All the Single Ladies!

Yesterday, my two aunts and my grandma came up to visit me!

 

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(Look at these three fabulous single ladies!)

 

They wanted to check out my new apartment, and take me out for a birthday/valentine’s day lunch. I have heard good things about BRIO, and had never been. We decided to go there for a nice girls’ lunch.

 

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By the time we got to the restaurant, were seated, and ordered our food, we were STARVING! It was almost 3:00pm, and we had not eaten much before.

 

We immediately dove into the bread basket. YUM!

 

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My meal came with a Caesar side salad to start. YUM!

 

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I was debating between a few options, but I knew that I wanted pasta. I ended up choosing a shrimp and scallop linguine with red peppers. I ended up eating almost ALL of it. It was SO GOOD!

 

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I need to learn how to cook scallops.

 

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We ordered this dessert for the four of us to share: a chocolate cake slice with caramel filling between the layers. It was heavenly!

 

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The waiter rang up the wrong dessert, and brought this one to us for free (along with the other one!) I was convinced he was just flirting with us on Valentine’s Day. 😉

 

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Any warm brownie/cake with cold ice cream gets me. I was in love.

 

I was done eating around 4:30pm, so that pretty much covered dinner as well. I met up with Taylor later to see Valentine’s Day, the movie, but it was PACKED. Instead, we hit up a local bar for a cocktail!

 

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I ordered the Pom Peche, which essentially was a $9 spiked grapefruit juice. Meh. Should have ordered a glass of wine.

 

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It was quite the indulgent day, but I enjoyed every bite!

 

❤ MegaNerd

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Valentine Waffles

I did something this morning I haven’t done in a LONG time… I slept in! It felt great to get the extra couple hours of sleep.

 

I have a lunch date with my two aunts and my grandma this afternoon, but that didn’t stop me from having a delicious breakfast. I decided to take some extra time and make waffles.

 

I used a pre-packaged buckwheat pancake mix that BFF Debbie gave me a while back. I always add a bit of vanilla to the mixture, which gives it a bit of extra flavor.

 

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I put chocolate chips and strawberries on one waffle…

 

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…and strawberries and banana on the other.

 

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Happy Valentines’ Day to yooooou!

 

I actually sort of LIKE Valentines’ Day. I don’t think you need a specific day of the year to show people you love them, but I still think it’s fun. Maybe it’s because I pretty much like all Holidays. I just like celebrating things!

 

This year is a bit different for me for obvious reasons but I am okay with that. I have a lunch date this afternoon, and then I’m off to see the movie Valentine’s Day with my friend Taylor!

 

 

Are you celebrating Valentines’ Day?

❤ MegaNerd

It’s Christmas!

Merry Christmas, from my family to yours!

 

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Every year, my family has the tradition of going to church on Christmas Eve. We all get dressed up, drive together, and enjoy each other’s company.

 

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Before church, we had a delicious Christmas Eve dinner.

 

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My dad made mashed potatoes, gravy, and beef

 

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… and Janelle made a delicious veggie salad:

 

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We also worked on baking some gingerbread men:

 

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Once we got home from church, we set out milk and cookies for Santa, and carrots for the reindeer. 😉

 

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I woke up to my little brother screaming, “MEGAN, WAKE UP! SANTA CAME!” at precisely 6:00am. I told them not to even think about waking me up before then!

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Coffee was obviously needed.

 

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My stepmom made cinnamon streusel muffins the night before Christmas, so we would have something to hold us over until breakfast. Mmmmm.

 

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The kids were SO excited! I remember being 9 years old and not being able to wait for the sun to come up, so I went with it.

 

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Everyone in my family is OBSESSED with snuggies. Everyone, including their dog, Belle, got one.  I don’t really get it.

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After opening presents, we got to work on making breakfast.

 

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My dad’s mom (Granny) came over to have breakfast and visit with us. She brought her adorable new dog, Toby! Why does everyone have a dog but me!?

 

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I used the gingerbread man cutter to make Christmas themed egg in the baskets.

 

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My stepmom made pancakes…

 

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Lexie sure can put away some food!! I think it runs in the family.

 

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I also had a glass of fresh-squeezed Orange Juice.

 

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We spent the afternoon decorating gingerbread cookies

 

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…and watching Lexie’s gymnastics skills on her new balance beam!

 

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(She loves being on the blog…)

 

I could barely walk straight on the balance beam.

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On the way to my grandma’s house for dinner, we stopped at Starbucks. My dad got a gift card for Christmas, and wanted to treat the family. He’s so thoughtful!

 

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I had a nonfat pumpkin spice latte WITH whip!!! (GASP!!!) It’s Christmas! 😉

 

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There was so many good looking dishes being made when we arrived. (We brought dessert). I couldn’t wait to dig in!!!

 

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In the meantime, I ate about 5 handfuls of homemade chex mix. My aunt D doesn’t by the bagged stuff!

 

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I finally got a plate of food. My family does traditional Christmas-y food. It’s comforting.

 

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I had a little of everything:

  • Honey Baked Ham
  • Green bean casserole
  • corn
  • squash casserole
  • mashed potatoes and gravy
  • stuffing

 

SO GOOD. I had to go back for seconds:

 

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After dinner, we had more family fun time.

 

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We wrapped up the night with dessert. I couldn’t decide which I wanted, so I had a piece of each. What’s a holiday celebration without dessert?

 

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  • Homemade apple pie
  • Chocolate cheesecake
  • peppermint brownie
  • ginger bread cookie (x2) oops

 

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Thanks to my family for making this Christmas great! I love you all! 😀

I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday, filled with family, friends, and love!

 

Merry Christmas!

 

❤ MegaNerd

It’s the Thought that Counts

My grandma came over this afternoon for a family Christmas celebration!

 

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She and my mom are so cute. I love them so much!

 

While wrapping Christmas gifts, I had a bowl of leftover ham, sweet potato, and white bean soup. It tasted even more awesome today!

 

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Once my grandma came over, my mom busted out a bottle of Pinot Noir. I had two glasses… and some cheese cubes to go with it.

 

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Next up, the gift exchange! Wrapped presents look so pretty under the tree!

 

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My family doesn’t do anything major gift-wise. It’s more about all being together than the actual gifts. 😀

 

Example, my mom getting excited about a $1 wall calendar.

 

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My favorite thing was this adorable headband my grandma gave me!

 

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After opening gifts, we got to baking MORE cookies. This is the third batch this weekend! My mom wants to give a bunch away to her co-workers.

 

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Simple Tollhouse Chocolate chip. Never gets old.

 

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A couple of months ago, Meghann and I made a chicken and sweet potato dumplings dinner. My mom kept talking about how awesome it looked, and asked me to make it for her.

 

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We based the meal off of this recipe. I used chicken instead of turkey, different veggies, and 2% milk instead of buttermilk.

 

I used way more than the suggested 4 cups of veggies. I used:

  • yellow onion
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • carrot
  • squash

 

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My mom was sure to scrape ALL of the sweet potato dumpling batter out. She didn’t want any to go to waste.

 

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Just as amazing as the last time I made it. Maybe even better. 😀

 

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I definitely went back for seconds…

 

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My mom and I finished off almost half of the pan between the two of us. This recipe is a must try.

 

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I almost forgot to mention a new beer I tried tonight: Fireside nut brown. It’s basically a wheat beer with a hint of nut flavor. It’s a great winter brew!

 

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I’m exhausted! As soon as I hit publish my head is hitting the pillow!

 

Good-night.

 

❤ MegaNerd

Home for the Holidays

I made it safely to North Carolina!

 

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I flew out of a smaller airport just outside of Orlando, and there was pretty much nobody there.

 

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It was so small, that my only food options were Cinnabon or Cheeburger Cheeburger. I was a bit disappointed, but I never have a problem being flexible.

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I ended up ordering the salad from Cheeburger Cheeburger. I asked for grilled chicken but they ran out (which they didn’t tell me until they had already started making my food) and I didn’t want to be late.

 

I paid $12 for this stupid thing. My flight barely cost more…

 

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It wasn’t too bad! My salad had:

  • spinach/spring mix
  • croutons
  • tomato
  • onion
  • red peppers
  • banana peppers
  • mushrooms
  • honey mustard dressing
  • chicken strips

 

My grandma greeted me at the airport! Grandma was hungry so we headed to a late lunch (it was like 3pm).

 

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Airplanes make me so thirsty! I think it’s the fact that I can’t have a water bottle with me or something.

 

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I wasn’t starving, but I was ready for a snack. I ordered the soup of the day, gouda cheese and broccoli soup. I’m usually not a cream-based soup fan but this tasted great!

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My grandma’s Salmon salad was cheaper (and way more delicious)  than my cheeburgercrap salad. Oh well… maybe next time!

 

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We enjoyed our lunch by the fire. It was warm and cozy feeling!

 

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Grandma and I hung out for a while just chatting and catching up on life. We killed some time Christmas browsing at the mall.

 

Once I got to my mom’s house, I was greeted by Lacey!

 

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I want a dog SO BADLY! I’m glad I get a whole weekend with my mom’s dog.

 

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How can you not love this face?!

 

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I love coming to my mom’s for the holidays. It feels so authentic. Florida is still so hot and I cannot get in the Christmas spirit.

 

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I’m not sure that we are going to have an official dinner. It’s almost nine o’clock and we have just about polished off an entire bag of pita chips and hummus.

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I also had a couple handfuls of pistachios, cashews, and almonds.

 

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No mother-daughter-grandma get together is complete without a glass of red wine! Well, at least my family.

 

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I’m crossing my fingers, I really really really want it to snow! The weather man predicts two to four inches tomorrow. We’ll see!

 

❤ MegaNerd

Casseroles and Cocoa

One of the best things about Thanksgiving (in my opinion) is the leftovers!

 

Unfortunately, I didn’t get any leftovers this year. I was craving stuffing for some reason, and decided to make a “leftovers casserole”.

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If you had leftover turkey, you could just use that. Since we didn’t have any, I boiled a chicken breast and pulled it apart into small chunks.

I mixed the chicken with about a head of cut up broccoli.

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Once in the pan, I added 1 small can of cream of chicken soup, 1 cup of milk, and 1.5 cups of shredded cheddar cheese. Clearly a vegan nightmare.

 

I topped the casserole with stuffing on the stove using whole wheat bread crumbs, celery, carrots, and yellow onion.

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I baked it in the oven for 30 minutes, uncovered at 400 degrees.

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I ate about a quarter of the casserole (2 servings):

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It was delicious, and reminded me of Thanksgiving. 😀

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After dinner, I decided to make hot cocoa! I bought the hot chocolate packets last time, and really hated the taste. It seemed fake to me, and I didn’t really enjoy it.

 

I went with the basic “perfectly chocolate” Hot cocoa recipe on the side of the cocoa box:

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I thought it would taste sickeningly sweet, but it was really good! We only had 2% milk (Jason’s) so it was really rich!

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I made enough for Jason and I both to have a mug:

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I’m off to bed early tonight. I’m meeting Caitlin bright and early for our long run tomorrow!

20 miles… here we come!

 

What do you usually do with your Thanksgiving leftovers? Any fun recipes?

❤ MegaNerd

New Traditions: Thanksgiving

 

I spent this Thanksgiving in Tampa with a little blend of everyone! (I didn’t get a picture of everyone though)

 

My aunts and grandma from Tampa…

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…my little sister, Lexie, and me…

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…and Jason’s family!

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That’s right. Jason’s mom and brother spent Thanksgiving with us! Our parents had never met before, and everyone was anxious about how the meeting would go. I think it went really well! Everyone seemed to get along great. 😀

 

Did I ever mention that my 9-year old sister, Lexie, has had a major crush on Jason for two years…

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…she clings on like a leech. Poor Jason.

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Cute, but odd.

 

There was PLENTY of food!

 

We started off with an appetizer of brie cheese, crackers and a warm apple/cranberry/almond/brown sugar glaze.

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It was a surprisingly great combination of flavors.

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I also dug my hands into the puppy chow a zillion times. I think one of the ingredients is crack…

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This is the first year we have had Thanksgiving dinner at my dad’s house. We used to always have it at my grandparents, but after he passed away last year, the tradition passed to my dad.

 

My stepmom did a great job putting the meal together, and made it look so easy!

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I started out with several glasses of vino:

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I loaded up my plate with a bit of everything.

 

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My plate included:

  • turkey
  • cranberry sauce
  • squash casserole
  • green bean casserole
  • stuffing
  • mashed potatoes and gravy
  • sweet potato ball
  • corn

 

I believe Thanksgiving is a time to enjoy food. I would never think of depriving myself on the best food holiday of the year.

 

My favorite was the mashed potatoes and stuffing. 😀

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After dinner, we had planned on going for a walk, but we ended up all just sitting around.

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The kids did manage to find a few things to keep us entertained:

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After playing around for a while, we came inside for dessert… Pumpkin Pie and Pecan pie! I can’t decide which one I like better!

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My stepmom decided to start another new family tradition this year. We each took a cut out of a turkey/leaf and wrote our names, the year, and one thing we are thankful for.

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After a few years, she is going to take the leaves and make a wreath of everything we are thankful for.

I said I am thankful for my family! 😀

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It’s been a great Turkey Day!

 

I’m stuffed! I hope that you had a happy and safe Thanksgiving as well.

 

What are you thankful for today?

 

❤ MegaNerd