Tag Archives: iced coffee

Good news and a visit to the Octagon House

My Friday started out with iced coffee and a blueberry lemon scone at work.


As my husband called my cell mid-morning to ask me something, I saw an e-mail come through that caught my eye. It was from the company that rejected my application earlier in the week! A recruiter e-mailed me saying she would love to talk further! I couldn’t believe my luck and ran outside to do a little happy dance. Now I am just playing the waiting game–I wrote her back but I suspect she left early for the weekend because she hasn’t contacted me back yet. Eek! I have lots of studying to do tomorrow! The only problem is that I don’t know if it’s for that original position I applied for or another one that I qualified for.

This was my happy face after I found out the news.


Last night, we went to get some more plants from our garden from Home Depot. I had a $10 gift card I earned from Daily Feats, so an early girl tomato plant, cilantro and a sweet red pepper plant cost us only 50 cents!


We are checking in my in-laws’ house this weekend and I snapped this picture in their backyard.


I tried the whole wheat tortilla that Qdoba just started offering (finally) and it was pretty good. The burrito definitely tasted healthier.


After the rain cleared out this morning, we headed out to Watertown for a little road trip. Our destination was the Octagon House.


I had been to it before, but it was Craig’s first time.


Such a pretty and unique house!


Loved the awesome staircase.


We liked our tour–it lasted for over an hour and it was only us with another couple. We paid $7 each for the tour, which was a fair price.


The first kindergarten building is right behind the Octagon House. It was moved there from another site in town.


This was my favorite piece from inside the Octagon House.


Such a fun little road trip to a really neat destination! Our guide did a great job portraying Harvey, the naughty son in the Richards family.



Afterwards, we drove by some historic houses in Watertown which were really pretty as well.

This one is a bed and breakfast.


And we ended our trip to the area with a stop at the Johnson Creek outlets, where I found the Nike free TR fit shoes I really wanted for only $36.91 with tax! What a great deal. All of their shoes were an extra 30% off this weekend. I lucked out with a good color combo too. I can’t wait to try these out at the gym.


How is your holiday weekend going so far?

Food conversations at Target

Boy, what a busy Monday it was for me at work. I was running around non-stop. Just when the fax machine would go off (I get most of the faxes), the phone would ring, or a new e-mail would come in.

Luckily, meditating really has seemed to help me control my stress levels at work and also helps me think more clearly. I am sure it has helped in many other ways too!

I started off my Monday with Stonyfield French Vanilla yogurt, berries, and chia seeds. This filled me up!

yogurt, berries, chia seeds, coffee

I snacked on an iced coffee and a string cheese at work mid-morning.

I had a big salad with spinach, feta, and red peppers, topped with Italian dressing for lunch. I also had some baby carrots and a vanilla activia.

salad, carrots, string cheese, vanilla activia

After eating and reading some blogs, I started The Hunger Games. Craig has been reading it on his kindle, but he’s a slower reader than me and I couldn’t wait to read it!

The Hunger Games Suzanne Collins

So, I picked it up from the library just in time for our upcoming trip up north, where we will be doing lots of reading. I wanted to get a head start on it so I can get into a bit before we are at the cottage. Hope it’s a good read! I like it so far.

A Target trip was in order after work. I got out my “All Out Of” list and coupons and was ready to conquer my list! I was on a mission to get some essentials, a few food items, and to use up some coupons! Love my coupons! I actually never bought a coupon organizer from etsy in the end. I just use this cute and cheery Clinique cosmetic bag and filled it with labeled envelopes full of coupons. It works perfectly!

All Out Of and coupons

While at Target, I heard one interesting food related conversation and participated in one. I overheard a young mom say to her two boys that she wasn’t buying them scooby fruit snacks because those particular fruit snacks had artificial ingredients in them. She told them, “you wouldn’t understand, but I buy things that are natural and I read the labels to make sure certain packaged foods are good choices.” They kind of whined and then she said, “you’ll understand someday.” I smiled at her as she said this and thought to myself, what a good mom!

The food conversation I participated in was at the checkout. My cashier saw that I was buying cheap balsamic vinegar. Even though it is from Italy, I am sure it’s nothing special. I just needed some to make salad dressing with and to drizzle on my quinoa. She recommended Oro di Oliva in Wauwatosa. She was so excited to share the details of how you can taste conventional olive oil and vinegar vs. Oro di Oliva’s and really taste the difference! I’ll have to check it out soon.

When I got home from Target, I found this lovely package on our back door step! I kind of squealed with joy upon seeing it! I am sampling five different flavors of Food Should Taste Good chips. The company was also generous enough to give five bags to a lucky reader. I’ll post that giveaway a week from today on the 18th, so check back then if you love these chips as much as I do!

Food Should Taste Good box

We’ll definitely be sampling those up north too! Craig is a major chip eater, while I tend to only care for these more healthy ones and pita chips. 🙂 I told him he can’t scarf down all of these bags, I must sample them for the blog!

Dinner tonight was boring frozen pizza. I had a larabar at work before leaving, so I wasn’t too hungry. I needed to eat something quickly before heading to the gym.


At the gym, I biked for a half hour while reading an old issue of Health magazine. They showed a drawing of the Bulgarian Split Squat and I decided to try it out when I was done biking.

If you haven’t seen this move before, here is what it looks like:


I enjoyed doing this exercise and will definitely incorporate it into my gym routine more often.

It’s almost bedtime, so time for me to sign off. Hope you had a good Monday.

Brunch at Cafe Benelux

This morning, we slept in a bit and then got ready to head to the Third Ward in Milwaukee for brunch at Cafe Benelux.

Third Ward sign

It just opened about a month ago and I wanted to dine out on the upstairs patio, so that’s what we did today.

Cafe Benelux, Milwaukee

We both started with water and then I got an iced coffee. It’s not on the menu, so the waitress was nice enough to pour hot coffee over ice. She was later even more sweet to take the iced coffee off of our bill because “she took too long to get it to me.” I totally didn’t think that at all, nor did I complain about the wait, so that was really nice of her.

Water at Cafe Benelux, Benelux logo

Iced coffee

drinks Cafe Benelux

We had a nice view of downtown Milwaukee and this apartment or condo building.

Third Ward building


view from Cafe Benelux

Third Ward

Check out how the windows and building are crooked (look next to the Cream City Brick building).

crooked building Third Ward

We sat next to each other and found a shady spot compared to the table originally assigned to us.

Craig and Lisa at Cafe Benelux Milwaukee

We thoroughly enjoyed sitting in the shade on the patio.

Cafe Benelux rooftop Milwaukee


Craig picked out a belgian waffle with berries.

belgian waffle, berries

I chose a pannenkoeken, which is a “lowland” crepe/pancake that is HUGE and I got berries, granola, and yogurt on top. There were lots of other choices, but I went with what I love.

berries, granola, yogurt

berries, granola, yogurt

Check out the size–I purposely took this shot a bit further away to show you all the massiveness of the pannenkoechen.


I ate all of the middle up and then took the ends home for breakfast tomorrow.


The downstairs area has a Benelux market that will soon feature sandwiches, etc. to go.

Cafe Benelux market

lights in Benelux

I liked the bike on the women’s bathroom door. 🙂

bike on women's bathroom door

I was bored while waiting for Craig in the bathroom, so took these scenery shots.

signs in Cafe Benelux

Jennifer, this made me think of you and how your husband is half Dutch ancestrally.

Dutch magnets

Overall, we both liked Cafe Benelux a lot. I wasn’t sure what to expect after some terrible reviews on yelp. I usually ignore such reviews and just decide on my own anyway. We had great service (thanks Jennie), good food, a wonderful atmosphere, didn’t have to wait to get a table, and I would definitely go back here for lunch or dinner. Maybe it’s just one of those hot new restaurants that if you hit it at the wrong time, you have to wait to get a table and your food.

After brunch, we walked off our meal by going to the market for a very brief visit.

Milwaukee Public Market

Then we went over to Artasia, which is Craig’s favorite store.


Craig and buddha

This mannequin freaked me out when we walked out of Artasia. Somehow, I hadn’t seen him before we went in!


And to conclude our morning in downtown Milwaukee, Craig requested we go to Grand Avenue mall.

Grand Avenue Milwaukee

This statue of Plankinton reminds me of being a curious (and history nerd) little girl. I used to ask my mom who he was and what he did to deserve a statue in Grand Avenue.

Grand Avenue Plankinton Statue

Too bad there aren’t a lot of great stores left at Grand Avenue like there were when I was a kid. They do have a nice YMCA on the top floor of the building and I keep wanting to go there after work sometime. And I did look around the TJ Maxx, which had a pretty good selection.

I’ve just been relaxing the rest of the day and I have energy to burn, so I better be off to the YMCA now.

Hope you are enjoying your Saturday and it’s as relaxing as mine as been!

Noticing a gap in my diet today

Glad Monday is over! It was hard to wake up this morning. I think I hit the snooze button three or four times.

I was in the mood for cereal for breakfast, so I tried Raisin Bran crunch. For some reason, I’ve been having cravings for Raisin Bran and I got a good deal on some with double coupon days on Saturday. I didn’t think the “crunch” was a whole lot different than the regular though.

Raisin Bran Crunch cereal, coffee

At work, I had an almond iced coffee and a cinnamon mini bagel just plain and warmed up in the microwave.

Lunch today was thrown together quickly, which is why it lacks veggies. I had a pb & j sandwich, a peach chobani and Stacy’s pita chips. I also had a lovely German chocolate Ritter sport mini bar.

lunch-pb & j, peach chobani, pita chips

After meditating and “being vocal” about my day (my way of saying complaining), I hit the gym and that made me feel better right away. I did 30 minutes on the elliptical and completed some pretty tough intervals while watching House Hunters International. I then lifted weights and did some abs. A pretty normal workout, but I felt energized at the end.

Dinner was some of the spinach I got at the farmer’s market (which seemed unusually dirty compared to spinach I have bought from farmers before. I know veggies and fruit are sometimes going to be dirty, but this was very dirty), red peppers, and I topped it with a Morningstar black bean veggie burger. This was a great & quick meal. You’ll be seeing more of this on the blog!


Enjoyed the meal outside while the hubby watered our plants with fertilizer.

It was pretty nice out this evening, so we went for a walk around the neighborhood. And finally, we read outside together. Craig is reading the sample of the “127 Hours” book, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, and is enjoying it so far. I didn’t comment on the movie on any of my weekend posts. It was pretty good. We could not watch the really gross parts! I definitely want to prepare for the worst whenever we go anywhere in nature now or on a long road trip.

So, after writing this post and reviewing the preview, I noticed something. I didn’t eat any fruit today and I am not happy about that. I mean, I have lots of it in my fridge, but I just didn’t incorporate fruit into my meals. I guess you could sort of count the raisins in my cereal and the peaches in my chobani yogurt. This is why I like to blog my meals because I see what I am lacking and also what may be affecting my tummy troubles. I better go eat a bowl of raspberries!

That’s all folks. It’s already 9 p.m. and almost time for me to hit the hay.

One down, two to go

My title refers to the fact that I am done with one work day and only have two more to go for the week! Wahooo! I am already making lots of lists for what I want to get done on my four days off, including updating my blog, writing and scheduling some posts, cleaning, shopping (maybe the outlets, we’ll see), and hitting the gym with my mama on Thursday morning.

Rewind to last night–we made homemade salsa that had cilantro from our garden and the standard ingredients. It didn’t impress Craig, but I liked it and it tasted fresh. Not sure how to change it to make it better next time. Maybe less jalapenos because our mouths were on fire?!

homemade salad, blue corn chips

I watched “Life As We Know It” and it was just ok. Another movie that didn’t really impress me. I guess I am more of a foreign film and documentary fan than anything. Anyone seen good, new movies from either type of genre that they can recommend?

Breakfast this morning was Chobani 2% plain yogurt with Bonne Maman wild blueberry preserves, fresh blueberries and chia seeds. It was my first time trying the 2% plain and I couldn’t really tell much of a difference between that and the non-fat. When I can find the non-fat at Woodman’s again, I’ll get it instead.

coffee,  yogurt, chia seeds, blueberries

I had my “usual” of iced coffee with almond syrup and half & half at work.

iced coffee

Lunch was a big salad filled with mixed greens, feta cheese, grape tomatoes, red onion, and red peppers. I also had a date and a vanilla Activia yogurt.

Vanilla Activia yogurt, salad, dates

After work, I found the book I won from Kitchen Conundrum in my mailbox, which excited me. I paged through it and the recipes looked awesome. Can’t wait to make some of them soon!

Green Market Baking Book

I meditated and then snacked before heading to the gym. I had a bit of Starbucks ice cream. Love coffee ice cream and especially this flavor!

Starbucks Java Chip frappucino

I also snacked on some TJ’s cheese & Jalapeno Jack Sun Chips. I needed something in my belly, but didn’t want to eat too much before going to the gym.

My workout was 22 minutes on the elliptical while watching HGTV, 18 minutes on the bike while reading Glamour, I lifted some weights and I did some ab work on the ball and on the mat.

Dinner was a TJ’s veggie masala burger without a bun and some grapes. You’ve seen it all before, so that went unpictured.

Better be off to read some blogs and then get to bed in about an hour! Tomorrow, I am waking up earlier than normal to go to the 5:30 a.m. Body Pump class with my friend Laurie. She just joined my YMCA and I am excited to be able to go to some classes with her. She’s never done yoga either, so we’ll have to hit up one of those classes soon to show her how great it is!

Feeling “off” with food this week

I’m behind on my blog again, but here are my eats from yesterday.

I’ve had sort of an “off” week with food. I don’t know if it’s our extreme weather changes from hot to cool, but I wasn’t feeling eating certain foods this week.

For example, on Friday, I didn’t feel like anything in particular for breakfast, so I went with what sounded good: the Caramel Apple Breakfast cookie I won from Living Lindsay. It was really tasty and filled me up!

Erin Baker's Breakfst Cookie, coffee

The one thing I was feeling all week was the need for iced coffee. I had it at work maybe every day. On Friday, I even caught someone stealing from the coffee stand while waiting for my coffee, so that was an interesting moment. One of those in which you wonder “is that guy really stealing that bag of popcorn or am I imagining things.” I gave him the benefit of the doubt at first and then I saw him trying to hide it. Luckily, he got caught because I told the guy at the coffee shop what I just witnessed, but not much could probably be done.

Lunch was a piece of Trader Joe’s pizza, a peach chobani, a date and red peppers and broccoli.


I’ve been really good about getting veggies in my lunches this week. Love eating the broccoli and red peppers together simultaneously.

I really felt like a Cousin’s sub for dinner, so of course Craig couldn’t say no to that idea.

I got a club, my fav sub on Parmesan asiago bread.

Cousin's Sub club

Last night, I watched Food Revolution per usual and took notes again. My favorite quote from Jamie about fast food was “It’s a treat, not a structure.” He helped a dad and his two sons break their fast food habit (hopefully). They were definitely treating fast food as a structure.

The other cool way to teach about food to high school kids was when Jamie had them pick a snack. They could choose from an orange, soda, pizza and a chocolate bar. Once they ate their choice, Jamie took them outside and had them walk the track to reflect what they ate and burn off those calories. The orange eaters only had to walk 3 laps of the track where the chocolate bar eaters had to do something like 11 laps. Great way to teach about healthy food choices, huh?

Ok, off to write a different post about today and then another about a fun health and fitness fair I went to on my lunch break on Thursday.

What I Ate Wednesday

Since I just wrote a lengthy and wordy blog post about running, I figured I would do my first “what I ate Wednesday” post since I managed to take pictures of everything I ate (except an ice cream cone at the end of the night). I know, I know, I always take pictures of what I eat and post them nearly every day. But I figured it would be fun to join the “what I ate Wednesday” crowd, even though I don’t have a badge to post along with it.

Breakfast was Mini Wheats cereal with fruit in the middle. I was in a cereal mood and because my husband eats cereal every day, most of our choices aren’t that healthy!


Snack was an iced coffee (saved the day because I was really tired) and a delicious pumpkin spice Vita Top. Loved this flavor. I think this flavor was my favorite so far.


Lunch was a bagel thin with turkey & cheese, an Athenos strawberry greek yogurt, cucumbers and tomatoes and a Vita Top brownie for dessert.


After lunch, I had yoga class at work. It was a tough session today! I was sweating at the end, but I felt good and all stretched out.

When I got home from work, I snacked on some peanut butter, pita chips, and some cheese.

Dinner was red quinoa with chickpeas, tomatoes, chiles, & spices.


After dinner, I got outside for a little bike ride. It was so beautiful out again!

So what did I learn from this post? Looking back on today’s eats, I didn’t any fruit. Maybe I’ll go snack on some grapes before bed. I still need to do a better job of incorporating fruit into my breakfast. I am good at packing it for lunch, but always forget about eating it for breakfast, even though I love fruit!

Garden time!

Craig and I took full advantage of our day off and slept in until 8:20 today. The cats were pissed off when I went to feed them. It was an hour and 20 minutes past their feeding time, so I don’t blame them.

Since we have some overripe bananas, I decided to use one for stovetop oats.

coffee, stovetop oats

After lounging around for a bit, we went to Stein Garden and Gifts to get some vegetable plants for our container garden.

I couldn’t resist taking pictures of pretty flowers and plants.





A True Wisconsin Native plant!

True Wisconsin Native Prairie Dock

We picked out six plants to add to the tomato plants we already had at home.

me with plants at Stein's

Craig with plants at Stein's

This story was funnier to experience in person, but I helped an old Italian couple and then they thought I worked at Stein’s. They were asking an actual Stein’s worker where the basil plants were and she told them in the first greenhouse. Well, we had just come from there and those basil plants were horrible. We had picked up ours from the freshest batch of plants that were recently delivered, because we got that tip from a helpful Stein’s worker. I stopped the man and told him there were better basil plants in another area and then after his wife was finally convinced I was being helpful, she followed us to the area. When I showed him the basil, they spoke Italian to each other and then he asked me in Italian where the parsley was. I replied that I didn’t work there and it was probably in that first greenhouse where the herbs were though. He kept speaking Italian to me and he really had no clue that I understood him, but it was fun to experience listening to him and testing my knowledge of the language. The funny thing was that Craig watched the end of The Godfather II this morning and I was speaking Italian all morning because once I hear it, I start remembering certain words and phrases.

Of course, being that it’s Memorial Day weekend and everyone is planting their gardens and flowers this weekend, it was packed. We stood in a long line, but it moved quickly.


Then it was time to mix up soil from last year, put it in the pots and plant everything!


Basil and Green Pepper

We planted two green pepper plants (I will wait for some to turn to red), cilantro, basil, two roma tomatoes, two yellow small tomatoes, one cherry tomato, & a yellow hot pepper.

me with garden 2

This is our second year container gardening. We had good luck with it last year, so I hope it warms up soon around here and these plants do well! I’ll keep you posted and definitely will note when I use garden veggies in my recipes.

container garden

I ate the rest of my Qdoba burrito and hoped it wouldn’t upset my stomach. Of course, I probably shouldn’t have added Frank’s Red Hot to upset my stomach, but it really never seems to do that despite what others think.

I enjoyed lunch with iced coffee.

burrito, iced coffee, Frank's Red Hot

And I thought I would show you the cute t-shirt I got for $6 at Wal-Mart last weekend. It’s the Danskin Active Now brand. A perfect shirt for yoga because it’s longer and nice and loose.

Wal-Mart Danskin Active Now shirt

It’s still gorgeous out, so I am going to lay on the couch, enjoy the cool breeze and read my book.

Tonight, I am going to go to Zumba at 6:30 and maybe I’ll do some weight lifting before that too. Hope you have a great start to your holiday weekend!