In the Last Week

Wow, what a busy week and a half we've had! Visitors, our first wedding anniversary, and my birthday!! So much fun we've been having!

Here are some pictures of the latest happenings:

Me with our visitors Ms. Linda & Sam.

Doing some touristy things with them. A great view of DC.

Grilled out and had vegetable kabobs that were out of this world!

Then for our anniversary were got this huge box in the mail from my husband's parents. Authentic Chicago-style hot dogs delivered right to our door! I've never been to Chicago and therefore, have never had a "true" hot dog. It was fun! Check out my hot dog boy here.

My handsome hot dog man!

His dogs...

My dog...

And the both of them (or bolth as my husband would say) :) And boy were they ever good!! Chicago here I come!

Anniversary dinner made by my amazingly kind, loving husband. Fresh green beans, chicken, and pasta with an I-can't-put-into-words-the-amazingness-sauce.

The moment I'd been waiting for for quite some time! Unwrapping the top of our wedding cake! One year later... how did it taste?

The icing on top peeled off but it was pretty fantastic! Couldn't believe it still tasted good a year out. On a sweet note here, so happy to have had this wonderful first year of marriage with my husband! What an amazing year with my best friend!

My birthday cake made by my husband.

See, I've been too busy being spoiled by my husband to blog!!


Time for a break

Just wanted to share that I will be away for a week or so. I am overwhelmed with projects right now as I am at the point of wrapping up my internship, so I really need to spend some time focusing on these projects. And, finding a job :) So I will be taking a little time off from blogging so I can focus, but then I will be back full strength!

Thanks for understanding!


CPK y'all

I've heard lots about the California Pizza Kitchen, but last night was my first visit. It was pretty good, of course, I'm probably not a fair judge because I didn't get pizza but my salad was fantastic! It was huge- way too huge to be eaten in one meal! I have leftovers!

Fresh avocado & tomatoes- my favorite! Grilled chicken, eggs, blue cheese, and of course, I love to get some bacon in. Buried under all those toppings is some fresh green lettuce. They put the dressing on the salad- I forgot to ask for it on the side- but they put a very modest amount on and it was gooooodd!

Do you take leftovers home when you eat out?

Do you do dressing on the side?


Food Allergies: It's A Wrap... For Now

Another food allergy awareness week has flown by! It's always good to focus for a week on a topic that I'm passionate about. If you have any questions about any aspects of food allergies in general, or my personal experience with them, please ask! I always love to talk about food allergies & I will continue to post about them because it's my passion!

Coming up... (in no particular order)

A little garden talk
Meals with color
How do you get your veggies in?
What unexpected places can we add fruit?
Cutting prices in our grocery bill! (can you believe we spent $500 a month on groceries for 2 of us for several months!?!?!!)

Happy weekend!


Food Allergies: What Are They?

A quick bit on some information about food allergies...

Food allergies are when the body reacts to the protein in a certain food as if it is harmful to the body. An immune system reaction happens where the body tries to fight off the food because it recognizes it as bad. Symptoms can include itchy, watery eyes, runny nose, itching, tingling or burning tongue, difficulty swallowing, difficulty breathing, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. The most severe reaction is called anaphylactic shock where multiple reactions happen which could lead to low blood pressure, and death.

The most common allergens, the BIG 8, are peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, milk, egg, fish, soy, and wheat. Children are more likely to outgrow some of these than others. For example, children are more likely to outgrow their egg allergies, but it is unlikely children outgrow peanut and shellfish allergies.

There is no cure and no pill for food allergies. The treatment is avoidance and often times strict avoidance of certain foods depending on the severity of the allergic reaction. There is a nice weapon for those with food allergies though called the EpiPen. It is intended for use by people with food allergies after they have eaten a food they are allergic to. It helps the body stop reacting to, or to at least slow the reaction, to a food allergen until they can get to the hospital.

This is the very brief run down on food allergies.

Please post questions, comments, things I didn't address!



Take a Walk.

FAAN Walk for Food Allergy. Please look at this great information & way to raise awareness and funds as they search for cures!

(sorry, had posting problems last night.)


Food Allergies: My Story

Still recognizing food allergy awareness week...

My story:

Once I was old enough to start exploring the kitchen cabinets my parents found out that I was very allergic to peanuts, peanut butter, tree nuts, and even egg as a young child. I outgrew my egg allergy, thankfully. I did not outgrow my allergy to nuts, but it has been quite a journey so far. I went through a spell in middle and high school where I wanted to out grow my allergies, of course, and thought that I had for awhile. That was until one day at school when I popped a delicious chocolate treat into my mouth only to find out it was loaded with peanut butter. I don't think I taste peanut butter like most people do, but as soon as I eat the tiniest, and really I do mean the tiniest bite, I know what I've eaten. It's a feeling unlike any other. It's a mixture of feeling terrible, sheer surprise that it's happening, fear, and that feeling like they describe in the symptoms of impending doom because you just don't know what will happen.

I am a VERY careful eater! I RESPECT EVERY BITE. I eat out rarely and very cautiously. Mostly because I'm afraid of the severity of my peanut allergy, but also because I developed other food allergies as I got older. When I was 20 I visited an allergist again to have some new testing done. At this visit I found out that in addition to the peanut and tree nut allergies, I am also allergic to soy, green peas, and salmon. This leads to part of my cautiousness eating out as well because soy is everywhere. I am very thankful that I do not have a severe soy allergy. I eat soy lecithin, soybean oil, but stay away from soy protein. I read EVERY label. Even for foods that I buy every time I go to the grocery store because ingredients can change. I ASK when I eat out. I INTERROGATE at friends' houses. I let people know when we are having a dinner party that I am severely allergic. This may sound extreme - it used to to me, but it is how I live with my food allergies. I haven't always been this way though.

The turning point was my cousin’s wedding several years ago. I was a bridesmaid in her wedding and enjoying the reception as I moved towards dessert. Rather than having 2 cakes they had a “chocolate bar” set up. While my now-husband went to go get us plates I got too excited and popped a sweet chocolate/vanilla looking item in my mouth (see the trend here? It’s always the desserts!). Well, it was definitely a chocolate coating with a pure peanut butter filling. Oh, I was instantly miserable and regretful! I made a dash to the bathroom as my lips, tongue, mouth all started to swell. My stomach immediately became upset as my body was trying to vomit up this terrible “poison”. I spent minutes washing my mouth out, just holding my open mouth under the sink hoping that would help. It really didn’t. Thankfully, the husband is so calm and experienced with this that he helped me to calm down. Simply focusing on breathing got me through. My mom, the pharmacist, gave me some Benadryl from her purse. I didn’t have an EpiPen but if I had one I can guarantee you I would have used it. It was a very scary experience. It was my turning point as my poofy, swollen face matched my already poofy dress.

Before that I did have some scary encounters. After that I had some minor ones as I walked the line trying to learn just how careful I needed to be. I used to be so embarrassed of my food allergies. I would never tell my teachers, never tell my friends, never ask, never think twice, but that wedding experience scared me enough to change my ways. I have learned that you can never be too cautious. Foods can become contaminated through cross-contact; people think they know how to make it safe but that’s not always fool proof; even a key lime pie (which should be nut free) has made me sick because crushed pecans were used in the crust, and this was even after alerting my server of my serious allergy.

People who have no experience with food allergies do not know the complexities, so it is up to us, the ones with the allergies, the ones with kids with allergies, the ones with loved ones with allergies, to protect ourselves and others and bring awareness.

That is why this topic is so important to me. That is why this topic is my passion.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for sharing!

ps - See what I mean about poofy dress?? This is me on the right with my lovely, beautiful sister on the left. This was pre-allergy incident.


Respect Every Bite


That's right! That wonderful time of the year when we sport our gear, our smiles, share our stories, and do what we can to spread the word about food allergies! (I've just found out there's such a thing as a food allergy t-shirt-- I'm all over getting me one of those!)

So I will be taking the opportunity this week to talk about one of my FAVORITE areas of nutrition! While I don't think my own food allergies sparked my interest to get me into this field, I do think that they have directed me towards this being my passion in nutrition.

So, buckle your seat belts and getting ready for a fun-filled week talking about food allergies.

And, please, please, please click HERE to go learn more about food allergies at the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network's website. Great resources!


Room to Move

Last weekend we took a trip down south to visit family. It was a wonderful weekend full of good times, good food, and beautiful people! One of our favorite things about my hometown is the expanse of restaurants. Seriously. Restaurants everywhere! And good ones, too! So we took advantage of our time there and tried to squeeze in as many restaurants as possible. We ate, ate, ate, and then had dessert. Seriously unbelievable food- alll the time! The times where I have felt ill and really over done it eating have been few and far between in my life.... that is until this past weekend. I was popping antiacids like it was my job. I was carrying Tums around- refusing to just slow down my pace. I was loving it but then I was miserable!

This week getting back into the swing of things after our trip has been tough, and I've been very busy so I have not meal planned, grocery shopped, or cooked once this week. So I am still struggling but am now super motivated to get back on track for this next week.

I felt like I could barely move. Like my stomach was packed to the brim- every tiny amount of space occupied by dish after dish. I learned a lesson. I'm back on the self-control side after that experience. I have learned that however good the food, our bodies are not meant to handle that much extra. We have to pace ourselves.

Salad??? Hard to see the lettuce underneath all that Ranch dressing and bacon! Do I eat this often? No. But you better believe I enjoyed it that night!

Burrito from one of my favorite places! Normally, this takes me at least 2 if not 3 meals to tackle, but I ate it in one sitting. Like it was my job. Ohhhhhhh... still hurting thinking about it.



Sorry for the delay, folks! What a crazy few weeks life has been! I've been running around like a crazy chicken- going here, and there, and now I'm back HERE. So... I'm back to the blog also!

Thanks for staying tuned!