Tag Archives: Christmas

So Much Snow

Happy Thursday, friends!  I hope you had a great holiday and have started to recover accordingly.  My family and I spent the day hanging out, reading, and organizing Christmas leftovers.  The first order of business included putting cookies in Tupperware and burying them in the freezer.


Out of sight, out of mind, right?


I haven’t broken into these frozen stashes yet, but I did eat wayyy too many of my grandma’s Italian venetian cookies.  So many, in fact, that they’re all gone, which means no picture.  Whoops.  Anyway, we also laid low yesterday because of a winter storm warning for Central New York; we got easily 10 inches of snow last night, and it’s still coming down.  Plus, the lake finally froze over.


The bad weather even caused my local pool/fitness center to close, which I discovered after digging my car out of the snow and driving there.  Oh well.  Fingers crossed it’s open tomorrow.


My breakfast started off with an unpictured banana I ate before going to the pool, and after coming back home, I made “oatless” oatmeal an hour or so later.


I followed the recipe, except I substituted almond extract for vanilla.  I didn’t taste a difference, but that’s probably because of the huge glob of Justin’s chocolate almond butter.  Would you believe Santa put a jar in my stocking?  He knows me well! (And there’s no way it will last more than a few days!)

Workout – Running

After letting my breakfast digest, I headed outside to run.  This wasn’t the greatest idea—the temperature notched 20 degrees Fahrenheit, and the snow continued to fall—but I will do anything (and run in anything) to avoid the dreadmill.


One of my go-to routes takes about 45 minutes to complete, but it took me an hour to run it today.  Yeah, it took my body about 40 minutes to warm up (ha!), but the roads desperately needed to be plowed again—no sign of pavement.


Please note the snowbank on the left; it reached my hip!  I would’ve been better off running in snowshoes!


After showering, I heated up a bowl of homemade shrimp bisque.


Mmmm!  I was still hungry, so I put together a plate of Christmas leftovers for round two.


My uncle’s girlfriend made these delicious jalapeno-stuffed peppers with cream cheese, sausage, and cheese, and I also had a little wild rice.  I’m thinking an apple with some chocolate nut butter is in order!

How are you recovering from the holidays?  Have you taken down Christmas decorations yet?  What about your tree?  Would you ever run in the snow?

Christmas 2012 in Pictures

Happy day-after Christmas, friends!  I hope you had fun with your family and loved ones!


Santa gave this greyhound ornament to my sister, which was long overdue; it’s our first Zelda-related Christmas ornament.  I didn’t do too great on the picture front the past few days, but I will share some of my favorites.


On Christmas Day, my sisters and I did our stockings first, and my parents opened a few presents, too.  Then, it was time for breakfast!  We made an egg bake with tomatoes, mushrooms, and red and green peppers, plus gingerbread pancakes with sautéed pears.


This was the only food photo I took during the holidays, which is because the pancakes tasted super moist and delicious; we’ll definitely make them again next year.  After eating, we moved onto presents.



My indoor bike trainer was my “big” (and early) Christmas present, so I got smaller gifts, which was totally fine—less stuff to lug back to NYC!


This pile of books sums me up pretty well—ha!  My sister gave me Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole-Foods Lifestyle, which has some great recipes (and spice blend ideas!), and Santa got me Sex, Lies, and Triathlons and the Baby Lit version of Pride and Prejudice, which is super adorable.

A few hours later, we headed to my aunt and uncle’s house for our Yankee swap and Christmas Day dinner feast.  I didn’t take any pictures, but there were so many appetizers—shrimp and cocktail sauce, veggies and dip, crackers and cheese, fried fish, scallops wrapped in bacon, spinach and artichoke dip, etc.  We joked there were enough apps to last until Easter!

Later, we did our annual Yankee swap—similar to a white elephant gift exchange—which was a ton of fun.  This was my first year participating, but I had a good strategy thanks to many years of spectating.  In the end, I walked away with a bottle of very nice red wine (woohoo!), plus a jewelry set and some saltwater taffy.  My grandparents also gave presents to their kids and grandkids; check out these treats.


Each bundle contained seven tiers of homemade cookies my grandma made.  So seven tiers times five kids (really six, but my uncle and his family live in Pennsylvania, and they couldn’t make it) equals a boatload of cookies.

After the gift exchange, more eating and drinking ensued, and we may have polished off a bottle of cinnamon roll rum.  Chocolate martinis also may have happened–ha!

Was Santa good to you this year?  What’s your favorite gift you gave/received?

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, friends!


(And for those who are obsessed with Syracuse basketball like me, Happy Rakeem!)


[source and source]

I wasn’t sure if I’d post today, but since we’re still waiting for a few family members to wake up, I figured I’d pop in and wish you a happy holiday.


After doing stockings, eating breakfast (egg bake and gingerbread pancakes, yum!), and opening presents, we’re going to my aunt and uncle’s house for our Yankee swap.  I can’t wait to see everyone! (We had a small party of 11 last night for Christmas Eve surf and turf.) Enjoy the day!

Merry Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas Eve, friends!


We went to Lights on the Lake last night, a two-mile long drive along Onondaga Lake Park that features a ton of (you guessed it) light displays like the Victorian Village, Land of Oz, and the Wide World of Sports.  We go every year, and it’s fun to see new additions.

In other news, we’re done baking Christmas cookies for now!  Can you believe we made five different types of treats?


Oh, and Margaret even baked a special Christmas Eve cake.  Hopefully Santa—and the family!—enjoys everything.


I hope you have a great holiday filled with lots of family, friends, and laughs!

My Christmas Survey

Happy Christmas Eve Eve, friends!  Who’s excited for Santa?


I’m spending the day baking more Christmas cookies and hanging out with the family, and I figured now would be a good time to share my responses to a survey Courtney shared last week.

1.  Favorite Christmas album/CD/song?

As I shared in a previous survey, I have a serious soft spot for Mannheim Steamroller and Bing Crosby.  In fact, my sister and I listened to both yesterday while we made cookies.  ‘Tis the season!

2.  Run on Christmas morning or take the day off?

Hmmm, I’ve done both in the past.  During my collegiate basketball days, I would take the day off (mostly to spite my coaches–ha!), but I’m pretty sure I ran last year; I participated in the first Runner’s World Run Streak that challenged runners to tackle at least one mile everyday between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, so I think I ran.

3.  What do you usually eat on Christmas morning?

We always have a special breakfast—like baked French toast—on Christmas morning.  This year, we’ll have an egg bake and gingerbread pancakes.

4.  Favorite holiday or Christmas tradition?

After Thanksgiving, my family goes to Critz Farms to cut down our Christmas tree.


Speaking of …

5.  Real tree, fake tree, or no tree?

I’ve grown up always having a real tree, but I have nothing against artificial ones.


Any tree is better than no tree, right?

6.  Christmas pajamas … yay or nay?

Way back in the day, my mom used to sew Christmas jammies for my sisters and me.  Time for some throwbacks!


She even made some for Ellen’s doll!  Mildly embarrassing, but whatever; I loved my Christmas jammies.


Clearly, the late 90s were a tough era for me—ha!

7.  Where do you spend the holidays?

We usually host Christmas Eve dinner, and we head to my aunt and uncle’s house for Christmas Day festivities.

8.  Food that you always have during the holiday season?  Favorite Christmas food/treat?

My grandma’s crack!


Er, homemade toffee!

9.  Open presents all at once or take turns?

My sisters and I open our stockings first, and we usually stagger present-opening a bit.  It’s fun to watch their reactions!

10.  Favorite Christmas(ish) movie?

Is it a copout if I say Elf?  It’s just so good!

Your turn:  What do you eat on Christmas morning?  Real or fake tree?  Do you love Elf as much as me?

Snapshot Saturday – Home for the Holidays

Hello from Central New York!


It feels great to be home for the holidays!  Even though I saw my family last weekend, we haven’t been together at home since Thanksgiving, so I’m happy and thankful we’re all together again.  Including Zelda.


I missed her so much!  Today’s been a low-key, relaxing day.  I watched the Syracuse basketball this afternoon, which I do not want to talk about.


Yep, Jim Boeheim was seriously peeved. (And yes, my beloved Orange lost to the Temple Owls.) I then proceeded to drown my sorrows by baking some Christmas cookies.  First, Margaret and I made fudge-filled sandies.


We split one for “quality control purposes,” and they tasted yummy!


We also baked a batch of gingerbread men.


We’ll decorate them tomorrow, and we also have at least three more types of cookies to make, so we’ll be busy!  Oh, and between measuring flour, setting the timer, and moving cookies to cooling racks, I totally OD’d on my grandma’s homemade toffee.


You can’t stop at one piece; the stuff is seriously addicting, so we call it crack–ha!  Hopefully there will be more at our family dinner tomorrow.

Do you bake Christmas cookies?  What’s your favorite type of cookie to make—or eat?

Seeing Green



Even aside from this Christmas tree on 53rd and Lexington Ave., the color green has popped up quite a bit.


Example one:  Last night’s dinner.  Too much?


I baked pesto tilapia and cooked some peas on the stovetop.  And I watched Elf for the fourth time this season.

The hue found its away into today’s workout, too.


Oh, yes—Andrew hooked me up with a festively color-coded off-/pre-season triathlon training program.  I blurred the schedule because I plan to write a post that discusses my workouts for the next month. (Look for that on Sunday.) For now, I will say that I’ve been structuring my workouts appropriately across the disciplines in terms of frequency and duration, but there are crucial components I overlooked.  Good thing this newbie enlisted a coach!  Basically, the main changes include sweat sessions with more structure (specific drills, specific heart-rate zones, etc.) and more full-body strength training.  Oh, and speaking of lifting, I feel very conflicted about that part of the plan right now.  It deserves a post of its own for sure.

Workouts #1 and #2 – Running and Strength Training

For the rest of this week, I’m going to pick and choose the workouts that coincide with my schedule, and I’ll start following the plan 100 percent next week.  Anyway, one of the days features a run/strength train/bike combo, so that’s what happened today.  First, I went for a quick 30-minute run and then spent 45 minutes doing the total-body strength training workout.  I’ll talk about the actual program more, but let’s just say I will definitely be sore tomorrow.


After stretching and doing some ab work, I made a breakfast sandwich with (green) spinach and egg whites.


Warm morning meals have returned thanks to the cold weather; it was 30 degrees during my run.


Bet you didn’t see this one coming.


Yep, that would be a protein smoothie with one frozen banana, blueberries, kale, chia seeds, almond milk, and one scoop of Jay Robb egg white protein powder.  It surprised me, too, and it was delicious.

OK, time to cook dinner before watching the SU game and biking on my indoor trainer.  Ninety minutes in the saddle, I’m coming for you–let’s go Orange!

A Trip to the Union Square Holiday Market

Happy Hump Day, everyone!  How’s your Wednesday going so far?  Thanks to yesterday’s flu shot, my arm kept me awake most of the night, so I didn’t sleep that well.  Staring at the clock that read 4 a.m., I considered getting out of bed, but I ultimately decided to lie there for another two hours.  Right now, the thought of pulling, pumping, or even just moving my arm sounds painful, so I’m grateful today is a scheduled rest day.

On a brighter note, for the #HolidayaDay Instagram Challenge, I posted a picture of my #cozy morning routine.  I never document pre-breakfast happenings, so here’s how I start each and every day.


This is why I’m a morning person:  Coffee with almond milk, sheep jammies, fleece socks, and warm slippers.  The pj’s and socks rotate, obviously, but the coffee and slippers are permanent fixtures.


Haven’t seen this meal in a while—hello, overnight oats!


To me, winter means the end of cold morning meals–which is why I’ve been eating a lot of breakfast sandwiches and “oatless” oatmeal–but it’s unseasonably warm in New York City:  Think 55 degrees Fahrenheit.  This relative heat wave makes overnight oats fair game.

After eating, I headed to the Union Square Holiday Market for some Christmas shopping.


Can I say holy Christmas?!



With more than 150 merchants, the space makes for an all-inclusive one-stop holiday shop.  I actually went there this past weekend, but everything—from the vibrant scarves, chocolate-covered pretzels, one-of-a-kind Christmas ornaments—slammed my senses, so I totally forgot to take pictures.  I was also pretty overwhelmed, too.  Can you blame me?




Between these two trips, I’ve spent about three hours browsing, and thanks to my type-A/OCD tendencies Christmas list, I’ve completed a good chunk of my shopping.


Oh, and don’t tell Zelda, but I plan on getting her some doggie treats for her stocking.


The sushi package on the bottom is my favorite.  There was also people food for sale, so maybe I can get my fellow foodie Gabby to join me in a sampling session.


Like swimming, shopping makes me hungry (strange?), so I reheated last night’s Hawaiian pizza and added some carrot sticks on the side.


I also ate an apple for dessert and a few spoonfuls of almond butter.


Have you started you holiday shopping yet?  What’s the best gift you’ve given?

Holiday Favorites Survey

Happy December, friends!  It’s officially the holiday season!  A few weeks ago, Meghan tagged me in this survey, and since the Christmas countdown has began, it’s time to share my answers.

1. What’s your favorite Christmas song?

I have a soft spot for Mannheim Steamroller. (Link below is for Carol of the Bells.) I also love Bing Crosby; to me, he’s the voice of Christmas.  Oh, and Michael Bublé.

2. Have you ever gone shopping on Black Friday?

I have indeed!  It was during my freshman or sophomore year of college, and one of my friends wanted a new laptop.  We had a sleepover, set our alarms for the ungodly hour of 3 a.m., and went to Walmart shortly thereafter.  She scored a great deal, but unless I need a TV or a big-ticket item, I will never brave those crowds again.

3. What’s your favorite Christmas movie?

Any and all of the old school claymation films—Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Rudolph’s Shiny New Year, The Year Without a Santa Claus.  The Heat Miser and Snow Miser are my favorites.


I also love Elf and The Family Stone.

4. Who’s your favorite person to shop for on your list?

I have a lot of fun shopping for my sisters.  Most of the time, I’ll stumble upon items that seem “so them,” which means no true “shopping” is required.

5. Who’s your least favorite person to shop for?

Shopping for my dad is definitely the most challenging.  Speaking of–Dad, what do you want for Christmas?  Ha!

6. What’s your most memorable Christmas gift you’ve ever received?

One year, my sisters and I got a pink Barbie house.  It stood about three feet tall, and there were two floors, plus a rooftop deck.  We spent hours playing Barbies back in the day.


[I’m not talking about this particular house, but we also had this one.  Source.]

7. What’s your most memorable Christmas gift you’ve ever given?

Hmmm, nothing is coming to mind.  However, I do remember when one of my sisters gave the other rocks as a joke.  Grandma didn’t like that at all!

8. Where’s your favorite place to go Christmas shopping?

I usually hit up local/one-of-a-kind shops for Christmas presents, but if those fail, then Target, Barnes & Noble, etc.

9. What was one of your favorite Christmas memories?

For Christmas Eve dinner one year, my grandparents, uncle, and his girlfriend came over for dinner, and right as the crescent rolls came out of the oven, we lost power.  Timing couldn’t have been better—ha!  We now call that night our “18th century Christmas celebration” because we ate dinner by candlelight.

10. Who’s your favorite Christmas shopping buddy?

My mom.  She’s also my favorite regular shopping buddy.

11. Do you decorate for the holidays and put up a tree?  When do you normally do it?

When I was home for Thanksgiving, we bought our tree, but I don’t think it’s been put up yet.  Hopefully, I’ll be home in time to help hang ornaments.

12. And fine, just one food-related question, what’s your favorite Christmas dessert?

Anything chocolate, obviously.  Or anything from our annual bake-off.


Your turn:  favorite Christmas song and movie?  Favorite holiday memory?  What are you looking forward to the most about the holiday season?

Santa Sighting

What I saw:


What I thought:


Yes, I did have a Buddy-the-Elf moment on my walk to the YMCA this morning.  Good thing I snapped a picture on the way there; poor Kris Kringle deflated by the time I headed home.


Even though I really wanted pizza, I fired up the crock pot yesterday afternoon for an easy set-it-and-forget-it meal—chicken cacciatore.


In related news, I remembered why I never cook chicken; trimming it takes too long, and I totally blame my type A/OCD tendencies.  It took at least 30 minutes to remove all the fat and cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces.  The end result tasted good (I followed this recipe), but the end did not justify the means.  Oh well.  At least I don’t have to cook for a few days.

Workout – Swimming

My Santa sighting occurred this morning because I went to the Y for the last time.  Tomorrow is Dec. 1, so Chelsea Piers will reopen—woohoo!  Anyway, I swam for 40 minutes and split my time between pulling and kicking drills.  I snagged a spot in one of the medium lanes, and it seemed like the other two people were swimming in molasses.  At one point, I was using a kickboard and swimming behind a guy who was also using one, plus flippers.  I figured his fins would create a big cushion, but I ended up drafting and eventually passing him several times as we circle swam.  Hmmm—maybe I am getting faster?


After my swim, I made a deconstructed spinach and egg-white breakfast sandwich.  While out shopping the other day, I meant to get Ezekiel Cinnamon Raisin Whole Grain English Muffins, but I ended up grabbing the sprouted whole grains variety.  Whoops.


On the plus side, the muffins contain zero sugar (wow!), but they didn’t have any flavor.  I still have five more to eat, though, so we’ll see if things change.


I spent the morning running errands and editing a freelance assignment, and I broke for lunch a little bit before 1 p.m.


There’s nothing better than a salad with lots of roasted veggies.

Alright, back to writing.  Happy Friday!

Have you seen Santa yet?  What are your plans for the weekend?