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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 😉

 

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I Have Been Keeping Something From You

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Brian came to my Body Pump class tonight!  It was very fun, although having him in the front row did make me a bit nervous.  Anyways, Pump made me very hungry, and by the time I was done with church choir and got home I was ready to eat.

Dinner tonight was a new favorite post-workout snack for me.  Scrambled eggs, loaded with lowfat cheese, and veggies topped with salsa.

After having a salad for lunch, I just didn’t want to have the exact same thing for dinner…or use up all of our lettuce.  So the eggs did me well 🙂

Confession

I have a confession to make to you.  I have been keeping something from you.  An amazing cookie recipe. Seriously, these things are addicting and Brian will even ask for them by request on occasion.  If you know Brian then you know that when it comes to food, he is pretty whatever and usually doesn’t have a preference, so it is a big deal when he makes a special request.

I know you will enjoy these 🙂

Double Chocolate Oreo Crunch Cookies (Original Recipe from How Sweet Eats)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup crushed Oreos


Directions:

Cream butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until well combined.  Gradually add in the flour, cocoa, soda, and salt.

Once everything is combined, add in the chocolate chips and the Oreos.

Place tablespoons of dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Allow to cool on wax paper.

ENJOY!

Snickerdoodles

When Brian and I started to get to know each other during the end of my sophomore year of college I baked him snickerdoodles for his birthday as a little surprise treat.  I had been making them since I was a little girl because to me, they are fun, tasty, and take a little more effort than your traditional chocolate chip.  Brian loved my snickerdoodles and has been craving them ever since 😉

Since Brian’s last exam that I will be here for during his second year of dental school was Monday, I thought that a snickerdoodle treat would be the perfect post-exam pick-me-up.

Snickerdoodles

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup softened margarine
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 3/4 cups sifted flour
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
Preparation:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Combine the margarine and 1 1/2 cups sugar until creamy with an electric mixer.  Then, mix in the eggs thoroughly.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, cream of tartar, soda, and salt.  Mix together the dry and wet mixtures until thoroughly combined.
Roll the dough into little balls (as big as you want!).  Mix together the cinnamon and remaining sugar.  Roll the dough balls into the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Place on cookie sheet and bake 8-10 minutes.
Enjoy!
What was the first treat you made for a special someone???

Housewarming Gifts

When Brian and I headed to welcome our friends into their new apartment last night, I knew that we couldn’t show up empty handed.  Of course I wanted to bake them a housewarming gift!  Cookies it was…and they sure were a hit 😉

White Chocolate Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies (original recipe from How Sweet Eats)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 8 Tbsp melted margarine, cooled
  • 6 Tbsp peanut butter (I used natural crunchy) melted and cooled
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk at room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
Preparation:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Combine the margarine and peanut butter in a small bowl.  Microwave in 30 second intervals until a melted and creamy mixture.
In a separate bowl combine flour, oats, soda, and salt.  In a mixer bowl combine the cooled peanut butter mixture with the sugars.  Add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla.  Once combined, gradually add in the flour mixture.  Fold in the white chocolate chips.
Place dough in golf ball sized balls on a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool and enjoy!!!
Little did I know, Caitlin had a housewarming gift for me too! She brought the Vera Bradley catalog with her!
I can’t wait to take it home to show my family!

Double Fudge Oreo Crunch Cookies

Today at work, we were instructed to all bring in one of our favorite treats.  I decided to make Double Fudge Oreo Crunch Cookies, not because I love them but because I love making them for other people because they love them.  Brian seriously raves about these cookies whenever I make them.

This past school year, one of my good friends had many food allergies (all nuts, cinnamon…enough said!).  So when I made desserts and baked goods (which was quite frequent), I had to be careful about what the ingredients were.  I assure you that there are no nuts or cinnamon in these cookies, and she loved them!

Double Fudge Oreo Crunch Cookies (originally from How Sweet Eats)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup margarine or butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup crushed oreos
Preparation:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cream together the margarine, sugar, eggs and vanilla.  Then, add in the flour, cocoa, soda, and salt until thoroughly combined.
Crush the oreos.  My method of choice:  rolling pin over a large plastic bag

Then fold in the oreos and the chocolate chips.

Scoop onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and cook for 10-12 minutes.  Makes about 30 cookies.

I would say the worst part about making cookies is cleaning the cookie sheet.  Luckily, my mom made me a handy little scrubber out of tool from an old halloween costume.  She crocheted it!  Now, that’s what I call recycling.  The little scrubber works amazingly, and it won’t scratch non-stick pans.

Enjoy the rest of your Saturday!

Volumize with Veggies

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I was really in the mood to bake yesterday, but didn’t exactly have the time so I made the dough yesterday stored it in the fridge and baked up the cookies today. I wanted to make something healthy that tasted really yummy so I found a recipe for Super-Charge-Me Cookies They were a little more crumbly then I had anticipated, but the sweet maple flavor made up for the mess!  I think that my favorite part about these cookies is that I can make the same cookies each time, but put different mix-ins.

I changed a couple of things in the recipe based on the ingredients I had in my pantry.

Super Charge Me Cookies (Original recipe from Dreena’s Vegan Recipes)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of oats
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup dried chopped apricots and dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/3 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup flax meal
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 3 Tbsp peanut butter (can be any nutbutter)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
Preparation:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix all dry ingredients (oats, flour, salt, cinnamon, dried fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, and baking powder) in a large bowl and mix well.  In a separate smaller bowl combine the flax, syrup, peanut butter, vanilla, and oil and mix together until smooth and combined.  Once all of the wet ingredients are combined, pour over the dry mixture and stir until completely moistened but be careful not to over mix!  If you want to refrigerate the dough over night like me to bake at a later date, simply put the dough into a plastic container and store in the fridge.  Otherwise divide the dough into large cookies and shape into round cookie shapes on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes.
Lunch
While I was baking, I made myself a light lunch…because I simply had to try the Super-Charge-Me cookie dough!
A small plate of veggies and hummus…yum 😉
I then went to work…and forgot to take a picture of my outfit!  Oops.  I work tomorrow and I promise I will post my outfit then.
Dinner
After coming home I was tired and ready to put on some PJs and make a quick dinner.  Pasta sounded quick and easy, so I whipped up a batch of veggie pasta with homemade pasta sauce.  Last time I made the sauce I didn’t give a very detailed “how-to” so here is the step-by-step process:
Pasta Sauce
Step 1:
Chop up about 1/4 cup onion (or more depending on your preference) and 1 or 2 garlic cloves.  Place in a pan on medium heat.  Stir until the onions and garlic become translucent.
Step 2:
I added salt and pepper and fresh basil to the onions and garlic and stirred for 1 minute.
Step 3:
Add one giant can of tomato puree (not tomato sauce) and stir occasionally for about 10 minutes.  This is where you can get creative and add whatever you think should go in your pasta sauce.  I add ground red pepper for spice, salt and pepper to taste, Italian seasoning, and oregano….to me, oregano is what makes pasta sauce taste Italian.
Step 4:
Put on top of your pasta dinner!
When I eat pasta I like to use a little tip I call “Volumize with Veggies.”  I feel like it is soo easy to go overboard and load up my plate with way more than a serving of pasta.  By filling my plate with veggies, I am getting vitamins and nutrients without that heavy weighed down feeling in my stomach. When I do this, I steam a bunch of veggies (tonight it was kale, spinach, cauliflower, artichoke hearts, and broccoli slaw) put the veggies on the bottom, top with Al Dente’s whole wheat flax blend pasta, then top with sauce.  Filling and nutritious!

Look at those veggies hiding!

Brian really likes to have garlic bread with his pasta, but all of our bread went moldy 😦 so I got creative and made garlic pita!  I took half of a Joseph’s pita, topped it with garlic, mozzarella, and parmesan.  He said it was a great sub for the real stuff.

garlic pita

After dinner, Brian and I watched the finale of Next Food Network Star and now are ready for bed.  Gotta get some beauty rest before we start the week!

Who Needs To Shower?

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It is 4 in the afternoon and I still have yet to shower…to me, that speaks “summer.”

After taking things slow this morning, I headed to the gym around 9am for a 40 minute workout and a short arm workout.

This workout is from fitsugar.com.  I really enjoy this elliptical workout because throughout the workout I manually have to change the settings, the direction I am pedaling, and my speed.  It really keeps me on my toes, but allows me to watch the Today show at the same time 🙂

Busy Body Elliptical Workout

Time Level Directions RPM
0:00-5:00 3 Warm Up
5:00-6:00 5
6:00-7:00 5 Backward
7:00-9:00 7 Forward No Hands
9:00-11:00 10 Hands 135-145
11:00-13:00 6 Backward
13:00-15:00 8 Forward 145-155
15:00-17:00 6
17:00-19:00 6 145-155
19:00-21:00 6 Backward
21:00-22:00 6 Forward No Hands
22:00-24:00 10 Hands 135-145
24:00-29:00 8 Backward
29:00-31:00 8 Forward 145-155
31:00-34:00 8 No Hands
34:00-35:00 5 Hands
35:00-40:00 3 Cool Down

My arm workout was 2 sets with 7.5lb weights of:

  • 15 bicep curls
  • 10 tricep kickbacks
  • 15 upward rows
  • 15 tricep pullovers
I then came home to take Bella on a walk and hang out with Brian who was home on his lunch break!  It was nice to see him in the middle of the day instead of just for dinner at night 🙂
For lunch:
It’s grocery week so the cupboards and fridge are getting bare…so I threw together some cottage cheese, green beans, broccoli, red pepper, carrots, and celery to dip in peanut butter.  Simple and delish!  I am definitely getting my produce fill 😉
I then decided to do some wedding stuff and put stuff in the old binder.  I have a giant pink “look book” binder that I have categorized with:
  • Bouquet/Flowers
  • Reception
  • Budgeting
  • Stationary
  • Ceremony
  • Hair
  • Dresses (Mine and Bridesmaids)
  • General
I also have a list of web sites that I use as tools too:
It is a good sorting tool for me, because I see so many things that I like in magazines I need to put all of the things I like in one place so I don’t get overwhelmed.  I also like to circle and make notes on the various pages, otherwise I usually forget what I liked on the page in the first place.  I attempted to do this outside…but that lasted about 10 minutes…the sweat on my legs made things a liiiitle messy.
After doing wedding stuff, I decided to bake some Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.  I always use the “Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies” recipe from Quaker oats.   I figure they make the oats, they should know how to make a great tasting cookie with the oats!
Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (Original Recipe from QuakerOats.com)
Ingredients:
  • 1/2  cup (1 stick) plus 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3/4  cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2  cup granulated sugar
  • 2  eggs
  • 1  teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-1/2  cups all-purpose flour
  • 1  teaspoon baking soda
  • 1  teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2  teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 3  cups Quaker® Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
  • 1  cup raisins
Preparation:

Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, beat butter and sugars on medium speed of electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Add oats and raisins; mix well.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered.

  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time Time: 08 min
Brian will be happy to snack on these while we watch a movie later tonight.  I am really excited for this weekend because for the first time in what seems like forever, we don’t have anything planned!  So, tonight we are going to take full advantage of that, stay in, eat a cookie or two, and watch a movie.
In a couple of weeks I will be heading to Michigan for a family reunion.  There is a silent auction of homemade goodies every year, and the project I am working on would be so cute with little custom labels.
Does anyone have a good website with free and cute label templates in multiple sizes?