Posts Tagged ‘cats


Cats & Crunch

I get to spend this week with 2 little rascals –

I’m watching Norris & Jack while my parents enjoy the sunshine and warm breezes of the Bahamas.  Lucky them.. but lucky me too!  I love these guys.  They’re almost like dogs trapped in cat bodies.  I’d love to have some cats at our own place, but the pet deposit is ridiculous.

In any case, me + 2 cats mean that I am making a lot of single-lady meals.  For the past 2 nights it’s been easy throw-together stir fry.

A bit of chicken breast, a whole bag of spinach and Trader Joe’s Hodge Podge frozen veggies.  Yum!  I can’t complain about single meals and the kitties to keep me company while I’m away from the hubby.

Of course, I have to keep myself busy and that involves lots of cross stitching and a bit of baking.  I whipped up something this morning to appease my coworkers.  Rumor has it that they were getting antsy for another baked good.  I got my fill of cookies at Christmas so coffee cake it was!

Cinnamon Crunch Coffeecake

Cast of Characters

3/4 C butter, softened
1 C sugar
1/2 C brown sugar, packed
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 C all-purpose flour
1 C plain nonfat Greek yogurt
3/4 C brown sugar, packed
3/4 C chopped pecans (or walnuts)
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
In large bowl, beat butter, sugars, baking soda and powder, salt, cinnamon and vanilla until well combined. 

Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Then, beat in flour and yogurt, alternating additions.

Spoon into a lightly greased 9×13 pan. 

In small bowl, combine streusel ingredients and mix well.  Sprinkle over top batter.  Bake 30-35 minutes or until topping is dark, golden brown.

Let cool slightly.  Slice and enjoy!

Crunchy and soft – 2 very good things!  I think the girls at work will be pleased.


The dark side of snow

Snow is beautiful, peaceful, calming.. right?  Wrong!  Snow is evil, inconvenient and annoying!

Let me just emphasize how such a thing could be possible.  Every Christmas, my aunt and uncle travel here from Georgia.  Most years, I am lucky to see these dearly loved family members twice a year.  I have not yet seen my aunt thanks to flight issues last June and so this holiday, I was even more excited to spend time with them.  We cooked together Christmas eve, enjoyed breakfast and gifts together Christmas morning and had planned to enjoy the Lion King live show and dinner on Sunday.

The snow had other plans.  Thanks to a foot of snow – something our area does not deal with often or has any idea how to deal with – our show was cancelled and I was stuck inside, 20 miles away from my family.

Yes, it’s clean and white, but that car is going nowhere.  I could will it to move with every fiber of my being and it couldn’t get over even a small hill of snow.  I have lost my love for the fluffy white stuff.  I truly have.  I have not, however, lost my love for this new camera with which to photograph all of that white.


Huge difference in detail, right?  We upgraded from a Canon 5 megapixel to a Canon 12.1 megapixel.  Our new toy:


In any case, I suppose I am still a bit lucky that I did get to spend 2 wonderful days with my family.  Preparations began early Thursday morning for our big Christmas Eve dinner. Mom & I spent the entire day prepping casseroles, simmering berries, proofing bread dough and roasting vegetables – all for a delicious spread.

 I absolutely love our Christmas Eve dinner.  It’s a relaxing time with my family and such a memorable tradition for our family.  It really doesn’t feel like the holidays until we sit down around the table.  I had to change-up the tradition just a smidge this year, but the family didn’t seem to mind since it involved the baking of delicious mounds of carbohydrate goodness.  Warm, soft, buttery goodness!  Thank you, thank you, audreystyle, who happens to be a member of my new favorite cooking site, Pioneer Woman’s Tasty Kitchen.  I followed her recipe to a tee and it was amazing.  For our dinner, I figured these monsters would be a bit too big, so I created 30 rolls instead of 15.  Still worked out lovely!

They were loved by all! I think just the sight of them (and all of our other tasty treats) put even Jack & Norris into food comas.

They have such a hard time finding a comfortable spot..

I suppose I can’t complain as I was able to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with my family.  I am just not the kind of person that enjoys being home-bound.  The snow finally melted enough that I felt (semi) safe driving the 20 miles to see my family yesterday before they left.  I just love these guys –

and this girl too, who has made a brief return from Miami!

We go way back.  Back to layered socks and side ponytails.  No, that wasn’t a normal outfit for me.  I was heading to my dance recital.

But I’m getting side-tracked.  I had started writing this post 2 days ago in frustration.  I sat here, crying about being stuck inside, away from my family, friends and the gym (it’s important too!) without realizing that the snow would eventually melt.  My family and friends weren’t going to disappear and 2 days indoors wasn’t all that bad.  I just needed the reminder of how important those people are to me and how much I need their presence in my life… and a bit of snow won’t change that.

I guess I need a little white fluffy stuff now and again.



I had a KILLER leg workout yesterday morning and I was expecting some serious DOMS.  Yes, I was expecting DELAYED onset muscle soreness when I woke up today.  Imagine my surprise when 12 hours post-workout, I could barely squat down to feed the cats.

 “Feed me or feel my wrath!”  I can’t deny my boys their food, so squat I must!

Here’s what I had going on yesterday morning:

Circuit 1 repeated 3 times    
Leg Extension 75# 12 reps
80# 10 reps
90# 10 reps
Lunges with Plates (the weighted, not-for-eating kind) 25# plate 2×12/leg
35# plate 1x 12/leg
Single-Leg Calf Raise with Plates 25# plate 2×12/leg
35# plate 1×12/leg
Circuit 2 repeated 3 times    
Leg Press 90# 15 reps
115# 15 reps
140# 12 reps
Kneeling Leg Curl 25# 3×10/leg
Standing Calf Raise 160# 15 reps
180# 15 reps
200# 12 reps
Circuit 3 repeated 3 times    
Smith Machine Barbell Squat 50# 3×10 reps
Stiff-Leg Deadlift 70# 3×10 reps
Incline Calf Press 180# 15 reps
225# 15 reps
270# 12 reps

I sandwiched this strength routine with 15 minutes of elliptical (following the Body for Life exertion pattern) and 10 minutes of V-stride.  It was glorious!

The soreness, however?  Not so glorious.  12 hours post-work.  Tonight, I can barely move!  I know a bubble bath is in order for me – a long, very warm bubble bath.  Thank you BFL for allowing me to feel my workouts.  Seriously, I love the pain, because it is something I have not experienced in a while which basically means I had stopped pushing myself.

The post-workout eats today, I gotta say, made me more excited than a cooked meal.  I stopped by the Harris Teeter salad bar for a delicious mix.

Colorful and delicious-looking, no?  There’s no way I can down 5 eggs.  I’m an egg white only type of girl.  Something about powdery egg yolks.. ick!!  My belly was happy, but probably not quite as happy as these guys!  Food-induced nap?  I think so!


What type of workout has given you the most painful DOMS?  I love new routines, ya’ll!

How do you feel about hard-boiled egg yolks?  I’ll take them mixed with some relish, yogurt and paprika a la deviled eggs, but other than that.. fuhgeddaboutit!


It’s like being a kid!

No, it’s not really like that at all.  You know how, when you’re younger, Christmas takes FOREVER to arrive.  Then, it’s gone in the blink of an eye.  Nowadays, Christmas comes and goes before you can take a breath. 

Despite the haste, it was such an enjoyable weekend spent with family.  We had our traditional Christmas Eve dinner at my parents house with my aunt (mom’s sis) and uncle, Omah and Steve’s parents.  We had a smorgasbord to enjoy! 

Veggies, red pepper dip with crackers, pineapple and traditional stuffings, my own sweet potato casserole, broccoli casserole, collard greens, HG’s Kickin Cranberry Sauce and a huge Dad-carved turkey.  For dessert – cheesecake galore, triple layer pumpkin mousse pie, and fudgy brownies!  I was good, but I still felt like I needed to be rolled out of the house!  I think I ate my weight in collards! 

I’ve been doggy watching and had to hit the road soon after dinner.  We headed back to mom’s house for breakfast.  I attempted Overnight Steel Cut Oats (courtesy of my fave Food Network star, Alton Brown) to take and I must say I have not had a better bowl of oatmeal to date.  My mom usually makes scrambled eggs, fried bread, grits and a variety of cooked meats, so I made an egg white puff.  A few family members questioned my oatmeal and egg whites, which made me increasingly uncomfortable.  I love my family dearly, but I honestly want to scream when they question my eating habits.  I would LOVE to tell them that it’s the only way I can keep off the 30 lbs. that I worked so hard to lose, but hubby encourages me to simply ignore it – so I do.

After breakfast, it was gift time!  We always seem to create a mound of gifts, and we always agree to cut back the following year.  Sadly, we never do.  It was a big year for technology in our house – Uncle Ken became a “Mac Man:”

Omah got a new TV:

Dad got a new Blu-Ray and Norris helped us to open it all:

Steve & I were celebrating our first Christmas and we enjoyed every second of it!

We all went to dinner tonight (courtesy of Omah) at Aldo’s Ristorante.  Steve & I will be going back.  It was delicious!  We had to say our farewells to my aunt and uncle (another reason Christmas comes and goes to soon) since they will head back to GA tomorrow morning. 

On the brighter side, my Christmas continues tomorrow when Steve & I meet with Dana and Henry for lunch!  I haven’t seen her since the wedding and am so excited! 

Until tomorrow..


It’s beginning to look a lot like…

CHRISTMAS!  I can’t even wrap my brain around the fact that it’s 4 days away.  I keep adding to my “to-do” list and it isn’t getting any shorter!  I think I’ll ask Santa for more hours in my day!

I spent all day Saturday with my Mom for our annual Baking Day – a day devoted to stocking the kitchen with sugary goodness.  We added a few new items to this year’s list and they all turned out to be so yummy!  There was Double Chocolate Biscotti

And chewy ginger cookies for Daddy..

The darker cookies resulted from a darker, more-seasoned pan.  They were quite a bit crispier!

We had delicious chocolate fudge..

.. which has whole marshmallows in it this year, because they just wouldn’t melt!

A new addition: Chocolate-covered pretzels with peppermint, pecans and peanuts

Coconut-Date Balls

And the cookies that went un-photographed included Brownie Crackles, Walnut Lemon Bars (which I think overtook my dad’s #1 favorite cookie spot), Peanut Butter Blossoms and Ginger Lemon Pinwheels.  Most of these cookies, if there is a just God, will walk out of our door on plates for the neighbors.  I have a terrible weakness for cookies!  I “healthified” the biscotti by subbing Splenda for sugar and they still taste amazing, so I don’t feel so bad about those!

My dear, sweet husband isn’t a baker, so he spent Baking Day bonding with Jack.  I haven’t decided which of the 2 is cuter..

I had to fit some normal food in the day somewhere.  Enter a Sun-dried Tomato Flat Out wrap with spinach, laughing cow and grilled chicken, with a Gala for good measure:

After an exhausting Baking Day, the weather was supposed to get ugly, so we headed home.  While some of my close friends in Northern VA got blasted by a blizzard, we got a light dusting.  Our first snow..

It may not be a blanket, but it sure is pretty!  I captured the beauty on my way out the door to the gym on Sunday morning.  Since our front porch gets very little sun, it was still there by night time.

The rest of my weekend was spent relaxing and movie watching with hubby.  We went to see Invictus and I was very impressed.  We seem to be on a roll with good movies recently and I am very much looking forward to seeing It’s Complicated or Sherlock Holmes on Christmas Day with Steve & his parents.  It’s their annual tradition and I am eager to take part this year!

The next few days promise to be VERY busy.  I have a lot to get done prior to my surgery on Wednesday and the arrival of my Aunt Cin & Uncle Ken from Georgia.  I also plan to spend this evening getting ready for an interview tomorrow with Dominion Pathology.  They have a position for a grossing lab tech and I am SO ready to have a salaried job with regular hours!  Crossing my fingers.  It’s studying time 🙂


Back, back, back it up.

Happy Flashback Friday.  In keeping with last week’s Christmas theme, I had to find another old Christmas picture.

The holidays, apparently, have always been exhausting.  My mom was putting on a good show,  huh?  Fast forward about 15 years..

I venture to say I was about 17 or 18 in this picture (judging only by mom’s hairstyle).  The activity got to Frisky too.  He crashed right along with us.  It will be unusual this year to not have Frisk with us, playing with his new catnip toy on Christmas morning, but he’ll be watching over everything from the tree..

Today has been extremely productive – and it’s only noon!  I woke up at 6:30 to hit the gym.  I made an AMAZING pre-workout snack.  I have fallen in love with Laughing Cow wedges and spread one on a light sun-dried tomato Flat Out Wrap.

Such a nice switch from the TLC Kashi bar I eat every morning.  I got in a good 20 minute run before hitting shoulders:

  1. Lateral raise with 10# dumbells: 10 reps x 2
  2. Front raise with 10# dumbells: 10 reps x 2
  3. Lateral raise with 12# dumbells: 10 reps
  4. Front raise with 12# dumbells: 10 reps
  5. Upright row with 20# dumbells: 10 reps x 3
  6. Bent over lateral raise with 10# dumbells: 10 reps x 3
  7. Seated shoulder press with 15# dumbells: 10 reps x 3

Another 10 minutes on the elliptical and I was pooped!  Homeward bound to make a yummy apple protein pancake breakfast.

These apples were perfectly crisp with just a hint of tartness.  I love Gala’s!!  Now, off to make a batch of double chocolate biscotti for our Christmas cookie trays then it’s a night at work.  I wish I could bottle the energy that I currently feel and sell it!


Being Thankful

It’s been a very full and fulfilling 3 days!  A quick update on the possible family boom – it will still be just Steve & I.  I took the new kitty to the vet on Wednesday morning.  We found he was already neutered, did not have FelV or FIV and was a very healthy feline.  I went ahead and scheduled his declaw (as a precaution if he stayed with my parents and their other cat).  It turns out that he will be staying there.  They introduced him to Jack (the other furry guy already living in the house):

Jack loves the dryer!  In any case, my parents went ahead and introduced them.  Jack was a bit reluctant, but I hear he is acclimating very well.  So my parents have 2 cats again.  Steve & I have wanted to adopt to needy kittens at the same time, so we will hopefully be doing so in the next few weeks!

After the vet visit, I had to run to the store and pick up some last-minute Turkey Day ingredients.  I was in a hurry to finish before going to work and was clearly not paying attention to my surroundings.  I heard my name called and found my dear friend, Pam, who I have known for nearly 22 years standing in the produce section.  Since she now lives in Miami for work, it was completely unexpected and very exciting!   Here we are at my parents house eons ago:

I only had time for a brief catch-up before work, but she promised to swing by the gym on Thanksgiving to see me while I was working.  Feeling a little better about going to work, I headed home with my fabulous ingredients – lots of fruit for a giant fruit salad and stuff to make my homemade cranberry sauce to take to the in-laws:

And amazingness from the Harris Teeter salad bar for lunch:

Something about getting chicken or spinach for the exact same price per pound feels rewarding!  I don’t touch the HT salad bar dressings, though.  Other than oil & vinegar, they have yet to put something light or low-fat on the bar.  I bring it home and add about a Tbsp of Wishbone Bountifuls.  It’s full of veggie or fruit chunks.  So good!!

I also packed some goodies to get me through my 9 hour shift:

My snacks are sadly lacking in protein, but I usually more than make up for it in each meal. 

That brings us to Thanksgiving…

I worked the 8am-4pm shift at Bally.  I assume we were open for all of the people who want to burn the dinner off prior to eating it.  I got another pleasant surprise a few hours into my shift.  Pam came by, but she brought someone with her – her brother Aaron, who just returned from Iraq!  He lived in Alaska prior to his deployment so it had been years since I had seen him.  So thrilling! 

I had very limited time to throw together food and pack my camera, so all of our Thanksgiving festivities went digitally unrecorded.  Shame.  It was a spread to be proud of – turkey, whole wheat rolls, roasted sweet potatoes with apples, cranberry sauce, collard greens, green beans, mashed potatoes, gravy, ambrosia and fruit salads, cucumber and dill salad, and, of course, pumpkin pie.  I was good – I promise!  I love turkey and collards so much that I usually fill up on them before I have a chance to try anything else.  I am so thankful for all that I have been blessed with, including my amazing husband.  Oh yeah, I’m a lucky girl!

My parents

Also, my in-laws, copious amounts of wonderful, supportive friends, my health and home.  I am especially thankful for everyone after having gone through so much this summer – the loss of an aunt and uncle, a grandfather and a cat, who was more like a friend; my skin cancer diagnosis and the stress of unemployment.  There is NO way that I could have survived so much without the people who I love.  I am so blessed to have their love and presence in my life. 

I only pray that everyone finds the love and blessings that I have found.

Hi Ya’ll!

Hiya! I'm Heidi, a 28-year-old "retired" student living in Virginia. I am a newlywed and currently on the hunt for a full-time job that will use either my Biology or Secondary Education degree. In the meantime, I work in retail and at an event venue part-time. When I'm not working, I love to kill hours at the gym, scrapbook, and act as a domesticated diva to keep my hubby happy!