Another year older….

When I was 23, I remember telling my roommate that I was going to absolutely die as soon as I turned 25  (cue eye roll).

Well, I’m now 26….and I’m still here.

My birthday just passed and it’s given me some time to reflect on some things. My career, for one, has been good so far.  I work at an advertising agency has a digital media planner/buyer and am on a great path. Is it what I want to do until I retire? Probaby not, but I have met some great people and learned a lot (and I just got moved to the corner cubicle with windows so I’m pretty much a big deal #jknotjk). I’m always so anxious to advance in my career and figure out exactly what I want to do for the rest of my life, but sometimes I just have to not worry myself so much and know that whatever I’m meant to do will happen in time. I am still young in my professional life and have to remind myself how far I have come. Until I figure out exactly what I want to do I’m going to grind like I always do because all good things come to those who #hustle.

Healthwise, I am pretty healthy, but my body isn’t exactly where I want it.  I always do really well for a while, but then fall off.  This year is the year that I’m going to get the body I want so I can be confident and comfortable with myself.  Because if I don’t do it now, when? I know it’s going to be hard work and take a lot of sacrifices, but it will be worth it. Ready to get totally ripped (god I felt like a douche even typing that).

So here’s the lesson boys and girls: sometimes you just have to step back from your crazy busy life and align your goals. It sounds so cliche but I think it does help.

30….30 will be the year I absolutely die.

age-gets-better-with-wine

Pumpkin Overload

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Ok, so I may have gone a little crazy with the pumpkin.  I guess I’m just too excited for fall to contain myself.  Soooo #pumpkineverything is officially on.  Mini Cinnamon Pumpkin Muffins and Chocolate Pumpkin Truffles are happening right now.  I made the dough for the truffles first because it needed to chill.  While it was in the fridge, I made the muffins.  And voila!  Recipes below….

Chocolate Pumpkin Truffles (courtesy of the36thavenue.com) – Here’s what you’ll need:

  • ½ cup white chocolate chips or chocolate cubes
  • ¼ cup canned pumpkin puree
  • ⅔ cup crushed graham crackers, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 ounce cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 5 ounce dark chocolate
Directions:
  1. Cover large cookie sheet with parchment paper
  2. Microwave white chocolate until smooth.
  3. Add melted chocolate, pumpkin puree, crushed graham crackers, cream cheese and powdered sugar to a bowl and stir until dough forms. ( you can use food processor if you wish)
  4. Chill dough for 1 hour or until it is easy to roll balls.
  5. Roll 15 small balls and chill in freezer for 15 minutes.
  6. Melt dark chocolate and dip balls into chocolate.  Helpful tip: to get the balls completely covered without having a ridiculous chocolate mess (I tried originally doing this with my hands, bad idea), use two spoons.  Put some chocolate on each spoon and pass the ball back and forth until covered, then transfer back to the parchment paper.
  7. Return the dipped balls to parchment paper and let the chocolate harden for about 10 minutes.
  8. Garnish with crushed graham cracker.
  9. These came out absolutely delicious, enjoy!

 

Cinnamon Pumpkin Muffins (courtesy of catchmyparty.com) – Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups pumpkin purée

for the topping

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350F.

In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder,cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Mix and set aside.

In a second mixing bowl, add the butter (room temperature), brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Mix on high for 2 minutes. Stir in the pumpkin purée. Add the dry ingredients in two batches, mixing until just incorporated.

Line your pan with baking cups, and fill about 3/4 full.   I made these into mini-muffins, so I just sprayed the pan with cooking spray.  Bake for 20 minutes (the minis were done at about 12-15 mins) if you are using a cupcake pan, or 30 minutes for standard muffin size. Let the muffins cool for 10 minutes.

For the topping, mix the granulated sugar and cinnamon in one bowl. Melt 1/2 stick of butter in a second bowl. Brush the top of each muffin with butter, then dip it in the sugar mix.

And you’re done, enjoy!

Best & Worst Self Tanners

self tanners

If you know me, you know I am a huge proponent of spray tans and self tanners.  I am a natural redhead with pasty white skin (thanks a lot, Ireland) so I do not tan so easily in the sun.  I burn, pretty much.  And not wanting to look like a ghost amongst bronze goddesses at the beaches of Florida, I have to do what I can to get by without being shamed.  And let’s face it, tanning beds are a big no-no, very unhealthy.  Self tanners = life.

I figured since I’ve been a round the block a few times I would give you the lowdown on self-tanners I’ve tried, in order from worst to best:

Jergen’s Natural Glow

jergens

Ok, Jergen’s Natural Glow is probably one of the worst self-tanners I have tried.  I attempted putting this on when I was in high school and I came out looking yellow.  YELLOW.  I looked sickly for about 2 days before I was able to scrub this awful stuff off (along with a layer of skin).  I’ve seen good reviews online and that it worked well on some people, but not me.  Totally embarrassing.

Price: about $8

St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse

st tropez bronzer

I found St. Tropez to be an ok self tanner.  The color is a nice brown, but the smell is a little intense and the application isn’t great.  Also, it only lasts like a day and a half.  Total bummer.  And you NEED the application mitt with this, or else your palms will be almost black…oops.

Price: $42 for 8oz

Victoria’s Secret Beach Sexy Instant Bronzer

VS bronzer

Ok, I haven’t used this one in a while, but I did find that it was a good self-tanner.  The formula has maybe changed since then (about 4 years ago) but I remember it being easy to apply and the color was nice, not orange.  The only thing I didn’t like was that it was nearly impossible to find in the Victoria’s Secret stores…I think it was only sold during summer months, which did not work for me since it’s basically summer all year long here in Florida.

Price: about $15-20 (couldn’t find an exact price online)

Bare Minerals Faux Tan Body

Faux fan

Bare Minerals Faux Tan Body is one of the best I’ve tried.  It’s easy to apply (with a mitt) and odor isn’t bad at all.  Also, the color is nice and golden.  The lady at Sephora told me that this is a good option because the formula contains less chemicals in comparison to other self-tanners since it is Bare Minerals, so that’s a plus.  A great buy, can’t go wrong with this one.

Price: $26

Fake Bake Flawless Darker

fake bake

Fake Bake Flawless Darker is the best tanner I have tried to date.  They have a normal tanner without the “darker” but I like to get significant color, and I was not disappointed.  First off, it comes with gloves and a mitt, which most do not, so that was super helpful.  You spray the formula directly on the mitt and rub into your skin.  It doesn’t smell bad at all, kind of pleasant actually, and the application is great, very smooth.  The color is awesome and dries fairly quickly.  And it lasts pretty long, depending on how much you sweat, work out, etc.  And for the price, you can’t go wrong.

Price: $14.51 (on Amazon)

And there you have it….stay bronze, beach bombshells.

Avo Toast

Avotoast

Alright, I finally hopped on the bandwagon and made #avodcadotoast.  I feel so basic right now, but in the best possible way because this shit is delicious.  And yes, it’s as easy as it looks.  Literally avocado on toast.  That’s fucking it.  I added some cherry tomatoes and red pepper flakes because I’m a snotty bitch trying to one up everybody.  But seriously, try this for breakfast tomorrow…or dinner, I don’t care, go crazy.

Back to my Pinot and Glee marathon and dreading tomorrow.  Goddamn it Monday.

Happy brunch day bitches.

Turkey & Veggie Stuffed Peppers

Turkey & Veggie Stuffed Peppers

 

Damn I was on a roll yesterday…mini muffins AND stuffed peppers, I deserve an award…I’ll take a cookie.

We always keep a lot of lean ground turkey in the house because it’s healthy and there are so many things you can do with it.  Usually we make turkey burger patties, turkey nuggets, or turkey meatballs but I wanted to try something different.  I forgot to use peppers in a previous recipe, and luckily I did, because I was able to make these awesome stuffed peppers!  Stock full of veggies, spices, and lean protein, what more could you want! And the presentation is pretty cool as well.  I feel so Martha Stewart right now…I should go make a floral arrangement or a DIY project for my cottage in the countryside.

Original recipe from kitchme.com, but I tweaked it a bit.

Here’s what you need:

4 green bell peppers, tops removed and seeded
1 lb ground turkey
2 tbsp olive oil
1⁄2 onion, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 zucchini, chopped
1⁄2 red bell pepper, chopped
1⁄2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 cup fresh spinach
A splash of pre-made pasta sauce (I had some on hand so I added a splash for some extra flavor)
1/2 tomato, chopped
1 Italian seasoning, to taste
1 garlic powder, to taste
1 salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Wrap green bell peppers in aluminum foil and place in a baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove from heat.

In a skillet over medium heat, cook turkey until evenly brown. Set aside. In another pan, heat oil and cook onion, mushrooms, zucchini, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, and spinach until tender (add spinach in last as it cooks faster than the other ingredients). Add the turkey to the skillet. Mix in tomatoes and pasta sauce and season with Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. If you like you food spicy like me, I added some Cayenne pepper for a bit of heat! Stuff the green peppers with the skillet mixture.

Return peppers to the oven and continue cooking 15 minutes.  I broiled them for the last couple minutes so the pepper got a nice char to it and the top of the stuffing got browned.  If you’re feeling adventurous, you can add some cheese to the top as well…yumm!

Bon apetit!

 

Mini Blueberry Muffins

Mini muffins

 

Good morning and happy Sunday!  What better way to start off the day with a cup of coffee and a couple bite-sized blueberry treats?  Maybe not the healthiest of choices, but in small portions like these, they’re ok.  Adorable and delicious, count me in!  And they’re super simple to make, full recipe below.

Courtesy of Miss Paula Deen. (love her)

Here’s what you need:

– 2 cups all purpose flour (you can probably use wheat flour as well)
– 2 teaspoons baking powder
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
– 1 egg beaten
– 3/4 cup whole milk (I used almond milk since that’s what I had in the house and they came out fine)
– 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
– 1/2 cup brown or granulated sugar
– 12 cup muffin tin (recipe calls for regular muffin tin, but I used a mini)

Yield – 24 mini muffins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray your muffin tin with cooking spray

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and sugar. In another bowl, combine butter, egg, and milk and mix well. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Gently fold the blueberries into the batter.

Spoon the batter into the muffin tray.  I filled each cup to the top since they are so small. Bake for 6 minutes (recipe called for 10 minutes but I reduced because of the smaller muffins) and remove from the oven. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with the granulated brown or white sugar and return the muffins to the oven to bake for an additional 10 minutes (again, this amount is the reduced time from original recipe to accomodate mini muffin tin), until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool for about 10 minutes in the pan before turning the muffins out.

And enjoy!

Land of the Free, Home of the Beer

merica

 

Congrats Independence Day, you have won once again.  But a noble sacrifice I’m willing to make because I drink my beer for ‘Merica #fuckyea.  My day consisted of lots of Michelob Ultra (pretty good stuff and pretty low calorie for a beer, I recommend it), fireworks, funny sunglasses in the shape of stars, pools, bikinis, oh and did I mention beer?  However, next year I will remember to stay farther away from the pool…fat man + tiny pool = monsoon-like splashes that get your perfect hair soaked ughh.  And when you’re playing a game where you take a shot on every level of the house (let’s call it the Tower of Terror shall we), make sure to have something other than Pepsi for your vodka.  Dear lord I felt like I was in my freshman year of college, gross.  Clearly dealing with some #firstworldproblems.  But a fun day nonetheless.  Now let me get back to my pizza and Netflix (How To Train Your Dragon 2 for the win) and trying to forget that tomorrow is Monday bye.

Happy Birthday ‘Merica!

Be Excellent

Quote

 

For those of you that haven’t heard of Deepak Chopra, he is an Indian-born author and public speaker.  He promotes a healthy lifestyle through a positive mind-body relationship, meditation, and the practice of daily kindness.  He teamed up with Oprah (yaasss) to create online 21-day meditations.  Basically, the 21 day program focuses on one central idea and each day you practice meditation for about 20 minutes.  You learn the daily mantra with Deepak first and then meditate on your own to calming music.  I highly recommend it; I get anxious from time to time but doing at least some of these meditations calmed me down immensely.  And it’s free, so that’s cool.  The next program starts July 13th with “Manifesting Grace Through Gratitude”…sounds pretty good, right?  Click here to sign up!

Have a positive and excellent day everyone!

Sunday Dinner

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Ok granted, my presentation skills aren’t exactly on point.  I’m a blogger, not Iron Chef, sue me.  But I can tell you that it’s super delish, healthy, and easy to make!  Salmon with asparagus, mushrooms and onion (and white wine) yumm!

Here’s what you need:

2 boneless, skinless filets of salmon
Bunch of asparagus, however much you want to make (I use very exact measurements when cooking lol)
About 1/2 a white onion
Cremini mushrooms, I used 4 large caps
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Garlic, I used a lot since I loveeee garlic
Olive oil, or you can use cooking spray
A couple splashes of white wine, plus an additional two cups, you know for drinking….or five cups, you decide
Seasoning for the salmon, I used Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herbs

Spray your sauté pan or put in a couple tablespoons of olive oil.  Cook your garlic and onion on medium until onion starts to brown.  Trim the edges off your asparagus and cut in half.  Take the stems off your mushrooms, clean them and cut into slices.  Add the mushrooms to the onion and garlic mixture and cook until mushrooms are browned.  Cook asparagus on medium in a separate pan until they become soft.  I added a splash of white wine to each pan because, you know, I can.  Add the onion and mushroom mixture to the asparagus and simmer.

Season your salmon filets and add them to the pan, medium heat.  Squeeze the lemon juice into the pan and cook through.  I added another splash of white wine to this as well, don’t judge me.

And you’re done!  Bon Apetit!