Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Week 4 Donut Review: Ex Cop Donut Shop

Ex Cop Donut Shop is located in Oakville, Missouri. It's owned by, used guessed it, two ex cops! How fantastic is this name? They have a shirt in their shop that said, "How many donuts have you had tonight?" I kind of need that shirt. The open sign says "On Duty." Love it.



Ex Cop didn't have any coconut cake so I settled for the white iced cake. The donut is a decent size, but seems a bit thin compared to a lot of other donuts. I don't think it was less of a product but shaped differently. Not a negative attribute just something I observed. The icing is on the thin side. I'm not a fan of sweet icings and this was probably the sweetest I've had so far. Mind you, this is totally a personal preference and I know there are many people who enjoy that type of icing. The icing didn't have much of a vanilla taste, but almost a powdered sugar taste to it. The cake was delicious. The texture was a spongy but didn't detract from the taste of the donut.
My Score 2.5 stars out of 5: The actual donut was very good, but the icing definitely took a way from the over all score for me.


The custard donut is a decent size and doesn't have a uniform shape, which I really love for some reason. I love that it's not too perfect. The icing coverage on this donut is good and the color is lighter. The icing was the sweeter variety that doesn't have a lot of chocolate punch to it. Again, not bad, just a small let down for my chocoholic self. The dough is great. It's very light and airy and tastes very good. Not too sweet. The custard tastes phenomenal but was a little lacking. I had to take three bites before I struck gold. 
My Score 3 stars out of 5:  As you can imagine, the icing brought this score down a bit, but the rest of the donut was pretty fantastic. I was pleasantly surprised. A good custard donut is very hard to find.


The glazed donut is also a good size. It doesn't appear to have a very thick glaze. Ex Cop has done a great job with their yeast base. The glazed donut was light and airy also. I love that quality. The glazed ended up being a bit thicker than I had first thought it would be. It was slightly sweet, but not too strong since the dough is on the neutral side. It worked for me.
My Score 3.5 stars out of 5: The glaze on the donut was a bit thick, but this was still very good. You'd be surprised at how many bad glazed donuts I have had in my life time. This was not one of them. A+


Mister said the blueberry fritter didn't taste like a fritter. It had more of a donut consistency. They didn't skimp on the blueberries and the glaze was a little thick and on the sweet side as with the glazed donut.
His Score 3 stars out of 5: If this were a donut instead of a fritter, it would have been at least 4 stars. While it was lacking in fritter qualities, it was still very tasty and cooked very well. 


Ex Cop Donut Shop is still a young business, only starting about a year and a half ago, but they sure know what they are doing when it comes to making tasty donuts. I look forward to trying more in the future.

**Not reviewed for this blog but worth mentioning is Ex Cop's bacon maple donut. It was probably my favorite of the purchases I made. The maple icing was awesome and the bacon was cooked to perfection. I've had bacon donuts before that were heavy and greasy. This was not the case for this one. You should really give it a try!**


Monday, October 28, 2013

Workouts for Week of 10/20/2103

This was the first week I started up with my new training plan. I haven't committed to a race yet, but this set up is the one I will use when I finally make that choice, with the exception of running Friday instead of Saturday. I was drained after a long week Friday and I just didn't have a run in me that day. I'm obsessive and made it up on Saturday. Good life choice.

Sunday I slacked off a bit. I didn't even intend to run. I pulled a muscle in my leg, and it was bit tight. My original plan was to just walk. The muscle loosened up a bit, so I said screw it and ran 2.5 miles. Another good life choice.

I stuck to flat terrain this week to give my legs a break. I don't want to over do it right out the gate like I typically do. I hope to incorporate some speed work in the coming weeks. It's a bit defeating to see my times are slower than my training runs for the half back in June, but I know I have to ease into things. It'll all come back in time. Hopefully, I'll be even faster. :)


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

LCJ

diet 
       n.  the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats
       n.   a special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons.
       v.   restrict oneself to small amounts or special kinds of food in order to lose weight

I don't care to use the word diet as a verb. Dieting typically means a short period of time. Nothing lasting. What do you do after you've reached your goal? Start eating all of the bad foods again? It's very possible you'll put on any of the weight you may have lost. So, you diet again? Sounds more like torture to me.

I didn't diet. I started a Life Changing Journey.

I embarked on my LCJ a couple of years ago. It was a decision I made to make permanent, lasting changes to my lifestyle. Many of my friends and family would comment about me dieting. I'd politely tell them I wasn't dieting. This was a new life for me. I was going to stick to this. Yes. I am making changes to my actual diet (the foods that I eat), but I plan to make them last a lifetime.

The first step I took was cutting out the snack type foods and processed foods. This was very difficult for me. I stopped buying potato chips, cookies, etc. I couldn't have those in the house for the kids because I knew that I would eat them. I felt like I was punishing the kids. Why should they go without just because I'm trying to be healthy. Uh. Hello? They don't need that junk either! They weren't being punished. They were learning new, healthier habits as well. Do we eat chips and cookies? Occasionally, but they aren't items we keep on hand regularly.

Another important key to a successful LCJ? Exercise. I didn't want to do it. I had no desire to sweat it out, but I wasn't seeing results in the mirror or on the scale. Something had to change. So, I started moving. It doesn't matter if you bike, walk, run, skate, hop, jump. Your speed doesn't matter. As long as you are moving, you're going to see results.

If you're not happy with the way you look or the way you feel, start a LCJ. Don't diet. Dieting is temporary and will leave you more frustrated over time.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Week 3 Donut Review: The Donut Stop

The Donut Stop is a local shop that first opened it's doors in 1953. In 2012, they opened a second location in St. Charles. I had no clue this little gem even existed and went at the suggestion of my friend. This place is busy every single time we visit. The only time I didn't wait in line was when I traveled in six inches of snow to grab the sweet fried delights. Hey. I told you I love donuts.

On to the yummies!



The coconut cake donut is first up. Visually, this donut looks good. It's a reasonable size with a fair amount of icing and coconut topping. The cake portion of this donut is fantastic. The outside is a bit of a crunch to it, but don't let that fool you. The cake inside is moist and delicious. The flavor is perfect and not too sweet. The icing tastes wonderful. It's not incredibly sweet and the coconut is not over powering at all.
My score: 5 out of 5 stars: I wouldn't change a thing about this donut. I really enjoy the crispness of the exterior of the cake donut. If ever there were a perfect sugary confection, this may very well be it.


The custard donut doesn't disappoint. It's a bit on the smaller side as far as a yeast donut goes, but not so small that I feel like I'm getting ripped off. The icing is a rich, dark color and covers the donut nicely with no bare spots. The dough is very light and again the exterior has a bit of that crunch the cake donut has, which I love. There's an ample amount of custard and it's a fairly good quality. The icing is perfect. It's the type that isn't too sweet and sugary which we all know by now, I favor.
My score 4.5 stars out of 5: The only thing stopping me from giving the custard a perfect score is the size. If you love a good custard donut, you MUST try this one.


The photo of this glazed donut doesn't do it justice. The glazed is a great size and the color is perfect. It doesn't appear to have a thick glaze. Oh. My. Word. This donut is so light and airy. It almost melts in your mouth. The glaze is delicious and not thick at all. It compliments the dough perfectly which has an almost buttery taste. 
My score 5 stars out of 5: Whoa. I've never been left speechless by a donut, but this one sure did just that. It was perfect.



Hubby grabbed a blueberry fritter instead of the apple, but I felt we could still review it even though it's comparing red delicious apples to gala apples. 
Would you look at that thing?? Now, THAT'S how a fritter should look. It has the great crispy, bubbly texture that really makes a fritter. The glaze is visible but doesn't appear to be thick. Hubby has deemed this a perfect fritter. The glaze coverage is decent but not too sweet. The consistency is excellent and doesn't appear to by doughy or cakey but a nice cross between the two. There's a good amount of blueberries too, but not overwhelming.
Hubby's score 5 stars out of 5:  Hubby grew up in a town with an excellent bakery and they had fritters that were hard to top. He said this is one of the best he's ever had. 

The Donut Stop did not disappoint at all. One thing I can say, they have a very consistent product. It is not uncommon to have a mediocre experience one visit and an out of this world experience the next when it comes to donuts. The grease may be too hot or cold. The dough to heavy or light, but that's not the case with The Donut Stop. When you have been serving up donuts for over 60 years, you develop quite the knack for it I'm sure.

If you're in the south county area, you have to stop by and give these donuts a try.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Bits of Tid

First, an apology. I'm so sorry to not have my donut post up for you. I was incredibly busy this past week. Please forgive me. I should have it ready by tomorrow evening at the very latest.

Bits and pieces from the last week:

Running. I finally got back to running on Wednesday. I had taken a week and a half off. My knees and hip were not very happy with me. My body is not equipped to exercise six times a week. I previously ran four days and biked two days. I thought biking was an easy exercise and wouldn't bother me. Wrong. After, talking with my aunt, I've decided to revamp my schedule. I have my eyes on a couple of marathons in April. I will only run four days a week and will add some core work also. I think this will be a recipe for success.

Baseball. The St. Louis Cardinals were battling for the Nation League title. I was obligated to listen to the games! I'm happy to announce they clinched another pennant and will be playing in another World Series! This has made for some very late nights. Coupled with early mornings, I have been draaaaaaaaaging the past week. I hope I am able to catch up on some sleep some day.

Baseball. Tater had a tournament this weekend. I'm really impressed with how much his defense has improved. It really looks like everything is starting to click for him. His hitting is off. He seems to be doing too much in the box. We need to take him out and get him back to the basics then build from there.

Work. Work has been crazy! A good crazy. I'm busy from the minute I get there until the last second I leave. I may do a few things at home too because I just can't leave well enough alone. You can't expect me to leave something half finished.

School. Homework is rough. D3 has about an hour of work every single day. This also happens to be the time I have to prepare dinner. Unfortunately, D3 needs a lot of direction while doing his homework. Many times Grace will step in and help out. She's awesome. This is good for another reason. I have no patience with my children when it comes to homework. I get frustrated very quickly. It's nice when the Mister is home. He's a trooper which is ironic because he has a very short temper when it comes to many other aspects of life. :)

I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend. It was a beautiful one here in the St. Louis area!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Week 2 Donut Review: Harter Bakery

This week's bakery is Harter Bakery located in Imperial, Missouri. Harter Bakery is best known for it's delicious cakes. If there's an event to celebrate in the area, most likely, you'll be eating a cake from Harter Bakery.


The cake donut is up first. I was a little disappointed Harter Bakery doesn't have a coconut donut, but alas, I persevered. This donut is quite small. As you can see, there's not a lot of icing. The icing is very good. Not super sweet, which I prefer. The cake is very moist and spongy. The cake has a brighter taste. I'd say maybe a hint of lemon.
My score: 1 of 5 stars I wasn't a huge fan of this donut. The size and the lemon taste were deal breakers for me.


Time for custard! As with the cake donut, this one appears to be a bit on the small side. Other than the size, this donut looks good. The icing coverage is good and it's dark which has me hopeful that it's not super sweet. The dough for this donut is average. It's not dense, but not as soft as I like. The custard was just average for me. It didn't wow me. There wasn't a whole lot of custard either. It's possible this one was just a dud as far as the amount goes. The icing was FANTASTIC. Deep chocolaty flavor, and not sugary at all.
My score: 3 of 5 stars The icing saved this donut. Without the fantastic icing, this donut is just run of the mill. 


Good ol' glazed is up. This glazed donut was an average size. Not skimpy like the other two donuts. The glaze isn't too thick and the donut is a great, golden color. The dough is the same as the custard. Not too dense. The glaze is amazing. It's not too sweet. I want to say it's a bit buttery. Delicious.
My score: 4 of 5 stars I really enjoyed this donut. It was melt in your mouth good. 



Finally, the fritter. This fritter looks like a good fritter. It's "bubbly" which is a quality the Mister looks for in his fritters. I many fritters tend to be on the dark side, but this has a great color and doesn't appear to have a heavy glaze. Mister said the fritter was cooked to perfection. Not too doughy on the inside and the glaze was delicious. There were nice chunks of apple in it as well.
His score: 4 of 5 stars Mister prefers a blueberry fritter but said this was one of his favorite apple fritters. 

Harter Bakery makes some pretty darn tasty donuts even though they run on the small side. Their prices are very good so it doesn't make me as upset knowing it's a smaller product. Seeing as how this bakery is on my way to work, we all know I'll be stopping by here for another tasty glazed donut.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

NSV

Give up on guessing what the means? Ok. I'll wait a bit longer for you to try to work it out.

How about now?

Now?

Ok. Ok. Ok. In the healthy lifestyle world, NSV means Non Scale Victories. Say whaaaa?

Non Scale Victories. They are just that. Small, little moments which, on the surface, may not seem significant but are every bit as important as what the number on the scale says. Personally, I think NSVs are more important than the number.  NSVs mean real life changes. Changes other people are going to notice too.

I remember one of my first NSVs. I was able to wrap a normal size bath towel around myself and have it completely cover me. I apologize for the awful visual, but this was such a significant occurrence for me. I felt like I was FINALLY making real progress in my life changing journey. Another phrase I'll elaborate on in a later post.

Another NSV I'm quite excited about is being able to fit into my son's Cardinals youth XL shirt. It seems silly and minor but it's exciting all at the same time. Hello?! I can now buy my MLB and NFL stuff from the youth department and save myself a good $15-$20!

I also stole a pair of my daughter's shorts. She didn't care for the style in the first place and they were a bit big for her, but I still like to say I'm wearing my daughter's stuff.

What are some non scale victories you've experienced?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Recipe: Bourbon Chicken

Remember my first donut post when I said I'm a terrible food photographer? Yeah. My skills haven't improved in that short amount of time. Patience, grasshopper.

I've posted this recipe before many moons ago. Read here for the original and my adaptation. I have altered the recipe a bit in that time. Mister says the sauce in this batch was very good. He says that a lot for this particular dish. You see. I'm not really good at recipes and being consistent so each time it's a little nerve wracking. I'm afraid he won't love it as much as he did the last go around. Please note. All measurements are approximate. Feel free to adjust to your tastes.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup apple juice
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1-2 pounds chicken breast, diced
1 package frozen stiry fry veggie mix

1. For the sauce: mix together the first 8 ingredients and set to the side.
2. Cook diced chicken over medium heat in non-stick skillet.
3. Add frozen veggies when chicken is fully cooked.
4. Add sauce. 
5. Add cornstarch.
6. Cook over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for 10 minutes.
7. Eat.

Generally, I serve this over steamed brown rice. This time, I just served it with my fried rice. I'll be sure to post the recipe for ya too.
You can substitute minced garlic for garlic powder in this recipe. I was lazy and didn't feel like peeling and chopping it.



Saturday, October 5, 2013

Week 1 Donut Review: Tony's Donuts

It's time! It's time! It's time for weekly donut reviews! I'm soooooo super excited about this little series on my blog. I love donuts and finding another reason to eat them is A+ in my book. Let me apologize in advance for the horrible photographs. A food photographer I am not. I had no idea it was so difficult to do in the first place. I mean, it's food. You don't have to tell it to smile or hold its chin up. Sheesh. I was wrong.

First, a couple of rules for my reviews:
1) No chains- I don't even really consider donuts from chains real donuts. Sorry if I offend any one who loves the major chains in the area. I'm a donut snob. I'm not afraid to admit that.
2) After much discussion with the Mister, we decided the three donuts I should sample are white cake with vanilla icing (with coconut if we can find it because it's my favorite), plain glazed and chocolate custard filled. Mister will be in charge of the apple fritters.

The first spot on my list is an establishment called Tony's Donuts and Bakery in Hazelwood. Mister's coworkers and a few of my friends absolutely love this place. I was pretty excited to try their tasty morsels.



First up, the cake donut. This donut was a pretty decent size and looked good. You know. The appearance of a donut is REALLY important. The donut seems to have the perfect amount of icing with no thin spots. Personally, I'd prefer more coconut topping, but I won't take any points away for that. The first thing I notice right away is icing is very sweet. The actual cake donut is a good consistency not too soft but not dry and crumbly. The cake is also very sweet. 
My score: 3 of 5 stars I was pleasantly surprised by this donut. It was a tad too sweet for my liking but still very delicious. 


 The chocolate covered custard filled donut is up next. The donut seems a bit small and the icing is a paler color than a lot of chocolate icings, but it does have good coverage as with the first donut. The icing is very sweet and doesn't really taste much like chocolate. It's so sugary the icing seems to be grainy to me. The consistency of the yeast donut is very good and the custard filling was amazing. The quality of the custard was excellent and there was a decent amount of filling. I could feel that they didn't skimp with the custard when I held it in my hand.
My score: 2 of 5 stars I'm not a fan of this particular kind of chocolate icing. I love my chocolate and really want to be able to taste it. The custard saved this rating from being less than two stars.


Time for the plain glazed donut. This donut looked so good. I couldn't wait to sink my teeth into it. It has a decent amount of glaze covering. Some glazed donuts are covered with such a thick glaze and aren't appealing to me. The glaze on this donut was super sweet. The texture of the donut was great, but I couldn't get a real taste for it because of how sweet the glaze is on it.
My score: 2 of 5 stars  I gave it two because the consistency of the donut was great, but the glaze was just too sweet for my liking.


Finally, the apple fritter. If I'm being completely honest, this apple fritter doesn't look all that tasty at first glance. Mister said the same. It was a bit flat compared to a lot of fritters. It also looks to have a lot of glazing. Mister said the glaze was indeed heavy and very sweet. There was a strong cinnamon taste and very little apple. He noted the fritter seemed a bit gooey which would most likely be caused by the heavy glaze soaking into it.
Mister's score: 2 of 5 stars The Mister said it wasn't the best fritter he has had, but it definitely wasn't the worst. He prefers a fritter that's a bit more "bubbly" and has more of an apple taste.

Tony's concoctions are a bit sweeter than I prefer. I know. I know. They're donuts. Donuts are sweet! I think I was a bit let down because of all the rave reviews. I went in thinking I was going to be blown away. While Tony's didn't knock my socks off, they have a good product, and it's still a place I would patron the next time I'm in the area.


Friday, October 4, 2013

How I Got Fluffy



I was a big girl. It was no one's fault but my own. I ate poorly, and I never exercised. Well, unless running to the fridge is a work out, which it may as well have been considering how easily I'd get winded. I have another idea of what aided me in putting on the pounds.

I'm a mom. Have been for a few years now. Something I've noticed since I became a mom? I eat fast. I mean, I'll hoover the food down, fast. Moms don't have a lot of time to leisurely enjoy the finer things in life like pbj sammies or breakfast burritos. (These just happen to be the two foods that came to mind because I'm majorly craving both a lot lately.) We find ourselves cramming our food down our throats over the sink in between loads of laundry and burping babies. Time is such a valuable thing, and we have so little of it. How did this make me bigger?

I'd eat more food. It takes time for the brain to register the sensation of being full. After I scarfed down the sammie, I thought I was still hungry, so I'd grab another or follow it with a pop tart chaser. A short time after I've just consumed 700-900 calories in a mere five minutes, I feel queasy. Why? Because I ate too much, too fast. Had I taken my time, I probably would have stopped at the one sandwich, but because I virtually inhaled it, my brain was saying, "GIVE ME MORE" So, I did. This is something I still battle to this day. I know that I need to take my time, but I feel so rushed. The difference now is I know that I may still feel hungry, but I'll slam a glass of water because if I try to cram any more food in, I'm going to feel sick in half an hour.

Another bad food habit I picked up after becoming a mom is clearing plates. All of the plates. The kids' plates. Mine. Shoot, even the Mister's. I hate wasting food. Ok. Let's be real. I hate wasting anything at all. It physically pains me to throw any food away left on the family's plates. As I have learned in this journey, every bite counts. Every. Single. One. So, not only had I just eaten more than I should off my own plate, I am now scouring the other plates clean. Adding on even more calories that I did not need.

This has been something that was easier for me to remedy. I just stopped putting less food on my plates. Occasionally, this will back fire and the kids will eat everything on their plates leaving me a little hungrier than I had intended. Well, maybe not hungry. But definitely less full than I would like. And you know what? That's ok. I'm not wasting a way to nothing, but I don't feel sick to my stomach from over eating. Again.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Arnold Days Parade

A week and a half ago, I decided to take the kiddos to the local parade in town. I hadn't been in eight years, so I was quite excited. I'm ashamed to admit that in his 5 years on this planet, I have not taken D3 to a single parade. I know. I know. Huge parenting fail.

This particular parade route is only one mile long, so space is quite limited. That morning, I had to take T to the doc. He had an infection in his knee and it was quite uncomfortable for him. Needless to say, we got a later start heading over to the festivities than I had originally planned.

Traffic. Was. Awful. We sat for 30 minutes to travel half a mile. I started rethinking my prior plan for parking. The area I was hoping to park in was in the middle of the route. I was afraid the road would shut down before we even made it to our destination. It dawned on me there are two businesses very near the parade route that are closed on Sundays. Perfection.

Luckily, many people were headed to the city park so we had no difficulty getting into this particular parking lot. It did require a bit of a walk, but it was a gorgeous day and wouldn't be more than half a mile. This turned out to be a brilliant parking situation when it came to leave.

The parade itself was average. There weren't a lot of actual floats, but I knew that going in to it. It did keep the boys entertained. A is 13 so she's too cool for everything, including the brief walk from the car to where we set up shop.

On to the photos!






 D3's favorite. The baton twirler.




 
A couple of things to point out. I was a little embarrassed for the city when the Budweiser Clydesdale horses received a bigger ovation than the Marines. Seriously, people?? Yes. The horses are cool, but IT'S THE MARINES.

The crowd at the parade was ridiculous. I don't mean the volume. I mean the people themselves. The parade takes place on a four lane road with the actual route being in the center turn lane. Before the parade was over, children were darn near in the center lane and if you were seated at the edge, you couldn't see much of anything. I heard very few parents telling their kids to scoot back out of the way. Something that would not have happened 20 years ago. We decided to skedaddle at that point. My brood was tired of being blocked and the parade was nearly over any way.

All in all, we had a lot of fun. Will we attend next year? Still to be determined.

What's your favorite parade?