Saturday, January 30, 2010

Rainbows and Puppies

You guys are the best. I love you for reals. THANK YOU all so much for the love and support shown to me on my last post. I was so scared to post something that personal, but I truly believe that it may help others learn from my experience. Seriously, if you have not read it, please do so! I will probably be linking back to it on my next couple of posts just to help get the word out a little more.

Anyway, since my last post was slightly dismal, I promise this one will be nothing but rainbows and puppies! I've had quite the run of good eats lately, and successful experiments, which is supremely conducive for blogging purposes.

My first score was a tasty little thing, organic, raw, stinky, and you guessed it! KOMBUCHA! Now, I had tried this before a couple of years ago and had not been impressed. But after seeing it on Janetha's and then another Emily's blog, I had a hankering to give it a shot once again. I think I picked a better flavor this time which definitely helped, and now I am addicted! At first sip, it honestly just tasted like fizzy vinegar. But hey, you know I love me some vinegar, so this was right up my alley. The second swig tasted a lot more like cranberry and the following guzzles were just good! D thinks I'm crazy. This is one thing he refuses to try.

Another stinky, smelly thing that Dustin doesn't like (oh goody, more fore ME!): blue cheese. I have been obsessed lately. This idea is semi-stolen from sweet little Lauren's blog because it was absolutely perfect for Sammie Saturday, but here is my version with her inspiration!

Toasted cinnamon raisin bread spread with Garlic and Herb Laughing Cow and blue cheese crumbles, thinly sliced pear, smoked turkey, dijon mustard and spinach.
Om yum ghee. that is me with my mouth full because you know I could NOT stop eating this heavenly combo of deliciosuness.
Speaking of delightful sammies, check out another delightful pear and turkey combo whipped up by Haleigh, and a superstar created by Susan from Tangerine Trees and Marmalade Skies as she guested for K. That one is on my list for sure!

Just a little more fun--last night Dustin and I got to have a date and go to the Jazz game. Whoo hoo! I have been waiting for this moment for like 5 years! No, not for the Jazz to play a good game, although that finally happened, too. For Dippin Dots! Now, you guys have probably had these before, but I had NOT. I saw them once when we were in Cali and I didn't get them. I have wanted them EVER SINCE! We went to the zoo a while back and they had them there, but I just wasn't in the mood and I knew they wouldn't be as epic--does that ever happen to you? Ugh. But anyway I finally got some. Banana Split style and they were pretty yummy. Almost like eating frozen, flavored air because once second they're on your tongue and the next, they are completely gone. Entertaining eats, that's for sure. Sorry for the craptastic picture. I was trying not to piss off everyone around me by taking obnoxious food photos.

See? Kittens and sunshine just like I promised! Anyhoo, I hope your weekend has been full of the same, and once again I really do thank you all so much for being so nice to me and your support in speaking out against the consequences of eating disorders. Gros bisous. xoxo

Friday, January 29, 2010


Hummmm, well, I am really not doing a very good job of posting more frequently am I? I wish I could could come back with a fun and hilarious post for Freaky Food Friday, and although will get to one of those sometime soon, I really wanted to talk about some other freaky business. Not like that. get your minds out of the gutter ;)

Normally, I advise you guys to skip through if you want to avoid my more serious ramblings, but this time I am asking you to PLEASE READ! This is serious, this is scary, and this is important.

Although I had entered recovery for my eating disorder last spring, by the summer, I was still struggling to hang on to the desire to heal. I emailed my nutritionist, who has played an amazing role in my recovery, and asked her for some help. I asked her to scare me. At the time, languishing in my eating disorder was so much easier and I was having trouble feeling like health was the better option.

She emailed me back with some information on how eating disorders can affect one's health for the long term, which we all already know. the stats she sent me helped to improve my outlook on restoring my weight and my health. However, nothing hits home like a little personal experience and a heaping dose of reality.

Here is my email to her, which I would like to share with you:

Dear XXX, You may not remember, but last summer ,I sent you an email asking you to scare me. I needed some motivation to move forward with my recovery, but more than that I really needed a reason to improve my health. Well, in case anyone ever asks you for that same fear-driven push forward, here is something you can tell them: After struggling with my eating disorder for 13 years, my body is no longer producing any type of hormones at all. I have less estrogen in my body then my male endocrinologist. My levels of estrogen were so low, that they were unmeasurable.

My pituitary gland is dysfunctional, which means that although my levels of that hormone are normal, they are not able to send the correct messages to most other hormones in my body, including my thyroid and my reproductive systems. Because my thyroid is not producing the hormones it needs to be, my metabolism is slower, I have less energy and I am not absorbing some essential vitamins and nutrients, including, but especially calcium. This is compounded by the fact that without estrogen, I am doubly unable to absorb calcium. This means that although I eat tons of dairy, take a multivitamin and calcium supplement (with vitamin D) and eat fortified foods, it is not doing any good.

In addition to lots of blood tests and several painful procedures to determine whether or not I will
ever be able to have children due to the damage inflicted on my body, I also had a bone density scan performed. It read in the negatives. Despite all my calcium intake and the amount of bone-building exercise I do, I am still on the verge of osteoporosis.

Even through my previous struggles, although my hormones and menstrual cycle were restored, I may have done permanent damage that I will not be able to recover from this time. In order to even entertain the possibility of conceiving children, I will have to consider taking Clomed (which may not work), or more expensive and very invasive hormone therapies (that also may not work). The cost of these treatments will be tens of thousands of dollars, and as my doctor explained, will also be even more emotionally expensive. The side effects are numerous and can can even be dangerous, and still may not result in pregnancy.

There is the strong possibility that my hormones will never return to normal. I may never have a family. I may never be pregnant. I have been so against any type of artificial hormones entering my body, but now I have no choice but to accept that sort of treatment. If I am unable to conceive, and my hormones do not return to normal, I will be forced to take birth control pills so that my body is able to absorb calcium through the artificial estrogen in order to slow the progression of osteoporosis. If that's not scary enough, I don't know what is.

You officially have my permission to share this with anyone you think it will help. I'm not losing hope, and I pray and try to have faith that my body will be restored as I keep working hard in recovery. But I also have to accept that the damage I have caused may cost me even more hard work and heartache.

Many of us in the blogging community have battled eating disorders and won, but for all of us, please take this as a warning and cautionary tale for your own health and the health of those you care about. Please share this information with anyone who may have had, or currently has an eating disorder. For my dear friends who are struggling still, get your own tests done, and get on the path to health. Recovery is hard. It is a lot of work and anguish. But it is worth it to have your whole, real, life ahead of you.

Of course, this sort of helps to explain my absence from the blog lately. All those test have been re-damn-diculous and very difficult to process, both physically and mentally. I was a little afraid to post this --first of because it's so personal. But secondly, I really don't want anyone to feel like I'm throwing myself a little pity party over hear. Please rest assured that I am not just hanging around feeling bad, nor do I expect anyone else to feel sorry for me. But I decided even it it helps just one person, it would be worth it to talk about. I have a couple different plans of action and I am continually making steps to move forward.

If you have ever had an eating disorder, or are fighting one now, please ACT, and get the help you need to enter recovery and heal your body. Do not take your body and your future for granted.

Wishing you all the very best health and hope. xoxo

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Recipe and A Review

Hey guys! guess what I found out today? The state vegetable of Utah is the ONION!!

How appropriate. For me, anyway. So glad I live in a place that gives love to one of my favorite things!
Out of curiosity, I looked up Wyoming to see if it had a state vegetable, but sadly, it doesn't I should have known--nothing grows in Wyo except for sagebrush anyway, which probably isn't so tasty. Not that I wouldn't try it! ;) However, I DID learn that another one of my favorite states, North Carolina, own the SWEET POTATO as their veggie of choice. Awesome! just another reason to love the "old north state!" So... a little random trivia there!

In other randomness, I decide to forgo both Freaky Food Friday and Sammie Saturday this week, and mix it up a bit instead with a recipe and a restaurant review, hence the title!

So, ALL WEEK, I have been craving one thing: a brownie and a Diet Coke. Odd, I know, and it sounds like such a "dieters" snack, but that certain combo makes me quite nostalgic for my mama in a round about fashion. Explanation: growing up, we would always have an afternoon snack on the weekends, usually consisting of yep, a piece of chocolate something or other and a delicious diet beverage. Usually this would occur after my mom woke up from her nap, which happened after reading the weekend comics, which happened after a scrumptious pancake brekkie made by my dad, which happened after my weekly father-daughter bonding grocery shopping trip with him. So you see, quite the string of happy flashback memories for ya there!

A lady at work actually brought in brownies which is what kick started my chocoholism, but I DID taste one and they were kind of yucky. They just tasted like margarine. Icky. Of course, I know it is perfectly fine to indulge in a real brownie every now and again, but I knew I could make a healthified sub in the meantime.

I have been totally eyeing everyone's microwave creations lately--see Tina's cookie and April's protein cakes--but I created my own combo by modification a recipe I found on the Eggland's Best site. Introducing the Brownie Batter Puffcake!

Whisk together 2 egg whites, 1/2 tsp. vanilla, 1 tsp. powdered stevia ( I used two NuNaturals packets), 2 tbs. pumpkin puree and 1 tbs. almond milk. Once thoroughly combined and egg whites are frothy, stir in 2 tbs. flour and one heaping tbs cocoa powder. Mix well to combine, and pour contents into a microwave safe mug sprayed with Pam. Microwave for 2-3 minutes, and plop out to let cool.

Cake will be very moist and almost souffle-like in texture. It's almost like pudding at the bottom, which is where the name comes from--pudding+cupcake/muffin+mug=Puffcake.
Top with sprinkles (obviously) if you want to be extra fancy, and a dollop of vanilla yogurt and serve alongside Diet Coke for a trip down memory lane.

OR, throw into a bowl of cottage cheese and top with Sunbutter for a super delicious start to your Saturday morning.

Decadent. I may mess around with this and try adding wheat bran instead of flour to up the fiber content and make it a little more filling. You surely could sub in protein powder, but since most brands have soy in them, that is not a good option for me. However, this still has pretty good stats, clocking in at right around 100 calories, 3 g of fiber and 10 g of protein.

Even after that delicious start, my day got better! It is my bro-in-law's birthday on Tuesday, so we drove down to Provo, which is about half an hour away from us to celebrate early. I LOVE birthdays! I don't care who's they are, I just think they're great! But, they are even better when they belong to people I love :) Speaking, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO SUSAN TODAY!!!

Anyway, Ollie is a vegetarian, and I knew the perfect place to please everyone's discerning palettes. Guru's used to have a location in SLC before I lived and I would visit all the time with my sis. Now they are just in Provo, but it is sure worth the drive! Guru's has a great philosophy about first nourishing our bodies so we and then nourish our lives, and nourish we did! After pouring over an extensive menu packed with great, healthy options, with everything from noodle and rice bowls to wraps, pasta, even breakfast, I finally chose a blackened salmon salad with raspberry vinegar.

Not even an oily vinaigrette--they actually had gourmet vinegar! It's like they knew I was coming! My salad was a lot of lettuce, but also had feta cheese, tomatoes, onions, snap peas, and the salmon was out of this world!

Ollie had a veggie and tofu cilantro lime wrap that came with tortilla chips and salsa.

And Dustin had a good-sized burrito, stuffed with juicy pork, rice and black beans then smothered in cheese and pico di gallo.

I must say, everyone devoured their food and loved every bite of it! Everything I saw come out of the kitchen looked seriously amazing, and there are tons of yummy menu items I would love to go back and try! the decor is fun and hip, the service was good and I'm definitely giving Guru's my two thumbs up!

Another thing I'm giving a thumbs up--Ollie's super sweet new look courtesy of some of our hilarious birthday presents to him. Rockin it!

Happy Birthday Olls! Love ya!

Hope everyone's having a great weekend and is eating as much yummy food as I am! check out Guru's menu and tell me what YOU would try next. It's all killer! xoxo

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Super Duper NON-Meat-Filled

After that smokey, super-duper meat-filled post this weekend, this one will be a wee bit of a contrast! Here is my second go around of Meatless Monday, documented this time because I am smart(ass).

I have been looking forward to making this for a looooong time, ever since I saw it on Janetha's blog back in December! Of course I modified the recipe a little, like any good experimentarian. I almost used my leftover kelp noodles, but decided to keep the carbs up in this one :)

Sun dried Tomato and White Bean Pasta with Pesto
A while ago, Ronzoni sent me some of their pasta to try, and I have been hooked ever since. I know that some people find the taste of whole wheat pasta a little bitter, but I love the nuttiness and grainier texture.
This dinner came together super quickly. As the pasta was boiling, I sauteed up about 1/4 of an onion. I am cutting back. Um, just kidding. Then I added a few sliced mushrooms and some fresh spinach.
Janetha's original version had chicken in it, but since it was Meatless Monday, I went with some rinsed and drained white beans for protein instead.
Of course, I couldn't go without the sun dried tomatoes--they were totally the reason I was after this recipe in the first place!
I chopped about 5 or 6 of them, and then mixed them with the cooked pasta, sauteed veggies and the other star ingredients:
Delicious basil pesto and laughing cow. Yummy. It's basilicious. That's what it says on the package! Ha ha!
Rocks my socks. Anyhow, since Dustin is out of towners this week, I decided to take advantage of my alone time and do some healthified, also meat-free baking that I knew would be non-husband approved. BUT, definitely Emily-approved! And more importantly, April-invented!
I baked up a mini loaf of
April's Low Carb Sweet Bread, with just a couple of modifications, using 3 egg whites in place of egg substitute, and halving all ingredients. I also subbed in 1/4 c. quick oats for some of the ground flax seed.

Sadly, my attempt turned out a little bitter--I should have added more stevia. April's original recipe calls for 2 tsp of pure stevia extract and I just threw in two packets of NuNaturals because it was all I had. However I remedied it in a hurry by creating what else? A cottage cheese concoction!

1/2 c. lowfat cottage cheese, suncrystals, powdered peanut butter and banana slices. Dang, should have made more than half a batch!

Oh jeez, I just realized I didn't really have one original idea in this whole post--just a copy cat! Oh well. That is one thing I love about blogging is gleaning new tips and tricks from all my friends and their fantastic minds! Luckily, I have the whole rest of the week to think up some crazy kitchen experiments with D gone. Truly, I miss him terribly, but it is really fun for me to come up with things to suit my taste alone. We'll see if any of them are decent enough to make it onto the blog :) What are your favorite ways to spend your alone time?

For me, reading, calling old friends to catch up, making up exercises and watching crappy TV top the list. I even got to catch Biggest Loser tonight, which D hates! I have such a girlie crush on Jillian! She is fabulous. And Bob has nice teeth. And I think the drama is hilarious. You can tell they totally play to the camera, big time! Ok, enough now. Hope you all had a wonderful and relaxing evening. Happy Humpday tomorrow! xoxo

Sunday, January 17, 2010


When we were up in Wyoming forever ago for the holidays, one thing my dad and Dustin really wanted to do was some smoking. No, no not like that! My mom just about had a conniption when I told her that the boys were going to go smoke some stuff. Ha! That was pretty funny.

Obviously, considering how much we love barbecue, we love almost any smokey, salty meat production. And trust me, it is quite the production. Although my dad did most of the work, I can proudly say that I helped the most by doing what I do best--going shopping with my mom and staying the hell out of the way.

Love this little Wyoming gem.

Note: being a cowboy is expensive. There is no wardrobe addition I desire more than a z-exay pair of cowboy booots. On sale, they are $139. Ouch. Sorry Boot Barn, I haven't won enough rodeos for you yet.

Anyway, I digress.

My dad brined the turkey first in a bath of salt, garlic and water. The garlic was kind of our own special touch since I love em some garlic, but also because the only non-iodized salt we had happened to be a sea salt and roasted garlic grinder. Apparently non-iodized salt is very important to the smoking process, and I never figured out exactly why.

The turkey brined overnight and almost killed us when we opened the fridge in the morning with eau de garlique. Holy moly. Oh well. It was like perfume to me :)

My dad and D smoked the turkey over two hours using a series of hickory chips.

This is the before shot, right as the turkey went in with the first batch of chips:

And as it went along, smokin away:

This was done in my dad's little workshop up at his job where he does lots of amazing projects, including roasting his own coffee beans, and now, smoking a variety of meats. It smells incredible.

And the finished product! Keep in mind that the smoking procedure in this case was only to impart flavor to the meat and not to fully cook it. After two hours of absorbing scrumptious hickory scent, we still needed to bring it home and cook it in the oven.

Served along side some of Ellie's stuffing from my Blogger Secret Santa package!

This delectable mixture was full of apples, cranberries and CHESTNUTS! Now what could be more quintessentially holiday than that? So delicious and so interesting to try. I was surprised at the texture of the chestnuts--almost like those water chestnuts you get in Chinese mixes. But my favorite was the chunks of cranberry. Thanks again Ellie! you are wonderful :)

Of course, with having turkey for Christmas dinner the day before, AND having smoked turkey the next day, we had tons leftover, which in my opinion, is the best part anyway because it totally calls for only one thing--SAMMIES!!

This delight was sprouted wheat bread stuffed with shredded smoked turkey, cranberry sauce and aged super sharp white cheddar cheese. Oh Em Gee. Perfect for Sammie Saturday--which was yesterday by the way--I am a day behind, but this post is like a month behind :)

Hope you all had a good weekend! I will see ya on Tuesday fer sure with a recap of our second Meatless Monday! xoxo

Friday, January 15, 2010

Freaky Fake Noodles and Pretty Pink Everything Else

Hi there everyone! Well, when I mentioned I would probably be blogging less frequently, I certainly didn't expect a whole week to go by before I posted anything! Speaking of my last post, thanks so much for all your incredible sweet comments on my wedding and your anniversary wishes! You guys are so nice! Anyhowzzles, there has definitely been a lot going on in the food world and other wise, so lets hop to it shall we?

First up, let me show you a little of the things that have been keeping me occupied...
one the food front, we have experienced the passing of a few greats recently including my beloved PB2 (unpictured), crunchy Sunbutter and super chunky peanut butter.
You can see I don't typically leave enough remnants for OIAJ so that was no consolation, but to be fair I'm not that disappointed. I tired them once, and found it a little too messy and not nearly enough nut butter to go around (as evidenced by my thorough cleaning job above).

We also had our very first meatless Monday, which sadly, went undocumented, but was delicious. I know it would be a lot more appealing with pictures, but I enthusiastically encourage you to try the Rice and Beans recipe from Eat, Drink and be Vegan. I modified it a little bit, adding half an orange bell pepper and 1/2 c. frozen corn kernels. I also used chicken broth instead of vegetable broth since that's what we had on hand. Very delicious, but beware, because it makes "four" VERY generous portions (we got 6). Even though I am not vegan, I checked out that cookbook from the library a while ago and found a lot of great recipes. I would love my own copy because I only got to copy down a few especially enticing ideas.

I have a fantastic Freaky Food Friday for you today, too! I have been looking for this particular product FOREVER since seeing it on the other Emily's blog this summer. I had just about given up hope of ever locating them in Utah, when I spotted them at a local natural foods store:

Kelp Noodles

Yipeeeeeeee!!! I was so, so pumped to try these, but upon opening the bag,

I made the mistake of taking a big whiff---ick!! Like sea water and brine. Of course! Luckily, I am not one to let a little weird smell deter me from my plans ( this IS freaky food, after all!).

After rinsing them very well and steaming them for a few minutes in the microwave, I topped them with garlic powder, chunky tomato marinara sauce , two extra lean meatballs and a sprinkling of Parmesan.

Not bad! Although the texture was not really similar at all to traditional pasta--kind of chewy and oddly crunchy--I thought it tasted just fine and was a perfectly reasonable substitute. If any of you have ever tried the tofu shirataki noodles, they reminded me a lot of those. I used to think those things were so cool before I discovered my soy sensitivity. Now I know why they gave me such a bad tummy ache!

No problems at all with the kelp noodles, though. The stats were really interesting, too. Actually, there almost were NO stats! A four ounce serving only has 6 calories and the only ingredients are kelp, sodium alginate (sodium salt extracted from a brown seaweed), and water. The only other component of nutrition was 15% DV of calcium.

I don't know that I'll be eating these on a regular basis because they are pretty expensive (plus I am pretty sure D wouldn't touch them with a 10-ft pole), but they were really fun to try!

Some other fun things I have been keeping myself busy with:

Making Fruity Pebbles treats for my little Sunday School class. Ok and let's be honest, for Dustin, too :) Look at how cool that picture is though! I have to admit that I snuck some Fruity Pebbles into my greek yogurt, and holy cow those puppies are SWEET!! Even against the sour tang of the yogurt, they were almost too much. Wow. Do people really eat those for breakfast? Dang. I'm not saying it wasn't delicious though!

I have also been making an attempt to work out my brain as much as I work out my body--

D got me a subscription to our local newspaper for our anniversary. This may not seem very romantic to most, but he knows me so well! Usually, the only source of real news I get is from the Today show, so it's nice to be able to keep informed on public affairs. Plus, I used to love getting the morning paper and reading the comics and doing the crosswords every day when I was growing up. Now, I love the ads and the Sunday coupons, too! Lucky girl, I got a 12 week subscription and I feel enriched already!

I am making a concerted effort to read more as well, but sometimes it really does hurt my brain too much after a long day. reading is seriously my all time favorite hobby next to cooking, but these books aren't' exactly as light and fluffy as the Sookie Stackhouse novels I've been hooked on! Jenny Scheaffer's new book, Goodbye Ed, Hello Me, is incredible and even better than her first offering (Life Without Ed). Unfortunately sometimes it really hits me in terms of my recovery and I have to take a break from reading it in order to process.

I also love this Malcolm Gladwell book, The Tipping Point. Yeas, I know it's old and you've probably already read it, but it is so interesting! Sadly, I don't think I hold any of the qualities he elaborates on just yet, so it kind of makes me feel like a loser. I am only a few chapters in though!
More fun things!

I got this most adorable mug at Target the other day and I am completely in love! I collected polar bears when I was younger, plus it's pink, plus it has a heart on it! And it holds tea! What could be more perfect? Ha ha! I love that my birthday is in February because everything in the stores is pink with hearts, so I feel like it's all decorated just for me! ( I wonder how it is possible to simultaneously be 82 and 12 at the same time--old lady and little pink princess!)

Speaking of hearts, my hottie friend Janetha B is holding a sweet Valentine's Day exchange, so don't forget to sign up and spread the love!

Special K is also caring and sharing again with a tea exchange (you KNOW i was all over that one!), so check that one out too!

I really will be posting more frequently to avoid the textbook-sized entries, so thanks for sticking this one through til the end :)

Questions: Are you closer to 82 or 12 yourself? I think it's hilarious that I would rather spend Saturday night at home with my crossword and mug of tea and at the same time die over anything that is pink and foufy. That's just me :) And you now know I used to collect polar bears--what about you? Any kiddie collections you may or may not still have an affinity for?

Happy Friday! (AND Happy End of this Post--you really are a trooper!) xoxo

Friday, January 8, 2010

Non-Freaky Flashback and I Like it Spicy Part 3

As I mentioned, Wednesday was my third wedding anniversary (Whoo hoo!!), so I thought it would be fun and entertaining to post some pics from our wedding back in 2007. I suppose it's a little narcissistic to have a post filled with almost nothing but pictures of me, but I guess this is my blog and my wedding, so it's ok, right? :)

This is one of my favorite pictures from that day. Oh, and this is D without a beard! He has had one now for so long that I almost forget what he looks like without it. We look so young here!

Young and in love!

I loved my hair--it was so big and poufy! Any you know what they say about big hair don't you?? Well, I guess they don't say anything, but I sawy it's H-O-T! Actually my hair stylist always jokes "the higher the hair, the closer to heaven!" I must be an angel by now :)

As you can see, I did have a cute little (faux) fur-hooded cape, which was smart for January, but I did not actually wear it for most of our pictures outside (not smart). The photographer wanted to show off my dress. I remember it being 19 freaking degrees that day. Brrrr!! Oh well--I guess loves keeps you warm!

We were married here:

But held our reception in an aquarium!

I worked as the Marketing Coordinator there at the time, and we were trying to promote the facility for event rentals. I convinced my bosses to let me host my reception there for free and then we could use the pictures in our marketing materials. It was so awesome! As anyone who has planned a wedding knows, reception rentals can take up a HUGE portion of your budget, so it gave us a lot of leeway (and a lot of fun) to have it there.

Obviously, we had pictures of the food:

Dustin and I had originally wanted to have a carnival theme to our reception with mini hamburgers, popcorn and cotton candy, but our parents threw a big fit so that was out.

I kept the cotton candy--that was non-negotiable!

Instead, we settled on a "dipping" bar with both sweet and savory options. I think we had a spicy cheese and an alfredo, an artichoke dip and a chili dip, all with pretzels, crackers and veggies.

We also had a dipping desserts station with white and dark chocolate, caramel, tons of fruit, brownies, marshmallows and other sweets.

This was just flavored water--it was all in a pink theme, so if I can remember correctly, it was lemon, strawberry, cherry and grapefruit.

As you can see, all the pics have kind of a nautical theme here--all the food was inside the "sunken ship!"

I was so glad to be able to have our reception somewhere fun. Not just for us, but for our guests. I wanted to be able to give everyone something to do, so they got to walk through all the galleries and look at the fish and play in the touchpool.

I mean, how boring is it to go to a wedding where all you do is walk through a greeting line, grab a plate of hors d'ouerves and then try to mix awkwardly with people you don't know? Ugh. A lot of Utah weddings are like that. Not all of them though! And not mine. It always makes me happy because people will still say that they remember it to this day.

I didn't want a wedding cake, since it is so hard to find one that is pretty AND tastes good. I thought cupcakes would be better. I am a cupcake kind of gal, anyway :)

For as fun as our wedding was, I have to say that each day beyond that has been all the more wonderful and filled with love. Our marriage isn't perfect, and neither are our lives. We have had our share of trials and hard times since then, but we love each other, and I am so grateful that we found each other--and that I tricked D into marrying me!

I wish the photographer had taken some more pics of the food for ya, but I didn't get to eat much that day, so I probably couldn't tell you much more about it!

What I CAN tell you about though, is some more wonderful and spicy food that I have had the pleasure of indulging in recently!

Thanks to my sweet friend Abby, I had some luscious Christmas goodies to experiment with:

Super spicy and very gingery ginger snaps. OMG, these were so good! They actually had little pieces of crystallized ginger IN them. Yum!

But my new favorite thing has got to be these guys:

They are the perfect blend of sweet and spicy with tons of cayenne, cinnamon and a touch of cumin. I have been keeping them within arm's reach at all times and loving them in a new CCC.

Cottage cheese with cinnamon and stevia, Fiber One, Quaker Oat Squares and Cinnamon Life sprinkled with a healthy dose of chopped sweet and spicy nuts. So good! Thanks Abby! You are an amazing chef and inspiration!

I also stumbled upon this discovery, which I highly recommend you try as soon as possible...

Sweet potato with Laughing Cow, cinnamon, Sun Crystals and dried cranberries. Maybe not the most original offering, but definitely a delicious one!

What's YOUR favorite spicy creation? Happy Friday everyone! I hope you have a fantastic weekend! xoxo