100th Post Giveaway, Plus Art, Soul and Buitoni!

Hi!! I’m having such a lovely weekend, and I hope that you are too. I’m sorry I didn’t post yesterday, but, as you will see, it was a busy day. Plus, with this being my 100th post, I didn’t want to shortchange it. πŸ™‚

I woke up Saturday to the sound of birds and… buzzsaws. It was warm on Friday evening, and I decided to sleep with the patio screen open to let some fresh air into my winter suffocated apartment. They are building a new hotel next door to my building, and I’ve been hearing all sorts of construction sounds for the better part of a year now. They’ve planted some ornamental trees and it looks like things are in the final stages. I’ll be glad when the racket is done!

I got up and headed over to the farmer’s market. Today, it looked like it usually does when it is in full swing with people, dogs and green things everywhere. There were lots of plants for sale, along with the usual treats. I was most excited to finally score some fresh asparagus!

My HaulI also bought some spring onions, a cucumber, another bag of the gorgeous lettuce mix I tried a few weeks ago, a bunch of pink lady apples, a thyme plant, a mint plant and a sugar snack tomato plant. It’s planting season out on the balcony, and I’ve had such good luck with the plants I’ve gotten at the market in the past. I had a sugar snack cherry tomato plant last year, and it did pretty well in my big balcony pot. I’m hoping for similar results this year!

When I was shopping, I had lunch in mind. Like many foodbuzz featured publishers, I received this package of pasta in the mail the other day to take for a spin:

The MuseI love wild mushrooms, and I was sure to love the taste of these! I thought about different sauces, but decided that, since the pasta was pretty high in calories, I needed to bulk up the meal with a ton of veggies instead. I decided that the beautiful spring green onions and the fresh asparagus from the market would be the perfect complement to the pasta.Β 

PrettyI thought the onions were so pretty! I sliced up all three of these rather large green onions and sauteed them, along with a clove of garlic, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper in a teaspoon of olive oil and a spray of cooking spray. I know that a mix of olive oil and butter is common in cooking, but you get a mix of oil and spray more often in my kitchen. I cooked them low and slow for about twenty minutes. Just look at how bright and green they are!

Light and BrightWhile the onions were in the skillet, the asparagus was roasting in the oven. I love roasting asparagus, and I think the caramelized flavor really adds another element to the vegetable and to this dish!

Roasting the Aspara-guysOnce my onions had cooked down nicely, and the aspara-guys had gotten a nice tan, I mixed the two together. The pasta was nearly done at this point. It only took four minutes for the pasta to boil, which was pretty awesome!

Fresh and Green-- Just Like SpringI loved the bright springiness of this dish, and I also knew that all of these veggies would help to fill me up since I was planning to eat 1/3 of the package of pasta instead of 1/2, which was the amount that the package determined to be a serving. I tossed the two together and ended up with this:

All DoneWhat did I think of the pasta? I loved the wild mushroom filling and the quick cooking time. It was definitely delicious. I do think that it is probably too high in calories (320 for six of the pasta pillow) for me to have on a regular basis. Even so, four pieces of the pasta with all of the veggies, preceded by an apple with cashew butter and followed by dessert kept me full for awhile.Β 

Yum!Speaking of dessert, I tried something I’ve been meaning to try for awhile now:

Dessert!I took one of the remaining pieces of chocolate banana snack cake out of the freezer, cut it in half, and added a layer of mighty maple PB before giving it a 15 second zap in the micro. It was a good as I had suspected, but then, it’s hard to go wrong with chocolate and PB!Β 

After all of that, I made a trip to Whole Foods and then followed that up with a really long, but good, workout. It included time in the gym as well as running outside, which I always prefer to running on the treadmill. I love the calorie burn I get from running, but I just don’t love running all that much. I have my moments where it feels really good, but it’s never my favorite thing. It’s always nice to be outside, however, and, since I haven’t figured out how to elliptical al fresco, I’ll keep running in my mix. πŸ™‚

After that, I hopped in the shower and got ready to go and meet some friends for dinner at this place on Capitol Hill:

Art and SoulWhile I have certainly tried a number of places in DC since moving here in 2004, I have avoided going out as often as I would have liked because I find eating out to be such a challenge on a diet. Now that I’ve tried to take some of the pressure off, I find it easier to go out and to just try to make some smart choices. That doesn’t mean that I’m going to skip dessert, as you will see, but it does mean that I will likely opt for healthier choices in the other courses as a little bit of a compromise. It’s a treat, and one that I think should be enjoyed! I took photos of my dinner, but, since I was trying to be all stealthy and not use my flash, they look kind of weird. I thought I’d share them anyway.

First, I had the arugula salad with blackberries, goat cheese, almonds, watermelon pickles and a blackberry vinaigrette:

SaladThis was a nice big pile of fresh and peppery arugula topped with some of my favorite things. The pickles were sweet and had a bit of spice, but they were different than the watermelon rind pickles we used to make when I was a kid. Ours were cut into cubes, and were bright red in a cinnamony sweet pickle syrup. These were a bit more subtle and were really delicious along with the other components of the salad. I got the dressing on the side, of course, and it was really good. I’m pretty sure it contained fresh pureed blackberries, which would explain the slightly chunky texture, and it was perfectly tangy and sweet. I ate as much of the dressing as I wanted, but that turned out to be only around half of the little dressing container.

I should mention that there were some fun pull apart type garlic rolls before the salad, but they didn’t photograph well at all! They were tasty, and I love the interactive element of pulling them apart and sharing them around the table. Yum!!

For my main course, I had grouper topped with pesto sitting on a bed of buttermilk mashed potatoes and strips of carrot, zucchini and yellow squash. That was all topped off with a carrot cider broth:

GrouperduperIt didn’t look nearly as neon in person. πŸ™‚ I’m not the world’s biggest fish eater (aside from sushi…), but I’ve definitely expanded my fish eating horizons since moving to the east coast. I am honestly not sure that I’ve ever had grouper, but I am certain that I would order it again. The flesh was firm and tender, and the flavor wasn’t fishy or strong at all. It also didn’t hurt that it was sitting on top of a pile of mashed potatoes and surrounded by a sweet carroty sauce. The mashed potatoes are the thing that tempted me the most.

I’d checked out the menu on-line before going to the restaurant and done a bit of research. Nerdy? Prepared! I learned that, of the meats/seafoods featured on the menu, grouper was one of the lowest calorie choices ounce for ounce. Now, if you sit the grouper on top of, say, a stick of butter, it obviously doesn’t matter. This plate seemed reasonable to me, the portion wasn’t out of control, and, most importantly, I enjoyed it while trying something new. Maybe I saved a few calories by ordering the grouper, and maybe I didn’t when the accompaniments were figured in. I just think that making some sort of educated choice made me feel good about my meal. I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with that! I also learned that I like grouper, and next time I see it on a menu, it will be a contender!Β 

Feeling pretty good about my choices, I decided that dessert was a must. That’s no surprise, right? There were some really delicious sounding things to choose from on the dessert menu including an almond pound cake, a bourbon pecan pie and some Pennsylvania Dutch style donuts. At the top of the list was a dessert called “Baby Cakes,” and the caption underneath said that they were the chef’s favorite. This was curious indeed! I asked the server to tell me about them, and, after hearing his description, I knew exactly what I wanted!

Baby CakesI almost always prefer little samples of different things over a big plate of one thing. The baby cakes were perfect for me! Β The little cake in the upper right hand corner involved bananas and a bit of fluffy whipped cream with a hint of mocha? I’m not sure, but it was good. The cake beneath it with the swizzle of glaze is a bit harder to describe. One of my friends had baby cakes as well, and she said it reminded her of coffee cake. I have to agree. I think there was some white chocolate involved and there was some raspberry on the bottom. It was good, and definitely breakfasty. On the bottom left hand corner was a delicate lemon cake with a lemon powdered sugar glaze. I love lemon cake with glaze, and this was one of my favorites on the plate! In the upper left hand corner… carrot cake. Oh my! Just look at the frosting. It was sooooo good! It probably gets my first place ribbon. Top and center was a very dark and rich chocolate cake that won my heart too. I had my baby cakes along with a nibble of another friend’s Pennsylvania Dutch style donuts, and I was a happy girl.Β 

I would definitely recommend Art and Soul for an evening out. The atmosphere was very nice and comfortably casual, and the food was very good. The noise level was low, which made it perfect for chatting with friends, and the service was great too.Β 

So, that about sums up my Saturday. I have some plants to put into pots today and a few more things to do to get ready for the week. I’m thinking about making some cookies today, but I’ll have to get the other things done first. One other thing I have to do today is to tell you about my 100th Post Giveaway!!!

I really enjoy writing my blog, and I’ve gotten to know some very cool people and found some awesome blogs since I started my own back in January. I can’t believe that I’m already at my 100th post! I wanted to have a little giveaway with some of my favorite things as a way of celebrating. Without futher adieu, I give you “Sweetie Pie’s Prize Pack:”

Sweetie Pie's Prize PackI’ve included a box of Kashi Honey Sunshine (my favorite “snacking cereal”), Lesser Evil Black and White Kettle Corn (one of my favorite snacks), a jar of Dark Chocolate Dreams PB from PB& Co. (often part of my morning chocolate and strawberry fix), some chocolate Jay Robb’s whey protein (since I’m a fan of JR, and thought I’d share the love), a jar of the orange fig spread that I adore mixed into my Greek yogurt, one of my favorite little Z bars, and one of my favorite Theo chocolate bars too. These are all things that I love, and I can’t wait to share them all with one lucky winner!! Here’s how to enter:

  1. For one entry, post a comment on this post telling me which of the items you would most like to try, or, which item is already one of your favorites.
  2. For a second entry, If you have a blog, link back to this post and tell your readers about my giveaway. Please let me know that you’ve done so in the comments section. If you do not have a blog, you can e-mail me at melodylawgirl@yahoo.com, with the word “giveaway” in the subject line, and you will receive a second entry.
  3. Finally, you can earn a third entry if you have a blog and you add me to your blogroll. Just let me know that you did so in the comments section.

If you have been reading, but not commenting, now is your chance to say hello!! I’d love to meet you! I will announce the winner next Saturday, and I’ll be receiving entries until midnight on Friday evening, 5/1/09. I can’t believe it’s almost May!!Β 

Now, I’m going to do a bit of balcony gardening. I hope you enjoy the rest of the weekend!! Ciao for now.



Filed under Art and Soul, cooking, D.C., diet, Farmer's Market, Fitness, Food, Uncategorized, Washington, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story

64 responses to “100th Post Giveaway, Plus Art, Soul and Buitoni!

  1. Happy 100th!! Love the farmer’s market! I can’t wait until mine is in full force! Thumbs up to the dessert tasting plate πŸ™‚

    I would love to try the black and white kettle corn! Or the Kashi cereal – I’ve heard fabulous things about that as well!

  2. Happy 100th post sweetie! I would love to try the Z-bar…we donm’t have them anywhere here!

  3. I’ve just started eating cereal again, so I would love to try the cereal.

  4. Ooh, love Jay Robb! Dark Chocolate Dreams PB looks SO.GOOD!!! Oh and cherry and almond chocolate bar, YUM!!!!

  5. plentifulplants

    Happy 100th!

    I’d love to try a Z-bar, and the Jay Robb.

    You’re already on my blogroll, and I’ll link back tonight.

    Good luck with your plants, I just fixed up some window boxes for myself last night too πŸ™‚

  6. I have been dying to get my hands on that dark chocolate pb! Here’s hoping…

  7. I get 3 entries! πŸ˜€
    Ok, first I love the Kashi Honey Sunshine. I think I heard about it here first and was on the search for it. It’s the only thing in the giveaway that I’ve had the opportunity to try. I really want to try that protein powder that you use for your breakfast cookies. Oh and I’ve heard about that kettle corn and would really like to try it too. I want it all! πŸ˜›

    I posted about your giveaway here: http://happytexans.blogspot.com/2009/04/captains-log-saturday-42509.html

    And I already have you on my blog roll. πŸ™‚

  8. 1) Wow! Maybe it’s because I haven’t eaten breakfast yet (slept in) but everything sounds delicious. That black and white kettle corn caught my eye and so did the fig spread. I just bought dried figs because I’ve been craving them.

    2) You’re already on my blogroll!

    3) I’ll link back in my next post. πŸ™‚

  9. Oh wow, totally want to jump on this contest. I haven’t tried any of the products, at all. But I really want to dive into that box of Kashi cereal to feed into my addiction for cereal!

  10. Congrats on your 100th post! I added your blog to my blog roll before I read that it would get an extra entry. (Ummm…does that count for an extra entry? ;)) I found your blog thru Kelly’s link. (sorry for entering, Kelly! ;))

    as for the food I’d most like to try- it all looks great- I’d pick the PB. We are like old Soviet Russia in our PB selections in Canada- little variety and no real low fat variety.

  11. that restaurant looks so cool. I love all the little cakes on the sampler – how fun! And the salad you got sounded really good.

    I like your idea for the pasta, too. I wish I had more so I could try it with asparagus!

    Oh…I have been wanting to try that spread and the chocolate bar ever since I saw them on here πŸ™‚

    I’ll post a link tonight and you’re on my blogroll!

    Happy, happy 100th post!!! πŸ™‚

  12. That black and white kettle corn looks to-die-for!

    I just found your blog via Kelly (Happy Texans) – congrats on your 100th post! And now I’m off to read your archives…

  13. Anne K.

    Happy 100th post! That fig spread looks really good– I’d love to try it!

  14. ikkinlala

    Congratulations on 100 posts! As much as I love chocolate (and I do love chocolate, so all of the chocolate things appeal to me), I think I’d most like to try the orange fig spread.

  15. M

    Happy 100th, Sweetie!!
    I just LOVE Jay Robb, Lesser Evil AND Dark Chocolate Dreams…(thanks to you! πŸ™‚ )…and I’d really like to try to orange fig spread.
    Ohhhh “baby cakes”, it almost made me drool. LOL. We’ll have to go into D.C. sometime and try that restaurant.
    I made the Ambrosia treat yesterday=YUM! πŸ™‚

  16. Asparagus is truly the flavor of spring. It must have been delicious.

  17. Happy 100th! I would love to try the Jay Robb protein and the chocolate dreams PB! Love the Kashi!

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  19. EnglishGarden

    Happy 100th!!! Amazing dessert. There truly is always room for dessert.

    Putting flowers in pots has been a part of my weekend also.

    Thinking about the Protein Powder.

  20. AAH CONGRATS!!!! 100th post already?! Crazy and exciting! I always look up menus online too, its a great WW habit I’ve picked up. My favorite of your favorites? The Dark Chocolate Dreams, for sure! Though I do want to try the kettle corn…

  21. oh, and you’re already in my blogroll! (you can delete this comment :))

  22. Happy 100th post! The orange fig spread sounds like something that I would really enjoy πŸ™‚

  23. yayyy!! Congratulations my dear on your 100th!! wahoo!! What a fabulous giveaway too!! I deifnitely hands down most want to try the dark chocolate dreams pb WITHOUT A DOUBT! but it was super hard picking between that and kashi sunshine! you rock! I’m linking back on my next post. πŸ˜€

  24. I would love to try the protein powder! Nice give away!

  25. Pingback: Banana Wheat Bran Scones and a New Favorite Eatery! « Just Sweet Enough

  26. I always check menus before we go to a restaurant πŸ˜‰ Maybe we’re nerdy but we know what we like, right?!
    Happy 100th!

  27. gretchen

    oooh yum! i’ve been wanting to try the kashi honey sunshine – everyone raves about it! great giveaway πŸ™‚

  28. Dark chocolate dreams pb is my favorite and I’d love a jar!! Congrats on the 100th post!

  29. Amanda

    Love the blog. I was just directed to this one.

    Would love to be part of the giveaway. I would like to try the Kashi Cereal or the Z-bar. Actually, would like to try the Chocolate PB too!! Thanks!

  30. CherBear

    The fig spread is my favorite of the items I’ve had before. The one I’d most like to try is the J Robb protein mix. πŸ™‚
    Congrats on your 100th post!

  31. That chocolate bar would be at the top of my list!!

    And you are on my blogroll!!

  32. beautiful market produce!!

    and loooovely selections for your giveaway πŸ™‚ i think i’m most excited to try the cherry almond dark chocolate, yummm!

  33. Keegan

    OOoooo, definitely want to try the cherry/almond dark chocolate, drool worthy!

  34. Tim

    I need to visit for dinner again soon; so many good looking items.

  35. Pingback: Not-Sagna, The Vegetarian Edition » What’s For Dinner?

  36. Pingback: Free fruit (and chocolate)! « Plentiful Plants

  37. Congrats on your 1ooth post – very exciting! I’d love to try the chocolate peanut butter – YUM!! I’m having a giveaway right now too – check it out if you get a chance πŸ™‚

  38. Have fun planting the balcony garden – I can’t wait to see the pictures of it once you’re done.

    Thanks for sharing such a fun contest with us in honor of your 100th post. Very sweet of you.

    1. I LOVE the Lesser Evil B&W Kettle Corn, which I found out about from you! I’m looking forward to trying some of the orange fig spread, since I love figs.

    2. (Since I’ve had you on my blogroll, does that count?)

    3. I’m about to mention your giveaway on my blog right now.

  39. Pingback: Go checkout JustSweetEnough - another great giveaway « Bella on The Beach

  40. chickie

    Congrats on your 100th blog!!! You make being healthy sound fun and exciting. Thanks! We love the baked turnips and asparagus these days. Um…chocolate bar!

  41. You are on my blogroll πŸ™‚

  42. Renee G

    Since we had dinner a while ago, I’m not really hungary, but the dark chocolate with almonds and cherries looks awesome. I’d also like to try the Kashi cereal since it is one of their flavors that I haven’t tried yet.


  43. Erin

    I love all of those things that I’ve tried! I’ve actually always wanted to try that popcorn but haven’t found it, so I guess that would be the most exciting!

  44. Kashi Honey Sunshine I would love to try. Will check out other entry requirement. You are already on my blog list and reading list.

  45. Jacquelyn

    I love the roasted asparagus and I bet it tasted so good being fresh and all from the market. I cant wait till mine opens up too. And kashi sunshine is deffinately one of my favorite snacking cereals too πŸ™‚ soo adicting.

  46. Here is my linkback.


    Thanks I am just learning how to do some of this stuff. Carol

  47. Congrats on your 100th! I hope to be there soon myself. I just found your blog today and I added you to my reader. It’s a great blog, so please keep going and going!

    I would love to try the chocolate peanut butter. Yum!

  48. Yay for your 100th post!

    I’ve tried and loved the Z bars and the Dark Chocolate Dreams PB. I would love to try the orange fig spread.

    I added you to my blogroll and linked back to your post:


  49. Zoe

    Oh!!! I have wanted to try that Jay protein powder for a long time, I would love to win!!!

  50. I love the Honey Sunshine as a snack too. But the Dark Chocolate PB is what caught my attention…how can that possibly be bad? That sounds great!

    I’ve added you to my blogroll and linked back to your post.

  51. Adrienne Hodson

    My sister let me know about your blog, after boring her with talk of “points”, during our last visit. I can’t wait to read all 100 posts! I have tried the fig spread (with PB of course, I am a peanut butter girl too). I am most interested in trying the whey powder and the Z bar. I have experimented with bars and powders before and have come across some bad ones! It’s nice to get a thumbs up from someone, before spending money.

  52. Claudia

    HI! I just started reading your blog (I found it when I was looking for recipes for roasted sugar snap peas) and I love reading about your meals!

    I would love the peanut butter–but the chocolate bar is a close second!

  53. Pingback: Wednesday Reruns and a Giveaway Reminder! « Just Sweet Enough

  54. Oh I totally want to try the Dark Chocolate Dreams PB! Where do you get it? Whole Foods perhaps?

    The Kashi Cereal is def a great snack food. I just picked up a new box actually.

    I have added you to my blog roll AND you will be in tonights post!!

  55. Emmy

    Kashi Honey Sunshine is already one of my favorites. So light and soft, the pillows of cereal are delicious in the morning and right out of the box!

    I really want to try the protein powder, as I am exploring new ways to get protein in AND I want to try Dark Chocolate Dreams PB! It sounds so incredibly yummy, and the only PB I’ve had so far is plain.

  56. Linked back in Fridays post!

  57. Alyssa

    I’d like to try the dark chocolate PB. All of the PBs you post about sound awesome, and they aren’t at my local safeway. I’m passing your blog on to yet another friend who is on WW and is looking for great recipes!

  58. OMG I am dying to try the lesser evil kettle corn. YUM!!!!

  59. You are being featured at the top of Uncovering Me!


  60. I think the protein powder. I have seen this kind, but never tried it!

  61. Kate

    Congrats on 100 posts!! I just came across your site tonight in the nick of time!
    I am a huge fan of Dark Choco PB, but after seeing Jay Robb so favorable enjoyed on lovINmytummy I would LOVE to try it!
    Thanks πŸ™‚

  62. debby

    Just found your blog. It looks interesting. I think you like food almost more than I do!

    Hope I”m in time to enter for the giveaway!!

  63. fat2fitmama

    Just found you tonight! Hooray for 100 posts! I am eyeing the kettle corn, but would be happy with anything πŸ˜‰ Thanks, I’ll be following your blog from here out!

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