Obsessions (…A.K.A.,Things I Like)

obsessed

Favorite Things 2014

Happy Monday!  Hope the weekend was fantastic and that you’ve “wrapped” up all of your holiday shopping and whatnot.  Since errbody is spending time getting to know what to get those special people in their life, I thought I might make a list of some of my obsessions or general things I have liked in 2014.

And the winners are…

2014 Faves Collage

  • The Veggetti.  I love thing thing and I’ve blogged about it here.  I know I REALLY need to upgrade to a spiralizer, but I don’t want to buy one until I move to Scotland.  I will be sad to see my Veggetti go – it’s been a pal in the kitchen for most of this year.
  • Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap.  I LOVE this stuff.  It is ecologically and economically sound, comes in tons of super awesome scents, and contains organic oils that are OH so good for the skin.  My favorites are peppermint and lavender.  FYI, the peppermint is THE BOMB after a sweaty workout.  It’s like Christmas for your skin, all year long!  Also, you can watch an interesting documentary about this awesome stuff here.
  • BeActive “The point specific pressure brace for fast effective back pain relief.”  I am going to do a longer review on this “As Seen On TV” purchase, but in the meantime, I will say that this brace has helped me to run again!  I thought this was the year I had to give up running, but not so much!
  • PiYo.  I LOVE this stuff.  I have never been able to fully commit to yoga – other than that 30 day challenge I lived through a few months ago – but I LOVE pilates.  PiYo truly is the perfect solution for someone like me.  I love the moves.  I feel stronger and empowered in every way after a workout.  It’s magic!
  • American Horror Story.  Okay, I know this show has been on for like 3 years already, but I have lived most of the past four years under a rock (or many rocks in northern New Hampshire, as it were.)  I really don’t know why I love this show so much; it’s terrifying and gory and usual makes me suffer from insomnia.  I dunno, ya’ll, maybe it makes me feel alive?  Also, it is the only show that could tear Adam Levine’s arm off his body while still managing to make him look smoking hot.  Don’t believe me?  Watch season 2, episode 1 and try and disagree with me.  Okay, that’s settled.
  • Jessie Ware’s album Tough Love.  Can’t.  Love.  This.  More.  Listen and learn why.

  • Highland Farms Maple Pepper.  This stuff is so delicious on literally everything.  I have added it to soups, salads, baked goods, pasta, fruit, and just about anything else you can imagine.  It is sweet and savory and adds amazing flavor to whatever you sprinkle it on.  It’s made from good stuff too.  You can order it here.  You’ll thank me later.
  • SunRidge Farms Jolly Beans.  I have redeveloped a (very) sweet tooth in my thirties.  It sorta sucks, you guys.  I love jelly beans, but know they are literally devoid of ANY trace of nutrition, so you can imagine my delight when I discovered JOLLY BEANS at my local health food store.  These beans are 100%Vegetarian, gelatin free, and made with organic colors and flavors.  So tasty and highly recommended!
  • Gymboss 2 Interval Timer.   I am a HUGE fan of HIIT workouts and also love free stuff.  So, naturally, I love this free app that enables me to take tabata style workouts with me wherever I go.  You should try this workout I blogged about a while ago – it’s great!
  • GossMakeupArtist YouTube channel.  Wayne Goss has single-handedly made me look my best this year.   He is a dream.  Seriously, watch his tutorials, take in his magic, and you will look and feel your best.  He is so fabulous.
  • E.L.F. makeup products.  I have shelled out tons of dough on makeup over the years.  I have bought everything from Wet n’ Wild to Christian Dior products.  I have faves on both ends of the price spectrum, but E.L.F. is my favorite inexpensive brand, hands down.  E.L.F has a HUGE range of cosmetics and tools all ranging from $1-$6 and they deliver amazing results.  My personal favorites are the Studio High Definition Powder, Studio Maximum Coverage Concealer,  and the Essentials Professional Brushes.

Of course there’s my absolute FAVORITE person of 2014 …my husband, Luke!

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So, there you have it, the stuff I’ve been obsessing over this year.  Every single year, I vow to be less materialistic, but for 2015, I will definitely have to downsize for my move across the pond!  Stay tuned for a post on how to break up with your favorite things!  Hope you’re all having a great Monday and great holiday season!

What were some of your favorite discoveries in 2014? What inspired and invigorated your senses for the 365 that we called “2014”? I’d love to know, maybe they’ll become some my faves for 2015!

xoxo

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Black Pepper White Chocolate Muffins & Veggetti Breakfast Bowl #WIAW

WIAW button

 

It’s Wednesday again, and that means it’s time for another edition of What I Ate Wednesday!  This week has been all about flavor.  I am admittedly a bit of a bland eater at times.  My idea of hot is medium salsa!  I also have been super busy the past week or so, but took a couple of much needed breaks to expand my dietary horizons.  This included making a sweet potato and maple sausage breakfast bowl (omg, so good!) and a  baking session, inspired by a sort of desperate snack combining a box of cracked black pepper cashews left over from my latest Graze snack box and a handful of white chocolate chips.  Don’t judge yet, black pepper and white chocolate are a delightful pair!

Black Pepper and White Chocolate Pancake Muffins

muffins

 

So, naturally, once I discovered that black pepper and white chocolate are the new pb & chocolate (okay, maybe not quite yet), I decided I should throw them into some whole wheat pancake mix and make black pepper & white chocolate pancake muffins!    I used the same basic pancake/muffin mix as my peanut butter “puffins” I made way back when via Skinnytaste:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 4 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups + 2 tbsp fat free milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips
  • cooking spray

mix

 

Directions

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl thoroughly and add in wet ingredients with mixer.  Preheat the oven to 425 F and spray a muffin (or mini-muffin) pan, poor mixture in and cook 10-12 minutes (ovens vary).  EAT!

muffins

view

Please pardon my horrendous food photography, but I’m in between cameras right now.  I’d like to say it’s better than nothing, but when it comes to a bad food photo, the imagination is probably best!  One thing I cannot dispute is the taste, the combination of black pepper and white chocolate is divine.  If you’re not a fan of white chocolate, due to it’s insane sweetness, the black pepper does an excellent job of taking the super sweet edge off.  On the other hand, the white chocolate takes down the heat of the black pepper just enough so that you’re not sneezing through your snack break!

Vegetti Made Sweet Potato and Maple Sausage Breakfast Bowl

I am not a breakfast lover by any stretch of the imagination.  I know, I know this post is about breakfast centered foods, but I generally decline from breakfast invites whenever possible.  The other day, after leading a killer (and by killer I mean because I hadn’t led a class in two weeks, so therefore it nearly killed me) indoor cycling class,  I was feeling absolutely ravenous for breakfast.  I quickly searched the kitchen for anything I could possibly make.  And then, it came to me; I have sweet potatoes, I have sausage, and I have maple syrup — I am having a breakfast bowl!    I grabbed my handy dandy Veggetti (man, oh man I love this thing) and made some quick sweet potato hashbrowns to cook up!

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After slicing up my two sweet potatoes, I threw in some fully cooked maple sausage.  I would have loved it I had some chicken sausage or healthier sausage on hand, but these Jones Dairy Farm brand were delicious and nice for a treat!

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I cooked the sausage first and then tossed in my sweet potato.  Covered and cooked over medium heat for 15 minutes.

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After the potatoes were cooked to my liking, I added a dash of real maple syrup and topped it all off with a 1/2 tablespoon of shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese.  This was absolutely delicious;  sweet, savory, and cheesy.  Perfect, really!

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Despite a busy schedule, there is always time to cook up a few treats.  I don’t cook nearly as much as I would like to.  I suppose I could add this to my upcoming “resolutions” list for 2015, especially since my husband loves to do dishes I will have no excuse not to cook away!

Hope your week is going well and that your holiday season is magnificent.

What did you eat this week? Do you ever experiment with flavor pairings? If so, what inspired you to make something ‘outside the box’?

xoxo

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Spiralized Carrots with Cranberry Tarragon Goat Cheese Salad : Return of the Veggetti

According to Live with Kelly and Michael, Wednesday is the new Friday.  So, for whatever that declaration is worth to you, it’s almost the weekend again!

I’m really getting into the WIAW (What I Ate Wednesday) World.  It was created by Jenn at Peas and Crayons – an amazing blog with spectacular recipes – many of which are on my “food bucket list”.  Also, I would love to be Internet friends with Jenn.  #blogbuddies
WIAW button

 

WIAW 

For this week’s WIAW post, I made a spiralized carrots with cranberry tarragon goat cheese salad.  I felt like it would be very fallish (word?) of me and also pretty and delicious – so why not, right?  Right.

Return of the Veggetti

Remember when I posted about the Veggetti?  Google webmaster sure does.

 So, I grabbed my handy little ASOT (As Seen On TV) companion and proceeded to make salad magic, oh yes.

delish.
delish.

For this salad you will need, carrots (the shorter and thicker the circumference, the better), goat cheese*, walnuts (chopped, or give whole ones a good bashing), dried cranberries, tarragon, olive oil, and garlic.

salad magic
salad magic

*I used this brand, which was an easy (and delicious) step.  Prep for a DIY version would be mixing together crumbled goat cheese, dried cranberries, and dried tarragon (refrigerate for 2 hours prior to making salad).

sooo. good.
sooo. good.

Ingredients: 

  • 2 large carrots (cleaned and peeled)
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp of cranberry tarragon goat cheese (or 1 TBSP plain crumbled mixed with 1/2 tsp of dried cranberries and 1/2 tsp of dried tarragon)
  • 1 tbsp or crushed walnuts
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt and pepper

To spiralize your carrot, stick it in and give it a spin.  I bet Hilah would appreciate that slogan.  Hilah is another Internet friend I long for.  Hilah, can you hear me?  Didn’t think so.

this describes my life right now.  perfectly.
this describes my life right now. perfectly.

 Once you get your carrot all spiralized and beautimous, drizzle 1/2 tbsp of olive oil and add in 1 tbsp of chopped walnuts along with your one chopped clove of garlic.  Mix carrots, olive oil, walnuts, and garlic together evenly.  Add in 1 tbsp of goat cheese mixture, 1 tsp of salt and pepper and mix, again, thoroughly.  Chill for about 30 minutes prior to serving.  Makes two, half cup sized servings.**

**Serving size and ingredient amounts will vary depending on how big you want to make your salad.  I used two large carrots which made 1 cup of salad.  My suggestion is, for every additional cup of salad you want to prepare, add an additional tablespoon of cheese mixture, 1/2 tbsp of olive oil, 1/2 tbsp of walnuts, additional garlic, salt, and pepper to taste.

 

Nutrition per 1/2  cup of salad:

100 calories

7.5 grams of fat (6 of which are healthy fats you need!)

3 grams of protein

Not forgetting the added β-carotene (Betacarotene) which our bodies convert into much needed vitamin A that we need for healthy skin and mucus membranes, our immune system, and good eye health and vision.

pretty, festive, and healthy.
pretty, festive, and healthy.

It seems like everybody is jumping on the spiralized wagon.  However, most people actually own a real spiralizer, but I’m going to do me, and stick to my Veggetti.  I bought my Veggetti about 5 months ago for $14.99 and it’s still going strong.  In fact, right now I think they are BOGO.  So worth it!   #buyaveggetti

Do you spiralize?

xoxo

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Greek Salad – Veggetti Style!

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE Greek salads.  I love them in a pita. I love them with or without meat …I HEART them completely.   I …feel like Dr. Seuss.  Well, the point I’m making is, I don’t know if I have ever had a Greek salad that I didn’t like. So, a while back I reviewed the As Seen On TV Veggetti and I gave it a pretty fair rating for the cost.  Well, that was a bit of an understatement as I have really gotten my money’s worth out of that little gadget!

YES!!
YES!!

So, now that we’ve got that out of the way, today I decided to make a Greek salad using my local farmers market cheese and vegettied (hello, Urban Dictionary!) cucumbers.   Along with the cucumber, I chopped up an heirloom tomato, half a red onion, black olives, and the (delicious) local feta cheese from Meadowstone Farm.  For the dressing, I used one of my fave toppings ever, Joseph’s Tzaztiki, but decided to add about two tablespoons of pickle juice (yes, pickle juice) to cut it with to make it a tasty dressing for this simple salad.

bits

Mix

dressing

salad

As you can see, that salad looks (and, believe me, it was) pretty freakin’ delicious.  Honestly, I didn’t miss the lettuce, because cucumbers are so delightful during the summer; so refreshing and delicious that they truly make this salad un’beet’able.  What can I say, I’m a salad “greek”.  WOW! I know that was bad, but as for the salad?  It was good.

Happy healthy eating!

xoxo

 

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Fixin’ to Grill

It’s Thursday.  It’s “all downhill from here” day, peeps!  I’m sure you can tell from my post title that I’m going to pay homage to foods cooked on the grill!  So you want to know what was all up in my George Foreman?  First of all, it wasn’t a George Foreman, but believe me, you’ll be hearing all about my love of his grilling devices in a future post!  For my dinner tonight I decided to grill left over veggies from the holiday weekend.  I grilled up some zucchini, summer squash, yellow pepper, radish, and red onion.   I created a mixture of chopped veggies as well as VEGGETTI sliced versions of the veggies – which I marinated in a little (I mean tiny) bit of olive oil, smoked paprika, salt, and black pepper — mm mm! Now, I am not putting this lightly when I say I am a fan of sweet potatoes.  I absolutely love them.  When I go to a restaurant and the waiter asks if I want “regular or sweet potato fries?” I respond a little something like this…

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Okay, so I’m a fan, you get it.  Funnily enough, I have never tried to grill a sweet potato, but I must admit, I have only been using a grill for about a year – so there’s a lot to more to explore!  For those of you out there cooking sweet potatoes on the regular, you know that unless you are microwaving them, they take a pretty long time to cook.  I thought I would take a stab (no pun intended) and throw them on the grill.  I started by cutting them in half but then decided to quarter them to make them shaped like a big sweet potato “skin”.  How did they turn out you might ask?  Fantastic!  Grilling a sweet potato is like eating sweet potato fries, but without all the deep fryer guilt.  I also decided to add a bit of tzatziki to my sweet potatoes, which I can’t take credit for; my sister, who is an avid vegetarian, turned me on to this combination and I’ve never looked back since.  Also worth mentioning, but I think I have some work to do, were the eggplant “fingers” I grilled.  They were a little bit too soggy for my liking as I think I may have gone overboard with the olive oil, but totally still delicious.

I also paired my veggies with some chicken cutlets and was ready to eat!  All in all a dinner which was healthy, tasty, and easy!  Also, clean up was pretty low-key which is always pretty awesome.  I am always excited to cook any time that does NOT include me having to also do a big clean-up.   My boyfriend has a sudsy future ahead of him, but in all fairness, he’ll be eatin’ well, so it’ll be all good!

purty foods.
purty foods.

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Hope your week is going well!

 

What did you eat today?

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