Bloggers FTW

Hey! How has your Friday been? Mine has actually been a slow dayโ€ฆ I needed it after the craziness of the week and before tomorrowโ€™s last blitz before the *real* weekend begins ๐Ÿ™‚

So as you guys know, since we bought a short sale house, when we moved in, it was looking a little rough since short sales are sold โ€œas is.โ€ It was dirty, so I scrubbed the heck out of it and called Stanley Steemer to work their magic, and we still need to replace some fixtures and paint touch-ups. Considering how bad it could have been, it was NBD and we are 100% in love with our new place. house

The grass was also a nice crispy brown when we moved in.

Itโ€™s amazing what turning on the sprinkler system will do ๐Ÿ˜‰


I also found out today that we have a lime tree!

tree (2)

Our friend Charlie had mentioned that we need to have a mojito party โ€“the Pilot makes wicked mojitos- so that might need to happen soon ๐Ÿ˜€

Breakfast this morning was one of the best Iโ€™ve had in quite a while:

french toast

Protein French Toast Sticks! <— Mariaโ€™s recipe

She definitely included some unique ingredients that I never would have thought to add to the egg mixture.


Bonus: it satisfied me and kept me full all morning. Usually with French toast, I feel like I could eat an entire platter full and not be satisfied, but this was way different.

It was one of two blogger recipes I enjoyed today:


The twinniesโ€™ socca topped with BBQ sauce and goat gouda

The Pilot enjoyed BBQ chicken pizza (homemade crust, rotisserie chicken, BBQ sauce, cheddar)

tucson 021

[The pictures in our kitchen are WAY yellow! I try to edit them to no avail. Photog friends: what kind of light bulbs should I pick up?]

Itโ€™s funny because I have a boatload of cookbooks, but hardly ever use them anymore. Iโ€™ll usually do my own thang, or find a blogger or online version of the recipe.

Do you still use your paper cookbooks very often, or do you mainly follow online recipes?

Weโ€™re off to enjoy a gluten-free pizookie- BJs just introduced them this week!! Iโ€™m blasting through the Ways to Make August Awesome checklist ๐Ÿ˜‰

See ya in the morning <3



Something to think:

โ€œTake up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success, that is way great spiritual giants are produced.โ€

Swami Vivekananda

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  1. Lauren on August 5, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    Those french toast sticks sound (and look) great! I can’t wait to make these! We move in on Tuesday with a BRAND NEW KITCHEN!!! I am so excited! I’m sure you can relate to moving excitement, since you just moved. Good luck with your new house ๐Ÿ˜€ Our grass is pretty much in the same situation as yours was, crispy and brown…..

  2. Elizabeth @ reads recipes runs on August 5, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    I love looking at cookbooks for inspiration, but I rarely follow the recipes exactly. I love checking out bloggers recipes. To me they tend to be more every day eats and ingredients, but maybe it’s just the blogs I read.

    My kitchen lighting does the same thing, I’d love to hear what other bloggers have to say about what they use!

  3. Emily on August 5, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    Uhhhhh if the pilot makes the best mojitos ever, I’m coming over!! I am in love with that drink and whenever I get one at a restaurant/bar they 80% of the time suck!

  4. Bec on August 5, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    Hey Gina – you can change the white balance on your pics to improve the colour. It’s usually easily adjustable on all point and shoot as well as SLRs.

    Good looking french toast recipe btw.

    Bec ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Fitnessista on August 5, 2011 at 11:15 pm

      i played with all of the settings, and still yellow :/

  5. Allison @ Food for Healing on August 5, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    i still use cookbooks occasionally, but a lot of what i make is online, i think its easier

  6. Alicia on August 5, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    I love the idea of cookbooks – I love looking through them and having them around the kitchen. However, I rarely use them most of the time. I find most recipes and ideas online. But, for staples like waffles or pancakes I used the same cookbook every time.

  7. Jen @familyfoodfitnessandfun on August 5, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    That french toast looks divine!
    Since I’ve been studying a little food photog recently, here’s what I’ve learned:
    1. Try to take your pics in natural light. Placing your food near a window is the best or even outside if you can.
    2. If you don’t have the natural light (such as in the winter), get a Lowel Ego Table Light. You can get them at Amazon for about $80. They are great because it’s easily portable. It provides the perfect light for taking pics of food.
    Hope that helps!

  8. Silvia @skinny jeans food on August 5, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    online recipes with my IPad in the kitchen!

  9. Emilia @ Namaste Gurl on August 5, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    Yay for friday- your meals look great!
    Have a relaxing and happy weekend ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. Tiffany on August 5, 2011 at 11:31 pm

    If you are struggling with white balance, either do a custom white balance (look in your user manual for your camera to figure out how) or shoot in raw and edit in a program such as Lightroom. Shooting in raw will make it a LOT easier to adjust white balance ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Sarah on August 5, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    The GE Reveal bulbs do a great job eliminating the yellowness of regular bulbs! I haven’t had any yellow pics since I got them. You can also adjust the white balance in a picture editing program (I know you can in lightroom and I’m sure you can with photoshop too).

  12. Blake on August 5, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    I don’t really use my cookbooks for recipes very often, but I just like having them. It makes me happy just to flip through the pages and look at the pictures…like I’m in kindergarten lol.

  13. Tori (Fresh Fruition) on August 5, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    My suggestions to counter the yellow photos:

    – Make sure white balance is set to “tungsten” setting
    – Raise green and blue levels / curves in photoshop

    White light tends to flatter food better. Sorry I don’t have any recommendations for actual bulbs, I’m still searching myself ๐Ÿ˜‰

  14. Kristin on August 5, 2011 at 11:49 pm

    About your light problem, no need to switch bulbs, just shoot in RAW format instead of JPEG, and then pop them in your editing program (Lightroom, Photoshop, etc) and dial down the white balance a bit. ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga on August 5, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    Right after we moved in, all of 3 weeks ago, to the current pad…I posted about this very thing with the cookbooks!!

    I have a HUGE box of them..some really “good” ones that I bought not too long ago AND lots that were for review/given to me…and I still have this 200 lb box of books sitting. It’s the only thing I havent unpacked and dont know if Im going to b/c I 1. am inspired by what I read about daily online, not the books as much and 2. most cookbook recipes (sadly) HAVE been reprinted online so usually a quick google search will turn up Ani or Sarma’s recipe for kale chips or so and so’s recipe for brownies…much easier than unpacking and finding a new bookshelf that Id need to get for storing them all.

    Lime tree…nice! Ive lived in houses with orange, lemon, meyer lemon, and lime trees. ENJOY ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. Ali @ urbanfruitbat on August 5, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    Your food always looks so yummy Lady. I never use a recipe, I love to be creative in the kitchen, and I love to say something that I have made is “mine.” The only problem with that is recreation is often much more difficult :p

  17. Bethany @ More Fruit Please on August 5, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    Sometimes the preset white balance options don’t work with indoor lighting. You can personally adjust your white balance with most DSLRs by first taking a picture of something white under the yellow light and then setting it as your custom white balance. (I have a Canon Rebel XS and can find my custom white balance setting by hitting Menu and going to the second tab – Custom WB is third on the list. I then select my white photo as the baseline.)

  18. Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn on August 6, 2011 at 12:18 am

    Lately I use online ones too! I haven’t used a cookbook in soooo long but I bought Peas and Thank You today so that is happening faaasure.

  19. Kris | on August 6, 2011 at 12:31 am

    Hahahah!! Same as you….I rarely pick up a cookbook!! Everything I have comes from my noggin or online!! Love your place girl, so cute!


  20. Sara on August 6, 2011 at 12:53 am

    I had the same yellow pic issue in my kitch. Now I have a special white balance setting just for pics there. Look under your menu and you’ll be able to set it up, it’s much easier than changing bulbs or fiddling around with editing software.

  21. Leslie Wingate on August 6, 2011 at 12:54 am

    Wow, the house is just beautiful. Little Co-Pilot is going to love coming home there. Enjoy your weekend! BTW- That breakfast. Holy schamoly!

  22. Lindsay Loves Veggies on August 6, 2011 at 2:02 am

    I tend to mix it up between blogger and cookbook recipes. My two cookbook staples are Veganonmicon and 1,000 Vegan Recipes, and they have just about everything between the two. I tend to use cookbooks more when I’m trying to plan something out, and I tend to use blog recipes more on the fly. Those standards definitely have a way of flipping themselves around though. ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. Sara K on August 6, 2011 at 2:08 am

    I still like to leaf through paper cookbooks, but when following a recipe it’s usually something from the internet or a blog I use. There’s something nice and inspiring about having a shelf full of cookbooks in the kitchen though

  24. J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) on August 6, 2011 at 2:25 am

    Your new house looks gorgeous! Love the lime tree. I’d love to have a citrus tree. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Pilot’s pizza… drool. heh

  25. Sophie on August 6, 2011 at 5:29 am

    Your new house looks lovely!
    Those protein french toast sticks look delicious, I might have to try that some time ๐Ÿ™‚
    Love your blog!

  26. Annie@stronghealthyfit on August 6, 2011 at 5:37 am

    I still use cookbooks! I love my Joy of Cooking and my Moosewood books, but I also love finding favorite recipes on blogs ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance on August 6, 2011 at 6:14 am

    I have an online cookbook that I’ve compiled and I also have a lot of paper cookbooks. I just love cookbooks in general– paper or intangible will do ๐Ÿ˜‰

  28. lindsay on August 6, 2011 at 6:44 am

    looks spic and span to me! lovely! and yes, cookbooks are rare these days. Bloggers have so many great recipes! love it.

  29. Paige on August 6, 2011 at 8:06 am

    You have a rebel right? Just switch it to the tungsten light setting. It makes a world of difference! ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin on August 6, 2011 at 8:08 am

    I sometimes still use the cookbooks that I have… but my problem is that I never buy new cookbooks because I figure I can save the $30 and just use blogs instead. ๐Ÿ˜›

  31. David on August 6, 2011 at 8:10 am

    Hi Gina. Can you suggest a beginners yoga DVD? We have a “gentile” yoga class where I live but it is $16 a session. Thanks

    • Fitnessista on August 6, 2011 at 10:47 am

      check out – their podcasts are WAY better than any dvds i’ve tried, the 20 minute ones are free, and they offer beginning classes

      • David on August 6, 2011 at 2:28 pm

        Thanks Gina, David and I have been following your blog for a couple of years. I am thinking of ordering the Zumba DVDs thoughts? Cheryl

        • Fitnessista on August 7, 2011 at 12:40 am

          i love the zumba dvds… i have the old, old school ones (and think they’re awesome, even though they’re a little cheezy) but the new exhilarate ones are supposed to be amazing

  32. kaila @ healthy helper! on August 6, 2011 at 8:22 am

    I’ve never had french toast but that look so good that I might just have to try it….like NOW!

  33. Evelyn on August 6, 2011 at 8:32 am

    All of that food looks awesome!
    I still definitely use and buy cookbooks, but since so much is available online I’m extra careful that the cookbook I purchase is going to see a lot of use. I personally love having a cookbook propped open when I cook, I just really don’t like having my laptop open while I’m cooking something, but I’m a worrywart like that.

  34. Kate @ Vet in the Saddle on August 6, 2011 at 8:47 am

    We just got a BJs in College Station and I was so psyched to go since you’ve talked about how good they are. We went last night and I had the lettuce wraps and split a pizookie, and it was AWESOME ๐Ÿ™‚

  35. Gina @ Running to the Kitchen on August 6, 2011 at 9:34 am

    I have the same problem with my kitchen (there’s hardly any natural light) and I switch it to the Tungsten setting to on the white balance too like @Paige said.

  36. Laura @ LauraLikesDesign on August 6, 2011 at 10:09 am


    If you have photoshop or access to something similar, you can pull up the color balance adjustment menu and remove the yellow tones by canceling them out with blue or red. It will result in a more true-to-life appearance. Let me know if you need help with this…

  37. sarah on August 6, 2011 at 10:15 am

    About your lime tree, I thought that’s what we had when we moved into our house in Jacksonville and it turned out to be an orange tree! Maybe yours will surprise you too!

    • Fitnessista on August 6, 2011 at 10:33 am

      wow, good to know!

  38. Kristen, Sweetly on August 6, 2011 at 10:23 am

    The cookbook thing is such an issue. I have so many that I’d love to go through, but blog recipes are usually the ones that make me decide I just have to make whatever it is right away.

    That french toast looks DEVINE, by the way. I love sweet-pastry-breakfast remakes, because I feel so sleepy and full after the original.

  39. Leanne on August 6, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Gina, try setting a custom white balance – if done correctly it should take care of your yellow issues!

  40. Shayla @ The Good Life on August 6, 2011 at 10:37 am

    Wow those French Toast sticks look delish! I’m always worried too about them not filling me since they’re just manly carbs…but I’ll have to try that version!

    I mainly find recipes online, either through blogs or Cooking Light & Food Network websites (I also subscribe to their magazines too). And I also really like Clean Eating Magazine…love their recipes but sometimes their ingredient lists are too long!

  41. MMiller on August 6, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Funny I LOVE cookbooks, but always go online to find what I want!

  42. Amy on August 6, 2011 at 11:07 am

    Hi Gina!! Love your blog…house is beautiful and so is the FOOD! Are you in California? I also have tons of cookbooks that I love to look at but hardly use. I either do my own thing or find yummy healthy recipes online. So much faster than looking it up in a cookbook. But I still keep buying them ๐Ÿ™‚

  43. Maria on August 6, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Aw I love that you love the french toast sticks – I feel super special ๐Ÿ™‚ And your house is GORGEOUS!!!!!!!!! And you’re also lucky that a) you have a lime tree b) the pilot makes awesome mojitos (totally craving one now, crap.) and c) the house doesn’t need that many updates! AKA more time to NEST before the baby lol!

  44. Annie D @ Annie's Simple Life on August 6, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    LIME TREE!!!! Soo coool!!!!

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