Two Week Wrap Up

Well, as I’m sure most of you understand, I’ve been busy the past two weeks eating, shopping, traveling and doing all of the holiday things I look forward to every year. Unfortunately, this didn’t include being very regimented with Cat Hair in my Coffee. 🙂 Not to worry, I snapped plenty of photos along the way to do the catching up for me.

Cat Hair Holiday Season

 

As you can see, a ton of Larabars were in my life, thanks to my wonderful coworker. I also made more of an effort to hit the gym. Thank god I did, because starting back with my running routine tomorrow would be a serious witch with a b. I started cleaning up my snacking routine with lots of peanut butter and apples again and found a deep spiritual connection with Nut Thins. I celebrated Christmas in style with my parents and close friends. (I also found out that I have a tendency to crouch in photos after I’ve been drinking.) Finally, I wrapped up the year with a little birthday celebration for Karen. She turned five, although she doesn’t look a day over three. Did I mention I got this snazzy, beautiful, terrific watch from Alex?

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I’m still mildly obsessed. Anyway, in the spirit of New Year’s Eve, I’d like to share a list of things to come for Cat Hair in my Coffee 2013.

  • More photos and recipes of very yummy dishes. My mouth is watering.
  • Updates on my half marathon training. (Yes, I’m an idiot.)
  • More workouts I love.
  • Tips on how to stay balanced.

Thanks for a great year, readers! Here’s some info about Cat Hair in my Coffee 2012.

The busiest day of the year was March 28th with 166views. The most popular post that day was WIAW: Strawberry Poptart Oats.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for reese’s puffs, reeses puffs, chitlins,funny sorry, and kit kat.

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WIAW: Gross Vitamins

So, some of you may know that I’m quite frugal. With a frugal lifestyle comes a constant need to save big, beat the man, bargain hunt, whatever you want to call it. While at the grocery store yesterday reaping the benefits of my senior discount, I decided to wander over to the vitamin aisle. I’m trying to grow my hair out for my best friend’s wedding and have been trying to find a decent deal on fish oil and biotin supplements. After finally deciding to wait until after I finish my Christmas shopping, I continued on through the store. As I’m at the check out line, I run my eyes across the weird products they always put beside the conveyor belt and see a giant bottle of fish oil supplements in gummy form. Uhhh how awesome can this be?! PLUS they were around $4.50 cheaper than the pill form I saw back in the vitamin aisle. I took about 30 seconds to decide whether to buy them and finally tossed the bottle on the counter.

I get home, start carrying in the stuff and decide I can’t wait any long to try my new gummies. I pop open the top, only to be greeted with the strong stench of fish. “Oh god this can’t be happening,” I think to myself. “Did I really just spend $6.45 on a bottle of fish flavored gummies?” Yes, Bailee. You did. I swallow my pride and pop one of the mango flavors. While the fish flavor isn’t as strong as I anticipate, it certainly is underlying. I chew on. After I choke down the first, I realize the serving calls for two. So, I pick a pineapple flavor, because it just has to be better, right? Wrong. At this point, I’m so grossed out, I’m ready to cry. (Which is about the only time I actually shed a tear.) I’m worried I’ll puke, which will definitely lead to crying, and possibly spoil the dinner I was about to make for Alex. Luckily, none of the above happened and I was left with only a slight fishy after taste.

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If you want to see the lovely face that goes with this picture, head over to my Twitter page @baileemorris.

Anyway, on to WIAW.

Stir Fry Spaghetti Squash 12-17-12

I sauteed some mushrooms, (cat hair, of course) chopped onion, red pepper and zucchini in sesame oil and added in some delicious Hoisin sauce. The finished product when added to my spaghetti squash looked pretty gross, but tasted amazing. Did I mention I added some jalapeno for kick?

One day for lunch, I decided to kick it old school and have a peanut butter sandwich. It was classic, but definitely left me feeling hungry.

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For dessert, I had a fudge bar, with a little help from my grey friend, Grace.

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She’s definitely a cat after my own heart.

My Healthy Choice of the Day: Thanks to MyPlate Report on my LoseIt app, I saw that I was lacking in protein for the day. I skipped my string cheese and cracker snack and opted for a cup of yogurt with a handful of almonds instead. Now I know I’ll stay full until dinner!

Bridesmaid Dresses

On Saturday I headed over to meet my best friend Micah and the rest of her bridesmaids for our dress fitting. Before I launch into my whole measurements boo-hoo, let me first point out that this outing was the first time I’d seen my dear friend Courtney since we were freshman in college and my other close friend (and former roomie) Chelsey since I graduated college. Let’s just say I was beyond happy to see these two. Among the bridesmaids were Micah’s close friends from Pharmacy School, Jordan and Ashleigh, two very sweet girls and Micah’s sister, Carie. (Another ladybug I hadn’t seen in a very long time.) Courtney, a mom of two, graced us with the presence of her beautiful little girl, Kinley, who I proceeded to bounce until she vomited. See, that’s the thing with me; I think babies are adorable, but I almost always end up making them puke, poop or cry. Nevertheless, the entire outing was a success. I found the dress I wanted, as did the other ladies, and Micah seemed happy with our choices.

Fast forward to the measurement portion of the day. Now, I had ball-parked what I thought my measurements might be, but I really wasn’t prepared for what I discovered. My hips are at least two inches wider than I thought. Again, I’m sure I can shave off a little for clothing, but I was pretty surprised. Talk about more motivation** to get training for the half marathon.

Oh, and did I mention that I’m starting to get really paranoid that the half marathon is going to be the same day as the wedding?! It’s pathetic that this just occurred to me. Still, I’m going to try to have a back up, just in case I have to miss it. (It would be completely illogical to do them both in the same day, right?)

So, for your viewing pleasure, here is the dress I chose for the wedding…and the very thin model who wears it much better than I do.

Bridesmaid Dress

 

This is the actual color, but the one I tried on was a very pretty pink. Thank GOD this color looks decent on fair skin. Now if I could just get my hair growing a little faster…

After the fitting, we headed to Yesterday’s for some much deserved pizza. (It was my cheat day!) Micah, being the dessert freak that she is, was bold enough to order a piece of their very delicious carrot cake. Little did we know that the waiter was plotting against us and planned to kill us with this giant slice.

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Literally the size of her face.

My Healthy Tip of the Day brought to you by LiveStrong.com: Relax and have a cup of coffee! Coffee — and the caffeine in it — has been shown in multiple studies to increase both endurance and short-term performance. A 2008 study concluded that the benefit of caffeine before exercise occurs during endurance events, stop-and-go events and long-term high-intensity activity. It also can help athletes perform better during strength training — even when sleep-deprived — if taken one hour before exercise at the rate of 4 mg for every kg of body weight.

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/557242-how-drinking-coffee-could-improve-your-health/#ixzz2FL2eTJ3E

 

**While I haven’t set a goal yet, I’d like to have at least two inches off my hips by the wedding date.

Five Things Friday Fave Edition: Snacks!

 

 

FFF December

  1. Greek yogurt – I probably eat Greek yogurt 4-5 times per week. I stick with this as a go-to snack because it’s sweet, convenient and full of good for you schtuff, i.e. packed with protein, calcium and helps keep you regular (if ya know what I mean). What I love about Greek yogurt the most is that it keeps me full longer. When I first started eating yogurt, I bought the basic Yoplait stuff that was packed with sugar. It was great, for a first time yogurt eater, but left me feeling hungry shortly after. After I switched to Greek, I was amazed at how much longer I could go between meals. Greek yogurt is definitely one of the best snacks out there.
  2. Protein/Snack bars – Debate all you want about the arsenic in Luna bars, but you have to admit they are delicious. If I’m not munching on Blueberry Bliss or Chocolate Peppermint Stick -Luna Bar chocolate Peppermint Stick Luna bars, I’m probably enjoying a Kind or Larabar. These three brands are my absolute favorite for many different reasons. First off, the Luna bars probably taste the best. Plus, they’re full chick vitamins. (Feminist food only, please.) Larabars do the best at keeping me full. They’re super dense too, so I feel like I’m eating a big piece of fudge. Kind bars are probably my last pick of the three, but only because I don’t stay as full after I eat them. I highly recommend the almond coconut flavor though, if you’re going to try them.  Sometimes if I know I’m going to have a light dinner or lunch, I’ll do half a protein/snack bar and toss it into my yogurt. Win win!
  3. Cottage cheese – Despite being told by one of my exes that the whole concept of cottage is beyond disgusting, I still love my large curds. Sometimes I’ll eat it with pineapple and sometimes I’ll eat it with tomato slices. Sometimes I like it on toast and other times I’m fine spreading it on a cracker. No matter how I prepare this stuff, I’m in heaven. It’s probably one of the few dairy products I could not, absolutely would not, give up. Protein, calcium, you know the drill.
  4. Cereal – I’ve been eating dry cereal since the day I was able to get my tiny hands on the stuff. It’s easy to pack, great to eat and can also accompany my Greek yogurt with ease. I alternate between a few brands, but always come back to my beloved Kashi. My current crush is Kashi’s Heart to Heart Warm Cinnamon Oat cereal. I highly recommend.
  5. String cheese – This definitely has to be paired with something, but this snack made my list mainly because it’s fun to eat. Who doesn’t enjoy pulling down long strings and dangling them over your mouth, baby bird style? Ok, creepy comparison, but can you honestly say you get any enjoyment out of biting into string cheese? No. That’s almost as blasphemous as taking a bite out of a Kit Kat without “breaking off a piece”. For shame. Anyway, sometimes I like to take my cheese strings and curl them up on a cracker for a delicious bite. Mmm.

What are your go-to snacks?

WIAW: The Pure Joy I Get From Discounts

I’m going to make this brief, because I’ve still got to squeeze in a workout for the day.

I. Love. Discounts. So today when I got online to order my personalized holiday cards, I was bummed to realize they were going to be quite expensive. I decided I would swallow my pride and cough up the cash. Just as I was finishing up the design, I decided to do a quick shop-around for a better deal. My dear friends, the Queens, sent me a lovely postcard style holiday card that I found to be quite adorable. I grabbed it from the fridge and checked where she made it. Cardstore.com. Hmm, never heard of it? Me neither!

I quickly hopped on over to the site and nearly died when I saw their fabulous 12/12/12 discount: All Holiday Cards 29 cents. WHAT?!?! I quickly picked a new design, loaded my contacts and had another bought of excitement when I realized stamps and direct mailing were included in this cost. I knew I needed a few extra to hand out to some work folks, so I added another order to be shipped directly to me. Before the discount: $45. After the discount: $7. With all the money I saved, I was able to do a rush delivery so I would get my cards by the beginning of next week. OMG. I literally can’t contain my joy.

Ok, on to WIAW.

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To start I had an egg sandwich with a half slice of muenster cheese. Lunch was a delicious cheese ravioli and house salad combo from a local favorite, Muriales, in Fairmont, W.Va. I had to get my cheese on for my snack, so I chose this horrendous pose with my beloved Chobani yogurt. Finally, to fuel me through the holidays, my yummy Holiday/Christmas blend Starbucks coffee.

Well I’m off to squeak out a workout. Wish me luck!

My Healthy Choice of the Day: After weighing myself today and realizing I had gained the two pounds back that I had lost, I calmly walked back to my desk, logged the weigh in and said, “Just keep trying.” Normally I would have beaten myself up and been really down, but not this time. (And this was BEFORE the big discount celebration!)

Well Balanced Plate

As you know, I’ve been using the LoseIt app for a while now. One of the best features I’ve discovered is that it shows your daily summary in a pie chart!

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So, that fact alone is pretty sweet, but the coolest tidbit is that this is the first time I’ve ever seen such balance! Here is the count for the day: Breakfast – 360, Lunch – 351, and Snack – 350. Amazing! The pie chart not selling you? Well, how about this!

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That’s right. LoseIt is paired with ChooseMyPlate.gov.

MyPlate is USDA’s primary food group symbol, a food icon that serves as a powerful reminder to make healthy food choices and to build a healthy plate at mealtimes. It is a visual cue that identifies the five basic food groups from which consumers can choose healthy foods to build a healthy plate.  ChooseMyPlate.gov contains resources and tools for more specific information about what and how much to eat.

Check it out!

My Healthy Tip of the Day brought to you by ChooseMyPlate.gov: Protein has many important functions in the body and is essential for growth and maintenance. Protein needs can easily be met by eating a variety of plant-based foods. Combining different protein sources in the same meal is not necessary. Sources of protein for vegetarians and vegans include beans, nuts, nut butters, peas, and soy products (tofu, tempeh, veggie burgers). Milk products and eggs are also good protein sources for lacto-ovo vegetarians.

Honest Tea

A few weeks (maybe a month?) ago I received a sample of a few various Honest Tea brand drinks to try. I’m slowly becoming a cold tea drinker, but must admit it’s tough to drink with them food. Something about the flavors just don’t jive. Anyway, I decided to give the Honest Zero Passion Fruit Green Tea a try.

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Ok, so for zero calories, my hopes for “full flavor” were realistically low. The “tea” flavor was pretty strong in this brew, but it lacked the sweetness I would have liked. It’s definitely worth trying, but I recommend adding some of your own stevia to the mix. Hey, it has more flavor than water! I hope to try some of the other flavors soon.

Tea drinking aside, I was very busy a few evenings ago baking goodies for my office Christmas party. (I’m not being politically incorrect; it was officially called a Christmas party.) I tried out the Double Chocolate and Mint recipe my mom made at our cookie party a few weeks ago, whipped up some sugar cookies and decided to try this very yummy Rugelach recipe.

Dough

2 1/4 c (10 oz / 287 g) all-purpose flour
1 tbsp (1/2 oz) granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 c (8 oz / 227 g) unsalted butter, frozen and grated
8 oz (227 g) cream cheese
2 tbsp sour cream

Filling

1 cup of chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

1. dough:
a) whisk together flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl.
b) toss flour with butter bits and then with a pastry blender or 2 forks or 2 knives, blend your brick of cream cheese into the flour; add sour cream. gently blend until you get dough bits with substantial butter chunks.
c) dump dough onto your clean, floured counter top and with a bench scraper, corral and gently pat your dough chunks into a squarish shape, 1-inch thick.
d) roll into a rectangular shape about 1/2-inch thick. with your bench scraper, gently fold in half and give it a quarter turn (90º). dough will be very crumbly and possibly stick onto the roller. resist the urge to add too much flour or water.
e) if the butter starts to melt, wrap and place in fridge for about 30 minutes to chill. letting it rest in between rolling will also allow the gluten to relax, leading to tender flakes of pastry.
f) roll back into a rectangular shape, 1/2-inch thick. fold in half and turn. repeat 3 times. by the last roll, your dough should be more cohesive and uniformly smooth in texture. if you look at the dough from the side, you will see the layers that you’ve created like here.
g) divide dough into 4 even pieces and press each piece into thick disks. roll into an 8 or 9-inch disk. freeze for 30 minutes or up to 1 month if stored in zipper-lock freezer bag.
FineCooking.com has excellent pictorial directions for rolling out flaky pastry here.
2. filling:
1. for dry fillings: combine all the filling ingredients.
2. for fillings with preserves: combine sugar and spices and set aside. when filling, spread with preserves, first, then sprinkle on sugar spice mix, then sprinkle on raisins, then the walnuts.
3. rolling with filling into crescent shape:
a) work with one dough disk at a time, and keep the others refrigerated. place a disk on the work surface.
b) spread 1/4 c of the filling over the dough, leaving 2 inch in middle and 1/2 in around the outside edge of the circle uncovered; pat fillings down into dough gently with fingertips.
c) use a sharp knife or a pizza wheel to cut the circle into 8 equal wedges.
d) starting at the wide (outside) edge of the wedge, roll it toward its narrow edge, as you would a crescent roll. at the wide edge, you can also cut a snip to give it a split tail which really does facilitate the rolling process, similar to making croissant.
e) place the rolled wedges, tip down, on the prepared baking sheets 2 inches apart. curve each cookie into a crescent shape. repeat this process with the remaining dough. freeze them for 15 minutes (if well-wrapped, can be frozen in a zipper-lock bag up to 6 weeks).
4. meanwhile, adjust oven racks to upper and lower middle positions. preheat the oven to 350ºF. lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets. parchment recommended as the cookie filling will inevitably ooze.
5. remove from freezer and brush each crescent with some of the beaten egg mixture and sprinkle with sugar.
6. bake, turning baking pans from front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking time, until pale gold and slightly puffy, 21 to 23 minutes. carefully transfer hot, fragile cookies to cooling rack using thin-bladed spatula. (can be stored in an airtight container up to 4 days.)

My dough was far from flaky and turned out to be more of a biscuit texture, but they were still very good. I would almost recommend using a store bought crescent roll dough to make this recipe a LOT easier. Though I’m not Jewish, I’ve always had a deep respect for this particular religious belief and all of it’s deep-rooted traditions.  Now I have an even deeper respect for the women spend the time making this recipe during the holidays. Oi vey!

Anyway, try out this recipe if you’re in the mood for something a little different this holiday season.