This Summer

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Working full-time this summer I feel like the days are just passing me by. I’ve gotten into a routine and seem to be forgetting about all the things I had been wanting to do this summer. So I thought I would make a list of them here. It’s always hard when you don’t have a lot of time so whenever it comes to goals I feel like it’s always easier to come up with a very specific few that way you have more of a chance of actually doing them.

1) Take a Cooking Class

I’d like to explore a new kind of food such as Indian, Mediterranean, Thai, Mexican, etc. Hopefully I will be able to find a decent cooking class in my area. Otherwise, I will have to be taking some lessons from my mother! The woman is able to cook just about any kind of food you can think of.

2) Plan a picnic

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I’ve always wanted to organize a picnic with my girlfriends. This summer I will actually do it. It’s a fun way to spend some time outside and a money-saving activity.

3) Go to a Museum

Not sure which museum I’ll be going to yet but I’d definitely like to check out what’s going on in my neighborhood to see if there are any interesting exhibits.

4) Try a new exotic restaurant

Trying new flavors and types of food is always exciting and definitely on my list of things to do this summer! In fact, I think I should keep up with it beyond summer. I always find my girlfriends and I are going to the places.

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5) Go to the farmer’s market

I love all the interesting local products you can often find at a farmer’s market.

6) Go for a bike ride

I always went for bike rides on the weekend with my family and hope to do it again this summer

7) Read more books

I’ve already started on this goal. I am currently reading Spellbound by Jane Green. So far, I love it!

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What’s on your list of things to do this summer?

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Crazy for Granola

Peanut Butter Granola

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I love granola. I use it in plenty of ways, for breakfast, as a snack, on top of my cereal, on top of my yogurt, etc. However, I do find that it can be a pretty expensive purchase in the grocery store and even worse have disgusting amounts of sugar, which none of us need!! That’s why I have resorted to trying to make my own granola as much as possible. I came across a recipe from Shape Magazine that I find really quick and yummy. Once again, as always, I am posting a very versatile recipe! Therefore, you can tweak some of the ingredients for others to make it more to your liking. It only takes about 3 minutes to prepare and 7 minutes to cook (woohoo, more time for watching TV!).

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 c. oats

To make it healthier: Use natural peanut butter, add chia seeds, add flax seeds, use almond butter, etc.

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. Combine peanut butter and honey in a bowl and microwave until peanut butter melts (approximately 20 seconds). Stir.

Stir cinnamon and vanilla into peanut butter and honey mixture. Add oats and stir until oats are completely covered in peanut butter mixture. Spread out oat mixture onto prepared cookie sheet and bake for 7 -8 minutes until granola is slightly browned. Let cool until granola is crunchy.

Just make sure not to overcook it otherwise you it will taste like burned toast!!

What do you like to put in your granola? 

 

What’s on My List?

Here are a couple of recipes I’ve come across that are on my list of things to make in the upcoming weeks. they all seem pretty quick and simple.  Try them before me and let me know how they turn out!

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I’ll be making these banana oat muffins to bring to work this week! Check them out here.

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These look like a really easy snack! Check them out here

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Definitely trying this out this weekend! Click here for the recipe.

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Haven’t gotten around to trying this whole kale fad yet but I plan to get on board soon. Check out this single skillet black bean, sweet potato and kale dish from Goop here.

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Here’s a recipe for an avocado, shrimp, rice and cilantro dish. I think I’ll try replacing the rice for Quinoa. Check it out here.

Which will you try?

Bethenny

Bethenny’s Quick and Easy BBQ Solutions

I don’t know about you but I’m a pretty big fan of Bethenny Frankel. Watched all her shows, follow her on Instagram, plan to watch her talk show and frequently check out her website.

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One of the reasons I love her is because she provides easy and quick solutions for your daily life, quick fashion tips, quick cooking tips, etc. The link above provides a video I found on her website where she discusses quick solutions for your BBQ troubles. I thought I’d share it with you guys. Of course she always provides a good laugh.

Pizza Time

Homemade Vegetarian Pizza

A lot of people view pizza as being an unhealthy meal option. But in fact, it can actually be a very simple way to pile in loads of nutritious veggies! In addition, it can be prepared quite quickly. Store bought pizzas can be unhealthy, especially the ones with a thicker crust. This is why I choose to buy my own pizza dough (You can even find it in whole wheat if you like) and prepare my own pizza. I don’t bother making my own dough because that takes too much time so I buy it already prepared. 

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In an effort to try and eat more vegetables, this has been a go-to for me. It’s an easy way for me to eat a lot of variety. Tonight I made two pizzas, each with different toppings. On one pizza I put olives, peppers, onions, garlic, mushrooms, spinach, pesto, tomato sauce and feta, herbs de provence and on the other I put mushrooms,garlic, onions, spinach, feta, pesto, tomato sauce, oregano and basil. Both were delicious and both prepared very quickly! I purchased the tomato sauce, which was made locally with no preservatives. It is easy to find a healthy and inexpensive pizza tomato sauce in your grocery stores.  

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You can make any pizza look really nice depending on the types of toppings. In fact, a homemade pizza with some tomatoes, bocconcini and basil pesto could be served beautifully at a lunch party. Another versatile recipe, which can make use of a lot of leftovers such as, chicken strips, bocconcini, arugula, tomatoes, etc.

As for cook time, follow the instructions on your purchased dough. 

 

 

Stir Fry in Minutes

Vegetable and Beef Stir Fry

Stir fry’s are one of my go-to dinners. They are an easy way to use left over vegetables in your fridge. You can throw just about anything in them. They’re healthy and they’re quick. What more could you ask for?

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Ingredients:

  • Carrots
  • Peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Green onions
  • Onions
  • Sprouts
  • Garlic
  • Beef strips
  • Hot Sauce
  • Soy Sauce
  • Sesame Oil
  • Sesame Seeds
  • 1 egg

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Heat your pan with olive oil and some chopped up garlic. Start by cooking the carrots if you are using them as they take the longest to start cooking. Add the other vegetables in order of longest to shortest cooking time.

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Next add your beef strips. You can cover your beef strips in a little bit of flour to prevent them from becoming too chewy. Also throw in some chopped green onions. At this point you can also stir in your sauce – Soy sauce and some sesame oil, sesame seeds and hot sauce. The sprouts should go in last as they take the least time to cook. At this point I would then crack an egg over the mix and stir it all together. If you do not choose to use an egg then your stir fry is ready! If you’d like you can serve it with rice.

Very quick and simple dinner. The longest part of it all is cutting up your vegetables. If you’re too lazy to do this (which I often am) or do not have any fresh produce on you, use a frozen mix of vegetables! I personally don’t like the frozen stir fry mixes persé because I think that some of the vegetables do not taste very good when they are frozen. So I usually go with a simple mix consisting of just carrots, peas, green beans, broccoli, corns or something along those lines.

Again this recipe is very versatile, adjust it to you’re personal taste.

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Sweet Potato and Carrot Goodness

Sweet Potato and Carrot Soup

I know it’s summer and it’s warm out but who doesn’t love a good soup? It’s an easy way to eat your veggies! Here’s a favorite of mine that’s quick and inexpensive to make. Not to mention really healthy.

Ingredients:

  • 1 sweet potato
  • about a pound of carrots
  • low sodium chicken broth (if you don’t use low sodium you’re soup will be too salty)
  • thyme
  • salt & pepper to season

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First start by peeling the carrots and the sweet potato. Then cut everything up. Start boiling the chicken broth and then place the carrots and sweet potato in the chicken broth and let them cook. Make sure the chicken broth is covering the vegetables. The more broth, the soupier you’re soup will be. Throw in the thyme at the same time. Let everything cook for about about 20-30 minutes. Once the carrots and sweet potato pieces are soft start transfer the mix in batches into a blender and blend everything together until creamy. Keep doing this until everything is blended and then season with salt and pepper!

This recipe is very versatile, add an onion or garlic for more flavor if you prefer. If you do this cook the onion and/or garlic in a pan for a little bit beforehand. Don’t overcook the onion or it will be bitter. You can also adjust the texture of the soup. To make it creamier – add cream. To make it less thick – add water or more broth. Lastly, if you’re a vegetarian just use vegetable broth.

Now you are left with a very orange and delicious soup!