Posts Tagged ‘penpal trip’

Monday morning pancakes

Sweet potato.

Chocolate chip.


What a mouthful.

I’m not sure what other breakfast says, “Hey, welcome to a new week… I know you didn’t want to get out of bed to start working this morning  since you’re in sunny Florida, but since you’re up, enjoy your stay.” Or something quite like that…. You know?

This is like extreme chocolate. Perfectly timed for Valentine’s Day. Extreme chocolate in an already perfect food (pancakes) = extreme happiness.

Not bad before 9 am.

They’re even vegan, if you’re into that sorta thing.

But not quite Paleo… good thing that Whole30 is over, huh?

Oh.. And did I mention they were made FOR me?

Yeah. I think someone’s buttering me up for Valentine’s Day.

It’s working.

Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Pancakes

*inspired by this recipe from Eat Live Run


  • 1 cup white flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar (optional)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 medium sweet potato, mashed (zap in a microwave for 6 minutes and then insides will be softened up for mashing with fork!)
  • 1/3 cup-1/2 cup chocolate chips, depending on how chocolatey you desire  (I used 1/2 cup of semi-sweet)


1. In a small bowl, lightly beat egg. Add all ingredients to a medium sized bowl and mix until just combined. Note: batter will be thick.

2. Over medium heat, cook pancakes on lightly greased skillet until golden brown on each side.

Makes 6 large pancakes.


I made it! 😀

WHAT a morning I had yesterday though!

-Lost a bracelet that had a LOT of sentimental value in the morning at the gym. (Note to self: Don’t ever, EVER leave anything in the cupholders of the treadmills. And people you workout with are thieves.)

-Major work inbox flooding (good, but overwhelming when you’re not IN the office).

-Seat on the flight during the first leg of my trip was missing a seatbelt. Really. I’d love to know what the person sitting in that spot before me did during his flight…

-May or may not have completely changed my outfit in the Atlanta airport restroom during my half hour layover. Yeah… I was that girl.

-No time for  real meals at both breakfast and lunch times that were more substantial than energy bars. Very nutritious and filling, right?

-Was falling asleep by 9pm ET. I’m a good time, clearly.

…But let there be no uncertainty: I am SO, so, so thankful to be here finally. Like, disgustingly happy.

I’ll try to check in over the next few days! Expect some yummy meals (think bacon + chocolate) coming soon, too.


Happy Friday!


What are your weekend plans? And any guesses what I’m going to be making?

To do before traveling to see your boyfriend for the first time in 5 months

I guess I could have just titled this post simply “To Do” or “Travel Prep” but I don’t think that would’ve aquetately expressed HOW MUCH I have to do before my flight tomorrow afternoon.

I mean, seriously. And squeezed in after I get home from work tonight.

I want you all to feel my pain. And then come here and do my laundry for me. Deal? No?


Let me share my list with you then… okay?

To do:

1. Haircut.


2. Get those scary, caterpillar-esque eyebrows waxed… and stuff. Ladies, you hear me. 

Today after work…. it has to happen. Ugh.

3. New dresses (aka essentials).

H&M was kind of a bust, but I found success at another store. This is what I was doing while most Americans were watching the start of the Super Bowl on Sunday.

Secret: I use trips to see Penpal as an excuse to buy a new dress almost every time.

4. Laundry.

Prep for #9.

Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean I actually know what outfits I’m bringing. And did I mention i’m going for almost two weeks?

5. Pick up snackage for traveling.

6. Paint my nails.

7. Get Valentine’s Day gift for that one guy I’m traveling to Florida to see.

8. Obsessively check the weather in city I’m traveling to…

Um, it’s Florida. Why aren’t I seeing all 75 degrees and sunny, hmm?

Hey, Mother Nature: fix it!

9. Pack!

Let’s be honest. That’s probably going to happen around midnight tonight. Color me shocked.

Yeah. Welcome to my head. Scary, I know.

Obviously those are all extremely important items to take care of before traveling, too. 😉

And instead of tackling most of these last night, I watched New Girl (most hilarious show ever!) and endless episodes of my latest Netflix obsession, Parenthood. Okay, I did do my laundry, but that’s about it. Someone needs to quote the perils of procrastination to me or something (not you again Mom, but thanks). The days were dragging for months, and now they’re flying by. Not that I’m complaining – I’m SO EXCITED. 😀

Time to carpe diem – Happy Wednesday!



Do you make to-do lists of silly “must-do’s” before special trips or vacations? Are you a packing procrastinator too?

Long Distance Relationships

I’m starting to consider Fridays to be deep thought day on the blog.

Okay… maybe I’ve only had one real deep thought that came to mind for a Friday post, but regardless. I have another today!

I thought it might be a good time to talk a little bit about long distance relationships. I mean, why not? And that’s a little deeper of a conversation than my Whole30 and gym sessions. Or at least, I hope so.

Anyways, as many of you have probably realized by now (or read in my About Me page), my boyfriend is in the military, and has been literally the entire time we’ve been in a relationship. In other words, I’ve been in a long distance relationship for ages.

(New Year’s Eve ’09)

Okay, fine.

Not quite.

We just rounded the corner on year 3 back in November though. It sometimes FEELS like ages, especially right now since ol’ boyfriend is deployed, making the distance a whole lot farther between us. Remember my many care packages I’ve been sending since the end of September? I was no math major, but I’m pretty sure the trek from D.C. to Afghanistan is a lot further than my usual commute down to Florida to see James when he’s not on a deployment.

So in other words, I’m becoming an old hat at this long distance thing.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you have to be a good communicator. The phone? It’s your new best friend. Prior to entering this relationship, I shunned the telephone. I still hate talking on the phone, unless you’re my mother or grandparents. Or my boyfriend, but that took a VERY long time of getting used to. I’ve always been more of a face to face or write it down sort of person.

That does NOT fly if you’re trying to build a relationship with someone who’s a thousand miles away from you.

(November 2009)

Eventually they want to hear your voice more than every few weeks, and not just your witty email banter (or maybe I just have the speaking voice of an angel, I’m not sure).

You will probably end up traveling quite a lot, as well. Employees at Reagan National Airport here in D.C. have become familiar faces. I recognize flight attendants on my flights now.

Um. Awkward?

At least in my situation, it was a lot more feasible for me to travel than James, so I have done the lion’s share. I haven’t minded at all, but if you’re about to embark on your own long distance relationship journey, know it can be exhausting and costly.. and it helps to have a flexible work environment. 🙂

Being in a long distance relationship has also thrown some new words into my vernacular… words like “patience” and “flexibility” and “what’s Delta’s 1-800 number?” That’s also all associated with being the girlfriend of a Service member, but it definitely applies all-around. There is a whole lot of delayed gratification that comes along with being long distance, and it forces the question of whether or not a relationship is worth the heave-ho of maintaining.

It is 1000% doable, and possible to develop and grow as a couple regardless of the miles, but you have to be fully committed to that person. Otherwise (in my opinion) you’re wasting each other’s time.

And seriously being patted-down by TSA way more times than is necessary. 😉

(September 2011)

I’m thanking my lucky stars that our distance will be ending this spring!

And now it’s time to eat some faux oats and get to work! TGIF!


Are you or have you ever been in a long distance relationship before? If you’re in one, do you agree with my observations?


Banana bread

Oh, hello, fall!

Pleasure to see you again.

I don’t know about your neck of the woods, but here in D.C. it’s all of  a sudden feeling like autumn.

There’s a crisp chill in the air that, after leaving the gym this morning, had me hankering for a hot pumpkin spice latte (THEY’RE BACK!),  and a slice of warmed banana bread.

Lucky me that I was wise and planned ahead by baking a loaf the other night.

Or, you know, lucky that my bananas go brown at an astronomical rate even though I pound down at least two a day.

Pish posh.

I have been using this recipe for ages, although I honestly cannot recall where I found it originally.

All I do know, however, is that I failed miserably at being that prepared baker the other night, and found myself roaming the streets of Washington, D.C. looking for canola oil and applesauce at 8:30pm.

Oh, and a pan.

Thanks, CVS.

Because I apparently hallucinated when I thought I had brought my to D.C. with me back when I moved here two (almost) years ago.


And then I ran out of vanilla, so I didn’t get to use the usual “half the bottle” technique I generally like to employ in my baked goods.

Anyways, it still came out moist and deliciously sweet, though not too sweet like some of those store bought banana breads. You know what I mean.

Sadly my roomie B doesn’t like bananas – odd that we’re friends considering my two a day habit – so I have a whole loaf to myself.

Oh right- I was supposed to bring some to the office yesterday for a coworker who’s retiring.

Yeah. It was left on my kitchen counter. :-/ Ooops.

Lucky Penpal is getting 3/4 of a loaf today when I arrive in Florida… the rest will be eaten by yours truly.

Okay, who am I kidding? I’ll probably have most of his half of the bread as well. I’m a bottomless pit.

I’m off to the airport. Now it’s your turn- make some today!

Banana Bread


2 egg whites

1/3 cup milk

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 tbsp canola oil

1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour (or you can do 1 cup of all purpose + 3/4 cup whole wheat!), plus extra sprinkle for pan

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2/3 cup sugar

2 very ripe bananas, mashed

1 heaping tsp vanilla

sprinkle of cinnamon, if you please


1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray baking pan with nonstick cooking spray, and lightly flour.

2. In a small bowl, stir together egg whites, milk, oil, and applesauce til well combined. Set aside.

3. In another small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt, and set aside.

4. In a large bowl, beat sugar, banana, and vanilla together on low speed til creamy.

5. Now, add the two other bowls’ contents one at a time, on low speed. Mix til blended and smooth (there may still be a couple of small lumps of banana, but not too much!). At the very end, I like to add a sprinkle of cinnamon (not too much!) for an extra kick because I’m a rebel like that.

6.Pour into prepared pan and bake for 35-45 min, til a toothpick comes out clean from the center. (<–No fail trick!) Let cool before slicing and enjoy!

*Great with a smothering of almond butter!

Let me know if you make it please!

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