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Category Archives: Dessert

Weekend Full of Events

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Hello friends!

Sorry for the slight blogging hiatus.  This weekend was action packed with a lot of fun activities, and a little bit of behind the scenes blog work (more on that later this week!).

Saturday started out with my Body Pump class.  I am getting more comfortable with Pump each week, and I find myself adding in more little jokes, singing a bit more, and just having more fun with everything overall.  I absolutely love starting out my weekend with this amazing class and workout.

 

After teaching Pump, I headed over to visit Brian at an open house for the student run dental clinic that he is a part of.

I was able to meet the dean of his program as well as some of his class mates.

 

The facilities were so new. I was very impressed by how nice everything looked.

 

 

Once we were done with the clinic open house, it was time to shower and clean up for the evening.  We had not one but two cookouts to attend.  The first cookout was for Brian’s clinic group in dental school, and the second was for our friend, Tori’s, birthday.

 

 

 

 

It was a perfect night to be outside, so the cookouts were great to have as our evening plans. At the dental school cookout, everyone brought a different dish, and there was such variety!  I brought my homemade hummus along with some veggies and pita chips.

 

There were so many things to sample, I didn’t know what to pick.  The dessert table looked pretty darn tasty, so I kept my pickings pretty small in order to save room.

Celery with some corn and bean salsa, corn chips, potato salad, more veggies, cheese, and some plantains.  Yum!

 

After our food settled, Brian and I shared some goodies from the dessert table.  Not quite sure what everything was, but there was a little chocolate and peanut butter goody…that little gem was by far my favorite!

 

After chatting and hanging out for a bit, we then headed over to Tori and Kegan’s house.  We were happy to celebrate Tori’s birthday, but we were super excited to meet the newest member of their family…

TEDDY!  Isn’t he adorable!?

 

We spent the evening chatting outside, drinking a little wine and just relaxing…so perfect!

 

Sunday

I made sure to limit myself to one small glass of wine last night early in the evening because I knew that I was heading out for my long run today.  9 miles was on the agenda, it felt oh so good to check it right off the list!

 

I then made a delicious breakfast of carrot cake pancakes for Brian and I (recipe coming soon..), showered up and got ready for the day.

 

Brian and I had plans to attend Dig IN-A Taste of Indiana with Tori and Kegan.  This event showcased Indiana growers and their high quality dishes in sample sized bites in the beautiful White River State Park in downtown Indianapolis, IN.

This event was so amazing, and I can’t say enough great things about the people, the food, the atmosphere, about everything…so I will be dedicating an entire post to this wonderful event later in the week 😉

 

 

After Dig-IN, Brian and I were definitely ready to go home.  We ran a couple of errands, then came back home to prepare for the week.  We weren’t exactly starving for dinner, but we needed a little somethin’ somethin’ in our bellies, so I whipped up some veggie and cheese plates.

 

The cheese was from Trader’s Point Creamery.  Trader’s Point is an organic dairy farm in Indianapolis, IN.  They had a booth with delicious gazpacho soup at the Dig-IN event, and while we were in line I think that we just hit the lucky spot because the marketing manager just happened to be standing there and gave us some cheese to take home to sample!  You know how I feel about free things…

She didn’t just give us any cheese, she gave us some of their famous Fleur de la Terre.   This cheese was slightly salty, and had a slightly sharp flavor…so delish!  I made sure not to eat it all and save some for a recipe later in the week 😉

After such a busy and fun weekend, I am more than ready for a good night’s sleep.

Hope you all had a great weekend too!

What was one fun thing that you did this weekend?

  • Attended the Dig-IN A Taste of Indiana event…can’t wait to share the details soon!
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Friday in a Nutshell and the Foodie Blogroll!

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I had a pretty eventful Friday…here is what went on (in a nutshell 😉 )

I was invited to be a member of Foodie Blogroll!!

Foodie Blogroll is a blogging community that features different blogs each week, allows members to participate in exclusive promotions with various food companies, and is a great way for food bloggers to connect with other food bloggers. I am so excited to be a part of this community, and I can’t wait to be involved in my first promotion.

Lunch Date

Yesterday, Brian showed me just how great of a fiance he was by stopping by the hotel to take me out to an unplanned lunch date!

 

It was very unexpected, but much needed.  Panera was our restaurant of choice.  Seriously, I don’t think that I could ever get sick of that place.

 

My lunch was one of the You Pick Two combos including the vegetable soup with pesto, and the Thai chopped chicken salad…sans the chicken.  So good, I need to figure out how to make that salad at home!

 

After we were finished with our lunch, we ran next door to Bed Bath and Beyond to pick up a wedding gift for the wedding we are attending later today.  Unfortunately, we had to order the gift to be delivered to the couple, but luckily they had a coupon code that I could text to receive on my smart phone!  Gotta love savin’ some moolah 😉

 

Running

My work day ended with a meeting downtown.  Since my workout scheduled for the day was my long run for the week, I totally took advantage of this and made sure to pack workout attire.

I stopped by one of the gyms I teach at to change, then headed out along my usual path.  Sadly, I didn’t charge my Garmin last night and she died about .2 miles in…so I think I ran just about 6 miles.

 

I got pretty thirsty along the way and forgot to bring my mini water bottle, so I stopped at a hotel and creeped around until I found this little beauty.  It was glorious!

 

Dinner

After the run, I was pretty hungry and so thankful that I had leftovers from last night’s salmon patties.  Even though they weren’t perfect, they were still a tasty and quick dinner.  I just added a side of green beans and called it a day!

 

Ella’s Frozen Yogurt

The other day, Brian and I stopped by a friend’s on our way home just for a moment to say hi and see her new house.  On the way we drove past this cute little frozen yogurt shop!

 

We didn’t stop then, but I knew we would be making a trip in the very near future.  Ella’s Frozen Yogurt was decorated so cute, the toppings were displayed perfectly making Brian and me want to try each one, the staff was incredibly friendly giving us samples and recommendations, they had live music, and special discounts every day of the week! They had a live band playing outside too. Not to mention the frozen yogurt tasted delicious!

Topping Station:

 

More Toppings:

 

Even More Toppings:

 

Tara’s Creation:  1/2 Snickerdoodle and 1/2 Cake Batter Frozen Yogurt topped with granola, peanut butter drizzle and a few cookie dough bites to snack on in the car.

 

Brian’s Creation:  1/2 Cake Batter and 1/2 Strawberry frozen yogurt with cheesecake bites, butterfingers, strawberries, and peanut butter drizzle.

 

The best part about the whole thing was that it only cost $5!! Friday’s promotion is 40% off for students, and Brian and I completely took advantage of that discount.  A delicious Friday night treat!

Breakfast

This morning, I woke up pretty hungry, so I immediately ran upstairs to make myself a delicious strawberry protein smoothie bowl (strawberries, almond milk, Sunwarrior protein powder, spinach, ice and water, raw oats, and a bit of peanut butter on top).

It totally hit the spot!

 

Now, it’s time to review some Body Pump before teaching my class later this morning.  I hope you all have a great Saturday!

Question of the Morning?

  • What were your Friday night plans?
  • Anyone else eat some fro yo? (or ice cream??)
  • What is your favorite Fro Yo topping??

My absolute all time favorite fro yo topping would be….granola!  I love the crunch, the sweetness, everything about it.  Yum!

Sweet Snacks

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Hello again from Florida!  Here is a special guest post from Courtney over at Sweet Tooth Sweet Life sharing some delicious summertime treats with all of you today.  Enjoy!

Guest Post:  Sweet Tooth Sweet Life – A Summertime Favorite: Sweet Snacks

Hi everyone! My name is Courtney and I’m the author behind the blog Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life. I’m a 28-year old personal trainer and former elementary school teacher (you can read a bit more about that here if you’d like). I live up in Upstate, NY with my husband and high school sweetheart, Jay, and have lived here all of my life. When I’m not training, you’ll most likely find me blogging, in the kitchen, or spending time with some of my favorite friends and family.

Before anything, let me just go ahead and give a quick shout out– “Thanks so much, Tara, for inviting me to guest post while you’re away! Hopefully you’re having a blast while on vacation on sunny Florida!”

So anyways…let’s talk about summer for a second. I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love summer. Living in Upstate, NY, I don’t have the pleasure of experiencing warm weather year-round, so when it’s here I make sure to soak it up as much as I can.

I love to dine al fresco, enjoy a cool glass of wine on the back deck, and just hang out by the pool with some yummy snacks. Oh yes…I love my snacks. I also have quite the sweet tooth (in case you couldn’t already tell by my blog title) so you can bet that, a majority of the time, there are going to be some deliciously sweet snacks out by the pool.

In case you’re like me and enjoy the occasional sweet snack now and then, here’s a few ideas for you to try for the next time you’re hanging out by the pool…or heading to a barbecue…or doing absolutely nothing at all. 😉

Creamy Fruit Dip

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Sandwiches

Cookies & Cream Cake Mix Cookie Bars

White Chocolate Oreo Cream Squares

Enjoy!! 🙂

So You Want To Teach Group Fitness

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Yesterday, when I got to work and unloaded the cupcake torches, I had a little disaster on my hands that looked something like this…

source

Unfortunately, I didn’t have my phone or camera to capture a shot of the real thing.  I ended up leaving a note for the rest of the staff to enjoy a little Tuesday Treat.

At that point, I had pretty much given up and was going to toss the rest of the ice cream cone cupcakes I had sitting in the garage.  As the day went on, I continued to think about my little cupcake mishap and how I could have avoided it…surely I was not the first person to try to transport ice cream cone cupcakes!

So, I googled it, and I found a brilliant idea!

 

 

I took cereal boxes and cut little holes in them for the ice cream cone cupcakes to rest.  Perfect!  Another change I made was making my own icing because I knew that it would go through the piping bag better and hold up better on the cupcakes while they sat in my car during my morning gym session.

Yes, that is 110 servings of oatmeal…thank you Sam’s Club

 

Brian’s dad then had the brilliant idea to put the cupcakes in coolers to protect them and try to keep them cool.  Another perfect idea!

 

Let’s cross our fingers that we don’t have another disaster upon delivery this morning….

Breakfast

This morning, my sweet tooth was just as awake as I was, and a strawberry smoothie bowl was just what I needed to tame it.

The smoothie mix contained:

  • 1/4 cup strawberries
  • 1/3 cup banana
  • 1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 scoop Sunwarrior vanilla protein powder
  • 1 splash of vanilla extract
  • 4 ice cubes
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • a little water to get things movin’!

I blended everything all together and then topped it with part of a homemade luna bar.  The strawberry, peanut buttery, and chocolaty combo quickly satisfied my sweet craving 🙂

So You Want to Teach Group Fitness?

Recently, I had a request to write a post about how to get involved in the group fitness community and how to break your way into the industry.

I still consider myself very new in the industry, and I am learning new things all the time.  Here are some important tips that I have compiled throughout my experience to help you get more comfortable teaching in front of others, to help you truly get the most out of the group fitness program that you are working in, and to ultimately land your own class slot. I have found that earning your own class slot on the schedule is like gold, and when it’s yours it is yours to do whatever you want with…so don’t take advantage of it and let things fall to the wayside!! Give it everything you got 🙂

1.  Get Certified

Whether it is ACE, AFAA, ACSM, or specific to the type of class you are teaching pick the one that works best with your learning style, time schedule, and will teach you the information that you want to know.  The fact of the matter is, that no matter what you want to teach…you gotta be certified!

2.  Find a Mentor

I was lucky to start teaching group fitness while in college at my school’s gym where we had a huge educational component and a group fitness coordinator that understood what it was like to be a new instructor with many questions and concerns.  Another good thing to do is to find a facility (maybe the gym that you already belong to) that will allow you to sit in on some group fitness classes as a spectator and take some notes.  If you have a friend that is already an instructor, you may be able to sit in on his or her class.  While you may have taken many group fitness classes as a participant, there many aspects to the class that you probably never noticed as a participant that are essential to making it run smoothly.  So, find a mentor, sit in on a class, and take lots of notes.

3.  Treat it Just Like a Job Interview

Because it is a job interview!  I have a separate fitness resume that I have neatly typed up to bring with me when applying for a group fitness position.  Your resume should include:

  • certifications (including CPR, Blood Borne Pathogen, First Aid, etc.)
  • formats you are comfortable teaching
  • leadership experience
  • fitness experience (if you have previously had large fitness accomplishments like placing 3rd in the all-city women’s marathon)

The big question I had was, what do I wear to the interview, or to drop off my resume?  The answer…fitness clothes!  Now, this doesn’t mean the cut-off t-shirt and bleach stained shorts you have had forever, but it does mean to have light makeup on  (if you are a girl!), your hair neatly done, and a nice fitting, matching fitness outfit.

4.  Be Available to Sub

When you finally make it to the gym in your nice fitness outfit ready to turn in your resume, ask to speak with the group fitness instructor.  He or she may be busy and need to schedule an appointment time for you to come back, but he or she may be ready to speak with you right there!  All they will want to do is get to know you, what you love to teach, a little bit about your fitness background, and anything special about you there is to know.  The biggest piece of advice is right here:  be available to sub and let the group fitness coordinator know.  Everyone always needs a sub, and while some gyms have a list of 50 people to call, some gyms have none.  This will help you get your foot in the door, and will allow people to see what you can do on the fitness floor.

5.  Meet People

Once you are on the sub list, the next thing to do is attend as many classes as you can in the formats that you are comfortable teaching.  At the beginning or end of the class, make sure to introduce yourself to the instructor and let them know that you are available to sub.  This will keep you top of mind, and I can almost guarantee that they will call you at some point or another to fill in.  Also, use this opportunity to learn from his or her teaching style and pay attention to the way the class reacts to certain things.

6.  Send an E-mail

Again, once you are on the sub list, send an e-mail to the list of instructors letting them know who you are, what you teach, a little bit about yourself, and of course your availability.

7.  Get Involved

If your gym has special group fitness events, or launches…get involved!  Volunteer your time, attend the event, use it as a chance to meet people, have fun, get a great workout in, and promote group fitness.

There is so much more that could go into how to really make your way in your local fitness community, but these are some of the key tips that have really helped me out in my path.  I hope this helps, and feel free to reach out to me with any other questions you may have!!

 

Torch Cupcakes and a Cafe Misto

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Last night, after being extremely tired and getting home kind of late due to an evening Body Pump class…I remembered that I had committed myself to make cupcake torches for an evening reception at one of the hotels that I work at.  The reception is Olympic themed…and me being the theme-lover that I am thought it would be a GREAT idea to make these cute cupcake torches that I saw on Pinterest…

They look a lot better than I thought they were going to turn out.

 

They are just cupcakes made in ice cream cones and topped with orange and yellow swirled icing.

 

The difficult part…transporting them.  I finally got them in the box, but now I am worried about getting them out for the event tonight!

 

They look good, although I was tired and not really in the mood to frost a ton of cupcakes last night.  The process, however, was a tad bit messy…

 

All in a day’s work!

Breakfast

Last night I prepped a bowl of overnight oats with some raw cacao (chocolate) action along with almond butter.  I recently made a batch of chocolate almond butter that tasted just like brownie batter…that is the flavor I was going for this morning.  It didn’t quite taste like brownie batter…but they did taste pretty darn good!

 

I then taught my usual Tuesday morning spin class, and got ready super fast afterward so that I could head to Starbucks and publish this post!

I decided to treat myself with a tall Cafe Misto with a side of banana bread sample.  The misto was a great decision, the banana bread was good…but mine is better 😉

This was my first time trying a Cafe Misto, and I am so glad that I did.  They are a great swap for a latte because they are about $0.50 cheaper and have slightly less calories.  I got mine plain, but you can add a syrup pump if plain is too boring for you.

 

Now, I’m off to work!

Have a great day!!

 

P.S.  Thank you so much for the kind comments and support from yesterday’s post.  It means more to me than you know!!

 

First Summer Festival of the Year

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Last night officially felt like summer.  After spending the day running, going to the farmer’s market, and then laying by the pool.  Brian and I joined two other couples for a dinner on the grill.

It was full of veggies and completely delicious.  We skewered brussel sprouts to cook on the grill after Erin (one of our friends) marinated them in a mixture of garlic, olive oil mustard, and some other spices that made a delicious combination.  I am going to have to get the recipe from her!

Our sides included fresh, tossed salad, brussel sprouts, green beans, and fruit salad.  Yum!

We ended the night by hanging out around the bon fire.  I can’t believe that summer is already here, but I am so glad that it is.

Breakfast Today

Brian and I ended up leaving a little early last night from the bon fire because I had a headache.  Unfortunately, it was a pretty bad one and it stayed all the way until the morning.

Whenever I get headaches like that, my body seems to crave carbohydrates…the starchy kind, so I started this morning with a bowl of egg white oats with some peaches and strawberries mixed in.  It was tasty and made me feel better.  Thankfully my headache went away.

I then spent the morning baking batches and batches of cookies for Brian to take on his camping trip.  I made Oatmeal Raisin, Chocolate Chippers, Chocolate Cookies with Peanut Butter Chips, Peanut Butter Cookies, and Morning Glory Muffins (recipe for these to come soon!)

We were then surprised when Brian’s aunt and Grandma stopped by to visit for a minute this morning and dropped off a little housewarming gift…almonds and little baggies so that we can pre-portion!  What a yummy snack!

After baking away the first half of the day and helping Brian make a playlist for his van full of high schoolers, it was time for a midday date!

Tomorrow is Brian and my 3 year anniversary, and since he is leaving tomorrow and I work all day I wanted to spend the day with him doing something special.  We packed up our bikes and headed downtown so that we could ride to the Talbot Street Art Fair.

It was perfect because they had a great bike parking area where they ticketed our bikes and gave us a matching wrist band so that nobody’s bikes got lost or stolen.  They had a great system!

Brian and I had never been to the art fair before and were extremely impressed by all of the little trinkets and beautiful pieces of art work.  There were a ton of people around and the weather was beautiful…a little hot, but we aren’t complaining 😉

While growing up, my family would always take advantage of the summer festivals in my hometown, and I still love these types of festivities.  I love the atmosphere, being around of a lot of people, and the different dynamic that each event brings to the city.  This was the first official summer festival of the year that Brian and I have attended, and I hope we have a chance to go to a few more!

After browsing around for a while, we were pretty hungry.  We decided to rest our feet and enjoy some gyros.  I got mine with just veggies and feta and Brian enjoyed a chicken gyro.  I had never had a gyro before, and it was really tasty!  I loved that the insides were super cold against the warm pita, especially since Brian and I were very hot!

After stopping at all of the booths in the art fair, Brian and I headed across the street to a cute little cupcake shop, 111 Cakery. After speaking with the owners husband and trying a delicious sample of their chocolate chip cookies, Brian and I caved and split a strawberry shortcake cupcake.  The cake itself tasted like a regular strawberry cupcake, but the best part was the little surprise of real strawberry filling inside.  Very tasty!

All in all, it was a great way to spend the afternoon.  I love day time dates!

We then came home, and while I prepared my meals for the week Brian’s dad made a delicious dinner of tossed salad, grilled veggies and scallops.

Just one summery thing after another!  I love the warm months and can’t wait to take advantage of all they have to offer.

I hope you all had an amazing weekend.  Now, it’s time to relax and watch a little Food Network Star, I love Sunday night traditions…almost as much as I love summer 😉

 

Just a Minute Abs…and Chocolate Cake

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Tonight, I am super excited because I will be teaching a 30 minute core class.  I love teaching classes like this because they are super quick, and when I workout on my rarely do I spend 30 minutes just focusing on my abs.  I usually just tag some planks and crunches on the end of a workout or run and call it good to go.

This is one of my favorite circuits, because it really allows you to challenge yourself.  There isn’t a certain number of repetitions required, so it challenges you to give it your all, do the most that you can, and have good form all within one minute.

Now, that we have done all of those crunches, let’s talk cake…chocolate cake…with wine.  While thinking up recipes for Easley Winery’s Cooking Made Easley page, I was completely inspired by the idea that I could substitute wine for the oil when making a boxed cake mix.  First, I made the Reggae Blush Strawberry Cake Balls…but I couldn’t stop there, I made Reggae Red Devil’s Food Chocolate Cupcakes too!

The Reggae Red wine is easily (get it!) one of my favorites.  When it comes to wine, I am a sweet girl.  I can enjoy a couple of sips of a cabernet sauvignon or a merlot, but I can rarely finish a glass.  This Reggae Red wine is sweet, delicious, and to be honest, kind of tastes like juice!

Reggae Red Devil’s Food Chocolate Cupcakes

What you Will Need:

Cupcakes:

  • 1 box devil’s food cake mix
  • 3.9 oz box of instant chocolate pudding
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup Easley Reggae Red Wine
  • ½ cup Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt
  • ½ cup water

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:

  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 2 ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup milk*

Instructions:

Cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Place cupcake liners in cupcake pan. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients.  Mix at a medium speed for 2-3 minutes until the batter in smooth and thoroughly combined.

With an ice cream scoop, scoop batter evenly into cupcake liners.

Bake in the oven for 18 minutes, or until a clean knife inserted into the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean.  Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter for about a minute to soften.  Alternately, add in the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients.

*Only add the milk until the frosting is of the desired consistency.  You may need a little more, or a little less.

**Be careful licking the batter on these!!! The alcohol may get to you!! Don’t worry though, it all gets baked out while cooking 🙂