Dear Sodastream, I think I love you!

Friday, August 31, 2012
I was first introduced to Sodastream a few Christmas's ago. I thought it would be the perfect gift for my Step-Dad who drinks a lot of soda water with his vodkas. I never imagined owning one myself until Gabe & I moved in together. I am not a soda drinker, I have 3 staple drinks: coffee, sparkling water & wine. Gabe on the other hand drinks a ton of soda. At times, we would have four 12 packs junking up the pantry. After seeing a Sodastream demo, we became more than intrigued with the machine. We are now proud owners of one and here is why:
Besides the above four benefits, what ultimately sold us on the Sodastream was the nutrition factor. That and they have their own version of Red Bull. Check out the Cost difference, $0.25 for Red Bull vs. $2.00! I also never have to worry about my sparkling water going flat.

Today, I will review and compare Soda Stream's Fountain Mist to Mountain Dew.

Calories 35
Sodium 45mg
Carbohydrates 8g
Sugars 8g


Mountain Dew 12oz Can
Calories 170
Sodium 65mg
Carbohydrates 46g
Sugars 46g

I must add that Sodastream tastes exactly like Mountain Dew. I did a blind taste test on Gabe, who drinks Mountain Dew all the time. He thought the Fountain Mist was Mountain Dew. When we saw the demo, of Sodastream, we learned that the flavors contain no high-fructose corn syrup aside from less sugar, calories, carbohydrates and sodium than national drink brands. Each bottle of concentrated sodamix makes the equivalent of 12 liters (33 cans) of soda! 

Follow Sodastream on Twitter
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I planned on making you all a video of myself making sodastream. On that note, I will leave you with their stock video!


August Foodie Pen Pal Reveal Day

This will be a two part reveal day. Kaylie from Skinny Muffin selected me while I selected Shera who does not have a blog, so she will be sharing what she received from me on my post.

What I received:

Kaylie's blog has some great healthy recipes so make sure you check it out. She introduced me to my now favorite granola, Natures Path Pumkin Flax Granola. I LOVE THIS STUFF. I took influence from Foodie Penpals master Lindsay and made frozen Greek yogurt cups. I added some of this granola,  a few chocolate chips and honey and froze it for an hour. It was an awesome snack.

The Peanut Butter Luna bar was very good. I have not had that flavor before.

I love chai tea so I was excited to receive the Yogi box. It is the perfect drink for a rainy day.

Thank you Kaylie!

From Megan to Shera

Thanks Megan!!! This has been a terrific first Foodie Penpal experience.

I have not tried everything yet. I am trying to pace myself :). I have thoroughly enjoyed the Zico chocolate coconut water, Pop chips, cashew butter, nutrition bars, and PB2. I am looking forward to trying the mango salsa with whitefish like you suggested. As soon as I receive my monthly shipment of protein powder, I will mix it with the cashew almond cream for my daily shake. I have had Justin's almond butter before. I love it on toast or smeared on a banana. Yum!!! You set the standard high, Megan! 

Many thanks from your new friend, Shera.

If you are interested in becoming a foodie pen pal (which I strongly encourage), contact Lindsay at the Lean Green Bean. Here is a link to the registration sheet.


Guest Post by Keri - Chicago & a Car Accident, Exercise Interruption

Thursday, August 30, 2012
Two weeks ago I was involved in a car accident on my way to work. I was t-boned and slammed into a concrete pole. Thankfully I walked away with a few bangs and bruises but my car's outcome is still questionable. After the accident, I was unable to workout for over a week. In fact, the first time I was able to lace up my shoes and go for a run was in Chicago where I ran along the Chicago River. I wish this was my view everyday.
Due to my vacation and my car accident, I only ran twice in the matter of 3 weeks. This was really difficult for me as I usually work out 5-6 times a week. I did walk a lot while in Chicago so I was a little surprised when I stepped on the scale to learn that I gained 3 pounds! After returning home from vacation, I have gone back to my strict schedule of working out and have been watching what I eat. I have lost 1.5 lbs already. It is a frustrating feeling to gain weight from a vacation. Looking back, I could have eaten a little healthier, but it was worth it and you only live once.
My favorite meal of the trip was the Nutella Crepe at Yolk
I am not a hot dog girl but as they say "When in Rome Chicago...." 
A vacation is not complete without a Cosmo, which I drank on top of the Hancock Building 
I created my own cupcakes at Grand Lux Cafe!
I was in Chicago the same time as the Tri Convention! I scored a new pair of spin shoes and spin shorts. 
 And they say Disney is the happiest place on earth! 
On a side note, I did swim yesterday for the first time in 2 weeks. My coach, Steve Lochte let me know that his son Ryan was in Chicago the same time as me. Running into Ryan Lochte would have made my trip complete!

Wednesday Giveaway - Sweat Blocking Halo Headband

Wednesday, August 29, 2012
I was recently introduced to Halo Headbands by my best friend and guest blogger, Keri. Up until recently, I never had problems w/ sweat running into my eyes while running. I had LASIK done in February and I assume my contacts prevented the sweat from hitting my eye. Gabe on the other hand complained a lot about this issue. I didn't understand what he was going through until it happened to me. Holy eye stinging. It's worse than cutting onions (another thing that didn't bother me until post LASIK)!

When Keri mentioned she a headband that has Sweat Block Technology, a water-tight seal on the inside that channels sweat to the sides, out of your face, even if it becomes saturated, I became a little skeptical. We live in Florida. How is a headband going to prevent sweat from dripping down your face? 
It works. not only does it work, they are comfortable. I have so many headbands that I don't wear because they are too big, too tight and don't stay in place. After a 6 mile run, we had no sweaty eye issues and I didn't have a headache from my headband (there is no elastic!). I thought maybe I didn't sweat enough....until I took it off. HA. The band was saturated!

Gabe tried out the Halo I Tie version

And I tried the Halo II Pullover

What's even cooler? Halo does custom printing! This would make a perfect accessory for your next event.

Here is your chance to win a halo headband of your own, your choice of a Halo I or Halo II in any color! Check out Halo's selection of products on their website here. You can also follow them on facebook here.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Love With Food - August Box & Discount Code

Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Hi my name is Megan and I have a subscription box problem. It is coming to the point where I may need an intervention. I was introduced to the nice ladies of Love with Food while at BlogHer12 and instantly fell in love with their concept. Like other subscription boxes, you pay a monthly flat rate and once a month you will receive a box of surprise items at your door What is unique about Love with Food is that your monthly subscription fee of $11 is actually donating one meal to a child in need. So this is more than sampling new items that haven't hit the shelves.

You can sign up for your own monthly Love with Food box by clicking here. Save $2 off your fee with the code auglove. September's box is going to be curated by Stephanie Quilao of Back In Skinny Jeans, featuring her favorite pre and post workout snacks. I cannot wait!!

August's box was themed around Travelin' Treats. Of course Gabe instantly wanted to know what items in the box were his.
Love with Food August Box
Travelin' Treats
Inside the box were skinny dipping pretzels (cute name!) paired with a East Shore Key Lime Mustard.
Two Sun Flour Baking Company Vegan Cookies - Peanut Butter and Lemon
Sconza Coconut Toffee Peanuts (100% all Gabe's)
Cherry Bay Orchards Dried Montmorency Cherries

In the box was also a gin gins ginger caramel candy and tangerine glee gum.

Ginger Soy Chicken with Cucumber Salad

Monday, August 27, 2012
One of my go to easy weeknight recipes is Ginger Soy Chicken by Tyler Florence. It is always a fresh healthy meal. I like to pair it with raw cucumber noodles. I recreated Tyler's recipe since we live in a condo and do not have a grill.

I start off by marinating the chicken, the longer it sits in the soy concoction the better (see the recipe below). I also reserve 1/8 cup of the marinade to bake with the chicken at 400 degrees for 25 min. I also cut Tyler's liquid recipe down and use extra ginger.

Making the cucumber noodles is super easy if you have a palm veggie peeler. If you do not have one of these little contraptions, I suggest ordering one now. That guy is my life saver during the holidays. You peel and discard the skin off the cucumber. Continue peeling the cucumber into a bowl to make noodles until you see the seeds show through.
1 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 cup dark sesame oil
1 lime, juiced
4 inches fresh ginger, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin

Combine all of the ingredients to make the marinade and reserve 1/8 a cup. Let chicken sit in the marinade for 12-24 hours. Bake the chicken for 25-30 min at 400 degrees with the reserved marinade.  Serve the baked chicken over a bed of cucumber noodles. Top with some additional cilantro.

Fitness Week in Review, zombies and politicians

Sunday, August 26, 2012
I'm not going to bore you with my weeknight runs but here is the proof.

Now we are going to move on to Sunday. We live in Ybor City, one mile from Channelside, which is where the 2012 RNC is taking place. Oh and in case you haven't heard, there is a storm abrewing named Issac. I knew we had to get a minimum of 6 miles in this morning due to the winds and rain that will be upon our city soon. 

We started off strong. It probably had something to do with the wind pushing us. Mile one came in at 8:30, which is a PR for me. Mile 2, 9:15! We made our loop to Harbor Island and it was literally something out of a movie. Road barricades & National Guard with guns is what we were welcomed with. We saw more men walking dogs that ever before and I know they weren't Harbor Island residents. We did our loop around the island and the bridge going back into downtown was shut down. Guess what? The 20mph winds were no longer on our backside pushing. Joke is now on us! 
I am very happy we got our run in this morning. I got a few shots of the action in downtown. My favorite was the armed Coast Guard rescue boat in the harbor. When we were running over the Harbor Island bridge, I had a strange sensation that we were in the pilot episode of The Walking Dead. Helicopters everywhere, no traffic on the streets, howling wind, crows flying all over making noise, armed forces at every corner. It was just odd. I was waiting on Rick (Andrew Lincoln) from The Walking Dead to show up on a horse. This is the city we run in 3 times a week and it felt like we were living another life. At our first walk break, Gabe said the exact same thing about The Walking Dead. I think we watch too much TV.
After several zombie references, we saw the strangest thing all day. A bus with a president zombie on it. Seriously I cannot make this stuff up: A Zombie For President. Dish has caused up quite a stir and one of the networks they cancelled is The Walking Deads home, AMC. We really did have a Zombie day! I got so excited to get a shot of the bus that I prematurely hit my camera button.
Has a storm or special event ever affected your training? 

Drinking for a Good Cause

Saturday, August 25, 2012
If you have been to Datz over the past week, you may have noticed a new drink on their menu, The Pink Ginger Martini. This cocktail was created by Heather, Datz Director of Fun for The Pink Martini party at the Florida Aquarium. This event is taking place September 18, 2012 and will benefit the Susan G. Komen Florida Suncoast Race for the Cure! With every ticket to the event, you will receive two of these delicious cocktails made with 360 Vodka. You can also fancy your taste-buds by visiting Datz and ordering one there.
We are excited and grateful to have Datz on board to create the martini's for The Pink Martini party. You can purchase tickets to the event by clicking here. The event is coming together with an amazing fashion show, live auction and a menu hand selected by Todd of Tasting Tampa. Trust me, this is an event you do not want to miss!

Come Party with the Penguins!

The RNC comes to Cigar City. What to eat while in Tampa

Thursday, August 23, 2012
Tampa is buzzing with the RNC. You cannot go anywhere without seeing decorated elephants, American flags and the word delegate posted on every billboard in town. I live within a mile of the heart of the RNC and the next few days will be very interesting and I am sure I will have plenty of photos to share next week. Although my cousin is in the State Senate, I am not making a political stand on my blog. It is one of the subjects that I stay far away from but with that said, this next week will be exciting, hectic, chaotic and interesting to say the least.

If you are in town for the RNC, make sure you are familiar with the road closures. Downtown and Channelside do not have a ton of parking. For the locals, Friday August 24th through Friday August 31st, new traffic patterns are set in Downtown. The parking garages in downtown have limited access.

I luckily live in Ybor City and will be taking the Teco Street Car to go see the madness. Street car service will only operate from Station 1 to Station 8. If you visiting, tke some time to see the history Tampa has to offer. You must visit Historic Ybor City. I have a Foodspotting Guide for Ybor City which you can check out here. As an Ybor resident, I strongly suggest the following.

El Puerto El Puerto Argentinean Grill on Urbanspoon
Grab a 22oz Churrasco steak at El Puerto. This place is as authentic as they come with the best chimichurri in town. The ceviche is also to die for. Wash it down with a pitcher of sangria or authentic cafe con leche. Note, while the food is great, service is a little slow. So if you are in a hurry, you can order yours to go. This is one location I always tell visitors and new residents to check out.
Columbia Restaurant Columbia Restaurant on Urbanspoon 
Tampa is home of the Cuban Sandwich and we just broke the world record for largest Cuban sandwich. Needless to say, you must have a Cuban sandwich while in town. Visit the Columbia Restaurant in Ybor for lunch (make sure you have reservations). I suggest lunch since it will be a little less hectic and this is one restaurant you want to see while in town. While there, if you can partake in adult beverages, grab a pitcher of house sangria. I demand that you ordedr the 1/2 cuban sandwich and 1905 Salad combo. I have dreams about that salad. The Sangria is pretty tasty as well.
Columbia Cuban Sandwich and 1905 Salad lunch combo
Pitcher of House Sangria
El Molino El Molino on Urbanspoon 
 Grab a cup of Cafe Ybor or Cafe con Leche at El Molino. They mill their own coffee here and (Note: they close daily at 2:30 and are not open on Saturday and Sunday). This is great coffee. Luckily for us, they sell it by the bag so we can make our own at home.

Demmi's Market on 7th Demmi's Market on 7th on Urbanspoon
For you late nighters, grab a slice of Pizza from Demmi's Market on 7th. Best pizza in town. This is a bar, not a pizza joint. You can get your pizza to go or eat it at one of the few tables. Demmi's is open daily at 5:00 and has live music and comedy shows. This pizza is out of control, with tons of garlic. Garlic in their sauce, garlic oil on the crust. This is one of the only pizza crusts I actually eat. My boyfriend and I can shamelessly put down an entire large pizza between the two of us. It is that good.
Demmi's Market Pepperoni Pizza
Datz Deli Datz Tampa on Urbanspoon 
Moving outside of Ybor and into Tampa, you must try Datz. This is the one place we take everyone when they visit Tampa. You can read my review of Datz here. I love their Tweet and Waffles (chicken & waffles). Their bar menu is also superb. They put Bacon in their bloody Mary's. Got your attention now?
Datz Chicken and Waffles
Bacon Bloody Mary - Datz a Mary

Yummy House Yummy House China Bistro on Urbanspoon

Check out the Yummy House on Hillsborough and start off with Salt & Pepper calamari. The garlic topping is addicting. For your entree, you cannot go wrong with Duck Fried Rice (you will thank me later) and Hot and Sour soup. Yummy House has Dim Sum on their lunch menu and everything I have tried has been wonderful
Salt and Pepper Calamari
Hot and Sour Soup

A few other notables in town:
Edison Food + Drink Lab A new restaurant with a well known chef in Tampa. The duck confit foie gras tacos are to die for.
Side Berns Beautiful restaurant who has one of the best happy hour in town daily from 5-7 + their menu changes monthly.
Oystercatchers Grab some oysters over an amazing sunset. They also have the best champagne brunch you will find in town.
Timpano's Where I go to feel like I was personal friends with Frank. Excellent martini list, live music and the food is always great. Twice I have seen Tampa Lightning players dining at the bar.

You can also click on the Tampa Dining page within my blog to see my reviews on Tampa Bay restaurants.
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