Health · Motivation

Florida Sun and Good Eats

A few weeks ago I had the ultimate pleasure of venturing to Vero Beach, Florida with my boyfriend for 9 days. This was not just any vacation…it was in fact, Shawn’s FIRST time on an AIRPLANE, first time OUT of New England, and his first time at DISNEY!!! He was like a little boy on Christmas. We went from 9 degree weather to 85 degree weather in a matter of hours and it was amazing…

We explored Islands of Adventure, airboating, Animal Kingdom, toasted coconut ice cream, u-turns, and of course multiple delicious meals at some of Florida’s finest restaurants ;). Luckily, I was able to run on the beach most mornings to burn off some of those extra calories…oh what paradise we were in :).

One of my favorite places that we ate was inside of Islands of Adventure near the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter (which was amazing). It was called Mythos and is apparentlyvoted one of the best theme park restaurants in the world!

I had risotto with steak tips, asparagus, mushrooms and tomatoes which was of course incredibly delicious. Shawn had a barbeque chicken wrap that actually had mashed potatoes inside of it?! He said it was awesome.

The next great place we went to eat was a place called the Tiki Bar in Fort Pierce. It was right over the water with a thatched roof, live music and lots of energy! It was a bit overwhelming, but ended up being one of my favorite meals! I had a seafood salad sandwich on a croissant and sweet potatoe fries.

This was the night we discovered toasted coconut ice cream. You need to get it, it will amaze you. Sadly, we were too excited to take any pictures before diving into our cones ;).

The rest of our vacation was full of countless hours yelling at the GPS, fighting moskito storms on the highway and visiting many interesting creatures in their natural habitats such as…

The American Alligator, dolphins, the Great White Egret, an armadillo, a bobcat, bunnies, Ghost Crabs and many more.

Now comes my ultimate favorite restaurant from our trip. Maggiano’s Little Italy in Orlando surprised and delighted me by offering whole wheat pasta as a substitution option for all of their delicious pasta dinners! I ordered the Shrimp Scampi with tomatoes and brocolini. It was dangerously delicious. I literally had a garlic and butter sauce mustache by the end of it. We also had the stuffed mushrooms which were insanely addicting.

I swear I am wearing a different outfit…just the same jacket.

Overall, we both agreed that we probably gained about 20 pounds each eating out every day, but we hope we worked it off walking around the theme parks and chasing after armadillos on the side of the road…

The day after we landed in Boston the Northeast was hit with another great snowstorm. We squeezed our eyes tight and desperately tried to transport ourselves back to paradise, but reality won that fight. Back to school and work for us…but not without some healthy daydreaming every once in a while.

Health · Motivation · Recipes

The Best Pumpkin Muffins You Will Ever Eat

I am not kidding about this one. I have been making these muffins for about 4 years and everyone who tastes them (even my dad-the anti-health food eater) agrees that they are fantastic.

I created the recipe a while ago when I was in desperate need of something warm and spicy with my cup of hot cocoa as I snuggled on the couch during a January snow storm. So  I took bits and pieces of other recipes  and added my own quirks to come up with a healthy and delicious pumpkin masterpiece that will warm you from the inside out.

The Best Pumpkin Muffins!

2 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

1 Tbsp  vegetable oil

1 cup non-fat vanilla yogurt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 can  pumpkin puree

1.5 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 Tbsp baking soda

1/4 Tbsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp cloves

1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1/4 cup raisins (optional)

 

Beat eggs for a minute. Add in sugar, oil, yogurt, vanilla and pumpkin and mix until smooth. Combine the dry  ingredients in a separate bowl. Add this to the wet mixture and add in walnuts and raisins. Spoon into greased muffin tins and bake for 25-35 minutes on 350. Feel free to use golden raisins or pecans to mix it up a bit! Make hot cocoa. Cuddle up on couch in front of warm fire. Eat muffin. Be happy. 🙂

I’m hoping I’ll be snuggled up with this guy…

Have a great weekend! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Health · Motivation · Recipes

Oatmeal-Raisin Bites and The Girls

Hello there and Happy almost-New Years Eve!

In the spirit of New Years resolutions and healthy living after the sweets of the holidays, I made some delicious cookies!

But actually, these cookies are a request from my mom as she is part of the Weight Watchers program (doing very well at it!) and she received this recipe card at her last meeting. I made a few modifications, but note that it is based off of a Weight Watchers Points Plus recipe. According to them it is 2 points per serving. I don’t really know what that means nutrition wise, but if it works for some people to get healthy then all power to ya! I also split the batch into 3/4 and 1/4. In the larger part I added raisins only( for my mom) and in the smaller part I added chocolate chips and walnuts (for myself). My cookies are probably not within the 2 point value, but I’m not on Weight Watchers and I generally  like my cookies loaded with chocolate, nuts, coconut, peanut butter and whatever else I can scrounge up in the pantry. I thought I was rather conservative with this batch :).

Oatmeal-Raisin Bites

1.5 cups rolled oats

3/4 cup whole-wheat flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

Mom’s batch: 1/2 cup raisins

Katie’s batch: 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup walnuts

Mix all dry ingredients and set aside. Cream butter and sugars and add vanilla and egg. Mix in dry ingredients. (Separate batch into sections at this point if you want different cookie variations). Add raisins or chocolate chips and walnuts. Spoon small balls onto cookies sheets and press down with a fork. Makes 40 cookies. Bake at 350 for 9-11 minutes. Enjoy!

***These cookies actually came out pretty sweet for my taste and if I was trying to make a healthy cookie I would have reduced the brown sugar to 1/3 cup and I would have maybe substituted 1/4 cup applesauce for half of the butter. I didn’t want to make too many modifications because they were for my moms diet.

Mom’s cookies:

Katie’s Cookies:

In other news, there has been a blizzard in the Norheast and The Girls are not pleased.

This is Winnie, she is very winy and very desperate to go outside. They haven’t been out in 3 days.

What is this?


Not pleased with the cold feet. Runs back inside instantly.

Anyways, I have become a cat lady. No school, no work =talk to cats and bake cookies. Send help and cat booties.



Health · Motivation

Katie’s Favorite Things

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and/or holiday weekend! I know that I did and I have many wonderful gifts to show from it. I was pretty much showered with generosity from all of my friends and family this year and I would like to show some of my favorites! It’s kind of like Oprah…but not as epic…or annoying.

In case you are still in the giving mood, these are some great gifts for the foodie/dancer/girlfiend/student in your life.

In order of amazingness, 5 being great and 1 being the  most fantastic gift of all time.

#5  Dark Chocolate Santa– Delicious and full of healthy antioxidants! Plus we supported a local business (The Chocolatier). They are the best.


#4 Britney Spears Hidden Fantasy Perfume– Everyone needs to smell good 🙂 and BSpears knows how to do it right. This fragrance is subtly sweet and flowery.

#3 Stonewall Kitchen Roasted Garlic Bread Spread-This stuff is mouth-wateringly strong, addicting and will repel the evilest of vampires. It is epic. I made my brother a sandwich with it and he said it was the best lunch he ever had. Nuff said.

#2 TomTom GPS– Desperately needed and about 6 months too late. This would have saved me many tears and countless hours of lost driving during my summer with Honest Tea, but now we can use it on our trip to Florida next month :).

And finally…

#1 Aerial Dancer Sculpture– This gift was hand made by a local NH artisan, Deborah O’Leary. It was specially made with a blonde ponytail to portray non-other than your very own Katie. Thank you mom for giving me such a special and one-of-a-kind gift. I truly love it.

A big thank you to everyone for all my gifts and I hope everyone liked the ones I gave them…stale popcorn and all.

What are your favorite things that you received for the holidays?

Health

Merry Christmas Eve! and last minute gifts…

Hello blogworld 🙂 Merry Christmas Eve to you all! Lots of things have happened since I last blogged…

There was a little of this.

A lot of this.

And luckily…a WHOLE LOT of this.

And this.

To get me by…

Now finals are over, it is finally winter break and Christmas festivities are in full swing over here with some cookie baking, gift wrapping, Pandora Christmas station and Tim Allen in a red suit. He always gets me in the spirit :).

If you are looking for a simple, quick last minute gift idea I have a great one to share with you!

I made this gift for my brother who hopefully won’t read this until after tonight…

He is a super popcorn fanatic so I thought this would be perfect for him.

Spicy Maple Cashew Popcorn

1 Tbsp. butter or margarine

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 tsp. white pepper

1/2 tsp. salt

6 cups popped corn

1/4 cup cashews

Pop corn kernels in an air/microwave popper or whichever way you prefer. Melt butter in a small pan and add sugar, maple syrup, pepper and salt. Bring this to a boil and stir for 2 minutes. Add cashews to popcorn and pour mixutre over popcorn. Stir it up real good! I put the popcorn in a zip-lock bag and tied it with a bow :). This recipe was super simple and kind of gourmet for a quick homemade gift.

Have a very merry Christmas!

Recipes

Pumpkin Roll

Enter ingredients…

…Can you guess what I’m baking yet???

That’s right, we conquered a Pumpkin Roll this weekend and it was NOT one of the easiest desserts I have ever made. But the end result was definitely worth the process.

Step 1: Mix the sugar and eggs together until fluffy. Then add the pumpkin and dry ingredients and spread onto a (greased and floured) wax paper lined 15×10 sheet pan.

Step 2: Admire handsome sous chef :). Just kidding, bake for 15 minutes at 375 degress.

Step 3: Take out of oven and flip onto powdered sugar covered towel. This should be done swiftly as to not break the cake in half.

Step 4: Laugh histerically at the giant cloud of powdered sugar that explodes from underneath the cake when Step 3 was performed.

Step 5: Start rolling the cake with the towel onto itself. Don’t worry, cracking will happen! It will still taste amazing!

Step 6: Go watch 13 Going on 30 while the roll cools in the freezer (we were impatient).

Step 7: Remember that you still have to make the icing. Whip up some cream cheeze, butter, vanilla and powdered sugar into a lovely frosting.

Step 8: Take the roll out of the freezer (or wherever you are letting it cool) and check to see if it is cool yet.

Step 9: Carefully unroll the cake and frost that baby up! Then even more carefully roll it back up, transport it to a nice platter (the towel should be a bit saturated with sugar by now) and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Step 10: Devour a decent sized piece of Pumpkin Roll to celebrate your latest baking success, snuggled on the couch with your sous chef and your puppy watching 13 Going on 30!

*This recipe is all over the internet and on the back of the pumpkin cans so I won’t post the exact recipe because I just got it from the Land O’ Lakes website 🙂

It was the perfect snack on a lazy Sunday. But beware, start with a small piece as it sits pretty heavily in your belly 😉 Enjoy with a nice glass of milk.