The Graduates

Some days the quickest start to your day is in the form of an icy, blended concoction.

  • Frozen Strawberries
  • 1 c Almond Milk
  • 1 scoop Trader Joe’s Whey Protein



Yesterday was definitely one of those days! I ate this pink baby while we headed to Matt’s sister’s Pharmacy School graduation.





After the ceremony (and sharing a 100 calorie pack of Cocoa Roasted Almonds) we broke for some light refreshments, also known as mini desserts.

I had a bite of everything and then handed over the rest to Matt.


Red Lobster

After the ceremony we headed to Red Lobster for a family lunch. There was a bit of a wait so of course we popped into Pier 1 and I found some pretty bowls to be debuted later this weekend.

I enjoyed a side salad + a biscuit.


And for my main meal I ordered the Wood-Grilled Maui Salmon + Shrimp.


Yes I am from New England, so no I don’t quite consider Red Lobster to be the answer to seafood, but when you live in Iowa you gotta make do. My meal was pretty good. But the highlights of the meal were the grilled pineapple + the biscuit. Plus the company!


I headed to work right after the celebration lunch and I toted my leftovers with me. I worked all night + Tiny Tot Soccer was cancelled so I ended up eating the rest for dinner. Easy, peasy!


You guys had some great suggestions for keeping the hunger-ridden snacking at bay. Here are some of my tips + some of the comments that I think were great suggestions:

  • Snack while you cook – Often times I am so hungry while I cook dinner that I find myself eating as I cook. Things that are supposed to go into dinner end up in my mouth or I fill up on something while I’m preparing dinner because I can’t wait. Sometimes I’ll grab a piece of fruit or a veggie to keep my mouth occupied to starve off the hunger.
  • Keep veggies + fruit accessible + chopped – Many of you swear by this tip and I think it’s genius. Having healthy, whole food readily available makes it easy to make the right choice.
  • Limit non-healthy ‘convenience’ foods – Since I know that I often let myself get too hungry, I try to limit the non-healthy grab + go type foods we have around. Sometimes M&M’s + Sunchips seem like perfect solutions to a growling stomach and it’s easy for me to overdue it on both, so I try to be mindful of what is nearby for snacks.
  • Have a mini snack – I have tons of bars lying around and even a few in my bag but I’ll be honest in saying that most of the time I don’t want all the calories from them for a small ‘snack’. Luna bars + Larabars both make mini bars that are around 100 calories, which I think is the perfect pre-meal sized snack.
  • Get to the store – The longer I go in between trips to the grocery store usually means the less produce I have. In order to keep my fridge stocked with healthy snacks I usually need to make at least weekly trips to the market.

Thanks to all the awesome comments. Did I miss any?

I’m not a huge fan of chain restaurants but I do often find myself at a few. Chili’s is by far my favorite chain. Do you have a favorite?



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18 responses to “The Graduates

  1. I like Chilis…and PF Changs! YUM!

    Congrats to Matt’s sister! What an awesome accomplishment!

    • peanutbutterfingers

      Yummm – I agree about PF Chang’s! I also LOVE Season’s 52 – it’s not a big chain, but it’s delicious!

  2. I love the biscuits at Red Lobster too! My favorite chain would have to be Olive Garden. I know it’s not even authentic but the salad gets me everytime!

  3. I always thought snacking while cooking would be bad because then I don’t have an appetite when dinner is finally ready. I think I just have a few too many snacks 😀

    Oh well, I work for a company who have 2 different restaurant chains, so I do visit them time to time but prefer eating in our unique spots 🙂

  4. I grew up in New England, too, so we never ate at Red Lobster. (I think it’s considered treason, right?) But my husband didn’t so he loves it. For the past month he’s been dying to go to get the biscuits. Apparently they’re the best in the entire universe. I have to say, it does look good.

    I’m with you on Chili’s. I don’t like their meals, but my goodness those are the best chips and salsa I’ve ever had. That, followed by a molten chocolate cake is all I need!

  5. Red Lobster biscuits are heaven… And I really like their salads too, for some reason!

  6. hi kate!! thanks for coming to my blog. 🙂 i just saw your pretzel m&ms. how much do you LOVE those little suckers?! mmmm so good.

  7. There is no way I could just have a bite of each of those desserts. They look delicious! 🙂
    My favorite chain restaurants are small local chains around Boston. I like b.good, Not Your Average Joe’s and Pappa Razzi. PF Changs is ok on occasion. 🙂

  8. Actually I kind of like CPK now that I think about it. 😀

  9. I kind of love Chili’s. Their boneless buffalo wings are one of my favorite things… super spicy. The calorie count is in the quadruple digits, but I figure its cool cuz I tend to have leftovers… sometimes 🙂

    I also love cheesecake factory. So many people hate on it, but it is pretty awesome to be able to go to ONE restaurant and get salads, burgers, asian food, pastas, meat dishes, fish, and bomb desserts under the same roof.

  10. We also love Chilis (did you see their new $5.99 unlimited lunches?), Granite City, Olive Garden, or Red Robin.

  11. I’m not a fan of chain restaurants either, but the plus side is that you can easily find calorie info online for chain restaurants.

    Red Lobster biscuits are like crack. 🙂

  12. I love grilled pineapple! Your smoothie looks so refreshing . . . I think I may make one as a snack this afternoon!

  13. Fiance is SUPER picky. If the restaurant doesn’t serve burgers or pizza (even if he doesn’t order those) then it’s usually a no-go. So we usually stick with chains (so I can avoid the hassle!). Chili’s is our fave too, there’s lots of options and their combo deals are pretty cheap. They have some of the best cheesecake I’ve ever had too! Also Applebee’s is a good standard, I don’t know if you guys have those?

  14. I love all of these tips. I basically always have food in my bag because I hate being caught in a place where there is no food when I am starving. It can be tough to find a good snack in a pinch! I also like Chilis!

  15. Is it weird that my favorite chain is chick fil a or subway. Other than that I like eating at local places because they are more homey, but that is just me!

    that fish and shrimp does look really good – even if it is just from a red lobster 🙂

  16. Kate

    great list! thanks for sharing.

    i chilis and big bowl are my favorite chain restraunts. gotta love the perfect margaritas! oh! totally forgot about panera and noodles and co too.

  17. Panera is good but it seems like it caters to/is filled with yuppies. My fiance and I wouldn’t set foot in there again.

    I really like Subway, Blimpie’s, Chili’s, Applebee’s and yes RL’s biscuits are delicious! I’m a sucker for biscuits/bread and I LOVE cheese!

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