Category Archives: food

Eat What You Want Day!

Happy Eat What You Want Day everyone! Oh, did you not know that this was a holiday? Honestly, neither did I, but I’m all for it. Of course, I won’t go crazy and literally eat whatever I want…but if I had the choice with no fat or caloric consequences, here’s how my day would look:


I’d start out my day in a sweet way with chocolate chip pancakes. I’d have to get my mom to make them, since she makes the best chocolate chip pancakes in the world. I’d have a side of bacon and one of the amazing lattes that I had on my honeymoon (hey, it’s my fantasty–they can ship lattes from North Carolina!).


When lunch came around, I’d have to head over to Pasta Mista for a few slices of my favorite pizza. Obviously, I’d get a side of fries, because why not?


For dinner, I would have to head back over to my mom’s for her famous tacos. We’d start with chips and salsa, of course, and then dive into all the taco goodness!

What would you eat if you could eat whatever you want?


Five on Friday

Happy Friday everyone! This is going to be a busy weekend for sure, so let’s start it off with one of my favorite link-ups!

1. John Cena


Does anyone else have dreams about John Cena? No? Just me? Okay…

2. Yummy Drinks

Bloggers have been ON POINT these past couple of weeks with delicious looking drinks! Meg from My Borrowed Heaven is making me crave all the sweet things with her Easter Candy Milkshake and S’Mores Iced Coffee, and Megan from Soup of the Day is hitting my nostalgic side and my sweet tooth at the same time with her Cereal Milkshake!

3. Weight Watchers Restaurant Guide

Without any sort of sponsorship, I’m proud to say that Weight Watchers truly helped me to lose weight. Last week, Dash of Herbs featured a blog post that gave suggestions on how to eat out at fast food restaurants using WW points! I’m really excited to start using this when I need to lose the baby weight!

4. Free Coffee Day? Not So Much.


I got REALLY excited yesterday when I saw a billboard for free coffee all day at Wawa! That is, I was excited until I realized that I gave up caffeine until I have the baby. Totally worth it, but still…

5. Don’t Forget the Giveaway!

Don’t forget about the giveaway to win 3 gifts cards in honor of my 3rd blogiversary! Just complete the rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Honeymoon Monday: Bistro at The Biltmore

Happy Monday everyone! I’m back from our honeymoon in Asheville, North Carolina, and I’m so excited to be back to the world of blogging! I’ll tell you more about our wedding in this week’s Wedding Wednesday. But I’ve decided to spend the next several Mondays talking about great aspects of our honeymoon. Up first: our first dinner as a married couple at Bistro at The Biltmore!


After driving more than 8 hours to get to Asheville, I knew that we would be famished and wouldn’t want to get back in the car. So after looking at the list of “Must Eat” restaurants provided by two of my friends, I made us reservations at the Bistro.

We started off with drinks and couldn’t have been more pleased. After the wedding, I was still on an apple cider kick, but I didn’t really want anything alcoholic. So I asked if they could make me a hot apple cider without any alcohol, and they did! Plus, they added a delicious ring of cinnamon sugar around the rim! C couldn’t stop at one of his drink of choice: Maker’s Mark, ginger ale, balsamic vinaigrette and a basil leaf. I think it was his favorite drink of the whole trip!

img_3701 img_3702

Then, the food. Sigh, I’m still drooling thinking about this food. First of all, I had eaten VERY little red meat in the past several months because I was afraid I wouldn’t fit in my wedding dress. Full disclosure: I’m logically aware that red meat wouldn’t have been the make-or-break factor, but hey, I figured chicken was safer. Anyhoo, when I saw steak frites and truffle fries on the menu, I practically shouted my order!


Again, not able to totally stray from our wedding menu (I’ll talk more about that in a future post), C was all about the short ribs.


Sadly, I didn’t get a picture of our dessert…because I devoured it too quickly. But it was beignets dipped in an apple cinnamon sauce. Soooooo delicious!

If you’re ever in Asheville, DEFINITELY check out the Bistro! Now please excuse me while I wipe the drool off of my face 😉


Giordano’s Pizza: The Pizza that Ruined Me Forever


People call me “The Pizza Monster.” It’s true. It’s sad, but it’s true. This is because if given the option to have any food on the planet, I will choose pizza almost every time. Trying to fit pizza into a healthier has been difficult, but hey, it’s my favorite food, so I still eat it when I can.

When Mom and I were in Chicago over the weekend, my brother gave us one order, “Have stuffed pizza at Giordano’s.” Now, as a Chicago-pizza neophyte, I assumed he meant “stuffed crust.” I was super duper wrong! It was not stuffed crust–it was stuffed pizza!

First of all, it was deep dish pizza, as it needed in Chicago. I ordered plain cheese, as I am a traditionalist. My mom ordered veggie because that is her favorite. The pizza came out with the veggies and cheese inside and the sauce on top!


As the Pizza Monster, I can say with the utmost certainty that this pizza is the very best pizza I have ever eaten. In fact, I do not know if any other pizza will ever be good enough for me. I already want to see if Giordano’s can deliver pizza to my house. Do they deliver by drone, or maybe by private jet?


Have you ever eaten stuffed pizza? Linking up for:



Five on Friday: National Crouton Day!

Yes, you read that correctly. It’s National Crouton Day. There is a day for croutons. I mean, there SHOULD be because croutons (in my opinion) are the best part of a salad (carb queen over here). But since croutons are only part of a successful salad, I decided to find five yum-tastic salad recipes to share with all of you!

Strawberry Bacon Blue Cheese Salad from Lemon Tree Dwelling

via Lemon Tree Dwelling

Remember how I said that croutons are the best part of a salad? Well, if you switch that out with bacon, then that totally works, too! I love the sweetness of this salad’s strawberry and the saltiness of the bacon.

Cranberry Almond Spinach Salad from Cooking Classy

via Cooking Classy

I’m always so impressed when a salad looks as beautiful as it tastes–that’s the case with this salad!

Loaded Chicken Taco Salad with Creamy Lime-Cilantro Dressing from Averie Cooks

via Averie Cooks

Regular readers of the blog know that I’m OBSESSED with Mexican food. Therefore, the taco salad is one of the greatest inventions because it allows me to have my Mexican fix while incorporating more veggies!

Ridiculously Amazing Asian Ramen Salad from Table for Two

via Table for Two

A close second behind Mexican food for me is Asian food. And since dating C, I’ve found that ramen isn’t just a 90-second meal that you heat up in the microwave. And for this salad recipe, you only need the noodles and not the seasoning packets, so no MSG!

Mexican Corn Salad from A Dish of Daily Life

via A Dish of Daily Life

I know, I know, a second Mexican salad, but honestly, how AMAZING does this look? I want to run out to the store right now and buy the ingredients!

Do you have a favorite salad recipe?

I’m linking up with these lovely ladies for Five on Friday!


Book Review: Eating in the Middle

So, this whole fitting into a wedding gown is super overrated, right? Just kidding, obviously, but I tell you, it’s VERY difficult to eat healthily when all you’re doing is celebrating being engaged!


Then again, this has been an issue of mine for my entire life. I know that I should eat healthy, but DANG unhealthy food tastes SOOOOO good! Last night, for example, we got Chick Fila for dinner, and while I was a good girl and ate a grilled chicken sandwich, I was drooooooooling over C’s chicken nuggets.

My goal in my eating life is to have a balance: eat healthy most of the time while still eating food that tastes good. That’s where Eating in the Middle comes in!

I was first introduced to Andie Mitchell and her cookbook Eating in the Middle in a blog post from Sweet Tooth Sweet Life. Mitchell totally gets what I’m talking about: she was able to lose weight while still eating things that taste delicious!

I know what you’re thinking. “Yeah sure, the recipes ‘taste good’ but they’re probably just piles of veggies, right?” Nope! In fact, the first recipe in the book is for Baked Banana Bread Doughnuts! Yes I said DOUGHNUTS!!! Mitchell provides fabulous recipes for all parts of your day, even recipes to share like the Loaded Chorizo Nachos!

Not EVERY recipe in the book is perfectly healthy, but as Mitchell states, it’s about finding balance and eating “in the middle.”

I received a copy of this book in return for my review from Blogging for Books. All opinions are my own.


National Grilled Cheese Month!

National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Month!

Did you know that April is National Grilled Cheese Month?


I know, Koala, I was surprised, too!

As a child, my grandmother used to make me grilled cheese sandwiches all the time, and she would always cut them into “butterflies” (four triangles and then shaped to look like butterflies). When I was in college, I went to my first FSU football game and almost got kicked out of the stadium. It was of course not my goody-goody self’s fault–the friends of my friend Leslie thought crowd-surfing in a stadium would be a good idea. Regardless, Leslie felt so terribly about her friends’ behavior that she invited me back to her apartment for a grilled cheese sandwich. Having lived in a dorm room and away from my mama for several weeks at that point, this was the best thing in the world.

So with it being the month of one of the greatest foods on earth (and clearly a very nostalgic food for me), I figured that I should give a couple of suggestions on how you can enjoy grilled cheese this month.

Where to Get Grilled Cheese

If you live in the Baltimore area, there are two places that are my go-tos for a grilled cheese. One of them is the Mt. Washington Tavern:

mt. washington tavern

A few years ago, the Mt. Washington Tavern burned caught fire, forcing it to close for several months. When it was revamped and reopened, it came with a new menu, including a DELICIOUS grilled cheese sandwich (topped with tomato and bacon).

Now, if you eat grilled cheese sandwiches the proper way (with tomato and bacon), then another place that had a solid grilled cheese is the Double T Diner.

double t diner

They have a meal called the “Happy Waitress” which includes this yummy sandwich in addition to fries.

On the other hand, if you’re in Seattle, then you should check out Macy’s post about the grilled cheese sandwich at The Pink Door!

the pink door

Do It Yourself

If you’re more inclined to make your own sandwich, then here are a couple of posts that might point you in the right direction!

Pizza Grilled Cheese Sandwich from Kirbie’s Cravings

grilled cheese

Fancy Schmancy Grilled Cheese from The Garlic Diaries

grilled cheese

Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese from Small Town Woman

grilled cheese

Crispy Bacon and Brie Grilled Cheese with Caramelised Onions from Simply Delicious

grilled cheese

Do you have a great grilled cheese recipe? Feel free to share it below!


Let’s Eat: Favorite Restaurants in Maryland

It’s Wednesday, y’all! Anyone thinking about where they want to eat this weekend?



Even though I’m dieting, I love love love to eat. And I thought I’d share a couple of my favorite Maryland restaurants with you, my dear readers!

Pasta Mista

pasta mista

Pasta Mista has my favorite pizza in Maryland. Now, I’m pretty boring and always order slices of their cheese pizza, but they also have Ziti Pizza, Spaghetti Pizza and all kinds of other fancy ones.

Johnny’s Sushi House


Right before my 34th birthday, I was sick, but I knew that I needed to get better so that Boyfriend could take me to Johnny’s! Not only is their sushi delicious (the Spiderman roll is my favorite), but if you order enough sushi, they’ll form it into beautiful designs and sculptures.

Iron Rooster

iron rooster

When our out-of-town coworkers came to Baltimore, our office went to the Iron Rooster 3 times in a week because their food is just outstanding. Homemade pop tarts? Yes please!!!

La Tolteca

la tolteca

I could eat chips and salsa every day (I may have eaten it for lunch yesterday), but when you add in amazing quesadillas, taquitos and tableside guacamole…it’s spicy food heaven!

What are some of your favorite places to eat in your hometown?


Weigh-In #12: The One With the Giveaway!

Well…I was pretty sure that I had gained some weight these past 2 weeks.

I wouldn’t have been surprised.  When you vacation in the South, it’s very difficult to stay away from the carbs.  I mean, North Carolina is ALL ABOUT THE BISCUITS!!!

But I guess I behaved myself on the days that I wasn’t in the south because….I lost 2 pounds!!!! That’s 20 overall!!!

20 pounds down–32 to go!  I’ve lost 10% of my starting body weight!


I ran a 5K over the weekend!  I ran the Turkey Trot 5K in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, which benefitted kids with hemophilia.  My time wasn’t the best, but I only walked for less than a minute, and strong winds were blowing on me THE WHOLE TIME.

Bear hats are necessary for a cold race day!

And yesterday, I started training for a 10K.  I don’t know which one it’ll be yet, but hopefully I’ll know by next week!  All I know is that it WILL be in January and it WILL be in Florida.


Zucchini-Bell Pepper Pizza by Skinny Ms. (2 points per slice)

For Boyfriend’s sake, I added pepperonis to his half 😉
Slow Cooker Italian Chicken and Peppers by Budget Bytes (7 points her serving)

It was difficult to get a good picture in the crockpot, but trust me, it was DELICIOUS

Slow Cooker Enchilada Soup by Two Peas & Their Pod  (7 points per serving)

And now what you’ve all been waiting for–the giveaway!

Because you all have been so amazing and I know that you’ll do a great job of spreading the word about this blog, I’m having a giveaway for a $25 gift card to Etsy!  Let’s be honest, with Thanksgiving next week and the red cups in full swing, you’ve got to be thinking about holiday gifts.  I’m a huge supporter of small businesses, and so I want to support the artists who sell their crafts on Etsy!  Trust me, they make incredible things, and you’re loved ones are sure to appreciate a gift from there.  Or you know, you could always…

I’ll be picking at winner at random and will announce the winner on November 24th!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Asheville: Day 3

Whaaaaatttt??? The Asheville trip is OVER?!?!?!?!  But there’s so much more to see, so much music to hear–so much sweet tea to drink!  Seriously, what the heck is wrong with me that I only had one glass of sweet tea while I was in the South?

Anyway, after sending off my mother and aunt to the next part of their journey, I started my last full day in Asheville with getting my rental car (a VW Jetta, so fun) and some coffee from Double D’s!  If you follow me on Instagram (@hope9680), then you saw that I briefly visited the coffee shop that is made of a double decker bus on Monday, but yesterday I was actually able to partake in one of their signature drinks, which included coconut, whipped cream and what must have been unicorn tears for it to taste SO incredible.

Next I walked over to the Grove Arcade to look at some more little shops and see the handiwork of local craft artists.
As I approached, I was delighted to see this whimsical sign!
Monster Menagerie sells adorable handmade monsters in puppet, hat, pillow and friend form!  I was enamored with them and just had to buy one for my friend’s daughter.
After strolling through the Grove Arcade, my next stop was supposed to be a Christmas shop…which I then discovered was over two miles away.  I thought about getting my car, but then I decided that the true way to see Asheville would be to walk–which I did.  My feet were angry about it later, but I’m not regretting the whipped cream from my coffee now 😉
One of the coolest things that I did today was eat at the counter at Woolworth’s Walk.  I felt as though I was transported back to the 50’s as I had my Coke in a glass bottle and sat on a swivel stool.
I strolled through Woolworth’s to see some more of the local artists’ work, and I completely fell in love with this suitcase by Tracy Ross.
After a brief rest at the hotel, I ventured back out to get some pizza at Mellow Mushroom, which one of my friends has raved after for years.  He was right–it was SUPER yummy!
There’s one more Asheville stop to share tomorrow–and then it’s onto Philly!