Tag Archives: Trader Joe’s

A healthy and divine dessert

Since Craig and I were both off of work today, we just kind of approached the day in a leisurely fashion.

I listened in on a Institute for Integrative Nutrition webinar which promoted the program and answered questions from the audience. It was informative and well thought out. I am just not sure I want to spend that kind of money on another degree (even though I need to spend it on some type of program in order to make a career change).


Lunch was a big salad, as you may already know if you entered my OXO giveaway! Keep the entries coming and thanks for your responses so far. Love reading about everyone’s favorite salad combinations.


Since it’s that time of the month, I can’t get enough chocolate today. I had a couple of pieces of this for dessert. I gave my mom a bar for her b-day yesterday and she enjoyed it too.


After lunch, we went to Batteries Plus to get my car battery tested (they do it for free there, whether or not you buy a battery). We found the store to be busy with customers and friendly sales people to help them. I did need a new battery within the next year, so I bit the bullet and bought a new one. They installed it there and the installation was totally free and quick. I ended up getting a pretty good deal on with a coupon I printed off the web, so I was happy. My car started up much more nicely once it had a new battery to power it with! I know this has nothing to do with healthy living, but I thought I would just give a nice little review on our positive experience at Batteries Plus. 🙂

Then it was time to watch the storms come in. We got pounded a bit this afternoon, but nothing like the flooding they’re experiencing north of us.


Dinner tonight was our favorite pizza from Trader Joe’s.


And my dessert was INSANELY FANTASTIC. I won some Orange, Lemon and Vanilla stevia drops from NuNaturals through Clare’s blog. I got the idea for my dessert from her giveaway post. I just combined some Fage plain greek yogurt, a few lemon stevia drops and strawberries. I haven’t been this crazy happy with a dessert in a long time and it’s super healthy to boot! I kept saying “mmmm” every time I took a bite! I can’t wait to make this again.


Time for a walk outside! It’s the perfect time of night. It’s cooling off and the birds are all chirping so happily. Aaah, I love spring.

Lisa the Grouch

The last two days haven’t been good at the place I go to for 40 hours a week.

I’ve felt like this guy lately, except for towards my husband, who I am never mad at.


I am disappointed in myself for choosing the field I have and for spending $50,000 to get a Master’s Degree that doesn’t really seem to do me any good.

I did take a positive step towards looking into a possible new path in my career. We’ll see, as I am only starting to look into options right now. All I know is that if I do seek a new career path, I am doing as much research as possible before going into it.

The silly sad face below was taken after my good day turned negative yesterday. It also represents the fact that I was sad when I heard some news from a friend in the morning.


Lunch was scarfed down as fast as possible because I was so busy at work. I had an Amy’s Light & Lean Soft Taco Fiesta and it was delicious.





After work, I drove to Trader Joe’s and stocked up. The highlight of my Friday was hearing the news that a TJ’s is going to open up much closer to me sometime next year! 🙂

I made this for dinner last night. It probably wasn’t worth what I paid for it, but it sure tasted yummy.



Apparently, I was in a French mood last night, as my dinner and dessert were French items. Maybe because it was comfort food?

These were just ok. Not what I expected them to taste like.



This, however, was just as I expected it to taste!


I added it to my bowl of oatmeal this morning.


I bought two boxes of instant oatmeal because I sometimes need something quicker than stovetop oats in the morning.


Craig and I hit the gym this morning. Despite the fact that my legs and feet really hurt from walking at work, I biked and lifted weights.

The rest of the day, I just want to put my feet up and read a book, so that’s what I am going to do now. Well, after I am done watching Rick Steves covering different European Christmas traditions. I am dreaming of going to Nuremberg for their Christkindlmarkt someday.

No cavities

Yesterday was rough. I felt like I got hit by a bus in the morning, was nauseous from lack of sleep I believe, and couldn’t even drink my coffee. Then, Tanzi the cat saw a centipede on the wall behind me as I was eating my breakfast and I just about freaked out. I also didn’t have the best day at work and it wasn’t because I came back to tons of things to attend to after a little vacation. I’m not complaining, just noting it wasn’t the best day overall.

Luckily, today was much better.

This morning, I went to the dentist for my cleaning before I headed to work. I received pleasant comments from my hygienist, such as “I can see you have good home care” or “you’ve never had braces? Your teeth are so straight and perfect!” That made my day until the dentist came in and looked at the freshly taken x-rays only to say that I had to “watch” two teeth and make sure to floss around those areas a little more than normal. I actually don’t mind going to the dentist. Since I stopped drinking massive amounts of soda years ago, I haven’t had as many cavities as I used to.


Breakfast was the natural flavor of a Vega Whole Food Health Optimizer. I didn’t like this flavor, but still drank it nontheless. Blah. I think Vanilla Chai is winning out as my fav, but I saved the best for last and have the berry flavor to try tomorrow morning before writing my recap post on Friday.

Vega and coffee

Lunch was a Bright Citrus flavored Cascal fermented soda (loved this flavor), the leftover quinoa and Mmm sauce dish I made for dinner last night with some tomatoes from our garden thrown in, and a raspberry Chobani. I found it hard to eat everything because the quinoa really seemed to fill me up.

Chobani raspberry, quinoa, cascal, tomatoes

Around 3, I took a break from my work computer, went by the sunny windows, and read Farm City while eating this Eat. Think. Smile bar.

Eat. Think. Smile bar

I’m going to head out on a walk/run around the neighborhood and try to enjoy this cooler weather. I didn’t go to the gym, because I wanted to get this particular thing done and I am glad it’s behind me so now I can go play outside. 🙂


Oh and please head on over to Jessica’s blog tomorrow to bid on some yummy Trader Joe’s products for a cause that means so much to me, the Crohn’s and colitis foundation of America. I have colitis and trust me, it’s a horrible disease to deal with. I am so happy Jessica is running a race and fundraising money for Crohn’s and Colitis. So go bid on some Trader Joe’s products tomorrow! Thanks!

She is also hosting a bake sale, which starts on September 16th, so check back then as well.

Donuts, Strawberries, and the Crohn’s/Colitis Walk

I felt like unplugging a bit this weekend, but I am back with a recap.

On Friday, I had to participate in National Donut Day by going to Dunkin’ Donuts to get a large iced coffee and a chocolate creme donut (which was free with the purchase of a large or extra large drink).

donut, Large Iced Coffee

After work, I went to Trader Joe’s to stock up. For once, the store wasn’t jam packed, so it made for some nice shopping.

It was hot out, but cooled off later in the evening, so Craig and I took a nice walk around a neighborhood next to us.

Then it was time for a new episode Food Revolution! In case you missed it, here is what I took away from the episode.

-I forget if Jamie said this or if someone else did, but the question of “Why can’t we do better?” was raised in regards to food in our schools.
-I was prompted to think, “Why does the governmenet allow bad food in cafeterias?”
-It is clear that Jamie and others in this country have a passion for good, nutritious food, but they face resistance to implement using this food in restaurants and schools.
-Fear is stopping progress. I think Jamie said this during the episode.
-Jamie showed the need to educate kids on food education in schools. Why aren’t we doing this, especially when facing an obesity epidemic in this country?

On Saturday, I slept in a bit, relaxed around the house, and then made it to the gym by 10:30. I stayed there for an hour and a half and did a full circuit of weights, 35 minutes on the elliptical, and rowed for 10 minutes.

Later in the afternoon, we braved the heat and went to the West Allis Farmer’s Market.

West Allis Farmer's Market sign

We found lots of flowers and vegetable plants for sale.

WA farmer's market

flowers at WA farmer's market

The only veggie for sale for consumption was spinach. I’ll return to the market when more veggies and fruits are for sale.

We went there with the hopes of getting a hanging strawberry basket. We found one for $15, which may be kind of expensive, but we decided to experiment this year. If the basket is successful, we’ll buy our own plants and put them in the basket next year. Can’t wait for fresh strawberries from our backyard!

strawberry plant


We have little bunnies in our backyard, so we figured having the strawberries hanging would be better than having them in containers, which allows easier access to the berries.

I also made Banana-Blueberry Bread from this book.

You Can Trust a Skinny Cook Allison Fishman


I like her “skinny tips” at the bottom of the recipe.

skinny tip

And I like that she includes nutritional information.

Blueberry banana bread nutritional stats and ingredients

It turned out really well! Nice and moist and I like the addition of the blueberries.

blueberry banana bread

And onto today. Had this for breakfast. Oh my gosh is that cereal addictive!


I am going to head to the gym for Body Pump this morning. I haven’t done it in a while and after reading parts of The New Rules of Lifting for Women, I am convinced I need to do it more often.

Later on today, I am meeting my friend Danielle for the Crohn’s and Colitis walk at Miller Park.

I did it for the first time last year and since I have Ulcerative Colitis, I need to support research efforts by walking and donating money to the cause. I wish the walk had as good as a turnout as the Breast Cancer walks in Milwaukee, but they market the hell out of those walks and women feel compelled to walk together.

Hope you have an excellent Sunday!

Moist and delicious banana bread

As always, where did this weekend go? Too bad we didn’t get to do too much outside due to the dreary weather we’ve been having in Milwaukee.

Did my usual Sunday morning thing–meditated, ate breakfast and watched CBS Sunday Morning.

Breakfast was an egg on a TJ’s sandwich thin with jack cheese, jalapenos, and Frank’s Red Hot sauce. Yum! I love eggs with jalapenos. 🙂

egg sandwich with jack cheese, jalapenos, frank's red hot, coffee

I really want to get back to doing Body Pump on Sunday mornings, but with my nose now being so stuffy, I figured it wasn’t the best thing for me today.

Instead, I showered and decided to run my errands. I went to Target and Pick N’ Save. I needed some produce, so I picked up a bunch of it at Pick N’ Save. I also got lunch meat, skim milk, Sun Chips, blue corn chips, and yogurt at Target. Oh and gummy bears and Milka chocolate somehow made it into my cart!

I wasn’t feeling the whole shopping thing today even though the stores seemed empty to me.

I ate this when I got home. Just can’t seem to get sick of the Vegetable Masala burgers this week. 🙂

vegetable masala burger Trader Joe's, red grapes

Then it was time to bake! I had three dark bananas and had been waiting to make banana bread with them.

Please excuse the big hole I created by testing the middle with a knife!

banana bread

Even though I knew I was going to make banana bread, I didn’t have a recipe picked out yet. Luckily, myrecipes.com tweeted a bunch of banana bread recipes this morning and I bookmarked the tweet. I used the Classic Banana Bread recipe from Cooking Light.

The only alterations I made to the recipe below were that I used whole wheat flour and not all-purpose, I added three heaping scoops of ground flax seeds, and I used Chobani plain greek yogurt instead of regular plain yogurt.


* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup sugar
* 1/4 cup butter, softened
* 2 large eggs
* 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
* 1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* Cooking spray


* Preheat oven to 350°.
* Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk.
* Place sugar and butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 1 minute). Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add banana, yogurt, and vanilla; beat until blended. Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moist. Spoon batter into an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

banana bread

It turned out really moist and delicious! I definitely recommend this recipe.

After watching a movie in the afternoon, I finally got my butt to the gym. I wasn’t feeling it because of my stuffy nose, but I went anyway. Glad I did because once I am there, I am always fine. I did 25 minutes on the elliptical, a full circuit of weights, squats on the bosu, and crunches on the Swiss ball.

It was late when I got home and I didn’t have much of an appetite, but I put together a nice salad that contained spinach, chickpeas, feta cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, & artichokes. I topped it with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.


Dessert was gummy bears and a slice of banana bread.

And now I am watching one of my favorite movies because I am a big bird lover, Winged Migration. I usually turn on the TV while I blog and I still had PBS on, which just so happened to start that movie at the exact time I turned the TV on.

Better read some blogs, catch up on the Sunday newspaper and then get to bed early. Another week awaits!

With another work week upon most of us, it’s good to remember this quote from Onward by Howard Schultz (of Starbucks).

quote from Onward by Howard Schultz, kindle

Oh Goody!

oh goody! amazon

…the Kindle arrived today! I now have my own Kindle and we are a two Kindle household. I have always been a big reader since I was about 6 and I think having an e-reader will even encourage me to read more. I got the 3G version so I will have internet anywhere (basically, where cell service comes in). If we travel to Europe again soon (yes, please), I can use the Kindle in most countries there. I should do a proper review on the Kindle soon for anyone who is more curious about it.

Lisa and Kindle 3G

Kindle 3G

I worked this morning until about 12:30 and then it was off to Trader Joe’s. I spent almost $100 there, but I bought double of a lot of things that we love. I always tell myself this, but I need to shop there more often. I just have to time my trips right because coming home from there on a work day, I would hit major freeway traffic.

When I checked out, the cashier said to me, “this looks like a vegetarian’s cart.” I replied, “yeah, we are about 90% vegetarian in our household.” He shared some of his favorite vegetarian finds from TJ’s, including soy chorizo, which sounds delicious. I’ll have to pick that up next time. Aren’t the cashiers at Trader Joe’s just so friendly and helpful?

After watching Food, Inc. for the second time tonight, I feel like becoming a vegetarian and not eating 10% meat in my diet. I seriously cry every time I see the baby chicks and then the chickens. I can’t even write about it and describe it without wanting to tear up. Since I was young, I didn’t like the thought of eating animals and my parents had to force me to eat any type of meat.

Dinner was comprised of some of the products I picked up from Trader Joe’s. I made my traditional quinoa meal of roasted red peppers, kalamata olives, feta cheese, chickpeas, and artichoke hearts. I paired it with TJ’s pomegranate green tea. So filling that I didn’t have room for any dessert, which is a good thing because I snacked on too many dark chocolate covered almonds in the afternoon. 🙂

quinoa with veggies, pomegranate green tea

After two days of resting, I got to the gym for a long workout. The gym was dead, so I took full advantage of that and spent more time lifting weights. I did a full circuit with more reps than usual, biked for 25 minutes, did the Cybex Arc trainer for 15 minutes, and did some abs on the ball with my body weight and hand weights. It felt good to be back there. My ankle was not aggravated by the bike or Cybex at all. I stretched very well before and after my workout.

Be back tomorrow with a mother’s day post dedicated to my lovely mom. 🙂 Since I spent last Sunday with her for her b-day, I won’t be spending tomorrow with her. 😦 What are you doing with your mom?

Cranky Friday

Sure, I am happy it’s Friday like everyone who works full time is, but I have to admit that I was just plain cranky today. I went to work and it was uncomfortable to sit at my desk with my ankle. My foot would fall asleep, so I would prop up it up and ice it once in a while. I stayed most of the day, but headed out around 3 p.m. because I couldn’t take anymore. I am ready for this injury to be over with. I guess that’s the other reason I was cranky. Setbacks like this make me angry. I’ll try to keep my head up though and know that I will heal and this pain will disappear soon.

Breakfast was banana oatmeal and coffee. I said I wouldn’t use half and half anymore, but I need to go back to it. I will just buy a couple of cartons from Trader Joe’s because the ingredients are better in TJ’s than others. I miss the creamy flavor, which skim and almond milk don’t provide.

coffee, banana oatmeal

Lunch was the rest of the whole wheat gnocchi, lots of carrots and a Stonyfield Black Cherry yogurt. Dessert was a very delicious Chocolatemint Vita Top. Loved this flavor!

vita top chocolatemint; stonyfield black cherry, gnocchi, carrots

After waking up from a nap, I craved Subway for dinner, so off we went to get subs. I also wanted to have half of a sandwich to grab on my way to work tomorrow so I didn’t have to think about what to make for lunch.


Yes, it’s Friday and I have to work tomorrow. It will only be for about 5-6 hours and then I can go to Trader Joe’s after! I have a huge list of things to get so it will be an expensive trip! TJ’s is my favorite grocery store to shop at and I really look forward to going there more than anywhere else. Woodman’s probably comes in second place now.

Have a fabulous Mother’s Day weekend everyone!

Change of plans

Most of the state of Wisconsin was hit with blizzard like conditions last night and into this morning. In the Milwaukee area, we woke to find a trace of snow, but I heard it was very icy outside. I e-mailed my friends, wondering if we would still meet for brunch. Even though I hadn’t heard from the girls, I decided to make pancakes for Craig and I. I had a tiny bit of pancake mix left and I mixed it with water, but I think I used too much as it got watered down and definitely did not cook up correctly.

What’s a girl to do when she’s out of pancake mix but promises her husband pancakes as a Sunday morning treat? Make them from scratch! I am ashamed to say I have never made pancakes from scratch. I looked up a recipe and replaced the all-purpose flour with whole wheat. They turned out great! I probably will never use pancake mix again!

whole wheat pancakes with banana and walnuts

banana and walnut topped pancakes Continue reading

Holiday pot luck & my first Zumba class

Today’s breakfast is pictured here.

Lunch was a holiday pot luck party, so there is no picture of my plate. I ate little portions of lots of things. I also had lots of fruit desserts and surprisingly, wasn’t craving chocolate at all today!

I brought something to the potluck that I knew I would eat–fresh veggies. Cucumbers, grape tomatoes and baby carrots. Everyone loved the Santa plate I brought too.

Santa plate and veggies

After a food coma at work, I knew I needed something peppy to add to my afternoon. I looked a the YMCA schedule and decided to try Zumba for the first time tonight.

It was a lot of fun. I was a little nervous, as I told my friend, who is a Zumba teacher, I am not so coordinated. The class was packed and the women in my class seemed to love Zumba (they even wear shirts that say I heart Zumba, etc.) I loved the first song and the moves best–Enrique Iglesias’s “Baby I Like It” and the Indian inspired dance. There were some other songs that I couldn’t follow the moves with as well. I think it would take me about 6 or 7 classes to get the dances down pat. At one point in the class, I said to myself, “I feel like I am at a middle school dance trying to dance naughty to get noticed.” Maybe it’s just me, but the moves reminded me of that time of my life!

To learn the steps, I watched people in front of me because I don’t do well with watching teachers who are facing the class. I am sure I will try it again. I really do like Boot Camp, Body Pump or Yoga better, but Zumba will be fun to change up my workout once in a while.

I arrived home from the Y with tons of energy. Craig laughed at how chatty I was.

I made a nice red quinoa dish with feta cheese, tomatoes, roasted red peppers and chickpeas. I mixed it with some Penzey’s spices, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Oh and a glass of red wine was perfect with it!

red quinoa and red wine

Now it’s time to relax and read with my adorable Karma sleeping by my side.

Day in Madison

Our day in Madison was a long one. We left the house around 9 and didn’t get back until 6:40. We spent much of the day waiting. We thought Karma would have a procedure done and be put under for a culture to be taken.


Instead, we returned and found that the x-rays they had done showed that he was too sick for this procedure. Karma’s lungs are not leaf shaped, they are rounded. His main problem is that he breathes in and out quite heavily. The vet thinks he may have pulmonary fibrosis or chronic bronchitis. Eventually, he will get to the point that he isn’t our funny little energetic kitty anymore and that is when the tough decisions will have to be made. Ok, enough sadness.


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