WIAW: White Cheddar Mac & Cheese

Dear Readers,

It has been six weeks since my last WIAW post and these are my confessions.  HA!  Kidding.  But really…  It feels like I’m sitting down in a confessional since it has been over a month since I’ve joined Jenn’s delicious link-up.

I could remind you about how busy life currently is, but that would be redundant and I’m sure that others are equally as {or even more} busy.  But really…  Life is crazy, in the best possible way.  Teaching, conferences and meetings before/after-school, tutoring, working at the running store, running, getting ready for a fabulously fun bachelorette weekend, doctor’s appointments, yada yada yada.  I’ll save those rambles for another time because today it’s all about the food.

Salty, sweet, chewy, crunchy, doughy, fluffy, I don’t discriminate.  But I do get cravings and hankerings for things that I just have to have and couldn’t live another minute without.  

Breakfasts lately have been pancakes, but bagels are a close second.  I’ve eaten enough tuna fish to sustain a small country.  Trader Joe’s needs to sell their Sweet Apple Chicken Sausages in larger packages, five is just not enough.  I ate a whole bag of frozen peas after working at the running store {and yes, I had already eaten dinner}.  Wegmans real crab sushi rolls and organic soups are my favorite to get when Ryan and I go on weekend lunch dates.  I forgot how tasty doughy, white carbs are #wheatbrainturnedwhite.  And how delicious Annie’s White Cheddar Mac & Cheese is.  Actually, anything cheesy sounds absolutely divine.  PB&J will forever steal my heart.  And all days that end with ice cream are good days!

Now, onto yesterday’s eats…

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Breakfast:  It’s much easier for me to remember to take my vitamins when they’re gummies.  Two mini plain bagels topped with TJ’s creamy peanut butter + St. Dalfour Four Fruits Preserves with a side of {unpictured} frozen berries.

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Mid-Morning Snack:  School was delayed due to Monday’s snow, so on my way in I stopped by Starbucks.  A handful of dates and a grande Coffee Light Frappuccino minus the frapp base, plus a banana.  It has a mild coffee taste with a hint of banana.  The only thing that could make it better would chocolate.

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Lunch:  An apple, {unpictured peas and carrots}, PB&J sandwich on potato bread {current favorite bread!}, and  TJ’s honey pretzels.  More white carbs, swoon.  Oh, and a Diet Hansen’s because I had a stomach ache.  I suppose I do now have one confession to share since I was supposed to have given up candy and soda for Lent…

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Afternoon Snack {unpictured}:  In the car on the way to my chiropractor appointment, I ate a banana and a Luna Bar.  I used to eat a Luna Bar almost every day a few years ago and I seem to be getting back into the habit.  Hate to admit it, but Quest Bars aren’t doing it for me anymore.

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Dinner:  I’ll never forget when my momma first bought a box of Annie’s White Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese back when I was in high school.  I was bummed.  Bummed because I was so used to the traditional blue box…  But oh my, I quickly realized that there was more than silly shaped coated in orange cheese and I’ll never go back.  

For dinner I sautéed mushrooms with salt + pepper, added a handful of frozen peas, and poured a little jarred marina sauce into the pan.  While that was cooking, I cooked a box of Annie’s Whole Wheat Shells & White Cheddar {according to the directions} and warmed up a few frozen turkey meatballs from TJ’s.  The mushrooms and peas made a great base for the mac & cheese + meatballs, plus {salted} sliced tomatoes.  Definitely worth remaking again and again!

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Dessert:  A generous scoop of Stonyfield’s Gotta Have Vanilla frozen yogurt with a few animal crackers + grapes.  Strange combo but it hit the spot.

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P.S.  Check back tomorrow for a recipe for PB&J Energy Bites!  They’re no-bake and gluten-free!

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Question:  What food{s} have you been craving?

Question:  What’s the strangest combo you’ve recently enjoyed?

— Allison

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Selfie Self-Confidence {Guest Post}

Hi!  I’m Megan.  I’m a health and wellness coach in Dallas, TX and I blog over at The Lyons’ Share Wellness.  I’m so excited to be here today and grateful to Allison for letting me share with you!

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When I was thinking about what to talk about here on Life’s a Bowl, I started by thinking of the three things that come to mind when I think about Allison:

  • First, her delicious looking breakfasts (especially pancakes)…  But I have to admit, I tend to stick with my favorite yogurt breakfast at least 50% of the time and I’ve already blogged about that (my 4th ever blog post)!
  • Second, her love for Ryan and Charlie…  But she can talk about those better than I can!
  • And finally, the way she radiates so much confidence and happiness in her workout selfies shared via Instagram…  So that is what I’m going to talk about today!

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If those pictures don’t make you smile, I don’t know what will!  And it’s not just Allison…  It’s actually a scientifically proven fact that exercise boosts your self-confidence!

  • A study by the Medical College of Georgia showed that 20 – 40 minutes of daily exercise dramatically improved the self-esteem and reduced depressive symptoms in overweight children.
  • Another study in the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology showed that increased physical activity led middle-aged women to perceive their attractiveness and physical condition in a better light.
  • A third study showed that young girls who exercise had a better self-esteem in their adolescent years than those who didn’t.

I could go on and on, but I don’t want Allison to kick me off for boring you!

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The point is…  There are many benefits of exercise, but improved self-confidence is one that often gets forgotten in discussions.  I’ll bet that you can identify the feeling in yourself.  Think back to the last time you had a really great workout.  Maybe you ran a new-to-you distance without stopping, maybe you deadlifted a higher weight than you ever thought possible, maybe you really rocked it in your last Zumba class.

Whatever it was, do you remember that feeling of “I just ran five whole miles!  I can do anything!”?

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We see the impact of exercise-boosted self-confidence all over social media.  The idea of posting a public image of myself with a shiny, red face, greasy hair, and sweat stains all over my shirt really does not sound like a good one.  Yet, I do it all the time and so do so many others.  Have you ever thought about why?  It’s probably because in that moment, we feel so great about ourselves and accomplishing our workout that we want to share it with the world.  To motivate others, to get praise for what we did, to make someone smile, to hold ourselves accountable…  And it works!

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So today if you’re looking for a reason to exercise, just think about how great you’ll feel about yourself afterwards.  Get out there, do your best, and then show it off to the world!

Tell me in the comments…  Have you felt that boost of self-confidence in yourself after a workout? What workout makes you feel the most confident?

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Thanks so much for sharing such a positive and uplifting post, Megan!  I took a peek at it when Megan originally sent it to me, but since the post was in HTML {code} format, I couldn’t see the pictures…  Until I pasted everything into WordPress and the code transformed into text and pictures.  I laughed.out.loud. :D   It’s definitely my first ever #selfie collage!  But I think she did a fabulous job capturing some of my most {ridiculously} silly selfies.

Selfies are always fun, but always awkward.  Don’t you agree?  Should I tilt my head?  Stick my tongue out?  What do I do with my hands?  How does my hair look?  Nonetheless, Megan’s message is spot-on…  Exercise does in fact foster self-confidence.  We’ve all heard that quote “‘Wow.  I really regret that workout.’  Said no one ever.” and it’s absolutely true.  The only workouts that we can regret are the ones that didn’t happen.

— Allison

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Thinking Out Loud: OMG Tuna Fish Salad

1.  It seems like every time my local barista memorizes my drink order, it’s time for us to move.  I love walking up to the counter and having my drink already made, waiting for me.

2.  Speaking of coffee – are all people that work at coffee shops called baristas or is that just at Starbucks?

3.  This week my students are so happy because I added CHARMS candies to the prize box.  They describe them as a mix between Light Sabers {aka Life Savers} and Starburst.  The red ones are supposedly the best, the white are the worst.

4.  At 7AM on Saturday morning I’ll be anxiously waiting at the starting line of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon – my first half marathon of 2014!  I still haven’t written my race recap of the Reston 10 Miler…

5.  For Lent I gave up candy and soda, specifically gum and Diet Hansen’s {Cherry Vanilla Crème}.  I’m addicted.  I was going strong until Tuesday when I decided to make an exception for dark chocolate because, well, it’s basically a health food.  Read more about why including dark chocolate in your daily diet can actually be beneficial here.

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6.  I’ve outlined three posts this week a – a recap of the Reston 10 Miler, a weekend recap for MIMM, and a handful of food pictures for WIAW…  But they’re still just drafts because I either fell asleep asleep with my computer on my lap or had to run out the door to a meeting before school and I didn’t have time to finish later.  Hopefully I step-up my game next week.

7.  I’ve had a serious hankering for tuna fish this week.  I packed it for lunch on Monday, again on Tuesday, made a tuna melt for dinner Tuesday night, and made another wrap for lunch yesterday.  All because I learned a little secret…  Tuna fish + hummus is a life changing combo.  With every bite I repeatedly said {to myself} “OMG.  This is so good!  OMG!  OMG!” so I’m calling it OMG Tuna Fish Salad.

OMG Tuna Fish Salad

Ingredients {serves 1}:

  • 1 small can of tuna fish
  • 2 tbsp hummus
  • 1 tsp honey mustard
  • 1/4 c shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 – 2 tbsp sundried tomatoes
  • seasoned salt *to taste*
  • black pepper *to taste*

Directions:

In a medium bowl, flake the tuna into chunks.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.  Refrigerate if not eating right away.

8.  Runner’s World is “running” {so punny!} a sweepstakes with Iceland Naturally.  One lucky winner will receive the following:

  • Economy round-trip air on Icelandair for 2 people
  • 3 nights accommodation in Reykjavik at Hotel Nordica for 2 with Scandinavian buffet breakfast daily
  • 2 72 hour Reykjavik Welcome Cards providing free access to the City of Reykjavik world famous thermal pools, museums and public transportation
  • 2 entries to the Reykjavik Marathon
  • 2 roundtrip bus transfer from the airport to the hotel
  • 1 case of Icelandic Glacial water for your hotel room
  • 2 Experience Comfort entries to the Blue Lagoon Spa
  • 2 award winning Snaefell jackets

To enter, visit this website and enter the requested information.  The contest will remain open until April 1st.

9.  Have you seen these Portable Protein Packs from Oscar Mayer {aka the adult Lunchable}?

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10.  After my students finish their classwork or a quiz, I let them “play” with math flashcards to keep quiet until everyone is done.  On Monday one student started singing “Everyday I’m shuffling.  Everyday I’m shuffling.  Everyday I’m shuffling.” while shuffling his flashcards.  And then the other students joined in.  It was hilarious!

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Thanks Amanda for hosting another link-up!

Question:  Tuna fish – yay or nay?  Tuna fish out of a can is a yay {obviously}, but the raw stuff is a nay for me.

Question:  If you could drop everything and go anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?

— Allison

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