Jan 30, 2015

When Life Gives You 100 Years...Make Lemonade!

The familiar saying, of course, is…when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.  I must say, though, if anyone lives to 100 years and beyond, they most definitely turned their lemons into some awesome lemonade and deserve to celebrate with a nice cool glass of it, as well.  

These days we're living longer and getting the chance to enjoy it fully and positively.  I was recently inspired by a local news story of a 100 year old woman who teaches exercise class at her senior living community.  Now, there’s a lady that turned her lemons into lemonade.  Watch her inspiring story and what motivates her.  She mentions, that her motto is, “moderation, attitude and gratitude."  Love it.  Click here for the whole interview.

This is a great motto to live by, but additionally, if you’re blessed with good family DNA it could avoid having your lemon picked before its time.

Jan 28, 2015

Panini with Ham and Dill Havarti Cheese

On the occasional opportunity that I go out to eat, I enjoy trying new things and getting fresh ideas.  Isn't it true, even with a simple meal, that it always tastes better from a restaurant or when someone else prepares it for you.  It’s like they have a secret ingredient or a special way of preparing it, so there’s no way to duplicate it yourself!!  Well, I’m going to give it a try…I’m calling this foodie piece “Ditto That Dish!”

Recently, I was inspired by this very tasty Panini, pictured below, from Mendoberri Café and Wine Bar. It was made with Ham, Dill Havarti Cheese and Dill Pickles on Ciabatta Bread.  The dill Havarti cheese and the Ciabatta bread is what won me over with this pretty simple sammie.  I figured, I’d pick up these ingredients and "ditto that dish."

Jan 24, 2015

Kodiak Power Cakes with Blueberries

It's a blueberry pancake kinda morning!  I admit, not from scratch, but I found this pancake mix that's packed with 14g of protein and 5g of fiber and made with whole grain. They're called Kodiak Power Cakes - link up for more info on their products. I can only seem to find this mix at Target stores (mine anyway).

Just add water, mix in blueberries, ladle on the griddle, flip and flap on your plate; then enjoy the blueberry bursts in your mouth!! Easy peasy and protein filled for a powered up start to your day!! Next time at Target, look for this mix and give them a try. Especially if you want easy peasy!

Feel free to share a square!

Jan 23, 2015

Do You Have A Chocolate Stash?

I really do have a stash of chocolate in my fridge and not because of the "possible" chocolate shortage. I just like my chocolate chilled! Notice it's right next to the pea pods, carrots and hummus. No, I didn't strategically place those there for this picture!  I call this "MY" drawer, as my kids and Mister O usually don't find this drawer interesting or even important to them. 

My daughter hates chocolate!  Since she's away at college, anyway, she won't be eyeballing "MY" drawer. However, she's a healthy eater and loves celery and peanut butter.  That's great!

Mister O is not much of a chocolate lover either, especially not the dark stuff, so no worries for me there. Also, I've never noticed him loading up on carrots, pea pods and, certainly, not hummus when packing his work lunch. He needs to get better at eating healthier!

My son is a chocolate lover, but not the dark kind, so I may not catch his eager little fingers on my chocolate stash anytime soon, either!  However, he's coming around on eating healthier and choosing more wisely. I'm confident he'll come to my "DARK" side, eventually!

So, for now, my stash is safe for just me, myself and I. Which is a good thing, because dark chocolate with 70% cacao or more has some great health benefits!

Six reasons to eat dark chocolate:

  1. Dark chocolate is good for your heart.
  2. Dark chocolate is good for your brain.
  3. Dark chocolate helps control blood sugar.
  4. Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants.
  5. Dark chocolate contains Theobromine.
  6. Dark chocolate is high in vitamins and minerals.
If you'd like to read more details on these 6 great health reasons, here is the link to fitday.com for more information.

I have Ghirardelli today, but my stash rotates around between Theo Organic and Trader Joe's dark chocolate. Here's a link to The Best and Worst Brands according to healthyeater.com.  I'll have to try some of these too!!

I'm so glad my food stash is a healthy one!  Hope you have a healthy one and can enjoy "a square of chocolate" too!

Put your smile on,
Laurie O

Feel free to share a square!

Jan 19, 2015

Are You a “True” Fan? The Road To The Super Bowl!

If you’re here to read about football stats, quarterback plays or any football jargon, in general, then this isn’t the place.  This little blog bit is more about my observation of the fans and their steel-clad commitment to their team.

Sunday’s game between Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks brought me out to actually watch this game, which typically - I wouldn’t, since I’m a Minnesota girl and a Minnesota Viking fan.  However, I have a friend who is a die-hard Packer fan.  Yes, I said friend!  She supports her team with resilient loyalty and she’s not even from Wisconsin! WTH!  I’ll give her credit, she’s backed this team ever since she was a young girl when watching football with her dad and brothers.  That’s some real commitment!!

Source: Inquisitr.com

I, on the other hand, didn’t grow up watching football.  My Viking fanship was conceived by partaking in football watching bar parties as a twenty-something year old and getting caught up in the spirit with the true football fans!  I admit I knew nothing about football; I was just there for the beer, nachos and to meet guys!  That’s what you did as a twenty-something gal!!  Since then, I’ve married a “true” Viking fan (Mister O) and we’ve raised two little Viking fans and I’ve come to really enjoy watching the game.

So, when my GB Packer friend asked if we’d come out to watch the Packer-

Jan 18, 2015

Fruitful Cereal With Yogurt and Berries

Are you still pouring milk on your cereal? Why not change things up this morning!  Heap some yogurt on your cereal, pile on the fruit and call it "Easy Like Sunday Morning."

I happen to like Kashi Berry Fruitful Wheat Biscuits, plain or vanilla yogurt, fresh berries and a drizzle of honey. If you like the crunchy texture of your cereal, then eat it up right away. Otherwise, let the yogurt soak for a bit on the cereal until it softens to desired texture.    

Your milk needn't worry on how easy it is, you can always share the love and go back any time.  After all, you're free to be who you wanna be.


For some easy listening how about a flashback to the 70's with 

Feel free to share a square! It's Easy ;-)

Jan 16, 2015

Mexican Tortilla Pizza

Yes, I am a fan of tortilla pizzas! I posted a recipe for a different Tortilla Pizza about a month ago, so check that one out too. I like these because they're easy, lower in calories and I like a thin and crispy crust.  

I hope you find inspiration in the Mexican version. You can use any variety of different toppings that tickle the tastebuds - bring on more heat or less heat, you choose.  My toppings are listed below.

Single Serving

1 whole wheat tortilla
2-3 Tbsp salsa
5-7 sliced black olives
5-7 sliced grape tomatoes
3-4 Tbsp black beans (rinsed)
1/4 cup cheddar cheese
sliced mini bell pepper

Season with Mrs. Dash spicy seasoning
Hot sauce (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, place tortilla on a cookie sheet.  Spread salsa on the tortilla, layer on the olives, tomatoes, black beans, cheese and peppers.  Put in the oven and bake for 9-10 minutes until cheese is bubbly.

Feel free to share a square!

Jan 15, 2015

Meeting Harriet at the National Eagle Center

Meet Harriet…she’s the beautiful eagle we met on our Sunday road trip.  A road trip that started out like any other normal day.  

It was last Sunday and time to take my daughter back to college after her holiday vacation, which was about a 2 hour trek with just me and her. I actually thought this was pretty cool – just us girls (mother and daughter) on the road having some girl bonding time.  It was probably most appreciated by me - it’s a mom thing…right?!?  My daughter, aka Loo, certainly got the gist of that, as we departed our driveway, and I hollered out, “woo hoo girls road trip!”  The startled look I got in return was hilarious…pretty sure she thought I had cracked!

Jan 10, 2015

Oatmeal With Craisins and Apples

January in Minnesota requires a nice bowl of oatmeal!!! Jazz it up with dried cranberries (Craisins), diced apple and chopped walnuts. I put a sprinkling of brown sugar and a splash of milk on mine. It's a tummy warmer!

Jan 9, 2015

Celebrities On Bikini Holiday

If you click on any one of these articles, you'll get a dose of celebrities in bikinis.  If you're even interested there's Christie Brinkley workin’ a bikini during family vacay, Jennifer Aniston on celeb-filled Cabo trip, Tara Reid enjoys bikini filled holiday vacation.

After seeing all these bikini vacations, I feel a little schleppy. What gives - where are these people from?  Ohhh the life of a celebrity…looks pretty good from all their pictures.   

If I rocked a bod like these ladies, I may flaunt it too!  It’s their prerogative.  Even though I don’t have the perfect bod, it would still be my prerogative to do a bikini if I wanted!!  I envy people who have that comfort level.

What we have to realize, though, is that Christie, Jennifer, Tara and other hot celebs put on their bikini bottom one leg at a time like everyone else!  They contend with hairy legs, hairy armpits and other unmentionables.  They deal with bad hair day decisions…up, down, pony or screw it, I'm wearing a hat. They have bony feet, big feet, bunions and warts.  They also have insecurities – too fat, too thin, big butt, flat butt, flawed complexion and you get the idea here.

I have many of these insecurities too – so, you see, we’re no different!!  The only difference between me and those bikini wearing celebrities are constructed good looks, money and a great vacation spot.  DAMN IT!! Yep, I'm schleppy!

Here is my beach holiday in Minnesota (Brrrr) – excluding the bikini, of course.  I forgot to shave!!

Bikini or no bikini, enjoy your vacation with "a square of chocolate" and link up to this fun song to get you in the mood by  Zac Brown Band "Toes" video. 

Put your smile on,
Laurie O

Jan 6, 2015

Avocado Stuffed WithTuna Salad

Have I told you I'm an avocado lover?

You might love them or you might hate them - I know my family scrunches their nose up at them.  Not sure why, maybe because it's the green thing or a texture thing. Personally, I like to just slice it up, season and eat as is.  Also, I put it in smoothies, on sandwiches, or cut in half and fill the middle of an avocado half with whatever goodies you want...seriously everything is better with avocado!!

Avocados have great health benefits too.  Check out these great links to 19 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Avocado and 12 Proven Benefits of Avocado.

Single Serving

  • Single pouch tuna package
  • Black olives chopped 
  • Pickled pepperoncini or chopped dill pickles
  • 2 tsp Newman's Lite Sundried Tomato dressing or any other fave dressing
  • Season with salt & pepper

Mix all tuna salad ingredients in a small bowl. Cut avocado in half and save the other half with the pit for another time.  I put a little lemon juice on exposed avocado and store in a container. It usually keeps for a day or two, but should use before it gets too brown. If it is a little brown, I just slice it off with a pairing knife and the rest is still good. 

Spoon out a larger cavity from your avocado half and fill it with the tuna salad mix. I just put the extra avocado off to the side with any overflowing tuna salad and serve with your fave crackers!

Jan 4, 2015

Rubbing Elbows With a Comedian

Mister O (my husband) believes a night at a comedy show makes for a great date night. I agree, I'm a fan! If I'm laughing and he's paying, then it's a win win date night!  So, the idea was thrown out there for celebrating New Year's Eve at the comedy club...sure why not!

We reserved the tickets for Joke Joint Comedy Club a few days prior to New Year's Eve and thought we beat the celebration rush and had our spot reserved!  When we arrived and got our seat assignment, we were a bit disappointed that it was a line of stools pushed up against the wall with a teeny tiny table set in between our two stools. Not exactly what we had hoped for, but it's a comedy club, not a fancy restaurant, so it'll have to do.  "Mister O" didn't agree and he dashes over to the ticket office to knock some heads together and get a table with better seating. Kidding on the knocking heads part!!

Meanwhile, there was a gentleman already sitting in a stool next to mine and he looked
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