Love

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Sunday, November 9, 2014

Acorn Squash and Citris Sighting

It's been feeling more and more like a seasonal change here, although still not even close to what we are used to. That being said, it's been nice to have to cozy up in the evenings and has felt like the perfect setting for more warm, seasonal dishes!

The thing that doesn't seem to sit with fall but excites me anyways is our citrus tree in our backyard is finally blooming! Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and limes feel so summery to me that I was surprised when I looked out the window the other day and saw 3 orange fruits on our tree! yippee! We had noticed one green fruit growing over the summer, and assumed that it would maybe be a lime when it was all done. But we were totally wrong and I'm glad we didn't pick it while it was green!


Having our fig tree bloom late summer, and then finding a giant rosemary bush along with this citrus delight makes me so happy! I've always wished to live somewhere where we could grow a mango tree in our backyard, but these fruit-bearing trees make me feel like we are getting pretty close to that. :). Can't wait to try it and figure out what we've been growing!
"Just me and you
Not so many things we got to do
Or places we got to be
We'll sit beneath the mango tree now" - Jack Johnson

Back to feeling fall...the other night I made an Acorn Squash Stuffed with Kale and Quinoa from a new cooking blog I found called Dolly and Oatmeal. Love this blog because it's all in season ingredients and leans towards the vegetarian side, both things we've been more into. The dish was actually the easiest thing to make and was so delicious! All I did was half the squash and roast it up for about 45 minutes. During that time you whip up some quinoa which involves all of just boiling water, and sauteed up some kale with onions, chickpeas and spices. Pretty easy. Pretty delicious. Kyle even took some the next day for lunch because it made so much. Definitely recommend this for a warm weeknight meal!

I used olive oil and turmeric to roast the squash instead of za'atar.

Roasted onion, chick pea and kale mixture.
Final product! We also added some home made tzatziki sauce to top!


Getting ready for my birthday coming up this week as well as some much anticipated fall visitors! Xoxo




Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Halloween Talk & Gourmet Sandwhiches

Our Halloween was slightly uneventful. For the most part, I love Halloween. The decor, the treats, the scary movie watching - but I am not the biggest fan of getting dressed up anymore. When did I become so lame?! I mean I loved getting dressed up as a kid and going trick or treating, but past the college Halloween party era, I don't get sad about not dressing up. If there was a great party to go to, I think we would figure out something creative, but the Halloween bar hopping scene is a thing of the past for me. Especially this year. Kyle had to have unexpected surgery on his hand, and so we spent our holiday in recovery mode for the most part.

We went to check out Sullivan's Island during the day, because it was just so beautiful out. Obviously we indulged in some Halloween treats and hot fall beverages to set the mood. Halloween night was spent cooking a big fall fest (including one of our favorite soup from a previous posts) and watching classic movies like The Adams Family and Beatlejuice (which still freaks me out! - that damn beetle juice). It was the first time we had a house to have trick or treaters, so we had fun giving out candy and seeing the cute kids come to our door! Maybe next year we will be a little bit more crazy haha.

Halloweenie beach stroll
Yesterday we also went for lunch at a place that was highly recommended to us as a friend's "favorite sandwich/lunch place in Charleston". Obviously given Charleston has so many amazing restaurants and amazing finds, we had to check this one out if it was given such a bold title.  It's called Butcher & Bee and it's located in a small industrial looking cove a little bit away from the business of downtown. The atmosphere and vibes of the place were so cool - I felt like I was back in the hipster areas of Brookyln, NY. They use all fresh and local ingredients and literally their menu changes daily. How cool! We tried the pulled squash sandwich and the classic cuban with a side of brussels to share. Everything was delicious! Another cool part, they just opened a new distillery next door which is open for tastings.  Not a bad way to spend an afternoon.

Our lunch menu for the day

An example of their awesome sandwiches.


We love trying all things in Charleston. I'm looking forward to next week when I'm on vacation and have time to explore/discover even more. Happy hump day!! xoxo



Monday, October 27, 2014

Fall Parties and Middle Eastern Delights

This past week was a tough one! Both Kyle and I had pretty hard work weeks. When we know that the week ahead looks demanding, I try to meal plan even more, so that I know we have at least some healthy meals planned and ready for us - one less decision to make the better! So I searched pinterest (pictures are the best!), my favorite food blogs,  and whole foods recipes and found some pretty easy and healthy meals.

Definitely the hit of the week and the most flavorful, was this Middle Eastern Grilled Vegetable and Lentil Bowl. I saw this on pinterest and immediately was intrigued. Even since we went to Greece, Kyle and I love yogurt based dressings, flat bread and grilled veggies. Since this recipe had all of them and looked pretty easy to whip together, we tried it out this past Friday. It was so good! Each part of the recipe adds depth and flavor to the entire dish so I would not recommend skipping any part. I loved that this was also a team effort, and Kyle was able to grill all the veggies while I prepped the rest. My favorite part was the roasted chickpeas and the tahini-yogurt sauce!

So delicious!

We also hosted out first party on Sunday (Sunday funday!) and had our Chucktown friends over. I made two batches of the pumpkin-black bean chili and served it with some fresh italian bread. Guests brought some appetizer dishes and desserts. We had such a fun time having people at our home, playing games in our yard, feeding our turtles in the lake, and just overall having a good time with friends. It feels few and far between that we get to do this right now, but we both said we really enjoyed hosting and everyone was great! We ended the evening with some Cards Against Humanity, which is always a good time!

One of the non R-rated responses.

We didn't get to any pumpkin carving, so we decided to get together this week to finish that up before Halloween! I'm super excited to have a house were kiddos will come and trick or treat at! (Oh and just a side note- it's October 27th and 85 degrees here...where do we live?!?)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Black Bean Pumpkin Chili + Fall Things!

Well "fall" down South is certainly different than back up North. I'm loving the absolutely gorgeous weather here - 75 and sunny almost every day! We are starting to have some chillier mornings and crisper evenings, but it is still very different than the fall we are used to. I mean, we were sitting on the beach in our bathing suits and swimming in the ocean just last weekend. Craziness. I have been missing going to an apple orchid or pumpkin patch but the trade off is pretty good. It's been the absolute best running weather too - which I haven't been able to say for months - so my mileage has naturally increased. :) I'm looking forward to training for our half marathon coming up in a few months. And I just bought these new shoes to get the training started right:

Nike Air Pegasus - Love them so far!

I'm feeling so content and happy this weekend - probably because I actually had some time off to enjoy our home, Tuck, Charleston, etc. This weekend was such an important reminder to me to take my few and far in between days off to rejuvenate myself, with whatever that feels like that day. Whether it's a run, yoga, sleeping in, a simple face mask, bubble bath, or taking time to cook an extra special dinner, I need to continue to do some things for myself during this crazy resident lifestyle for the sake of my sanity and those around me. I've felt like I've been doing a pretty good job with balancing but I've certainly had my days here and there. So on my days off, this has been my motto:

Kyle and I took some time for ourselves Friday and had a date night! We had a nice little al fresco dinner of fall pizza, with a beet and pistachio salad at one of our favorite little pizza places. We also went the movies (gasp, no red box??). I can't even remember the last movie we saw in theaters, so it's clearly been a while. We gave into the craze and went to see Gone Girl. I read the book last year, and Kyle read probably the first 1/4 recently. I loved the writing style of the book and the way it went back and fort between the present time and the wife's diary entries. The movie didn't disappoint and was pretty similar to the book - it definitely kept you guessing!

Besides having a date night, I was lucky enough this weekend to have the hubby cook almost every meal. Today felt a little more fall-ish than others so we decided to make chili for the Giants game this afternoon. Now chili down in Charleston is also VERY different than my idea of chili. I made the mistake of ordering a cup of chili at a smoke house one time and literally was brought out a cup of meat (and tons of meaty oil). My idea of chili is one that is filled with beans, veggies, and most of the time some type of meat- but that is not the main focus. One recipe we continue to go back to time and time again is the Black Bean Pumpkin Chili recipe we found from MyRecipe.com


Here is the simple version written by my Mom - Enjoy!!

Black Bean 'N' Pumpkin Chili

Ingredients:

1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium sweet yellow pepper, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups chicken broth
2 cans (15oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 pound ground turkey
1 can (15oz) pumpkin
1 can (14.5oz) diced tomatoes
2 tsp dried parsley flakes
2 tsp chili powder
1.5 tsp dried oregano
1.5 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

In large skillet, saute the onion and garlic in oil, add yellow pepper and cook till tender. Add groung turkey and cook till browned. At this stage you can add this to the slow cooked, stir in the remaining ingredients, cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until heated thoroughly. Serve it with shredded cheese and your favorite bread!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Magic in the Water

Yea, I just used a movie reference from the 90's.  The one about the sea creature that lives in a lake and eats the Oreo cream out of the cookies the kids leave on the dock?

Anyways, one of my childhood favorites and the title was very fitting for the contents of this post as well!

So after we found out some of the sea turtles we met would be released back into the wild, we knew we had somehow attend. One of my bucket list goals is to witness a sea turtle nest hatching and making their way into ocean - which is incredibly hard to do considering they usually hatch in the middle of night. At least watching an adult sea turtle make their way back to their natural environment is a close second.

Lucky for us, the sea turtle release was happening at the beach closest to our house! I've heard it can be incredibly crowded, so advise is to get there pretty early. I had off of work but unfortunately Kyle did not (we will make it to another one, I promise!). The weather was not the nicest, which I think helped to keep the crowds low. I was able to get a front row seat, which I gladly accepted! It was such a special event to be a part of, and I really felt a sense of community and especially a community who also cares about their home and environment and the special things that occur there.




They rope off the area the turtles will crawl on and everyone arrives and brings blankets to sit on while we wait for the turtles to arrive. Lots of kids had signs they made for the turtles, which was the cutest thing ever.  The turtles arrive by van from the aquarium just in time for their departure, makes sense to not have them sitting around in the car. The workers carry them out and then lay them on the sand as the crowd cheers and smiles when the turtles being their march to the ocean. Their actual walk/flopping back into the ocean does not take that long, but seeing the turtles move in a natural setting and enter the ocean, even if it is for only a few minutes, is a really cool thing.

Two of the turtles released were Loggerheads, and weighed between 90-120l bs! You usually do not think of sea turtles as being THAT big, but a lot of the Loggerheads grow to that size. Another kind of sea turtle actually gets even bigger than that - but they are not native to the East Coast or this area.
                            

They also released a smaller turtle, that looked like a baby, but was just an adult of the Kemp's Ridley. Kyle and I had seen her at the hospital and remembered her well!
Blu ! The Kemp's Ridley

It was a happy moment to see all of the turtles back to being healthy after being sick for so long. I'm so happy things like this exist in the world and there are many others who love sea turtles just as much as I do. :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sea Turtle Magic


Our one year anniversary has come and gone. I still can't believe we got married one year ago! It both seems entirely far away and yet also like it was just last week we were finishing the last minute things for the big day. So much has changed and happened in our lives since the wedding -- the move, my new job, Kyle's new job, our new house. It's crazy. But I don't think either of us has been has happy and free as we are in this moment in our lives. One year of marriage feels good!

Since out anniversary weekend was filled with fantasy football and lots of great friends (another story), we postponed our celebrations a few weeks until we went away to Kiawah Island. On our actual anniversary however, we still planned on having a nice day together. Kyle surprised me with diamond earrings (!!!) and had our day planned. He said he wanted to take me to the SC aquarium, which I was excited about because it was on our list of things to do and we both had too much sun the rest of the weekend. Plus, as a teacher, he gets free admission all the time.

He really wanted to take me to the aquarium because they have a sea turtle hospital! For those of you that don't know, I have an obsession with sea turtles. I think it started while I was abroad in Australia and we saw them in the reefs. I was thinking about what makes me like them so much the other day, and I think it's because they are as old as dinosaurs, live in the ocean, and just seem so peaceful and knowledgable. Because they are so ancient, I think it makes them so special and I feel like they have seen everything and know secrets about the world. Plus I absolutely love how they nest. The mother turtles will return to the site of their birth (crazy) which is usually a beautiful beach, and nest in the same location. And it's all done with the tides and moon. It's magical!

The sea turtle hospital was an extra cost to the aquarium, but so worth it. They tell you about the different types of sea turtles and about the ones they currently have in the hospital. Down here, most of them are loggerheads and kemp ridleys. They stay in the hospital for various lengths of time depending on why they came in. Some of them were hooked by fisherman, and so if brought in with the hook intact, are able to have it removed and leave fairly quickly. Others have more serious issues like neurological problems and "lock jaw" and stay for months at at time.

Hiding in her tube!
 We got to meet 7 of the turtles. I swear I could have cried being that close to them and looking in their eyes! It was such an awesome thing what the hospital does. And obviously I'm not the only person who things turtles are magical because they didn't have a specific hospital for other animals there!
The one Kemp Ridley - They are naturally much smaller than the loggerheads.

Up close!
They all had names as well. And the coolest thing was that when they are ready to go back into the wild, they have a release party! They make an announcement on one of the turtle websites, and they open the public to these releases on the beach. We learned that they were likely going to be releasing three of them that upcoming Friday. It seemed like such an amazing thing to attend, especially now that we had seen the turtles at the hospital first!

Stay tuned to find out if we were able to make it...

Hope you're enjoying September - the best time of year! xoxo

Friday, August 29, 2014

This whirlwind we call life.

It has been many moons since I sat down to do some writing. Things have changed for us,  A LOT. We're settled in Charleston and have been working hard and playing hard!  Since it's been a while,  I'd figure I'd give a list of fun facts about our new life in the South.

10 Random Facts/Thoughts About our Southern Living:

1. We love our new house!  Legit when we arrived with the moving truck I screamed when we got inside because I forgot how cool our new place was!

2. We now grill about 2-3 days a week and love doing it (well Kyle does). It makes dinner so easy and fresh.

3. Our cat is also loving our house and almost adapted immediately. To him,  more rooms to sleep in and bugs to find.

4. We love having a guest room and have hosted multiple guests down here already and we've only been here 2 months.

5. Kyle got his dream teaching job!!! And is now an amazing elementary school teacher. And this all happened in a few days right before the school year started. Craziness.

6. I've love my residency so far - it's long hours and hard work but I love my program and all my co-residents. So happy with my decision to come here.

7. We love to go to the beach and/or do water sports on our days off.  Which makes me super happy. I mean it's no Jersey Shore,  but who doesn't love being with dolphins.

8. I've missed my family a ton. I have definitely had days down here where I wished I could just drive over to my parents house. But they continue to come visit and it's exciting to show them new things!

9. Kyle and I will be celebrating our first anniversary in a few days. One year?? It feels like the wedding was both yesterday and years ago at the same time. We dream about Greece constantly...

10. Life is good down here!  New motto is "treat yoself" and "find your joy".

Hopefully I'll try to update more often!  I've missed writing and blogging and all that creative inspiration that comes along with it.  Happy labor day weekend y'all!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Here I am!

I know I've been absentee from the blog world lately -- but don't worry, I'll be back soon! There has just been so much going on in my life outside of the computer world, that it's been really challenging to make time to sit down and write. Lots of excitement, life changes, but also a little bit of sadness and nostalgia. I read this passage and actually thought it was pretty great and wanted to share:

I actually attack the concept of happiness. The idea that -- I don't mind people being happy -- but the idea that everything we do is part of the pursuit of happiness seems to me a really dangerous idea and has led to a contemporary disease in Western society, which is fear of sadness. It's a really odd thing that we're now seeing people saying "write down three things that made you happy today before you go to sleep" and "cheer up" and "happiness is our birthright" and so on. We're kind of teaching out kids that happiness is the default position. It's rubbish. Wholeness is what we ought to be striving for and part of that is sadness, disappointment, frustration, failure; all of those things which make us who we are. Happiness and victory and fulfillment are nice little things that also happens to us, but they don't teach us much. Everyone says we grow thought pain and then as soon as they experience pain they say "Quick! Move on! Cheer up!" I'd like just for a year to have a moratorium on the word "happiness" and to replace it with the word "wholeness". Ask yourself, "Is this contributing to my wholeness?" and if you're having a bad day, it is.

Hope you're having a great start to June and the summer! I know I have been loving the weather and a few sporadic trips to the beach already :)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A Maine Wedding


My big brother is marrying the love of his life this weekend in Maine, and I am over the moon excited! In contrast to our wedding in September, my brother and his fiance wanted a much smaller and quieter wedding, focusing on a long weekend getaway centered around good food and the beauty of Maine.

  
                     

There are about 30 guests making the trek up the coast of Maine for the events, and we are all staying at a gorgeous B&B in Camden, Maine. They chose Maine as the site for their "destination" wedding because of the fond memories and history they both have there. When we were younger, my family would go camping in Maine as our vacation, mostly around Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. It turns out Amy's family did the same, so they both have memories of growing up eating fresh lobsters at local shacks, diggings for mussels and shell fish in the waters at low tide, and just genuinely enjoying the clean air and beautiful forest filled parks that Maine has to offer.

Camden harbor.
Later in their relationship, they took several trips to Maine together, particularly Camden, and so when decided on the vibe and feel of a wedding they both came to the thoughts of Maine very quickly. 

This past fall, the hubs and I drove up to Maine for an interview, but ended up staying a few days to enjoy ourselves as well. It was his first time there, and my first trip in years and we both loved it so much. While I did rank the program I interviewed at, other programs just felt stronger for me, although we did agree if we ended up there we would have been happy as well.

I'm so excited to spend the whole weekend with my family, get to know Amy's family more, and just celebrate the beautiful relationship that the two of them have! One idea that they have been determined to have is to have a truck come after their ceremony with lobster rolls for all the guests and champagne to celebrate! 

Lobster rolls are one of my most favorite sandwiches ever created, and so in honor of Maine and everything lobster, I've found a few recipes that I think sound fab! (Although, the best I've ever had was at a little cafe in Nova Scotia, Canada!)

Cafe we stopped at for lunch while driving to Nova Scotia.
Lobster roll that was amazing!
I personally think the keys to a great lobster roll is the toasted and buttered bun, and not overdoing it with the dressing, letting the lobster meat speak for itself.

Drooling at my desk right now..

So I hope this inspires you to make some delicious lobster and get excited that summer (and lobster season) is just around the corner! And for those of you that know and love Friends like me, Kevin I think you picked it right:

"Because she's your lobster" <3

XOXO

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mom.


What an absolutely gorgeous Mother's Day! A day for all the mom's out there should be this gorgeous, because mom's are the people that make this world a better place. I think one of the best things a person can do in this world is raise a kind-hearted, warm and caring person. So thank you to all the mom's out there who are striving to do just that!


My mom in particular is an amazing woman. She is always 100% about her kids. She supports us in everything that we do and always is doing special things for us. She is so selfless, fun and hard working. And I know I can thank her for my love of eating healthy and having a healthy lifestyle. She ingrained that in us from day one!

We celebrated Mother's Day yesterday, with a visit from my parents. We knocked off multiple things off our bucket list before we move, including dinner at this great italian place and drinks at an old inn in a beautiful park. Overall, it was just a really fun and chill day. We went to an early dinner at this fabulous BYOB that people have been telling us we needed to try, and started with a champagne toast on the patio while we waited for a table. We then proceeded to have a delicious and laid-back dinner with a few courses and a few bottle of wine. We capped off the night with a trip to our favorite ice cream place! When we all got home, we said we ate wayyy to much but we had such a good time.


I know every day that my mom is the greatest, but I think even so beginning to prep for our big move has made me realize more than ever just how much I still need her. I've been a Mama's-girl (is that really a thing?) my whole life, and the thought of being more than a few hours drive away does scare me a little. But it also makes me even that much more excited for our visits to see each other.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Mother's Day and reminding their mom's just how amazing they are! XOXO

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Challenge Completed

So I finished my 21 day yoga challenge! I'm so glad I decided to do this, because although I love yoga, everyone knows how hard it can be sometimes to put exercise into your day, every single day.
So true! Why not choose something that will make you feel good!
I noticed a big difference in my thoughts and emotions during the past 21 days, mostly off the mat. Yoga forces you to be totally present with yourself and I think having that sacred time on the mat really allowed me to reflect and understand myself daily. Once I was able to process my own thoughts and be in that present state, it allowed me to have different perspective's on life's daily stresses. I wouldn't get as mad sitting in traffic, I stopped being angry over small things around the house, and I really looked for my yoga breath to help me stay present at times.

Making time for yoga in Boston.
One thing I've noticed over the past year, and even more so during this challenge, is that I love the final relaxation, savasana. When I first started yoga, this was almost torture for me; being still and keeping quiet for 5 minutes..how am I suppose to do that for that long?!. But the more I started practicing yoga not only for exercise but for my mental health, the more I looked forward to the meditation and relaxation of savasana. In fact, in almost every class I find myself wishing the final relaxation was longer. Even more so in this challenge, and that is such a big jump for me.


I've actually enjoyed the meditation aspect so much, one of my new goals is to try to have 5 minutes of meditation daily. This is going to be very challenging for me, but I vow to find the time to do this, whether it be the first time when I wake up, at lunch time, or before I go to bed. I'm determined to take 5 tiny minutes out of my day to make space for a big change.

So I'm so glad I did this yoga challenge, as it taught me how to make even more room in my day for yoga daily. Whether it be a studio class, online class, or a self made flow to some great music, I am going to continue to try to add yoga to my day. Because it's now starting not only to feel as something I look forward to every day, but an essential part of my life.

It's all about perspective.
I'd love to hear of any of your yoga stories, and if you've done challenges before!
XOXO

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Boston Fan


Boston is such a fun and cool city! All my preconceived notions and ideas about what Boston would be like changed once we spent a lovely Easter weekend up there. First of all, it's nothing like Philadelphia or New York size wise. In my mind, where growing up the "city" is referring to New York, every city automatically makes me think a million people. While that is definitely true of New York and even Philadelphia, although we are very spread out, Boston is a quaint city in comparison.

We started off our Easter Sunday with a run through Cambridge, where my brother lives. We ran through Haaaarvard, along the Charles River and just through the little neighborhoods. What an awesome vibe and culture! It also just happened to be the weekend of the Boston marathon, so runners and people supporting Boston were everywhere. It felt good to be a part of this community for the weekend.


We mostly hung out and ate delicious food in Cambridge for Easter. Drinks were had on a roof top deck, naps were taking, tons of cooking was going on. And the night wrapped up in a buzzed haze of Cards Against Humanity and chocolate cookies. It was such a great day!

Boys will be boys.
Roof top chilling.
The food was so delicious, I had to share some of the recipes we ate. I know everyone and their mother is on the kale wagon lately, but I can't seem to get over the sea-weed like texture enough to want to eat it all the time. That was until Amy made a delicious kale and crab meat salad with roasted pine nuts. The big secret though, in changing my kale opinion, was that she massaged the kale before serving, allowing it to become much more tender and have a salad taste rather than the stiff "I'm eating hard seaweed" vibe. So lesson learned: A massage makes something more tender. Got it.

This is similar to the recipe we used, except we substituted champagne vinegar for the balsamic and added crab meat.

Some of the other food we consumed that day:
Who doesn't love a well made cheese board??

Strawberry and Rosemary Scones, recipe from M love M.
Monday, marathon day, we spent walking and exploring downtown Boston. When I say walking and exploring, we literally walked about 7 miles (No surprise there if you're with my family!). We got to see so much of the city, the harbor, Chinatown, parks, 2 different bridges from Cambridge to Boston. We ended our walking extravaganza with drinks and a late lunch in a back patio in the beautiful weather.

A Boston side street.
Overall, it was a short but amazing trip. I cannot wait to get back to Boston to explore some more. There is so much to see and do (& eat!) and the city is so clean and inviting. I recommend a trip for anyone who has never been.

P.S. There will be MUCH more traveling posts ahead!

XOXO 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Easter in Bahston!

I'm so excited for this Easter weekend! Kyle and I are going to Boston to visit my brother and his fiance. Kyle has been to Boston once for a bachelor party (let's not talk about it), and I'm a first-timer! I always though Boston seemed like a fun city to visit, but when we didn't know anyone that lived there, we didn't really have any motivation to make the commute. I'm super excited to check out the city, check out their new place, and explore with my brother!

We decided to go up for Easter mostly because we were running out of weekends we could visit them. They really weren't going to be doing anything for Easter because of the traveling, so we decided, why not! It will just be the four of us, but we are still planning on cooking a big Easter fest (and by we, I mostly mean Kevin and Amy!). Since they are planning the food menu, I said I would be in charge of the dessert menu and have been searching for things that are both yummy and easy to travel with.

A cute and sophisticated Easter table, for a small crew like us!
Easter has always been a favorite holiday of mine. It's one of those holidays that carries traditions, but doesn't carry the high expectations or over the top things like Christmas. My family always would go to church in our Easter best, come home and open our baskets (it was torture as a kid to wait until after church!), and then find our hard boiled eggs we dyed hidden all over the house. There were many years where we never found them all and they revealed themselves weeks later because of the stank (whoops!). My favorite thing of all though was going to the boardwalk on Easter.

The boardwalk would officially open on Easter Sunday, and we would go and buy books of ride tickets for the rest of the summer because they were half off that day. We then would go on all the rides in our Easter clothes and play the stands to try to win big baskets. My Grandmother used the be the lucky one and win giant stuffed bunnies or more giant baskets almost every year! I used to love to play the candy stands and try to win boxes of blow pops. Overall, it was a great day because we all were able to be outside and have a blast together! Makes me a little sad now because of all the damage and destruction that the boardwalk has faced the last 2 years..I'm not sure it will ever be like it was for the kids getting to experience it now.


Anyways, back to the Easter food! I found two recipes I'm going to make for the weekend. One isn't really a dessert but sounds too awesome to pass up. I'm going to try to make these Lavender and Strawberry Scones. I found them on a blog I follow and they just sound very spring-y and special for Easter. For a true dessert, I'm going to make these Chocolate Cookies. I'll use some white chocolate chips like the recipe calls for, but I'm going to also make mine with peanut butter Easter M&Ms. M&M cookies are a staple in my house for any holiday and who doesn't love a chocolate and PB combo. We most likely will be making these cookies into ice cream sandwiches! (Drooling.)

And just because these holiday pictures always crack me up, here is the scariest Easter bunny I've ever seen.
Would you really hand your baby off to something like this??
Have a hoppy weekend and Easter!! XOXO

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Overnight Oatmeal

Oatmeal and I go way back. Like for most of us, I'm sure oatmeal has been a house staple for years. I have a friend who literally eats old-fashion oats oatmeal every single day for breakfast. (She probably has the best cholesterol levels ever!) While it is not an every single day affair for me, it is something I come back to again and again.

Most of the time I get on my oatmeal wagon in the winter, because I love waking up and having a hot and hearty breakfast on chilly mornings. I usually go on weekly kicks of needing to have oatmeal every day, and then switch it up. I also used to have the Quaker instant oatmeal packets, but over the past year have completely switched over to Quaker old-fashioned oats. While the packets are great, they definitely are sweeter than I have been liking, and I love being able to dress up my oatmeal exactly how I like it. This past winter, this Banana Bread Oatmeal was a favorite in our house. And it made enough to usually last a few mornings. Not bad for something that takes all of 5 minutes to make!

With the warmness of spring in the air, I haven't been reaching for oatmeal. My husband, however, recently started making this Overnight, No-Cook Refrigerator Oatmeal which he has been having for breakfast to change up his morning shake routine. It's pretty amazing, super healthy, and something that if you prepare the night before helps give extra time to your hectic mornings.

Image from theyummylife.com

He says that his favorite has been a "bit of a hybrid, I do the apple cinnamon but substitute half a banana for the apple sauce. The blueberry maple one is very good too!". Who would have thought that mush in a jar would be so tasty!

Try it out, make your mornings easier! Let me know if you come up with a delicious new combo!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Music to my Soul

Day 10 of my yoga challenge! I'm feeling both energized and tired at the same time - if that's possible! Really I feel like my mind and spirit are energized, but my body is a little tired from all the yoga and running. So here is some music that has been inspiring me to keep flowing!

Love is My Religion -- Ziggy Marley

Ones and Zeros -- Jack Johnson

All My Days -- Alexi Murdoch

And a fun boost!, Happy -- Pharrell Williams

Hope these help inspire you to keep going! I think that you learn a lot about yourself when you see how you can will your mind to do something and how strong you are when you are tired! (Without obviously hurting yourself).




Namaste! XOXO