August 31, 2012

FF– In Between


Having recently started my second trimester (crazy that I am already that far along!) I am at a bit of a crossroads.  Some days I hear how big my bump is getting and the next day I am told that I don’t look pregnant at all – it’s so crazy! 

My regular clothes are not really fitting…a little tight and un-comfy while at the same time, my bump is not quite ready for maternity clothes yet.

So, what is a girl (on a budget) to do?

Get creative and hang on for a few more weeks!



Front view – no bump.



Side view – bump.

(I know mom – I should stand up straight…look at the difference!)


  • Loose fitting dresses, wrap dresses that are adjustable and elastic waist skirts are my best friends at the moment!
  • Wear braided belts (easily adjustable) above your bump. This accentuates the smallest part of your waist (while you still have one) and adds a bit of definition to an otherwise boxy dress.
  • Busy, busy, busy patterns!  This is a great way to play tricks on the eyes and is very flattering.  This tip helps to present an overall look instead of just focusing on your growing areas (in the transition stages).
  • Stretchy fabrics – they are comfortable.  Period.


Have a great LONG weekend everybody!

August 29, 2012

Cheat Sheets


It is no surprise that I love organizing, routines and Pinterest.  I am an advocate of anything that can make my daily life a little bit easier (at work and home) and I get so exited when I think of a shortcut, checklist or cheat sheet to make that happen (dorky, I know).

Well, I have good news!  Although it is always fun to figure things out on your own, I found some cheat sheets that are already created and ready to go – my theory; why recreate the wheel?

I found all of these ideas on Pinterest and have linked the picture to the original blog for more information.  There are tons of cheat sheets like this available ranging in topics from:

  • workout circuit ideas
  • photography tips
  • furniture arrangements
  • punctuation reminders
  • wedding seating capacity

and everything in-between.  You can also personalize these (making your own in a Word document) to make it fit your life a little bit better.

Here are some of my favorites.  Happy pinning!

















I know sheets like this are in my future Smile.


Have a great Wednesday!

August 28, 2012

Pizza…for breakfast!


I am all about a piece of cold leftover pizza for breakfast; it takes me back to my college years.  But today’s recipe is a bit more distinguished, although it still qualifies as “pizza for breakfast”. 

The difference?  This is actually a recipe for Breakfast Pizza.




Last weekend as I was taking inventory of my fridge goodies, I noticed that I had a tube of pizza dough that was soon to expire.  Having already had savory pizza on the menu that week I decided to use it to experiment.




Breakfast pizza has been on my menu to-do list for a while, so I bit the bullet and loved the outcome.  It was easy, hearty and totally customizable – my favorite.

Here’s how – have fun with it!


Breakfast Pizza

Print this recipe!

  • 1 can pizza dough
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 C real bacon bits (my favorite shortcut)
  • 1-2 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed
  • 1 cup shredded fat-free cheddar cheese

  • 1/4 cup fat-free milk
  • 4 eggs
  • salt and pepper for seasoning

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Spray cookie sheet.  Press pizza dough into desired shape and crimp edges of dough with fingers to form a rim.
  3. Top prepared dough with potatoes, bacon bits and cheese. Combine milk, salt, pepper, and eggs, stirring with a whisk. Carefully pour milk mixture over pizza dough and toppings. Sprinkle with a bit more cheese if desired. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until crust is browned.

Admission - My “edge” wasn’t crimped enough and my egg mixture ran over the sides before baking.  I put it in the oven anyway and just cut the cooked excess egg off after it was baked and it still looked great– the recipe wasn’t ruined; it was still delicious!




Other ideas:

---Many recipes call for using crescent rolls as the dough – just press the triangles together and follow the same method of crimping the edges.

---Reduced fat or turkey sausage crumbles, sautéed onions and green peppers or any other omelet fillers would be great as toppings as well.

---1 8oz container of egg substitute can also be used.




August 27, 2012

Menu Monday


Happy Monday everybody!

We had a great weekend full of good eats, good exercise and good napping weather!

After laying low on Friday night we headed to meet our friends for dinner and drinks at Mellow Mushroom on Saturday night.  It was delish and I must say that no trip to Mellow is complete without an order of Garlic Balls – sooooo good; must recreate!




Sunday morning started with a new favorite – cinnamon chip pancakes. 

I love cinnamon chips and have always had a hard time finding them, but luck was on my side when I spotted them in the grocery store the other day…they are probably just out for the fall/holidays, but you’d better believe I’m going to stock up.  These pancakes were so warm and delicious – the perfect amount of cinnamon spice!




After breakfast we checked out the radar and realized that we’d better get out and do something productive while we still could.  With TS Isaac on the horizon, the weather was coming; like it or not.




We toyed with the option of doing one of our “go-to” bike trails, but then opted for an exploratory ride in nearby Mount Dora.  We looked up routes on and found one called Between the Lakes.

It looked like a nice long ride with lots of scenery so we took a chance (knowing that we would probably get wet along the way).




Our ride started in the heart of Mount Dora and quickly headed out of town.




Although there weren’t many bike paths, luckily for us there wasn’t much traffic either and the lake views were gorgeous every step of the way.




Not to mention the views of the houses – holy moly – they were gorgeous!!!


rain biking


Mike was in charge of checking our progress.  The last thing we wanted was to be lost with a storm approaching.  The good news was, we only had to turn around once!




The 16+ mile route took us from Mount Dora to Tavares to Eustis and then back to Mount Dora – all of which have adorable historic downtown areas.  They are all so quaint!


rain biking2


rain biking1

Downtown Eustis


rain biking3


After about an hour and a half we stopped for refueling before the last 4ish miles of our trek.  It’s a good thing we did, because a few minutes later this happened:





Reason #561 a waterproof camera is a great investment –

rainy bike rides!




Downtown Mt. Dora – still busy despite the rain!

Finally, although soaking wet, we made it back to Mount Dora where we loaded up and headed home.  Our initial plans were to stop and grab a bite to eat at one of the local eateries, but that got nixed as we couldn’t wait to get home to take a warm shower and a nap!



Another great weekend of biking!


photo_1 photo_2


This is the original route we were going to follow (on the left) and our actual route (on the right).  I forgot to start the tracking when we started, so our ride was actually a bit longer than 16.6…probably more like 18.  Not bad for a lazy Sunday!

As we gear up for the Labor Day Weekend, our menu plan is pretty simple.  We are headed down to West Palm Beach for the Second Annual Cox Family Extravaganza with our friends this weekend and we couldn’t be more excited (not to mention college football starts, too!!!).  We can’t wait to get down there!

Have a great week; and for all of those Floridians – stay dry!


M:  Chicken and Veggie Stir Fry

T:  Wild Rice and Chicken Soup

W:  Bacon and Cheese Quiche w/ Sweet Potato Fries

Th: Pot Roast Baked Potatoes

F:  West Palm

Sa:  West Palm

Su:  West Palm

August 25, 2012

The Last Slice of Summer


As fall, and football season (yay!) are quickly approaching; I have one last slice of summer for you all to enjoy.

Authentic.  Homemade.  Tart.  Delicious.




Mike brings home treasures from work all the time.  Apparently they have a lot of fruit and citrus trees at their office and depending on what they harvest, he usually brings home a bag of goodies.  This past Thursday it was a bag of Key Limes.




The key limes were so ripe they were almost yellow and they were just asking to be made into a pie. I could hear them begging.

Since I had never made an authentic Key Lime Pie before, I jumped at the chance (Mike also promised a pie to his co-workers the next day, so I didn’t really have a choice) and I was pretty excited since the recipe I found seemed pretty easy.

The key limes, which are super small, were very juicy!  I had enough juice to make 2 pies (1 C of juice)!




Key Lime Pie

Print this recipe!


  • 18 whole Graham Crackers (the 4-section Large Pieces)
  • 1/3 cup Butter, Melted



  • 1 Tablespoon (heaping) Key Lime Zest
  • 1/2 cup Key Lime Juice
  • 2 whole Egg Yolks
  • 1 can (14 Oz) Sweetened Condensed Milk


Preheat oven to 350 degrees

For the crust:
Crush crackers in a food processor or Ziploc bag. Pour them into a bowl and stir in melted butter. Press into a pie pan and bake for 5 minutes or until golden and set. Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly.



--you could take a short cut and buy either: a. a premade graham cracker pie crust or b. a box of graham cracker crumbs.  But the homemade version is delicious and pretty easy.


For the filling:
Mix lime zest, lime juice, and egg yolks in a mixing bowl. Add in condensed milk and mix on high until smooth and thick. Pour mixture into crust and bake for 15 minutes.



Remove from oven, allow to cool, then refrigerate for at least 1 hour—more if possible.

Serve with homemade whipped cream or the premade squirt variety.

--if you don’t live in Florida and can’t find authentic key limes, regular limes will work just fine Smile.




August 23, 2012

Spin Off


A couple of weekends ago as we were headed to the beach we stopped at Publix to gear up and pick up subs as usual.  Mike and I usually split a turkey sub and call it a day, but since pregnant women aren’t supposed to have cold deli meat (heated until steaming is ok which kills the bacteria found in the meat called listeria), I opted for a new (to me) sub: the hot Philly Cheesesteak.

Well, it was delicious and having made Philly Cheesesteak Paninis before at home I knew that I wanted to try these flavors again during the week but with a twist. 

The result?  A spinoff of the original:

Philly Cheesesteak Pizza!





I didn’t really write down the recipe per se, this meal was one that was more “thrown together” but I can tell you the ingredients that were used:

  • pizza dough (I love to buy Publix fresh dough, but canned works well, too)
  • sweet onion
  • green bell pepper
  • sliced baby portabella mushrooms
  • roast beef (from the deli or pre packaged)
  • 4 oz. reduced fat cream cheese, 1/2 C reduced fat sour cream mixed together with a half packed of ranch seasonings (this was used as the “sauce” of the pizza – so good)
  • shredded mozzarella cheese (or any other cheese you desire, this is just what we had on hand



To prepare:

1.  Roll out the pizza dough.

2.  Sauté onions, pepper and mushrooms and S&P over medium heat until caramelized.




3.  Chop/dice the roast beef into small to medium sized pieces.

4.  Spread “sauce mixture” (see above) on the dough.

5.  Top with sautéed veggies and chopped roast beef.

6.  Cover with cheese.



7.  Bake for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees on a cookie sheet or until desired doneness.

8.  Serve with dipping sauce or eat as is.





August 22, 2012

Bacon what?


Bacon who?  Bacon where?  Bacon what?  BACON PANCAKES!




I know, it probably sounds crazy, but I have seen the above picture for weeks now floating around on Pinterest

I was actually quite intrigued and to me, the thought of bacon pancakes sounded quite good; I’m thinking that it is the breakfast equivalent of a corn dog.  Same thought process – meat wrapped in batter (sounds funny, I know).

Anyway, this past Sunday I thought I would give it a whirl.  Since Mike will eat anything, I knew they wouldn’t go to waste if the pancakes just happened to be a little bit off kilter, but luckily they weren’t!



For our version of bacon pancakes, instead of cooking strips of bacon (which I really don’t enjoy) and topping them with pancake batter, I thought of an easier technique to achieve the same flavor.  Bacon Bits!  I have a big bag in my freezer and they were perfect for this application – no thawing required.  Even better.

I whipped up my normal go-to pancake batter, added the bacon and a few tablespoons of syrup for a sweet spin (think savory and sweet like a McGriddle) and threw them on the griddle…well, ladled actually if you must know Smile

Here’s how:

Bacon Pancakes

1 1/2 C complete pancake mix (I use Hungry Jack)

1 C water

2 T syrup

2 T real bacon bits


Mix together and cook as directed on pancake mix.


Here’s the result – perfection!




We ate ours as pancake tacos which made the bacon pancakes even more delectable.  I tried this technique for the first time when camping a couple of years ago and LOVED it.  It was a one bite, one handed way to eat breakfast and was even easier clean up – a must when camping.




To do this at home simply use the pancake as the “taco” and stack it with scrambled eggs and melted cheese.  Dip in syrup if desired.  So delicious!



See the bacon bits – soooo good!