Wining and Dining with Grocery Outlet

I grew up going to the Grocery Outlet with my mom. As a kid, it was just another grocery store. Now, as an adult? It’s an awesomely priced grocery store that doesn’t “feel” like a discount store – it’s a nice, clean store with tons of well-known brands like Toms of Maine, Kind Bar, Mamma Chia, Land of Lakes, Horizon Organic, Chobani, Driscoll’s, Kelloggs, and more. When Grocery Outlet offered me a chance to check out their new store in Sun Valley, Calif. in exchange for a giftcard, I was in faster than a kitten with a laser pointer.

What are some of the deals we got? Chobani Vanilla Greek Yogurts, for .59c each. A pound of bacon for $2.99. A wheel of French brie for $2.99. Bagged caesar salad kits for $2.49. A pack of 15 Health Warrior Chia Bars for $7.99 (retails for $21!). I spent $100 and came out with a packed cart – and the best part was, we had three bottles of wine, one bottle of prosecco, and two craft beers. (My husband, a homebrewer and beer enthusiast, wanted me to add that he was “very impressed” by the craft beer section.) WineMeDineMeGrocery Outlet is having a wine sale from today through July 26th – and you’ll find deals on wine 50% to 80% off. That’s a huuuuge savings, and if you’re a vino fan like myself, you’ll want to get in on this. Here’s a few notes from sommelier Spreti Valenti on a couple of the wines I picked up:

  • Masquerade Prosecco: Sparkly wine with notes of peaches, yellow apples, and pears. Make a bellini with a spoonful of freshly pureed peaches, and top with prosecco. Cheers! (I’m going to have this on a Friday night while watching Mr. Robot on Netflix.) $7.99.
  • Ol’ Red: Supports local sourcing, with notes of blackberries, raspberries, plum, and leather. Excellent for bold red wine lovers and served with hamburgers or grilled sausages. We picked up some cajun style andouille, and I think serving this with those would make for an excellent Creole night. $3.99. (That’s cheaper than my preferred drink at Starbucks.)

I also picked up a merlot from Toad Hollow, one of my favorite Northern California wineries, and a garnacha called Layer Cake that’s oh so delectable. The hubby picked out some Lagunitas IPA (gotta represent our Petaluma home-base brewery) and a Stone IPA.

As a side note, while you’re stocking up your home bar, you probably want to check out the produce section, as there were some really great prices like 6 lemons for $1.00, and many organic choices, too. They also had Essie nail polishes for $2.99 (usually 8 bucks at Target), and Kiss My Face baby sunscreen for $3.99.

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So whadda ya say? Sounds like a good deal, right? Find out if there’s a Grocery Outlet near you, and go pick up some bubbly or grown-up grape juice today!

Disclosure: I received a gift card in exchange for sharing my thoughts about the upcoming Grocery Outlet Wine Sale and my shopping experience.

A Measured Effort: Weighing out my Weight Loss

Hello!

I love coming here to update when I have good news, and today I have good news. I lost 3.6 pounds last week! HOLLA!

I was thinking about the differences I made on the way home, and I felt like I wanted to write about it because it seems like two pretty simple changes, in the grand scheme of things…

  • I MEASURED nearly everything I ate, with a food scale and/or measuring cups and spoons.
  • I also WORKED OUT with my awesome trainer three times, in addition to two workouts on my own.

These two things were actually pretty easy to accomplish. In one way, yes, measuring out what you’re going to eat is a pain in the ass. But it was eye opening, because what I thought was one tablespoon of Peanut Butter was really two tablespoons. I’m also a chronic overpourer of cereal and several times poured a hefty one and a half cup serving that I would note as one cup. WRONG! Do it again.

And exercise? Before I signed up for personal training I kept thinking, “There’s no way I can exercise three to five times a week at the gym. I just can’t. I work full-time, I’m a wife, I’m a mom,” etc. But the truth is? Just like I make taking care of my daughter a priority, I can make taking care of myself a priority. So I use three lunch breaks a week to sweat it out, and I feel great afterwards – full of energy and ready to tackle my afternoon.

So this week, it seemed simple. I’m sure tomorrow it won’t be simple because some stuff really never is, and I hate it when people say “Weight loss is simple: just eat less and move more.” Though I guess that’s really what I just said I did. HA! Ok, I’m going to bed. Good night! 🙂

Infographic from FitFluential.com

Infographic from FitFluential.com

 

 

I suck at losing weight, but I kick ass at gaining it.

It’s become crystal clear to me that I can’t succeed at everything, and apparently losing weight is just one of those things. But you know what I do succeed at? Gaining weight. I’m so damn good at gaining it, I felt like it was time to write a blog post in my honor.

So you can fit into your jeans from high school? So what, I can fit into my earrings from junior high.

Nobody Cares

You crossfit, you box, you yoga, you run, you swim. I creak.

Sloth

 

You made Paleo pecan crusted salmon for dinner with a side of lemon scented broccolini and washed it all down with cucumber verbena spa water. I mashed my finger into the corner of a chip bag and licked off the salt.

You’re so full you couldn’t possibly eat dessert. I ate all of mine… and the rest of yours, too.

You cried at your Weight Watchers check in when the scale was two pounds higher than usual because you were bloated. I thought, “Oh good, now I won’t really have to lose weight for next week.”

You beamed when you went from a size 14 to an 8. I beamed when my leggings with the threadbare thighs made it another day.

Cheese Fries

You were inspired when Oprah decided to rep Weight Watchers. I wanted her to stay fat.

You were repulsed by the Double Down. I wanted to try it.

You get your dressing on the side. I get my salad as a side.

Pizza

“It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change,” you say. Nope, it’s a diet.

Bullshit

 

You have extra belt to spare when you buckle up. I suck it in and pray it clasps.

Have you checked your Vitamin D levels? Your B12? Your thyroid? All of those are fine, but apparently I’m super deficient in this thing called willpower.Food Delicious

You forgot to eat lunch today? I base my whole day around eating.

You can whistle with two fingers and your mouth? Well, I can do this.11808462_1464347487228092_159316067_n

You love it when your friends bring you wine. I love it when they bring me cupcakes.

Eats

 

Sure, a party sounds fun. *Heads right to the food table*

 

You’re in shape. I’m in shape, too. Round.

 

You breeze through turnstiles at the subway station. I do the hula.

 

So there you have it. You may rock at losing weight, but I’m awesome at gaining it.

 

Happy National Popcorn Day!

When someone asks me the “If you got stranded on a dessert island…” question, one of the foods in my top three foods I’d like to be stuck with is POPCORN. Besides being delicious, it would be kind of a useful thing; I mean, think about it, you could plant the seeds, use them as tiny bullets for a slingshot, and have something to do because you’d eternally be picking hulls out of your teeth. Win win win. Today is National Popcorn Day, and I wanted to celebrate this fine day by sharing a few of my favorite popcorny things.

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First of all, I’m a popcorn purist, meaning no microwave crap here unless I’m in a time crunch. (Heh, crunch. Get it?) I like to make my popcorn the unhealthy way; with one tablespoon of olive oil (or avocado oil if I’m feeling ritzy) in a sauce pan on high, with Orville Redenbacher seeds. I’ve tried so many gizmos and gadgets to make popcorn including air poppers, a borosilicate glass beaker thing, microwaveable bowls, and I keep going back to the old school method. It works for a reason. I find that air poppers make your popcorn have a stale sort of crunch to it, and I want that delicious, squeaky stryofoamy feeling that my teeth sink into.

Here are my favorite popcorn related things!

1) Morton’s Popcorn Salt.

It’s like .99 and super fine salt, ideal for making your own popcorn. The link goes to a big size which explains the $5.99 price tag, but this stuff is the ideal in popcornology.

2) THIS recipe for copycat Garret’s style popcorn. I had a wicked popcorn craving when I was pregnant, and you can only get this stuff in Chicago. Thankfully for me the kind lady at A Spicy Perspective had this recipe waiting.  (Side note: I purchased the cheese powder, and while real foodies among you might go “Cheese POWDER?!”, fear not, it’s actually real Wisconsin cheddar that’s been dehydrated and pulverized. This stuff is delicious for other recipes, like mac n’ cheese, cheesey broccoli, or anything else that would benefit from cheese. That’s most things in life.)

3) As for ready made popcorn, I’m a big fan of the Trader Joe’s Herb Popcorn and Gaslamp’s Cinnamon Caramel Popcorn. Gaslamp sent me a few bags to try, and I had some major problems keeping my hands out of the bag. I served it when some guests were over and we all agreed it had the perfect crunchiness, and the sweetness wasn’t overly cloying. I really liked it and now will be hunting it down. PS – It’s made in California and you can tell it comes to you FRESH. Holla! Give this popcorn a try when you’re in the mood for something sweet. Their white cheddar was also phenomenal! (Keep reading for a chance to try it yourself!)

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I also tried some Boom Chicka Pop Dark Chocolate Caramel Popcorn over Christmas, and man oh man, I can’t have that in the house. That just makes it like crack. As long as I don’t douse popcorn in tons of butter, I don’t feel too guilty having a reasonable serving size of it. (Cough… I mean, I would NEVER eat just a massive bowl of popcorn for dinner. I’m an ADULT! Cough)

Tell me how you feel about popcorn – one of my friends says it smells like feet to him! I almost stopped being his friend. Do you love, like, or loathe the miraculous corny goodness of popcorn? Want to win a three pack from my friends at Gaslamp? Comment with the type of their popcorn you’d like to try most! If you want extra entries, “Like” them on Facebook or Follow them on twitter. Be sure to leave a separate comment for each entry. Giveaway ends 1/26 at 10:00 p.m. 18+ and USA Only. Good luck!

 

 

Smile, because it’s July 1!

Holy cow – how is it July?! ALREADY?! I just got back from Fitbloggin in Denver and am looking forward to sharing photos from that adventure later, but first I wanted to update you on a few things!

1) Tomorrow we get confirmation of our little one’s gender! I’ll be sharing on the blog, so keep your eyes peeled for an announcement. If you’re curious how my pregnancy has been going, I post bumpdates on LaLaLyssa.com when I can.

2) I didn’t get to ride my Pedego as much as I would have liked last week because 1) I was gone and 2) It’s been over 96 degrees here every. freakin. day., but I am squeezing in small rides when I can. Yesterday it was awesome because I realized at 4:45 my rent check was due the next day (OOPS), and I zipped onto my bike to race it over to the post office. Our post office is under construction so the parking is notoriously bad, so I considered it a major win win to avoid parking AND get some exercise. I also got to scope out the crazy dark gray skies brewing in tandem with the 98 degree heat. Tornado weather, anyone?

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Speaking of Pedego, would you guys mind taking ten seconds and VOTING for them to win a Superbowl Commercial? It seriously takes just a second and you don’t have to enter anything like your email or anything. Just click the pretty green button and that’s it! Easy as pie, right? (mmm, pie.) (reminder ‘cuz I like to be upfront and it’s just the good thing to do: I’m a Pedego ambassador and received a bike in exchange for my discussion and promotion of it.)

3) I occasionally get to write for my friends at DietToGo.com, and this week, I shared some summer grilling tips. It was fun playing with new tricks like lemon slices on the grill for fish, and as usual, I enjoyed doing some food photography outside. (PS: Kebabs? One of my favorite things to eat. So light and delicious.) Check it out here, will ya? Use lemon slices directly on the grill to cook your fish!

4) You should watch this video of puppies getting their dinner as they grow over the course of a year. Because it’s adorable, and that’s a good enough reason.

 

Dunkin Donuts comes to Encino… and a Giveaway!

A few days ago I was trollin’ FB as I do, when a post caught my eye. My friend Melissa had posted about a grand opening for Dunkin Donuts in ENCINO! Encino is about 6 minutes from my house. Color me excited! Now, I’m not a huge donut lover (that’s the hubby), even though there’s a donut in the DCD logo. However, I am a huge lover of the occasional delicious treat, and the Dunkin Donuts Chocolate Kreme donut fits the bill! Also, growing up in Chicago, Dunkin Donuts became a landmark of weekends – whenever a dozen donuts showed up at our house, it officially signified the start of a special weekend.

dunkin donuts encino inside store

Dunkin Donuts is now open from 5 AM to 11 pm in Encino, at the intersection of Balboa and Ventura.

I headed over today for the grand opening and got myself some delicious donuts and lunch. For lunch I chose the egg and bacon sandwich on a pretzel roll. Super yummy! I loved the crunch of salt against the chewy pretzel roll. I also got a massive unsweetened iced tea ($1.99, holla), because DD knows their beverages – no watered down tea concentrates here. (Hubby is a fan of the DD coffee). I loved how all of the staff at the Encino DD were friendly, smiling, and hustlin’. It felt like a taste of the Midwest here in LA!

Bacon and Egg Sandwich on Pretzel Roll with Large Iced Tea - yum!

Bacon and Egg Sandwich on Pretzel Roll with Large Iced Tea – yum!

To celebrate the grand opening of Dunkin Donuts Encino, you have a chance to win a $20 Dunkin Donuts Gift Card! You can use this gift card at any location in the United States – hooray! To enter, use Rafflecopter to submit your entries. The give away starts at 12:00 a.m. on 6/10 (Early birds reading this on 6/9: sorry for the delay!). I’ll choose a winner next Wednesday, June 17th. United States only, must be 18+. Good luck – and if you win, get a Chocolate Kreme (or Blueberry Cake!) donut in my honor 😉

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Are you a fan of Dunkin? Visit DunkinDonuts.com to find a location near you 🙂

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Disclosure: I was offered a $10 giftcard for writing this post and the $20 gift card for giveaway. All opinions are my own and I wanted to share as a Midwesterner happy to see some Midwestern food love coming to California 🙂