OMG PUPPIEEEEZ!

Warning: You may at some point during this post go into cuteness overload. Symptoms may include: cooing, scrunching of the face, speaking in baby-talk, and an incredible urge to touch soft things.

Heh.

But before we get to the overwhelming adorableness that is my sister and her husband’s new puppy (!!), let’s finish up the rest of the non-food related weekend, shall we?

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I got to spend some time at the pool! Hooray! As you all know, I spent most of the weekend in Delaware visiting Steve for an early birthday celebration.

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So we spent Saturday afternoon at his uncle’s super nice pool…

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Aaaaand so did the pups. Bahahaha!

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Now hold on, before you go on thinking that I’m a cruel, cruel dog owner (which, let’s face it, we all know just isn’t true.) Let me just preface this by saying that we weren’t risking their lives, we were just helping them broaden their horizons by giving them their first (and considering how much they hated it, probably their last) swimming lesson. Let the hilarity ensue:

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See? No harm done other than a lot of post-pool shaking and wriggling. Well, to the dogs, at least. But to me, the experience was totally worth the ten bazillion scratches I have on my neck and shoulders now, hahaha.

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And yes, this weekend’s pool trip also included another attempt to build up my bank of bikini confidence. I struggled with whether or not I wanted to post the following pic, but I’m sucking it up and going for it. After all, despite the misleading number of posts that center around my dogs, this really is supposed to be a weight loss blog, right? I figure that A) I really need to try to tie this post in at least SOMEWHAT to what my blog is about, and B) everybody get stomach rolls when they sit, right? RIGHT?!!?

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So, the confidence is slowly coming. And even though I obviously still have a little ways to go yet, I strengthen my resolve that I really am going to get there this time. After all, just yesterday I was brought a little closer!

And now, to help you forget about having seen the above-posted flubbery, enjoy the following photo smörgåsbord (yep, that just happened) of Harry & Daxter’s new little cousin: Oreo!

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Isn’t he adorable?! He’s a schnauzer-lab (schlabrador? Ha!) mix. So even though I was clearly HIGHLY-affronted that they didn’t go full-schnauzie (I don’t know if you could tell, but I kinda dig this breed), I think he is a perfect compromise for my sister, who loved the size and temperament of my babies, and her hubs, who is a manly, lab-owning kinda guy. We went up to Columbia Sunday night for Father’s Day dinner and to meet the little guy!

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It took a second for Harry & Daxter to warm up to Oreo at first…

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But eventually they were comfortable enough to play with him (Daxter) or moderately ignore him (Harry), hahaha:

Cousins.
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Much to my mother’s delight:

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And my father’s indifference:

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Hahahaha. Puppies everywhere! But don’t worry boys, you’re still #1 for me:

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Puptastic weekend: check. I love life. And I love you guys! And clearly based on the inordinate number of comments you left as entries for my giveaway, you guys LOVE Popchips! So I’m going to try to channel all this love by announcing the randomly selected winner:

Drumroll please…

Chloe!

Congratulations, Chloe! Email me ([email protected]) your full name and mailing address, and I’ll get the info to Popchips so they can send you your month’s supply!

Blogtasrophe! (Weigh-in)

AND WE’RE BACK!

In case you couldn’t hear my screams of anguish echoing over the blogosphere, something was very wrong with my blog today. I was unable to log-in to my blog client, couldn’t post all weekend, couldn’t post all day, it looked all nutty and plain-texty and well… to sum it up, my poor blog-baby was sick. And I was sad and angry and distraught, and it was all directed at the internet as a whole, hahaha. But! Thanks to my amazing brother/webmaster, it’s back and… better than ever? Well, that’s not true, because I’m still working through some issues. But hopefully it works for now.

So that at least explains why this post is coming so very, very late, and it’s coming with (hopeful) brevity because, you know, of that I promise that a real post with hilariousness and complete dog overload will be up bright & early tomorrow — in case you missed out on the tweets and Facebook photos showcasing the dogs’ pool adventures and my sister’s new puppy! Oh, and there may be pictures of me in a swimsuit too. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

So, without further adieu here is my weekend from Friday to Sunday, centered around a trip to Delaware to visit Steve for his birfday before coming back to celebrate my wonderful Papa, in pictures. Of food. Hehe.

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Taco Taco Taco!

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'Roon

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Localvore

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So there you have it! Lots of delicious food (and this wasn’t all of it, but them’s the highlights fo’ sho’.) Steve and I went to this cute little place called Beseme in Lewes, DE to celebrate his birthday dinner.

Happy Birfday!

It was really delicious, but the service was unfortunately super slow. Oh well, it is a beach town, I guess. Gotta go with the flow, haha. Then when I returned on Sunday, we celebrated Papa’s Day at a manly restaurant for my manly papa: Outback Steakhouse.

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Happy (now belated) Father’s Day, Daddy! 🙂

Oh right, that pesky little thing that happens every Monday. Sigh, bring on the weigh-in. Okay, no drawing it out, here you go:

Starting Weight: 246 lbs
Last Weigh-in: 194.0 lbs
This Weigh-in: 192.5 lbs!!
This Week’s Loss: -1.5 lbs
Total Loss-to-Date: 53.5 lbs.

HUZZAH!

C’mon now, that’s pretty impressive considering all the previously listed decadent weekend food, no? So at least this thus far thoroughly emotionally-and-physically exhausting Monday has been made better by a very nice little bit of weight loss. It’s the small victories, y’know? Hopefully I’m just a hop, skip, and a week or two away from… holy crap. I don’t even think I can say it out loud. It’s just so crazy to think that I could ever actually hit… the 180s!

AHHH! That’s almost like, an acceptable weight! Hahaha. Don’t worry folks, we can celebrate tomorrow, when I announce the winner of my Popchips giveaway! So make sure you get your final entries in toniiiiight!

Bloggers of DC… Unite! (Giveaway!)

Sorry this post comes a little late this morning. I’m a little off. Let’s just say that my day has already included taking an hour to drive 4.5 miles (stupid downed power lines!) and spilling coffee down the front of my white t-shirt. Womp womp. ANYWAY!

When I first started blogging, solely for the means of keeping myself accountable for my weight loss, I had no idea how vast and expansive the healthy living blog community was. Sure, I read a few here and there, but I really had no idea how many amazing people I would meet through the blogosphere (haha, I really hate using that word — so nerdy! — but unfortunately it’s true.) And more than that, I had no idea how many of those awesome people would be so close by! I’ve officially decided that turning virtual buddies into real-life friends is awesome. And thanks to incredible organizer Amanda, last night I was able to continue the trend:

At the Nats vs. Cardinals game last night! Thanks to Stephanie for the above pic. I’m pimpin’ it from the middle of the back row!

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Running late as always, I met Amanda at The Bullpen, the beer garden just outside of the main gates at the stadium before heading in. My brother Ben’s band plays the 4th of July gig here every year, so it was fun to get to see what he was talking about, ahaha.

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I’d be lying if I said I paid a lick of attention to the actual baseball game (did we even win? Ahahahaha) but it was so much fun! My only regret is that I wish I didn’t have to work so stinkin’ early so I could have stayed later.

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Megan and Sana even trekked down from Columbia to share in the festivities! I heart these girls so hard. 🙂

It did start to rain pretty hard at one point, but thankfully our seats were covered! I guess that’s the bone they throw to people who have to sit up at the tippity top of the stadium, hahaha.

Rainy Games.

Sure that ain't snow?

And okay, okay, this is the last time. Just one more shout out to Amanda for taking the initiative to plan the whole thing. Lovelovelove:

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I so desperately wish I could remember everyone’s name (and blog!) from last night but unfortunately I am super terrible with remembering, um, anything. So! If you were at the game last night, please make sure you leave a comment letting me know!

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Also, and this may come as no surprise to you if you saw last night’s daily eats post (or if you just know me at all, haha), I had french fries for dinner. It was glorious.

All in all, a wonderful evening, which is why the debacle that has been this entire morning hasn’t gotten me down. I’m still in such a good mood! I hope there will be many more meet-ups like this to come.

Sunset Over Nationals Stadium

I know what you’re thinking: how does my good mood impact YOU on this Friday morning? Well my friends, the answer is: in a very chipper way.

Day 163 - Death by Pop Chips

Popchipper, that is! Bahahahahaha. GET IT?!

Remember how I was bragging about getting a post-Fitbloggin’ case of Popchips and then how you were like, “Aw man! I wish I had an entire case of Popchips to nom on, too!” Well, your wish = my command. One of you lucky readers is going to get a MONTH’s supply of Popchips!

What to do:

1. Like Popchips on Facebook and/or follow them on Twitter.

2. Leave a comment back here saying you’ve done so!

Easy as pie. You can also submit additional entries can be done by doing one (or all!) of the following:

1. Retweet this giveaway, including a link back to this post and the usernames @shrinkinggretch and @popchipsdc.

2. Link back to this giveaway post on your blog.

3. Just leave a comment talking about what you would do with a month’s supply of Popchips delivered to your door (hopefully you won’t follow my lead as depicted above and be killed by them, hahaha.)

Make sure you leave separate comments for each thing you do!

I’ll be randomly selecting a winner and announcing it in Tuesday’s post (the 21st.) Happy Friday!

Daily Eats – 6/16/11

Breakfast

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Healthy Almond Breakfast Cake! (~200 cal)
1 tbsp strawberry preserves (50 cal)

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Green Mountain’s Island Coconut coffee (uhhhmazing!) w/almond milk & stevia (~15 cal)

Breakfast Total: 265 calories

Snack

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Blueberry Bliss Luna bar — O.B.S.E.S.S.E.D. with this flavor! (180 cal)

Lunch

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Chicken wrap and po-tay-toe chips (oops, bought lunch again…)

Snack

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Mini whole wheat pita (80 cal)
Tzatziki sauce

Dinner

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Fries with a bacon aioli dipping sauce (!!!!)

YEP. I HAD FRENCH FRIES FOR DINNER. 😀

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Deets on the DC bloggers meetup that the amazing Amanda organized to come tomorrow!

Healthy Almond Breakfast Cake

You may have seen in Daily Eats posts of the past that I enjoy to partake in a little thing called almond cake from time to time. Essentially inspired by a bottle of almond extract purchased from Penzey’s Spices on a total whim one day, it is probably my favorite thing to bake (other than my secret ingredient chocolate chip cookies, but those haven’t made the blog yet as I can’t really claim any kind of healthiness for those babies.)

This, on the other hand, totally qualifies for a cheesy headline:

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Delicious AND nutritious! This is a cake that is perfect for a grab-and-go breakfast as it’s made with whole grains, is low in sugar and saturated fat, and is chock-full of fiber and protein! Huzzah!

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Healthy Almond Breakfast Cake
Print this recipe!

Ingredients:

– 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (if unavailable, you could substitute 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 all-purpose flour)
– 1/4 cup milled flaxseed
– 1 tsp baking powder
– 1 tsp baking soda
– 6 packets or 3 tsp stevia (or 1/4 cup sugar)
– 4 tbsp or 1/4 cup Earth Balance (or butter)
– 1 medium banana
– 1.5 tbsp almond extract
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 1 egg
– Almond milk (or milk of choice) as needed

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Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Measure out your dry ingredients (except the stevia) and mix together, then set aside.

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Peel your banana, break it into pieces and put in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 20-30 seconds, then mash with a fork. The banana should be soft and liquid-y.

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In a standing mixer or large bowl, combine Earth Balance, stevia, mashed banana, and egg. Mix well, then add almond and vanilla extracts.

Begin slowly adding dry ingredients to the wet, about a quarter of the mixture at a time, until fully combined. If the batter seems too dry, thin it out by adding a little bit of almond milk until you have a solid but sticky consistency that looks something like this:

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Transfer the batter into a sprayed 8×8 or 9×9 (just depends on if you want them thicker or not) baking dish. The batter should be thick, so you’ll want to spread it evenly in the pan with a spatula or knife. If you want, you can cover it with raw oats to make it look pretty and stuff.

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Bake for 15 – 18 minutes at 350 degrees. Once you can insert a toothpick or fork into the center and it comes out clean, the cake is done.

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Marvel at your baking prowess. Wasn’t that easy? Enjoy on its own, with a citrus glaze (lemon or orange juice + a crapton of powdered sugar), or with your favorite jam or preserves!

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When I baked up this particular cake, it was my first time baking with stevia and I think I overestimated how sweet it would make the batter. I only ended up using 4 packets (which equals 2 tsp) and it’s not very sweet on its own. So I upped the recipe to 6 packets (3 tsp) and I think that would probably make the cake taste more satisfying on its own. However, the sweetness level of the one I made is actually perfect to top with the strawberry preserves I picked up most recently at the Farmer’s Market and have it not be too sweet overall! So all’s well that end’s well, eh?

And look at how awesome I am, I even converted the nutrition facts for you all (love you, Sparkrecipes!) Not too shabby: 136 calories per serving if you cut it into 9 equal servings, or probably ~200 calories a serving the way I cut it, hehehehe.

9 Servings

Amount Per Serving
Calories 136.2
Total Fat 7.1 g
Saturated Fat 1.9 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2.7 g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.0 g
Cholesterol 20.6 mg
Sodium 68.8 mg
Potassium 65.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate 14.5 g
Dietary Fiber 3.2 g
Sugars 1.9 g
Protein 2.8 g

For this recipe (and for all my recipes, really) I tried to pull out all the “healthy substitution” tricks I have in my bag: mashed banana instead of oil, stevia instead of sugar, whole wheat and flaxseed, etc. I think it turned out really well, but as we all know, substitutions can go horribly awry too (especially when it comes to baking!)

We’ve talked about healthy tips & tricks like putting spinach underneath your pasta and adding chia seeds to your oatmeal before, What is your favorite healthy substitution to use in cooking or baking?