Can I borrow $5?
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
So many things! Right now Im excited to be moving BACK to Texas next year!
16. What song will always remind you of 2012?
Try by P!nk (seriously love her!)

Image courtesy of Rolling Stone
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?
a) happier b) thinner c) poorer
18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Seeing all the sights Chicago has to offer, I feel like Im on a time crunch now.
19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
20. How did you spend Christmas?
 I went to the movies and saw Django Unchained (awesome!) - took a nap.
21. Did you fall in love in 2012?
Only with myself =)
22. What was your favorite TV program?
Sons of Anarchy is still numero uno, but I recently got into Game of Thrones!
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
 I don't hate anyone. I just realize that boundaries are needed for some people.
24. What was the best book you read?
Hunger Games
25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Kendrick Lamar
26. What did you want and get?
To pay my car off, last payment was this month! Woot!
27. What did you want and not get?
A new Keurig and a Wii. Im cheap.
28. What was your favorite film of this year?
I saw quite a few good ones but Im going with Django Unchained & Skyfall. My favorite live performance was Freud's Last Session.
29. What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?
I turned 35 and my friend Amy surprised me with afternoon tea at the Drake Hotel!

Photo from SleevedintheCity
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
If I had gotten to see my family in Texas for the holidays.
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?
Big and baggy! Im refusing to buy new clothes. I've got a twine belt and am wearing my pants until they fall off LOL
32. What kept you sane?
Coffee, blogging and remembering tomorrow is a new day.
33. What celebrity/public figure did you fancy most?
P!nk. She's not only extremely talented but she's fit, healthy, and strong. I'm obsessed!
34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Lets just say my vote counted.
35. Who did you miss?
My papito.
36. Who is the best new person you met?
Ive met so many great people this year that its hard to choose just one.
37. What is a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012?
"Forgiveness has nothing to do with absolving a criminal of his crime. It has everything to so with relieving oneself of the burden of being a victim -- letting go of the pain and transforming oneself from victim to survivor." ~ C.R. Strahan
38. What was the best new blog you discovered this year?
Iowa Girl Eats and I also rediscovered And Then We Saved
39. Who inspired you the most in 2012?
Not to sound cocky, but I inspired myself. I saw so much strength and determination in myself this year; I know I can do anything I set my mind to.
40. What do you want to happen in 2013?
I want to move back to Texas, lose 80 more pounds, maybe go on a date, run an entire 5k.
Here's to a new year, a new you and new dreams! Happy 2013!


Monday, December 24, 2012

Friend Makin' Mondays: Fill in the Blanks

Merry Christmas Eve! I don't know about you guys, but I'm ready for the holidays to be over and things get back to normal. I'm excited to be piloting a new program at work that starts right after the New Year so I'm sure that has something to do with my haste =)

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!
FILL in the BLANKS...
1. I want to.... make 2013 as successful and adventurous as 2012 has been!
2. I've never.... been skydiving but I'm going with a friend to do just that in October!
3. I believe.... everything happens for a reason.
4. My mind often wonders.... the most random things and all the time too. I have ADHD.
5. Last night I dreamed that.... I was in a battlefield with dragons. No more Game of Thrones before bed.
6. This morning for breakfast I ate.... waffles - a rarity for me.
7. My love life is.... non-existent but that's ok I'm purposely taking time off for myself.
8. I enjoy.... a great cup of coffee.
9. When I was a child I used to.... ride my dogs like horses.
10. When I'm in the kitchen I.... wash my hands a hundred times.
11. My favorite exercise is.... Zumba!
12. When I travel I.... make sure there's extra room in my suitcase for souvenirs!
13. My friends would tell you that I am.... funny and opinionated.
14. If I had to eat at a restaurant today I would choose.... Razzoo's Cajun Café - they have the BEST grilled jalapeno catfish!
15. My favorite.... time of the day is pup cuddling.
16. My home is.... hot as hell. My apartment is right next to the boiler room.
17. I read.... just about anything if I can learn something from it. I've just started Wuthering Heights.
18. The last movie I saw was.... Savages on Redbox. Going to see Django Unchained tomorrow!
19. Music makes me feel.... expressive, I love how music can often find the words I am unable to.
20. All I want for Christmas is.... a new Keurig! Mine went kaput.  
Well that's it for this weeks edition! Don't forget to link up! I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Post Op: 4 Month Check-In

On Thursday I was officially 4 months post-op, I would have posted this then but the world was ending the next day so I had to finish Game of Thrones Season One. Priorities people!

Image courtesy of Google

Seriously though, I couldn't be more thrilled with the changes. I'm 66 pounds down and should be able to hit 70 pounds gone by the New Year with no problem. I was asked to wear the same outfit in my updated pictures, I tried to recreate the entire look, even with my hair. Maybe it's just me but I feel like I'm a bobble head - now my head looks really, really big to me LOL

I see the biggest difference in my stomach and face. I've always had a big butt so that won't be going anywhere anytime soon. I'm still losing inches but the scale itself is starting to slow down because I'm toning and gaining muscle.

A few posts back I talked about having possible issues with my gallbladder. Luckily that didn't seem to be the case, garlic is the culprit! My exercise restriction was lifted and I began the Couch25k program, I'm on Week 1 and so far I'm pleased to see my endurance and ability exceeds that of a "beginner" - I can already run a mile! A whole freaking mile! Non-stop!

My "I just ran a mile for the first time" face!

The program is 3 days a week, so I'll be incorporating some (much needed) toning exercises in the mix. We got our first snow yesterday and I wanted to make sure I wouldn't use the snow as an excuse so I picked this Gaiam DVD up at Marshall's for $3.99 and the weights were on clearance for $4 a set! This way I have no excuses and 3 different workouts if I find myself snowed in or just too warm to leave my casa.

So Im pleased with my progress but will be raising the bar now that I've reminded myself  that I really am as awesome as I think I am. My birthday is in 3 months and I'm looking forward to being the best me yet! Yay for healthy!

Monday, December 17, 2012

In Remembrance

Twas' 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38
when 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven's gate.
Their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air.
They could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.

They were filled with such joy, they didn't know what to say.
They remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.
"Where are we?" asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse.
"This is heaven." declared a small boy. "We're spending Christmas at God's house."

When what to their wondering eyes did appear,
But Jesus, their savior, the children gathered near.
He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same.
Then He opened His arms and He called them by name.

And in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring:
Those children all flew into the arms of their King,
And as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace,
One small girl turned and looked at Jesus' face.

And as if He could read all the questions she had,
He gently whispered to her, "I'll take care of mom and dad."
Then He looked down on earth, the world far below,
He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe,

Then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand,
"Let My power and presence re-enter this land!
May this country be delivered from the hands of fools
I'm taking back my nation. I'm taking back my schools!"

Then He and the children stood up without a sound.
"Come now my children, let me show you around."
Excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran.
All displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.

And I heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight,
"In the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT."

Written by Cameo Smith, Mt. Wolf, PA

Friend Makin' Mondays: 12 Things

Now…If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!



Twelve in 2012

1. What was your greatest personal accomplishment in 2012?  I like to think I did several cool things this year but moving to Chicago was by far the most awesome!

2. What’s the best thing your did for your health?  I had gastric sleeve surgery. It not only cured my diabetes but I've lost 65 pounds so far and I'm getting healthier by the day. I also haven't had any pop or carbonated beverages in 5 months - no alcohol either!

3. Share one thing that caused a significant change in your life this year.  I hate to sound repetitive but moving to Chicago, picking up and moving my entire life has given me the courage to do so much more!

4. List a few things that you experienced for the first time at some point over the last twelve months.  
- I sailed on Lake Michigan (in a pirate ship!)
- This is my first apartment "underground"
- I did the Color Run
- I mailed out Christmas cards (I never had to before since I was local)

5. What was the coolest place you visited? Chicago of course ;)

6. If you could change one thing about the last year what would it be?  I would have curbed my extra spending slightly (OK a little more than slightly) - but I'll be starting the AndThenWeSaved program next year - super excited about that.

7. What is the best meal you ate this year? Giordano's stuffed pizza and Alfie's zucchini chips. Both of which are on my do-not-eat-or-it-will-turn-you-into-a-fat-ass-again list.

8. Tell us about a new friend you made.  All of my friends have been new this year, I cant point just one particular person out, they're all great!

9. What did you hope to accomplish this year that you did not? I wanted to travel some.

10. Share something you learned in 2012.  Don't compare your beginning to someone else's middle.

11. Share an odd and unexpected thing that you experienced this year.  I can't say anything odd or unexpected happened to me this year. It's been pretty normal for once lol

12. How do you think 2013 will differ from 2012? It is going to be full of so much awesome. I'm going to be skinny. I'm going to be rich(er). I'm going to travel. I'm going to (continue to) be badass.

Now it's your turn! Don't forget to link up! Happy Monday everyone!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Frozen Hot Cocoa

Image property of SleevedInTheCity

Since I was just talking about Starbucks and healthy alternatives to their drinks, I thought I'd go in my archives and share one of my favorites, courtesy of Hungry Girl! Its not only simple to make but its so low in calories that I don't mind indulging in a second on a super hot day!
Prep time: 10 mins  |  Level: Beginner  |  Servings: 1
Calories per serving: 58
One 25-calorie packet diet hot cocoa mix (like Swiss Miss Diet or Nestlé Fat Free)
2 no-calorie sweetener packets (like Splenda or Truvia)
1/4 cup light vanilla soymilk (Almond milk works too!)
1 tbsp. sugar-free calorie-free vanilla-flavored syrup (like the kind by Torani)
1 tsp. sugar-free chocolate syrup (like the kind by Hershey's)**
1 cup crushed ice or 5 to 8 ice cubes
2 tbsp. Fat Free Reddi-wip
Place hot cocoa mix and sweetener in a tall mug or glass. Add 1/4 cup hot water and stir to dissolve.
Add soymilk, vanilla-flavored syrup, and chocolate syrup. Mix well. Place in the fridge or freezer for several minutes, until completely chilled. Pour mixture into a blender and add ice. Blend at high speed until uniform. Pour into the tall mug or glass. Finish off with whipped topping.
**I personally don't like the sugar free chocolate syrup, it tastes like how I imagine dirty feet would taste so I substituted a few chocolate chips and melted with the water and cocoa mix, it increased the calories some I'm sure but its better than drinking foot water. Just my opinion. Also VSG'ers can add a packet of unflavored protein powder and get a full meal from this, just add the extra calories!**
Happy Cooking!

Chili's Copycat Chicken Enchilada Soup

This is my favorite soup EVER. If you like Chili's Chicken Enchilada Soup then you will LOVE this. You won't find anything closer to it. The original recipe is here but I've obviously modified it to reduce calories and make it more VSG friendly. The calories are based on "regular" people servings and I don't have a picture of it because I ate it all before I remembered to. It's seriously that good.

Image courtesy of Google

Prep time: 15 mins  |  Level: Intermediate  |  Servings: 8
Calories per serving: 155
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken tenders
1 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup diced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 quart chicken broth, fat free reduced sodium 
1 cup masa harina
3 cups water, divided
1 cup enchilada sauce (I use hot & entire 10 oz can)
1 teaspoon salt (I double this)
1 teaspoon chili powder (I double this)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (I double this)
1 4oz can green chilies (optional)
Boil chicken in large pot, drain, set aside. Cook onion and garlic in oil and pour in chicken broth. In a bowl, whisk together masa harina and 2 cups of water until well blended. Pour into pot with remaining 1 cup water, enchilada sauce, salt, chili powder, and cumin. Bring to a boil. Shred chicken and add it to the pot. Reduce heat and simmer 30 to 40 minutes, until thickened.
If you add cheese or tortilla chips make sure to add in the additional calories. I never add cheese, its awesome with just tortilla chips!
Happy Cooking!

Nescafe Memento Review

I love my coffee. I mean I really, really, really love my coffee. If I could drink coffee all day and throughout the night and I'd be a happy little camper. Luckily my employer provides free coffee throughout the day so it saves on my pocketbook but I'm still a Starbucks girl at heart and it kills me to pay $5 for a SF VSG friendly foo-foo drink. Even their coffee pricing is getting outrageous. So when I heard a bunch of hub-bub about this new Starbucks - replacing product on the market from Nestle called Memento, I decided to request a free sample from Nestle and see for myself.

Nestle says:
 “Try an expertly crafted café beverage from NESCAFÉ® MEMENTO™ and enjoy coffee house quality flavor and foam that lasts until the final sip. Made with real coffee, milk and sugar, three enticing flavors await! Caramel Latte is a perfect blend of buttery caramel flavor, smooth coffee and pillowy froth – heaven for your taste buds! Cappucino – a top layer of frothy foam leads to a smooth creamy coffee – you’ll be licking your lips down to the last sip. Mocha – rich chocolate flavor and smooth coffee combine to create a delightfully indulgent chocolate lover’s dream.”

Let me start out by saying I'm not a fan of this product. Take that for what its worth but here are the reasons why -  
When I first got my sample pack in the first thing I noticed was the size. These things are HUGE in comparison to other prepackaged coffee-hot chocolate-thingys Ive seen before. It's as big as my measuring cup! It immediately reminded me of the Maxwell House International House Café tins where you have to scoop half the tin in one cup to get any decent flavor.
So I decided to measure.

There's almost 1/4 cup of powder in one packet! And lets face it, almost 2 ounces of powdered coffee, sugar, cream, and whatever hydrodextromextro stuff they put in there cant be good on the stats right? 
But they're only 100 calories you say?
Yes they only have 100 calories.
100 calories.
Pretty good, right?
Until you see that the 1/4 cup of hydrodextromextro powder comes with a whopping  18-19 carbs and 12-14 grams of sugar. Per cup. Not so great now, huh? Especially for our sleeved and bariatric friends where carbs and sugars are the mortal enemy.
But how does it taste you ask?
Like weak coffee watered down with skim milk. Blech. My sample pack came with 2 flavors, Cappuccino and Caramel Latté. I had to sweeten them both and the Caramel Latte still tasted so bad that I didn't even finish the cup. I even went from 10oz of water to 8oz on the second cup to see if that helped. Sad to say it made no difference. I know people are raving about this stuff but it was a total miss with me. I will give it this, they got the frothy part right.
Now you're saying its not supposed to be healthy, its supposed to be a cheaper alternative to Starbucks. Cheaper, yes...about $.54 a serving - even less if you have a coupon - a box retails for $4.29 and each box comes with 8 gigantic packets. And if you are getting the full-flavored lattes from Starbucks then yes these stats are much better. But if you're like me and get the SF/FF versions then its about the same and price would be the only real difference.
Now for those of you who like the Peppermint Mocha drinks, I've created a most awesome recipe for even a fraction of the SF version. How? Its easy, you just need the following:
Swiss Miss DIET Hot Cocoa packet (NOT the Sugar Free kind)
Individual serving of half and half cream
Equal or sweetener of choice (optional)
SF Peppermint coffee syrup (I use Target's brand/$3.99 bottle)
Mix and drink. You can adjust the amount of hot cocoa/syrup depending on your personal taste but if you're like me and have a big super gallon coffee tumbler and use the whole pack you're under 60 calories, 5 carbs and 2 sugars. And the cost is around $.60 a serving (including the cost of the syrup).
So while this was a bust for me, it was a valiant effort from Nestle. But I'll stick with my homemade version and pop for the good stuff on occasion. After all, there's nothing better than a great cup of professionally crafted coffee.
Don't take my word for it, this is my opinion and yours could be different. Click here for a free sample and tell me what you think!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Spinach Salad with Ham and Egg

I cannot tell you how much I love this salad. The flavors blend perfectly and I'm always sad when my bowl is empty. It's great year round, summer or winter.
Adapted from: Martha Stewart
Prep time: 25 mins  |  Level: Beginner  |  Servings: 1
Calories per serving: 307
Image courtesy of Martha Stewart
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 onion, thinly sliced (more or less depending on preference)
1 tbsp white-wine vinegar
1 tsp stone ground mustard
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 cups fresh spinach, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
2 oz ham, 1/4 in thick and cut into small strips
1 hard boiled egg, quartered
Heat olive oil in saucepan over medium high heat. Add onion. Remove from heat and add vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper.In a bowl, combine spinach and ham. Drizzle onion mixture over salad and toss to coat evenly. Garnish with quartered egg (I removed the yolk and crumbled it on top)
Happy Cooking!

Spicy Chicken Crunchwrap Supreme

Adapted from: SparkPeople
Prep time: 25 mins  |  Level: Beginner  |  Yield: 3 servings
Calories per serving: 380
3 Mission "Plus" Heart Healthy flour tortillas (burrito size)
3 Mission corn tostada shells
4 boneless skinless chicken tenders
5oz Old El Paso Hot enchilada sauce (1/2 can)
3 tbsp light sour cream
1/3 cup Rosarita fat free refried beans (I used Chile Lime)
1/2 tsp Goya Sazon seasoning (1/2 packet)
Cayenne pepper (to taste)
Shredded lettuce

Boil chicken tenders until cooked thoroughly. Cool and shred chicken. Transfer to a skillet and add enchilada sauce, Sazon, and cayenne to chicken; mix well. Cover and simmer.
Place one of the tortillas in another skillet, on low heat & flip when heated through.
To the face-up side; add 1/3 of chicken mixture making sure to leave a 2' border of the tortilla clear. Add lettuce on top of chicken. Spread 1 1/2 tbsp of beans* on one side of tostada shell. One the same side, add 1 tbsp of sour cream on top of the beans.

Gently wrap the tortilla around the tostada until it makes a secure pocket. Flip the assembled tortilla and brown the folded side to secure it together.
Repeat this for all servings. One tortilla "crunchwrap" per serving.
*Refried beans are best heated before spreading, makes spreading easier.
Happy Cooking!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas

Growing up in San Antonio, Mexican food was a staple at the dinner table. There's never a wrong time for enchiladas with a side of frijoles y arroz! Jeeves (my sleeve) is pretty picky about what he likes and doesn't like these days. Pretty much anything tomato based is out, garlic and chili powder too. Which as you know are the main ingredients in ANYTHING south of the border; so I've had to get crafty while still being sleeve-friendly too. 

Calories: 209  |  Carbs: 16  |  Protein: 14  | Fat: 8
Makes 12 individual servings/1 enchilada each
You'll Need -
3 chicken breasts (I use Tyson Frozen Ready To Cook)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cups Reduced Fat Mexican Style Shredded Cheese
1 can Fat Free/Reduced Sodium chicken broth
8 oz Light Sour Cream (don't use Fat Free!)
4 oz can green chilies, diced
1 can green enchilada sauce (you can use red if you prefer)
1/4 cup butter or margarine (80% or higher)
1/4 cup flour
12 yellow corn tortillas
 Then You'll -
Cook chicken thoroughly and shred once cooled. I boil the chicken as its the most healthy way. In a boil mix shredded chicken, 1 1/2 cups cheese, onion, and enchilada sauce.
**I do NOT cook my tortillas in grease, roll them dry and you'll save a ton of calories. If you need the tortillas more pliable, heat them in the microwave for a few seconds**
Divide chicken mixture evenly between tortillas and lay seam side down in 9x13 baking dish (spray with cooking spray)
Melt margarine in a small pan; stir in flour to make a roux; stir and cook until bubbly; slowly whisk in chicken broth and bring back to a boil, stirring frequently.
Remove from heat; stir in sour cream and green chilies; pour sauce evenly over enchiladas.
Top with remaining cheese and bake at 400F for 20 minutes until cheese is melted and sauce near edges of baking dish is bubbly.
Happy Cooking!

Angry Orchard Hard Cider Review

I was recently contacted by Angry Orchard and offered the opportunity to try their product line. All my friends rave about this stuff so I was excited to give it a try. Unfortunately around the same time I received the sample I started having issues with my gallbladder and the doctor restricted me from all alcohol. Rather than let it go to waste, I let a co-worker and self proclaimed "tasty beverage connoisseur" have the honor of guinea pig and product reviewer.

Image courtesy of Angry Orchard

Angry Orchard just happens to be made by the fine folks at Boston Beer Company (the makers of Samuel Adams) and are naturally gluten free to boot! Their cider apples are specifically grown for cider-making and hand-selected for every batch. Cider apples are traditionally tart and bittersweet, often being described as "angry" - hence the name.  They vary in between 5% and 5.5% ABV and each bottle is around 200 calories.

As previously stated, I passed my 6 pack sampler onto my co-worker Steve and after a week of taste testing this is his (full, complete, and unedited) review:

Recently I was asked to try a few bottles of beer by a co-worker. I didn’t know whether I should be happy or slightly offended. I’m not an alcoholic but I am a beer enthusiast (I guess that’s what they call it now a days). Either way I enthusiastically agreed to be the taste tester and Angry Orchard Hard Cider is the flavor of the day!

            Angry Orchard has a rich history in Europe and in the United States. In Colonial times hard cider was the flavor of choice.  Like most beers, the process to make the different flavors of the hard cider is very complex, however, each flavor includes one very simple ingredient- Apples. I don’t know about you but I’m a sucker for apples.  When I was a kid anything with apples in it was pretty much the best thing ever. Apple juice, apple pie (McDonalds), apples and peanut butter; thus, Angry Orchard’s use of the apple is pretty genius.  In the 6 pack I received there were 3 different flavors to experience; Crisp Apple, Traditional Dry, and Apple Ginger. Each of these flavors offer a significantly different taste that would complement any beer enthusiast’s palette or introduce non beer drinkers to a great alternative to keep the party going.

            The Crisp apple flavor literally tastes like Apple Cider fresh from grandma’s own home brew. I’ve had my fair share of flavored beers ranging from pumpkin to strawberry but usually there’s a bit of a hoppy flavor. Angry Orchard’s Crisp Apple is very smooth with no hops flavor at all. This would be the perfect choice for anyone who doesn’t drink beer. You get the entire apple cider flavor with no kick from hops flavor.  The reason why there’s no hops flavor is because the master brewers at Angry Orchard don’t use hops. They let the flavors ferment over time and let the flavors infuse into themselves. It’s pure genius.

            The next flavor in the pack is called Traditional Dry. The Traditional Dry flavor is reminiscent of Old English brews. This flavor boasts a whopping 10 apple concoction infused with cinnamon and spices that gives it a spicy kick. This flavor is perfect for your Holiday dinner party.  It’s dry on flavor not as much juice as the Crisp Apple or Apple Ginger flavors but that’s ok a bite of a good steak or even a pork lion or roast would compliment this flavor just right.

            The last flavor is called Apple Ginger. This flavor is for the wine enthusiasts that love wine flavors such as Moscato or traditional white wines. There’s a slightly tart after taste due to the added ginger spice.  This flavor still goes down smooth. It’s a good middle of the road flavor in comparison to the Crisp Apple and Traditional Dry. It’s sweet like the Crisp Apple but has the spiciness and uses less apple juices to make of the flavor. As a matter of fact, this brew includes some aged wine included in its brewing process. It’s a very complex flavor and the only thing I have to say is that you have to try it for yourself.

I guess I like being a taste tester especially when it comes to flavorful beers. Angry Orchard offers great flavors for your self-proclaimed beer enthusiasts (like me) or the casual beer drinker who likes smooth sweet flavors. Even if you’ve never tasted beer in your life Angry Orchard would be the perfect place to start.  You get a sweet flavors and spices with a kick! No hops and no carbonation like other hard drinks on the market.
Image courtesy of Angry Orchard

Now the one thing Steve didn't mention was how great these guys mix with other spirits to create unique and tasty cocktails. You can find the entire list here.

 To learn more about Angry Orchard,
visit the orchard at:
and on Twitter at
Please drink responsibly. Don't drink and drive. Must be over 21 to indulge.
**Review disclaimer - I was given a free 6 pack sampler to try and give an honest opinion about. I was not compensated in any way. The review was not altered in form to show favor towards the product**


Monday, December 10, 2012

Friend Makin’ Mondays: Christmas Questions


Its that time of the week again! You know what to do, answer these questions on your blog (after commenting on mine of course lol) and link back to so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!
Christmas Questions
1. How will you celebrate the holidays this year? This year I'm going solo, all my family is back in Texas. I'm not sad though, its my first Chicago Christmas so there's lots of new traditions to be made.

2. What’s the weather currently like where you live? Its starting to get colder but as we've now hit a record 281 days without snow, I can say I'm far past ready for some white powder awesomeness!

3. Do you decorate your home for the holidays? If so, share a picture please!  I did a little as I left most of my decorations at my parents house in Texas. Here is my mini tree:

4. What is your favorite Christmas movie?  ELF! Best Christmas movie, EVER. A do have a soft spot for the old claymation classics and who can forget Emmitt Otter's Jug-Band Christmas? Love!

Image courtesy of

5. What is your favorite Christmas songs?  Carol of the Bells, Feliz Navidad, Last Christmas, Little Drummer Boy and Santa Baby top my list.

6. Do you have an advent calendar?  No, I had one every year as a child but I've grown out of them.

7. Do you prefer color lights or white lights?  I have white lights on my tree but I prefer colored lights on the outside of a home.

8. What is your favorite food to eat over the holidays?  That's hard to say, ever since the surgery I haven't been indulging (yay me!). It used to be pumpkin flavored anything, now I'd have to say its an XL coffee with Peppermint Mocha from Dunkin Donuts. I live dangerously, I know.

Image courtesy of

9. Do you display a live tree, or do you prefer fake trees? I'm a city dweller in an apartment, its nothing but fake for me!

10. What would you need to make your holiday perfect this year?  I'm alive, healthy, losing weight, employed, and have happy pups...I'd say its already perfect =)

Okie dokie, your turn! Don't forget to link back!
Happy Monday!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Mexican Chili

I love chili, its seriously one of my favorite go-to winter foods. Unfortunately ever since the surgery I haven't been able to tolerate anything tomato based or with chili powder. Boo, right? Ive been living chililess until I came across this recipe on Crockpot365 and after playing around and tweaking it some, I have come up with my version of Mexican chili! This stuff is seriously good people. Seriously. Good.

                            Makes 10 - 1/2 cup servings

Calories: 111  |  Carbs: 20  |  Protein: 8  | Fat: 1
My ingredients vary from the original recipe and this is exactly how I made it =)
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 can diced green chilies
1 can Swanson vegetable broth
1 can Rosarita no-fat refried beans
1 can Bush's reduced sodium black beans, drained
4oz extra lean ground turkey meat
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 1/2 teaspoon paprika (I used regular, not smoked)
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (to taste)
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
salt and pepper, to taste (I used seasoned salt with the turkey meat)
Spray a large, non-stick pot with cooking spray, and sauté the onion until it begins to brown. Add the turkey meat, garlic, and green chilies and cook until meat is no longer pink. Add all the remaining ingredients and cook until flavors blend, 20-30 minutes.
Top with cheese if preferred or serve with chips.
Happy Cooking!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Oregano Chicken

Image owned by SleevedintheCity

This is the first recipe Ive tried from my new cookbook Betty Crocker: The 300 Calorie Cookbook. Not only was it easy to make, it tastes great and held well for leftovers the next day (Id go as far to say it tasted better too).
Prep time: 20 mins  |  Level: Intermediate  |  Servings: 4
Calories per serving: 180
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 1/4 lb)
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (low-fat/part skim)
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/8 teaspoon garlic salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
Heat oven to 400ºF. Spray 9-inch square pan with cooking spray. Remove fat from chicken. In shallow dish, mix bread crumbs, cheese, oregano, garlic salt and pepper. Spread mustard on all sides of chicken. Coat chicken with bread crumb mixture*. Place in pan. Bake uncovered about 25 minutes or until juice of chicken is no longer pink when centers of thickest pieces are cut.
*I didn't dip the chicken into the bread crumb mixture due to the mustard, instead I coated both sides by sprinkling the mixture onto the chicken itself. Less mess and works just as good.
Happy Cooking!

Chili Chipotle Shrimp Tacos w/Lime Crema

Recipe from: Leaving Fatville (love her!)
Prep time: 1 hr 15 mins  |  Level: Beginner  |  Yield: 6 servings (approx)
Calories per serving: 99 (tortillas extra)
(shrimp tacos)
1 lb shrimp
1 tsp of chili powder
1 tsp of chipotle chili powder
1 tbs of canola oil
Pinch of salt and pepper
(lime crema)
1/2 cup sour cream or plain greek yogurt
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbs of lime juice
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp of chili powder
1/4 tsp of ground coriander
1/4 tsp of ground cumin
Peel shrimp and add canola oil, chili powders, salt and pepper to a bag. Toss in bag repeatedly until spices are evenly covered on shrimp. Marinate in fridge for 1 hour.
 While the shrimp are marinating, chop cilantro finely and set aside. Scoop 1/2 cup sour cream of plain greek yogurt into a bowl. Add cilantro and rest of ingredients and mix well. (I like heavier coriander in mine because it tastes nice with the lime, but you can taste and flavor accordingly.)
Saute shrimp on medium heat with a lightly greased pan. Saute for 5 to 7 minutes, or until shrimp are completely pink all the way through - you can also grill shrimp on skewers for 3 mins on each side.
Put them on the taco shell of your choice, garnish with lime crema and whatever else you'd like and dinner is served!
Happy Cooking!