Sundae Funday

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{Image c/o Ice Cream by Coco Cakes}

There are many desserts that I enjoy, but I think ice cream might be my all-time favorite. The possibilities for add-ins are limitless and I’m of the mindset that the more the better. Oh, and sweet is always preferred over savory or fruity.

Because I can’t necessarily control my spoon from continually dipping into the open ice cream tub in my lap to get that last bit of Oreo cookie that is peeking out and practically begging me to unearth it, I usually have to buy vanilla frozen yogurt. Less cals, less guilt. But vanilla is so blah after a while. That’s why I started creating my own ice cream treats.

I look through whatever is in my pantry, crush it up (if needed), and then mix until smooth. It’s like my own little surprise to myself after dinner. There are two that I keep in regular rotation: Peanut Butter Pretzel and S’More.

PB and Pretzel{Peanut Butter and Pretzel Crisps}

Mix 1 tablespoon of creamy peanut butter in your 1/2 cup of frozen yogurt. Then add 3-5 pretzel crisps into your dish or mug. You can either hand crumble them for bigger pieces or use your spoon to grind them a little finer. Don’t mash too much or you’ll lose out on the crunchiness.

S'mores

{Graham Crackers, Chocolate Chips & Marshmallow Fluff}

Hand or spoon crunch your 1-2 sheets of graham crackers. I use the honey variety, but you can get fancy with it. Then add in 1 tablespoon chocolate chip morsels and 1 tablespoon of marshmallow fluff. Stir together until roughly blended. So easy. The hardest part is actually pulling out three ingredients.

Last night I had peanut butter and chocolate sprinkles. Maybe try a little sundae bar the next time you’re entertaining! I would love to hear about what you would mix in.

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Friday Find: PSL Revelation II

PS Coffee

Around this time last year, I had a revelation. A Pumpkin Spice revelation. My love of all things pumpkin-flavored has returned. And this time, I’m coming at you with another game-changer: Pumpkin Spice coffee.

So. Simple. Why hadn’t I thought of this before? The genius behind the concoction is my work wife. Nothing has been the same since. Note: don’t be alarmed by the orange color. Pumpkins are orange and they’re not scary.

The Starbucks app drink customizer is my favorite way to control my coffee cals. You don’t often realize how your favorite drink could betray you like that. If you’ll remember from last time, a tall Pumpkin Spice Latte without any modification can rack up to 300 calories. The Grande 2-Pump Pumpkin Spice Iced Coffee you see here is a measly 5 calories. F-i-v-e.

Alls I did was add two packets of Splenda and I was out the door. Absentmindedly, the barista didn’t leave me any room for milk as I requested, but I came to find it didn’t matter. It tastes just as delicious as I would expect it to be. Not only are the calories swoon-inducing, the price is in the neighborhood of $2. Come on, that deserves a parade. Don’t want ice? Try a regular coffee and see what happens. Go crazy!

Then go boot up your Anthropologie On Rotation Spotify channel, dial it to the Turkey to Table: A Thanksgiving Playlist, and be thankful for the welcomed turn to cooler weather. It’s fall, y’all!

A Frugal Woman’s Juice Cleanse

Screen Shot 2013-07-02 at 3.15.16 PM{Suja Juices from Whole Foods}

Happy 4th weekend! I may be posting about healthy stuff but you can be sure that I’m eating a hot dog later tonight.

Last week I made a quick trek to Gatlinburg, Tennessee for a family reunion on my dad’s side. We had a reunion there some 20 years ago, which is weird to say. “20 years” is a lot and usually only permissibly used by old people. Not me, who is still young and hip and fresh.

Alas, if you have never been to Gatlinburg, well, I’m just not sure that I would recommend you change that. Or rather, go and avoid the downtown area. The tiny city and it’s neighbor, Pigeon Forge, are colloquially referred to as “a toddler’s Las Vegas.” To give you a hint of what that means, I had my first taste of a deep fried Oreo when there was not any type of fair going on. I swear that after I ate it my heart slowed down.

The nature though – wow. I must have commented ten times during the late night  car ride from the Knoxville airport that “the stars are SO BRIGHT.” I really did like the mountains and wish that we had more time to hike various trails.

Being on vacation and feasting heartily on my favorite cookies my mom brought me, I returned to normalcy feeling gastronomically lethargic. Surfing around, I found a post from The Skinny Confidential about a Suja juice cleanse. Said cleanses are usually expensive, but I stopped by my local Whole Foods and found they were on sale and there’s a 10% discount if you buy six. Now, I didn’t purchase all six as I’ve never tried this brand, but I am convinced I will now having had one.

Today for breakfast I chose Fuel and I was in heaven. The taste ratio of fruit to vegetable is spot on. One juice per day, or even half of it per day for calorie counters, doesn’t feel as overwhelming on my tummy or on my wallet. I’m looking forward to trying all the flavors (a tad nervous about Purify since it has beet in it and I do not like the taste of earth) and feeling a little better after supremely lazy days. Will most likely have to purchase more after this weekend’s celebratory trip back home.

Oh, and don’t forget – USA!

Mix It Up

Before I jump into sharing a beloved workday treat, I wanted to just mention that this marks my 100th post. I didn’t think that I would keep up with this as I have and, while it’s not launching me into the commingling worlds of fame and fortune, it has allowed me to pursue a creative outlet and share what I like to do best. Here’s to the next 100.

Trail Mix Parts

The office is one of the only places that I can control my food consumption. True, I have a well-stocked snack drawer but, when I limit what is available for munching I have less of a reason to overindulge. That is unless there is a chocolate chip cookie bake off on your floor.

Make-your-own trail mix is one of my favorite snacks. I can’t claim complete originality on this recipe, but it is easy enough to add in or trade out whatever “ingredients” you choose. Just watch out for portion sizes!

Sweet Tooth Mix

Adapted from Cooking Light

1 tbs. unsalted peanuts

1/4 cup mini marshmallows

1/2 cup multigrain pita chips

1 1/2 tbs. dried cranberries (no sugar added variety)

1 tbs. M&M’s

Trail Mix

Oatmeal Cookie Dough Overnight Oats

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{Oatmeal with Skim Milk at Alterra, Milwaukee, WI}

Breakfast, or rather brunch, is my favorite meal. The whole song and dance just makes me ever so happy. Selecting a place, picking out a corresponding outfit and appropriate sunnies, the journey there, the coffee, the actual meal, the lackadaisical feeling of not having anywhere else to be or anything else to do. These occasions are usually reserved for the weekend, so during the week I try and make an effort to have a variety of easy, on-the-go options.

I certainly go through phases with my office breakfasts. The two mainstays are coffee and a piece of fruit. For a while the main course was a toast, peanut butter, and apple combo (yes, I actually got up from my desk and toasted the bread). Then it was a trail mix bar and nuts. Currently, I bring along oatmeal with protein powder.

When my girlfriend pointed me to the overnight oats recipes on Peanut Butter Fingers, I was a little skeptical to try a cold version of oatmeal, but willing to take a risk since I knew I had all the ingredients in my pantry. The results? Super delicious. I have made the Oatmeal Cookie Dough Overnight Oats two days in a row with my own addition of half a scoop of chocolate protein powder and rice milk instead of almond. It’s so simple to just grab it out of the fridge in the morning.

Ingredients

Results

While not the most glamorous, it’s certainly most delicious. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Making sure it’s tasty is just as important.

I would love to know if there are new things I should try!

The Best Ever: Peanut Butter Blossoms

My Own Image

I confess that I originally wanted to write about my awesome Thanksgiving Day outfit, but alas I’m too down in the dumps because I misunderstood the tracking information and it won’t actually arrive at my doorstep until after Thanksgiving. What exactly does the post office expect me to write as my post title now? “My Regular Day Outfit”? This is one thing that this turkey is not thankful for.

But when I stop pouting about my outfit, I come to remember that in a few hours I will be with my family for Thanksgiving. I very much enjoy holidays because they come with a lot of traditions. We always go to a movie on Thanksgiving Day, which never fails to get my mom to say, “We shouldn’t be going to a movie because these poor people have to work.” It’s been about 15 years and we still haven’t actually turned the car around to avoid the activity. We will actively watch the parade on TV for about 15 minutes before my grandpa decides that a marathon of Magnum PI is what everyone really was looking to watch. (FUN FACT: My dad was IN the Macy’s parade a couple of years ago. He carried the sign in front of a float dressed as Uncle Sam.) My dad and my sister will insist that we watch Elf the day after Turkey Day as it’s the first officially official day of Christmas celebration (although I’m listening to Christmas music right now “and I don’t care who knows it!” (anyone? Elf reference? My true friends just laughed with me)). Of course, there’s an outing to the mall on Black Friday, probably my favorite shopping day of the year. And even though the fridge is full of leftovers, we almost never fail to eat a meal out more than once over the span of the weekend. Ah, memories.

Even though it’s not a standard gobbling tradition (how many ways can I say, “Thanksgiving Day” without actually repeating it? I hate when writers do that (not that I consider myself a writer). Google another description!), my mom always bakes Peanut Butter Blossoms for my birthday. My dad unwrapped all the kisses this year so he helped too. She even mails them to me if I’m not at home. Yes, mails. The beauty of the recipe she uses is that they never, ever arrive dry or crunchy (I think the secret is the condensed milk). Sure some of the kisses fall off in transit, but that is the worst of it. I have witnesses that can attest to the fact that these cookies are gone within days. This batch of 25 was consumed in five days. I’m not ashamed. I will literally bake these exact cookies for the rest of my life.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Ingredients

1 (14 oz.) can Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk

3/4 cup Jif® Creamy Peanut Butter

2 cups packaged biscuit mix

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup sugar

65 solid milk chocolate candy pieces, unwrapped (this may be a little much, but you can always eat them plain!)

Instructions

  • HEAT oven to 375°F. Beat sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter in large bowl until smooth. Add biscuit mix and vanilla; mix well.
  • SHAPE into 1-inch balls. Roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
  • BAKE 6 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned around edges (do not overbake). Immediately press a chocolate candy piece in center of each cookie. Cool.