You Can Do It

Picking up from where I left off last…Sweeney Todd was a great show! It was put on by St. Pete Opera at The Palladium. Some of the acting was kind of “eh”, but the show is a musical, where they’re singing 90% of the time so any questionable acting was redeemed by wonderful singing voices. I’d never seen Sweeney Todd on stage and I’m glad I finally got a chance to see it!

Thursday was Beer with the Bard at The Ale and the Witch. Seems like people are coming out later now…the crowds seem slim until we’re about to leave. But we had some great performances and I love just going to hang out with my fellow St. Pete Shakesters and have a cider in the courtyard.

While I have been enjoying my recent cooking adventures, there have been days when I haven’t planned my dinner that night or don’t feel like cooking what I planned. So when I was at Publix on Friday I ended up picking out my dinner from a section I rarely ever visit: the frozen food section.

Luckily, my meal came out tastier than expected. I’ve always wanted to try the Alexia sweet potato fries and the spicy version was just calling my name. These are GOOD! Oh my goodness, they taste just like they would if you got them in a restaurant…nice and crispy…not soggy or weird at all. My brussel sprouts steamed in the bag and were easy peasy. The salmon burgers I was really hesitant about…frozen seafood kind of freaks me out. But the ingredients weren’t all that bad so I gave them a try. They were surprisingly pretty delicious. I hate some sodium bloat afterwards, but they’re definitely a keeper for a quick fix!

Saturday I was going to a friend’s Halloween get together, where we were asked to bring snacks, so I whipped up a few things.

I made this Bacon Ranch Cheeseball, which was awesome. And HUGE. I didn’t have parmesan so I used gorgonzola instead and it worked great. For a shortcut I also used pre-shredded cheese. Another shortcut would be to use bacon bits, but we already had bacon open so I decided to use it up.

I also made Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispees…a Pinterest find. These were a bit disappointing. They tasted great, but I didn’t have enough marshmallow to cereal ratio so they were crumbly šŸ˜¦

The party was fun and laid back. Always good to see friends. And watch them carve pumpkins…it was quite the scene.

Someone didn’t like the fact that I went to the party without her…

That’s a brand new toy FYI. I still love you Maddie!

Yesterday, even though all I wanted to do was lay on the couch all day, my friend Ashley convinced me to go to the beach with her. We hung out at Toasted Monkey, had some yummy tropical drinks and an awesome plate of nachos.

By the time we got back, took our dogs to the dog park and I went to the grocery store it was nearing 8 p.m. and I was so tempted to make it another frozen meal night. But I had a pork tenderloin that needed to get made so I stuck it out and made myself dinner.

My first time cooking a pork tenderloin! It actually came out really well, nice and juicy, but boy was it an obstacle to get there. I found a recipe that was simple…salt, pepper, herbs de provence. Put in oven at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Well, I took it out after 15 minutes and the darn thing was still completely raw on the inside. Back in it goes. I checked it every 10 minutes until finally it was done. 50 minutes total! I told Jon when he got home.

“Did you sear it?”

“Of course I didn’t, the recipe didn’t say to.”

“I always sear it, then finish it in the oven for 8 minutes.”


At least it came out good! Served alongside with a sweet potato and overdone roasted asparagus.

CrossFit has been kicking my butt. Have I said that already? I went on Monday, had a killer workout, then couldn’t move my arms for three days. Friday was another killer with 100 burpees thrown it at the end. I actually like burpees, but 100 was pushing it. I half-jokingly asked the coach if I could scale mine down to 50. He answered with an astounding “no”. I got to 50 and proclaimed that I was done. Again our coach wasn’t having it. I sighed, caught my breath and talked myself into continuing. I was doing them in sets of 10, which helped, but I still struggled. When I got to 70 I said to myself, “Wow, maybe I CAN do this.” I caught a second wind and the coach even did some burpees with me to encourage me. I kept going and finally reached 100. I did it! Holy crap. It felt so good and I was so thankful to have our coach push me to push myself.

I read a quote somewhere recently that said something like if you don’t push yourself as hard as you can, you’ll know what your breaking point is. So true. I’m glad I pushed myself. Because I realized that I could do this, I was just talking myself out of it. This goes for non-fitness related goals as well. Pushing yourself may be scary, but it pays off in the end.

How have you pushed yourself lately?

Back in the Kitchen

Happy Monday! Told ya I’d disappear for the week šŸ˜‰ And oh what a week it has been…

On Wednesday we celebrated the grand opening of the new Guy Harvey Outpost resort on St. Pete Beach.

It was a truly wonderful event. TradeWinds’ banquet/convention service/food&beverageĀ staff truly is amazing. And I’m not just being biased šŸ™‚

Luckily the rain held off for a beautiful beachfront event.

My attire for the evening.

In the middle of running around and helping where I could I managed to get some bites of the awesome food.

There was a sushi station, shrimp and grits station, dessert table, fresh, local fish and an assortment of other inventive dishes such as corn panna cotta and a watermelon shooter. Everything was delicious!

And the night ended with some amazing fireworks!

On Thursday it was Beer with the Bard time with St. Pete Shakes.

It was our slowest night yet…we’re thinking it was the looming rainstorms. But we still had a great time and had some awesome performances.

On our way to the event Jon and I grabbed some banh mis from La V to enjoy with our drinks of choice.

Maddie came too šŸ™‚

Friday I had to stay late for another work event, but still wanted to go out when I got home. So Jon and I headed out for a late dinner at BellaBrava. Jon hasn’t been the biggest fan of them, but I love it. I’m happy to report though that we had a wonderful experience!

It was crazy busy, but we didn’t end up waiting long for a table. Our waiter was nice and pleasant and recommended a great wine. We each started with side salads (cesarĀ for me and house for him). Jon got the VealĀ SaltimboccaĀ special for an entrĆ©e and I tried the Chicken Parmesan.

This was good, but not my favorite dish here. A bit too much cheese. Love that it came with prosciutto. Jon LOVED his dish.

When we got home Jon put together a fig tart he had been working on earlier. It had a ricotta and sour cream filling, a rosemary crust and jam on top.

It’s not our favorite…it definitely tasted better the next day, but seems like it’s missing something. Still an interesting combo of flavors.

Saturday I had an all day work event. On my way home I decided to stop by the mall and peekĀ into the new H&M that opened. When I went into the Tampa one last week I noticed some things I really wanted to try on. SO happy we have an H&M now! I immediately started grabbing items as I was browsing and ended up getting most of what I tried on. Luckily, most of it was stuff I really did need. I’m going to be attending a Junior League conference next month and realized that I don’t have a lot of businessy type of clothes (tropical clothes I wear to work just would not work). Luckily H&M had some great dresses and skirts that I will be able to wear at the conference. Plus they’re all red, which is the Junior League color šŸ™‚

After H&M I walked over to Starbucks to grab an icedĀ pumpkin spice latte. It’s important to note that I am not a big Starbucks person, nor am I big on any type of caffeine except tea. But all this PSL talk going on lately really left me with a hankering for one. Unfortunately the line was way long so I decided against it. But then lo and behold I spot Teavana across the way.

I can’t remember what I ended up with, but I know it was a green tea and it was yummy and refreshing. The guy that worked there was very helpful in helping me choose what to get. The store also reminded me that I really want my own infuser!

Two thumbs up for Tyrone Square Mall too. Teavana, H&M…this mall is definitely on the upswing.

That night I decided to make dinner. Even though Jon got off work later than expected and didn’t get to have any šŸ˜¦

Despite my worst dinner ever experience, this dinner turned out fantastic!

Ginger Cilantro Baked Tilapia with marinated mushrooms and wild rice and steamed broccoli.

I got the tilapia recipe here via PinterestĀ and followed it pretty much exactly. I ended up putting the fish in the fridge for a while though and had to leave it in the oven an extra 10 minutes to get where it needed to be.

For the mushrooms I justĀ sautĆ©ed them with olive oil, 2 garlic cloves and one lemon. Then mixed them with the wild rice.

Yay for easy, tasty dinners!

Sunday I had yet another work event, but luckily I got to kick back for most of the day.

For breakfast I finally got to see what the fuss is all about with these…

I’ve seen this box of Kodiak Cakes on so many blogs that when they were on sale at Rollin’ Oats this past week I just had to grab them.

The verdict? Just as awesome as everyone says. Not quite as good as homemade, but pretty darn close. We added pecans and banana for some extra flavor and fun.

We had dinner at our favorite Vietnamese place, Pho Quyen and then headed to Total Wine to restock.

I came across this…

I did not buy it and probably never would, but I’m still very curious! I picked up the regular whipped flavor so I could indulge in my creamsicle and root beer float tasting cocktails šŸ™‚

What’s the most interesting vodka flavor you’ve tried?