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Pregger Vittles

25 Jan

Pregnancy is weird.

Super weird.

My body is no longer my own and it does some really strange things… especially when it comes to food.

Everyone asks what my cravings are… and there is only one answer.  Citrus.


I went to LA the week I found out I was pregnant and was at my aunt’s house. She had fresh oranges and I am pretty sure I ate fifteen of them.  I was perpetually queasy, trying to hide that, and they were making me feel better. I am not sure if it was the cravings that pushed me to oranges that day or the oranges that pushed me towards that being MY food. But it has been 5 months now and I still eat about 3-4 oranges (or something similar) every single day.

My first trimester felt a lot like being hung over and sea sick at the same time.  It was pretty awful, and I subsisted solely on beige foods for a few weeks (pasta, bread, crackers, pretzels, etc).  And if I didn’t eat every two hours or so, I felt even worse. (Thank goodness my doctor told me at about 10 weeks about Unisom, which totally saved me from deciding this would be my ONE and ONLY pregnancy, by curing my morning/all-day sickness overnight)

One food that really saved me was a snack I was generously sent to try: BettaSnax.


I have never seen these before, but they are basically crispy little slices of biscotti.


I first tried the S’Mores since as a S’Mores lover, I was excited.  They were good but didn’t satisfy that gooey S’Mores thing.  I then tried the Fruit & Nut and LOVED them. (The original flavor was also quite good). These were my go-to when a meeting was going too long and I was in need of a snack to hold me over. They were tasty and filling, without being too hard on my stomach.  And pretty healthy as far as snacks go, even in bulk (low calories and no added fat).


Once the Unisom kicked in and I could eat things with color again, I found myself NEEDING a custom yogurt parfait every single day for about 2 months.  Luckily, a store on my walk to work allowed me to customize to my hearts content, with fresh fruit, multiple types of yogurt and cottage cheese.  Of course, they each cost about $400, but what’s money when you NEED a yogurt parfait?


Then there was the day I innocently went to grab lunch and somehow came back with this collection of sea salt & vinegar PopChips, tangerines, gummy peaches, and a chicken caesar wrap.  You know… because those things go together.


And then the day Mike talked about an anchovy pizza he had at a restaurant and I could not get it out of my head. So we went grocery shopping and Mike nicely entertained my needs and made me this delicious anchovy and olive “pizza” on naan with pesto.  Partnered with a roast chicken and roast yellow cauliflower.  And it was good.


Then the day I convinced my entire family to get milk shakes, delivered, after a full dinner when we also brought cupcakes. They gave in to my whims.  Good family they are.


And my sister and her fiance were kind enough to get me a Citrus of the Month Club membership, with the first shipment including some Honeybell Oranges and Grapefruits.  This lasted me a solid three days.


And brought me to one of my favorite breakfasts, cut grapefruits with a yogurt parfait (with bananas and grapes and topped with my favorite granola from The NoMad).


But the pizza adventure cracked me up most.  We were on the train and Mike asked what kind of pizza I wanted to order… he started listing some things… “Olives? Mushrooms? Hawaiian?”

YES, YES, and YES!

It wasn’t that I wanted all of those things together, I just was influenced by the power of suggestion and couldn’t decide.  So we got them all!

A funny moment happened when the order came through with all the ingredients as one. So the confused restaurant called me to ask if I REALLY wanted them all together. I clarified the half and half and when it arrived, I was a very happy pregnant lady.


Thankfully, nothing is really grossing me out, which I hear is common, except raw greens aren’t doing it for me anymore (though I still try to eat them).

Halfway through. Wonder what else will be in my food future with this little man making all the calls!

Ragú National Pasta Day event

17 Oct

Happy National Pasta Day!

Now this is a day I can get behind.

This past week, Ragú was kind enough to extend an offer for me to come to a cooking event in honor of National Pasta Day.


We went to a lovely cooking space, My Cooking Party Loft


There was a twist, however, as all the recipes we would be cooking were IMPASTAS. (AKA… dishes made WITHOUT pasta and using veggies in their place).

First dish we were learning was a (super simple) cauliflower “mac” and cheese.


We also learned about spaghetti squash with Chunky Tomato, Garlic, and Onion Ragú and veggies.


And eggplant “lasagna” made with the classic sauce.


First we had a quick demo of how to cut onions and garlic before learning how to prep the dishes by our enthusiastic and knowledgeable Chef Joanne Kohlhepp.




Then we were to find our assigned partner and start to cook!  Making our own spin on the dishes.


We each received a tray of some items that were precooked and the ingredients we would need, making it nice and easy.


Then a table of ingredients to choose from to bump up our recipes and make them our own.DSCF3549

Of course, my selected addition to our dish was MEAT.  We grabbed some Pat LaFrieda ground beef and browned it up with onions, then added it to our eggplant lasagna.


And the photographer even got an action shot as I layered and sauced.


We also made the cauliflower “mac” and chee.  This was so easy.  Parboiled cauliflower, cheese sauce, topped with breadcrumbs toasted in butter.  We followed the recipe for this one and really enjoyed.


I was partnered up with the lovely Pam from Triple Threat Mommy and Food Editor of The Shopping Mama.


We had a great time preparing our dishes together, though you will notice that I have a homemade name tag below.  Why? You might ask… Well… smart me accidentally put the baking dish on top of my original name tag and I guess it stuck. So a few minutes later when we smelled something burning. Someone luckily checked on our dish and found my little name tag, hanging from the bottom of the casserole dish, about to go on fire.  Go me.


All the bloggers did a great job at preparing our various dishes.DSCF3562

And we proudly gathered around our creations…


Before sitting down to devour our meals together.


It was a great event and the food really came out delicious.  We all enjoyed our meals and left very full.  I was impressed at how easy these recipes were (though having some things prepped and someone to clean everything up sure was nice) and all of these could be a very healthy, gluten-less weekday meal.  And I hardly missed the pasta!  (I really didn’t miss it too much… but come on… I LOVE pasta)

Ragú will be holding a Twitter Party later today if you want to join in on the fun and have a chance to win some prizes:

When: Friday, October 17, 2014 at 1PM EST
Where: #NationalPastaDay on Twitter

Follow: @Crowdtappers & @RaguSauce
Prizes: $725 in Visa gift cards
Questions: Ask @Crowdtappers

 Thanks, Ragú, for the invite!  While this was a sponsored event, all opinions are solely my own.

It Started with HELLO (is it me you’re looking for?)

3 Oct

When I was contacted about a campaign for a new chocolate from Lindt, I was thrilled. I am a lifelong Lindt fan, picking up a truffle (or two) when I need a little special treat.  This campaign was for their new line, Lindt HELLO chocolate, which includes Lindt HELLO chocolate bars (the variation I found) as well as sticks and mini sticks.   The campaign is “Lindt It Started with HELLO.”


There is a fun web series on the HELLO YouTube page with videos co-produced by Ashley Tisdale. I couldn’t help but giggle at some of the funny scenarios and I love the “choose your own ending” variations.

They are also running a great #ItStartedWithHELLO Sweet Connections sweepstakes.  You just need to visit the landing page and enter your email address.  You can enter every day until 10/14 and there were 5 weeks of prizes and 2 weeks are left:

Week 4: Sweet Staycation (10/1 – 10/7)
• Lindt HELLO treats you to a pampered night in – movies, books + chocolate!

Week 5: Besties Reunion (10/8 – 10/14)
• Reconnect with your bestie at the spa for a day + Lindt HELLO chocolate to sweeten the deal.

*No purchase necessary. Open to legal residents of the 50 U.S. & D.C., 18 years or older (19 in AL or NE and 21 in MS). Void where prohibited. See Rules at for weekly sweepstakes entry periods, prize descriptions, odds and other details. Ends Noon on 10/14/14. Void where prohibited. Sponsor: Lindt & Sprüngli (USA) Inc., One Fine Chocolate Place, Stratham, NH 03885.


So how about the chocolate?

To answer the title question… YES! It is you, HELLO, I have been looking for.

I was on a business trip with my new colleague in LA and we were running from meeting to meeting, getting to know each other and trying to avoid too much sun exposure in the 100 degree plus October weather (LA… I expect better from you!)  We realized we were running late for a meeting and didn’t have a chance to grab a bite.  Her coveted stash of trail mix had melted in the hot car, however, I had just found two of the HELLO bars flavors as I picked up some necessities at a pharmacy and, thankfully, they had not melted.  I explained to her that I was actually blogging about the product and she was excited to try it with me.  I had picked up the Crunchy Nougat and the Strawberry Cheesecake and my colleague opted for the nougat.


One bite and we were both hooked.  It was all the delicious, rich chocolate taste of Lindt but with a caramelly, buttery, slightly crunchy center.  When I get a box of chocolates, I stick my finger nail in the bottom of them looking for the ones that have this filling. My colleague and I kept remarking about how good it was and then she said “well this made my entire day!”  She said that she was going to go get a few bars of this immediately to bring back to share tonight with her friends.  I can’t blame her.  I will be pursuing this little gem of a treat for a long, long time.  And what a great treat to sustain us through our whirlwind of meetings.

A few hours later and I am now on a plane back home, with a blissfully empty seat next to me.  I decided it was time to try the Strawberry Cheesecake flavor.  HELLO to making air travel better!

This time I took more care opening the bar (as opposed to ripping it open in the car) and the packaging is quite cute.


They are doing a great job with keeping it cheeky and fun.


And they gave chocolate a real personality.


The inside of the Strawberry Cheesecake also has great texture.  There is the definite flavor of the graham cracker crunch, creamy cheesecake, and then the strawberry flavor.  The strawberry flavor reminded me of the one that is in ice cream sundaes.  Really nice flavors and textures.


Though I definitely loved the Crunchy Nougat even more.


I am looking forward to sharing these with my husband, a fellow chocolate lover, when I get home.  I need to keep searching around to find the Cookies and Cream flavor (since that is right up his alley) and the Caramel Brownie (which is right up my alley) as well as the sticks and mini-sticks bag.  YES PLEASE! More HELLO!

Can’t wait to try them all!

Don’t forget to enter the sweeps and check out the video series with new celebrities and YouTube stars coming out each week!

Full disclosure:  Today’s post is sponsored by Lindt HELLO, but my new love for HELLO and #ItStartedWithHELLO is all my own.