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Holiday Happenings

Happy belated 4th of July everyone! I hope everyone enjoyed the festivities. The weather was perfect here so we spent plenty of time outside celebrating and of course eating some great food.

Even Casey the Dog got into the holiday spirit!

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Earlier in the week we had a cookout at my in laws house complete with lobsters!

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On the 4th, Nolan and I threw a simple cookout for our friends and used some of those leftover lobsters to make lobster mac and cheese which was a huge hit. Leftover lobster + Anne’s white cheddar shells = simple but delicious.We kept it simple with burgers and dogs and sausages. A few people brought sides which made my job easy and I really got to relax and enjoy the festivities. The company was great and everyone had fun. What more can you ask for, right?

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With the amount of junk I have eaten in the past week, I have some serious workouts to get in today. Enjoy the day.

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Frozen Sangria

As a food blogger, there are hundreds or food recipes and tutorials that pop up on my timeline and feeds all the time. I am always seeing things that I have to try, one of them was a collection of frozen sangria recipes. It was very simple to make, and didn’t have a lot of extra calories or sugar which is often found in fruity cocktails.

I took a bottle of Pinot Grigio and poured half the bottle into an ice cube tray while the other half went into the fridge. I filled another ice cube tray with lemonade and froze them both for a few hrs. For lemonade, I used Minute Maid Light. It’s low in calories AND in sugar, perfect because I don’t love sweet drinks. I’ve actually been loving a splash of this in my water with frozen strawberries as a mid day refreshment.

When it was cocktail time, I added all the frozen cubes of wine and lemonade along with the second half of the bottle of wine along with a few fresh strawberries into a blender and pulsed until they were all combined.
It was glorious and so refreshing. There are so many different combinations you could do to make this fun summer beverage and customize it to your taste. This batch made enough for about 6 drinks, so it would be perfect for a small bbq or pool day with the girls. I think this is going to be my new summer drink!

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Summer Breakfasts

One of my favorite parts of being off in the summer is being able to take my time and make myself a kick ass breakfast in the morning. During the school year I make everything ahead of time so I essentially re-heat and eat which no matter how well you cook, just isn’t going to taste 100%. It just isn’t. So now that I don’t have to be anywhere at any set time, I truly enjoy taking my time and putting together a great meal every morning. My foods are almost always savory and involve eggs but occasionally  I switch things up a bit. Here is a look at some of the ways I have been savoring my mornings.

I am still obsessed with these Trader Joe’s chicken sausages and have been incorporating them into breakfasts. The apple flavor makes them taste so much like breakfast sausage and they complement eggs so well.

20170627_085527I enjoyed them over a bed of brussel sprouts and mushrooms. There is so much flavor in this meal and also a load of protein to start off the day.20170627_085540

Egg scrambles are another favorite of mine. I try to include as many veggies I can- this one packed with spinach onions and mushrooms. I also pre-cooked 4 oz of lean ground turkey and have been adding an ounce or two to my eggs in the morning. It keeps me full a lot longer and fuels me for those long hikes I take with Brian and Casey every morning.

One new-to-me ingredient that I am super excited about is this!

I found this on my last TJ’s run and had to give it a try. It’s exactly as the name implies, making everything it touches an everything bagel. I have been loving this sprinkled on a whole grain English muffin with Laughing Cow Cheese.

This stuff is SO good and truly makes any bread taste like an everything bagel. The seasonings are well balanced and it’s not overly garlicky, which some everything bagels can sometimes be. I haven’t tried the seasoning on anything other than toast, but I bet I could find some other uses. If you haven’t tried this, buy it!

Banana “pancakes” are another favorite of mine. For these, you mix together 2 eggs, a ripe banana and some vanilla extract until it’s smooth. Then pour the batter onto a greased pan at the desired size. Over the weekend I made a batch with fresh blueberries that was oh so delicious. They have a spongy consistency and obviously don’t taste like bready fluffy pancakes but they really hit the spot

You can’t really tell from the ghetto picture, but 2 eggs + a banana makes about 6 small cakes. I have used just 1 egg before and you get about 4 small ones with that ratio. They may not be the most photogenic, but for around 260 calories you can’t beat it. Sometimes I leave a small piece of banana leftover, slice it up real thin and top the pancakes with that and a drizzle of peanut butter which is heavenly!

I am always looking for new ingredients and recipes so if you have any suggestions, please pass them on!

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Summer Snacking

Every summer I am under this disillusion that I will loose all kinds of weight and get in great shape because I have all this time on my hands. I am no longer under this disillusion. That’s just not how my summers go. Yes I have all this time and I spend a ton of it outside hiking and I’m very active but being home all day with a stocked kitchen is DANGEROUS.

Being a teacher, I don’t have the luxury of going out for lunch or buying snacks at work so I can only eat what I bring (and whatever chocolate is stashed in the teacher’s room) so portion control and bored binging isn’t a thing. During the summer I can eat whenever I want so I try my best to have some healthy-ish go to snacks in the kitchen. Especially ones that are high in protein to keep me full a little longer.

Here are a few snacks that I am currently loving.

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I found these at Trader Joe’s and was very intrigued because of their high protein content and the calorie ratio.

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100 calories for 15 gms of protein and 0 grams of sugar?! Yes please. My beloved Chobanis have at least 10g of sugar so this is a definite plus. I will admit that they don’t look great-basically you are eating a block of spiced meat, but omg they taste great. There are a few different flavors-all different animals but the Sriracha Chicken has been my favorite so far. The downside is they are $2.99 each, but I was able to find them on Amazon in bulk for $0.50 less a bar. I just might bite the bullet and buy a box. The fact that they are portable and don’t have to be kept cold is a huge plus in my book.

Another one of my favorite snacks is hummus, particularly the roasted red pepper flavor from TJ’s. I have been pairing it with some colorful veggies.

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How gorgeous are those multicolored carrots?!

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On my last TJ’s run, I came across these ranch flavored chickpeas and had to give them a try.

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I am loving their crunch and the seasoning they are rocking. When it comes to snacks, the saltier and crunchier the better for me. A handful of these holds me over during that post-lunch pre-dinner time where my stomach starts growling but I know it’s too soon to start cooking. They are also in an easy on-the-go resealable pouch which is very convenient.

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Garden Update #1

Welcome to the jungle.

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Guys, I am SHOCKED at the growth of this garden! I am not at all a green thumbed person. In fact, I don’t own a flower vase because Nolan rarely gets me flowers because he knows I won’t take care of them and they will be dead in 2 days.  When I planted Memorial Day weekend, it looked as follows…

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I remember as I was happily planting Nolan asked me if I had bothered to check the plant tags to see how much space I needed to leave in-between each plant. I of course said no because I am not a green thumbed person so I didn’t realize that was a thing. I thought it looked like there was plenty of room for things to grow, thinking UP, not OUT and shit was I wrong. Very wrong.

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It turn out that half of the plants I bought (zucchini, summer squash, and cucumbers) are viney and spread out immensely. It’s like something out of Jumanji, these vines. I keep going out and adjusting them, hoping they will start to grow up the fence and not out across to the tomatoes but they are really starting to take over and it’s problematic to say the least.

On the plus side my pepper plants are looking great and I already have the cutest little pepper ever!

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I can’t tell you how proud I am of this pepper. Defying the odds and growing in MY garden! In addition, I also have a few baby tomatoes popping out! My tomato plants have gone rogue and are all tangled up together but at least things appear to be happening.

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Next year I will have learned my lesson and I will build a second garden box that will be just for vine vegetables but for now, I am crossing my fingers that I will get a salad or two out of this garden.

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