Brandi Cooks: Weekend Eating

Sunday, September 29, 2013

As part of my “relaxation” period, this weekend I decided to “relax” by cooking a number of new dishes. Two dishes via my favorite website SkinnyTaste. If I’m going to cook at home, why not try and cook healthy!

This Saturday, the Smithkowski’s watched football at home, so I made lunch, an app and dinner. On Sunday, I cooked up a little dessert. Here’s what I’ve been making.

·         Saturday Lunch: BLT’s with Canadian Maple Bacon on Pretzel Breads. Not so healthy, but all organic (and perfect for watching football since the little pretzel buns look like little footballs). These may have been my favorite thing I made all weekend – no recipe required!

·         Saturday Appetizer: I wanted to vary things up from the usual Buffalo Chicken Dip or Taco Dip, so I whipped up a BBQ Chicken Dip. It's unbaked above and missing the top layer of cheese. The verdict: It was a little too sweet for me. I may try this again with a different BBQ sauce. Oh and I love how this recipe calls for a rotisserie chicken. It used less than half of a $9 Whole Foods chicken, so we have the rest to eat as left overs. I’m also going to put some on a flatbread whole-wheat pizza this week!

·         Saturday Dinner: After I made the BLT’s, I threw the ingredients for some Turkey Chili into my crock pot. Can I pause for a moment that this recipe calls out that it is “Kid-Friendly.” That means if you effe it up, you really may need some cooking classes. It also means that it is SUPER easy to make! It think I would have liked this more if it had some beans OR was a bit more spicy. But as the hubs noted, it was almost better on day 2! Of course I served this with some Whole Foods Cornbread on the side. Yummm.

·         Sunday Dessert: I’m calling this a ½ fail. Today I made Skinny Pumpkin Spiced Snickerdoodles. So I didn’t follow the instructions correctly and my Snickerdoodles aren’t “camera-ready” to make an appearance on this blog. I mean they aren’t overcooked or undercooked, they just aren’t pretty and kinda spread out a little too much. This recipe calls for wheat flour to make them “skinny,” but if I make them again, I may go for the regular flour. They don’t taste bad, but they just taste a little off.

Key Learning from This Weekend: The $9 Rotisserie Chicken from Whole Foods (or your local grocery store) can be totally worth it. Brady put some on his Chili today, so we are getting like a dip and two dinners from one chicken. Shot of Mom has a chicken salad recipe that she makes that calls for Rotisserie Chicken, so hopefully I can get that to share with you all next week! 
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Now That It's Fall, Here's Where I Was This Summer

Saturday, September 28, 2013

When I started this little blog back in 2006, I promised myself that I’d never write a “sorry I haven’t posted in a while” post because:
·         I don’t think I’m that important
·         I don’t think my readers care where I’ve been
·         I don’t get paid to write here
·         I believe in living life offline vs. worrying about my online life

If you ever feel like you need a little Brandi* in your day, you can always follow me on Twitter or Instagram.

This summer I’ve been up to some cool and not so cool things, so I’d thought I’d do a little recap post.


·         I started a new job! I migrated from Public Relations to Social Media/Digital Strategy. It makes me giggle to think that I post once a year on Facebook, yet now post daily on behalf of clients!

·         My computer broke. The screen digitally cracked on Old Blue. Only having one laptop in the Smithkowski house forced me to use the iPad more and I loved it! It was great for reading blogs, but not so great for blogging. FYI – Old Blue is back up and running and this post is coming to you from my boy!


·         The hubs and I celebrated three years of marital bliss with a trip to a local winery and an overnight stay at the beautiful Bedford Springs resort. Highly recommended!

·         This spring/summer, I got really into yoga and even more into buying yoga apparel. Having a Lululemon on my street is super dangerous, but at the same time I find some super awesome deals. Recently though, my yoga pants haven’t made it to a single yoga class (more on that in September).

·         I had the chance to catch some Pirates games this summer. Can you believe the team has had their first winning season in 20 years AND made the playoffs! Heck yeah Bucktober!

·         We celebrated the nuptials of my favorite (and only) brother-in-law Ryan and his beautiful bride Carli. Not only does she also spell her name with an “i,” she also shares a birthday with myself and Brady’s Aunt Chrissy! This was our only wedding this year, after nine last year, and it was awesome!


·         I visited Facebook HQ in Palo Alto. I could go on and on about its amazingness. And yes, I saw Marky Z! (Yes, those photos are from inside the Facebook factory...errr I mean campus. That little red building is the BBQ shack...all food = free to employees & guests!) 

·         I have my first Fantasy Football team and I LOVE it! It also helps that I’m 3-0 right now!


·         We visited the Outer Banks with my family for a week. We haven’t taken a rest & relaxation week-long vacation since 2010, so it was a welcome break to lay on the beach and read books! On the way to the Outer Banks, we stopped in D.C. to do some sightseeing and pick up some Georgetown Cupcakes. YUM!

·         We took a trip to New Jersey to celebrate my sister-in-law Amanda’s birthday and the return of the Miss America pageant to Atlantic City. We attended the “Show Me Your Shoes” Parade. The awesomeness of that deserves its own post at a later date.

Now this brings me back to current posting….I’m on a doctor ordered relaxation because I’m dealing with pneumonia. Relaxing doesn’t come easy to me, so more on that later ; )

So that’s what I’ve been up to! I have a lot of posts that I haven’t completed, so maybe I’ll have some time to finish them now that I’m on “relaxation!” 
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