Happy Monday! And if you’re American, Happy 4th of July! Hope you guys don’t mind that I took a little blog break yesterday. I was feelin’ the whole “lazy Sunday” thing, and figured, it being a long weekend and such glorious weather, you had better things to do than sit and read my blog.
But, I’m back and, as promised, I’ve got a full recap of all the delicious eats from my mini-vacation shopping trip in Buffalo last Thursday-Friday. 80/20 eats were had for sure, but I’d say overall, I made pretty good choices.
We arrived in Buffalo around dinnertime Thursday night, and opted for the Cheesecake Factory (can you tell I was in the mood to splurge ?). But it wasn’t all out over-the-top. Since I knew we were going to have cheesecake (c’mon, how can you go to the Cheesecake Factory and NOT have cheesecake), I opted for the “Weight Management” (under 590 calories) spicy chicken salad, and, since the salad was so healthy, made a nice dent on the bread basket too. It wasn’t an over-the-top-amazing salad (I’m sure I could have recreated it at home if I wanted), but it was a good size, and full of lots of fresh flavours. It did the trick – after all, the main course was not the main event here. My mom also made me a small plate of her tomato/basil/chicken pasta, which was really tasty.
Now, I gave you a preview of dessert on Saturday, but if you want to know exactly what we ordered, it was the “Reese’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Cheesecake,” described on the menu as: “Chunks of Reese’s® Peanut Butter Cups in our Original Cheesecake with Layers of Delicious Fudge Cake and Caramel.”
Now, I have to note 2 things about our choice of cheesecake. 1. According to this article from SeriousEats, the flavour we chose is named as the most decadent. If you’re gonna get cheesecake, why not go for the top, right? 2. This cheesecake was being featured to help charity. The menu told us that: “25¢ from the sale of each slice will be donated to help feed hungry Americans in our communities.” I mean really, that’s the only reason we even got cheesecake, our strong philanthropic beliefs and desire to help those less fortunate than ourselves! (do you believe that? Yeah, me neither). Nevertheless, this stuff was A-MA-ZING. Seriously, totally worth it. I also had an (unpictured) frozen vanilla latte (skim milk and sugar-free) at Borders later on that night.
We skipped the provided breakfast at our hotel the next day (memories of the greasiness on my March Buffalo visit) and headed to Starbucks, where I got the perfect oatmeal (actually my first time), enjoyed with added cinnamon, Splenda and the fried fruit topping, water, and a Grande nonfat iced coffee.
After breakfast, I headed over to Target where I got all the great stuff you see in this photo, plus a couple of cute tops (including a silk one for less than $20…I can’t wait until Target opens in Canada ). I just HAD to get a cute summer bowl, since I have bowl envy after a certain fellow blogger (won’t mention any names *cough*Katie) has passed on her bowl addiction to me.
Before returning to the mall, we did the Olive Garden for lunch. This place is packed with bad choices, but also some good ones. We both went with the unlimited soup, salad and breadstick lunch (a steal at only $7.50). I skipped the breadsticks, had two bowls of soup (one minestrone, one pasta e fagioli, both delicious) and went mostly-dressing-less on my salad (I’ve heard the stats on this stuff, and they’re just scary). Since I was sort of on vacation, and made smarter entree choices, I treated myself to a “fancy” drink – berry agua fresca (sparkling water with berry puree). Sadly, it was a little too sweet for my tastes. I liked it, but didn’t finish it all.
We had planned our shopping tradition, afternoon coffee break with a little something from Godiva (ever since we were little, when shopping together, my mom would buy us one little thing from a chocolate store, usually Laura Secord back at home), but discovered that the Godiva at Walden Galleria had closed since our last visit (the horror!). Never fear, we decided to try a Starbucks petite sweet with our afternoon caffeine fix. Alongside my light caramel frappuccino, I had a salted caramel sweet square. Ohmigoodness – out of this world! Although it is petite, it is definitely a splurge and not something I’d enjoy on a typical Starbucks visit. If you’re a sweet and salty fan, are at Starbucks, and wanting to treat yourself for under 200 calories, then this little bite of bliss is a MUST!
After Starbucks, I headed to the grocery store for some fun food finds (expect to see more of them in the coming days). And before continuing with this post, I have to confess to all the “undocumented bites” of Buffalo. I
had a few samples stuffed my face at the kitchen store Le Gourmet Chef, ate a mini, delicious soft-baked chocolate chip cookie that was offered to me along with a cute bottle of water as I browsed at Brighton Collectibles, ate a few tasty grocery store samples (hello buffalo chicken dip on fresh bread and birthday cake ice cream) and snacked on a few of my grocery store finds while waiting to cross the border. There, I feel better!
Supper was Applebee’s where I resisted the call of all their mouthwateringly delicious sounding burgers and chose a steak from their “Under 550 calories menu” (Canadian restaurants take note: Why won’t you follow this trend?!? Healthy eaters like to have some choice when dining out. I mean, it’s not that hard to make healthy choices when dining out, but it would be nice to have some options!!!). Okay, I had a bit of my mom’s quesadilla burger. Now, this wasn’t the best steak I’ve had. But for the price tag (both calorie and money-wise…it was less than $12 I think), it was decent.
On the way home, we stopped to see my sister and brother-in-law, since we wanted to see them before my sister left for her 10 day vacation to a friend’s wedding. They were out for dinner with friends, but we got there just in time for dessert (perfect timing, eh?). I (along with 3 others at the table) opted for the deliciously tart strawberry rhubarb pie, served with ice cream. I hardly ever eat pie, so this was delicious.
After a brief visit to see their new shelves (and eat a caramel and chocolate from their candy jars ), we headed home, where I unpacked and tried to find space for all my new grocery goodies (and may have nibbled as I did so), and then we sat on the couch and finished the day by watching the highlights of Will and Kate’s visit and trying some of my new Parmesan Tuscan Herb baked Lays (YUM!).
Overall, it was a great trip. Did I eat more than on a typical day? You bet. But, for the most part, I felt like I made wiser choices, and treated myself without going totally over the top. And, I did not once feel stuffed or disgusting. For a “vacation” day, this is an accomplishment for me. So far, the new food purchases I’ve tried have been delicious, can’t wait to try more (and share with you)!
How was your long weekend?