Home Sweet Oatmeal

Good morning!

So…..I had my choice to go in to work today or take the day off without having to use any leave hours. I decided to stay home so I can clean up the house, do some laundry, and get groceries  since we were out of town this weekend.  And because I’m on a roll of only working 4 day work weeks for 2009 so far (except for one week) – I don’t know how this has happened, but I decided I shouldn’t stop the trend if I didn’t have to  :)


I woke up wanting eggs and oatmeal, but then I saw Nick making oatmeal and his bowl decided for me!


Brandi’s Original (aka, the only way I would eat oatmeal at first)

  • 1/2 cup oats, 1 cup water, pinch salt, 1/2 banana, sliced
  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries
  • cinnamon
  • skim milk



Before mixing




After mixing, with a topping of a little skim milk





Plus some really good coffee Nick made





I’m off to start on my to do list for today -


What’s on your list for today?

Quick Fix Meal

Hooray for being home!


I love visiting our families,  but it’s so nice when we get home, too.


After we unpacked the car, I started on dinner.


I planned on making this meal last week, but never needed to so I decided to save it for a nice, quick, easy meal tonight since I knew we would be traveling back home.


Skillet Gnocchi with Chard and White Beans




This meal was so good and so fast!


My modifications were:

- whole wheat gnocchi

- red chard

- no cheese, since we were out.





I think I would use even more chard next time!


I’m glad I saved the ingredients to make this – it made dinner so easy tonight.


I just finished unpacking my suitcase and am planning on making popcorn in a bit and watching a little Food Network  :)


I hope you’ve all had a great weekend!


Do you have tomorrow off?

1 month already?

Today, or around 8 pm last night, was officially one month since I started my blog. I can’t believe it’s already been a full month!


I have had so much fun with this blog so far, and I can’t wait to see what happens in the future!


Thank you to everyone who reads, comments, or just passes by. Now I know what every one else is talking about when they say how amazing this blogging community is – I feel like I have made so many friends in such a short time!



Since this weekend has been weird post-wise, I thought I would continue the trend, and let Nick and Roxy bring you some fun links  :)




- Today is apparently National Gum Drop Day

- Mara is announced winner of her awesome sushi scarf today!

- BSI Oranges are due tonight

- Beadie’s BBQ contest + surprise prize ends on Tuesday! Get your entries in!

- February is American Heart Health Month, and for good reason!

- If you haven’t checked his blog this week, get over to Zesty’s to see some amazing desserts


I should be back for a regularly scheduled dinner post, but I don’t know when that will happen. We’ll be traveling back home tonight….and the time is still undetermined  :)


Enjoy your day!

Day of Sweets

Whew!  What a weekend so far!


Sorry I don’t have many pictures from this weekend, but I do have the ones that matter  :)


Today was a lot of fun, but really busy!  Nick’s parents are remodeling their kitchen so the boys were tearing up the kitchen floor today while the girls shopped – predictable? Maybe a little.

We got to go to the awesome Amish market here, and I got a lot of good food items, which I’m sure you’ll see soon.


Tonight, for our Valentine’s Day celebration, we went to a dinner at Nick’s parents church and watched the movie Fireproof. I hadn’t seen it yet, and while it had its cheesy parts (like all romantic movies), it was a really good movie.


We just got back and I may have eaten one of Beadie’s brownies with a glass of milk  :)  I needed some dairy!



One of the BEST parts of the day was when Nick gave me my Valentine’s Day gift!


I bet you’ll never guess….





um…..yeah.  A whole BOX of truffles and chocolates from The Chocolate Spike!!!!  Does he know me well or what?




I’ll give you a run down of the flavors.


Is it sad that I know what they are and I haven’t even tried all of them?  I just know from seeing them in the store  :)




Top Row: Hazelnut Creme Truffle, Milk chocolate hearts, Espresso Truffle, Cranberry Raspberry Truffle

Bottom Row: Dark Chocolate Pecan Caramel, Spikey Rum Truffle, Dark Chocolate hearts, Aztec Gold Truffle


Yum  :)


I’ll definitely have reviews of the new flavors on here soon!


I hope you’ve had a great Valentine’s Day!

Matters of the Heart

Happy Valentine’s Day!


I hope all of you are having a great day and have some fun plans, whatever they may be.



My Valentine’s Day this year is dedicated to my mom, my Pampaw, and Bob, my father in law (of Bob’s Breakfast fame, in case you were wondering).



I haven’t really talked about this on here yet, but I thought the one year anniversary of my mom’s exciting day would be the perfect time. Plus, it’s all about the heart.


On this day last year, my mom had a heart attack. For a few months before hand, she had these strange times when her blood pressure would just go crazy for no reason, but they could never really figure out exactly what was going on. Eventually, I think they said she had an infection in her kidney that was causing the blood pressure issues, and since the weirdness stopped, they assumed everything was fine. And it was.

Until February.

I’m not sure exactly what happened on the 12th or 13th, but she ended up going to the hospital because of some chest pain and her blood pressure again. She had had one stent put in on the 13th after they did a heart cath and she stayed  in the hospital that night. Valentine’s Day morning, I got a call from my dad saying that her doctor called him, that something bad had happened, and he was on his way to the hospital. Nick and I turned around, went back home and packed, and left.

She said she woke up with this pain in her left shoulder/upper chest and she thought it was just some indigestion since she hadn’t really eaten much over the last day. She called the nurse for a coke, and then a few minutes later, that little discomfort turned into a stabbing pain. Before she could call the nurse again, one was already coming into the room – thank goodness she was still in ICU!

She is now the proud owner of 4 stents and had 2 blood tranfustions done, but she  is doing amazing and is back to normal  :)  and I’m so thankful.


The scary thing?  My mom does not fit any of the characteristics you hear of or the ones that doctors look for in “heart attack patients”.


In fact, none of my examples today fit them.



Just over a year ago, my Pampaw died from a massive heart attack and he had no history of heart problems. This was so unexpected and sudden…it’s still hard to go home because I know I won’t see him.

I mean, less than a year before his heart attack, he bought a motorcycle!




He passed away 4 days before Christmass 2007, and I can honestly say I don’t remember much about the week I was home. Everything was and is still just a blur of being in the hospital, sitting by his bedside and reading verses to him, just hoping he could hear me. I know these things happen, but when it happens and you’re not expecting it at all…it just makes it a bit harder. I know he’s fine and healthy where he is, but I still just miss him so much.



Bob, who also didn’t fit any of the “heart attack patient” characteristics, had emergency open heart surgery 2 days before the VT shooting in April 2007. What another crazy week that was! I can’t say I was happy that he had emergency surgery, but I am happy that it got us away from campus that week considering what happened 2 days later. I can’t believe this April will be his new heart’s 2nd birthday!



He and Nick’s mom had started working out regularly a few months prior and I guess he was having some blood pressure issues after working out so he went to see the doctor. They found that he had a pretty big blockage and scheduled open heart surgery for Wednesday the 18th. My parents had come to our house for the weekend and we got a phone call from Nick’s mom at 5 am on Saturday the 14th saying that Bob had gone to the hospital and she thought he was having a heart attack. We all got up, got packed as fast as we could, and drove to the hospital where they were taking him. He went into surgery that afternoon, and is doing awesome. It was a long recovery, but having a new puppy helped, I think.  

He also has a motorcycle (like my dad and Nick!), and is still working out consistently. In fact, he ran his first 5K with us since his surgery last October  – he and I ran together for most of the race, but then he smoked me at the end  :)




I know Valentine’s Day is usually all mushy love stuff, but it’s still about the heart. And I have a lot to be thankful for after the last couple of years.


These things are a big reason for the changes I’ve made in the past year and a half. They are why I’m so passionate about my health now, and the health of others.

Heart attacks don’t only happen to overweight men over the age of 50.


Heart disease is now the #1 killer of women in U.S.


Since today is Valentine’s Day, tell someone you love them. It doesn’t just have to be your husband, wife, boyfriend, or girlfriend. Tell your Dad. and your Mom. and your siblings. and anyone else you care about.

Life doesn’t always give you second chances to say I love you, or even to say goodbye the way you’d like.


Take advantage of all the lovey, mushy, cuddly stuff today  :) 

Let people know that you care about them.

And take care of your ticker! It’s worth it.

The Secret is Out

Good morning!!!  and Happy Valentine’s Day!


I felt so weird not posting at all after breakfast yesterday – I feel like I have so much to catch up on. And I don’t even want to LOOK at my google reader  :)


This weekend has been fun so far.


My presentation went pretty well! Thanks again for all the luck and well wishes. It probably wasn’t perfect, but I think it was good overall and now it’s done.


We found a quick place to eat while we were in Richmond before my presentation. Nick picked this deli downtown called Coppola’s and it was really good.


I got their Barnyard sandwich, which was turkey, canadian bacon, swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, and this amazing dijon mustard on whole wheat bread.





I didn’t eat all of my sandwich because I was saving room for part of this!





Nick ordered one of their homemade cannolis with his lunch and I had to try it. This was the best cannoli I’ve ever had. I don’t think I can ever eat one again unless it’s just like this one. The filling tasted almost like cheesecake batter, and that spot is not a chocolate chip. I thought it was, but it was like this little pillow of vanilla something.  I don’t know what it was, but this thing was awesome.


After my presentation, we headed over to meet a friend.


This is the surprise.


Are you ready?


I finally got to meet Beadie in person!!!



She is so funny and sweet, and it was fabulous to finally get to meet her in person!  She even made us a batch of her best fudge brownies (more on that later) and brought me another gift, which I’ll save for a different time. We had so much fun just sitting and talking in person – I can’t wait to see her again!


After 2 more hours on the road, we got to the in-laws and had some dinner. I was so hungry by this point – that sandwich was good, but just a sandwich doesn’t hold me over for very long.


Thankfully, Nick’s mom made a great meal for us.





We had some of those whole wheat noodles I used in my beef stroganoff a week ago, which are from an Amish market here. They are delicious and get so puffy and doughy.

She also made a lighter alfredo sauce that had some chicken and spinach in it. 


Plus fruit on the side!




And for dessert, we just  had to break into Beadie’s brownies. :)





Oh my goodness. These things were like a mix of brownie and the best fudge ever. They were so rich and chocolately!  We all loved them, Beadie!!!  I can’t wait to have more today  :)


Hope you’re all having a good weekend!  I’ll be blogging some, but I don’t know how much.


Make sure to enter Beadie’s contest – deadline is Tuesday!

Get your BSI entries in, and check out Mara’s blog for her giveaway today!


Enjoy your Valentine’s Day!