a series of unfortunate events

It was just that that led me to this at 9 p.m. last night:


Sharing chicken tenders at Tully’s with Andrew.

It all started with good intentions (don’t they all?); I had a Membership and Marketing ‘Team’ (which is what we’re calling ourselves now since it sounds more fun than ‘work group’ or ‘committee,’ which is what we’re all here for, right?  Oh, and to open a cooperative grocery store in East Aurora…) meeting at the Panera up in Cheektowaga at 6 p.m.

While I could have gotten a yummy and healthy dinner there, I find it hard to go out to eat when I have perfectly good (and potentially perishable!) food at home (despite my Christmas gift cards–thanks grandma and Mom Layer!), so I ate before I left, intending to get a tea and save some calories for ice cream later.

Anyway, our meeting ran a bit late and after a quick errand in Target, I realized I was STARVING at 8:30.  At just that moment, Andrew (who had found himself at the Eastern Hills Mall after his basketball game) called requesting my presence there–he’d been on the hunt for some on-sale golf shoes in his size and found them at the Dick’s there.  The only snafu?  Our Dick’s gift cards live in my purse.  So, off I went, driving even further away from the house and not quite sure of my destination’s exact whereabouts.

To make a very long story short, Andrew decided against the shoes just as I was nearing the mall and we found ourselves rendezvous-ing in a Dairy Queen parking lot, looking for dinner (for him) and dessert (for me).  We decided, after much conversation on the phone in separate cars, that we should probably just start driving home and be on the lookout for something along the way.

Well, we didn’t want fast food, nor did we want a traditional sit-down place (it was 9 p.m. after all) and everything else seemed to be hole-in-the-wall pizza joints.  Well, I’m not against hole-in-the-wall or pizza, but last night I wanted an establishment that would offer variety, a.k.a something for me to order that wouldn’t break the caloric bank and I’d still enjoy.  Thankfully, I had about 400 “saved” calories, so I wasn’t too worried…

ANYWAY…  We finally get to Tully’s, which is a sports bar Andrew had heard good things about, and as I was beginning to get to the point of extreme frustration with not finding anywhere and watching the clock tick on the dash, I gave in.

It was packed (the Sabres were playing–they won!) and had what seemed like an upbeat atmosphere, so I was pleasantly surprised.  Did I mention I was dressed up in jeans and boots and a cardigan and Andrew had come directly from his game?  We made quite a pair, I tell you.

After perusing the menu, we realized their specialty was their “Tully’s Tenders,” and Andrew wanted to try both the buffalo style and the regular with their special honey mustard sauce.  To get the half-price deal we had to buy two drinks, so I acquiesced and ordered a Sierra Mist.  It arrived in the largest cup I’d ever seen!  I mean, really, does anyone need a cup that big with free refills?!  (The picture does not do it justice.)  All I could see was about 40 calories, making it’s way from her hand to our table.  I resolved to enjoy a bit, but not finish the entire thing, and I’m happy to say that I succeeded.

We shared the tenders and fries and I feel like I did pretty well; of the 10 tenders we took 2.5 home and I probably ate 2.5 on my own.  It was the fries (not to mention the dreaded blue cheese!) that did me in…  I was definitely hungry, but I was just craving the salt!

This picture, while completely horrible, pretty much sums up how I felt by the end: not too full, pseudo-proud of myself for not totally overeating, and very “fat and happy.”  In the end, despite the frustration of taking awhile to find a place and being indecisive and not getting home early to get all the things done on my list that I’d planned, it was a great opportunity to spend some quality time with Andrew, away from the distractions of the house.

Tully’s Tenders might not be enough of a draw to get us back there, but I’ll remember how much fun we had on our spontaneous trip.


can food incite feelings of naked-ness?

Or, rather, the lack of food?

OK, what I’m really getting as is that feeling you get when you forgot to wear your watch.  You know, that naked/’I forgot something’ feeling?  I was thinking about it the other day, and I feel that way about my fridge sometimes.  As in, if I’m out of certain things, all is not right with the world.  I feel like we have no food.  I feel like I cannot cook or clean or anything until I get to the store.  Most are probably obvious, but others, not so much.  Here they are, in no particular order:

1.  Spinach – I probably eat this stuff at least once a day, if not more.  I’ve started trying to eat my salad FIRST, because I think if I did that, I would eat even smaller portions for dinner.  The trouble is, it makes sense to eat the hot food first, as it will eventually cool down, whereas the salad won’t.  Dilemmas, dilemmas.

2.  Yogurt – I make my own, which means I need some leftover yogurt as well.  Andrew is a huge fan of Kefir, so I like having that around for his breakfasts.

3.  Bananas – I use half to sweeten my oatmeal and have been known to slather them in peanut butter, too.  I used to hate them once they got really ripe, but now I don’t mind so much.

4.  Fruit – Right now it’s citrus, as well as these tiny organic Honey Crisp apples I found awhile ago.  They are THE BEST.  I don’t care that they are $5.99 a bag.

5.  Coffee creamer – Duh.  Although, I’m seriously entertaining thoughts of switching to one of the Silk or Coconut Milk flavors once I finish this bottle, or even one of the more “natural” ones.  Anyone have any thoughts?

6.  Eggs – I don’t eat them very often by themselves (although I LOVE a good omelette!), but the lack of them means no baking, which would put me in a tailspin.

7.  Cheese – I usually have a block of parm, as well as a container of something else like feta or blue or gorgonzola.  They go in eggs, on top of salads or even with fruit.  Cheese sticks are an essential item; I pair one with an apple for a snack.

8.  Nuts – I have a giant bin I keep in the freezer of just about every nut around (three varieties of almonds, walnuts, pecans, pine, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds…) for baking, making granola or topping salads and oatmeal.

9.  Seltzer – I’ve started drinking flavored seltzer sometimes when I just want something other than water.   I used to absolutely hate the “flavor” (it’s carbonated water with a tiny hint of flavor, but not sweet), but it’s something I’ve gotten used to.  I’m vehemently opposed to drinking my calories (except infrequent sodas and small amount of honey in tea, and, of course, beer and wine), and at 89 cents for a large bottle, I figured I should try to like it.

10.  Ice cream – I’m actually on the fence about this one.  I am an ice-cream-aholic.  I am.  Except that I don’t eat it that much; if I did, I’d have more room in my freezer!  Seriously, I have like five pints of Jeni’s and Graeter’s ice creams we’ve brought back from Ohio, plus a christmas flavor of Perry’s I bought thinking Andrew would like it.  He doesn’t, which means I’m stuck finishing it.  What I need to do is learn to have just a small scoop each night–the problem is that even when I use a small bowl, once I start scooping, it’s like I can’t stop.  I think I need a 12-step program…

Well, that’s probably about it. I also like having the ingredients to make things like hummus and granola on hand at a moment’s notice, so I guess I could include oats, real maple syrup and honey on that list, too.  Oh and dried cranberries (as well as other fruits) and nut butters.  I guess I could just keep going…

The good news is that I’m all stocked up right now and feelin’ good!

pumpkin for lunch…

…pumpkin BEER that is!

Don’t judge.  What’s the difference between having it for lunch or for dinner?  Seriously.

With fall just around the corner, pumpkin beer is EVERYWHERE.  And I’m on a mission to try them ALL.  OK, well maybe not all–I am only one girl and the hubby won’t help me, which leaves me to drink a six-pack all by myself–it takes awhile.

For those who don’t know me well, I am a pumpkin-FREAK.  I love everything pumpkin and fall is my favorite season.  So, pumpkin beer is just one of the many things I get to enjoy this time of year.

Today is my free day (whoo hoo!) and perhaps the FIRST Tuesday since starting school that I haven’t also had to see houses/get an oil change/meet a friend for coffee, etc…  So, today really is free for me.

That doesn’t mean I slept in….but I did get some good studying in this morning, then hit the gym for some weights and 40 minutes of swimming.

I came home and made this:

Half a veggie/hummus/cheese sandwich with most of an apple (I gave Hadrian some) and ants on a log!  Who’s had ants on a log in the last…I don’t know, TEN years??  Anyone?  I had celery in the fridge and got inspired.  YUM.

As I said, I’m into pumpkin beer right now.  I really do want to find a go-to pumpkin beer/ale that I KNOW I like and can look forward to every fall.  I’ve tried Blue Moon’s variety and don’t really like it.  I know I like the Buffalo Bills Brewery’s version (their Orange Blossom Cream Ale is awesome, too!).  (Side note: Buffalo Bills Brewery is in CALIFORNIA.  Not sure why…can’t find anything online that explains their name.  Grrr.)  Last time we were at Wegmans, I decided to give Post Road’s brew a try, which is what I had today.  Don’t really like it so much.  It’s really “hoppy” and not pumpkin-y at all.

Next up:  Southern Tier’s Imperial Pumking.

I first heard about it a week ago on Kath’s blog and was really intrigued by her positive comments.  It doesn’t hurt that Southern Tier is brewed here in New York–it’s at the very southwestern tip near Pennsylvania.  In fact, every time I see the “Souther Tier” label, it brings back fond memories of visiting Andrew while we were in college and I would drive along the Souther Tier Expressway on my trip from Philadelphia.  So anyway, I’ll be trying that in the near future, as soon as I can get through the last two Post Road bottles…

On another side note, Souther Tier has TONS of different brews and their website actually has a great page explaining them all.  You can get them all over, but our Wegmans has a “you-craft-your-own” six-pack option in which you get to choose from a bunch of loose bottles and mix and match.  They always have a bunch of Southern Tier varieties, so I’m looking forward to doing that next time to try out a couple different ones.

I think one of things I love about food is the HUNT.  As in, the hunt for my favorite beer, or favorite muffin recipe (remember when I made SIX different blueberry muffin recipes in one morning? Wish I’d been blogging then…) or favorite whatever.  I love having a go-to recipe or restaurant.  I love being a “regular.”  It’s my dream in life that Andrew and I will be “regulars” somewhere here in East Aurora, maybe a few different places.  Actually, the last time we were at Rick’s our waitress recognized us from the previous time we were there…does that count?  And I’ve made friends with the owner of Taste, so that’s a good step.

I digress, but that’s the beer talking.  Must let this pseudo-buzz pass before I start REAL work!