Thursday, December 25, 2014

Copycat Cranberry Bliss Bars

Merry Christmas everyone!

I didn't have a ton of time to talk about Hanukkah this year since I was so busy with school before winter break and then going to Cancun for 5 days, but here is one great Christmas recipe that everyone should know about.  Head over to Recipe Girl for the official recipe, but here is a picture of one of my favorite breakfasts/desserts: Cranberry Bliss Bars!  I made mine with unsalted butter and 1/4 tsp of cinnamon, but otherwise I followed to recipe and they were just amazing!

I am wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and I hope that everyone has a wonderful day with friends and family no matter what you celebrate :)

Enjoy :)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Winter Squash and Brussel Spout Salad with Honey Dijon Balsamic Vinaigrette

Our trip to Cancun was absolutely amazing.  We didn't do much and it was amazing.  Plus, I actually got some color on my uber-pale arms and I look like I actually traveled somewhere!

Now, it is time to come home from this beautiful place.  After days of laying by the pool, yoga on the beach, countless, delish margaritas, and a trip to Tulum to see some historic ruins, I feel like I am finally ready to return to reality...

Actually, that's a lie.  I love it here and we have had such an amazing time.  I know that you can't do "nothing" forever, but I could probably handle a few more days :).  The real reason I can't wait to come home is; Benny.  Yes, I miss my cat!  I am also pretty excited to see my family for some fun Christmas Eve celebrations.  However, I just notice that it is 81 and party cloudy here and 36 with thundersnow in the forecast there.  Yuck.

Today, I wanted to share one of my favorite salads to make with some typical winter ingredients.  I love roasting some squash and Brussel sprouts and then throwing them on top of a bed of greens for a yummy school, lunch salad.  I could also use a few days of this salad as a detox for all the crazy eating I've done in Cancun...

Winter Squash and Brussel Sprout Salad with Honey Dijon Balsamic Vinaigrette

1 cup Brussel sprouts, peeled and cut in half
1 cup Butternut squash, cubed
olive oil
salt and pepper
chili powder
1 bag of baby spinach
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup almonds (or other favorite nut)
1/4 cup feta cheese (or other favorite cheese)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp honey
olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 350 and spray a baking pan with oil.
2. In a large bowl, place prepared squash and sprouts.  Drizzle with a few tbsp of olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and chili powder, to taste.  Spread out on baking sheet and place in oven for about 30 minutes.  Toss after 15 and 30 and continue to cook longer if you would like softer veggies.  Remove from oven and let cool.
3. For the dressing, whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, mustard and honey.  Season with salt as needed and drizzle in about a tbsp of olive oil while whisking.  Add more olive oil if you want.
4. Place spinach leaves in bowl.  Toss with the cranberries, almonds, feta and veggies.  Use as many ingredients as you want here, its your salad!  Flavor with dressing (again, as much as you want!)

Enjoy :)

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Healthy Avocado Dip

Cancun has been amazing so far!  Yesterday, I did a short work out in the fitness room at our resort and then Bri and I had an amazing breakfast.  The breakfast here is a buffet style with options from omelets, waffles, and french toast, to traditional Mexican cuisine.  We tried a little bit of everything and our waiter even brought us mimosas.  I can't wait to try some other foods today and maybe even a smoothie from the guy who blends fresh smoothies right by your table!  This all inclusive thing is pretty great!

After breakfast, we decided to go change into our swim suits and go for a walk along the beach.  Everything is just beautiful here.  After our walk, we lounged by the pool and enjoyed margaritas and mojitos until we decided it was time to wash up for our dinner.

Dinner was at a South American style restaurant on the resort.  Our waiters were absolutely amazing, the food was great and since most of the food was not vegetarian, the waiters made Bri two special entrees (vegetable empanadas and a stuffed pepper) to make sure that he was able to eat.  Plus, since it was Bri's birthday, they brought out a cute dessert for him!  It was so nice.

After dinner, we went to the bar to order some drinks and check out the "club" scene at our resort.  Of course we didn't stay very late because it was past our bedtimes and we were somehow exhausted after a day of doing nothing.  I can't wait for tomorrow!

In the spirit of Cancun, I figured I should share this awesome recipe for an Avocado Dip.  I use this dip for chips, as well as to top things like fajitas or tacos.  Its super delish and healthy too!

Healthy Avocado Dip
(adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod)

1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt (I used Chobani)
2 avocados
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbsp lime juice
1/4 tsp cumin
pinch of chili powder
salt and pepper to taste

Place everything in your food processor or blender and blend to combine until you have a smooth dip.  Add salt and pepper as needed.

Enjoy :)

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Cancun Day 1 - Happy Birthday Bri!

We have only been here for a few hours since our flight was delayed, but so far everything is fantastic! We are staying at ME Cancun and today is Bri's birthday! I will update you all here on our adventures as we slowly figure out what we are going to do! Right now, I may go back to is winter break after all! 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Big News!

I'm engaged!  I could not be happier and more excited to spend the rest of my life with Bri and I just couldn't wait to share the news!  Can't wait to share all our exciting moments as we start to plan a wedding!

Quick Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls

Today I am feeling nostalgic about my marathon training.  I just went for a brisk 9 mile run, and it just wasn't the same without my running buddies in my running group.  About 3 weeks after the marathon, I did the Hot Chocolate 15K with some friends and that was a blast because it got me back into running and it was such a fun race.

Then, I did the Turkey Trot 5K with a friend and that was fun too!  Now, I am trying to stay motivated to go for runs because I love how they make me feel, but I also get sad that I don't have running buddies all the time to chat with.  Last weekend, I decided to run 13 miles just for the hell of it.  Around mile 8 though, I was so bored!  I decided to call my mom to talk to her while I was running.  That helped, but she couldn't talk to me forever!  I am going to have to look for some awesome playlists if I am going to keep myself entertained!  Anyone have any suggestions?  

In honor of my nostalgia, I am sharing a recipe that I made for myself for my post-marathon breakfast.  I woke up the next day looking to eat everything in sight.  I am also a huge sucker for a good cinnamon roll.  They are definitely one of my guilty pleasures.  I found a recipe for a small batch of easy cinnamon rolls and I just had to have them!  Then, I modified the recipe to be a little lighter and whole wheat!  I felt like this made the cinnamon rolls into a healthy breakfast...right?

Quick Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls
(adapted from Dessert for Two)

3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tbsp sugar, divided
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
5 tbsp skim milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
4 tbsp unsalted butter or margarine, melted
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp light cream cheese
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp skim milk

1. Preheat oven to 375 and spray a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a bowl, whisk flour, 1 tbsp sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. In a small bowl, combine milk, vinegar, and 2 tbsp of the melted butter.  Pour this into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined and a dough forms.  
4. Roll the dough out so that you have a long and thin rectangle.  Spread the rest of the melted butter on the dough and sprinkle the rest of the sugar and the cinnamon so that it is thoroughly covered.  Take the long edge of the rectangle and roll the dough up.  Cut into 4 pieces and place into your muffin pan.
5. Bake for about 14 minutes.  While baking, stir the ingredients for the glaze together.  When cinnamon rolls are done, frost!

Enjoy :)